Monday, October 2, 2006

Email to Randy Stockman...

Randy, Helen forwarded your email asking her more about the DNA project to me to answer your questions.

Let me start with your last question. Do you have to have the Surname Belew/Belue or can any descendant participate.? Answer: Yes. You must have the Surname Belew/Belue or other variant of the Belew spelling to participate in the Ballew Surname Project. That is because we are testing the Y-chromosome DNA that is passed from father to son to grandson to gg-son, etc, and identifying values for elements or markers that do not change from generation to generation thru the direct male lineage.

Your other questions can best be answered by directing you to the Ballew DNA Project Website on the website, specifically to

Here you will see a table with lots of numbers. The table shows the DNA values for several markers shown in columns for 25 individuals who have been tested that have Ballew (or other spelling of that name) for a surname (shown in rows). The first column is labeled Kit number. The numbers in that column refer to specific individual tests that are identified by kit number to preserve individual privacy of the results. Think of it has a numbered account that is specific to an individual who can remain anonymous if he so chooses. The numbers, or letter-number combination) in the first row starting in column three are really labels for specific parts of the Y-chromosome being tested. There are unique values for each of these markers for each individual. Individuals having a string of common values, say 25 out of 25 have a very high probability of having a common ancestor.

That is, if the markers for Renny's descendants (which hopefully match each other) match with some other individual that is descended from someone other than Renny, then Renny and that other ancestor must also have had a common ancestor. Then we might know with some certainly what relationship Renny may have had or not have had with Leonard Ballow b. ca 1646 in Henrico Co. VA. Or with Maturin Ballou b. 1627, Devonshire, UK & d. in Providence, RI. Of course this is based on values collected from descendants from these individuals and included in the Ballew Surname data base. In short we might be able to figure out which of the known Ballow/Belue branches, if any, Renny may be related to.

See the genealogical information for a few selected Kit Numbers shown below the table that relate to other Ballew branches. I would love to have some write-up like those shown but for Renny and his descendants. But we need some of Renny's direct male descendants to be take the DNA test in order to do this. A comparison of the kit values with each other shows which are closely related to a common ancestor.

Other questions, such how the sample is collected and the cost, are answered in the link on the DNA Project web page labeled Q&A on DNA. But basically the sample is collected by swapping the inside of the cheek. The cost varies depending on the number of markers tested. I will paste that answer from the Q&A area immediately below:
Q: What is the cost for a test kit and the analysis? A: Presently, the cost for a 12-marker kit is $99.00 and the cost for a 25-marker kit is $148.00 the 37 Marker test is $189 and the new* 67 marker test is $269, Upgrades are reduced cost like from a 25 maker test to a 37 marker is less cost.

The kit can be ordered from Paul Ballew at

Another useful link for answer to questions about DNA testing for genealogical purposes is This is the outfit that actually manages and does the testing.

I hope my explanation was helpful to you. -- Ron Mitchell

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