Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Welcome to the Braswell DNA Website!

Genetic genealogy is the most important new tool for genealogists to come along since the Internet. It provides evidence of human relationships when surviving paper evidence cannot. And it can validate a paper pedigree with solid scientific proof. Since its start in 2003, the Braswell Family DNA Project has discovered
  • The specific genetic signature ('haplotype') of English Bracewells, including American family founder Rev. Robert Bracewell (1611-1668) of Isle of Wight County, Virginia
  • Two genetic marker values exclusive to descendants of Reverend Bracewell's grandson, William Braswell (c.1707-1785)
  • Two other Braswell haplogroups--S/H and K/L--named for their first two identified members
  • A half-dozen other unique Braswell haplotypes
  • The genetic signatures of the Breazeale family of Brittany and the Irish Brassils from County Kerry
The original Braswell project was created by Carey Bracewell, unpaid volunteer administrator of the Braswell Family Project at FamilyTreeDNA, Houston, the company that does 90% of genetic genealogy testing. Originally, our program was set up by and for descendants of Reverend Robert Bracewell. But because our American founder's surname has morphed into at least 56 different spellings over the years since his arrival in 1650, the project is also open to anyone whose surname begins with Brac-, Bras-, or Braz- and was originally pronounced to rhyme with 'dazzle'. That includes Irish Brazils and Brassils as well as Breazeales who are included because they are often confused with Braswells in historical records.
The ideal candidate for DNA testing is an older rural male. "Older" because he's closer in time to the family founder and therefore has less chance of having a recent mutation in his genetic makeup. And "rural" because country people often live near their ancestral homes whereas city dwellers may come from anywhere. .
Although test subjects in these Y-DNA studies must always be male, women are encouraged to participate by using a male relative--father, brother, or cousin--as their proxy. In addition, women can test their own female mtDNA ( for $89 or $129 group rate) or other women relatives' mtDNA to settle any 'daughters'-daughters'-daughters'.... questions that might come up.
To find out more about this exciting new science, go to the easy-to-follow tutorial at the Dorsey surname web page at http://www.contexo.info/DNA_Basics/Collecting%20Your%20DNA.htm. Other useful testing information can be found at http://www.familytree.com/.
Data are arranged by individual participants sorted into family groups and followed by their scores on each of the tested genetic markers. Vertical columns display genetic markers by their designated nomenclature (DYS number). Braswells in the first or "Haplotype" group have been shown to carry the genetic signature of founder Rev. Bracewell, a Cavalier emigrant from London. His DNA signature is expressed by the number string:
13-24-14-10-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29, 17-9-10-11-11-25-15-19-30-15-15-16-17,
11-11-19-23-16-14-17-18-36-40-12-12, 12-10-15-16-8-10-10-8-10-10-12-16-23-16-23-16-10-12-12-
which corresponds with four FamilyTreeDNA panels of 12, 13,12, and 30 markers--67 in all. Red marker boxes show scores that deviate slightly from this Braswell Haplotype. .Marker numbers at the top of each column colored red are more 'volatile' or given to mutation than other markers. You will see that about half the Braswells in this database having scores for panels two and three show at least one red box in their last two panels. These help identify particular family branches.
In 2006 a fourth panel of an additional 29 markers was offered by FamilyTreeDNA, making it now possible to test any male participant for up to 66 markers.
Remaining Braswell genetic groups include S/H (Steve/Henry) and K/L (Keith/Lolan) --named for their first two members-- plus the Braswell-Riggs and Emory Braswell haplogroups. Those in the 'UNIQUE' group are still waiting for their first match.
Pedigrees and Documentation
Available pedigrees are arranged by family in the order they appear on the datasheet, oldest branches first. Needed supporting documentation for some lineages can be seen on the Documentation page. Conventional reference shorthand is used there, as "Edge DB1-295" in place of "Edgecombe County Deed Book 1, Page 295."
Sign-up Information
FamilyTreeDNA.com leads the field in genetic testing because they offer the best value, including group discount rates. Which test one should order depends on one's research objective. The basic 12-marker test ("Y-DNA12", $99) submitted by a male with one of the above surnames will tell only whether he is in fact a member of that genetic group. To possibly determine which branch of a particular family one belongs to, it is necessary to order the 25-marker test ("Y-DNAPlus", $169), or better yet, the full 37-markers ("Y-DNA37", $229) which has already proven its value in identifying some specific branches. For example, the descendants of WILLIAM BRASWELL, JR (c1707-1785) have been shown to carry unique scores at Markers 27 and 33--GATA H-4 and DYS 570. All four panels totaling 66 markers presently cost $269 at the group rate.
Current participants have the option of upgrading later to more markers, still using their original sample. No retesting required. Fees range from $49 to upgrade from 12 to 25 markers ('Y-DNA Refine12to25'), $99 to upgrade from 12 to 37 ('Y-DNA Refine 12to37') $49 to upgrade from 25 to 37 markers ('Y-DNA Refine 25to37'), and $99 to upgrade from 37 to 66 markers ("Y-Refine37to66").
Genetic testing at FamilyTreeDNA requires only a simple, private and painless cheek swab, everything handled by mail. You can sign up for any of these tests online at the above discount rates at
All contributions to the Braswell General Fund are very much appreciated. This fund is maintained by FamilyTreeDNA and can be used only for Braswell genetic testing. Please make your donation to http://www.familytreedna.com/contribution.html and let the Administrator know if you prefer that your gift remain anonymous.