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DNA Testing at FamilyTreeDNA

Getting a DNA test is a very simple matter and it just may resolve any "brick-walls"... I like to call them "dead-ends"... no pun intended ;-) you may be experiencing in your genetic genealogy research... even the well-respected genealogists, Stephen A. White, has been successful in resolving some of his "dead-ends", using DNA results! While I was very skeptical at first, as the CYR Surname Group Project Administrator, I have come to realize the very real benefits of DNA testing and highly encourage ALL Acadian cousins to seriously consider DNA testing, for the benefit to all of us!

For example, a Y-DNA12 test of your DNA will identify your patrilineal (father's, father's, father's, father's, etc.) Ancestors. It will also identify any patrilineal cousins who have their DNA tested too, no matter how distantly they are related to you, and no matter what their surnames. Since FamilyTreeDNA has the largest Y-DNA database, having your DNA tested by any other company, could be a mistake.

You will find the very simple (yet detailed) instructions on how to order online, very helpful:

1) Go to the FamilyTreeDNA web site at https://www.familytreedna.com/projects.aspx
2) Scroll down to the Y-DNA SURNAME PROJECTS category of your choice.
3) For example, if you are wanting to obtain a DNA Test for the surname "CYR" test, select the "C (436)" link.
4) Scroll down toward the bottom of the page and select the surname "CYR" (or any other surname).
5) Scroll down to the MALE LINE TESTING - FOR GENEALOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY category and select the DNA Test of your choice (i.e. "Y-DNA12").
6) Select "ORDER NOW".
7) Select the Y-DNA12 (or any other test you prefer) product, from the drop-down list.
8) Scroll to the extreme right corner of the page and select NEXT or PREVIOUS (using the back button may cause a problem).
9) Provide your Contact Information. I provided my own name because I do not yet know whose DNA to have tested. (Best NOT to use any prefix).
10) After you provide your credit card information over Family TreeDNA's "secure server", the following message will appear: "... price is $________ + Shipping & Handling ($4.00 Domestic and $6.00 International)."
11) Confirm that your information is correct.
12) Select FINISH.
13) FamilyTreeDNA will email a confirmation message to you

1) Test the oldest generation alive (in case a mutation occurred in a younger generation).
2) Test cousins who are the most distantly related to each other (in order to discount mutations that occurred after your Most Recent Common Patrilineal Ancestor was born.
3) Be sure to read the tutorial (below) _BEFORE_ actually placing your order... it'll answer any questions you may have on the process!


NOTE: I am the Administrator of the CYR DNA Group Project of FamilyTreeDNA. FYI.



Genetic Genealogy Tutorials

Family Tree DNA would like everyone to get the most from Genetic Genealogy testing. Please use this page as your path to preparation and planing for a DNA test and subsequent interpretation of your results...

BEFORE TESTING - Do the right test on the right person.
1. Frame your question. Take some time to look over your family tree and consider what you are looking for from a test. Do you want to prove or disprove a family legend? Would you prefer to explore your deep ancestry? You should know what you are looking for from your results, to ensure that you order the right test. If you have questions please contact FamilyTreeDNA directly, or the Administrator of the Group project to seek to join. For example, the CYR DNA Group has been donated some "general funds" which we may contribute toward the cost of testing... if you qualify!
2. Select the right person to test. Do you have the same Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA as the ancestor who interests you? If not then you will have to find a relative to act as a proxy. The FamilyTreeDNA inheritance chart explains how the tools of Genetic Genealogy, the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA, are passed on with each generation.
3. Choose the right company. When DNA testing for your genealogy, please do not spend your money without fully understanding what you are getting for your dollars and who is behind the company that is serving you. Choosing the best testing company.

TESTING - Understanding your test kit and the lab process.
1. Once you order your kit, it should arrive in the mail in a few days. Examine your test kit. Take some time to read through the materials. The Family Tree DNA test kit consists of three cheek scrapers, buccal swabs, and two collection tubes. They are designed for a single person's use. Each tube contains a fluid designed to arrest bacteria growth. This ensures that you can scrape your cheek and return your kit in any type of weather (hot or cold). The freshness of your sample will remain intact for months. View DNA test instructions ...
2. Once sample collection is complete, it is time to return the samples and the signed release to Family Tree DNA. You will receive an e-mail when your kit arrives safely at our headquarters. While you wait for your results, take a peek at the process from the cheek scraping to extraction.
3. While you wait for your results, read the reading and comparing test results tutorial.
And, if you encounter any difficulty after getting test results, merely contact the Group Project Administrator, providing your Kit Number, so you can be added to the chosen Group and be able to help others who have been tested.

AFTER TESTING - What do results mean?
1. You will be notified by email when the lab has completed testing. Now is a good time to review the terminology of Genetic Genealogy using our glossary.
2. Log in to your account and check your results. Explore the information on both your matches and your ancestral origins.
3. If you have questions you will find answers in our FAQ.


Click here to have your own Cyr DNA tested

Family Tree DNA - DNA Testing For Genealogy
DNA Testing for Genealogy
Genealogy DNA Testing
How to Take a Family Tree DNA Test
Steve Sinclair DNA and
Bennett Greenspan, Founder of FTDNA



Click here to have your own Cyr DNA tested



I have just signed-up (October 2010) to Administer the Cyr Surname DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA, since I'm convinced that DNA is one of the few method left to help us break-down some of those 'brick walls' we are all running into (i.e. the origin of Pierre Sire). If you are a Cyr or a 'variant' of that surname spelling CLICK HERE to have your own DNA tested and join our group.

Here are some important answers to the question "Why test with Family Tree DNA?" Other than the cost of the test, all the following services are provided FOR FREE.

* You will be included in the largest Y-DNA and mtDNA databases in the world.
* You have total control over whether you compare your results only within your project or against the entire database.
* The names and email addresses of your genetic matches are provided so that you may contact them.
* Personal phone and e-mail support by qualified personnel. Both the phones and email messages are answered by a human being and not by an automated response system.
* Family Tree DNA is the only service which has a calculator, created by our population geneticist, that gives you the likelihood of sharing a common ancestor with your genetic match within a certain time frame.
* Family Tree DNA allows you to join, leave, and be part of multiple Projects at the same time, without any additional testing or cost.
* As additional people test, your result will be matched against them and in case of a match you will be notified by e-mail.
* Family Tree DNA allows you continued access to your account, projects, and matches without additional testing, cost or subscription fees.
* Family Tree DNA is the only company that stores your DNA for 25 years allowing you to order additional tests using the original sample.
* Family Tree DNA is the only company to offer the SNP Assurance Program: if no ancestral haplogroup can be estimated with 100% certainty, FTDNA will SNP test your sample for free.
* Family Tree DNA is the only DNA testing service that partners with National Geographic’s Genographic Project and allows you to add your results to that project for a nominal fee that goes to the Genographic Legacy Fund.

Our database is the largest in the field of Genetic Genealogy. As of October 22, 2010, the Family Tree DNA database has 312,846 records. We also have:6,119 Surname Projects; 99,229 unique surnames 193,803; Y-DNA records in the database 116,601; 25-marker records in the database 97,672; 37-marker records in the database 41,882; 67-marker records in the database 119,043; mtDNA records in the database 12,472; FGS records in the database.


CLICK HERE to have your DNA tested and join the Cyr Surname DNA Group.


A Basic Explanation of Genetic DNA as it Applies to Genealogy

December 3, 2010:

In my continued effort to understand the principles of genetic DNA as it applies to genealogy, I asked Suzanne Sears (Co-Administrator of the Cyr Surname DNA Group Project, which I Administer), to provide me a _basic_ explanation of the process, as it pertains to Pierre Sire (my first ancestor) and my own DNA testing.

In part, my message to Suzanne stated: "Suzanne, I still have difficulty getting my head around how Pierre Sire can be traced, when we don't (obviously) have HIS DNA... and never will. Can you give me a _simple_ [actually, _very simple_] :-) explanation!"



Here is Suzanne's reply:

We DO have Pierre's DNA.............You and Peter (another tested member of the Cyr Surname DNA Group)..........an exact copy..........that's why you two are nearly perfect copies of each other....... and you both descend from Pierre.

It works like this.............

Lets assume Pierre is one of 5 original men on the planet...........for now.

DNA is two spindles of thread...........

One male
One female

Those two spindles are the blueprints for making a human being.

The two spindles twirl around each other............

But if you break them apart:

you will get

one female spindle
one male spindle


So when Pierre took a wife...........

to make a new human being.........

His DNA spindle broke apart............into a male and a female portion........

The female portion was scrapped.........only the male portion would go forward to be used for the baby

His wife: same thing: her DNA broke apart.............

her female DNA
her male DNA.........

But now the male part is scrapped and only the female part goes ahead........


So we take the male thread from Pierre
the female part from Marie Bourgeois

and bingo: you have Jean Baptiste...........and Jean Francois, and Guillaume

Each one of these men carries that first thread from Pierre...............in a near perfect copy.......the odd mutation.


And every single male from then onwards:

always is using that same first thread of Pierre

So you today: are a mix of Pierres first thread and whomever your mother was.........

But Pierres original thread is in you............

and for every male for all time: down the Pierre Sirre lineage:
is a copy of Pierre..........

It never never never changes........not the male DNA............down the male side.............
same original thread used to make every single male for all of history

The question we dont know is: who did Pierre get his thread from.........who was his father...........


12 markers is a good idea of the basic white cotten thread
(using a picture)

that was the starting point anciently............

So using your imagination now

think back 1,000 years...........and there is a tribe somewhere in Germany of 10 men......
one of those men was carrying that thread..........

and spread it forward through sons to get to Pierre...............and now you and Peter


Pierre lives in you..............if he was here: even 400years later: your male DNA would be an identical match within just a small variation......

No one else on this planet would match Pierre Sirre better than you and Peter..........

Time makes little to no difference


Example: they found a cave in Germany with about 3,000 old skeletons: obviously from some kind of war

So on whim: they said: lets test people nearby..............within 30k..........to see who was here back then and who is here now

And they found genetic matches!!!!

People genetically related to these dead guys from 3,000 years ago: all still living in the same damn place.

Thats why DNA is valuable for geography: people really dont move all that much..........despite modern times.

Like you expect to find polar bears in the Arctic: but if you find one in the North West Territories: you arent too surprised: but it might be just a few.

Well people are pretty much like that too...............a few move: most dont shift far from their ancestral homes.


So using Pierres DNA we can without a doubt find where he came from:
and right now the best information is Flanders

possibly over to Belgium and Holland.........

This is his ancestral home base...........

doesnt mean he lived there in 1644.........only that most of his kin folk did.


Hope this helps a bit.........

There are no unique human beings: each of us is a copy of someone who lived before right back to 250,000 years ago.

Of the native women in Canada: they all come from just 5 original women: 250,000 years ago.

Each one alive today is a copy of one that lived then.



Heres an easier way to understand what I wrote in the previous email


A white thread in your left hand: a Male thread
A black thread in your right hand: a Female thread

Now twist and twirl them together=a new human being


Lets argue it's a son.............

Now this son gets married and has a baby

His threads unravel...........and goes back to being separate threads

One white male thread
One black female thread

Just like it was when his parents got together and shared their DNA to make him......

His wifes DNA will do the same thing.........

she too has her DNA broken down into 2 threads........
one male from her Dad
one female from her Mom

So now we are going to make a new human.........

We will take the male thread from this original son
We will take the female thread from the new wife

(the rest is scrapped: the male dumps his female thread
the female dumps her male thread)


So now we have:

a white thread from the male son
a black thread from the female new wife

and they twist back up to make a new person............


the key point to remember though is:

That white male thread is the same darn white male thread this new father to be
got to begin with

He never got new white threads........
His son will never get new white threads.......

for the next 100,000 years:

all the males will reuse that same white male thread:
for every new male born

thats why your white male thread is a copy of Pierre...........
because its the only white thread he had to pass on.......

and he got it from his Dad
and he got it from his Grandfather

and all your sons will have that same white thread...

250,000 years from now:

All males that descend from Pierre will still be using that same white thread.......


It just keeps unravelling and then tieing back up as each child is born
just the female thread changes in the equation
since each new generation has a new Mom.........

And thats why we only use Male DNA to do the tracking with.............because its the same white thread since the beginning of time........with just a very few breakages or mutations along the way


Its only the female DNA that creates variation.......mtDNA..........

but we will never know Pierres female DNA thread.........because he never had any sisters that we know of..........and he doesnt pass forward female DNA........only his own male DNA.....

The male DNA never never changes.............

It's a recipe........that never changes............


So when they do DNA testing:
thats exactly what they do

they break the male and female threads apart:

and give you the outline of the male thread......


The numbers indicate how many........

so for example:

At maker 390=23

It means: in that small space called 390...........there are 23 repeats of a chemical........

In my DNA at 390= I have 24 repeats of that chemical.........

Thats how we know we arent bloodline related............

Because Pierres thread carried 23 repeats
and its nearly impossible for that to randomly become 24 repeats in only 400 years.

The pattern of the thread repeats itself so nearly perfectly each time.


so on a tribal level:

only persons with 23 repeats at 390 share the same tribal background: the Frankish Germans

and I share a tribal background with those humans who had 24: .........the Celts

this is how they know that Germans and Celts were not the same race of people.......


When you review basic 12 marker tests for the numbers:

it is telling you how many repeats there are at each step along the way

13 23 14 11

step one: 13 repeats
step two: 23 repeats
step three: 14 repeats
step four: 11 repeats

Now they can tell you: that people with this exact pattern of repeated numbers:
lived in a certain geography at a certain time in history..........

they can track them backwards in time to the biggest concentrations of these patterns
where they are today
where they said they came from
where they were before


Mine is: 13 24 14 10.........and they can also tell you where that pattern was back in time.........

So while your people were somewhere in Frankish German territory
mine were busy in Celtic regions: specifically Ireland


These are called Clusters.........and certain patterns of numbers cluster in certain geographies

Just like Penguins: who have their own DNA are not found in the Sahara in general.........
but cluster in the Antarctic.........

And Pierres pattern clusters around Holland......some to the left and some to the south and some to the north..........

In particular he shares some unique marker repeat sequences
that are usually found in Flanders only...........


yDNA and mtDNA are NOT the same thing:
they aren't equal but rather opposite forms of each other......

yDNA is the "thread" that passes strictly from male to male for all time........

Females DON'T have it........

mtDNA: comes strictly from FEMALES; but BOTH males and females get it passed to them from their mother.....

mtDNA: is the very smallest chromosome:

Humans are made up of 23 pairs of chromosome: = 46 total

One complete set from each parent:

They are numbered one through 23:

from smallest size to largest size

The number 23 Chromosome is the one which determines our sex one; whether we are male or female.

So except for chromosome number 23, all humans are fundamentally identical in makeup

On chromosome number 23, males differ:........

Females get two big copies of what we call X.......they are thus XX at number 23
Males get one X and one Y.........

It's that Y that is used to do the genetic testing called yDNA testing

and there is NO female contribution in that chromosome. None. 100% of it came only from the male ancestors

mtDNA is tested from chromosome number one:

The Mom is the supplier, but she supplies it to BOTH her male and female offspring.......

Your mtDNA is from Mom; but both brothers and sisters will have the same one too

So if we took Pierre for an example:

He ONLY carried the YDNA from his father: and it is what all the Cyr men carry forward


He carried the mtDNA of his Mom.......and all previous females down his tree.....

BUT he could NOT pass it forward......so it died with him

Only if he had had a sister, would the mtDNA go forward
otherwise: it stopped at his generation in his particular tree

Thus mtDNA in sons Jean Baptiste, Jean Pierre and Guillaume came from Marie Bourgeois:
but since they were all males with no sisters

HER DNA died for the Cyr lineage anyway
(I can't recall if she had a daughter by subsequent marriage)
-if she did, it passed forward that way.

So mtDNA tells us something about mothers
all your brothers and sisters would have the same mtDNA


it tells you nothing about the male lineage

mtDNA is stronger and lasts longer than yDNA
so in skeletons, sometimes its all that one can test

Most of the ancestors in North America people want to know about are original males,
mainly because they represented the overwhelming number of unknowns

Further, one would have to know the vastly more complex maternal family trees to use mtDNA to track

as womens names changed every time they got married or in France inherited new estates

Its massively complex to track these multiple last names
through several marriages and inheritances

and much more simple to track male names, as they rarely changed

Suzanne Sears

[Note from Yvon: Suzanne is the Co-Administrator of my Cyr Family DNA Group Project]


CLICK HERE to have your DNA tested and join the Cyr Surname DNA Group.

Genealogy going High Tech?

Genealogical research has always meant days in dusty archives and searches through miles of microfiche and stacks of faded photographs.

But soon, history hunters might be able to find out where they're from with a quick cheek swab and a few hours of gene testing.

Scott Woodward, a microbiology professor at Brigham Young University, is directing a project that combines old-fashioned genealogy with the latest technology, in the hope of making it easier to fill out family trees.

"Each of us carries a history of who we are and how we're related to the whole world," Woodward said as he pored over blood samples in his busy campus laboratory. "We're trying to decode that history."

The process begins with the prick of a needle. Volunteers from all over the country, each with a written genealogy that extends back at least to their great-great grandparents, have given Woodward a few teaspoons of blood during the first year of the project.

DNA from the blood is analyzed to create a map of about 250 simple genetic markers.

Click here for details on the "Acadian-Cajun Family Genealogy" CD-ROMs, now available

In the future, a supercomputer will create a matrix of all those genes and the historical data from the donated family trees. Woodward says he'll then be able to focus on any spot in space and time--- say, Denmark in 1886--- to identify the genes residents carried.

That means future genealogists, perhaps just five or ten years from now, will be able to submit their own DNA and a query. Because all names are stripped off the blood samples and charts to protect privacy, it is impossible to track specific individuals. But a researcher could ask where his or her great-grandmother was from, and Woodward could answer: she was born in Denmark around 1886.

That's an exciting proposition said Ed Gaulin, president of the Manasota Genealogical Society in Bradenton, Florida, which helped organize a recent sampling trip by the BYU researchers to Western Florida.

"I've been at this genealogy thing since I was a kid and I've seen three major advances in genealogy," said Gaulin, who donated blood himself. "The photocopier was the first. The next was the computer and the third is DNA. That's where I put this. It's that important."

Molecular genealogy has had its high-profile cases--- most notably the 1998 tests that proved that at least some offspring of the slave Sally Hemings were related to Thomas Jefferson.

Those tests, which tracked the Y chromosomes passed from fathers to sons, and their counterparts, which track certain material that follows the maternal line, have also been used to trace the offspring of famous people or certain genetically distinct populations such as Finns, Sardinians or Basques.

Some scientists have claimed to have gone back as far as Eve, and a handful of companies promise to prove family relationships for about $200. to $300. a test. The BYU tests are less specific but also cover father-daughter and mother-son lines.

"There have been people out there suggesting that DNA will be the guideline for pedigrees in the future," said Russ Henderson, spokesman for the National Genealogical Society. But he warned that genealogy buffs should remember that genetic material is just another clue in the search for their ancestors.

That's what Henry and Diana Johnson, who recently dropped by Woodward's lab at BYU to give blood, are looking for. Although some of their family tree goes back to Ireland, the rest dead-ends in New England.

"I've followed back six generations and I can't get across the ocean," Johnson said. "They could be English, they could be Swedish."

At least 11,000 people have donated blood so far (See FamilyTreeDNA below for updated numbers in 2010), a bit more than the initial one-year goal of 10,000, and Woodward hopes to collect another 30,000 samples this year (2001). He figures he needs 100,000 for a solid database, which he could have in three years.

But first he needs to broaden his collection base.

To that end, a stack of suitcases and coolers for sampling trips competes for space in the lab with churning computers and vials of DNA. Blood has already been collected from New York to Hawaii and in the coming months samples will be taken in Alaska, New Zealand and Australia.

To be fully realized, Woodward said, the database needs samples from every region on every continent, which could cost tens of millions of dollars. So far, Utah billionaire James Sorensen and Arizona philanthropist Ira Fulton have donated $2.5 million.

When the project began a year ago, about 95 percent of donors were Utah Mormons, most from the BYU campus. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints like Woodward, view genealogy almost as a church tenet--- a means of seeking-out ancestors for baptism by proxy--- which has made the church's family history centers a major resource for researchers. But Woodward insists he doesn't want the database to be for Mormons only.

"The power of genetics is showing just how similar we really are," Woodward said. "What this project is doing, is showing that we're essentially one big family."


Database will provide links to past

Researchers at Brigham Young University are working to create what they say will be the world's largest genealogical and genetic database. Here's how it works:

1. Blood samples are taken from volunteers, who also provide a genealogical chart that goes back at least four generations.

2. The sample and chart are assigned a code number, and all names are stripped away to protect privacy.

3. In the lab, the blood is processed to extract the DNA that provides the genetic code. The DNA is then diluted to the right strength to give a tiny sample for testing; the remainder is put in cold storage in case it is needed again.

4. At the same time, information from the genealogical chart is entered into a computer database. Because the names are protected, only birth dates and hometowns are listed.

5. The DNA is analyzed by a computer, which picks out 250 specific identifying markers and graphs each one in full color. For comparison, a standard paternity test usually looks at eight to ten markers.

6. In the final phase, a supercomputer will combine the genetic information and the birth dates and places from the genealogical charts, to create a complex web of genes and geography.

7. People will be able to submit a sample of either hair, blood or saliva to the lab along with a query. That sample will be similarly tested and the same gene markers compared to those in the database. That could tell researchers where their genes trace back to and at what period of time. Initially that may just be a region or country, but project leaders say the database will eventually be able to provide a specific city or town.


Note: The above-noted are re-prints of the Associated Press articles which appeared in the March 4, 2001 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser. 


Yvon Cyr, Member


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