DNA testing in genealogical research -  What’s it all about?

The main pages on the  main Attfield Genealogy Website  are devoted to the families from seven geographic areas (Albury, Chobham etc, etc). A quick glance at a map will show that all these locations are in West Surrey, or counties bordering onto it. A study of the distribution of surnames (see http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/ ) shows that even as late as 1881, the names Atfield and Attfield were still more or less restricted to this area.

Common sense seems to suggest that the families from these seven locations must somehow be related. If they are not, then the surname must have arisen independently in these different locations – but nowhere else in the country – and this seems too much of a coincidence.

Using traditional research methods, great progress has been made with tracking back the seven families. But the establishment of links between these families has proved extremely difficult. We are left with the open question – are all these families descended from a common ancestor?

Even though Attfield is an extremely unusual surname, and restricted to such a relatively small geographic area, this is a difficult question to answer. As you go back in time, to the eighteenth century and earlier, there are more and more missing and incomplete records. So it becomes increasingly difficult to prove any links using the paper records. A lot of people have spent a long time trying to do this with only minimal success. How then, can we make progress?

Recent developments in DNA analysis have provided us with a new opportunity.

Go to the next page to  discover What we have learned so far.