The contemporary genealogist has a new tool, in the form of DNA, which can assist in proving or disproving relationships. Since the Y chromosome is passed from father to son, just as a surname is, men with the same surname can test to see if they share a common ancestor. Simply swabbing the inner cheek is all that is required.
The Agnew Surnameproject at Family Tree DNA (http://www.ftdna.com). Take a few minutes to see what DNA for genealogical purposes is all about. A message from the Project Administrator follows:
I would like to encourage male Agnews to take the Y37 or Y67 test at Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com), FTDNA for short. You can get the best price on a test kit by purchasing it through our Agnew project (www.familytreedna.com/public/Agnew) and clicking on Purchase a Test to Join This Project. The standard Y37 test costs $149, although FTDNA occasionally offers promotional discounts. Our project covers all variations of the Agnew surname, both ancient and modern, including Agnew, Agney, D'Agneau, Egnew, Ignew, O'Gneeve, O'Gnive, and probably others.
The DNA test is easy to execute. You purchase a kit and it is mailed to you. You then simply take some swabs from inside your mouth and mail them back to FTDNA in a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope. You get the results back in a few weeks. Your results are added to the FTDNA database by kit number. Your privacy is maintained and you control any additional identification that you care to make public. Another important point is that genetic DNA is largely "junk" DNA. It has no value for medical or forensic purposes, only for ancestral linkages.
Once your results are posted in the FTDNA database, you can easily see whether you have any reasonably close matches in terms of a metric called Genetic Distance, which totals deviations between you and others across genetic markers, and FTDNA provides a lot of guidance on interpreting these distances in terms of relatedness and the probability of a common ancestor within a certain number of prior generations. And these comparisons are made across the entire database, not just people named Agnew. Our Agnew project provides additional comparisons across members with that surname.
DNA testing is certainly not a substitute for traditional genealogical research, but it is a great supplement to that research on your main paternal line, particularly in situations where you have run into a brick wall on tracing back past an individual ancestor or where paternity is entirely unknown or uncertain. DNA testing can also save time by connecting to established researchers on the same line. In any event, it is interesting (and fun) to know your own unique genetic code and where that seems to fall within the overall ancestral landscape, both for your benefit and that of your descendents. Another point is that genealogical DNA testing is really in its infancy. FTDNA has by far the largest database, but its growth is quite rapid and many more close connections will arise in the future. So, once again, please join our Agnew project on FTDNA, contribute your DNA results, and make some new connections.
Co-Administrator, FTDNA Agnew Project
The mtDNA test is for women but it is much less specific than that for males. Whether male or female you might wish to learn something about how DNA can go hand in hand with genealogy. Please refer to the the following site for a start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_genealogy