The Pidgeon DNA project was started in August, 2007. Its purpose is to determine which families are related, whether Pidgeon, Pigeon or Pidgen, etc., or from wherever they originated. For example, are the Pidgeons of Devon related to those of Norfolk or Ireland, or the Pigeons of Canada? Also, are all the families whose ancestore came from the same county or country all related to each other?
Historical records (e.g. parish records) can answer some of these questions, but only go back so far. DNA can find relationships much further back in time.
There are three types of DNA test - see below. Because the Pidgeon name normally follows the male line, it is the Y-DNA test in which we are interested. We need men with the name of Pidgeon, Pigeon, etc. to undertake a Y-DNA test. We do not need all men to take the test, only certain ones, depending on which family they belong to. To find out if you qualify, Contact Me.)
To date (March 2017), over 30 male Pidgeons have had their Y-DNA tested. Preliminary results suggest that families from different counties and countries are NOT related, but families from the same English counties are. There are still families whose DNA has not been tested, and male Pidgeons from these families are still needed to be tested.
For MEN only
----- to trace the MALE line.
A person's DNA consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes, inherited from their mother and father. Each pair is more or less identical - except for one pair. This is the sex chromosome, and the two chromosomes may be quite different, so are called the X and the Y chromosomes. While women have two X chromosomes, men have an X and a Y chromosome.
A child will inherit an X chromosome from its mother. From its father it may inherit either an X or a Y chromosome. If it inherits an X chromosome, the child becomes a girl. If it inherits a Y chromosome, it becomes a boy. Thus a Y chromosome is passed from a father to his son - down the male line, like the family name.
To study families with the same name, we look at the Y-DNA.
----- to trace the FEMALE line.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) exists in the outer parts of a sell, not in the nucleus. When a child is conceived, any mtDNA from the male sperm, which might (unusually) penetrate the female egg, is destroyed. So, mtDNA is only inherited from one's mother. Both boys and girls inherit it, but only the girls will pass it on to her own children.
Thus, mtDNA is passed down a female line, relatively unchanged, and if we wish to investigat our line of female ancestors, we look at the mtDNA.
----- to trace ANY relative.
Autosomal, or "family finder" tests look at, and compare, blocks of DNA from all the 22 similar pairs of chromosomes. A child will inherit half of its DNA from its mother, and half from its father. Brothers and sisters will will inherit different parts of each parent's DNA, but will share large blocks of the same DNA. Cousins will share large blocks of their common grandparents' DNA, or of a half of the DNA they inherit. Second cousins will share parts of a quarter of the DNA they inherit, and so on.
The more distantly two people are related, the smaller the amount of DNA they will share from a common ancestor. This kind of test, therefore, can only match fairly close relatives, say say 5th or 6th cousins, but of any gender.