DNA strikes again…

Very rarely do I repost articles on my blog, but sometimes a subject of particular interest just cries out to be shared. In this case the article of interest is discussing DNA and the history of the human race. The headline pretty much sums it up:

Oldest Human Genome Ever Has Been Sequenced & How It Could Rewrite Human History

sima_de_los_huesos1

This image is from the Bradshaw Foundation website with no citation.

This is what I love about genetics, with each new discovery we are learning more and more about our origins, how we migrated across the planet, when we started passing on the traits that make us different from each other, yet how we are all still the same. Fascinating stuff.

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Thomas Cain, still a mystery…

For Christmas last year I took advantage of a sale going on at FTDNA and upgraded my cousin Robert Cain’s DNA results. I upped his yDNA to 111 markers, added the FamilyFinder test, (which will help find cousins), and had some refining marker tests done to suss out more precise information on his haplogroup.

Because Robert passed away a few years ago, his DNA is all we have left of him. And in honor of his memory. and generosity in helping us to find the origins of the CAIN line through DNA, (along with the possibility of his DNA going bad due to time), I wanted to do these tests.

Robert has many yDNA matches, however none of them are less than 5 markers off and none of them are the same surname. So our common ancestor is way, way, way back in time. His updated refined haplogroup designation is:

R-FGC20561

I added Robert’s yDNA results to the R1b Haplogroup Project a few years ago. Recently one of the group’s administrators provided me with a chart that shows Robert’s new place in this project. All the green cells show how his DNA is being refined until we get to the latest test results. Over time yDNA testing will get even more precise.

What does all this mean? Because the haplogroup R1b is such a huge pool of humans, refining the tests helps group results so that DNA matches are more manageable and more accurate. You can see that none of the group of men with Robert have the same last name. It is assumed that the common ancestor of these men was around about 1100AD, before last names really existed in historical documents. So we know who our CAIN ancestor is, just not his name or where he was from or anything else for that matter, just what his yDNA tells us.

robertsydna

To see the chart more clearly click here.

The FamilyFinder test, which finds cousins and other relatives, I had done on Robert’s DNA so that I could see where our DNA was matching. This also helps when comparing it to other relatives and cousins to see where we are matching on our Smith/Cain/Rosa lines. Here is an example:

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 11.13.59 AM

The solid blue/black is Robert, he is the base DNA being compared to. The orange is myself and the light blue is my dad. So you can see what DNA I inherited from the CAIN line that my Dad didn’t, and vice-versa. Ignore the gray bits.

I am not sure how many more tests I will be able to subject Robert’s DNA to, but for now this is a nice improvement on his results. So in a nutshell, we still don’t know the specific origins of Thomas Cain, but we are getting closer.

 

A little spit goes a long way…

This week FamilyTreeDNA announced their new ‘myOrigins’ which is, according to their website, the new version of their DNA Population Finder. This is the test that gives you your ethnic makeup. If you had the FamilyFinder test done previously, then you will automatically see the new results. Apparently they have updated their database, so the percentages and breakdowns of one’s results, in some cases, will have changed slightly.

I have already seen one change, the 5% JOHN result that had Palestinian/Jewish/Bedouin is no longer there. But now I see Spanish/Italian/Greek in the mix instead, which is also seen with William Shepard’s results. Interestingly Bill has a slight bit of Middle Eastern showing up now, and no Germanic whatsoever. I highly suggest you click on the images to see them larger.

Vic’s results show very little of his German ancestry, but lots of his mother’s Norwegian and, possibly, George Hamm’s unknown father’s Northern Mediterranean heritage, (which probably showed up as the Jewish background before the update). There is also a bit of the JOHN’s Trans-Ural Plains.

Bill has mostly English/Irish/Scottish with good percentage of Northern Mediterranean thrown in, and that smudge of Middle Eastern, maybe the latter two came from the Roman empire’s invasion of the British Isles.

For myself, it looks like I got mostly the German DNA with about equal amounts Irish/English/Scottish and Norwegian. The surprise for me is seeing the Finnish added in the mix with our Norwegian, although I am not sure why I should be surprised.

Now for those Bumann relatives. No surprise here, with a guy who is half German and half Polish, these results were pretty well expected.

I didn’t put Robert Cain’s results on here because he is only related to us on one side of his family, the Cain side, so I don’t know what part of the results would be from his mother and what part his father.

Personally I find the new way of presenting the data very organic and more comprehensive, also colorful. And as purple is my favorite color, I am glad to see lots of it on the maps, even if it’s not on mine.

The study of the origins of the human race has always been of interest to me. As far back as high school I was most interested in those classes that taught DNA and Anthropology. Reading about the breakthroughs in science, that are helping us understand where we come from, has been a fascinating journey these last few years. And it seems that more and more of these breakthroughs are coming out everyday. I am glad that I am able to participate in the ride and I thank those of you who have joined me by donating your spit.

Science Rocks!

That tiny 5%…

Not too long ago I posted an entry talking about the results of my Dad’s upgraded DNA tests. In it I mentioned the fact that his FamilyFinder results (ethnic background) indicated 95% Western European and 5% Palestinian, Adygei, Bedouin, Bedouin South, Druze, Iranian, Jewish, Mozabite.

Wow that’s a mouthful.

As I heard nothing from anyone in the family about this information, I can only assume that no one really understood the significance of this find. So let me clear the matter up in layman’s terms. Here is a simple chart:

The ‘SELF’ in this particular case is my Dad. The chart shows what percentage of DNA he is inheriting from each generation of grandparent. So this means that he inherited his 5% from somewhere in the 2nd to 3rd generation back in the family tree.

So if I look at the family tree chart, some lines can automatically be eliminated: Irish, Norwegian, in America for 200 hundred years. Basically it boils down to either someone in the John/Deadrich line or someone in the Hamm/Isserstedt line. My money is on George Hamm’s unknown father. Remember, he was illegitimate, his surname at birth was his mother’s KNOBLOCH. So we do not know who his father is, and probably never will. (Unless I can find a George Hamm descendant willing to contribute to the DNA pool.)

My theory, admittedly it is pretty sketchy, is that Elizabeth Knobloch had a romantic love affair with a Jewish gentleman and they were not allowed to marry because of the religious differences. But theories aside folks, what this means is that my siblings and I, and my cousins on the John side of the family have 100% Jewish/Palestinian ancestors.

The surname lines of interest are: JOHN, DEADRICH, SCHULE, SCHULZ, ISSERSTEDT, SACHS, NEHRBOSS, KNOBLOCH, Unknown father of George HAMM

This map shows the areas of origin for Dad’s results.

I hope folks will now appreciate the significance of this information. I myself am fascinated and look forward to more refined tests in the future.

Upgrade…

I mentioned a few months ago that I was doing an upgrade to Dad’s DNA tests, as FamilyTreeDNA was having a sale. Well I finally got the results last weekend. I waited until Labor Day weekend to share them with Dad as we were going to be there for a visit.

The upgraded tests were for his mtDNA, being Myrtle’s female line, and the Family Finder test. The Family Finder test finds cousins in the FamilyTreeDNA database and your percentage of ethnicity. In mine and grandpa Shepard’s Family Finder results we carry the DNA that shows us to be 100% European. Imagine my surprise, when Dad’s showed up with 5% Palestinian, Jewish, Druze, and Bedouin. I should correct that to be surprised, but not surprised. I imagine that the JOHN DNA is what carries these characteristics, as the ancient  JOHN yDNA has its origins in the Middle East glancing into Asia.

The reason none of this DNA showed up in me is all about chaos. My burning question now is which side do I choose?

The science in genealogy…

FamilyTreeDNA is currently having a big sale on its test upgrades, so I have bit the wallet and upgraded Dad’s sample to add the mtDNA Test for Myrtle’s maternal side and a FamilyFinder test which will show cousins and % of ethnicity.

Doing the Family Finder test for Grandfather Shepard showed us no American Indian ancestry,( as many family fables love to brag).

Will share the results as soon as I get them.

More DNA testing

FamilyTreeDNA, the company that has done all of our genetic testing in the past, had a holiday sale at the end of 2011. So I decided to upgrade a few of our samples that they have in their freezers.

Firstly, I upgraded Robert Cain’s sample to 67 markers. It had previously only been tested at 37 markers along with a specialized SNP test that is being used to help sort out the CAIN lines. That is probably all I will be able to do with his sample for a while, and I am crossing my fingers that we won’t need many more tests with his DNA, samples can go bad and with Robert having passed away, I am left without a source for this genetic line.

Secondly, I upgraded grandfather’s (William Shepard) sample. Grandfather’s maternal DNA was never tested, so I remedied that situation, and I added the FamilyFinder test. This is the one I had done, sometime in early 2011, to my DNA. The results help you to find cousins in their database (male or female, it doesn’t matter) and your ethnicity. Grandfather’s maternal DNA will give us genetic information on g-grandmother Dick’s maternal line back to Sarah Asher who married Thomas Headlee in Pennsylvania in the very early 1800s.

Results are expected sometime around February 20th. If we are lucky it might be a little earlier. But I imagine with the sale that they had, lots of folks have decided to jump on the upgrade bandwagon.

I will keep folks updated.

On the same note, I periodically receive updates from surname group administrators on the progress of the testing, the sorting out of the lines, and other news related to that surname. The most active group so far has been the CAIN line, and it has come to our attention that there is a particular marker that is showing up with our CAINs, that will be confirmed with the upcoming upgrade results, indicating a Briefne connection. Part of what this means is that our CAINs are descendants of original Irish/Celts, not one of the invaders who later integrated into the population. It also points to Martin Cain possibly coming from the Northern Ireland area, as I was beginning to speculate.

The future is looking very interesting.

NOTE: The Kingdom of Breifne or Bréifne (anglicized BreffnyBrefnie or Brenny) was the traditional territory for an early Irish tribal group known as the Uí Briúin Bréifne. The Bréifne territory included the modern Irish counties of Leitrim and Cavan, along with parts of County Sligo. [from Wikipedia]