DNA revisited

I am afraid that I haven’t really been paying attention to my DNA accounts recently. Too much on the ‘lots of other things I have to do’ genealogy list. But this last weekend, between celebrating my old man’s birthday, reading up on the Whiskey Rebellion, going to Avengers, and catching up on my latest game, I had to answer an email from the wife of a cousin, who was looking for his ancestors. I was very happy to help anyway I could, because in his case it was adoption of his mother that was the brick wall.

In the process of answering the question, I started looking around at all the new matches on a few of these accounts, and saw some surnames that were of much interest to me. But one in particular stood out –Amund and Måkestad. “How intriguing”, says my brain to me, “must click.”

I have always had this tiny nugget of doubt that my research had actually found the right Amund Amundson in Norway, and that sometime in the future his whole line would have to be wiped off the board. But, thanks to this one DNA entry in the FamilyFinder matches, all that doubt, as small as it was, has been put to rest.

The reason the entry seemed so intriging was I could see both ‘Amunds(datter)’ and ‘Måkestad’ , (along with other places of common intestest in Norway), entered in this person’s list of ancestors that they were researching. According to my research Måkestad is where Amund had been born.

This is their list of Ancestral Surnames that they have added to their account, not everyone does this, so it was very helpful in determining commonalities. Not only does Måkestad show up in the list, but: Bleie, Børve, Måge, Nå, Reiseter, Sygnistveit, all these places are common to my Amundsons.

Thankfully, they also have added a familytree to their account, so I could better make the connection.

Their tree.
My tree. The common ancestors are in the red boxes on both trees

So our common ancestor is this couple — Amund Grepson and Guro Sjursdatter, both born in the late 1700s. We descend from their son Amund, and the other person descends from his brother, Greip.

This is very exciting for me and I am so glad to share this great news. I have also been confirming in my mind other connections because of DNA matches, like: Buchanan, Mobley, Lemasters, Shepard, George, Shaw, Goble, McQueen, etc.. While we have pretty much known that these surnames are ours, the DNA further confirms that the research is right.

I love science!

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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!

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.