Hamm DNA News

This is George Hamm. Taken possibly on his wedding day or shortly thereafter, which would mean late 1874 to early 1875.

About 10 years ago I came into contact with a Hamm cousin who descended from Emil, the youngest child of George and Amelia Hamm. We kept in contact for a while, and then over time, as happens, we lost touch. But, earlier this year, out of the blue, he contacted me again. He had recently moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family, and was interested in re-connecting, now that he was closer to our neck of the woods.

My husband and I dropped in for a visit a few months ago and we all had a nice visit. I was able to go home with a few pictures that I needed to scan (and then send back), and some excellent dried fruit! Which I didn’t have to send back, which is good, because it didn’t last very long.

During our visit I mentioned my hope that he would want to help out in the DNA front by getting his HAMM yDNA tested. Thankfully, he said yes.

And the results have come in.

According to FamilyTreeDNA‘s website the HAMM yDNA’s haplogroup is I-M170:

Haplogroup I dates to 23,000 years ago, or older. This haplogroup is found throughout Europe, although some branches may be present in low frequencies in Northeast Africa, Central Siberia, the Near East, and the Caucasus regions. Haplogroup I represents one of the first peoples in Europe.

There are three very interesting items of note regarding the results.

First, there was only one match to be found, in all the thousands of yDNA results that are available to compare to at FamilyTreeDNA.

Second, that one match is with a man whose surname is Hamman. (This Hamman has only tested 25 markers – and is 2 markers off from our Hamm line, our cousin’s test was a 111 marker test)).

Third, this Hamman surname comes from Hesse-Darmstadt, almost the same place as our Hamm’s (Rhineland-Palatinate they are very close neighbors). Now, these areas in Germany are pretty large, so, you think ‘well that’s a stretch that they are closely related’, but when you look at the two towns on a map and compare the distance. Hmmm. Not so far apart.

This also makes a very intriguing argument in favor of my belief that George Hamm really is a son of Jacob Hamm, and his parents didn’t get married until after he was born.

One can easily imagine the Hamman/Hamm name changing slightly over time, even within the same family. Maybe our Hamm’s got kicked out of town a couple hundred years ago, (our Hamm’s appear to be the type that would get kicked out of a town), and headed west to work in the vineyards. Or, some of the Hamms moved to find better work in a different area.

Of course, this is only speculation, I need to know more about this Hamman family before we can make any definite conclusions.

But I have to say, for me, Yule presents don’t get much better than this!

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.

 

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?