Imputation Matching Comparison

In a future article, I’ll be writing about the process of uploading files to DNA.Land and the user experience, but in this article, I want to discuss only one topic, and that’s the results of imputation as it affects matching for genetic genealogy. DNA.Land is one of three companies known positively to be using imputation (DNA.Land, MyHeritage and LivingDNA), and one of two that allows transfers and does matching for genealogy

This is the second in a series of three articles about imputation.

Imputation, discussed in the article, Concepts – Imputation, is the process whereby your DNA that is tested is then “expanded” by inferring results you don’t have, meaning locations that haven’t been tested, by using information from results you do have. Vendors have no choice in this matter, as Illumina, the chip maker of the DNA chip widely utilized in the genetic genealogy marketspace has obsoleted the prior chip and moved to a new chip with only about 20% overlap in the locations previously tested. Imputation is the methodology utilized to attempt to bridge the gap between the two chips for genetic genealogy matching and ethnicity predications.

Imputation is built upon two premises:

1 – that DNA locations are inherited together

2 – that people from common populations share a significant amount of the same DNA

An example of imputation that DNA.Land provides is the following sentence.

I saw a blue ca_ on your head.

There are several letters that are more likely that others to be found in the blank and some words would be more likely to be found in this sentence than others.

A less intuitive sentence might be:

I saw a blue ca_ yesterday.

DNA.Land doesn’t perform DNA testing, but instead takes a file that you upload from a testing vendor that has around 700,000 locations and imputes another 38.3 million variants, or locations, based on what other people carry in neighboring locations. These numbers are found in the SNPedia instructions for uploading DNA.Land information to their system for usage with Promethease.

I originally wrote about Promethease here, and I’ll be publishing an updated article shortly.

In this article, I want to see how imputation affects matching between people for genetic genealogy purposes.

Genetic Genealogy Matching

In order to be able to do an apples to apples comparison, I uploaded my Family Tree DNA autosomal file to DNA.Land.

DNA.Land then processed my file, imputed additional values, then showed me my matches to other people who have also uploaded and had additional locations imputed.

DNA.Land has just over 60,000 uploads in their data base today. Of those, I match 11 at a high confidence level and one at a speculative level.

My best match, meaning my closest match, Karen, just happened to have used her GedMatch kit number for her middle name. Smart lady!

Karen’s GedMatch number provided me with the opportunity to compare our actual match information at DNA.Land, then also at GedMatch, then compare the two different match results in order to see how much of our matching was “real” from portions of our tested kits that actually match, and what portion of our DNA matches as a result of the DNA.Land imputation.

At DNA.Land, your match information is presented with the following information:

  • Relationship degree – meaning estimated relationship
  • # shared segments – although many of these are extremely small
  • Total shared cM
  • Total recent shared length in cM
  • Longest recent shared segment in cM
  • Relationship likelihood graph
  • Shared segments plotted on chromosome display
  • Shared segments in a table

Please note that you can click on any graphic to enlarge.

DNA.Land provides what they believe to be an accurate estimate of recent and anciently shared SNA segments.

The match table is a dropdown underneath the chromosome graphic at far right:

For this experiment, I copied the information from the match table and dropped it into a spreadsheet.

DNALand Match Locations

My match information is shown at DNA.Land with Karen as follows:

Matching segments are identified by DNA.Land as either recent or ancient, which I find to be over-simplified at best and misleading or inaccurate at worst. I guess it depends on how you perceive recent and ancient. I think they are trying to convey the concept that larger segments tend to me more recent, and smaller segments tend to be older, but ancient in the genetics field often refers to DNA extracted from exhumed burials from thousands of years ago.  Furthermore, smaller segments can be descended from the same ancestor as larger segments.

GedMatch Match

Since Karen so kindly provided her GedMatch kit number, I signed in to GedMatch and did a one-to-one match with this same kit.

Since all of the segments are 3 cM and over at DNA.Land, I utilized a GedMatch threshold of 3 cM and dropped the SNP count to 100, since a SNP count of 300 gave me few matches. For this comparison, I wanted to see all my matches to Karen, no matter how few SNPs are involved, in an attempt to obtain results similar to DNA.Land. I normally would not drop either of these thresholds this low. My typical minimum is 5cM and 500 SNPs, and even if I drop to 3cM, I still maintain the 500 SNP threshold.

Let’s see how the data from GedMatch and DNA.Land compares.

In my spreadsheet, below, I pasted the segment match information from DNA.Land in the first 5 columns with a red header. Note that DNA.Land does not provide the number of shared SNPs.

At right, I pasted the match information from GedMatch, with a green header. We know that GedMatch has a history of accurately comparing segments, and we can do a cross platform comparison. I originally uploaded my FTDNA file to DNA.Land and Karen uploaded an Ancestry file. Those are the two files I compared at GedMatch, because the same actual matching locations are being compared at both vendors, DNA.Land (in addition to imputed regions) and GedMatch.

I then copied the matching segments from GedMatch (3cM, 100 SNPs threshold) and placed them in the middle columns in the same row where they matched corresponding DNA.Land segments. If any portion of the two vendors segments overlapped, I copied them as a match, although two are small and partial and one is almost negligible. As you can see, there are only 10 segments with any overlap at all in the center section. Please note that I am NOT suggesting these are valid or real matches.  At this point, it’s only a math/match exercise, not an analysis.

The match comparison column (yellow header) is where I commented on the match itself. In some cases, the lack of the number of SNPs at DNA.Land was detrimental to understanding which vendor was a higher match. Therefore, when possible, I marked the higher vendor in the Match Comparison column with the color of their corresponding header.

Analysis

Frankly, I was shocked at the lack of matching between GedMatch and DNA.Land. Trying to understand the discrepancy, I decided to look at the matches between Karen, who has been very helpful, and me at other vendors.

I then looked at our matches at Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage and at Family Tree DNA.

The best comparison would be at Family Tree DNA where Karen loaded her Ancestry file.  Therefore, I’m comparing apples to apples, meaning equivalent to the comparison at GedMatch and DNA.Land (before imputation).

It’s impossible to tell much without a chromosome browser at Ancestry, especially after Timber processing which reduces matching DNA.

DNA.Land categorized my match to Karen as “high certainty.” My match with Karen appears to be a valid match based on the longest segment(s) of approximately 30cM on chromosome 8.

  • Of the 4 segments that DNA.Land identifies as “recent” matches, 2 are not reflected at all in the GedMatch or Family Tree DNA matching, suggesting that these regions were imputed entirely, and incorrectly.
  • Of the 4 segments that DNA.Land identifies as “recent” matches, the 2 on chromosome 8 are actually one segment that imputation apparently divided. According to DNA.LAND, imputation can increase the number of matching segments. I don’t think it should break existing segments, meaning segments actually tested, into multiple pieces. In any event, the two vendors do agree on this match, even though DNA.Land breaks the matching segment into two pieces where GedMatch and Family Tree DNA do not. I’m presuming (I hate that word) that this is the one segment that Ancestry calls as a match as well, because it’s the longest, but Ancestry’s Timber algorithm downgrades the match portion of that segment by removing 11cM (according to DNA.Land) from 29cM to 18cM or removes 13cM (according to both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA) from 31cM to 18cM. Both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA agree and appear to be accurate at 31cM.
  • Of the total 39 matching segments of any size, utilizing the 3cM threshold and 100 SNPs, which I set artificially very low, GedMatch only found 10 matching segments with any portion of the segment in common, meaning that at least 29 were entirely erroneous matches.
  • Resetting the GedMatch match threshold to 3 cM and 300 SNPS, a more reasonable SNP threshold for 3cM, GedMatch only reports 3 matching segments, one of which is chromosome 8 (undivided) which means at this threshold, 36 of the 39 matching DNA.Land segments are entirely erroneous. Setting the threshold to a more reasonable 5cM or 7cM and 500 SNPs would result in only the one match on chromosome 8.

  • If 29 of 39 segments (at 3cM 100 SNPs) are erroneously reported, that equates to 74.36% erroneous matches due to imputation alone, with out considering identical by chance (IBC) matches.
  • If 35 of 39 segments (at 3cM 300 SNPs) are erroneously reported, that equates to 89.74% percent erroneous matches, again without considering those that might be IBC.

Predicted vs Actual

One additional piece of information that I gathered during this process is the predicted relationship.

Vendor Total cM Total Segments Longest Segment Predicted Relationship
DNA.Land 162 to 3 cM 39 to 3 cM 17.3 & 12, split 3C
GedMatch 123 to 3 cM 27 to 3 cM 31.5 5.1 gen distant
Family Tree DNA 40 to 1 cM 12 to 1 cM 32 3-5C
MyHeritage No match No match No match No match
Ancestry 18.1 1 18.1 5-8C
23andMe 26 1 26 3-6C

Karen utilized her Ancestry file and I used my Family Tree DNA file for all of the above matching except at 23andMe and Ancestry where we are both tested on the vendors’ platform. Neither 23andMe nor Ancestry accept uploads. I included the 23andMe and Ancestry comparisons as additional reference points.

The lack of a match at MyHeritage, another company that implements imputation, is quite interesting. Karen and I, even with a significantly sized segment are not shown as a match at MyHeritage.

If imputation actually breaks some matching segments apart, like the chromosome 8 segment at DNA.Land, it’s possible that the resulting smaller individual segments simply didn’t exceed the MyHeritage matching threshold. It would appear that the MyHeritage matching threshold is probably 9cM, given that my smallest segment match of all my matches at MyHeritage is 9cM. Therefore, a 31 or 32 cM segment would have to be broken into 4 roughly equally sized pieces (32/4=8) for the match to Karen not to be detected because all segment pieces are under 9cM. MyHeritage has experienced unreliable matching since their rollout in mid 2016, so their issue may or may not be imputation related.

The Common Ancestor

At Family Tree DNA, Karen does not match my mother, so I can tell positively that she is related through my father’s line. She and I triangulate on our common segment with three other individuals who descend from Abraham Estes 1647-1720 .

Utilizing the chromosome browser, we do indeed match on chromosome 8 on a long segment, which is also our only match over 5cM at Family Tree DNA.

Based on our trees as well as the trees of our three triangulated Estes matches, Karen and I are most probably either 8th cousins, or 8th cousins once removed, assuming that is our only common line. I am 8th cousins with the other three triangulated matches on chromosome 8. Karen’s line has yet to be proven.

Imputation Matching Summary

I like the way that DNA.Land presents some of their features, but as for matching accuracy, you can view the match quality in various ways:

  1. DNA.Land did find the large match on chromosome 8. Of course, in terms of matching, that’s pretty difficult to miss at roughly 30cM, although MyHeritage managed. Imputation did split the large match into two, somehow, even though Karen and I match on that same segment as one segment at other vendors comparing the same files.
  2. Of the 39 DNA.Land total matches, other than the chromosome 8 match, two other matches are partial matches, according to GedMatch. Both are under 7cM.
  3. Of DNA.Land’s total 39 matches, 35 are entirely wrong, in addition to the two that are split, including two inaccurate imputed matches at over 5cM.
  4. At DNA.Land, I’m not so concerned about discerning between “real” and “false” small segment matches, as compared to both FTDNA and GedMatch, as I am about incorrectly imputed segments and matches. Whether small matches in general are false positives or legitimate can be debated, each smaller segment match based on its own merits. Truthfully, with larger segments to deal with, I tend to ignore smaller segments anyway, at least initially. However, imputation adds another layer of uncertainty on top of actual matching, especially, it appears, with smaller matches. Imputing entire segments of incorrect DNA concerns me.
  5. Having said that, I find it very concerning that MyHeritage who also utilizes imputation missed a significant match of over 30cM. I don’t know of a match of this size that has ever been proven to be a false match (through parental phasing), and in this case, we know which ancestor this segment descends from through independent verification utilizing multiple other matches. MyHeritage should have found that match, regardless of imputation, because that match is from portions of the two files that were both tested, not imputed.

Summary

To date, I’m not impressed with imputation matching relative to genetic genealogy at either DNA.Land or MyHeritage.

In one case, that of DNA.Land, imputation shows matches for segments that are not shown as matches at either Family Tree DNA or GedMatch who are comparing the same two testers’ files, but without imputation. Since DNA.Land did find the larger segment, and many of their smaller segments are simply wrong, I would suggest that perhaps they should only show larger segments. Of course, anyone who finds DNA.Land is probably an experienced genetic genealogist and probably already has files at both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA, so hopefully savvy enough to realize there are issues with DNA.Land’s matching.

In the second imputation case, that of MyHeritage, the match with Karen is missed entirely, although that may not be a function of imputation. It’s hard to determine.  MyHeritage is also comparing the same two files uploaded by Karen and I to the other vendors who found that match, both vendors who do and don’t utilize imputation.

Regardless of imputing additional locations, MyHeritage should have found the matching segment on chromosome 8 because that region does NOT need to be imputed. Their failure to do so may be a function of their matching routine and not of imputation itself. At this point, it’s impossible to discern the cause. We only know, based on matching at other vendors, that the non-match at MyHeritage is inaccurate.

Here’s what DNA.Land has to say about the imputed VCF file, which holds all of your imputed values, when you download the file. They pull no punches about imputation.

“Noisey and probabilistic.” Yes, I’d say they are right, and problematic as well, at least for genetic genealogists.

Extrapolating this even further, I find it more than a little frightening that my imputed data at DNA.Land will be utilized for medical research.

Quoting now from Promethease, a medical reference site that allows the consumer to upload their raw data files, providing consumers with a list of SNPs having either positive or negative research in academic literature:

DNA.land will take a person’s data as produced by such companies and impute additional variants based on population frequency statistics. To put this in concrete terms, a person uploading a typical 23andMe file of ~700,000 variants to DNA.land will get back an (imputed) file of ~39 million variants, all predicted to be present in the person. Promethease reports from such imputed files typically contain about 50% more information (i.e. 50% more genotypes) than the corresponding reports from raw (non-imputed) data.

Translated, this means that your imputed data provides twice as much “genetic information” as your actual tested data. The question remains, of course, how much of this imputed data is accurate.

That will be the topic of the third imputation article. Stay tuned.

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Susannah (maybe) Hart (c1740-before 1805), Marcus Younger’s Mystery Wife, 52 Ancestors #168

Actually, we’re not even positive Susannah is her first name. I should have titled this “Maybe Susannah Maybe Hart,” but then I didn’t want someone to actually think her first name was “Maybe.”  I can just see that showing up in a tree someplace someday:)

Susannah might be her first name, but if so, it’s a lucky accident in a legal document.

In Halifax County, even in the 1800s, forms and standard language were used for various types of repeat transactions – and it was a mistake on a form that named Susannah – years after her death. The one record that surely did exist at one time, Susannah’s marriage documentation, likely burned when the King and Queen County, VA courthouse burned in 1828, 1833 and 1864. What one fire didn’t consume, the others did.

For sake of consistency, and because that’s what she has been called….and because I have nothing else to call her, I’ll continue to refer to her as Susannah.

Susannah married Marcus Younger probably sometime in or before 1759, because their first child and only (surviving) son was born on April 11, 1760, named John. Note that the child was not named for Marcus, the father. Perhaps another son was born and named for Marcus, but didn’t survive.

We don’t know who Marcus’s father was as we believe that Marcus was illegitimate, probably born to a daughter of Alexander Younger, taking her surname. But we aren’t positive. We do know that Marcus’s descendant’s Y DNA through his only son, John, doesn’t match the Younger DNA line that the rest of the Younger males in the family associated with Marcus carry. Based on Y DNA results, we know who Marcus’s father wasn’t, and there weren’t any other known Younger candidates, so the probable conclusion is that Marcus was illegitimate and belonged to one of the daughters of Alexander Younger.

Illegitimacy at that time was a significant social barrier. If Susannah married an illegitimate man, she may have been illegitimate herself. There are a lot of “ifs, ands and buts” in there – but it’s the best we can do with what we have.

Is John Actually Marcus’s Son?

Now, if you’re sitting there scratching your head, saying to yourself, “But if John was Marcus’s only son, and his male descendant Y DNA tested, how do we know that Marcus was illegitimate, based on that DNA test? Couldn’t John have NOT been Marcus’s son, especially since we don’t have a marriage record that predates John’s birth? Couldn’t John have NOT been Marcus’s son, because Susannah, um, somehow got pregnant by someone other than her husband?”

The answer would be yes, that’s certainly possible. It wasn’t terribly uncommon for women at that time to have a child before marriage, either out of wedlock or by a first husband who died, and for the child to take the second husband’s surname.

However, before we go any further, let’s address this question here and now, so we don’t have to ponder this anymore.

Autosomal DNA provides some very compelling information.

I have eleven matches at two different vendors with people who descend from Alexander Younger, believed to be Marcus’s grandfather, through different children. Because several of the matches are at Ancestry, it’s impossible to know if we share common segments, but there are members of the Alexander Younger who match with me and in common with each other.

However, that’s at Ancestry, and even though their trees don’t show other ancestors in common with each other, we can’t really tell if common segments match unless they are also at GedMatch, or at Family Tree DNA, which they aren’t.

It’s unlikely that I would match 11 different people through Alexander Younger’s other children if Marcus wasn’t related to Alexander. And if the break was between Marcus and John, I wouldn’t be related to Marcus or the Younger family he is clearly associated with.

Other Younger descendants whose kits I manage also match descendants of Alexander Younger.

One last piece of evidence is that in Marcus’s will, he left John, as his son, his land, so Marcus certainly appeared to believe John was his son.

It’s extremely unlikely that John was not the child of Marcus, based on DNA matches. I think we can put that possibility to bed.

Susannah and Marcus

Susannah and Marcus were probably married before 1760 in King and Queen County, VA, where the Younger family lived before moving to Halifax County, VA, around 1785. They could also have been married in Essex County, as the Younger land was very close to the border and they had periodic transactions in both counties. King and Queen County is a burned county, and no Younger marriage records exist in Essex County that early.

In 1780, when they were about 40, Marcus and Susannah were living in King and Queen County, based on Marcus’s Revolutionary War Public Service Claim where he furnished 1 gallon and 2.5 quarts of brandy worth 39 pounds, one shilling and 3 pence. Alcohol was expensive even then.

This implies that the Younger family was in very close proximity to the soldiers, if not the fighting. I wonder how that affected the family. Anthony Hart is a Revolutionary War Pensioner, living in Halifax County in 1840 and stated he served from Essex County in an affidavit signed for Edmond Edmondson. A William Young (Younger?) signs for Edmondson in 1782 in Essex County when he marries. William Younger is also found in Halifax County later, living beside Moses Estes, whose family is also from the same part of King and Queen County. Moses was the father of George Estes who would one day marry Mary Younger, daughter of Marcus Younger and Susannah.

What, you say, this sounds like a circle. Indeed, it does – or a continuation of a drama crossing 3 generations and as many counties too.

But this gets messier yet, because Marcus’s only son, John Younger, eventually married Lucy Hart.

In 1782 and 1785, Marcus and family are living in Essex County and are taxed under Anthony Hart. By this time, Marcus and Susannah were in their early mid-40s.

This Hart connection becomes very important. These families are close, possibly related…in fact, we know they are related because of DNA results, but we don’t know exactly how.

In Anthony Hart’s pension application submitted in 1832, he states that he was born on October 14, 1755 in King and Queen County and lived there until 1802 when he moved to Halifax. He states that Lucy Younger and Mary Gresham can prove his service. Given the fact that Lucy married John Younger who is about Anthony Hart’s age, it’s very likely that Lucy was Anthony’s sister. Lucy, in her deposition says, “I lived with Anthony Hart when we were both children.” Mary Gresham/Grisham says exactly the same thing.

Why don’t they just spit it out? How are they related? If they were siblings, why wouldn’t they have said that?

Was Anthony’s father’s sister married to Marcus Younger? Or maybe Anthony’s oldest sister? Of course, we don’t know who Anthony’s father was, so we can’t reassemble this family any further. All we do know is that Anthony Hart as also found taxed with one Robert Hart.

There are also other Hart family members, such as John Hart who are born in Essex County about 1777, moved to Halifax and subsequently died in neighboring Charlotte County. I, as well as other Marcus descendants, not descended through John Younger who married Lucy Hart also match to John Hart’s descendants. Someplace, there’s a connection.

Back to Susannah

We know very little about Susannah’s life between the time she and Marcus moved to Halifax County in 1785 and her death probably sometime before 1805. In reality, we aren’t positive she was alive in 1785, but it would be unusual for a man not to remarry for that long, especially at age 45 with children to raise.

Susannah probably died between 1785 and 1805.

Marcus Younger wrote his will in 1805, but he did not die until 1815, a full decade later.

I, Marcus Younger of Halifax Co, do hereby make my last will and testament in the manner following; First, after the payments of my last debts, I give my daughter Susannah 50 acres of land where my house stands during my natural life. Also one negro girl (Fanny), one mare, one bed and furniture, one cow and calf to her and her heirs forever. To my grandson Younger Wyatt one mare. The rest of my estate to be equally divided between my 4 children namely John Younger, Elizabeth Clark, Mary Estes and Susannah Younger. Appoint son John executor. Signed with X. Witness John Hannah?, Armistead Bomar, Sally Hannah?. At a court held for Halifax Jan. 25, 1815 will proved. John Younger executor. Phil Carlton security.

As you can see, there is no mention of a wife in 1805. Susannah is stated to be his daughter. Furthermore, Susannah is listed on tax lists as having a life estate. While Marcus’s will appears to convey this land in fee simple, later records infer that she only had a life estate – which would be what a widow would have had – not a daughter.

However, on March 9, 1816, we find the following deed:

Halifax County VA Deed Book 25, Pg. 568, July 1815, registered Mar 1816

Susannah Younger, Younger Wyatt and wife Sally, George Estes and wife Mary, all of the County of Halifax of the one part, and John Younger, of the same, of the other part are entitled to an allotment of land as described below, as distributed by Marcus Younger, dec’d., which by the consent of all the parties are as surveyed, after mutually agreeing to make a survey to Susannah Younger, who becomes entitled to the part allowed her under the will of said Marcus Younger, dec’d. and by the consent of all the parties, the unmentioned tract was sold to the highest bidder at auction on 12 months credit and commanded the sum of 421 pounds, 60 shillings. Now this indenture further witnesseth that for the above consideration the said Susanna Younger and all of the above mentioned have granted, bargained and sold released and confirmed to the said John Younger a certain tract of land in Halifax County on the draughts of Bannister River containing 62 acres beginning at a Post Oak on John Younger’s land. Signed by all thirteen parties

Thomas Clark and wife Peggy
William Clark
John Henderson and wife Sarah
Edmond Henderson and wife Elizabeth
John Landrum and wife Polly
George Estes and wife Mary

It appears that Susanna and the rest of her siblings sell their jointly held land to her brother, John Younger, and that Susannah’s individually held land was sold independently.

The following chart shows who is mentioned in the 1805 will versus the 1816 land sale.

Marcus 1815 Will, written 1805 1816 Land Sale
Susannah Younger – daughter 50 acres where house stands, Fanny (slave), mare, bed, furniture, cow, calf, her share of rest of estate Lays off allotment, sells
Younger Wyatt – grandson (mother Sally deceased) One mare Yes – Younger and Polly Wyatt
John Younger – son Equal share Yes, purchases
Mary Estes – daughter Equal share Yes, Mary and George Estes
Elizabeth Clark – daughter Equal share No
John and Sarah Henderson No Yes
Edmund and Elizabeth Henderson No Yes
John and Polly Landrum No Yes
Thomas and Peggy Clark No Yes

If one is to assume that the reason Marcus left a mare to Younger Wyatt is because his mother, who married a Wyatt male, is deceased, then what we are left with is that Elizabeth Clark has died and her children and heirs are listed in her stead in the 1816 deed, being the 5 individuals not listed in the 1805 will but listed in 1816.

Susannah Younger never marries and dies in 1831, and she leaves a will too that frees slaves Fanny and Harry and leaves them $50 each. In addition, she leaves her clothes to Susannah Estes and Mary Wyatt and the rest of her property to Younger Wyatt, the son of her deceased sister. Mary Wyatt is probably Younger Wyatt’s wife. The names Mary and Polly were often used interchangeably during that timeframe.

Then, in 1842, a chancery suit is filed to clear up the title on Susannah’s land. This was a lawsuit that was not contested, but likely had to be filed to obtain clear title from everyone, especially since it seems that brother John “bought” the land in 1816 and died in 1817, without title ever being filled or legally passing. In the following document, however, you can see why the confusion exists about Susannah.

The chancery suite does answer one question and that’s the name of Younger Wyatt’s mother – Sally. The chancery suit answers a whole lot more too.

Younger, Marcus Chancery Suit 1842-057, Halifax Co. Va. – extracted and transcribed in June 2005 by Roberta Estes sitting mesmerized in the courthouse basement.

The worshipful county court of Halifax in chancery sitting: Humbly complaining sheweth unto your worships your orator Thomas Clark that a certain Marcus Younger died many years ago leaving a small tract of land containing about 53 (58?) acres to his wife Suckey Younger for life and at her death to be divided amongst his children. That after the death of the said Suckey Younger, the rest of the children of the said Marcus Younger (the wife of your orator being one) sold the said land to your orator, put him in possession of the same and have received from him the whole of the purchase money, but have not as yet conveyed to him the legal title.

That one little word was problematic…wife. Suckey, a nickname for Susannah, may well have been Marcus’s wife’s name as well, which may have been why it was so easy to slip that word, wife, in there. But Susannah was clearly Marcus’s daughter, at least the Susannah alive in 1805, according to his will.

The next sentence then refers to the “rest” of the children, implying that Suckey is a child as well.

Perhaps Marcus’s wife’s name as well as his daughters was Susannah. Susannah was also the name of one of Alexander Younger’s daughters. Was Susannah perhaps also the name of Marcus’s mother? It’s certainly possible. Marcus had a daughter Susannah and grandchildren named Susannah as well. Too many Susannahs!

It’s also worth noting that in 1805, none of Marcus’s children appear to be underage, so all born before 1785, which makes sense. In 1815, his grandson, Younger Wyatt had married, so he was at least 25 or so, being born by about 1790, meaning Wyatt’s mother would have been born before 1770, so this too fits.

Furthermore, we have another problem. Elizabeth Clark is mentioned in the 1805 will, but Thomas and Peggy Clark are mentioned in the 1816 sale, along with several other people not previously mentioned. I surmised that Peggy, often short for Margaret, is the grandchild of Marcus, but according to the 1842 chancery suit, that wasn’t the case at all. Peggy was Marcus’s child. So, if Peggy is his daughter, is she the same person as Elizabeth Clark? If so, that means that Elizabeth didn’t die, so the 3 Henderson and Landrum families were not her heirs. So, who were they? Elizabeth Clark is the only name missing from the 1816 sale that was present in the 1805 will document.

And of course, all of this assumes that Susannah was the only wife of Marcus and that all of his children were her children as well. I hate that word, assume.

You can clearly see why I never thought we’d ever solve this conundrum unless some previously unknown records magically surfaced out of either burned King and Queen County (I wish) or neighbor, Essex (unlikely, since they the records show they lived in King and Queen.) Or maybe that e-Bay Bible, I’m still hoping for that.

The Chancery suite continues:

The names of the said renders(?) are John Henderson and Sally his wife, John Landrum and Sally his wife, Edward Henderson and Betsy his wife, Robert Younger and Mary his wife, Samuel Younger and Mary his wife, Thomas P. Anderson, Joel Younger and Fental his wife, Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife, Joel Anderson and Sally his wife, Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife, William Estes and Rebecca his wife, James Smith and Polly his wife, Susanna Estes, Marcus Estes, William Clark and Mary his wife, Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife, John Younger and Betsy his wife, Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife, John Estes and Nancy his wife, Thomas Estes and Sally his wife. In tender consideration of the promises and in as much as your orator is remedyless therein at last?. To this end therefore that the above named renders? Be made parties to this suit and required to answer the allegations herein contained under oath. That in consequence of the said partys being numerous and widely dispersed in the United States that the said court decree that the legal title to the said land be conveyed to your orator and that the parties to the said contract as vendors? Be required to do so and unless they shall do so within a reasonable time that the court appoint a commissioner for that purpose and grant all other recipients relief. May it please the court to grant the Commonwealths writ of subpoena.

Next document:

The joint answer of John Henderson and Sally his wife, John Landrum and Polly his wife, Edward Henderson and Betsy his wife, Robert Younger and Mary his wife, Samuel Younger and Mary his wife, Thomas P. Anderson and Betsy his wife, Joel Younger and Fental his wife, Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife, Joel Anderson and Sally his wife, Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife, William Estes and Rebecca his wife, James Smith and Polly his wife, Susanna Estes, Marcus Estes, William Clark and Mary his wife, Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife, John Younger and Betsy his wife, Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife, John Estes and Nancy his wife. Thomas Estes and Sally his wife to a bill of complaint exhibited against them in the county court of Halifax by Thomas Clark – These respondents saving? Do say that the allegations of the complainants bill are true and having answered pray to be hence dismissed.

Next document

This cause came on this day to be heard on the bill of chancery and answered and was argued by counsel and consideration and decise? that Jonathan B. Stovall who is hereby appointed a commissioner for that purpose do by proper deeds convey the lands in the proceeding mentioned to Thomas Clark in fee simply with special warranty.

Two attached pages in file as follows:

Page 1

Marcus Younger left 83 acres for life to Sukey Younger for life and at her death to be divided among his children. (Note – after this statement, in a different handwriting, begins the list of his heirs. Does this mean that Sukey Younger was not considered to be his heir, because she was his wife?)

Elizabeth Clark, Sally Wyatt, John Younger, Mary Estes, children of Marcus

Thomas, Sally Henderson wife of John Henderson, Polly Landrum wife of John Landrum, Betsy wife of Edward Henderson, William Clark, Children of Elizabeth Clark (inferring that she is deceased)

Younger Wyatt child of Sally Wyatt

Robert, Polly wife of Samuel Younger, Anthony, Joel, Betsy wife of J. P. Anderson, Nancy wife of Vincent P. Carlton, John, Thomas, Sally wife of Joel Anderson – children of John Younger

John Estes, William, Susannah, Sally wife of T. Estes, Polly wife of James Smith and a grandchild name Mark Estes – children of Mary Estes

Elizabeth Clark’s children are entitled each to 1/5 of 1/4th
Younger Wyatt entitled to ¼th
John Younger’s children are each entitled to 1/9 of 1/4th
Mary Estes children are entitled each to 1/6 of 1/4th
Mary Estes grandchild is entitled to 1/6th of 1/4th

Next page:

Thomas Clark and Peggy his wife – Halifax
John Henderson and Sally his wife – Halifax
John Landrum and Polly his wife – Halifax
Edward Henderson Jr. and Betsy his wife – Halifax
William Clark and Mary his wife – Patrick County
Robert Younger and Mary his wife – Halifax
Samuel Younger and Mary his wife – Halifax
Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife – Franklin
Thomas P. Anderson and Betsy his wife – Halifax
Joel Younger and Fental his wife – Halifax
John Younger and Betsy his wife – Pittsylvania
Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife – Halifax
Joel Anderson and Sally his wife – Halifax
Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife – Halifax
Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife – Rutherford County Tennessee
John Estes and Nancy his wife – Rutherford Co Tennessee (actually ditto marks and John was actually in Claiborne by this time it is believed)
William Estes and Rebecca his wife – Halifax
Susannah Estes – Halifax
Thomas Estes and Sally his wife – Montgomery County Tennessee
James Smith and Polly his wife – Halifax
Marcus Estes (son of Mark) – Halifax

(Note – Marcus Estes the son of Mary Estes died in 1815 shortly after his marriage. Mary’s daughter, Susanna Estes also had a son Marcus Estes, not to be confused with the Marcus Estes, son of Marcus Estes, deceased, above.)

Is this not THE chancery suit to die for? Not only does it give you three complete generations, and pieces of the 4th – it tells you where the descendants were living in 1842. Never mind that the county for my John Estes is actually wrong – he and Nancy lived in Claiborne County, Tennessee but for all I know they could have originally gone to Rutherford County. John Estes did marry Nancy Moore. This was the ace in the hole that confirmed my lineage beyond dispute.

I think they heard me all the way upstairs in that old brick courthouse when I found these loose documents.

Now for the bad news.

  • I still don’t know when Susannah Younger, wife of Marcus, was born, other than probably 1740 or earlier.
  • I don’t know when Susannah died, other than probably between 1785 and 1805. She probably died before 1805 when Marcus wrote his will. But if Susannah in the will is actually his wife and not his daughter, then she died in 1831, at about age 90 or 91. That’s certainly possible.
  • I still don’t know her first name, for sure, nor do I know her birth surname, although I think there’s a good chance it’s Hart based on a variety of evidence.

Autosomal DNA

DNA may have come to the rescue, at least somewhat and has graced us with a clue that Susannah, if that was her name, was perhaps a Hart.

Marcus Younger is living with Anthony Hart in 1785 in King and Queen County, according to the tax list.

Anthony Hart and Marcus Younger both moved to Halifax, albeit 17 years apart.

Those dots could have been connected by genealogists years ago, and that connection then turning into a family story of Marcus’s wife being a Hart. It is, indeed a possibility, because that family legend certainly existed. What we don’t know is whether or not it descended through the family or was introduced later by genealogists.

In November of 2013, the seemingly impossible happened and several people from the Younger family matched a descendant of Anthony Hart – and I’m not talking about only descendants of John and Lucy Hart Younger. I match too, and I descend through Marcus’s daughter Mary who married George Estes. I don’t have any known Hart DNA from any other source. I wrote about this wonderful happy dance adventure in the article, “Be Still My H(e)art.”

Since that time, additional Hart matches have continued to accrue. However, the Hart family prior to Halifax County suffers from the same record destruction that the other King and Queen County families do.

Unfortunately, since this line does have a known illegitimacy with Marcus’s paternal line, it makes it more difficult to understand what an autosomal match really means. It could mean we’re matching Marcus’s father’s family lines and just don’t know that since we don’t know who he is, although the Y DNA does not match Hart males.  Hart could be found on any other line, however.

Unfortunately, with all of the unknowns, I’m still unwilling to call Susannah a Hart. In fact, I may never be willing to step out on that limb with any degree of certainty.

We don’t know who Marcus Younger’s parents were, although we can say with almost certainty that his mother was a Younger. Of course, we don’t know who Susannah’s parents were either, and we do know the Younger and Hart families were allied before coming to Halifax County.

The connection between the families could have been because Marcus married Susannah Hart. It could have been because the Hart family married a Younger. It could be because one of Marcus’s parents had a Hart ancestor or because Marcus’s parents and the Hart family had a common ancestor. Or all of the above. We just don’t know.

If we knew something more about at least Marcus’s heritage, I’d be much more likely to make a “call” that Susannah is a Hart based on the DNA matches. Unfortunately, for now and the foreseeable future, both Susannah’s first and last name will remain in question, but by utilizing mitochondrial DNA, we might be able to determine at least some things – and maybe eventually – her ancestry.

This is where we left Susannah’s story, until just recently.

Finding Susannah’s Mitochondrial DNA

Sometimes wishes do come true. I had just about given up hope of ever finding anyone who descends from Susannah through all females to the current generation, which can be male. Women contribute their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on. Someone descended from Susannah through all females would carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, contributed by their mother, and straight back through the direct matrilineal line.

Susannah’s children were:

  • John Younger was born April 11, 1760 and died just two years after his father, on July 17, 1817. He married Lucy Hart. Sons were Robert Younger (c 1790-1877) who married Mary Polly Moore, Anthony Younger born c 1791, moved to Tate County, Missouri and died about 1877, Joel Younger (1791-c1877), John Younger and Thomas Younger. Daughters were Elizabeth (1790-1875) who married Thomas Anderson, Nancy born (1798-1865), Sally (c1800-after 1842) who married Joel Anderson, and Mary “Polly” (died 1873) who married George Wray.
  • Mary Younger born before 1767 married George Estes and had three daughters. , Susannah had 3 daughters that carried the Estes surname, Polly who married James Smith and had daughters and Sally who married Thomas Estes and had daughters as well. Mary Younger Estes also had sons John R. Estes (1787-1887) who married Nancy Ann Moore and moved to Claiborne County, TN, Marcus Estes (c1788-c1815) who married Quintenny, surname unknown and William Y. Estes (c1785-1860/1870) who married Rebecca Miller.
  • Sally Younger married a Wyatt male and both had died by 1805. The only known child is a male, Younger Wyatt, so this line is not applicable to mitochondrial testing. Younger Wyatt was married by 1816, so Sally Younger would have been born in 1775 or earlier.
  • Elizabeth Younger married William Clark and had three daughters.   Elizabeth was dead by 1816. Daughter Sarah/Sally married John Henderson, Elizabeth/Betsy Clark married Edward Henderson and Mary Polly Clark married John Landrum. Son Thomas Clark married a Peggy and William Clark married a Mary.
  • Susannah Younger, never married, born before 1785 given that no child in Marcus’s 1805 will was underage, died in 1831.

Only two of Susannah’s daughters had female children, Mary and Elizabeth, so there weren’t many descendants who fit the bill in order to test for Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA. Thankfully, one, cousin Lynn, descended through the daughter of Susannah Estes, granddaughter of Susannah Younger, stepped forward.

Thank you, thank you, cousin Lynn.

The Younger Cemetery

If we assume that Susannah and Marcus were married when she was about 20, which was typical for the time, and she had children for the next 23 years, she would have given birth to a total of between 12 and 15 children, depending on whether she had children every 2 years, every 18 months or perhaps even closer if a child died during childbirth. Of those, we know that 5 lived to adulthood, assuming that Susannah who died in 1831 really was a daughter and not Susannah (wife of Marcus) herself.

The sad, silent, untold tale is that Susannah buried more children than she raised, by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio, leaving most, if not all of them, behind in 1785 when she and Marcus moved to Halifax County. Children who died after that are certainly buried in the old Younger Cemetery on the land owned by Susannah and Marcus. Today, the land is forested with periwinkle carpeting the forest floor, perhaps planted by Susannah’s own hands.

This too is likely where Susannah herself, as well as Marcus, are buried, in an unmarked grave beneath a fieldstone, as well as son John, daughters Susannah and Sally, and possibly, daughters Mary and Elizabeth too. Susannah’s children and grandchildren would have known exactly which stone was hers, but as they moved away, died and were buried as well, the last few in the 1880s, that memory faded away with them and the land eventually passed out of the Younger family in the early 1900s.

By the time I was hunting for the Younger Cemetery in the early 2000s, the only way to find it was by tracking deeds backward and forward in time and from an old letter, found in the neighboring Pittsylvania County library detailing another researcher’s search for that same cemetery sometime between 1930 and 1960, when phone numbers only had 5 digits.

Fortunately, with the help of locals and a very nice property owner, I not only found the cemetery, but was taken to visit.

 

Susannah’s Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren

Susannah’s great-grandson through daughter Mary Younger Estes, Ezekiel Estes is shown below in what was probably a funeral photo.  He carried Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, contributed by his mother Susannah Estes, but since only women pass their mitochondrial DNA on to their children, his children don’t carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA.

Susannah’s grandson, John R. Estes, shown below, son of Mary Younger and George Estes.  He also carried her mitochondrial DNA, but didn’t pass it on.

J. E. and Mary Anne Smith, youngest son of Polly Estes (daughter of Mary Younger Estes) and James Smith.  J. E. is a great-grandson of Susannah, and he too carried her mitochondrial DNA, but he didn’t pass it on either.

I look at this picture of his eye patch, and I know there is a story just aching to be told.

Joel Younger, Susannah’s grandson through son, John Younger and Lucy Hart. Joel didn’t carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, but that of Lucy Hart, his mother.

Lynn’s great-great-great-grandmother, and Susannah Younger’s great-granddaughter, Mary Mildred Estes Greenwood is pictured below. Mary’s mother was Susannah Estes, daughter of Mary Younger Estes.  Mary Mildred did carry, and pass Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA on to her offspring, who continued to pass it on down the line of women to Lynn today.

Looking back 8 generation in time. We may not know her name for sure, but we have Susannah’s DNA, through her great-granddaughter, Mary Mildred!

What can we tell?

Susannah’s Mitochondrial Story

Susannah’s haplogroup is H1a3a. That tells us that she is of European origin.

She does have full sequence matches, and 3 with no genetic distance, meaning they are exact matches. Does this mean we can find the common ancestor?

Possibly.

One match didn’t answer the e-mail, one person’s e-mail bounced and the third person is brick-walled in another state in the 1800s.

In the paper titled “A ‘Copernican’ Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” we find that Dr. Behar has calculated the most likely age of haplogroup H1a3a to have been born about 3,859.4 years before present, with a standard deviation in years of 1621.8. This means that the range of years in which the mutation occurred that gave birth to haplogroup H1a3a was most likely sometime between 2238 years ago and 5480 years ago.

The only other mutations that cousin Lynn carries are a few that are typically not included in aging calculations because they are found in unstable regions of the mitochondria. So, we don’t have any further clues as to how long ago a common ancestor with everyone who matches Lynn exactly might be.

Clearly, Lynn’s matches’ ancestors migrated to the US, and clearly, they share a common ancestor with Lynn (and therefore with Susannah) at some point in time, but we just don’t know when. It could have been in the US, or hundreds or even thousands of years before.

However, even if their common ancestor was prior to immigration, where, exactly was that? Can we tell something more from Lynn’s matches?

In order for a match to show up on your Matches Map, the test taker must complete the Ancestor’s Location, beneath the map.

Unfortunately, none of Lynn’s exact matches did that. However, several of her matches at the genetic distance of 2 and 3 did enter locations, and are found in Sweden and the UK.

Another barometer we can look at is where in the world are other people who are included in haplogroup H1a3a from? Clearly, they shared an ancestor with Susannah at one time in history.

On the Haplogroup Origins page, at the HVR1 level, we find a significant number in Germany and Sweden with several throughout the UK as well:

These people don’t necessarily match Lynn today at the personal mutation level, but they do share a common ancestor with our Susannah at the point in time that H1a3a was created. From that location, descendants have clearly spread far and wide.

This distribution would strongly suggest that haplogroup H1a3a originated in continental Europe and subsequently, some people with that haplogroup migrated to what is now the UK. The Native American indication found in the US are likely from people who believed their ancestor was Native American, or didn’t understand the instructions clearly, or don’t realize that haplogroup H1a3a is not Native, but European.

Lynn’s exact matches are shown below:

Given that Ireland and the UK are the locations I would have expected at this point in American history, especially in King and Queen or Essex County, VA., this information is very probably accurate. When evaluating matching, full sequence always trumps HVR1 or HVR2 matches, being much more specific.

The Ancestral Origins page shows the locations where Lynn’s matches say that their most distant matrilineal ancestor originated.

Of course, Ancestral Origins depends on accurate reporting of the genealogy of Lynn’s matches.

What additional information can we glean?

Checking Lynn’s autosomal DNA matches and searching by the name of Hart, we find 150 matches. Hart is not exactly an uncommon name, and this also includes a few names of which “hart” it only a portion, like “Chart,” for example.

Unfortunately, with Marcus’s uncertain parentage, even if the matches do descend from this same Hart family, and triangulate, we can’t say for sure that the Hart lineage is through Susannah. Interestingly, Lynn and other descendants of Marcus through children other than John (who married Lucy Hart) have matches with descendants of Anthony Hart, who we already met.

Hart is the recurring theme here that won’t go away. There’s an awful lot of smoke for there not to be any fire. Of course, with the 4 parents of Marcus and Susannah all being unknown, except for a suspected Younger female as Marcus’s mother, the Hart connection could be just about anyplace, or multiple places.

Summary

It’s ironic somehow that while we don’t know Susannah’s name, for sure, and even less about her surname, we do know about her ancient history from her mitochondrial DNA which was passed to her descendants, written indelibly, but her name was not.

We know she was European and that sometime around 3800 years ago, her ancestors were probably in the Germanic region of continental Europe. After that, they probably migrated to the British Isles with a group of people who would settle those islands.

We may be able to utilize her mitochondrial DNA to further confirm her family ancestry, especially in combination with autosomal DNA. At this point, all we can do is wait for another female to test and match cousin Lynn, with the hope that they have some sort of genealogy records back to a matrilineal Hart ancestor.

While that seems a long shot, then so was finding cousin Lynn, or more accurately, cousin Lynn finding me. I’m not giving up hope! I have confidence that we will unravel this puzzle one day. Now, thanks to cousin Lynn, it’s just a matter of time and patience.

Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project

The Acadians – settlers, pioneers in a new land allied with and intermarried into the Native population of seaboard Nova Scotia beginning in 1603. They lived in harmony, developing their farms and then, roughly 150 years or 6 generations later, in 1755, they found themselves evicted, ruthlessly and forcibly deported, losing absolutely everything. They became landless refugees, living off of the benevolence of strangers…or dying. The Acadian diaspora was born. You can view a timeline here.

Marie Rundquist, Acadian and Native descendant, genetic genealogist, researcher and founder of the original AmerIndian project visited the Acadian homeland this past summer and is graciously sharing her experience through some of her photography and narrative.

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

Marie Rundquist:

This cross, located on the beach near Grand Pre where the Acadians were herded onto ships, is a priceless icon of our Acadian ancestry and represents all of our ancestors who were forcibly removed from their lands – marched on to the awaiting boats at gunpoint – and who left their footprints on this beach. Their last footprints in the land into which their effort and blood had been poured for 150 years.  This cross is very symbolic and meaningful to all who look at it.

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

This photo was taken at Waterfront Park in the town of Wolfville which borders the Minas Basin and the historic Acadian dykelands our ancestors once farmed. The area is known for the spectacular tides that rush into the basin bordering the park, totally changing its landscape.

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

Sabots, the wooden shoes pictured above were worn by Acadian ancestors who farmed the wet, marshy dykelands and were also worn on boats.  Wolfville is within a short distance of the Grand Pre UNESCO Historic Site where my husband and I stayed while attending the 2017 Acadian Mi’kmaq Celebration of Peace and Reconciliation this past August.

If you have Acadian ancestors, these pictures probably caused you to catch your breath.  Your ancestors walked here, stood here and the blood in their veins ran thick with fear, here, as they boarded the ships that would disrupt their lives forever, destroying what they had built over a century and a half.

Focus on the Homeland

Marie has recently begun a new chapter in her life which allows her to focus more directly on the Acadian and AmerIndian homelands and communities. She has been preparing for this transition for years, and all Acadian and AmerIndian researchers will be beneficiaries.

Marie initially founded the AmerIndian out of Acadia project in 2006 to sort out the relationships between the various Acadian and Native families both in Nova Scotia, and wherever their descendants have dispersed since “Le Grand Derangement,” their forced removal in 1755. The story of the Acadians didn’t end in 1755, it began anew in different locations throughout the world, the Acadian diaspora.

Through traditional genealogy research paired with genetic genealogy, we are breathing life into those ancestors once again, honoring their memory and sacrifices, and along the way, getting to know them better and finding unexpected surprises as well.

This is an exciting time in genetic genealogy for descendants of Acadians and those with American Indian roots in eastern Canada and the northeastern portion of the US.

The Acadian homeland is located in the easternmost portion of Canada, Nova Scotia.

By Mikmaq – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1351882

Many, if not most, Acadians were admixed with the Native population in the 150 years that the French colonists lived in harmony with the Native Mi’kmaq (also referenced as Micmac) people on the Atlantic coastline of Nova Scotia. It’s impossible to study one without studying the other. Their fates, genealogies and DNA are inextricably interwoven.

Having Acadian and Native ancestors as well, and after several years of working together on other projects, I joined Marie as a co-administrator of this project in early 2017.

Today, Marie and I have several exciting announcements to make, the first of which is the renaming of the project to more accurately reflect a new, expanded, focus.

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project

You might have noticed that the AmerIndian project was renamed a few months ago as the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project to reflect our expanded goals. Specifically, our goal is to create a one-stop location in which to discover Acadian genetic roots. While the Acadia – Metis Mothers and Mothers of Acadian DNA projects have existed for several years to document proven matrilineal Acadian lines, nothing of the same nature existed for Y DNA for paternal surname lineages, or for those who want to connect with their Acadian roots through autosomal DNA.

After weighing various options, Marie and I, in conjunction with Family Tree DNA, decided that the best option was to expand the existing AmerIndian project to include Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA of the entire Acadian population into our existing project which already has over 1000 members.

In a word, our new project focus is FAMILY!

In Marie’s words:

Primary project goal: Through genetic genealogy research techniques combined with advanced Y DNA testing, it is our goal to add to and develop Y DNA signatures for male descendants of our legacy Acadian ancestors that may be referenced by others in verifying genealogies.

We want to assure that in our surname studies we are informed by Y DNA results primarily but take into account the mtDNA Full Mitochondrial Sequence results when considering the spouse, and Family Finder (autosomal) DNA results when researching all who may share ancestry.

Surname variants and dit names are of particular interest and factor into our development of a database of surname signatures as related to Acadian genealogies.

We encourage all who have tested and have the surname lineages listed in our project profile to join our project as their combined DNA results help us see through the genealogy brick walls and help us find answers to our genealogy questions.

We want to let new and existing members know how their results have contributed to our ability to develop and verify Acadian genealogies – and for the men in particular, the attainment of Y DNA “signatures” for surname lineages against which all may compare their own Y DNA results – and reference in genealogy research. Adoptees with matching Y DNA results for Acadian surnames (as we already have a number of these) are welcome to join and participate. Our team is expert in the areas of Y DNA testing and analysis, including the latest Big Y DNA tests only through years of practical experience with geographical and haplogroup-related DNA projects.  Both Marie and Roberta have extensive project administration experience and both are affiliate researchers with The Genographic Project.

Introducing Deadre Doucet Bourke

Marie and I realized that we needed assistance, so we are very pleased to welcome our new co-administrator, Deadre Doucet Bourke. Many Acadian researchers already know Deadre, a long-time genealogist and contributor from within the project, so adding her expertise as a project administrator is a natural progression. Deadre will be focused on communicating with people regarding their genealogy and utilizing social media.

You can read the bios of our administrators here.

Welcome Deadre!!!

The DNA Focus

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project is primarily focused on Y DNA and autosomal DNA. While we aren’t competing with the two mitochondrial DNA projects, we certainly welcome those with direct mitochondrial lineages to join this project as well. We encourage researchers to combine all of the DNA that makes us family to confirm our Acadian heritage and connect to our ancestors.

Acadian researchers struggle with the inability to find their Acadian ancestor’s Y DNA signatures gathered together in one place. Marie and I decided to fix that problem, hence, the redesign of the project.

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project welcomes everyone with Acadian heritage!

If you descend from a particular line, but aren’t male or don’t carry the surname today, you’ll be able to discover information about your ancestors from the Y DNA, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA carried by other project members. Genetic genealogy is all about collaboration and sharing and finding all types of results in one project location makes that search much easier!

Who Should Join the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project?

  • If you have an ACADIAN SURNAME in your family lines, as listed in the project profile or on the surname list later in this article, and you’ve had the Y DNA, mtDNA or Family Finder test, you are qualified to join this project.
  • If you are a MALE with an ACADIAN SURNAME, please join the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project by ordering (minimally) a Y Chromosome 37 marker test.
  • If you are either male or female and have Acadian MATRILINEAL ANCESTRY (your mother’s mother’s mother’s line) that leads to a Native and/or an Acadian grandmother through all females, please join the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project by ordering the mtFull Sequence mitochondrial DNA test.
  • If you have Acadian or Native American ancestors from the Acadian region of Canada or diaspora regions where Acadian families settled after the 1755 deportation, and would like to discover new leads for ancestry research and close, immediate and distant cousins, please join the project by ordering a Family Finder test.
  • If you have Acadian ancestry and have already taken the Y or mitochondrial DNA test at Family Tree DNA, please click here to sign in to your account and order a Family Finder test by clicking on the “Upgrade” button on the top right of your personal page.
  • If you have already tested and have Y DNA, mtDNA, or Family Finder matches with members of the Acadian Amerindian Ancestry project and are researching your ancestry, you are welcome to join this project.
  • If you have already tested your DNA at Family Tree DNA, but are not yet a project member, please click on the Project tab at the top left of your personal page to select a project to join. If the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestors project is not showing on your list, just type “Acadian” into the search box and click on the “Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry” link to join the project.
  • If you have tested your autosomal DNA at either Ancestry or 23andMe, but not at Family Tree DNA, you can download your autosomal results into the Family Tree DNA data base and use many tools for free – including the ability to join projects. You can read more about this here.

Not sure which kinds of DNA you can test for, and the difference between the different tests, please read 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

Questions? Just ask!

Saving Money by Joining the Acadian AmerIndian Project

Please note that DNA testing discounts are available through our project site for people who have never ordered a test from Family Tree DNA previously.

First, click here to go to the Family Tree DNA webpage. Scroll down, then, type the word Acadian into the search box, as shown below. This search process works for surnames as well.

Then, when the results are returned, select the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project and click that link, shown below, to see DNA testing prices available to project members, example shown below.

You’ll need to scroll down to see test prices. The screen shot below only shows a portion of what is available.

DNA testing prices through the project are less than ordering the same test without joining a project.

As A Project Member

Of course, the point of DNA testing and projects is to share.  Family Tree DNA has provided several tools to help genealogists do just that.  We would ask that project members complete the following four easy steps, unless for some reason, you can’t.  For example, adoptees may not have this information.  Just do the best you can.

First, please upload a tree of at least your direct line ancestors at Family Tree DNA.

Just sign in to your personal page and click on “My Family Tree” to get started.

DNA and family trees are extremely powerful tools together – the genetic and genealogy parts of genetic genealogy.

Second, please complete the name and location of your earliest known direct matrilineal ancestor (your mother’s mother’s mother’s line) and your direct patrilineal line (your father’s father’s father’s line) by clicking on the orange “Manage Personal Information” link below your profile photo on the left side of your personal page.

Then, click on the Genealogy Tab, and then click on Earliest Known Ancestors. Please note that you can click on any image to enlarge.

You’ll need to complete:

  • Both Earliest Known Ancestor fields on the left side of the page.
  • Both Ancestral Locations by clicking on the orange “update location” for the patrilineal AND matrilineal ancestor on the right side.

Be sure to click “Save” at the bottom of the page when you’re finished.

Third, under the Privacy and Sharing tab, please consider allowing your Y and mitochondrial DNA results to show on the public page of the project.

When Acadian descendants are searching for projects to join, or information about their ancestral lines, the public project display is often what they find and how they decide if participation or DNA testing is worth their time.

Here is what our public Y DNA project page displays and here is what our mtDNA project page displays.  There is also an option for administrators to display the participants surname, but we do not have this field enabled at this time.  Other projects that you may have joined probably do have this field enabled, and your selection affects all projects of which you are a member.

Under “My Profile,” you’ll see an option to “Share my Earliest Known Ancestor with other people in the projects I’ve joined.”  If you don’t have this option enabled, only a blank space will appear, which doesn’t help anyone determine if you share a common ancestor.

A second option on this page under “My DNA Results is “Make my mtDNA and Y DNA public” which allows your results to show on the public project page.  If you select “project only” then only project members will be able to see your results when logged in to their account. Your results will no show on the public project page unless you select the public option.

Remember to click “save.”

Fourth, if your mitochondrial line (mother’s mother’s mother’s line) is Acadian or Native, you’ll need to provide the project administrators with the ability to see the coding region of your mitochondrial DNA so that your mitochondrial DNA can be properly grouped within the project.  If your direct matrilineal line does NOT pertain to Acadian or Native ancestry, then you’re done.

If your matrilineal line is Native or Acadian, on the Privacy and Sharing page, under “Account Access,” please click on the “Only You” answer to “Who can view my mtDNA Coding Region mutations.”

You will then see a drop down list of the projects you have joined.  You can select any of the projects by clicking the box beside the project.  Only the administrators of the projects you’ve selected can see your coding region results, and you can change this at any time. In my personal account, I’ve selected all of the projects that my mtDNA is relevant to.

Your coding region results are NEVER displayed publicly and no one other than project administrators can see those results.  Family Tree DNA does not offer the option of displaying coding regions in any project.

Again, don’t forget to click “save,” or you haven’t.

Need Help?

Need help? Just ask. We’re here to help.

Project administrators can help you by completing some fields, like most distant ancestor, with your permission, but Privacy and Sharing fields can’t be changed or edited by administrators for everyone’s security.  However, we’d be glad to step you through the process, as would Family Tree DNA customer support.  You can call or contact customer support by scrolling down to the very bottom of your personal page.

Acadian Surnames

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

I compiled the following list of Acadian surnames along with dit names (surname nicknames) from the following Acadian website where you can view which ancestral families were recorded in various census documents including 1671, 1686, 1714 and a deportation list from 1755.

Brenda Dunn’s list was prepared for the Canadian National Parks Service for the Grand Pre National Historic site.

Variant spellings were retrieved from this site and may not be inclusive.

Surname Various Spellings Source
Abbadie, de Saint-Castin d’ Brenda Dunn
Allain Alain, Alin, Allain, Halain, Halin Brenda Dunn
Allard Alard, Allard, Allart, Halard, Hallard Acadian-Cajun.com
Amirault dit Tourangeau Amireau, Amireault, Mero, Miraud, Mirau, Miraux, Mireau, Mireault, Moreau Brenda Dunn
Angou dit Choisy Brenda Dunn
Apart Brenda Dunn
Arcement Brenda Dunn
Arnaud Arnaud, Arnault Brenda Dunn
Arosteguy Brenda Dunn
Arseneau Brenda Dunn
Aubin Aubain, Aubin, Obin Acadian-Cajun.com
Aubois Brenda Dunn
Aucoin Aucoin, Coin, Ocoin Brenda Dunn
Ayor Brenda Dunn
Babin Babain, Babin Brenda Dunn
Babineau dit Deslauriers Babinau, Babineau, Babineaux, Babino, Babinot Brenda Dunn
Barillot Brenda Dunn
Barnabe Acadian-Cajun.com
Barriault Bariau, Bariault, Barieau, Barillault, Barrillaut, Barillon, Barillot, Bario, Barrio Acadian-Cajun.com
Bastarache dit (Le) Basque Brenda Dunn
Bastien Baptien, Basquien, Bastien, Vasquais Brenda Dunn
Beaulieu Baulieu, Baulieux, Beaulieu, Beaulieux Acadian-Cajun.com
Beaumont Beaumon, Beaumont Acadian-Cajun.com
Belisle Belisle, Bellisle, de Bellisle Acadian-Cajun.com
Bellefontaine Bellefontaine, Bellefontenne Acadian-Cajun.com
Belleville Beliveau Brenda Dunn
Belliveau dit Bideau Beliveau Brenda Dunn
Belliveau dit Blondin Brenda Dunn
Belou Brenda Dunn
Benoit dit Labriere Benois, Benoist, Benoit Brenda Dunn
Bergereau Brenda Dunn
Bergeron d’Amboise Brenda Dunn
Bergeron dit Nantes Bargeron, Bergeon, Bergeron, Berjeron Brenda Dunn
Bernard Bernar, Bernard Brenda Dunn
Berrier dit Machefer Brenda Dunn
Bertaud dit Montaury Brenda Dunn
Bertrand Bartrand, Berterand, Bertran, Bertrand, Bertrant Brenda Dunn
Bezier dit Lariviere Brenda Dunn
Bezier dit Touin Brenda Dunn
Bideau Acadian-Cajun.com
Blanchard dit Gentilhomme Blanchar, Blanchard, Blanchart Brenda Dunn
Blondin Blondain, Blondin Acadian-Cajun.com
Blou Acadian-Cajun.com
Bodard Brenda Dunn
Boisseau dit Blondin Boissau, Boisseau, Boisseaux Brenda Dunn
Bonnevie dit Beaumont Brenda Dunn
Borel Brenda Dunn
Boucher dit Desroches Bouché, Boucher, Bouchez Brenda Dunn
Boudreau Boudrau, Boudraut, Boudreau, Boudro, Boudrot Acadian-Cajun.com
Boudrot Brenda Dunn
Bourg Bourc, Bourg, Bourgue, Bourk, Bourque Brenda Dunn
Bourgeois Bourgeois, Bourgois, Bourjois Brenda Dunn
Boutin Boudin, Boutain, Boutin, Bouttain, Bouttin Brenda Dunn
Brassaud Brenda Dunn
Brasseur dit Mathieu Brasseur, Brasseux Brenda Dunn
Breau Brenda Dunn
Breton Berton, Breton, Lebreton Acadian-Cajun.com
Brossard Brosard, Brossar, Brossard, Brossart, Broussard Brenda Dunn
Brun Brun, Lebrun Brenda Dunn
Bugaret Brenda Dunn
Bugeaud Brenda Dunn
Buisson Buisson, Busson, Dubuisson Brenda Dunn
Buote Brenda Dunn
Buteau Butau, Butaud, Buteau, Buteux, Buto, Butteau Brenda Dunn
Cadet Caddé, Cadet, Cadette Acadian-Cajun.com
Caissy dit Roger Brenda Dunn
Calve dit Laforge Brenda Dunn
Carre Caray, Caré, Caret, Carr, Carré, Carret Brenda Dunn
Cassy dit Roger Brenda Dunn
Celestin dit Bellemere Brenda Dunn
Cellier dit Normand Brenda Dunn
Champagne Champagne, Champaigne Acadian-Cajun.com
Chauvert Acadian-Cajun.com
Chauvet Chauvet, Chauvette, Chovet Brenda Dunn
Chenet dit Dubreuil Chenay, Chenet, Chenette, Chesnay Brenda Dunn
Chesnay dit Lagarene Brenda Dunn
Chiasson dit La Vallee Chiasson, Giasson Brenda Dunn
Chouteau dit Manseau Brenda Dunn
Clemenceau Brenda Dunn
Cloustre Brenda Dunn
Cochu Cochu, Cochus Acadian-Cajun.com
Cognac Cognac, Coignac Brenda Dunn
Comeau Brenda Dunn
Cormier dit Bossigaol Cormié, Cormier, Cornier Brenda Dunn
Cormier dit Thierry Brenda Dunn
Cornelier Brenda Dunn
Corporon Brenda Dunn
Cosse Acadian-Cajun.com
Cosset Cosset, Cossette Brenda Dunn
Coste Brenda Dunn
Cottard Brenda Dunn
Cousineau Brenda Dunn
Crepeau Crepau, Crepaux, Crepeau, Crepeaux, Crepos, Crespau, Crespeau, Crespel Brenda Dunn
Creysac dit Toulouse Brenda Dunn
Cyr Cir, Cire, Cyr, Cyre, Sir, Sire, Siree, Syr, Syre Brenda Dunn
Daigle Daigle. Daigles, Dehegue Acadian-Cajun.com
Daigre Brenda Dunn
Damboue Acadian-Cajun.com
D’Amours de Chauffours Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Clignancour Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Freneuse Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Louviere Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Plaine Brenda Dunn
Daniel Daniel, Daniele, Danielle, Deniel Brenda Dunn
Darois Brenda Dunn
David dit Pontif Davi, David, Davit, Davy Brenda Dunn
Debreuil Acadian-Cajun.com
Delatour Delatour, Latour Acadian-Cajun.com
Delisle Delile, Delille, Delisle, Delisles, Brenda Dunn
Denis Deni, Denis, Dennis, Denys Brenda Dunn
D’Entremont Acadian-Cajun.com
Denys de Fronsac Brenda Dunn
Depeux Acadian-Cajun.com
Derayer Brenda Dunn
Desaulniers Desaulnier, Desaulniers, Desaunié, Desaunier, Desauniers Acadian-Cajun.com
Deschamps dit Cloche Dechamp, Dechamps, Dechant, Deschamps Brenda Dunn
Desgoutins Brenda Dunn
Desmoulins Demoulin, Desmoulin, Desmoulins, Dumoulin Brenda Dunn
Desorcis Acadian-Cajun.com
Després Depre, Depres, Despre, Despres, Desprez Brenda Dunn
Devaux Acadian-Cajun.com
Deveau dit Dauphine Devau, Devaux, Deveau, Deveaux, Devot, Devots Brenda Dunn
Dingle Brenda Dunn
Doiron Doiron, Douairon, Doueron Brenda Dunn
Domine dit Saint-Sauveur Brenda Dunn
Donat Acadian-Cajun.com
Douaron Acadian-Cajun.com
Doucet dit Laverdure Doucet, Doucette Brenda Dunn
Doucet dit Lirlandois Brenda Dunn
Doucet dit Mayard Brenda Dunn
Druce Brenda Dunn
Dubois dit Dumont Debois, Desbois, Dubois, Duboy Brenda Dunn
Dufault Dufau, Dufault, Dufaut, Dufaux, Duffault, Duffaut, Duffaux, Dufo, Dufos, Duphaut Brenda Dunn
Dugas Duga, Dugas, Dugast, Dugat Brenda Dunn
Duguay Dugai, Dugaie, Dugay, Duguay, Dugué Brenda Dunn
Dumont Dumon, Dumond, Dumont Acadian-Cajun.com
Duon dit Lyonnais Brenda Dunn
Dupeux Acadian-Cajun.com
Duplessis Duplaissy, Duplassis, Duplassy, Duplecy, Duplesis, Duplessis, Duplessy, Placy Brenda Dunn
Dupuis Dupui, Dupuis, Dupuit, Dupuits, Dupuy, Dupuys Brenda Dunn
Egan Brenda Dunn
Emmanuel Acadian-Cajun.com
Esperance Lespérance, Lesperence Acadian-Cajun.com
Fardel Acadian-Cajun.com
Flan Brenda Dunn
Fontaine dit Beaulieu Delafontaine, Fonteine, Lafontaine, Lafonteine, Lafonteinne Brenda Dunn
Forest Fores, Forêt, Laforêt, Laforest Brenda Dunn
Foret Forest Acadian-Cajun.com
Forton Brenda Dunn
Fougere Brenda Dunn
Fournier Fournié, Lefournier Brenda Dunn
Froiquingont Brenda Dunn
Gadrau Brenda Dunn
Galerne Brenda Dunn
Galle Brenda Dunn
Garceau dit Boutin Garco, Garso, Garsot Brenda Dunn
Garceau dit Richard Brenda Dunn
Garceau dit Tranchemontagne Brenda Dunn
Gardet Gardai, Garday, Gardé Brenda Dunn
Gareau Garau, Garaud Brenda Dunn
Gaudet Gaudais, Gaudé, Gaudette, Godé, Godet, Godete, Godette Acadian-Cajun.com
Gauterot Brenda Dunn
Gauthier Gaultier, Gautier, Gotier Brenda Dunn
Gentil Brenda Dunn
Giboire Duverge dit Lamotte Brenda Dunn
Girouard Geroir, Gerroir, Giouard, Giroir, Girroir, Jirouard Brenda Dunn
Gise Brenda Dunn
Godin Boisjoli Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Beausejour Gaudain, Gauden, Gaudin, Godain, Goddin, Godin Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Bellefeuille Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Bellefontaine Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Catalogne Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Chatillon Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Lincour Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Preville Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Valcour Brenda Dunn
Godon Gandon, Gaudon, Godon Brenda Dunn
Gosselin Gaucelin, Gauscelin, Gausselin, Goscelin, Gosselain Brenda Dunn
Goudreau Gaudrau, Gaudrault, Gaudreau, Gaudreault, Gaudro, Godereau, Godrault, Godreault, Godro, Godrot, Goodrow Brenda Dunn
Gougeon Gougeon, Gougon, Goujon, Goujou Acadian-Cajun.com
Gourdeau Acadian-Cajun.com
Gousille Acadian-Cajun.com
Gousman Brenda Dunn
Gouzille Brenda Dunn
Grandmaison Degrandmaison Brenda Dunn
Granger Brenda Dunn
Gravois Brenda Dunn
Grosvalet Brenda Dunn
Guedry dit Labine Brenda Dunn
Guedry dit Labrador Brenda Dunn
Guedry dit Laverdure Brenda Dunn
Guedry Grivois Guidry, Guildry Brenda Dunn
Gueguen Brenda Dunn
Guenard Brenda Dunn
Guerin dit LaForge Guerrin Brenda Dunn
Guilbault Guibau, Guibaut, Guibeau, Guibo, Guilbau, Guilbaud, Guilbaux, Guilbeau, Guillebault, Guillbeau, Guilbaut Acadian-Cajun.com
Guilbeau Brenda Dunn
Guillot Brenda Dunn
Guy dit Tintamarre Degui, Deguy, Gui Brenda Dunn
Guyon Dion, Dionne, Gion, Guillon, Guion, Gyon, Yon Brenda Dunn
Hache dit Gallant Brenda Dunn
Hamel Amel, Amell, Emmel, Hamell, Hamelle, Hornel Brenda Dunn
Hamet Brenda Dunn
Hamon Brenda Dunn
Hébert dit Manuel Abaire, Abare, Abbot, Ebart, Éber, Ébert, Heber, Heberd, Hébere, Herber, Herbert, Hesbert, Hibbart, Hubert Brenda Dunn
Helys dit Nouvelle Brenda Dunn
Henry dit Robert Henri Brenda Dunn
Hensaule Brenda Dunn
Heon Brenda Dunn
Herpin Arpin, Guertin, Harpin, Hertin Acadian-Cajun.com
Heuse Brenda Dunn
Hugon Brenda Dunn
Jasmin Jassemin Acadian-Cajun.com
Jeanson Jeansonne Brenda Dunn
Joseph Brenda Dunn
Kimine Brenda Dunn
Labarre Delabarre, Labar, Labard Brenda Dunn
Labat, dit Le Marguis, de Labatte Brenda Dunn
LaBauve Brenda Dunn
Lachaume Delachaume Brenda Dunn
Lacroix Delacroix Brenda Dunn
Lafond Lafon, Lafont Acadian-Cajun.com
Lafont Acadian-Cajun.com
Lagasse Lagace, Lagacee, Lagassee, Lagassees, Lagasset Acadian-Cajun.com
Lalande dit Bonnappetit Delalande, Lalande Brenda Dunn
Laliberte Laliberte, Liberte Acadian-Cajun.com
Lambert Lamber, Lembert Brenda Dunn
Lambourt Brenda Dunn
Lamontagne Delamontagne, Montagne Acadian-Cajun.com
Landrom Brenda Dunn
Landry Landri, Landrie, Landril, Landrille, Lendry Brenda Dunn
Langlois Anglais, Anglois, Langlais, Langloi, Langlouois Brenda Dunn
Lanoue Brenda Dunn
Lapierre dit LaRoche Delapierre, Lapeer, Pierre Brenda Dunn
Latour Acadian-Cajun.com
Laurier Lauriere,Lorier Acadian-Cajun.com
LaVache Brenda Dunn
Lavallée Lavale, Lavalee, Vale, Valee, Valle, Vallee Acadian-Cajun.com
Lavergne Laverne Brenda Dunn
Lavigne Delavigne Brenda Dunn
Lebasque Acadian-Cajun.com
Lebert dit Jolycoeur Abare, Hébert, Labare, LeBear, Leber, Leberre, Libest Brenda Dunn
Leblanc dit Jasmin Blanc, Leblan, Lebland, Leblant Brenda Dunn
LeBorgne dit Belisle Brenda Dunn
Lebreton Berton, Beurton Acadian-Cajun.com
Leclerc dit Laverdure Clair, Claire, Clerc, Leclair, Leclaire, Lecler, Leclerq Brenda Dunn
Lecul Brenda Dunn
Lefebvre Febur, Febvre, Lefaivre, Lefebre, Lefebur, Lefeuvre, Lefevre Acadian-Cajun.com
Leger dit La Rozette Legere, Legey, St-Leger Brenda Dunn
Lejeune dit Briard Jeune, Lejeunne Brenda Dunn
LeJuge Brenda Dunn
Lemaistre Acadian-Cajun.com
LeMarquis dit Clermont Brenda Dunn
Lemire Lemir, Lemirre, Lemyre, Lemyrre, Mire Brenda Dunn
LeNeuf de Beaubassin Lenef, Leneuf Brenda Dunn
LeNeuf de Boisneuf Brenda Dunn
LeNeuf de LaValliere Brenda Dunn
L’Enfant Brenda Dunn
LePoupet de Saint-Aubin Brenda Dunn
LePrieur dit Dubois Brenda Dunn
LePrince Brenda Dunn
Leroy Leroi, Roi, Roy Brenda Dunn
L’Eschevin dit Billy Brenda Dunn
Lespérance Delesperance, Lesperence Acadian-Cajun.com
Lessoile Acadian-Cajun.com
LeVanier dit Langevin Brenda Dunn
LeVasseur dit Chamberlange Brenda Dunn
Leveille Leveiller, Leveillez, Leveillie, Leveillier Brenda Dunn
Levron dit Nantois Leveron Brenda Dunn
Loiseau Laiseau, Laizeau, Loisau, Loisseau, Loizeau, Loseau, Loyseau, Lozeau Brenda Dunn
Long Brenda Dunn
Longuepee Brenda Dunn
Loppinot Brenda Dunn
Lord dit Montagne Lore Brenda Dunn
Lort Acadian-Cajun.com
Lucas Luca Brenda Dunn
Lyonnais Acadian-Cajun.com
Maffier Brenda Dunn
Maillard Acadian-Cajun.com
Maillet Brenda Dunn
Maisonnat dit Baptiste Brenda Dunn
Malboeuf Malbeuf Brenda Dunn
Mangeant dit Saint Germain Brenda Dunn
Manseau Manceau, Mansau Acadian-Cajun.com
Marcadet Brenda Dunn
Marchand dit Poitiers Marchan, Marchant Brenda Dunn
Marres dit LaSonde Brenda Dunn
Martel Martelle Brenda Dunn
Martil Acadian-Cajun.com
Martin dit Barnabe Martain Brenda Dunn
Massé Macé, Macés, Masset, Massey Brenda Dunn
Massie Brenda Dunn
Mathieu Mathieux, Matthieux Brenda Dunn
Maucaire Brenda Dunn
Mazerolle dit Saint Louis Brenda Dunn
Melanson dit LaRamee
Melanson dit Laverdure Melanson, Melençon, Melenson, Menançon Brenda Dunn
Mercier dit Caudebec Lemercier, Mersier Brenda Dunn
Messaguay Brenda Dunn
Meunier Megné, Menié, Mesnier, Meusnier, Munier, Musnier Brenda Dunn
Michaud Michau, Michault, Michaut, Michaux, Micheau Acadian-Cajun.com
Michel dit LaRuine Bichel, Miché, Michelle, Micher Brenda Dunn
Migneau dit Aubin Mignau, Mignaud, Mignault, Mignaux, Migneaux, Mignot, Migneau Brenda Dunn
Mignier dit Lagasse Brenda Dunn
Mignot Mignau, Mignaud, Mignault, Mignaux, Migneaux, Mignot Brenda Dunn
Mirande Brenda Dunn
Mius d’Azit Miusse, Mousse Brenda Dunn
Mius de Entremont de Plemarais Miusse, Mousse Brenda Dunn
Monmellian dit Saint Germain Brenda Dunn
Mordant Brenda Dunn
Morin dit Boucher Maurain, Maurin, Morrin Brenda Dunn
Morpain Brenda Dunn
Moulaison dit Recontre Brenda Dunn
Mouton Brenda Dunn
Moyse dit Latreille Brenda Dunn
Muis de Entremont de Pobomcoup Miusse, Mousse Brenda Dunn
NaQuin dit L’Etoile Brenda Dunn
Nogues Brenda Dunn
Nuirat Brenda Dunn
Olivier Oliver, Olivie, Ollivier Brenda Dunn
Ondy Acadian-Cajun.com
Onel O’Neale Brenda Dunn
Orillon dit Champagne Aurillon, Aurion, Orion, Oriont Brenda Dunn
Oudy Brenda Dunn
Ozelet Brenda Dunn
Paris Deparis, Parisis, Parisse, Pary Acadian-Cajun.com
Parisien Leparisien, Parisiens, Parizien Acadian-Cajun.com
Part Brenda Dunn
Pellerin Pelerin, Pelrin Brenda Dunn
Pesseley Acadian-Cajun.com
Petitot dit Saint Sceine Brenda Dunn
Petitpas Brenda Dunn
Pichot Brenda Dunn
Picot Brenda Dunn
Pincer Brenda Dunn
Pinet Brenda Dunn
Pitre dit Marc Lepitre, Pistre, Piter, Pittre Brenda Dunn
Poirier Poerier, Poirie, Poiriers, Poirrier, Porier, Poyrie, Poyrier Brenda Dunn
Poitevin dit Cadieux Lapoitevin, Paudevin, Poidevin, Poitvin, Potdevin, Potevin, Potvin Brenda Dunn
Poitevin dit Parisien Lapoitevin, Paudevin, Poidevin, Poitvin, Potdevin, Potevin, Potvin Brenda Dunn
Poitier Brenda Dunn
Porlier Brenda Dunn
Pothier Pauthier, Pautier, Poitié, Poitier, Poitiers, Potier, Potiers, Pottier Acadian-Cajun.com
Poujet dit Lapierre Brenda Dunn
Poulet Acadian-Cajun.com
Poupard Poupar, Poupare, Poupart Brenda Dunn
Prejean dit LeBreton Pregeant, Pregent, Prejan Brenda Dunn
Pretieux Brenda Dunn
Pugnant dit Destouches Brenda Dunn
Racois dit Desrosiers Brenda Dunn
Raymond Raimon, Raimond, Raymont, Raymon, Remond, Remont Brenda Dunn
Renaud dit Provencal Rainaud, Raynaud, Raynalt, Regnault, Regneault, Renau, Renauld, Renault, Renaut, Renaux, Reneau, Reneault, Renaux, Renod Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Beaupri Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Boutin Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Lafont Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Sancoucy Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Rimbeau Rimbaut Brenda Dunn
Rivet Rivais, Rive, Rivest, Rivette, Rivez Brenda Dunn
Robichaud dit Cades Robichau Brenda Dunn
Robichaud dit Niganne Robichau Brenda Dunn
Robichaud dit Prudent Robichau Brenda Dunn
Rodoham Brenda Dunn
Rodrigue dit DeFonds Rodrigues, Rodriguez Brenda Dunn
Rossette Roucet, Roucette, Rouset, Rousette Acadian-Cajun.com
Rousse dit Languedoc Leroux, Rousse, Roux Brenda Dunn
Roy dit Laliberte Leroi, Roi, Roy Brenda Dunn
Rullier Brenda Dunn
Saindon Brenda Dunn
Saint Etienne de La Tour, de Brenda Dunn
Saint Julien de La Chaussee, de Brenda Dunn
Saint Scene Acadian-Cajun.com
Samson Sanson Brenda Dunn
Saulnier Saunier Brenda Dunn
Sauvage dit Chrystophe Sauvages, Sauvagesse, Sauvaget, Savage Brenda Dunn
Sauvage dit Forgeron Sauvages, Sauvagesse, Sauvaget, Savage Brenda Dunn
Savary Brenda Dunn
Savoie Brenda Dunn
Semer Brenda Dunn
Sereau Serot, Serreau Brenda Dunn
Serreau de Saint-Aubin Brenda Dunn
Simon dit Boucher Cimon Acadian-Cajun.com
Simoneau Simonau,   Simonaud, Simoneaux, Simonneau, Simono, Acadian-Cajun.com
Soulard Soular, Soulard, Soulart, Soullard Brenda Dunn
Soulevent Brenda Dunn
Surette Brenda Dunn
Tandau Brenda Dunn
Teriot Teriau, Teriaut, Teriot, Terriau, Terriaux, Terriau, Terriaux, Terriot, Theriault, Theriaux, Therieau Brenda Dunn
Testard dit Parish Testar, Testard, Tetard, Tetart Brenda Dunn
Thebeau Brenda Dunn
Thibault Brenda Dunn
Thibeau Acadian-Cajun.com
Thibodeau Brenda Dunn
Tillard Brenda Dunn
Tourangeau Tourangeau, Tourangeaux Acadian-Cajun.com
Tourneur Brenda Dunn
Toussaint dit Lajeunesse Tousain, Toussain, Toussaint, Toussin, Touzin Brenda Dunn
Trahan Brenda Dunn
Triel dit LaPerriere Brenda Dunn
Turcot Brenda Dunn
Turpin dit LaGiroflee Brenda Dunn
Vallois Brenda Dunn
Veco Acadian-Cajun.com
Vescot Brenda Dunn
Viger Brenda Dunn
Vigneau dit Maurice Vignau, Vignault, Vignaux, Vigneau, Vigneaux Brenda Dunn
Villatte Vilatte Brenda Dunn
Vincent dit Clement Vincant, Vincent Brenda Dunn
Voyer Brenda Dunn
Yvon Acadian-Cajun.com

 Additional Resources

In addition to the resources utilized to compile the Acadian surnames listed above, we recommend the following resources for genealogical research:

  • View the Acadian family tree contributed and maintained by genealogist Karen Theriot Reader at this link.
  • The Acadian Rootsweb list hosted by Paul LeBlanc provides an invaluable resource for sharing information.  To subscribe to the list, please send an email to ACADIAN-request@rootsweb.com with the word ‘subscribe’ without the quotes in the subject and the body of the message.  If you are not already a member, you can browse the archives here or you can search the Acadian list archives for keywords like surnames by utilizing the search engine here.
  • Please visit the Family Heritage Research Community to read exciting articles about how real people like you discovered their roots by way of DNA testing.

Additional projects administered by Roberta Estes and Marie Rundquist that may be relevant to Acadian descendants include:

Thank You

We want to extend a big thank you to the incredible members of the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project for recruiting new members, for their individual research, and for sharing so willingly. A project is only as strong as the members!

We hope you’ll be joining us soon!

Photography Credit

The location photos used in this article were taken this summer at the Annapolis Royal Historic Site, Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens and the Grand Pre UNESCO World Heritage Site by Marie Rundquist. Thanks to Marie for being our project ambassador, for permission to use her photography here and on the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project page as well.

______________________________________________________________________

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Durham DNA – 10 Things I Learned Despite No Y DNA Matches, 52 Ancestors #167

First and foremost, I want to thank my Durham cousin for stepping up and taking both the Y DNA and Family Finder tests to represent the Thomas Durham Sr. line of Richmond County, Virginia.

My cousin descends from Thomas Durham Jr., son of Thomas Durham Sr. and wife, Dorothy. Thomas Durham Sr.’s parents are unknown, which is part of why we needed a Durham male to take the Y DNA test.

What Might a Y DNA Test Tell Us?

A Y DNA test would tell us if our Durham line matches any other male Durham who had tested. In addition, if we were be lucky enough to find a match to a Durham who knew their ancestor’s location in the UK, where we presume our Durham family originated, we would have significant clues as to where to look for early records of our line.

What Did the Y DNA Test Tell Us?

The Y DNA test told us that our Durham cousin matches exactly no one, at any level, on his Y DNA test.

What, you might be asking? Is that even possible?

Yes, it is. I write the Personalized DNA Reports for customers, and I do still see people with absolutely no matches from time to time. When I drop their DNA results into a frequency chart and look at the percentage of people with their values in their haplogroup at each location, it’s usually immediately obvious why they have no matches. They have several mutations that are quite rare and those, cumulatively, keep them from matching others. In order to be considered at match, you must match other individuals at a minimum number of markers at each panel level, meaning 23, 15, 37, 67 and 111.

Now, this isn’t all bad news. It’s actually good news – because with rare markers, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to match a group of men by chance or just because your ancestor hundreds or thousands of years ago was very successfully prolific. I see some men in haplogroup R that have hundreds and thousands of matches, especially at 12 and 25 markers, so while no match is frustrating, it’s not a disaster because one day, our Durham line WILL have a match and it will be relevant.

The Durham Project

Being a curious skeptic, I visited the Durham DNA project and checked to be sure that my cousin’s DNA really didn’t match anyone, even distantly. I wanted to be sure that my cousins’ results weren’t “just one” marker difference in terms of allowable genetic distance to be considered a match.

Please note that you can click on any graphic to enlarge.

My Durham cousin’s haplogroup is I-M223.

There are no other people in the I-M223 Durham group. Checking my cousin’s markers, they are quite distant as well, so no Durham matches, even at a distance.

Now, here’s some good news.

Looking at the project’s Patriarch’s page, we can see which lines we don’t match.

We don’t match any of these lines, including the two that are from England. Two lines down, several to go.

Autosomal DNA

About this time, I began to have this nagging thought. What if my cousin’s Durham line isn’t really the right Durham line? What if the genealogy was wrong? What if the genealogy was right, but there was an adoption someplace in the 9 generations between Thomas Durham Sr. and my cousin? Those “what-ifs” will kill you, being a genetic genealogist.

So, I decided to see if my cousin’s autosomal results matched any of those known to be descended from the Durham-Dodson line. Thomas Durham Sr.’s daughter, Mary Durham, married Thomas Dodson. This line was prolific, having many children, so surely, if my Durham cousin descends from Thomas Durham’s son, Thomas Jr., some of the Dodson/Durham descendants from Thomas Durham Sr.’s other child, Mary, will match him, hopefully on a common segment.

Perusing my Durham cousin’s Family Finder DNA matches, and searching by Dodson, I found 27 matches.

I checked the Ancestry Surnames of those matches, and yes, 5 included both Dodson and Durham.

Checking pedigree charts, I verified that indeed, these people descended from the same Dodson/Durham lineage.

Thankfully, 4 of 5 matches had pedigree charts uploaded.

I selected those 5 people and viewed their results in a chromosome browser, compared to my Durham cousin.

As you can see, there are two sets of results where more than one person matches my Durham cousin on the same segment.

On chromosome 9, the green and orange person match the Durham cousin on segments of 12.36 cM

On chromosome 21, the pink and yellow person match my Durham cousin with a segment of 8.83 cM.

Now, as we know, just because two people match someone on the same segment does NOT automatically means that they match each other. They could be matching you on different sides of your DNA – one on your mother’s side and one on your father’s side

Next, I utilized the matrix tool to see if these individuals also match each other.

This matrix shows exactly what we would expect.

The bottom person, Gwen, matches the Durham cousin on chromosome 1 and doesn’t match any of the other cousins on that segment. The matrix tells us that Gwen doesn’t match either of these other two cousins either.

The matrix tells us that both kits managed by Ted match each other. This could be one person who uploaded two kits, but the photos are different. These two kits are the chromosome 9 match.

Then, the matrix tells us that Odis and Diana match each other, and sure enough, those are our chromosome 21 matches.

While this alone does not prove triangulation, because we can’t confirm that indeed, Gwen and Odis do match each other on this segment, at least not without asking them, my experience suggests that it would be a rare occasion indeed if this was not a triangulated match – indicating a common ancestor.

Triangulated matches minimally require:

  • Three people or more who are not close relatives
  • All matching each other on a common reasonably sized segment
  • Common ancestors

We Can Do More

We aren’t done yet. Next we can look to see which of these matches might ALSO match someone else in common with our Durham cousin.

Take each match, one at a time, and do an In Common With (ICW) search with them. You can read about the various options for in common with searching in the article, Increasing “In Common With” (ICW) Functionality at Family Tree DNA.

First, I just searched in common with the Durham surname, and none of these folks matched anyone else on the Durham surname match list.

To do this, search for Durham, select a match, then click on ICW, leaving Durham in the search box.

Second, I searched by selecting the match by checking the little checkbox by their name, but removed Durham from the search box so that I could see if my Durham cousin matched this person in common with anyone else on his match list, regardless of their ancestral surname.

As you would expect, many of the people returned on the ICW match list don’t have ancestral surnames listed.

When you have a few people to compare, the chromosome browser is wonderful, but for a lot of comparisons, there’s an easier way.

If I were my Durham cousin, I’d download my full list of matches with chromosome segments and see who matches me on those Durham/Dodson segments on chromosomes 9 and 21.  I would then look to see if they have pedigree charts uploaded, or contact them asking about genealogy.

You can download all of your match results at the top of your chromosome browser by clicking “download all matches.”

This enables you to sort the resulting spreadsheet by segment number and chromosome. You can read more about that in the article, Concepts – Sorting Spreadsheets for Autosomal DNA.

Of course, that’s how genetic genealogy addicts are born. You’re never really done.

What Did We Learn?

What did we learn, even though we had no Y matches, and are understandably disappointed.

  • We learned that the Durham Y DNA is quite rare.
  • We learned that the Y haplogroup is I-M223, found in the following locations, according to the SNP map tool at Family Tree DNA.

  • We can, if we wish, order additional SNP testing or the Big Y test to learn more about the ancestral origins of this line – even though we don’t have any STR matches today. We will very likely have Big Y matches because the Big Y test reaches further back in time, generally before the advent of surnames. Generally, the further down the SNP tree, the smaller the geographic range of where the SNP is found – because it’s closer in time.
  • We eliminated 18 different Durham groups, based on the Durham DNA project, that we now know aren’t our ancestors, including several in the US and some in Europe.
  • We confirmed that this Durham line is the Durham line that also married into the Dodson line- so the Durham Y DNA has not undergone an NPE or undocumented adoption between my cousin and our common ancestor. If there was an NPE or misattributed parentage in this line, then my Durham cousin would NOT match people from Thomas Durham’s daughter’s line – unless they all shared a different common line with my Durham cousin AND on the same segments.
  • We have confirmed some Durham DNA autosomal segments – passed all the way down from Thomas Durham to his descendants today.
  • We can tell our Durham/Dodson lineage cousins that certain segments of their Dodson DNA are actually Durham DNA. How cool is that?
  • Our Durham cousin now knows that those same segments are Durham DNA and not introduced in generations since by other lines.
  • Our Durham cousin can continue to identify the DNA of his various lineages by utilizing matching, trees, the matrix and the spreadsheet.
  • We’re not dead in the water in terms of Durham Y matches. We just have to be patient and wait.

Not All is Lost

I know it’s initially very discouraging to see that someone has no Y matches, but truly, all is not lost.

Not only is all not lost, we’ve learned a great deal. Y DNA testing in conjunction with autosomal is an extremely powerful tool.

Not to mention that our Durham cousin’s Y DNA results are now out their fishing, 24X7, 365 days per year, just waiting for that Durham man from some small village in the UK to test – and match. Yep, that’s my dream and I know, I just know, it will happen one day.

Thank you again, to my Durham cousin. When men Y DNA test, they not only serve their own interests, but those of others who descend from the same ancestral surname line.

Glossary – DNA – Deoxyribonucleic Acid

What is DNA and why do I care?

Good questions. Let’s take a look at the answer in general, then why we use DNA for genealogy.

The Recipe for You

DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is the book of life for all organisms. In essence, it’s the recipe for you – and what makes you unique.

DNA is formed of strands that twist to form the familiar double helix pattern.

The two strands are joined together by one of 4 different nucleotides, one extending from each side to connect in the middle. The nucleotides are:

  • Cytosine – C
  • Guanine – G
  • Thymine – T
  • Adenine – A

The nucleotide names don’t really matter for genetic genealogy, but what does matter is that the sequence of these nucleotides when chained together is what encodes information on long structures called chromosomes. Each person carries 22 chromosomes, plus the 23rd chromosome pair which is gender specific.

Using DNA for Genetic Genealogy

There are four different kinds of DNA that genealogists use in different ways for obtaining ancestors’ information relevant to genetic genealogy. Thankfully, we have 4 different kinds of DNA available to us because of unique inheritance patterns for each kind of DNA – meaning we inherited different kinds of DNA from different ancestral paths. If one kind of DNA doesn’t work in a particular situation, chances are good that another type will.

Genetic genealogy makes use of 4 different types of DNA.

  • Y DNA – passed from males to male children, only (your father’s paternal line)
  • Mitochondrial DNA – passed from females to both genders of children, but only females pass it on (your mother’s matrilineal line)

Y and mitochondrial DNA inheritance paths are shown on a pedigree chart in the graphic below, with the blue boxes representing Y DNA and the red circles representing mitochondrial DNA inheritance.

In addition to Y and mitochondrial DNA, genetic genealogists also use two kinds of DNA that reflect inheritance from additional ancestral lines, in addition to the red and blue lines shown above – meaning the ancestral lines with no color.

  • Autosomal DNA – the 22 chromosomes that recombine during reproduction.
  • X Chromosome – always contributed by the mother, but only contributed by the father to female children – this is the 23rd chromosome pair which recombines with a unique inheritance pattern.  You can read more about that in the article, X Marks the Spot.

Receiving What Kind of DNA from Whom

While the Y and mitochondrial DNA have unique and very prescribed inheritance patterns as shown by the red arrows pointing to the blue Y chromosome below at far left, and the red mitochondrial circles at far right, the 22 autosomal chromosomes are contributed equally by each parent. In other words, for each chromosome, a child inherits half of each parent’s DNA. How the selection of which DNA is contributed to each child is unknown.

A child’s gender is determined by the parent’s contributions to the 23rd chromosome, not shown above. The following chart explains gender determination by the X and Y combinations of the 23rd chromosome.

Received from Mother Received from Father
Male child X Y
Female child X X

The Y chromosome is what makes males male.

No Y chromosome?  You’re a female.

However, this X chromosome inheritance pattern provides us with the ability to look at X matches for males and know immediately that they had to have come from his mother’s lineage – because males don’t inherit an X chromosome from their father.

Autosomal DNA and Genetic Genealogy

The 22 non-gender chromosomes recombine in each generation, with half of each chromosome being contributed by each parent, as shown in the illustrations above.

You can see that in the first generation, the child received one blue and one yellow, or one pink and one green, chromosome. In giving each child exactly half of their DNA, each parent contributes some amount of ancestral DNA from generations upstream, as you can see in the mother/father and son/daughter generations.

For example, each child receives, on average, 25% of each of their grandparent’s DNA – although they can receive somewhat more or less than 25%, depending on the random nature of recombination.

Therefore, genetic genealogy testing companies compare tester’s autosomal DNA with other testers and look for common segments contributed by common ancestors, resulting in autosomal matching.

When relatively large segments match between three or more relatives who are not immediate family, we can attribute that DNA to a common ancestor. Of course, the challenge, and the thrill, is to determine which common ancestor contributed that common DNA to our triangulated match group. It’s a great way to verify our research and to break down brick walls.

Let’s face it, you received ALL of your DNA from SOME combination of ancestors, and if you carry large enough pieces from any specific ancestor, we can, hopefully, identify the source of that DNA segment by looking at the genealogy of those we match on that segment.

It’s a great puzzle to unravel, and best of all, it’s the puzzle of you.

More Info

The great news is that you can utilize your Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA differently, to provide you with different kinds of information about different ancestors and genealogy lines.

If you’d like to read more about how the 4 Kinds of DNA can be used, please read the short article, 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

You can also enter any word or phrase into the search box in the upper right hand corner of this blog to find additional useful information about any topic.

If You Want to Test

If you’d like to learn more about the various kinds of DNA tests available, and which one or ones would be the best for you, please read the article, Which DNA Test is Best?

Right now, the Y DNA, mitochondrial and autosomal (Family Finder) tests are on sale at Family Tree DNA, through the end of August, 2017.

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The Shoes

During my recent overseas adventure, I visited both Nuremburg, Germany and Budapest, Hungary, among other locations. These two cities, especially in combination, were intensely moving.

My husband’s family immigrated from the Austrian-Hungarian empire in the early 1900s. The area had been ravaged by multiple wars followed by desperate economic strife and geographic displacement of the residents – not to mention changing national borders. However, that history, as difficult as it was, was overshadowed a few years later by the horrible history of the Nazi era. It’s a good thing his family left when they did, because they would likely have not escaped later. Many did not.

He probably would not have been on this earth today.

Nuremberg

It’s sad that a city lives in infamy for its worst moments. Thankfully, today, rather than attempt to whitewash the past, the Nuremburg citizens realize that they can use the past as a source of education about what they refer to as “our dark time in history.”

Wikipedia contains a short description about Nuremburg history during this timeframe:

Nuremberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany era. Because of the city’s relevance to the Holy Roman Empire and its position in the centre of Germany, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the site of huge Nazi Party conventions — the Nuremberg rallies. The rallies were held 1927, 1929 and annually 1933–1938 in Nuremberg. After Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 the Nuremberg rallies became huge Nazi propaganda events, a centre of Nazi ideals. The 1934 rally was filmed by Leni Riefenstahl, and made into a propaganda film called Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will). At the 1935 rally, Hitler specifically ordered the Reichstag to convene at Nuremberg to pass the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws which revoked German citizenship for all Jews and other non-Aryans. A number of premises were constructed solely for these assemblies, some of which were not finished. Today many examples of Nazi architecture can still be seen in the city.

We all know what happened next.

As a member of the human race, one my biggest fears is that discrimination, racism and misogyny on this level will once again manifest itself.

Visiting Nuremburg, seeing those places for myself was at the same time sobering and spine-chilling. The cavernous locations of Hitler’s rallies, large enough to encompass a full city block and drive multiple busses around inside the arena. The arena below was filled with people and you’re only seeing about one fourth of the size.

The now-silent cheers of Hitler’s legions of Nazi supporters haunt this place, those who would advance his agenda and follow his lead to condemn millions of Jews and other “undesireables” to death – simply because of how they looked or their religion. Fear-incited genocide propagated by a charismatic leader sewing fear and mass hysteria.

Hitler is known for systematically killing Jews, but they weren’t his only targets. Additionally, he singled out LGBTQ individuals, the physically and mentally disabled, Roma gypsies, Poles and other Slavic peoples, Jehova’s Witnesses, blacks, mixed race “mulattos” and members of political opposition groups. According to the Virtual Jewish Library, Hitler killed more than 11 million people in total – 6 million Jews and 5 million others.

Eleven. Million. People.

Think about that for a minute.

New York City’s’s estimated population in 2016 was only 8.5 million. Eleven million is the size of New York City and Chicago, combined. The equivalent populations of both of those cities, today, died at Hitler’s hands.

In 1986, the Hands Across America benefit united 6.5 million people in a human chain from literally sea to sea. If every person stood 4 feet apart, 6.5 million people would have covered the contiguous 48 states. So, 11 million people standing shoulder to shoulder would stretch about the same distance – or standing at 4 feet – across America – twice.

By Buchoamerica at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4213272

Eleven million is an astounding number. I have to ask myself, how did Hitler, or anyone, manage to convince so many Europeans that the horrific murder of 11 million people was not only alright, but justified, AND convinced them to assist and abet this mass murderer by either willfully participating or turning a blind eye?

And in case you’re feeling particularly self-righteous as an American, our collective hands were not without bloodstain. In 1939, a ship, the MS St. Louis, carrying 937 Jewish refugees sailed from Hamburg first to Cuba, where only 29 individuals were allowed to disembark, and then to Florida and Canada seeking asylum, where the ship was not allowed to dock. The ship’s captain subsequently attempted to find safe haven for his passengers in European ports, having no place left to go, but 254 of those turned away by Cuba, the US and Canada were subsequently killed in the Holocaust after the ship and her 907 remaining passengers (one died in route) were forced to return.

Turning a blind eye to fellow humans is aiding and abetting. Failing to condemn horrific behavior is aiding and abetting.

The poem, “First They Came,” was written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a former Nazi supporter who survived a Nazi prison. His poem addresses the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis‘ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

And then, there are the heroes, like Sir Nicholas Winton who saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazi death camps. For a tear jerker, watch Nicholas meet those children decades later as adults. Just ordinary people – look at them. Get the Kleenex, because you will not get through this with dry eyes, I guarantee. You’re in good company, because neither could Nicholas.

Speaking about Nicholas, the Dalai Lama said,

“We must carry his spirit generation to generation.”

To forget history, or to ignore it, is to repeat it.

Budapest

A few days after Nuremberg, we arrived in the lovely city of Budapest, an incredible combination of the old medieval city shown by the spires in the distance combined with a cosmopolitan modern city that was sporting the international diving championships (the blue scaffold) along the Danube while we were visiting.

Having injured my knee at the beginning of the trip, I was skipping out on many of the walking tours, because I simply couldn’t handle that many hours on my feet.

However, as we returned to the ship after a bus tour in the morning, I noticed the shoes.

The tour guide, busy talking about the diving championships, didn’t say anything about the shoes, but I knew immediately what they were when I saw them.

In 1944 and 1945, 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, were killed in Budapest by the Hungarian fascist party by being lined up on the banks of the Danube River, ordered to remove their shoes, then shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were whisked away – like so much human rubbish.

By Tamas Szabo at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2054459

The Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial was created with 60 period-appropriate shoes cast of iron and affixed along the riverbank for 40 meters. If all 3,500 pairs of feet had been represented, shoes side by side, the memorial would have stretched for the length of more than a mile.

I walked alone along the riverbank on a sweltering summer afternoon in the middle of a heat wave named Lucifer for its punishing intensity, the sun searing and miserable. This memorial is not something you should be comfortable seeing. Discomfort, as well as pain, was welcome and appropriate – and nothing compared to what those people, and their families, endured.

Can you imagine the fear, the horror of seeing your family members, your parents, your siblings, your children, murdered – and knowing you were marching to your sure and certain deaths? The only unknown was how much you would suffer, and for how long.

And it wasn’t just Jews, but anyone who had the audacity to speak up for what was right, which was politically very unpopular – unpopular to the point of death. Death, intimidation, torture, murder, subjugation and annihilation was the Nazi way.

As my gaze was fixed on the empty shoes representing this waste of humanity, I was struck by how much potential was washed away, not just with these 3,500, but with the 11 million in total. How many never contributed to the good of humanity, but would have? Did the person destined to save us from cancer die? What is the unknown cost to us all?

After all, we all bleed blood – the great equalizer, along with birth and death.

What did we do to ourselves, not only with the wasted lives and unrealized potential of those who died, but with the horrid gash we inflicted upon our own souls?

I didn’t want to look, yet I couldn’t look away. I could see their bodies falling into the water, gasping for breath, hopefully, mercifully, dead by the time they hit the water. I pray their deaths were at least swift.

None of us can afford to look away. We must, in the name of humanity, prevent this from ever happening again.

I spent the afternoon alone, in contemplative silence, although surrounded by other walkers.  I sat behind and among the shoes, reflecting not only upon the deaths of so many innocents, but the challenges we face today in a worldwide atmosphere where rampant hatred and discrimination based on the slight differences of human form and our different religious choices seems to be making a virulent comeback.

I felt shame that we, in a global sense, and as individuals, let this happen. That we failed so many.  We must never let it happen again. We must be wiser now.

More the Same Than Different

The DNA of all humans is 99.9% the same, with very few differences. While we depend upon those differences for genetic genealogy, for the most part, we match every other living human.

Remember how many people whose DNA you match that you didn’t expect and don’t know, but you’re somehow related to?

Think about how many of those 11 million people that died you were related to.

Think you’re not?

I have over 30,000 matches among Ancestry’s data base of 5 million – and even if you generously subtract 25% with the assumption they are false positives, that means that I’m related to about 22,000 of 5 million people I don’t know. That means that I would probably have been related to many of the people who died in the Holocaust, maybe between 45,000 and 60,000 of them. That brings it a lot closer to home.

I’m not Jewish, and still, I’m sure that some of my relatives died.  Assuredly, my husband’s did.

The Future

The Holocaust is no longer simply a lesson in history that happened three quarters of a century ago, it’s a dire warning about what is happening today as well.

Because.

Today we have Charlottesville. The re-emergence of the horrific.

Today we hear, on our own soil, horrible racial and anti-Semitic epithets, espousing hatred and bigotry. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who leads this country or which party is in power, wrong is wrong.

Hatred is hatred.

Seeds of discrimination and hatred sew discrimination and hatred that leads to violence which is the exact scenario that led to Hitler’s massive genocide.

Refusal to condemn and combat hatred and discrimination on an individual level, as well as a national level, simply begets more of the same. We’ve already seen where that leads. Do we have to go there again?

The recorded history of the world, to date, has been punctuated repeatedly by horrific wars (30 Years War, Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and II with its atomic bomb, to name a few), slavery (African, Native American, Moorish and English, as a beginning) on every continent except Antarctica, genocide (Native American, Jewish, South American, African, as examples) and the murder and/or displacement of millions of people due to their religious differences (Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, aboriginals, perceived witches and the Crusades for starters).

Not one of us lives today whose ancestors weren’t affected by these factors.

Not. One.

Probably every single one of us had ancestors who were enslaved, killed or displaced – one way or another suffering at the hands of other humans within a genealogical timeframe. On this continent – Acadians, Native Americans and Africans come quickly to mind. In the UK, Catholics and the Irish.  The list goes on – all at the hands of a ruling class that either lost or never had a moral compass.

Are we condemned to repeat that past?

Not on my watch.

Never again.

Not if I can do anything about it.

Not as long as there is a breath in my body.

In the words of Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Nelson Mandela:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

I hope that our DNA connections show us how much we have in common with others and serve to bring us together as the human race, celebrating our diverse roots and our humanity. Remember, the Momondo DNA Journey where 67 people were tested to celebrate diversity around the world and travel to where their ancestors were from? Take a look, here for one example. It’s an amazing story, really, that challenges pre-conceived notions and biases.

In one participant’s words:

“There would be no such thing as, like, extremism in the world, if people knew their heritage like that.”

We’re all cousins.

Remember The Shoes…

…and pray, pray, that no one ever has to stand in them again.

This time, it could be you.

Using Spousal Surnames and DNA to Unravel Male Lines

When Y DNA matching at Family Tree DNA, it’s not uncommon for men to match other males of the same surname who share the same ancestor. In fact, that’s what we hope for, fervently!

However, if you’re stuck downstream, you may need to figure out which of several male children you descend from.

If you’re staring at a brick wall working yourselves back in time, you may need to try working forward, utilizing various types of information, including wives’ surnames.

For all intents and purposes, this is my Vannoy line, in Wilkes County, NC, so let’s use it as an example, because it embodies both the promise and the peril of this approach.

So, there you sit, disconnected from the Vannoy line. That little yellow box is just so depressing. So close, but yet so far. And yes, we’ve already exhausted the available paper trail records, years ago.

We know the lineage back through Elijah Vannoy, who was born between 1784-1786 in Wilkes County, or vicinity. We know my Vannoy cousin Y DNA matches with other men from the Vannoy line upstream of John Francis Vannoy, the known father of four sons in Wilkes County, NC and the first (and only) Vannoy to move from New Jersey to that part of North Carolina.

Therefore, we know who the candidates are to be Elijah’s father, but the connection in the yellow box is missing. Many Wilkes County records have gone missing over the years and births were not recorded in that timeframe.  The records from neighboring Ashe County where Daniel Vannoy lived burned during the Civil War, although some records did survive. In other words, the records are rather like Swiss cheese. Welcome to genealogy in the south.

Which of John Francis Vannoy’s four sons does Elijah descend from?

Let’s see what we can discover.

Contact Matches and Ask for Help

The first thing I would do is to ask for assistance from your surname matches.

Let’s say that you match a known descendant of each of these four men, meaning each of John Francis Vannoy’s sons. Ask each person if they know where the male Vannoy descendants of each son went along with any documentation they might have. If your ancestor, Elijah in this case, is not found in the same location as the sons, geography may be your friend.

In our case, we know that Francis Vannoy migrated to Knox County, Kentucky, but that was after he signed for his daughter’s marriage in Wilkes Co., NC in 1812. It was also about this time that Elijah Vannoy migrated to Claiborne County, TN, in the same direction, but not the same location. The two locations are an hour away by car today, separated by mountains and the Cumberland Gap, a nontrivial barrier.

We also know that Nathaniel Vannoy left a Bible that did not list Elijah as one of his children, but with a gap large enough to possibly encompass another child.  If you’re thinking to yourself, “Who would leave a child’s birth out of the Bible?,” I though the same thing until I encountered it myself personally in another line.  However, the Bible record does make Nathaniel a less likely father candidate, despite a persistent rumor that Nathaniel was Elijah’s father.

Our only other clues are some tax records recording the number of children in the household of various ages, but none are conclusive. None of these men had wills.

Y DNA Genetic Distance

Your Y DNA matches will show how many mutations you are from them at a particular marker level.

Please note that you can click to enlarge any graphic.

The number of mutations between two men is called the genetic distance.

The rule of thumb is that the more mutations, the further back in time the common ancestor. The problem is, the rule of thumb doesn’t always work. DNA mutates when it darned well pleases, not on any clock that we can measure with that degree of accuracy – at least not accurately enough to tell which of 4 sons a man descends from – unless that line has incurred a defining mutation between the ancestor and the current generation. We call those line marker mutations. To determine the mutation history, you need multiple men from each line to have tested.

You can read more about Y DNA matching in the article, Concepts – Y DNA Matching and Connecting with your Paternal Ancestor.

Check Autosomal DNA Tests

Next, check to see if your Y DNA matches from all Vannoy lines have also taken the autosomal Family Finder test, noted as FF, which shows matches from all ancestral lines, not just the paternal line.

You can see in the match list above that not many have taken the Family Finder test. Ask if they would be willing to upgrade. Be prepared to pay if need be – because you are, after all, the one with the “problem” to solve.

Generally, I simply offer to pay. It’s well worth it to me, and given that paper records don’t exist to answer the question – a DNA test under $100 is cheap. Right now, Family Finder tests are on sale for $69 until the end of the month.

Check for Intermarriage

While you’re waiting for autosomal DNA results, check the pedigrees for all for lines involved to see if you are otherwise related to these men or their wives.

For example, in Andrew Vannoy’s wife’s line and Elijah Vannoy’s wife’s line, we have a common ancestor. George Shepherd and Elizabeth Mary Angelique Daye are common to both lines, and John Shepherd’s wife is unknown, so we have one known problem and one unknown surname.

You can tell already that this could be messy, because we can’t really use Andrew Vannoy’s wife’s line to search for matches because Elijah’s line is likely to match through Andrew’s wife since Susannah Shepherd and Lois McNiel share a common lineage. Rats!

We’ll mark these in red to remind ourselves.

Check Advanced Matching

Family Tree DNA provides a wonderful tool that allows you to compare matches of different kinds of DNA. The Advanced Matching tab is found under “Tools and Apps” under the myFTDNA tab at the upper left.

In this case, I’m going to use the Advanced Match feature to see which of my Vannoy cousin’s Y matches at 37 markers, within the Vannoy DNA project, also match him autosomally.

This report is particularly nice, because it shows number of Y mutations, often indicating distance to a common ancestor, as well as the estimated autosomal relationship range.

You can see in this case that the first Vannoy male, “A,” is a close match both on Y DNA and autosomally, with 1 mutation difference and falling in the 2nd to 4th cousin range, as compared to the second Vannoy male, “D,” who is 3 mutations different and falls into the 4th to remote cousin range.

Not every Vannoy male may have joined the Vannoy project, so you’ll want to run this report a second time, replacing the Vannoy project search criteria with “The Entire Database.”

Unfortunately, not everyone that I need has taken the Family Finder test, so I’ll be contacting a few men, asking if I can sponsor their upgrades.

Let’s move on to our next tactic, using the wives’ surnames.

Search Utilizing the Wife’s Surname

We already know that we can’t rely on the Shepherd surname, so we’ll have to utilize the surnames of the other three wives:

  • Millicent Henderson – parents Thomas Henderson born circa 1730 Virginia, died 1806 Laurens, SC, wife Frances, surname unknown
  • Elizabeth Ray (Raye) – parents William Ray born circa 1725/1730 Herdford, England, died 1783 Wilkes Co., NC (the portion now Ashe Co.,) wife Elizabeth Gordon born circa 1783 Amherst Co., VA and died 1804 Surry Co., NC
  • Sarah Hickerson – parents Charles Hickerson born circa 1725 Stafford Co., VA, died before 1793 Wilkes Co., NC, wife Mary Lytle

Utilizing the Family Finder match search function, I’m going to search for matches that include the wives surnames, but are NOT descended from the Vannoy line.

Hickerson produced no non-Vannoy matches utilizing the matches of my first Vannoy cousin, but Henderson is another matter entirely.

Since the Henderson line would be on my cousin’s father’s side, the matches that are most relevant are the ones phased to his paternal line, those showing the blue person icon.

The surname that you have entered as the search criteria will show as blue in the Ancestral Surname list, at far right, and other matching surnames will show as black. Please note that this includes surnames from ANY person in the match’s tree if they have uploaded a Gedcom file, not just surnames of direct ancestral lines. Therefore, if the match has a tree, it’s important to click on the pedigree icon and search for the surname in question. Don’t assume.

Altogether, there are 76 Henderson matches, of which 17 are phased to his paternal line. You’ll need to review each one of at least the 17. Personally, I would painstakingly review each one of the 76. You never know where a shred of information will be found.

Please note, finding a match with a common surname DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU MATCH THIS PERSON THROUGH THAT SURNAME. Even finding a person with a common ancestor doesn’t mean that you both descend from that ancestor. You may have a second common ancestor. It means that you have more work to do, as proof, but it’s the beginning you need.

Of course, the first thing we need to do is eliminate any matches who also descend from a Vannoy, because there is no way to know if the matching DNA is through the Vannoy or Henderson lines. However, first, take note of how that person descends from the Vannoy line.

You can see your matches entire surname list by clicking on their profile picture.

The surname, Ray, is more difficult, because the search for Ray also returns names like Bray and Wray, as well as Ray.

But Wait – There’s a Happy Ending!

If you’re thinking, “this is a lot of work,” yes, it is.

Yes, you are absolutely going to do the genealogy of the wives’ lines so you can recognize if and how your matches might connect.

I enter the wives’ lines into my genealogy software and then I search for the ancestors found in my matches trees to see if they descend from that line.

One tip to make this easier is to test multiple people in the same line – regardless of whether they are males or carry the desired surname. They simply need to be descendants – that’s the beauty of autosomal DNA and why I carry kits with me wherever I go.  And yes, I’m really serious about that!

When you have multiple testers from the same line, you can utilize each test independently, searching for each surname in the Family Finder results.  Then, from the surname match list, select a sibling or other close relative with that same surname in their list, then choose the ICW feature. This allows you to see who both of those people match who also carries the Henderson surname in their surname list.

Not successful with that initial cousin’s match results – like I wasn’t with Hickerson?

Rinse and repeat, with every single person who you can find who has descended from the line in question. I started the process over again with a second cousin and a Hickerson search.

About the time you’re getting really, really tired of looking at all of those trees, extending the branches of other people’s lines, and are about to give up and go to bed because it’s 3 AM and you’re discouraged, you see something like this:

Yep, it’s good old Charles Hickerson and Mary Lytle.  I could hardly believe my eyes!!! This Hickerson match to a cousin in my Vannoy line descends from Charles Hickerson’s son, Joshua.

All of a sudden…it’s all worthwhile! Your fatigue is gone, replaced by adrenalin and you couldn’t sleep now if your life depended on it!

Using the ICW (in common with feature) to find additional known cousins who match the person with Charles Hickerson and Mary Lytle in their tree, I found a total of three Vannoy cousins with significant matches.

Using the chromosome browser to compare, I’ve confirmed that one segment is a triangulated match of 12.69 cM (blue) on chromosome 2.

You can read more about triangulation in the article, Concepts – Why Genetic Genealogy and Triangulation? as well as the article, Concepts – Match Groups and Triangulation.

Do I wish I had more than three people in my triangulation group? Yes, of course, but with a match of this size triangulated between cousins and a Hickerson descendant who is a 30 year genealogist, sporting a relatively complete tree and no other common lines, it’s a great place to begin digging deeper! This isn’t the end, but a new beginning!

After obsessively digging through the matches of every Elijah Vannoy descended cousin I can find (sleep is overrated anyway) and whose account I have access to, I have now discovered matches with four additional people who have no other common lines with the Vannoy cousins and who descend from Charles Hickerson and Mary Lytle through sons David and Joseph Hickerson. I can’t tell if they triangulate without access to accounts that I don’t have access to, so I’ve sent e-mails requesting additional information.

WooHoo Happy Day!!! There’s a really big crack in the brick wall and I’ve just witnessed the sunrise of a beautiful, amazing day.

I think Elijah’s parents are…drum roll…Daniel Vannoy and Sarah Hickerson!

Which walls do you need to fall and how can you use this technique?

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