Concepts – The Faces of Endogamy

Recently, while checking Facebook, I saw this posting from my friend who researches in the same Native admixed group of families in North Carolina and Virginia that I do. Researchers have been trying for years to sort through these interrelated families. As I read Justin’s post, I realized, this is a great example of endogamy and often how it presents itself to genealogists.

I match a lot of people from the Indian Woods [Bertie County, NC] area via DNA, with names like Bunch, Butler, Mitchell, Bazemore, Castellow, and, of course, Collins. While it’s hard to narrow in on which family these matching segments come from, I can find ‘neighborhoods’ that fit the bill genetically. This [census entry] is from near Quitsna in 1860. You see Bunch, Collins, Castellow, Carter, and Mitchell in neighboring households.

Which begs the question, what is endogamy, do you have it and how can you tell?

Definition

Endogamy is the practice or custom or marrying within a specific group, population, geography or tribe.

Examples that come to mind are Ashkenazi Jews, Native Americans (before European and African admixture), Amish, Acadians and Mennonite communities.

Some groups marry within their own ranks due to religious practices. Jewish, Amish and Mennonite would fall under this umbrella. Some intermarry due to cultural practices, such as Acadians, although their endogamy could also partly be attributed to their staunch Catholic beliefs in a primarily non-Catholic region. Some people practice endogamy due to lack of other eligible partners such as Native Americans before contact with Europeans and Africans.  People who live on  islands or in villages whose populations were restricted geographically are prime candidates for endogamy.

In the case of Justin’s group of families who were probably admixed with Native, European and African ancestors, they intermarried because there were socially no other reasonable local options. In Virginia during that timeframe, mixed race marriages were illegal. Not only that, but you married who lived close by and who you knew – in essence the neighbors who were also your relatives.

Endogamy and Genetic Genealogy

In some cases, endogamy is good news for the genealogist. For example, if you’re working with Acadian records and know which Catholic church your ancestors attended. Assuming those church records still exist, you’re practically guaranteed that you’ll find the entire family because Acadians nearly always married within the Acadian community, and the entire Acadian community was Catholic. Catholics kept wonderful records. Even when the Acadians married a Native person, the Native spouse is almost always baptized and recorded with a non-Native name in the Catholic church records, which paved the way for a Catholic marriage.

In other cases, such as Justin’s admixed group, the Brethren who notoriously kept no church records or the Jewish people whose records were largely destroyed during the Holocaust, endogamy has the opposite effect – meaning that actual records are often beyond the reach of genealogists – but the DNA is not.

It’s in cases like this that people reach for DNA to help them find their families and connections.

What Does Endogamy Look Like?

If you know nothing about your heritage, how would you know whether you are endogamous or not? What does it look like? How do you recognize it?

The answer is…it depends. Unfortunately, there’s no endogamy button that lights up on your DNA results, but there are a range of substantial clues.  Let’s divide up the question into pieces that make sense and look at a variety of useful tools.

Full or Part?

First of all, fully and partly endogamous ancestry, and endogamy from different sources, has different signs and symptoms, so to speak.

A fully endogamous person, depending on their endogamy group, may have either strikingly more than average autosomal DNA matches, or very few.

Another factor will be geography, where you live, which serves to rule out some groups entirely. If you live in Australia, your ancestors may be European but they aren’t going to be Native American.

How many people in your endogamous group that have DNA tested is another factor that weighs very heavily in terms of what endogamy looks like, as is the age of the group. The older the group, generally the more descendants available to test although that’s not always the case. For example warfare, cultural genocide and disease wiped out many or most of the Native population in the United States, especially east of the Mississippi and particularly in the easternmost seaboard regions.

Because of the genocide perpetrated upon the Jewish people, followed by the scattering of survivors, Jewish descendants are inclined to test to find family connections. Jewish surnames may have been changed or not adopted in some cases until late, in the 1800s, and finding family after displacement was impossible in the 1940s for those who survived.

Let’s look at autosomal DNA matches for fully and partly endogamous individuals.

Jewish people, in particular Ashkenazi, generally have roughly three times as many matches as non-endogamous individuals.

Conversely, because very few Native people have tested, Native testers, especially non-admixed Native individuals, may have very few matches.

It’s ironic that my mother, the last person listed, with two endogamous lines, still has fewer matches than I do, the first person listed.  This is because my father has deep colonial roots with lots of descendants to test, and my mother has recent immigration in her family line – even though a quarter of her ancestry is endogamous.

To determine whether we are looking at endogamy, sometimes we need to look for other clues.

There are lots of ways to discover additional clues.

Surnames

Is there a trend among the surnames of your matches?

At the top of your Family Finder match page your three most common surnames are displayed.

A fully endogamous Jewish individual’s most common surnames are shown above. If you see Cohen among your most common surnames, you are probably Jewish, given that the Kohanim have special religious responsibilities within the Jewish faith.

Of course, especially with autosomal DNA, the person’s current surname may not be indicative, but there tends to be a discernable pattern with someone who is highly endogamous. When someone who is fully endogamous, such as the Jewish population, intermarries with other Jewish people, the surnames will likely still be recognizably Jewish.

Our Jewish individual’s first matching page, meaning his closest matches, includes the following surnames:

  • Cohen
  • Levi
  • Bernstein
  • Kohn
  • Goldstein

The Sioux individual only has 137 matches, but his first page of matches includes the following surnames:

  • Sunbear
  • Deer With Horns
  • Eagleman
  • Yelloweyes
  • Long Turkey
  • Fire
  • Bad Wound
  • Growing Thunder

These surnames are very suggestive of Native American ancestry in a tribe that did not adopt European surnames early in their history. In other words, not east of the Mississippi.

At Family Tree DNA, every person has the opportunity to list their family surnames and locations, so don’t just look at the tester’s surname, but at their family surnames and locations too. The Ancestral Surname column is located to the far right on the Family Finder matches page. If you can’t see all of the surnames, click on the person’s profile picture to see their entire profile and all of the surnames they have listed.

Please note that you can click to enlarge all graphics.

If you haven’t listed your family surnames, now would be a good time. You can do this by clicking on the orange “Manage Personal Information” link near your profile picture on the left of your personal page.

The orange link takes you to the account settings page. Click on the Genealogy tab, then on surnames. Be sure to click the orange “save” when you are finished.

Partial Endogamy

Let’s take a look at a case study of someone who is partially endogamous, meaning that they have endogamous lines, but aren’t fully endogamous. My mother, who is the partially endogamous individual with 1231 matches is a good example.

Mother is a conglomeration of immigrants. Her 8 great-grandparents break down as follows:

In mother’s case, a few different forces are working against each other. Let’s take a look.

The case of recent immigration from the Netherlands, in the 1850s, would serve to reduce mother’s matches because there has been little time in the US for descendants to accrue and test. Because people in the Netherlands tend to be very reluctant about DNA testing, very few have tested, also having the effect of reducing her number of matches.

Mother’s Dutch ancestors were Mennonites, an endogamous group within the Netherlands, which would further reduce her possibilities of having matches on these lines since she would be less likely to match the general population and more likely to match individuals within the endogamous group. If people from the Mennonite group tested, she would likely match many within that group. In other words, for her to find Dutch matches, people descended from the endogamous Dutch Mennonite population would need to test. At Family Tree DNA, there is a Low Mennonite Y DNA and Anabaptist autosomal DNA project both, but these groups tend to attract the Mennonites that migrated to Russia and Poland, not the group that stayed in the Netherlands. Another issue, at least in mother’s case, is that her Mennonite relatives “seem” to have been later converts, not part of the original Mennonite group – although it’s difficult to tell for sure in the records that exist.

Mother’s Kirsch and Drechsel ancestors were also recent immigrants in the 1850s, from Germany, with very few descendants in the US today. The villages from where her Kirsch ancestors immigrated, based on the church records, did tend to be rather endogamous.  However, that endogamy would only have reached back about 200 years, as far as the 30 Years’ War when that region was almost entirely, if not entirely, depopulated. So while there was recent endogamy, there (probably) wasn’t deep endogamy. Of course, it would require someone from those villages to test so mother could have matches before endogamy can relevant. DNA testing is not popular in Germany either.

Because of recent immigration, altogether one half of mother’s heritage would reduce her number of matches significantly. Recent immigrants simply have fewer descendants to test.

On the other hand, mother’s English line has been in the US for a long time, some since the Mayflower, so she could expect many matches from that line, although they are not endogamous. If you’re thinking to yourself that deep colonial ancestry can sometime mimic endogamy in terms of lots of matches, you’re right – but still not nearly to the level of a fully endogamous Jewish person.

Mother’s Acadian line has been settled in North America in Nova Scotia since the early 1600s, marrying within their own community, mixing with the Native people and then scattering in different directions after 1755 when they were forcibly removed. Acadians, however, tended to remain in their cultural groups, even after relocation. Many Acadian descendants DNA test and all Acadians descend from a limited and relatively well documented original population. That level of documentation is very unusual for endogamous groups. Acadian surnames are well known and are French. The best Acadian genealogical resource in is Karen Theriot’s comprehensive tree on Rootsweb in combination with the Mothers of Acadia DNA project at Family Tree DNA. I wish there was a similar Fathers of Acadia project.

Mother’s Brethren line is much less well documented due to a lack of church records. The Brethren community immigrated in the early 1700s from primarily Switzerland and Germany, was initially relatively small, lived in clusters in specific areas, traveled together and did not marry outside the Brethren faith. Therefore, Brethren heritage and names also tend to be rather specific, but not as recognizable as Acadian names. After all, the Brethren were German/Swiss and in mother’s case, she also has another 1/4th of her heritage that are recently immigrated Germans – so differentiating one German group from the other can be tricky. The only way to tell Brethren matches from other German matches is that the Brethren also tend to match each other.

In Common With

If you notice a group of similar appearing surnames, use the ICW (in common with) tool at Family Tree DNA to see who you match in common with those individuals. If you find that you match a whole group of people with similar surnames or geography, contact your matches and ask if they know any of the other matches and how they might be related. I always recommend beginning with your closest matches because your common ancestor is likely to be closer in time than people who match you more distantly.

In the ICW match example below, all of the matches who do show ancestral surnames include Acadian surnames and/or locations.

Acadians, of course, became Cajuns in Louisiana where one group settled after their displacement in Nova Scotia. The bolded surnames match surnames on the tester’s surname list.

The ICW tools work particular well if you know of or can identify one person who matches you within a group, or simply on one side of your family.

Don Worth’s Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer is an excellent tool to genetically group your matches by chromosome. It’s then easy to use the chromosome browser at Family Tree DNA to see which of these people match you on the same segments. These tools work wonderfully together.

The group above is an Acadian match group. By hovering over the match names, you can see their ancestral surnames which make the Acadian connection immediately evident.

The Matrix

In addition to seeing the people you match in common with your matches by utilizing the ICW tool at Family Tree DNA, you can also utilize the Matrix tool to see if your matches also match each other. While this isn’t the same as triangulation, because it doesn’t tell you if they match each other on the same exact segment, it’s a wonderful tool, because in the absence of cooperation or communication from your matches to determine triangulation between multiple people, the Matrix is a very good secondary approach and often predicts triangulation accurately.

In the Matrix, above, the blue boxes indicates that these individuals (from your match list) also match each other.

For additional information on various autosomal tools available for your use, click here to read the article, Nine Autosomal Tools at Family Tree DNA.

MyOrigins

Everyone who takes the Family Finder test also receives their ethnicity estimates on the MyOrigins tab.

In the case of our Jewish friend, above, his MyOrigins map clearly shows his endogamous heritage. He does have some Middle Eastern region admixture, but I’ve seen Ashkenazi Jewish results that are 100% Ashkenazi Jewish.

The same situation exists with our Sioux individual, above. Heavily Native, removing any doubt about his ancestry.

However, mother’s European admixture blends her MyOrigins results into a colorful but unhelpful European map, at least in terms of determining whether she is endogamous or has endogamous lines.

European endogamous admixture, except for Jewish heritage, tends to not be remarkable enough to stand out as anything except European heritage utilizing ethnicity tools. In addition, keep in mind that DNA testing in France for genealogy is illegal, so often there is a distinct absence in that region that is a function of the lack of testing candidates. Acadians may not show up as French.

Ethnicity testing tends to be excellent at determining majority ethnicity, and determining differences between continental level ethnicity, but less helpful otherwise. In terms of endogamy, Jewish and Native American tend to be the two largest endogamous groups that are revealed by ethnicity testing – and for that purpose, ethnicity testing is wonderful.

Y and Mitochondrial DNA and Endogamy

Autosomal tools aren’t the only tools available to the genetic genealogist. In fact, if someone is 100% endogamous, or even half endogamous, chances are very good that either the Y DNA for males on the direct paternal line, or the mitochondrial DNA for males and females on the direct matrilineal line will be very informative.

On the pedigree chart above, the blue squares represent the Y DNA that the father contributes to only his sons and the red circles represent the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that mothers contribute to both genders of their children, but is only passed on by the females.

By utilizing Y and mtDNA testing, you can obtain a direct periscope view back in time many generations, because the Y and mitochondrial DNA is preserved intact, except for an occasional mutation. Unlike autosomal DNA, the DNA of the other parent is not admixed with the Y or mitochondrial DNA. Therefore, the DNA that you’re looking at is the DNA of your ancestors, generations back in time, as opposed to autosomal DNA which can only reliably reach back 5 or 6 generations in terms of ethnicity because it gets halved in every generation and mixed with the DNA of the other parent.

With autosomal DNA, we can see THAT it exists, but not who it came from.  With Y and mtDNA DNA, we know exactly who in your tree that specific DNA came from

We do depend on occasional Y and mtDNA mutations to allow our lines to accrue enough mutations to differentiate us from others who aren’t related, but those mutations accrue very slowly over hundreds to thousands of years.

Our “clans,” over time, are defined by haplogroups and both our individual matches and our haplogroup or clan designation can be very useful. Your haplogroup will indicate whether you are European, Jewish, Asian, Native American or African on the Y and/or mtDNA line.

In cases of endogamous groups where the members are known to marry only within the group, Y and mtDNA can be especially helpful in identifying potential families of origin.  This is evident in the Mothers of Acadia DNA project as well a particular brick wall I’m working on in mother’s Brethren line. Success, of course, hinges on members of that population testing their Y or mtDNA and being available for comparison.

Always test your Y (males only) and mitochondrial DNA (males and females.) You don’t know what you don’t know, and sometimes those lines may just hold the key you’re looking for. It would be a shame to neglect the test with the answer, or at least a reasonably good hint! Stories of people discovering their ethnic heritage, at least for that line, by taking a Y or mtDNA test are legendary.

Jewish Y and Mitochondrial DNA

Fortunately, for genetic genealogists, Jewish people carry specific sub-haplogroups that are readily identified as Jewish, although carrying these subgroups don’t always mean you’re Jewish. “Jewish” is a religion as well as a culture that has been in existence as an endogamous group long enough in isolation in the diaspora areas to develop specific mutations that identify group members. Furthermore, the Jewish people originated in the Near East and are therefore relatively easy, relative to Y and mtDNA, to differentiate from the people native to the regions outside of the Near East where groups of Jewish people settled.

The first place to look for hints of your heritage is your main page at Family Tree DNA. First, note your haplogroups and any badges you may have in the upper right hand corner of your results page.

In this man’s case, the Cohen badge is this man’s first clue that he matches or closely matches the known DNA signature for Jewish Cohen men.

Both Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA results have multiple tabs that hold important information.

Two tabs, Haplogroup Origins and Ancestral Origins are especially important for participants to review.

The Haplogroup Origins tab shows a combination of academic research results identifying your haplogroup with locations, as well as some Ancestral Origins mixed in.

A Jewish Y DNA Haplogroup Origins page is shown above.

The Ancestral Origins page, below, reflects the location where your matches SAY their most distant direct matrilineal (for mtDNA) or patrilineal (for Y DNA) ancestors were found. Clearly, this information can be open to incorrect interpretation, and sometimes is. For example, people often don’t understand that “most distant maternal ancestor” means the direct line female on your mother’s mother’s mother’s side.  However, you’re not looking at any one entry. You are looking instead for trends.

The Ancestral Origins page for a Jewish man’s Y DNA is shown above.

The Haplogroup Origins page for Jewish mitochondrial DNA, below, looks much the same, with lots of Ashkenazi entries.

The mitochindrial Ancestral Origins results, below, generally become more granular and specific with the higher test levels. That’s because the more general results get weeded out a higher levels. Your closest matches at the highest level of testing are the most relevant to you, although sometimes people who tested at lower levels would be relevant, if they upgraded their tests.

Native American Y and Mitochondrial DNA

Native Americans, like Jewish people, are very fortunate in that they carry very specific sub-haplogroups for Y and mitochondrial DNA. The Native people had a very limited number of founders in the Americas when they originally arrived, between roughly 10,000 and 25,000 years ago, depending on which model you prefer to use. Descendants had no choice but to intermarry with each other for thousands of years before European and African contact brought new genes to the Native people.

Fortunately, because Y and mtDNA don’t mix with the other parents’ DNA, no matter how admixed the individual today, testers’ Y and mtDNA still shows exactly the origins of that lineage.

Native American Y DNA shows up as such on the Haplogroup Origins and Ancestral Origins tabs, as illustrated below.

The haplogroup assigned is shown along with a designation as Native on the Haplogroup Origins and Ancestral Origins pages. The haplogroup is assigned through DNA testing, but the Native designation and location is entered by the tester. Do be aware that some people record the fact that their “mother’s side” or “father’s side” is reported to have a Native ancestor, which is not (necessarily) the same as the matrilineal or patrilineal line. Their “mother’s side” and “father’s side” can have any number of both male and female ancestors.

If the tester’s haplogroup comes back as non-Native, the erroneous Native designation shows up in their matches Ancestral Origins page as “Native,” because that is what the tester initially entered.  I wrote about this situation here, but there isn’t much that can be done about this unless the tester either realizes their error or thinks to go back and change their designation from Native American when they realize the DNA does not support the family story, at least not on this particular line line. Erroneous labeling applies to both Y and mtDNA.

Native Y DNA falls within a subset of haplogroups C and Q. However, most subgroups of C and Q are NOT Native, but are European or Asian or in one case, a subgroup of haplogroup Q is Jewish. This does NOT means that the Jewish people and the Native people are related within many thousands of years. It means they had a common ancestor in Asia thousands of years ago that gave birth to both groups. In essence, one group of the original Q moved east and eventually into the Americas, and one moved west, winding up in Europe. Today, mutations (SNPs) have accrued to each group that very successfully differentiate them from one another. In order to determine whether your branch of C or Q is Native, you must take additional SNP tests which further identify your haplogroup – meaning which branch of haplogroup C or Q that you belong to.

Native Americans Y-DNA, to date, must fall into a subset of haplogroup C-P39, a subgroup of C-M217 or Q-M3, Q-M971/Z780 or possibly Q-B143 (ancient Saqquq in Greenland), according to The study of human Y chromosome variation through ancient DNA. Each of these branches also has sub-branches except for Q-B143 which may be extinct. This isn’t to say additional haplogroups or sub-haplogroups won’t be discovered in the future. In fact, haplogroup O is a very good candidate, but enough evidence doesn’t yet exist today to definitively state that haplogroup O is also Native.

STR marker testing, meaning panels of markers from 12-111, provides all participants with a major haplogroup estimate, such as C or Q. However, to confirm the Y DNA haplogroup subgroup further down the tree, one must take additional SNP testing. I wrote an article about the differences between STR markers and SNPs, if you’d like to read it, here and why you might want to SNP test, here.

Testers can purchase individual SNPs, such as the proven Native SNPs, which will prove or disprove Native ancestry, a panel of SNPs which have been combined to be cost efficient (for most haplogroups), or the Big Y test which scans the entire Y chromosome and provides additional matching.

When financially possible, the Big Y is always recommended. The Big Y results for the Sioux man showed 61 previously unknown SNPs. The Big Y test is a test of discovery, and is how we learn about new branches of the Y haplotree. You can see the most current version of the haplogroup C and Q trees on your Family Tree DNA results page or on the ISOGG tree.

Native mitochondrial DNA can be determined by full sequence testing the mitochondrial DNA. The mtPlus test only tests a smaller subset of the mtDNA and assigns a base haplogroup such as A. To confirm Native ancestry, one needs to take the full sequence mitochondrial test to obtain their full haplogroup designation which can only be determined by testing the full mitochondrial sequence.

Native mitochondrial haplogroups fall into base haplogroups A, B, C, D, X and M, with F as a possibility. The most recent paper on Native Mitochondrial DNA Discoveries can be found here and a site containing all known Native American mitochondrial DNA haplogroups is here.

Not Native or Jewish

Unfortunately, other endogamous groups aren’t as fortunate as Jewish and Native people, because they don’t have haplogroups or subgroups associated with their endogamy group. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few other tools that can be useful.

Don’t forget about your Matches Maps. While your haplogroup may not be specific enough to identify your heritage, your matches may hold clues. Each individual tester is encouraged to enter the identity of their most distant ancestor in both their Y (if male) and mtDNA lines. Additionally, on the bottom of the Matches Map, testers can enter the location where that most distant ancestor is found. If you haven’t done that yet, this is a good time to do that too!

When looking at your Matches Map, clusters and distribution of your matches most distant ancestor locations are important.

This person’s matches, above, suggest that they might look at the history of Nova Scotia and French immigrants – and the history of Nova Scotia is synonymous with the Acadians but the waterway distribution can also signal French, but not Acadian. Native people are also associated with Nova Scotia and river travel. The person’s haplogroup would add to this story and focus on or eliminate some options.

This second example above, suggests the person look to the history of Norway and Sweden, although their ancestor, indicated by the white balloon, is from Germany. If the tester’s genealogy is stuck in the US, this grouping could be a significant clue relative to either recent or deeper history. Do they live in a region where Scandinavian people settled? What history connects the region where the ancestor is found with Scandinavia?

This third example, above, strongly suggests Acadian, given the matches restricted to Nova Scotia, and, as it turns out, this individual does have strong Acadian heritage. Again, their haplogroup is additionally informative and points directly to the European or Native side of the Acadian heritage for this particular line.

In Summary

Sometimes endogamy is up front and in your face, evident from the minute your DNA results are returned. Other times, endogamous lines in ethnically mixed individuals reveal themselves more subtly, like with my friend Justin. Fortunately, the different types of DNA tests and the different tools at our disposal each contain the potential for a different puzzle piece to be revealed. Many times, our DNA results need to be interpreted with some amount of historical context to reveal the story of our ancestors.

When I first discovered that my mother’s line was Acadian, my newly found cousin said to me, “If you’re related to one Acadian, you’re related to all Acadians.” He wasn’t kidding. For that very reason, endogamous genetic genealogy is tricky at best and frustrating at worst.

When possible, Y and mtDNA is the most definitive answer, because the centuries or millennia or intermarriage don’t affect Y and mtDNA. If you are Jewish or Native on the appropriate lines for testing, Y and mtDNA is very definitive. If you’re not Jewish or Native on your Y or mtDNA lines, check your matches for clues, including surnames, Haplogroup and Ancestral Origins, and your Matches Map.

Consider building a DNA pedigree chart that documents each of your ancestors’ Y and mtDNA for lines that aren’t revealed in your own test. The story of Y and mtDNA is not confused or watered down by admixture and is one of the most powerful, and overlooked, tools in the genealogist’s toolbox.

Autosomal DNA when dealing with endogamy can be quite challenging, even when working with well-documented Acadian genealogy – because you truly are related to everyone.  Trying to figure out which DNA segments go with, or descend from, which ancestors reaching back several generations is the ultimate jigsaw puzzle. Often, I work with a specific segment and see how far back I can track that segment in the ancestral line of me and my matches. On good days, we arrive at one common ancestor. On other days, we arrive at dead ends that are not a common ancestor – which means of course that we keep searching genealogically – or pick a different segment to work with.

When working with autosomal DNA of endogamous individuals (or endogamous lines of partially endogamous individuals,) I generally use a larger matching threshold than with non-endogamous, because we already know that these people will have segments that match because they descend from the same populations. In general, I ignore anything below 10cM and often below 15cM if I’m looking for a genealogical connection in the past few generations. If I’m simply mapping DNA to ancestors, then I use the smaller segments, down to either 7 or 5cM. If you want to read more about segments that are identical by chance (also known as false matches,) identical by population and identical by descent (genealogically relevant matches,) click here.

The good news about endogamy is that its evidence persists in the DNA of the population, literally almost forever, as long as that “population” exists in descendants – meaning you can find it!  In my case, my Acadian brick wall would have fallen much sooner had I know what endogamy looked like and what I was seeing actually meant.

A perfect example of persistent endogamy is that our Sioux male today, along with other nearly fully Native people, including people from South America, matches the ancient DNA of the Anzick child who died and was buried in Montana 12,500 years ago.

These people don’t just match on small segments, but at contemporary matching levels at Family Tree DNA and GedMatch, both.  One individual shows a match of 109 total cM and a single largest segment of DNA at 20.7 cM, a match that would indicate a contemporary relationship of between 3.5 and 4 generations distant – meaning 2nd to 3rd cousins. Clearly, that isn’t possible, but the DNA shared by Anzick Child and that individual today has been intact in the Native population for more than 12,500 years.

The DNA that Anzick Child carried is the same DNA that the Sioux people carry today – because there was no DNA from outside the founder population, no DNA to wash out the DNA carried by Anzick Child’s ancestors – the same exact ancestors of the Sioux and other Native or Native admixed people today.

While endogamy can sometimes be frustrating, the great news is that you will have found an entire population of relatives, a new “clan,” so to speak.  You’ll understand a lot more about your family history and you’ll have lots of new cousins!

Endogamy is both the blessing and the curse of genetic genealogy!

Andreas Kirsch (1772-1819) of Fussgoenheim, Bayern, Germany, 52 Ancestors #148

Andreas.

Such a beautiful name. I’ve loved it since I first saw the name as part of our family history, although that first time was in such a sad context.

When researching the Kirsch family in Ripley County, Indiana, I ran across a cemetery listing for the child, Andreas Kirsch, by himself in a long-abandoned cemetery. I wondered to myself, was this child “ours,” and why was he all alone?

The child, Andreas Kirsch, was born right after the immigrants, Philip Jacob Kirsch and Katharina Barbara Lemmert arrived in the US in 1848. Andreas was recorded in the 1850 census with his parents in Ripley County, Indiana, but died in 1851 or so, still a toddler. He is buried in the “Old Lutheran Cemetery” near Milan, the location of a Lutheran Church founded by German immigrants, probably a log cabin, long gone now and remembered by none.

Lutheran lost church cemetery

The only reminder is a few old gravestones, including Andreas’ now illegible marker. Andreas is buried alone, with no other family members close by. After the church was abandoned, the family attended church elsewhere, and eventually, the parents died and were buried near Aurora near where their son, Jacob Kirsch, lived.

Andreas Kirsch stone

Andreas was the youngest son of Philip Jacob Kirsch, whose father was an earlier Andreas Kirsch…a man who never left Germany. The younger Andreas was named after his grandfather nearly 30 years after the elder Andreas died.

fussgoenheim-sign

Philip Jacob Kirsch’s father, Andreas Kirsch was born on August 10, 1772 in the village of Fussgoenheim, in Bayern, Germany to Johann Valentine Kirsch and Anna Margaretha Kirsch. We don’t have his baptismal record, but he was probably baptized as Johann Andreas Kirsch.  At that time, German men had a first “saints” name, typically Johann, followed by a middle name that was the name by which they were called. It’s not unusual to see them referred to by only their middle name and last name.  I have only seen records that refer to Andreas as Andreas, so that’s what we’ll call him.

Kirsch was Andreas’ mother’s name before she married his father, so yes, both Andreas’ parents were Kirschs. And yes, they were related on the Kirsch line, second cousins once removed, both descendants of Jerg Kirsch, a man born about 130 years before Andreas and who founded the Kirsch line in Fussgoenheim.

kirsch-lineage

Andreas married Margaretha Elisabetha Kohler or Koehler sometime before December 1798 when their (probably first) child was born, also in Fussgoenheim. If this isn’t their first child, it’s the first child that we know survived. Unfortunately, the church records don’t appear to be complete.

Equally as unfortunately, there were multiple men named Andreas Kirsch living in Fussgoenheim at the same time, so figuring out who was who was challenging, to say the least. Family records failed me. It was church records that saved me. Fortunately, Germans recorded almost everything in the church records. If you missed a birth, you’d have another opportunity to glean information about the child’s parents when they married, or died, and perhaps at other times as well.

Philip Jacob Kirsch and his wife, Katharine Barbara Lemmert weren’t the only people from the Kirsch family to immigrate to Indiana. Philip Jacob Kirsch’s sister, Anna Margaretha Kirsch married Johann Martin Koehler and the two families immigrated together and settled in Ripley County, Indiana.

Another family who immigrated with the Kirschs, on the same ship, and is found living beside them in Ripley County in the 1850 census is the Andrew (Andreas in German) Weynacht family. The Weynacht’s are also found functioning as Godparents for Kirsch baptisms in Fussgoenheim. I’m not sure how, but the Weynacht family is surely related in one or perhaps several ways. Often children were named for their Godparent, so I wonder if Andreas Weynacht was the Godfather to baby Andreas Kirsch when he was born and christened in the now-forgotten Lutheran church in Ripley County, just weeks after these families arrived from Germany. So perhaps Andreas Kirsch was named after his grandfather with his name given by his godfather as well. At that time, it was the Godparents’ responsibility to raise the child if something happened to the parents.  This would have been very important to immigrants to a land where they knew no one nor the language.  All they had was their circle of immigrants.

The marriage record from the Fussgoenheim Lutheran Church of Andreas Kirsch’s daughter, Anna Margaretha Kirsch to Johann Martin Koehler in 1821 states that Andreas Kirsch is deceased by this time.

kirsch-anna-margaretha-to-johann-martin-koehler

Translated by Elke, a German interpreter and my friend, back in the 1980s, the record says:

Johann Martin Koehler, farmer, single, 24 years 11 months born and residing in Ellerstadt son of Philipp Jacob Koehler son of Peter Koehler farmer in Ellerstadt, present and consenting and his wife who died in Ellerstadt, Maria Katharina Merck and Anna Margaretha Kirsch, single, no profession 17 years 7 months born and residing here daughter of the deceased Andreas Kirsch and his surviving wife Elisabeth Koehler, present and consenting.

Witnesses Ludwig Merck (brother of Maria Katharina, his mother), farmer in Ellerstadt 10 years 6 months old uncle of the groom, Peer Merck, farmer, from here, 43 years old, uncle of the groom (his mother’s other brother) and Johannes Koob, farmer, from here 70 years old, uncle of the bride and Mathias Koob, farmer from here, cousin of the bride.

You might be wondering if Johann Martin Koehler who married Anna Margaretha Kirsch was related to Anna Margaretha’s mother, Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler. Why, as a matter of fact, yes. Johann Martin Koehler’s father was Philip Jacob Koehler, brother of Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler, making Anna Margaretha Kirsch and Johann Martin Koehler first cousins, shown in yellow below.

Are you getting the idea that these families in Mutterstadt were all heavily intermarried?

koehler-intermarriage-2

And because I wasn’t confused enough, the son of Anna Margaretha Kirsch and Johann Martin Koehler Sr., shown above in green as Johann Martin Koehler born in 1829, married his mother’s youngest sister, his aunt, Katharina Barbara Kirsch born in 1833. One of Anna Margaretha Kirsch and Johann Martin Koehler’s other children, Philip Jacob Koehler married Anna Elisabetha Kirsch, but she wasn’t as closely related. These families married and intermarried for generations, using the same names repeatedly, causing massive confusion trying to sort through the families and who belonged to whom.

Noting the relationships mentioned in the 1821 marriage record, if Johannes Koob was Anna Margaretha’s uncle, he had to be either a sibling of one of Anna Margaretha’s parents (Andreas Kirsch or Anna Margaretha Koehler) or the husband of a sibling of one of her parents.

We know that Anna Margaretha (Andreas’ wife) was a Koehler, not a Koob, so Johannes had to be the husband of one of Anna Margaretha’s aunts through either her mother or father. However, checking the church records, we only find that Andreas’s Kirsch’s siblings married Koobs, but no aunts married to Koobs. However, the records do show a Mathias Koob married to one Anna Elisabetha Koehler. I’m confused. Could the good Reverend have been a bit confused too by all of the intermarriage? Is something recorded incorrectly? If so, which information is incorrect?

A second record confirms that Andreas Kirsch married Margaretha Koehler. Philip Jacob Kirsch’s marriage record, shown from the original church record as follows:

Kirsch Lemmert 1829 marriage

It translates as:

Today the 22nd of December 1829 were married and blessed Philipp Jacob Kirsch from Fussgoenheim, the legitimate, unmarried son of the deceased couple, Andreas Kirsch and Margaretha Koehler and Katharina Barbara Lemmerth the legitimate unmarried daughter of the deceased local citizen Jacob Lemmerth and his surviving wife Gertrude Steiger, both of protestant religion.

This tells us that by 1829, both Andreas and his wife, Margaretha had passed away.

This marriage record and translation is further confirmed by this record at FamilySearch.

kirsch-lemmert-marriage

We know from Anna Margaretha Kirsch’s 1821 marriage record that her father, Andreas had already passed away by that time. We discover his death date through a record from Ancestry.

andreas-kirsch-death

Ancestry has select deaths and burials, 1582-1958 and Andreas Kirsch’s burial date is listed as May 22, 1819 in Fussgonheim with his wife listed as Margaretha Elisabetha Kohler. That’s now three independent confirmations that Andreas Kirsch’s wife was Margaretha Elisabeth Koehler.

Generally, burials are recorded in the church record, because that’s when the minister was involved. People died a day or two before they were buried.- never longer in the days before refrigeration, at least not unless it was winter.

Why Are These Three Records So Important?

There was a great amount of confusion surrounding who Andreas Kirsch married, and for good reason.

The church records show that the Andreas born in 1772 and married to Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler died before 1821.  Andreas’ wife’s name is again confirmed by the 1829 marriage record, followed by discovering Andreas’ own 1819 death record.

However, a now deceased cousin and long-time researcher, Irene, showed the coup[le as Johannes Andreas Kirsch married to Anna Margaretha Koob.

Walter, another cousin, showed Andreas’ wife as Anna Margaretha Koob, his occupation as schmiedemeister – master smithy. Andreas is noted as Johannes II “der Junge” in Walter’s records, so there may be some generational confusion.

As it turns out, Walter wasn’t entirely wrong – but he wasn’t entirely right either. That couple did exist – but the husband wasn’t our Andreas Kirsch.

There was an Anna Margaretha Koob married to a Johannes Kirsch. Their son, Johannes Kirsch married Maria Catharina Koob. Anna Elisabetha Kirsch, daughter of Johannes Kirsch and Maria Catharina Koob married Philip Jacob Koehler (shown in the Koehler pedigree chart above,) son of Anna Margaretha Kirsch and Johann Martin Koehler, and moved with the immigrating group to Ripley County, Indiana. It’s no wonder people living more than 100 years later were confused.

Two additional cousins, Joyce from Indiana and Marliese, who still resided in Germany, also showed that Andreas was married to Anna Margaretha Koob, born in 1771 and who died in 1833, instead of to Margaretha Elizabetha Koehler. Marliese indicated that this information was from family records.

The death record of Anna Margaretha Koob shows her husband as Johannes Kirsch Senior, not Andreas Kirsch – but I didn’t have this record yet at that time.

koob-anna-margaretha-1833-death

I began to wonder if I was losing my mind and if the original record I had was wrong – or for the wrong person with all of the same name confusion. However, the marriage record for Philip Jacob Kirsch and Katharina Barbara Lemmert clearly said that Andreas Kirsch was his father and Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler was his mother.  Philip Jacob and Katharina Barbara are my ancestors, and the Lemmert family was from Mutterstadt, so not heavily intermarried with the Kirsch line – meaning that mistaking this couple for any other couple was a remote possibility.  Furthermore, the church records indicate that they and their children all immigrated, and Katherina Barbara’s obituary in Indiana gives her birth location – so it’s unquestionably the same couple. Their 1829 marriage record is very clear, but still, I was doubting.

Mistakes do sometimes happen and at that point, it was 4 researchers who I respected with the same information, against one, me, with one church record. Was the church record somehow wrong?  Elke, my friend and interpreter said no, it wasn’t wrong, and dug harder and deeper and searched for more records, eventually finding the second  marriage record from 1821 that also indicated Andreas Kirsch’s wife was Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler.

Before additional records surfaced, given these conflicts, I struggled with knowing what to believe. Now, given three different church records that show Andreas as married to Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler, it would take a lot to convince me otherwise. I am so grateful for those German church records.

Church records also tell us that Andreas Kirsch’s brothers married Koobs, but that Andreas did not.

  • Johann Adam Kirsch married Maria Katharina Koob.
  • Johann Wilheim Kirsch married Katharina Barbara Koob.

This could have been the source of the “family memory” in Germany in the early/mid 1900s that Andreas Kirsch was married to a Koob. The family history recanted that the Kirsch brothers were married to Koob twin sisters. These Koob/Kirsch marriages could also have been some portion of the source of the confusion in the 1821 marriage record as well, especially if the reverend was new to the area or didn’t know the family history.

And of course, it seems that all women were named either Maria, Katharina, Barbara or Elizabetha, sometimes with a Margaretha thrown in for good measure. Men almost always had the given name of Johann or Johannes and were generally called by their middle name, which was the same as many of their cousins of course. You could have shouted “Andreas” in the middle of the main street in Fussgoenheim, been heard to each end of town, and at least one person would probably have answered from each household.

DNA and Endogamy

To make this confusing situation even more difficult by rendering autosomal DNA useless, these families all resided in the small village of Fussgoenheim and the neighboring village of Ellerstadt, and were likely already very intermarried and had been for 200 years or so by the time our family immigrated. This is the very definition of endogamy.

Not to mention that Germans aren’t terribly enamored with DNA testing for genealogy. Most of the families in Germany feel they don’t need to DNA test because they have been there “forever.” No need to discover where you are “from” because you’re not “from” anyplace else.

The only difference between Fussgoenheim and other German villages is that the church records are complete enough in Fussgoenheim to document the amount of intermarriage. Limited numbers of families meant little choice in marriage partners. Young people had to live close enough to court, on foot – generally at church, school and at the girl’s parents home. You married your neighbors, who were also your relatives at some level. There was no other choice. Endogamy was the norm.

Y DNA

Autosomal DNA is probably too far removed generationally to be useful, not to mention the endogamy.  However, I’d love to find out for sure if a group of Kirsch/Koehler descendants would test.  Being an immigrant line, there are few descendants in the US, at least not as compared to lines descending from colonial immigrants in the 1600s.

On the other hand, Y DNA, were we able to obtain the Kirsch Y DNA, would be very useful. Y DNA provides us with a periscope to look back in time hundreds and thousands of years, since the Y chromosome is only inherited by men from their fathers. The Y chromosome is like looking backwards through time to see where your Kirsch ancestor came from, and when, meaning before Fussgoenheim. Yes, there was a “before Fussgoenheim,” believe it or not.

Andreas Kirsch didn’t have a lot of sons.  Only two are confirmed as his sons and had male children.

  • Johann Adam Kirsch was born on December 5, 1798, married Maria Katherina Koob and died in 1863 in Fussgoenheim, noted as a deceased farmer. Family documents suggest he was one of the wealthiest farmers in the valley. Johann Adam had sons Andreas born in 1817, Valentine born in 1819, Johannes born in 1822 and Carl born in 1826, all in Fussgoenheim. It’s certainly possible that some of these men lived long and prospered, having sons who have Kirsch male descendants who live today.
  • Johann Wilhelm Kirsch married Katharina Barbara Koob. This person may not be a son of Andreas. The relationship is assumed because this couple acted as the godparents of the child of Philip Jacob Kirsch. This may NOT be a valid assumption. It’s unknown if Johann Wilhelm Kirsch had male children.
  • Philip Jacob Kirsch, the immigrant to Indiana did have several sons, all of whom immigrated with their parents to Indiana. Philip Jacob Kirsch born in 1830 never married. Johann William Kirsch married Caroline Kuntz, had two sons, but neither had sons that lived to adulthood, ending that male Kirsch line. Johannes, or John, born in 1835 married Mary Blatz in Ripley County, Indiana and moved to Marion County where he died in February 1927. John had sons Frank and Andrew Kirsch. Frank died in August, 1927 and left sons Albert and John Kirsch. Philip Jacob’s son, Jacob, had son Martin who had a son Edgar who had no children. Jacob also had son Edward who had son Deveraux “Devero” who had son William Kirsch, who has living male descendants today.

I am very hopeful that eventually a Kirsch male will step forward to DNA test. DNA is the key to learning more about our Kirsch ancestors before written records. If you are a male Kirsch descending from any of these lines, I have a DNA testing scholarship for you.

Summary

Fortunately, we finally confirmed who Andreas married – Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler. Andreas, if he is watching, is probably greatly relieved that we have him married to the correct wife now…or maybe he’s just amused.

Looking back, Marliese’s family in Germany reestablished communications with the Kirsch/Koehler family in Indiana during the 1930s and shared her family genealogical information. By that time, the Kirsch/Koehler families here had no information on the historical family back in Germany.

These families maintained some level of interaction, writing letters, for the next two generations. I think that the family genealogy information from Germany, much of it from family memory, was inadvertently in error relative to Andreas Kirsch’s wife. The German family members graciously shared their information with various researchers in the US, who shared it with others. Therefore, the original “remembered” information was incorrect in exactly the same way when gathered some 50 years later from descendants. I don’t know how the US researchers would have obtained the identically incorrect information otherwise. That was before the days of online trees that could easily be copied and even before the days of the LDS church’s microfilmed records, which is where I found the records for Elke to translate in the 1980s. Of course, there are even more records available today through FamilySearch and Ancestry.

Sadly, my Kirsch cousins have all passed on now. I would love to share this with them. I’m sure they would be grateful to learn that we know unquestionably, confirmed by three individual church records, who Andreas married. That was a brick wall and sticking point for a very long time.

Andreas did not live a long life. He was born in 1772 and died in 1819, at the age of 46 years, just 3 months shy of his 47th birthday. Surely, at that age, he didn’t die of old age. Perhaps one day, we’ll obtain the actual death record from the church which may include his cause of death. Some churches were religious (pardon the pun) about recording as much information as possible, including causes of death and scriptures read at the funeral, and others recorded the bare minimum.

I’m grateful to know Andreas a little better. I like to think he was rooting for me as I searched for accurate records. I hope that someday, a record will be found to tell us a little more about his actual life – like his occupation, perhaps. Hope springs eternal!

John Iron Moccasin, The Story of a Sioux Man

Occasionally, the project administrators of the American Indian project are presented with a rare opportunity to test an individual who is either full-blooded Native or nearly so. Recently, a Native Sioux man, John Iron Moccasin, born Earl White Weasel, stepped forward.

In order to facilitate testing, project members and others contributed funds with the agreement that we could publish John’s results and story. Now that the original tests are complete and we are publishing his results, we would like to upgrade John’s Y markers to 111 (from 37) and add the Big Y test – so if you’re inclined to contribute to the American Indian Project for this advanced testing – you can do so by clicking here.

But first, perhaps you’d like to hear John’s story. The results of the research into John’s history, both genealogically and genetically are fascinating. I hope you’ll get a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this journey. Come along – we’re going on an adventure to South Dakota and we’ll be visiting the Sioux people!

In the Beginning…

A few months ago, John Iron Moccasin was talking to his friend and told her that he would like to share not only his oral history, but his genealogy and genetic history, with his daughter. He didn’t know how to go about doing either, but that friend, Pam, did, and she turned to me.

John was born as Earl White Weasel on Eagle Butte Reservation in South Dakota. He then lived at Cherry Creek Reservation in South Dakota. After adoption, he relocated to Pine Ridge Reservation, Kyle Reservation and then Oglala Reservation.

Unlike many adoptees, John always knew the identity of his birth parents and has given permission to use both his birth and adopted surnames. He takes pride in both, as well as his heritage. However, since John’s genetic genealogy is connected only with his biological parents, that’s where this article will focus.

Both of John’s biological parents belonged to the Cheyenne Sioux tribe. His birth father was Timothy Urban White Weasel and his birth mother was Martha Hale.

John is tribally enrolled with the Cheyenne Sioux based on his birth parents. John’s card shows his “degree of blood” to be at least 15/16ths.

Let’s take a look at tracking both John’s maternal and paternal ancestry. Many people ask how to work with Native records, and this article will follow my step-by-journey with both John’s traditional genealogy as well as his genetic genealogy, tracking each line back in time. But first, let’s look at the history of the Sioux people.

The Sioux

The Sioux are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation’s many language dialects. The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota.

The Santee Dakota reside in the extreme east of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Iowa. The Yankton and Yanktonai Dakota reside in the Minnesota River area. They are considered to be the middle Sioux, and have in the past been erroneously classified as Nakota. The actual Nakota are the Assiniboine and Stoney of Western Canada and Montana. The Lakota, also called Teton are the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture.

The Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 established the Great Sioux Reservation, shown below, much of which has been whittled away today.

Today, the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations, communities, and reserves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana in the United States; and Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada.

sioux-map-today

By User:Nikater – Own work by Nikater, submitted to the public domain. Background map courtesy of Demis, http://www.demis.nl., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2309029

The Dakota are first recorded to have resided at the source of the Mississippi River during the seventeenth century. The source of the Mississippi trickled out of Lake Itasca in present day South Clearwater, Minnesota. On the map below, you can see that location as well as Eagle Butte, to the west (larger white circle in South Dakota), some 300 or more miles as the crow flies, where John Iron Moccasin was born. The third location, Wilsall, Montana, on further west (red balloon), is where the remains of the 12,500 year old Anzick Child were found with Clovis tools.

im-lake-itasca

By 1700 some Sioux had migrated to present-day South Dakota. John’s Native ancestors were born in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and reportedly, Canada.

Late in the 17th century, the Dakota entered into an alliance with French merchants. The French were trying to gain advantage in the struggle for the North American fur trade against the English, who had recently established the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The first recorded encounter between the Sioux and the French occurred when Radisson and Groseilliers reached what is now Wisconsin during the winter of 1659-60. Later visiting French traders and missionaries included Claude-Jean Allouez, Daniel Greysolon Duluth, and Pierre-Charles Le Sueur who wintered with Dakota bands in early 1700. In 1736 a group of Sioux killed Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye and twenty other men on an island in Lake of the Woods. However, trade with the French continued until after the French gave up North America in 1763.

For the most part, Sioux contact with Europeans was very limited until in the 1800s, and then, it turned deadly in a series of “wars” as the Sioux tried to protect their land and way of life. Europeans were equally as determined to eradicate the Indians, take their land and eliminate their way of life – and ultimately – they succeeded by containing the Sioux on reservations.

Records, other than oral history in the Sioux tongue, didn’t begin until Europeans began keeping them, so our earliest genealogical records of the Sioux only reach back into the 1800s. Thankfully, genetic records can reach back infinitely into time.

Let’s visit John Iron Moccasin’s ancestors, beginning with John’s paternal line.

The White Weasel Line

John’s father was Timothy Urban White Weasel, born August 1, 1939 to Oscar White Weasel and his wife, Esther (also called Estella) Ward. Timothy died March 28, 2004 in Eagle Butte, Dewey County, SD, the same location where he was born.

im-white-weasel

John’s grandfather, Oscar White Weasel is listed as a farmer in the 1930 census in Ziebach County, South Dakota, in Township 8, district 59 as a full blood Sioux male with a note “74-5,” speaking Sioux, as is his wife, Esther, age 24. They have been married 5 years and have two children, Margie age 4 & 9/12 and Beatrice, age 2 & 5/12th. Oscar is a veteran.

Please note that you can click to enlarge any graphic.

im-1930-white-weasel

This means John’s grandfather was born about 1898 and his grandmother about 1906. It should be noted that many traditional Native people have only a general idea of when they were born.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs Death File shows that Oscar Weasel was born on Feb. 22, 1898 and died on February 12, 1979. His military service was from March 28, 1917 to May 12, 1919.

The 1940 census from the same location shows Oscar J. White Weasel, age 42, wife Esther M., age 38, both Indian, both born in South Dakota, both educated through 7th grade, with 5 children including baby Urban J. White Weasel, age 7/12th. They live in Cherry Creek in Ziebach County, SD in the same place they lived in 1935.

im-1940-white-weasel

The Rapid City, SD obituary index shows that two obituaries for Oscar exist.

Weasel, Oscar J. 80 12 Feb 1979 Fort Meade, SD BHN 14 Feb 1979 p.31

16 Feb 1979 p.5

BHN means that Oscar is buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery. Find-A-Grave shows that he is buried in Section C, site 455 and that he was a PFC in WWI.

im-oscar-white-weasel-stone

im-black-hillsThe Social Security Claims Index shows that Oscar’s wife was Esther Ward and their child that filed the claim is Beatrice Louise Janis.

The 1927 Indian Census of the Cheyenne River Sioux Agency provides a little more information.

Joseph, also known as Oscar White Weasel is listed as born in 1898 and with two numbers instead of an English name. 322986 and 328110. I suspect these are the governmental identification numbers assigned to his parents when they were paid from the settlement fund – although one of those numbers could he his. His wife is listed as born in 1903 and as Mrs. Joseph White Weasel, nee Esther Ward, and she has one number listed in place of English name, 359087. Their daughter Margie is listed as born in 1925 and has no number listed by her name. There are no additional White Weasel individuals listed.

The 1925 Indian Census (below) shows us that he is listed as Joseph with Oscar penciled in above the name, with the number 322986 beside his name – which is evidently his number.

im-1925-census-white-weasel

The numbers probably related to the numbers assigned to Indians on the Dawes Rolls resulting from the Dawes Act of 1887 which allotted tribal lands in severalty to individual tribal members in exchange for Native Americans becoming US citizens and giving up some forms of tribal self-government.

In the South Dakota 1925 census, Joseph White Weasel is listed as married in 1924 and as Catholic. The South Dakota Marriages lists them as having married on October 18, 1924 in Cherry Creek.

im-white-weasel-marriage

Many of the Native people were “converted” to Catholicism by missionaries. The French were Catholic and the traders in this region and throughout the Great Lakes were French.

The 1900 federal census (below) lists Joseph White Weasel, born in 1898 as the son of Charley White Weasel born in April of 1866 in South Dakota. They are living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, district 48 in Dewey, County, South Dakota. Joseph’s mother is “Follows” and she was born in July of 1869 in Montana, as were both children. They have been married 12 years, had 5 children, and 2 are living. Joseph’s older brother is Wakes (probably Makes) Believe his (probably he’s) Running. Charley is listed as “Indian Police” and Follows is listed as “Ration Indian.” They have not attended school, cannot read or write and do not speak English.

im-1900-census-white-weasel

The bottom of the census document includes an area called “special inquiries relating to Indians.”

im-1900-census-special-inquiries-white-weasel

This entire family is listed as Sioux, with no white blood. The mother and father of both Charley and Follows are listed as Sioux as well. They are not polygamous and they lived in a fixed, as opposed to moveable, structure. In other words, a “house” of some sort, not a teepee.

Polygamy was considered a grave sin by most Christian religions, and clearly someone still practicing the Native ways, which includes both polygamy and living in teepees, was highly encouraged to abandon those practices.

Note in the Indian census as late as 1902, some households are still listed with wife 1 and wife 2. It’s impossible to tell which child was born to which wife.

im-1902-2-wives

Also note that the Native name and English name may have nothing to do with each other. They are not always literal translations. Please also note that Follows Him, above, is not the same person as Follows.

Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, along with “civility,” meant taking English names and living in established locations in structures. These behaviors were strongly encouraged and then forced upon the Native people with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 when their children were sent to “boarding schools” to learn the white ways, renamed, and it became illegal to practice the Native ways, including spiritual practices, powwows and speaking their own language. These restrictions lasted until the Native American Languages Act of 1990 which once again allowed Native people to speak their own language and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act allowing Native people once again to hold events such as powwows and practice their own belief system.  Unfortunately, the half century plus between 1924 and 1978/1990 successfully eroded and destroyed much of the Native cultural heritage.

Follows continues to be listed in the Indian census documents. 1895 is shown below.

im-1895-census-white-weasel

The 1897 Indian census (below) shows Follows and White Weasel with Makes Believe he is Running and a new child, aged 2. This child is not yet named, which makes sense in the Indian culture because children are not named until they “earn” a name of some sort. In some tribes, names are changed as new names are earned.

im-1897-census-white-weasel

The family is also shown in the Indian Census of 1899 (below) where Joseph has been named, in 1900, in 1902 when Lucy has been born, in 1903, in 1904, in 1906 when Lucy is no longer with them, and in 1907.

im-1899-census-white-weasel

The June 30, 1909 Indian Census shows Follows, age 40, but White Weasel is gone and she is shown with both sons, below.

im-1909-census-white-weasel

The 1910 federal census shows a Louise Weasel on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, with sons Peter age 17 and Oscar, age 11. I don’t know if this is the same family with white names, or this is a different family. I suspect that Follows has been “renamed” Louise for the federal census document.

im-1910-census-white-weasel

The 1910 Indian census shows Follows with both boys again as well as in 1911, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917.  In 1918, Follows is shown with only Joseph.

I cannot find either Follows or Joseph (Oscar) White Weasel in the 1920 census, although he was clearly living because he married in 1924. It’s unclear when Follows died.

The Ward Line

im-white-weasel

John’s grandmother, Esther Ward is listed as Esther White Weasel born in 1904 on the 1945 South Dakota Census, with both of her parents born in South Dakota.

On the 1910 federal census, Esther Ward is 6 years old living with her father, Alfred Ward, age 32, married 13 years, and his wife Nellie age 28. They have another daughter, Mary, age 12 and (apparently) a son, Alec Chasing Hawk, age 2. Alec’s father is listed as having been born in Montana and mother South Dakota, white everyone else and their parents are listed as born in South Dakota – so Alec is a bit of an enigma. They also live with a man I would presume to be Alfred Ward’s’s father, although he could be Nellie’s father, as he is listed only as “father” but generally that is the relationship to the head of the household. Jerome Chasing Hawk, age 78, so born in about 1832, widowed, Sioux, a Ration Indian. However, we later discover that Alfred Ward’s father is Clarence “Roan Bear” Ward and his mother is Estella DuPris, so the identity of Jerome Chasing Hawk is quite a mystery.

Ration Indian means that they are receiving rations from the Bureau of Indian affairs, often in exchange for land traded by the tribe.

Alfred raises stock and both Alfred and Nellie can read and write, but Jerome cannot.

im-1910-census-ward

In the special inquiries section, Alfred Ward is listed as ¾ Indian and ¼ white, married once, not living in polygamy, received an allotment in 1908 and is living on his own land.

Nellie is listed as full Indian, received an allotment in 1909 and has been married once.

Jerome Chasing Hawk is listed as full, married twice, not living in polygamy, and received an allotment in 1903. He is not living on his own land.

The 1900 federal census shows Chasing Hawk, a widower, as the father-in-law of Dirt Kettle, whose wife is Woman Eagle. Chasing Hawk is 68 and was born in May of 1832 in South Dakota. His father was born in an unknown location and his mother was born in North Dakota. He is a Ration Indian and does not read, write or speak English. In the special inquiries section, Chasing Hawk is noted with other name as “Cetan, unknown” and that he is full Native.

im-1900-census-chasing-hawk

I did not solve the mystery of Chasing Hawk’s relationship to this family.

If Alfred Ward is indeed ¼ white, then John Iron Moccasin is 1/32nd white, assuming all other ancestors were full Native.

The 1900 federal census shows Alfred Ward, age 22, with wife Pretty Voice, age 16 and daughter Irelia Ward, age 1.

Pretty Voice appears to be Nellie’s Native name.

im-1900-census-ward

In the special inquiries section, Alfred is listed with both parents being Sioux, but listed as half white. Pretty Voice is listed as Sioux, all Indian with no white. He can speak English, she cannot. Alfred is shown in the photo below.

im-alfred-ward

On the 1925 Indian Census Roll, Alfred and Pretty Voice are both shown. He has number 246235 or 246285 next to his name and she has 248261 beside her name. They have 3 children.

im-1925-census-ward

On the 1931 Indian Census Roll, Joseph White Weasel is listed with his wife, Esther, with their roll numbers and the identification numbers of their allotment, annuity and identification numbers.

im-1931-census-white-weasel

On the 1895 Indian census, Pretty Voice is listed as the child of Hump and White Calf is listed as Hump’s wife, although we will see in a minute why that may not mean that White Calf is Pretty Voice’s mother.

im-1895-census-hump

This is a very interesting development, because Hump and White Calf are also in John Iron Moccasin’s mother’s line, as are Clarence Ward and Estella DuPris.

im-white-weasel

The 1886 Indian Census shows Hump, age 45, with wife Beautiful Hail, age 26, and daughter Pretty Voice age 3 and Her Voice, age 2. This strongly suggests that Pretty Voice’s mother was Beautiful Hail and not White Calf.

im-1886-census-hump

The 1891 Indian Census labeled “Sioux of different bands” shows Hump, age 43, his wife designated only as “Mrs.” age 21, With Pretty Voice, age 9, Sun age 6 and Hope or Hoop age 2.

The 1892 Indian Census shows that Hump, age 42, married to White Calf, with daughter Pretty Voice, age 11, Sun age 8 and Hope age 2. Her Voice is not with the family, so presumably has died.

im-1892-census-hump

Pretty Voice is reported on another tree maintained by YanktonSiouxTribe, who indicates they are a professional genealogist, to be the daughter of Chief Hump, friend and mentor to Crazy Horse. YanktonSiouxTribe reports that Pretty Voice married Alfred Ward, son of Roan Bear also known as Clarence Ward and Estella Dupris, the daughter of Fred Dupris and Good Elk Woman whose photo is shown below.

im-good-elk-woman

Good Elk Woman

In the 1895 Indian Census, Alfred Ward is shown living with his parents, Clarence Ward and Estelle Ward, ages 44 and 40, respectively. They would have been born in 1851 and 1855. Clarence and Estelle’s youngest son, Willie, is also John’s ancestor through his mother’s line, having married Hope (Dora) Hump.

im-1895-census-ward

It’s interesting to note in reviewing the Indian census records that in the mid-1890s, many Native people did not have an English name. Some had both, but far less than half in this tribe. However, by the 1920 federal census, they all had white names.

The 1900 census shows us that Clarence Ward was born in July of 1850 in Nebraska and his parents were both born in South Dakota. He is listed as Missionary R and his wife is listed as a Ration Indian. The “R” is noted beside a number of occupations, so I would presume he is a missionary and the R may indicate “ration Indian” as well. They have been married 21 years and she has had 5 children, 4 of whom are living.

im-1900-census-ward-2

In the special inquiries section, Clarence is listed as Sioux, as are his parents. Estella and her parents are also listed as Sioux, but she is listed as one half Native.

im-1900-census-ward-special

In 1920, Clarence Ward was living, age 67, no occupation, wife Stella, age 64. Both were born in South Dakota and are living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in SD.

im-1920-census-ward

Clarence is reported to have died in 1933.

Stella, or Estella DuPris, was born in August 1854 to Frederick DuPris and Good Elk Woman and died on July 6, 1927. Stella married Clarence Ward (shown below), who was born in 1851 in Nebraska.

im-clarence-ward

In the 1886 Indian Census, Clarence is shown as 35, Estelle as 31 and Alfred as 9.

im-1886-census-ward

The 1900 Federal census shows Clarence as a Missionary, Estelle as born in South Dakota, her father born in France and her mother born in South Dakota.

DuPris Line

im-dupris

Stella’s father, Frederick Dupris, was born in 1813 in Quebec City, Quebec and died in 1898. He had 10 children with Good Elk Woman between 1845 and 1870. He died on June 16, 1898 in South Dakota. Good Elk Woman, also known as Mary Ann DuPris, died on February 13, 1900.

im-dupris-and-good-elk-woman

Photo of Fred DuPris and his wife, Good Elk Woman and Son, Xavier Dupris, courtesy, South Dakota Historical Society.

In case there is any question about whether Fred DuPris was 100% white, the 1900 census lists his son, Fred Dupris as Sioux, father white, mother Sioux and he being one half Native. This, of course, indicates that Fred Sr. was all white.

im-1900-census-dupris

In the Indian Census of 1894, Good Elk Woman is listed as age 68 and is living with her daughter.

im-1894-census-good-elk-woman

Good Elk Woman was the daughter of One Iron Horn born about 1805 in South Dakota and Red Dressing born about 1810. Good Elk Woman was originally married to hereditary chief, Henry Makes Room and had a son, Henry Makes Room Junior.

The following information was provided by Calvin Dupree.

“The First Dupree Into South Dakota”

Frederick Dupuis came from Longueil, Quebec to Kaskaskia, Illinois and from there to the Cheyenne River area. One Dupuis brother, Pierre (known as Peter), went on up into Montana where he married an Assiniboin Sioux woman.

A French-Canadian, Fred Dupuis arrived at Fort Pierre in 1838 and was in employee of the American Fur Company under Pierre Choteau, Jr. Letters from the winter of 1861 were written to Charles Primeau from Fred Dupuis by M. C. Rousseau at the mouth of Cherry Creek. The letters were concerned with reports of the Indian bands and the number of buffalo robes Fred was sending in and a list of the materials he needed for trading and maintaining his small outpost at the mouth of Cherry Creek. The trader (Fred) was concerned that the buffalo were becoming scarce and that the Indians and their horses were “poor”.

By 1860, we must assume that Fred was married and busy with the affairs of a husband and father. He married a Minniconjou, Good Elk Woman, who became Mary Ann Dupuis. She had one son, Henry Makes Room, from a previous marriage who was adopted by Fred. Mary was the daughter of One Iron Horn and Red Dressing. Some elders in the family remember that Mary was from Cherry Creek. Mary and Fred had nine children. They were: Peter; Maggie (Fisherman); Esther (Ward); Edward; David Xavier; Alma (Blue Eyes); Fred, Jr.; Josephine (Vollin); Vetal; and Marcella (Carlin). “Not one of whom could speak English, with the exception of Edward, who was a student at Hampton, Va.”

After being an independent trader for some time (and probably as the buffalo dwindled and the Indians were put on reservations) Fred became a stock grower. He built the family home in a beautiful wooded flat on the north side of the Cheyenne River, thirty-five miles west of where it emptied into the Missouri. The patriarchal home was described as being 20 feet by 60 feet, and built of cottonwood logs. As each son or daughter married, a new small log house (called a tipi by the family) was built. These homes had dirt floor and gumbo roofs and were placed in a row near the main house. In addition there were usually a dozen tipis nearby, pitched by the full blood relatives of Mary Dupuis. The living arrangement was truly communal; the women had a large vegetable garden; the men worked the stock; all the cooking and eating was done in one cabin. One of the women baked all the bread, another cooked the meat and vegetables, and another made coffee and served the food. Three times a day 52 people ate together, along with any strangers or friends who might happen along.

The Dupuis home was known as a place for sharing good times and good food in the true Indian way. This was the era of government ration dispensing and all 52 of the family members collected their share which was hauled home in wagons from Fort Bennett, even though Old Fred was reputed to be wealthy with “several thousand head of cattle and 500 horses, a small herd of domesticated buffalo and a large amount of other property.”

The marriage of Marcella Dupuis, Old Fred’s youngest daughter, to Douglas F. Carlin, a non-Indian, of Pierre must have been a noteworthy event since newspapers from Deadwood and Pierre covered the event. Mr. Carlin was noted as the issue clerk at Cheyenne Agency. The ceremony was performed at the Dupuis home on the Cheyenne River with many important persons from the city, including the Pierre City Council, and unknown numbers of Sioux present. Forty fat steers were to be roasted. All the wedding gifts were put on exhibition after the supper, the most impressive being five hundred head of cattle and fifty ponies from Old Fred, father of the bride, and a decorated buffalo robe from sisters of the bride. The Sioux dancing continued for three days with the only interruption being a pause for more eating every three hours.

The Dupuis family’s contribution to saving the buffalo.

In 1883 (or possibly earlier) Old Fred and some of his sons and possibly Basil Clement (Claymore) went on a hunt for some buffalo calves in order to start a herd. By this time the great “surrounds” of the past were over and I can imagine that the desire to preserve at least a few of these animals, so necessary and so sacred to the Indian people, was strong. The group headed northwest from the Cheyenne River and was gone for many months and in Montana, or near Slim Buttes (reports differ), they located a small herd. They finally secured five calves (one report says nine), which were loaded into wagons brought along for that purpose. The calves were taken back to Cheyenne River.

By 1888 from this small start the Dupuis had nine pure-blood buffaloes. By the time of Old Fred’s death in 1898 the herd had grown considerably, and was purchased by James (Scotty) Philip of Fort Pierre. By 1918 (the herd) had increased to approximately 500 head. The State of South Dakota purchased 46 of these buffalo and transferred them to the State Game Park in Fall River County. Hearsay has it that Scotty Philip sold buffalo to other states and parks also, spreading the original Dupuis stock back into many areas where the buffalo once roamed free by the millions.

Old Fred died in 1898 at about age 80. Then, as now, a death was the occasion for sharing through a Give-Away of all the deceased’s belongings. From Aunt Molly Dupris Annis Rivers, Old Fred’s grand-daughter, I have heard the colorful story of how some of the Dupuis wealth was distributed. It is said that according to Lakota custom, any one who happened by was entitled to a gift and this even included a group of Crow Indians, traditional enemies of the Sioux since anyone can remember. The Crows were invited to join the other guests as they filed by a horse whose saddle bags had been filled with silver dollars. Each person took a silver dollar until they were gone; the next person in line was given the saddle, and the last person received the horse. And in this way, and probably by several other methods, Old Fred’s money and property were shared with the people. None of his oft mentioned wealth was inherited by any of his family.

Records indicate that Good Elk Woman, Mary Dupuis, died in 1900 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Tom (Alma) Blue Eyes. One can only wonder about her life after Old Fred died, just as one wonders about her years of living, first as a child at Cherry Creek, then as a young wife of Makes Room and finally as Mary Ann Dupuis, mother of nine half French and half Lakota children. No stories about Mary have come down to me. Her life during the early time of tragedy and defeat for the Indian people cannot have been an easy one.

Old Fred and Mary, and many of their descendants, are buried in the Dupuis Cemetery on the hill above the river flat where their family home once was. Nearby is the old ”Buffalo Church”.

Old Fred and Mary may be gone, but South Dakota will not forget them. Dupree Creek runs into Rudy Creek and then into the Cheyenne River near the old home site, and the (town) of Dupree is located about 40 miles north of Cherry Creek where Old Fred carried on his fur trading. Just west of the Dupuis cemetery and the old church, in a draw filled with wild plums and chokecherries, the Dupree Spring (called the Circle P Spring, or Garrett Spring today) still furnishes clear, sweet water.

Imagine the hundreds of trips made to this spring, winter and summer, to haul water for the Dupuis family living down the hill by the river in the 1800’s.

The name, though changed from Dupuis to Dupris and in some cases to Dupree, has been carried all over South Dakota and to probably every state in the U.S. by their hundreds of descendants.

Calvin Dupree is the son of Adelia Fielder and Jonas E. Dupris; son of Sarah Red Horse and Frank Dupris; son of Harriet Cadotte and Xavier (David) Dupuis; son of Mary Ann Good Elk Woman and Frederick Dupuis. Calvin Dupree is presently a member of the faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

According to Suzanne DuPree, a descendant, Fred DuPris (in later generations spelled DePree), and Good Elk Woman are buried in the DuPris Memorial Cemetery on the hill above the river flat where their family one was once location, near the old “Buffalo Church.”

FindAGrave lists Fred DuPris’s birth date as September 5, 1819 and his death as July 16, 1898. His wife, Mary Ann, born as Good Elk Woman, is shown as being born in 1824 and passing over on February 13, 1900. The maps below are from FindAGrave.

im-dupris-cemetery

im-dupris-cemetery-2

The Sioux Chief, Hump’s Line

John descends from Chief Hump twice, apparently through two different wives; Beautiful Hail and White Calf. John Iron Moccasin’s family information indicates that Hump had 4 wives: Good Voice/Good Woman, Brings Her, Stands As A Woman and Bessie/White Calf Woman. The census provides information about Beautiful Hail and White Calf, but we have no further information about Humps’s other two wives.

im-hump-2

Hump, also known as Thomas Hump, lived until December 11, 1908 where he died in Cherry Creek, SD.

im-hump-photo

Photo courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society

Born in Montana, Hump became a leader of the Cherry Creek Band of Minneconjou Sioux. In 1876 he fought in the Battle of the Rosebud against Gen. Crook, shown below in the wood engraving below depicting the Sioux charging Colonel Royall’s attachment on June 17th.

im-hump-battle-of-the-rosebud

Hump also fought on Calhoun Hill in the Battle of the Little Big Horn with Crazy Horse, Gall and others against Custer and the 7th Calvary on June 25th where he received a bullet wound in his leg, according to the National Park Service.

im-hump-calhoun-hill

The Lakota Museum and Cultural Center tells us the following about Hump.

Etokeah, a Minniconjou Lakota war chief, was a great leader. He is especially known for his skills during the 19th Century Lakota-US Government battles. His exact birth date and facts of parentage were not recorded. However, he first came into public notice in 1866. Then, he led the charge against Captain William Fetterman’s soldiers outside Fort Phil Kearney in Wyoming.

Hump did not sign the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1866. Because of his action, he was deemed a hostile or “non-treaty” chief by the US Government. He was a comrade-in-arms of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and other great Sioux chiefs of the period. In 1876, he led his warriors into battle against Generals George Crook and George Custer.

After the defeat of the Sioux in the 1880s, he briefly lived in Canada. He eventually returned to the United States but remained hostile to the whites. In company with most of the Sioux, his band was intrigued by the Ghost Dance religion, which culminated in the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.

Although Hump seems never to have become a true believer, he did lead his people in the Ghost Dance raids until early December of 1890. The US Army was alarmed by the Ghost Dance, and they sent emissaries to all of the major chiefs.

Captain Ezra Ewers – an old friend – was sent to speak with Hump. Ewers convinced Hump of the futility in armed resistance. At this point, Hump separated his band from the Dancers and led them to the Pine Ridge Agency.

As Hump was breaking camp, refugees from Sitting Bull’s group arrived and related how their leader had been killed during an arrest attempt. Sitting Bull’s people were eager to find allies as they sought revenge. Hump refused to help, and the refugees set out to join Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek.

After the infamous massacre and subsequent events in 1890, Hump and several other Sioux chiefs went to Washington, D.C. They pleaded for fair treatment of their people.

Some of their requests were honored; however, the chiefs failed to gain concessions in other important areas. Reservation confinement continued, effectively ending the old way of life.

Hump died at Cherry Creek, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in December 1908 at the age of 70. He is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery near there.

According to records provided by John Iron Moccasin’s family, Hump’s father was Iron Bull “TaTankaMaza”, and his mother was Ziti “Yellow Lodge”. Hump was born about 1848 when his father was 28 and his mother was 21.

im-hump-with-wives

This photo was taken ca. 1879 by photographer by L.A. Huffman. The notation is that the photo is of Hump and his favorite wives. One of these women could well have been Beautiful Hail given that she appears to have had children in both 1882 and 1883 with Hump. He does look to be significantly older than the women.

Hump is shown with other Sioux leaders in this 1891 photograph.

im-sioux-1891

1891 Sioux Delegation LA-NA-DA-Kota

Front Row Seated; L to R: High Hawk, Fire Lightning, Little Wound, Two Strike, Young Man Afraid of His Horses, Spotted Elk (Oglala), Big Road; (2nd row standing) F.D. Lewis, He Dog, Spotted Horse, American Horse, Maj Gen Sword, Louis Shangreaux, Bat Pourier; (3rd row, standing) Dave Zephier, Hump, High Pipe, Fast Thunder, Rev. Charles Cook, and P.T. Johnson. Denver Public Library

In the 1900 federal census of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, district 48 in Sterling County, SD, the last census in which Hump was alive, he is shown on the census as having been married 20 years, born in April 1850 in Montana, with both of his parents born in the same place. He is a Ration Indian and he does not read, write or speak English. In the special inquiries section, he is listed as Sioux, his father as Sioux Cheyenne and his mother as Sioux. He is listed as entirely Native and in this census, is not listed as polygamous.

im-1900-census-hump

His wife is listed on the next page as White Calf to whom he has been married for 20 years, so dating back to 1880. Of course, as suggested by the picture taken circa 1879 and the 1886 census in which Hump is married to 26 year old Beautiful Hail, White Calf was not his only wife. Given that Pretty Voice appeared in the census in 1876 with Beautiful Hail as a young child, I would presume that Beautiful Hail is Pretty Voice’s mother.

im-1900-census-white-calf

Dora, who was born in 1891, is not shown living with Hump. I cannot find her elsewhere on the census. However, remember that Native people changed their names. Hope is listed as being born in July of 1889 in Montana.

In the 1917 Indian Census, Hope Hump is also listed as Dora, age 26, married to Willie Ward who was born in 1889. This shows us that Dora is Hope or Hoop Hump on the earlier census records.

im-1917-census-hump

According to the 1900 census, Hope was born in July of 1889 in Montana, as were both of her parents. She does not read, write or speak English. She is 100% Sioux.

The following information was provided by http://files.usgwarchives.org/sd/ziebach/history/chap16-2.txt

Born in Montana in 1848 or 1850, Hump became a leader of the Cherry Creek band of Minneconjou Sioux.   In 1876 he fought in the Battle of the Rose bud against General George Crook and in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

He later joined Sitting Bull’s band and other exiles in Canada.  Being considered American Indians, the exiles received no rations from the Canadian government. By 1881 the buffalo and other game were disappearing and the exiles returned to Fort Buford where they surrendered. They were taken to Fort Yates by steamboat. Later the Minneconjou under Hump and Fool Heart and the Sans Arc, led by Spotted Eagle and Circle Bear, were taken down the Missouri River to the Cheyenne River Agency, near their traditional camping grounds along the Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River.  They arrived at the Cheyenne River by May of 1882 and many of the Minneconjou settled near Cherry Creek, 50 miles west of the agency.

Hump and Big Foot became the most influential men on the Cheyenne River.  The Cherry Creek/Hump Band greatly opposed the land agreements of 1888 and 1889.  In 1890, the Ghost Dance found its greatest following in the Cherry Creek camps.

After Sitting Bull was killed on the Grand River, many of his followers fled south and camped a few miles above the junction of the Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River.  When the army at Fort Bennett moved to suppress the Ghost Dancing, Hump used his influence against the Ghost Dance. In the dead of winter he rode with two men from the garrison and two other scouts, 40 miles to persuade the Sitting Bull camp to surrender and move to Fort Bennett.  Those who did not surrender joined Spotted Elk, also known as Big Foot. When his band later fled toward Pine Ridge, they were met by the Army at Wounded Knee.

Hump was given 500 heifers for his service to the United States Government. These he turned loose, to share with his people. The heifers wandered near Leslie and many died of pinkeye.

Hump continued to work for his tribe until his death in 1908. He is buried in Cherry Creek.

HUMP

Told by John Hump

Hump (Thomas) was born in 1850 to Mashes His Nails/Iron Bull and Ziti/Mrs. Iron Bull (1827-1917) in Montana.

Hump’s brother, Little Crow, had been born in 1844. Hump’s sister, White Cow, married Fish (d. 1919) and had a son, James Fish (b. 1889) and a daughter. They lived on Rosebud.

Hump grew up in Montana. He had three or four wives, some of whom lived in Montana and were Crow.

While the Indians still roved in bands, he started to gather them together, to settle down and become ‘civilized’. Hump came down the Missouri River when the Army brought them to the Cheyenne River on boats. Their stock were driven over land.  Bertha Lyman Hump’s mother’s family came from Montana with Hump’s band.

Hump even joined the Army to work toward settling down. He was a scout from December of 1890 until June of 1891. He was discharged at Fort Bennett.

There were three Hump Flats. One east of Bridger, one by Iron Lightning and one across from Cherry Creek. All are so named because he lived on them. On the way to Montana for a visit, Hump camped with Iron Lightning on the Moreau River. At that time they chose their allotments. Iron Lightning community was later named for Iron Lightning after he moved there.

Hump had several wives. His son, by Good Voice/Good Woman, was Samuel Helper/ Stand by of Oglala, born in 1876.

Hump’s wife, White Calf/Bessie (d. 1915) was the mother of Pretty Voice/Nellie (b. 1882: Mrs. Alfred Ward); Important Woman/Sarah (b.1884: Mrs. Silas Yellow Owl); Spotted Bear who died in infancy; Dora (b.1891: Mrs. William Ward); Didn’t Drop/Nelson Hump, born in 1898 (no issue); William Miles Hump, born in 1900 and died in 1917 at Dupree, (no issue); and John Hump, born in 1904.

JOHN HUMP

John Hump was born at Cherry Creek, four years before his father’s death in 1908. Hump is buried at the Episcopal Cemetery in Cherry Creek.  John went to Carson Day School, Pierre Indian School and Rapid City Indian School.  In 1935 or 1936, he married Bertha Lyman, daughter of Ed Lyman. John transferred his heir ship lands from the Moreau River to Red Scaffold.

John and Bertha lived on the flat south of the (Cherry) creek, on her folks’ allotments. In 1954/1957 they moved north to their present home.  John went into the cattle business on the Rehab program. John and

Bertha’s sons, Duane and Darrell, now run the ranch.

Darrell is married to Alvina Runs After and Duane is married to Doris Halfred.

im-white-calf

The 1910 census taken at Cherry Creek station shows us that White Calf’s mother was Roan Hair, age 72, so born about 1838. She shows the birth of only one child.

im-1910-census-roan-hair

The special inquiries section tells us that she is Teton Sioux, full Native, married once, not polygamous, lived in an aboriginal dwelling and received her allotment in 1903.

Roan Hair is shown in the Indian census of the Cheyenne River Sioux in 1896 as the wife of Ragged, both age 56.

im-1896-census-ragged

Four years later, in 1901, they are shown again.

im-1904-census-ragged

Hump died on December 10, 1908 and is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery in Cherry Creek, SD.

im-hump-stone

Hump’s Memorial at FindAGrave adds some additional information not found elsewhere.

Native American Chief. Sioux name “Etokeah.” Although very little is known about Hump’s early life, he eventually rose to become a Chief among the Miniconjou Sioux and was an active participant in the Red Cloud war. With Crazy Horse at the Rosebud Battle against George Crook, Hump led his Miniconjou Sioux, helping stop the column in their trek to meet Custer prior to the Little Big Horn. At the Little Big Horn, when the alarm was sounded, Hump jumped onto an unknown mount, and it which threw him to the ground. Hump rushed, mounted another horse and charged toward the soldiers. His horse was shot from under him and a bullet entered above the horse’s knee and went further into Hump’s hip. Hump was strained there due to the wound and did not participate in the main battle. Later, Hump went to Canada, and his band returned to the United States, the last of all the bands to return. On the reservation when other tribes had adopted white dress and housing, Hump’s band settled at Cherry Creek in South Dakota and maintained the old ways using lodges and traditional clothing. On the reservation when the authority of other chiefs wained, Hump continued to assert leadership over his band. Some said that Hump was feared by the whites even more than Sitting Bull. When the Ghost Dance religion surfaced among the Sioux, the military did not dare arrest Hump. Instead, they reassigned Captain Ezra Ewers, a trusted friend of the chief, to Fort Bennet in South Dakota. Ewers rode the 60 miles to Hump’s camp at Cherry Creek. Impressed with Ewer’s courage, Hump listened to his message and avoided the Ghost Dance religion. After the Wounded Knee Massacre, Hump along with other prominent Sioux went to Washington, DC pleading for a peaceful end to the tragedy. Interestingly enough, it was also Hump who taught the basic lessons of warfare to his better-known student, Crazy Horse. His grave is located on the west edge of the town of Cherry Creek.

This photo of Cherry Creek, probably in the early 1900s, shows both traditional teepees and more stationary buildings. This lends understanding to the special inquiries section of the census, and shows us what “fixed” dwellings look like as compared to “moveable.”

im-cherry-creek

The Hale Line

John’s mother was the daughter of Isabelle Ward and Robert Hale.

im-white-weasel

South Dakota Marriage records show that Robert Clifford Hale, age 23, married Isabel Ward on May 3, 1946. Both lived in Cherry Creek, SD.

im-hale-marriage

Robert died on August 1, 2008. His photo and obituary are shown below.

im-robert-clifford-hale

Death: Aug. 1, 2008 Sturgis Meade County South Dakota, USA
Robert “Bob” Clifford Hale, who lived in Cherry Creek, had the Lakota name Min A’ Kyan, which translates to Flies Over the Sea. While he may not have flown over the sea, he did ride the sea as a sailor in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Bob, at age 85, died Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, at the Fort Meade Veterans Hospital near Sturgis. He is survived by Larry (Delia) Hale, Theresa Hale, Herbert Hale and Cleo Hale, all of Cherry Creek, Martha (Erick) Hernandez of Chicago, Ill., Richard Hale of Rapid City, Connie (James) Bear Stops of Red Scaffold and Lavinia Hale-Eagle Chasing of Eagle Butte; grandchildren, Maude Hale, Denise and Richard Crow Ghost, Dawn Kills Crow, Angelic and Willard Demery of Cherry Creek, Amber and Alton Blacktail Deer Sr. of Manderson, Timothy Jr., Earl and Mary Iron Moccasin of Rosebud, Teno, Taun and Krista Bear Stops of Red Scaffold, Rhiana, Richard Jr. and Joshua Hale of Cherry Creek, Angel Prendergast and Aberham White Weasel of Rapid City, Maxine Flying By, Marsha Eagle Chasing of Eagle Butte, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mark and Posey Garter of Albuquerque, N.M., and Clinton and Kyle Harrison of Takini. Also surviving are his great great grandchildren, Morgan and Jasmine Hale, Eric Jarvis and Dewey Kills Crow, Kyra, Danieal and Alyssa Hayes, Adrienne and Royce Jr. Marrow Bone, Eric, Jarvis, Dewey, Drake and Autumn Kills Crow, Shantay Crow Ghost, Alton Blacktail Deer Jr., La’tia, Tyree and Lashae Bear Stops, D’Nica Ducheneaux, Tretyn Red Elk, Sage Bowker, Sarah Patryas, Jordan and Sierra Iron Moccasin, and Kleigh, Dawnelle and Deaconn Garter. Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ellen Hale; sisters, Claira Hale-Fritz, Myrtle Hale-Little Shield, Don’ta Black Tail Bear, Drazen Black Tail Bear, Mary Isabbella Kills Crow, Clifford Merle Hale; brothers, Martin and Wilson Hale; one daughter, Charmaine Hale Harrison; and his paternal grandparents. Funeral services for Robert were Saturday, Aug. 9, at the new Community Building in Cherry Creek. Ted Knife, Erick Hernandez and Elmer Zimmerman officiated. Hernandez read Matthew 7:7. Special music was provided by Buzzy Yellow Hawk, Daryl Whipple, the Tiospaye Singers, Michelle White Wolf and the Mennonite Singers. Harvey Eagle Horse played the Honor Song. Casketbearers were Bob’s grandsons, Joshua Hale, Taun Bear Stops, Timothy White Weasel Hr., Clinton Harrison, Posey Garter, Maris Reindall, Richard Hale Jr., Teno Bear Stops, Eric V. Kills Crow, Kyle Harrison, Mark Garter and Danny Hayes Sr. Honorary bears included all military veterans and all Bob’s other friends and relatives. Burial was at the UCC Cemetery in Cherry Creek under the direction of Oster Funeral home of Mobridge. Mobridge Tribune Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs BIRLS Death File lists Robert Hale’s birth and death dates and his service branch as Navy from July 24, 1942 to November 27, 1942.

The Social Security death index shows that Robert was born on Sept. 7, 1922.

I cannot find this family in 1920, 1930 or 1940 in the census, nor in the Indian census. It’s possible that the parents and siblings names are incorrect or nicknames.

Robert’s parents were given as Joseph Hale and Ellen in his obituary. John’s mother reports that Joseph Hale’s name was Joseph “Blows on Himself” and that this is the end of that line because they migrated from Canada on “the big trail.” I found nothing about this family at Ancestry or utilizing Google. It’s possible that the family was not living as a nuclear family as a recognizable unit.

The 1940 census shows a Joseph Hale, age 48, widowed, an Indian, as an inmate in the Davison County, South Dakota Jail, but we don’t know if this is the same Joseph Hale.  However, this is the only Joseph Hale in South Dakota, or for that matter, in that part of the country.

im-1940-census-hale

This Joseph was widowed, an Indian and born on an Indian Reservation, so it may well be the correct Joseph. It would be interesting to see if any court records still exist relative to this case.

I found scanty information on the following individuals from the obituary listing them as siblings of Robert Clifford Hale.

  • Claira Hale – married Elmer Fritz on February 27, 1962 , born about 1926.
  • Mytrle Hale – Myrtle Faye Hale married Theophil Little Shield and died in SD at age 65.
  • Don’ta Black Tail Bear – nothing
  • Drazen Black Tail Bear – nothing
  • Mary Isabella Hale Kills Crow – nothing
  • Clifford Merle Hale – nothing
  • Martin Hale – if the same Martin, died in 1935 of appendicitis, age 20.
  • Wilson Hale born about 1921 married Eunice Eagle Horse. He died in 1950 in Ziebach County. In the 1940 census he is living with the Straight Head family which would make sense if his mother was deceased and his father was in jail.

The Second Ward Line

im-white-weasel

John Iron Moccasin’s grandmother on his mother’s side was Isabella Ward, born in 1925 or 1927.

The 1930 Federal census shows Isabella Ward, age 5, living with her parents in Ziebach County, SD. Her mother, Dora is listed as a full blood and her father, William, a mixed blood, all born in South Dakota and Sioux.

im-1930-census-ward

Her father is listed as a farmer.

We’ve already met Dora (Hope) Hump, daughter of Chief Hump and probably White Calf and William Ward, son of Clarence “Roan Bear” Ward and Estella Dupris.

DNA Results

Now for the most exciting part – the DNA results. Do John’s DNA results bear out his genealogy?

John’s tribal card says that he is at least 15/16th Native. That is accurate, given that he is 1/16th French on both his mother and father’s sides, from the same ancestor.

In percentages, for autosomal DNA, that translates into 6.25% white and 93.75% Native.

When I’m working with descendants of tribes located east of the Mississippi, I understand that they are very likely heavily admixed with (primarily) European males, and significantly so prior to 1800 and in most cases, prior to 1700. However, the Sioux are somewhat different. Except for occasional traders and missionaries, they essentially escaped the widespread influence of Europeans until the 1800s. With few exceptions, I would not expect to find earlier mixing with Europeans, meaning English, French or Spanish, or Africans.

Because of the history of the Sioux tribe, the sheer number of Sioux across a wide geography, and the lack of early European admixture, John’s DNA represents an opportunity to obtain a genetic view of a people not significantly admixed.

Endogamy

We know from John’s family tree that he shares at least 3 ancestors and possibly 4 on both his mother’s and father’s side of the family. Those ancestors are 4 generations up the tree from John.

im-white-weasel

In most cases, one’s great-great-grandparents would each contribute, on average, 6.25% of your DNA. In John’s case, he received a double dose of the DNA of each of those ancestors. If John received the exact same DNA from those ancestors, from both sides, he would still only have 6.25 % of their DNA. This is very unlikely, because normally siblings share part of their parent’s DNA, but not all of it. Conversely, it would be very unlikely for John to inherit none of the same DNA from that ancestor from both lines. Therefore, it’s most likely that instead of 6.25% of the DNA from that each ancestor who is found twice at 4 generations, he would carry about 9.38% of their DNA, or about half a generation closer than one would expect.

And that goes for all 3 common ancestors. We’re not sure which of Hump’s wives gave birth to which children, so this could also apply to Hump’s wife, a 4th ancestor.

Furthermore, these individuals in the tribes are likely already very heavily inter-married and related to each other, long before any records. There were only a limited number of people to select as mates, and all of those people also descended from the same ancestors, who were part of a very small foundation population that migrated from Asia some 10,000 to 25,000 years ago, depending on which model you subscribe to.

Therefore, endogamy and pedigree collapse where one shares common known ancestors would be a phenomenon that has occurred since the time of Anzick Child, and before.

John’s Tests

We tested John’s DNA at Family Tree DNA where his Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA was tested. John’s Y DNA shows us the deep ancestry of the White Weasel line. The mitochondrial shows us the deep ancestry of Dora (Hope or Hoop) Hump, daughter of Hump, presumably through wife, White Calf.

John’s autosomal DNA shows us an overall ethnicity view, plus matches to autosomal cousins. Let’s see what we have.

Autosomal Results

John’s myOrigins results show that he is roughly 17% European and the rest a combination of Native and Asian that together represents 84%.

im-myorigins

One of the aspects that I find most interesting is that the portion of Europe that shows a genetic link is Finland, not France where 6.25% of John’s paper trail ancestry is from.

Finland is particularly interesting in light of the result of the Clovis Anzick Child burial found in Montana that dates from about 12,500 years ago. We have the Anzick Child’s results in the Family Tree DNA data base, compliments of both Felix Immanuel and Family Tree DNA.

The Anzick child’s myOrigins results are shown below.

im-anzick-myorigins

The Anzick Child’s DNA ethnic results are very similar to John’s. Anzick Child matches the reference population for Finland at 11%, where John matches at 17%.

Furthermore, John Iron Moccasin is one of 110 people in the data base today that actually match the Anzick Child’s DNA at contemporary levels.

The match threshold at Family Tree DNA today is:

  • No minimum number of shared cM required, but if the cM total is less than 20, then at least one segment must be 9cM or larger.
  • If the longest block of shared DNA is greater than 9cM, the match will show regardless of total shared cM or the number of matching segments.

Lowering the match threshold to 3cM, we can see several small segments that match between John and the Anzick Child.

im-anzick-browser-5cm

I downloaded their common matching segments.

Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 4282649 5290332 2.56 500
2 98863262 101324606 1.69 600
2 112439588 114460466 1.71 500
2 169362301 170609544 2.27 500
3 8964806 10632877 3.03 600
3 14230971 16121247 2.83 600
3 46655067 53174054 1.28 1000
4 12866760 14721835 1.85 500
5 78642903 80323930 1.64 500
5 158757557 162829228 3.82 1000
6 34609507 36812814 2.88 600
6 127839067 130105402 2 500
7 76597648 78055762 2.84 500
7 99319352 101758792 2.05 600
8 10455449 12975017 2.68 700
8 30301880 34206702 3.45 799
9 26018352 27374204 2.37 500
9 104470303 106854637 3.76 777
10 71258510 72644677 1.46 600
10 102514460 106018240 2.65 800
10 110936823 113553555 3.83 700
11 32265994 34530393 3.35 700
11 91619854 94670011 3.71 800
11 102068510 103853340 1.76 500
12 27332778 29165805 1.66 500
12 96875639 99784589 2.74 700
13 55048728 58723000 1.66 600
13 78707414 80906921 1.34 500
14 22564888 24752111 3.59 800
14 68418807 70225737 1.65 500
14 76767325 78038237 1.71 500
16 12528330 14375990 5.49 659
18 33126219 35069488 1.37 500
19 8284870 13355259 7.87 1278
20 45913972 47494552 3.17 500

Their largest matching segments are on chromosome 19 for 7.87 cM and on 16 for 5.49 cM.

The genetic connection between the Anzick Child and John Iron Moccasin is evident. John’s tribe is descended from the same people as the Anzick Child who was buried in present day Montana. John’s ancestors, Hump, Roan Hair and Follows were all born in Montana, and the Sioux homelands stretched across this entire region.

This begs the question of whether John is simply lucky to have inherited these segments, or if they are found widely in the Native, particularly Sioux, population as a whole.

To help answer this question, I looked at John’s closest 4 matches along with the Anzick Child in the chromosome browser, compared to John’s DNA.

im-anzick-match-compare

At 5cM there is no overlap with John’s closest matches and the Anzick Child, whose DNA is shown in green, above. However, dropping the threshold to 3, below, shows overlap with Thomas’s closest match on chromosome 19 at 4.98 cM and other chromosomes in smaller amounts. This would suggest that perhaps the DNA that is the same as the Anzick Child’s does not repose in the entire tribal population.

im-match-compare-3cm

Let’s take a look another way.

John and the Anzick Child at GedMatch

At GedMatch, John matches the Anzick Child on slightly different segments than at Family Tree DNA. It’s not unusual for different vendors to produce slightly different results. In this case, the match on chromosome 16 is absent altogether, and there are larger segment matches on chromosomes 8 and 14 using a 5cM and 500 SNP threshold.  Chromosome 22 shows a match not present at Family Tree DNA.

im-anzick-gedmatch

I was curious to see how many people matched John on his segments shared with the Anzick Child.

John matches a total of 2119 people at GedMatch at 5cM and 500 SNPs.

John’s results for his two largest segments, chromosome 16 (at FTDNA) and 19 were different. Chromosome 16, the smaller match, was generally unremarkable, but his chromosome 19 was a different story, carrying many names and surnames that I recognize.

Let’s take a look at the triangulation tool and see what we find there. We are looking for anyone who triangulates with both John and Anzick Child. This tool reports every triangulated match in excess of 5cM.

im-chr-16

Using the triangulation tool, no one triangulates, meaning matches both John and the Anzick child, on either chromosome 16 or 19. This suggests that all of John’s matches showing are on the “other” chromosome and that this chromosome segment is fairly rare.

If one of John’s parents were to test, we could identify which of John’s parents was matching Anzick, so we would know which side of John’s family these individuals are matching on these segments, assuming these matches are not identical by chance.

Out of curiosity, I triangulated Anzick Child’s kit to see if there were any triangulated groups. There were, but none that included John.

At GedMatch, let’s use the “Are Your Parents Related?” utility. We know that John’s parents are related, but are any of the segments that came from both parents the same segment that is found in John’s Anzick match? The match threshold at GedMatch for this tool is 7cM and 700 SNPs, so the only segment that would qualify would be this segment on chromosome 19, shown above in green.

19 8284870 13355259 7.87 1278

The “Are Your Parents Related?” tool at GedMatch shows the following results.

im-parents-related

im-parents-related-2

im-parents-related-3

im-parents-related-4

According to GedMatch, this segment of chromosome 19 was not contributed by both of John’s parents, so this portion of the Anzick DNA is not found universally in the entire Native population in that region.

One last look at John’s DNA by comparing to the Ancient group contributed at GedMatch shows no segments 4cM or above that match with any ancient specimen other than the Clovis (Anzick) Child, including no match to the Paleo Eskimo in Greenland from 4,000 years ago and no match to Kennewick Man. The tiny orange bars represent matching segments at 400 SNPs and 4cM.

im-ancient

John’s Mitochondrial DNA

John’s mitochondrial DNA comes directly from his matrilineal line, meaning from his mother, her mother, her mother, on up the tree until you run out of direct line mothers.

im-white-weasel

In this case, that person winds up being Hump’s wife. We think that person is probably  White Calf, but it could be one of Hump’s other wives. We just don’t know for sure given that Hump was polygamous.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed intact in each generation, doesn’t get combined with the father’s DNA so it’s a direct line back in time.

Johns’s mitochondrial haplogroup is clearly Native, C4c1.

im-y-hap-q

Haplogroup C4c1 was originally reported in the Suswap by Ripan Malhi; in the Chippewa Creek and in Jasper House, Alberta Canada, in 2015 by Roberta Estes from the American Indian project.

At the HVR1 level, John has 62 exact matches, but he has no matches at the HVR2 or full sequence levels. This means that of the people who have tested at that level, he has more than 4 differences at the full sequence level. Translated, this means they don’t share common ancestors in hundreds to thousands of years.

Only 8 of John’s HVR1 matches have tested at the full sequence level, unfortunately.

Of those, the earliest ancestors are Spanish, indicating that they are probably from either the American southwest, or further south, and their haplogroup C ancestor was eventually associated with the Spanish. One is from New Mexico. One is from Michigan.

Few of John’s matches have entered the location of their most distant ancestor, but those who have provided that information are shown below at the HVR1 level, understanding that a common ancestor at that level could predate the migration into the Americas.

im-mtdna-match-map

Utilizing the information provided through the Genographic project, we find the following information about haplogroup C4c1.

im-c4c1-geno

This provides very interesting geographic distribution information, but it also begs the question of how haplogroup C4c1 was found in Germany or Sweden. Of course, we are relying on participant-reported information and it’s certainly possible that two individuals misunderstood the directions. It’s also possible that one or both are legitimate. I have wondered for a long time about a link between the northern Scandinavian populations, especially subarctic, and the Native subarctic populations in North America.

According to Dr. Doron Behar in the supplement to his paper titled, “A Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” haplogroup C4c1 was born about 10,095 years ago with a standard deviation of 4550 years, meaning the range of time in which C4c1 was born in likely 5,545 to 14,645 years ago. Clearly, there is enough latitude in this date range for some C4c1 to be found in either Asia or Europe, and C4c1 to be found in the Americas as well. If this is indeed the case, one would expect for the variants of C4c1 found on the differing continents to contain a significant difference in mutations, exceeding the 4 mutations allowed for genealogical matching purposes at Family Tree DNA.

To date, there has been no ancient DNA recovered bearing this haplogroup.

Other Mitochondrial Results

Individuals descending from several of John’s maternal lines would be perfect candidates to test for the mitochondrial DNA of those lines. One must descend from these women through all females to the current generation:

  • Follows
  • Esther Ward – Nellie “Pretty Voice” – Beautiful Hail or White Calf
  • Ellen (wife of Joseph Hale)

Testing a female descended through Pretty Voice, mother of Esther Ward, would determine whether or not White Calf was the mother of Pretty Voice, or if it was another woman, probably Beautiful Hail.

John’s Y DNA

John inherited his Y DNA chromosome from Charley White Weasel.

im-white-weasel

John’s Y haplogroup is Q-M242, a Native haplogroup.

im-y-hap-q

John tested to the 67 marker level, but has no matches at 67 markers. At 12, 25 and 37 markers, he matches a gentleman whose ancestor was from Fort Thomson, SD who also tested at 67 markers. That is John’s only match, so apparently John carries some unusual mutations in his Y DNA as well that are probably isolated to people from the Sioux tribe or their ancestors in the past a few hundred to thousands of years.

im-y-matches-map

On the map above, John’s match is shown and on the map below, John’s white balloon is shown where he was born in relation to that of his red balloon match.

im-y-matches-map-2

To obtain additional information about John’s Y DNA haplogroup, the Big Y test would need to be run on his sample. By running the Big Y, we could obtain a more granular haplogroup, meaning further down the tree, and we could also see who matches him more distantly, meaning further back in time. That information could well provide us with information indicating which groups of Native people John is most closely related to. That suggests a migration route or pathway and tells us about social interactions at some level hundreds to thousands of years in the past.

Anzick Child’s Y DNA haplogroup is Q-L54, a subgroup of Q-M242, shown on the haplotree below. You can also see that many subgroups below L54 have been discovered.

im-hap-q-tree

I strongly suspect that John’s haplogroup would be Q-L54 or a subgroup further downstream. I’m betting on a subgroup, meaning that mutations have occurred in John’s line that define a newer, younger haplogroup since the time that Anzick Child and John shared a common ancestor.

Other Y Line Results

I was hopeful that I would find results for John’s Ward or Hale line in the projects at Family Tree DNA, but I did not. I checked in the American Indian project for Hump, with the hope that one of his descendants has tested as well, but did not find that Hump is yet represented in the data base. Of course, anyone paternally descended from Hump’s father, Iron Bull or his father, Black Buffalo would carry the same Y DNA.

If anyone descends from these direct Y lines, please do let us know.

Summary

What we have been able to discover about John’s ancestry both through traditional genealogy and genetic genealogy has been both amazing and fascinating.

John now knows that he is connected to the Anzick Child, the Ancient One. John’s ancestors and Anzick’s were one and the same. Some 12,500 years later, John was born on the same land where his ancestors have literally lived “forever.”

Anzick has given John a wonderful gift, and John has given that gift to the rest of us. We continue to learn through both John and Anzick’s contributions. Thank you to both.

What’s Next?

I would very much like to upgrade John’s Y DNA to 111 markers and order a Big Y test while the holiday sale is in effect. If you would like to contribute to these tests of discovery, please donate to the American Indian project general fund at this link. If we raise more than we need for John’s tests, we have implemented an application process for other Native people. Every donation helps, and helps to build our knowledge base – so please contribute if you can.

Acknowledgements

My gratitude to the following people:

John Iron Moccasin for testing, providing family information and allowing us to work with and publish his results.

John’s mother, Martha Hale, for providing the original genealogical information, below.

im-original-pedigree

Johns’ friend, Pam, for bringing us this opportunity.

John’s wife, Carolyn, for coordinating information.

Family Tree DNA for testing and facilitating the Ancient DNA Project, the American Indian Project and various Native American haplogroup projects.

nat-geo-logoThe National Geographic Society Genographic Project for providing data base access to the project administrators of the American Indian Project as Affiliate Researchers

Project members and others for contributions to facilitate John’s testing.

My American Indian project co-administrators, Marie Rundquist and Dr. David Pike for their never-failing support.

Autosomal DNA Matching Confidence Spectrum

Are you confused about DNA matches and what they mean…different kinds of matches…from different vendors and combined results between vendors.  Do you feel like lions and tigers and bears…oh my?  You’re not alone.

As the vendors add more tools, I’ve noticed recently that along with those tools has come a significant amount of confusion surrounding matches and what they mean.  Add to this issue confusion about the terminology being used within the industry to describe various kinds of matches.  Combined, we now have a verbiage or terminology issue and we have confusion regarding the actual matches and what they mean.  So, as people talk, what they mean, what they are trying to communicate and what they do say can be interpreted quite widely.  Is it any wonder so many people are confused?

I reached out within the community to others who I know are working with autosomal results on a daily basis and often engaged in pioneering research to see how they are categorizing these results and how they are referring to them.

I want to thank Jim Bartlett, Blaine Bettinger, Tim Janzen and David Pike (in surname alphabetical order) for their input and discussion about these topics.  I hope that this article goes a long way towards sorting through the various kinds of matches and what they can and do mean to genetic genealogists – and what they are being called.  To be clear, the article is mine and I have quoted them specifically when applicable.

But first, let’s talk about goals.

Goals

One thing that has become apparent over the past few months is that your goals may well affect how you interpret data.  For example, if you are an adoptee, you’re going to be looking first at your closest matches and your largest segments.  Distant matches and small segments are irrelevant at least until you work with the big pieces.  The theory of low hanging fruit, of course.

If your goal is to verify and generally validate your existing genealogy, you may be perfectly happy with Ancestry’s Circles.  Ancestry Circles aren’t proof, as many people think, but if you’re looking for low hanging fruit and “probably” versus “positively,” Ancestry Circles may be the answer for you.

If you didn’t stop reading after the last sentence, then I’m guessing that “probably” isn’t your style.

If your goal is to prove each ancestor and/or map their segments to your DNA, you’re not going to be at all happy with Ancestry’s lack of segment data – so your confidence and happiness level is going to be greatly different than someone who is just looking to find themselves in circles with other descendants of the same ancestor and go merrily on their way.

If you have already connected the dots on most of your ancestry for the past 4 or 5 generations, and you’re working primarily with colonial ancestors and those born before 1700, you may be profoundly interested in small segment data, while someone else decides to eliminate that same data on their spreadsheet to eliminate clutter.  One person’s clutter is another’s goldmine.

While, technically, the different types of tests and matches carry a different technical confidence level, your personal confidence ranking will be influenced by your own goals and by some secondary factors like how many other people match on a particular segment.

Let’s start by talking about the different kinds of matching.  I’ve been working with my Crumley line, so I’ll be utilizing examples from that project.

Individual Matching, Group Matching and Triangulation

There is a difference between individual matching, group matching and triangulation.  In fact, there is a whole spectrum of matching to be considered.

Individual Matching

Individual matching is when someone matches you.

confidence individual match

That’s great, but one match out of context generally isn’t worth much.  There’s that word, generally, because if there is one thing that is almost always true, it’s that there is an exception to every rule and that exception often has to do with context.  For example, if you’re looking for parents and siblings, then one match is all you need.

If this match happens to be to my first cousin, that alone confirms several things for me, assuming there is not a secondary relationship.  First, it confirms my relationship with my parent and my parent’s descent from their parents, since I couldn’t be matching my first cousin (at first cousin level) if all of the lines between me and the cousin weren’t intact.

confidence cousins

However, if the match is to someone I don’t know, and it’s not a close relative, like the 2nd to 4th cousins shown in the match above, then it’s meaningless without additional information.  Most of your matches will be more distant.  Let’s face it, you have a lot more distant cousins than close cousins.  Many ancestors, especially before about 1900, were indeed, prolific, at least by today’s standards.

So, at this point, your match list looks like this:

confidence match list

Bridget looks pretty lonely.  Let’s see what we can do about that.

Matching Additional People

The first question is “do you share a common ancestor with that individual?”  If yes, then that is a really big hint – but it’s not proof of anything – unless they are a close relative match like we discussed above.

Why isn’t a single match enough for proof?

You could be related to this person through more than one ancestral line – and that happens far more than I initially thought.  I did an analysis some time back and discovered that about 15% of the time, I can confirm a secondary genealogical line that is not related to the first line in my tree.  There were another 7% that were probable – meaning that I can’t identify a second common ancestor with certainty, but the surname and location is the same and a connection is likely.  Another 8% were from endogamous lines, like Acadians, so I’m sure there are multiple lines involved.  And of those matches (minus the Acadians), about 10% look to have 3 genealogical lines, not just two.  The message here – never assume.

When you find one match and identify one common genealogical line, you can’t assume that is how you are genetically related on the segment in question.

Ideally, at this point, you will find a third person who shares the common ancestor and their DNA matches, or triangulates, between you and your original match to prove the connection.  But, circumstances are not always ideal.

What is Triangualtion?

Triangulation on the continuum of confidence is the highest confidence level achievable, outside of close relative matching which is evident by itself without triangulation.

Triangulation is when you match two people who share a common ancestor and all three of you match each other on that same segment.  This means that segment descended to all three of you from that common ancestor.

This is what a match group would look like if Jerry matches both John and Bridget.

confidence example 1 match group

Example 1 – Match Group

The classic definition of triangulation is when three people, A, B and C all match each other on the same segment and share a known, identifiable common ancestor.  Above, we only have two.  We don’t know yet if John matches Bridget.

A matches B
A matches C
B matches C

This is what an exact triangulation group would look like between Jerry, John and Bridget.  Most triangulation matches aren’t exact, meaning the start and/or end segment might be different, but some are exact.

confidence example 2 triangulation group

Example 2 – Triangulation Group

It’s not always possible to prove all three.  Sometimes you can see that Jerry matches Bridget and Jerry matches John, but you have no access to John or Bridget’s kits to verify that they also match each other.  If you are at Family Tree DNA, you can run the ICW (in common with) tool to see if John and Bridget do match each other – but that tool does not confirm that they match on the same segment.

If the individuals involved have uploaded their kits to GedMatch, you have the ability to triangulate because you can see the kit numbers of your matches and you can then run them against each other to verify that they do indeed match each other as well.  Not everyone uploads their kits to GedMatch, so you may wind up with a hybrid combination of triangulated groups (like example 2, above) and matching groups (like example 1, above) on your own personal spreadsheet.

Matching groups (that are not triangulated) are referred to by different names within the community.  Tim Janzen refers to them as clusters of cousins, Blaine as pseudo triangulation and I have called them triangulation groups in the past if any three within the group are proven to be triangulated. Be careful when you’re discussing this, because matching groups are often misstated as triangulated groups.  You’ll want to clarify.

Creating a Match List

Sometimes triangulation options aren’t available to us.  For example, at Family Tree DNA, we can see who matches us, and we can see if they match each other utilizing the ICW tool, but we can’t see specifically where they match each other.  This is considered a match group.  This type of matching is also where a great deal of confusion is introduced because these people do match each other, but they are NOT (yet) triangulated.

What we know is that all of these people are on YOUR match list, but we don’t know that they are on each other’s match lists.  They could be matching you on different sides of your DNA or, if smaller segments, they might be IBC (identical by chance.)

You can run the ICW (in common with) tool at Family Tree DNA for every match you have.  The ICW tool is a good way to see who matches both people in question.  Hopefully, some of your matches will have uploaded trees and you can peruse for common ancestors.

The ICW tool is the little crossed arrows and it shows you who you and that person also match in common.

confidence match list ftdna

You can run the ICW tool in conjunction with the ancestral surname in question, showing only individuals who you have matches in common with who have the Crumley surname (for example) in their ancestral surname list.  This is a huge timesaver and narrows your scope of search immediately.  By clicking on the ICW tool for Ms. Bridget,  you see the list, below of those who match both the person whose account we are signed into and Ms. Bridget, below.

confidence icw ftdna

Another way to find common matches to any individual is to search by either the current surname or ancestral surnames.  The ancestral surname search checks the surnames entered by other participants and shows them in the results box.

In the example above, all of these individuals have Crumley listed in their surnames.  You can see that I’ve sorted by ancestral surname – as Crumley is in that search box.

Now, your match lists looks like this relative to the Crumley line.  Some people included trees and you can find your common ancestor on their tree, or through communications with them directly.  In other cases, no tree but the common surname appears in the surname match list.  You may want to note those results on your match list as well.

confidence match list 2

Of course, the next step is to compare these individuals in a matrix to see who matches who and the chromosome browser to see where they match you, which we’ll discuss momentarily.

Group Matching

The next type of matching is when you have a group of people who match each other, but not necessarily on the same segment of DNA.  These matching groups are very important, especially when you know there is a shared ancestor involved – but they don’t indicate that the people share the same segment, nor that all (or any) of their shared segments are from this particular ancestor.  Triangulation is the only thing that accomplishes proof positive.

This ICW matrix shows some of the Crumley participants who have tested and who matches whom.

confidence icw grid

You can display this grid by matching total cM or by known relationship (assuming the individuals have entered this information) or by predicted relationship range.  The total cMs shared is more important for me in evaluating how closely this person might be related to the other individual.

The Chromosome Browser

The chromosome browser at Family Tree DNA shows matches from the perspective of any one individual.  This means that the background display of the 22 Chromosomes (plus X) is the person all of the matches are comparing against. If you’re signed in to your account, then you are the black background chromosomes, and everyone is being compared against your DNA.  I’m only showing the first 6 chromosomes below.

confidence chromosome browser

You can see where up to 5 individuals match the person you’re comparing them to.  In this case, it looks like they may share a common segment on chromosome 2 among several descendants.  Of course, you’d need to check each of these individuals to insure that they match each other on this same segment to confirm that indeed, it did come from a common ancestor.  That’s triangulation.

When you see a grouping of matches of individuals known to descend from a common ancestor on the same chromosome, it’s very likely that you have a match group (cluster of cousins, pseudo triangulation group) and they will all match each other on that same segment if you have the opportunity to triangulate them, but it’s not absolute.

For example, below we have a reconstructed chromosome 8 of James Crumley, the common ancestor of a large group of people shown based on matches.  In other words, each colored segment represents a match between two people.  I have a lot more confidence in the matches shown with the arrows than the single or less frequent matches.

confidence chromosome 8 match group'

This pseudo triangulation is really very important, because it’s not just a match, and it’s not triangulation.  The more people you have that match you on this segment and that have the same ancestor, the more likely that this segment will triangulate.  This is also where much of the confusion is coming from, because matching groups of multiple descendants on the same segments almost always do triangulate so they have been being called triangulation groups, even when they have not all been triangulated to each other.  Very occasionally, you will find a group of several people with a common ancestor who triangulate to each other on this common segment, except one of a group doesn’t triangulate to one other, but otherwise, they all triangulate to others.

confidence triangulation issue

This situation has to be an error of some sort, because if all of these people match each other, including B, then B really must match D.  Our group discussed this, and Jim Bartlett pointed out that these problem matches are often near the vendor matching threshold (or your threshold if you’re using GedMatch) and if the threshold is lowered a bit, they continue to match.  They may also be a marginal match on the edge, so to speak or they may have a read error at a critical location in their kit.

What “in common with” matching does is to increase your confidence that these are indeed ancestral matches, a cousin cluster, but it’s not yet triangulation.

Ancestry Matches

Ancestry has added another level of matching into the mix.  The difference is, of course, that you can’t see any segment data at all, at Ancestry, so you don’t have anything other than the fact that you do match the other person and if you have a shakey leaf hint, you also share a common ancestor in your trees.

confidence ancestry matches

When three people match each other on any segment (meaning this does not infer a common segment match) and also share a common ancestor in a tree, they qualify to be a DNA Circle.  However, there is other criteria that is weighted and not every group of 3 individuals who match and share an ancestor becomes a DNA Circle.  However, many do and many Circles have significantly more than three individuals.

confidence Phoebe Crumley circle

This DNA Circle is for Phebe Crumley, one of my Crumley ancestors.  In this grouping, I match one close family group of 5 people, and one individual, Alyssa, all of whom share Phebe Crumley in their trees.  As luck would have it, the family group has also tested at Family Tree DNA and has downloaded their results to GedMatch, but as it stands here at Ancestry, with DNA Circle data only…the only thing I can do is to add them to my match list.

confidence match list 3

In case you’re wondering, the reason I only added three of the 5 family members of the Abija group to my match list is because two are children of one of the members and their Crumley DNA is represented through their parent.

While a small DNA Circle like Phebe Crumley’s can be incorrect, because the individuals can indeed be sharing the DNA of a different ancestor, a larger group gives you more confidence that the relationship to that group of people is actually through the common ancestor whose circle you are a member of.  In the example Circle shown below, I match 6 individuals out of a total of 21 individuals who are all interrelated and share Henry Bolton in their tree.

Confidence Henry Bolton circle

New Ancestor Discoveries

Ancestry introduced New Ancestor Discoveries (NADs) a few months ago.  This tool is, unfortunately, misnamed – and although this is a good concept for finding people whose DNA you share, but whose tree you don’t – it’s not mature yet.

The name causes people to misinterpret the “ancestors” given to them as genuinely theirs.  So far, I’ve had a total of 11 NADS and most have been easily proven false.

Here’s how NADs work.  Let’s say there is a DNA Circle, John Doe, of 3 people and you match two of them.  The assumption is that John Doe is also your ancestor because you share the DNA of his descendants.  This is a critically flawed assumption.  For example, in one case, my ancestors sister’s husband is shown as my “new ancestor discovery” because I share DNA with his descendants (through his wife, my ancestor’s sister.)  Like I said, not mature yet.

I have discussed this repeatedly, so let’s just suffice it to say for this discussion, that there is absolutely no confidence in NADs and they aren’t relevant.

Shared Matches

Ancestry recently added a Shared Matches function.

For each person that you match at Ancestry, that is a 4th cousin or closer and who has a high confidence match ranking, you can click on shared matches to see who you and they both match in common.

confidence ancestry shared matches

This does NOT mean you match these people through the same ancestor.  This does NOT mean you match them on the same segment.  I wrote about how I’ve used this tool, but without additional data, like segment data, you can’t do much more with this.

What I have done is to build a grid similar to the Family Tree DNA matrix where I’ve attempted to see who matches whom and if there is someone(s) within that group that I can identify as specifically descending from the same ancestor.  This is, unfortunately, extremely high maintenance for a very low return.  I might add someone to my match list if they matched a group (or circle) or people that match me, whose common ancestor I can clearly identify.

Shared Matches are the lowest item on the confidence chart – which is not to say they are useless.  They can provide hints that you can follow up on with more precise tools.

Let’s move to the highest confidence tool, triangulation groups.

Triangulation Groups

Of course, the next step, either at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, through GedMatch, or some combination of each, is to compare the actual segments of the individuals involved.  This means, especially at Ancestry where you have no tools, that you need to develop a successful begging technique to convince your matches to download their data to GedMatch or Family Tree DNA, or both.  Most people don’t, but some will and that may be the someone you need.

You have three triangulation options:

  1. If you are working with the Family Inheritance Advanced at 23andMe, you can compare each of your matches with each other. I would still invite my matches to download to GedMatch so you can compare them with people who did not test at 23andMe.
  2. If you are working with a group of people at Family Tree DNA, you can ask them to run themselves against each other to see if they also match on the same segment that they both match you on. If you are a project administrator on a project where they are all members, you can do this cross-check matching yourself. You can also ask them to download their results to GedMatch.
  3. If your matches will download their results to GedMatch, you can run each individual against any other individual to confirm their common segment matches with you and with each other.

In reality, you will likely wind up with a mixture of matches on your match list and not everyone will upload to GedMatch.

Confirming that segments create a three way match when you share a common ancestor constitutes proof that you share that common ancestor and that particular DNA has been passed down from that ancestor to you.

confidence match list 4

I’ve built this confidence table relative to matches first found at Family Tree DNA, adding matches from Ancestry and following them to GedMatch.  Fortunately, the Abija group has tested at all 3 companies and also uploaded their results to GedMatch.  Some of my favorite cousins!

Spectrum of Confidence

Blaine Bettinger built this slide that sums up the tools and where they fall on the confidence range alone, without considerations of your goals and technical factors such as segment size.  Thanks Blaine for allowing me to share it here.

confidence level Blaine

These tools and techniques fall onto a spectrum of confidence, which I’ve tried to put into perspective, below.

confidence level highest to lowest

I really debated how to best show these.  Unfortunately, there is almost always some level of judgment involved. In some cases, like triangulation at the 3 vendors, the highest level is equivalent, but in other cases, like the medium range, it really is a spectrum from lowest to highest within that grouping.

Now, let’s take a look at our matches that we’ve added to our match list in confidence order.

confidence match list 5

As you would expect, those who triangulated with each other using some chromosome browser and share a common ancestor are the highest confidence matches – those 5 with a red Y.  These are followed by matches who match me and each other but not on the same segment (or at least we don’t know that), so they don’t triangulate, at least not yet.

I didn’t include any low confidence matches in this table, but of the lowest ones that are included, the shakey leaf matches at Ancestry that won’t answer inquiries and the matches at FTDNA who do share a common surname but didn’t download their information to be triangulated are the least confident of the group.  However, even those lower confidence matches on this chart are medium, meaning at Ancestry they are in a Circle and at FTDNA, they do match and share a common surname.  At Family Tree DNA, they may eventually fall into a triangulation group of other descendants who triangulate.

Caveats

As always, there are some gotchas.  As someone said in something I read recently, “autosomal DNA is messy.”

Endogamy

Endogamous populations are just a mess.  The problem is that literally, everyone is related to everyone, because the founder population DNA has just been passed around and around for generations with little or no new DNA being introduced.

Therefore, people who descend from endogamous populations often show to be much more closely related than they are in a genealogical timeframe.

Secondly, we have the issue pointed out by David Pike, and that is when you really don’t know where a particular segment came from, because the segment matches both the parents, or in some cases, multiple grandparents.  So, which grandparent did that actual segment that descended to the grandchild descend from?

For people who are from the same core population on both parent’s side, close matches are often your only “sure thing” and beyond that, hopefully you have your parents (at least one parent) available to match against, because that’s the only way of even beginning to sort into family groups.  This is known as phasing against your parents and while it’s a great tool for everyone to use – it’s essential to people who descend from endogamous groups. Endogamy makes genetic genealogy difficult.

In other cases, where you do have endogamy in your line, but only in one of your lines, endogamy can actually help you, because you will immediately know based on who those people match in addition to you (preferably on the same segment) which group they descend from.  I can’t tell you how many rows I have on my spreadsheet that are labeled with the word “Acadian,” “Brethren” and “Mennonite.”  I note the common ancestor we can find, but in reality, who knows which upstream ancestor in the endogamous population the DNA originated with.

Now, the bad news is that Ancestry runs a routine that removes DNA that they feel is too matchy in your results, and most of my Acadian matches disappeared when Ancestry implemented their form of population based phasing.

Identical by Population

There is sometimes a fine line between a match that’s from an ancestor one generation further back than you can go, and a match from generations ago via DNA found at a comparatively high percentage in a particular population.  You can’t tell the difference.  All you know is that you can’t assign that segment to an ancestor, and you may know it does phase against a parent, so it’s valid, meaning not IBC or identical by chance.

Yes, identical by population segment matching is a distinct problem with endogamy, but it can also be problematic with people from the same region of the world but not members of endogamous populations.  Endogamy is a term for the timeframe we’re familiar with.  We don’t know what happened before we know what happened.

From time to time, you’ll begin to see something “odd” happened where a group of segments that you already have triangulated to one ancestor will then begin to triangulate to a second ancestor.  I’m not talking about the normal two groups for every address – one from your Mom’s side and one from your Dad’s.  I’m talking, for example, when my Mom’s DNA in a particular area begins to triangulate to one ancestral group from Germany and one from France.  These clearly aren’t the same ancestors, and we know that one particular “spot” or segment range that I received from her DNA can only come from one ancestor.  But these segment matches look to be breaking that rule.

I created the example below to illustrate this phenomenon.  Notice that the top and bottom 3 all match nicely to me and to each other and share a common ancestor, although not the same common ancestor for the two groups.  However, the range significantly overlaps.  And then there is the match to Mary Ann in the middle whose common ancestor to me is unknown.

confidence IBP example

Generally, we see these on smaller segment groups, and this is indicative that you may be seeing an identical by population group.  Many people lump these IBP (identical by population) groups in with IBC, identical by chance, but they aren’t.  The difference is that the DNA in an IBP group truly is coming from your ancestors – it’s just that two distinct groups of ancestors have the same DNA because at some point, they shared a common ancestor.  This is the issue that “academic phasing” (as opposed to parental phasing) is trying to address.  This is what Ancestry calls “pileup areas” and attempts to weed out of your results.  It’s difficult to determine where the legitimate mathematical line is relative to genealogically useful matches versus ones that aren’t.  And as far as I’m concerned, knowing that my match is “European” or “Native” or “African” even if I can’t go any further is still useful.

Think about this, if every European has between 1 and 4% Neanderthal DNA from just a few Neanderthal individuals that lived more than 20,000 years ago in Europe – why wouldn’t we occasionally trip over some common DNA from long ago that found its way into two different family lines.

When I find these multiple groupings, which is actually relatively rare, I note them and just keep on matching and triangulating, although I don’t use these segments to draw any conclusions until a much larger triangulated segment match with an identified ancestor comes into play.  Confidence increases with larger segments.

This multiple grouping phenomenon is a hint of a story I don’t know – and may never know.  Just because I don’t quite know how to interpret it today doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.  In time, maybe its full story will be revealed.

ROH – Runs of Homozygosity

Autosomal DNA tests test someplace over 500,000 locations, depending on the vendor you select.  At each of those locations, you find a value of either T, A, C or G, representing a specific nucleotide.  Sometimes, you find runs of the same nucleotide, so you will find an entire group of all T, for example.  If either of your parents have all Ts in the same location, then you will match anyone with any combination of T and anything else.

confidence homozygosity example

In the example above, you can see that you inherited T from both your Mom and Dad.  Endogamy maybe?

Sally, although she will technically show as a match, doesn’t really “match” you.  It’s just a fluke that her DNA matches your DNA by hopping back and forth between her Mom’s and Dad’s DNA.  This is not a match my descent, but by chance, or IBC (identical by chance.)  There is no way for you to know this, except by also comparing your results to Sally’s parents – another example of parental phasing.  You won’t match Sally’s parents on this segment, so the segment is IBC.

Now let’s look at Joe.  Joe matches you legitimately, but you can’t tell by just looking at this whether Joe matches you on your Mom’s or Dad’s side.  Unfortunately, because no one’s DNA comes with a zipper or two sides of the street labeled Mom and Dad – the only way to determine how Joe matches you is to either phase against Joe’s parents or see who else Joe matches that you match, preferable on the same segment – in other words – create either a match or ICW group, or triangulation.

Segment Size

Everyone is in agreement about one thing.  Large segments are never IBC, identical by chance.  And I hate to use words like never, so today, interpret never to mean “not yet found.”  I’ve seen that large segment number be defined both 13cM and 15cM and “almost never” over 10cM.  There is currently discussion surrounding the X chromosome and false positives at about this threshold, but the jury is still out on this one.

Most medium segments hold true too.  Medium segment matches to multiple people with the same ancestors almost always hold true.  In fact, I don’t personally know of one that didn’t, but that isn’t to say it hasn’t happened.

By medium segments, most people say 7cM and above.  Some say 5cM and above with multiple matching individuals.

As the segment size decreases, the confidence level decreases too, but can be increased by either multiple matches on that segment from a common proven ancestor or, of course, triangulation.  Phasing against your parent also assures that the match is not IBD.  As you can see, there are tools and techniques to increase your confidence when dealing with small segments, and to eliminate IBC segments.

The issue of small segments, how and when they can be utilized is still unresolved.  Some people simply delete them.  I feel that is throwing the baby away with the bathwater and small segments that triangulate from a common ancestor and that don’t find themselves in the middle of a pileup region that is identical by population or that is known to be overly matchy (near the center of chromosome 6, for example) can be utilized.  In some cases, these segments are proven because that same small segment section is also proven against matches that are much larger in a few descendants.

Tim Janzen says that he is more inclined to look at the number of SNPs instead of the segment size, and his comfort number is 500 SNPs or above.

The flip side of this is, as David Pike mentioned, that the fewer locations you have in a row, the greater the chance that you can randomly match, or that you can have runs of heterozygosity.

No one in our discussion group felt that all small segments were useless, although the jury is still out in terms of consensus about what exactly defines a small segment and when they are legitimate and/or useful.  Everyone of us wants to work towards answers, because for those of us who are dealing with colonial ancestors and have already picked the available low hanging fruit, those tantalizing small segments may be all that is left of the ancestor we so desperately need to identify.

For example, I put together this chart detailing my matching DNA by generation. Interesting, I did a similar chart originally almost exactly three years ago and although it has seemed slow day by day, I made a lot of progress when a couple of brick walls fell, in particular, my Dutch wall thanks to Yvette Hoitink.

If you look at the green group of numbers, that is the amount of shared DNA to be expected at each level.  The number of shared cMs drops dramatically between the 5th and 6th generation from 13 cM which would be considered a reasonable matching level (according to the above discussion) at the 5th generation, and 3.32 cM at the 6th generation level, which is a small segment by anyone’s definition.

confidence segment size vs generation

The 6th generation was born roughly in 1760, and if you look to the white grouping to the right of the green group, you can see that my percentage of known ancestors is 84% in the 5th generation, 80% in the 6th generation, but drops quickly after that to 39, 22 and 3%, respectively.  So, the exact place where I need the most help is also the exact place where the expected amount of DNA drops from 13 to 3.32 cM.  This means, that if anyone ever wants to solve those genealogical puzzles in that timeframe utilizing genetic genealogy, we had better figure out how to utilize those small segments effectively – because it may well be all we have except for the occasional larger sticky segment that is passed intact from an ancestor many generations past.

From my perspective, it’s a crying shame that Ancestry gives us no segment data and it’s sad that 23andMe only gives us 5cM and above.  It’s a blessing that we can select our own threshold at GedMatch.  I’m extremely grateful that FTDNA shows us the small segment matches to 1cM and 500 SNPs if we also match on 20cM total and at least one segment over 7cM.  That’s a good compromise, because small segments are more likely to be legitimate if we have a legitimate match on a larger segment and a known ancestor.  We already discussed that the larger the matching segment, the more likely it is to be valid. I would like to see Family Tree DNA lower the matching threshold within projects.  Surname projects imply that a group of people will be expected to match, so I’d really like to be able to see those lower threshold matches.

I’m hopeful that Family Tree DNA will continue to provide small segment information to us.  People who don’t want to learn how to use or be bothered with small segments don’t have to.  Delete is perfectly legitimate option, but without the data, those of us who are interested in researching how to best utilize these segments, can’t.  And when we don’t have data to use, we all lose.  So, thank you Family Tree DNA.

Coming Full Circle

This discussion brings us full circle once again to goals.

Goals change over time.

My initial reason for testing, the first day an autosomal test could be ordered, was to see if my half-brother was my half-brother.  Obviously for that, I didn’t need matching to other people or triangulation.  The answer was either yes or no, we do match at the half-sibling level, or we don’t.

He wasn’t.  But by then, he was terminally ill, and I never told him.  It certainly explained why I wasn’t a transplant match for him.

My next goal, almost immediately, was to determine which if either my brother or I were the child of my father.  For that, we did need matching to other people, and preferably close cousins – the closer the better.  Autosomal DNA testing was new at that time, and I had to recruit cousins.  Bless those who took pity on me and tested, because I was truly desperate to know.

Suffice it to say that the wait was a roller coaster ride of emotion.

If I was not my father’s child, I had just done 30+ years of someone else’s genealogy – not a revelation I relished, at all.

I was my father’s child.  My brother wasn’t.  I was glad I never told him the first part, because I didn’t have to tell him this part either.

My goal at that point changed to more of a general interest nature as more cousins tested and we matched, verifying different lineages that has been unable to be verified by Y or mtDNA testing.

Then one day, something magical happened.

One of my Y lines, Marcus Younger, whose Y line is a result of a NPE, nonparental event, or said differently, an undocumented adoption, received amazing information.  The paternal Younger family line we believed Marcus descended from, he didn’t.  However, autosomal DNA confirmed that even though he is not the paternal child of that line, he is still autosomally related to that line, sharing a common ancestor – suggesting that he may have been born of a Younger female and given that surname, while carrying the Y DNA of his biological father, who remains unidentified.

Amazingly, the next day, a match popped up that matched me and another Younger relative.  This match descended not from the Younger line, but from Marcus Younger’s wife’s alleged surname family.  I suddenly realized that not only was autosomal DNA interesting for confirming your tree – it could also be used to break down long-standing brick walls.  That’s where I’ve been focused ever since.

That’s a very different goal from where I began, and my current goal utilizes the tools in a very different way than my earlier goals.  Confidence levels matter now, a great deal, where that first day, all I wanted was a yes or no.

Today, my goal, other than breaking down brick walls, is for genetic genealogy to become automated and much easier but without taking away our options or keeping us so “safe” that we have no tools (Ancestry).

The process that will allow us to refine genetic genealogy and group individuals and matches utilizing trees on our desktops will ultimately be the key to unraveling those distant connections.  The data is there, we just have to learn how to use it most effectively, and the key, other than software, is collaboration with many cousins.

Aside from science and technology, the other wonderful aspect of autosomal DNA testing is that is has the potential to unite and often, reunite families who didn’t even know they were families.  I’ve seen this over and over now and I still marvel at this miracle given to us by our ancestors – their DNA.

So, regardless of where you fall on the goals and matching confidence spectrum in terms of genetic genealogy, keep encouraging others to test and keep reaching out and sharing – because it takes a village to recreate an ancestor!  No one can do it alone, and the more people who test and share, the better all of our chances become to achieve whatever genetic genealogy goals we have.

What is a Population Bottleneck?

water being emptied from a blue glass bottleGenetic genealogists often hear the term population bottleneck referenced in various academic papers – but just what is that?  And why do we care?

A population bottleneck occurs when there is a dramatic reduction in the population of a particular group of people.  Think about the eruption of a volcano – Mt. Toba for example.

Human history is full of population reducing examples, some we know about, like the plague, but most we don’t.  And obviously, if the bottleneck was so severe that no one survived – then there are no descendants of those people today – and that’s an extinction event, not a bottleneck.  The only way we would ever know those people existed is if we found their remains and sequenced them today – like the Neanderthal and Denisovan skeletons.

As a point of clarity – the Neanderthal and Denisovan did survive – not as pure Neanderthals or Denisovans – but admixed into the homo sapiens population – and they are indeed, us.  If you have either European or Asian ancestry, then you have Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry too.

How could that be – all of Europe and Asia descended from these Archaic people?  Probably the after-effects of a population bottleneck where a small group of people went on to become a large group of people.

Let’s look at an example.

The best example I can think of is the migration of the Asian people into the Americas.  These first people would populate all of North and South America and would become the indigenous people of these continents – by whatever name is applied today.  First People, Native Americans, American Indians – they are all of the same stock and the result of at least one population bottleneck.

That first bottleneck occurred when some people crossed over the land bridge, Beringia, between Asia and what is now Alaska.

beringia map

Erika Tamm et al – Tamm E, Kivisild T, Reidla M, Metspalu M, Smith DG, et al. (2007) Beringian Standstill and Spread of Native American Founders. PLoS ONE 2(9): e829. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000829. Also available from PubMed Central.

The bottleneck event that occurred there was that there weren’t very many people. It was probably a small group.  Possibly very small.  What do we know about them?

There were obviously males and females.

Assuming for purposes of discussion that all of the people who founded the Native American population came at once, or in what is referred to as one wave, we know that there were at least two men and 5 women.

How do we know that?  Because today we have Y haplogroups Q and C in the Native population and mitochondrial haplogroups A, B, C, D and X in that population as well.  Since the Y chromosome is passed from father to son unadmixed with any DNA from the mother, the haplogroups we see today are directly descended from those original founders.  Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother to all of her children, but only the females pass it on, so we get a direct pipeline view back to the founding mothers.

There may have been more individuals and haplogroups that arrived.  Some may have died out in Beringia or afterwards in subsequent bottleneck events.

Let’s say the group stayed together for a while.  Then, it got too big to support itself comfortably on the resources available.  In other words, the population began depleting the available resources.  So, the group separated by a few miles so that they could draw off of a different landscape where food was more abundant.

One group went 20 miles east and one group went 20 miles south.  It wasn’t meant to be permanent, but eventually, the split became permanent as that scenario repeated itself over time.

Eventually, one of the groups moved further south and small groups broke off from time to time and moved east across what would be the US and Canada.  Part of the group continued south along the Pacific and would populate Mexico, Central and South America.

Let’s say that one of those small bands of people that headed east wound up living in Montana, 12,500 years ago.  A child died, and they buried that child.

The group they separated from continued south and their descendants are found throughout Mexico, Central and South American today.

That child’s name is Anzick.  His skeleton was found in 1968 and his full genome was sequenced before he was reburied in 2013.  When his DNA was sequenced, we discovered, much to our amazement, that Anzick indeed matched people, primarily people from south of the US, at a level that could be interpreted to be contemporary.  How could that possibly be?

Think about a bottleneck in this fashion.

There are 4 people, 2 couples.  Each person’s DNA is represented by a color.  The two males are blue and green and the 2 females are pink and yellow, like on the left side of the pedigree chart shown below.

perez autosomal

In the first generation, they pass their DNA to their children and the children are blue/yellow and green/pink.  In the second generation, the children intermarry with the other couple’s children – because there are no choices.  All of the grandchildren of the original couple have DNA that is blue, yellow, green and pink.  The children and grandchildren don’t all carry the same segments of blue, yellow, green and pink – but all of them carry some part of the original 4 founders.  There is no orange or turquoise or red DNA to be found, so forever, until new people enter the landscape, they will pass the same segments of blue, green, yellow and pink DNA to their descendants.  In an isolated environment, they might not meet new humans for thousands of years – lets’ say 10,000 years.

So, if the Anzick child had blue, yellow, green and pink DNA and the contemporary Native people living in South America have blue, yellow, green and pink Native DNA from those same four founding ancestors, it stands to reason that they are going to match – because it’s the exact same DNA that has been passed around and around for thousands of years.

This matching is the effect of a population bottleneck.

We can think of other bottleneck events too.  For example, the Acadians were a bottleneck event.  A few shiploads of French Catholic people on an Island in the early 1600s – they didn’t have a lot of choice in terms of spouses. The genealogy saying is that if you’re related to one Acadian, you’re related to all Acadians, and it’s pretty much true.  Same with the Pilgrims and the individuals who came over on the Mayflower.

Some bottlenecks are religiously induced – Amish, Mennonite and Jewish, for example.  These people marry only within their religion.  Today, that’s called endogamy – but it’s a form of a bottleneck event.

We see the results of bottleneck events today in three ways in our DNA.  In both Y and mitochondrial DNA, we often see specific haplogroups or subgroups associated with specific populations – like Q and C in Native American Y DNA and subsets of A, B, C, D, X and possibly M in Native American mitochondrial DNA.

We also see the effects of bottleneck events in autosomal DNA.  We talk about segments that are IBD, identical by descent, and IBS, identical by state.  Identical by descent typically means we can attribute the DNA segment to a specific ancestor via triangulation.  Often, everything we can’t identify gets tossed into the IBS box, but it really shouldn’t.

When you hear people talk about IBS, or autosomal DNA segments that are identical by state, there are really two possibilities.  One is that the DNA is identical by chance.

The other option is that the DNA is identical by population.  This means that the DNA does indeed match because it came from a common ancestor – but that ancestor is beyond the genealogical timeframe.  That doesn’t mean the information isn’t useful.  Indeed, I think it’s very useful.  I want to know if a segment of my DNA is Native, even if I share that segment with lots of other Native people.  In fact, that’s exactly HOW we determine a specific autosomal segment is affiliated with Native or any other population group of people.  Certain segments are found in a higher percentage across the entire population group.  So, to throw these out in personal genetic genealogy by phasing which removes population based matches is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I have several matches on my spreadsheet where I have the notation “Mennonite” or “Acadian” for example, because while I can’t sort out which specific ancestor the DNA came from, it assuredly came from the Acadian population based on the matches – and that’s very useful information.

Population bottlenecks may seem like a scientific term referencing something that happened long ago, but the effects of bottlenecks can be found in every one of us, beginning with Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA and probably including ancestors who survived, or willingly embraced beliefs which in essence created historical bottlenecks.

Botocudo Ancient Remains from Brazil

One thing you can always count on in the infant science of population genetics…  whatever you think you know, for sure, for a fact…well….you don’t.  So don’t say too much, too strongly or you’ll wind up having to decide if you’d like catsup with your crow!  Well, not literally, of course.  It’s an exciting adventure that we’re on together and it just keeps getting better and better.  And the times…they are a changin’.

We have some very interesting news to report.  Fortunately, or unfortunately – the news weaves a new, but extremely interesting, mystery.

Ancient Mitochondrial DNA

Back in 2013, a paper, Identification of Polynesian mtdNA haplogroups in remains of Botocudo Amerindians from Brazil, was published that identified both Native American and Polynesian haplogroups in a group of 14 skeletal remains of Botocudo Indians from Brazil whose remains arrived at a Museum in August of 1890 and who, the scientists felt, died in the second half of the 19th century.

Twelve of their mitochondrial haplogroups were the traditional Native haplogroup of C1.

However, two of the skulls carried Polynesian haplogroups, downstream of haplogroup B, specifically B4a1a1a and B4a1a1, that compare to contemporary individuals from Polynesian, Solomon Island and Fijian populations.  These haplotypes had not been found in Native people or previous remains.

Those haplogroups include what is known as the Polynesian motif and are found in Indonesian populations and also in Madagascar, according to the paper, but the time to the most common recent ancestor for that motif was calculated at 9,300 years plus or minus 2000 years.  This suggests that the motif arose after the Asian people who would become the Native Americans had already entered North and South America through Beringia, assuming there were no later migration waves.

The paper discusses several possible scenarios as to how a Polynesian haplotype found its way to central Brazil among a now extinct Native people. Of course, the two options are either pre-Columbian (pre-1500) contact or post-Columbian contact which would infer from the 1500s to current and suggests that the founders who carried the Polynesian motif were perhaps either slaves or sailors.

In the first half of the 1800s, the Botocudo Indians had been pacified and worked side by side with African slaves on plantations.

Beyond that, without full genome sequencing there was no more that could be determined from the remains at that time.  We know they carried a Polynesian motif, were found among Native American remains and at some point in history, intermingled with the Native people because of where they were found.  Initial contact could have been 9,000 years ago or 200.  There was no way to tell.  They did have some exact HVR1 and HVR2 matches, so they could have been “current,” but I’ve also seen HVR1 and HVR2 matches that reach back to a common ancestor thousands of years ago…so an HVR1/HVR2 match is nothing you can take to the bank, certainly not in this case.

Full Genome Sequencing and Y DNA

This week, one on my subscribers, Kalani, mentioned that Felix Immanuel had uploaded another two kits to GedMatch of ancient remains.  Those two kits are indeed two of the Botocudo remains – the two with the Polynesian mitochondrial motif which have now been fully sequenced.  A corresponding paper has been published as well, “Two ancient genomes reveal Polynesian ancestry among the indigenous Botocudos of Brazil” by Malaspinas et al with supplemental information here.

There are two revelations which are absolutely fascinating in this paper and citizen scientist’s subsequent work.

First, their Y haplogroups are C-P3092 and C-Z31878, both equivalent to C-B477 which identifies former haplogroup C1b2.  The Y haplogroups aren’t identified in the paper, but Felix identified them in the raw data files that are available (for those of you who are gluttons for punishment) at the google drive links in Felix’s article Two Ancient DNA from indigenous Botocudos of Brazil.

I’ve never seen haplogroup C1b2 as Native American, but I wanted to be sure I hadn’t missed a bus, so I contacted Ray Banks who is one of the administrators for the main haplogroup C project at Family Tree DNA and also is the coordinator for the haplogroup C portion of the ISOGG tree.

ISOGG y tree

You can see the position of C1b2, C-B477 in yellow on the ISOGG (2015) tree relative to the position of C-P39 in blue, the Native American SNP shown several branches below, both as branches of haplogroup C.

Ray maintains a much more descriptive tree of haplogroup C1 at this link and of C2 at this link.

Ray Banks C1 tree

The branch above is the Polynesian (B477) branch and below, the Native American (P39) branch of haplogroup C.

Ray Banks C2 treeIn addition to confirming the haplogroup that Felix identified, when Ray downloaded the BAM files and analyzed the contents, he found that both samples were also positive for M38 and M208, which moves them downstream two branches from C1b2 (B477).

Furthermore, one of the samples had a mutation at Z32295 which Ray has included as a new branch of the C tree, shown below.

Ray Banks Z32295

Ray indicated that the second sample had a “no read” at Z32295, so we don’t know if he carried this mutation.  Ray mentions that both men are negative for many of the B459 equivalents, which would move them down one more branch.  He also mentioned that about half of the Y DNA sites are missing, meaning they had no calls in the sequence read.  This is common in ancient DNA results.  It would be very interesting to have a Big Y or equivalent test on contemporary individuals with this haplogroup from the Pacific Island region.

Ray notes that all Pacific Islanders may be downstream of Z33295.

Not Admixed

The second interesting aspect of the genomic sequencing is that the remains did not show any evidence of admixture with European, Native American nor African individuals.  More than 97% of their genome fits exactly with the Polynesian motifs.  In other words, they appear to be first generation Polynesians.  They carry Polynesian mitochondrial, Y and autosomal (nuclear) DNA, exclusively.

Botocudo not admixed

In total, 25 Botocudo remains have been analyzed and of those, two have Polynesian ancestry and those two, BOT15 and BOT17, have exclusively Polynesian ancestry as indicated in the graphic above from the paper.

When did they live?  Accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating with marine correction gives us dates of 1479-1708 AD and 1730-1804 for specimen BOT15 and 1496-1842 for BOT17.

The paper goes on to discuss four possible scenarios for how this situation occurred and the pros and cons of each.

The Polynesian Peru Slave Trade

This occurred between 1862-1864 and can be ruled out because the dates for the skulls predate this trade period, significantly.

The Madagascar-Brazil Slave Trade

The researchers state that Madagascar is known to have been peopled by Southeast Asians and not by Polynesians.  Another factor excluding this option is that it’s known that the Malagasy ancestors admixed with African populations prior to the slave trade.  No such ancestry was detected in the samples, so these individuals were not brought as a result of the Madagascar-Brazil slave trade – contrary to what has been erroneously inferred and concluded.

Voyaging on European Ships as Crew, Passengers or StowAways

Trade on Euroamerican ships in the Pacific only began after 1760 AD and by 1760, Bot15 and Bot17 were already deceased with a probability of .92 and .81, respectively, making this scenario unlikely, but not entirely impossible.

Polynesian Voyaging

Polynesian ancestors originated from East Asia and migrated eastwards, interacting with New Guineans before colonizing the Pacific.  These people did colonize the Pacific, as unlikely as it seems, traveling thousands of miles, reaching New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island between 1200 and 1300 AD.  Clearly they did not reach Brazil in this timeframe, at least not as related to these skeletal remains, but that does not preclude a later voyage.

Of the four options, the first two appear to be firmly eliminated which leaves only the second two options.

One of the puzzling aspects of this analysis it the “pure” Polynesian genome, eliminating admixture which precludes earlier arrival.

The second puzzling aspect is how the individuals, and there were at least two, came to find themselves in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and why we have not found this type of DNA on the more likely western coastal areas of South America.

Minas Gerais Brazil

Regardless of how they arrived, they did, and now we know at least a little more of their story.

GedMatch

At GedMatch, it’s interesting to view the results of the one-to-one matching.

Both kits have several matches.  At 5cM and 500 SNPs, kit F999963 has 86 matches.  Of those, the mitochondrial haplogroup distribution is overwhelmingly haplogroup B, specifically B4a1a1 with a couple of interesting haplogroup Ms.

F999963 mito

Y haplogroups are primarily C2, C3 and O.   C3 and O are found exclusively in Asia – meaning they are not Native.

F999963 Y

Kit F999963 matches a couple of people at over 30cM with a generation match estimate just under 5 generations.  Clearly, this isn’t possible given that this person had died by about 1760, according to the paper, which is 255 years or about 8.5-10 generations ago, but it says something about the staying power of DNA segments and probably about endogamy and a very limited gene pool as well.  All matches over 15cM are shown below.

F999963 largest

Kit F999964 matches 97 people, many who are different people that kit F999963 matched.  So these ancient Polynesian people,  F999963 and F999964 don’t appear to be immediate relatives.

F999964 mito

Again, a lot of haplogroup B mitochondrial DNA, but less haplogroup C Y DNA and no haplogroup O individuals.

F999964 Y

Kit F999964 doesn’t match anyone quite as closely as kit F999963 did in terms of total cM, but the largest segment is 12cM, so the generational estimate is still at 4.6,  All matches over 15cM are shown below.

F999964 largest

Who are these individuals that these ancient kits are matching?  Many of these individuals know each other because they are of Hawaiian or Polynesian heritage and have already been working together.  Several of the Hawaiian folks are upwards of 80%, one at 94% and one believed to be 100% Hawaiian.  Some of these matches are to Maori, a Polynesian people from New Zealand, with one believed to be 100% Maori in addition to several admixed Maori.  So obviously, these ancient remains are matching contemporary people with Polynesian ancestry.

The Unasked Question

Sooner or later, we as a community are going to have to face the question of exactly what is Native or aboriginal.  In this case, because we do have the definitive autosomal full genome testing that eliminates admixture, these two individuals are clearly NOT Native.  Without full genomic testing, we would have never known.

But what if they had arrived 200 years earlier, around 1500 AD, one way or another, possibly on an early European ship, and had intermixed with the Native people for 10 generations?  What if they carried a Polynesian mitochondrial (or Y) DNA motif, but they were nearly entirely Native, or so much Native that the Polynesian could no longer be found autosomally?  Are they Native?  Is their mitochondrial or Y DNA now also considered to be Native?  Or is it still Polynesian?  Is it Polynesian if it’s found in the Cook Islands or on Hawaii and Native if found in South America?  How would we differentiate?

What if they arrived, not in 1500 AD, but about the year 500 AD, or 1000 BCE or 2000 BCE or 3000 BCE – after the Native people from Asia arrived but unquestionably before European contact?  Does that make a difference in how we classify their DNA?

We don’t have to answer this yet today, but something tells me that we will, sooner or later…and we might want to start pondering the question.

Acknowledgements: 

I want to thank all of the people involved whose individual work makes this type of comparative analysis possible.  After all, the power of genetic genealogy, contemporary or ancient, is in collaboration.  Without sharing, we have nothing. We learn nothing.  We make no progress.

In addition to the various scientists and papers already noted, special thanks to Felix Immanual for preparing and uploading the ancient files.  This is no small task and the files often take a month of prep each.  Thanks to Kalani for bringing this to my attention.  Thanks to Ray Banks for his untiring work with haplogroup C and for maintaining his haplogroup webpage with specifics about where the various subgroups are found.  Thanks to ISOGG’s volunteers for the haplotree.  Thanks to GedMatch for providing this wonderful platform and tools.  Thanks to everyone who uploads their DNA, and that of their relatives and works on specific types of projects – like Hawaiian and Maori.  Thanks to my haplogroup C-P39 co-administrators, Dr. David Pike and Marie Rundquist, for their contributions to this discussion and for working together on the Native American Haplogroup C-P39 Project.  It’s important to have other people who are passionate about the same subjects to bounce things off of and to work with.  This is the perfect example of the power of collaboration!

Ancient DNA Matches – What Do They Mean?

The good news is that my three articles about the Anzick and other ancient DNA of the past few days have generated a lot of interest.

The bad news is that it has generated hundreds of e-mails every day – and I can’t possibly answer them all personally.  So, if you’ve written me and I don’t reply, I apologize and  I hope you’ll understand.  Many of the questions I’ve received are similar in nature and I’m going to answer them in this article.  In essence, people who have matches want to know what they mean.

Q – I had a match at GedMatch to <fill in the blank ancient DNA sample name> and I want to know if this is valid.

A – Generally, when someone asks if an autosomal match is “valid,” what they really mean is whether or not this is a genealogically relevant match or if it’s what is typically referred to as IBS, or identical by state.  Genealogically relevant samples are referred to as IBD, or identical by descent.  I wrote about that in this article with a full explanation and examples, but let me do a brief recap here.

In genealogy terms, IBD is typically used to mean matches over a particular threshold that can be or are GENEALOGICALLY RELEVANT.  Those last two words are the clue here.  In other words, we can match them with an ancestor with some genealogy work and triangulation.  If the segment is large, and by that I mean significantly over the threshold of 700 SNPs and 7cM, even if we can’t identify the common ancestor with another person, the segment is presumed to be IBD simply because of the math involved with the breakdown of segment into pieces.  In other words, a large segment match generally means a relatively recent ancestor and a smaller segment means a more distant ancestor.  You can readily see this breakdown on this ISOGG page detailing autosomal DNA transmission and breakdown.

Unfortunately, often smaller segments, or ones determined to be IBS are considered to be useless, but they aren’t, as I’ve demonstrated several times when utilizing them for matching to distant ancestors.  That aside, there are two kinds of IBS segments.

One kind of IBS segment is where you do indeed share a common ancestor, but the segment is small and you can’t necessarily connect it to the ancestor.  These are known as population matches and are interpreted to mean your common ancestor comes from a common population with the other person, back in time, but you can’t find the common ancestor.  By population, we could mean something like Amish, Jewish or Native American, or a country like Germany or the Netherlands.

In the cases where I’ve utilized segments significantly under 7cM to triangulate ancestors, those segments would have been considered IBS until I mapped them to an ancestor, and then they suddenly fell into the IBD category.

As you can see, the definitions are a bit fluid and are really defined by the genealogy involved.

The second kind of IBS is where you really DON’T share an ancestor, but your DNA and your matches DNA has managed to mutate to a common state by convergence, or, where your Mom’s and Dad’s DNA combined form a pseudo match, where you match someone on a segment run long enough to be considered a match at a low level.  I discussed how this works, with examples, in this article.  Look at example four, “a false match.”

So, in a nutshell, if you know who your common ancestor is on a segment match with someone, you are IBD, identical by descent.  If you don’t know who your common ancestor is, and the segment is below the normal threshold, then you are generally considered to be IBS – although that may or may not always be true.  There is no way to know if you are truly IBS by population or IBS by convergence, with the possible exception of phased data.

Data phasing is when you can compare your autosomal DNA with one or both parents to determine which half you obtained from whom.  If you are a match by convergence where your DNA run matches that of someone else because the combination of your parents DNA happens to match their segment, phasing will show that clearly.  Here’s an example for only one location utilizing only my mother’s data phased with mine.  My father is deceased and we have to infer his results based on my mother’s and my own.  In other words, mine minus the part I inherited from my mother = my father’s DNA.

My Result My Result Mother’s Result Mother’s Result Father’s Inferred Result Father’s Inferred Result
T A T G A

In this example of just one location, you can see that I carry a T and an A in that location.  My mother carries a T and a G, so I obviously inherited the T from her because I don’t have a G.  Therefore, my father had to have carried at least an A, but we can’t discern his second value.

This example utilized only one location.  Your autosomal data file will hold between 500,000 and 700,000 location, depending on the vendor you tested with and the version level.

You can phase your DNA with that of your parent(s) at GedMatch.  However, if both of your parents are living, an easier test would be to see if either of your parents match the individual in question.  If neither of your parents match them, then your match is a result of convergence or a data read error.

So, this long conversation about IBD and IBS is to reach this conclusion.

All of the ancient specimens are just that, ancient, so by definition, you cannot find a genealogy match to them, so they are not IBD.  Best case, they are IBS by population.  Worse case, IBS by convergence.  You may or may not be able to tell the difference.  The reason, in my example earlier this week, that I utilized my mother’s DNA and only looked at locations where we both matched the ancient specimens was because I knew those matches were not by convergence – they were in fact IBS by population because my mother and I both matched Anzick.

ancient compare5

Q – What does this ancient match mean to me?

A – Doggone if I know.  No, I’m serious.  Let’s look at a couple possibilities, but they all have to do with the research you have, or have not, done.

If you’ve done what I’ve done, and you’ve mapped your DNA segments to specific ancestors, then you can compare your ancient matching segments to your ancestral spreadsheet map, especially if you can tell unquestionably which side the ancestral DNA matches.  In my case, shown above, the Clovis Anzik matched my mother and me on the same segment and we both matched Cousin Herbie.  We know unquestionably who our common ancestor is with cousin Herbie – so we know, in our family line, which line this segment of DNA shared with Anzick descends through.

ancient compare6

If you’re not doing ancestor mapping, then I guess the Anzick match would come in the category of, “well, isn’t that interesting.”  For some, this is a spiritual connection to the past, a genetic epiphany.  For other, it’s “so what.”

Maybe this is a good reason to start ancestor mapping!  This article tells you how to get started.

Q – Does my match to Anzick mean he is my ancestor?

A – No, it means that you and Anzick share common ancestry someplace back in time, perhaps tens of thousands of years ago.

Q – I match the Anzick sample.  Does this prove that I have Native American heritage? 

A – No, and it depends.  Don’t you just hate answers like this?

No, this match alone does not prove Native American heritage, especially not at IBS levels.  In fact, many people who don’t have Native heritage match small segments?  How can this be?  Well, refer to the IBS by convergence discussion above.  In addition, Anzick child came from an Asian population when his ancestors migrated, crossing from Asia via Beringia.  That Eurasian population also settled part of Europe – so you could be matching on very small segments from a common population in Eurasia long ago.  In a paper just last year, this was discussed when Siberian ancient DNA was shown to be related to both Native Americans and Europeans.

In some cases, a match to Anzick on a segment already attributed to a Native line can confirm or help to confirm that attribution.  In my case, I found the Anzick match on segments in the Lore family who descend from the Acadians who were admixed with the Micmac.  I have several Anzick match segments that fit that criteria.

A match to Anzick alone doesn’t prove anything, except that you match Anzick, which in and of itself is pretty cool.

Q – I’m European with no ancestors from America, and I match Anzick too.  How can that be?

A – That’s really quite amazing isn’t it.  Just this week in Nature, a new article was published discussing the three “tribes” that settled or founded the European populations.  This, combined with the Siberian ancient DNA results that connect the dots between an ancient population that contributed to both Europeans and Native Americans explains a lot.

3 European Tribes

If you think about it, this isn’t a lot different than the discovery that all Europeans carry some small amount of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA.

Well, guess what….so does Anzick.

Here are his matches to the Altai Neanderthal.

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
2 241484216 242399416 1.1 138
3 19333171 21041833 2.6 132
6 31655771 32889754 1.1 133

He does not match the Caucasus Neanderthal.  He does, however, match the Denisovan individual on one location.

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
3 19333171 20792925 2.1 107

Q – Maybe the scientists are just wrong and the burial is not 12,500 years old,  maybe just 100 years old and that’s why the results are matching contemporary people.

A – I’m not an archaeologist, nor do I play one…but I have been closely involved with numerous archaeological excavations over the past decade with The Lost Colony Research Group, several of which recovered human remains.  The photo below is me with Anne Poole, my co-director, sifting at one of the digs.

anne and me on dig

There are very specific protocols that are followed during and following excavation and an error of this magnitude would be almost impossible to fathom.  It would require  kindergarten level incompetence on the part of not one, but all professionals involved.

In the Montana Anzick case, in the paper itself, the findings and protocols are both discussed.  First, the burial was discovered directly beneath the Clovis layer where more than 100 tools were found, and the Clovis layer was undisturbed, meaning that this is not a contemporary burial that was buried through the Clovis layer.  Second, the DNA fragmentation that occurs as DNA degrades correlated closely to what would be expected in that type of environment at the expected age based on the Clovis layer.  Third, the bones themselves were directly dated using XAD-collagen to 12,707-12,556 calendar years ago.  Lastly, if the remains were younger, the skeletal remains would match most closely with Native Americans of that region, and that isn’t the case.  This graphic from the paper shows that the closest matches are to South Americans, not North Americans.

anzick matches

This match pattern is also confirmed independently by the recent closest GedMatch matches to South Americans.

Q – How can this match from so long ago possibly be real?

A – That’s a great question and one that was terribly perplexing to Dr. Svante Paabo, the man who is responsible for producing the full genome sequence of the first, and now several more, Neanderthals.  The expectation was, understanding autosomal DNA gets watered down by 50% in every generation though recombination, that ancient genomes would be long gone and not present in modern populations.  Imagine Svante’s surprise when he discovered that not only isn’t true, but those ancient DNA segmetns are present in all Europeans and many Asians as well.  He too agonized over the question about how this is possible, which he discussed in this great video.  In fact he repeated these tests over and over in different ways because he was convinced that modern individuals could not carry Neanderthal DNA – but all those repeated tests did was to prove him right.  (Paabo’s book, Neanderthal Man, In Search of Lost Genomes is an incredible read that I would highly recommend.)

What this means is that the population at one time, and probably at several different times, had to be very small.  In fact, it’s very likely that many times different pockets of the human race was in great jeopardy of dying out.  We know about the ones that survived.  Probably many did perish leaving no descendants today.  For example, no Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA has been found in any living or recent human.

In a small population, let’s say 5 males and 5 females who some how got separated from their family group and founded a new group, by necessity.  In fact, this could well be a description of how the Native Americans crossed Beringia.  Those 5 males and 5 females are the founding population of the new group.  If they survive, all of the males will carry the men’s haplogroups – let’s say they are Q and C, and all of the descendants will carry the mitochondrial haplogroups of the females – let’s say A, B, C, D and X.

There is a very limited amount of autosomal DNA to pass around.  If all of those 10 people are entirely unrelated, which is virtually impossible, there will be only 10 possible combinations of DNA to be selected from.  Within a few generations, everyone will carry part of those 10 ancestor’s DNA.  We all have 8 ancestors at the great-grandparent level.  By the time those original settlers’ descendants had great-great-grandparents – of which each one had 16, at least 6 of those original people would be repeated twice in their tree.

There was only so much DNA to be passed around.  In time, some of the segments would no longer be able to be recombined because when you look at phasing, the parents DNA was exactly the same, example below.  This is what happens in endogamous populations.

My Result My Result Mother’s Result Mother’s Result Father’s Result Father’s  Result
T T T T T T

Let’s say this group’s descendants lived without contact with other groups, for maybe 15,000 years in their new country.  That same DNA is still being passed around and around because there was no source for new DNA.  Mutations did occur from time to time, and those were also passed on, of course, but that was the only source of changed DNA – until they had contact with a new population.

When they had contact with a new population and admixture occurred, the normal 50% recombination/washout in every generation began – but for the previous 15,000 years, there had been no 50% shift because the DNA of the population was, in essence, all the same.  A study about the Ashkenazi Jews that suggests they had only a founding population of about 350 people 700 years ago was released this week – explaining why Ashkenazi Jewish descendants have thousands of autosomal matches and match almost everyone else who is Ashkenazi.  I hope that eventually scientists will do this same kind of study with Anzick and Native Americans.

If the “new population” we’ve been discussing was Native Americans, their males 15,000 year later would still carry haplogroups Q and C and the mitochondrial DNA would still be A, B, C, D and X.  Those haplogroups, and subgroups formed from mutations that occurred in their descendants, would come to define their population group.

In some cases, today, Anzick matches people who have virtually no non-Native admixture at the same level as if they were just a few generations removed, shown on the chart below.

anzick gedmatch one to all

Since, in essence, these people still haven’t admixed with a new population group, those same ancient DNA segments are being passed around intact, which tells us how incredibly inbred this original small population must have been.  This is known as a genetic bottleneck.

The admixture report below is for the first individual on the Anzick one to all Gedmatch compare at 700 SNPs and 7cM, above.  In essence, this currently living non-admixed individual still hasn’t met that new population group.

anzick1

If this “new population” group was Neanderthal, perhaps they lived in small groups for tens of thousands of years, until they met people exiting Africa, or Denisovans, and admixed with them.

There weren’t a lot of people anyplace on the globe, so by virtue of necessity, everyone lived in small population groups.  Looking at the odds of survival, it’s amazing that any of us are here today.

But, we are, and we carry the remains, the remnants of those precious ancestors, the Denisovans, the Neanderthals and Anzick.  Through their DNA, and ours, we reach back tens of thousands of years on the human migration path.  Their journey is also our journey.  It’s absolutely amazing and it’s no wonder people have so many questions and such a sense of enchantment.  But it’s true – and only you can determine exactly what this means to you.