Last week I attended the 8th Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference in Houston, TX. Being there was watching a mashup of Big Bang Theory and the Golden Girls.
I had hopes of finally understanding better the results I am seeing. Thus far I’ve only been able to make a Yes/No call on what I see in the Y-DNA results and have failed at making a further analysis to detail the differences between each branch. It seems that Y-DNA isn’t good at predicting relatively close matches, but as a single shift of a single Y-DNA marker might take 200 years, it isn’t precise enough for our needs.
The Family Finder test they offer is able to predict a common ancestor (male or female) within 5 generations, but as we have been here for 11 and many of our connections would be around 6-8th cousins, it is unlikely it will yeild much suprising connections at this time. I’m waiting for science to catch up in these areas before proceeding with any more testing in these areas.
A New Approach
I met a scientist by the name of Dr. Tyrone Bowes, whose daytime job involved making recombinant anti-bodies for Test Kits. His night time passion is about genealogy and he has come up with a brilliant proposition that the other surname matches that pop up on your DNA match list. There are typically two reasons why someone with a different surname would appear in your match list. 1. They are related back before the advent of surnames which came into use about 1000 year’s ago. 2. There was a “Non-Paternal Event” in the tree.
Either way, these names that have almost always been discarded but likely contain the information needed to track our tree a little further back to pinpoint our genetic homeland, where all the trees combine.
His approach is spelled out on his website http://www.englishorigenes.com. The concept is that these people with other names are not only your relatives but at some point were the neighbors of your ancestors. Because England was a primarily agrarian society and due to the long standing tradition of handing the land to your oldest son, the people who farm the land have had the same land in the family for a thousand years. Go watch the video on his site to fully understand this. I was fortunate enough to have dinner and a few drinks with him (he is Irish afterall) and was able to come home from the conference and start to apply his method to our situation.
What I Found
I’ve been reviewing those other surnames with some interest trying to make a connection and have found some very interesting results already. In my DNA report I have the following Surnames in my match report:
Thompson, Lawrie, Lewis, Morrell, Dickey, Drake, Couch, Hawks, Woolard, Carter, Elliott, Sullivan, Hayes, Parks, Smith, Whitlock & Wright
Unexpectedly, I’ve found several solid matches within these names already who despite a different surname have families that trace back to Kittery, Maine (aka The Isles of Shoals), into a town in Devon that is about 15 miles from St. Saviour Church and one from Virginia who bears the same surname of a husband of Marie Plumlie’s sister. As a reminder Marie was married to a Phillip Babb at St. Saviour church in Dartmouth, Devon, England.
I plan to treat these new lines as collateral relatives and look for them as a family unit in England. No one name gives you enough to go on, but armed with several the likelihood of finding this link is greatly increased.
It has long been held that these other family names that surround us, in the Portsmouth/Kittery/Shoals area, were probably related and gave us a circumstantial body of evidence that Phillip of Devon is in fact, our Phillip of the Isles of Shoals. Now, the introduction of “Non-Paternal Events” stands promise to finally help us prove this relationship once and for all. This time with DNA!
You can guess where I’m spending my weekend, so keep an eye out for more posts as the layers of this come into focus.
Repost: Originally posted on Nov 17, 12