Hunting Thompsons Again After all These Years

Spending some time with the Thompsons again is kind of refreshing. In the last few days I’ve been able to connect with their Y haplogroup project and get more information on the William Thompson DF103 kit I found there in the last post. Their closest Y match is a Davis from Alabama (distance of 1 at 37) which had me looking at George Broderick and Piety Davis again. I can’t make contact with their match so my options are limited there.

Their match list is topped out with Wilsons, Willsons, McKinnons, Douglases and even one Thomson. It’s a nice mix of Scots and Scots Irish families, just like what you’d expect from a Thompson.

Again, as with my own results, I’m concerned that it may not get me any information on Levi Thompson’s family, even though it is much more likely to be helpful! My contacts to Mr. Thomson have gone unanswered so far (which could mean that he died before we had a chance to communicate). All I have is a common surname with a minor spelling difference and a distance of 3 at 37 to go on.

I was able to compare William Thompson to our Thompson results and found that  they are in the same major haplogroup, but have a whopping 7 differences in their Y 37. My gauge for this is the Elmer family actually. Where I have a difference of 1 to 4 at 37 with people who share my paternal ancestor in 1610. Based on that, I think William Thompson is likely not very closely related.

I may not get a lot of Thom(p)son information out of this. Luck of the draw I suppose.

Looking at Y DNA options, William Thompson’s path down from U152 has these branches defined in the project:

U152> L2> DF103,FGC4183> FGC4166,FGC4220> BY1020> BY2381> FGC36261,FGC36273> 23653411

That last unnamed snp probably means he had a big Y test. To me, the STR results for our U152 Thompsons look most like the results of a Mr. Allen (a distance of 4 at 37), in the project. His path looks like this:

U152> L2> DF103,FGC4183> FGC4166,FGC4220> BY1020> BY2381*

So he is a bit farther down the tree closer to William, but hasn’t tested positive for any of the branches.

I’ll have to decide whether to pursue more SNPs or go for the Y67. A Y67 may show me very different matches than a Y37. It could pull the U152 Thompsons closer to one family or match over the others, which might be telling. further SNP testing at FTDNA could help me narrow the group they belong to, but will be limited without some closer STR matches to compare to. Pursuing further tests without testing partners is daunting.

The U152 Thompsons match with Wilsons at a distance of 2 to 4. There are two possibilities for 67 matches in their family. Mr Thomson has a Y67 test too. The Wilsons seem to be at R-L2 and with a closer Y67 match, might be more willing to continue down a path of SNP testing. Of course, if we continue to be close at Y67, there may not be a lot of need for further SNP testing. I do not see a common Wilson ancestor in the six Wilson matches.

I am thinking that our Thompson DNA group admin was correct, a Y67 will be most beneficial from this point on. I can pursue SNP testing at will, later, when I have a clearer picture of which Y37 matches continue to the next level and which new matches come up.

I don’t know that any further testing will provide answers for Levi Thompson but, I am much more confident that the Indiana Thompsons are Levi Thompson’s genetic descendants. Their Autosomal DNA and Y results have continued to show a pattern consistent with the history and mythology of Butler County PA as well as the history and mythology of Thom(p)sons in general. For all the world, they look to be Scots from some alpine celtic or italo-celtic branch, just as the U106 Thompsons appear to be English from a saxon or baltic norse branch.

I joined our cousin’s kit to the MacTavish DNA group with a clear conscience.


Hard to believe it’s been almost three years since I ordered a perfunctory Y test for our cousins in Indiana. This simple test triggered a search for a Thompson/Elmer crossover closer in time than I had previously considered.


  1. Hi — think I see one of your Thompsons in the yDNA matches list for my family’s BigY test…. “Anon Salsbury”. Our very closest match is to a Kelly Dean Thompson at 26,918 snps. Is he one of yours? We’re DF103, and with BigY done now are listed as by ftdna as of haplogroup R-BY3495. Our best guess is that the Salsburys were Welsh but we aren’t sure.

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