I ordered a Big Y 700 test for myself, taking advantage of a sale on upgrades. I’ve tested into the twigs and leaves of the Elmers at YSEQ, so I don’t expect anything earth-shattering from my own Big Y. It’s just been something I wanted to do and it will allow me to catch up on all the changes at FTDNA and hopefully compare to an Elmer Y Elite test from Full Genomes Corp.
My Elmer cousins got into Big Y pretty early in 2015, at great expense. Riding a wave of analysis from the R-Z18 and R-U106 groups, they blazed trails in both R-DF95 and at a family level. They defined Edward Elmer in a series of shared SNPs and helped to place our Knowlton cousins in the context of generations (they’re a minimum of five generations back from Ed).
As a family, we’ve continued to test internally using YSEQ, FTDNA, and FGC to try to place everyone. That is the serious work that everyone has been putting in.
I’ve dropped off the map
Along the way, I’ve been less involved in what was happening in our major haplogroups and the expansion taking place in big Y testing.
At the same time, I voluntarily left facebook (in stages so as not to get withdrawal symptoms) which meant…a lot of peace of mind really, but also some loss of contact with genetic genealogy facebook groups and genetic relatives who use Facebook as a primary communication tool.
Going back to school in January has also meant that my nights and weekends are pretty well spoken for until at least December 2020. I lost this website without even realizing it and needed some prodding from my DF95 compatriots to realize what happened and get it back.
In between twelve-page APA formatted papers on e-commerce, my fellow Cumberland Cluster members were showing me displays for SNPs that I’d never seen. I have to admit that I found myself lost in all the newness and the shifting landscape of Big Y since Big Y 700 came out.
The long story short is that my big Y is my catch-up mechanic. It is getting me a little more skin in the game so I can assess what I’m seeing from my own perspective.
This view of Alex Williamson’s big tree for DF95 is representative of where I left off:
I’ve been warned
As I go on here to look at my results, I’ve been warned that there is a second phase after your results appear that is a human review of your Big Y. With the Holidays in full swing, I doubt my human review has happened and I’ve been warned that it can take several months for the review to take place. The details of my results are subject to change. As an example, one of my distant Lunsford cousins started off with 12 private SNPs and ended up with only 1 after the human review.
Pre-human review, I have seven novel variants. Seven private SNPs, which seems like an awful lot.
In my results window they are shown as unnamed positions, but a quick trip to ybrowse.org shows that all of my mutations have been named. Some of them in 2018 and others listed only as 2019. Here is a list of my mutations with the names I found for them:
- 10926150 – FGC78529 – C to T
- 11048867 – BY84358 – C to T
- 15413588 – FT207533 – A to G
- 21824986 – FT208074 – A to G
- 3232865 – FT206108 – G to C
- 4031585 – FT206255 – T to G
- 6535656 – FGC78523 – G to T
The BY named SNPs are an older naming scheme for Family Tree DNA. Those named FGC were first named by Full Genomes Corp. Those beginning with FT are following a new naming scheme for FTDNA and those are also the ones that originate in 2019. It is possible that those 2019 SNPs are mine and have just already been named at Ybrowse by FTDNA (but not at FTDNA proper).
It’s also possible that those SNPs already exist in tests in a completely different haplogroup and I just happened to mutate the same way as someone in Haplogroup J or N..etc.
It’s also possible that these will evaporate upon human review.
Let’s take a look at my Pre-human review matches:
The first thing that I noted is different from the old days of Big Y is the number of matches. Pre-human review, I only have 13 matches, where in 2015 we could see nearly every DF95 person who tested as a match.
The top Elmer match and I share Edward Elmer 2 born in 1654 as a common ancestor. The second Elmore match and I go back to Edward Elmer born around 1610. The third Elmer match and I are actually the most closely related, sharing Hezekiah Elmer born in 1686.
The listing seems to be generally good, after the Knowltons come the Lunsfords as expected, but the Lunsford testers are split in half with our DF95 Winne tester, and an Edwards tester lodged in the middle.
This oddity will come into play when we look at the block tree.
The FTDNA Block Tree
I don’t expect the block tree to change much for me after human review except maybe in the display of match names based on possible changes to my match list. I don’t expect the basic structure will change or my placement in the overall framework. I’ve known for a long time now that I’m on branch R-A2284 which belongs to Edward Elmer 2. I expect that will stay the same.
The only possibilities I see for my test to add value is possibly filling in some gaps or cracks or adding to evidence that may not have existed in the original big Y back in 2015.
Along those lines, the FTDNA block tree based on Alex Williamson’s big tree, does a good job of laying out the new things I didn’t know existed:
I expected FTDNA would place me in R-A2284 because for their own reasons they’ve included that SNP, I suspect because one of our Elmores listed his last known ancestor as Aylmer or because they had some idea that it was an SNP from the 1600s. I’m not sure what the limit is, but there you have it.
In the block just above R-A2284 (the R-A2276 block) there are two new SNPs that belong to Ed Elmer 1610. One is R-A6929 which was a singleton and was rejected by YSEQ as too unreliable to test. It turns out that I carry that one too. The other is BY42042 which I wasn’t aware of at all. It doesn’t show up in my big Y test because it’s just not covered, but did show up in two of the older tests and our FGC Y elite test as a low quality read.
Why is that important? Because it puts at least two more generations between us and the common ancestor with the Knowlton family. That means a minimum of 7 generations or (figuring a 28 year generation) roughly a minimum of 196 years before Ed Elmer was born. That’s the minimum, but SNPs don’t seem to happen every generation so it is probably older than that. At the minimum it is possible they carried the surname Elmer or a variant as there are recorded uses of the name in the 1100s etc, but it’s also just as likely that we carried the surname Knowlton or that neither family carried either surname.
As we keep adding generations right at the time when surnames were starting to be solidified, it leaves open the possibility that there are more families we haven’t heard from that are either closer to the Knowltons or the Elmers and have a wholly different surname or point of origin. The R-A2276 block represents Ed Elmer, but it is a compilation of multiple generations of his male line ancestors representing hundreds of years of men.
Going farther back, we continue as ElmerKnowltons for a minimum of two more generations. It is probably longer than that. Those common male ancestors are represented by the ZP129 block.
Again, the ZP129 block represents a single common ancestor with the Knowltons, but also a compilation of several generations of men leading to that point person. It also leaves room for more families.
The ZP124 block represents our connection to the Lunsford/Lunceford family and the Rose family (a branch of the Lunsfords that occurs on this continent like my Thompsons are a branch of the Elmores). Once again we have a minimum of two generations but likely more. This block of matches is currently the last block of our matches that hails solely from the U.K. All subject to change of course as we may yet get matches from the continent that break this triad up.
For a minimum of 10 to 12 generations, everyone ends up somewhere in Britain. That would mean at a minimum the 1200’s to 1300’s. The best age estimate we have though says roughly 800AD for this connection given some randomness in generations and in SNPs found in those generations.
The shared SNP FGC78527 is new to me and based on an earlier screenshot from my friends in the DF95 Baker Clan, it’s new to the FTDNA block tree since at least March 2019.
This ZP124 block marks very roughly about 1000 years of shared and separate history. It is a lot to cover and for the majority of that time, we’ve been split apart, moving in our own directions. We’re all descendants of North American colonists from England, but those colonists were working independently at different times, they identified with different groups and were going to different locations to start new lives.
Only our DNA is left to tell the story and mark the passage of time.