My Big Y 700 City

As we move along it will help to know that my age ranges and estimates are based on the work of the U106 group based on big Y 500 results and so are very much estimates.

My previous two posts pretty well covered something on the order of 800 to 1200 years of shared history, with most of the diversity of origins coming in closer to the 1000 plus year end of that range and the small number of matching families being plotted to the shores of southern north sea basin.

Looking at those results, with at least one English family more recently related to cousins in the Netherlands and Belgium than they were to other English families, that we’re witnessing multiple waves of migration.

The easy answer would be that one group of families arrived in England around 700 or 800AD while the other family arrived in Britain around 1100 or 1200AD. If we accept a general east to west migration, but it is possible that the families in the Netherlands and Belgium are the result of a back migration around 1200. It’s also possible that there are currently hidden continental cousins whose results are missing when examining the Knowltons, Elmers and Lunsfords in ZP124.

What is clear is that that in that in a 600 to 800 AD range, BY41998 gives rise to two new lines, with one group favoring England while the other favors the low countries.

by41998 map with seven families pinned to netherlands, belgium and england

The map above is a point in time guesstimate of ZP124 in blue and ZP125 in orange around 1000 to 1300AD. One of the orange markers in the low countries will end up in Poland and all of the markers in England will eventually end up in the U.S.

The next block back in time is a fairly big leap. Originally defined by 4 or 5 SNPs, the ZP121 block now shows 12 SNPs with at least 6 family origins. The matches are diverse enough that I’ll need to display the block in two images. On the left-hand side of this image you can see two new siblings for BY41998 leading to testers with plenty of novel variants to themselves. These novel variant blocks represent possibilities for undiscovered branches in the ZP121 family tree. One quirk in my ZP121 block matches is that Edwards from Wales shows as a DNA match where the more closely related match from Belgium does not. I would expect that to get cleaned up in the human review. The two sibling SNPs for BY4119, R-A19371 with descendants in England and Germany and BY101189 with Edwards from Wales, would I suspect have branched out in roughly the same time period.

The right-hand side also has new matches at the ZP121 level directly. Likely no potential sibling for BY41998 has been identified in those matches. They will probably eventually have some shared SNPs under the ZP121 block when more results come in. Here we have Germany, England, Ireland and Poland and the Polish match in this group is no closer or farther away than any other match. It would be harder to say if they were part of the Ostsiedlung migrating east or if they represent an older branch of ZP121 that migrated west.

My suspicion with both the left hand and right-hand groups without further evidence is that we’re seeing the Germanic migrations. The current best age estimate for ZP121 is around 300AD. With 12 SNPs, ZP121 represents another survivor story. He’s one man with a minimum of 12 generations behind him, but again likely many more. His descendants end up

All of these haplogroups are under the parent group of R-Z18 which is age estimated to have originated in a man born around 2500 BC and is a descendant of R-U106 which is estimated to be a man born around 3000 BC. Although several groups in R-U106 contain Scandinavians, R-Z18 has a high proportion of Scandinavians. Where R-U106 is generalized as a Germanic haplogroup by many, R-Z18 is generalized as a Scandinavian sub-group.

These are cultural labels that don’t reflect on the actual culture of Mr. U106 or Mr. Z18 at all. Those guys were probably walking around with stone axes speaking some language that would be alien to their later descendants. The labeling reflects more on the distribution of the descendants of those men. The observation of this distribution has been made based on current testers and has generally been backed up by ancient DNA.

The Germanic migrations, to me, are a spaghetti mess of movement in Europe that sends a few generations of men far and wide as settlers in new locations and founders of new cultures and groups in those locations.

The U106 group has been doing a good job of tracking ancient U106 related DNA in a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rpJP0Bt4qUQb9wWBFA7i1tLPV75ie_qS0iplwvvlVmQ/edit#gid=1743270299

There you can find R-Z18 related men in 4th century Nordland, Norway and R-Z18 men in 6th century Somogy, Hungary. The man in Norway is not necessarily surprising, but the man in Hungary, part of an eventual Lombard culture, was born in Scandinavia based on isotope analysis (one of two Scandinavians I believe) living among unrelated Germans and various locals.

In later centuries R-Z18 men appear in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and burials in the Danelaw in England. In a broad generalization, R-Z18 men seem to be found in Scandinavia and then places where Scandinavians ended up in the era of the Germanic migrations and the Viking age.

It would be great to have enough testing, of both modern and ancient DNA to be able to place and track DF95 men in this same journey, but our haplogroup is so small and so recently defined that I’m not sure our SNPs have been tested for when it comes to ancient DNA. Any of the men simply marked Z18 in the spreadsheet could be DF95 men, but the size of our group makes it less likely that we’ll be identified in ancient remains.

It is no surprise though, given the evidence we have from ancient DNA and historical accounts of the migration period, that we would find R-Z18 men in R-ZP121 in a variety of locations in Europe.

One block farther back I find FGC78525, new since March 2019, which connects ZP121 men to men under BY39935 and BY66573. Again, like ZP121, I would expect that these are migration era sibling groups. Each of them has a long string of SNPs just like Mr ZP121, 12 to 15 generations all in a straight line. These two groups are currently dominated by matches from the Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland) while Mr. ZP121 has children from both the Isles and the continent. Just like ZP121 we could be looking at a lot of hidden branches that will be defined with further testing for these groups or we could be looking at the string of SNPs in the descendants of three survivors with everyone else who would have branched off along the way going extinct.

FGC78525 contains men in ZP121 as well as two new groups under BY39935 and BY66573. All three groups have long runs of 12 to 15 unshared SNPs

One more block back and we get to ZP85 which seems to be correlated with the DYS458.2 micro-allele. ZP85 is the parent of FGC78525 above and another group defined by 14 SNPs in a long string leading to a tester from Norway and two Testers of unknown origin. My guess would be that the people in this R-PH1934 group split up at around the same number of SNPs as the split for ZP124 and ZP125 from BY41998, its age estimate is roughly 550 AD. My personal suspicion is that the subgroups of PH1934 represent splits in the Y line during and after the viking age and that there are more testers out there who could help define its branches.

My bet is that our mutual parent R-ZP85 has its roots in Scandinavia. ZP85 has an age estimate around 500BC which is in the vicinity of the end of the Nordic Bronze Age. I talk a bit about the end of the Nordic Bronze Age and references to climate change in a few of my posts in 2015 and 2016. This period is also sometimes called the “findless” age because of a population decline in Scandinavia and a lack of archeological finds.

There are enough blocks under ZP85 that I’m doing split screens left and right to capture them (hopefully in some meaningful way).

R-zp85, father of R-ph1934 and R-FGC78525
right hand side of ZP85 block tree

Mr R-ZP85 seems to be the originator of my ancestor’s DYS458.2 micro-allele, the tiny .2 number that vexed me so much in the early days of my search became important for sorting and then almost immediately was overshadowed by SNP discoveries. I think he also represents (barring new evidence) a diaspora of Scandinavians who would stop being Scandinavians and become Germans, Polish, Dutch, Belgians, English, Irish, Scots and Welsh.

My Big Y 700 Community

In my last post, I left off at the ZP124 block that currently defines three families of English colonists who arrived in a few different locations in North America within maybe 100 years of each other.

The ZP124 block gets us back to roughly 800AD covering about 1000 years for these three families. Right now, it would appear that it covers 1000 years in England and North America, but the entire picture is not known. With 1000 years to play with and rolling up on 5 years of Big Y testing, it seems like we should be seeing more families, and possibly more diversity of origins, in ZP124.

The next block back in time is interesting. It appears that it existed in March 2019. I can find it in my variants and in one of my Elmer cousin’s tests, both as low-quality SNPs. I don’t see it in Alex Williamson’s big tree, but apparently it is a direct connector to our brother branch. This block is BY41998. It represents at least one generation, but probably more. Currently, it is our cross over SNP that gives us matches in both England and Continental Europe:

This is also where my Big Y matches really begin to affect my personal display of the block tree. That is a shame because the block tree is hiding information based on my matches. My only display options are “show matches” or not and my matches currently seem to be a bit willy nilly (pre-human review).

Luckily I’ve been in contact with my ZP125 brethren so I have some idea who they are, but it would be easy to lose contact with them as testing progresses and more people are added. I don’t know if this is an answer to the GDPR (European privacy rules) or if it is just a quirk of “show matches” being additive rather than the default.

Personally, show surnames would be great because I could go to my Y STR match lists to contact people directly, look at available family trees…etc.

BY41998 is a connector to ZP125. BY41998 probably represents a few generations so roughly 600AD or 700AD for a common ancestor.

Looking at ZP125 will help define the transition. In that group we have the Wright family from England branching right off the ZP125 block. ZP125 contains at least 4 generations of men, but probably more.

Although I’ve heard that both FTDNA and Alex Williamson are working to include age estimates into their block trees, the best age estimates for these groups to date comes from the U106 group. Their analysis only takes into account people who were part of the U106 project, so the Wright family is not represented there. I can only guesstimate at ages surrounding those produced by the high-level math that went into age analysis a few years ago.

The four generations in the ZP125 block would make the split between Wright and the other men in the group, roughly equivalent to the Elmer family split with the Knowltons. 1200AD going by the U106 group age estimates for the Elmer/Knowltons.

That means the Wrights from England have a shared ancestor with men from Belgium, Netherlands and Poland around 1200AD while the Lunsfords, Knowltons, and Elmers share a common ancestor with the same group farther back in the 600 – 700AD range.

In this period between 1200AD and 600AD, our surnames have become mostly useless. They were probably assigned hundreds of years later. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about various migration routes and I feel like I could still make good arguments for all of them based on the evidence we have gathered since 2010. The truth is that it is all speculation. Nobody knows and we have no ancient remains to give us a guide-post.

In 2012, I posted that I was looking at where the leaves landed and trying to guess the wind. In that posting, I listed a germanic migration from west to east (the Ostsiedlung) that I am going to use as an example again when talking about the next block down, ZP150.

ZP150 contains matches from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Poland. The age estimate is roughly 1300AD for this group. In discussions going back a decade, our cousin in Poland was seen as a possible oldest root tester based on an east to west migration plan and a number of STR differences from other DF95 men. With better testing and direct communication comes more information though and it turns out the best fit is a west to east migration, the Ostsiedlung, connecting men from Belgium and the Netherlands to settlements in Poland. Talking with our distant cousin, his own genealogical work pointed to a similar conclusion. His family is a fairly recent addition to Poland with roots in the west.

No one was wrong for speculating that he could have been on an early branch of our tree in the East. It fit the model and the information at the time, but it is a good example that we have a lot left to learn because much of the evidence remains hidden.

The next block down is ZP187 and the age estimate for that block, which contains testers from Belgium and the Netherlands is about 1400AD. The families have different surnames again, I think, highlighting how recently surnames have been applied.

What I think we can say is that this is the current world of origin points of BY41998 and the central feature of that world is water:

At this point, we’re still fairly close to that thousand years of history mark, give or take a few hundred, BY41998 man has descendants on the continent and in Britain on both sides of the Southern North Sea Basin and some of those migrated as far away as Poland and North America in those thousand years.

My Big Y 700 Neighborhood

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:

The big tree for DF95 showing our string of shared SNPs for all DF95 men, layers down to the Elmers, and a lot of personal SNPs for everyone else.

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:

Three Elmer and Elmore big Y matfches and one Knowlton match

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:

FTDNA block tree showing my position in R-A2284 in a block next to a more distant Elmore cousin in R-A2276

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.

R-A2276 through BY42042 currently define Ed Elmer 1610

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.

Ancestry ThruLines

The previous incarnation of Ancestry Thrulines was DNA Circles which I thought was an excellent way to present the nebulous DNA connections that “might” bind people together, but an unfortunate way to present known connections.

ThruLines is, to me, an amazing way to show known DNA connections outside of a family tree. It is concise and straight forward with an easy to navigate tree interface. Here, for example, are my Elmore relatives on ancestry related to Halsey Orton Elmore in the default presentation:

thrulines showing me connected to my second cousin in the Elmore family back through our great grandfather and Halsey Orton Elmore

The presentation is simple, centered on me and my closest cousin. The navigation is pretty easy, if I want to look at more distant side connections to the same person, I can click to expand their sections.

ThruLines showing me, my second cousin expanded to show our third and second cousins with removals under Halsey Elmore's daughter Goldie Elmore

ThruLines gives you a map to your genetic relatives under known relatives and can give you a sense of the connections that have been bolstered by DNA and those connections that haven’t yet.

thrulines showing James Elmore 5th great grandparent with no connections until we hit James Walsworth Elmore who has 4 DNA matches.

You can clearly see that at least 4 of my Elmore cousins branch off under James Walsworth Elmore, but I have no genetic connections at Ancestry that branch to the side for his father James Elmore. That could be because James’ only other living child would be Charlotte (Elmore) Palmer and her descendants (if any) or it could be that most people’s family trees don’t go back to the 1700s on all branches.

5th great grandparents is largely recognized as a soft limit in genetic genealogy. Not that you can’t have DNA segments that go back farther, but that it becomes much harder to isolate the source of those segments by triangulation and that they can become small enough that the opportunity for a random match gets higher. It goes along with the 7cM soft limit. You can have good matches below 7cM, but it is harder to tell them from the bad matches at that size.

In any case, you can see that I’ve picked up many more matches for my 3rd great grandfather Halsey Orton Elmore than for his father and grandfather and those relationships and connections are nicely mapped out in ThruLines.

Suspects and Prospects

Starting with suspects. Although Revolutionary War Hero Mark Finks is the preferred Finks to be linked to, I have long suspected that we are descended from his brother Andrew Finks who was married to Mary Fielding. Most of this is based on the proximity of my John Finks to Fielding Finks in Virginia. They are listed near each other in the census and I suspected that they were brothers and that Fielding was carrying the name of their mother. At some point in the past I also found an interview with a descendant of Fielding that made that connection rather than the direct connection to Mark, although I can’t reproduce it here (so much is just a memory now).

Suffice it to say I thought it was a good enough bet to include it and it would appear that Ancestry ThruLines has a little hope for me there.

Thruline showing my connection to Andrew Finks through John Finks and a connection to a descendant of Fielding Finks.

It’s a slim margin with a 7cM match and I haven’t triangulated it myself by asking them to upload to gedmatch.com for a segment comparison with my dad and other Finks relatives. Still there it is, offering the possibility of future matches that add some weight to my suspects.

One of the more interesting features of ThruLines (as with the previous DNA circles) is the suggested potential ancestors. It comes with caveats of course, but the system takes family trees of matches and others and suggests a common possible ancestor in your tree as potential prospects.

I’ll use my Campbell family which has been confusing for me from the start and I’ve been contacted and corrected about enough times that I don’t recall what is what, only that I probably have the wrong information.

Thrulines with a suggested father for my Duncan Campbell connected to genetic relatives left for me to evaluate.

ThruLines has my 3rd great grandfather Duncan Campbell, the only one I felt safe including in my genetic tree connected to a John Campbell and several genetic cousin connections for me to evaluate. When you evaluate a connection you are presented with trees from genetic relatives and other public trees that carry this information.

So some of it is linked to my genetic relatives, but a lot of information is contained in other family trees. This is an opportunity to research preferably starting with trees that have some records associated with the person.

If I go back and click on one of my matches, I’m presented with more opportunities to evaluate their ancestors.

my connection to Duncan campbell with a link back to John Campbell and then down to one of my genetic cousins through several generations I am to evaluate.

It can lead you to believe that all these connections were made in their family trees but if I click on the matching person themselves and look at their actual family tree I see that they actually stop with Jennie Irene Campbell (their great grandmother). The rest of their tree, connecting them to John Campbell, has been implied from the trees of others and then presented to me as a prospect.

tree of genetic match stopping at Jennie Campbell several generations below John Campbell, the prospect match.

And that is the mindset I have to try to maintain. Potential ancestors are prospects. What Ancestry has done is not wrong. It is exactly what I have always done. Look at trees for genetic matches. Search for patterns and fill out probable trees for them to see if I can get back far enough to reach someone in my tree and/or connect them to people in other genetic relatives trees. Ancestry has done quite a bit of the work for me in figuring out a probable connection.

I still need to take them at their word and evaluate the records. I need to look at the trees that have evidence and use the minimum tools Ancestry provides to see if these genetic matches match my known family members on that side.

It’s up to me to realize that Ancestry doesn’t have all the information. My tree is stunted in places, my dad never sent in his kit and my mom hasn’t been tested. They may not have a clear picture of which cousin matches could be used to attempt to disprove a connection. They may or may not be triangulating segments, so I have no way of knowing if they are tracking the same inherited segment between any two matches.

It’s a tool for prospecting, for speculation, reflection, research and for easily organizing the knowns in a visual display. It is still one of my favorite additions to their toolset, even though I think there is a high potential to mislead people.

Trapped in North America

There are generally two fronts in my Elmore genealogy work, one front is identifying branches of the Elmores in the U.S. and getting people tested to try to place them. The second front is getting out of the U.S. by any means. Specifically getting out of Connecticut. That is what is on my mind today.

DNA would work, it would be nice to match someone from one of the former colonies who was not directly descended from Ed. We could also go for some real record of where Ed Elmer was from before he boarded the Lyon. I suspect, for me though, that would just direct more recruiting and testing to find a living human descended from Ed’s uncle or cousin or great great grandfather.

Because of the variety of surname spellings that basically sound like Elmer, we have a lot of options to choose from. So many spellings that it is hard to pick which ones to pursue.

Every so often I strike out looking for records of the Elmers in the UK around Ed’s time. I’ve come up with several possible families in multiple locations.

Reaching Out

At the same time, I normally search ancestry.com family trees for Elmers, Aylmers, Elmores, Ellmores..etc that were born since the 1940’s and are from Australia or England or Canada and so on. I then contact the tree owners to see if they know any living male Elmers (or surname variants) who would be interested in testing their Y DNA to connect to distant cousins.

I don’t have a high success rate in recruiting or really even in getting responses back, so I can’t recommend this tactic, but I do keep trying it hoping to find someone out there who would like to bridge the gap.

Ancestry is not the only track, it’s just the easiest for searching, we’ve also been in contact with the admin of the Aylmer family site and have been able to get their help in leaving a message in a bottle for Aylmers interested in connecting.

Putting our Money and Time Where our Mouth is

When we do get someone interested in making a connection we usually offer to pay for a basic YSEQ Y test of DYS458 which for us carries a micro-allele of .2 normally with a value of 16.2. That is really a yes or no test, either you’re related to us in the last 2000 years or you’re not.

If they have the micro-allele, then we can move on testing SNPs to see how closely they are related to Ed. If not then we recommend they purchase a more extensive test at either FTDNA or YSEQ. Since YSEQ doesn’t have its own matching service for Y DNA we usually push for the Y37 at FTDNA.

The other offer that is always on the table is that we’ll help them sort out their Y DNA no matter where they test, to see if they do meet up with another of the perfectly good Elmer and Elmore families that have tested.

All Y DNA tests have value, disproving a connection to our family just opens up opportunities to match with other families who I’m sure would love to get out of North America as well. The more Aylmers, Elmores and Ellmores that test, the more likely we are to find our living relatives and in the meantime we can help connect other families too.

The Aylmers

Aylmers are tough. Recently as I was joining the Thompsons to the Irish DNA group, I found that they listed Aylmer as a surname, with one tester. That was of particular interest because we don’t show any Aylmer matches, so they might possibly match with some other lucky Elmer/Elmore family. It also raises the possibility that we could eliminate a family of Aylmers from our search. Unfortunately, their results don’t show up in the project page, which makes me think they are hidden…or it’s some freak accident in the project page. I don’t know.

What if they’re in our haplogroup but not close enough in STRs to show as a match? We would never see them. The possibility that we’ve got distant family members already tested both exists and doesn’t exist at the same time.

Genealogy Follow Up

It was disconcerting how little evidence I could dig up for my mother’s direct line, so I bought a subscription to the American Ancestors site by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. They have a searchable database, which is nice and have indexed some books that turned out to be very helpful. In particular, they had an indexed copy of the Families of Old Fairfield which is where my maternal line leads.

Sometimes I got really lucky finding a listing for someone directly. Other times, my family seemed to be in the notes rather than listed outright. I had some luck searching for others and then finding them in the smaller print.

Walking back from Catherine Cable, I wanted to see some connection outside an ancestry family tree to Wheeler Cable, who is married to Anna Odell for a short time before he dies. Below Catherine Cable is listed as a granddaughter of Andrew Cable along with her sister Rebecca, both attributed to Wheeler.

The text above is not sure about Wheeler’s wife listing that it is possibly Huldah Fairchild. The best evidence I have tying Anna Odell to daughter Catherine Cable and Wheeler Cable is Anna’s headstone. It may be a replacement stone. I’m not sure.

Anna later married Hezekiah Meeker and named on of their sons John Odell Meeker. That is really the only connection I have at the moment for the ancestry family trees that connect her to John Odell. I couldn’t find Anna in the old Fairfield Families book. So Anna back to John remains a leap of faith.

John’s listing is rather stunted, seeming to contain only one child Isaac, who has his own daughter named Anna, but no more. The Ancestry trees list several children of John, including Isaac.

fairfield families listing John Odell

If the ancestry trees are to be believed then both John Odell and his wife Hannah Jackson died in Ohio. I can’t find any references for either of those deaths either.

If that connection were made somewhere outside of Ancestry, then I could jump back to this book to connect Hannah Jackson to Isaac Jackson and his wife Rachel Nichols.

families of old fairfield Isaac Jackson listed at the bottom with wife Rachel Nichols (daughter of Daniel)
families of old fairfield Isaac Jackson continued at the top listing Hannah who marred John Odell.

Daniel Nichols, Rachel’s father is associated with Hannah Peat in Ancestry Family trees and I can see a listing for him and Hannah under the Peats in the old families of Fairfield.

Hanna Peat born 1694 daughter of Samuel Peat and Mary unknown is listed as married to Daniel Nichols.

Assuming I can get past Anna Odell the trail ends with Hannah Peat. I’m not sure I can get past Anna though. It would be nice to find some form of paper trail for her. Because Catherine is Wheeler’s daughter and they are in Fairfield Connecticut, I think it’s safe to say that Anna is related to the Odells there but tracking Mitochondrial ancestors requires an unbroken line like Y DNA does. So I have to be reasonably sure of Anna Odell’s mother to make the connection, which in our culture means being reasonably sure of her father.

The Trouble with James Walsworth Elmore

I feel confident that James Walsworth (or Walworth) Elmore was born in New York in 1823, some records say in Essex. His older sister Charlotte was born around 1819…or 1821 depending on where you look, also in New York.

In 1840 (given the ages of child records) they appear to be living with Polly Anson in Peru, Clinton, New York. You have to get to that conclusion by back tracking from the 1850 census where they live with Polly and realize that Polly is there in 1840 with a teenage boy and 20 year old girl.

In 1850 James Walsworth Elmore (27) is the head of house, listed with his wife Lydia, son Walworth, sister Charlotte and Mary Anson (age 55). He’s listed as a Clothier, just down the page from Franklin E. Elmore (45) who is listed as a Merchant. Franklin is the son of Asa Elmore who also owned land in Essex NY according to his will. So, James is mixed in there with other Elmores in his extended family and also with some families with familiar names like that of John Cochran and Daniel Irish (James W’s wife Lydia Ann Hicks possibly being related to the Irish family).

In 1860 James W. Elmore now listed as a farmer, his family and his sister Charlotte (now last name Palmer) are still living in Peru New York with Polly Anson.

In 1870 James W. and family are still in Peru Ny and Mary (Polly) is listed as an Elmore. If you imagine starting your tree backwards though, from 1870, it would look like James W. was living with his mother, Mary Elmore in Peru NY in 1870.

In 1880, James W., now 55, has moved to Fulton Illinois and Mary Anson is no longer with them.

It would appear that James W. Elmore’s parents died some time before 1840 and that he and sister Charlotte had a strong bond with Mary Anson who was about roughly 20-30 years older than them.

This all sounds possible, so what is the trouble?

It’s a matter of records. In my family tree you will see James Walsworth Elmore attached to James Elmore and Katherine Cochran as his parents. The only reference I have for that are other family trees and a hint that there was once a family bible.

The only child I can actually associate with James Elmore and Katherine Cochran through a record is their daughter Katherine Elmore who died within the first year of life in 1824 (after James W. Elmore is born).

Katherine Cochran dies in 1825. In 1826 there is a record of a James Elmore in Peru New York marrying a Fanny Bragg which has been associated with our James Elmore on ancestry.com. Our James Elmore then dies himself in 1833. Which has led us all to the conclusion that there must be some connection between James Elmore and Mary Anson.

In many trees, Mary Polly Anson and Fanny Bragg have formed what appears to be a composite person..who became Mary Polly Fanny Anson Bragg in order to explain the strong bond between Mary Anson and James W. Elmore. We’re doing these gymnastics to make that connection to James Elmore and complete the line back to Ed Elmer.

James Elmore is alive in 1830, but I cannot find him in the census in Peru Ny. There is a garbled possible Jas Ellmore record in there, but it lists three boys James W. Walsworth’s age. I do find several of the other Elmores. There is a listing for John Elmore who is assumed to be the man aged 60 to 70. He’s the father of James who was married to Katherine Cochran, and if my tree is to be believed, my direct male ancestor.

My trouble is that things don’t seem to add up and I struggle to place James Walsworth Elmore with any Elmore family because I never actually see him living with one. He’s related to them, but living with Polly Anson at every verifiable point. So…who is Polly Anson?

Flipping over to DNA for a minute

I’ve done a lot with Y DNA, first proving Ed Elmer’s Y line and then finding my own place in it. Much of this blog is devoted to that process so I won’t go over it again here. The end of that Y research (at the moment) leaves me with a direct relationship to Hezekiah Elmer born in 1686. I share a Y DNA SNP R-A2284 which only occurs in descendants of his father Edward Elmer (the second) and have a novel (in the family anyway) Y STR at DYS449 that appears to only be shared by descendants of Hezekiah. You can see our results here.

With the amount of triangulation we’ve done on these SNPs and STRS, I feel like I done proved it for my connection Hezekiah.

In the world of Autosomal DNA, I’ve racked up a good group of various cousins at different ranges of centimorgans that are related to several of the children of Halsey Orton Elmore, the son of James Walsworth Elmore. Where possible I’ve done segment mapping to attempt to confirm at least which side of our family these matches are on. As you can read here, I’ve also picked up a good sized (and growing) cluster of relatives related to Maurice Elmore’s mother Imogene Carr, so I feel good about the direction of the branches below James Walsworth Elmore. I should be happy with these results. DNA has done it’s job and jumped the brick walls.

I’ve got the right guy in 1686 and the right guy in 1823 and that is a lot better than a lot of people have gotten, but the squishy nature of the connection between James W. Elmore and James Elmore nags at me and makes me question the connections in the red box below. I don’t have any definitive autosomal or Y DNA matches in that red box to give me any direction on whether it’s right or not.

Put a slightly different way, I don’t have any DNA evidence to say that I’m more closely related to John Elmore than to John’s brother Daniel…or even somehow their brother Asa.

The line of men in the red box is “effectively” genetically correct. You can’t say for certain that it’s not correct, but what if it’s not technically correct beyond a shadow of a doubt?

Hezekiah to me

Paternal line from Hezekiah down to me

A Shadow of a Doubt

The Elmores, particularly Asa Elmore in Peru Ny are doing pretty well. At least they seem to be fairly solid. I imagine that Asa Elmore has some pretty good holdings and is a prominent citizen. James Walsworth Elmore names one of his sons Asa. In my family tree Asa Elmore is James W. Elmore’s great uncle. If the Elmore family is as it appears (fairly well to do), why is James Walsworth Elmore with Polly Anson and not one of his other Elmore relatives? Is Polly Anson in some way a closer relative than the other Elmores in Peru?

If you look at my family tree, James W Elmore does not have a lot of aunts and uncles on the Elmore side. John Elmore 1766 in that line of men above appears to have four children, only one son, and three of them, including the son were dead by 1840. That would leave James W. Elmore one aunt, Euretta who married a Doctor Kane. James W and Charlotte don’t go live with Euretta Elmore Kane even though it would seem like a doctor’s family would be in a position to handle the financial risks of taking on a nephew and niece.

Those early deaths make John Elmore’s family convenient because he has a son James who could be a father to James W. and both he and his wife would be gone in time for James W. to live with Polly Anson, but I have nothing connecting Polly to an Elmore family.

I have to keep returning to Mary Polly Anson because she’s the only adult I can tie James W. to by records and of course I keep returning to my big questions. Who is Polly Anson and what is her relationship with James W. and Charlotte Elmore?

Ties that Bind?

What is the possibility that the children were “bound out”. In my paper trail Thompson family, the Williamsons were bound out when their father died. They were spread around other families in the community in Anderson Indiana. This was the social safety net available when there were no orphanages and families couldn’t absorb the repercussions of a tragedy. Annie Oakley was famously bound out when her father died. It’s a legal contract that seems to have placed children in servitude to or under the care of another local family until a certain age when their contract would expire.

That would offer up a possibility that Polly Anson is unrelated to James W. and Charlotte Elmore which in turn brings me back to the relative prosperity of the Elmores in Peru and back to wondering why they would have their own kin bound out? In the story of the Williamsons, they were isolated and faced what looked like a male line extinction event, leaving several widows. It was easy to see why the family would basically collapse at some point under the weight of the fatherless-ness.

It could be the case that James W and Charlotte were bound out, but it seems more reasonable that Polly Anson is a relative.  To me, it appears that James W. and Charlotte remain with Polly…or that Polly remains with them in Peru until her death, at which point James W. Elmore makes his move to Illinois kicking off the series of events that eventually leads to my existence. James W. is not alone. He appears to move within a group of familiar families from the Peru area like the Hicks and Fuller families.

So James is an Elmore in Peru NY, related on the male line to the other Elmores there, but he is recorded as being born in Essex New York (a bit farther south) and I always see him moving in the context of other local families (Fuller, Hicks, Anson). He’s in proximity to the Elmores but somehow seems distanced.

Polly Anson seems to me to be a relative of some sort or close enough to be preferable as a care giver and then lifelong family member. Charlotte does get married, but ends up back with the core family surrounding James W. Elmore. I can only assume that Polly Anson is a widow in the 1840 census, which would mean her maiden name is likely not Anson.

They head to Illinois where James Walsworth, his wife and several other Elmores are buried in the Elmore Fuller Hicks Cemetery in Harris Township. Oddly there is also a listing for Mary Anson in the same Cemetery which gives her possibly two grave listings as there seems to be one in Peru New York as well. James Orton Fuller is there too which is an interesting name reference for Halsey Orton Elmore. Also found there are Amzi Hicks and his wife Lydia (listed sometimes as Lydia Fuller and sometimes as Lydia Irish) who would be my blood relatives as the parents of James W. Elmore’s wife Lydia Ann Hicks.

It may have meaning for my search that we’re talking about the Elmore Fuller Hicks Cemetery. There do not seem to be any Cochrans there and all of the Elmores seem to be in James W. Elmore’s immediate family. There is only one Anson listed though and that is Polly.

Quick and Dirty Surveys of Indexed Elmores

I’ve noted here that Asa Elmore listed in his will that he owned land in Peru, Clinton County New York and in Essex County farther south where James Walsworth Elmore was born. It makes me wonder if Essex New York was a way point in the Elmore migration to Northern New York. In any case, those two counties are my census counties for Elmores from 1820 and 1830.

In 1830, James Walsworth Elmore would be around 7 years old and sister Charlotte would be about 11.  Assuming the children were together, then we’d be looking for a family with a male 5 to 9 and a female 10 to 14.

Although a page by page census read is the best, I’m going to start with indexes and let Ancestry.com do the heavy lifting. In 1830, Peru NY search comes up with:

  • John Elenore (John Elmore assumed to be the male 60 to 70 in the record)
  • Washington H Elmar (Washington Hall Elmore son of Asa Elmore and Maria Hall)
  • Stacia Elmore (probably Selucia Elmore son of Asa Elmore)
  • William H Elmore (probably William Hay Elmore son of Lott Elmore and Mary Hay)

John Elmore the prime suspect

The John Elmore in the index fits with an age of 60 to 70. His listing is misrepresented in the index with what appears to be a bad reporting of the columns. He has one male 30 to 40 which would be correct for his widowed son James Elmore, one female under 5 and one female 50 to 60, which would fit for John’s wife, Elizabeth Hay. The tick marks here are misleading though. The first listing which seems to be for a boy under 5 is suspect because of the other records listed.

1830 census showing John Elmore in Peru NY

You can see John there at the bottom. Note that several records in the first column appear to have back ticks, while others have a clearer number 1. That leads me to believe that the back tick is some other mark and shouldn’t be counted. So that leaves John Elmore, his wife, possibly his widowed son James and a girl under age 5. There is no one the age of James Walsworth or his older sister Charlotte. 

Just for clarity here is the census listing with the rows and columns highlighted showing the age ranges and number of people in John Elmore’s household.

1830 listing for John Elmore with columns highlighted

I wanted to spend some time on John because he’s in my squishy red box zone where things don’t add up. I won’t painfully go through each of the other Elmores listed, none of them have a male 5 to 10 and a female 10 to 15. Although William Hay Elmore comes close with a boy 15 to 20, I think he may be housing some of his siblings after the death of his father Asa. Both William and Selucia show girls the right age to be Charlotte, but neither have the magic boy and girl listing I’m looking for.

I couldn’t find any Elmores in Essex County in the 1830 index.

Dialing back to 1820, in Peru we basically have Asa Elmore and John Elmore with their families (12 and 7 people respectively). I still don’t see any Elmores in Essex. I know there is an Elmore presence in Essex because Asa owns land there in his will in 1822. I just don’t see any Elmore households there.

James Walsworth’s written records are pretty clear about him being born in Essex. It doesn’t appear to be a best guess like the listings I see for his sister Charlotte. I believe it’s on his actual death record that way. I would have to believe that his family is either on the move when he’s born in Essex or that they live in Essex but don’t own any land.

In 1790 John Elmore is in Plattsburgh New York, north of Peru likely moving with his father Daniel Elmer out of Vermont. John seems to be pretty settled in Peru by 1810.

That doesn’t leave me much to go on as far as a paper connection to the other Elmores in Peru NY. I should also point out that in documents and family listings I’ve seen for the Elmores in New York connected to Edward Elmer, James Walsworth Elmore and sister Charlotte do not exist. James Elmore is always listed with no children, John Elmore’s male line dying out with James in 1833. Seeing one of those comprehensive listings is actually what prompted me to take a hard look at that red section of my male line.

Asa Elmore and Selucia Elmore have pretty extensive wills and they specifically don’t list either James Walsworth Elmore or Charlotte Elmore. I cannot find a will for our John Elmore who died in 1840.

I get the feeling I’m chasing my tail with the Elmores and none of James Walsworth’s documents that I’ve found give a smoking gun as to who his parents are.

The Ansons

Back to Polly Anson. In 1830, I don’t find Polly Anson, but she would be about 35.

While the Elmores in Peru are mysterious and seem somehow disconnected. Polly Anson seems to be a constant in James W. Elmore’s life. While I can’t find any Elmores in Essex, Essex New York in 1830, I do find Amos Anson (son of Robert and Phebe) living there. Amos has a pretty large household in Essex NY in 1830. Looking for my magic pair, he comes pretty close. He’s got a boy 5 to 10 and a girl 5 to 10. If the girl was Charlotte, I would expect 10 to 15 so it’s close but not perfect. Amos has two adult women 20 to 30 in his household. Amos himself is the man aged 40 to 50 in the listing.

At a minimum, I have records of Asa Elmore’s land in Essex and members of the Anson family living in Essex. Most of the listings for the Ansons in the area are in Peru, NY.

In Peru in 1830 we have Brenton P Anson, Isaac Anson, William Anson and Phebe Anson.

Brenton Anson has several children listed, but no females Charlotte’s age. One of the women appears to be 30 to 40 years old. I suspect that  is his wife as he’s 40 to 50 years old. Isaac Anson is also missing a girl Charlotte’s age. William Anson misses the age range of the children, but does have two women about Polly Anson’s age in his household.

Phebe Anson could be the 60 to 70 year old person in her census listing. She’s the wife of Robert Anson and Amos Anson’s widowed mother. In her household there is a boy under 5, one 5 to 10, a man 30 to 40, a girl 10 to 15, two women 20 to 30 and one woman 30 to 40. If I assume that my Elmores are connected with the Ansons in the 1830’s then Phebe Anson has the most likely records for them. Her numbers cover James W. Elmore at 5 to 10, Charlotte at 10 to 15 and Polly Anson at 30 to 40.

Phebe is gone in 1840. In 1840, Polly Anson pops up in Peru NY for the first time with children at the right ages for James W. and Charlotte and it’s just the three of them. Amos Anson at this point has moved to Peru, while A Lewis Anson (40 to 50 years old) pops in for the first time in Essex County with a female about 10 years younger than himself.

I have to wonder if the 1840 census and the listings for Lewis Anson and Polly Anson are actually the remnants of Phebe Anson’s family in 1830. The age ranges would seem to work out with the possibility of one extra 20 year old woman somehow lost in the shuffle.

These old census records are not very informative, unless you already have a good idea of the people involved. I can postulate that Phebe Anson’s household contained both Lewis and Polly’s families, but I can’t say for sure.

In 1820, James Walsworth Elmore would not exist, but his sister Charlotte would. Following the theory that my Elmores are tied to the Anson family, I would expect to see a record for a female under 10 years old living with Robert Anson (Phebe’s husband), but I do not.

Brinton P Anson, Robert and William Anson are all in Peru NY in 1820. William has the largest household with 12 people.  In 1830 the William household is still large but the two oldest people are gone, so it appears a younger William became the head of household.

In the 1820 census, Robert Anson and William Anson are brothers, both have apparently died by 1830.

Where the will of Asa Elmore goes on in some detail for multiple pages, the will of Robert Anson is barely a few sentences appointing his executors. There is not much of anything I can see in the way of an actual will, which might list family members. Most of the will book seems to be taken up with the story of how it was signed by Robert and that Phebe had no idea what was in it.

The Dower records are equally sparse when it comes to Phebe’s family. Selucia Elmore is mentioned but in his official capacity as a neutral party to legal mumbo jumbo surrounding Robert Anson’s property.

Although Ancestry.com has Guardian Books back to 1830 in Peru NY, the only record in the index page is Janette Elmore (daughter of Asa). Digging for wills for references to Polly Anson…or my Elmores, has been fruitless so far.

I’m not left with much to help explain the Elmore/Anson connection.

Walsworth or Walworth

I’ve seen both listed as James W’s middle name. It seems that it is important enough to maintain at least as an initial because Jame W. is consistantly listed as James W. or J.W.

John and Reuben Hyde Walworth are listed in Plattsburgh, Clinton, New York, just north of Peru New York, in the 1820 census. Reuben moves on to Saratoga Springs New York.

In 1820, there are also Walsworths in Guilford Vermont not too far from Fort Dummer where James Walsworth Elmore’s great grandfather, Daniel Elmer may have served alongside brother Hezekiah.

Daniel Elmer pvt Fort Dummer Vermont

Also there are Walsworths in Westford Vermont (North of Weathersfield where Daniel lives in 1787) across Lake Champlain from Peru New York. There are Walsworth and Walworth family options along Daniel Elmer’s possible path to Peru. Is James W. somehow related to them or maybe like my second great grandfather McKendree Seelye, named after an influential person in his parents lives?

To date, I have not been able to find any documented connection to Polly Anson, any of the Wal(s)worths or even to the other Elmores in his home town. I haven’t actually seen the family bible this information came from. It is nit picky to be sure. The DNA evidence is spot on, but I can’t help feeling like there may be more to it.

Being the Keeper

My aunt Cheryl died just as some of the best evidence of her paternal family was coming in. Right as the needle moved from high confidence to absolute confidence that we had the right man. Since Cheryl’s death in 2017, I’ve left her DNA at 23 and me, FTDNA and Ancestry along with her genetic family tree. I like to think her information can be a helpful way marker for other lost sheep. You can catch up with the ups and downs of researching Cheryl here: https://wanderingtrees.com/2017/09/11/on-the-death-of-cheryl/

Along with keeping that legacy comes a connection. I have another family of sorts that I’m tied to.

This Fall, I was contacted by a family friend of Mary Pauline Roberts. Cheryl’s first cousin.

Polly Roberts military photo

The family friend was the daughter of one of Polly’s close personal friends. When Polly died in the 1960’s her service flag was given to that friend who kept it until she too died. The family had come to the conclusion that they wanted to return the flag to Polly’s blood relatives in the Roberts family and Cheryl was a close blood relative.

They wanted Polly’s service and friendship to be remembered. If I could have been the go-between for my aunt, I would have. Unfortunately though my aunt is also dead. I didn’t feel like my aunt’s children would be interested so I contacted Cheryl’s other living Roberts cousins to see if they would like to honor the flag.

I also had some conversations with these family friends who knew Polly in life and had real bonds with her. The Roberts blood relatives were considering giving Polly’s memory to a museum, which is (to me anyway) a high honor and a way to continue public service, in the form of public education, after death. Several of my grandmother’s things went to our local museum.

I also offered to keep the flag at my house indefinitely if that is what they wished. I Have many people and memories here. Not as good as a museum, but I feel like I have space to honor people here.

Ultimately though, I expressed my feelings that there is nothing particularly special in the blood of a relative that would make them any better suited than anyone else to remember Polly. Who better to remember her than the people who have already been doing it for 50 plus years?

In the end, they agreed and kept Polly’s flag, which was the best possible outcome.

I will continue to be Cheryl’s keeper as Cheryl continues to be a genetic light in the darkness for people she never knew.

My All-Mother

Image of the Mud Maid from Heligan in Cornwall lovingly borrowed.

As I’ve become estranged from my mother as an adult and have become removed from my maternal family in the process, researching my mitochondrial DNA links is a somewhat painful process. Even now, while I write this, inside I’m concerned about what the implications are in acknowledging this part of me. Since I am the one who is abandoning part of his family (arguably to keep another, more vulnerable part of the family safe) I have to wonder what chain of events this may set off?

I’ve been on the wrong side of painful family dynamics several times when it comes to genealogy and research so I want to be open and mark down the progress on my mother’s family too. In the scale of deep genealogical time that MTDNA works with, my current situation is the blink of an eye.

Mitochondrial DNA T2A1A

My original test at 23 and me has me as T2a, which they describe this way:

Your maternal line stems from a branch of T called T2a. Haplogroup T2a traces back to a woman who lived nearly 17,000 years ago in the Middle East. Her descendants form a branch of haplogroup T2, which has spread over the millennia from its birthplace in the Middle East to northeastern Africa and throughout Europe, riding waves of migration that followed the end of the Ice Age and the origin of agriculture. At the tail end of the Ice Age about 13,000 years ago, one migration appears to have carried the T2 haplogroup, including members of T2a, from the Middle East into northern Africa, especially Ethiopia and Egypt.

“Today, members of haplogroup T2a can be found at low levels in Egypt and the western part of the Arabian Peninsula. Although extremely rare outside the Middle East, T2a has also been found sporadically in Iberia, France and Norway.”

I recently had the Full MTDNA sequence done at Family Tree DNA and have been placed in T2a1a. It’s “closer” than 13000 years ago, but not exactly “close”.

The first thing I found when looking at MTDNA is that it doesn’t seem as granular as the Y has become. I’ve been spoiled by big Y and the layering that is possible there, but MTDNA looks like a step back to the bigger picture.

Ancient Remains

According to this paper at the NCBI, T2a1a pops up about 6000 years ago. So I suspect that the totality of my broader haplogroup matches could be up to 6000 years old, so roughly 4000BC. Entering Europe from the Near East in the Neolithic period when farming began to be adopted in Europe.

Although some of my autosomal match contacts have been North African and I have some small amount of West African DNA and many of my early maternal autosomal match contacts were Roma who have suggested that my Price family may be related to the Price tribe, my straight maternal line is most likely European. That had me searching for T2a1a in ancient European samples and I ran into two groups, both of which are familiar because of the Y Haplogroup R migration. The Yamnaya (who may have helped spread Y haplogroup R from the steppes into Europe) and the Beaker culture.

Around 2700 to 2100 BC, T2a1a is found in a man from a Yamnaya kurgan burial, RISE547 and another man RISE552, in a separate burial. Both not too far from the town of Elista in Russia, between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, part of the Pontic Steppe.

From roughly 2500BC to 1800BC T2a1a shows up in Amesbury Down, England, not far from Stonehenge. Amesbury is where the Beaker grave of the Amesbury Archer was found. As it turns out he was from the continent (based on isotope analysis, he was from the Alps) but lived in Britain and was buried near a male relative who had spent his childhood in Britain. The T2a1a people (labeled I2459 and I2460) were part of a migration that replaced roughly 90% of Britain’s gene pool with Steppe related ancestry within a few hundred years.

Later, between 1400BC and 1200BC RISE210, a male with T2a1a is buried in Angamollan Sweden.

Amtdb.org lists only these 5 bronze age T2a1a people. At least one T2a1a person is found among the Goths between the 2nd and 4th centuries. It’s definitely out there, but mentions of it do seem pretty rare. It seems like 23 and Me wasn’t too far off base. It came from the middle east and probably migrated westward in low levels along with the Steppe people.

Closer to Home?

I have a Full MTDNA test from Family Tree DNA. According to Isogg: “ If two people have an exact FMS match they will generally share a common ancestor within the last 22 generations (about 550 years)

22 Generations is daunting for a person who can only feel confident about 8 or 9 generations back…11 if I push a lot of boundaries. Many of my matches do not seem able to get back that far, if they list an ancestor at all.

My Y DNA paternal all father is currently Ed Elmer born around 1610 about 360 years separate our births…and Men in this country are much easier to follow than women. I would likely have to push back past any colonial ancestors to stumble on a match.

I have 61 exact matches. Of those only 28 could give a country of origin and they are from 13 different countries. I can get it down to 11 countries if we remove the U.S. and Canada, assuming they’re likely immigrants from some other country or would fall in with the two Native American matches on my list.

My exact matches are from continental Europe (Bohemia, Germany, Netherlands, France and Spain), the British Isles (England, Ireland, Wales) and Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway). Nowhere does it reach more than 0.2% of the population from those countries. My MTDNA seems to spread all over Western Europe, appears more closely related than it probably is and also (without a lot to compare to) seems like a small percentage of the population.

My close matches are about as distant geographically as the ancient T2a1a samples.

Bridging A Gap of Centuries

If you take just my known/suspected colonial ancestors from my family tree, England, Wales, Norway, Netherlands and Germany are all represented in the colonies. They all seem equally as likely countries of origin for my Mito line that runs back to Anna Odell from Fairfield, Connecticut in 1758. Her mother seems to be largely accepted to be Hannah Jackson born in 1741 in Stratford Connecticut, who married John Odell. I’m uncertain about Hannah Jackson’s parents. Everyone eventually ended up in Ohio, part of a contingent of pioneers from Connecticut, which has helped to tie them together, but I don’t yet have anything solid going back from Hannah. There are multiple Jackson families in Fairfield Connecticut. I’m not certain if or how they are all related.

map showing fairfield connecticut

I now have a lot more information than I did when I got my results from 23 and me, but I didn’t win the jackpot of matching up with another person who has the same known ancestor or even a close possibility.

I suppose that I would pursue it the way I would pursue Y candidates. I would look at family trees and find other people who have a straight maternal line connecting to my ancestors and test them methodically, attempting to triangulate back as far as possible.

…and wait for more matches to show up.

Other posts that include T2a

Fracta Non Victa

Broken but not Beaten

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the Thompson family motto, Fracta Non Victa which google translates into “broken down, it was overcome” but I’ve generally taken to mean “broken not beaten”.

A lot of things have happened since I pretty much abandoned social media, fell behind in email forums, added job duties (becoming a manager where I work) and started going back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree. Not the least of which was the fact that I lost this website.

Apparently, in April, I let my hosting lapse and my site was deleted. While I’ve done my best to restore the content from backups in March, not everything has restored nicely. For instance, there are many broken references and cross-links in my pages and quite a few missing images. All of those things make it a bit harder to move around quickly to related items and sometimes harm the context of my posts. It’s especially painful because a lot of these images represent points in time and things will have changed in the years that followed the original posting.

I’m now going through post by post to try to restore images where I can or find/make new ones to take the missing images place. I intend to follow that up with a campaign of link fixing.

Things I should have posted about

  • I’m hoping to get caught up with new information from the Cumberland Cluster R-DF95 Baker family who have run through big Y testing and feature as mystery Bakers in previous posts.
  • I’ve ordered big Y for myself so I can join the other Elmers and Elmores in that arena and get notified if/when new matches roll in.
  • I’ve ordered big Y for the U152 Thompsons to find their place in the Y family tree compared to other Ulster Irish U152 families.
  • Ancestry Thru Lines has illuminated a lot of possible matches in my genetic family tree.
  • I’ve connected with some possible Irish Aylmer testers from the U.K.
  • I want to take a critical look at the data I have on James Walsworth Elmore.
  • I’ve had some interesting contact with my aunt Cheryl’s Roberts family.
  • …and I finally jumped in on MTDNA to see where that leads me on identifying my all mother.

I’m hopeful that I can get this ship back in shape (with better backups) and set some time aside to write about the things that have been rolling around in my brain all year. I’ll just need to balance that out with the 12-page paper I have due.

On a side note regarding the crest image on this post: Since I found out that my branch of the Thompsons are Elmores, I’ve wanted to “difference” the somewhat universally bestowed Thompson family crest with the cornish choughs (members of the crow family) of the Elmers rather than the normal Thompson hawks. Differencing is sometimes done by Scottish clans to denote differences in relationships between people or septs. I’ve often thought that swapping out the birds in our crests would be a fun way to visually bridge the identity gap.

I should point out that heraldry is not universal and these things usually belong to a single person or maybe their family. There are rules and governing bodies and the description of the image is more important than the image itself. It is not for upstarts from the colonies to decide what is on a crest.

I’m going to switch my hawks for crows and call this forgery mine anyway.