Sorting through the Y-DNA clues

In my last correspondence on these pages, I posted a note from a y-dna group administrator that suggested that it would be useful to test for certain y-DNA SNPs before trying to interpret the 111 markers for which I had recently been tested.

The organization with which my test results are stored,, has confidently designated my haplogroup as I-M253.  Between the Sorensen Molecular Research Foundation, and a small group of surnames has been identified as associated with my y-dna line – Saunders, Crump, Kerley, and (a recent addition from Dewar.

After waiting for a possibly more distant relative to get his results from Britain’s Chrome 2.o test, I made the decision to test for two SNPs, DF 29 and Z58.

While awaiting those results I came upon the information that one of the Crump men that has determined is closely related to me has tested positive for SNP Z59+, itself derived from Z58. Therefore, even in advance of receiving the results, I am expecting my tests for the two SNPs DF29 and Z58 (the latter which emerged from the former) both to be positive. Any other result will be quite confusing.

A view of the harbor at Aveton-Gifford in Devon, a possible ancestral homeland?

During the anticipated long wait for SNP results, I will attempt to sort through how the y-DNA data on “close relatives” meshes with my genealogical research based on birth records, wills and other paper trails, as well as my speculative guesses based on historical events in England and Virginia – ideas that have been set forth on these website pages.

I’ve been doing some initial work on who is I-M253 in my y-dna line and also in other male lines known to have intermarried at some point with the male ancestors who are directly in my y-dna line.

I’m aware that this is a departure from the traditional ways of doing genalogical research with the construction of family trees based on records that rise to the level of acceptable genealogical proof. Readers of this website know I like all of the records – wills, census documents, Quaker meeting minutes, historical maps, photographs if available.

But how can tracing y-dna lines help with genealogical research? I believe that there are special situations in “deep ancestral research” that make what seems impossible to prove not to be. These special situations include historical reasons why particular groups intermarried, and why groups of families retained relationships with each other over centuries.

Note that the name of the website refers to “Vikings” and to “Virginians”.  Why so?

It’s a known fact that the Viking aristocracy that took over England after the Battle of Hastings kept power in the Norman-descended families for centuries, while families continually were intermarrying.

There are some particular subgroups that appear to be relevant to my family history. These include religious dissenters (Protestants in Catholic England, Quakers and Baptists in Anglican Virginia).

Also, the particular surnames, that range from not partiularly common to quite rare are all represented in the coastal counties of Southern England, particularly England’s Southwest –  Devonshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Wiltshire. The surnames often show up with maritime activities and/or with religious dissent.

Significantly, in the revolutionary 17th century decades leading up to and through the English Civil War and continuing through the Restoration, many persons so surnamed, or associated with lines genealogically related, had access to ships engaged in transatlantic voyages.

Although none of this is yet proof, none of it seems to me to be inconsistent with my “descendants of Norman aristocracy” hypothesis, nor my idea that, at least some members of my ancestral families, had the wealth and expertise to be engaged in maritime activities, and/or had access to ships bound for the New World.

More will follow!


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