“Deep History” Genealogical Research with 37-Marker and 111-Marker STR Testing: Studying “Crowder” and “Martinez” Relationships

Two months ago I posted an essay on use of y-dna genetic testing to further “deep history” genealogical research [Using y-dna testing in “deep family history” research].

As a follow-up to that discussion, I will provide two examples of very different y-dna test results for further study.

The Surname Martinez

The first example is an American of Mexican descent, Mr. Martinez, who had taken the 37-marker STR test, and was surprised to find himself placed in Haplogroup I1 M253 . His family has contacted me for advice.

I believe that there are historical reasons not to be surprised that a male whose ancestors likely resided in either England, Normandy or Scandinavia for the last thousand years or so would be related to a person whose ancestors likely resided in Spain in the distant past. I can think of possible scenarios where that would occurred even within historic times, perhaps in the past millennium.

However, the relationship (a father with sons who were respectively my ancestor and that of Mr Martinez) may be considerably more distant in the past than the previous millennium.

Even though I have taken the 111-marker test, I have come to believe, confirmed by the opinions of y-dna research experts with whom I correspond, that the 37-marker test is a good first step in determining the y-dna haplogroup.

The next step for someone who finds himself assigned to haplogroup I1 M253 as a result of the 37-marker test is to confirm that truly this is his haplogroup.

That confirmation can take place through testing the major SNPs associated with it, starting with SNP DF29. It is my understanding that Mr Martinez’ family is pursuing that next step. As we get more information we will pursue the questions as to how we might be related, however distantly.

The Surname Crowder

The second example is a person who has taken the 111- marker STR test (as I have) and is listed by ftdna.com as having a Most Recent Common Ancestry estimated at five generations back.

Previously I had identified persons who share my seemingly rare y-dna profile – Haplogroup I1 M253, positive for SNPs DF29, Z58 and Z59, but negative for SNPs Z60, Z2041 and CTS8647 – as having the names Saunders, Crump and Kerley, with the additional case of men named Burnett who were descended (as I am) from three brothers born in Bedford County, Virginia between 1806 and 1811 of a man whose ancestors were surnamed Saunders, rather than Burnett.

A person surnamed Crowder who was shown to have a Most Recent Common Ancestor within the last two or three centuries was unexpected.

I have increasingly abundant reasons to conclude that my own y-dna ancestors lived in Virginia from the mid-17th century on, and before that in Southern England – Gloucestershire, Dorsetshire, Surrey, perhaps Cambridge, and elsewhere – and likely had done so likely since the Middle Ages.

My first response was to see if there is any association of Crowders and the other three surnames (Saunders, Crump and Kerley) in either Virginia or Southern England.

First, from my own previous postings on vikingsandvirginians.com [see 17th Century Saunders, Crump and Kerley Immigrants to Virginia], I found only the following:

In 1654, Nicholas Merywether sponsored 43 persons – two of whom were EDWARD SAUNDERS and THOMAS CROWDER – to be transported to Westmoreland County, Virginia.

However, through cursory research I have found at least a dozen incidents of persons surnamed Crowder and Saunders who were married or were residing in localities where families surnamed Crowder and Saunders intermarried or were otherwise closely associated. Obviously, further research is needed.

Of immediate interest is the fact that the Crowder surname is associated with Bedford County, Virginia, where the generations between my paternal grandfather and my paternal great-great-great grandfather lived) and with the Quakers (a religion followed by many of my ancestors).

Crowders were also associated with my Quaker ancestor elsewhere in Virginia, including Quakers named Johnson, one of my ancestral surnames, and Hatcher, a surname also ssociated with my family history.

I will post an essay that updates my current thoughts on my confirmed and probable ancestors residing in Bedford County in the first decade of the 19th century soon.

For those who might wish to contact me on these or other family history subjects, use the e-mail address ffvsearch@yahoo.com.


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