Y-DNA Test Results – Post 3: The Howell Test & Results

After the success I had with my Y-DNA test, my wife was excited to find what she could.  I explained to her that we could only do a mitochondrial test on her.  It would give a broad brushstroke of her maternal line; we knew that her great-grandmother emigrated from Switzerland around 1903 and not much more.  She was interested in her paternal side; family tradition held they come from Wales, however, there was no proof?  Anyway, we convinced her brother to take the test.  Mother was a little upset and concerned. She thought we were accusing her of a dalliance with the milkman and questioning her virtue.  We finally convinced her that we were only looking for what we might find several generations in the past.

Ancestry.Com – The Stonemasons

Brother Jerome took the test and after what seemed an interminable amount of time, the results came back — Haplogroup I1, what Ancestry calls “The Stonemasons.”  It is sort of an odd combination of Scandinavians and Mediterranean people.  The map Ancestry provides shows the people coming out of Africa, to Scandinavia, then to the Mediterranean, and then back to Scandinavia.  All that is well and good, but the real purpose of taking the test is to find a close match – and there was.  A person with the same last name showed up with a most recent common ancestor (MRCA) in only six generations.  So the search was on, for the common ancestor.  Unfortunately, it was not an easy task.  The tree I have for my wife’s line traces ancestors into the early 1800s.  The cousin’s tree goes back to the mid 1700s.  Ancestors from both trees (Jerome’s and the match’s) were in Virginia in the early 1800s. I found no matches between the trees on first names though.

I worked on pushing my wife’s family history back another generation.  I do not have a name for sure yet, but I am getting close.  A couple more bits of information to sort out and assure which one of several Howell family heads is my wife’s 4th great-grandfather.  What I do know is.

Unknown Howell
Born:  Unknown.
He died about 1817, in Buckingham County, Virginia
In 1805, he lived in Charlotte County, Virginia
He had at least four children, a girl and three boys. The daughter married (1819-1820) a man whose last name was “Holman” and they moved to Alabama about 1821.

We know Mr. Howell was not religious, so he is unlikely to show up in any bibles or church records.
Trying to track him down among all of the Howells in the Virginia counties during the times is grueling work.

However, once I find that common ancestor, I will have a whole new tree of descendants to explore.  The cousin does not appear to have anyone in his tree that died in 1817.  I have looked carefully at the match’s tree and our tree and there is not a possibility for a common ancestor in seven generations on his tree and six generations on our tree.

I have not been particularly pleased with the MRCA generation suggestion by Ancestry.  In the cases where I have been able to trace back the number of generations suggested, none of them have been verifiable.  Admittedly, it is only three connections, but I expect an 87.5% likelihood of a match within the suggested MRCA generations.  I guess her family is n that remaining 12.5%.  I will see what turns up when I have another DNA hit.

Y-DNA – Post2: The Test, Results, & Roberts Connection

I
was really excited to get the test. I did the cheek swabs and sent it back the
following day.  Then the long wait – It
seemed like months, but was probably only a few weeks.  I don’t recall when I sent the swab in, but
in November, 2008, I receive the results. 
They determined I am haplogroup R1b – who Ancestry calls “The
Artisans”.  Basically, they are the folks
from what is now the British Isles, France, and the Iberian Peninsula.  No surprise there, I always figured I was of
Northern European decent as I my skin is quite light, I was blond as a kid, and
had a lot of red in my beard as a young man. (It is grey now.)
Then
the click to see matches.  My closest
match was a person with whom I shared a common ancestor 10 generations ago. His
last name was “Roberts.”  Assuming there
weren’t any sideways name changes (like mine), it might be that I was fathered
by someone with the surname of Roberts. 
Now, I could tie my ancestry to a possible name.  Of course, in my excitement of finding a
possible connection I didn’t realize that over 10 generations there were likely
thousands of male offspring.  Although he
had 11 generations of male ancestors in his tree, if I started at that tenth
generation ancestor and each generation had two boys, then there would be over
2000 potential father candidates, assuming I could follow each of the
lines.  It became dejecting but I hoped
to persevere in the long rum.  I
connected with Mr. Roberts and exchange trees with him to this day.  Ancestry has updated their database and he
now shows as sharing a common ancestor with me 14 generations ago.
Another
two men with the surname Roberts have shown up as sharing a common ancestor
within 10 generations.  I haven’t
contacted them yet but probably will do so in the near future.    
Then
the most amazing thing occurred.  A
person popped into the DNA matches with whom our MRCA (most recent common
ancestor) is only 3 generations away. 
Wow!  He too is a Roberts.  Finally someone who’s tree I can work with to
determine a possible father.  I contacted
him and he agreed to share trees with me. Of course, Ancestry’s MRCA
determination isn’t quite a clean as you might think.  It is really complicated, but basically there
is a 50% chance that this person and I share a common ancestor within 3
generations.  I looked at his tree
closely, nothing jumped out at me, no one lived in the right city at the right
time.  More importantly, none of his
three ancestor generations could be candidates nor any of their offspring.  So, based upon his known tree, I’ve begun a
Roberts Notional tree wherein I’m going back to his fourth, fifth, and sixth
ancestral generations then following each of the male offspring looking for
someone who might be the right Roberts at the right place and time.  I’m afraid I might need to wait another 10
years until the 1950 census comes out to find out the answer.  Certainly, the family tree can wait a few
more years.
Next – My Brother-in-law’s DNA Test & Results

Genealogical Success Rating – 4%

Crista Cowan suggested on the Ancestry.com Aces Program group on Facebook that we do a simple math exercise about quantifying our successes in genealogy. I thought I had been doing pretty good, all things considered, but see I was only deluding myself.

I know that I’ve done a lot better on my wife’s tree and that not knowing my father cuts my possibility to 50% on all generations except 1-4 which is 53%.  (Figuring out who my natural father was is another project I’m working on).  When I can determine who that is, thanks to DNA Testing, it will open up the other side dramatically, probably double all numbers.

Anyway, here are my numbers.

Generations 1-4: 8 out of 15 (53.3%)
5th Generation: 6 out of 16 (37.5%)
6th Generation: 4 out of 32 (12.5%)
7th Generation: 6 out of 64 (9.3%)
8th Generation: 6 out of 128 (4.7%)
9th Generation: 5 out of 256 (2.0%)
10th Generation: 6 out of 512 (1.2%)

Total: 41 out of 1,023 (4.0%)

By the way, if I use my stepfather Generations 1-4 jump to 100% and the 5th generation jumps to 10 of 16 (62.5).

Wow, I have a lot of work to do on my tree, so you can expect to see I’ll be working on Brown/Montran and the “Roberts Notional” trees in the near future.  The Roberts Notional tree I’m working on is based upon DNA results which I’ll write more about later.

Y-DNA – Post 1: Why I started down this path.

I have always wondered who my natural father was. Being the
illegitimate child of an illegitimate child has always made my perception of
father figures somewhat misty. My mother did not know her father during her
childhood. Her father child-napped her when she was three because he did not
care for how his former girlfriend was raising his daughter. His former
girlfriend (they were never married) sic’d the police on him. After he was
arrested for child-napping and spent prison time for the offense, he did not
try any longer to have a relationship with his daughter. It wasn’t until his
daughter became an adult and pursued a relationship with him that she grew to
know anything about him. They became close in a distant sort of way. Today, he
has passed and she would like to be interned next to him and near his mother
and father.

I wasn’t so lucky. My mother has no memory of who my father
was. I was the result of a date rape while she was visiting North Carolina
& South Carolina from Michigan. Certainly there was too much alcohol and
probably some other drug that night. In any event, she has no memory of who was
there that evening. I never had a name, not a first name, nor a last name; just
a pair of question marks. Of course growing up is tough when you don’t know
your father’s name. Even tougher is trying to figure out how to enter
information in forms to get a security clearance.

About five or six years ago, I began seeing ads for Y-DNA. Ways
to find cousins or others that are close genetic matches. I thought, “Well,
maybe the test could tell me some things and give me a starting point to figure
out who my natural father might be. The test started coming down in price and I
decided to go for it.

Being a member of Ancestry.Com I received the most
advertising from them. I did a comparison between them and other services
available at the time and decided to order the Ancestry.Com test. As I recall
there wasn’t much of a price difference between the 33 and the 46-marker test
so I ordered the 46. (Today’s prices at Ancestry.com are $149 for the 33 marker
and $179 for the 46 marker.) Therefore, back in the fall of 2008 I ordered the
test and waited with anticipation about what this journey might bring. 

Roots Tech: YDNA Solutions to Common Genealogical Problems

In keeping with my goal to watch all of the presentations from this past RootsTech conference I decided to watch GeneTech: YDNA Solutions to Common Genealogical Problems by Nathan Murphy.  The presentation was originally given at RootsTech but was re-recorded somewhere else (presumably at Family Search).

Because of my genetic history, I have a substancial interest in YDNA and using it as a tool for research.
Overall, the presentation had good material and was worth watching.  He provided good information about various tests and potential reasons to select between Family Tree, Ancestry DNA, and GeneTree.  
He also talked about places that allow for free uploads of your data, YSearchGeneTree and Ancestry.  

Nathan’s presentation style was quite stiff. He failed to engage the audience, and was quite apparently reading his material. 

That said, most importantly his talk and discussion really made me want to document my DNA experiences. I think they are interesting, so, I plan to document my findings and experiences with both my Y-DNA and my autosomal DNA tests and their results.  You will see the story of My DNA interspersed with my other posts.