Author Topic: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA  (Read 14476 times)


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Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« on: December 12, 2010, 12:25:19 AM »
I decided to see why my genes were so offensive to other Thompsons. I took the FTDNA Thompson project and narrowed it down to those who matched the slow markers (393, 426, 388, 392, 455, 454, 437, 438) based on this site: It seemed to be following the mutation rates I found on Wikipedia.

Those poor souls, I went through and marked where they mismatched me. Then I ran through each marker and figured out the percentage of mismatch with other Thompsons to find those markers that were the most offensive. They were DYS390 (25), 385 (11-11), 389ii (30), 447(24), GATA-H4(10), and YCAII (19-22).

Then I went out to Ysearch and began adding in markers and searching from least offensive to most offensive to see when some sort of pattern would emerge.

I got down to everything but those numbers and there was a pattern there. Pretty much, British Isles and a load of L21 modals with maybe a couple of people from the Netherlands for good measure. L21 is pretty popular in Europe and especially in the Isles.

Then I put in my least offensive of my most offensive markers 389ii=30. That knocked it down to 5 matches. 2 were me (from other things I did). 2 were from Martin (MacMartin) families that both come from different towns in Argyll or further north and one was a Ward from the London area.

It seems backwards to me, but it gave me the most coherent results I've seen when looking at my numbers.

Any of my offensive numbers by themselves is a great way to narrow down your search if you're a regular person, all of them together is instant 0.

So given all that, does it seem like a reasonable process of elimination?

For fun here are my percentages of Thompson mismatch for those markers:

DYS390 86%
385 99%
389ii 78%
447 85%
GATA-H4 86%

Going the regular way my best matches in the Thompson DNA project were no better than 18% mismatched. One was an Adams (not sure why there's an Adams in that project). One was a kit with no name or place attached and one was a Thompson born in Holland.

On regular searches YCAII = 19-22 is the number that brings all the Germans to the party. I read a suggestion that it may be  Germanic marker, but there is some question about it also being random for some families...I haven't seen any resolution on that.


Mike Thompson from Michigan..then Indiana..then Pennsylvania and further...probably somewhere there are sheep. Call me Legion for I am many.


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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 08:22:39 PM »
As a point of interest I looked at an older post on DNA and saw that Booner and Thomas also both have DYS447 = 24 like me, something that seemed uncommon among Thompsons in my spreadsheet of ftDNA R1b Thompsons. Only about 22% of them have it.

Not necessarily meaningful but interesting.

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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 02:25:20 PM »
I should point out for anyone who has seen my DNA results that the 17 at 458 is a lie. My actual number is 16.2. It's weird. Only 34 people at SMGF have it out of thousands. The problem is Ysearch doesn't take .2 numbers and FTDNA doesn't display them even if they find them.

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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 09:48:09 PM »

First, I'd like to welcome you to the forum. I'm an "old" member but I haven't posted much recently so I've not taken the opportunity to welcome you.

I've been trying to catch up on some of the postings and can tell by what you're written that you've got a bright mind, but your first post on this thread has me in confusion--This is not to say that maybe you've hit on something; many of my genealogy breakthroughs have come from thinking " outside the box", but you lost me on what you were trying to do.

If you have your DNA, please post it--and maybe you have and it's buried in another post, or I haven't read that post yet.

Here's mine, and maybe we need an area here in the DNA forum for only DNA results?!  I'll ask the moderator.

DYS 19a         14               DYS 444       12              DYS 464a   15
DYS 19b         --               DYS 445        12              DYS 464b   16
DYS 385a       11               DYS 446        13              DYS 464c   17
DYS 385b       15               DYS 447        24              DYS 464d   18
DYS 388        12                DYS 448        19              DYS 464e   --
DYS 389I       13                DYS 449        29              DYS 464f    --
DYS 389II      29                DYS 452        30              GAAT1807   10
DYS 390        23                DYS 454        11              YCA IIa       19
DYS 391        10                DYS 455        11              YCA IIb       23
DYS 392        13                DYS 456        15              GATA A10    14
DYS 393        13                DYS 458        17              DYS 635      24
DYS 426        12                DYS 459a        9              GATA H4.I    22
DYS 437        15                DYS 459b       10
DYS 438        12                DYS 460         11
DYS 439        11                DYS 461         12
DYS 441        14                DYS 462         11
DYS 442        18                DYS 463         24

Post your DNA so we all can see where you differ.   Tom and I only differ by two, so we know we're related- but it's at least 9 generations back at a minimum.

The very best regards, and I hope we can help you find your ancestors.



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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 11:02:07 PM »
Hi Booner, I tried attaching an image of it onto the second or third post in the thread. Thought that would be easier on the eyes.

Here's me in text form. These are the values I have at Ysearch. My values from are different so these are the converted values.

DYS 393 = 13
390 = 25
19/394 = 14
391 = 11
385a = 11
385b = 11
426 = 12
388 = 12
439 = 12
389I = 13
392 = 13
389II = 30
458 = 17
459a = 9
459b = 10
455 = 11
454 = 11
447 = 24
437 = 15
448 = 19
449 = 29
464a = 15
464b = 15
464c = 17
464d = 17
460 = 11
GATA H4 = 10
YCAIIa = 19
YCAIIb = 22
456 = 16
442 = 12
438 = 12
444 = 12
446 = 13
461 = 12
462 = 11
GATA A10 = 12
635 = 23
GAAT1B07 = 10
441 = 13
445 = 12
452 = 31
463 = 23

Here's how my actual results from (Sorenson Genomics) differ from the ysearch conversion:

DYS441 = 14
442 = 17
458 = 16.2
GATA-A10 = 14
Y-GATA-H4 = 11

What I was trying to do was figure out which of my markers was the most "anti-thompson" so I took results from the Thompson dna project at FTDNA and made a big spread sheet. Then I marked each person's markers and where they mismatched me so I could find out which markers of mine were the most offensive to the general population of Thompsons.

So for instance. You can see that 99% of Thompsons don't share my DYS385a and b combo. Most people in R1b have 11 and 14 for those.

Okay so now I know how I don't match most Thompsons.

When you look at the percentages of Thompsons that mismatch me on just the numbers in most of those 12 marker tests they were selling up front it becomes clear that I'm not going to match many Thompsons ever. The 390 and 389II are pretty bad but the 385ab is going to kill everyone else off.

DYS390 86%
385 99%
389ii 78%

For the most part, this plays out in the rest of the world too along the same lines. When I search for matches there are no Thompsons not within any reasonable timeframe within the creation of surnames.

So I've looked at my DNA backwards and forwards trying to find some pattern and figure out why those few people who do look like me are so scattered. They were so disparate I had to make maps to figure out where they were and try to come up with some pattern.

This last attempt I made (that instigated my post here) was to take those offensive markers and slowly add them back in searching each time to see who shook out.

If I did more testing I could get more answers about my "group" definitely, but it's hard to justify more testing these days.

So when I'm yammering about DNA it might help to know that I'm not looking for matching Thompsons. I'm registered with Genetree, Genebase, SMGF,, ybase and Ysearch. They're not there. When one does crop up, there'll be no question we're related because no one can touch us with a 10 meter cheek swab.

Recently though I got a very nice little Christmas gift from the people at Genebase and Genetree (individually). It turns out that the 16.2 at DYS458 (right where most respectable Thompsons have a 17) may have more meaning than I knew. I knew it was odd, but it turns out that so far it only crops up in a couple of haplogroups. One is J which I'm not and one is R1b-S21 (sometimes called U106).

Normally I'd have to pay to find that out, which for me, means testing with a new company at the basic level and then paying for more tests to find out which SNP I have. It's the only way to know for sure.

But Merry Christmas to me, Genetree and Genebase agree that since I'm R1b1b2a* and I have that little 16.2 at DYS458 then I'm most likely R1b1b2a1* or S21 or U106.

So where does that come in? It goes a long way to explaining the geographic placement of my matches and the oddness of my mismatches. For the time being it's associated with Germanic people most people call it "Frisian". Not what I expected but at this point not totally unexpected either since they always rank in my searches.

Ironically though I think it makes me a good candidate for this clan. Lowland Scots speak a Germanic Anglo Saxon/Northumbrian language closely related to Frisian with a lot of input from the Danish Vikings, both of which have a good showing in R1b U106. In all likelihood it's also the reason there's a "son" on the end of our surnames instead of a Mac or Ap in front of them.

The fact that I match Petersons from Denmark and Edwardsons from Wales within 500 or so years makes a lot more sense now.

Having written this book about it, I should also say that I'm still learning and I'm going to take it as it goes. This just makes the most sense now when I learn different I'll post that too.

Here is a link to one of my blog entries on the subject, with a map I made of 16.2 people who match me at a really basic level. I normally color code people with yellow being the closest to me and blue the furthest away. Red is the middle ground:

« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 05:08:58 AM by uneven »
Mike Thompson from Michigan..then Indiana..then Pennsylvania and further...probably somewhere there are sheep. Call me Legion for I am many.

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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2011, 04:16:12 PM »
Wow Mike, I have no idea what you said but I'm fascinated by what you did with it.
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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2011, 08:34:45 PM »
Uneven Mike,

Ok! good post and I think I follow your logic.

There is one possibility to think about---genetically speaking, maybe you're "real" surname isn't Thompson.  No offence ment on that.  On the Sorrensen site, there is a James Thompson that I match 37 out of 38 markers. Theoretically, the closest we could share a common ancestor is something like 7 or 8 generations back.  But I also get a lot of inquiries from O'Brians' and Kellys' as we have matched 35 & 36 markers out of 38. So what does this all mean?

I don't know how many generations back a "common ancestor" would occur for 35 or 6 out of 38; 12, 15 generations or more?  And since I'm the 6th generation of Thom(p)son in the states, it means that the James Thompson I mentioned above is two more generations removed from me and this puts my line back in Ireland (James was born in Ireland in the early 1700's). So if you use 3 generations for ever 100 years, it means that sometime in the early 1600's, perhaps one of my ancestors enjoyed the favors of a couple of Irish lasses and left them in a family way with a son, and they later married an O'Brian or Kelly who gave that son his surname? Or I had an ancestor who was part of the army who subdued the Irish and did what soldiers do.

Anyway, thats one explanation how genetically speaking, my DNA closely matches someone with a different surname.  If the number of generations needed to match 35 or 36 markers out of 38 goes farther back than, say, 15 generations, well I don't know then.

Anyway, I like how you think around a problem.



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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 11:23:04 PM »
Thanks Michael and Booner. I really appreciate the opportunity to hear from others and hash this stuff out. Thomas has been particularly helpful in this search as well and given me many good ideas.

It's true, I could not be a Thompson at any point. There are plenty of people moving around the American west and lots of opportunity for things to go all wrong. Also it's not uncommon to be adopted at any point in history. Many people carry the name Thompson that aren't in any way British Isles residents. I could be a Thomsen and that would explain everything.

So far I'm also generation 6 in the U.S. and I haven't found the non Thompson yet.

Most places I've seen use 28 years as a "generation" so many of these people who "match" me are 500 or more years in the past some as much as a thousand. That predates any surname relevance. There is also fluke and random mutation to deal with. So in light of the depth of these "matches" I'm just looking at general geographic patterns and trying to see where those fit with history.

I really struggled with this one and there is not really good solid answer for it, so I'm always going to play the odds. Because I don't have any evidence to the contrary yet, I'm going to assume I'm a Thompson and that all these other people are Thompsons too, they just don't know it yet.

So here's where my DNA matching odds are at, I think.

There are at this point more than 10 million Thompsons in the world ( I read a book in highschool that put the number of Thompsons then at 9 million or's been a while know). Of those 10 million plus people I think less than 500 have tested their DNA with FTDNA. That is a really poor showing.

I could be the oldest Thompson line known to man and the odds are still against me finding a match.

The Irish have been studied hard for DNA, both in Ireland and in America. They're overrepresented in DNA studies and they are early adopters of DNA for genealogy so most of the people available to match are Irish. So now imagine that I've got a pool of Thompsons that's just a fraction of the actual population to choose from and I'm not native Irish. I'm not even on the "Basque" family tree of R1b like most Celtic people. The pool shrinks even further.

If I'm correct about where I fit. I'm on a branch of R1b that is about 25% of R1b. It's something like 13% of Britain and 6% in Ireland. I'll bet that 6% of Irish are in the North and along the coasts..right where I see my matches and right where Normans and British and random Vikings settled.

Now when I compare myself to that branch of the tree (S21) I don't match a lot of people there either. That's where the real bottleneck comes in to play. At this point in time, there are very few people who have been tested in the world that look like me.

My closest match at all is about 250 years away and they're Knowltons. I match most of the Knowltons that have been tested  and are R1b (they have an interesting breakup) with about 3 or 4 for genetic distance and that's only at 34 markers. Right now, it's not so much that there aren't Thompsons (I've gotten used to that) there aren't any humans!

People that match me at 42 markers or more are at least a genetic distance of 5 away and their surnames are things like Coen and Corson and Dameron and I match several among their families at ysearch as well.  On the side I've got my Edwardson and Peterson and Knigge and Janke and Custy all 500 plus years back and those are my closest there. At Genebase I've got Eveland, Hawkins, Gawthrop, and Steiner all 500 years or more. At Genetree I have Knowltons again, Graham, Findlay, Johannson and Neilsen.

So when I look at just my closest matches I have people who are from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Pomerania (Baltic Germany), Latvia, Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Knowlton (it's any town on a knoll you see).

This isn't a comprehensive listing because there are also various and sundry Chandlers and Chamberlains and Littles and Browns. Some murphys show up too. All of these are one off names. There are never many. Most of them that come in clusters are related to the same man in the 16 or 1700s. There are nine Damerons and Damrons among my matches but they're really all the same Dameron from Ipswitch England. The same with the Corsons and the Knowltons.

It's a daunting task trying to put all that together. Trying to sort this stuff out. That's when I started my mapping projects.

When I look at the maps I have for these people I do see a pattern and I think it incorporates what you're talking about Booner.

Here are some of those maps:

To my untrained eye I see an ancient pre-surname migration of people from Austria and the Czech Republic north into Germany, Southern Sweden, Southern Norway, Denmark, Northern Poland and "Frisia". Along the way they developed their nice 16.2 at DYS458. They're hanging north of the R1b Celtic population in France and Spain, but also in Germany. They're hanging west of the R1a people and South of the bulk of I (Scandinavians).

Which you can see again here. Ignore for the moment the Peterson in Denmark and the Steiner in Switzerland:

Then,  with the Belgic tribes that inhabited Britain and Ireland before the Romans or with the Saxons imported with the Romans or with the Anglo Saxon invasions after the Romans or the Vikings or the Frisians invited to England and Scotland as weavers and merchants, they move into Britain and Ireland before surnames are set. Patronymic names took longer to settle than job names. You could be a baker like your great grandfather but you would be Edward's son for only one generation.

So now we're "British" we're Germanic British. My Edwardson who is from the border of North Eastern Wales and my Thompsons are pretty close. Playing the odds again. My Thompsons are probably from Northumbria where most Thompsons in Britain live in 1891 not far from Alnwick I believe. It makes sense because we have a Germanic naming structure Thomasson. There we sit right on the border with Scotland mixing and matching with the Celts.

We form new languages together and naming conventions of our own. At that point my Thom(p)sons would be indistinguishable from any other Thom(p)son. When you're raiding a village and stealing cattle, I don't think anyone is going to stop and ask you if your family came with the Danes or fact it might just be a given.

See the History section of this article on Scots language.

So Germanic influence in Thompson-land (north and south of the Scottish border) is pretty much historical fact. How could I explain my closeness to both an Edwardson from Northern England (right near the border of Wales) and the Peterson in Denmark about 500 years ago?

Well, I'll just claim them both. The Edwardson is just an Anglo-Saxon relative from Northern Britain who had moved west to the Northern Border of Wales or was part of a viking settlement in that area and stayed put. The Peterson I think is probably a result of the "Scots abroad". Many Scots and Borders English found good work in filling out the armies of both Denmark and Sweden as well as filling duties as bodyguards in Switzerland, France, Poland..pretty much anywhere there were nobles that could afford a personal army.

If Peter Thompson moved to Denmark in 1500 as a soldier and took up residence. He would follow the culture of Denmark at the time (up until the 1800s) and his son would be something like Ragnar Peterson. Scandinavians didn't settle their surnames until relatively recent history.

Now I move up to the time of the Knowltons. The Knowltons have an interesting family. Not many people match Knowltons and there aren't a ton of them. What makes them even more interesting (other than matching me closer than anyone else) is that they have a genetic split in their family...but only one family story which they share. I got this from reading some of their family sites. I know I'm telling it badly and it's semi-mythological so you have to take it with a grain of salt.

It's a story about two brothers who are the son of a man form Kent England who crashes in Nova Scotia and these two sons are the beginning of the Knowltons in America. The thing is, the two Knowltons aren't brothers. One is Haplogroup T and the other is R1b (most likely R1b-S21 which is where I think I'm at).

Everyone has paperwork and research going back to one or the other brother. So now they're trying to figure out what really happened.

So I match these Knowltons closer than anyone else even with all my odd numbers. They have 16.2 at DYS458 just like me. We're separated by only about 250 years. The Knowltons can prove that they aren't related to each other. They're a really small family and they have ties to Nova Scotia where Scots and Borderers were invited to settle from other New England colonies or directly off the boat from the Isles.

It could be that while my Thompson ended up in Pennsylvania after immigrating sometime in the 1700s a closely related boy was on his way to Nova Scotia as part of a totally different family.

So that's how I think I'm a Thompson and could explain these near and far away matches in the Germanic world. Instead of speaking Gaelic and putting an axe in some Briton's face, my family probably got off a longboat and put an axe in some Briton's face. After that point we Thom(p)sons would all have exactly the same history.


« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 11:14:07 AM by uneven »
Mike Thompson from Michigan..then Indiana..then Pennsylvania and further...probably somewhere there are sheep. Call me Legion for I am many.


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Re: Tried something new with my same old Y DNA
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 09:15:19 PM »
I thought I should include a couple of notes.

About TMRCA (Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor). The estimates are based on averages (like a generation being 28 years). I've read other people's posts at DNA genealogy forums and one guy in particular had a first cousin that should have been an exact match with him and his father and Uncle (All tested...not sure why). Anyway, this first cousin had a mutation at a single marker and it was one of the slow moving markers. So most sites assigned him a greater TMRCA than was warranted (It seems like they added 40 years or something between what should have been 0 distance people). DNA mutations don't happen at an exactly fixed rate. They can happen any time even between two brothers with the same father.

So if I say the Knowltons are a TMRCA of 8 generations from me, SMGF has that as 31 years per generation and figures they're about 248 years back. That's all a rough guess. It could be a lot more or less.

Another thing I wanted to point out more clearly is that Being U106 wouldn't necessarily make a person less "British Isles". Although it's associated with Germanic people Wikipedia shows it to be about 20.30% of England's population (I guess I was wrong on it's percentage in Britain) while it's 18.70% of Germany and only 14.40% of the U.S. european population. I've heard it referred to as both Northern Celtic and Germanic and I've been reminded on other genetics sites that even Julius Caesar (who knew these guys personally) couldn't sort out which was which when it came to these people. "Celtic" and "Germanic" are language and culture designations made by Romans, not genetic designations. Most of the Scottish clans I've seen in my wanderings through different DNA sites have some population of S21/U106/R1b1b2a1a "Frisians".

The final thing about DNA is that testing for DNA is voluntary and not everyone picks the Y chromosome test. Those results you see are based on personal interest in genealogy and the willingness or the ability of those people to pay for their own testing or to be paid for by some benefactor. These results are not going to be representative of a genepool or population necessarily and are constantly under revision as new things are learned and more people are tested.

Mike Thompson from Michigan..then Indiana..then Pennsylvania and further...probably somewhere there are sheep. Call me Legion for I am many.