Tag Archives: Y-DNA

FTDNA Discover – SNPs

This month’s post is short but sweet!

FamilyTreeDNA has just rolled out an enhancement I’ve been holding my breath for! If you too have taken a Big-Y test and have matches in your block tree with the same terminal SNP, and you wonder how far back your common ancestor may be, go to https://discover.familytreedna.com/ and type in your SNP and see what their new estimate is!

(You don’t need to have a block tree to play with this tool; just a SNP. But the value, for me, is in estimating the time between specific matches, such as we see in a block tree.)

In my Harrigan surname project, we have members under four or five different terminal SNPs. One cluster has a predicted estimate around 200 years ago (plus or minus 150 years). Another cluster’s estimate is 500 years ago; a third is 700 years ago; and one SNP group is 1400 years ago. It will be fascinating to see how accurate other testers believe their results to be.

Be sure you explore all the pages at this site. It will recommend groups for you to join, and much more.

I have a FLYNN kit going through the Big-Y analysis right now — I can’t wait to revisit this website when those results are in!

(c) July 2022, Ann Raymont, CG®


Why the Y?

Sometimes people ask me: can Y-DNA testing help my genealogy? (Only men have the Y chromosome, but if you’re female and can test a brother or male paternal cousin, that will work.) If you are looking for an ancestor within the last 300-400 years on your direct paternal line (your father’s father’s father, etc.), this topic is for you.

The test is offered by FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA). First, you’ll want a basic intro to Y-DNA. If you want to know what a haplogroup is, or the difference between a SNP and a STR, the ISOGG wiki on Y-DNA is always a great place to start. You’ll find an overview of Y-DNA and links to many helpful articles.

Here I am going to focus on what I think is the single most valuable aspect of your Y-DNA results for brick walls or questions in a genealogical time frame. And that is:

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A Tale of Two James Hammonds

Y-DNA testing offers at least two benefits to genealogists that autosomal DNA does not. We all know the limitation: only men have Y-DNA and it only applies to the direct paternal line, i.e. the father’s father’s father, etc. And we know the main benefit of Y-DNA: it is passed down without recombining, which means we may match distant cousins where the common ancestor is 8 or more generations back—farther in the past than automsomal DNA can generally be relied upon. We don’t hear as much about the second benefit of Y-DNA testing, but it was key for my Hammond conundrum.

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Hezekiah Griffith – the father of Walter?

We all have them, don’t we? Brick walls. And sometimes, we may have even formed a theory about the mystery parents… but finding evidence (to support it or to disprove it) is the challenge. One of my tantalizing brick walls is my GRIFFITH family. Do we connect with published Griffith family genealogies? Many online trees say yes, but I don’t know.

The most distant Griffith ancestor I’ve confirmed with documentary evidence is WALTER GRIFFITH, who was probably born between 1775 and 1786, based on his age (26-44) in the 1820 Ohio census 1 and supposing he was at least 21 when he married in Ohio in 1807 2. Unfortunately, he died in 18273, before census enumerators began asking where you were born. In the 1880 census, his few surviving children indicated that their father was born in Virginia—but they were young when he died, and may have known only that he came to Ohio from Virginia, not where he was born 4.

Many online family trees suggest that Walter was the son of Hezekiah Griffith and Catherine Warfield, of Maryland. (*)

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