Friday, December 13, 2013

Britains DNA and my Blake line

When we did our first DNA test for National Genographic back in 2006, I was newly into genealogy. I had, by then taken, about 28 courses (of the eventual 42) at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and my tree had expanded to the 3x great grandparent level on most of my lines and a few more generations on some of them. I used my own family history as I worked on the courses (most people do do that as it is handy to them). The results coming back from National Genographic were so impressive to me that I became swept up in genealogy and DNA and have been that way ever since.

Testing at BritainsDNA was something that I had thought about doing (i.e. testing at a UK testing company) but never quite got inspired until the offer of a reduced price for all the testing that was available (except for Red-Head). I had pretty much exhausted all the available tests at FT DNA (the last one 67 to 111 markers is in process) and I was curious what other companies could offer me in terms of information particularly in deep ancestry.

Family Finder at FTDNA had yielded one result for my brother and one for me and they were slightly different. My brother was 100% European whereas I was 93% Orcadian and 7% Middle East (the Middle East includes Egypt and up into the Steppes (Ukraine/Georgia/Ossettia)). Why the difference (why was I British Isles only and why did I have Middle East and he didn't)?
We both receive from both parents but we only match 48% overall which is quite usual with full siblings. I became curious about the deeper ancestry that was talked about in BritainsDNA advertisements. Chromosome Painting rather attracted me and I am still learning about that process.

The yDNA results came up for our Blake line and they pretty much match the positioning that we have at FT DNA however nearly 15,000 SNPs were tested and there are 287 for our genetic signature of which only some are currently shown on the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) table for I2a1b2 (I2a2b FT DNA style). I have shared the results with one of the well known genetic genealogists working on the I study and on the ISOGG table. Hopefully, there will be a sufficient number for comparison to permit a much greater branching of this haplogroup subclade.

The mtDNA results also matched exactly in terms of haplogroup (H11a2a2). Since the Full Genetic Scan has been done at FT DNA on our mtDNA some mutations that belong to us were not tested in the 3000 markers that were tested at BritiansDNA. I knew that and it is having the verification of our results that most interests me in that regard. Although this subclade is less common than most H subclades, it is frequent enough in the British Isles from whence it came to Canada with my maternal grandmother in 1908 that any plot would show enough users to show significant areas in the UK although the Blood of the Isles database places my mutations in the Argyllshire/Ayrshire area of Scotland which has intrigued me from the very first time I saw my mutations in that database not long after testing at in the National Geographic project. So the trek to Birmingham for my mtDNA line was likely from this area of Scotland but how did it go and when did it go? Did this line travel through Ireland and thence to England or did it come straight down? I have found evidence of this subclade being in the Carlisle area of Cumberland which would tend to support the idea of moving south from Scotland. But there is also evidence of this subclade in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. But the actual holders in terms of surname are hidden to me in the mists of time. Only luck or chance will reveal that to me and the mutations are probably my best bet - a match could be very helpful in this pursuit.

Testing myself or my brother at a UK company that has databases like Oxford Ancestry is one of my thoughts. If my brother then I would have both the yDNA and the mtDNA which is a plus so would probably go for that since he has been really tremendous about being tested all these times this past seven years.

The final set of results is labeled "All my Ancestry" and is the look at the autosomal chromosomes which number 22 pairs and are received from both parents. At conception there is a mixing of chromosomes and each and every child produced by a couple is unique. But these chromosomes have been passed down generation after generation and as can be seen in the chromosome painting there are small bits that have traveled through time all the way from my line being in Africa but only one set shows that. The other one in the set of two has only the colouring for Eurasian. From my understanding the chromosome painting of two to a set is separating out the chromosome from each parent. I am still thinking this through so will just repeat what is said. The multi coloured chromosome shows only two other colours - Sub Saharan African and Asian. The amounts are very very small. The green portions which are Sub Saharan African are particularly small (with the comment that very small areas could actually be noise rather than actual) tiny bits of chromosome that have managed to hold their own through the thousands of years. The sections that are coloured Asian are somewhat larger in comparison but miniscule as you look at the entire chromosome (again the same proviso that very small areas could actually be noise rather than actual). Hence Family Finder reporting only particular lengths does not report these shorter lengths in Population Finder (at least that is my assumption). The Sub Saharan African portion is listed as 0% so must be less than 0.5%. The Asian is listed 2% so equally small in his case. In my case, there must be slightly longer lengths in order for me to show 7% in Family Finder. The best matches outside of the UK for our mtDNA are in Ossettia and the portions listed as Asian include this area. But it is wondrous to see small chunks of African genes on the chromosomes given the 60,000 years that have passed since my line likely left there. Our history lies in our DNA that is for sure. But what does an entirely blue line mean? Still need to work on that. Which one belongs to which parent? Is this information telling me something new that I did not already know? My father's line is well known to me going back centuries and is from the Hampshire/Wiltshire/Dorset area centered on Andover. I would be suspicious that they all descend from very old English lines although that remains to be determined.

Moving to the comparison with 4000 people around the world (in our case it was 3800) and our result was visible on only two charts - the Global Chart and the Europe Chart. No charting was done for the other groups as we do not have sufficient similarities to be compared. When I carefully examine the portion that is attributed to our autosomal chromosomes, the result appears to lie between England and Germany. We, both of us, have a number of matches at Family Finder with people who live in Germany and have lived in Germany a long long time but we have no known German ancestors. However, we do have Christopher Buller (3x great grandfather) who lived and worked in London/Bermondsey in the late 1700s early 1800s. I have not yet been able to discover the parents of Christopher and perhaps, given that his son Henry Christopher Buller (my 2x great grandfather) was later in the confectionary business,  his mother was German or of German descent since confectioners in London in the early 1700s were often German having come with the ascension of King George I to the English throne (he having been a German prince). I have been toying with this idea that I do have at least one German line going back from the 4x great grandparents level and this testing brings that thought to the forefront. I shall have to consider how I can tease out information that might exist to help me with finding the parents of Christopher Buller. One might say could it also be my great grandmother's line (maternal) and I have considered that actually. But she appears to have been born in Birmingham and lived there all her life as far as I can tell. I have checked every birth in Birmingham registered in the time period since she was 37 years old when she died both by the registration and by my grandmother's stories about her mother. My grandmother gave an occupation to her maternal grandfather of shoemaker and indeed there is an Ellen Taylor that fits into a family in the right time frame and the right place. Proving this connection has proven to be very very difficult because I can not find the marriage of Ellen Taylor and Edwin Denner Buller. Since she is always listed as Ellen Buller both by herself and her husband when births were registered, I think they were married but where is the question.

The closeness to Germany is also noted in the Global Connections portion of All my Ancestry. They use up to 300,000 markers and compare to groups all around the world. Worldwide, the sample sits in the midst of the European samples but looking at the European plot the results are just on the side of the British results and overlapping into the German results. Rather a surprise given that the ancestry is at least at the 4x great grandparent level but some sections of chromosome can pass down unchanged generation after generation is my understanding.

Certainly the results at BritainsDNA compliment the results at FT DNA and provide a different way of looking at the deep ancestry of your line which was the whole idea in testing with them. Overall, I am most pleased with the results and they will provide a lot of hours of thinking about my family lines.

I await the results from National Geographic Genographic Gen2.0 study (at 80% completion) next plus I have increased the markers for the yDNA from 67 to 111 and they are due mid January.


Susan (Blake) Osborne said...

I was wondering if getting involved in the British DNA testing might help us who descend from Theophilus Blake to get a picture of where in the British Isle our Blake ancestry might have come from since we are stuck with our immigrant ancestor and are trying to find our connection on that side of the pond. How would we look into this testing?

Elizabeth Kipp said...

Susan, I can not say how much benefit there would be to you in sorting out your line but there is a published set of the yDNA data for BritainsDNA (they are busy updating at the moment and I wanted to wait until the results were final but I will look at the present results and see if I can glean any information for your line). I will blog on that. I like the display for BritainsDNA and am most curious about the deep ancestry of my family which is why I tested my brother at BritainsDNA. I know that my Blake line is found within a 2 miles radius of Andover, Hampshire, England from the middle of the 1400s on (to the present actually as there are still descendants of John Blake (my 2x great grandfather) living in the Andover area). What piques my curiousity is why did my line take on the surname Blake since they are a very ancient line to the British Isles (likely there up to 8000 years ago). At what point did they acquire the surname and can I trace that back. Your present interest is in discovering the "resting spot" for your particular line and FT DNA remains the most likely place to find that sort of match although Oxford Ancestors also prepares a database but is considerably more expensive. If your line is from Planters in present day Northern Ireland (known as Scot-Irish by the Americans) I am not sure that present day descendants still living in Northern Ireland or Scotland would necessarily have tested at Oxford Ancestors. One would want to have some idea in the regard before testing I think. Let me think on it some more. The world of yDNA is about to take a giant leap forward with the Big Y Results coming in and let us see if they impact on your grouping. We should soon see that.

Susan (Blake) Osborne said...

Thanks, Elizabeth

I am looking forward to learning more about these British testing groups

Susan (Blake) Osborne said...

Thanks Elizabeth. I am looking forward to learning more about these British testing groups and would love to see whether it would help us find the answers we are seeking