It is big news when a Frazer tests for YDNA. YDNA is what is passed down from father to son only. So it is the perfect test for a family surname study like we have for Frazer of Roscommon, Ireland. The other reason that it is big news is that there are not that many male Frazers around to do the testing. We previously had 2 tested for YDNA. Now with Rick’s new test, we have three.
Frazer YDNA and Genealogy
I (and others) have pieced together a Frazer genealogy. It is not perfect, perhaps. That is why DNA testing is needed to affirm the work that has been done. Autosomal DNA is good, but the effectiveness tapers off as we go back more generations. Also autosomal DNA is not specific to a surname, so it could apply to any of hundreds of ancestors the further we go back in time. YDNA on the the other hand, is specific to one male line – in this case Frazer. There are two types of YDNA. One is STRs which Rick tested for. These are good, but there are some problems in interpreting them as I will explain later in the Blog. SNPs are the most exact YDNA test. The other two Frazers, Paul and Jonathan have tested for SNPs through the BigY Test.
Rick descends from George Frazer from Martinsburg, NY. George Frazer moved his family to Canada and left many descendants. I have more on that family here. [Edit: Rick’s cousin Pat replies, “It was Richard Patterson Frazer that brought his family to Canada from Martinsburg. George was born there but came to Canada with his family as a child.”] Many years ago, I convinced Bill, one of those descendants, that he and I were related based on genealogy. Even though I wasn’t 100% sure myself, I argued my point with Bill and he finally agreed that we were related. Later, I convinced Bill to take an autosomal DNA test which did show that he was related to my family and many other Roscommon, Ireland Frazer Families. Since then, others have tested and confirmed the relationships. Now we have Rick who has tested his YDNA proving a more certain link on the male Frazer line. So this has been a several year journey starting with traditional genealogy, followed up with autosomal DNA and YDNA testing. Here is the tree of the three male Frazers who have tested for YDNA:
This genealogy is the best that we could do with what we have. There are some uncertainties about it. We have other’s research with names but no references. We have the Elphin Census of 1747 and this includes a widow Mary Frazer. She is presumed to be the widow of Archibald Frazer born around 1690. There are two other Frazers in that Census who represent the Archibald and James Lines. Further, I have supposed that James Frazer b. about 1804 is my ancestor. However, this requires the marriage of two first cousins. This was not that unusual apparently back in the day. Those belonging to the Church of Ireland wanted to marry other Church or Ireland people. In fact, there were laws in place requiring that. However, those from the Church of Ireland were in the minority.
According to the chart above:
- All the testers have the top Archibald as a common ancestor. Rick and Paul also have James Frazer b. about 1804 as their common ancestor.
- Rick is 9 generations from Archibald b. about 1690. Paul is 8 generations away and Jonathan is 7 generations away from the first Archibald.
- Paul and Rick are third cousins once removed
- Jonathan is a 6th cousin once removed from Paul and 6th cousin twice removed from Rick.
- Assuming that Rick, Paul and Jonathan were born around 1950, there would be about 260 years from the first Archibald to our three YDNA testers.
Rick’s New YDNA STR Results
Based on the above tree, we would expect that Rick would be more closely related to Paul than Jonathan. That is the case. Ricks closest match is to Paul with a Genetic Difference (GD) of 2. His GD to Jonathan is 3. The GD is the difference in STR mutations between two people. Here are all of Rick’s matches by STRs. He has more matches than Paul or Jonathan:
Here is how Rick’s STR matches compare with Paul’s and Jonathan’s. The numbers are GDs. So a larger GD is a more distant YDNA match. A blank means more than 7:
- I put the matches together that matched all three Frazers.
- The light blue highlighted names have taken the BigY Test
- The SNP Tree below based on BigY SNPs shows that Grant is a closer match to Frazer than Hayes. This seems clear from the STR matches above also
- The chart points out all the Grant matches. Half of the 10 Frazer STR matches are with Grants.
- Rick is the only Frazer matching Hayes. This backs up the SNP tree below.
These are the same names that I have been tracking by SNPs. So that is good that the SNPs and the STRs agree with each other. Here is the new SNP tree that was developed by the R1a L664 Administrator Martin:
- Patton is the most distantly related to Frazer and doesn’t show on any Frazer’s STR match list.
- Grant shows as the closest match, then Hayes.
- Chisum doesn’t show on the SNP map as Chisum has not taken the BigY Test.
- Stuart doesn’t show yet, but he is in the the process of taking the BigY Test, so he will eventually show on the SNP Tree.
- If Rick had taken the BigY test, he would have formed a branch under the Archibald line on the lower right of the tree. Rick and Paul would likely share some of the SNPs now shown as private SNPs for Paul and both Paul and Rick would then have their own new private SNPs.
- Rick must share all the SNPs in the yellow box above the ca 1600 A.D date. These are the five brand new SNPs YP6489 through YP6493 that are right now Frazer only SNPs.
A Simple New Frazer STR Tree
A STR Tree for the Frazer should follow the genealogical tree and the SNP tree. Here are the STRs and where Jonathan, Paul and Rick differ:
Normally, the mode would be taken as the oldest STR. However, in the case of DYS391 I believe that based on comparison with other STR tests for Grant, Chisum, Whittaker and Stewart, that the 10 value of DYS391 is the older value. Likewise for CDY which changes more quickly than other STRs, I took 35-38 to be the older value. Prior to Rick’s results, I had this tree for Jonathan and Paul:
In this simple tree, Paul had all the STR changes since the 1690 Frazer ancestor and Jonathan had none. However, there is some guesswork in drawing this out. One rule is to make the chart as simple as possible, which is what I did. This means having the least amount of changes. It is sometimes called the rule of parsimony. Ambiguities in STRs is why some people prefer the SNP trees as there is little or no ambiguity in SNPs. Now note the above chart. Paul and Rick share 391 = 11 and CDYa = 35-40. Here is the new Frazer STR Tree with Rick included:
- Paul has his own STR mutation of 576 = 19 which happened sometime after 1804.
- Likewise, Rick has his own STR mutation of 444 = 13 which defines Rick’s relatively recent branch.
- The GD of 2 noted above between Paul and Rick are for markers 576 and 444.
- The GD of 3 between Paul and Jonathan are for markers 576, 391 and CDYa.
- The GD of 3 between Rick and Jonathan are for markers 444, 391 and CDYa.
- The STR tree gets more difficult to draw further back from the present time. This is because more variables come into play such as parallel mutations and back mutations.
- It would be possible to draw a STR Tree for the Grant, Hayes, Stewart, Chisum, Whittaker Tree, but I will leave that for another time.
- The Big Y test for Paul and Jonathan have defined shared SNPs for the Frazer line and Private SNPs for the Archibald and James Lines
- Ricks STR test has defined shared STRs for the line of James Frazer who was born about 1804. Any future testers from this line should be able to confirm descent from this line by testing for 391 = 11 which is a slower moving STR. CDYa would be a less reliable STR as it is a STR which changes much more often than most.
- STR mutations that are unique to Rick and Paul cannot be dated precisely as they could have happened anytime after James Frazer of 1804 was born until Rick and Paul were born. That would be roughly between 1830 and 1950.
- At the 67 STR testing level, on average, one STR change takes place about every 140 years. Jonathan shows no STR changes the way the chart was drawn. This would be less than average for him. Paul and Jonathan should have had 2 changes each, but each had 3 changes. This means they got the extra two STR changes that Jonathan should have had since 1690. It all averages out.
- All this DNA testing makes me feel more close to my Canadian Frazer cousins.