More on the DNA of the Dicks/Burton Line of Newfoundland

The Dicks Family DNA Project has a new person who has uploaded her DNA results to gedmatch. Her name is Kirsten. Kirsten is part of the Dicks/Burton Line. In this Blog, I would like to look at how her DNA compares to the other Dicks descendants that have tested their DNA. I am also interested in her Burton Line as my wife’s great Aunt Esther had a great grandmother named Margaret Burton. Then I would like to sum up the Triangulation Groups (TGs) found so far. These TGs are important as they indicate common ancestors.

Kirsten and Denise

Dicks Burton Line

I looked at Denise’s DNA in a previous Blog: DNA from the Dicks/Burton Line of Newfoundland

The above chart shows that Denise and Kirsten are 4th cousins once removed on the Burton Line. Here is a brother of one of Kirsten’s ancestors. Meet Heber Burton, brother of Martha Burton who was born 1878.

Heber Burton

I am grateful that Martha was willing to share this photo taken 90 years ago by her grandfather at Harbour Buffet, Newfoundland.

Here is what Family Tree DNA uses for the chances that Kirsten and Denise will match each other. It looks like their chances of matching are only a little better than 30% as a 4th cousin once removed would be halfway between 4th and 5th cousin.

FTDNA Chances of Finding a Match

When I compare Denise to Kirsten at Gedmatch at the default settings, I get no match. This is no cause to worry, as they have a two in three chance of not matching.

Comparing Kirsten to All the Descendants of Christopher Dicks b. 1784

Next, I will look at how Kirsten compares to the other 10 Christopher Dicks Descendants in this DNA Project. So far all the project members have been in at least one TG. Will Kirsten be any different?

When I put all the names in my favorite DNA utility, Gedmatch, these 11 people match each other 446 times. These are not all Dicks matches, but as we have pre-selected Dicks descendants, a majority of these matches should represent DNA passed down from Christopher Dicks and his wife Margaret to their many descendants.

Matches of Kirsten

Kirsten matches Christopher Dicks descendants 9 times. She matches:

  • Sandra on the Dicks/Thomas Line
  • Molly who is on both the Dicks/Joyce and Dicks/Cran Lines
  • Joan and Esther are on the Christopher Dicks b. 1812 Line
  • Judy and Wallace are on the Dicks/Joyce Line

So Kirsten matches on a good number of Dicks Lines.

Next I’ll look at each of the above Chromosomes individually.

Chromosome 2 – A new TG found

Chr 2 Kirsten

This is interesting. See that Kirsten matches Sandra and Molly. If Sandra and Molly matched each other, we would have a TG. I’ll check Gedmatch again using the one to one utility between Molly and Sandra.

TG2 Kirsten

In order to find the match between Molly and Sandra that I was looking for, I had to go way below Gedmatch thresholds – down to 3 cM and 300 SNPs. This is not always advised, but in this situation it worked out. It may be difficult to see in the previous chart, but Sandra and Molly only had a small opening where they could match between 145 and 151 and that is where they matched each other.

TG2 Kirsten Rev

Notice above that Wallace and Kenneth are not in the TG. This means they match on a non-Dicks Line which is their George Miller ancestor. Here is a somewhat complicated view of the matches:

Chr 2 Kirsten TG

Here the TG is shown in circles and lines. Wallace and Kenneth are in the blue circles with their Miller common ancestor. Marilyn doesn’t match Wallace and Kenneth here, but she wouldn’t anyway as she does not descend from the Miller line. That means that her part of the TG could be from the pink line or the red line on the right. If Marilyn had matched Wallace and Kenneth, that would prove that she matched on the Dicks/Joyce Line. The fact that she doesn’t match means that she matches Sandra and Kirsten either on the Dicks/Joyce Line or the Dicks/Cran Line. It gets complicated, so that is why I chart these matches where I can see them.

Chromosome 9 – A new TG found

I’m ready for an easier Chromosome after the previous one.

TG9 Kirsten

Yes, it is simple. Here Kirsten is in a TG with my mother in law Joan and Joan’s 1/2 Aunt Esther. As Joan has no known descent from the Burton Line, this would be the Dicks DNA coming down from Christopher Dicks b. 1784 and his wife Margaret. I went below the TG to show that Joan also matches Kirsten at a higher position [124-133]. This is one of the many cases where Joan has inherited more of the known Dicks DNA than her Aunt has. At position 123 or 124 Esther switches off from matching Joan to matching Nelson. That match is likely on Esther’s maternal side where she doesn’t match Joan but has another Dicks ancestor.

There are 2 Chromosomes to go.

chromosome 15 – Another new tg

TG 15 Kirsten

Here, Kirsten is in a TG with Wallace and Judy from position 69 to 88. Wallace and Judy are in another TG described in a previous Blog with Joan from 88 to 93. There were actually 2 other Chromosome 15 TGs mentioned in that Blog. Here is the third TG with Kirsten at Chromosome 15:

TG 15 Kirsten Chart

chromosome 21 – Using dicks NOn-TGs to find non-dicks matches

Here there are no TGs and probably no Dicks DNA. These are all the matches of people in the Dicks DNA Project at Chromosome 21.


I will give my guesses on these matches:

  • Sandra/Nelson – their Adams Line
  • Judy/Wallace – their Lewis Line
  • Kirsten/Esther – this would be Esther’s maternal line which has Dicks and Burton. Esther’s maternal great grandmothers are Margaret Burton and Jane Ann Dicks b. about 1841. As other Dicks descendants aren’t jumping in on this match, my first guess would be that this is a Burton match.
  • Esther/Joan – probably on the Upshall Line
  • Judy/Wallace – more of their Lewis Line

Summary of All the TGs Found So Far

I mentioned that I found 3 new TGs in this Blog alone. I would like to sum up all the TGs to date. The dark green are for Henry Dicks b. 1774. Raspberry is the non-Dicks TG.

Dicks TG Summary







Another Dicks in the Mix

So far, we have 10 people that have genealogies descending from Christopher Dicks b. 1784. They all triangulate in one way or another which is a good indication that their genealogies are correct and that their common ancestors are Christopher Dicks and his wife Margaret. That has gone so well, why not get a little wild and try something more difficult?

Henry or Harold Dicks born around 1774

As I was traipsing around the internet, I came upon another Dicks who was born around the time of Christopher Dicks. His name was entered in genealogies as a Henry and/or Harold Dicks b. around 1774. I took some of these genealogies of people that had tested their DNA and mushed them together and got the 4 lines on the left below:

Henry Dicks Chart

In my chart, I assumed that Henry was Christopher’s older brother and that they both had a father named Christopher. The names in pink I thought might be worth looking into as they looked so similar. There are 4 lines of people that have tested their DNA descending from this Henry Dicks line. One of them appears to be on Gedmatch, though I have not had further contact with this person. Her name is Crystal and she descends from the 2nd Crewe Line above.

Further, I have been in touch with Eric who believes that he descends from this line, but is not sure how. His ancestors were from Lamaline.


Eric said that Henry Dicks moved his family to Burgeo in 1820. I noticed a lot of the Henry Dicks descendants mentioned Burgeo in their ancestry.


Dicks DNA Goals for This Blog

In this blog I’ll try to answer the following questions:

  • Does Eric’s DNA show that he descends from the Dicks family?
  • Does DNA show that Harold and Christopher Dicks were brothers?
eric and crystal

First, I’ll compare Crystal to Eric at Gedmath. Crystal is the one who I think also has a tree on Ancestry showing descent from Henry Dicks. Eric thinks he likely descends from the same person. Here is how Crystal and Eric’s DNA compare:

Eric Crystal Gedmatch

They have a small match out at almost 8 generations which is a long way out.

Crystal and the Christopher Dicks descendants

Next, I’ll compare Crystal to all the people that descend from Christopher Dicks at Gedmatch. These are the people that I have already compared in the Dicks DNA Project. Here is where Crystal matches those people:

Crystal Matches

She has single matches with Molly, Wallace and Kenneth. Perhaps more importantly, she matches both Esther and Joan, forming a Triangulation Group. Here is a diagram of her matches.

Crystal TG on Chart

The single matches are shown as circles without lines. Marilyn had 2 chances of matches as she descends from 2 Dicks Lines. I have her 2 possible matches to Crystal in light purple. The Triangulation Group on Chromosome 5 indicates a common ancestor which appears to be the father of Henry and Christopher Dicks. Out of the 10 Christopher Dicks descendants with DNA results, Crystal matches half. The relationships are pretty far out. They range from 4th cousin, 3 times removed to 6th cousin, once removed.

More on Crystal’s tg

Even though Crystal does not descend from Christopher Dicks, her TG seems to tell us something about 2 Christopher Dicks descendants: Molly and Kenneth.

TG5 Crystal

Notice that Molly and Kenneth match each other in the area of Crystal’s TG 5 [at position 76 to 122]. But they aren’t part of TG 5 which indicates a Dicks ancestor. That means that the DNA Molly and Kenneth share is likely from their  common ancestor James Joyce and not his wife Rachel Dicks b. 1817. Conversely, if Molly and Kenneth were in TG 5 that would mean that the DNA that they shared would be Dicks DNA through Rachel Dicks.

eric and the Christopher Dicks descendants

Now to get to Eric’s question. Let’s see how he compares to known Dicks descendants and Crystal. I’ll compare everyone to everyone else that I’ve compared so far. This is analogous to ordering an everything pizza.

Eric cf to all

Again, there are singleton matches with Molly and Esther on Chromosomes 1, 4 and 18. In addition, there are multiple matches at Chromosomes 1 and 4 which could indicate Triangulation Groups. Those are the pots of gold that we are looking for.

eric’s TG 1with joan and esther

Eric TG1

Here the part in gold is the TG. The other matches of Sandra, Nelson, Wallace, Judy and Molly likely represent non-Dicks Line ancestors.

Is there a tg 4?

It would seem like a TG at Chromosome 4 would tie everything together between Eric and Crystal.

Chr 4 Eric

Unfortunately, to have a TG here, Crystal and Sandra would have to match each other and they don’t. However,  this looks close to a TG.

What Did I Just Do? Did I Prove What I Set Out To?

  • Does Eric’s DNA show that he descends from the Dicks family? PROBABLY
  • Does DNA show that Henry and Christopher Dicks were brothers? MORE PROBABLY

Let’s look at Eric. From what I understand, he believes that he may descend from Henry Dicks, due to Henry’s living in Lamaline prior to 1820. This is tied to the fact that Eric’s family was also from Lamaline at the same period. Eric is in a TG with my mother in law Joan and her 1/2 Aunt Esther. Eric also matches others from the Dicks DNA project. In addition, he matches Crystal who has posted that she descends from Henry Dicks. Perhaps I should have rated this “MORE PROBABLY”. The other option is that all the matches are from other unknown relatives, or a mixture of unknown relatives.

I feel like Henry and Christopher Dicks were brothers. We have triangulation with Crystal who descends from Henry Dicks. Again, there is a possibility that the triangulation is with an unknown ancestor. However, I would like to think that the triangulation is with the known Dicks family. I would like to see others that have tested their DNA with paper trails leading to Henry Dicks upload to Gedmatch. That would give me more confidence in proving the connection with the 2 brothers.






DNA from the Dicks/Burton Line of Newfoundland

Dicks DNA Project Background

The purpose of the Dicks DNA Project, so far, has been to find descendants of the Dicks Family of Newfoundland that have tested for DNA and uploaded their results to Gedmatch. These results have been compared to confirm the genealogical research that has been done by the different Dicks families. So far those in the Study Group are:

  • Esther – my wife’s great Aunt from the Christopher Dicks Line b. 1812. She also descends from another Dicks Line but the lineage isn’t known for that line.
  • Joan – my mother in law – same line. [I didn’t include my wife as she got all of her Dicks DNA from her mom.
  • Sandra – from the Elizabeth Dicks/Adams Line. Elizabeth was b. 1809
  • Nelson – Sandra’s Uncle
  • Judy – from the Rachel Dicks/Joyce Line. Rachel was b. 1817
  • Wallace – Judy’s Uncle
  • Kenneth – Wallace’s 2nd cousin also from the Dicks/Joyce Line
  • Marilyn – She descends from the Dicks/Joyce Line and the Robert Dicks/Cran Line. Robert was b. 1824.
  • Forrest – She also descends from the Robert Dicks/Cran Line

All these lines mentioned above are children of Christopher Dicks who married Margaret and was b. about 1784.

The Dicks/Burton Line

To add to the above 9 Dicks descendants that come from  these 4 Lines, we have another descendant named Denise whose ancestor is Frances Dicks b. 1811. Frances married Charles Burton. To complicate things, my wife’s great Aunt Esther descends from a Burton and my mother in law does not. But I may be able to sort all that out. I can almost squeeze everyone in below. I left out the Robert Dicks/Cran Line on the right of the chart.

Dicks Burton Chart

Denise is a bit lower on the totem pole, so her DNA matches with the others may be a bit weaker. However, note that she has an extra Dicks named David that married into the Burton line. I’m not sure what Dicks family David descended from. Kirsten who is also on the Dicks/Burton Line is not yet in the project.

Let’s Compare Everyone’s DNA

Next I take everyone’s DNA and compare it with each other. The goal is to find Triangulation Groups (TGs). These are where 3 people match each other on the same part of the same Chromosome. A TG indicates a common ancestor. Usually, in this case, the common ancestor should be Christopher Dicks b. 1784 and his wife Margaret.

chromosome 2 triangulation group (TG)

Denise fits into an existing TG with Sandra, Joan and Nelson here:

TG 2 with Denise

For whatever reason, a lot of the Dicks DNA came down on Chromosome 2. Denise and Sandra share much more DNA than average considering they are 4th cousins twice removed. Here is what Denise’s TG looks like on the left hand side of the Dicks family Chart:

Denise TG2

This is a great TG as it includes 3 different Dicks Lines: Elizabeth, Frances, and Christopher Dicks Lines.

a new brain teaser from an older tg

In a previous Blog, I had mentioned that there were 2 TGs in this area. The first had Joan, Sandra and Nelson. The second had Molly, Sandra and Nelson.


But in the TG with Denise above, her match with Nelson and Sandra are in the area where she should be matching with Molly (173-218). So why doesn’t she match with Molly here at 201-209?

The answer found in changing the gedmatch defaults

Usually it is not a good idea to change the defaults at Gedmatch. There are some situations where it is necessary. This is one of those situations. I lowered the thresholds at Gematch, because it didn’t make sense that Molly and Denise were not matching in this specific area of Chromosome 2. I lowered the cMs from 7 to 5 and the SNPs from 700 to 500 and here is what I found – they did match from 201 to 208:

Molly and Denise

This means that we can look at this as either one TG or two. I’ll look at it as one as that makes more sense to me right now. Joan and Molly didn’t inherit enough Dicks DNA to match each other. Joan matched at the beginning of the TG and Molly matched at the higher locations on Chromosome 2 TG. Now to draw this out:

TG2 Rev

Here I gave Joan and Marilyn lighter shades as they are on opposite ends of this larger TG. Sandra, Nelson and Denise have darker orange showing they are in the whole TG. I also have question marks on Marilyn’s lines as she is descended from 2 Dicks lines and we know that she got her Dicks DNA from one of the lines, but we don’t know which. There is an equal chance of her DNA being inherited from the Rachel or Robert Line.

Possible Burton Match

I had mentioned that Esther and Denise share Burton ancestors. I notice also that Esther and Denise have a match on Chromosome 5:

Possible Burton Chr 5

This is likely to be from the Burton family – or at least not the Dicks family – as I don’t see any of the other Dicks descendants matching in this area of Chromosome 5. In addition, even though Joan is a niece of Esther, she is a half niece and not descended from the Burton Family. I note that she also does not match Denise on Chromosome 5.

The X Factor: Dicks or Burton?

Here is a shot of Esther’s DNA match spreadsheet:

X Match Denise

It shows that Esther has a good match with Denise on the X Chromosome. On Denise’s side this could be from the Dicks Line. The X Chromosome does not travel from father to son. Denise is descended from Christopher Dicks and in that descent, the lineage alternates between male and female. However, Esther, descends from two Christopher Dicks. This means that the X chromosome that they share could not be shared with Christopher Dicks as no X Chromosome was transferred from father to son. This leaves a good chance that the X Chromosome match could also represent the Burton line. Esther’s mother’s father’s mother was a Burton. This is the likely way that Esther got the X Chromosome that matches with Denise.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Denise is a great addition to the Dicks DNA Study Group and has fit into a TG like all the others in the Project even though she is further down on the Dicks Family Tree
  • Denise’s Chromosome 2 TG results added some confusion until I lowered the Gedmatch thresholds. Then it was clear that Denise matched Molly as she should have.
  • There are two areas that could have caused problems: 1) two Dicks Lines for Marilyn and; 2) Denise and Esther likely having ancestry in the Dicks and Burton Lines. However, these issues did not cause a problem here.
  • It is likely that the single match on Chromosome 5 that Denise and Esther share apart from the other Dicks descendants is likely from the Burton family.
  • X Chromosome matches give good clues to family inter-contentedness as they are only inherited in specific ways.


One More Dicks Descendant; One More Triangulation Group

Recently Marilyn from the Dicks DNA Group mentioned a new person from the Dicks Line. It took me a little while to realize that this person was already on Based on her gedmatch name, I will call her Forrest. She descends from the Robert Dicks Line. Robert Dicks was born in 1824 and married Jane Cran.

Here is a chart with Forrest on the bottom right.

Dicks Chart with Forrest

The above chart shows only 2 of the children of Christopher Dicks b. 1784. There are 3 other lines represented by this DNA project.

The New TG at Chromosome 2

Chromosome 2 seems to be a Dicks DNA hot spot. In my previous Blog, I had noted 3 TGs on that Chromosome. It looks like this TG makes 4:

TG2 with Forrest

This TG, shown in gold, is spread out. It consists of Esther, Joan and Forrest. In between is one of the other TGs with Esther, Joan, Nelson and Sandy. Judy and Wallace are in there also, but not as a part of the TGs. As they are not matching in the TG, the DNA that they share should be from their [non-Dicks] Smith Line.

What’s going on at chromosome 2?

Here is a summary of all the Dicks TGs at Chromosome 2.

  1. TG 2A – Esther, Joan, Nelson and Sandra
  2. TG 2B – Esther, Joan, and Forrest
  3. TG 2C – Joan, Sandra and Nelson
  4. TG 2D – Nelson, Sandra and Molly (Note that Molly could be in one of two different Dicks Lines)

Chromosome 2 is quite a long one. Apparently there is room at this Chromosome for several TGs. Here are TG 2C and TG 2D from my previous Blog:


Now I will try to show the 4 TGs at Chromosome 2 with colored lines and circles:

Dicks Chart TG2

I didn’t think that would be easy. The takeaway from this chart is:

  • The 2 nieces (Sandra and Joan) share a lot of DNA with their Uncle and Aunt on the left side of the chart. Two of the TGs (TG 2A and 2C) are made up of these 4 people.
  • For TG 2D, we can’t know for sure if this TG Marilyn that is in is from the Rachel Dicks/Joyce Line or the Robert Dicks/Cran Line. It would be one or the other, but not both.
  • There is always a small chance that the TG 2B could be with a non-Dicks Line. This is because we don’t know the maiden name of Esther’s great grandmother. However, as we do know that Forrest, Esther and Joan all share the same Dicks ancestor, I tend to believe that Christopher Dicks b. 1784 is the common ancestor.

Relationships and Shared DNA

Based on each relationship in the chart, there is a certain amount of expected DNA that would be shared. As these relationships go further out, there is a chance that there will be no DNA shared between, say, 5th cousins. Another way to express your relationships is in the generations to your Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs). For example 2nd cousins will share the same grandparents. Your grandparent is 2 generations away from you. For your aunt or uncle, they are one generation from the common ancestor and you are two generations away, so that averages out to 1.5 generations. Here is a chart from gedmatch that guesses how far away to a MRCA based on the amount of DNA shared between two people. After that number, I added the actual number of generations to the MRCA for people in the Dicks DNA Project.

Generations to MRCA

I added some purple for Esther and Molly as they both have more than one known Dicks ancestor. For them, their generations to MRCA based on their gedmatch predicted DNA shared is always less than the actual relationship. One exception to this is between Esther and Joan. Esther is Joan’s half Aunt. That is where the analogy would break down as Joan would only share the DNA from Esther’s paternal side.

The darker salmon colored boxes are where there was no DNA shared at normal gedmatch defaults. This is expected at 5 generations to MRCA or more. In the chart below, a MRCA of 5 generations is equivalent to a 4th cousin.

FTDNA Chances of Finding a Match

What all this tells me is that the Dicks Ancestry Chart compared to the amount of DNA shared looks pretty good. Nothing looks out of line with what would be expected.



Dicks DNA Triangulation Explosion

In my last Blog, Unraveling Some of the Dicks Family DNA from Newfoundland, I looked at several things:

  • I found many descending from Christopher Dicks b. 1784 from Newfoundland
  • These people had also tested their DNA
  • 6 of these had also uploaded their results to gedmatch where I was able to analyze their DNA
  • Out of these 6 all were found to be in Triangulation Groups (TGs)
  • TGs are good things as they indicate a common ancestor
  • As all these people descended from Christopher Dicks b. 1784, I took him to be that common ancestor that the triangulated DNA pointed to.

I was a bit surprised at how successful the exercise was. Christopher Dicks helped me out a bit by fathering so many children. This has resulted in the spread of his DNA through many descendants to triangulate with each other.

Two of my goals in the previous Blog, were:

  1. to find other Dicks descendants who had uploaded their DNA to gedmatch that I may have missed, and;
  2. to find other Dicks descendants who hadn’t uploaded their DNA to gedmatch, but would be interested in doing so.

Within one day of writing my blog, I have easily found one person in each category above.  The person in the first category is Judy. Another goal I had was to try to find more Dicks Family Genealogies for those that had uploaded to gedmatch. That happened also when I heard from Marilyn.

This study group works best for people in both these categories:

  1. Those who have an ancestry going back to the early Newfoundland Dicks family
  2. Those who have tested their DNA and have uploaded their results to

Judy and Marilyn’s Dicks Genealogies

Judy is someone I missed in the last Blog. She is a little further down on the Dicks Relationship Chart and further down on my Aunt Esther’s DNA match list at However, her results are important nonetheless. I was surprised that the 6 Dicks descendants from the last blog all triangulated. I was equally surprised that I found Judy to be in 4 triangulation groups. In the previous blog, I only found 5 triangulation groups with the 6 people I looked at.  This speaks to the importance of having many in a DNA study group.

First, here is one of my favorite photos of Harbour Buffet, Newfoundland where some of my wife’s ancestors came from and where many in the Dicks family lived. It looks quite peaceful, but I know that many hearty souls lived there and many drowned at sea.

harbor buffet 1907

Here is the tree for Judy and Marilyn. The tree is starting to get bigger, so I only have the Rachel Dicks and Robert Dicks Lines. Note that Marilyn is in twice. This is because she had Dicks relatives that married. This is not that unusual. For my Frazer family in Ireland, there were many in this situation. Marilyn and I wondered why the match between her and my wife’s Aunt Esther was so high. This is because Marilyn and Esther both have Dicks in their ancestry more than once. I wrote a blog on this subject for my own Frazer family here.

Marilyn and Judy

Judy and Marilyn are 4th cousins, once removed to my mother in law Joan and 3rd cousins twice removed to my wife’s Aunt Esther. That means that through their common ancestor of Christopher Dicks, Judy and Marilyn have a better than 30% chance of matching with the people on Joan’s row and a 50% chance or better of matching those on Esther’s row. They are 5th cousins to each other. This usually indicates about a 10% chance of matching each other. Here are the match probabilities as posted by FTDNA:

FTDNA Chances of Finding a Match

Here is the whole chart with Marilyn added:

Revised Dicks Tree Chart

Let’s Re-Triangulate – Chromosome 2 TG

This one is a bit tricky. It looks like 2 TGs.


Sandra and Nelson are in both TGs. Joan is in TG 2A and Molly is in TG 2B. Kenneth and Judy didn’t make the cut. They likely match on a non-Dicks Line – probably the Miller line.

TG2AB Chart

I hope that the chart above looks sufficiently confusing! Judy and Kenneth don’t triangulate but both descend from George Miller in blue above.

tg – chromosome 4


TG4 Chart

2 TG’s – chromosome 12 – Hold on to your seats

Here at Chromosome 12, a few interesting things are going on.


  • First, there are 2 TGs: TG 12A and 12B. Sandra and Nelson don’t match the 1st TG. That means that they must have gotten that segment of their DNA from their non-Dicks side.
  • Secondly, note that these 2 TGs overlap each other from about position 107 to 120.
  • Even though these 2 TGs, overlap, they have different people in each. That means that they must both have separate common ancestors.
  • Wallace, Judy and Kenneth are in a TG, but the common ancestor would be George Miller. The reason I say this is that as mentioned above, the 2 TGs overlap. In the Miller Line TG 12A, there is no match with Esther, Joan and Molly in TG 12B. If there was a match, then TG 12A would have Rebecca Joyce as a common ancestor.
  • Esther, Joan and Molly are in TG 12B. But does this TG go through Molly’s Dicks/Joyce Line or Dicks/Cran Line? This is assumed to be a Dicks TG.

TG12 Chart

I was actually looking for a TG between Judy, Wallace, and Kenneth and here is where it showed itself.

TG 14

This TG had Marilyn, Joan and Esther again. This would be expected due to the double Dicks ancestry that Marilyn and Esther both have. See the above diagram with the pink lines.


2 TG’s – Chromosome 15


Here again, there are 2 TGs. However, they are not overlapping TGs like the ones at Chromosome 12. The first one, TG 15A has Nelson, Kenneth and Judy. TG 15B Has Judy, Wallace and Joan.  Esther is not in either TG. Where she matches with Joan likely represents Upshall DNA.

TG15 Chart

TG 16

TG 16

Here is a 4 person TG.

TG16 Chart

Some of the ambiguity of Marilyn’s TGs may be resolved by finding other Dicks descendants that have tested for DNA and comparing their results to these TGs.

Finally TG 19


This TG was mentioned in the previous blog. Now it is bigger with 4 people – including Wallace’s niece Judy.

Summary of the New and Augmented TGs

It turned out that this update was longer than the original Blog – at least for the triangulating part. In the previous blog, there were 5 TGs indicating Christopher Dicks b. 1784 and his wife Margaret. Now there are 13 TGs. This gets to the triangulation explosion that I mentioned in the title.

TG Summary Revised

  • TG12A likely represents a non-Dicks ancestor on the Joyce Line: George Miller. This is represented in a different color. However, this is good to know for those in this TG as matches in this area of Chromosome 12 will be along Miller ancestry and not Dicks ancestry.
  • Marilyn is represented in a different shade of green as we don’t know which line her TG’s are from. All the TGs that Marilyn are in appear to indicate her common ancestor of Christopher Dicks. We just aren’t sure which path the DNA took at this time.
  • This is also an issue for Esther where she is in a TG that her 1/2 niece Joan is not in. For the 2 TGs that Esther is in and Joan is not, the TG is with descendants of Elizabeth b. 1809, so that would be a possibility for the line of the Dicks ancestor with the unknown parents on Esther’s maternal side. As Esther’s maternal Dicks ancestor’s ancestry is not known, that line is not represented on the Dicks family tree chart.
  • Joan is in the most TGs which is a bit surprising as she is a 1/2 niece of Esther. based on this I would think she would have 1/2 or less of the matches of Esther as Esther has 2 known Dicks ancestors and Joan has one.

So far, triangulating the Dicks descendants DNA has been hugely successful. With the results of only 8 descendants, we have 13 TGs. All but one of these TGs point back to Christopher Dicks b. 1784 or his wife Margaret.

For comparison, I head up another DNA project with 27 that have tested their DNA. 9 of them have multiple Frazer ancestors and there are fewer TGs in that project than in this one. Part of the reason for that is that many of the Frazer relationships are more distant than what we have with the Dicks family.








Unraveling Some of the Dicks Family DNA from Newfoundland

In my first Blog on Upshall DNA, I gave some background and made some guesses on where the related ancestors were in my wife’s Upshall Newfoundland ancestors. At that time, I came up with a family diagram that looked like this:

X Chromosome Chart Esther

My wife’s grandmother Florence is represented by the lower left circle, her great Aunt Esther is the circle to the right of Florence. Florence and Esther have the same father, but different mothers. This turns  out to be useful knowledge to have. That means that my mother in law, who is the daughter of Florence, will be related to Esther on the Upshall/Dicks lines but not on the Shave/Kirby lines. This is a bit complicated due to the fact, that Esther’s parents were related to each other. Gedmatch estimates that Esther had a common ancestor 4.0 generations before her. Note that, assuming my drawing above is correct, she could have a Dicks ancestor 4 generations before her. I added the question marks above as I am not positive of the relationships.

After visiting my wife’s Aunt Esther recently, I came upon an ancestry chart that she wrote up in the 1990’s.

Aunt Esther's Family Tree Privacy

I asked her about the father of Catherine Dicks who Esther had as Christopher Dicks, b. 1781 as that seemed old for that generation. That would put the average generations between Christopher Dicks and Esther at 49 years. She mentioned that it was possible as she knew of a man in his 60’s in Newfoundland marrying an 18 year old. Esther’s father was 49 when he had her. I also believe that this Christopher Dicks had a son Christopher, so there are other possibilities. I was ready to go with Aunt Esther’s results until I found a blog I had saved from Heather Lynn that she wrote in 2011:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Puzzle of the Day: Christopher DICKS of Newfoundland

Christopher DICKS was born (likely in February, 1784) somewhere in England. There are competing theories concerning his origins.
He and his wife Margaret (born 1789) had at least 11 children over the course of 24 years between 1808 and 1832, born in various places around Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, including Trinny Cove, Jean de Baie, & Hay Cove.

William (1808-1894) married Mary Ann Sheave
**Elizabeth (1809 – 1892) married Thomas ADAMS in Burin 1839 (my 3rd Great-Grandmother)
Joseph (1810-abt 1857) married Mary Griffith
Frances (1811 – ) married Charles Burton
Christopher (1812- ) married Elizabeth
Henry (1815- )
Rachel (1817-1893) married James Joyce
Robert (1824-1903) married Jane Crann
Susan (1827- )
James (1830- )
George (1832-1892)

Christopher DICKS died October 24, 1845 in Harbour Buffett, Newfoundland. His wife Margaret lived until February 1867. Here is an excerpt from his will:

Secondly,   All my money whether in cash or credits in Merchants Accounts as also such money as shall be and remain in the British Funds at the time of my decease, I hereby give and bequeath to my dear wife for her sole use and benefit and afterwards to be disposed of at her death as she may be inclined ~ Subject nevertheless to the following deductions, that she my said wife shall pay unto our sons James Dicks and George Dicks the sum of thirty pounds currency each at the time of my decease.
Thirdly,   My fishing room situate in Harbor Beaufet with all buildings and appurtenances there unto belonging together with all boats, skiffs, punts, seines nets and all kinds of fishing craft, I hereby give and bequeath unto my four sons Christopher Dicks Junior, William Dicks, Henry Dicks, and Robert Dicks to be equally divided share and share alike in value among them.

Let’s see how this information fits in with my chart above. Based on Esther’s and Heather Lynn’s research, I come up with this chart:

Revised Tree for Esther

Based on the chart above, it appears that Jane Ann Dicks b. 1841 (top right) could likely be the grand daughter of Christopher Dicks b. 1784 (top left).

Here is Fred Upshall in 1920 wearing a straw hat:

Upshall Photo

Here is a map of Harbour Buffet and vicinity where my wife’s Newfie ancestors hailed from. Living there, it was important to have a boat or access to one. Many living in these parts of Placentia Bay were fishermen.

Harbour Buffet and Vicinity

More Dicks DNA

Now that I know how Aunt Esther is descended from the Dicks family, I have tried to piece together a Dicks Chart based on the blog above and family trees I’ve found at Ancestry and FTDNA. I left out one line of the Dicks line for now to simplify things. That would be the Henry/Harold Dicks Line. I think the Henry/Harold is a parallel line to the Christopher Dicks Line (perhaps a brother).

Dicks Chart

The green boxes are those that have taken DNA tests. However, not everyone has uploaded their DNA to which would make comparisons easy. There are 10 DNA testers in the green boxes, but I will be looking at the 6 that have uploaded their results to 6 are:

  • Sandra
  • Nelson
  • Joan
  • Esther
  • Wallace
  • Kenneth

My wife’s great Aunt Esther is on the row 4 generations down from Christopher Dicks, b. 1784. So is Nelson. We already know that those 2 have high matches of DNA between them. In fact, estimates that Nelson and Esther should have a common ancestor back 3.2 generations instead of 4. This is likely due to the past intermarrying on Newfoundland, which increased the amount of DNA shared.

Triangulation of Dicks DNA

The goal is to find triangulation groups. If three people all match each other on the same segment of a chromosome, that is an indication that the 3 got that DNA from a common ancestor. Actually, the real goal is to confirm that the genealogy shown in the chart above is correct [using triangulation], and that these people do indeed descend from Christopher Dicks b. 1784.

Let’s Triangulate

First I entered the 6 of the 10 testers in green above and compared them in using a utility called Multiple Kit Analysis. Then I downloaded all those matching segments into a spreadsheet and sorted them. It wasn’t long before I found a triangulation group. The first one was at Chromosome 2.

TG2A Dicks

In the table above, the 2 in the first column is the Chromosome number. The next column is the start of the match. Then the end of the match location and the cM value for the match. The above is actually a triangulation group of 3 people: Esther, Joan and Nelson. Sandra didn’t match with Joan or Esther. Note also that the gedmatch utility puts in every match twice. So the first match is Joan/Esther. The second match is Esther/Joan.

I almost missed this Triangulation Group (TG) because Esther and Joan had such a large match. Here is what Esther’s Chromosome Browser looks like at Chromosome 2:

Esther Chromosome 2

The large red line is the match between Esther and Joan. This has to represent Esther’s father Fred Upshall who descended from the Dicks family. Fred is Esther and Joan’s common ancestor. Fred had 2 wives and Esther and Joan descend from different wives. The smaller green match is between Esther and Nelson. The pink match is between Esther and Sandra but is too tiny to consider. Plus, it is out of range of the DNA match that Esther has with Nelson.

Here are the 3 that triangulated on Chromosome 2 shown on the Dicks Chart:

TG 2 on Chart

Five Dicks Triangulation groups

All in all, I found five Dicks triangulation groups. The second TG was also in Chromosome 2:

Dicks TG 2B

Note that this TG is similar to the first one except that this time Sandra is in and Esther is out.

TG 2b on Chart

What happened to Esther? Esther got her DNA from her 4 grandparents. That fact that Joan matches two Dicks descendants and Esther doesn’t must mean that Esther must have  gotten her DNA in this part of her Chromosome 2 from her grandfather Henry Upshall and Joan got her DNA at that location from Catherine Dicks b. 1851. This is all good to know. So any paternal matches Esther has in this area of Chromosome 2 (location 171-192) where she is not matching Sandra, Nelson, and Joan would be a match along the Uphsall Line. I would like to add that Cheryl in the chart above is not counted as she tested at AncestryDNA and I don’t think that she has uploaded her results to That means we don’t know if she triangulates with the others or not. The same is true for the person below Elizabeth that doesn’t show.

The third TG at chromosome 9

The TG at Chromosome 9 has a different apparent Dicks descendant: Kenneth.

TG Chr 9

TG9 Chart

Here I note:

  • This TG is from 3 different children of Christopher Dicks: Elizabeth, Christopher and Rachel.
  • Note that Joan is not in this TG. This could mean one of 2 things
    1. She just didn’t inherit that segment of DNA or;
    2. Esther’s part in the TG is through her mother’s side where she has another Dicks ancestor. I didn’t show that Dicks ancestor in the chart as I don’t know which Dicks that ancestor descended from.
  • Sandra and Kenneth are 4th cousins by way of their common ancestor Christopher Dicks b. 1784. There is a little better than 50% chance that they would show as a DNA match. However, having Newfoundland ancestors means that they may match on more than one line.
  • As Wallace is a known 2nd cousin to Kenneth, his descent from the same Dicks ancestor is inferred. Wallace just didn’t inherit the same segment of DNA that Kenneth did.
TG 11


This is just another permutation of the first TG. Note that Sandra inherited the Dicks DNA in Chromosome 11 while this same segment bypassed her uncle Nelson.

And finally, the TG at crhomosome 19

This final TG includes the last Dicks descendant who uploaded his results to Wallace.


TG19 Chart

This group includes Christopher Dicks b. 1812 and Rachel Dicks b. 1817. Note that for any TG that Joan is in, Esther’s Dicks relationship is through her father and not her mother. This is because Joan is only a half niece to Esther on her paternal side.

Summary of TGs

Green in the box below a name means that the person is in the TG to the left:

TG Summary

Here is how they are related:

Dicks Relations


There is always a small chance that the triangulation represents an unknown family. For example, the last name of Esther’s great grandmother Elizabeth is unknown. Also Elizabeth’s mother Margaret’s maiden name is unknown. It is possible that Wallace, for example, is actually triangulating with one of those families. However, as it is the Dicks that are in common in all these TGs, it is most likely that the Dicks are the common ancestors.

Summary, Comments and Conclusions

  • I am very happy to see that all 6 of the Dicks descendants that uploaded their DNA results to Gedmatch triangulated with other Dicks descendants, zeroing in on Christopher Dicks b. 1784.
  • Triangulation gives weight to genealogy showing common ancestors.
  • It is likely that other Dicks descendants are already at Gedmatch or could upload their DNA results there.
  • Having more Dicks descendants in the study group would improve the results and further solidify genealogies and lines of descent from common Dicks ancestors.
  • It should be possible to use this same triangulation technique to unravel the ancestry of other Newfoundland families.
  • The Dicks family was a good choice to look at as there are so many descendants from Newfoundland. Many descendants can make the genealogy confusing, but it is a plus in DNA analysis as they provide more potential to look at shared DNA and Triangulation Groups.
  • TGs that both Joan and Esther are in show that the Dicks DNA that Esther inherited was from her paternal side – not her maternal side. This information may be helpful in further DNA analysis.
  • Next step:
    1. Look for more descendants that are at gedmatch or who could upload their results there;
    2. Expand the triangulation to other Dicks Lines.




My Hartley YDNA

After writing over 50 Blogs on genetic genealogy, I realized that I hadn’t written a blog on my Hartley YDNA. I have written on Frazer YDNA and my wife’s family YDNA (Butler), but not one just on Hartley YDNA. This will not be on all Hartley YDNA as I know the most about mine. There are other Hartley Lines that aren’t closely related to mine.

Many reading this blog will know already that the YDNA is used often in Surname studies. This is because YDNA is passed mostly unchanged from father to son. I say mostly because there are slow changes that occur. These slow changes are what make the differences in the different STRs and SNPs.  STRs and SNPs are the 2 major types of YDNA of importance in genetic genealogy. In this Blog, I’ll write about my own STRs and SNPs and how they relate to each other. I’ll also look at a few ways of analyzing YDNA results. There is a lot to cover here.

SNPs – Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

SNPs are formed due to genetic mutations and are very specific and unambiguous. They can be used to trace one’s line back to a genetic Adam and place one into a specific group of people. Here is the broad difference between SNPs. They are listed between the letters A and T below.

All SNPs

My Hartley Line is broadly R1b. My Frazer line is R1a. They split off at some point and appear to have taken a more northerly route through Europe. R1b is the most common YDNA in Western Europe. Further, there are 2 branches that are common within R1b. These 2 types are listed by their test names. They are R-U106 and R-P312. In England, the R-U106 represents the Anglo Saxons. They came from the areas around Germany.  It turns out that I am R-P312 and further L21. See the bottom left of the tree below.

Tree to L21

L21 is known for the Irish and Scots. But there are also English L21. Actually, I would like to think of myself as British. The British represents the older stock in England whereas the Anglo (hence English) Saxon are the late comers. More of the U106 are found in the Southeast England where the Anglo Saxons entered. The L21’s are found more in the North and West of England and in Ireland.

L21 Map

For some reason, I was relieved to find out that I was R-L21. I guess I liked the idea of being associated with the old timers vs. the invaders. Also, even though the Celts are not a genetic group per se, they have been associated with R-L21. Here is a map of England in 600 A.D showing the British/Anglo Saxon split.

Briton 600

More on L21

It took me quite a while testing my YDNA to find out that I was L21. There are many levels of subdivisions below L21. Here is an L21 Tree that is almost 2 years out of date. On it, I tried to place some of the Hartleys that had tested up to that point. Some that I wasn’t sure of I put in the upper left of the chart.

L21 2014 Map

At that time, I had put my ancestor, Robert Hartley in the L513  Group (dark yellow) and one step under that at S5668. Due to in a large part, people doing a Big Y test, many new SNPs have been discovered and placed  in the tree. Now R-L513 has it’s own Tree.

L513 map

Finally, I have tested positive for Z17911 and Z17912. These are equivalent SNPs.  The people listed on the main tree are ones that have taken the Big Y or equivalent tests. Once I get my results, my name will show above with Merrick and Thomas – or perhaps in my own group.

L513 Tree Section

As far as I know, Z17911 is the end of the line or what has been referred to as a terminal SNP. However, Big Y testing may reveal more. There are also SNPs which are called private or family SNPs. One or more of these may be found in my BigY results for the Hartley family.

STRs – Short Tandem Repeats

The STR was the first type of YDNA to be used for genetic genealogy. I think of these as a stutter in the DNA. These are extra copies that happen in specific areas of the YDNA that are noted and used for comparison purposes. Standard tests range from 12 STRs to 111 STRs or more. The more you test, the more you pay. Each of these STR locations have their own rates of change. There are the fast changing STRs and the slower ones.

My Hartley STRs

Here are some of my Hartley STRs. First I’ll explain the headings below. Dark blue is the first panel of 12 SNPs. Maroon represents the faster changing STRs. The next set of lighter blue is up to 25 STRs. The next lighter blue is up to the 37 level. The  lightest blue on the right is STR 38 to 67. I didn’t include all my 67 in the image below.

STR Locations JoelJoel's Z Strs

This image is small, and it is taken from the Z17911 group. These people have tested positive for Z17911 and are listed in the FTDNA R1b-L513 Project. The rows of numbers are the STR values (or numbers of repeats). The rows are:

  • Minimum value (in this case of those that have tested positive for Z17911)
  • Maximum value
  • Mode – this has also been used to approximate an ancestral value for the group
  • Hartley (me)
  • Thomas
  • Goff
  • Merrick
Genetic distance (GD)

There are a few ways STRs are used. One is GD or Genetic Distance. When I compare my STR test to another Hartley, for example, it counts the number of differences between the two tests. Some of the numbers in the rows above are highlighted in either purple or pink. The purple values for the 4th line (Hartley) are less than the mode. The pink values are more than the mode. So in the first 37 STRs for my results there are 6 highlighted values. That would be a GD of either 5 or 6. There are 2 ways of counting. For the 5th maroon named marker there are 4 values. There is a method called Infinite Alleles Model which would only count any changes within that named maroon region as one.

Note that of these 6 differences or GD’s in my results, 4 are in the slower moving areas and 2 are in the faster moving areas. I note that at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) I am not shown as related to any within my Z17911 Group. However, that is OK. For 37 STRs my highest GD is 4. I don’t think FTDNA shows higher than that. For 67 STRs, FTDNA’s highest GD is 7.  This is because, when more STRs are compared, more GDs are allowed to make a match.  I further note that at 37 STRs, I match 3 Hartleys, one believed to be descended from a Hartley and 2 non-Hartleys. At the 67 YDNA match level at FTDNA, I have the same person believed to be descended from a Hartley and 3 other with the Hartley surname. So it seems like the FTDNA system is working. However, to get the matches that are further away, one must look at a SNP project or surname project.

where is the common ancestor for STR matches?

FTDNA uses a TIP Report to guess how closely related I am to my YDNA matches. My closest match at the 67 STR level is at a GD of 4. That isn’t very close. However, close is relative.

The first one on my YDNA match list is Sanchez – believed to be of Hartley descent. The TIP Report tells me this:

Sanchez TIP

The second on my 67 STR YDNA match list has a Hartley surname. We also have a GD of 4 and the TIP Report looks like this:

Hartley TIP

Notice that the TIP Report shows a better likelihood that I’m related to Hartley than Sanchez. This is because the TIP Report considers the speed of change of the markers. The markers that are different between Hartley and myself are faster moving ones than the ones that are different between Sanchez and myself. As there are only averages of how often these markers change, this is not an exact science. The tables just show likelihood of when we may have had a common ancestor.

strs used to predict the r-L513 SNP

Here I should mention the difference between a haplogroup and a haplotype. I mention it partially, because I forget which is which. A haplogroup has to do with a SNP. Examples of a haplogroup are R1b, L21, etc. Sometimes the smaller groups are called subclades or subgroups. According to Wikipedia, “Subclades are defined by a terminal SNP…”. So my Z17911 would be a subclade.

Apparently there is more than one definition of haplotype. The one I am thinking of refers to a specific grouping of STRs that stands out. One such grouping of STRs (haplotype) defines the R-L513 Haplogroup. Before the L513 SNP was discovered, people analyzed the STRs and noticed certain patterns. Based on those patterns, the STR results were put into different groups. One such pattern was (and is) DYS406s1>=11 and DYS617=13. When people testing their STRs found these 2 values, they were almost always L513 as confirmed by their SNP testing. So for the longest time, the group was called the 11-13 Combo group rather than the L513 group. Let’s look at the top of the L513 YDNA results page to see if this pattern is true:

406S1 617

Notice that there are a few here that are different, but these may represent rare mutations.  In my Z17911, we all meet the criteria.

Strs predicting Z17911 SNPs

I noticed in the L513 Yahoo Mail Group that I belong to, there were some predictions based on STRs that there could be more Z17911’s. Here is part of a post from March 2016 on the Yahoo L513 Group from the administrator,

“Below is a list of the people I’ve added in the last three weeks, the project I found them in and their predicted variety. This is sorted by variety label.
293533 William Hartley b. 1745 d. after 1807 Hartley 513-5668-16357-16343-17911-JM
372104 Sanchez, b. Spain L513 513-5668-16357-16343-17911-JM”

Sanchez believes he has a Hartley ancestor. So it is interesting that I will likely have more company at the Z17911 SNP. Here is another interesting post from the administrator of the L513 Yahoo Mail Group in October 2015 to Jared who felt he was mis-grouped:

Hi Jared, I mis-grouped you. I will fix. I intended to put you in the “J” STR variety/cluster.  I’m not positive you are in “J” and could be in “H” or a little different yet. It’s hard to make judgements on this, particularly at only 37 STRs.

Here are all the people that I’m aware that off modal values for STRs 390=25 389i=14 458>=18 449>=31 464c=16 and high CDY numbers. You might actually fit in better with the Phillips and Vaughan side of “J” than the Merrick or Thomas.

We think this group is all Z17911+ but I’m not sure. I would say you are Z16343+ at he very least. Z16343 also marks the “H” variety people (Hayes/Pillsbury). No guarantees.

f307773    Smith    R1b-L21>DF13>L513
fN56253    Gilroy    R1b-L21>DF13>L513
fN114296    Gilroy    R1b-L21>DF13>L513
f275990    Hartley    R1b-L21>DF13>L513>S5668>Z16343>Z17911
f280251    Hartley    zzL21suspect
f117349    Hartley    zzL21suspect
f200669    Head    zzL21suspect
f160646    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f271571    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f158089    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f160637    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f113390    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f306961    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f116935    Vaughan    zzL21suspect
f160729    Vaughan    zzL21suspect
f271772    Vaughn    zzL21suspect
f105064    zzzUnk(Phillips)    zzL21suspect

I am the first Hartley mentioned above. Then there are 2 others that may be Z17911. So that means that rather than me being all alone at Z17911, there may be 4 other Hartleys joining me. That is progress. Based on the L513 Administrator’s (Mike’s) STR analysis those 4 would be Z17911. Here are my STR values highlighted in blue with Mike’s Z17911 signature STRs.

Z17911 STRs

I meet all the Z17911 signature STRs which makes sense as I have tested positive for Z17911. These predictions can save a lot of money for people testing SNPs. Rather than testing a series of 4 or 5 SNPs to see where they are on the SNP Tree, they can just test for Z17911 to see if they are positive for that.

Using STRs to Create New SNPs

ISOGG is the International Society of Genetic Genealogists. They have a guidelines for naming new SNPs:

The objective of the ISOGG Tree at this time is to include all SNPs that arose prior to about the year 1500 C.E. This guideline may be measured through STR diversity or alternative evidence.

Where a new terminal subgroup is being added, STR marker results or other evidence described below for two men with the new SNP are needed.

STR Diversity
To be accepted the SNP must be observed in at least two individuals and must meet the STR diversity requirement. A SNP that does not meet this requirement will be classified as a Private SNP (see definition above).

The STR diversity requirement is met if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. If the SNP is a Non-Terminal Branch SNP, no further proof of diversity is required.
  2. Genetic distance is calculated using the Infinite Alleles Model (IAM). A marker for which there is a null value in one sample must be discarded from the calculations. Otherwise, most laboratories use the IAM.
  3. All markers tested by both individuals must be compared.
  4. If 74 markers (or fewer) are compared, the minimum genetic distance to meet the diversity requirement is 5.
  5. If 75 (or more) markers are compared, the diversity requirement is a minimum of 7%, computed by dividing the genetic distance by the number of markers compared, and rounding to the nearest integer value.

This is what happened when my Terminal SNP was accepted. Usually, one would be looking for a low GD for a match, say. Here, for the addition of new SNPs a higher GD is needed to show that the SNP is not a private SNP. Here is another message written June 2015 by a fellow Z17911 from the Yahoo L513 Mail Group that I’m in:

Hi Mike,

I tried to figure the Infinite allele GD for the three current SNP-tested members of Z17911 (if I understood DYS464 and CDY correctly):

Hartley/Merrick = GD 14
Hartley/Thomas = GD 12
Merrick/Thomas = GD 10

I hope this is helpful.
Charles Thomas 8633 

Mike followed up with:

Yes, Charles. It looks like Z17911 and Z16855 are clearly public making upstream Z16343 public too.

And the rest is history – at least for my little branch of the YDNA tree.

Analysis of STRs Using the RCC Method

The RCC method may be somewhat obscure to some, but I find it very interesting. This method uses STRs to create trees of descent, like the SNP trees I showed above. As it uses STRs and not SNPs, it is helpful as a check to the validity of the SNP trees. The RCC method was developed by Bill Howard. In November 2014, Bill came up with the tree below based on 67 STR results. I was at the top of the list in that study of a relatively small group of people.

RCC 67

Note how this method mirrors today’s SNP tree:

L513 Tree Section

The RCC method show that Z16855 branched from Z17911 out of Z16343 at over 60 RCCs. For this 67-marker analysis, 1 RCC = 38.05 yrs. So that would be over 2300 years ago. The present year is considered as 1945-1950. Hartley shows as splitting from Merrick and Thomas at about 30 RCCs. That is over 1140 years from 1945 or around the year 800 A.D. As there were no surnames at that point, this would explain why Hartley, Thomas and Merrick could be in the same grouping. The closest RCC to Hartley at the time of this study was Gilroy. An RCC of 18 translates to 685 years. This brings us up to about the year 1265 A.D. Surnames in England were being sorted out around the 1400’s.

Here is my interpretation of the RCC 67 STR Tree with SNPs and dates added:

RCC 67

Assuming that the vertical line at RCC 30 represents Z17911, it appears that there is room for at least one other SNP on the Hartley Branch that includes Gilroy, Phillips, Vaugh[a]n and Griffin.

Comparing two Rcc studies (67 Vs. 111 Strs)

More recently, at the end of March 2016, Bill Howard ran the data for 555 L513 testees that had 111 STR markers or more. I have only tested for 67 markers, so I was not included, but there was one Hartley in that group. He does not show up on my match list as I count that I have a GD of 10 with him at the 67 STR level. This is beyond the match limit of 7 for FTDNA.

Here is the small section of the 555 that included the Hartley I mentioned above.

RCC 111

Now the vertical dashed lines happen every 20 RCCs. For this study, the RCC = 44.8 years. Mike Walsh, the Administrator of the L513 Project looked at this and felt that, based on his experience with SNPs, that the 44.8 may be a bit high and mentioned a factor of 34.65 years that he thought may work better.

Here is my interpretation of the 111 STR RCC Tree with dates and SNPs. One RCC = 44.8 years.

RCC 111

First, because there are fewer results at 111 STRs, this spreads out the branching. I don’t know who Pitt is. In the previous study Z17911 and Z16855 branched at about 490 B.C. Here, it appears to be in a similar location, I guess about 440 B.C. In the 111 Tree ZS849 branches off in the 1400’s Vs. the 1600’s in the 67 STR Tree. I would assume that the previous study could be slightly more accurate due more available results at the 67 STR level. However, the results are quite close to each other.

Historical 37 STR RCC Tree from September 2014

All these RCC Studies reminded me of a study done in the old days – back in 2014. At the time, I was amazed at how close Bill Howard got to the SNP tree with just using 37 STRs. At the time, I had recommended that the results of 21 L21’s be included in the study, but Charles was too quick in sending 14 L513 results to Bill Howard and Bill gave us this tree:

37 STR RCC Tree

Charles said that 1 RCC should equal 43 years. I’ll put what we know now onto the 2014 RCC tree.

37 STR RCC Tree

The main difference in the older study is that the Z17911/Z16855 branching is shown at a later date (A.D. Vs. the newer studies’ B.C. dates). Also there is an Evans in my group here. I’m not sure who he is.

So Which is Better, SNPs or STRs?

Most people tend to like SNPs over STRs. SNPs may be considered UEPs or Unique Event Polymorphisms. It is the unique part that makes them better. I like the way my L513 Administrator, Mike Walsh says it,

Some people say have used the words that SNPs trump STRs. That’s probably the correct general perspective. Assuming the specific SNPs considered are actually very stable Unique Event Polymorphisms (EUP), any SNPs that differentiate are most important and therefore provide fencing for which do additional evaluation using surnames, genealogy, geographies, etc. AND STRs.

STRs may back mutate, which is a hidden weakness in a way. Say that you have a perfect match with someone based on STRs. One of those STRs may have mutated and back mutated. This would mean that you are not a perfect match, but a GD of 2. There is not an easy way to know if that has happened or not. So that introduces some uncertainty. However, that is not to say that STRs are not important. I feel as they are underrated by many and should still be considered for the reasons I mention in this Blog and in the section below.

Summary, Conclusions and Comments

  • I’m looking forward to my BigY results to see what they may include
  • I am currently classified as Z17911 – a relatively recently discovered terminal SNP
  • By STR signatures, there appear to be 4 other Hartleys who would test positive for Z17911. These Hartleys should be encouraged to take the Z17911 SNP test.
  • I have used a similar method to analyze STRs and predict my own SNPs before I tested positive for them.
  • STRs are useful for determining relatedness to other STR matches using GD and FTDNA’s TIP Report
  • The TIP Report also gives an estimate to the Most Recent Common Ancestor for YDNA matches.
  • STRs are also useful in determining whether a new SNP is private or public using ISOGG guidelines
  • The RCC analysis is useful in creating STR trees and for confirming SNP trees
  • The RCC analysis can also give a time period for the branching of different SNPs and families.
  • STRs and SNPs complement each other