I just found out about some exciting news. A Stuart that likely originates from the same area in Scotland as the Frazers has gotten his BigY results back. This is one of the best tests for YDNA. It places people in YDNA trees and shows how families originated. I’d like to look at those results to see where this Stuart fits in with Frazers and other related families.
BigY and YDNA Basics
The important thing to remember about YDNA is that it is very simple. You are only dealing with one Chromosome versus the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Then you are only dealing with one line of ancestors. That is your father’s, his father’s father’s and so on. The Big Y tests SNPs. SNPs are mutations that happen every four or so generations on average. The Big Y tests these SNP and how they have changed since our original ancestor – called genetic Adam. When you get your Big Y results you get a lot of SNP names. These are the SNP differences between you and Adam:
You will have the first SNP that differentiated you from “Adam” up to the one that got you into the R group. Our group of Frazer, Hayes, Grant, Patton and Stuart are in a still very general group called R1a. The understanding is that this group traveled a bit to the North of the R1b group. The thought is that our R1a group made their way up through the current country of Germany to Scandinavia. From there they made their way somehow to Scotland.
snps and variants
These SNPs carry down to what is called a terminal SNP. This is the last or most recent SNP that is named and is usually shared with another person. After that, the SNPs are not generally named and called Variants. These are the newest of all. Once others test and these Variants can be placed in a tree, they will extend the branches of the tree further into the present and will also be named.
what is confusing about YDNA?
STRs are a little more confusing, but I won’t be looking at them here. They can be confusing because the values for these can go up or down. SNPs however happen once and then they are set in stone. One of the major confusing things about SNPs are their names. The SNP names are based on the lab or group that discovered the SNP. That means that there is no logical progression in the name that shows the change from an older SNP to a newer SNP.
Here is an example from the R1a Project spreadsheet:
This shows two Frazers and an unnamed tester. The turquoise heading shows the progression of the SNP names. They start at M417 and end at R-YP6489. The unnamed person did not have his SNPs tested, so he has a conservative red designation for his SNP based on the values of his STRs which appear to the right. He is probably actually R-YP6489 based on his STRs, but he hasn’t taken the test, so he has a SNP value that is likely thousands of years older than R-YP6489. I’ll try to address a few more items of confusion as they come up. However, in general they have to do with the naming of SNPs.
- YDNA SNPs are simple. According to YFull, there is a new high quality family SNP in your line every 144.41 years. They change about every four generations just on the direct male line. In my 2nd cousin once removed Paul’s case, four generations takes him back to his 2nd great grandfather. Between Paul b. 1944 and his great grandfather James Frazer b. about 1804 there are 140 years. Between those 5 people there is likely a new SNP. Or maybe none or two. But most likely one.
- Based on these changes back to Genetic Adam we can make a YDNA tree.
- The SNP names are complicated and don’t represent the progression of the SNP changes in the YDNA Tree.
Three Different YDNA Trees
There are three different YDNA trees for our R1a Group all trying to show the same thing. They are:
- FTDNA Haplotree
- FTDNA administrator Tree
- YFull YTree
FTDNA is the Big Y testing company. They have a tree that shows the end result of the Big Y testing. They call their tree the Haplotree. Here is the current tree for my Frazer cousin that I had tested:
There are several levels above this, but this is the current bottom of the tree. It ends in R-YP6489. This is consistent with the FTDNA R1a Project Spreadsheet above. A lot has been happening since I wrote my last Blog on the subject just two months ago. At that time our Frazer terminal SNP on this tree was YP432. Now we are four levels below that.
ftdna administrator R1a tree
This is a good tree, but it is private, so it is not published anywhere. I had referred to it in previous Blogs by taking out some of the ID’s. The other issue is that I got to see it when our Frazer Big Y test results came in, but I haven’t gotten any updates. Here is what I had before. It looks like FTDNA has since caught up with the FTDNA R1a Administrator tree:
One good thing that the Administrator does is put dates on the SNPs. So for example the date of our common Frazer ancestor is 1600. That is very close to the actual date of 1690 which is when we believe the common ancestor to have been born. Another good check is to see if the date between different surnames is before the advent of surnames. Notice that the year 900 A.D. splits off Grant (and now Stuart) from Frazer. I recently heard that the advent of surnames was around 1,000 A.D. and they came into use for several hundred years after that depending on the region and other factors. Another point is that, if the 1600 A.D. date is correct for this SNP, it would ensure that this is indeed a Frazer Family SNP. Any male Frazer that want to prove his Frazer lineage, would just have to test for this SNP. This SNP should separate the Frazers from non-Frazers – or at least our brand of Frazers.
From a recent Stuart email, I gather that his new result is R-YP6488 which is what Grant is also. That would place Stuart next to the Grant in the middle line above. Time to pull out the Clan map of the Inverness and South. This shows Fraser (Frazer), Grant, and Stewart (Stuart). For me, the geography pulls together what the DNA is showing us. That is, that at least this group of Frazer/Grant/Stewart had a common ancestor probably before the beginning of taking on of surnames in this area South of Inverness.
According to the R1a Administrator: “It looks like between 1400 BC and 400 BC some (or maybe only one) YP432 people migrated from Scandinavia to Scotland.” I am guessing they hung out there for 1,000 years or so. In 900 A.D., one of those former Scandinavians had children. Their descendants stuck around in the Inverness area for several hundred years. When people were taking on clan names, they took on the names of Fraser, Stewart or Grant probably based on where they were living at the time. We have another Chisolm/Chisum who has tested STRs but not the Big Y. He appears to fit into this pattern also.
I wrote my last two Blogs on Frazer YDNA in mid July and the new YFull YTree v5.05 is dated 30 July 2017. It is big news when this tree comes out. Here is the latest version.
On YTree’s web site, they say they try to come out with a new YTree every month, but it seems more like two months before they come out with a new one. So it is now that YTree is lagging behind FTDNA. The Frazers are shown as being at R-YP6479. That is correct, but outdated. They actually are YP6479>YP6488>YP6489. When the new YTree comes out, this should be corrected. Note that next to YP6479, it says, +12 SNPs. When you hover over this box, the additional 12 named SNPs appear. They include the SNPs YP6488 and YP6489 which now form branches. By seeing these new SNPs, it is like we are going back 1200 years or so and seeing these new branches and families form.
What people wait for is the YTree’s dates. YFull has YP5515 as formed 3200 years ago and the TMRCA which is time to the most recent common ancestor as 2200 years ago. It will be especially interesting to see what YFull comes up with for dates on YP6489. At this time, YP6489 seems to be a Frazer family-only SNP as no other families have laid claim to it.
One of the down sides of YFull is that they don’t have all the testers. They only have people in the tree that have signed up for their service. Another issue is that YFull uses ID’s only, so in order to find out who the ID’s belong to you need to message the ID contact. In the tree above, my Frazer cousin is the ID without the ‘new’ designation after it. However, they do have advantages over FTDNA which make them a worthwhile option to use in Big Y analysis.
FTDNA SNP Matching and the Mystery SNP L1012
FTDNA’s Big Y SNP matching is one of those things that doesn’t work well. As I mentioned, my cousin Paul and (by inference) I share our terminal YP6489 with one other Frazer tester. However, when I choose to look for SNP matches at zero difference, it appears to give me 35 entries. Our new tester Stuart is not included in those 35. It appears that the SNPs have not been updated for this search. I think that FTDNA tried to correct this by putting in a subclade search option at the top of the SNP matching area:
This feature usually works. However, the R-Y2894 SNP seems out of place as it is several layers above R-YP5515. Here is the result when I choose R-YP6488:
The right people come up (Grant and Stuart), but it shows that there is not a match on L1012. When I look Up L1012, it appears to be an early “Adamic” SNP:
I suppose that there a few kinks in the FTDNA system, unless I am missing something.
Implications of R-YP6489
YP6489 is a fairly recent SNP. So far, this SNP has been dated at about the year 1600 by the R1a Administrator. This SNP came about because of tandem Big Y Frazer tests. As a result, we were able to get a SNP that represents the Frazer family. This SNP can be used to verify that a Frazer male is part of our Irish Frazers. There is another possible use of this SNP. Say that a Frazer with no known Irish history were to test positive for this SNP. That would forge a link between Ireland and the part of Scotland that the Frazers moved from. There may be no further paper records to be found that would link the Frazers to Scotland. There were no immigration requirements for moving from Scotland to Ireland. Many of the vital records have been lost or destroyed. However, the DNA could be the “record” that would link our Frazers to other Frazers that never moved to Ireland.
The YP6488 SNP does not show a single family origin for Grant and Stuart. YP6488 is also shared by our two Frazer testers. The Grant and Stuart families likely have a SNP at the level of YP6489 that represents each of their families. To get to this level would require an addition Grant or Stuart Big Y test. However, if another Stuart or Grant were to test positive for YP6488 by just doing a single SNP test, they would have proof that they are looking in the right area.
Summary and Conclusions
- Our new Stuart tester is a welcome and enthusiastic addition to our part of the YDNA tree.
- The Stuarts, Grants, Frazers and others have shared early ancestry. This has now been determined by YDNA testing
- The area that the Stuart, Grant and Frazer families originated from was likely just South of Inverness
- Single testing of YP6489 should indicate Frazer ancestry.
- Single testing of YP6488 should indicate at least Grant, Frazer or Stuart.
- The next step is to wait for updated YDNA trees from YFull and the R1a Administrator.