Rick’s Whitson/Butler Big Y YDNA Results

The co-administrator for the Whitson/Butler YDNA Project, Peter notified me recently that Rick had a new SNP designation. This was a hint that Rick’s Big Y results were almost done. Soon after, I saw that Rick’s Big Y results were completed.

What Does the BigY Do?

According to FTDNA, which does the test:

The Big Y-500 is a Y-chromosome direct paternal lineage test. We have designed it to explore deep ancestral links on our common paternal tree. This test examines thousands of known branch markers as well as millions of places where there may be new branch markers. 

On average, YDNA changes about once every 144 years. That means that someone between me and my third great-grandfather probably had a new marker or SNP.

Named and Numbered SNPs

When the SNPs are tested, the results are shown in one of two ways. They are either named SNPs or numbered SNPs. The named SNPs are, for the most part, ones that are common to other people. In the Whitson/Butler YDNA Project, there are six tested men within the Haplogroup of I2.

Each of these six men have a SNP which is M438 or the equivalent P21 or S31. The letter before the number stands for the testing company that discovered the SNP.  The SNP named M438 designates that these men are I2 and not I1 or R1a or R1b. Further, these six men also have the SNP named M436. This used to be called I2a2, but now the branches are named for the SNP test name rather than the branch of I2.

M436 in the above three has its own tree. All the men in the Whitson/Butler Project that are I2 are also M426 and M223:

Here are the I2 men from the Whitson/Butler Project:

Rick’s results are at the top in green. William Whitson is Rick’s ancestor. A green SNP in the last column means that there was a test for the SNP. The red SNP results means that these three men did not have their SNPs tested, but from the STR results, FTDNA is quite sure they are in that branch and would be positive for M223 if they tested for it. In the list above, the first person Rick and the last person, Richard, have their BigY results. Peter has ordered the BigY test, but his results are not yet in. He has previously tested for A427. A427 is to the bottom right of the above tree on the next to the last line.

Why is A427 Germanic and North Slavic?

According to the YFull YTree (see below), A427 formed about 5,000 years ago. That means in the last 5,000 years, A427 descendants had plenty of time to move around. War and famine would be two reasons I coiuld think of to relocate. Climate change must factor in also. That gave time for id FY12481 from the YFull Tree to make his way to Russia and the Whitsons and Butlers time to make their way to Ireland and England.

Here is a portion of a map that Pete sent me today. Pete is in a non-I2 part of the Whitson/Butler DNA Project:

Around 117 A.D., according to the creators of the map, I2a2 centered around a place called Lombardy. It also included the Teutons. However, my understanding is that it could have included the Goths and the Baltic Tribes. So, that general area of the map.

Whitson/Butler and the A427 Branch

Probably all the Whitsons and Butlers that are I2 are also A427. Note above in the Eupdedia I2a2 Tree, that there is a SNP below A427 called Y4884. However that is not the Whitson/Butler Branch. Here is what YFull shows:

The YFull tree shows that quite a few people tested positive for Y4884. However, Richard and Rick are in S17511. This is probably a newer discovered branch since the 2016 Eupedia Tree above. YFull is a bit ahead of FTDNA at this point as it also has Richard in Y136556 which is one step below S17511. Richard is designated with an Irish Flag. There is someone with a Russian heritage that is also positive for Y136556. For that reason, I don’t think that Richard and the Russian will be grouped together for long. I think that Richard and Rick and then Richard, Rick and Peter will form at least one new haplogroup.

Here is a tree I made for a previous Blog. It showed where I expected the new Butler/Whitson Branch to be. We now know that parallel branch is S17511. However, the actual Whitson/Butler branch will be a few levels below that.

The good news is that without doing anything, my father-in-law’s SNP went down the ladder two more steps. This was just based on people who we didn’t know who had Big Y tests. Now we have people testing for Big Y like Rick,  who we expect are related. I would think that the results would be more relevant and bring us into the genealogical time frame.

Naming Problems: Y136556/BY37214

I did not find Y136556 on Rick’s list of SNPs from his BigY test. However, he is positive for BY37214 which is the same SNP with a different name:

Fortunately, the YTree by YFull lists both names:

I think that the BY prefix is the BigY designation, so that may be what will show up eventually at FTDNA.

Numbered SNPs

Numbered SNPs are those that are not yet named SNPs. This is most likely because they are not yet shared with anyone else. Or else, they are shared and no one has gotten around to naming them yet. For example, as I mentioned above, Richard is positive for Y136556. It is possible to go to a website called YBrowse and look this SNP up by name or location:

At the top, I find out that Y136556 is also at position 14,628,410 on the Y Chromosome. Before this SNP was named, it would have been reported by the position number. I also note that this SNP has two other names: Y41633 and BY37214. I’m not sure why there are two Y names.

Acording to YBrowse, Y136556 is not on the YFull Tree. However, I know that it is on the YFull Tree, so they are perhaps having trouble keeping up with all the new SNPs.

A Third Category – Novel Variants

There is actually a third category of SNPs. These are called Novel Variants. I put in a question to the I-M223 Y Haplogroup at FTDNA about Richard’s Y136556 SNP and got the following answer:

The blurred out name is Rick. I was asking why Richard didn’t show as Y136556. The answer is that FTDNA is getting to it. And as I guessed, there will be at least one new branch based on Rick’s results.

One of the ‘Novel SNPs’ that Richard and Rick share is Y128591. I looked up Y128591 at YBrowse and it is at position 2786469. Under Rick’s FTDNA BigY list of downloaded Novel Variants, Rick has 2786469 which FTDNA does not yet show as a named SNP.

With all the testing going on, these haplotrees and SNPs are in a constant state of change.

Rick Matches Richard at FTDNA

FTDNA has specific requirements for who can and cannot match under the Big Y results. Assuming the guy with Russian heritage tested at FTDNA, he did not meet the FTDNA requirements as he does not show as a match to Rick or Richard:

A person is considered a match if they have 30 or fewer differences in SNPs with you, and their haplogroup is downstream from your haplogroup or downstream from your four closest parent haplogroups.

Here is how Rick shows up on my late father in law’s results:

Note that Rick and Richard have 324,704 Shared Variants. Rick and Richard also share Unnamed Variants:


I copied Rick’s and Richard’s Novel Variants and then lined them up to see where they matched and did not match. The matches are in yellow. The Novel Variants that did not match are in green. Perhaps these yellow SNPs are the ones that bring us from 4200 years ago to a more reasonable time frame.

I looked up every SNP location at YBrowse to see if there was a name for the SNP yet. There are no names for Rick’s unique SNPs as he has not uploaded to YFull yet. That is, with one exception. All these new SNP names appear to have been created by YFull. Rick has one SNP that does not match Richard’s which is Y40359. This appears to be an older SNP. Perhaps Richard did not have a good read for that SNP.

One final note is that the above are all from FTDNA’s Unnamed Variants list. That means that FTDNA has not named them. However, in many cases, YFull has named these variants.

Non-Matching Variants

FTDNA has this to say about non-matching variants:

This column displays the known variants (SNPs) within your subclade that you and the specified match do not share.

That means that the Non-Matching Variants could be on Rick’s or Richard’s side. Here are the non-matching variants that Rick has:

  1. A8346
  2. BY31782
  3. 12200779
  4. 15405895
  5. 18999479
  6. 19550845
  7. 19714191

Here are the non-matching variants that Richard has:

  1. 15649019
  2. 20968182

From the above, I see this configuration:

The SNPs that Rick and Richard have in the two bottom boxes are called Private SNPs. That means that they are not at this time shared with anyone else. FTDNA or YFull would not show a tree this way as they only show branching where there is a match in the SNP. When Peter’s BigY results are in, he may form a branch with Rick or Richard. Say that Peter tests positive for all the SNPs in the box above Rick and Richard. Then he also shares some of Rick’s private SNPs. That would put Rick and Peter in a new branch where Rick is now and Richard would go to the box above where I have him now as he would only share those SNPs. One of the SNPs in the box above Rick and Richard would be chosen to describe that branch. My guess is that Peter will be positive for all the SNPs in the box above Rick and Richard, but if he isn’t, then that will also form a new branch under the box that says Russia.

It is interesting that Richard only has two private SNPs. To me, this would indicate that his time to a shared ancestor should be within the genealogical time frame. Going from 5,000 years ago to the genealogical time frame is a big jump. That is part of the allure of the BigY test.

I am fortunate to have two other BigY testers from the Whitson/Butler YDNA Project. Without their results, I would only know that Richard is distantly related to someone with Russian heritage.

A Guess On Future SNP Branching

I checked my old notes on STR trees. STR trees are not as accurate as SNP trees. Here is one I drew a while back:

Assuming that I drew this right,  it appears that 6 Butler (my father in law Richard) would be in the first new SNP group. Below that Rick (1 Batt) and Peter (4 Butler) would be in a SNP group with the common ancestor of BA2 as shown above.

Summary and Conclusions

  • The results are just in and are interesting. However, some waiting is still required while the dust settles
  • FTDNA is working on finalizing a shared haplogroup between Rick and Richard
  • YFull will also come to its own conclusion and come up with some dating estimates once they get the BAM files from the Big Y results.
  • Once the branching has settled out, I expect that there will be some answers and some more new questions.


One Reply to “Rick’s Whitson/Butler Big Y YDNA Results”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *