Frazer YDNA STRs Compared

Blaine Bettinger recently has started a project comparing STR differences to known relationships. It turns out in our Frazers of Roscommon DNA Project, we have four people who have tested where we know their relationships. Here are those relationships:

Rick has tested 67 STRs and Paul, Rodney and Jonathan have tested for the BigY 500. Here is how the numbers look:

Generally, what we see is that going from top to bottom, the further out the relationship is, the more differences there are in the STRs. The numbers between 0-5 above are the genetic differences. Then as the test gets higher there should be more differences going from left to right as more STRs are being tested.

Paul’s Odd Results

However, Paul’s number goes down when he is compared to Jonathan between the 111 STR test and the BigY 500 test. Why is that? My assumption is that the Big Y test missed one of the STRs tested in the 111 STR test. It should be possible to find this STR looking at the results.


Checking Paul’s result, he has a different result from Rodney and Jonathan for marker DYS710. DYS710 is the first marker tested in the 111 STR test. Paul has 34 and Rodney and Jonathan have 33.

Here is Paul’s BigY STR result for DYS710:

Here is Jonathan’s result:

So that is not the answer. I can’t explain how FTDNA came up with a lower genetic distance for the BigY 500 STR results.

A Frazer STR Tree

Over a year ago, I came up with this tree:

This shows the genetic differences. It basically shows that there is a difference of three between the two Frazer lines of Archibald and James. In general, the two lines differ over DYS391 and CDY. At some point between Archibald Frazer of 1720 and James Frazer of 1804, there were two mutations that defined the Archibald Line from the original ancestral Frazer DNA. Then under the James branch of 1804, there are two branches. Rick’s branch is defined by DYS444 and Paul’s branch is defined by DYS576 being 19. However, we don’t know when these mutations occured. For Rick’s branch it could be anyone starting at Richard Patterson Frazer down to Rick. For Paul’s branch it could be anyone between Paul and George Frazer.

An Updated Frazer STR Tree with DYS710

However, the above Frazer STR tree doesn’t explain all the differences. Paul and Rodney have a difference of 5 STRs at 111 markers. I need to add in DYS710. Recall that Paul had a value of 34 for DYS710 and Rodney and Jonatham had 33. But which is ancestral? Or which came first?

The last time I looked for ancestral STRs, I looked at the Frazers more distant relatives: the Grants and Stuarts:

Note that their SNP is R-YP6488. FTDNA now has a block tree:

This block tree was taken from Jonathan’s perspective. However, it shows that R-YP6488 represented by matches with Grant and Stuart is an older SNP. Hayes is from an even older group represented by SNP R-YP6479. I had originally thought that 33 was the older STR for DYS710 but Stuart has a value of 34. Hayes would make a good tie-breaker but he only tested out to 67 STRs.

Checking YFull

Perhaps Hayes has uploaded his results to YFull.

Under Paul’s distant STR matches I see someone who shows as R-YP6479. This is likely Hayes. However, it doesn’t tell me what his value was for DYS710.

Back to the Updated Frazer STR Tree

Assuming that there were no parallel mutations, I’ll try this:

This shows a value of 34 for DYS710 as ancestral. Then on the James line, somewhere between James and Thomas Henry Frazer DYS710 changed from 34 to 33. That means that at least the Thomas Henry Frazer branch is characterized by a value of 33 for for DYS710.

In order to check my tree, I look at Paul and Rodney:

They have a Genetic DIstance (GD) of 5 at 111 STRs. Looking at the tree, we see that the STR differences add up to 5.

  • The Archibald Line has 381 = 11 and CDY = 35-40
  • The George McMaster branch has 576 = 19
  • The James Line has DYS710 = 33
  • The William Frazer branch has 552 = 24

The Mystery of Paul and Jonathan Solved

I posted my question to the Genetic Genealogy – Tips & Techniques Facebook Page. Skip tells me that the 3 of 425 differences are additional differences. That adds up to 7 of 536 STRs. That leads to this observation. Rodney and Jonathan have a GD of 2 of 427. Paul has a GD o f 3 of 425 with Jonathan and 5 of 415 with Rodney. That seems to indicate, if my logic is right, that the extra two mutations are on Rodney’s side.

A BIgY 500 Frazer STR Tree

This leads to another change in the Frazer STR tree. In order to find the GDs between Rodney and Jonathan, I downloaded all the results. These appear to be the two extra differences:

These were on Lines 425 and 475 of my Excel Spreadsheet. This shows that the mutations belong to Rodney. The mismatch column was just to point out any differences between Jonathan’s and Rodney’s STR results.

Here I ran out of room to describe Rodney’s branch at the top of his branch, so the extra descriptors went on the bottom. Keep in mind that STRs can mutate up or down in number. These last two mutations that Rodney had went down in number. In fact, it appears that all the STR mutations on the James Line are going down.

Any Other STR Differences?

Yes. There are a few more differences between the Archibald and James Branches of the Frazers:

Here, Paul represents the Archibald Line and Jonathan and Rodney represent the James Line. Unfortunately, as the newer STR results are not posted on-line, I would not know how to figure out which values are ancestral and which are the newer values.

The Big Picture: SNPs and Haplogroups

The Big Picture is that our Frazers have the haplogroup of R1a:

Most Frazers in general are R1b and not even closely related by DNA. However, before Frazers became Frazers, some of our Scandinavian R1a’s made their way to Scotland and became Frazers when the R1b Frazers were also becoming Frazers.

The R1a Tree

Here is an outdated R1a Tree. It is still nice as it has images on it:

Here is another shot of our Frazer Block Tree:

The trick is connecting the two trees. The Block tree listing at the top mentions R-M198. The “picture’ tree has that at about 6,000 BC, so that is a start.

R-M417 shows as 4800 BC on the picture tree. Next is R-CTS4385:

This shows that before our Frazers were Scots, they were Germanic. Next were the L664 Group:

Our L664 ancestors entered the scene about around 3,000 BC. They still have plenty of time to make it to Scotland. They could have hopped over to England around then, but likely made their way up to Western Scandinavia first.

From there, our ancestors kept branching as families do:

That brings us down to the bottom of the picture chart. S2880. S2880 is right above R-YP432 where the Frazer Block Chart starts:

This shows flags. My interpretation is that during the time of R-YP432 our ancestors were living in Scandinavia. The flag on the right that connects to YP432 is the Swedish flag.

The YFull YTree dates YP432 at 3100 years before present.

Between looking at the Block Tree, the YTree and the R1a Administrator’s Tree, it could be that our ancestors could have made their way to Scotland around the time of Christ. At the time the Frazer Clan was formed, our ancestors were in the area of what is now Inverness, Scotland.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Getting data to a project which compares YDNA STR matches to known relationships gave me a chance to look at our Frazer YDNA STR matches.
  • This lead to a better understanding of what the BigY 500 STR results mean.
  • For the four people who have taken the YDNA test and especially the three Frazers who have taken the Big Y test, I was able to refine the YDNA differences between the different lines and branches.
  • After that I gave a rough overview of how our Frazer ancestors made their way to Scotland from Scandinavia perhaps around the time of Christ.
  • Based on the YTree and other DNA sources, our own Frazer branch of R-YP6489 began around the early 1300’s, but our common ancestor in that branch was from the early 1600’s.



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