A New BigY Test for the Archibald Frazer Line

Back in August of 2020 a BigY test was ordered for Rick. I was just notified that his results have started to come in. Rick’s STR results came in last August and I wrote about them here. However, now we have the more important SNP results. SNPs are the part of a man’s YDNA that mutate in a way that give a precise indication of his line back to the earliest men on the planet.

Frazer YDNA

This is the YDNA tree for the Frazers who were from Roscommon, Ireland. They have lived there since the early 1700’s. It is believed that there were two brothers at that time: Archibald and James:

The older brother was Archibald. I am not a Frazer by YDNA as my grandmother was a Frazer, but I had my second cousin once removed Paul take a test. Paul, Rick and I and many others are on the Archibald Line. Rodney and Jonathan and many others are on the James Line. Paul, Rodney and Jonathan already have BigY tests, but they are the older BigY 500 tests. Rick has the newer more accurate and thorough BigY 700 test. Rick was needed to better define the Archibald Line specifically.

Rick’s New Results

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) will likely perform a manual analysis of Rick’s results which will result in a further wait, but I’ll look at what the results show so far. Based on the tree above, Rick and Paul’s matching SNPs should show what SNPs their common ancestor James Frazer (born about 1804) had.

Rick’s Block Tree

Here is Rick’s Block Tree:


Right now, Rick is shown with Frazers from the Archibald Line and James Line. They share the SNP name of R-YP6849. I am hoping that, after FTDNA’s manual review, that Paul and Rick will form a new YDNA line with a new SNP name.

Rick’s BigY Matches

The next step is to look at Rick’s matches. He shows matches to Rodney, Jonathan, Paul and the Grant above. These results can be misleading due to the criteria that FTDNA uses for matching. For example, the Frazers, Stuarts, and Grant testers all share the common SNP of R-YP6488. Rick also matches Hayes with whom he shares the even older SNP of R-YP6480. However, Rick shows as a match to Grant and Hayes, but not to the two Stuart testers. This may be because the Stuarts also took the more expansive BigY 700 and thus have more Variants that don’t match.

Here are some more BigY match details:


FTDNA lists non-matching variants between Rick, Rodney and Jonathan. That may seem confusing but it is easier than listing the 600,000 plus matching Variants that go back to genetic Adam. A non-matching variant may be several things which is also confusing. It may be a variant that Rodney has and Rick doesn’t have. It may be a variant that Rick has and Rodney doesn’t have. It may be a variant that Rick’s newer test covered and Rodney’s didn’t. Then there are test results which may be inconclusive that complicate things.

What I should be looking for is a SNP (or Variant) that Rick and Paul share and that Rodney and Jonathan don’t have. That would create the new Archibald Frazer Line that I am looking for. The goal is to get the newest or most recent SNP possible for the Frazer family.

Variant by Variant Analysis

Here are Rick’s non-matches to Rodney, Jonathan and Paul by Variant in a spreadsheet:

This shows why Paul shows as a match that is further away to Rick than he really is. Paul and Rick have the most non-matching Variants. Another point to the exercise, is that Rick will have have Variants that he validly does not share with Rodney, Jonathan and Paul. Those will be the Variants that Rick has that define his own line since James Frazer born about 1804.

Next, I separate out the Variants and compare them.


Candidates for a New Archibald Frazer Line

I would like to look at the two variants I have highlighted below:

It stands to reason that for a new branch to formm Rick should have non-matching variants with Rodney and Jonathan but not with Paul. The two highlighted Variants could meet that criteria. In order for these two or one of the two to meet that criteria, Rick and Paul would both have to have tested positive for these Variants and Rodney and Jonathan would have had to be tested negative for thes Variants.

Variants 8162400 and 21457649

Rick currently has 13 Private Variants. I think that these should change after FTDNA’s manual review. I’ll show what they look like now:

On Rick’s second page I see 8162400, so that is a start. 21457649 is on Rick’s first page of Private Variants.

Next, I have to log into Paul’s results:

Paul has 8162400 and 21457649 which mean that they are not really Private Variants after all. Or, they will no longer be Private Variants now that Rick’s results are in. That is because we are looking at preliminary results that will change.

To be really sure, I need to show that Rodney and Jonathan both tested for these two variants and the results showed that they did not have them. However, that is a little difficult. It involves looking at all their results. I know I have access to Jonathan’s results, so I’ll give that a shot. I think that I need to download Jonathan’s results as a csv file. That is a very large file.

Here is 8162400. The reference and Genotype are the same, so I think that means that Jonathan is not positive for mutated DNA at that position. Or in FTDNA terminology it is not derived. I assume that the fact that this Novel Variant is on Jonathan’s list means he was tested for this Variant. That means that 8162400 should form a new branch for the Archibald Frazers.

The same is true for 21457649 on Jonathan’s test list:

This makes sense because if Paul had these two Variants on his Private Variant list, it likely meant that Jonathan and Rodney did not test positive for derived Variants at these two positions. I included a known SNP above in Jonathan’s list to show that FTDNA only shows the derived information for those known SNPs. Both of these Variants show beyond line 600,000 on the spreadsheet for Jonathan’s BigY results.

Here is what my cousin Paul’s results look like for the same Novel Variant:

The reference T has changed to C. That is what should define the new Archibald Frazer Branch.

What Will Be the Name of the New Archibald Frazer Line?

Assuming my analysis is right, we can go to YBrowse to find the names for these two positions that Paul and Rick share. YBrowse is a YDNA Chromosome Browser.

This shows the Y Chromosome with over 50 million positions. The lighter regions are the ones best used for genetic genealogy. I put in the Variant that Rick and Paul share that is around 8,000,000 – where the red vertical line is on the depiction of the Y Chromosome. It turns out that 8162400 has two names:

I”m guessing that this name came out when I first did the BigY 500 for Paul in 2017. Note the derived is from T to C. That is what Paul had at this position:

This is also within the R1a Haplogroup which is where the Frazers are.

Here is the other SNP:

This is BY155971. Here the reference T has changed to G. Aslo the haplogroup is unknown. I would rule out this Haplogroup for the Archibald Frazer Line.

I’ll try the other position:

This only has one SNP associated with it but it is in a dark region. I thought that was not as reliable.

That means that the new branch for the Archibald Frazers (or even more specifically the James Frazer Line of 1804) will be Y85652 and Y112046. One of the two will have to be chosen to be representative of the line.

Anything Else?

Rick also has a bunch of Variants that don’t match with Rodney, Jonathan or Paul:

My guess is that these Variants are mostly due to Rick taking the BigY 700 test and testing regions that were not tested. These Variants may come into play when the results of the other Frazier test come in. Those results should be due any day now.

Rick Solves a Problem

The problem is with the existing R-YP6489. Here is what SNP Tracker shows:

This has R-YP6489 forming in the Middle Ages. That is because there are other SNPs within the group of R-YP6489:

Each one of the SNPs takes time to form. Up to 144 years based on the older BigY 500. Somewhat less with the newer BigY 700. Say it took about 100 years for each SNP in the top block to form. That would be 500 years. Then that is to the common ancestor who may have been born around 1690. That seems to compare well with what the SNP Tracker has:

That brings us to about the year 1200. According to thefraser.com:

The earliest Fraser found on record was Gilbert de Fraser, who, in 1109, witnessed a charter to the monastery at Coldstream, along the southern border. In 1160, Sir Simon Fraser, who possessed half of the territory of Keith in East Lothian, made a gift of the church to the monks of Kelso Abbey. Through marriage the Frasers acquired Castle Oliver on the Tweed and became the Sheriffs of Peebles.

That means that there were Frasers around before the year 1200. The question is, were they our Frasers and were our ancestors Frasers at that time? Some of the early Southern Frasers were interesting as I had thought that the earliest Frasers were from around Inverness. At any rate, the point is that even though our Frazer testers’ common ancestor was from around 1690, the origin of R-YP6489 is around the year 1200. If Rick creates a new Archibald Frazer branch, that should bring the Frazer YDNA ahead about 600 years to 1800.

Having said that, SNP Tracker has a new feature for the ‘British Isle’:

This seems to contradict the previous SNP Tracker Map. However, the legend at the top says ‘SNP Formation Eroas for Descendants of YP6489’. So this SNP Tracker feature has a bit of prediction to it. I can’t say I get how this works but it is interesting.

The problem that Rick solves is that his test should form a Haplogroup for the Frazers that is undoubtably Frazer and even specific to the Archibald Branch and James Frazer Line of 1804.

Paul’s Private Variants

Right now Paul has 4 private variants which is a lot considering the time between his birth and 1690 is about 260 years. It would have been more likely that two SNPs would have formed in that time.

Here are Paul’s current Private SNPs:

As mentioned above, Paul’s private Variants should go down to two. That means that in 140 years, Paul’s line had two SNPs which seems a little more reasonable. On the other hand, the James Frazer Line seems to have had fewer SNPs or Variants, so perhaps it all averages out.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Currently the YDNA defining SNP for Roscommon Ireland Frazers is R-YP6489. This haplogroup is assumed to be unique for these Frazers but that is not known for sure due to the age of its formation.
  • Now that Rick has tested, it appears that there will be two new defining SNPs for the Archibald Frazer line and even more specifically the James Frazer Line of 1804. This gives a concrete date that will define these two SNPs.
  • I think that the FTDNA manual review will confirm my findings.
  • The next BigY 700 test for Frazier that is coming in should further define early Frazer genealogy and history.








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