New YDNA Results Seem to Conflict with Mayflower White Genealogy

In my previous Blog on the subject, I wrote about my application to the Mayflower Descendants and problems my friend Gary was having with his application. The problem that Gary was having was that the latest genealogical research showed that his ancestor Martha Doty had a child before the couple married. This was assumed to be John White (junior). That brought into question Gary’s unbroken line to William White of the Mayflower.

Gary’s YDNA

As a result, I suggested that Gary take a YDNA test. He took the 37 STR test, because that would have been enough to confirm the latest genealogical research on the Mayflower White Line. It is much easier for YDNA to confirm that you are not related to someone than it is to tell that you are related. I was surprised by Gary’s results:

Of Gary’s 6 matches, 5 of them had the White surname and one showed proven descent from Wiliam White, Mayflower Passenger. I asked Gary to get in touch with the match with the proven Mayflower descent. Gary did and this is the connection:

This shows that Gary is an 8th cousin twice removed to his YDNA match with proven descent from William White. This also shows that Gary must descend from Wiliam White. That is because Gary’s weak connection was the second John after Samuel White. If Gary’s YDNA match descended from this second John, then it could be that they were both from an illegitimate John. However, this suggests that John Sr fathered John Jr and perhaps later married Martha Doty.

Gary’s TIP Report with Mayflower White Descendant YDNA Match

This TIP Report at FTDNA takes into account the various results of the STR testing. These STRs can mutate on a relative basis very slowly or quickly. The differences can be off by a factor of about 1,000, so it is very important to take this information into consideration:

Here are the results. On the proven Mayflower Line, there are 9 generations to Resolved White. Gary has 11 generations going back to Resolved, his YDNA match’s common ancestor with Gary. From the above chart, that should be between about 92% and 96% accurate.

Looking at the Individual STRs

Here are the STR results at the Mayflower FTDNA YDNA Project page:

Gary’s results are not yet posted there. The reader will have to click on the image to be able to see the numbers. What are we looking at? There are four testers. The most important one is the first who is Gary’s YDNA match with proven connection to William White. The first two testers did a 67 STR test. The second two took at 37 STR test, so I did not continue further than the 37 STR results. The first three rows after the yellow row give the minimum, maximum and mode of the STR values. The Mode is most important as that is generally assumed to be the oldest result. The thinkng is that the mutations are newer and those shared by the most testers are the ancestral results.

The last line is a bit confusing as this is for a Donovan and the results do not match well at all. The colored numbers on the chart are variations from the Mode. I would have left Donovan off the list.

Here is more of a close-up:

Again, the third row is the Mode and I’d like to ignore the last row for Donovan. The proven William White descendant differs from the mode with his first blue 29. He differs also in the compound result of 38-38. This is a fast moving STR. This is sometimes even not used as it is a bit errratic. I’m not sure how the Mode was determined in this case either. What is missing is the heading for these columns:

The reddish STRs are the faster moving STRs. That is taken into account by the TIP Report discussed above. If Gary was part of this Project, it would be easy to compare his results.

Comparing Gary’s YDNA to the Mayflower YDNA Results

Here are Gary’s YDNA 37 STR Results:

We know that Gary differs from Mayflower Descendant by two STRs, but how does he differ from the White Mode? The White Mode can be thought of as the STR signature that William or Resolved White may have had.

Here is the close-up view again:

Gary had 30 in the first column for the STR named DYS449. Here Gary has the same ancestral STR where the other Resolved White descendant had a mutation to 29. That would account for one of Gary’s differences to the proven Mayflower descendant.¬†At the CDY STR, Gary had a value of 37-38. This likely was the second difference to his Mayflower descendant YDNA match. I would have chosen 37-38 for the mode in this case. That would make Gary ancestral for this STR also.

Comparing Gary’s YDNA Results to the Mayflower White Mode

Here is an interesting and fun fact:

Gary matches the mode at every point. Here are the other STRs:

The only place Gary doesn’t match, which is at CDY. I don’t agree with the Mode. In addition, if Gary’s results were added, 37-38 would become the Mode as Gary would tip the scales. The Mode is the value occuring most and Gary would make the 37-38 the only repeat value for the Mayflower match testers for CDY.

Anything Else? A STR Tree

There are three Whites in the Mayflower Project. We can call them White1 (proven), White2 and White3. White3 has the same 37 STR signature as Gary. He is also the other White who only did the 37 STR test. You would think that could mean that White3 is more closely related to Gary than the others. However, STRs are a bit fickle, so it is difficult to know for sure. It would be interesting to know all these White genealogies with YDNA matches to Gary.

If I put the STR results for the four Whites, this is what I get:

The tree is accurate as far as the STR values go, but as we don’t know the genealogy for White2 and White3, it is a bit confusing. This shows that Gary and White3 probably have the ancestral STR signature for William White (and/or Resolved White). White2 has one STR difference from Gary and White3. The proven William White descendant White1 has a 2 STR difference (also called a GD of 2) from what appears to be the Mayflower White signature.

Further Analysis

Gary’s YDNA match brings up an interesting point. There is DNA and there is genealogy. They should be working together, but what happens when they disagree or appear to disagree? Some sort of reconciliation is needed. In Gary’s case, the YDNA match to a known William White Mayflower descendant appears to make Gary a William White descendant also. The reconcilliation could be that John White Senior had child John White Junior with Martha Doty prior to their marriage and that John Senior was the unnamed father. However, that does not explain the fact that John White Jr was left out of his father’s will.

The saying is that DNA does not lie. This is true, but there are different levels of DNA testing and differing interpretations. The best test is the BigY 700 test. If enough people take this test who are related, an accurate YDNA tree can be made. This tree reflects the testers’ genealogy. This test looks for SNPs which are more predictable than STRs. If the proven White descendant and Gary were to take this test, there would be better proof of the common William White descent. However, at the level of testing that has been done, it seems like there is a very good indication that Gary and the proven William White descendant have the common ancestor of Resolved White as shown above.

Gary has submitted his initial application in to the Mayflower Society. Hopefully that will tell him if his genealogy is OK for an application. If they say the genealogy is not good based on more recent research, I would say that we have a case to overturn or modify the recent research with the DNA results.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Gary’s proposed application to the Mayflower Society was fraught with peril due to the Mayflower Silver Book and other sources claiming that his ancestor John White was illegitimate.
  • I proposed a YDNA test for Gary at the 37 STR level to give evidence as to whether or not he really did descend from William White of the Mayflower.
  • The test came back showing that Gary matched 5 out of 6 people with White surnames. The 6th match which was the most distant one was not a match.
  • Gary contacted his YDNA match who had proven ancestry to William White of the Mayflower. The common ancestor between Gary and his match was with William’s son Resolved born in 1615.
  • Gary and I ran TIP Reports which showed that a common ancestor between Gary and his proven William White ancestor was over 90% likely.
  • It is unclear whether or not the Mayflower Society would entertain an application from Gary based on the genealogy alone. Gary has a Mayflower Lineage Match request submitted that hopefully will answer that question.
  • Based on Gary’s YDNA testing, he has an excellent case to show that John White Jr was indeed the son of John White Sr.

4 Replies to “New YDNA Results Seem to Conflict with Mayflower White Genealogy”

    1. I agree, however, the other proven Pilgrim White descendant has not gone to this level as far as I know. I only recommended the 37 STR test for Gary as I thought that test would show that he was not a Pilgrim White descendant. I was somewhat surprised to find out that the test showed that he was descended from the Pilgrim White.


    1. I thought of that. However, it is most likely that John White Sr. was the father of the child and then married the mother. It seems less likely that John would have married a women after she had fathered a child with a relative. Also it would be difficult to determine which relative was the father of the child by YDNA unless the sibling (or relative) that had the child had a mutation and the others did not.


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