Two Types of YDNA: SNPs and STRs
As many know, YDNA is the DNA of the male line.
SNPs can be seen as the trunk and branches of the tree and the STRs can be seen as the twigs and leaves. Before we analyze the twigs and leaves, it is good to know if we are in the right tree. However, even when looking at the leaves, it is sometimes possible to guess the type of tree.
For example, in the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) Whitson project, there are officially nine people listed. There are more that have tested, but not with FTDNA. In the list below, there are three broad groups represented by the colors orange, teal, and yellow. These are the SNP groups, or the tree types. These three groups are I1, I2 and R1b. These SNPs break down into finer and finer distinctions. However, there is no connection between I and R in the range of 10,000’s of years. There are also a huge amount of years between the I1 and I2 SNP Haplogroups.
Once people are grouped in the SNPs, then it is possible to compare the STRs. These are the numbers to the right. These are what I was referring to as the twigs and leaves. However, these are only compared within the other major groupings of SNPs.
Why Are There Three SNP Types for the Whitsons?
There are various reasons:
- When surnames were being developed, this name could have developed independently at different locations.
- An adoption could have taken place at some point. This is under the category of Non-Paternal Event (or NPE) as are #3 and #4 below.
- An unwed mother could have had a child that had her name. However, as the father has the YDNA, his YDNA would be carried on to the male child in the line.
- A relationship outside a marriage would tend to break the YDNA line also.
The SNP Types or Haplogroups
SNP groupings are called Haplogroups. Here are some of the Whitson Haplogroups:
The first Haplogroup above are the I1>M253 Whitsons. There are 2 Whitsons in that Haplogroup. FTDNA has a group just for I1’s. There are currently about 6000 people in this group. Not much analysis can be done with these 2 right now as they match by STRs exactly. If these 2 Whitson join the FTDNA I1 Project, it may be possible to find a signature STR for these 2 (see below).
I1 people have sometimes been associated with the Vikings. This group of people did seem to take a Northern route in their distant ancestry, so that is where the association comes from. However, there may be finer distinctions once we learn more about this I1 Whitson Group.
FTDNA has an I-M223 YDNA Project. The Whitsons and Butlers in our project are in a section of that projects called:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52- M223>…>L701>P78>S25733>A427 (Cont3a1 Group 2)
One of the Butlers in the group has tested positive for the SNP called A427. The other 4 were put in that group due to their similar STRs. This is like saying what tree you are by your leaves. A427 is quite a way down on the SNP tree. Using my tree analogy, this would be a very specific type of tree. Below are all the people in the A427 SNP Group. I only included up to the 36th STR (small numbers) as the image was all ready small enough. There were actually more STRs tested to the right of this image.
Now the A427 SNP is like the specific tree and the STRs which are the numbers listed are like the different branches, twigs and leaves. I would like to point out here a specific fingerprint for our Whitsons and Butlers. Here are our 5 Whitson/Butlers outlined in red:
The first 3 rows of numbers are the minimum, maximum and mode of this A427 Group for each STR. The purple colors are the STRs that are less than the mode and the pink colors are the values that are more than the mode. Our 5 Whitson/Butlers will have a unique STR signature among all those who are in this A427 Group. Here is the same shot, with just the most important numbers outlined in yellow:
And the I2 Whitson/Butler signature is:
DYS389II=31 or higher, DYS454=12, DYS448=21 or higher, DYS449=26
Note that for all those in the A427 Group, only our group of Whitson/Butlers has this signature. This signature is just in the 1st 21 markers (or STRs). In this Whitson/Butler Group, 2 have tested 37 STRs, 1 has tested 67 and 2 have tested 111 STRs. Now above the 37 STRs, there are likely more Whitson/Butler signature STRs for those that have tested to that level. The marker (STR) names are listed above. The markers that have a reddish background are those that are faster moving markers. They change more often than the blue background markers.
This Group of YDNA have sometimes been associated with the ancient Goths. So far we have Vikings and Goths with our Whitson or Whitson/Butler Groups.
This Group has been associated with the Anglo-Saxons. Although this group is sometimes associated with the modern English, they likely began in an area of current Germany or Belgium and invaded “England” some time after the Romans left the Island.
Right now there are only 2 Whitsons that have tested with FTDNA in this group. There is an additional Whitson who has done the old Ancestry test that is no longer available. The Ancestry test doesn’t match perfectly, but for the STRs that were tested, all the STRs match.
Both these R-U106’s have joined FTDNA’s R-U106 Project. The first person descends from Henry Whitson who lived on Long Island in the 1600’s. He has tested for 67 STRs and has this designation from the U106 Project:
Z381>Z156>Z306>Z304> DF98 ??? Need to order Big Y or R1b-Z156 SNP Pack
These are the SNPs that the U106 Project specialist thinks this person would test positive for if he had tested SNPs. Perhaps the specialist was not so sure about DF98. That is followed by what the U106 specialist recommends for those that are in the group. The Big Y is quite an expensive test but very definitive and actually finds new SNPs. The SNP Pack tests for several SNPs, in this case below Z156. [However, see my own recommendation below.]
The second person in this group matches all STRs at 67 STRs with the previous person. However, he has tested 111 STRs and has tested his SNP to be R-S23139. He is in a different section of the U106 Project:
Note that the U106 Project specialist doesn’t have any more recommendations for this person, because he has done all the testing down to R-S23139. My guess is that if the first person were to test for R-S23139, he would be positive for that SNP also. That would get these 2 Whitsons together for the U106 Project. That would also cost less many than taking the SNP Pack.
Here is a snapshot of the R-S23139 Group:
Here our lone Whitson is with some others that appear to be from Germany. In looking for a unique STR for our 2 U106’s, first I see a value of 12 in the last column above for DYS531. If I counted this right, it is the 38th marker, so this signature Whitson U106 STR would not have shown up on a 37 STR test. In our previous Whitson/Butler Group there were many signature STRs in the first 37 markers.
Let’s look for some more signature Whitson STRs in the R-S23139 Group:
I am starting where I left off at the signature 12 in the first column. Then I see a unique 16, 12 and 11. This means our R-S23139 signature (assuming our 1st Whitson is positive for R-S23139) is:
DYS531=12, DYS594=16, DYS568=12, DYS487=11
After that, there is a 36 and 28 that are unique, but they are in the 111 STR group. The 111 STR group is also indicated in the header where the STR names have a lighter blue background. There are many other STRs after that that are likely unique in the 111 STR test also.
Any Other Whitsons?
Yes. The Whitson Family Group contacted another person and found out that he was R1b, but a different brand of R1b. This R1b was associated with the people who were in the British Isles before the time when the Romans, Vikings, Danes, and Anglo-Saxon entered the area.
Summary and Recommendations
- So far, for a small group of Whitsons and a few Butlers, there are many types of DNA groups. These represent people that are distantly related to each other genetically.
- There are some Whitsons that had taken the old Ancestry test. They could benefit by also taking the FTNDA test. I know of one Whitson who has already gone that route and is awaiting results.
- Some Whitsons may benefit by taking an additional SNP test, to make sure they are in the right tree -so to speak.
- Those Whitsons in the I1 YDNA group could benefit by joining the FTDNA I1 Project.
- With the close matches in the I1 Group and the R-U106 Group, it seems like it should be possible to find some common ancestors.