“The last time we spoke, you were on my online radio show explaining how FTDNA would soon connect the branches to the leaves.
And now, with Big Y, you’re doing just that. It’s been a wonderful journey and we’re really closing up the gaps now in the Saint-Clair family.
I wonder if I can ask your opinion on an approach I’ve been using in our study?
St Clair is one of those older Norman names. The Normans were meticulous records keepers. What I began to notice in our SNP results for the last few years (since confirmed with the Big Y results) is the same surnames showing up as witnesses to historical documents.
For example, one of our P310 participants has an SNP match with the Mandeville family.
They also showed up closely allied in Norman records after the Norman Conquest.
Another example, the de Vaux family share the L193 SNP with my own SNPs. That one has been dated within the time frame of Norman records.
The de Vaux also showed up in tons of records as closely allied with the St. Clairs of England.
In each case, multiple independent connections point to near certainty that we’re looking at the descendants of those medieval people.
I’ve put up a lengthy website page about our P310 lineage, if you’re having trouble sleeping one night - http://stclairresearch.com/content/Sinclair-Templar-Proof.html
I’m curious to see what you think of this approach.”
Using FTDNA as a resource
We couldn’t ask for a better person to run Family Tree DNA than Bennett Greenspan. His curiosity and helpfulness in the family studies is wonderful. As a result, they’ve become the most successful testing lab for genealogy in the world.
Knowing what would help the most, Bennett wrote back, “Hi Steve, I’m going to refer this to one of our customer service people with an Anthropology degree.”
The answer is in
Just today, the note came back -
I have been able to review your page and conclusions. Your research is interesting and it sounds like you've had a lot of fun with it. I love seeing these kinds of stories. From what I see on your page, your conclusions are sound. I think one of the benefits of having so many great haplogroup projects, Big Y, and in-depth research such as yours is that we do eventually get to see family lines intersect with specific SNPs. Have you connected with any of our P310 haplogroup admins to date on the subject?”
There you have it from a trusted employee of FTDNA who has an anthropology degree, referred by Bennett Greenspan.
“Your conclusions are sound.”
More work to do
Not all SNP studies are created equal. Unfortunately, the P310 SNP study has been through a chaotic time. They have new leadership, but the energy level has not been as high as the L193 or U106 groups who, as well as other groups, have doggedly uncovered the deep SNP connections between surnames in their group.
I’ve been in touch with others who can help, but it’s slow going. More recent connections between the SNPs below P310 are being slowly discovered and our P310 Herdmanston participant is part of this work. And more recent SNP connections are necessary to be absolutely certain of connections.
That said, some folks who seem threatened by what I’ve written about the Herdmanston lineage seem to hang their argument purely on the age of the P310 SNP.
They are leaving out two other incredibly important pieces of evidence:
- The surnames
- The medieval records
Another Sinclair Lineage as an example
The fact that our Caithness Lineage is connected to John Thurso is beyond dispute. When Thurso’s DNA was SNP tested and proven to be Z346*, then we all knew that our Caithness Lineage matched Thurso. Irrefutable. Beyond argument. Unfortunately, as of this writing, that DNA kit is being held hostage by someone who shall not be named, so no Big Y testing has been completed for John.
The next question was the time of that match. Soon I hope those in touch with Thurso can get him to Big Y test.
But there’s more work needed
Look back up the page at #2 - medieval records.
As of October, 2013, our Caithness participants match:
- Wildey - England
- Cummings - unknown
- Beckes - USA
- Kinkead (Kincaid) - Ireland
- Frenckinck - Germany
- Dirksen - Netherlands
- Mitchell - England
- Wheadon - England
- Gilbert - Scotland
All our Saint-Clair lineages need to take this approach
I'm very excited about research I'm doing on our Exeter Sinclair Lineage and a particular soldier in the Battle of Dunbar.
In another lineage, I’m currently working on a surname that has, to my knowledge, been overlooked. It shows up in the narrative of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn, as well as in English and Norman history. The other surnames this family were circling around are quite exciting and, in many cases, different that those the Herdmanston Saint-Clairs were associated with.
In both cases, if the surnames I’m studying have living descendants who can be tested for DNA SNPs with Family Tree DNA, and they turn out matching the appropriate lineage, then we’ll have something close to 100% certainty that they connect back to Normandy.
Then, the anthropologist will once again be able to say, “your conclusions are sound.”