Monday, March 30, 2015

Sinclair DNA Conclusions Are Sound

Recently I contacted Bennett Greenspan, President and CEO of Family Tree DNA with the following request - 

“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results for the last few years (since confirmed with the Big Y results) is the same surnames showing up as witnesses to historical documents.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, 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.

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 -

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 -

“Dear Steve,

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.

UPDATE: The Herdmanston lineage now clearly connects in the late middle ages with the surname Forrester. This surname has clearly traceable ties in southern Scotland.
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.

UPDATE: Thurso has been Big Y tested and matches our Caithness lineage. 

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
Our Caithness researchers need to try and find medieval records of those people who match the narrative of the Sinclair story in Scottish, English, and/or Norman history. Then those names need to be DNA SNP tested to see if they share the Z346* SNP at least, and hopefully some downstream SNPs.

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.”

1 comment:

  1. Great support on your work. Thank you from the Herdmanston line.

    Donald of Indy