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View Full Version : Is it just me or do others note a U.S. North/South difference in DNA testing



Wing Genealogist
05-23-2016, 10:30 AM
Being from Maine (and you cannot get more north than this in the Continental U.S.), I am surprised where most of my Autosomal matches are from folks from "The South" rather than from "The North".

I believe (although I could well be wrong) this is due to the fact more Southerners are doing DNA testing than Northerners. This may possibly be due to an effect of the Civil War where many of the courthouses (and records) in the South were destroyed. Folks from the South have a much harder time tracing their (paper) family tree than us "Yankees". By contrast, New England tends to have great records going all the way back to the founding of most towns.

I would like to hear others opinions on this. I believe this also needs to be considered when looking at the demographics of people testing. For example, I believe Scots tended to settle more in the South than the North. Also, according to "Albion's Seed" they linked the Northern "Puritans/Pilgrims" as being from Saxon areas while the Southern "Cavaliers" were more from East Anglia. Of course their are exceptions to this rule.

C J Wyatt III
05-23-2016, 12:41 PM
Seach Antrogenica for "Thomas Edward Green" and you will have your answer.

By the way, my mother is Canadian and only had one known Colonial American line through Pennsylvania until DNA testing when she picked up all of the southern bunch and common ancestry with my southerner father.

Jack Wyatt

AJL
05-23-2016, 03:27 PM
Being from Maine (and you cannot get more north than this in the Continental U.S.), I am surprised where most of my Autosomal matches are from folks from "The South" rather than from "The North".

Like you, I have more ties to Southerners than expected. I have about one-eighth colonial New England/northeast ancestry (MA, RI, NJ, NY, ME, NH, CT, PA, VT) and no known Southern ancestry, though I know of Northern lines as well as Scottish and Ulster Scot lines where relatives moved to the South. I never thought about testing rates being the cause but that's a very likely explanation.

I also have several "carpetbagger" second great-grand aunts who came from Canada to NC around 1870.

No doubt there was considerable movement of people between the South and North well before the Civil War, mainly through border areas like OH/KY/VA/WV/MD/DE/PA. Both Philadelphia and Baltimore were large ports, and siblings who arrived may have set out in opposite directions.

Still, I suspect my many matches to Southerners mostly go back to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Germany, and maybe in a few cases France. It would be interesting to look at Y surname projects and see if there are many cases where related same-surname male lines end up independently in both the Northeast and the Southeast. Perhaps that was rather common.

MitchellSince1893
05-23-2016, 03:30 PM
Just my impression but I believe Southerners are more likely to be involved in genealogy. Conservative values and interest in heritage go hand in hand. Same reason why a disproportionate number officers in the US military are from the South.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/--SjxXMtDVWg/Udo0fpvdAtI/AAAAAAAAHA4/vykpneRN2kU/s1600/US_ROTC_by_state_map.png

Baltimore1937
05-24-2016, 05:45 AM
The way it looks to me, there was a general movement from New England and middle Atlantic states toward the south prior to the Revolutionary War. After that point in time, people then moved directly westward. So there are a lot of common ancestors up in yankee land.

geebee
05-24-2016, 11:46 AM
Okay, a quibble. Even so, please refrain from using "continental U.S." to mean "contiguous U.S." I realize a lot of folks may not be familiar with "contiguous" (connected, or touching).

The problem with "Continental U.S." is that most people mean it to exclude Alaska, but it most certainly does not. If you're willing to take the time, you can walk to Alaska from Maine (or anywhere else in the "lower 48"). You can certainly drive, which many people have.

The only thing separating Alaska from the rest of the U.S. is Canada, which is also part of North America, and there isn't some body of water separating Alaska and its beautiful neighbor.

(I'm a former Alaskan, by the way, though I only lived there for three years as a child. But many Alaskans object to "continental U.S." as a term that excludes Alaska.)

By the way, Maine is a beautiful state, too, but I'm afraid it's also not even the easternmost state of the "continental U.S." That's also Alaska, since part of the state is in the eastern hemisphere.

geebee
05-24-2016, 12:02 PM
Now to speak more to the point, I have a Pennsylvania-born father and Mississippi-born mother, and my mother's family certainly kept closer track of kin than my father's did. I have more 1st cousins on my father's side, since he had 11 brothers and sisters. But for the most part these are all the ones who really have any contact with each other -- or perhaps there's some contact with 2nd cousins.

On my mom's side, however, it isn't usually for people to be very aware of who many of their 3rd, 4th, and more distant cousins are.

It seems odd to me in a way that my northern cousins seem to generally get more squicked out at the idea of marrying a cousin of any degree. But maybe that really isn't quite so strange, since it's actually impossible to marry a non-cousin. (They may not be a known cousin, but all humans are cousins in some degree.)

On my mother's mother's side, in particular, there were several cousin marriages. No 1st cousins among my own ancestors, as far as I know, though one of my 4th great grandfathers married the daughter of one of his 1st cousins.

I have one southern cousin who is related to me through three of his four grandparents, though on my side it's only through one. (My mother's family became considerably more exogamous beginning with my maternal grandmother's mother. However, that's only because I descend from my great grandmother's second husband. Her first husband was also her 2nd cousin.)

Wing Genealogist
05-24-2016, 02:18 PM
According to the National Parks Service (https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/facts.htm) The Union had a population of 18.5 million while the Confederacy had had less than half the population (5.5 million free persons and 3.5 million slaves). I believe this further shows the higher ratio of (the smaller population) South doing DNA testing than the North.

thetick
05-24-2016, 05:59 PM
I only have a few southerners in my matches and they all seem to have ties back to Mid-Atlantic / New England. I think your theory that more "Southerners" in genealogy is more a reflection on your ancestors.

C J Wyatt III
05-24-2016, 06:24 PM
I only have a few southerners and they all seem to have ties back to Mid-Atlantic / New England. I think your theory that more "Southerners" in genealogy is more a reflection on your ancestors.

In my research, I am seeing some evidence that the male children of the breeders Mr. Green and Mr. Wilson when old enough were sold into seaman apprenticeships. I would guess that they were not too eager to go back to North Carolina where they grew up if they survived the apprenticeship ordeal. I think a lot of them ended up in New England and the Maritime Provinces where they could practice their trade. More times than not, I find a link from people in New England and Canada back to Mr. Green in early 18th century North Carolina.

Jack

thetick
05-25-2016, 12:06 AM
In my research, I am seeing some evidence that the male children of the breeders Mr. Green and Mr. Wilson when old enough were sold into seaman apprenticeships. I would guess that they were not too eager to go back to North Carolina where they grew up if they survived the apprenticeship ordeal. I think a lot of them ended up in New England and the Maritime Provinces where they could practice their trade. More times than not, I find a link from people in New England and Canada back to Mr. Green in early 18th century North Carolina.

Jack

I'm seeing no evidence. Most of my ancestors on my dad's side were Mennonites in PA almost all lines going back 1700's. On my mom's side they are all Central Pennsylvania minors from Central Europe.

Wing Genealogist
05-25-2016, 11:45 AM
I'm seeing no evidence. Most of my ancestors on my dad's side were Mennonites in PA almost all lines going back 1700's. On my mom's side they are all Central Pennsylvania minors from Central Europe.

It looks like your ancestry may be the key to why you have few Southern cousins. The Mennonites were very insular and marriage outside the Faith was rare. I believe very few Mennonites settled in the South. Likewise your mother's family were from Central Europe, and also were likely insular and rarely settled in the South.

My ancestry is highly endogamous as well (15 of my 16 great-grandparents are related to each other). But they were not as insular as your family. Due to my high level of endogamy, my DNA matches tend to appear to be much more closely related than they actually are. As a hypothetical example, a test result may predict I am 4th cousins with someone, but my paper trail reveals they are 8th cousins in at least four different ways.

C J Wyatt III
05-25-2016, 02:17 PM
I'm seeing no evidence. Most of my ancestors on my dad's side were Mennonites in PA almost all lines going back 1700's. On my mom's side they are all Central Pennsylvania minors from Central Europe.

My maternal line in the 1700s was Mennonite in Lancaster PA. The maternal line is H5. Unless my mother's maternal line completely lost out in recombination on her X-chromosome, it traces through one of those enslaved women in North Carolina during the early 1700s and hence back to the likes of the Barbary Pirates.

When a man paid money for a bride, that was not something which one puts into a family Bible. A lot of made up ancestries are out there.

Jack

AJL
05-25-2016, 02:32 PM
It looks like your ancestry may be the key to why you have few Southern cousins. The Mennonites were very insular and marriage outside the Faith was rare. I believe very few Mennonites settled in the South. Likewise your mother's family were from Central Europe, and also were likely insular and rarely settled in the South.

My ancestry is highly endogamous as well (15 of my 16 great-grandparents are related to each other). But they were not as insular as your family. Due to my high level of endogamy, my DNA matches tend to appear to be much more closely related than they actually are. As a hypothetical example, a test result may predict I am 4th cousins with someone, but my paper trail reveals they are 8th cousins in at least four different ways.

There was some 18th-century German and Swiss settlement in Virginia and the Carolinas. Traces are left in things like "Mecklenburg County, NC." I also seem to have some probable matches from the Palatine from these areas with what look a lot like anglicized German names (Weber > Weaver, Wagner > Waggoner).

But I think you're right that most of the Central Europe would not be nearly as well represented in the South and especially not for Anabaptists as PA/OH/NY -- although there were settlements of the Church of the Brethren aka "Dunkers" in VA.

Little bit
05-25-2016, 07:31 PM
I am 100% Southern Colonial from my dad and 1/4 Southern Colonial from my mom (the other 3 are Irish national; English national; and PA Dutch) and it does look like a majority of my matches are Southern:
9461

64% of my DNA matches are from my dad's side and many of my mom's are from the one Southern Colonial from her side, so probably not surprising. My husband, on the other hand, is zero Colonial and all Northern: Polish to Wisconsin; German to Illinois: and Irish to New York/Wisconsin:

9462

Some Southerns but more Northerner's. I think it depends on who you are but if you're any part Colonial, I bet you get a surprising abundance of Southern matches regardless where your Colonial's lived.

leonardo
05-30-2016, 01:13 PM
If there is a regional difference, it seems to be transcended in the Appalachian region. From western N.Y. to northern AL, the Scots Irish predominate.

C J Wyatt III
05-30-2016, 01:39 PM
I am 100% Southern Colonial from my dad and 1/4 Southern Colonial from my mom (the other 3 are Irish national; English national; and PA Dutch) and it does look like a majority of my matches are Southern:
9461

64% of my DNA matches are from my dad's side and many of my mom's are from the one Southern Colonial from her side, so probably not surprising. My husband, on the other hand, is zero Colonial and all Northern: Polish to Wisconsin; German to Illinois: and Irish to New York/Wisconsin:

9462

Some Southerns but more Northerner's. I think it depends on who you are but if you're any part Colonial, I bet you get a surprising abundance of Southern matches regardless where your Colonial's lived.

Current population density could account for a lot of what we see here.

Jack Wyatt

Jessie
08-10-2016, 06:38 AM
I hope I'm not too OT but it is interesting looking at where most of mine and my family's dna relatives are in the US. We all are Irish and the following are our top locations for dna relative on 23andme.

Mine

Top Locations
Ireland (22)
Pennsylvania, USA (16)
New York, NY, USA (15)
England, UK (13)
New Jersey, USA (10)
Laois, Co. Laois, Ireland (9)
Boston, MA, USA (9)
Scotland, UK (9)

Mother

Top Locations
Ireland (19)
New York, NY, USA (16)
Germany (12)
England, UK (8)
Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland (8)
California, USA (7)
Boston, MA, USA (7)
Chicago, IL, USA (7)

Brother

Top Locations
Ireland (19)
England, UK (12)
New York, NY, USA (11)
Scotland, UK (10)
Pennsylvania, USA (10)
Germany (9)
Boston, MA, USA (8)
New Jersey, USA (6)

Daughter

Top Locations
Ireland (23)
New York, NY, USA (23)
Pennsylvania, USA (12)
Boston, MA, USA (11)
Philadelphia, PA, USA (10)
New Jersey, USA (10)
Germany (8)
Chicago, IL, USA (8)

What is interesting is that in regards to the US it is all mostly on the Eastern seaboard with no southern states represented. Does this show that most of the southern states were of Scots-Irish origin unlike places like Boston and New York? This is especially obvious if in fact Southerners are doing more DNA testing than Northerners.

Gray Fox
08-11-2016, 09:05 AM
I hope I'm not too OT but it is interesting looking at where most of mine and my family's dna relatives are in the US. We all are Irish and the following are our top locations for dna relative on 23andme.

Mine

Top Locations
Ireland (22)
Pennsylvania, USA (16)
New York, NY, USA (15)
England, UK (13)
New Jersey, USA (10)
Laois, Co. Laois, Ireland (9)
Boston, MA, USA (9)
Scotland, UK (9)

Mother

Top Locations
Ireland (19)
New York, NY, USA (16)
Germany (12)
England, UK (8)
Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland (8)
California, USA (7)
Boston, MA, USA (7)
Chicago, IL, USA (7)

Brother

Top Locations
Ireland (19)
England, UK (12)
New York, NY, USA (11)
Scotland, UK (10)
Pennsylvania, USA (10)
Germany (9)
Boston, MA, USA (8)
New Jersey, USA (6)

Daughter

Top Locations
Ireland (23)
New York, NY, USA (23)
Pennsylvania, USA (12)
Boston, MA, USA (11)
Philadelphia, PA, USA (10)
New Jersey, USA (10)
Germany (8)
Chicago, IL, USA (8)

What is interesting is that in regards to the US it is all mostly on the Eastern seaboard with no southern states represented. Does this show that most of the southern states were of Scots-Irish origin unlike places like Boston and New York? This is especially obvious if in fact Southerners are doing more DNA testing than Northerners.

Yes, I'd have to say that it does.. Your top US matches, as well as of those of your relatives, are all with people from areas that are known stronghold's (New York, Boston, Chicago etc.) for Irish descended people. Scots-Irish descended people congregated most strongly in Appalachia (West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee etc.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachia