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Thread: upcoming Mayflower "Badge" from FTDNA

  1. #1
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    upcoming Mayflower "Badge" from FTDNA

    I had posted this elsewhere on the forum, but now think it deserves its own topic.


    One of the items the GSMD will be announcing at their Congress is their new partnership with FTDNA. FTDNA is developing Mayflower "Badges" (similar to the WAMH Badge) for folks whose DNA document their descent from a Mayflower passenger.

    I have contacted FTDNA about this new partnership and below I have abstracted some comments from them.

    As of right now, we have identified all but three Y STR profiles of the male pilgrims with extant direct male descendants. To get this badge, a test taker must match this profile within a GD of two or three (The powers that be have not determined what the cut off should be yet). They must also have a Mayflower surname or variant (eg. Cook or Cooke).
    We wish to incorporate mtDNA as well, though without the surname requirement. We are basing the profiles on the Mayflower Project subgroups and are still awaiting confirmation that the mtDNA RCRS mutations we suspect are accurate. As of right now, this badge will only be available to test takers with a Y 67 or mtDNA Full Sequence test and match the above criteria. In time we hope to use triangulation within family groups to identify autosomal SNPs from the Pilgrims, though this will take a substantial amount of testing and analysis.
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  3. #2
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    IMHO, I believe FTDNA bit off more than they can chew with this Mayflower badge concept (at least in terms of mtDNA and autosomal DNA).

    Since the mitochondrial DNA is so small (and the mutation rate is so slow) it will likely be impossible to use Full mtDNA testing to identify "umbilical"/mtDNA descendants of Mayflower passengers. To use one example which I am familiar with - Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland.

    The Howland surname DNA Project https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Howland/ has identified three such umbilical descendants of Elizabeth, and they come down from two of her daughters, Desire & Lydia. The full mtDNA of all three individuals are exact matches and they belong to mtDNA haplogroup H1a1 with no private mutations.

    The H1a1 haplogroup is a relatively common and old haplogroup. Estimates place its origins roughly 4,500 years ago (circa 2,500 BC). As such, the vast majority of folks whose full mtDNA is H1a1 (with no private mutations) would NOT be descended from Elizabeth (Howland) Tilley. The only way to accurately document whether a person is an "umbilical" descendant of Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland is via the traditional "paper" genealogy, and a full mtDNA test would only (strongly) suggest their line is correct (or would clearly document where the genetic line does not come down from Elizabeth).

    I would be surprised if FTDNA (or anyone else) would be able to document any of the Mayflower wives mtDNA descendants solely by a full mtDNA test.
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    In regards to documenting Mayflower lineages via autosomal DNA testing, I likewise believe this will be virtually impossible. It is well known that individuals don't receive DNA from all of their ancestors. By the Sixth Generation (32 3great-grandparents) studies have shown individuals have a 0.1% chance of not inheriting any DNA from any one specific ancestor, and a 3.2% chance of not inheriting DNA from all 32 3g-grandparents.

    By the Seventh Generation, studies show a 5.6% chance of not inheriting DNA from any specific ancestor and a 35.84% chance of not inheriting DNA from all 64 4g-grandparents. At the Eighth Generation, you have a 49.5% chance of not inheriting DNA from any specific ancestor and you are virtually certain of not inheriting DNA from all 128 5g-grandparents.

    I don't have any figures for the Ninth Generation or beyond, but given the fact most individuals are at least twelve generations removed from their Mayflower ancestor, you are highly unlikely to inherit any DNA from the (usually) small percentage of your ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wing Genealogist View Post
    In regards to documenting Mayflower lineages via autosomal DNA testing, I likewise believe this will be virtually impossible. It is well known that individuals don't receive DNA from all of their ancestors. By the Sixth Generation (32 3great-grandparents) studies have shown individuals have a 0.1% chance of not inheriting any DNA from any one specific ancestor, and a 3.2% chance of not inheriting DNA from all 32 3g-grandparents.

    By the Seventh Generation, studies show a 5.6% chance of not inheriting DNA from any specific ancestor and a 35.84% chance of not inheriting DNA from all 64 4g-grandparents. At the Eighth Generation, you have a 49.5% chance of not inheriting DNA from any specific ancestor and you are virtually certain of not inheriting DNA from all 128 5g-grandparents.

    I don't have any figures for the Ninth Generation or beyond, but given the fact most individuals are at least twelve generations removed from their Mayflower ancestor, you are highly unlikely to inherit any DNA from the (usually) small percentage of your ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.
    True. They might be able to use it for people who have many Mayflower ancestors. For example, two Bradshaws married three generations later which may be within striking distance. Especially for me, since I had my grandmother on that side of the tree tested. It's still a 7 generation gap.

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    I was also dismayed to learn that FTDNA was using STR markers rather than SNP markers to identify Y-DNA lineages. NGS/WGS testing has the ability to discover SNPs at a rate to make SNP testing feasible.

    Within the R1b-U106 Project (which I am familiar with) Iain McDonald has estimated the Big Y on average discovers a SNP in a line roughly every 140 years or so. Almost everyone born today was born after 1920 (300 years after the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth) the odds are high that a Y-DNA SNP would likely be discovered in most Y-DNA descendants of a Mayflower passenger.

    Other NGS/WGS tests (such as the Y-Elite) have a better coverage, so there are options for folks who do not find a Y-SNP in a Big Y test.

    This type of documentation is a bit more complicated than first appearance. The Howland family is a good example. John Howland was a passenger aboard the Mayflower, but he had brothers Arthur & Henry who both came to Plymouth Colony sometime later. NGS testing was done on both a Y-DNA descendant of John as well as a Y-DNA descendant of Henry. The Big Y test of from a descendant of John discovered two SNPs not found in the descendant of Henry (A9705 & Z18598).

    From this testing we know these two SNPs fall only in descendants of John Howland (ie they are not found in Y-DNA descendants of his brothers). However it is likely that some/many/most Y-DNA descendants of John Howland would NOT have these SNPs. We would need to have other Y-DNA descendants of John Howland test for these SNPs to determine where in the descent these SNPs fall. A9705 can be tested via Sanger Sequencing (or through a SNP pack/SNP panel test) but Z18958 has been found in other haplogroups, and YSEQ has decided not to make this SNP available for testing due to concerns they had.
    Last edited by Wing Genealogist; 09-07-2017 at 01:22 PM.
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    I had contacted FTDNA about both using Y-SNPs as well as my concerns about using mtDNA results for their Mayflower Badge. (I sent two separate emails).

    FTDNA has replied regarding using Y-SNPs and they stated they will explore this idea. I have not (yet) heard back from them regarding mtDNA results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassoneg View Post
    True. They might be able to use it for people who have many Mayflower ancestors. For example, two Bradshaws married three generations later which may be within striking distance. Especially for me, since I had my grandmother on that side of the tree tested. It's still a 7 generation gap.
    Even with intermarriages, the difficulties may still be insurmountable. My mother descends six different ways from a couple married (male surname Burns) in 1768. I am 8 generations removed from five of these lines and 9 generations removed from the sixth line. I have yet to prove an autosomal DNA match to this Burns family. I do have a small number (less than a dozen) of individuals (at Ancestry DNA) whom I do share DNA with, and paper trails document common Burns ancestry, but in every case I also have other ancestors in common with these matches, so I cannot determine whether the match came from this line.
    Gedmatch DNA: M032736 Gedcom: 6613110.
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    This is so much fun! Now that I'm waiting for my GSMD membership number, I can speculate which part of my family is the most...well, that's a good question.

    I'm also in this FTDNA project from the same side of my family that's Mayflower: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups...out/background

    A group that's been damned since 1525 by a Glaswegian archbishop, Gavin Dunbar: http://www.borderreivers.co.uk/Borde...ursing%201.htm

    That's from my mom's side, booted out of England (old article, I'm sure you can find better): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/47688.stm

    And booted from Paradise by the Scottish. No takers on this last one yet, I've posted it elsewhere. What sort of conflict would Gavin's eternal damnation catch with Christian Divine Grace, I wonder? I wonder what sort of medallion Family Tree will dream up for this one.

    I'll find someone to field this one eventually, it's a poser. I'm waiting on my Big Y to come in, once Houston recovers from Hurricane Harvey (Gavin? Go home?), that'll be my dad's side of the family. Now I get to see how much trouble his ancestors caught in the UK.
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    A June post in the FTDNA Mayflower Project gives this as the Mayflower Descendant badge:

    mayflowerbadge.jpeg

    This will be added to your Dashboard if some criteria is met, somewhere along the lines of being a direct line male descendant of a male Mayflower passenger and you have the surname or "variant" in your lineage, and/or taken a Y67 test with a GD of 4 (or less?) from your Mayflower ancestor's "modal" y-DNA haplogroups.

    Or you'll get one if you've taken a Full mtDNA test there and have a GD 0 from with those who "have a direct female descendant from one of the Mayflower mothers."

    Hopefully I've reprinted this criteria fairly accurately. You can double-check yourself by logging on to Family Tree. Some controversy is sure to evolve out of this; there's an admin in my y-DNA haplogroup project who writes that mtDNA is useless for genealogy purposes. I'll stop here with that line, I don't want to add to the confusion, but the badge idea is great.

    This video is also great, I get to use it a lot!



    Badges! Ha ha!
    "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear..."

  14. #10
    So FYI, you canít get this using autosomal results. You also canít get this if youíre descended in a zigzagging path up. You need to be a male claiming to have a direct y-line to a passenger on the Mayflower. Or you need to be a female with an mtdna trail leading straight to a female Mayflower passenger. Your haplogroup needs to match the passenger and the STR numbers needs to fall within four clicks of the confirmed code of passenger. You can verify both of these through the Mayflower DNA project in FamilyTree and the group has a pretty stringent requirement for getting in. Last, having this badge doesnít actually prove you are a Mayflower descendant..Gotta go through Mayflower Society for that.

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