Friday, 19 February 2016

New Member - 442342, Farrel, Unknown origin, Ungrouped

Basic information

Kit Number: 442342

Name: Farrel

Current Group: Ungrouped

MDKA: John Farrel bc1880 Unknown dc1947 Unknown

Background: The Most Distant Known Ancestor (MDKA) is believed to have been of Irish descent.

Other projects: in accordance with our recommendations (see Getting the Most out of your DNA Test), he has joined several appropriate haplogroup & geographic projects including the following: 

STR marker profile

He did the Y-DNA-67 marker test and has no matches at the 67 marker level, 1 at 37 markers, and 36 at 25 markers, but there are no Farrell’s (or similar) among them. In fact, he doesn't even come close to matching any of the 118 Y-DNA-tested individuals in the entire Farrell DNA project. And this is because his genetic signature is unique among all project members - he belongs to Haplogroup E whereas most Farrell project members belong to Haplogroup R or I. As a result, for now, this new member has been placed in the Ungrouped (non-R) section.

However, as the project grows and more people join, we may find that he becomes the start of a whole new genetic family of Farrell’s. The Pater Familias if you will. This is not unusual and in fact is to be expected. Farrell is likely to be a multi-origin surname and I would expect quite a few more “genetic families” to emerge over the course of the next several years. 

We should also bear in mind the possibility that there may have been an NPE somewhere along his Farrel line within the last 1000 years ago or so, since the emergence of the Farrell surname. An NPE is a non-paternity event, such as an adoption, infidelity, etc, and the likelihood of this happening is about 1% per generation which is somewhere in the region of 33% over 1000 years (allowing 30 years per generation). In other words, about one third of us will not be genetically descended from the originator of our surname. C’est la vie.

If there was an NPE, we could get a clue to as to the surname of his biological patriarch by examining his closest matches. Unfortunately he does not have many. The one match at 37 markers is called Clark, and of the 36 matches at 25 markers there are 4 matches called Crow(e), 8 called Mason, and 4 called Stalnaker or Steinecker. These could be significant clues, or it could simply mean that there is a surname project for each of these surnames that is actively recruiting new members (and hence skewing the database with an over-representation of the surname in question).

SNP Marker Profile

His initial Y-DNA results placed him in Haplogroup E, subclade E-L117 (i.e. L117 was his terminal SNP marker, the one at the end of the branch), or to use the older terminologies, Haplogroup E1b1b1 or E-3b or E-M35 or E-M35.1. Apparently, this particular haplogroup arose in East Africa about 26,000 years ago and spread to North Africa and the Near East. It has relatively high concentration in the Balkans and is particularly prevalent in an Ashkenazi Jewish group. You can read more about the fascinating history of this haplogroup on the Eupedia website here.

His particular terminal SNP (L117) was equivalent to M35 and placed him quite far upstream in this particular section of the human evolutionary tree (just below M243, according to FTDNA's Haplotree & the ISOGG Haplotree - it was difficult to find on the YFull Tree because of the plethora of equivalent SNP names). 

Looking at his Y-DNA matches, his one match at 37 markers was of Scottish origin and had M78 as a terminal SNP. This placed the match on the downstream branch E1b1b1a1 characterised by the terminal SNP M78 aka PF2186 and apparently equivalent to L18, according to the ISOGG Tree. I guessed that our new member might also test positive for this SNP, in which case the SNP progression for his particular Haplogroup E subclade would be as follows ...
E- ... M96 > P147 > P177 > P178 > M215 > M35.1 (L117) > V68 > M78 … 
This particular subclade occurs most commonly in Ethiopia and the Balkans (see also Wikipedia here) and arose about 20,000 years ago (from time estimates YFull Tree). But this still did not narrow down his Y-DNA origins to just one specific location. It could have been of African origin, or it could have been of European origin.

Present day distributions of E-M78

I advised that further SNP testing would help place him on one of the downstream branches of this particular subclade and the Project Administrators of the E3b Project would be best placed to advise on a strategy for further testing. 

In due course, he ordered the E-V68 SNP Pack and the results came through 4 weeks later. He tested positive for SNP M78 (as predicted) but also tested positive for several "more downstream" SNP markers and his new terminal SNP became E-L241. This is indicated in the diagram below by the green arrow. He also tested negative for further downstream SNPs (indicated by red text). 

Abbreviated FTDNA Haplotree - predicted terminal SNP (red) and subsequent confirmed downstream SNP (green)

Whilst this new terminal SNP brings us further down the human evolutionary tree (further "downstream"), it still does not shed a huge amount of additional light on the ancestral origins of this new member's direct male line. This is largely because so few people have tested positive for this SNP that not a lot has been written up about it. I checked the DNA Results page of the E-M35 project for other E-L241 positive people and (although there are not many of them) most who had Old World origins seem to come from England.

The YFull haplotree gives us some indication of how old this particular SNP is and estimates that it was formed 4100 years before present (or about 2000 BC) - see diagram below. So we are still relatively "upstream" in the tree. 

YFull Haplotree - useful for dating the emergence of a SNP

Next Steps
  1. Upgrading to 111 markers could reveal some new matches but this is a long shot. It is more likely that this new member will have to wait it out and hope that as new people test and join the FTDNA database that some of them will turn out to be close matches to him. And some of these close matches will hopefully be related within recent genealogical times so that they can find documentary evidence of how they are connected. And working out this connection could help one or both of them break through Brick Walls in their own research.
  2. Further testing of additional SNPs would potentially place this individual even further downstream in the human evolutionary tree, would identify on which sub-branch below L241 he currently sits, and (if there is an NPE present) could ultimately identify the likely surname of the progenitor of his father's father's father's line. However, this would require either testing individual SNPs at YSEQ (because FTDNA do not currently test for any "more downstream" SNPS) or doing a "discovery test" such as the Big Y, which is a big step as it is quite costly ($575).
  3. Keeping in touch with the Haplogroup Project Admins and joining any associated Mailing Lists or Facebook groups might be the best way of keeping abreast of new developments in E-L241 research.

Maurice Gleeson
Feb 2016

Update July 2016

This project member upgraded to the Y-DNA-111 marker test, undertook the Big Y, and had the latter results additionally analysed by YFULL.

There are no additional matches at 111 STR markers but we knew at the start that this was a long shot. In addition, this project member has no exact matches on his Big Y test, and so has no nearby neighbours or cousins for the past several thousand years, making his a very rare genetic signature indeed.

The Big Y results revealed a new "terminal" SNP, namely BY5675. This is 1 step further downstream of the previous "terminal" SNP (L241) and places this project member on the haplotree as indicated below.

The placement of BY5675 on FTDNA's Haplotree

YFULL ages the SNP L241 as 3900 years before present but does not have BY5675 on its version of the haplotree (as yet), probably because this is a recently discovered SNP and also because not enough people with this particular SNP has joined the YFULL database (they need at least 2 people with this SNP to place it on their haplotree and estimate the TMRCA). As a result there is currently no age for BY5675 but it is likely to be a lot less than 3900 years old, possibly 3000 or 2000 years old.

The age of L241 is about 3900 years ago (from YFULL tree)

And so we turn to the Haplogroup Projects to see if there is any further information available. The E-M35 project has its own dedicated website. But there is no sign of BY5675 on the site, only L241. In this case it would be worthwhile contacting the Project Admin for further information.

Because this is such a recent discovery, we turn to a simple Google search to see if there might be  anything written about it on the various websites that host a DNA forum, and there are several possible avenues of further enquiry:
  • host a project specifically for BY5675 that has 6 users but no discussion (as yet)
  • The Activity Feed from the E-M35 Haplogroup Project on FTDNA comes up in the Google search - it turns out to be the above project member asking the same question I am! (great minds think alike) ... unfortunately nobody responded.
  • And similarly, there's a hit on the Polish DNA Project ... again, it's the above project member. Ten out of ten for tenacity!

But no hints about where in the world this SNP came from originally? I searched for the SNP 1-step further upstream, namely L241 ... and I find lots of hits for the same project member asking all the relevant questions I would have. What a diligent chap! It's great to see we are both thinking in the same direction!
  • The Eupedia forum has some limited direction ... 
  • Wikipedia a little moreso but nothing beyond L241 ...
  • Eupedia itself has a cladogram for Haplogroup E1b1b (below) which has not been updated since Jan 2015
  • and the Anthrogenica forum refers us to another forum (Double-Helix, which host the forum for the E-M35 project) where there is some discussion of origins from the Balkans, but the last post was April 2015. However, several surnames are repeated among the L241+ DNA tests, including Baber, Johnson, & Stafford. It could be worthwhile contacting any Project Admins running these projects for any insights they might have. 

So the bottom line is that there is not a whole lot known about this particular SNP at the moment.

But that will change with time as more people get tested.

SNP L241 is 4th from the left in the bottom row
(click to enlarge)

Maurice Gleeson
July 2016

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this blog, Maurice. If anyone has ideas for me to move forward with my search, please help...I'd really appreciate it! Sincerely...David Farrel...the Farrell outlier.