THE M*CH*MORE DNA PROJECT
Results to Date
Last updated at update #31
Most of the men participating in the DNA project are from family trees that have been traced to the South Hams, Devon, England. Of the others, one is from a tree that originated in neighbouring Cornwall and the remainder are from two trees that have been traced to the East coast of the USA but whose earlier origins were probably in England. The question to be answered is, did any or all of these men have a common male ancestor or ancestors within the past 1000 years and, if so, when did he or they live?
The table below shows the results obtained so far. The numbers in the first row designate positions on the Y-chromosome where a sequence of molecules repeats, the so-called DYS (DNA Y-chromosome Segment) numbers. These positions are also known as markers. The first column indicates which tree the men came from, with a small letter used to differentiate different men from the same tree. ("US1" and "US2" denote the two trees reconstructed by the Muchmore Family Association in the USA.) The numbers in the table denote the number of repeats (called alleles) found at each marker for each man. The set of a man's alleles constitutes his genetic makeup for these 37 markers, and is called his haplotype.
Each marker mutates over the course of time. The markers in red are known to mutate more quickly than the others. Markers 385, 459, 464, YCA II and CDY occur in two or more copies, and may add further copies as they mutate. For further information, consult Wikipedia.
The table shows a fairly close match in the haplotypes of the first group of men listed in the table, highlighted in grey. Apart from the markers 464 and CDY, both of which mutate relatively rapidly, there is an obvious "norm" allele for each marker and only occasional deviations from this value (highlighted in yellow). This result, together with the fact that they share a common surname, makes it very likely that all these men have a common ancestor who was born some time since surnames became hereditary in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Most of the men in this group come from the southern South Hams MITCHELMORE trees (Trees 01, 05, 08 and 09). Apart from the markers 464 and CDY, all these men have at most one marker that deviates from the norm. The men identified as US2a and US2b come from the United States of America and their haplotypes also differ from the norm by one marker. It seems almost certain that the earliest known common ancestor of these two men (John MUCHMORE, born in Portsmouth NH about 1670) was a descendant of a M*CH*MORE who had emigrated from the southern South Hams to the USA earlier in the 17th century.
The remaining men, one from the Totnes tree (Tree 15) and three from two of the Buckfastleigh trees (Trees 17 and 18), have two or three markers that deviate from the norm. This pattern is consistent with the geographical separation between the MICHELMOREs in the northern South Hams and the MITCHELMORES in the southern South Hams.
The men in the second group (highlighted in gold) were all thought to be descendants of John MUCHMORE, born in Windsor CT in 1692. The first three men have very similar haplotypes, confirming the documentary evidence and indicating that John had a quite different origin from any of the English M*CH*MOREs. However, the fourth man in this group (US1d) has a different haplotype. This result implies that one of his ancestors was not the son of a MUCHMORE as previously believed; perhaps he was an adopted son.
The haplotypes of the third group of men (highlighted in pink) are also quite similar to one another. However, there are small variations between them on a large number of markers. It is therefore unlikely that they share a common ancestor. Notice that one of these men comes from the same tree as one of the men in the first group. This indicates either that there is an error in the interpretation of the available documents, or that this man is a descendant of a union that is not reflected in the documents (e.g., an adoption or an illegitimate birth).
The haplotype of the Tree 11 MITCHELMORE is quite different from the others, showing that this man does not share a common ancestor with any of the other groups.
In summary, the results show that most but not all of the South Hams M*CH*MOREs probably have a common ancestor within genealogical time. They also suggest that only one of the two US MUCHMORE trees originated in the South Hams.
Some conjectures can be made about the time when the common ancestor of the first group of men lived.
The three men from Tree 01 have identical haplotypes, but the four men from Tree 08 show variation in four markers, two of which mutate relatively slowly. But some variation is to be expected, however rarely mutations occur. Provided the assignment of the four men to Tree 08 is correct, this example shows how much variation can occur over the course of eight generations.
The variation among the first group of men is no greater than the variation between the four Tree 08 men. Therefore, it is likely that the common ancestor of all these men lived shortly before the earliest written records that are currently available. Statistical calculations suggest that this man may well have lived in the 17th century.
However, the four men from Trees 15, 17 and 18 show a greater variation from the norm than is shown among the other men in the first group. They could also be regarded as having a slightly different norm, with a value of 12 for marker 439 instead of 11. This observation suggests that the northern South Hams trees separated from the southern South Hams trees several generations earlier than their earliest documented progenitors, perhaps in the 15th or 16th centuries. Also, the most recent common ancestor of all the men listed in the table would have lived several generations earlier again, perhaps in the 13th or 14th centuries. They may have all descended from G de MICHAMORE, the earliest known M*CH*MORE, who was apparently alive in 1220.
From the DNA testing, we can also take a much wider view of our ancestry. There is now clear evidence that all humans descend from an original "Adam" who lived in East Africa over 100,000 years ago. As Adam's descendants migrated away from this origin, their haplotypes changed slightly. These changes have been used to group populations into haplogroups, groups of people with similar haplotypes. The following map shows how haplogroups have formed and split into subgroups as humans migrated further and further away from their origin in Africa.
The first group of men in our project belong to a subgroup of Haplogroup I, which was formed when humans migrated from the Middle East into Turkey about 25,000 years ago. This subgroup, called Haplogroup I-M223 (formerly I2a2a), is believed to have formed about 15,000 years ago somewhere in Northern Europe. It is a comparatively rare subgroup, comprising about 0.1% of the people in the testing company's database who give their ancestral origin as England and 0.1% of those from Germany. Its present highest concentration is in Lower Saxony, Germany, where it comprises over 10% of the population. Maps of its past spread and current distribution can be found here.
The men all belong to a further subgroup of I-M223 called I-Z161 (formerly I2a2a3 or I2 Continental), which originated in northwest Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark about 5,000 years ago. That area is also the homeland of the Jutes, Angles and Saxons who invaded England in the 6th century. This finding suggests that these M*CH*MOREs may be descendants of the Teutonic tribes who conquered Devon in the 7th century.
Three of the four MUCHMOREs from Tree US1 belong to Haplogroup R-M198 (formerly R1a1a). This is a subgroup of Haplogroup R that emigrated northwards 10,000 years ago. The major concentrations of R-M today are in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and India. It is possible that these MUCHMOREs are descended from Danish Vikings who invaded England in the 9th century, spreading westward as far as the South Hams by the 11th century. For further information, click here. The fourth MUCHMORE belongs to Haplogroup I-M253, another subgroup of Haplogroup I.
The Tree 02, 09b and 20 M*CH*MOREs all belong to Haplogroups R-M269, R-M270 and R-M271. These haplogroups are also subgroups of Haplogroup R, and represent a migration from the Middle East into Eastern Europe and Central Asia about 30,000 years ago and then westwards 25,000 years ago. Today, they are the predominant haplogroups in Western Europe. Recent research reports show that these haplogroups occur with total frequencies of 78% in Cornwall, 92% in Wales, 85% in Ireland, 68-80% in France and 72-87% in Spain. For further information, click here.
The Tree 11 MITCHELMORE belongs to Haplogroup J-M172 (formerly J2). This group migrated westward from the Middle East about 25,000 years ago, travelling along the north and south Mediterranean coastlines. One hypothesis is that this haplogroup was introduced into the British Isles by Roman soldiers; certainly Italy is one of the European countries with the highest frequency of this haplogroup today. For further information, click here.
The results are beginning to fill out our picture of the M*CH*MORE history. To continue the research, however, it is necessary that many more M*CH*MORE men participate in the project:
To participate in the project, click here and order a "Y-DNA37" test. If you do not wish to take a Y-DNA test yourself, you might like to consider making a donation to help purchase test kits for others (click here). If you would like to take a Y-DNA test but cannot afford it, please contact the coordinator.
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