Thursday, 11 August 2016

Vive la France! Another Project member, another clue?

A new project member has joined Genetic Family 1 (GF1, the Limerick Spearin's). Does he offer further clues as to the origins of the Spearin family?

His surname is Laveaud and he lives in France. He did the Y-DNA-37 test back in January 2015 and later upgraded it to 67 markers in May, and 111 markers in April 2016. He also did the I-M223 SNP Pack in March this year.

How close does he match?

He matches the members of the Spearin DNA Project very closely. There are 13 members in Genetic Family 1 (GF1) and he matches 2 of them at 111 markers, 5 of them at 67 markers, 2 of them at 37 markers, and all 13 of them at 25 markers. So this is a strong association.

The Genetic Distance between him and the two Spearin project members that he matches at the 111 marker level (200083 & 209996) is 8/111 and 9/111, and the estimated time back to the common ancestor between them all is about 9 generations (midpoint estimate) but with a 90% range of 4 to 16 generations. This roughy translates into an estimated year of birth for their common ancestor of 1680 (range 1470-1830; this assumes 30 years per generation and the average year of birth of project members being 1950).

So this means that his connection to the Spearin’s could be sometime in the 1600’s. This could be around the time they arrived in Ireland, or (more likely) before that time. In the early 1600s, we believe they lived in London, and before that, in the 1400s and 1500s, we believe they lived in Flanders (today’s northern Belgium). We are still looking for more people to do the DNA test in order to confirm this theory, and hopefully the more matches we get like our new member here, the more likely we can figure out where we all came from.

So how can a Laveaud be related to the Limerick Spearin's? 

There are several possibilities:
  • he is the result of an NPE* (his distant genetic ancestor was a Spearin)
  • we are the result of an NPE (our distant genetic ancestor was a Laveaud)
  • we spring from a common ancestor pre-surnames (e.g. some time before 1000 AD)
  • we are all victims of Convergence (i.e. by chance the match looks closer than it actually is)
But are there any clues from the evidence we have to date as to which of the above options it could be? Read on ...

* an NPE is a Non-Paternity Event and there are many possible causes (e.g. legal name change, surname switch, adoption, infidelity, illegitimacy, and many more). 

What do his I-M223 SNP Pack results show?

In a previous post, I described how the SNP Progression of the Limerick Spearin's has been clarified to be:
I- ... M438 > L460 > P214 > M223 > CTS10057 > Z161 > CTS6433 > Z78 > CTS8584 > Z185 > Z180 > L1198 = Z166 > Y17535 > Y18109 
The results of Mr Laveaud's I-M223 SNP Pack show that he is positive for Z166 and L1198 (upstream Spearin SNPs) but negative for all the SNPs below this ... or rather for all the SNPs below Z166 that were included in the Pack. And not all sub-Z166 SNPs were included. One very important SNP that is missing from the pack is the unique Spearin SNP marker Y18109, and the one immediately above it, Y17535 (in blue below).  And this is the area of the tree we are most interested in because anyone who sits on this branch (Y17535 or below) will help shed further light on where the Limerick Spearin's originated.  I have asked FTDNA to please add Y17535 to the I-M223 SNP Pack. I will update this blog post with their reply in due course.

The current position of the new member on the Haplotree
green = tested positive; red = tested negative; blue = test available;
black = test not done and not available

So, our new member could sit on one of the blue branches above, or some other branch currently not identified.

In fact, this is only half the story, because checking the same SNPs on YFULL reveals that Y17535 and Y18109 are the first of several SNPs in two SNP Blocks:
  • Y17535 block (5 SNPs) - Y17535, Y17536, Y17537, Y17941, Z21761
  • Y18109 block (10 SNPs) - Y18109 to Y18118

Furthermore, look at the formation dates that YFULL gives for these SNPs relevant to the Limerick Spearin's ... 
  • Z166 (L1198) was formed some time between 3000 - 2700 years ago
  • Y17535 was formed some time between 2700-2200 years ago 
  • Y18109 was formed some time between 2200 - 150 years ago, and this 

Given the close connection between the new member and the Limerick Spearin's (GD = 9/111), he should test positive for SNP Y17535 (which is over 2000 years old). However, there is a huge gap in the time estimate for the formation of Y18109 and this means that there is a strong chance that the new member will not test positive for this SNP marker. He may sit on an adjacent branch to the Spearin's that has not as yet been identified. But if he does test positive for Y18109, then it suggests a very close association, and makes the probability of an NPE more likely.

A lot of these questions would be answered if our new member did the Big Y test, but it is expensive ($575). So alternatively, it may be worthwhile for him to test for the single SNP Y17535 ($39). And if that is positive to test for Y18109 ($39), to see if he sits on the same branch of the Human Evolutionary Tree (Haplotree) as us Spearin's. It's a bit lonely out here!

We could ask other close neighbours to test on the Big Y or Y17535 - but the problem is trying to identify them. Of the GF1 project members who have tested out to 111 markers, our new Laveaud member is their only non-Spearin match. And at the 67 marker level, there are loads of matches (20+) with some of them obviously sitting on adjacent branches to the Limerick Spearin's that connect over 2000 years ago (e.g. branches Y6060 and PF5268). This indicates that there is a degree of "Downstream Convergence" among our 67-marker matches and it will be difficult to identify which of them are truly our closest neighbours. So testing people on these branches may not be of much help ... but it may be the only option we have.

However, there is one ray of light. Our new member Laveaud matches two GF1 Spearin members (GD = 8/111 & 9/111) ... but also a third individual by the name of Razee, with ancestry from Rhode Island. He is kit 70816 in the diagram at the end. This match has a GD of 10/111 to Mr Laveaud and is positive for L1198 (roughly equivalent to Z166).  This could be the result of "downstream convergence" but there is some evidence to suggest that this is not the case. We will discuss this below.

But first, is there anybody among the array of people in the I-M223 Haplogroup Project that we could target for SNP testing? These people were grouped based on STR values initially and these groupings are continually being refined by additional SNP testing. The ones of interest to our GF1 are the ones that could possibly sit on our Y17535 branch or one of its sub-branches (only BY3098 has been identified so far). We are not that interested in those that sit on branches adjacent to Y17535 (i.e. Y6060, Z190 / S20905, P185_2, and PF5268) because they are likely to be too far back in time to be genealogically relevant (i.e. over 2000 years ago).

So ... this limits our field of interest to the groups known as :
  • Cont1 Group 1
  • Cont1 Group 1a
  • Cont1 Group 2
  • Cont1 Group 3 (our new Laveaud member has been placed here)

The Limerick Spearin's belong to subgroup Cont1h1. Several questions spring to mind: would it be possible to identify the most closely related GF1 matches among these subgroups and encourage them to test? Would a cladogram help? Has the cladogram changed over time as SNPs have become available, or have they verified the cladistic structure that was generated via STRs? i.e. how accurate were the STR-based estimates? I will discuss these points on the I-M223 Project's Activity Feed and with the I-M223 Project Administrators and feedback in due course.

The Limerick Spearin's belong to Cont1h1

Some Traditional Genealogy

Mr Laveaud's ancestry goes back to La Tremblade, an area on the west coast of France, south of La Rochelle and north of Bordeaux and the Garonne / Dore estuary. It is well known for its oyster farms.

From 1200 onward, the area became an international trading centre with merchants from England, Spain & Flanders, importing wool and exporting both wine and salt. Potentially, because of this trade, there could have been some contact between the merchant Spearin's from Flanders and the trading Laveaud's from France.

He can only trace back as far as his grandfather but the Laveaud surname has been in France since before the 1600s, and possibly at the start of surname formation in France, which was about 1100-1200. It is quite a common name because it means "the valley" and thus may have multiple different origins. 

La Rochelle was a Catholic fiefdom but the city of La Tremblade became Protestant around 1540 so it is probable that the Laveaud's were Protestants around 1600. Around 1650 La Rochelle came under the protection of Louis XIV because of its Catholic population which apparently included an Irish community. The Laveaud's probably became Catholics around 1680 with subsequent persecution and oppression. 

The Spearin's were most likely Protestant, definitely while in London, possibly in Flanders, and certainly on arrival in Limerick. Most became Catholic after several generations in Ireland. The reason this consideration of religion is important is that it may help us to ascertain if the Spearin's and Laveaud's were likely to have mixed socially.

La Tremblade was a big French port with much traffic going to Quebec (New France) from the 1600s onwards. Oyster-farming became a major industry around this time. In 1876, La Tremblade was the fifth Port of France just after la Rochelle.

The Razee Connection

The connection with Razee mentioned above is very interesting and potentially very important. He is kit 70816 in the diagram at the end. There is a family of Razé from France who owns oyster farms in La Tremblade! Are these the ancestors of the Razee from Rhode Island? Has he found his ancestral origin? From the TiP Report for our new member, it appears that the common ancestor between Laveaud and Razee was a little earlier than the common ancestor he shares with the Spearin group, perhaps about 1620 (range 1380-1770; 11 generations, range 6-19). However, these STR-based TMRCA estimates must be taken with a pinch of salt. The actual connection may be further back in time.

It would be useful if the Razee family from America did some additional DNA testing, specifically the Y17535 SNP ($39) and if that is negative, then the I-M223 SNP Pack ($119).  Also, it would be great if one of the Razé family from La Rochelle did the Y-DNA-37 test - this could confirm the origins of the American Razee family. I have written to the Administrator of the Razee Project and I offered her these suggestions.

I wonder where the name Razé originally came from? Below are some surname distribution maps for several variants of the name. These are from ... They appear to have come from Belgium or France, and a few of them may have become Rasey in England. In contrast, Laveaud is a French surname, with high concentrations near La Rochelle. There is a marked similarity of high surname density for the surnames Razé and Laveaud in the area of La Rochelle suggesting that people with these surnames lived in close proximity to each other.

Modern Surname Distribution Maps of
Razee, Rasey & Razé

Surname Distribution of Laveau & Laveaud

Other neighbours ... from Portugal & Cuba?

A recent response from the I-M223 Yahoo group was from a neighbour who sits on an adjacent branch (BY3098, Cont1h2) to the Limerick Spearin's of GF1 and our connection is some time in the last 2200 years. His YFULL ID is YF10785 (FTDNA kit 260237, surname Braz, MDKA Domingos Pires Preto, b. ~1600 - Penela da Beira, Portugal) and he reports that all his ancestors are from Portugal (up to 1600). So this suggests that maybe the Spearin's came from Portugal or maybe his family came from Flanders sometime between 200 BC and 1500 AD. I know that Spain had control of the Flanders area for a while (1581-1714) so maybe this is where there is a connection? or could it be via trade and merchants pre-1500? or maybe it is further back?

Also, there is another new neighbour on this adjacent BY3098 branch (Cont1h2) and he also appears to have origins from the Iberian Peninsula. His surname is Lopez-Carnicer (kit N16676) and his MDKA is Carlos San Justo Lopez Castillo (born 26 Oct 1797) and he is from Cuba. Presumably he was a Spanish or Portuguese emigrant.

So somewhere back in time these two branches (ours and the Iberian's) meet up - the question is where?

The answer probably lies in finding other close neighbours who can help fill in the pieces of this fascinating jigsaw puzzle. And that means encouraging more people to do SNP testing, either with the Big Y or the I-M223 SNP Pack.

Possible Next Steps
  1. date the Cont1h1 (BY3098) sub-branch (via I-M223 Project Admins & Activity Feed)?
  2. get the updated cladogram for the Cont1 group?
  3. identify who is nearest to our Cont1h1 branch among the Cont1 members without subgroups?
  4. target them for testing 1) Big Y; 2) single SNP Y17535? 3) I-M223 SNP Pack?
  5. write to RAZEE if no response from Project Administrator?

The subgroups below Z166 of possible relevance to GF1
(from the I-M223 Project)