Tag Archives: DNA

I appear to have more Viking blood than I ever imagined.


My Y chromosome is Viking, with origins in Scandinavia. It is known as I1 (eye-one). My maternal grandfather’s group is R1a, also Viking. And now I have learned via 23 and Me that my mother’s mitochondrial DNA, part of group T1, may have come to England with the Vikings.

Although T1 is relatively rare in Europe today, it appears to have been much more common at some times in the past. Though it is present in only 2% of the modern English population, T1 was found at levels of 23% in DNA extracted from skeletons buried in Norwich, England during the 10th century AD.

But the complete absence of T1 even earlier, in DNA extracted from the skeletal remains of Anglo-Saxon Britons dating to the 5th and 6th centuries, suggests that the haplogroup did not arrive in England with the original agricultural expansion. It may have come with the Viking invaders who began menacing the coastal settlements of Britain and Ireland in AD 793.



Making Those Unknown Known

I think that when you die, you should be able to hold on to your history and who you are and for others to know that here is this person and not just be put into an unmarked grave and no one knows your name. We all deserve our life history and for people to know who we are and where we are.”
— Dr. Jennifer Love, a forensic anthropologist who works to identify people who have died


Gonna have to freshen up on my Czech. I love reading about Mendel.

The Case of the Missing Mendel Manuscript

A story about Gregor Mendel was featured on the front page of a Czech newspaper. The headline translates as The Case of the Missing Mendel Manuscript.

Ever since learning about my own DNA, I have become fascinated with genetics, particularly the human kind. That fascination extends to Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk who lived in the 19th century. He discovered the basic principles of heredity through experiments in his garden using plants such as peas.


I first posted this on my experimental blog at webs.com. Why? Because the wifi at the local Whole Foods would not let me publish it at WordPress for some reason.

Man, Donald Trump is everywhere, or should I say, talk about Trump is everywhere, a global phenomenon.


This is a Dutch newspaper, published in Amsterdam.

Since I have some Dutch blood in me, I have set about to learn more about the place and the people.

Before the British took over, the Dutch had a thriving colony spreading from what is now Jersey to New York. They called it Nieuw-Nederland, or, in English, New Netherland.

Multiple branches of the family — the Van Notes, the Coursens, and others — lived there, immigrating from the Old World before the English takeover in 1664.



I’ve submitted DNA samples to 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA. The above image shows data from 23andMe, based on a partial testing of my genome.

I already knew that I was of European stock, but it’s nice to see a scientific breakdown. My blood is very German, more than I realized even just a few years ago.

spockeyebrowMy Mom’s paternal side came from there, so that’s not surprising. What is a revelation is that my paternal side has a good amount of German, too. Dad’s mother, maiden name Hay, hails from the German countryside, too. Thankfully Grandma’s older brother submitted some check swabs for analysis.

Previous research led me to believe that the name Hay had probably been a combination of variants, slowly changing over time to be more American, more English: Hoh, Hoeh, and Höh.

This lead me to a close database match and a family tree: a distant cousin with the name Kettering had traced his family back to the Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany.

The name Hay had been adopted sometime probably in the late 18th century or the early 19th, though it was not universally used by family members. Some decided to use Hoeh instead.

The original surname, Höh, with the umlaut, was likely adopted from a place name or names. Near where the Ketterings hailed from are the towns of Höheinöd, Höhfröschen and Höheischweiler. They are clustered in the same vicinity in Südwestpfalz, near the border with France.


Finally, After All These Years, A Breakthrough

The last will & testament of Samuel Hill, dated 1772 and found in the probate records of Jones County, North Carolina.
The last will & testament of Samuel Hill, dated 1772 and found in the probate records of Jones County, North Carolina, mentions his mother Sarah and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Samuel Hill
of Jones County, North Carolina
& His Mother Sarah in

It looks like we finally have a breakthrough on the Hill family. Combining the power of DNA and a bit of genealogical detective work, I have found a connection between two of the genetic lines in the Hill DNA Project that are clearly related. But how was unknown until some of the puzzle was unraveled today by the last will and testament of one Samuel Hill, a resident of North Carolina. I’m guessing that Samuel Hill is the grandfather or uncle of Joseph Hill, husband of Mary Warren, as detailed in the lineage of Kit 74401.

Samuel Hill of Jones County, North Carolina mentions his mother, Sarah of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in his will, dated 1772. Bucks County is where I happened to find a group of people named Hill and another named Crooks living in close proximity to one another. It was a hunch that has apparently paid off. One of my ancestor James Hill’s sons is named John Crooks Hill. Now there is another piece of evidence pointing to Bucks County, PA as the likely birthplace of James Hill, husband of Sarah ‘Sallie’ Tidd, who lived to the age of 99 and died in Ohio.

First, there’s the DNA. The genetics of the Y chromosome show a close relationship between Joseph Hill, whose obituary provides a lot of details, including connections to Jones County, North Carolina, and my ancestor James Hill. Second, there’s the Crooks family living close to the Hills in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Third, there’s the will mentioning Sarah Hill and Bucks County.


Clues in Joseph Hill’s Obituary

The obituary of Joseph Hill, a distant cousin shown to be related to my Hill family by DNA, included some interesting details, possible clues as to where to track down more information. It was published in The Christian Index, a Baptist newspaper in Georgia,

Joseph Hill died at his home in Worth County in southern Georgia on August 10th, 1858.

“Joseph Hill was united with the Chiquepin Chapel, Baptist Church, in the 23rd year of his age, and was baptized by the Rev John Kounce in the State of North Carolina.”

The word Chiquepin appears to be misspelled. A cursory search using Google located a Chinquapin Chapel Baptist Church in rural Jones County near Trenton, North Carolina and the site of a Civil War battle. There is also a place called Chinquapin in Duplin County, North Carolina. I am hoping to find evidence of him in either of these places.

Another big clue is the name of his apparent mentor, the Reverend John Kounce. So I will be hunting him down, too, or at least trying to.


Searching for a King

I read news stories about finding what may be the remains of Richard III about a month ago.

Richard III, noted as a ruthless tyrant by many, including Shakespeare, was king for just two years. He died in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field and was buried at a church in Leicester, England. He was the last English king to die in battle.

The ruins of the church, long forgotten, were surmised to be under a parking lot.

Sure enough, they uncovered floor tiles and window frames from the church — and a skeleton that had signs of head trauma, an arrowhead lodged in the spine, and showed evidence of scoliosis, characteristics consistent with reports of Richard III’s appearance and his cause of death.

The remains are being studied. I hope there’s some usable DNA. Results are planned to be announced on February 4th.

Although still unconfirmed, a debate about where the body should be re-buried has begun. Rather than Leicester, some “think Richard should be reburied in York: The king was fond of the city and was purportedly building a chapel there before he died.” However, the University of Leicester has jurisdiction.



Today I received notice that my DNA, specifically part of my Y chromosome, had been examined once again. Years ago I submitted some DNA samples, primarily for genealogical research, from my saliva to Family Tree DNA.

All testing I have done with this company is what’s called STR. Another type of testing, abbreviated as SNP and pronounced snip, I have avoided, for numerous reasons.

Thus I was surprised to read a message that results from a “Deep Clade” test were ready. I never ordered any SNP testing. It doesn’t show up on my list of previous orders either.

It’s very odd.

Since I was never charged and am now confirmed as M253+, meaning that I carry the mutation which defines a group originating in northern Europe, called haplogroup I1 (eye-won), I am not complaining, just curious.
Apparently M253 was the only SNP tested.

I am not alone. Others were tested as well.