As mentioned in my post Sneddon Surname Research pt.1 I have been awaiting my dad’s y-DNA results before continuing research on my paternal line. I bought the 67-STR y-DNA test for my dad just after Christmas and had it for about a month before it was final sent off. The results arrived on 23/03/2017 (almost a month ago) and have presented more questions than answers!
Firstly, his haplogroup:
[A haplogroup is a genetic population of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line. Y-DNA refers to the patrilineal line, therefore, my father’s father’s father’s father etc.]
This is the most common haplogroup in Europe and is carried by approximately 110 million European men (as reported in 2010). It is more common in Western Europe and, due to such, has been associated with the Neolithic Expansion. According to Wikipedia (a great source I know):
“The frequency is about 92% in Wales, 82% in Ireland, 70% in Scotland, 68% in Spain, 60% in France (76% in Normandy), about 60% in Portugal, 53% in Italy, 45% in Eastern England, 50% in Germany, 50% in the Netherlands, 42% in Iceland, and 43% in Denmark. It is as high as 95% in parts of Ireland. It is also found in some areas of North Africa, where its frequency peaks at 10% in some parts of Algeria. M269 has likewise been observed among 8% of the Herero in Namibia.“
As the name suggests, this haplogroup is defined by the presence of the M269 SNP marker.
More questions than answers:
I had expected my match list to be comprised of Sneddon’s, Snowdon’s (the name my surname originates from), Snow’s, etc., however, majority of my dad’s matches were Irwin’s (and spelling variations), some Armstrong’s, some other names, and only one Snowden. What has confused me the most is that the Snowden isn’t my top match. He’s sixth on my list, though he is at GD=1 (Genetic Distance of 1). [This is where I clarify that genetic distance ranges from an exact match to a match separated by 7 steps.] Some explanations I have considered to explain these match results are: there has been an NPE (non-paternity event), a surname change, ancestor took mother’s surname, adoption, etc.
I think an NPE is most likely the case since I have documented my paternal ancestry 8 generations (including my dad) and according to the TiP report (a comparison chart) with my dad’s top y-DNA match, our likelihood of sharing an ancestor in the past 8 generations is 98.96% (in other words pretty damn high!).
However, I am struggling to work out where the NPE is. I am very certain the first 5 generations are genuine as I have had autosomal DNA matches on the 5th generation’s maternal line. Past that I cannot be certain about. I would like to think the NPE takes place after my 8th generation since that’s where my genealogical brick wall is (so maybe there isn’t even an NPE but another explanation?). Through correspondence with one of my ‘Irwin’ matches, I have learned that his ancestors were coal miners (as were mine), which I think supports the idea of an NPE as it suggests a common neighbourhood. Furthermore, the Irwin clan originated in Scotland as does my family, which also supports our relation.
Anyway, this is where I am at with my paternal research. I have been in correspondence with various matches and joined the Clan Irwin DNA study but, it seems, the onus to solving this mystery seems to rest on my shoulders and it looks like it’s going to be a difficult road ahead.