The direct male line descendant of Ole Monsen Titland (1702-1764) is a Y-chromosome DNA 34/37 match to my Dad, who we thought was also a descendant of Ole. Now we know he is!
Thank you so much cousin Sigmund for finding a distant cousin in direct paternal descent to test.
This story was written up a few months back in a post here but we were waiting on the DNA Y-chromosome STR test to prove our theory. Now it is proven.
Here are the deeper details of the three markers that do not match:
Due to DNA testing, in a round about way, we have probably solved the brick wall of our ancestor Lars Monsen who was born in the Bergen area and lived in Kristiansand, Norway. His great-grandson Lauritz (later Lawrence Josiah Munson), my grandfather, came to Brooklyn, NY, with his family when he was six. That story is posted on this page about the Monsens at my family history site.
Lars Monsen had been our brick wall for a long time since it is a common name in the Bergen area although not, we thought, in southern Norway. Well it turns out there really were two men named Lars Monsen in Kristiansand at that time. One was Lars Monsen Suldahl (thus from Suldahl) and ours was Lars Monsen or Mognsen Aastvedt from Eidsvaag (just north of Bergen)
Here is the story. Dad’s Y DNA matched almost 6000 people at 12 markers on the family tree DNA site. So I used the Ysearch site to look for only Bergen area matches. I contacted those two people and heard back from one. Next we both upgraded to 37 markers to see if we still matched. In the meantime our match, Sigmund, posted some queries in the best Norwegian forums for Bergen and Kristiansand areas and the local historian/genealogy experts weighed in and found a likely candidate for our Lars. Sigmund now found us a male line descendant from Lar’s grandad and sent him a Y DNA test kit! [UPDATE: they matched, see http://blog.kittycooper.com/2013/05/its-a-match-lars-monsens-ancestors-are-found/ }
Father’s day is always an occasion for the DNA testing companies to offer discounts on their kits and this year is no different. Give Dad a DNA kit is the message. Why should you? Well his autosomal DNA might find cousins you had lost track of, discover ethnicity you were curious about, or solve an unknown parent mystery. After all, he is one generation closer to your ancestors. I tested my late father long ago and am grateful to have that information. Click here for my evaluations of the different autosomal testing companies.
Dad and I in about 1953 (he was in the Air Force)
Only men have a Y chromosome and there are tests for just the Y. Those tests can give you information about your surname and your deep father line ancestry. Family Tree DNA is the place to test just the Y although both LivingDNA and 23andme will give you a high level Y haplogroup, plus there are tools to determine the haplogroup from an AncestryDNA or MyHeritage test (discussed at the end of this post).
If you know what a Y haplogroup is you can skip this paragraph … The 23rd pair of chromosomes is an XX for a woman and an XY for a man. The problem or benefit is that there is no second Y for that Y to recombine with. Thus unlike the other 22 chromosomes a man’s parents give him, the Y is unchanged from his Dad’s and his Dad’s and his Dad’s and so on, except for mutations. Those little changes accumulate over thousands of years and allow scientists to catalog the Y and trace the migration of mankind around the globe. Each set of Y mutations is assigned to a haplogroup, and subgroup, which can tell you where your ancestors came from thousands of years back. Here is the latest diagram from the
wikipedia article on Y
Y haplogroup world expansion – start at the big Y in Africa (A was the first haplogroup) -image from wikipedia by Maulucioni [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
If you are of European origin then click here for the Eupedia articles on each haplogroup
The new Y tree released this past week by Family Tree DNA has dropped all those horrible long names like R1b1b1a1 and replaced them with the main Y haplogroup followed by the terminal SNP. This had long been suggested as a better nomenclature. The downside is that you have to look at a chart to see how an R-P311 might be related to an R-P312 but it is worth it for the simplification of the name. Although I think we R1b’s are used to being different from the R1a’s and I would prefer that we were R1b-P312
The new Y tree combines the research of Family Tree DNA and the Genographic project. The press release and its highlights are published on Emily Aulicino’s blog:
and Debbie Kennett’s blog goes into deeper details:
But what does this mean for us R1b Munsons? Are we Scottish or Germanic? Where did our earliest known paternal line ancestor, Mons Knutson Titland 1665-1725 , who farmed a little north of Bergen, come from? Does our Y DNA tell us?
Some of my cousins and friends have tested at 23andme or familytreeDNA, due to my urging, and now they are asking me what to do next. I dedicate this post to them.
Autosomal DNA testing will not not magically find your ancestors. You will need to work at it and may have very little success if not enough of your known and unknown relatives have tested. It will give you many clues and hints about where your ancestors were from. Be sure to use some of the admix tools at GEDmatch.com on your results if that interests you, see my post on GEDmatch.
I suggest that if you are not familiar with DNA or DNA testing that you read my DNA basics page and if you have tested at 23andme also read my post on 23andme basics.
Assuming that you all do not want to spend the kind of time on this that I do (an hour or two most days for the last year); here is how to get the most for the least time input.
First you need to understand that an autosomal DNA test is nowhere near as definitive as a Y chromosome test, it can show you that you are related because you share runs of identical SNPs (referred to as segment matches from here on) with someone but not exactly how or even how close. After the 2nd cousin level the amount you will share with a relative gets more and more random. I have a few 9th cousins I share a one segment match with who like me have extensive trees and that is the closest match we have found. ISOGG has published the expected ranges of cMs and number of segments on their wiki that relatives share at different levels of relationship.
So what was your objective taking the DNA test? If it was just to satisfy your curiosity then my post on 23andme basics should answer your questions. If finding new relatives is of interest then read on.