BigY700 and the Search for my paternal line

My Dad’s Norwegian great great grandfather, Lars Monsen, was originally from the Bergen area we had been told. He left his ship to marry a girl from Farsund and then settled in Kristiansand. My cousin Dick and I tried to find records about him, but this name was quite common in Hordaland (think Tom Smith). There were 10 candidates for our Lars in the Bergen area, so I used Y DNA testing to figure out which one he was. This is discussed in several previous blog posts (click here and here)

Kristiansand Boat Basin 2015

Sigmund, a friend in Norway, found a paternal line descendant of Ole Monsen Åstveit, my suspected 5rh grandfather. Then Sigmund sent him a Y 37 marker test from Family Tree DNA. This cousin, Einar, and my father subsequently matched at 3 steps, meaning there were three STR markers that were different. Since the common ancestors lived in the 1700s this seemed reasonable, especially after I looked at each of the markers and found them to be faster mutators (click here for that article). On the other hand, my second cousin, also in the R1b haplogroup, matches a 5th cousin of his, descended from an ancestor in the 1600s, at zero steps. Basically any match in the 0-3 range is usually recent enough for the genealogies to line up.

For Christmas this past year, I gave myself the gift of upgrading Einar’s Y STR test to the BigY700 at Family Tree DNA. I had long since upgraded my Dad and that upgrade included more STR markers. For more about the different Y tests try my article Why Y? (irresistible title!) which has links to more resources as well. This upgrade also took Einar’s STR test from 37 markers to 111. Imagine my surprise when I found that at 111 markers they still had only a 3 step difference!

However the purpose of the BigY700 is to look at SNPs rather than the STRs. The SNPs will tell you more about your deeper paternal line ancestry. It is also a good way to confirm a STR match. Another reason to do the big Y is that when you have an active project administrator, you will be able to see the bigger patterns and branches of your section of the Y tree. There are projects for specific surnames as well as for regions and haplogroups and subsets of haplogroups. You can join projects at Family Tree DNA from your dashboard by clicking Group Projects then Join a Project, as shown below.

My Dad belongs to the R1b sub branch known as R-L238 born about 2500 BCE in north central Europe, probably part of the Indo-European invasion. This branch has a facebook page as well as a project at FtDNA. Our administrator Timo, creates wonderful diagrams of how we are all related  which he posts in the Facebook group. I was surprised to see our paternal origins were actually Swedish! We belong to the Y11662 branch of L-238 as shown below

Testing Einar got 6 of Dad’s private SNPs named as he now shares them with a known cousin and also made the two of them into a group, FtDNA says this about our group “R-FTB80415’s paternal line was formed when it branched off from the ancestor of R-BY19599 and the rest of mankind around 1050 CE.”  Also FtDNA tells me that “The man who is the most recent common ancestor of this line is estimated to have been born around 1750 CE.” Good estimate, Ole lived from 1702-1764. On the various pages at Family Tree DNA – matches and block tree – you can see the SNPs shared with your closest matches. Our block tree is shown below, the box in white is Dad’s shared area with cousin Einar (known as Catherine Cousin Cooper there).

I am grateful to our wonderful project manager Timo for his lovely charts. I need to do a better job for the projects I have taken on myself! Personally I rescued a few projects many years back when they were moved to a new platform. If you know anyone interested in the following surnames have them contact me: Padilla, Baca, and Easterday aka Ostertag.


4 thoughts on “BigY700 and the Search for my paternal line

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  1. Kitty, Thanks for the encouragement to go further with Y-700. I have mine, with tens of private SNPs. I really need to talk to a couple of my 3C and 4C autosomal matches whose names match mine and get at least one to take the Y-700, to get some of those markers named. I am not that good a communicator. Can you give some tips about how to approach someone about testing Y-700. I realize I will need to pay for the test, but what is in it for the tester and how do I describe the sharing arrangement for test information? You have probably done a post on this already.

    • Send them a link to this blog post? Tell them you are researching your deeper paternal line roots and you would love them to test and if need be you will pick up some or all of the cost. And will be happy to share what you learn.
      Have you joined any relevant projects? The admins can often help

      ftDNA has a sale now through labor day (use my link please by clicking on FtDNA anywhere in the article)

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