Holland Family DNA Project


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March 2004

In the News: Family Tree DNA Announcements

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce that we have begun delivering 37
Marker results. These additional Markers may help resolve situations
which are not clear at 25 Markers, and will provide additional

If you are in a Surname Project, the test could help identify branches, or
resolve situations where the genetic distance is unclear. If you have
matches with other Surnames, the 37 Marker test is recommended. To order
an upgrade to 37 Markers, log into FamilyTreeDNA.com with your kit and
password, and click on the selection at the top of your Personal Page
labeled "Order Tests".

Family Tree DNA was on the road again in January, at the Gentech 2004 show
in St. Louis. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of our customers
who stopped by our booth, as well as those interested in DNA testing for

If you want to find out if a Surname Project has been established for your
Surname, you can search at:


If a Surname Project hasn't been established yet, consider becoming a
Group Administrator yourself. Family Tree DNA provides a suite of Group
Administrator Tools to assist you, as well as email and telephone

Haplogroups: What Are They And Why Are They Important?

By now we know that a 12 or 25 marker Y-DNA signature is called a
Haplotype, and when we add other closely linked haplotypes together they
ultimately form a Haplogroup…but what is a Haplogroup and why is it

Haplogroups represent the branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens. The
branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens stitch together and every male in the
world can be located on one branch or another by a test that looks for a
rare mutation on the Y chromosome. The nickname for the testing procedure
is SNP and it is pronounced as it appears.

Anthropologists follow SNP’s to determine ancient migratory patterns and
deep ancestral dating when trying to establish when, for example, Western
Europe was first settled, generally in conjunction with other disciplines,
like field Archeology.

I know many of you who have corresponded with me think I only answer
emails and don’t have time to read…well my book reading level isn’t at an
all time high, but recently I had the opportunity to view the video and
read the book: The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells.

Frankly the video was very good and the book was even better. In the book
Wells does a nice job explaining concepts such as genetic drift and Ockham
’s Razor (from William of Ockham in the fourteenth century). His
explanations of how mutations develop and are then passed on to subsequent
generations were very easy to follow, and in fact I would have been quite
satisfied had he not taken this one step further and explained this all by
following SNP’s around the globe as Homo Sapiens emerged from Africa. By
providing an estimate of the most likely time (and ranges) for the splits
in the tree of Homo Sapien he’s helped colorize pre-history for us
non-science majors.

It you want to know more about our ‘deep ancestry’ view the video , but if
you want to gain a good appreciation for the splitting into branches of
the tree of Homo Sapiens, (seen here:
http://www.ftdna.com/haplotree.html ) read the book! Both can be found at

Bennett Greenspan CEO and Founder, Family Tree DNA

Understanding Your Results: The Value of Multi-Copy Markers

Several of the markers used in the Y DNA tests at Family Tree DNA are
called 'multi-copy' markers. A multi-copy marker is one where 2 or more
copies of the marker exists at different locations on the Y chromosome.
The names of a multi-copy markers include small letters, such as a or b,
following the marker’s DYS name.

When selecting the markers for our various tests, Family Tree DNA included
1 or 2 multi-copy markers in each set of markers, corresponding to the
three Y DNA tests currently available. The 12 marker Y DNA test has 1
multi-copy marker. The upgrade to 25 Markers has 2 multi-copy markers,
and the upgrade to 37 markers also has 2 multi-copy markers. Inclusion of
these multi-copy markers was very important, based on both scientific
attributes of the Marker as well as the genealogical utility.

Test Multi-Copy Markers
==== ==================

12 Marker 385a, 385b
25 Marker Upgrade 459a, 459b and 464a, 464b, 464c, 464d
37 Marker Upgrade YCA II a, YCA II b and CDY a, CDY b

For markers to have value to genealogical research, they must change
slowly, but not so slowly that they can't differentiate lineage, but not
change so quickly that closely related persons don't match. This criteria
for markers for genealogical purposes is difficult to fulfil. Multi-copy
markers meet this selection criteria and are excellent for genealogical
purposes. If you are an you'll not want to use multi-copy markers because
you don't actually know which copy is “a” and which is “b” but this is
far less important for shallow time depth studies used by genealogists.

Multi-copy markers appear to change more rapidly because with 2 copies
(for example) you have twice the opportunity to see a change, which we
genealogists see as a break in a lineage. Markers which change more
rapidly are valuable to genealogical applications of DNA testing, to
differentiate lines or branches. Markers are valuable in differentiating
unrelated individuals and should show the same signs of a much older split
in the lineage, but the use of multi-copy markers is especially helpful
for identifying breaks within families.

Marker DYS464 appears to be a rapidly changing Y chromosome marker and is
a multi-copy marker. DYS464 occurs at least four times near the center of
the Y-chromosome. The first four copies are called: DYS464a, DYS464b,
DYS464c, DYS464d. Marker DYS464 is also known to occur more than four
times, generally in African lineages of Haplogroup E. Additional copies
of DYS464 are called: DYS464e, DYS464f, and so forth. When more than four
copies of DYS464 are found in a DNA sample, the results for all the copies
are provided on your personal page at the Family Tree DNA web site.
DYS464 has an observed range between 9 to 20 inclusive.

When testing a random sample of 679 males for DYS464, scientists have
found that the result 15,15,17,17 occurred in 10.6% of those tested,
15,15,16,17 occurred in 7.5% of the samples, and all the other results
occurred less than 5% of the time, with over half these results only
occurring once. This illustrates that Marker DYS464 is valuable in
differentiating unrelated persons or splits in branches that have failed
to show variation with other markers in the panel. In fact DYS 464 alone
has a greater ability to split then the first 12 markers combined.

The results for a multi-copy marker are reported in ascending order. For
example, here are some results for DYS464:
11 11 14 16
12 14 15 16

Since the results are reported in ascending order for multi-copy markers,
this must be taken into account when comparing the results of the Markers
between individuals. For example, consider the following results:

Person 1: 15 15 17 17
Person 2: 13 13 15 17

At a glance, you may interpret these results has having 3 differences.
The correct interpretation is 2 differences. To correctly interpret the
results for this multi-copy marker, the results that match are not
counted as differences. The 15 in the first person above matches a 15 in
the second person, so the 15 is not counted as a difference, even though
the two 15's do not line up in the display of the results. A 17 from the
first example matches the 17 in the second person. The two 13's in the
second person do not have a match in the first example, so in comparing
these two results, the differences are 2.

Since multi-copy markers change more rapidly, these markers are an
excellent tool to identify branches or lines.

From a genealogical perspective, markers must change, but not too rapidly,
as well as be stable, but not too stable. Multi-copy markers are very
valuable, since they change more rapidly. By selecting a mix of markers
that change slowly and therefore are relatively stable, as well as more
rapidly changing single and multi-copy markers, Family Tree DNA has
attempted to provide the best selection of markers for genealogical
purposes. Multi-copy markers are a very important component of the m
marker mix, they do require some understanding, but our clients have
consistently demonstrated themselves able to understand concepts that the
Anthropological community doubted a few years ago!

Understanding Your Results: mtDNA Matches

Both males and females inherit mtDNA, and only females pass on mtDNA. Your
mtDNA represents your direct female line, which would be your mother, her
mother, and so forth. Therefore, both males and females can take the mtDNA
test, to learn about their direct female line. Your mtDNA can be traced
back thousands or 10's of thousands of years to a specific Haplogroup.
Your mtDNA Haplogroup defines which of these females was your very distant
ancestor, popularly known as Daughter of Eve or Clan Mother.

There are two mtDNA tests available from Family Tree DNA:
mtDNA Plus

The test called mtDNA will test one region of mtDNA providing the results
for this region, and identifying your Haplogroup. The mtDNA Plus test
includes the mtDNA test, and also tests a second region of mtDNA. These
regions of mtDNA tested are called HVR-1 and HVR-2. HVR stands for Hyper
Variable Region, and is known interchangeable as Hyper Variable Segment,
or HVS.

HRV1 and HVR2 are known as the 'control region' are areas of mtDNA that
contain no personal information (i.e. HVR-1 and 2 are not part of the
'coding region') and have the fastest rate of change, or mutation, of any
region in mtDNA. That is why the Anthropological community has focused on
them for population genetics.

Even though HRV1 and HVR2 provide the fastest mutation rates for mtDNA,
the rate of change is much slower than the Markers tested on Y DNA. The
mtDNA test is often called an anthropology test, since mtDNA mutates very
slowly, much more slowly than the locations tested on the Y chromosome.
For this reason, only exact matches are provided when you click the "mtDNA
Matches" selection on your Personal Pages at Family Tree DNA. Simple put
miss matches on mtDNA have no potential for genealogical value.

Since mtDNA mutates very slowly, if you are interested in finding matches
to others, or using mtDNA for genealogy purposes, it is important to take
the mtDNAPlus test. If you have already taken the mtDNA test (formerly
known as Maternal Match), you can upgrade to the mtDNA Plus test. The
addition of testing the second mtDNA region, HVR-2, will shorten the
lengthy time frame of any matches. If you have taken the mtDNA test, you
can easily upgrade to the DNAPlus test. On your Personal Page at Family
Tree DNA, click on the link 'Order Tests'.

If you only take the mtDNA test, those who you match randomly are most
likely not related in any genealogical time frame. If you are looking to
find others who are related in a genealogical time frame, then it is
essential to take the mtDNA Plus test.

The chart below shows the time frame of the common ancestor for a random

Test Time frame of common ancestor for a match
============= ===========================================
mtDNA 50% of the time, 52 generations or less
mtDNAPlus 50% of the time, 28 generations or less

These time frames are for random matches. When you are utilizing mtDNA
testing for genealogical purposes, you have identified the ancestors or
potential ancestors, so the time frames shown above are not relevant.

The results for a mtDNA test tell you about your most distant female
ancestor, who might be popularly known as a Clan Mother. You can take a
mtDNA test to learn about your direct female line. If you are at all
interested in finding genealogically relevant mtDNA matches, it is
important to take the mtDNA Plus test.

For more information about mtDNA testing, see the last issue of Facts &


To order a mtDNA test, click on the link below:


Understanding Your Results: Y DNA

If you are among the first persons to take a Y DNA test for your surname,
often you will not have any matches. This may be disappointing, though it
is only a matter of time until you have a match. When you don't have any
matches, the best approach is to find some other males with your surname
to test. To validate your lineage, it is recommended that you test the
most distant cousin in your family tree. His result should match, or be
an extremely close match, to your result. This step of testing another
male in your family tree will scientifically validate your result.

On the other hand, you may have a lot of matches with other surnames,
especially if you are Haplogroup R1b, and you are testing only 12 Markers.

It is very tempting to pursue these matches with other surnames, in the
hope of finding a lost relative from the family tree. Matches with other
surnames are most likely not relevant in a genealogical time frame.

If we consider for a moment: how many males had your Y chromosome result,
or a close result, in the 1300's, when surnames were being adopted. This
figure could be in the hundreds, if not in the thousands. Each of these
males, or small groups of males in a family unit at the time, probably
adopted a different surname. These males were probably also spread out

If we take this group of males who adopted hundreds of surnames in the
1300's, and then consider that each surname probably took on multiple
forms through the centuries until the 1900's, plus factor in the number of
possible male descendents today - we have a very large number of surnames
that could share a Y DNA result.

Most people in England adopted surnames by 1400, which is a little over
600 years ago. In a time frame of 600 years, depending on the figure used
for years per generation, we would expect between 20 to 24 generations to
have occurred, at 30 years per generation or at 25 years per generation.
The current mutation rate estimated for the Y DNA Markers by the
scientists is 1 mutation every 500 generations per Marker. For a 25
Marker test, we would expect 1 or maybe 2 mutations if two people were
related in the 1400's, in the time since surnames were adopted.

Most likely a match with another surname is the result of being related
before a genealogical time frame, or as a result of convergence.
Convergence is where Y DNA results mutate over time, and as a result of
changes, these two results now overlap.

Depending on your ancestral country, and the surviving records, your
family tree may be traced back to the 1800's, 1700's, or 1600's, and for a
few rare family trees, to a time well before then. If a 25/25 match with
another surname is a result of a family taking in an orphan in 1425 - you
will probably never find the paper record, if a paper record ever existed,
and pursuing the match takes valuable time away from traditional family
history research.

As more people take a Y DNA test, you will eventually have matches with
other surnames. For a 12 Marker test, the total range of generations for
relatedness is 76.9, which is almost 2000 years, and well before the
adoption of surnames. Those who belong to Haplogroup R1b will have many
matches with other surnames, in fact dramatic population expansion within
Haplogroup R1b lead our science team to clearly see the need to expand our
original test from 12 to 25 markers.

We recommend not pursuing matches with other surnames, unless there is
some genealogical evidence to support such a match. For those interested
in pursing the match, an upgrade to 37 Markers is recommended. Even at 37
Markers, you may have matches with other surnames, especially for
Haplogroup R1b, and as a result of convergence. In rare cases, the match
could indicate an unknown variant of the surname.

DNA testing is a tool to be used with your family history research. DNA
testing provides additional information which is evaluated in conjunction
with your family history research. If you have researched your family
tree to the mid 1800's, pursuing a match with another surname that might
have occurred from 1400 to 1800 is probably not the best investment of

Matches with other surnames can have value for those who are not R1b, and
whose ancestors have migrated and they are trying to identify the county
of origin in the ancestral homeland. People frequently moved in the past,
though often the distances were not very far per generation. Therefore, a
cluster of your Y Chromosome and close matches would exist in the
ancestral county. For those whom you match with another surname, these
matches can often be used to identify the ancestral county. If you are
able to find enough matches who know their ancestral county, and one
county is reported by a high percentage of matches or close matches with
other surnames, you would have a clue as to the ancestral county.

It is very tempting to pursue matches with other surnames, in the hope of
finding a lost relative from the family tree. Matches with other surnames
are most likely not relevant in a genealogical time frame.

Y DNA Surname Projects: Public or Private

Only customers who have signed a Release Form participate in matching at
Family Tree DNA. For those who belong to a Surname Project, the
Public/Private setting is very important. The Public/Private setting only
applies to Y DNA Surname Projects, and does not apply to those who do
"not" belong to a Surname Project.

The Public/Private setting determines whether the search for Y DNA matches
will only look for matches within the Surname Project or will look for
matches in the whole Family Tree DNA customer database of those set to

For those who have matches with other surnames, a setting of Private will
eliminate these matches, since the Y DNA match selection will only look in
the Surname Project for matches.

The default setting for Surname Project members is Private. A setting of
Private is recommended for participants with a 12 marker result and those
who belong to the Haplogroup R1b. Haplogroup R1b is the most common
Haplogroup in European populations. Therefore, those participants who
belong to Haplogroup R1b and those who have tested only 12 markers will
tend to get many matches with other surnames, which are not relevant. For
this reason, it is recommended that the participants be set to Private
until they upgrade to 25 Markers or 37 Markers.

The Public/Private setting is set for each participant. A Surname Project
could have multiple Lines of a surname, who are in different Haplogroups,
and some have matches with other surnames and some don't. Some members of
the Surname Project could be set to Private, and others to Public.

For a detailed explanation of the Public/Private setting, please see the
following issues of Facts & Genes:



Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy

In each issue of the Newsletter, we look at what Genetic Genealogy will do
for your Family History research. This article is a continuation of the
topic, with situations, called "Case Studies", followed by a
recommendation. The objective of the case studies is to present different
situations you may encounter in your family history research, and how DNA
testing can be applied.

Case Study
I recently had my Y DNA testing done. Is it possible to use those results
to determine if my DNA is Native American?


Your Y DNA test results tell you about your direct male ancestor, which
would be your father, his father, and so forth. If your direct male
ancestor was Native American, then his Haplogroup would show that he was
Native American. The Haplogroup is estimated from the first 12 Markers
from the Y DNA test. Click on the selection Haplogroup, on your Personal
Page at Family Tree DNA. If your estimated Haplogroup is Q or especially
Q3, your direct male ancestor was Native American. Haplogroup C3 is also
found in Native American populations but at lower frequencies. A
Haplogroup test can be taken to confirm the Haplogroup prediction.

Spot Light: Braswell Surname Project

The Braswell Surname Project was started a year ago, in January 2003, and
includes the variants Bracewell, and any surname starting with Brac, Bras,
or Braz, which rhymes with "dazzle". Examples of these variants are:
Brassil, Brazil, and Brazel. The variants can also be described as any
Soundex B-624 that rhymes with "dazzle".

The Braswell Surname Project now has 42 members. Most of the participants
have selected the 25 Marker test, and some participants have begun
receiving their 37 Marker upgrades.

Several objectives have been achieved by the Surname Project, including
confirming variant surnames and identifying DNA Lines. One group of 16
participants with the surnames Bracewell, Brazil, Brazell, Braswell all
match or are a close match, and these results form one DNA Line. This
group claims descent from a Virginia vicar, Rev. Robert Bracewell
(1611-1668). Another group of 4 Braswell participants had a different
result, and all match each other 25/25, to form another DNA Line. To date,
five(5) DNA Lines have been identified, leaving a group of participants
who don't have any matches yet.

The Surname Project is actively recruiting participants.

Copyright 2004, Family Tree DNA "Facts & Genes"   http://www.familytreeDNA.com/facts_genes.asp

The address to join our Holland family DNA Project is


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Holland Family History and Family Tree:  Holland Family Resource Center
Diana Holland Faust 
Published  10 June 1996   This page added 6 November 2003   Last updated 10 March 2014