What's the oldest common ancestor that's been confirmed with Y-dna?

+11 votes
What's the oldest common ancestor that's been confirmed with Y-dna? And what is the oldest potential ancestor that could be confirmed? So a person on wikitree that has to straight documented male lines to current people?
in The Tree House by Raf Ceustermans G2G1 (1.5k points)

4 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer

The earliest direct paternal line ancestor who has been confirmed with Y-DNA (and can be independently verified) in WikiTree is http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Beardsley-17 (b. c1603).  The ancestral lines of his Y-DNA tested descendants back to him are confirmed by the sufficiently matching Y haplotypes (64 out of 67 markers) of http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Beardsley-386 and http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Beardsley-880 who are 9th cousins once removed http://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:Relationship&action=calculate&person1_name=Beardsley-880&person2_name=Beardsley-386

This record can easily be surpassed if more surname DNA project participants would join WikiTree.

The most number of generations in a direct paternal line which has been Y-DNA tested is currently 35.  See http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Normandie-54  and the third heading under DNA at http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:WikiTree_Tops#DNA

The Stewart/Stuart line is more extensive but they keep removing their Y-STR information!  The only remaining result is from a Stewart who is 23andMe tester (with only haplogroup information) http://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:DNATests&u=9874698&id=11

I believe Y-DNA testers for extensive direct paternal lines like this will also need next generation sequencing such as Big Y or Y-Elite because at 35 generations 5% of Y-STR testers can expect to match 62 out of 67 markers, 13% of testers are expected to match about 58 out of 67 markers and 9.4% of testers are expected to match about 54 (or less) out of 67 markers.

by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (727k points)
selected by Ian Mclean
Thanks for the great information, Peter, and for the recommendations.
I think we can safely assume Rollo has no living y-descendants with paper trails.  The Prowse line doesn't stand up.

The Stewarts go back to Alan fitz Flaald, allegedly.  Beyond that, there's only a junkheap.  I disconnected it once, but it got reconnected.

But half the porridge in Scotland is made of Stewart wild oats.  You can hook them all up any which way and the DNA will "confirm" it.  Secure paper trail, different matter.  A line of Confident flags seems more worthy of being alerted than a y-DNA test.

Alan fitz Flaald had another son, ancestor of the FitzAlans.  They fizzle out around 1500.  Digging one of them up would be very interesting.

In American family fantasy land, every immigrant called Allen or anything a bit like Allen was a FitzAlan who dropped the Fitz.  Hmm.
Hello RJ,

What are the oldest direct paternal lines that you are confident about?

Thanks and sincerely,
Good question.  With primogeniture the usual fate of a rich family is that the money descends through a daughter sooner or later, and the surname is carried on by unrecorded landless younger sons of younger sons.  So you end up with a lot of people with the name but no paper trail.  Until one of them emigrates, and then the ancestry miraculously appears to the writer of the family book.

But there are some families that have defied nature so far.  The trick with most of them would be to trace the living descendants - if there's no immigrant, they aren't usually on WikiTree.

1.  The Somersets must be clear winners on paper trail - an unimpeachable line back to the husband of the heiress of Anjou.  Of course we can't be confident against NPEs.

2.  Warrens - it's complicated

3.  MacDonalds.  It's generally accepted that they go back to GilleBride.  They have a big DNA project that I haven't seen, but their expert is on WikiTree.  The clan head has a trail presumably.

4.  [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_family Berkeleys].  MedLands has citations back to Ealdnoth the Staller, d 1068.  WikiTree takes the line back into horned-helmet territory.  The last Earl died in 1942.  Dunno who's still living.

Major cadet branch, at Beverstone, MRCA around 1350.  This descended to a John, who I've just connected up.  He went bust and sold up around 1600, then emigrated to Virginia and got killed by Indians.  He left a son in Virginia, Maurice Berkeley-178.  Living y-descendants aren't ruled out.  Maurice had a bunch of brothers who nobody seems interested in.

5.  There was another Berkeley family, of Dursley, going back to the Conquest ish and presumably the ancestors of the Scottish Barclays.

6.  Harcourts.  MedLands goes back to Torf the great-great-grandfather of Ivo, about 1000.  WikiTree squeezes in a couple of extra generations and then goes all the way back to Gandalf and Frodo.  Line descends to Harcourt-396 d 1565 who had 6 sons, but WikiTree only follows the daughter, down to a gateway immigrant.

7.  Fiennes.  Back to the time of the Conquest on MedLands, or 7 generations earlier on WikiTree.  MedLands doesn't have the crucial Giles, but sources are said to exist.  Not all modern Fienneses are really Fienneses, but some may be.

8.  Disappointing near miss, by only about 40 years - the last Earl Fitzwilliam had a straightforward descent from Ketelborn [[UNKNOWN-101801]], b. bef 1100.  But the titles are now extinct, which means there's no male line from the 1st Baron.  All the early Yorkshire landed branches died out.  There are still Fitzwilliams on the electoral roll.  However, there was an Irish Fitzwilliam family, not known to be related, and now we may never know.

9.  Still going strong, with a title that should be extinct but isn't, just goes to show, the Talbot Earls of Shrewsbury.   MedLands doesn't take them further back than Richard [[Talbot-541]] d abt 1175.  The recent earls aren't on WikiTree, but I'll add them.  Apparently most of the earls have disappeared from the crypt.  Make what you like of that.  Doubt if they'll get tested in case they turn out to be reptilians.  Supposedly no male-line descendants of the 1st Earl, but there are lots of Talbots around.
Off the top of my head, some other long-lived heiress-free families with known early origins, worth checking for living descendants as the names are common enough - Fitzgerald, Burke, Mainwaring, Montfort, Graham, Percy (Kildale cadet branch - the line to the earls had an heiress), Neville of Raby, Harrington, Clifford, Marshall, Bruce (English branches), Poyntz, Mohaut/Maude,  etc.

A lot of questions could be answered by a Leicester-style approach - trace the key testees, locate them, pay for the tests.  But the key testees are needles in haystacks and just waiting for them to turn up won't get far.  And we haven't got forever - Michael Ibsen's kids wouldn't be any use.
+4 votes
Peter Roberts probably has that info:

by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)
+4 votes

Hi Raf,  My oldest triangulated common yDNA forefather, supported by baptism records in Stratford Upon Avon, is Christopher Smith.  I am sure there are earlier common yDNA forefathers, however.  

by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (660k points)
+1 vote

My oldest is Robert Ellis. Confirmed through two of his sons, James and Robert with paper trail to match from parish registers.

by Dawn Ellis G2G6 Pilot (105k points)

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