Surnames/tags: athey, athy, athon, atha athee, athan, athay whitfield, prince, richardson
The Athey surname project has four main goals:
1. To obtain test results from American male Atheys who descend from each of the probable sons and grandsons of the immigrant, Capt. George Athy, who came to Maryland in about 1661 from Galway, Ireland. These results can show that such descendants are closely related, thereby confirming the family history research.
2. To help participants in the project who match the Capt George Athy Y profile to discover just how they are related to Capt. George. Genetics alone will probably not suffice for this objective.
3. To discover genetic markers that may serve to “label” the descendants of some early Atheys.
4. To identify other surnames that match the Athey cluster and characterize the sub-haplogroup that we all belong to.
We are fortunate to have Thomas Whitfield Athey III (aka Whit) as the project administrator. Whit is a VIP in the DNA world. He created the Y-chromosome haplogroup predictor, which you can find and use here. The co-administrator is Darlene Athey Hill.
Haplogroup G2a occurs in western Europe at less than 2% frequency. Haplogroup G2a-PF3359 is much more rare. Haplogroup G2a-FGC52601(Capt. George Athy's) is rarer still.
Haplogroup G2a-FGC52601 is the haplogroup for Capt. George Athy descendants and others that are positive for the SNP FGC52601 and equivalents. Information on the project and a link to join can be found here: http://www.hprg.com/G2aFGC52601/
Haplogroup G2a-FGC52601 is one of two subgroups of G2a-F1193. G2a-F1193 is the major subgroup under Haplogroup G2a-PF3359:
o o o o o o G2a2b2b, PF3359 plus 28 other SNPs
o o o o o o o G2a2b2b1, F1193, plus two other SNPs
o o o o o o o o G2a2b2b1a F872, plus 13 other SNPs
o o o o o o o o G2a2b2b1b, FGC52601, plus 7 other SNPs (We Are Here)
o o o o o o o G2a2b2b2, PH488, plus 15 other SNPs
Prior to the above breakdown, the Capt. George cluster was a member of Haplogroup G2a. More recent discoveries brought considerable resolution to the G phylogenetic tree. Reflecting the genetic distance of our Y-STR results, we had our own small branch on the tree, which in the diagram below is called Haplogroup G2a3b2, which is defined by the SNP L177 (discovered at FTDNA in July 2009).
The last few newsletters about the project are accessible at the following links:
- June 2021: See below
- June 2020: See below
- Sept. 2018: Template:Link to be added
- April 2018: http://www.hprg.com/athey/Newsletter17.pdf
- July 2017: http://www.hprg.com/athey/Newsletter16.pdf
June 2021 New Sequencing Results Reported New sequencing results have been reported by Family Tree DNA for two of our new participants. The new participants have surnames not previously seen in the project—Johnson and App. However, the Johnson name is known to be an adopted one, so we don’t know about his early ancestry. The Johnson participant is ancestral (negative) for the SNP FGC52622 like our Prince participant, while the App participant is derived (positive). That means that the Johnson participant’s ancestral line probably represents an independent immigration into England (probably from France). The App participant could possibly be an offshoot of the Whitfield or Richardson lines within England, but it could also be from an independent immigrant. Previously, we had found that within the project the Prince line had split off first, because all the participants except Prince had been found positive (derived) for the SNP, FGC52622. Now we must add the Johnson line to that of Prince as an early split from the rest of us.
These latest results are consistent with the idea that our G2a-FGC52601 Y line was established in what is now northwestern and western France by the latter part of the first millennium CE. The SNP FGC52622 likely occurred there about 1500 years ago. Probably, our FGC52601 line had been there much longer. There is a good probability that our line came to western Europe with the Bronze Age migration of steppe people from north of the Black Sea.
The “Kurgan Hypothesis” is the widely accepted theory of the introduction of the Indo-European language into Europe. Starting about 4000-5000 years ago, a pastoral culture on the steppes north of the Black and Caspian seas had domesticated the horse and invented the wheeled vehicle, giving them a great technological advantage over neighboring cultures, even those that were probably more advanced in other ways (e.g., the Neolithic cultures of the Near East). This technological advantage enabled the expanding steppe people to move wherever they wanted and to impose their language and culture on areas they moved to. By 3000 years before the present, the Indo-European speakers had reached the shores of the North Sea and the English Channel. It is likely that our G2a-FGC52601 ancestors were among those arriving there, but their frequency was probably quite low. Perhaps there was just one man carrying our rare Y. Also arriving in the same groups were many men who were in Haplogroup R1bM269, which today represents more than half of west European men.
We still have no evidence at present for the existence of our subhaplogroup in England prior to the Norman invasion, so probably, our ancestral line just settled down in the Normandy region for the next couple of millennia after arrival there perhaps 3000-3500 years ago. A principal question up until now for our small sub-haplogroup has been over whether there were just a couple of immigrants from Normandy to England who brought over our Y chromosome, and that these were the ancestors of all the English/Irish family lines in our project, OR if each of our family lines with different names may go back to one of several individual immigrants. We have fairly good historical documentation for the Whitfield and Athey lines springing from separate immigrants—possibly as early as 1066 for Whitfield, and in 1204 for Athey. But, for the Richardson, Shannon, and Prince, lines, we don’t have much genealogical information, though the SNP results strongly suggest that the Prince line, and now also the Johnson participant’s line, was from an independent immigration. The data from Johnson’s sequence have helped to clarify the status of at least 15 SNPs that had been found previously only in the Athey, Shannon, deMontozon, and Richardson results (because Prince, using BigY-500, had no results for these SNPs). We now have documented 134 SNPs that appear to be common to everyone in the project who is G2a-FGC52601+. However, for about 10 of these we still don’t have a result for our Whitfield or Johnson lines, so one or more of these 10 SNPs could possibly belong to the next level down with the SNP FGC52622. SNPs occur very roughly about once per century in lines that have sequencing data from Full Genomes Corp (covering about 14.5 million locations) and about every 1.75 centuries for BigY data (covering about 9 million locations), but there are large uncertainties. On the last page I have shown the modified tree for our little area of Haplogroup G2a, and I’ve included a little of neighboring parts for context. Keep in mind that Haplogroup G2a occurs in western Europe at less than 2% frequency, and that G2a-PF3359 is much more rare. G2a-FGC52601 is rarer still. To those who find the “Block Y” presentation of the phylogenetic tree, I also show our project members in that format, with the nearby branches shown for context.
Please Join the G2a-FGC52601 Project I have appealed several times for all of our participants who were members of the old Athey project to join the new G2a-FGC52601 project, but hardly any more have done so after the first few. It is not critical that those named Athey (from the U.S.) join the new project since they should also remain in the old Athey project, and we already have several Atheys in the new project. Everyone else, please join the G2aFGC52601 project. And, please change your privacy preferences once you join so that I can easily access your data at FTDNA. I detail how to do this in the next section of this newsletter. Project Administrator Access to Data As I mentioned in the last newsletter, Family Tree DNA has decided to adopt new privacy rules to match those of the European Union. They have gone a bit overboard with this, however, and this has really crippled the ability of project administrators to run their projects efficiently and effectively. The worst problems affect new projects, where all new participants are by default given very restrictive privacy settings, settings that essentially don't allow real project participation. I really need all of the G2aFGC52601 participants in the old Athey project to join the new G2a-FGC52601 project and change their privacy settings so that I can see and manage your data. The procedure for doing this is a little involved, and FTDNA keeps changing the procedures and nomenclature, but the latest version is discussed below in detail in a separate section. It is not quite so critical that the other U.S. Atheys join the project (because I can see their data in the old project and we already have some representation of Atheys in the new project), but hopefully they will join anyway. These are the kit numbers for the U. S. Atheys who haven't joined yet: 19685, 20457, 20463, 23922, 24076, 32777, 55918, 78569, 79007, N47457, 94620, 94624, 95573, 131719, 234512, N115127, 340201, 356534, 435282, and 474625. The following are the same kit numbers for the non-Athey participants in the old project that I pointed out in the last newsletter—those who have not joined the new project (and who really need to!): N52124, 101871, 291059, 285396, 354763. Again, the procedures are detailed below. For those of you who just don't want to go through the process, there is an alternative. You can change your password to a temporary value, then provide this temporary password to me. I can take care of all the details for you, and when I finish, you can reset your password to whatever it was originally. Let me know if you want to take this approach.
Recommended SNP Testing Now that nine participants have had their Y sequenced, and we have nearly 150 new SNPs discovered, the other participants in the project can determine or confirm just where they fit into our phylogenetic tree by testing individual SNPs (e.g., at Yseq). Individual SNP tests may be purchased at Yseq for $18 each. I will show below the recommended or needed tests that apply for each surname: Athey/Atha/Athon – Not much is needed here, but the SNP FGC52664 has been found positive only in descendants of Capt George Athy so far. So, if you’re an Athey without a good paper trail back to Capt George, here is an easy way to prove your descent—just test FGC52664. The SNP Y146700 was found positive in my own sample, but negative in another U. S. Athey, meaning that it arose only somewhere along my own line. It would be nice to locate this SNP more precisely, so if you’re an Athey descendant of Thomas Athey (son of Capt George) and are so inclined, please get tested on that one. Another BigY700 for an Athey would also be nice. Whitfield – We need one or two Whitfields (other than our current BigY participant) to test one or more of the SNPs, A21080, Z46065, Z46066, Z46067, BY92029, or perhaps do the BigY-700. Webb – Recent discoveries have shown that the ancestor of our Webb participant was really an Atha whose line goes back to the Yorkshire Atha clan. Our Westbury (Atha) BigY participant is positive for A21081 and BY54274, but our Webb participant is negative (from testing at Yseq) on A21081, showing that A21081 is a “private SNP” unique to our Westbury (Atha) participant. Yseq is unable to test BY54274. BigY700 or other sequencing would be the ideal followup. Prince – The SNP E269 (along with FGC52622) was found negative in our Prince participant in the BigY results, but confirming this result with Sanger sequencing at Yseq would be helpful. The Y-Elite test at Full Genomes Corp would clarify the status of all the SNPs shown in red font in the diagram below (current price about $425). We have Y-STR matches with two non-members with surnames Hovey and Clifford, but these two individuals have not responded to multiple inquiries. Hopefully, they will join the project and participate in our exploration.
Non-G2a-FGC52601 Participants Have Joined the Project Those of you who have checked our project web site that is hosted at FTDNA may have noticed that we have several participants who have joined the project who are from the Middle East and North Africa. None of these are actually in our subhaplogroup (G2a-FGC52601). Most of them are in the subhaplogroup that is the only brother branch to the PF3359 branch, namely the branch defined by P303. Such participants are welcome to join and follow the project, but I won’t be directly addressing any issues related to the P303 branch. The type of participant we would really like to have show up and join would be one who is derived (positive) for just a few of our 134 common SNPs, and ancestral (negative) for the others. This might help locate the origin of our subhaplogroup 12,000 years ago.
Phylogenetic Chart for our SubHaplogroup On the next page I have drawn an updated phylogenetic chart showing the structure of our branch. For those who prefer the “Block Y Tree” format, I have also added below a diagram showing the Block Y Tree for our project, also including closely related branches (the three left-most columns). Note that many SNPs in both diagrams are shown only by location (Build 38)—they have not yet been named. We have no idea at present which of the 134 SNPs defining our G2a-FGC52601 occurred first (or last). The choice of FGC52601 as the “label” for our branch was arbitrary (and FTDNA has chosen a different SNP, Z31423). A branch defined by 134 SNPs means that our branch must have originated about 12,000 years ago! Within our project we have a major sub-branch defined by FGC52622 and E679. This subbranch must have originated in France about 1500 years ago (plus or minus a few centuries).
June 2020: New sequencing results have been reported by Full Genomes Corp. for one of our newer participants. This one is from our participant surnamed de Montozon, who we believe has a patrilineal line that goes back directly to France. The name is well known today in Western France and the mayors of a few towns have that name. There is also a village named Montozon near Paris. A line going back directly to France would be separated from the rest of the project participants by at least 1000 years. Previously, we had found that within the project the Prince line had split off first, because all the participants except Prince are positive (derived) for the SNP, FGC52622. I had assumed that probably the de Montozon line would be negative for FGC52622 also, and would probably represent the earliest line to split from the others, but in a surprise, deMontozon is positive for FGC52622. That means that the Prince line is still our earliest branch off our main line. It also means that FGC52622 must have occurred in France over 1100 years ago, because our Whitfield line, which was already positive for FGC52622 when it left Normandy for England, is believed to have come to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. The other lines leading to the Athey, Richardson, and Shannon lines, necessarily must have already been positive for this SNP, so it must have occurred several decades or centuries prior to 1066.
These latest results show that our G2a-FGC52601 Y line was established in what is now northwestern and western France by the latter part of the first millennium CE. Probably, it had been there much longer. There is a good probability that our line came to western Europe with the Bronze Age migration of steppe people from north of the Black Sea. The “Kurgan Hypothesis” is the widely accepted theory of the introduction of the Indo-European language into Europe. Starting about 4000-5000 years ago, a pastoral culture on the steppes north of the Black and Caspian seas had domesticated the horse and invented the wheeled vehicle, giving them a great technological advantage over neighboring cultures, even those that were probably more advanced in other ways (e.g., the Neolithic cultures of the Near East). This technological advantage enabled the expanding steppe people to move wherever they wanted and to impose their language and culture on areas they moved to. By 3000 years before the present, the Indo-European speakers had reached the shores of the North Sea and the English Channel. It is likely that our G2a-FGC52601 ancestors were among those arriving there, but their frequency was probably quite low. Perhaps there was just one man carrying our rare Y. Also arriving in the same groups were many men who were in Haplogroup R1bM263, which today represents more than half of west European men.
We have no evidence at present for the existence of our subhaplogroup in England prior to the Norman invasion, so probably, our ancestral line just settled down in the Normandy region for the next couple of millenia after arrival there perhaps 3000 years ago. We know for sure that by the late 12th century, one of our lines (Athey, and maybe de Montozon) was located in the valley of the Cher River southeast of Tours, certainly in the village of Athee sur Cher in the person of Girard de Athee, but also in the nearby villages of Cigogne, and Chanceaux, if Girard’s nephews from those places who came to England with him, were his brother’s sons, as seems likely. Curiously, another village in the area was named Montbason. Could there be a relationship to the name de Montozon? There was another village near Paris named Montozon. A principal question up until now for our small sub-haplogroup has been over whether there were just a couple of immigrants from Normandy to England who brought over our Y chromosome, and that these were the ancestors of all the English/Irish family lines in our project, OR if each of our family lines with different names may go back to one of several individual immigrants. We have fairly good historical documentation for the Whitfield and Athey lines springing from separate immigrants—possibly as early as 1066 for Whitfield, and in 1204 for Athey. But, for the Richardson, Shannon, and Prince, lines, we don’t have much information, though the SNP results strongly suggest that the Prince line was from an independent immigration. Our Harley participant believes that his line was from a 19th century immigrant from France to England. It originally seemed possible that the lineage of our Prince participant might have branched off from an existing Norman line already in England, but the results from the Prince BigY sequencing suggest otherwise. His results show that he is negative for the SNP FGC52622, while all the other lines from the UK and Ireland are positive. This means that the man in whom FGC52622 first occurred was the direct ancestor of the Whitfield, Athey, Richardson, and Shannon lines, but not the Prince line. Therefore, Prince was a separate lineage prior to the time of the splitting of the Athey and Whitfield lines, and Prince has to be from a separate immigrant, presumably from Normandy.
The deMontozon data have helped to clarify the status of a couple of dozen SNPs that had been found previously only in the Athey and Shannon results (because the others, using BigY, had no results for these SNPs). We now have documented 132 SNPs that appear to be common to everyone in the project who is G2a-FGC52601+. However, for about 25 of these we don’t have a result for our Whitfield line, so one or more of these 25 SNPs could possibly belong to the next level down with the SNP FGC52629. SNPs occur very roughly about once per century in lines that have sequencing data from Full Genomes Corp (covering about 14.5 million locations) and about every 1.75 centuries for BigY data (covering about 9 million locations), but there are large uncertainties.
The de Montozon results, plus those from a retesting of our Richardson participant with the new BigY700 (which has slightly wider coverage), are important for another reason. In the Athey and Shannon results from Full Genomes Corp, there were 47 SNPs found that were not covered (tested) in the four BigY-500 sets of results. I considered it likely that all four of the BigY participants would have been found positive for nearly all of the 47 SNPs, had data existed for them. However, Richardson’s new results showed that he was positive on 37 of the 47 SNPs, and de Montozon’s results gave us another look at those 47 SNPs, which for him were positive in all of them. But, since de Montozon’s line diverged after the split to the Prince line, a positive result for de Montozon on any of the 47 SNPs would indicate a high likelihood that the four BigY participants would have been found positive as well, but it is still possible that some of these could be negative in Prince.
In January 2007, a man surnamed Whitfield showed up in the FTDNA database and he matched our Capt George Athey cluster. This Whitfield was supposed to be a descendant of a brother of the Rev George Whitfield (b 1724-the famous preacher important in early Methodist history). Another near match turned up in August in a man named Whitefield, which was actually the spelling used by Rev George. The only other haplotype in any of the public databases that is close to us is the one from the Prince participant that was found in the SMGF database. The Whitefield is from Lanarkshire and the Whitfield participant is from nearby Durham in northern England. The Prince participant was from England also, exact location unknown. We first thought that the similarity of the Whit(e)fields to the Atheys was due to a "non-paternal event" that occurred in Dublin around the year 1800 when a Whitfield married an Irish girl there and brought her home to England. To test this hypothesis, a documented descendant of a brother of the Rev George Whitfield was located and he agreed to be tested. If he did not match us, that would add credence to the non-paternal event theory, because he should represent the "true" Whitfield line going back to the 1600s. Very surprisingly, the new (third) Whitfield participant matches us also! That means that this Whitfield line must connect to our Athey line before the time of Capt George-probably a couple of centuries earlier since our Athys were established in Galway since about 1400. Either our Athey line came from England or the Whitfield line came from Ireland or both arrived independently in England and Ireland from somewhere else. That arrival would have to have been around 1200-1300, however, because of the close matches between the Atheys and Whitfields. This is an extremely interesting development.
Because of the similarity of the Whitfield/Whitefield participants to the Capt George cluster, they have been added to the project tables. There is no suggestion, however, that they are descended from Capt George. Since the Whitfield line goes back to the 1600s in England, the connection must be earlier than Capt George, who was born about 1642. The Whitfield data appears to show that the common ancestor of Capt George and the Whitfields must have had the same values on the first 37 markers as did Capt George. I have used the FTDNATiP calculator (to calculate generations to the most recent common ancestor) for the Whitfield participant who is the latest to be tested, which results in TMRCA (50% probability) for each of the 19 Atheys in the cluster who have data on 37 markers, and then averaged the results. I find that the common ancestor of this Whitfield and the Atheys must have lived about 9 to 10 generations back. When I subtract off the actual number of generations from each Athey back to Capt George, I find that the common ancestor lived between zero and one generation further back than Capt George. This is actually the 50% probability point. This just means that the common ancestor probably lived just a few generations before Capt George. Of course, this is the result for just one Whitfield-when we have more to compare, the result may be somewhat different. Applying the same approach to the results for the "Whitfield3" participant (see results table), who now has 37 markers reported, results in an even later MRCA-one that is only about 5.4 genrations back. However, it appears that the other Whitfield (Whitfield1, who is not yet formally in the project, so the TiP calculator can't be used) on whom we have 37 markers is slightly more divergent from the Atheys than those used in the calculations above. However, the reconstructed ancestral haplotypes for Capt George and the Whitfield ancestor are identical on 37 markers.
All of this presents a bit of a challenge for our history. The Whitfields seem to be well established in England throughout the 1500s, so it isn't clear how the Whitfields and Atheys could be related or where the common ancestor lived. The first G2 Whitfields, at least, don't seem to show enough difference from the Atheys for a pre-1500 common ancestor. However, as mentioned above, this could change with more Whitfields being tested.
One possible way around the difficulty is that the most recent common ancestor of the Whitfields and the most recent common ancestor of the Atheys (Capt George) had exactly the same marker values, even though their common ancestor may have lived around 1400 or earlier. Sometimes, the marker values may go for a few centuries without changes. For example, three out of the 20 participants in the Capt George cluster have exactly the same values on the first 37 markers as did Capt George.
Latest Test Results
For the breakdown of the latest test results (7 Dec 20), see: http://www.hprg.com/G2aFGC52601/files/testres.htm
|Groups by Genetics in Project DNA Results||Haplogroup(s)|
Athey Y-DNA Surname Project
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