Scrivens DNA Results

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Name: Scrivens DNA Results [uncertain]
Date: About 2018
Surname/tag: Scriven, Main, Fletcher
Profile manager: Bob Scrivens private message [send private message]
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This is a summary of what I've learned so far through the autosomal DNA test and the Family Tree Y-DNA Test."'s autosomal DNA Test: an overview

After examining what Ancestry made available to me for a while, I'd have to say the results were very limited. I suspected that going in, but I felt like I had to start somewhere. Plus, Ancestry has that huge data base, so I was able to find out about many (not a lot) of "DNA cousins," let's call them. The biggest surprise was that a great many of these "cousins" whom I contacted aren't much interested in any sort of dialogue. (So, why would you take that test if you didn't want to connect?) A surprising number who also took the test haven't even bothered to post a rudimentary tree.

Ethnicity Estimate

One interesting result is what Ancestry calls an "Ethnicity Estimate," which tells you, from their test, the breakdown of your ethnicity based on your DNA. Originally, mine were Great Britain 45%, Europe South 16%, Ireland/Scotland/Wales 14%, Europe West 10%, and Iberian Peninsula 9%. Not what I expected. In October of 2018, Ancestry announced an "updated estimate" that was more in line with what the geneology said.

The biggest surprise in the original estimate was "Europe West," which includes all of France, Germany, the southernmost coast of England, and northern Italy. But I have three French-Canadian grandparents (Fountain, Robert, and Bedard); I would have thought this percentage would have been much higher than 10%. Great Britain, on the other hand, I expected to be much lower, since only one grandparent (Scrivens) was English. However, I did notice that the "Great Britain" region also included the Norman coast of northern France, so the Yorkshire Scriven connection is probably more Norman than Anglo-Saxon. Another surprise was "Europe South," with 16% being the highest percentage after Great Britain. The 14% from Ireland, Scotland and Wales probably comes from maternal lines--or, perhaps the Mains, from my 2nd g. grandfather's parentage. And, if the Fletchers, my 2nd g. grandmother's family, were Irish, Welch, or Scotch, that might explain that percentage all by itself. There was also a component from the Iberian Peninsula, which is now rendered moot by the revised estimate: it does not appear there at all (although the region of "France" does dip into the Spanish Pyrenees Mountain area).

The 2018 and 2020 revised estimate

Late 2018 revised ethnicity estimate

Ancestry's ethnicity update shows more refined areas. In 2018, mine were France at 81%; (Refined from: Europe West 10%); England, Wales & Northwestern Europe at 11% (Decreased by 34%); and Ireland and Scotland at 8% (Decreased by 6%). With my three French Canadian grandparents, this makes more sense. I'm guessing that "France" is 81% rather than 75% because one of my older "English" ancestors was partly French or French Canadian. Maybe the Fletchers. The Irish component probably comes most from Mary Ann Fisk (1842 - 1890), 2nd great-grandmother and mother of Martha Fletcher, wife of Orrin Fletcher, and Orrin himself, whose mother was Irish born Mary Ann Collins. (Their daughter, Martha Fletcher, married my great grandfather Frederick R. Scriven.)

By 2020, the Ancestry ethnicity estimate had become more refined, with 75% French, but only 6% English and 19% Irish. The increase percentage in Irish was a bit of a surprise. I'm assuming that some of my "English" ancestors had turned out to have Irish lineage. Someone must have known that (or intuitively guessed it), since I recall it being mentioned in Scrivens family gatherings. There was a phrase, for instance, "shanty Irish" which was applied to members of our family in a humorous way sometimes, especially when their language was off-color. "Shanty Irish" were the poor, lowest of the low class immigrant Irish who came to the U.S. (If they were able to ascend the social hierarchy, even modestly, they were then called "Lace Curtain Irish.")

2022 Update

57% French, 18% English, 14% Irish, 8% Scotch, and 3% Wales.

Summer 2022' Update

54% French, 24% English, 13% Irish, 7% Scottish, and 2% Basque.

2022 Ancestry estimate revised

The big change here was the addition of the Basques at 2%. The Basques come from the area of the western Pyrenees Mountains on the boarder of France and Spain "with four provinces in Spain and three in France. The Basques have been living there longer than anyone can remember. Their language is probably the oldest in modern Europe and appears to be unrelated to any other known language in the world. Despite being an ancient people, the Basques currently have no nation of their own." (from DNA Origins for Robert Scrivens,

GEDMatch and Admixtures

GedMatch has an admixture utility (which I don't pretend to completely understand), but when I entered my kit number for processing with the Eurogenes K13 model, it gave results that were familiar from Ancestry. The population match was 45% North Atlantic, Baltic 21.5, West Mediterranean 19.5, and East Mediterranean 7.6, and others all less than 1%. I assume the "Baltic" component is similar to what Ancestry designated as Italian/ Greek. Another admixture utility, Dodecad V3 (dv3), calculates West European at 48% and Mediterranean at 30% for me, with Eastern European and West Asian around 10% each. From this information, I conclude that the utility used has a lot to do with the results you get. There is also the problem of how the ethnicities are defined to begin with.

DNA Cousins

Now, let's go on to what Ancestry calls DNA Matches. These "cousins" can be close or distant, and some of them have posted trees with members who are also in mine. Almost none of these were Scrivens related. At first, the only one I recognized was Thom Swift, my first cousin--but I know that already. Later on, Merrideth (Scrivens) Greene, my uncle's daughter, was added, and then David DeSanty, my cousin Bob's son. Most of the matches I found were of French Canadian descent. The most interesting, however, were the high confidence score for an "R.M" managed by Kim Brewer and "jstanton48," a sixth cousin listed in the Brais Family Tree.

The Mains

"R.M." is the first DNA match that suggested Hiland A. Main was Frederick R. Scriven's father, not William R. Scriven (see Frederick Scriven). BUT this one lists Hiland M. Main in her tree, not Hiland A. Main. Hiland A turned out to be the grandfather of Hiland M. (Hiland M was the son of James Garfield Main; J. Garfield was the son of Hiland A Main; This makes Hiland A. the grandfather of Hiland M.) The DNA match here would either have to be through Hiland A. Main or his wife, Phinette, I'm told. The shared DNA here is 48 centomorgans across three DNA segments. As Ancestry describes it, this "high confidence score means that we’re pretty sure that your DNA is identical because it was inherited from a recent ancestor." The likelihood of being descended from a common ancestor is 95%, says Ancestry.

Another Main match is "Jonrbassett" (managed by Hootance) with good confidence. In his family tree, he has five Mains, mostly from Stonington, CT. One interesting thing here is that one of those ancestors, one Jeremiah Main (there are three!), has a descendant named Thomas V. Main ( b. 1799) who is second cousins twice removed to Hiland A. Main. The DNA of Jonbassett is 25.7 centimorgans shared across 1 DNA segment, which I think is lower than "R.M." --not surprising, because these ancestors are further back. "Good" here means probably descended from a common ancestor, but maybe "one more distant and hard to recognize" according to Ancestry.


While those DNA Matches suggest a break in the Scriven line, one DNA match to a

William R. Scriven
Scriven, "jstanton48," holds a remote possibility that my line goes past Frederick to his father William Reginald and beyond. says that Jstanton48 and I share William Scriven (1727 - 1827) as our 5th great grandfather. This William was the son of English immigrant and Quaker preacher James Scrivens. It was this William who was one of the first who settled in Petersburgh, NY. While I am descended from Joshua M. Scriven, jstanton48 is descended from his brother, Matthias Scriven. Ancestry considers this match, 7.2 centimorgans shared across 1 DNA segment, only moderately confident. Ancestry says we "might" share DNA-- or, "we might not be related" at all. The likelihood of being related to a single common ancestor could be anywhere from 15 to 50% (whereas the confidence of a match with R.M. is very high, 95%) For a little more perspective on those numbers, compare this with a known Scriven cousin, Thomas Swift, whose 764 centomorgans across 36 DNA segments, is listed at extremely high confidence, and "proves" we're both descended from a common ancestor (i.e., my Scrivens grandparents).

The real question that remains is one of corroboration: will I be able to find another match that predates William R. Scriven and Hiland Main, before the mid-1800's. Based on the autosomal DNA test alone, I would have to conclude that my Scriven tree breaks with Hiland Main as the father of my 2nd g. grandfather, Frederick R. Scriven.

Timeline for Frederick R. Scriven's Paternity

(All in Rensselaer Co., New York, unless otherwise noted.)

1838, 5 Mar Eudora Phinette Moon born in Vermont.
1839, 26 Jun Hiland A. Main, born in Petersburgh.
1855 Hiland A. Main, age 14, living with parents for census.
1858 (abt) Phinette marries William R. Scriven (age 27).
1858 Phinette (age 20) and William's first child, Augusta P. Scriven, born.
1860 Hiland Main (age 21) living as boarding worker with William R. Scriven family.
1861 Sept. 9 Frederick R. Scriven born.
1861 (abt) Hiland A. Main marries Charlotte (West) Main (age 15)
1861, Sept. Hiland Main enlists for Civil War,1861-1865. married when enlisted. (22)
1865 NYS Census Hiland Main working/ living at Eldred's hotel in Petersburgh.
1865 NYS Census lists William R. Scriven "D" for divorced.
1865 NYS Census lists only Augusta (7) and William's mother living with him.
1865 NYS Census Phinette, Fred (3) and Augusta living in Pittstown, NY. w Moons.
1867 (abt) Frank Main born to Hiland Main (age 28) and Charlotte West (age 21)
1867, 26 May Charlotte (West) Main dies (in childbirth?)
1868 William Scriven marries Elizabeth Saunders.
1869, 25 Oct Sarah Elizabeth Scriven born to William S. and Elizabeth, in Petersburg.
1869 (abt) Hiland Main marries Eudora Phinette (Moon) Scriven..
1970 Census William now remarried, moves w. Sarah, Fred and Augusta to N. Adams
1871 Phinette and Hiland's first children born (Jessie and Jacob).
1875 Hiland Main, living in Poestenkill, Rensselaer, NY with wife, "Endora P." Main.
1880 to 1900 Hiland Main living in Petersburgh with Phinette and 2 children.
1886 William dies in North Adams, MA.
1886 Elizabeth Scriven, widowed, moves to Grand Rapids, MI, to be with her family.
1908 Phinette (Moon) Scriven Main dies in Berlin NY,.
1910 Hiland Main, widower, living with son, Edward in Petersburgh.
1910 Admon Main, Fred Scriven's bio brother boarding with him in Berlin, NY.
1915 Hiland Main now living in Brunswick.
1916 Hiland Main dies while living with J.G. Main in Stowe, VT.

Evidence for and against the Main paternity

1865 NYS Census records are key. William and Phinette were divorced. Although it looks like custody for daughter Augusta was shared, Fred was with his mother. But five years later (or less), Fred is back with his father again, and Phinette and Hiland Main have remarried.

Meanwhile, Charlotte West married Hiland Main right before he enlisted in the Union Army in 1861, and Fred was born that same year. What was Hiland Main doing marrying a 15 year old girl? Was that a hasty "war marriage," giving him someone to wait for him? Or was it to cover up the fact that Hiland had gotten his employer's wife pregnant--and maybe another young girl, too?

The enlistment and Fred's birth being so close together would mean nothing except for William and Phinette's divorce before 1865 and Hiland marrying Phinette less than five years later. Furthermore, once they were married, Fred and Augusta were back with William R. Scriven--and he moved them, and a new wife, over the Taconic Mountains and the state line from New York to Massachusetts. William left behind a farm and possibly business as a lawyer and insurance agent for a new career in North Adams-- as a harness and trunk maker in a new city? Was William "starting over" or trying to put some physical distance between his family and his ex-wife who had betrayed him? (And it should be mentioned, too, that betrayal is often a two way street. So it may have been William whose treatment of Phinette drove her into the arms of another man.)

Or, it may have been none of these things. Just coincidences and two people remarrying to get a second chance at happiness. When Charlotte Main died, she had a son that needed someone to care for him. Phinette was available, she herself looking for someone to give her what her first husband didn't. William R. Scriven found a new bride, a new home, a new career, and had a new child, Sarah. Meanwhile, Hiland A. Main overcame the amputation of an arm in the Civil War, remarried someone who may have been as lonely as he, and fathered six more children.

Other Matches

As I've started to check for matches with Ancestry, the number of close matches have remained about the same, while the number in the 4th cousin range has proliferated. The expanded number may be due to more people taking the DNA test.

Here are the close matches:

Rosemary Scrivens (my Uncle Bill's younger daughter), 1st Cousin, shared DNA: 1052 cM , 15% shared DNA, across 38 segments.
Meredith Scrivens Greene (my Uncle Bill Scrivens' oldest daughter), 1st Cousin, shared DNA: 1,006 cM across 37 segments. This is well beyond the match with my next closest cousin.
Thom Swift (my Aunt Vivian's son), 1st Cousin, Shared DNA: 764 cM across 36 segments. This match is about 25% less cM's.
Gary Davine (my aunt Nan and uncle Harry's first born) Shared DNA: 744 cM across 37 segments. Third highest match--very similar to Thom Swift's, even though he's from my mother's side.
Bob Haskins (my Aunt Florence's son), 1st Cousin, Shared DNA: 593 cM across 34 segments. You can see the wider variation in matching cM's with Bob's test.
David DeSanty (my cousin Bob DeSanty's son) 1st Cousin 1x removed, Shared DNA: 584 cM across 25 segments. Even once removed, you see almost the same degree of match as with Bob Haskins.
Vivian Gillooly (1st cousin 2x removed) Joseph Robert is our mutual great grandfather. Shared DNA: 540 cM across 29 segments, almost the same as the previous two.
Jane Swift (my cousin Jack Swift's daughter), 1st Cousin, 1x removed, Shared DNA: 523 cM across 30 segments. Again, about the same match as the previous three.
Lauren Hunt (Jane Swift's daughter), 1st Cousin, 2x removed, Shared DNA: 332 cM across 20 segments. You see the cM drop off here, which is the same as with a predicted 2nd cousin.
judy kogut (we share Lumena Pigeon, g. grandmother, in Robert line), 2nd cousin,

Shared DNA: 322 cM across 19 segments. Interesting that there's not that much difference in the match between a 2nd cousin and a 2x removed first.

Bonnie Blanchard (our grandmother Bedards were sisters), 2nd Cousin 1x removed,

Shared DNA: 314 cM across 16 segments.

After this, there is a drop off with second cousins, except for Lauren Hunt's sister, Sarah, who shares 249 cM of DNA across 16 segments. Then there are nine matches within the 2nd cousin range and 19 in the 3rd. Here is a partial list of people whom includes in my third-fourth cousin category (all listed as extremely high confidence):

Bonnie Bedard. Bonny's grandfather, Arthur Bedard, and my grandmother, Evelyn, were brother and sister.
Kathy308pet who is related through George and Ronald Fountain.
Jennifer Royster, whose grandmother was Margaret Bedard (who is not listed in my tree).
S.G. ,Shawnette Gibson, (managed by Gary Gibson), was the one looking for her birth father, and Gary Gibson, figured out she connects through Ronald Fountain.
Nanapateaton, who is Elmer Fountain's granddaughter. He is a first cousin 2x removed.

After that, the list of 4th cousins explodes, mostly with French Canadian descendants.

There are other Ancestry members listed as my DNA matches, some with high confidence, but who haven't posted trees, so their listings aren't useful. There are also useful updates: for instance, I had two cousins added since I started this page in late 2017.

The Y DNA test from Family Tree

Misattribution of paternity

Family Tree has Project pages, and, although they have none for Scriven, they do have one for Scrivener [1] which has information on people with name variants, including Scriven. One interesting thing it says under "Miscellaneous Observations on the Results of Our Project" is the following:

"Misattribution of paternity, as a possible reason for there not being a match between those with paper trails going back to the same ancestor, is more common than one would expect. Although Family Tree DNA suggests the rate of misattribution of paternity is only 1-2%, this is per generation. Over 10 generations, then, the chances of a misattribution of paternity somewhere in the family tree becomes 10-20%, and over 20 generations becomes 20-40%. The misattribution of paternity results because a child by another father became part of the family, possibly because of a marriage to a widow with a child, an informal adoption, or because the wife during marriage had a child by someone other than her husband." (This last item, of course, is exactly why I took the Y-test, to determine whether Frederick R. Scriven's father was William R. Scriven or Hiland A. Main.)

Some 0 and 1 distance DNA matches with Mains from FTDNA

Interpreting the Y-DNA Test Results from FTDNA

When you look at my YDNA matches with markers at 37, I have 20 matches and 17 of those are with the surname Main (or some spelling variant)--and none with Scriven. ("Matches," it should be explained, are living people who have taken the same test.) Maria Scrivens (an acquaintance from Ancestry), who has done YDNA tests for her own family members, thought right away the answer was pretty clear: the parentage of my 2nd g. grandfather (being a Main) seems settled. She told me "The first thing to look at is the "genetic distance" in the left column. The lower the number, the closer in time." FT DNA defines "Genetic Distance as the number of differences, or mutations, between two sets of results. A genetic distance of zero means there are no differences in the results being compared against one another, i.e., an exact match."

So I looked at those. In my list of matches, there are, as of this writing, 7 out of 20 with a genetic distance of 0. (7 of 24 by August, 2019) There are 5 with a distance of 1 (and 4 with a distance of 2, one with 3, and 3 with 4). FT DNA interprets a genetic distance of zero as "very tightly related," adding, "A 37/37 match between two men who share a common surname (or variant) means they share a common male ancestor. Their relatedness is extremely close with the common ancestor predicted, 50% of the time, in five generations or less and over a 95% probability within eight generations. Very few people achieve this close level of a match. All confidence levels are well within the time frame that surnames were adopted in Western Europe." A genetic distance of 1 says the match is "tightly related" and "it is within the range of most well-established surname lineages in Western Europe. It’s most likely that they matched 24/25 or 25/25 on a previous Y-DNA test, and the mismatch will be found within DYS576, DYS570, or CDY." (Don't know what that means!) Cheryl Main Krisan, co-administrator of the Main DNA Project, added the following: "0 and 1 are very close matches, DNA doesn't lie, you would not match us if you were not a Main. does the match for people who have their family trees online there; if you have a common ancestor, they match it up to show where your connection is, but sometimes if you don't have the information you need for the connection, then it cannot be made." (her email, 6/2/ 2018)

Another piece of information FT DNA gives is a TiP Report on each match. For those with a genetic distance of 0, the report says there is an 83.49% probability that each of those Mains and I shared a common ancestor within the last four generations. (Hiland A. Main is 4 generations back) There is a 97.28% probability that we shared a common ancestor if we go back eight generations. However, when I checked the trees posted on FT DNA by users, none of them had Hiland A. Main or his kin listed.

When I contacted people on the FT DNA match list to see how their trees matched up with my Main tree, I found two that included Jeremiah Main (1708 - 1780), who is nine generations back. He lived in Stonington, CT in the early 1700's. I asked Maria Scrivens, who has done similar research for her family, if a tree match that far back is significant, she said, "Yes, those Mains are probably your link if the match is a direct male line of descendant. The STR doesn’t change much over many generations, so even a 0 distance match could be 9 generations ago."

Mac Main, who administers the Main Surname Project, added, "I think that you are an Ezekiel Main descendant tracing back to Stonington CT as indicated by your presence in the Stonington group for the Main Surname Project." Rob Main, who is also on my FT DNA match list, said "In 2016 I had my Y-DNA tested at FamilyTreeDNA. A number of guys tested that were tracing their Main lineage. From these guys, there are six that traced back to Ezekiel Maine. Four of us traced back to Jeremiah-Thomas [Main], and two trace back to Jeremiah-Jeremiah-Corpal Maine and Jeremiah-Jeremiah- Nathan Maine."

So, to summarize, it looks as though the link with the Mains is pretty certain. To have iron-clad surety, I would like to see a DNA match on FT DNA that actually had Hiland A. Main in their tree, or baring that, his father or grandfather. The fact that found an autosomal match between me and an "R.M." (managed by Kim Brewer) who had the descendants of Hiland A. listed would seem to boost the certainty that the Main descent is authentic.

Using DNA to find her father

Here is a pretty good DNA story about someone who helped his sister-in-law find out who her father was--and her father was a Fountain. (Fountain is my mother's maiden name.)

A man named Gary Gibson contacted me when he found his sister-in-law’s DNA (which he administered) had an “extremely high” probability of matching mine. His daughter-in-law was looking for her father, a theme which is more common than I ever imagined with these DNA tests.

Gary contacted me from Texas, saying “I'm managing the DNA for my sister-in-law. She was born in 1965, and we don't know who her father is, but he does appear to be from the Massachusetts area. You are a distant match to her, a decent third cousin match.” He went on to say her mother was at North Adams State College when she got pregnant, then moved to California to have her baby. He said his sister-in-law was related to me on my maternal grandfather’s side (the Fountains) the DNA match said. The mother would have been born around ’45-‘46, and the unknown father born, ’44 to ’46 (my guess).

Anyway, we figured it was someone in my Fountain line. The woman was conceived in the mid 60’s when her mother was a student at local North Adams State College (now Mass. College of Liberal Arts). I contacted my cousin, who is my age, and he had no good guesses. Then one day, as I was updating my Ancestry tree using their “hints,” I noticed this one man, Ronald Fountain, who seemed a little old to be a candidate, but maybe worth a look. So, I contacted Gibson, and not only had he researched him, but he turned out to be the long lost father! I’ll let his words tell the rest of the story:

“It did seem early and I had ignored him b/c of that... until his daughter (by another mother) just randomly tested... He is the father. Turns out his daughters actually knew my sister-in-law's mom, Sharon, who was rooming above the garage back when the girls were little (only the older two remember her). Ronald actually went back to California with her, abandoning the family. But that only lasted a week, and then he moved back to North Adams, and then as a family moved to Troy, NY. When the sister popped up as a match to my sister-in-law, I reached out. I was expecting some shock. And she was shocked, but only briefly; she wasn't in disbelief, and all of the sisters immediately started friending my sister-in-law on FB and have been chatting with her online. This all happened in the past week - so pretty exciting. My sister-in-law was born end of 1966, so her mother would have been pregnant in the beginning of that year. I think they moved to Troy in the end of 1965. So sounds like conception may very well have happened on that week or so in California...” [Or, she found out she was pregnant and eloped with him.]

The nicest thing was that, even though the father, Ronald, was deceased, she’s got a new connection with her half-sisters. As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is!”

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