Augusta County, VA Homicides Involving Indians

From the paper, “Augusta County Homicides” on the server.

The following three homicides are recorded and extracted from various records as having occurred in Augusta County and involving Indians.

I wonder if Standking Turke is Standing Turkey, misspelled.


1742, Dec. 18                                                              Augusta Co.

Class:   do not count


Rela:    NONDOM



Time of day:

Days to death:

WAR:  French & Indians v. English settlers.  Indians lost 8 or 10 men; English lost Capt. McDowell (of the Augusta Co. militia) & 8 or 9 men.

Legal records:

Council, 12/31/1742:  a body of Indians with some white men (supposed French) killed & carried off the settlers horses.  Militia mustered.  Came up on them & sent forward a man “with a signal of Peace which man they killed on the Spot & fired on the white People which they returned.”  45 minute battle.  Council orders mobilization of militias in Orange & Fairfax counties, relief to the widows of the slain, etc.  (112-113)

Wilmer L. Hall, ed., Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia (Second Edition), v. 5:  Nov. 1, 1739-May 7, 1754 (Richmond:  Virginia State Library, 1967), 112-113.


BGAZ 12/10/1759 (M):  WAR in VA:  Augusta Co.  dtl Williamsburg, 11/9:  informed from Carr’s creek in Augusta Co, that on 10/10, a party of Indians with 2 Frenchmen appeared in that neighborhood.  “They murdered, with shocking Barbarity, ten Persons, men Women, and Children, took 11 Prisoners, burnt six Farms, killed the Cattle, and carried off all the Horses, loaded with the Goods of the People killed and captivated.”


1765, May 8                                                                Augusta Co.

Class:   certain


Rela:    NONDOM

Motive:  REVENGE

HOM:  Englishmen m. one Cherokee chief & Choconante (a young fellow, son of the Standking Turke, who was for some time chief of the Cherokee Nation) & 4 other Cherokees, near Staunton, in the morning.

HOM RETALIATION:  a few days later, two of the surviving Cherokee m. an old blind man & his wife near Staunton.

Circumstances:  outhouse on the plantation of John Anderson / victim’s home

Indictment:  no

Court proceedings:  escaped from custody / fled

Legal records:

John Pendleton Kennedy, ed., Journals of the Burgesses of Virginia, 1761-1765 (Richmond, 1907), xx-xxiv.

Scott, Criminal Law in Colonial Virginia, 90-1.


Letter from Col. Andrew Lewis to Governor Francis Fauquier, d. Augusta Co., 5/9/1765:  On 5/5 a party of Chrokees came from “our frontiers” to Staunton, “some of them I was perfectly acquainted with.”  Told AL they intended to go to Winchester & asked for a pass, “as they were from thence to go to war against the Ohio Indians, and was to meet some other warriors beyond Fort Cumberland.  The want of an Interpreter prevented my making them sensible that their travelling thro’ our country, even with a pass, where they might not be known, would be attended with danger on their part.  However on finding them determined to go, after they had refreshed themselves two nights, they were provided with proper colours and a pass..  There was ten in number their two principal men’s names was Nocoknowa and Chocanantee.  They marched about five miles and lodged in an outhouse on the plantation of one John Andersons.  Yesterday morning as soon as it was light a party of villianous bloody minded rascals, notwithstanding they knew they were Cherokees and had a pass, attacked them in the most treacherous manner, killed their Chief and four more on the spot, and wounded two more.”  The five who escaped have “taken the woods” and are doubtless returning home.  AL sent a letter via Col. Chiswell to the Over the Hill Towns (from which the party came) asking the Cherokee not to go to war & promising them “that your Honour will undoubtedly take every just means to give them satisfaction by ordering the murderers to be apprehended and put to death, and desire them to take no rash steps.

From what I can learn the number of the villians [sic] that committed this murder is between 20 and 30; the names of the two ringleaders is William Cunningham and John King; one of the party was wounded by an arrow, to wit James Clendening; he was taken & afterwards rescued by the others before he reached the goal.  No doubt but it will be your Honour’s pleasure that those fellows may be brought to justice, and will send me instructions what steps to take, with warrants signed by your Honour.  Inclosed you have a copy of the ltter I sent to the Chiefs of the Over Hill Towns.”  (xx)

Letter from Gov. Francis Fauquier to Col. Andrew Lewis, d. Williamsburg, 5/14/1765:  re:  “your letters containing the melancholy account of the barbarous attack on the Cherokee Indians . . . .”  Laid them immediately before the Council & House of Burgess, who were then sitting.  “You can better conceive than I describe the shock they received at the news, and the abhorrence and detestation they expressed of so inhuman an action.  They dread bad consequences and have taken all possible measures in their power to avert them.  If this is the conduct of your young men, with what face can they complain of Indians who are more than Indians themselves?  Can they produce greater instances of brutality and perfidy among the most barbarous Nations?  Yet I imagine if any Indians should appear on our frontiers they would be among the first to call for protection, and by militia to put this Colony to the expence of twenty or thirty thousand pounds to defend them.  I would ask themselves whether they deserve protection?  and if hereafter they should be left to fight their own quarrels with the Indians without the lower parts of the Colony interfering in their disputes, they have no one to blame but themselves.  I wish your County were made sensible of the risque they run of losing their property if not their lives by following and permitting these atrocious practices.  But it is time to quit the disagreeable part of this affair, and see what is to be done to stop the impending dangers which threaten us.”  Supports the “prudent measures” AL has taken — tells him to “spirit up all the other Magistrates to use theirs” to apprehend “the rest of these villians, and when an examining Court (as the law directs) has been held upon them, to raise and arm as many men as you can safely depend upon, and as are necessary to escorte them down to this gaol, to prevent a risque.”  Asks AL to disperse (distribute) the Gov’s proclamation & the Resolve of the House of Burgresses.  Gov. has sent Abraham Smith with an express letter to the Cherokees.  Tells AL to tell the high sheriff of the county, Silas Hart, that it is the Governor’s “earnest desire that he would himself impannel a jury to try these Criminals, out of the Gentlemen of the County which are most distinguished by their property knowledge impartiality and integrity; and not leave it to the Under Sherif, who may probably summon ignorant men who have little property or no property to lose, and of course hav less reason to dread as they have less ability to foresee consequences.”  Obliged to AL for the “zeal” he has “exerted on this occasion.”  (xxi)

Gov. Francis Fauquier to the Cherokees, sent express, d. Williamsburg, 5/16/1765:  expresses sympathy, promises action.  (xxii)

Col. Andrew Lewis to Gov. FF, d. Augusta Co., 6/3/1765:  Editor says:  AL had arrested 3 of the suspects, but one was rescued & the other 2 were given their freedom by the jailor, in whose custody they were entrusted.

AL says he had taken James Clendening and Patrick Duffy, but JC was rescued before he reached the prison.  PD was in prison 3 nights, but on the 4th “not less than one hundred armed men posted themselves round the prison, some of them entered the house of the gaoler and demanded the key of the prison; it being refused them, they, after using some violence and many threats, with axes broke the Prison door and carried off the said Duffy, declaring . . . that they had most of the County to back them, and that they would never suffer a man to be confined or brought to justice for killing of Savages.”

Depositions taken.  Have identified some of those involved in the murders:  William Cuninghame & John King were the “ringleaders”; William Young, James Cledening, Alexander Robertson, Patrick Duffy, Charles Baskins, Hugh Baskins, & William Anderson were among the party.  Warrants made out, but says he must jail suspects directly at Wmsb, because he can’t hold them in jail in Augusta Co.

Near the place of the murder, another Cherokee found dead:  a young fellow called Choconante, son of the Standking Turke, who was for some time chief of the Cherokee Nation.  Fears the Cherokee will look for satisfaction “in their own way.”  “However in justice to the people that live on our frontiers I must say they had no hand in it.  When they first discovered the Indians they collected some armed men, whoe went to the Indians, and on their finding them to be by all likelyhood Cherokees, they not only suffered them to pass to Staunton, but sent from place to place a white man with them.

Some days after the murder was committed, a poor unhappy blind man and his wife was killed by two of the Indians that made their escape.  This indeed is noi more than what I expected, that they would behind them a mark of resentment.”

A proclamation issued by the “Augusta Boys” on June 4, 1765, offering a reward of 1000 l. for the arrest of Col. Andrew Lewis, & claiming the murders were justified, since the victims were not Cherokee, but Shawnee & Delaware.

”  We Augusta Boys in heart are and do profess ourselves His present Majesty’s (King George the Third) true and leige subjects, and unhappy we being on this very verge of His Majesty’s Dominion, have, by the unparalleled deceit of an infidious and ruel heathen enemy been repeatedly distressed, and find it impracticable to maintain the legal rights granted us by HIs Majesty, and think it expedient to act in the offensive when any of those our known enemies presumes under the pretence of friends (without a warrantable pass) to pass among us.”  Claims that some of the party of ten they recently attacked was “known and proved to be” Shawnee & Delaware.”

Offer 1000 l. to bring Col. Andrew Lewis to justice; 500 l. each for Dr. William Fleming & Capt. Wm Crow of Staunton.  “And we do further offer a pardon to Lieut Michael Thomas and Luke Bowyer if they, each for himself provide a string of beads &c. that they may live as formerly without depending alone on the smiles of Col. Lewis, otherwise let them instantly repair out of our Sovereign’s Dominions to that of their desired French King.

Our hearts are true unto our Kings.

And means all rebels down to bring.”  (xxiv)

Editor:  (xxiv):  Gov. Fauquier wrote to the Board of Trade on 6/14/1765 admitting that the Colony did not possess the strength to enforce the law in Augusta Co.  He further stated that [in ed's words] “the wiser course to pursue was to be extremely prudent, rather than attempt vigorous action in Augusta County.”  A nearly universal feeling in that section that the presence of the Indians was intolerable; & the Gov. noted that the Paxton Boys of Pennsylvania had sent a message to the people of Augusta Co. saying that if they were not strong enough to rescue the persons arrested for murdering Indians, that assistance would at once be forwarded from Pennsylvania.  The conflict did not end until 1775, when all the disputed territory became Crown lands.

John Pendleton Kennedy, ed., Journals of the Burgesses of Virginia, 1761-1765 (Richmond, 1907), xx-xxiv.

“Fearing the political consequences of an unwarranted acquittal,” Gov. Fauquier asked the high sheriff to impanel a jury composed of ‘Gentlemen of the County who are most distinguished by their property knowledge impartiality and integrity.’  Feared ‘ignorant men who have little or no property to lose, and of course have less reason to dread as they have less ability to foresee consequences.’

Scott, Criminal Law in Colonial Virginia, 90-1.

Council, Minutes, 5/13/1765:  Letter from Col. Andrew Lewis “giving a relation of some Cherokees being murdered by our people etcetera.”  Reward for capture of the “promoters” of the said murder & for those “aiding therein.”  (683)

Proclamation, 5/13/1765:  The victims were members of a party of Cherokees murdered on their way from Staunton (in Augusta Co.) to Winchester.  Had received a pass from Col. Lewis for that purpose.  Proclamation uses strong language to condemn the murders.  (600)

Benjamin J. Hillman, ed., Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia, v. 6:  June 20, 1754-May 3, 1775 (Richmond:  Virginia State Library, 1966), 600, 683.


CC, 6/17/1765:  dtl Philadelphia, 6/6:  HOM in VA:  hear from Virginia that a party of Cherokee Indians had arrived at Stanton, in Augusta Co., on their way to Winchester, having a pass from Col. Lewis.  On their way thither, attacked by upwards of 20 men:  their chief, with 4 more Indians, were killed, & 2 others wounded.  Proclamation:  reward offered for murderers.

Accused:         unknown Englishmen & Indians

Victims:  6 Cherokees and 2 Englishmen (an old blind man & his wife)

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Cherokee Became Ubiquitous Word for Indian

james robbins testimony

By the early 1900s when reparations were being paid by the government to Cherokee descendants, the word Cherokee became ubiquitous with Native, especially in descendants in the eastern US who had Native ancestry, but didn’t necessarily know which tribe.  In fact, in many cases, mine included, the Native ancestry had been played down, if not outright hidden, due to discrimination and the fact that Native people were considered to be “of color” and therefore forbidden many civil rights.

Therefore, Cherokee became synonymous with “Indian” and many people claim Cherokee ancestry from areas where there were no Cherokee tribes or villages.  This doesn’t mean these people didn’t have Native ancestry, but it very likely was not Cherokee.

The following testimony taken in Marion, Indiana on August 13, 1908 is a good example.

“My name is James Robbins and I am about 90 years of age.  I was born in Orange County, NC.  I came to Indiana in 1843.  I know the family of Jerry Shocraft who has just testified.  Silas Shocraft was my mother’s brother.  I think he was at least a ½ blood.  At the time of my knowing old man Silas Shoecraft there were not many Cherokee Indians living in that section of NC and we did not know very much about them.  There was no color blood in Silas Shocrafts family and one of them were ever held as slaves.  I claim to be of Indian descent and did not apply to participate in this fund because I thought it was all a ‘water haul.’  My grandfather was named William Shocraft.  He had no recognition as a Cherokee Indian because there were not many in that part of NC.  My grandmother was named Bicey Nickens and she was supposed to be a full blood Cherokee Indian, and was an Indian doctor, and went around doctoring the women.  There was no talk of Indians in that County.  I have heard of Catawba Indians being in that county.”

Cherokee by Blood by J. W. Jordan

Robbins testimony contributed by James Nickens.

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Spotswood’s November 1713 Letter Regarding Tuscarora War Survivors

Many people think that most of the surviving southern band of the Tuscarora went to New York after the fall of Fort Neoheroka in March of 1713, a turning point in the Tuscarora War, or that they immediately settled with northern band Chief Tom Blount, living in present day Bertie County, who did not participate in the Tuscarora War.

We see from the letters of Alexander Spotswood that neither circumstance is true.  Many families were dispersed and in dire conditions.  Spotswood says that they were “found dispersed in small parties upon the head of the Roanoke and about the mountains in very miserable condition.”  There were over 1500 people.  It had been believed that the majority of the Tuscarora had been massacred at Tuscarora, and indeed, over 950 were killed or sold into slavery, but clearly there were nearly twice that number who survived, and probably more, assuming not all went to Williamsburg or made themselves evident.

What became of these 1500 Tuscarora?

The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood, Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Virginia, 1710-1722, Vol 2, pages 46-48

Spotwood p 46

spotswood p 47

spotswood p 47bspotswood p 48

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Parsons and Abbott Roll – 1832 Creek Census

creek census image

By a treaty of March 24, 1832, the Creek Indians ceded to the United States all of their land east of the Mississippi River. Heads of families were entitled to tracts of land, which, if possible, were to include their improvements. In 1833 Benjamin S. Parsons and Thomas J. Abbott prepared a census of Creek Indian heads of families, which gave their names and the number of males, females, and slaves in each family. The entries were arranged by town and numbered; these numbers were used for identification in later records.

The census of 1832/1833 has come to be called the Parsons and Abbott Roll, and is the most comprehensive pre-removal document, as it was the result of a village-to-village trek on the part of the census-takers, and contains the names of all the heads of households arranged by Creek towns. The genealogical researcher who is able to locate an ancestor on this document is most fortunate, as it forms the basis for many other documents relating to Creek claims cases through the 1960’s.

While few and far between, there are some free blacks listed within this census – a total of 11 as heads of household one referred to by name as the husband of an Indian woman. Many slaves gained their freedom from their Creek Tribe; once their freedom was obtained, they often received citizenship within the tribe and several are listed by name.

You can see the rolls of the individual Creek towns at this link:

This roll is interesting for a variety of reasons.

First, it includes a total of 6279 households with 22,240 individuals, including 884 slaves, 10,265 males and 11,002 females.  Given the household breakdown, it appears to include children, but it doesn’t list anyone by name except the head of household.  Twenty seven households may have been duplicates, based on the same name, but I have included them in the totals because we don’t know if they are duplicates or not.

There are a total of 84 towns, as best I can tell, attempting to account for variant spellings. This equates on average to 264 people per town, although this is kind of deceptive because there were a few really large towns and then several smaller towns as well.  There were, on average, about 3.54 people per household, including slaves.  However, all of the slaves were held by only 160 households, so most of the families did not own slaves.  Only 31 families owned 10 slaves or more and 45 households owned only one slave.

Several slaveholding households owned quite a few slaves, the most being 35.  Of the top slaveholders, the third highest was a woman, Fanny Lovett who lived alone and had 30 slaves.  Twenty-one of the slaveholders were principal chiefs and at least 42 were women heads of households.  There may have been more women.  The only way I can discern a woman head of household is if she has an English name or there are no men in the household. If a Creek woman had a son and no English name, I would have no way of knowing if the household was a family headed by a woman or by the male in the household.   One woman is noted as a half negro and having a negro slave for a husband.

The most surprising aspect of this census, to me, is that by 1832 I expected that most or at least the majority of Native people had taken some sort of English name, even if just a one name nickname, but that is very clearly not the case.  The Creek were heavy traders, as were the Cherokee, and I would have expected more of the English language and culture would have crept in.  I did notice that an interpreter is also included, Benjamin Marshall, so many people obviously did not speak English.  Some of the chiefs have Native names, but not all.  In total, there are 82 principal chiefs listed of their various villages of which 17 have English or partially English names, or about 21%, twice that of the Creek population as a whole.

In addition to the Creeks, there is one Cherokee missionary, Robert Rogers, sixteen noted as “a Euchee” and eleven noted as a free negro heads of household.  One additional free negro is noted as a spouse.

In some cases, I was uncertain if a name was English or Native.  For example is An ne the same as Anne?  Same question for Fan ny, and what about if Fan ny is the wife of a white man?

Some names were found a lot in Creek names as part of a longer name string.  For example, the word Micco.  Did it become a Creek surname?  Are the words Tallissee Micco an English name or Creek words that have no English meaning – indicating that later, Tallissee Micco took an English name that did not include either name?  Is Tommy har jo and Tom my har jo the same?  And is Tom my the English name Tommy or a Creek word or words?  I don’t know.  The only example I have is one Micco Buiecar whose alias is given as Old King.

Other questions are equally as puzzling. Should Cooper Pack be shown under Cooper or Pack, or neither. Is Mike y the same as Mikey? Are Lotta and Low ey Native words or English names or nicknames? I don’t have the answers, but for the Native names project, I have included the questionable names. It’s easier to include too many and problematic to omit one that later turns out to be important. In the case of Cooper Pack and other similarly problematic names, I’ve indexed them under both words.

Out of the total 6279 households, about 580 have English or partly anglicized names, or about 9% of the total.

To understand more about the Creek villages, village names and history, click here to visit the University of Oklahoma Western History Collection and specifically, an interview by Thomas Meagher with the Creek Indians after their removal.

Posted in Cherokee, Creek, Uchee | 5 Comments

Jack Amos, Choctaw, Newton County, Mississippi

jack amosJack Amos was born about 1830, a Choctaw Indian, and applied for tribal membership with the Dawes Commission in 1901.  He filed a deposition which provides a great deal of information about his family.

He lists his parents at full-blood Choctaw, his father as Apa-tom-by and his mother as Nah-ha-tema.  Jack is the grandson of Nahotima, a sister of Chief Pushmataha.

Jack’s Indian name was E-aht-onte-ube meaning “Going Out There to Kill,” a name he may have earned during the Civil War.  Native names sometimes change during the lifetime of the person, depending on circumstances.

He fought with the 1st Choctaw Battalion under Major J.W. Pearce for the Confederacy.

After the Civil War, he lived on and worked the farm of Evan Shelby Gilbert on Tallahatta Creek.

The Dawes Commission awarded Jack land in Indian Territory, but Jack, by then quite elderly, refused to leave Mississippi.

Jack died in 1906 at about the age of 76.

You can read more about Jack and his Native American ancestors at this link.

Hat tip to Jennifer for info about Jack Amos.

Posted in Choctaw | 1 Comment

Big Y DNA Results Divide and Unite Haplogroup Q Native Americans

featherOne of my long standing goals has been to resurrect the lost heritage of the Native American people.  By this I mean, primarily, for genealogists who search for and can’t find  their Native ancestors.  This blog, as well as my work with genetics at and are ways that I contribute towards that end.  Many times, records are buried, don’t exist at all, or don’t reflect anything about Native heritage.  While documents can be somewhat evasive and frustratingly vague, the Y DNA of the male descendants is not.  It’s rock solid.

The Native communities became admixed beginning with the first visits of Europeans to what would become the Americas.  Native people accepted mixed race individuals as full tribal members, based on the ethnicity of the mother.  Adoption also played a key role.  If a female, the mother, was an adopted white child, the mother was considered to be fully Native, as was her child, regardless of the ethnicity of the father.

Therefore, some people who test their DNA expecting to find Native genetics do not – they instead find European or African – but that alone does not mean that their ancestors were not tribal members.  It means that these individuals have to rely on non-genetic records to prove their ancestors Native heritage – or they need to test a different line – like the descendants of the mother, through all females, for example, for mitochondrial DNA.

On the other hand, some people are quite surprised when their DNA results come back as Native.  Many have heard a vague story, but often, they don’t have a clue as to which genealogical line, if any, the Native ancestry originated.  Native ancestry was often hidden because the laws that prevailed at the time sanctioned discrimination of many kinds against people “of color,” and if you weren’t entirely of European origin, you were “of color.”  Many admixed people, as soon as they could, “became” white socially and never looked back. Not until recently, the late 20th century, when discrimination had for the most part become a thing of the past and one could embrace their Native or African heritage without fear of legal or social reprisal.

Back in December of 2010, we found the defining SNP that divided haplogroup Q between Europeans and Native Americans.  At the time, this was a huge step forward, a collaboration between testing participants, haplogroup administrators, citizen scientists and Family Tree DNA.

This allowed us to determine who was, and was not included in Native American haplogroups, but it was also the tip of the iceberg.  You can see below just how much the tree has expanded and its branches have been shuffled.  This is a big part of the reason for the change from haplogroup names like Q1a3 to Q-M346.  For example, at one time or another the SNP M3 was associated with haplogroup names Q1a3a, Q1a3a1 and Q1a3a1a.  On the ISOGG tree below, today M3 is associated with Q1a2a1a1.

isogg q tree

The new Family Tree DNA 2014 tree is shown below for one of the Big Y participants whose terminal SNP is L568, found beneath SNP CTS1780 which is found beneath L4, which is beneath L213 which is beneath L474 which is beneath MEH2 which is beneath L232 which is, finally, beneath M242.

ftdna 2014 q tree

The introduction of the Big Y product from Family Tree DNA, which sequences a large portion of the Y chromosome, provided us with the opportunity to make huge strides in unraveling and deciphering the haplogroup Q (and C, the other male Native haplogroup in the Americas) tree.  I am hopeful that in time, and with enough people taking the Big Y test, that we will one day be able to at least sort participants into language and perhaps migration groups.

In November, 2013, we asked for the public and testers to support our call for funds to be able to order several Big Y tests.  The project administrators intentionally did not order tests in family groups, but attempted to scatter the tests to the far corners, so to speak, and to include at least one person from each disparate group we have in the haplogroup Q project, based on STR matches, or lack thereof, and previous SNP testing.

Thanks to the generosity of contributors, we were able to order several tests.  In addition, some participants were able to order their own tests, and did.  Thank you one and all.

The tests are back now, and with the new Big Y SNP matching, recently introduced by Family Tree DNA, comparisons are a LOT easier.

So, of course, I had to see what I could find by comparing the SNP results of the several gentlemen who tested.

To protect the privacy of everyone involved, I have reduced their names to initials.  I have included their terminal SNP as identified at Family Tree DNA as well as any tribal, ethnic or location information we have available for their most distant paternal ancestor.

There are two individuals who believe their ancestors are from Europe, and there is a very large group of European haplogroup Q members, but I’m not convinced that the actual biological ancestors of these two gentlemen are from Europe.  I have included both of these individuals as well. Let’s just say the jury is still out. As a control, I have also included a gentleman who actually lives in Poland.

native match clusters

Of the individuals above, SD, CT and CM are SNP matches.

CD, WJS and WBS are SNP matches with each other.

BG and ETW are also SNP matches to each other.

None of the rest of these individuals have SNP matches.  (Note, you can click to enlarge the chart.)

native snp matches

In the table above, the Non-Matching Known SNPs are shown with the number of Shared Novel Variants.  For example, SD and CT have 4 non-matching SNPS and share 161 Novel Variants and are noted as 4/161.

We can easily tell which of the known SNPs are nonmatching, because they are shown on the participants match page.

snp matches page

What we don’t know, and can’t tell, is how many Novel Variants these people share with each other, and how many they might share with the individuals that aren’t shown as matches.

Keep in mind that there may be individuals here that are not shown as matches to due no-calls.  Only people with up to and including 4 non-matching Known SNPs are counted as matches.  If you have the wrong combination of no-calls, or, aren’t in the same terminal haplogroup, you may not be shown as a match when you otherwise would be.

The other reason for my intense interest in the Novel Variants is to see if they are actually Novel, as in found only in a few people, or if they are more widespread.

I downloaded each person’s Novel Variants through the Export Utility (blue button to the right at the top of your personal page,) and combined the Novel Variants into a single spreadsheet.  I colorized each person’s result rows so that they would be easy to track.  I have redacted their names. The white row, below, is the individual who lives in Poland.

novel variant 1

There are a total of 3506 Novel Variants between these men.  When sorting, many clustered as you would expect.  There is the Algonguian group and what I’ve taken to calling the Borderlands group.  This group has someone whose ancestor was born in VA and two in SC.  I have documentation for the Virginia family having descendants in SC, so that makes sense.  The third group is an unusual combination of the gentleman who believes his ancestors are from Germany and the gentleman whose ancestors are found in a New Mexico Pueblo tribe, but whose ancestor was, likely, based on church records, a detribalized Plains Indian who had been kidnapped and sold.

Clusters that I felt needed some scrutiny, for one reason or another, I highlighted in yellow in the Terminal SNP column.  Obviously the Polish/Pueblo matching needs some attention.

Another very interesting type of match are several where either all or nearly all of the individuals share a Novel Variant – 15 or 16 of 16 total participants.  I don’t think these will remain Novel Variants very long.  They clearly need to be classified as SNPs.  I’m not sure about the process that Family Tree DNA will use to do this, but I’ll be finding out shortly.

Here’s an example where everyone shares this Novel Variant at location 7688075,except the gentleman who lives in Poland, the man who believes his ancestor is from Germany, and the Creek descendant.

novel variant 2

I was very surprised at how many Novel Variants appear in all 16 results of the participants, including the gentleman who lives in Poland – represented by the white row below.

novel variant 3

So, how were the Novel Variants distributed?

Category # of Variants Comments
Algonquian Group 140 This is to be expected since it’s within a specific group.  Any matches that include people outside the 3 Algonquian individuals are counted in a separate category.  These matches give us the ability to classify anyone who tests with these marker results as provisionally Algonquian.
Borderlands 83 This confirms that these three individuals are indeed a “group” of some sort.  This also gives us the ability to classify future participants using these mutations.
All or Nearly All – 15 or 16 Participants 80 These are clearly candidates for SNPs, and, given that they are found in the Native and the European groups, they appear to predate the division of haplogroup Q.
Several Native and European, Combined 45 This may or may not include the person who lives in Poland.  This group needs additional scrutiny to determine if it actually does exist in Europe, but given that there are more than 3 individuals with each of these Novel Variants, they need to be considered for SNPhood.
Pueblo/NC 1
Poland/Borderlands 2
Mexico/Algonquian 2
German/Pueblo 9 I wonder if this person is actually German.
Poland/Mexico 20 I wonder if this person’s ancestors are actually from Poland.
Algonquian, NC, Creek 1
Borderland, Mexico, Creek 1
Algonquian/Cherokee 1
All Native, no Euro 2
Algonquian, Borderlands, Mexico, NC 1
Algonquian, Mexico, Borderlands 1
Borderlands, Pueblo 1
Borderlands, Creek, NC 1
Algonquian, Cherokee, Mexico 3
Algonquian, Pueblo, Creek, Borderlands 1
Cherokee, NC 2
Algonquian, Borderlands 2
Borderlands, NC 1
Algonquian, NC 1
Polish/NC 10

Some of this distribution makes me question if these SNP mutations truly are a “once in the history of mankind” kind of thing.  For example, how did the same SNP appear in the Polish person and the NC person, or the Pueblo person, and not in the rest of the Native people?

New SNPs?

So, are you sitting down?

Based on these numbers, it looks like we have at least 125 new SNP candidates for  haplogroup Q.  If we count the Algonquian and the Borderlands groups of matches, that number rises to about 250.  This is very exciting.  Far, far more than I ever expected.  of these SNPS, about half will identify Native people, even Native groupings of people.  This is a huge step forward, a red letter day for Native American ancestry!

SNPs and STRs

Lastly, I wanted to see how the SNP matching compared to STR matching, or if it did at all, for these men.

Only two men match each other on any STR markers.  CD and WJS matched on 12 markers, but not on higher panels.  The TIP calculator estimated their common ancestor at the 50th percentile to be 17 generations, or between 425 and 510 years ago.  We all know how unrealistic it is to depend on the TIP calculator is, but it’s the only tool we have in situations like this.

Given that these are the only two men who do match on STR markers, albeit distantly, in a genealogical timeframe, let’s see what the estimates using the 150 years per SNP mutation comes up with.  This estimate is just that, devised by the haplogroup R-U106 project administrators, and others, based on their project findings.  150 years is actually the high end of the estimate, 98 being the lower end.  Of course, different haplogroups may vary and these results are very early.  Just saying.

CD has 207 high quality Novel Variants.  He shares 188 of those with WJS, leaving 19 unshared Novel Variants.  Utilizing this number, and multiplying by 150, this suggests that, if the 150 years per SNP is anyplace close to accurate, their common ancestor lived about 2850 years ago.  If you presume that both men are incurring mutations at the same rate in their independent lines, then you would divide the number of years in half, so the common ancestor would be more likely 1425 years ago.  If you use 100 years instead of 150, the higher number of years is 1900 and the half number is about 950 years.

It’s fun to speculate a bit, but until a lot more study has occurred, we won’t be able to reasonably estimate SNP age or age to common ancestor from this information.   Having said all of that, it’s not a long stretch from 710 years to 950 years.

It looks like STR markers are still the way to go for genealogical matching and that SNPS may help to pull together the deeper ancestry, migration patterns and perhaps define family lines.  I hope the day comes soon that I can order the Big Y for lots more project members.  Most of these men do have STR marker matches, and to men with both the same and different surnames.  I’d love to see the Big Y results for those individuals who match more closely in time.

This is still the tip of the iceberg.  There is a lot left to discover!  If you or a family member have haplogroup Q results, please consider ordering the Big Y.  It would make a wonderful gift and a great way to honor your ancestors!

You can also contribute to the haplogroup Q project at this link:

In order to donate to the haplogroup C-P39 project which also includes Native Americans, please click this link:

If you haven’t yet tested, and would like to, please order your DNA test through Family Tree DNA where they are projects for Native American descendants.

Posted in Algonquian, DNA, Mexico, Mohegan, Plains, Pueblo | 3 Comments

Canadian Metis Scrip Records

The Métis people originated in the 1700s when French and Scottish fur traders married Aboriginal women, such as the Cree, and Anishinabe (Ojibway). Their descendants formed a distinct culture, collective consciousness and nationhood in the Canadian Northwest.

Distinct Métis communities developed along the fur trade routes. This Métis Nation Homeland includes the three Prairie Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta), as well as, parts of Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Northern United States.

The Métis Nation grew into a distinct culture and became a people in the Northwest prior to that territory becoming part of Canada.

The Métis are one of the “Aboriginal peoples of Canada.” To read more about the Metis, click here and note the family history and genealogy section.

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the settlements awarded by the federal government of Canada to the Métis inhabitants of Manitoba and the former North-West Territories. The records created by the scrip commissions, and the Department of the Interior in its administration of federal land policies, are now consulted by a wide range of users. The records have become particularly important, however, in two key areas: in the debate surrounding Métis allegations into the mishandling of their rights, as an Aboriginal people, by the federal government; and in family histories, especially with those seeking re-instatement under the Indian Act.

The good news is that more than 24,000 of these records have recently been brought online.

cancelled land scrip

What are scrip records and where did the people who received scrip live?  This article explains further about scrip records.

Posted in Cree, Metis, Ojibwa | Leave a comment