Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Family Tree DNA Sale!!!!!!!!

I received the following message from Family Tree DNA:

(My note: You can order  by clicking this link: LINK to Family Tree DNA page.)

As we ended our 8th Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference, several conference participants asked us to start our year-end sale as soon as possible. In answer to those requests we decided to start it immediately:

New Kits Current Price SALE PRICE/sale price is the one on the far right side.

Y-DNA 37 $169 $119

Y-DNA 67 $268 $199

mtDNAPlus $159 $139

mtFullSequence (FMS) $299 $199

SuperDNA (Y-DNA 67 and mtFullSequence) $548 $398

Family Finder $289 $199

Family Finder + mtDNAPlus $438 $318

Family Finder + mtFullSequence $559 $398

Family Finder + Y-DNA 37 $438 $318

Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-67) $837 $597

Upgrades Current Price SALE PRICE

Y-Refine 12-25 Marker $59 $35

Y-Refine 12-37 Marker $109 $69

Y-Refine 12-67 Marker $199 $148

Y-Refine 25-37 Marker $59 $35

Y-Refine 25-67 Marker $159 $114

Y-Refine 37-67 Marker $109 $79

Y-Refine 37-111 Marker $220 $188

Y-Refine 67-111 Marker $129 $109

mtHVR1toMega $269 $179

mtHVR2toMega $239 $179

mtFullSequence Add-on $289 $199

To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the Order An Upgrade button in the upper right corner.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Family Tree DNA Sale and DNA Results

Okay, if you have thought about getting your mtDNA tested or getting your very own Family Finder (autosomal) test taken, this is the weekend to do IT! 

I received the following notice from Family Tree DNA:

This sale starts Friday, September 28, at 12:00am and ends Sunday, September 30, at 11:59PM.

New Kits                   Current Price          SALE PRICE

Family Finder              $289                      $199

mtFullSequence           $299                      $199

Family Finder +
mtFullSequence           $559                      $398

Upgrades                Current Price         SALE PRICE

Family Finder              $289                      $199

HVR1 to
mtFullSequence           $269                      $199

HVR2 to
mtFullSequence          $239                       $199

mtFullSequence          $289                       $199

As with all promotions, orders need to be placed by the end of the sale and payment must be made by end of this sale.

Click here to learn more.


In other news,  I suffered a hard drive crash last month.  I lost most of the genealogy files that I had neglected to back up in the last year.  I am still trying to regroup.  Thankfully, I had sent a copy of my Thacker to someone who has been a great help in understanding the ins and outs of DNA. 

Unfortunately, I was working on a post on Holman Thacker that I have to research again from scratch.  A descendant of Holman's took the YDNA test a few years ago when Ancestry was offering them. He has transferred the data to Family Tree and there was a match, but not to any Thacker's in the database. He has a 25 of 25 markers match to descendants of  - wait for it - Gilbert Gibson

More to come on this as I redue (groan) my research

We have the mtDNA results from the descendants of Mildred Jane Thacker wife of Wetherfoot Napper and Frances Thacker wife of Nimrod Nicholas Thacker.  Mildred is from the haplogroup H1c.  Frances is from the haplogroup U3a.   This means, though they were living beside each other in the 1850 census, they were not sisters.   More on this as I research these two haplogroups. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's Official - We Have A DNA Project!

Okay, it's pretty exciting - Family Tree DNA has given us the green light to go ahead with our Dual Geographic Project.  We have three participants already signed up!  All three are testing the mitochondrial DNA and are descendants of three different Thacker women.

There are other individuals who have expressed an interest in the project, but have not yet committed themselves to ordering a DNA kit.

Just as testing of Y DNA can indicate the ancestral origins of an individual, so can mtDNA testing.  The map below from Family Tree DNA shows the various Haplogroups and their migration route.  Haplogroups A, B, C and D would indicate Native American origins.  The most common European mtDNA Haplogroup is H.

Paul Heinegg has theorized the Free Colored class came from the union of  Anglo-European females and African American males.  His theory has merit in that a child's status (either free or slave) was determined by the mother. In John Henderson Russell's book, The Free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865, he makes a strong case that those African Americans brought in after 1640 were considered slaves.  It is, therefore, likely that the majority of African American females would have been slaves and any children born to them would also be considered slaves. If this is true, then our mtDNA probably will not confirm any African American heritage.

However, Dorothy A Mays in her book, Women in Early American: Struggle, Survival and Freedom in a New World, estimates that in colonial Virginia that there were 3.38 males for every 1 female, at times the ratio of male to female may have been higher.  It is not unreasonable to think that because of this some of the European males may have taken Native American women as mates.  Which is why testing of our mtDNA lines is essential.  While it is likely that our mtDNA will show as European there is a chance we might find the Native American link in a Vinton County Group's descendant  mtDNA.

Because all females descend from approximately 20 some Eves, and because mutations happen very slowly in the mitochondrial DNA, some have said that studying mtDNA for genealogical purposes is not useful.  Even with the full sequence panels that our three participants have ordered it still only tells us if they had the same female ancestress in the last 400 years. 

But in our overlapping families, if the results aren't a perfect match that will tell us that they are separate families, which will, if we are able to get enough descendants tested,  enable us to distinguish the various groups more readily.  Not to mention the information on the Haplogroups could prove to be interesting.

If you are interested in participating you can contact me at the email address in the right hand column.  You can now find our project listed at Family Tree DNA.  Look under Project, Dual Geographic, and the letter "V."  We are a small group so far, but it is a start.


Saturday, July 14, 2012


While I am still waiting to hear back from Family Tree DNA, I thought now might be a good time to point out the benefit for the Vinton County Group in having YDNA tests done.  


If you are one of the many descendants of Sally Napper aka Gibson, you know that there has been some speculation on the father of her children.  Many researchers believe the father was David Lemay, the son of John Lemay and Annis Branham Lemay.  

None of the researchers has shared their theory with me, but it definitely has merit. 

1.      1.  We find Sally and David Lemay living together in Vinton County in the 1850 census.

2.      2.    Richard Napper’s death certificate indicates that his father was a Napper and him mother was a Lemay.  It would be natural for the informant to mix the surnames of Richard’s parents or even the clerk taking down the information, since the natural assumption would be that the father’s surname would match the deceased. 

3.       3.  We know that by the 1800 census the Gibson’s were considered “white.”  So why were the Napper children considered Free Colored or mulatto?  It would follow that their father had to be nonwhite, and we know that John Lemay’s children with Annis Branham were considered nonwhite. 

So the benefit in an YDNA test would be the possibility of finding a genetic surname match.  There is not a current Lemay surname project at Family Tree DNA, but it would be still be possible that a Lemay was tested and is in the database.  If not, we could work at finding a willing Lemay participant to see if the Napper males match. 

Because there is no record of Sally Napper and David Lemay marrying, we can’t be sure that all of the children had the same father.  At the time, it was against the law for a white individual and a nonwhite individual to marry, so Sally and David could not marry regardless of how many children they had together. 

If we tested the DNA from the descendants from Wetherfoot Napper, Peter Napper, and Levi Napper and they all matched, it would not prove that all the children had the same father, but there would certainly be a much stronger case for this assumption. 

Finally, there is the matter of Richard Napper.  It is thought by some (me included) that the missing Uncle Dick from Lizzie Dorton’s recollection might actually be William Napper father of Irena Dolby’s children. 

One of Irena’s children lists Richard as the father on her death certificate.  If DNA of a descendant from William Napper matches, the DNA of the other three sons of Sally Napper that would go a long way in proving the theory that William Napper was a son of Sally and possibly the same individual as Richard Napper.


Theoretically, all of the Thacker men should have, if not matching DNA, than a close match.  That of course, assumes that all of these men have the Thacker name through their father’s line and not their mother’s line.  It’s possible that some, or maybe even all, are not genetic Thackers but actually have different genetic surname.  The only way to tell is to have each of the descendants of the Thacker males tested.  Once that is done, we will have a better idea of the Thacker relationships. 

My hunch is you will find that they are a match for other surnames and not all of them match each other.  Since there are Gibson, Branham and Dalton surname projects it would not be surprising to see some matches to these groups.


It’s clear if you look at Malachi’s census records that he had more than the three children ascribed to him and Mahala Thacker.  My hunch is if we test a descendant of James Dorton and some of the Thackers, we will find a match.


Because the Y chromosome passes from father to son without recombining, it is possible to trace your ancestor’s migrations to a geographic region thousands of years ago.  So for example, when my father’s DNA was tested it showed that his Haplogroup R1b1a2.  

R1b1 is the most common Haplogroup found in Western Europe.  Because of migration patterns to the US, it is also the most common group in the US. 

The added designation of a2 on the end of my father’s group indicates that the group originated about 9500 years ago, and that the most prevalent ancient group was “European, Centum & Anatolian branches of Indo-European speakers”

Someone within my father’s surname project had additional testing done which further revealed R1b1a2a1a1b.  This group came into existence about 5300 years ago and was found in Western European and their ancient group was considered “Italo-Celtic.” 

So, fine, Terry, very nice, but what does it matter to me?  Well, when the YDNA is tested, we will get a Haplogroup listing for it.  This will give us another piece to our puzzle.  If for example, the test shows a Q Haplogroup that would indicate Native American Heritage. 

Thanks to the Gibson surname project, those of us who descend from Gilbert Gibson know one  Haplogroup of a branch from our family tree.  

Someone from the group had further testing so that we know that Haplogroup for Gilbert Gibson and his descendants is R1b1a2a1a1b4.  That group formed about 4000 years ago.  They were found in Ireland, Britain, Northwest France, south-west Norway. 

Who in the Vinton County Group descends from Gilbert Gibson?  Anyone who descends from the following: 

1.      Sally Gibson aka Napper who was the daughter of William Gibson and Mary Adams Napper.  William was the son of George Gibson and Susannah unknown.  George was the son of Gilbert Gibson and first wife (name unknown.)

2.       David Lemay said to be the common law husband of Sally Gibson aka Napper.  David was the son of John Lemay and Annis Branham.  Annis was the daughter of Frances Gibson and Benjamin Branham.  Frances was the daughter of Gilbert Gibson and first wife (name unknown.)

3.      David Thacker, Robert Thacker, and Malachi (Dalton) Dorton who, according to a deed drawn in 1833, descend from Mary Branham Dalton.  Mary was the wife of  John Dalton and the sister of Annis Branham Lemay .  She descends from Frances Gibson Branham.

4.      Sally Lemay Thacker  who was the wife of David Thacker and sister of David Lemay.  She is, therefore, another descendent of Frances Gibson Branham.

What about the other Thackers of Vinton County?

 I don’t know the answer to that question but with YDNA testing, we may find the answer. 

There is a lot to be learned from YDNA testing.  If you are a father to son descendant from one of the Vinton County Thackers, Nappers or Dortons, please consider having the test done at FamilyTree DNA. 
Right now, there is a special going on until July 15. 

If you read this after that date and are interested in participating, please leave a comment or write to the email in the right hand column.  I will send you a notice the next time Family Tree has a sale. 

Note:  Information on R1b1 Haplogroups from  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Announcing (I hope) The Vinton County DNA Project

Okay, this is a little premature, but I have applied to Family Tree DNA to do a geographic project for The Vinton County Group.  We will be looking at YDNA and mtDNA of the original members of the group trying to answer the following questions:

1. How are we related?
2. What is our ethnic background?
3. What is our genetic surnames?
4. Do we share common ancestors with any of the other so called triracial groups? 

Unfortunately, not all of us who descend from "the group: would have the "right stuff" to be tested. 

For the YDNA test you have to be male. You also have to have an unbroken father to son descent from the original members of the group, meaning you probably have the last name Thacker, Dorton or Napper. 

For the mtDNA testing it is a little trickier.  Mitochondrial DNA is pasted down from mother to child. A female child will pass it on to her children but a male child cannot.  So for example if my grandfather was alive (he is not), he could be tested because his mother was Elizabeth Cope Smathers.  Her mother was Frances Thacker Cope whose mother was Clarinda Thacker Marcum, whose mother was Frances Thacker Thacker. 

Frances is one of the individuals we want to find the mtDNA for, so while my grandfather would have Frances's mtDNA and would be a candidate for the test, his children would not.  However, one of my grandfather's sisters would not only be a candidate for the the test but so would her children. Have I confused you?

If you are interested in doing the test, but aren't sure if you qualify just email at the address in the right hand column of this page.  We'll chat. :)

Why am I telling you this now, before the project has been approved? Well, Family Tree DNA is having their summer sale from now through June 15th.  Below are the prices for New Kits.

New Kit Prices during the special:

New kits

Y-DNA12 : $59 instead of $99

Y-DNA37 : $129 instead of $149

Y-DNA67 : $199 instead of $238

mtFullSequence : $219 instead of $299

Family Finder : $199 instead of $289

Family Finder + Y-DNA37 : $328 instead of $438

Family Finder + mtDNAPlus : $328 instead of $438

SuperDNA : $428 instead of $518

Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-DNA67) : $617 instead of $797

The following are individuals whose YDNA we hope to find:

Nimrod Thacker
Holman Thacker
Chapman Thacker
Edwell Thacker
Ivory Thacker
Thomas Thacker
John A Thacker
Ellis Thacker
Robert Thacker
David Thackeer
Ambrose Thacker
George W. Thacker
Malachi Dorton
Levi Napper
Wetherfoot Napper
Peter Napper
William Napper (who may be Richard Napper)

The following are individuals whose mtDNA we hope to find:

Emma Jane Dorton, wife of Peter Napper, daughter of Mahala Thacker Dorton
Mildred Jane Thacker wife Wetherfoot Napper
Frances Thacker wife of Nimrod Thacker
Patsy Ann Thacker  wife of Levi Napper, Daughter of Sally Lemay Thacker
Permelia Jane Thacker wife of Joseph McKinnis and Levi Shiflet, Daughter of Sally Lemay Thacker
Peachy Thacker or Napper? wife of Moses Freeman
Martha Thacker wife of Chapman Thacker
Sally Thacker wife of Austin Pattison
Catherine Thacker wife James Jordon, Daugher of Nancy Dalton Thacker
Nancy Thacker wife of John Vest, Daughter of Nancy Dalton Thacker
Louisa Thacker wife of James Hollis, Daugher of Nancy Dalton Thacker
Polly Ann Napper, wife of Edwill Thacker, Daugher of Sally Napper (Gibson)
Roxanne Napper, wife of Holman Thacker, Daugher of Sally Napper (Gibson)
Lucinda Napper, wife of Sanford Smith, Daughter of Sally Napper (Gibson)
Virginia Napper, wife of James Dorton, Daughter of Sally Napper (Gibson)
Patsy Ann Napper, wife Ivory Thacker, Daughter of Sally Napper (Gibson)

Some of these are redundant.  For example Roxanne, Polly Ann, Lucinda, Virginia and Patsy Ann should all have the same mtDNA.  (But does Peachy?)

Theoretically all the Nappers should be the same and all of the Thackers should be the same, but are they?

Should we look for mtDNA for Sarah Evans wife George W. Thacker? What about Ann Vaughn wife of Thomas Thacker.  Should we include Moses Freeman or Levi Shiflet?

Lots of questions, and your input is wanted.  If you are interested, you can contact me through the comments or the email address over in the right hand column.  Maybe, together we will solve some of the mysteries.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

“I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout understandin’ no DNA" - Autosomal DNA

When it comes to DNA, many of you, like me, might be scratching your head and saying (to paraphrase Prissie in Gone with the Wind), “I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout understandin’ no DNA.”  Boy, do I wish I would have taken time out from doodling and playing cootie catcher to listen to at least a couple of my science teachers. 

The University of Utah has put together four short little videos explaining the four kinds of DNA – Autosomal DNA, X Chromosome DNA, Y Chromosome DNA, and Mitochondrial DNA.  Currently, three of these types of DNA - Autosomal, YDNA and mtDNA (mitochondrial) are being used for genealogical purposes. 

The type of DNA that Ancestry used to predict my genetic ethnicity is autosomal.  If you are interested in understanding autosomal (a whole lot had better than yours truly could hope to explain) take a peak now at U of U’s autosomal DNA video.  

In a nutshell, each of us has 23 pairs of chromosomes.  Autosomal DNA looks at 22 of these pairs (the 23rd pair is the XY or XX chromosomes that determine a person’s sex.) 

You have inherited ½ your father’s autosomal chromosomes and ½ of your mother’s autosomal chromosomes.  But that also means that you lost half of each of your parents’ autosomal chromosomes. Likewise, your parents only inherited ½ of their parents’ autosomal chromosome etc.   

This is why your siblings’ genetic ethnicity might not look precisely the same as yours – they might have inherited different chunks of your parents’ DNA.  It’s also, why you and a cousin can take the test and not come up a match, yet you and a fourth cousin are.  It’s all in how the chromosomes recombined.

If you read the paper, “Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population by Roberta J Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson and Janet Lewis Crain, you will see that the prediction of how much of the DNA I probably carry from my 4th great grandparents, Nimrod and Frances Thacker, is less than 1%.  If you factor in the probability that the individual who supplied the mixed race part of their DNA could have been 50, 100 or 200 years prior to their births – well, you can see why my autosomal DNA might not have picked it up.

For some of you who are descendants of the Vinton County Group, you may have expanded your chances by having several sets of the original group members.  Only testing will tell.  

Autosomal testing by should be available to the US market some time later this year.  Family Tree DNA offers their own product called Family Finder and 23 and Me calls their product Relative Finder.

Note:  As of right now, Ancestry does not offer the option of looking at raw data, which the other products do.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Good News, Bad News - The Results of My Ancestry Autosomal DNA Test

Okay, so the good news is I received the results from Ancestry's autosomal test.  The bad news is my results don't give us a clue to the Thacker clan's mixed racial identity.

I made a prediction of my own on what the results would look like. I predicted 73% Central European (I have German ancestors all over the place), 25% British Isles, and 2% Uncertain.

Below are the actual results.

So the thing is, I don't have a lick of Scandinavian heritage (Norway, Denmark and Sweden) in my family tree.   Ancestry, however explains it this way: 

For example, if you have German or British ancestors in your family tree, it’s a possibility that your genetic ethnicity may be partly Scandinavian. The Viking invasions and conquests about a thousand years ago are likely responsible for occurrences of Scandinavian ethnicity throughout other regions.

Okay, I can accept that. In addition, a quarter of my family tree came directly from the former German Province of Pomerania.  A portion of this province, known as the Hinterpommern, was in fact part of Sweden from 1630 to 1815.  This happens to be the exact area where this part of my family tree lived.

The Southern European is a bit of puzzler, however.  This area encompasses  Spain, Italy and Portugal.  I swear that I have not found one incidence of any of this ethnicity in my family tree.  It is interesting to note that many of the Melungeon's, (no, we are not Melungeons) a significant portion of whom trace their roots to Louisa County, have claimed that they descend from Portuguese sailors. 

A recent paper appearing in The Journal of Genetic Genealogy entitled, "Melungeons, A Multi-Ethnic Population" disputes this notion of a Portuguese heritage. The paper, co-written by Roberta J. Estes, Jack H. Goins, Penny Ferguson, and Janet Lewis Crain, is based on the testing of descendents of the Core Melungeon group.  They used YDNA tests (father to son) and mtDNA tests (mother to daughter ) to base their conclusions.  The findings of these test showed mostly a Northern European heritage with some African American origins and one Native American (the Sizemore's, who were NOT from Louisa County).

Still, these odd ball results of mine are food for thought.

I would be interested in hearing about the DNA results of anyone else who descends from the Nappers, Dortons and Thackers.  If you have had any testing done, please share.  You can either leave a comment or you can write me at the email address found on the left hand column of this page.  Maybe together, we can solve some of the mysteries surrounding The Vinton County Group.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ancestry Autosomal DNA Beta – The Saga Continues

Right before Easter, I received a notice from Ancestry telling me that they could not get a decent sample from the swabs that I sent to them last November.  The next day, April 5th, Ancestry sent me an email informing me that they had  sent a second kit for DNA sample collection.  

I still hadn’t received my kit by today’s mail, so I decided to call  Ancestry's DNA customer service.  

I learned a couple of things from Sean, my good buddy at Ancestry. 

1.      1.  They had a significant rate of problems with the swab tests. The new kits will contain a "spit" collection method instead of the swab collection method. ( I remember reading that another company does a spit method of collection.- Maybe 23 and ME?)

2.       2.  If the second kit is not here by May 6th, I can call and request them to send out yet another kit.

So, I’m back to square one.  ARGGHHH!!!!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update (Or Lack of Update) on’s New Autosomal Test

In case anyone out there is burning up with curiosity on what’s happening with the Autosomal DNA test that I submitted to the answer is – NOTHING (much.) 

On the first of March I received the below email from Ancestry letting me know that Beta testing would begin shortly.  Turns out it did begin, but only for a select group of people. 

When I emailed them after three weeks of waiting for “shortly” to begin, I got the stock answer that my sample was “in processing.” 

Trying to find more information out hasn’t been particularly easy.  However, CeCe Moore of the blog “YourGenetic Genealogist” has written several posts about this new product.  The latest post, “New Information Ancestry.DNA Product,” is particularly interesting as it is a result of a phone conference that Ancestry held with several bloggers along with a private call she had made to the Ancestry.DNA team earlier. 

A couple of main points that interested me were: 

1.       1.  Of the current 22 ethnicities being tested for – Native American ethnicity is included.  This is good news for those of us who descend from the Vinton County Group.  (Although, because my own mixed race is so far back, it may not matter.)

2.     2.    North African ethnicity is also included but if I am understanding correctly that there is not yet a lot of detail in the African mixture as of yet.

33  3.    Because there is a reliance on information available on the family trees now on Ancestry for predicting ancestral origins, I am concerned that a lot of “bad genealogy” that I have seen on many trees, will lead  us astray. 

For example, if someone finds that he or she is a match with a Chapman Thacker descendent and in that descendant’s family tree it shows Chapman having been born in West Virginia (he was not!) that would send the “testee” looking in the area of West Virginia when he or she should be searching Louisa County, Virginia.

 4    4,   According to officials, they said that they "will be getting it out to more and more customers throughout this year".    Which says to me, I could have a long wait to see the results.  Ah well, what can you expect when you are a Beta tester?

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