His Y DNA Haplogroups – explained

If we follow His genetic mutations (changes to his Y-chromosome), His male ancestors are part of the I haplogroup.  A haplogroup is a specific set of mutations documented in a line believed to have originated in one specific ancestor.

John Y tree

His haplogroup history is very interesting to us.  Some are very expected and typical. Others are so expected to be unexpected.

P305 (A haplogroup) – This marker is believed to be an ancestor for 99.9% of all males currently living.  This mutation is believed to have occurred about 100,000 years ago.  Very few tribal males in Africa do not have this marker.  It supports the theory that Homo sapiens branch began in Africa and migrated to other places after this mutation. (1)

M42 (BT haplogroup) – This mutation is believed to have occurred about 80,000 years ago.  This marker is found everywhere in the world, leading scientists to believe this male ancestor’s descendants lead the way in leaving Africa. (2)

M168 (CT haplogroup) – This marker is found in all males living outside of Africa.  This mutation is believed to have occurred about 70,000 years ago in East Africa.  This branch of the Homo sapiens tree left Africa for the Middle East/Fertile Crescent region of the world.  Why did they leave Africa?  Million dollar question!  Most likely to follow the food. (3)

P143 (CF haplogroup) – The CT haplogroup quickly formed the CF and DE haplogroups.  CF branched about 70,000 years ago for form the C and F haplogroups.  (3, 4)

M89 (F haplogroup) – This marker is extremely common (about 90%) in non-African populations, especially south and southeastern Asia.  It is believed to have originated outside of Africa about 55,000 years ago.  Here is a picture of its distribution. (3, 5)


M578 (HIJK haplogroup) – This mutation is believed to have occurred about 50,000 years ago.  It is believed to be a branch off of the F haplogroup and is found in south and southwestern Asia. (6)

M429 (IJ haplogroup) – This mutation is also believed to have occurred in the southwestern Asia area and Middle East about 44,000 years ago.  This haplogroup gives rise to the I haplogroup – the haplogroup found in Europe.  (7)

M170 (I haplogroup) – The branch of the tree moved into Europe, probably as an ice age was ending and migration into that region was possible.  This marker is believed to have occurred about 20,000 years ago in Europe or near the boundary with Asia.  This is after the extinction of the Neanderthals so these ancestors must have interacted with them before this mutation occurred.  This is a very common European haplogroup with high concentrations in northern Europe and southwest Europe.  The I haplogroup (as blue and purple in the image) are found in different concentrations, leading scientists to believe there were waves of migration into Europe. (8)

His male ancestors were from the island of Brac in Croatia.  An article by Barac et al discusses the Y chromosome inheritance on this specific island.  This area of the world has the highest frequency (49%) reported in Europe.  His Y chromosome markers from 20,000 years ago support this!   This area has been inhabited since the middle Palaeolithic time period (100,000 – 40,000 years ago), overlapping with Neanderthals. (9)


M438 (I2 haplogroup) – The highest frequency of this marker is found in Bosnia and Herzegovina (located close to the island of Brac)  It is believed to have originated about 15,000 years ago. (10)


M423 (I2a1b haplogroup) – This marker is found in southeastern Europe and western Asia.  It is commonly found in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.  It is found in the rest of Europe less than 1%.

M423 heat map

L621 (I2a1b2 haplogroup) – This is a south Slavic marker found in the highest frequency in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  (10, 11)

So I guess this means He is actually of Croatian descent and His ancestors lived in this area for MANY years!


I was unable to link to the information found in The Genographic Project by National Geographic.  Much of the information came from there.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_A_(Y-DNA)(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_BT
(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_CT
(4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_CF_(Y-DNA)
(5) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_F-M89
(6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_HIJK
(7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_IJ
(8) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_I-M170
(9) Barac, Lovorka et al. (2003)  Y Chromosome heritage of Croatian population and its island isolates.  European Journal of Human Genetics.  11, 535-542
(10) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_I-M438
(11) http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_I2_Y-DNA.shtml#I2a1b


His Y-DNA: Out of Africa

We had our DNA analyzed by The Genographic Project through National Geographic.  This is the first post about His results.

Here is some information from The Genographic Project web site:  (Bold is our addition.)

“Since its launch in 2005, National Geographic’s Genographic Project has used advanced DNA analysis and worked with indigenous communities to help answer fundamental questions about where humans originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Now, cutting-edge technology is enabling us to shine a powerful new light on our collective past. By participating in the latest phase of this real-time scientific project, you can learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
Your results give you an unprecedented view of your lineage. You will discover the migration paths your ancient ancestors followed hundreds and even thousands of years ago.
Included in the 300,000 markers we test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, the Neanderthals, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago.
As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals were still alive and well in Europe and Asia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0 Next Generation, you will learn if you have any Neanderthal DNA in your genome.

This post (His DNA Test Results) gives a brief look at His DNA.  We found that he has Neanderthal genes (about 1.5%) and is 55% Eastern European.

His basic ancestral migration pattern based on his various Y chromosome haplogroups is:  (years ago approximate)
– P305  central Africa 80,000+ ya
– M168  northeastern Africa c 70,000 ya
– P143  Middle East/Fertile Crescent region c 60,000 ya
– M429  eventually southeast Europe c 40,000 ya

This data shows that His male ancestors moved out of the African continent about 60,000 years ago and then moved into Europe about 40,000 years ago.  They interacted with the Neanderthals at some point after moving toward/into Europe.  (Neanderthals became extinct about 30,000 years ago.)

John Y tree


Marriage Record – John Hill and Eva Huff

This is one of the documents I needed to submit with my mother-in-law’s application to DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).  John A. Hill and Eva Huff are His 2x-Great-Grandparents.

If you look closely at record #368, you will notice that John A. Hill’s name is Jno Huff in the second part of the document.  Now I know that Jno can mean John, but it usually means Jonathan.  (I mean, really, how hard would it be to write John vs Jno??)  His last name gets changed in the process as well – Hill becomes Huff.

Another inconsistency is in the name of the wife – Eva Huff becomes Eva Hough.

Thankfully, I have death certificates for both John and Eva.  They name each other as spouse.  Eva’s death certificate names her father as Townsend B. Huff.  I’m hopeful that DAR will accept this!  I can hear them now – but how do you know this Eva Hough is the same Eva Huff you are related to???

No wonder I had such a hard time finding this using search engines!!  Remember that alternate spellings have an interesting way of showing up – even in a single document.


Genealogy Fun – Three Degrees of Separation

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun — Three Degrees of Separation idea by Randy Seaver at Geneamusings.com

This is actually my Sunday Afternoon Genealogy Fun!  This was an easy activity to determine how far back in time can you go with three degrees of separation.  That means “you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor.”

So for Her:

– She met her maternal great-grandfather Harry Cecil Fetherkile (1884-1980) in the early 70’s.  Her family would travel most summers and visit Grandpa Fetherkile until his death.
– Grandpa F. lived in the same small Iowa town his entire life and knew his paternal grandfather Adam Henry Fetherkile (1812-1896) who moved to this same town in the early 1850’s.  Both grandfathers are buried in the Urbana Cemetery along with her maternal grandmother. 

Her maternal line goes back to 1812.

– She remembers meeting her paternal great-grandmother Mary Harriet (Hallie) Squires Marshall Gott Burton (1891-1974) in the late 60’s.  Grandma Burton also lived in Iowa about 3 hours drive from her Fetherkile relatives.  Mom and Dad met in California.
– Grandma B. had to have known her maternal grandmother Elizabeth Ruth Cross McCann (1823-1912) since we have a photo of Grandma McCann with Grandma B’s younger sisters.  Dad remembers Aunt Ruth who is buried just a few miles from us.

Her paternal line goes back to 1823.


So for Him:

– He met his maternal great-grandmother Lurena Dell (Lulu) Hill Farley (1881-1965) at birth!
– Grandma F. was born and raised in the same Nebraska town as her maternal grandparents Townsend Berkley Huff (1830-1904) and Nancy Talbert Huff (1834-1912).  

His maternal line goes back to 1830.

– His paternal line is not able to go to the third “separation”.  He met his paternal grandfather at birth and knows that he was an immigrant in 1907.  He never returned to his native country and we do not have names for any ancestors except his father at this time.  Hopefully soon!

US Presidents – How Many in a Lifetime??

Idea for this post courtesy of GeneaMusings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

“This week’s Genealogy Fun challenge is very timely since a new president was inaugurated yesterday. Here are the answers to the question – how many presidents have served during my lifetime, my parents and grandparents and how many generations back do I have to go to cover all 45 U.S. presidents?”

I put my data into a spreadsheet to answer the questions.  See spreadsheet below.

Her Lifetime: 11 (since Kennedy)
Mom and Dad: 14 (since FD Roosevelt)
Grandparents: 13 (Taft – Carter)
14 (Wilson – GHW Bush)
11  (Taft – Nixon)
17  (T Roosevelt – Clinton)

His Lifetime: 12 (since Eisenhower)
Mom: 15 (since Hoover)
Dad: 14 (Hoover – Obama)
Grandparents: 17 (Harrison-Carter)
15 (Cleveland-Ford)
11 (T Roosevelt-L Johnson)
16 (Taft – Clinton)

Great-Grandparents: Range from 9 – 19 Presidents and 12-18 Presidents
2x Great-Grandparents: Range from 14 – 21 Presidents and 17-22 Presidents
3x Great-Grandparents: Range from 13 – 25 Presidents and 8-24 Presidents
The “winning” relative is Her 3x Great Grandfather Ole Simonson (1816-1915) at living through 25 US Presidents!!

4x Great-Grandparents: Range from 8 – 21 Presidents and 8-18 Presidents
This is the first generation to reach Washington for both of us.  She has 15 ancestors who were alive during Washington’s Presidency and He has 4!)

GP = Grandfather   GM = Grandmother    Number indicates how many greats.  In the following spreadsheet, letters after indicate first letter of last name, in order of my Ahnentafel Report generated by Family Tree Maker.  I only included ancestors who lived part/all of their life in the US and I had dates of birth and death.  If it was a transition year, I used birth, death, inaugurations dates to determine if they lived during a particular President’s term.







Nathan Overman Hill 3x great-Uncle

Nathan Overman Hill is His 3x great-uncle.

Nathan’s brother (John Alvin Hill) was His 2x-great-grandfather.

Birth: 6 May 1844 in Rush County, Indiana, United States (1)

Death: 24 July 1927 in Arapahoe, Furnas County, Nebraska, United States (2, 5)

Parents: Jonathan (Jack) Hill and Elizabeth Overman


  • Sarah Elizabeth Hill
  • John Alvin Hill – known as Ippy to His family
  • Viola A Hill
  • Charles E Hill

Spouse: Marietta Caldwell (3)

Children (4)

  • Edgar H Hill
  • Orpha Mae Hill
  • Ireena Hill
  • Leroy Hill
  • Florence Curtis Hill


Nathan enlisted in the Union Military during the Civil War.  He was part of the Indiana 9th Cavalry (Company E, 121st Regiment).  He was mustered in on December 19, 1963 and mustered out on August 28, 1865.   His unit made their way to Pulaski, TN.  On September 25, 1864, a portion of the regiment was in the Battle at Sulphur Branch Trestle.  They then made their way to Nashville, being engaged in Battle of Franklin where Nathan was captured as a prisoner of war on December 1, 1864.  [We are assuming he must have been injured in the battle since most of the Union troops left to go towards Nashville, leaving the wounded and the battleground to the Confederate forces].  See our posts about the battlefield here (Carter House) and here (Lotz House).

Nathan was sent to Cahaba Prison, Alabama (a prisoner of war camp).  He was then transferred to the Andersonville Prison, Georgia (Fort Sumter) and ultimately released/exchanged on April 15, 1865.


Nathan returned home to Indiana after his release and mustering out.  The family story is that as he walked up to the home, his mother didn’t recognize him and wondered why a vagrant was approaching the house.  His mother wrote a letter to her brother Charles while Nathan was away.  We have the original letter!

Nathan moved several times after the war.  It appears the entire family moved to Arapahoe, Nebraska.  Brother John had property here until the early 1910’s.  Marriage and census records have him in these locations:

  • 1867 – Clark county, Missouri (marriage record)
  • 1870 – Marion, Lee county, Iowa (federal census)
  • 1885 – Marion, Lee county, Iowa (Iowa state census)
  • 1890 – Furnas county, Nebraska (veteran’s schedule)
  • 1920 – Arapahoe, Furnas county, Nebraska (federal census)
  • 1927 – burial – Arapahoe Cemetery – his wife and parents are also buried here.  Daughters Ireena and Orpha and son Edgar are also buried here.  Brother Charles is buried here too.


Hill, Nathan O

(1) Ancestry.com trees – nothing specifically other than this gives an exact birth date
(2) FindAGrave.com Memorial # 10347217  We’ve been to cemetery!
(3) Missouri Marriage Records, 1867, pg 271
(4) 1880 Federal Census; Marion, Lee county, Iowa; pg 22B
(5) Pension Index, Civil War, Indiana



His Numbers – 6.8% at 10 Generations

Genea-Musings has a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge every week.  This week it is to determine how “complete” your tree is.  Last night I did Her Numbers so I figured I would do His Numbers.  His Ancestral Score is 6.8% meaning I’ve found only 6.8% of his 1023 ancestors for 10 generations.

Below is the spreadsheet for His Numbers.  I used FTM14 to generate the Ahnentafel Report for 21 generations and counted the old fashioned way (by hand) how many I’ve found for each generation.  If any information has been collected on an individual, they are included in the count.  His Numbers were much easier to count!

I calculated both the percent of the identified possible for each generation as well as the percent of the total possible for each generation.

Looks like a lot more work is needed!!