Adventures in Genealogy DNA Testing, Part 3: The Results!

After two weeks of set-up, it’s time to let you know what  happened. This has been the longest four months. Yes, this is how long it has taken from start to finish—from testing to results. So, without further ado, here’s the answer:

My father doesn’t match anyone in the database.

Yeah, we were a little heartbroken to say the least. He still matches the closet to the Dorset group, but his mutations on the Y chromosome are too many. Out of the 43 alleles the groups test for, we had mutations at six of them. Now it could be more, as this company doesn’t test for one of the markers we have in the study, and I’m still waiting on one last result. Dad’s differences are shown in the table below:

DYS441

DYS442

DYS449449

DYS459a

Y-GATA-A10

Y-GATA-H4

Sample 1

14

18

28

9

14

11

Sample 2

14

18

28

9

14

11

Sample 3

14

18

28

9

14

11

Dad

13

13

29

8

12

10

According to these results, my dad has a genetic distance  of 11 from these other men.

The genetic distance is the sum of the differences, or how many steps for a mutation, that the alleles show. For example: the other men they have a repeat of 14 at DYS441, and my dad shows 13. 14 minus 13 equals 1, or a one-step mutation.

If the mutation had stopped there, we would’ve been okay in saying that we’re related genetically and we could’ve proven it with genealogy. However, my dad’s genetic distance of 11 (1 + 5 + 1 +1 + 2 + 1 = 11) means that we’re not related to these men within approximately 15 generations. Comparing my father’s data to the other men in the family database showed that he was even less likely to be related to any of the others listed.

I shouldn’t be all that surprised: According to dynastree, the Combs family name is the 556th most frequent name. There’s even a nifty little graphic showing the distribution of people over the United States with the last name Combs. While it’s not an extremely common name, it isn’t rare, either. The states I’m researching have the largest numbers, and once again that isn’t a surprise.

While I was waiting, I did some online digging and found some interesting land transactions. First, I followed the lead previously mentioned in a post about the 1800 will of Wm. Combs. He left a wife, Sarah, and evidence of six small children in the 1800 census. Looking forward to the 1810 census, we find a Byrd/Bird Combs with who seem to be his mother, siblings, and the beginnings of his own family. His age fits for him to be my fourth-great-grandfather Charles’s older brother Byrd, who moved to Indiana with him. I was looking for land transactions linked to another Combs, prior to or after his death. I wasn’t successful in finding anything prior, but I may find something in Rowan County, as Surry split from it in 1777.

The find that has me making plans to visit Surry County was in the online indexes of land records from that county. I found five land purchases by Byrd Combs in the Index of Deeds for 1771 to 1903:

Grantee

Grantor

Title of Inst.

Year

Index Page

Combs, Bird

Jesse Lester

Deed

1805

45

Combs, Bird

LW Griffin

Deed

1808

46

Combs, Bird

Martin Lawson

Deed

1819

48

Combs, Bird

James McCraw

Deed

1826

51

The most interesting listing there is the last one for James McCraw. Charles fought in the War of 1812 with several McCraws, and named his eldest son, and my ancestor, James McCraw Combs. Once again my heart is pumping with excitement at a new mystery to solve!

Well, my dad’s data is out there, and maybe in a few weeks or months I’ll get a hit that’ll lead us to a new branch of the family. Now I’m trying to convince my husband to participate in a genetic study because his Irish immigrants, the Bennett family, are driving me up a wall!

11 thoughts on “Adventures in Genealogy DNA Testing, Part 3: The Results!

  1. Hi, Debi,
    Thanks for your comment! I’m not sure what you’re looking for that’s on Ancestry. Could you be a little more specific, and I’ll do my best to answer.

  2. I ordered the ancestry DNA test, now I am unsure whether to complete it or not. I am the last child in our family, female, also of Irish immigrants. Will I gain anything by getting the DNA test results?

  3. Hi,
    Whether you’ll discover any relatives using Ancestry DNA depends on who else is in the site’s database, and as Shannon notes, it may be that you’d have your results for awhile before some future test-taker turns out to be a match. In addition, the test will estimate your percentages of ancestry based on 22 populations around the world. Only you can decide whether it’s worth it to you. Family Tree Magazine has a blog post by a genetic genealogy expert you might find helpful–he explains how the Ancestry DNA test could be useful to you: http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/2012/04/09/AncestrycomToReleaseAncestryDNAAutosomalDNATest.aspx
    Diane

  4. Shannon, Combs and McCraw are definitely common names in Surry County, NC. My father’s parents had deep roots there and I still have cousins in the area, including new ones I met last summer. The Register of Deeds office in Dobson has a great staff, very helpful. The local community college in the same town has a good genealogy room. A cousin by marriage works at the RoD office and is a member of the local genealogy society that started the college collection. I will check with her for permission to share her name if you visit. You might also check the local public library main branch in Mount Airy (a.k.a. Mayberry) to see if they have any newspaper records around the time period you are interested in. Chronicling America is a website that helps locate newpaper holdings around the country. Or obviously check the websites of the community college and public library. Very helpful people there as well.

  5. I have a combs line into ky. GW combs. Sound familiar? Jessamine co ky. I no male s to tests.only my female line.

  6. Sheila: Thanks for that information. I didn’t know about the genealogy room and I will make sure to put it on the places for me to visit. This is one of those puzzles I would like to solve quicker rather than later. It would mean a lot to my dad; he has not been in the best of health and is getting on in years. He would love to know where his family came from and if all the family stories are true of being Scottish Immigrants.

    Linda: There are quite a few George Washington Combses in the family. We did migrate through Kentucky around 1840ish. Many of the family stayed there. Is it close to Washington County? So far that is the area I know they went through going to Indiana.

  7. Shannon, I don’t know if there is a way to get the information to you but my cousin-by-marriage who works in the RoD office in Surry County gave me the name and email address of a man from Winston-Salem who’s done extensive work on the Combs family in Surry County. She said you could tell him she provided the contact. A public comments space is probably not the best place to post it.

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