Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Interesting Taylor by Marriage

Here is the description directly from the New York University Library website:

Treva Margaret Taylor, nee Hampton, (1929-2006) was an avid reader throughout her life, not only of Harlequin romances, but of other novels and of history. She instilled the love of reading not only in her own children, but also in scores of neighborhood children. She was always ready for a trip to the local public library. Taylor subscribed to the monthly Harlequin service and received a number of titles in each package during the 1970s and early 1980s. Once read, the novels were kept in numerical order by the publisher's number on bookshelves. Her collection is reminiscent of dime novel collections from the Nineteenth Century, presenting a cross-section of popular romance during the growth of the feminist movement.


Apparently this collection is massive!

Just one more of an interesting collection of Taylors...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Haplogroups and Race

Each Haplogroup is associated with a geographic origin and therefore an ethnic identity, or more accurately a biological race. For a full treatment of the origins of each haplogroup, see this article at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Y-chromosome_DNA_haplogroups

However, here are some of the particulars[1]. Most of our Taylor project are representative of the R1b and R1a that are western European:

R1b Western Europe

R1a Eastern Europe

I Nordic

J2 Semitic

E3b Semitic

Q3 Native American

It is important to point out that racial identity in the United States, at least in the year 2009, is a cultural matter. People identify with their culture of origin. They do not have a DNA test to determine their major ethnic identity. For that reason, a person who self-identifies as African-American may test and find he is of the Western European haplogroup. Similarly, a person may identify as a white American and discover his y-DNA is linked to an African haplogroup.

Because of this, some possible participants may not want to be tested, fearing the results. These fears may be unrevealed, even to the self. And even today, people do make value judgments according to racial profiling. So, let us address some possible issues.

Outside of this project, no one will know your haplogroup, unless you share it. Closely related people who test and share results with you probably have the same haplogroup.

Second, your haplogroup may or may not coincide with your ethnic identity as you have lived your life. This may be reassuring, or not. Your ethnic identity is a complex mixture of family, local, religious, regional and biological factors. Two people in relatively similar circumstances may self-identify as different ethnic groups.

Finally, speaking to the Black/White issue which is a hot button for Americans, having a haplogroup which does not match your sense of ethnic identity does not necessarily mean that your female ancestor was raped by a member of the other group. This is a reoccurring explanation for why a haplogroup does not match a perceived cultural identity. It presupposes that no ancestor had consensual sex with another ethnic group. It would be reasonable and fair to assume that some mixtures of different genetic lines were desired by both parties.

Until next time,


[1] See Wikipedia noted above for a more complete list.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Link to Dick Eastman's blog


Here is a long article about family stories and how they many times are wrong. Read the comments, as well!



Saturday, September 5, 2009

When Do You "Own" Your Surname?

Since this is the official blog of a surname project—the Taylor surname project—it is reasonable to question, when is a surname yours?

If you have the surname Taylor by marriage or adoption, is it yours? My answer is yes. If you psychologically identify with the surname, and use it as your legal name, it is yours in my opinion. (Readers are encouraged to comment, if they have strong feelings about this.)

Thus, within our Taylor surname project we have y-DNA matches that do not carry the surname Taylor, but trace back to Taylor lines, and we have people who carry the Taylor name and trace back to other male lines and other surnames. All of them are part of the Taylor project because they identify themselves by personal preference, by identity, by law, or by DNA, as Taylors.

We welcome them all.

Consider Jeremy Taylor, the dream expert. Taylor is a founding member and past president of the Association for the Study of Dreams, he has written three books integrating dream symbolism, mythology, and archetypal energy. The latest is: The Living Labyrinth: Universal Themes in Myths, Dreams and the Symbolism of Waking Life. His earlier books, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, and Dream Work, have been translated into many languages. As far as I am aware, he is not a member of this project.

Jeremy Taylor is a most interesting person; I have met him, interacted with him at a week-long retreat, and read one of his books. See more about Jeremy at his website: http://jeremytaylor.com. I mention Jeremy Taylor because, having an interest in Taylor genealogy, I asked him about his Taylor connections. He told me his father had been adopted. While I suspect that his father is deceased, as Jeremy is in his 60s, Jeremy’s y-DNA can still be used to determine his father’s paternal lineage.

By my reckoning, Jeremy Taylor is a “real” Taylor, even though his father was adopted. Jeremy has used the Taylor name throughout his life. What do you think?


Friday, September 4, 2009

67-Marker Matches

Hi Again,

I'm continuing with more material from Ralph Taylor on the meaning of matches. What does it mean if you match 67 out of 67, commonly written 67/67, with another person? There is about a 50% likelihood that you share the same great-grandfather! Thus, you are second cousins. You could be slightly closer related or slightly more distantly related, but you are related recently as genealogists measure relationship!

As Ralph Taylor says, "67-marker matches, if you’re lucky enough to find one, are very precise; you may need to account for the birth dates of the matching individuals. The main problem is that most people have done a lesser test, so you can only compare against the markers they had tested." Thus, refer to earlier blogs which discuss 37 marker matches and fewer matches.

Should you match in the range of 65-67/67: You share a common ancestor and he almost certainly lived within a genealogic time frame.

o A perfect 67/67: The 90% probability level is a TMRCA of <= 11 generations, >= 1735 AD; 70% is <= 6 gen., >= 1860 AD; & it’s 50% probable that your common ancestor is your great-great-grandfather.

o 66/67: 90% is <= 18 gen., >= 1560 AD; 70% is <= 18 gen., >= 1730 AD; 50% is <= 7 gen., 1835 AD.

o 65/67: 90% is <= 24 gen., >= 1410 AD; 70% is <= 16 gen., >= 1610; 50% is <= 12 gen., >= 1710 AD.

Should you match in the range of 62-64/67: You share a common ancestor, who may or may not have lived in a genealogic time frame.

o 64/67: 90% is <= 31 gen., >= 1235; 70% is <= 22 gen., >= 1460; 50% is <= 16 gen., 1610.

o 63/67: 90% is <= 37 gen., >= 1085 AD; 70% is <= 27 gen., >= 1330 AD; 50% is <= 21 gen., >= 1480 AD.

o 62/67: 90% is <= 43 gen., >= 930 AD; 70% is <= 32 gen., >= 1200 AD; 50% is <= 26 gen., >= 1360 AD.

We've have spent a number of blog entries discussing the statistical meaning of matches. You do not need to completely understand statistics or probability, though. What you do need to do is to investigate the family trees of anyone who closely matches you. For example, with a "perfect" match of 67/67, you and the other person should be able to find your common ancestor fairly easily. One hopes that each of you has some information about your mutual family tree so that you each gain significant new information. After all, that's why you chose to participate in this project.

The good news is that eventually sufficient y-DNA records and pedigrees will exist to satisfy every participant's desire for knowledge of their roots!

Best wishes as we move towards that goal.