Whitney Family DNA Project - Ebenezer Whitney

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Miscellaneous > Whitney Family DNA Project > Whitney Family DNA Project - Ebenezer Whitney

The following message concerning the DNA results for the descendants of Ebenezer5 Whitney of New Brunswick, Canada were posted to the Whitney Research Group mailing list 19 Nov 2007.


In May of this year [2007], I reported that DNA results had shown that Ebenezer Whitney was likely not a descendant of John and Elinor Whitney. It now appears that that statement was premature. To date, three men who are thought to be direct male descendants of Ebenezer Whitney of New Brunswick, Canada have been tested.

The first, we'll call him "E1", a descendant of Ebenezer's son Ebenezer, was not a match, with 4 of 12 markers different than what we believe to be John Whitney's DNA "signature". This is what caused me to make the previous announcement.

The second result came in about two and a half months ago. That man, we'll call him "E2", a descendant of Ebenezer's son Samuel Whitney, matched John Whitney's signature at 11 out of 12 markers. This led me to wonder why one descendant had matched, while another had not. I worked with members of the family who tracked down a third volunteer, and his results are now in.

The third descendant of Ebenezer to be tested, we'll call him "E3", is a descendant of Ebenezer's son Daniel Whitney. His DNA results were an exact 12 out of 12 marker match to John Whitney's DNA signature.

What does this tell us?

1. Ebenezer Whitney of New Brunswick was almost certainly a descendant of the immigrants John and Elinor Whitney.

2. Ebenezer Whitney very likely matched John Whitney's DNA exactly in the first 12 markers.

3. Somewhere between Ebenezer's son Samuel Whitney and the living descendant who was tested, a minor DNA mutation occurred which led to his one marker difference.

4. Somewhere along the line between Ebenezer, through his son Ebenezer, and down to the person who had his DNA tested, there appears to be a break in the lineage. I am currently working with a researcher in that branch to locate additional test subjects to attempt to isolate exactly where the break occurred.

5. Another individual, we'll call him "J1", a descendant of a certain Jeremiah Whitney, b. ca. 1766, was an exact match to the descendant of Ebenezer's son Samuel (We called him "E2" above).

Here's the tree as I know it, with names in intervening generations replaced with "XXXXX" to protect the identity of the DNA test subjects.

John1 Whitney, the immigrant | Benjamin2 Whitney, 1643 | John3 Whitney, ca. 1678 | Samuel4 Whitney, 1707 | Ebenezer5 Whitney, 1745 ________________|______________ Jeremiah, 1766 | | | | Ebenezer6, 1774 Daniel6, 1781 Samuel6, 1784 XXXXX | | | | Ebenezer7 XXXXX John7 XXXXX | | | | XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX | | | | XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX | | | | XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX | | | | "E1" "E3" "E2" "J1" DID NOT EXACT MATCHED MATCHED MATCH, MATCH 11 MARKERS 11 MARKERS POSSIBLE TO OUT OF 12 OUT OF 12 BREAK IN IMMIGRANT TO IMM. TO IMM. LINEAGE JOHN W. JOHN W. JOHN W. BETWEEN 12 OUT (EXACT (EXACT EBENEZER OF 12 MATCH TO MATCH TO (b. 1745) MARKERS "J1" "E2" AND TEST SUBJECT

Note that although test subjects E2 and J1 both had the same mutation from the John Whitney signature, a result which had previously caused me to believe they may have descended from the same man, a descendant of the immigrant John Whitney, this now appears not to be the case. Because Ebenezer's son Daniel's descendant "E3" was an exact match to John Whitney, in all probability, Ebenezer had this same signature as well, meaning that the difference we see in E2's DNA must have happened from Samuel, b. 1784 or later in the lineage. Due to the timing, person J1's ancestor Jeremiah Whitney was too old to have been a descendant of Samuel who was born some 18 years later. Thus, the common mutation we see in the DNA results for J1 and E2 must have happened twice, and this mutation cannot be of value in tying Jeremiah and Ebenezer.

I hope this all makes sense to everyone. If anyone would like to discuss this further, please feel free to reply or to contact me directly.

Thank you!

Tim Doyle

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