Thursday, December 04, 2008

Because I can

No sooner had I posted my Augusta/Washington Co. Berry cladogram the other day than Thurman's, #131, result came in.    Carol will be as interested as anyone in Thurman's position on this cladogram.I hope it helps continue her warm and fuzzy feeling.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jim:
I’ve already said that I don’t have words to describe my feelings in having #131 Bland Thurman Berry’s DNA results. I have spent, quite literally, thousands of hours researching his ancestors, Thomas Berry (c1763-1805) and his wife, Elizabeth Walker, and Thomas’ parents. There have been substantial conflicts, from older research, concerning his parents, James Berry (c1740-1804) and Elizabeth McCutchen (c1742-1791) and substantial conflicts in older research about Thomas Berry/Elizabeth Walker. My exhaustive research leads to the conclusion that the Thomas Berry who married Elizabeth Walker had to be the son of James Berry/Elizabeth McCutchen, even though James Berry died intestate and I have been unable to find documentation that Thomas Berry’s own children shared in James’ estate. [Thomas died less than a year after his father. James’ estate wasn’t dealt with for five years after that.] So, I had already determined that Thomas Berry was the oldest son of James and Elizabeth – on paper. Bland Thurman Berry’s ‘paper trail’ can be excellently ‘documented’ back to Thomas Berry/Elizabeth Walker and his new DNA results confirm the ‘paper trail’ back to James Berry/Elizabeth McCutchen, since we have DNA results on descendants of two of James Berry’s brothers represented by #5 Sterling Berry and #37 Keith Berry. It just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

In addition, Jim, I think this new cladogram shows the random nature of mutations and why we have to use ‘paper trail’ evidence to understand the DNA results and sometimes sorta ignore the ‘math’. The mathematical calculation that FTDNA uses to describe ‘genetic distance’ does not take into account the genealogy ‘paper trails’. A perfect illustration of this shows up on these two newest cladograms and involves another rather ‘new’ DNA result. [I think Thurman’s results also illustrate what I’m seeing, but I can describe the other case more clearly – I hope.]

For quite some time, we have had #27 Charlie R. Berry’s results. He can be proven on ‘paper’ to be a direct descendant of George Berry. Charlie is a ‘genetic distance’ of 2 from #5 Sterling Berry and #37, Keith Berry. These two men can both be proven on ‘paper’ to be direct descendants of Thomas Berry, the presumed brother of George Berry, and in fact their ancestors can be proven on ‘paper’ to have been brothers of James Berry/Elizabeth McCutchen.

But with a genetic distance of 2, the ‘math’ would say that Charlie, Sterling and Keith could have had a much more distant ‘common ancestor’ than ‘elder’James Berry, the proven father of George Berry. Fairly recently, #125 Edgar Berry’s DNA results came in. He can be proven on ‘paper’ to be a descendant of another son of George Berry. In fact, Charlie and Edgar are known ‘cousins’ with long standing family relations. On the cladograms, you can see that #125 Edgar matches #5 Sterling and #37 Keith (in the large yellow dot section), while Edgar’s close cousin, Charlie has two mutations that take him out of that circle. Clearly, however, since the paper trail is soooooooo very solid, Charlie’s DNA just randomly mutated away from the DNA of his known close relative. We can regard the ‘math’ connected to Charlie’s genetic distance of 2 as an illustration that the ‘math’ must be viewed in context of the genealogy paper trail.

Again, Jim, I think the cladogram is just a wonderful way to ‘see’ the relationships. I’m thrilled that you have a way to do them again!! Thanks much!!!

Carol Vass

3:55 PM  

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