DNA and Hiram Phipps, Son of Gasper Phipps and Grandson of William Phipps

Regarding the Gasper Phipps mentioned in the previous post, that individual appears to have had a son named Hiram. This Hiram appears next to Gasper in the 1840 census in Smyth County, Virginia, where they are both listed as “Phips.”

Someone claiming descendency from Hiram Phipps, born 1806 in Smyth County, Virginia, has DNA results listed in a Family Tree DNA project. This project is called the “Western North Carolina Dual yDNA and mtDNA Project – Y DNA SNP.” Hiram’s line is there defined as R1b1a2, R-M269.

According to Wikipedia, R1b1a2 is defined by the presence of SNP marker M269 (as indicated in the abstracted list). “R1b1a2 (2011 name) is defined by the presence of SNP marker M269. European R1b is dominated by R-M269. It [I assume “it” refers to M269 rather than to R1b1a2, but this isn’t clearly written.] has been found at generally low frequencies throughout central Eurasia, but with relatively high frequency among Bashkirs of the Perm Region (84.0%). This marker is also present in China and India at frequencies of less than one percent.”

This would seem, at least at first glance, to perhaps be consistent with claims as to Melungeon ancestry with what is believed to be traces of India and Roma genetics as these people moved west. What is puzzling, however, is that my own Phipps DNA, from the same general area (as a descendant of Samuel Phipps (1762/3-1854) of Ashe County, North Carolina who married Betty Reeves) seems to be very different. The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation tested me with results interpreted by GeneTree. GeneTree said that my predicted Y-DNA haplogroup is “R-207, subroup R1b1b2a*-S128.”

I’m no DNA expert by any means, but I do know a few things about it. One thing I know is that it’s an evolving science. That’s largely because of the small, paltry number of samples scientists have had to work with. As the sample size grows, so will the accuracy of DNA testing.

My GeneTree account allows me to go back and download a new Y-DNA report whenever I want. Changes can be expected as data is refined and, in some cases, as reporting methods change. Generally, in the past, no significant differences appeared. Today, however, as I downloaded a new version, I was surprised at the differences.

My report as accessed on February 7th of this year shows me as follows:

Haplogroup: R-M207
Subgroup R1b1b2a*=S128 (the asterisk is significant)

Today, however, I accessed the report again, and my subgroup has been expanded to read as follows:

Haplogroup: R-M207
Subgroup: R1b1b2a1a-S128

This means that I have been automatically redefined, from R1b1b2a to R1b1b2a1a.

GeneTree also supplies in its (currently) 18-page report a map showing the geographic distribution of this haplogroup. This map is now quite different from what it has been in the past:

The old map showed a heavy concentration around the British Isles, with some distribution into the Benelux, Western France, and northern Iberian peninsula. Very faint shading showed just a tinge of distribution just east of the Caspian Sea around present-day Turkmenistan.

Now, however, the map reads differently. This is a tiny map, and percentage concentrations are indicated by shading, so interpretation of the map is a bit subjective. The new map, however, seems to show a strong concentration in Ireland, extremely weak in England (!), with a heavy concentration around the Northern Iberian peninsula and, surprisingly, a fairly heavy concentration around the general area of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

I hesitate to assign numbers to these concentrations because, again, this is a very small outline map which only uses shading. Matching the shading in the map to the percentages in the map legend is difficult because of the size of the map. Please read this as my own fairly speculative interpretation of a map that obviously isn’t intended to be scrutinized in extreme detail.

My own subjective interpretation, if I had to come up with numbers based on this map, would be that the heaviest concentration is in Ireland (very roughly around 85%), with the next heaviest concentration around Northern Spain (very roughly around 80%), with perhaps about 45% around the area of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Perhaps around 35-40% could be assigned to Central Europe and to the central part of Western Russia.

Comments are open, especially to anyone perhaps more knowledgeable about genealogical genetics.


4 thoughts on “DNA and Hiram Phipps, Son of Gasper Phipps and Grandson of William Phipps

  1. I did a search for R1b1b2a1a-S128 and found your comments. I received my Genetree paternal-line results last week and was trolling the net for data on my R1b1b2a1a-S128 clan.
    My ggg-grandfather Edward Murray (1796/99-1855) was b. in Cumberland, England.
    Cheers, Richard P. Murray in Vancouver, B.C.

  2. One funny thing about the DNA on our line is that all of our matches we have seem to link us back to Lancashire Scotland not the English lines the other families. I’m not sure on the Melungeon as the only link we’d really have is that we were in an area that might have links somewhere here or there. Many of our Phipps are redheads with fair skin, light blue eyes, and freckles as far back as we’ve ever known.

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