When You Come to a Fork in the Road

Take it.

Okay. So in my Thompson hunt, I have two tracks…well three, maybe four. Lots of tracks. We’ll just leave it at that.

Major questions for me are:

  • Who are my grandfather’s parents?
  • Are we in any way related to the Indiana Thompsons by blood (will our DNA tests help define the family)?
  • Can we use the Indiana Thompson Y line to tie us to an existing Thompson family outside of Indiana (hopefully in Pennsylvania)?
Who are my grandfather’s parents?

With my dad now representing the oldest generation of my Thompson family, step one is to start with him.

We can break that into two parts. We have the Y test which we’ve whittled down to matching a very small group of men who hail from southern England and the U.S. East coast, with our closest match being the Elmer family and specifically the branch of the Elmer family in New York (the Vermont to Utah branch was a little farther away). There is a current Elmore candidate but they haven’t tested far enough yet.

We also have his autosomal results which we can use to try to define which parts of my dad’s genome belong to my grandfather. There are two tracks for that. Testing relatives that are primarily related to my grandfather like his maternal Finks cousins and testing known relatives of my grandmother to define which parts of my dad’s genome belong to her. Whatever doesn’t belong to my grandmother is my grandfather’s contribution.

Luckily we’re already well down this path as we have known relatives who have tested from my grandmother’s family already. One tester is a know Beadle relative who shares second great grandparents with my dad. Another is a Seelye/Beadle relative who shares great grandparents with my dad and a third person who shares third great grandparents with my dad on the Campbell side of the Seelye/Campbell family (my dad’s maternal grandparents).

Through those matches I’ve been able to identify paternal genetic relatives for my father. My grandfather’s genetic relatives.

I’m waiting for one really big test to come in. My dad’s maternal uncle is testing. He would share the Seelye Campbell family and hopefully would be a much larger match than the other matches as he is the closest living relative to my grandmother. He should help me define both the Seelye side and the Thompson side of the family much better.

The next step on this track, is to try to get a known Finks relative tested so we can help define my grandfather’s maternal versus paternal sides. That brings us to a point where we run into the next question.

Are we in any way related to the Indiana Thompsons by blood (will our DNA tests help define the family)

From my Y breakdown we can see that we do not meet up on the Y at Albert Thompson as we had thought. The possibility still exists that we are related to Albert’s wife Ida Williamson though. 23 and me results are helping with that, but without refining things..there are a lot of different directions to go in.

Right now, I have at least one set of paternal genetic relatives of my dad that I suspect are related to the Williamson family. Two different people match my father on the same chromosome in the same position and their families run right back to Floyd Kentucky and Virginia to the Ritchie and Fugate families. In researching these connected family trees I see records for my Williamsons and related Williamson families (who could also be my Williamsons). They are also some of the biggest genetic relatives my dad has.

Ironically it was the strength of these genetic matches at 23 and me that made me think Y testing the Indiana Thompsons would be an exercise in boredom. Of course they would match..we have this obvious Williamson match up.

So, I need to test an Indiana Thompson (the oldest generation I can get) to see if they also carry these Kentucky matches. If they do have a big match with my father (after all they may share at least one great grandparent) then I can say it is most likely that we’re related to Ida Williamson and our combined 23 and me tests will help define the Williamson family. That can help us find the Thompsons and would help me define paternal matches that may not be Williamsons. Pair those up with tests of Finks family members and the Seelyes and we can narrow things down pretty far.

Can we use the Indiana Thompson Y line to tie us to an existing Thompson family?
 
This one is really a matter of funding. We need to test one of the Indiana Thompsons out to 37 markers on the Y. The 23 and me test will help here too as 23 and me will define a base haplogroup for the Indiana Thompsons and that will give us a place to start testing further down the Y tree to define a “last known” SNP. Both those tests combined will help secure a match with another Thompson family and hopefully get us past the brick wall of Levi Thompson. The Indiana Thompsons are much more likely to match with other Thompsons. Right now they just match up with too many Thompsons to say anything definitive.

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