Updated Y Testing Tree
We’ve had a lot of successful Y testing in the branches of the descendants of Edward Elmer. Through Y triangulation of two men in each line we’ve been able to assign some previous singleton Y SNPs to specific men in the line within the genealogical time frame.
You may (or may not) recall my disappointment 7 years ago that the closest I seemed to get to other men in Y DNA testing was in the time of cave painting and mammoths, so it’s very exciting to have concrete designations for men who can be documented!
We were able to get three good outcomes from this testing.
The first two are defining SNPs for branches: We have a line of men under Edward’s son Samuel. They share a common ancestor in Samuel’s grandson David Elmer born in 1725. That line is defined by the SNP (previously a singleton) R-A6928. We also have a line of men under Edward’s son Edward 2. They share a common ancestor in Edward 2’s grandson Samuel Elmer born in 1732. That particular Samuel (a son of Hezekiah) is defined by a previous singleton SNP, R-A5920.
The third outcome is a confirmation of the absence of R-A2284 in the line of Edward’s son Samuel. We can then definitively assign it to Edward’s son Edward 2. We have been effectively working under that assumption, but it’s good to have the confirmation.
Here is a link to the Ed Elmer blogspot posting with the new Y testing chart for Ed Elmer branches: http://edelmer.blogspot.com/2017/07/y-dna-testing-in-branches.html
Sorting Out the Paperwork
As a group, we’ve spent a few years periodically going over the available documentation and various conjectures for Edward Elmer and decided to come out with an overview of what we found looking at the various sources and a statement of our intent to pursue DNA testing to try to get beyond Ed (and the borders of the U.S.) in some definitive way.
Looking through the old books, records and analysis of other researchers was made much easier by the availability of documents on the internet. We were able to find almost everything we needed through online searches. That gave us a powerful set of tools, and worldwide access, that previous researchers didn’t have. Someone searching by hand through paper in London in the 1930’s may only have come upon a single census record for a family to try to build theories from, while we can see the records for that entire family play out from birth until death, for generations, in searchable records online.
Probably the biggest revelation for the group was that being closer to the source in time did not make people more accurate. We, ironically more distant relatives, have better access to records than researchers did even a few decades ago.
A Fraud with a Capital T
As this site is really my open journal, I have to admit that it is a strange feeling to be researching Ed Elmer in a serious way. Growing up in a “patrilineal naming” society, as a “Thompson”, I feel like I have no business digging at Edward “Elmer”.
The story in my genes brings me finally back to Ed, my unintentional ancestor. I can only describe the feeling as “imposter syndrome”. Here I have been accepted by my most distant genetic relatives on the male line, and allowed to participate in their research (both genetic and paper trail), and yet I am nervous about taking too much ownership of Edward Elmer.
The man is literally coded into my DNA, but when I visited the ancient burying ground in Hartford, I was waiting for some authority on B-list puritans to come out and shew me away. As if I had not somehow earned the right to experience this physical link to the past without the appropriate paperwork.
No one earns their DNA. Edward could no more choose to be related to me than I could to him. We are linked, he and I, for better or worse. My sons will carry his living DNA into the future even as I try to use it to figure out his past.
My internal challenge continues to be accepting the reality in my genes as others have, and accepting that I have something to offer my distant cousins in continuing to research Ed.