SEARCH FOR THE Y-CHROMOSOME DNA SIGNATURE OF ADAM YOUNG (1717 - 1790)
Background: Over the past 5 years there have been tremendous advances in the field of genetic genealogy. There are now many commercial labs which will analyze a sample of DNA from a cheek swab in order to ascertain the "signature" or pattern of scores of the participant. When it comes to the Y-Chromosome, it is inherited in the male line back to Adam (i.e., and Eve) who apparently resided in Africa some 100,000 years ago. The Y-chromosome is inherited intact from father to son, however on very rare occasions there are mutations in the "junk DNA" (no known purpose) part of the Y-Chromosome known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) where a base pair at a single location may change from say a C (Cytosine) to a G (Guanine). Events like this happen only once in thousands of years and this pattern is then passed on to all the sons of that man. In this way, all males whose paternal ancestry can be traced to Europe will be able to be classified into one of about 16 haplogroups (descendants of these men where a mutation occurred). For example the R1b haplogroup is the most common in all Europe. Its frequency decreases in a cline from west (e.g., Ireland where in some counties all males are R1b) to east (so that it becomes rare east of Poland). Each R1b male is a descendant of "the patriarch" who lived about 15,000 years ago, probably in the Basque country of Spain and France, and his descendants have since then spread across all of Europe - but remaining most frequent in the area where he originated (other male lineages having died out). In addition, there are mutations which occur more frequently in STRs (short tandem repeats - a type of "stutter" in the "junk DNA") that are also passed from father to son - however these mutations occur much more frequently. For example, it is possible, but unlikely, that a son could share only 24 of 25 marker scores with his father since a mutation could occur at any time at one of the 25 loci (e.g., DYS390 = 22 to 23 - gaining a repeat) that have been measured for the purposes of this study. An individual's unique pattern of scores on the 25 markers is known as his haplotype. Thus individuals who are descended from a common ancestor say 200 years ago should have a 25 / 25 marker match (share the exact same haplotype), but due to these mutational processes, it is possible that they might only share say 23 / 25.
Unfortunately it is not possible to directly measure Adam Young's haplotype. Considering that he died some 215 years ago there is little likelihood that even if the skeleton was exhumed there would be any usable nuclear DNA (including the Y chromosome). Generally only the much more numerous and robust mitochondrial DNA survive hundreds or thousands of years intact. However, we can infer the configuration of scores on the Y chromosome of Adam if we measure enough of his descendants in the male line and average out any mutations. A male descended from Sgt. Daniel Young should have the same (or nearly so) haplotype as a descendant of Pvt. Henry Young or a descendant of Lt. John Young since all had the same father - Adam Young.
The goal of the present project was to obtain DNA samples from sufficient males descended from Adam Young, who have the Young surname, to be certain that we have the haplotype of Adam. In addition to providing evidence as to the haplotype possessed by Adam Young, it may be possible to tell something of the "deep ancestry" of the Young family. If Adam's descendants have haplogroup R1a, or I or almost any type other than R1b it is often possible to compare the haplogroup signatures of descendants to those of individuals residing in various countries across the world. Even with R1b, if the haplotype is rare enough, it may be possible to point to a country or region of origin. Considering the clear genealogical evidence, the Young family was residing at Dunzweiler, near the French border, in the 1600s. That particular point in time was one of great disruption and it could easily be the case that the male ancestor of the Youngs (Jung) originated in France.
Haplotype Results: At the beginning of this study it was recognized that the Y-DNA signatures of of an unknown number of male Youngs would be necessary to provide complete answers to the above questions. Only two participants were required to meet the research goals. A descendant of Sgt. Daniel Young (Kenneth Young) and a descendant of Lt. John Young (Lawrence Young) volunteered to provide DNA samples for analysis [names included with permission]. The results are clear and unequivocal - both men had nearly identical signatures (matched 36 / 37). They match 8 other males (12 / 12) out of 20,000 in the database of the company (Family Tree DNA) which did the testing. The only high resolution match (23 / 25 or greater) was the other Young. The only difference is that at locus 449 Kenneth = 28 and Lawrence = 29. A one step mutation is expected in this time frame. Perhaps other Youngs will step forward to clarify the matter, but it is only one marker in question so is not essential for the purposes of the present study.
When you look at the pattern of scores in Adam's descendants on the Excel page, realize that he had precisely the same pattern (with only marker 449 being in question), and further that all of his biological male descendants in the direct male line also had, have and will have this configuration.
Haplogroup Results: In order to explore the early ancestry of the Youngs (e.g., back to Neolithic times) a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) test was done on the Y-DNA of Lawrence Young. Here the search is for markers showing the descent from one male, thousands of years ago. All those with the same markers are descendants of this man. Larry tested positive for U152 and L2 (also known as S28 and S139). This places the Young Y-DNA in the phylogenetic category of R1b1b2a1b4c in the Family Tree DNA scheme of things or R1b1b2a1a2d3 in the terminology of the International Society of Genetic Genealogists. Click here for more information. The author maintains a database for this haplogroup which can be accessed here. At the bottom of this document you will find access to a Google map showing the distribution of R-U152 (shorthand of the Young haplotype), and to a comprehensive set of resources pertaining to this group. Verification of this finding was obtained by testing with 23andMe where Larry Young and Raleigh Young (descendants of Lt. John Young via latter's son John Young Jr.) and Mike Young (descendant of Sgt. Daniel Young via latter's son Henry Young). All were assigned to haplogroup R1b1b2a1a2d3*.
What this means is that the Young family have a prototypic southern German profile. The haplogroup to date has only been found below Cologne, with the Rhine - Danube headwaters being the hotspot, another being Switzerland and the Italian Alps as well as eastern France. Due to migrations circa 400 BC, this haplogroup is now spread (via migrating / maurading Celtic warriors) in a band across Europe from Portugal to Kazakhstan. It would appear that the term "Alpine Celtic" may be the best moniker for the moment. In all likelihood the Young ancestors were members of one of the Celtic tribes of the region, perhaps moving north in La Tene times (e.g., circa 500 BC) to the area that came to be occupied by the Treveri Tribe, well known to the Romans. The author, by chance, has the same haplogroup assignment with one additional marker (L20 / S144). In the summer of 2008 he went on a trip to Germany to view the Celtic sites that relate both to his own Y-DNA and that of the Youngs. Some of the most important Celtic sites include that of the Reinheim Princess (close to the Young home territory), the Hochdorf Chief (north of Stuttgart), and the massive Heuneberg settlement and burial mounds (south of Stuttgart) - all associated with the Celtic peoples of the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures. Detailed information about the Celtic peoples of Europe can be seen here.