YANCEY DNA - an Interesting Case Study
<click here to go tot he base Yancey DNA page>

In the last decade, with DNA tests made available to the average person – people are now able to make connections and conclusions that sometimes never could be made  simply based on the paper research of genealogists.  Often times because of the lack of extant records certain information about family origin or connections with other families could not often be determined.   Now with DNA  testing results – at least some times conclusions can be made – even in the total absence of paper records.


YDNA (paternal line) testing, one of the most common DNA tests now done for genealogical purposes, relies on the simple fact that when a Father has a son - -  there are special parts of the son’s DNA that match the corresponding DNA of the father.  In other words those sections of DNA are NEVER inherited from the mother – but only from the father. Thus from son, to father, to grandfather – back many generations the DNA should be the same  (with one exception we will discuss later).


With the paternal transfer of DNA – one can visualize how all the male line descendants of any one given person would all have the same YDNA – and anyone else would NOT have the same YDNA.  Thus we can take the YDNA results of two different people – and determine if they have a common paternal ancestor – if their YDNA matches.  (even if the common ancestor was 10 generations back in time. This is the whole basis of YDNA testing.



Sometimes we are just focusing on a match or a no match.  For example the case of Yanceys versus Nanneys.  In 2013 various Yanceys took a simple and inexpensive 12 marker YDNA test to see how it would match or not match to the results of the same test done on descendants of the Nanney family – which fanily lore claimed we were descended from.  The results were quite interesting, though not exactly what people had hoped for.    The results CLEARLY and CONCLUSIVELY proved that  Yanceys and Nanneys do NOT share a common paternal genetic line of descent.   In fact the results were so different that it placed the two families in two completely different haplogroups  - or very high level groupings of YDNA types – there being only about 18 basic YDNA haplogroups across the entire planet.  This was a case where it was black and white – and we knew conclusively that they did not have common genetic descent within recent genealogical history  (the past 1000 years as a rather arbitrary date)


HOWEVER – the application of genetic genealogy becomes more useful when we start applying rules and inferences that are not really black and white – but more a matter of probabilities. 



Back there in the 2nd paragraph I stated that YDNA is the same between Father and Son. Actually this is the norm – but there are some exceptions.  Keep in mind we are comparing a set of genetic markers between father and son.   Genetic testing commonly compares 12, 37, 67 or more different markers or genetic codes at a specific place in the chromosome.  There is actually a slight chance (based on a known probability) that a mutation can occur between father and son which could affect one of these markers.   Note that mutations are rare enough and isolated enough on the DNA code – that if a mutation occurred it would  most likely only occur with one (or a very small number) of the markers and not most or all of the markers.  So as one compares more and more markers there is a greater chance of there being SOME slight difference.  Also if one is comparing the DNA of two people with common paternal descent – the FARTHER back in time that such common ancestor is found – the GREATER the chance that there may be a small number of differences (mutations) on the DNA comparison.  These facts when applied to genetic genealogy help us predict the probability of certain genealogical scenarios.


FOR example if  I took the DNA of a male 1st cousin of mine on the Yancey side – and compared it against  my DNA - I would expect a very high probability of an exact match (using any number of markers up to and beyond 67).   HOWEVER if there was some family in Europe that I felt the Yancey family descended from (some 15-20 generations ago in the 1600’s of Europe) – because it is over a large number of generations (with each generation having a possibility of mutation) - - it would be extremely RARE to have a 67 marker match with a person who descended from such family – (assuming they WERE indeed directly related and had common descent).  It would be much more probable (if they did have common descent) that over such a large number of generations that maybe only 65/67 or maybe 36/37 of the DNA markers would match (or even less) and not all of them.


THUS one has to be a little careful in interpreting the results of a partial match.   For relationships thought to be recent (lets say within the past 100 years) one would expect a full match with most comparisons.  But for lines of common descent much beyond that - - - the chances are that a few markers will NOT match – even when the descent is known/proven/possible.

When MOST of the markers don’t match – its virtually impossible that any common paternal ancestor would exist.  Conversely if two people have an exact or even close match – its nigh impossible that they would NOT have a common ancestor.


Keep in mind its all a matter of statistics and probability.  Even a father and son – can have a mismatch on a marker – though it is very rare based on a known probability.  And also note that there can be cases where two people have an exact marker match – even when the common descent is lets say 20 generations ago – though again it is very rare. The game one plays becomes a game of probabilities. BUT these probabilities – coupled with genealogical research can often result in very reliable conclusions.


RECENTLY I was able to make some real-world applications of the general rules discussed above - - - and felt to share my findings.



Among those people (NON Yanceys)  who have found to be a 37 out of 37  (37/37) marker match with Yanceys who have taken the YDNA test – are some by the name of Chandler.  In contacting them – their paper trail shows them as descendants of one John Chandler  who came to Virginia in 1610 -  that’s more than 400 years ago.  <as a side bar – this John Chandler is a very interesting case of a 10 year old boy coming to America – seemingly without his family – click here for more details>  However as I researched further I came to realize most tested descendants of John Chandler of early Virginia – did NOT match the Yancey family – it was only a small subset.  In other words there was a subset of people who believed they were descended from John Chandler – but their DNA results  seemed to indicate otherwise and as a subset – matched certain   Yancey testers with a 37/37 match.  This seemed to indicate that somewhere between them and John Chandler - - was a father and son relationship that was not actually what had been recorded on genealogical records.  Exact details are not yet known - - -but interestingly the two families Yancey-Chandler do have an association about 1790 in Virginia where by a Philip Yancey married a Miss Chandler and had various children.  Clues are indicating that these two families may have had a connection whereby a male Yancey fathered a child that took the name Chandler.  Research is ongoing – and it may be we never precisely know the details - - though with further testing we should be able to nail down the exact generation whereby this anomaly occurred.


Here is a very interesting case – where both Chandler and Yancey descendants today had no clue that such an event occurred and yet the DNA evidence seems to have brought this to light independent of any extant paper record.


Of interest is the fact that an extensive amount of research has been done on Chandler family records.

The Chandler famly(ies) are spread wide and far enough both geographically and historically that they have over 50 or so disjoint groups of different genetic identity – with numerous immigrants to America.  A very powerful example of what can be derived by DNA testing.


For further reading:

The Chandler Family Association


Chandler DNA Test Results


Info on John Chandler the immigrant





Another family that seems to be a match to Yancey YDNA – is that of various ANSLEY family members. Though it would appear again – that not all ANSLEY of the world share a common YDNA match - - none the less – it would appear that all the descendants of one William Ansley of Monmouth County, New Jersey – all have the same DNA fingerprint that is very close to the Yanceys  (in some cases 36/37 match) – enough to indicate common paternal descent.   William Ansley (born about 1700) is thought to have come from England probably around 1730 or so.   It would seem all (most?) of his male line descendants that have been DNA tested all share the same common YDNA fingerprint – which in turn is a close match to the Yancey DNA.  This is about the same time period that the Yanceys (seemingly) came to America.  Vitually all Yanceys (with a few explainable exceptions)  share the same YDNA fingerprint and many are a 37 /37 match with a few being a 36/37 match.   So it is with the Williams Ansley descendants.

If there is a common descent between the two families as DNA tests seem to indicate it would probably be somewhere beyond 10 generations back – or past either immigrant ancestor – and could even be back 15-20 generations lets say..  BUT with most William Ansley descendants tested so far only having a 1 or 2 marker difference - - one would think the connection is closer rather than farther (maybe something like 12 to 13 versus something like 20-30.


Below for example is a probability chart that one Ansley descendant shared with me.

Of the probability of a match between him and a member of the Yancey family
















There is still much we don’t yet know about this apparent connection between Yancey and Ansley.  Did the name Ansley at some point corrupt into Yancey??   Why don’t the descendants of most Ansleys match that of the descendants of William Ansley?

Is there some other family that BOTH Yanceys and (Willliam) Ansleys have a common descent from?


One other interesting contrast between the Yanceys and Ansleys is that that William Ansley was a WEAVER – an occupation I have never seen among the Yancey family – and one that was often passed from father to son.  Also of note is that William Ansley was of the Presbyterian Faith – again which I have never seen among the very earliest Yanceys of Virginia.   One wonders why if the two families are closely related – why these differences - - but of course these differences  certainly are possible and could have understandable explanations.


Most of the answers to such questions are still forthcoming.

But DNA test results tend toward an OLD world connection and not a NEW World connection.


For further reading for Ansley


William Ansley Family Descendants


Note President Jimmy Carter was an Ansley descendant





Is the fact that among YDNA matches listed at familytreedna – include some names that appear to be ARABIC or MIDDLE-EASTERN
definitely distant connections in the Old World – but definitely something I will get around to pursuing more details on.

The J2 Haplogroup by itself doesn’t mean a whole lot - -   our Middle eastern origin (based on J2) – could have been THOUSANDS of years ago

BUT these partial matching YDNA markers – would probably have been in the past 500 years.