• DNA Genealogy Projects

DNA a New Path for Genealogy

Ten years ago, the EFA sponsored a DNA test for members through Ancestry to determine if the Eddy males who participated would localize to one of the three known lines. Under the direction of Gary Eddey and Frank Eddy the results -- now unfortunately lost by the commercial lab -- found that all tested localized to one of the three lines or were totally unconnected. This confirmed the extraordinary genealogical efforts of Ruth Story Devereux Eddy. 

The three lines represented are descended from William Eddye of Bristol England, John of Taunton, MA, and John of Woodbridge, NJ. Perhaps we will find that with more specific DNA data, this will not be the case. For now, we believe, good original source genealogical work, is as good as (and currently better than) DNA results (however that may change with more Eddy descendants taking DNA tests).

The exception (of good genealogical work) is determining the parentage of John of Woodbridge and that of John of Taunton where Y DNA (more on this below) analysis may be required. If you are interested there are three types of DNA tests.  Many have used Ancestry.com's tests but any company can be used. 

The three are: a general DNA test (least expensive), Y DNA test and a Mt DNA test. The general (called Autosomal) DNA test can connect you to other cousins (both paternal and maternal) who have taken and published a DNA test (to about your 4th to 6th cousin).  The closer they are related to you the more accurate it is.  It can also give a general (not precise) idea of what part of the world your ancestors came from.

The Y DNA is more expensive and traces the Y DNA chromosome that does not mutate as much as other DNA and it is only passed to you via your father (so this is a male only DNA test) and his male ancestors.  As everyone is aware men have a Y chromosome and an X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes. What may not be well known is that the Y chromosome, unlike the autosomes and the X chromosome, do not change from generation to generation. There is no recombination with the Y Chromosome. Therefore, the Y DNA of a male born today is very similar to his father’s Y DNA and paternal grandfather’s and paternal great grandfather’s, etc., going back multiple generations. (For those of you who need a refresher, recombination is nature’s way of guaranteeing diversity in our own progeny.)

Mt DNA test (also more expensive than the general test) traces some specific DNA that we inherit only from our mothers (and her mother, and her mother's mother, etc.) and can trace her family line for many generations as well.  If you take all three you will have the best modern tools to find cousins and trace your genealogy tree back many generations.

Eddy Y DNA Project

The EFA is interested in obtaining Y DNA information from Eddy males in each of the three main lines. The website Family Tree DNA has a section of a few where those with the Eddy Surname can join and share data. (https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/eddy/activity-feed). Anyone with any of the tree DNA type to tests can join.  Of course the Y DNA data will be the most useful as it only traces the paternal line.

We have already learned a number of interesting genealogical facts from those who have submitted their DNA data to the project.  For example, the current Y DNA data show expected results that those with the surname of Eadie, Edie, and Addy lines are distinct from any of the three main Eddy lines, and from each other. This should put to rest any suggestion these families are related to the three main genealogical lines in the EFA.

Also, the Y DNA data demonstrates that the Joseph Eddy line (that the EFA has included in our publications) is also distinct from the three main Eddy lines. As you can see the Y DNA can be an important tool to add to the genealogists' work! 

John Eddey/ Eddy from Woodbridge NJ

We are currently analyzing Y DNA data from several John of Woodbridge male descendants to determine his parentage. Unfortunately, at this time John's parentage is unknown;  it is unlikely that he was born with Eddey/Eddy as a last name in Scotland. Back in the 1600's many individuals did not use, or have, last names. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Recent Y chromosome DNA data has provided a clue! It appears (with the limited data we have) that he might be a direct descendant of the Lyle family of Scotland. There were a large number of John Lyles that date back to the early 1300's, and with more Y DNA information it might be possible to determine what Lyle family he descends. If so, this would be the first evidence of his parentage. Another family that is a possibility is the Johnstone family. With additional Y DNA data we hope to narrow his parentage to one family.

John Eddy from Taunton MA

We are certain that John Eddy of Woodbridge is not related at all to Rev. William Eddye of Cranbrook, England.  We just do not know whom his parents are.  John Eddy of Taunton MA is an open question.  

The EFA is not able to pay for testing on the Family Tree DNA site for Y chromosome analysis due to the high cost. However, we would like to compare the results of Y DNA between the John of Taunton lines and the William line and are looking for volunteers to purchase a Y DNA test and then submit the results to the Family Tree DNA site website mentioned above. The Y DNA 700 is the category that we are most interested in. The more inexpensive tests are not helpful to make clear conclusions. But if you have one of those please join the group and submit your data as well!  They do have data which might eventually help make connections!

Do not send DNA data to the EFA. Please keep the data on the website but send any questions you may have to the President of the EFA. Thomas Eddy. ([email protected]

Lastly, our genealogist is not an expert on DNA genealogy.  There are plenty of on-line resources you can refer to as well as the company whom you get your DNA testing from.

For those interested, below is an example of a Y DNA certificate. Please do not download or save. Thank you.