History of the Eaves yDNA Project

Since 2005 the Eaves Family National Association has incorporated a yDNA project to trace our correct EAVES lineages. Prior to that time, it was assumed that all Eaves in the USA came from one root family. An EFNA reunion was held each year to share genealogies to determine exactly how they were related. This great family organization has been in operation since 1980, with members intensively searching their roots to find their kinship to one another. Traditional records were not showing that all members were related to the many descendants of Graves Eaves, a prominent plantation owner. So, it was decided at the 2005 reunion general meeting that we would start a yDNA project with the FamilyTreeDNA company using the yDNA test. Any male whose surname was EAVES could take a simple saliva-swab test, and it would reveal if they were genetically related to other EFNA members. The results have been outstanding!

yDNA tests the male chromosome for only paternal lineage (from son to father, to father, to father, etc.). That is why it is so effective in surname tracing. FamilyTreeDNA was given the vast database of National Geographic from their world-wide search studying human migrations. It was found that the same basic genetic markers could be extended with extra markers that would trace current family lineages. There was a connection between the anthropology of migration tracing and bringing it to the genealogy of current family lines. The symbols (haplotypes) you see on the chart, separating the various Eaves lines, are those used to designate the migration origin of that lineage. Our Eaves families are separated as follows:

E1b1b1 – a Semitic lineage that began in the Middle East and migrated along the northern coastal countries of the Mediterranean Sea, ultimately from UK to America.
I1 – A migration that came from the northernmost part of Europe. Many Vikings are included in this group from northern Norway, Sweden and Finland.
I2b1 – A migration that came mostly from the northern part of Central Europe along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea and southern Scandinavia.
R1b1 – A large migration that came through Central Europe, and the largest group in both UK and America.

There can be unrelated families within each haplogroup, this is shown by the number of mismatched genetic markers (alleles), a common occurrence in the R1b1 group since it is so large. These mismatched markers are called “genetic distances” (GDs). A simple yDNA chart in our EFNA website www.eavesfamily.org shows where all our present yDNA participants live.

The first group to find that they were not related to the Graves Eaves family, was our E1b1b1 Semitic group. We have found Eaves men tested in this group from large family lineages throughout the USA. We know by the amount of matching genetic marker numbers (alleles) on the chart, that our families have a common ancestor within 400 years. Presently, we are searching for their common ancestor in northern Colonial Virginia in early 1700s. Since this group found a very large lineage in eastern Kentucky, we tested a couple of Eaves men in western Kentucky believing that they were also in this group. To our surprise, they were closely related to our vast Graves Eaves lineage. Currently, we have not found their exact kinship to other Graves Eaves descendants, but believe that, if there are any traditional records available to reveal their common ancestor, it would be in Brunswick county in southern Colonial Virginia, also early 1700s.

A most exciting revelation uncovered by our yDNA project was our I1 group about 7 years ago.  Since they were always shown living in close proximity to members of the Graves Eaves descendants, it was assumed they were part of that family, in spite of family lore saying that they were employees of a family that had the same surname.  Also, one astute researcher noticed that they were never included in any land inheritances.  When several yDNA tests of that lineage proved that they were not related to Graves Eaves, they finally had proof that they were from a separate line.  Presently, they are also trying to find a root family in Colonial Virginia.   (Current researchers for this group are Roni Blankenship roniblank@comcast.net and Judie Miller jpmiller66@hotmail.com )

In the R1b1 group, we had our first match overseas when an Eaves, whose ancestors entered from Canada to New York in the early 1800’s, gradually migrated westward to Iowa. The Eaves took the test and had no matches for several years, in fact we had given up that there would ever be any. When a match did come, it from an Eves that lives in Northern Ireland! He is trying to find the ancestral relative that emigrated to Canada. He thinks perhaps they came with a Quaker immigration.

We have Eaves in that vast R1b1 group that are still waiting for matches. Our EAVES project is unusual in that most of our members are NOT in this group, even though this comprises the largest population group in the USA and the UK. More than half of UK are in this group.

Our project has even uncovered unknown adoptions where members of our Eaves group find their paternal lineage in another name project. Members of other name projects have found their genetic lineage in our Eaves project. These are called NPEs (non-paternity events).

Autosomal DNA tests the amount of autosomal DNA shared by relatives. This test will cross gender lines for those who cannot find a male EAVES in their lineage to take the yDNA test. It is only reliable going back 5 generations. However, it can give you information on ALL your lines. When you are searching all your ancestral lineages, it becomes frustrating when your matches do not have knowledge of their ancestral surnames.

All genetic matches must be followed up with traditional research to find how one is related.

Our EAVES project had its first great success finding a match with an autosomal test. Our oldest member of the EFNA (95+) had never been able to find her true Eaves lineage. Her son gifted her with an Ancestry.com autosomal test. Luckily, a relative that she had no knowledge of, took the test in another state at nearly the same time. With his test, he had also included his family tree. So when the results were received, not only did she find her lineage, but exactly how she was related to this young man (first cousin twice removed).

Contact information is given with all tests, so one can enjoy communication with newly found relatives.

Presently, there are several companies that have entered the DNA testing market. Competition is good, but very confusing for the consumer. FamilyTreeDNA is the only company that has the capability to transfer autosomal DNA results from another testing company to their own database (for a charge, of course). Most of our EFNA members who have had their autosomal DNA tested, have tested with Ancestry.com.

LoisEaves@live.com (Lois Eaves) – Eaves project DNA administrator
jf5635@hotmail.com (John O. Eaves) – Eaves project DNA co-administrator

Updated: July 2016

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