Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Patterson-Ferrell Connection - Part 5

The Patterson-Ferrell Connection: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Patterson-Ferrell Connection to the Robert Patterson Family of York Co., SC - The DNA Proof!

As I stated in Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that by the time I got to Part 5, the case would have been made for connecting these families of Bedford/Warren/Cannon Counties, TN to the Robert Patterson who died in 1775 in York Co., SC. I hoped to establish those links in Parts 2-4 using traditional methods of research, involving deeds, wills, court records, church records, migration patterns, etc. I hope I have been successful in doing so. I believe I have.

In Part 5, however, I want to close the circle on this discussion by bringing us back to the DNA evidence that initiated this entire research effort to begin with. John W. Patterson had his DNA tested in 2014. He descends from Lee Patterson, as we discussed in Part 2. Lee was a son of John Patterson and Ann Ferrell. I believe that John Patterson, in turn, was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Patterson who lived in Buncombe Co., NC between 1800 and 1810. This Robert was the son of Thomas Patterson and Margaret Harrison. Thomas Patterson was the son of Robert and Sarah Patterson, this latter Robert being the one who was born ca. 1705/11 and died in 1775 in York Co., SC.

The DNA Results

Let it be known... I know enough about DNA evidence to be dangerous! That said, I can extrapolate a few things that I hope make sense.

It is known that Pattersons who descend from Samuel Patterson (b. ca. 1705) are related by DNA to the Robert Patterson (b. ca. 1705/11) family. We are not yet sure how. The DNA evidence appears to link the Patterson-Ferrell branch more closely to Robert Patterson (1705/11) than to Samuel Patterson (1705), however.

There are multiple ways to interpret the DNA evidence. You can look at the evidence from a single person's perspective, which will give you general information as to how closely you are related to others, measured by "genetic distance" (GD). In other words, if your match with someone else is based on 67 markers that were tested, how many of those markers are identical? More importantly, how many are different, and by how much? Those differences are referred to as "genetic distance". There are several caveats to that, but that is not the focus of this article, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Another way you can analyze the DNA data is to look at it from a group perspective, which simply looks at the raw data, and groups the results by the Haplo group or Haplo type, and then the markers themselves. So when several people descend from the same person, say Robert Patterson (1705/11) for example, those individuals should show up in the same Haplo group, and you can begin to tell where mutations occurred in some branches of the descendants, at various generations.

This latter analytic approach is more reliable, in my opinion, as it properly segregates related people in their appropriate groups, AND, you can see WHERE the genetic distance mutations are occurring. On the other hand, I may be a genetic distance of 3 from John Doe, and the same distance from Billy Bob, but those mutations could be in completely different areas potentially, within a scenario that has John Doe and Billy Bob in two different "groups". Yet, my genetic distance is the same, and therefore I appear to be as closely related to one as to the other. In other words, there's more ambiguity in this "individual perspective" approach, if taken out of context. Looking at the groups help keep it in context.

So.... when we look at the DNA evidence from a group perspective on the descendants of Robert Patterson (1705/11), we begin to see where the Patterson-Ferrell branch start to line up in relation to the other branches that have been tested. Here are some conclusions that I have drawn in my "unprofessional" analysis of the DNA results. Remember that the group analysis shows that Robert Patterson (1705/11) and Samuel Patterson (1705) descendants all show up in the R1b1a2 Haplo group. Now, it becomes more applicable to look at genetic distance for an individual branch.

Looking at how the Patterson-Ferrell branch matches up with the other branches of this group, we can glean the following results:

At 67 Markers, Genetic Distance of 1 (4 matches)

  • Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > John (1762/65) > Joseph
  • Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > John (1762/65) > Joseph
  • Robert (1705/11) > Robert > Robert
  • Robert (1705/11) > Robert > Samuel

At 67 Markers, Genetic Distance of 2 (2 matches)
  • Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > John (1762/65) > George
  • Robert (1705/11) > Robert 

There are 8 matches at the distance of 3 markers, and more importantly, this is where the first match shows up with the Samuel Patterson (1705) branch.

At 111 Markers, Genetic Distance of 5 (1 match)
  • Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > John (1762/65) > Joseph

One important note to make here, is that this last match (the 111 marker, GD5 match), was a GD of 3 at the 67 markers. This shows how important it is to get your test results upgraded to 111 markers, if you can. I have not done so yet, but will be doing so soon.

At 111 Markers, Genetic Distance of 6 (2 matches)
  • Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > John (1762/65) > Joseph
  • Samuel (1705) > Samuel

So at the GD 6 value at 111 markers, we see that the Patterson-Ferrell branch finds its first match with the Samuel Patterson family. However, the closest match for them overall, is at a Genetic Distance of 5, and that is the Robert > Thomas > John branch of the family.


1. I believe the results show us that the Patterson-Ferrell family is most closely related to the Robert Patterson of York Co., SC family, and more specifically, to his son Thomas. Until John W. Patterson had his DNA tested in 2014, we did not have any known test results from a son of Thomas Patterson, other than from his son John (b. 1762/65). That is my line, by the way. In fact, I am the "Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > John (1762/65) > George" match that is listed above under 67 Markers, Genetic Distance of 2. 

2. Now, in my opinion, we have our first test results from a descendant of Robert (1705/11) > Thomas > Robert (1767/71) > John (m. Ann Ferrell).

I hope this analysis may help as many people as possible as we continue to study and learn about our ancestors. And please, if anyone sees any mistakes or errors in what I have written, please contact me and let me know. I have very thick skin! Thank you.

Wes Patterson

The Patterson-Ferrell Connection: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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