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The Bland DNA Project History with Terese Bland Bueker 
In July, 2002, the 18th Annual Bland Family Reunion was held in my hometown, The Woodlands, Texas.  I had been reading about a new business on the cutting edge of DNA testing called Family Tree DNA, one of only two companies in the world to offer test results to participants who wanted to use this new technology to research their family trees.  It was located a short 45 miles away in Houston, so I contacted the owner of the company, Bennett Greenspan, who proved to be a very nice guy.  Mr. Greenspan spoke at the reunion, and we soon had two Bland volunteers--my brother, Donald Bland (actually, he was drafted by me), and a second cousin, Tim (David Timothy) Bland, who had earlier expressed an interest in the subject.  Both participants were known descendants of Talton Bland, b. ca 1800 in Edgefield Co., SC, so this test was not expected to tell us anything we didn’t already know.  But we had to start somewhere!

When the first 12-marker results were returned, I was relieved to find my mother’s honor still in tact, <grin> as Tim and Donald’s DNA matched 12 for 12.  When all 25 were in, however, I was concerned to see that they did not match perfectly.  There appeared to be a 2-marker difference.  A quick telephone call to FTDNA relieved my mind, as Bennett told me that he and his brother did not match perfectly, either.  A 2-marker mismatch is still considered a match.  Furthermore, our results were not really a 2-marker miss because the fast mutating Marker DYS#464 (shown as 4 markers--464a, 464b, 464c and 464d), is a multi-copy marker—it occurs at several different positions on the Y chromosome.  It’s not possible to tell which count (in this case 15-15-15-17 for Donald and 15-15-17-19 for Tim) is found at a particular position on the chromosome, so the results are simply given in ascending order.  But if Donald’s results for #464 were lined up like this:  15-15-17-15, he and Tim would only be off by one.  In the spreadsheet, instead of filling in Donald’s #464d square in yellow (indicating a mismatch) I have bolded the 17, indicating an out of sync number.  Perhaps as I learn more, I’ll have a better way to display this.  But for now, it works for me.  [See November, 2005 for new information about Donald’s results at 464c & d.]


2003

After I spoke about the Bland DNA Project at the 2003 Bland Reunion in Savannah, GA, another brave soul stepped forward--Robert O. Bland, a descendant of the James River, VA Blands (back to Robert Bland b. 1500 West Riding YC, England, through Theoderick Bland d. 1671 Westover, VA).  I did my best not to grovel at his feet when he volunteered.  I’m sure I speak for many of you when I say that I was crossing my fingers that MY Blands would prove to be connected in some way to this historical group of Virginia settlers.  In fact, my journey of genealogical exploration had its roots in a trip to Williamsburg, VA in 1979 when I discovered a Bland headstone in the churchyard there.  I learned that these Blands interacted socially with Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers.  They even had Robert E. Lee on their tree, for goodness sakes!  Charles Bland, author of A Vision of Unity, had also expressed the hope that all the English Blands who came to America would prove to be related somehow.  So, you can appreciate my profound disappointment when the results indicated a 7 out of 25 marker mismatch between Robert and Tim.  Talton Bland’s line did not match Theoderick Bland’s line.  Alas!  We were just plain folks after all!

 2004

By April, 2004, some drama was developing with a new entry.  Ruth Bland Barch had submitted DNA from her brother, John Richard Bland.  Their line descended from Josiah Bland, born in Rockingham Co., VA, in 1820 (buried 1898 Ross Co., OH).  My worst nightmare was realized when John’s DNA results proved to be a mismatch by 17 out of 25 markers to Tim’s DNA, and 15 mismatch for Robert Bland’s.  The dreaded “non-paternal event,” had apparently come home to roost.  I had wondered what I would tell someone if this happened.  Ruth and I corresponded back and forth about this problem.  She was sure that her ancestor, a minister, was above reproach, and we were trying to decide what other event could account for these results--including adoption, which was not uncommon hundreds of years ago, as death claimed many in those violent, pre-antibiotic times.  Then Bernie Bland’s results came in.  He was an exact match for John’s first 12 markers!  The two were not related, as far as they knew, so this indicated that John and Bernie’s ancestors represented a new branch of the Bland Family, distinct from the Edgefield Co., SC (and theoretically Northern Neck VA) Blands and James River VA Blands.  Bernie’s tree also included a Josiah Bland who was identified in a guardian bond in Caroline Co., VA in 1813 as an orphan of deceased Thomas Bland.  (This Josiah Bland was born in VA, in early 1800s.)  In time Bernie and John would prove to be only 2 markers off out of 25, still considered a match.  By year-end a third member joined the Josiah Bunch, with a proven genealogy pointing to a Pendleton Co., VA/WV origin for this group.  Genealogist Thomas Bland, submitted DNA from his father, Richard Erskine Bland.  (Note: Though Thomas was initially going to submit his own DNA, I convinced him that the oldest living male would be the best choice, due to fewer possibilities for mutations.)  Because of problems with the sample, another sample had to be submitted, and the final 13 markers did not come back until 2005.  The good news was that these three newly discovered cousins are currently in contact, looking for that connection that they now know exists.  More importantly, the DNA testing process itself had proven its worth.  These three participants had proof of a connection they would not have pursued without the DNA results.  In time a fourth member would join this group.  (Now Called Group C.)

By the time we went to Salt Lake City for the 20th Annual Bland Reunion in July, 2004, we had 25-marker results for five people, the first 12 markers for a sixth, and one kit at the lab.  Richard Parks Bland, a popular long-time Bland Reunion participant, was firmly seated with the two descendants of Talton Bland.  It was decided to call this new group the Northern Neck Virginia Blands (Now Called Group A.) because of the known origins of the other Blands in Edgefield Co.  <Who’s your daddy, Talton?>  Richard’s people were never in Edgefield Co., but Charles Bland, our Historian, theorized that this line originated in the Northern Neck of Virginia.  Richard’s earliest proven ancestor was Staughton Bland, in Washington Co., KY by 1780.  In mid-2004, I was using Tim’s DNA as the standard from which every other set of markers deviated.  This was an arbitrary choice.  He was the first one tested, so, why not?  Richard’s DNA differed from Tim’s by only 2 markers. [This system has changed.  See comments 3 paragraphs down.]

In August, genealogist Valerie Bland submitted DNA from her husband, Wilbur.  He was initially put with the Northern Neck VA Blands, as his first 12 markers were only off the Northern Neck standard by 2.  As the next 13 came in, however, it deviated by an additional 5, for a total of 7 mismatches, forcing me to remove him from the Northern Neck Bunch (Group A).  Wilbur would be the start of a fourth branch of the Bland Tree, now Group D.  As Valerie pursued her research, she concluded that Wilbur’s line went back to John Bland b. 1792 Prince William Co., VA; d. 1853/60 Price William Co, VA; m. Mary Angeline Unknown 1816 VA.  If proved, this could be important news for those who think there is a connection between the Northern Neck, VA lines and the Prince William Co., VA lines.  (See 2005 results for Lloyd Lester.)  This may not be the case.  We need other Prince William Co., VA descendant volunteers!

The kit still at the lab in July (ID #22566) belongs to a participant who does not wish to be named.  His earliest proven ancestor is John Milton Bland b 1827 Oldham Co., KY, and his line may go back to Isaac Bland b 1788 Nelson Co., KY.  I have placed #22566 with the Group A, as his results deviated from the standard for that group by only one marker, #385b.  However, I have some misgivings because the repeat value of this participant is 11, not the standard 14 displayed by most others in the Northern Neck Bunch.  This is a difference of 3, not the expected +1 or -1.  (For example, the Talton descendants show a 15 at this marker, a logical one-step mutation.)  At this time I’m not sure what this might mean, but I’m keeping him with the Group A for now. [Later, with 37 markers, he was off by 3 markers, but 5 steps.  Even so, I still want to keep him with Group A, for now.]

By the end of 2004, two more members were added to the Group A:  our fearless leader, Charles Bland, author of A Vision of Unity, and Bobby Bland, the brother of long-time reunion participant Joyce Bland McCool.  Charles’ confirmed patriarch is William Bland b. 1792 Edgefield Co., SC; d. 1868 Rutherford Co., NC, but Charles theorizes that William’s father was Presley Bland of Edgefield Co., VA with proven connections to William Bland b. 1686 Stafford/Pr. William Co., VA, and further back to England.  To her delight, Joyce found that her brother proved to be a perfect 25 marker match with Charles.  [Joyce has always considered Bobby’s earliest known proven ancestor to be Daniel Bland (b. ca 1784 Nelson Co., KY; d ca 1849 Perry Co., AR).  Even so, by 2006 the DNA evidence and Charles L. Bland’s earlier research is very close to convincing her to embrace Osborne Bland as Daniel’s father.  If he is, this would connect Bobby (and Joyce) to Osborne’s father, John Bland (1725-1795); John’s father, William Bland (1686-1744); and William’s father of James Bland (1661-1709), The First Immigrant.  The evidence seems to point to William Bland as the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) shared by Charles and Bobby.]

 And, as luck would have it, Charles proved to be a better candidate to carry the banner for Group A than Tim did.  Marker-by-marker, Charles had more matches to the others in the group, so at that time I made him the new standard.  However, the “standard” approach was finally abandoned for the more technically correct designation, “modal haplotype.”  A haplotype is the string of numbers that makes up each participant’s unique DNA results.  A “modal” haplotype would be a set of numbers made up of the most frequently observed numbers for each marker.  Because most of our volunteers so far are from Group A, the “Bland Modal Haplotype” is currently (November, 2006) identical to the “Group A Modal Haplotype.”  The Results Spreadsheets now include these modal haplotypes.  In one table, all participants are compared to the “Bland Modal Haplotype” with deviating results highlighted in yellow.  The second table shows modal haplotypes for each group, and each participant is compared to his group haplotype.

At the end of 2003, Family Tree DNA had added 12 more markers to the choice for testing (for a total of 37).  Simply stated, more markers provide more accuracy in the estimated time frame for the common ancestor.  By year-end 2004 three of our participants had added the additional markers to their results.  These extra markers proved to be very helpful in narrowing down matches, and we now recommend that everyone purchase the 37 marker kit, if possible.  Most of our participants have done so.

In October I attended the First International Conference on Genetic Genealogy, held in Houston, TX by FTDNA.  I learned much, but also learned that I have much to learn!  This is not an easy subject to absorb, as it is filled with technical terms, statistical probabilities, and rapidly changing technology.  Interpretation can be very subjective, almost instinctive.  At least it seemed that way to me.  I vowed to do the best I can to interpret the data correctly.  At the convention, FTDNA announced a new calculation tool (FTDNATiP) to aid in the calculation of when the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) occurred.  It is based on their observations of which markers are the fastest to mutate.  (Rather than assuming all markers mutate at the same rate.)  Mutations are more common on these fast-mutating markers (for example, Markers #464 and 385), those shown in red ink  This calculation can be done by anyone who has been tested.  When you return your DNA kit, you get a welcome email of some sort which contains your password, and it’s also on the information they mail you with your results.  You can use this password on the FTDNA website to access your Personal Page.  You can perform this calculation with the matches found on the Y-DNA Match Page.  (I’m flying blind here because, as the Project Coordinator, what I see online is not the same as what you see online.)  Take some time and look over your Personal Page some day.

As 2004 came to a close, we had 11 participants in the Bland Family DNA Project.  Sadly, Valerie’s husband, Wilbur Bland, passed away on November 1, 2004.  I never met him, but felt a loss, nonetheless.  I am thankful that we were able to add his DNA to our family project.  It will be retained, at no charge, by FTDNA for 25 years in case Valerie opts to test for more markers.

2005

The New Year started with a submission by the Bland Heritage website editor, David Bland.  He also chose to submit DNA from his father, Lloyd Lester Bland, instead of his own DNA.  At the time the sample was taken, Mr. Bland was seriously ill.  In fact, he passed away before the results came back.  (I know I was praying that there would be no mess up at the lab.  There would be no “do-overs.”)  The lab results were returned without incident, and I was proud to add Lloyd Lester Bland to Group A, my group.

Charles and Lloyd’s kinship, especially with the 37-marker test, would be a good example to show how Family Tree DNA’s FTDNATiP calculator works.  Lloyd and Charles share 34 out of 37 markers.  Before altering the calculations, Charles and Lloyd could say that the probability they share a common ancestor within the last…100 years is 12.30%; last 200 years is 47.82%; last 300 years is 76.77%; last 400 years is 91.38%; last 500 years is 97.16%; and last 600 years is 99.14%.  With the FTDNATiP calculations, and knowing that they do not share a common ancestor in 5 generations, the probability they share a common ancestor within the last:  125-225 years is 40.5%; last 325 years is 73.52%; last 425 years is 90.17%; last 525 years is 96.77%; last 625 years is 99.02%; last 725 years is 99.72%.  These seem very subtle to me (except for the first grouping, 125-225 years).  [Note:  This information is now given in generations instead of years and you can change the display from the default 4 generations to 2 generations or every generation, if you choose.]  I don’t get too excited with the probabilities right now.  Perhaps, with more exposure to all this, I will be able to appreciate the true meaning of all this.  For now, I think the value is in the groupings, not the percentages.

David and Lloyd’s proven patriarch is William Bland (1686-1744), through son, John, who d. 1795 Nelson Co., KY, and grandson, Daniel Bland (ca 1764-1838 Washington Co, KY).  This brings up an interesting problem.  As noted earlier, Wilbur Bland’s reputed ancestor was a John Bland from Prince William Co., VA.  DNA testing shows that these two participants DO NOT share an ancestor in a genealogically relevant time period.  Either one of the two is mistaken in identifying a Prince William Co. ancestor, or there were Bland family members from different branches of our tree in that county very early.  Further research is called for here.

March

In March a third cousin of mine stepped up to the plate for testing.  James Melton Bland is another descendant of Talton Bland of Edgefield Co., SC.  Talton’s only son to sire sons was Calvin Bland, so we’ll never be able to positively confirm what Talton’s DNA looked like, but we can probably now confirm Calvin’s DNA.  Tim and Donald are descendants of Calvin’s son, William Wesley Bland, but James Melton came down by another of Calvin’s sons, James Jefferson Bland.  If I’d been betting, I would have bet that Tim’s DNA represented Calvin’s profile because, although he and my brother differed, Tim’s matched more closely to the others in Group A.  However, much to my surprise James and my brother, Donald, matched 25-25, not James and Tim!  I ordered the full 37-marker extension of the test for my brother, and I’d be interested to see the results if James or Tim should choose to order the extra markers.  But, as it looks now, Calvin’s DNA was most likely that of James and Donald.  It appears that the mutation occurred somewhere between Calvin and Tim.  This is also a good time to show how valuable it is to have cousins tested.  Sure we already know the relationships, but their joint information makes it possible to try to nail down the “ancestral DNA” profile.  As I said, we’ll never know Talton’s for sure, but it looks like we now know Calvin’s.  [There was an error in Donald’s lab results.  When corrected by FTDNA it became obvious that the conclusions drawn in this paragraph are not correct.  See November, 2005 for a correction to this analysis.]

April

In April Richard E. Bland’s last 13 markers finally came back, and his DNA proved to be a perfect 25-25 match with Bernie’s DNA.  Bernie Bland decided to extend his 25 markers to the maximum now available, at 37.  At this time, John Richard’s 25-marker DNA is 2 markers away from the other two.  Because Richard’s descent from Thomas Bland, (b. ca 1740; d. 1826 Pendleton Co., VA/WV) has been proven by regular genealogical methods, I have re-christened the Josiah Bunch the Pendleton Co., VA/WV Blands.  (Now called Group C.)  By September the group had grown to four, and eventually 3 out of 4 participants would have the 37 marker test.

In May the DNA section of the Bland Heritage Website was launched.  I felt like a proud Momma.  I knew this would make a big difference in attracting volunteers for the project, but I had no idea that we would have such a wonderful turnout so soon!  By the end of June, 6 applicants requested kits, and 4 of those kits were returned to the lab.  That’s nearly half the number of members it took 3 years to acquire!

Be sure to check the “Test Results” section for a few changes.  Joyce McCool extended the markers for her brother, Bobby Bland, who now shows the full 37 markers.  So, what did Joyce learn with the extra markers?  First of all, she found that she (and her brother) is a closer match to David Bland's dad, Lloyd Bland, (a 2-mismatch) than to Charles (a 3-mismatch).  This is because Bobby and Lloyd are one generation closer to their MRCA, John Bland (1725-1795).  She’s still pretty close to Charles, however.  This is a small distinction, but may prove important some day.  As the statistics go (only comparing to others with the 37 marker test), Bobby shows a 91.57% probability of a common ancestor with Lloyd within 300 years; 91.26% within 400 years with Charles; and 93.57% within 500 years for Richard Parks Bland.  Bobby and my brother, Donald, show kinship, but a long way off—69.21% within 500 years.  We can totally rule out any kinship with Bernard, with a 0% probability.  These probabilities are not calculated with the FTDNATiP calculator.  It’s important to state that Bobby could be closer in time than those estimates indicate.  (Don’t you just hate probabilities?)

September

Everyone had a grand time at the 21st Annual Bland Reunion in Nashville, Tennessee in July.  I got to share our DNA progress with the family, and I gave out 5 DNA kits.  The first was to the winner of our DNA kit lottery.  Brent Bland was actually in attendance at Nashville, so I was able to personally hand him his kit.  That was quite a prize, with a value of $221!  We mailed out 600 letters and only received a handful of the lottery sheets back.  I learned later that many people didn’t realize the form was for a free drawing.  They just thought it was a solicitation to join the DNA Project.  Well, it was, of course, but joining the project wasn’t a requirement.  Heck!  You didn’t even have to be there to win.  Next year, I’m going to put the word “Free” all over the thing!

Back to the update:  Going into the Reunion, we had results for 13 members.  As of September 3, we had results for 4 new members (37 marker).  We had 1 refinement from 25 to 37 markers.  We now have 4 (37 marker) kits at the lab.  Four kits (37 marker) have been ordered, but not returned.  If all four kits are returned, we’ll have 25 members in all.   We’ve come a long way!

In the interest of accuracy, I have scrapped the designation of each family group with a place name.  This could prove to be misleading as we go back further in time, and our Most Recent Common Ancestor might prove to be in England.  That could be the only place we have in common, not VA.  I’ve chosen to use an alphabetical designation, instead.  Because the first 2 participants to be tested ended up in the Northern Neck, VA Group, that will be our new Group A.  Our James River VA Bland participant was tested next, and he’s now Group B.  The Pendleton Co., WV Bunch became Group C, and so it will continue.

Now let’s get down to the interesting part.  Two of the four new members fell into the two largest groups, the Northern Neck, VA Blands (Group A) and the Pendleton Co., VA/WV Blands(Group C).  But the other two are charting new territory.  Kit 38066 does not wish to be named, but the contact person here is Linda Swapp.  Linda’s line goes back to a Thomas Bland who was b. 1822 in Isle of Wight, VA.  DNA results indicated that the tested individual belongs unequivocally to the Group C.  He was an exact 37-marker match with our Bernie Bland, and I’m sure Linda and Bernie are working to find that connection.  And while we’re discussing Group C, you might notice (at the “DNA Results” section on this website) that a 25 to 37 marker refinement came back for Ruth Bland Barch’s brother, John Richard Bland.  The extra markers identified one more mismatch from the others in this group, making him a 3 marker mismatch.  This simply means that John Richard’s common ancestor is further back in time.  The

odds of a match between John and Bernie, as found on Family Tree DNA’s website lays out like this:

100 years
is

11.47%

200 years
is

45.80%

300 years
is

74.97%

400 years
is

90.33%

500 years
is

96.68%

600 years
is

98.95%

On the other hand, Bernie and Linda Swapp’s volunteer share these odds, with their perfect 37 marker match:

100 years
is

83.49%

200 years
is

97.28%

300 years
is

99.55%

400 years
is

99.93%

500 years
is

99.99%

600 years
is

100.00%

Thomas D. Bland’s results placed him very firmly with Group A.  At fast-mutating Marker 464d, Thomas shows a 15 instead the usual 19 at this location.  If you check the new “Results” section, you will notice that Thomas’ Haplogroup status appears in green, instead of red, as the rest do.  This is because Thomas opted to pay for a Haplogroup test which confirmed our R1b status (the most common European Haplogroup).  As you may recall, this was the result (R1b) which had been predicted by FTDNA.  It was not absolutely necessary to confirm this, but it does put any doubts to rest.  So, folks, it’s official.  No further Haplogroup testing is required from anyone with an R1b status.  Thanks, Thomas.  Now…if anybody with a “-” status wants to be tested, that would be useful information Group C would actually benefit from this test.  They are the mystery children.

Now we come to the two “new Blands on the Block.”  I was delighted to meet Ray Bland at the Nashville Reunion, and fascinated with his exhibit on his Bland line.  Shortly before the reunion he had uncovered proof that his ancestor, Richard Bland, had lived in Barbados.  This Richard Bland was b. ca 1680 England; married 1722 Barbados; and d. 1737 SC.  My guess would have been that he might hook up with the James River, VA Blands (Group B), but it was not to be.  Ray now carries the banner for a new line.  The future may bring more members to this group.  Only time will tell.

Finally, Clayton Earl Bland (the contact is his sister, Kathy J. Bland), who goes back to Marion Lafayette Bland (b. Wilson Co., TN, d 1910 Coryell Co., TX), forms an interesting new group.  You will notice that the Haplogroup listed is not the usual R1b, Originally listed as “I”—indicating an origin among the mostly Viking populations in northwestern Europe—his haplogroup is now listed as undetermined, or “-.”  (See June, 2006 write-up for details.)

November

We now have 26 participants, although 2 of them are from the Genographic Project (GP).  This is a 5-year research partnership between National Geographic and IBM to study human migratory history.  Family Tree DNA’s participation as the testing outfit for public input in the Genographic Project has led some of their participants to opt to be included in FTDNA’s family projects.  Most Bland Project participants have chosen the 37-marker test.  The 2 GPs (their kit #’s start with “N”) only needed 12 markers for the other study, and have not opted for more markers, so they leave us with just a tantalizing glimpse of their DNA.  This was enough to tentatively put Participant N9125 with Group A, but with 12 markers (and 1 mismatch) it’s too early to say for sure.  This individual lives in the UK, so we’ve crossed the ocean, folks!  The other Genographic Project participant, N12460, showed no matches in our project.

 In addition to Thomas D. Bland, whose results I touched on in the September paragraph, results were returned for Edwin Brent Bland (our Lottery winner) and Herbert F. Bland, the son of the late Herbert Francis Bland, Sr. and wife Winnie, who many of you will recall as being actively involved in the Bland Reunions.  I never met Winnie’s husband, but I have heard that he would have been really pleased to learn that he now has a place with the Northern Neck VA Blands (Group A).  These three gentlemen (Thomas, Brent, and Herbert—TB&H) almost come to us as a “package.”  Thomas and Herbert are a 37-37 match!  (This means that you can take it to the bank that they share a common ancestor, and in pretty recent history, too.)  Brent is only one marker away out of 37, so the three of them need to put their heads together and find that relationship.  Brent sent me a beautiful pedigree report going back to James Bland ca 1575 Penrith, Cumberland Co., England, through his gr-grandson, James (1661-1709 Stafford Co., VA) and gr-gr grandson, John (b. 1688) of Prince William Co., VA.  Assuming that the paperwork has been proven, this could be of interest to all of us in the Group A.

 In trying to analyze the differences these three show from the others in this group, I focused my attention on Marker 464.  Remember now, this marker has 4 parts, aligned in descending order, so TB&H’s 15-15-15-17 really only differs at one location from the majority of us in Group A, who have 15-15-17-19, because TB&H’s results could be re-aligned to 15-15-17-15.  That would make their final 15 four points different from the usual 19.  [Family Tree DNA now considers this only 1 point difference, not 4, because it is a fast moving marker.]  Anyway, let’s talk about that 19 at 464d.  I talked to Mr. Greenspan, President of FTDNA, to try to figure this out.  First of all, he told me that our 19 at 464d was a rarity.  Only about 2% of all of the people tested have it at that location.  (This could prove to be a “defining” allele--meaning “repeat value”--for the Group A.)  These 3 new members do not have it, but their 15-17 at c and d DOES group them together.  What does this mean?  It means that they’re Group A, all right, but they clearly come down from a different man than those of us with the 19.  It would be interesting to see which ancestor brought this mutation into the mix.  [Could it be John b 1688?]

 I was particularly interested in this 464 pattern because my brother, Donald Bland, first showed this (the 15-15-15-17), as did my cousin, James Melton Bland.  They showed other mutations that differentiated them from the other Group A participants, too, but putting that aside, I was just looking at this 464 location.  If you look back at my analysis of March, 2005 you’ll see how this presented a problem for me.  Tim showed the 17-19, but Donald did not.  Donald showed the 15-17 and matched James, even though Tim and Don were a generation closer in kinship.  That would have meant that if Calvin’s ancestors had the 17-19, as did the others in Group A, then some ancestor before Calvin must have jumped to 15-17, then somewhere between Calvin and Tim it jumped BACK to 17-19!  What are the odds?  Discussing all this with Mr. Greenspan, he suggested re-confirming the test results on all three of them.  This time, Donny’s DNA showed the 17-19!  And this made much better sense.  Donald and Tim matched exactly, as they should have.  The mutation occurred sometime between Calvin and James Melton, who came down from a different son.  But notice that James Melton Bland has shown the exact mutation that TB&H showed.  He didn’t go to 17-18, 17-17 or 17-16, for instance.  He went straight to 17-15 (shown as 15-17).  I now have a new pet theory—that the Blands have a propensity to jump 4 places at that marker, not 1 step at a time, as is supposed to be the case.  Just a theory…

Now I must report frustrating results.  Five more new participants showed NO MATCHES.  The “unconnected” participants now include nine members.  Clayton Earl Bland was discussed in September, 2005.  [See October, 2006 to see discussion of Clayton’s match with third cousin, Forrest Bland.]  William Marshall Bland’s ancestry goes back to Charles Thomas Bland b. 1857 Portsmouth, VA and his father George W. Bland, b ca 1836.  William’s distinct haplogroup of “I” had me hoping for a match with Clayton Earl, who also has an “I” haplogroup, but that did not happen.  [William’s haplogroup is now listed as undetermined, or “-.”  See June, 2006 write-up for details.]  We have our first alternate spelling for “Bland” with Edward Dewey Blann (contact his cousin, VaLene Collings) whose ancestry goes back to John Blann or Bland (1770-1842 VA; m. Sarah Lee).  Perhaps we can attract more Blann participants with these results.  Experienced researchers know that Blann, or Blan is a variation of Bland.  It was also used interchangeably in many cases by lines that definitely were Bland, often because of illiteracy and phonetic understandings of the census takers.  Neil Wilson Bland, goes back to Joseph Bland b. ca 1752; m. in Winchester, VA; d. ca 1820 Monongalia Co., VA.  Neil and Edward’s haplogroups could not initially be determined.  [Neil’s haplogroup is now listed as “E3b1.” And Edward is now listed as “I.”  See June, 2006 write-up for details.]  Apparently they don’t belong to the usual R1b, to which most of us belong, but 3 of the haplogroups represented by our family are the 3 most common European Haplogroups.  (See March, 2006 below.)  The late Wilbur Preston Bland was discussed in some detail in 2004.  Melvin Lanny Bland traces his ancestry to Allen Lewis Bland b. ca 1819 Kanawha Co., VA d. 1872 Champaign Co., IL.  Raymond D. Bland was discussed in September 2005.  I have no pedigree information about our second Genographic Project participant, N12460.  Kit #38642, goes back to William Clouch/Gouch Bland b. ca 1807 in UK.  This participant comes to us from Australia, and would have been pleasantly surprised if a match had been found, but no such luck.

These disappointing results have led me to re-work my Results Spreadsheet to list only 3 groups—Groups A-C[We now have 6 groups, A-E.  See October, 2006.]  I have chosen to give the James River, VA Bland individual a “group” status even though he is one person, because of the importance of this family.  As exasperating as these results have been for me, they are doubly so for those who paid a substantial amount of money trying to further their genealogical quest.  One frustrated participant asked me bluntly what good the test had done him, suggesting he had learned nothing from it.  But I believe that we can learn from negative results.  At least he learned where NOT to look in his research.  I informed him that he could conclude with certainty that he did not descend from the Northern Neck VA, James River VA nor the Pendleton Co. WV/VA Blands.  That can also be said, of course, for the others who did not match up with our three major groups.

Just a word in closing: At first, when I was seeing such HUGE differences, I was reminded of my experience with the Group C, whose results first appeared to point to a non-paternal incident.  I have now come to the conclusion that the only time this can even be considered a cause is in the event that you strongly believe you belong in a certain group and DNA results prove that you do not.  The Bland Project was set up to embrace ALL Bland/Blann volunteers, many of whom don’t have a CLUE where they belong.  The purpose is to FIND a connection.  Because many different men assumed the Bland name in pre-history, it has become apparent to me that we will be seeing many different groupings within our Project.  To those gentlemen who found no matches, I say “Don’t think of yourself as ‘unconnected,’ think of yourself as the first of a new group!”  At the Test Results site I have listed the earliest known ancestor of each participant, so perhaps something will “click” with newcomers to our website.  To newcomers I say, “If you see a familiar name, or a location of interest, perhaps matching some pet theory of yours, I hope you will be inspired to take the DNA test yourself to see if you can match up with any of these ‘new’ lines.”

2006

January

I am happy to report that the New Year brings results which justify my earlier Pollyanna attitude.  Donna Gilbert’s brother, Gary Bland, is a 24/25 match with the late Wilbur Bland, listed among the “unconnected” in my November comments.  We now have a new family group, Group D.  Using FTDNA’s calculations, the greatest probability for their Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) is in the 300-400 year range.  (The probabilities start to get higher around that timeline, anyway.)  This would put the MRCA into the mid 1500-1600s.  What does this tell us?  Well, if the timeline had put this ancestor at 600 years ago, you could be certain the connection was in England.  However, if the MRCA was born in mid-1600s, it's possible that he made it to America before his death, and his children may have been born here.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have test results from scores of English Blands?  Many of us might be able to jump the ocean without the tedious effort of finding a paper trail.  In the meantime, we’ll have to do research the old fashioned way – searching through records in this country.

February

Robert Purdy Bland is a new addition to Group A.  Robert lists his most distant proven ancestor is Isaac Newton Bland b. 1803 New Hanover Co., NC, but Charles Bland, our Historian informs me that Isaac is a proven descendant of James Bland (1707-1774) (m. Mary Buchanan) of Prince William Co. VA & New Hanover/Duplin Co. NC.

 The most striking thing about Robert’s results is that he exactly matches the Modal Haplotype for Group A.  Does this have any significance?  Bear with me as I think out loud (or in print).  My thought was that whoever the MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) for this whole group proved to be, that Robert's line had the least mutations from this man.  I asked the question of Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA.  He responded, “What we know is that he matches the presumed ANCESTRAL Signature as ferreted out by you.  It’s not 100%, but highly likely.”  So, if I have the modal nailed down, that would be true.  (That Robert might actually match the DNA of the MRCA of Group A.)  However, this group is currently made up of 13 members.  Theoretically, we could get another 13 volunteers and their results might change the modal, and then Robert's wouldn't be a match.  I'm trying to figure out if we've actually learned anything here.  I think we have.  His results did not alter the modal; it only served as a further confirmation.  In summary, I guess, Robert's results prove that SOMEBODY actually had this haplotype, and it's not an artificial grouping.  I think we’re on the right track here, folks!  [As additional participants displayed this same haplotype, it is fairly safe to say that it will not change.  See October, 2006 for some examples.]

March

Family Tree DNA released a major announcement this month.  They have launched the highest resolution Y-DNA test on the market:  the 59-marker Y-DNA test.  [That is now a 67-marker test.  See next paragraph.]  This is all very interesting, but I’m not ready to recommend this new upgrade at this time.  The expense for the DNA test is considerable already, and I hate to add an additional $50 to this.  (It is $50 greater than the old price of the 37 marker kit.)  According to FTDNA, “Only if you are in a project and part of a subgroup of that project where you match exactly, or nearly exactly, to several others will you gain by upgrading to the additional markers.”  The primary benefit of the extra markers will be to divide families into more detailed subgroups.  Later on we may need the clarification, but let’s not jump into this just yet.

One bit of good news was announced along with this new test—the prices have dropped for some of the other tests.  The 25 marker test dropped $21, and the 37 marker test dropped $30!  FTDNA is moving at warp speed.  Just 2 months after the introduction of the 59 marker test, they extended their offering to 67 markers, with no additional charge.  Here are the latest prices (if you are in a family project):

 Y-DNA12                       $99

Y-DNA25                     $148

Y-DNA37                      $189

Y-DNA67                      $269

Y-Refine12to25              $49

Y-Refine12to37              $99

Y-Refine12to59           $189

Y-Refine25to37              $49

Y-Refine25to59           $148

Y-Refine37to59              $99

What do you get for your money here?  FTDNA gives these probabilities to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) when ALL the markers match.  With a 12/12 (all 12 markers match), there is a 50% probability that the MRCA was within the last 7 generations, and a 90% probability it was within the last 23 generations.  With 25 markers, there is a 50% probability that the MRCA was within the last 3 generations, and a 90% probability that the MRCA was within the last 10 generations.  With a 37/37 match, there is a 50% probability that the MRCA was no longer than 2 generations, and a 90% probability that the MRCA was within the last 5 generations.  The new 67 marker test results would look like this for a 67/67 match:  50% with 1-2 generations; 90% within 3-4 generations.  I think you get more “bang for your buck” with the 37 marker test.

Just this month, Cousin Neil Bland (See November, 2005.) chose to order Family Tree DNA’s DeepSNP-E3b test to learn his haplogroup, which had been listed as undetermined.  Please note that the price of this test has gone from $65 to $79.  They tell me that it’s new and improved.  I don’t know what that means, but for an extra $14, I sure hope so!  His results are expected by the middle of May.  I found out that that means his Haplogroup will be refined.  His subclade will be identified.  That’s just a further breakdown, hinting at the migration path of his ancestors in pre-history.

Also new this month:  We just got an application from a volunteer from the UK!  It’s too early to confirm any information about this gentleman, as the kit hasn’t even been ordered yet, but this could be an interesting new development.  See July for his results.

June, 2006

We have a new National Geographic participant, N30385, and this one is also from England.  He took the 12 marker test and has ordered the DeepSNP-R1b test.  [TBB September - His confirmed haplogroup was R1b1c, and will show up as green now.]  He doesn’t seem to match any of our participants, so I’m putting him in the miscellaneous category for now.  I have tried to contact him, but get no response.

When Neil Bland’s Haplogroup was identified as E3b, I had to do some research to see what this would tell us.  After reading about the subject, I must confess that I became enamored with this whole Haplogroup thing, even though it is of little help in a genealogical timeframe.  Basically, each Haplogroup represents a human migration with a different history.  Studying them could help us learn more about prehistory and prehistoric migrations.  When our first human ancestor left Africa over 60,000 years ago he left his mark all over the earth.  Scientists are just now using DNA to learn about that journey.  This is exactly what the National Geographic study is all about!  You may recall from my earlier write-ups that our lab, Family Tree DNA, is deeply involved in this project.  Try this website to find out more:  www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic.

Haplogroup R

By far the most common haplogroup of the Blands so far is R1b1, and Thomas Darrell Bland has supported this result with a SNP test.  Bland Groups A, B, D, and most of the unmatched Blands all belong to this haplogroup.  Further, Robert O. Bland, of Group A has the genetic markers found in the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (see discussion below), a further refinement of R1b.  This is a good place to mention that each time I pull up the DNA results for our group the haplogroup is recalculated in view of all the new data Family Tree DNA receives on a daily basis.  As more and more is learned about which markers refine which haplogroups, they keep shifting the results on me!  One day the majority of our group is identified as R1b1.  A month later, they call it R1b, and then they shift back!  Further, some of us are still called R1, even though all in Group A  would most surely share a common ancestor in the hundreds of years, not thousands!  It’s much too complicated for me!  I still want to discuss this subject, even though it appears to be on shifting sands, so read at your own risk!

Charles F. Kerchner’s website has really good information about all haplogroups, and can be found at:  http://www.kerchner.com/haplogroups-ydna.htm.  His Haplogroup R discussion is the source of most of the information found below.  He also hosts an R1b Y-DNA project at Family Tree DNA.  You might want to consider joining his project if you are an R1 or any of the R subclades.  To continue:

R1a: The R1a lineage is believed to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas, a population of the Kurgan culture known for the domestication of the horse (approximately 3000 B.C.E.). These people were also believed to be the first speakers of the Indo-European language group. This lineage is currently found in central and western Asia, India, and in Slavic populations of Eastern Europe.

R1b: Haplogroup R1b is believed to have expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago. The members of R1b are believed to be the descendants of the first modern humans who entered Europe about 35,000-40,000 years ago. Those R1b forbearers were the people who painted the beautiful art in the caves in Spain and France. They were the contemporaries (and perhaps exterminators) of the European Neanderthals.  It is the most common haplogroup in European populations. More than half of men of European descent belong to R1b.  It is especially common in the west of Ireland where it approaches 100% of the population.  Since the majority of men of European descent belong to R1b, this group has the highest risk of so called "accidental" matches - matches due to an accidental convergence of long separated R1b lines, rather than due to recent kinship. Most different surname matches among R1b's are probably of this variety.

I also found a most interesting discussion of this haplogroup by Rebecca Moon, the Cheek Family Project Coordinator, at:  www.moonzstuff.com/cheekdna.html.  It’s long, but worth the time to read, and I have copied, with her permission, some of her discussion.

 Haplogroup R1b1
The frequency of R1b1 is highest along the Atlantic coast of Europe (up to 90% of Welsh, Irish, and Basque populations, for example), and declines as you move east.  Haplogroup R1b1 probably originated in a group of people who "wintered" in what is now Spain during the last Ice Age and then moved north when the glaciers retreated 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

A subset of the R1b1 haplogroup known as the "Atlantic Modal Haplotype" (AMH) consists of 6 genetic markers that have been found at high frequencies on the European Atlantic coast, such as Wales, Ireland, the Orkney Islands, and the Basque country.  In the British Isles, the AMH is strongly associated with the Celts, including English people with Celtic ancestry ("Anglo-Celts"), as well as the Welsh and Irish.  Over the last 10,000 years, the British Isles have been home to a wide variety of people, including prehistoric tribes, Celts, Germanic tribes such as the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings from Scandinavia, and, most recently (1066 A.D.) the Normans from France, who were basically French-speaking Vikings.  Although historians have usually assumed that the "ancient Britons" (Celts and others) were wiped out by the Anglo-Saxon invasions, or were all pushed into Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall, recent genetic studies show that the native population survived in many parts of England, especially in the southwest and along the southern coast.

Haplogroup R1a

Haplogroup R1a occurs throughout Europe, but its frequency declines as you move from east to west -- exactly the opposite of Haplogroup R1b.  R1a is most common among the Slavic populations of Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Ukraine, but it is also found at high frequencies in central European countries such as Germany, as well as western Asia, central Asia, and India.  The R1a lineage is believed to descend from a group of people who spent the Ice Age around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and later entered Europe from the east, bringing innovations such as agriculture and the horse.  They were part of the great migration of "Indo-Europeans" from Central Asia whose cultures and languages came to dominate the European continent.  Virtually all modern European languages -- everything from Greek to Irish -- are part of the Indo-European language family.  A notable exception is the unique Basque language, believed to be the only surviving example of the lost languages spoken in Western Europe before the arrival of the Indo-European tribes.  This is further evidence that the Basques may be the oldest R1b (western European) genetic lineage.

So where did the Celts come from?

Historians have long believed, based on linguistic and archaeological evidence, that the Celts are descended from a group of Indo-Europeans who settled in central Europe several thousand years ago.  According to this theory, the Celts began a period of expansion about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, and eventually conquered much of western Europe and the British Isles.  What happened to the "native" western Europeans has been an enduring mystery.  There are the Basques, of course.  There are also stories about mysterious tribes still living in Britain at the time of the Romans.  …

 Some time after the arrival of the Celts, the "native" Britons disappeared off the face of the earth.  They left behind pottery, burial mounds, and some amazing archaeological relics like Stonehenge,* but little else -- or so it seemed.  Genetic studies are now re-writing this history.  Celtic people such as the Welsh and Irish speak Indo-European languages, yet their Y-DNA is similar to that of the Basques.  In other words, the Welsh and Irish appear to be more closely related to the non-Indo-European Basques than they are to Indo-European groups elsewhere in Europe.  Linguists have even noticed certain curious similarities between Basque and Celtic languages.  To explain these similarities, historians traditionally believed that Celtic tribes invaded the Basque region several thousand years ago.  But it could also mean that the Celts and Basques have a common origin -- a theory now supported by the genetic studies.  Note, this does not mean that the Basques were direct ancestors of the Celts or visa versa.  It simply suggests that the Basques and the Celts have a common origin dating back many thousands of years before the arrival of Indo-European tribes.  The Basques, in their isolated mountains, kept their original language alive to the present day.  In the British Isles and elsewhere, the people lost their original languages, probably as a result of military invasion, trade relationships, and intermarriage with Indo-Europeans.  Eventually, (and somewhat confusingly), both the people on the continent and the people in the British Isles became known as "Celtic," because of their common languages and other cultural features.  (It is important to remember that biological descent is not the same as cultural inheritance or heritage!)

*Contrary to popular belief, Stonehenge was not built by Celtic priests or "druids" but by ancient British peoples who lived during the period 3,000 B.C. to 1,600 B.C.

Haplogroup I

Also, from the Cheek website:  “Haplogroup I is sometimes called the "Viking haplogroup" because it mostly occurs in areas where the Vikings once lived, e.g., Scandinavia, the British Isles, and parts of central Europe.”  Clayton Earl Bland and William Marshall Bland had previously been identified as belonging to this group.  This was a tentative label, however, and was revised in June to show “-,” indicating there was no new formal assignment for these two men.  After a brief discussion with personnel at Family Tree DNA, however, I was able to get a tentative identification for Clayton as Haplogroup I1a (see below for interesting facts about this haplogroup).  And William was lucky enough to have a rather unusual test result which was of interest to FTDNA for their data base, and he got a free test to discover his haplogroup (called a backbone test)!  We now know with certainty that William does belong to Haplogroup I, and his results will appear in green from now on.  Edward Dewey Blann was at first shown with an unassigned haplogroup, and then he was designated as belonging to the I Haplogroup.  Now he’s back to undesignated.  Untested haplogroup assignments—predictions really—are shown in red.  Tested and confirmed haplogroups are shown in green.  The green assignments should not change.  Now displayed in black is the prediction I got for Clayton over the phone.

But, to discuss I Haplogroup in more detail, I am including an excerpt from en.wikipedia.org:

Haplogroup I is native to Europe and is relatively widespread in all European populations, most common in Scandinavia but also very common in Croat populations.  Its initial spread is believed to be connected to the migrations that occurred at the last glacial maximum (LGM).

According to current theories, Haplogroup I first arrived in Europe around 20,000-25,000 years ago from the Middle East.  The highest frequency of the I Haplogroup can be found in Scandinavian populations as well as populations in the Adriatic region.  This lends support to the hypothesis that the Adriatic region of modern-day Croatia served as a refuge for northern populations during the last glacial maximum.  The hypothesis states that after the LGM there was a migration from the north east by the people whose offspring today form a significant portion of the Scandinavian populations.  These groups seem to be the ancestors of about 38% of modern day Croats (75% of Bosnian Croats).  There are also indications that this haplogroup is tied to the Celtic culture.  The spread of the “I” group in Western Europe could be consistent with the Celtic expansion that occurred in the mid-first millennium BC.

Some subclades of I, such as I1a, were previously believed to be also of Scandinavian populations. However, recent research done by Scandinavian researchers has shown this assumption to be false.  I1a seems to be recently (within the last 1000 years) from Normandy and to be traceable to the Anglo-Saxon migrations north from Southern Europe.  Its true source is still not known.  Of additional interest, another subclade of I, I1b, appears to be more highly concentrated in Greece, and is also not of Scandinavian origin.  Thus, the term "I haplogroup" is misleading because its subclades are not necessarily, and most likely not, of the same origins as the straight “I” group.

Haplogroup E

As indicated earlier, only one member of our project, Neil Bland, belongs to Haplogroup E3b.  The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) website defines Haplogroup E as follows:

Y-DNA Haplogroup E probably arose in northeast Africa and expanded into the Middle East.  The two best established E lineages are E3a and E3b.

E3a is an African lineage that probably expanded from northern Africa to sub-Saharan and equatorial Africa with the Bantu agricultural expansion.  E3a is the most common lineage among African Americans today.

E3b probably evolved either in Northeast Africa or the Middle East and then expanded to the west both north and south of the Mediterranean.  E3b clusters are seen today in Western Europe, Northwest Africa, Northeast Africa and the Balkans.

The E3b site at Family Tree DNA’s website has much more detail, and includes the following information:

In Europe, E3b is the third largest group after haplogroups R and I.  If you are E3b from Great Britain, there is a good probability that your y-line was in this island before the last 2000 years.

Of note is the statement on that website that “E3b men can be found in Wales, the oldest population of Great Britain.”  On the other hand, it is also the most universal haplogroup in the Mediterranean area, and most E3b men live in this geographical region, including Greece (20-30%), and Italy (12-13%).  So I suppose an English E3b could be descended from some Roman soldier stationed there during the Roman occupation!  Just a thought…

Haplogroup J

Ruth Bland Barch ordered the deep clade test for her brother, John Richard Bland.  The results are in, and John (and all those in Bland Group C) is now labeled J2f.  (Note:  this science is changing so fast that J2f is now known as J2a1b, but commercial sites, such as Family Tree DNA, still call it J2f.)  To understand the J Haplogroup designation, I found that Charles F. Kerchner’s Haplogroup J discussion was a good beginning (see R Haplogroup paragraph for website info).  It is the source of the information found below.

J: Haplogroup J is found at highest frequencies in Middle Eastern and North African populations where it most likely evolved.  This marker has been carried by Middle Eastern traders into Europe, central Asia, India, and Pakistan.  The Cohen modal lineage is found in Haplogroup J*.

J2: The J2 lineage originated in the northern portion of the Fertile Crescent where it later spread throughout central Asia, the Mediterranean, and south into India.  As with other populations with Mediterranean ancestry this lineage is found within Jewish populations.

Research note: Many people new to Genetic Genealogy think the J2 haplogroup is synonymous with having male Jewish ancestry. One should note that having a J2 haplogroup assignment does not necessarily indicate Jewish ancestry.  The J2 haplogroup is far more ancient than the Jewish religion and is found in many lines with Mediterranean region ancient ancestry.

Costa.Tsirigakis of the J2 Y-DNA project on the internet has graciously provided this description of the J2f subclade for our use:

Percentages of J2f are highest in Georgia, Northern Italy, Crete and Western Anatolia.  Semino et al.  (2004) [tbb- Semino is a genetic scientist.] speculate that much of its distribution in the Mediterranean is the result of Bronze Age sea migrations.  They also suggest that this haplogroup was most closely associated with the Neolithic farmers who brought Agriculture to Europe.

The J2 Y-DNA project was set up to study this Haplogroup.  They have already found some who tested J2f whose ancestors were from the British Isles, like our Bland Project Group C members.  It could be beneficial (at least to further science, and probably to gain a greater incite for ourselves, too) for one or all members of Group C to join this project.  Here are the kinds of questions they wish to answer about how and when these J2f lines got to Britain:  Was it deep in the past? (when agriculture was first brought to Britain)?  Was it in the historical past? (eg. Roman soldiers, or copper miners)  Or was it in more recent times? (eg. merchants visiting the shores of Britain).  They stress that their J2-DNA project cannot guarantee that it will provide these answers.  They only hope that, in time, it might, and in the meantime they are doing research that hopes to identify different J2 lineages found in different parts of the world.  Those testing in the Haplogroup J might wish to join the study at this website:  http://www.j2-ydnaproject.net

July, 2006

Well, we continue to get results showing “no match.”  Pansylea Willburn, the family genealogist for her line, found one of her second cousins, Ronald Uhlis Bland, to take the test for her.  Unfortunately Ronald’s results didn’t match up with anyone else tested so far.  [This changed in September, 2006; see below.]  Their oldest ancestor, Reuben Bland, was born in Virginia 1780-1790.  Reuben, a War of 1812 veteran, was in Wayne Co., KY by 1812 and in Pulaski Co., KY for over 40 years.  The next generation was in Casey Co. and Breckinridge/Hardin/Grayson Cos., KY before they moved ca. 1870 briefly to IN and then to Wright Co., MO.  Some went into AR after 1898.  If anyone is looking at any of these counties, you might want to volunteer to see if you match Ronald’s results.

The 37-marker test results are back for our English cousin, James Peter Bland, and they also show “no match” to anyone in our Bland database.  Jim’s line goes back to William Bland who married Ann Osborne in 1781.  All of this line originates in or around Langford in Bedfordshire, England.  Well, we have to start somewhere!  I hope that Jim will be the first of many English Blands to join our project.  And surely someone will eventually match his results!

One kit is at the lab for the new 67-marker test.  Johnnie Ralph Bland is a real trailblazer!  Some day we may all expand to this level of detail.  JR’s line apparently goes back to James Bland (b. 1661 in England d. 1709 Stafford Co., VA).  The line goes through James’ son William (Stafford/Prince William Co., VA), William’s son, James (Stafford Co., VA & Hanover Co., NC), James’ son, William (Duplin Co., NC), William’s son Joseph (Rev. War veteran), Joseph’s son Joseph Henry (b. Orange Co, NC d. Perry Co., AL).  Later generations moved to Mississippi and some into Texas (where our volunteer currently resides).  As we like to say here in Texas – they got here as soon as they could!  Joseph Henry, of Perry Co., AL, is the last common ancestor shared by Lenora Strickland, Olta Virginia Bland Clark (Johnnie Ralph’s sister), and Elton White, all genealogists from this line.  Johnnie Ralph Bland graciously agreed to be tested for this line, and I was told that this elderly gentleman was quite excited to be able to make this contribution.  I sure hope we can reward him with a match!

August, 2006

The 22nd Annual Bland Reunion in Springfield, MO this month was, as always, a wonderful opportunity for Blands from all over the country to get together.  I met some new cousins and came away with two new project members.  Our lottery winner, Richard A. Bland of Rogers, Arkansas, will submit DNA from his father, Forrest W. Bland real soon.  This line is out of Mecklenburg Co., VA through a Samuel L. Bland who was born ca 1781.  Robert Eugene Bland, one of our Missouri cousins who attended the reunion, sent in his DNA right after he got home.  I’m looking forward to those results.

Well, did I wish for a match for Johnnie Ralph?  He got it!  JR is a perfect 37-marker match with Robert Purdy Bland.  Remember – Robert hit the Northern Neck VA modal haplotype on the nose.  Now, Johnnie Ralph makes two.  I’m more and more convinced that we have uncovered the DNA profile of our first ancestor to hit the American coast line -- James Bland (b. 1661 in England; d. 1709 Stafford Co., VA).  The rest of us from Northern Neck, with our various mutations, have just drifted away from that haplotype over the generations.  The key will be to line up these different mutations and try to figure out which son of James brought them (the mutations) into the gene pool:  William (b. 1686), James (b. 1687) or John (b. 1688).  (FYI--All these men were of Prince William Co., VA.)  Now, it’s possible, of course, that they (William, James & John) all retained James’ signature haplotype, and that the mutations came in later generations.  Theoretically, we might be able to figure this out some day, if we have enough volunteers.  [See the October, 2006 paragraph for more.]

 September, 2006

Johnnie Ralph is having a great run here!  He is a perfect 37-marker match with a new participant, Aubrey Byron Bland, who turns out to be a long-lost third cousin.  The most recent common ancestor for these men was apparently Joseph Henry Bland, b. 1785 Orange Co., VA, whose father, Joseph Bland, was a son of William Bland b. 1726 in Duplin Co., NC.  This William was a grandson (through his father James Bland) of the William (b. 1686) referred to in the paragraph above.  These results have put the genealogists representing these three lines (including Robert Purdy) in touch to compare notes.

Also matching up with a cousin this month was J. C. Bland, a first cousin, once removed, to Ronald Uhlis Bland.  This was not unexpected, as the participants knew of the connection.  It is interesting to note, however, that there is a one-marker mutation which separates the two cousins.  We can’t say when this happened, but certainly within the last 3 or 4 generations, all that separates the two.  At any rate, these two gentlemen now form our fifth group, Group E, a Pulaski Co., KY Group.

Besides the two kits from the Reunion, two more were received this month.  The first belonged to Billy Dan Bland, whose line is out of Pitt Co., NC, and the second to another cousin I met in Missouri, Charles Allan Bland, whose line is out of Edgefield Co., SC (through Peyton Bland).  This line is of great interest to me personally because my line is also out of Edgefield Co.  Oh, and Charles A. elected to purchase the 67-marker test, so Johnnie Ralph will have someone with whom to compare his results.  This should be interesting because they’re both Northern VA descendants and should not be too far apart.

As the month draws to a close, some of Robert Eugene Bland’s results are back, and it is apparent that he belongs with the Northern Neck VA Group—Group A.  Most recently Robert’s line has been in Missouri (Pike Co. and Audrain Co.), but it goes back to KY (Garrard & Lincoln Cos.), and further back to VA.  The oldest proven ancestor in Robert’s line, one Charles Bland, was born in VA in 1765, but our historian, Charles L. Bland, is convinced that Robert’s Charles is the son of Benjamin Bland (b. 1724), and the grandson of James Bland (b.1687)—see last paragraph in August.

October, 2006

All of a sudden we have potentially 11 descendants of one son (William 1686-1744) of The Immigrant, James Bland.  This is by far the largest representation for any patriarch.  I wish I could come up with a theory to explain this, but I haven’t a clue.  Did he have more male descendants than anyone?  Did he have some kind of “genealogy gene” which made his descendants more likely to do family research than the average Bland?!  I’d personally like to see more descendants of the other two brothers represented.  This would help me construct ancestral haplotypes for each one.

First, out of the blue a William descendant came to us from the National Geographic Project.  George Bland and his sister, Pat Bland, come down from William via son James (1707), and then a triple William descent (William 1726; William 1748; and William 1771, all of Duplin Co., NC).  The last William was a brother of Robert Purdy’s James Bland (1772-1818).  George’s 12-marker results were identical to the rest of Group A (with 6 exceptions, who show 1 mutation each), and George has extended to the 37-marker test.  I expect his 37-marker results to be identical, or nearly so, to Robert P.’s.

Second, Charles Allen Bland’s results are back and his first 25 perfectly matched the Group A Bland Modal Haplotype, but he shows 3 mutations in the last group of 12 markers.  Charles A. is a proven descendant from William through son, Robert Bland (1708-1760) of Prince William & Loudon Cos., VA, his grandson Robert Bland (c1732-1787) of Edgefield Co., SC., and great grandson, Peyton Bland (b. 1780 VA or SC d.1815 St. Martin's Parish, LA).  I was disappointed to see that Charles A. did not show that mutation at DSY#385b that my brother, Donald, and two cousins, James Melton and David Timothy, did.  However, his results at Marker #CDYb (37 repeats) could prove to be significant.  The only others in the Northern VA group who show a 37 there are Charles L., my brother, Donald, and Jeannette Crerar’s uncle (Kit #22566).  Three out of four of them are probable descendants of the two Roberts (1708 and1732).  It’s too early to say, but could this be a "defining allele" (repeat) for Robert?

Not everyone descends from William Bland, of course, and we have results from two who do not.  First is Billy Dan Bland whose most distant ancestor is George Bland (b. 1730 d. between 1796-1800) of Pitt Co., NC.  George’s son, John (b. 1761), and grandson, Barnes (1805-1887), remained in Pitt Co. all their lives.  At some point George’s great-grandson, William Augustus (Gus) Bland, removed to Brunswick Co., NC where he was married in 1855.  His descendants remained there at least until the mid-20th century.  I wish I could have found a match for Bill’s DNA, but for now he must be classified as “unconnected.”

Second is Forrest Bland whose first 25 markers show 2 mismatches with Clayton Bland.  Forrest and Clayton expected a match, as they are third cousins, and the 2-marker mismatch is not enough to impact this kinship.  Their common ancestor is Williamson Bland (b. 1782 Mecklenburg Co., VA d. 1850 Wilson Co., TN).  Clayton comes down from Williamson’s son, Marion Lafayette Bland, who d. 1910 in Coryell Co., TX.  Forrest descends from a second son, John Williamson Petross Bland who d. 1903 LaRue, AR.  These two gentlemen now make up our sixth group, Group F, a Mecklenburg Co., VA Group.

We now have all 37 markers for Robert E. Bland.  (See discussion last month.)  He also hit the Bland Modal Haplotype on the nose.  And, although he’s an exact 37-marker match with William Bland descendants, Robert Purdy, Johnnie Ralph, and Aubrey, Robert does not claim to be a direct descendant of William.  Instead, REB comes down from William’s brother, James (b. 1687).  These results suggest that both brothers have the same haplotype signature.  This would mean that they probably retained the haplotype of their father, James Bland, The Immigrant, (b. 1661 in England; d. 1709 Stafford Co., VA).

November, 2006

This month I attended Family Tree DNA’s 3rd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy.  I think I learned a few things, even though some of the scientific talks were WAY over my head!  FTDNA made one really nice announcement.  They declared that if they could not predict a participant’s Haplogroup with 100% confidence, they would run the DNA sample through their Back Bone SNP test for free.  This is a$65 value.  Very nice, indeed!  (See paragraph about Cousin Neil Bland in March, 2006.)  Note:  the $79 test he took resulted in a more precise subclade reading.

Here is what they’re saying: 

“In order to provide our customers with the highest level of haplogroup confidence, Family Tree DNA is now providing a SNP Assurance Program.  In this program, if we cannot predict a person’s Y-DNA haplogroup with sufficient confidence that they can join the National Geographic’s Genographic Project, we will automatically perform a Backbone SNP test in order to identify the haplogroup assignment.  The following depth of haplogroup prediction or confirmation will be guaranteed for all new Y-DNA tests beginning with batch 173: A, B, C, D, E, E3a, E3b, F, G, H, I, J, K, K2, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, R1a, R1b, R2  When a haplogroup is in doubt the Backbone SNP test will be ordered automatically.”

There will be no more “-“ designations for the Haplogroups.  Now, just to let you know, how important I am, I requested that they do tests for our 3 undesignated participants (even though they were tested before batch 173), and they agreed to do so!  (Only kidding, they’re doing it because it’s a really wonderful company, and they bend over backwards for their customers!)  Here is the email I got on this subject:  “Edward Dewey definitely qualifies because we were not able to predict his haplogroup well enough to even allow him to transfer to the Genographic project.  The other two are more clearly I1a, and normally would not qualify for the free backbone, but I will go ahead and squeak them by since they do each match with a person who is a G2 at the two-step level.”  So, we should have everyone’s haplogroup assignment all neatly labeled in a month or two.

 
Genographic Proj.
Genealogy Review
Genetic Research
Terese  Bueker
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