YDNA Roger
DOR-Terrill in the Deep Clades

by Conrad W. Terrill, 28 Apr. 2012

This article has been in the works for well over a year. Originally I had planned to take Tom Roberts's FTDNA deep clade test results and use them to tell the story of Roger1 Terrill's deep ancestry, going far back towards the beginning of humankind. But there is no concensus of opinion among experts as to when and where any of the clades in the human yDNA phylogenetic tree originated. Making sense of what has been published on the subject is next to impossible. So I have decided to split my originally-planned article into two parts. This first part, the easy part, presents and explains the test results, while the second part, yet to be written, will attempt to interpret them. I will try to keep each part updated as more becomes known.

Once you have been yDNA tested by FTDNA you can then be "deep clade" tested. Tom Roberts was the first of our DOR-Terrill YDNA Roger group to do so. Deep clade test results enable us to determine our location (our branch, our haplogroup, our clade) in the "human yDNA phylogenetic tree." This tree starts with "Y chromosome Adam," who lived about 100,000 years ago (give or take 40,000 years), and is the paternal line ancestor of every person on our planet today. The paternal lines of all the other men who were alive when "Y" lived have died out or "daughtered out," probably very long ago. Each branch point in the tree is defined by a SNP (pronounced "snip" and short for single-nucleotide polymorphism)—a mutation in which a single base pair (A-T, C-G, T-A or G-C) is replaced by one of the other three, at some particular location along the 58 million base pair double-helix yDNA molecule. SNPs are different from STRs (short tandem repeats), which characterize our standard yDNA test results. STRs mutate at rates which are measurable, even though they mutate very infrequently, whereas a SNP mutation is usually a once in the history of humankind event. STRs are useful for genetic genealogical purposes, whereas SNPs are useful for genetic anthropological purposes.

The yDNA phylogenetic tree is quite complex, and there are two versions. One is maintained by the Y Chromosome Consortium (this is the FTDNA version), and the other is maintained by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG). The latest draft of the FTDNA tree can be found at ytree.ftdna.com (a broken link by 2021), and the ISOGG tree can be found at www.isogg.org/tree. They are very similar overall, differing mostly in the fine detail at the branch ends. You will probably prefer to see a simplified version, without all the extraneous branches, showing mainly our own path along the tree (R1b1a2a1a1b5b in FTDNA notation, and R1b1a2a1a1b2b2 in ISOGG notation, which is what is shown below):

Click on the diagram to open a full-resolution version in a new window

The main trunk is on the left and the R branch is continued on the right, ending with our present ultimate clade, R-L165. Some parts of the extraneous branches are shown in red. Each branch point along the tree represents a person who lived somewhere on Earth a long time ago, a person who was born with a yDNA SNP mutation.

Tom Roberts, tested in May of 2010, was determined to be R-P312*, where the asterisk indicates that there were subclades of R-P312 known at that time, but Tom did not test positive for any of them. By the time I was tested, in September of 2011, a number of new subclades had been discovered, and I was found to be R-L165. This SNP was actually first discovered in 2007 by Dr. James F. Wilson, of Ethno Ancestry, who called it S68. FTDNA independently discovered it in 2010 and called it L165. Anyone in our group can now be SNP tested for L165 and will test positive, and join the ranks of R-L165. A number of members have done so, including Tom. The long form for our haplogroup is R1b1a2a1a1b5b in FTDNA notation, or R1b1a2a1a1b2b2 in ISOGG notation. Those long forms will change as population geneticists fine-tune the structure of the tree, but we will still be R-L165.

A little ways up from L165 on the chart you can find U106, in red. This haplogroup, R-U106, is that to which belong all descendants of Richmond, William and Timothy Terrell, 17th C immigrants to Virginia Colony, who are believed to be fourth or fifth (in the case of Timothy) generation descendants of a Robert Tyrrold, of West Hagbourne, Berkshire, who died in 1545. Even though we do not appear to be separated very far from them on the tree, our most recent common paternal line ancestor lived many thousands of years ago, very long before the era of surnames.

Upon testing positive for L165 I was almost immediately invited to join the FTDNA R-L165 (S68) Project, just as I was looking to see if there was such a project, intending to start one if there was not. I am now one of the co-administrators. Those of our DOR-Terrill group who have been SNP tested for L165 did so to help out the R-L165 project. The originator of the R-L165 haplogroup, the person who was born with the mutation, is believed to have lived about 3000 to 3500 years ago, at a place not yet known to us. We DOR-Terrills are not the only people who belong to this haplogroup. We are presently one "cluster" of six, and there are outliers indicative of other clusters-to-be. In time there may be many more clusters, but by then there should also be subclades of R-L165 which will divide up the group. It is very likely, I think, that some day in the not too distant future a subclade will be discovered which includes none but DOR-Terrills and our "Terrill" kin.