Our project gained ten participants in 2018, raising our total membership to 91.
The table below displays how our participants, listed in the rows by surname, belong to the genetic groups that we’ve defined - along the top. It shows that 53 of us spell our name Acree, that 19 (totaled within the far-right column) have variants of the Acree surname, and that another 19 have other, entirely different surnames. These others have joined our project because their test results associate them with particular genetic groups, indicating that they share ancestors who lived within the past few hundred years, some of whom we've been able to identify.
|Genetic Groups||VA Acree||MD Acree||NJ Akers||VA Acra||Jasper||Singles||Totals|
Many thanks to the participants who contributed a total of $300 to our Project this year to encourage testing.
Last year's report (available on our "Project History" webpage) discussed the two kinds of Y-DNA tests: (1) Y-STR marker tests, which most of us have taken, and (2) the newer Y-SNP mutation tests, which over half of us have taken – either additionally or instead. I call Y-SNP testing “advanced” because it’s proving to be far more definitive for our project - replacing less revealing Y-STR testing for most of our Y-DNA comparisons, with the ability to provide greater insight into our modern relationships, as well as our distant ancestral origins.
The past report described how we've achieved the exceptional ability, among projects such as ours, to allow new participants to verify if they descend from one of our two primary progenitors, as either "Virginia Acrees" or "Maryland Acrees," by taking simple, distinguishing Y-SNP tests that cost only $20 each. We've taken this capability a step further by enabling Acree men to test privately if they prefer.
Our Project has progressed to the point that we now have more to gain, with respect to the definition of our origins and our detailed relationships to one another, through advanced Y-SNP testing of our current participants than we have to gain through the recruitment of additional participants. We will, of course, always warmly welcome new participants, but, in most cases, they will turn out to be the primary beneficiaries of their testing, rather than the Project itself. With the availability of inexpensive and private testing and the accumulation of an extensive Acree/variant data base with few holes in it, my own role has evolved from actively seeking newcomers to convincing current participants to test more thoroughly for in-depth analysis that will benefit us generally.
This year, our most significant achievement is that we're on the verge of identifying a Y-SNP that will distinguish descendants of William Akers of New Jersey, the 17th-century progenitor of the "New Jersey Akers," who populate our third genetic group shown in the table above. William Akers’ descendants will thereby acquire the inexpensive testing option currently available to the Virginia and Maryland groups. Progress here has been achieved also as a result of the advent of the “Big-Y” - the most thorough Y-SNP test offered by FTDNA. Seventeen of our participants have taken it to date. It’s on sale this month for those who would like to help our project discern family branches through new-found Y-SNPs, while usually discovering distinct 20th-century “family” Y-SNP mutations that exist only among their own close relatives.
We've found that a prominent Oldaker family in the US descends from the above William Akers of New Jersey.
Last year, we linked the Maryland Acrees genetically, though not yet genealogically, through an Akers progenitor to an earlier forefather having the Akridge surname. The genetic case for that earlier surname lineage has been strengthened through further comparative tests.
We solved a longstanding genetic/genealogical mystery when we discovered that a sperm donor must have been involved!
We've come close to identifying the American soldier (one of two possible suspects) who, while serving in the Pacific theater during World War II, became the biological grandfather of the daughter of a Pacific-island immigrant, who wondered why she encountered so many Acrees among her autosomal DNA matches.
It wasn't our doing, but it's worth noting here that the ancient remains of an honored warrior wearing a golden pendant of Roman origin, discovered in 2005 within an elaborate personal grave in northeastern Slovakia, were determined this year, following a decade of archaeological and genetic analysis, to be those of a Germanic tribal chieftain who died in his early twenties about 400 AD and descended from the haplogroup subclade with which the Virginia Acrees are associated. It's a stretch, but we can call him "family."
Speaking of family, our “Acree Family History, Genealogy & DNA Project” group on Facebook now has 773 members. It’s been a welcome forum for many, as well as a source of recruitment for our Project. I encourage those of you who use Facebook but haven’t yet joined our group to do so and, if you’re inclined, to enter into the on-going family discussion there.