Cathcart yDNA Study Basics
Why look at genetic background by participating in a yDNA study?
We have all experienced hitting the proverbial brick wall in our genealogical
research. Those of us with the last name "Cathcart/Kathcart/Kithcart" are no exception.
Also, given the nature of Scots-Irish research, only the most lucky of us can
trace back with any degree of certainty into the 18th Century. The
genealogical records are pretty scarce back in Scotland, England, and
especially in Ulster (Northern Ireland).
What if you've only been able to trace back three or four
generations? What to do? There often simply aren't enough records
to fill in the blanks for those ancestors... and the brick wall looms
large and impassable.
Genetic testing gives us another option. Once you find out
which male Cathcart's yDNA most closely match your own, you can concentrate your genealogical research in those families most likely
related to you in a reasonable number of generations.
The Family Tree DNA website is sometimes unintelligible.
Markers, haplo-groups, I
mean, do I really care if my marker number 459b is a 9? And what does
that mean? J
What I'm going to try to do is allow us to see the results of our
tests, and have a look at the genealogy of those most closely related to
us genetically speaking.
What is a yDNA Test or Study
Cathcart originally set up our Cathcart yDNA group with the company Family Tree DNA
(FTDNA) and still serves as the group co-administrator.
Rather than try and explain the process myself, please have a look at
their website, you'll find most of your questions answered (What it is,
how it works, how much it costs, etc.).
A few more points and links:
- None of us have any stock in the company. We support this
program to expand our knowledge about our Cathcart heritage... not
expand our pocketbooks!
- If you need help with the cost, please let me
or the Administrator know, we have collected funds to help defray—or
completely cover—the costs of the test.
- If you would like to help us by making a contribution to our
group, you may do so on the above website.
- Other genetic testing companies
Who have you found so far?
|Unique Haplotypes @ 12-marker level
as of October 31, 2015
Amongst our participants, we have five who
are exact matches at the 67 marker level!
- The number of participants continues to grow.
As of today (10/31/2015) our Cathcart study has...
- 44 total participants
- 9 @ 111-marker level
- 30 @ 67-marker level
- 39 @ 37-marker level
- 4 yDNA subgroups
- 29 participants have shared their
paternal Ancestor information, while 3 have uploaded their
combined GEDCOM databases submitted
(that is, participants' digital ancestor listings/information)
- 3 distinct yDNA predicted haplogroups:
- 3 have been
confirmed by further/more detailed testing of long-lasting
- Most of our participants come from
the main Haplogroups, R and I. FamilyTreeDNA has
recently started defining participants' Haplogroup via SNP
designation. So, where this column used to say
Haplogroup R1b1a2, it will now indicate
- Of this group, two of us (Raymond
and I) have tested/confirmed
- Of the I2 group, two have
Click here for a more detailed discussion
- We've also had 4 mtDNA Haplogroups
identified amongst our 6 members whose mtDNA was tested. 12 of our participants have completed a Family Finder
(autosomal DNA) test.
- At the outset, our Cathcart group has
concentrated on yDNA and therefore on genes passed directly
from father to son through the generations. We do this
for genetic reasons, not because we're "sexist" or a "males
only club!" :-)
- Although mtDNA is passed from a
mother to her son; the son will not, in turn pass this
genetic material on to his son.
- The study should help some
participants and to give more "depth" to our study
yDNA Results Page
- What does it mean to match exactly at the
67-marker test level?
- According to FamilyTreeDNA's website,
matching at this level (with the same or derivative surname:
i.e. Cathcart/Cithcart/Kathcart) indicates that these
gentlemen are "very tightly related." In fact, at this
level, 50% find a common ancestor within three generations;
and that there is a 90% probability that
they share a common ancestor within a "mere" five generations!
Click here for pop-up chart
- Our group also includes several
combinations of exact matches at the 37-, 25-, and
12-marker level. What do these results mean?
- Again, assuming the same/derivative
surname, an exact matches have the following implications:
- at the 37-marker level: a
"very tight relation," a 50% possibility of a common
ancestor within five generations, and a 95% probability
that that ancestor could be found within eight
- at the 25-marker level:
participants are "related," and that they "likely share
a common ancestor within the 'genealogical timeframe.'"
- For more details about how to interpret
yDNA test results, please visit the
FamilyTreeDNA website's FAQs page.
- This is a flexible page -- which should
work in most browsers -- that allows you to select various yDNA
results pages in two separate "frames"
- Information available on this page:
- Main Cathcart Groups
- The "Brick Wall" individuals
where our genealogical research stops
- yDNA results grouping charts (simple
chart showing ancestors back as far as is known via
- Participants' Pedigree Charts (from
external RootsWeb website) if available.
yDNA relationship matrix
- A simple chart showing genetic
distance results amongst the above "Cathcart Groups"
- All these pages are "under construction,"
and I'd love to have your feedback!
- use this "stripped down" version if your
browser doesn't support frames (which are used on the
above-mentioned page, and which may not work in all web
How... rules & explanations
- The pedigree chart is hosted by RootsWeb (a subsidiary of
- Living individuals have all data removed and have the word
"Living" inserted as their first name.
- You may click on any individual name to see a detailed listing
of data I have found.
- Only test numbers, last names, and initials will appear in the list above unless you have
authorized me to include your name on this "public" website.
- The pedigree charts will begin at the father or grandfather of the
test participant if he is no longer living.
- For example, if the test participant's father and grandfather
are still living, the pedigree chart will start with the great
grandfather (assuming he is no longer living).
- Please let me know if there are errors in my data! I'll
correct them as soon as I can.
Ongoing and Future
Cathcart DNA Blog
- Ask questions, make comments, share your
genetic genealogy discoveries
- Use my contact page
or email if you'd rather share in private.
- I have recently added Google map overlays showing which
Cathcarts were where and when to several sections of this website.
- Although I've only added a few locations to
these maps (for South Carolina and
Tennessee), I hope to add more of these geographical listings
over the next several months.
- I've also used Google Maps to identify
various locations in County Antrim, Ireland to help Cathcart
- This is what I was trying to accomplish with my timeline page on this site.
- Now that I've regained my administrative access
to the Cathcart yDNA website, I hope to create an online database to
permit participants to view and sort results.
- SNP Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism (pronounced
"snip") is a long-lasting DNA sequence that is increasingly being used
to track genetic and population changes. In the past, the genetic
genealogical community used a "phylogenetic" or family
tree based naming system to define Haplogroups. Now it is more common
to use the SNP marker designation. However, one drawback of this newer
system is that it's harder to easily recognize subclades (i.e. related Haplogroups that
begin with the same starting sequence of numbers and letters).
is thus replaced by R-M269.
- The included sub clade R1b1a2a1a2 is now
typically defined by the mutation SNP marker R-P312 (also known
- In the chart below, R-M269 (R1b1a2) is
located on the far left, with specific subclades (branches)
spreading to the right. The most common of our participants'
predicted Haplogroup, R-P312 (R1b1a2a1a1b) is highlighted in blue at
the bottom right.
- In the map below, you can see the migration/mutation geographically with notes indicating the timeframe of the mutation(s).
Look for R-M269 just above the Black Sea, and the later R-P312
mutation is just north of the Alps. Note that we are looking at genetic changes from thousands of years ago... not particularly helpful with our genealogical research!
For the participants of Haplogroup I, things get a
bit difficult. There is apparently ongoing debate on just how
to place the two SNP subgroups I-M253 (I1a) and
I-M223 (either I1c or I2*). Here are two charts depicting the
different trees... I'll leave it to the experts to figure out
which one is more correct!:
- By studying past results of specific SNP
markers, FamilyTreeDNA.com can predict the participant's Haplogroup
by studying specific STR (Short Tandem Repeat)
markers. It's not as precise as testing the individual SNPs, but can
give fairly accurate results.
- You can explore your own Haplotree by
clicking on the icon on your main welcome page that
FamilyTreeDNA.com. from this page you can also order
individual SNP tests (currently $39 each).