Noel & Newfoundland DNA Projects

December DNA Sale at FTDNA:

FTDNA promotion

Just a note here:

If you are interested in the medical aspects of your DNA, FTDNA is not the best road. 23andMe DNA specializes in this. That said you are not completely out of the game with FTDNA. For $5 Promothease will analyze your DNA results from FTDNA and provide the Medical indications they can deduce from them in a report. If you are mildly interested or curious I think it is worthwhile. The information is broad and somewhat vague but interesting nevertheless.

More info here:

New YDNA Results 67 Markers (June 2014)

After an exact match with me on 12 markers, John Philip Newell, a descendant of the Bareneed Newells, has taken his Y-DNA results to 67 markers. This allowed for a comparison with my 37 markers. The result was a match. We have 4 differences with 37 markers. This is considered a match though not a strong one. Two of our differences appear on the CDY markers. David Pike informed us that these markers mutate relatively rapidly so he generally does not rely on them anyway. So at 37 we were a match but not a strong one.

At 67 markers the results were more confusing. We matched 61 of 67 markers but one of the markers was different by 3. The Family Finder criteria says this does not match. Other statistical studies find that 61 of 67 markers is enough to confirm a match. The other confusing thing is that John’s reading on the problem marker is a real outlier. This marker has a very slow rate of mutation yet his result would be the most extreme value in our haplogroup matched by only 1 in 1420 project participants.

If two men share a surname (early Carbonear and Harbour Grace records show Noel as Newell), how should the genetic distance at 67 Y-Chromosome STR markers be interpreted?

5 or 6 Related A 61/67 or 62/67 match between two men who share the same surname (or a variant) means that they may share a common ancestor within the genealogical time frame. The common ancestor is probably not recent, but may still be within the range of most well-established surname lineages in Western EuropeIt is most likely that they matched 24/25, 36/37 or 37/37 on previous Y-DNA tests. Mismatches are within DYS458, DYS459, DYS449, DYS464, DYS576, DYS570, and CDY.

As expected in this study 2 of our different markers were CDY.

Our total genetic distance is 8 though, since we have a distance of 3 on the DYS 490 marker. A difference of 8 is classified as possibly related.

So to summarize the conflicting studies:

1) the difference of 8 would classify us as only possibly but unlikely related

(1% of the population would have this 490 mutation after 1000 years and we show 3 mutations)

2) a 61 of 67 match has a 99% chance of a common ancestor (looks about 50% at 14 generations)

Genealogical times are 1 to 15 generations.

Most matches at the genealogical relationship level are related as 10th or more recent cousins, and over half will be 6th or more recent cousins. This is well within the range of traditional genealogy. (John and I are looking past 7)

Mutation Rates:

From the 37 marker matching:

Generation # and probability of common ancestor with John Philip Newell.

9     30.66%  Clement Noel (Newell) of Carbonear born ca 1720?
10     38.14%
11     45.58%
12     52.74%
13     59.45%
14     65.58%
15     71.07%
16     75.91%
17     80.11%
18     83.71%
19     86.75%
20     89.29%
21     91.40%
22     93.13%
23     94.54%
24     95.69%

The Family Finder DNA test was highly successful at tie-ing in the Carbonear and Harbour Grace Noels. I am not sure that Trinity Bay and Pouch Cove  Newell descendants have participated yet. No YDNA results for them either it seems. Likewise I have not seen any clear connections for the descendants of the William, Joseph and Jonathan Noel group of Harbour Grace. One of my closest relatives on Family Finder has a connection to Joseph Noel however there appear to be multiple connections which cloud the match. I have recently been questioning some of the assumptions concerning this line.

Newfoundland Family Finder Project

This project is for people who have ancestry from Newfoundland and Labrador and who have taken (or plan to take) Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test. Some Noel data has already been collected. From time to time there are special prices on the testing. This study is probably more significant if my test represents the Newfoundland Noels adequately in Dominic’s study below.

On the Family Finder – David, Eric and Austin were able to link up maternal Harbour Grace Noel ancestors.

With increasing participation and the known link between Carbonear and Harbour Grace it was easy to spot apparent family connections.

I hope it makes it easier for others in the future.

Getting A DNA test

Family Tree DNA periodically has discounts. If you think it may be of interest to you let me know and I will notify you when a promotion is happening (or get on their email list yourself)

Competition in the industry has brought the Family Finder test down to a reasonable $99. I do not think I have seen it cheaper. Promotions 89$.

an example of the promotions available

DNA Test Promotion Example

The Noel Surname DNA Project

An 12 marker YDNA test is now very reasonable at $59 before reductions.

Dominic Noel is hoping to enlist Noel’s of all lines into a DNA project to determine their relationship to each other. The candidates must be males because they carry the XY chromosome pair and it is based on the Y chromosome which is passed from father to son. The ladies who have the XX pair would have to furnish a cheek swab from a brother, Uncle or cousin.

Clement from Harbour Grace   ca 1804

ydna chart


DNA Family Finder Analysis

A good further look at Family Finder numbers:

And from Tim Janzen on the Genealogy-DNA listserv (

Ranges of the length of shared IBD segments based on family relationship:

  • Parent/child: 2851st cousins: 50-141
  • 1st cousins once removed: 36-106 cMs
  • 2nd cousins: 21-64 cMs
  • 2nd cousins once removed: 19-81
  • 3rd cousins: 13-77
  • 3rd cousins once removed: 0-27
  • 4th cousins: 0-22
  • 4th cousins once removed: 0-13
  • 5th cousins: 0-27

Identical by Decent versus Identical by State

11 cM or greater matching segment: >99% IBD, <1% IBS
10 cM matching segment: 99% IBD, 1% IBS
9 cM matching segment: 80% IBD, 20% IBS
8 cM matching segment: 50% IBD, 50% IBS
7 cM matching segment: 30% IBD, 70% IBS
6 cM matching segment: 20% IBD, 80% IBS
5 cM matching segment: 5% IBD, 95% IBS
4 cM matching segment: ca 1% IBD, ca 99% IBS

IBD = Identical By Descent
IBS = Identical By State = by chance

How do these numbers change if I have 10 small segments of various Noel, Neil, Knowles, and Newells lining up. It no longer looks so random. If they all map under a matching large segment of Noel DNA even less random.

“Sticky DNA”

Multiple matches on the same segment can indeed be from a common ancestor, depending on their location and length.  In general, segments smaller than 7 CM (some would argue for 10) have a high probability of being coincidental.  So if your “cousins” match you on a segment at least that large, they are worth exploring. Also, there are some regions that may contain small “sticky” segments that are common to many people with the same deep ancestry.

Deeper Autosomal connections

To my surprise some of my matches to various Knowles, Newhalls, Noels and Neils are not seeming so random. I have a match in Family Finder that ties back to Cornelius Noel of Holland ca 1623 in the YDNA study above. I think I have a number of other matches  to deep relatives – Knowles in Lancashire 1800, Newhall Boston 1674, Noel North Carolina 1780 and Newell Herefordshire 1620 . I was highly sceptical of a connection but the more data I throw in the more it seems there is something going on. I am trying to use these deep connections to identify later family segment DNA contributors to chromosome locations. I think I am making some progress. I just realized though, there may be a double connection that will require a second look. The good news it is possibly pointing to a new surname.

A deeper connection success story to 1604 where documentation was available:

Suggested by David Pike:

The lectures that are available here might be helpful:

So too might be the webinars here:


This is a useful site. If you participate you will be able to see details of near misses on your original database. Unlike FTDNA you can view details of these folks once you identify their kit number.You also will see some additional matches of some people who participated with other companies.


DNAGedcom: NEW Family Finder Segment analyzer tool

I tried a number of times on my older laptop. Finally tried on my 4-year-old’s new machine and it popped up first try. The data is nicely organized and the process was not overly cumbersome.

This tool is vastly more powerful than I first realized.

Basically it combines three files and gives you a nice graphical output. The files are downloaded from Family Finder DNA. That part is great in itself. What I then found is that the files can be modified as you want. You must, however,  strictly follow the formatting of the original files.

I added a folder name on DNAGedcom with the same name as the original downloaded folder but added an “N” at the end. I then extracted all the data that was of interest to me as Noel potential relatives (very open filter here as you want the outliers in the file). Make a column of the names you want to appear by copying the names from the Matches file. Resave all 3 modified files with the N added. They can then be uploaded for a separate run on DNAGedcom.

This was how to extract the data from the 3 separate files:

I then had a chart of all these folks without the distracting data. After I had something I liked, I reran it with a specified criteria that allowed the smaller segments matches to be included. I ended up with some thing I can work with. I was less successful in my other family names where there was not enough data. I also tried a chart of Carbonear, Nfld names and a batch of 4 names that seemed to be linked. I include all the Smiths globally, not just the ones I am focussing in on. The next thing I found is that data from Gedmatch could be adapted. I could include data from Sue Reid who does not match me on Family Finder. Sue did not match a lot of DNA with me so I opened up the filter when I pulled her data to see more possible locations where she might connect with Noels.

I then found on GedMatch there are about 50 people I can include over and above the data I received from Family Finder. I am going to work to include this now. I possibly have a line on the Moore surname which I had not included in my ancestry.

Here is the DNAGedcom where the tool is located.

Some commentary on it

For my quick look at my longest segment the Matrix tool on Family Finder eliminated 2 matches from the above analysis.

A good discussion on segments here:

Newell Surname Project

National Geographic Test $199

does not give adequate info for the YDNA project and not really suitable for genealogy

It is more directed to your much deeper ancestry.