We recently commissioned an upgrade of all of the results for the distinct group of New Jersey and Pennsylvania lines from 37 markers to 67 markers. The results are now in, and here are our conclusions based on the new information:
1. The closest match is between Joseph (Line 18*) and John (Line 21a). We know the common ancestor cannot be more recent than 7 generations back. There is a 50% chance he was 8 generations back, and 75% at 10 generations. So there is a 50% chance that Joseph and John were 1st cousins or closer, and a 75% chance that they were 3rd cousins or closer.
2. The McCreerys are still in the game. The McCreery DNA is closer to Joseph's line than David's line (Line 21b) is to Joseph's. Statistically, the common ancestor of Joseph and the McCreerys is only one generation back of the common ancestor of Joseph and John.
3. We still can't say at this time that any two of these lines have a common ancestor more recent than any other of them. We can say that there seem to be more differences between the McCreerys and the other lines, which is unsurprising given the different surname. But Joseph and John share one mutation, while Robert (Line 19), John and David seem to share another. So there must have been at least one situation where separate lines underwent the same mutation.
3a. Nevertheless, if we hypothesize that the split with the McCreery line was earlier than the splits between the NJ/PA Cree lines, and that the match between Joseph and McCreery at CDYb is a coincidence because both mutated to that result, then the common mutation at DYS460 in the Joseph and John lines suggests that Joseph and John have a common ancestor who is not an ancestor of any of the other lines.
4. Only the McCreery DNA has other non-Cree families which are close enough matches to be worth investigating. For David and John's lines, there are no 67 marker matches outside of our project. Joseph's line has a few close matches, but only two are as close as the Cree project matches. The McCreery DNA has several matches which are likely to have been more closely related than some of the Crees (although the closest match is Joseph's DNA). We suspect that means that the McCreery DNA most resembles the DNA of the earliest common ancestor (who would have been a closer match to other families) and that the other lines mutated away from that profile.
We do not believe further test upgrades would yield any more information at this time. The best way to make more progress here (aside from traditional genealogical research)
would be to have distant cousins within known lines tested so we could start to determine the age of some of these mutations. If a mutation is present in more than one descendant of a common ancestor, it is likely that their ancestor also had that mutation.
DISTINCT CREE FAMILIES ARE EMERGING Most of the Crees tested to date fall into two groups. One has roots in Perthshire, Scotland and includes descendants of Lines 10b, 10c, 14 and 17.* The other includes various Cree lines from Pennsylvania and New Jersey (Lines 18, 19, 21a and 21b) but to date does not include any Cree families from outside the United States. The other lines tested to date have no matches with other Cree lines.
PERTHSHIRE DNA The Y-DNA of at least one branch of the Scottish Cree family has been identified. Thomas Cree of Aberdalgie, Perthshire (born c. 1665, Line 10b), Robert Cree of Newtownards and Ballycastle, both in co. Down, Northern Ireland (born c. 1693, Line 17), Thomas Cree of Kingskettle, Fife (born c. 1665, Line 10c) and William Cree of Sprotbrough, Yorkshire (born c. 1713, Line 14) were all closely related. According to estimates provided by FamilyTreeDNA, there is a 50% chance that Thomas of Aberdalgie and Robert were first cousins or more closely related, a 65% chance that they were second cousins or closer and a 76% chance that they were third cousins or closer. These Perthshire Crees are not meaningfully related to the American Cree families tested to date. Their 12-marker results match the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype, which the most common DNA signature in Western Europe, but their 37-marker results are quite unique, so when other close matches are found, they will most likely descend from the same Perthshire Cree family. The connection between Robert Cree and the Perthshire families was not unexpected, but it is very helpful to have proof of that link.
NEW JERSEY / PENNSYLVANIA CONNECTIONS JOSEPH, DAVID, JOHN AND ROBERT CREE WERE CLOSELY RELATED! Joseph Cree of New Jersey (born c. 1760, Line 18), David Cree of Pennsylvania (born c. 1750, Line 21b), John Cree of Pennsylvania (born 1746, Line 21a) and Robert Cree, Sr. of Pennsylvania (born c. 1729, Line 19) all share a common ancestor. The tested sections of Y-DNA from the Joseph and John families are a near-perfect 36/37 match. This indicates that Joseph and John were most likely very closely related. Statistically, there is only about a 5% chance that their most recent common ancestor is more than 11 generations back from their descendants alive today. We know there is no common ancestor within the last 7 generations, so it is very likely that John and Joseph were siblings, 1st or second cousins or some other close relationship (e.g., uncle / nephew). The line of David Cree is nearly as well matched, sharing 34 out of 37 markers with the line of John and 33 out of 37 with Joseph's line. This indicates a strong probability (75%) that the common Cree ancestor between the David line and the other two lived within the past 12 generations. David and John are believed to have been brothers. The test result means that either David and John were less closely related than John and Joseph, or a mutation occurred in David's line somewhere between the common ancestor and our test subject. We hope to locate and test a descendant of another of David's children. If he is a closer match with the descendants of John and Joseph, we know the mutation is of more recent vintage.
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? There has been no match to date between any of the US Cree families and any of the Cree families from Scotland, England or Ireland. The Pennsylvania and New Jersey families discussed above fall into Haplotype R1b1a2, which points to a western European origin. These families have an unusual 11,12 at marker DYS 385a/b. (Most men in haplogroup R1b have an 11,14 or 11,13 at that marker.) This rare marker should make it easier to identify related individuals as the project expands.
POSSIBLE MCCREERY CONNECTION In an interesting turn of events, the results of a descendant of a McCreery family from Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland (#130457 in the chart on the Y-DNA Results tab) are startlingly close to those of descendants of the US Cree lines discussed above. These results suggest a connection between the Cree and McCreery families, although the nature of that connection is presently unknown.
WILLIAM AND ROBERT CREE OF PENNSYLVANIA Initial results suggest that the families of William and Robert Cree of Pennsylvania, USA (Lines 20a and 20b) are not related to the other families tested thus far, including John, David and Robert Sr. of Pennsylvania. This is based on the results of a descendant of William Cree (Line 20b, #N27854). More participants are needed to confirm this result.
NICHOLAS CREE OF TOPSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS The same is true of the family of Nicholas Cree of Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA (Line 6). The one descendant of his tested to date (#175159) does not match any of the other Crees. More participants are needed from this family before any conclusions can be drawn.
CREES FROM BOLSOVER, DERBYSHIRE, ENGLAND Two test subjects believed to descend from this family (Line 1) have been tested to date. Their Y-DNA should be a close match, but it is not, indicating that there is a non-paternity event (such as an adoption or illegitimacy) in one of their lines. Neither of their results match any of the other Cree lines tested to date. More participants must be tested to determine which of their results are reflective of this family’s ancestral Y-DNA.
HUGUENOT CREES Unsurprisingly, the results of a descendant of Pierre Jacob Carré of Canterbury, Kent (Line 2), a Huguenot, do not match any of the other Cree lines tested to date. They do not closely match any other families in the Family Tree DNA database either, so this family’s Y-DNA may be unique.
*The numbering of lines of the Cree family ("Line X") refers to the system created by Cree researcher Mike Spathaky and listed on his Cree genealogy website at http://cree.name/genealogies/charts.htm.