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J-Z35794 - Montgomery Founder

'Montgomery of Scotland' Founder Project for Haplogroup J-Z35794
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The Gardien, Volume 40 Number 2, Spring 2021, p 12-15, Clan Montgomery Society International
Big Y DNA testing results for Montgomery – many separate Lineages and one Family name

Big Y testing shows that there are at least seven distinct lineages among the men with the Montgomery surname who have now taken the Y-500 or Y-700 DNA test. Big Y testing bridges the gap between deep ancestry (thousands of years ago) and modern ancestry (since the inheritance of surnames and record keeping). As more men take the Big Y, combined with an autosomal DNA test to validate their close lineage, we get a better understanding how modern Montgomery men relate to Montgomery men of the past. 

J-Haplogroup Line: J-Z35794 Clade
The J-Z35794 mutation or SNP is common to 39 men who have taken the Big Y test and 35 of these men have the surname Montgomery.  SNP dating tools suggest this mutation was created by a man who lived in 1410, give or take 100 years (Note 1). Many of the J-Z35794 men have documented their paternal lineage to an early Montgomery immigrant to America. Others were born in Ireland and others to an immigrant from Ireland to Australia. A few do not carry the Montgomery surname and are hoping to find how they fit into the lineage. Of the 35 Montgomery-surnamed men tested, only two are not yet in a branch, meaning that no close matches have yet taken the Big Y test. It is expected that they will create two other branches in the clade which can be dated more closely to the present. Ancient DNA and genetic analyses show J-Z35794’s genetic path starts with the earliest man in Africa about 240,000 years ago and comes through the Mid-East to Northern Europe. From this ancestor who lived about 1410, six branches of Montgomery men are now known. Sub-branches of more closely related men bring the total so far to 18 groups. Each branch is defined by mutations or SNPs created by descendants of the Founder. 

The six branches are identified in the Family Tree DNA Montgomery Surname Project: J-BY140494, J-Y39343, J-FT167382, J-FT18892, J-FT35888 and J-FT345305. Genealogical data submitted by project members indicate the following:

The J-BY140494 branch is shared by a descendant of Thomas Montgomery b 1795 in Northern Ireland and immigrant William Montgomery b 1738 in Pennsylvania. 

The J-Y39343 branch includes a descendant of immigrant Alexander Montgomery b 1728 of Monaghan who traces to John Montgomery who died in County Donegal in 1679; a descendant of Robert Montgomery b 1765 in Fermanagh; descendants of William Montgomery b 1813 in Pennsylvania (Note 2) and a descendant of William Montgomery b 1754 in South Carolina, thought to be the grandson of Hugh of Tyrone Ireland (Note 3). There are eight men in this branch and two sub branches within it. I am working with this group of men to see if their autosomal DNA holds clues as to their common ancestor. Luckily, all seven with the Montgomery surname have taken an autosomal DNA test as well as the Big Y.

The J-FT18892 branch includes descendants of the well-documented immigrants John Montgomery b 1710 and his wife Esther Houston (Note 4), and John Montgomery b 1719 and his wife Margaret Montgomery. There are 10 men in this branch and 3 sub branches within it. The John Montgomery-Esther Houston sub branch is J-FT168713 and dates to the mid-17th Century.

The J-FT167382 branch is particularly important since it links descendants on both sides of the Atlantic to a common Montgomery ancestor, yet to be identified using conventional genealogy. The descendant in Ireland has well-documented lineage to the son, Nicholas, of Hugh (1651-1722) and Catherine (Dunbar) Montgomery of Derrybrusk, County Fermanagh whose grandfather emigrated from Scotland in the early 1600s (Note 5). Among the three Americans in this group is a descendant of the immigrant Robert Montgomery b around 1700 who settled in 1729 in Boothbay, Maine. 

The J-FT35888 branch includes a descendant of the immigrants William Montgomery b 1675 and his son James b 1702 of Aghadowey, County Londonderry who settled in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, in 1724 (Note 6), and a descendant of Thomas Montgomery b 1741, whose father was a William Montgomery of County Fermanagh. There are seven men in this branch and two sub branches within it.

The J-FT345305 branch includes a descendant of William Montgomery b 1780 in Antrim whose son John Warwick Montgomery immigrated to New York (Note 7), and a descendant of David Williams Montgomery b 1834 in South Carolina. There are two men in this branch and one in a sub branch.

As more Haplogroup J men from Ireland, America, England, and Australia whose relationship is already known (say father and son and 1st or 2nd cousins) are tested we can get closer to identifying the man who created the mutation and fathered the J-Z35794 Clade.  

R and I Haplogroup Clades Are Ancient Relations
The other Big Y lines of Montgomery men are four separate R Haplogroup lines and two separate I Haplogroup Clades. The closest common ancestor shared by the three Haplogroups (J, R and I) is the ancestor who created mutation IJK-L15 that took place 49,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent area later called Mesopotamia. 

R-Haplogroup Clades 
These four R Haplogroup Clades share a common ancestor who created the mutation R-L151 about 3000 years ago.

The first R-FGC53827 Montgomery line includes a descendant of Humphrey Montgomery b 1710 in Ireland who died in Pennsylvania, a descendant of George Montgomery b 1854 in England, and a descendant of John Montgomery b 1843 in Tyrone Ireland who died in Iowa. They probably share a common ancestor from the 17th Century.

The R-FT38883 Montgomery Line includes two descendants of William Montgomery born in Virginia or Maryland in 1754 who died in 1829; a descendant of Peter Montgomery b 1834 in Tennessee, and a descendant of Hugh Montgomery 1739-1793. They probably share a common ancestor from the 17th Century.

The third line is R-BY210565 shared by two descendants of William Montgomery b 1813 in North Carolina who died before1880 in Putnam County, Tennessee. This haplogroup has roots in Northern Ireland that predate surnames.

The fourth line is R-BY71305 carried by a descendant of the immigrant Peter Montgomery from France who died in Charles County, MD in 1754.

I-Haplogroup Clades
The final two lineages are the I-BY169034 and I-A13184 Montgomery groups. These are distinctly different from each other. They both also come out of Africa and share the IJK-L15 mutation in the Fertile Crescent during the Paleolithic era 49,000 years ago with the R and J Montgomery lines. Their common ancestor is the man with the I-M170 mutation 43,000 years ago just north of Greece.

The I-BY169034 Montgomery Line shares a common ancestor from the early 15th Century. It has strong evidence for centuries in south central Scotland (See Note 1). The line includes a descendant of James Montgomery (1797-1869) and a descendant of John Yancey Montgomery b 1811 in West Virginia (Note 8). 

The I-A13184 Montgomery line dates from 1500 to the present with a younger branch (I-FT259743) dated around 1600. Montgomery men with this mutation include descendants of immigrant Alexander Montgomery Sr. (1705-1788) who died in Virginia (Note 9) and a descendant of immigrant Isaac Montgomery of County Down who married in Harford MD in 1798.

Many Lines – One shared surname
Big Y DNA testing has revealed many Montgomery lines with many stories. Conventional genealogy and DNA testing together are bringing us all closer to understanding our roots and common heritage. The Montgomery surname may be based on inheritance from a Montgomery father, a Montgomery mother, an adoption, or a clan connection. DNA testing has shown that misattributed parentage occurs much more frequently than we think. Several of the men in these 7 Montgomery surname lines carry other surnames.  As more men take the Y-700 test and validate their paper trail trees through autosomal DNA we will come closer to discovering how we are connected. 

I know of many Montgomery men awaiting their Y-700 test results. Some of these results I hope will help me determine my female Montgomery ancestor’s line – Agnes Montgomery b 1755 who married Hugh Coffey in South Carolina.  Through autosomal DNA analysis of 34 of her descendants I suspect she shares a common ancestor with the J-FT345305 Montgomery descended from David Williams Montgomery of South Carolina, but further autosomal analysis will tell the story. I’m curious whether the descendants of Hugh Montgomery b 1727 of Lancaster County, SC will share the same branch, belong to another branch, or define a new branch within the J Haplogroup Line. 

By the time this is published, the story may have changed and more Montgomery branches have been added to the world tree, bringing us closer to understanding how we are all connected. If you are a Montgomery man and would like to see which line and branch is yours, you may want to order your Big-Y test. See www.familytreedna.com. To validate your paper tree be sure to also use autosomal DNA which shows matches and DNA segments attributable to your closest 7 or so generations of ancestors.

Note 1: SNP dates are derived from www.YFull.com and tools using YFull.com data at www.scaledinnovation.com. The www.ydnagroupingapp.com was used for grouping. Some information about ancestors is taken from the public Montgomery Surname DNA project at FTDNA.
Note 2: CMSI Member Randy Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-12112
Note 3: Thomas Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-6018
Note 4: CMSI Member John Russell Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-11913
Note 5: see www.wikitree.com/wiki/Archdale-42
Note 6: CMSI Member Bill Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-2681
Note 7: CMSI Member John Warwick Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-12595
Note8: CMSI Member Manuel Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-2272
Note 9: CMSI Member Kenneth W Montgomery at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Montgomery-4880

This information was prepared for publication 15 Mar 2021. Terri Stern is a Lifetime member of Clan Montgomery Society International whose tree is at www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lewis-20217. Terri is a professional genetic genealogist with several Montgomery clients.  She is a former administrator of the Montgomery Surname DNA Project at FTDNA and co-administers the Montgomery Surname DNA Project at GEDmatch.

This article has been peer-reviewed and permission granted in writing from all named persons in the article. No privacy concerns or policies have been violated in this article.