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Van Norman

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The results are in!

We now believe we have Y-DNA representation for early Van Norman (etc.) lines of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

There are matches between nine of our early New York lines and in two groups of our early Pennsylvania lines.

[Note: not all kits are shown on our Public Results page as some members have opted out.]

- New York (The Van Aarnhem line)

Two sets of results are an identical match and those results are a close match to the other sets. This indicates that all of these lines have a common ancestor, likely within a datable period of time. We know that the two matching lines [kits 121451 & 169963] are third cousins, and while their relationship to a third sample [kit 144050] is currently unknown, we know these lines have no connection after 1794 at a minimum and probably don't have a common ancestor born any later than the 1740's.

Two sets of results [kits 212123 & 216953] are descendants of Jan Janse Van Aarnhem & Hester Fonda through their son Isaac Jansz Van Aarnhem and are thought to be 6th cousins.

Two sets of results [kits 642767 & 497213] are descendants of the same couple via their son Abraham.

I feel that there is now sufficient data to predict the majority of the markers for Jan Janse Van Aarnhem (c1671 – c1708), the husband of Hester Fonda. Using the two separate lines of descent that have now been established via his sons Abraham and Isaac Jansz, combined with the “brick wall” lines, they give us [almost] enough information to work with. The 37 markers for Jan Janse, with the one noted exception, are likely as follows:


DYS393  13       DYS390   26         DYS19     15

DYS391  10       DYS385* 11-14      DYS426  12

DYS388  12       DYS439*10           DYS439i  14

DYS392  11       DYS389ii 31          DYS458*  15

DYS459  9-10    DYS455  11         DYS454    11

DYS447  24       DYS437   14         DYS448    20

DYS449*33       DYS464*  12-15-15-16

DYS460  [11 or 12??]

Y-GATA-H4 10    YCAII      19-23     DYS456* 15      

DYS607  16       DYS576*  17         YS570*   19     

CDY*       36-40  DYS442    12       DYS438   11


(An *indicates that these markers mutate more frequently than the others.)


               The one exception, marker DYS460, while one of only two possibilities, becomes crucial in helping to determine the ancestry of the “brick wall” participants. Our confirmed descendants of Jan Janse and Hester’s son Abraham Van Aarnhem have the marker 12, while those of son Isaac Jansz have the marker 11 in their results.

If the original marker was 12, then all five participants with 11 as their result are likely descendants of Isaac Jansz, even though only two of them have documentation to prove it.

If the original marker was 11, then all four participants with a 12 as their result are likely descendants of Abraham, even though only two of them have documentation to prove it.

It is mutations like these that might eventually help us determine which line a particular Van Norman ancestor might connect to, when we are trying to knock down a brick wall in our research, once we have a larger database of results to draw from. (This is assuming that the mutation took place a few generations back, and is not a recent occurrence.)

As you can see, locating a descendant or two to participate from Jan Janse’s son Jan Dirk is vital to solving this quandary we find ourselves in. Matching the results from all three lines “two out of three” should point out which number is correct, thus giving us a starting point to work from. Then everyone can see exactly how many mutations have occurred in their own results throughout the years.

Please Note: The above is based on the assumption that these participants are all descendants of Jan Janse Van Aarnhem and Hester Fonda. While no current “Van Aarnhem” (etc.) named male descendants of his brothers are known to exist, it is a possibility that cannot be totally ignored. Also, identical but independent mutations can occur on the same marker, although I don’t think they have had any effect on our results at this time.

- Pennsylvania (The Van Naamen line)

Two sets of results match 36 out of 37 numbers, indicating a common ancestor, while the two identical sets are known to be distant cousins. We believe that these three represent descendants of two sons (Isaac C. & Benjamin) of Joseph Van Norman & Elizabeth Wybern born in the 1760's - 1770's in Lower Smithfield, Pennsylvania. Again, there is one mutation between the lines of the two brothers, which may prove helpful in the future.

A second pair of matching early Pennsylvania Ancestry is presenting more questions than answers. Thought to be descendants of Isaac Van Naaman (& Mary Williams), it was anticipated that they would be a close match to the descendants of Joseph Van Norman & Elizabeth Wybern, but that was not the case. Additional testing of other descendants of Isaac is required to confirm their results.

- New Jersey

With only two participants with early New Jersey ancestry in our project, we are unable to make any determination at this time. The DNA samples do not match although it was predicted that they would. Their Van Norman spelling might be a variation on the Van Immen or Vanaman (etc.) family names, but no people with those variations have participated in the project yet.

There are five other sets of tests that do not match any groups or each other. This indicates that we have ten different ancestors represented in the results. Because we have so few results at the moment, there are several interpretations at this time.

The first possibility is that we descend from more than one Van Norman (etc.) ancestor, and they were not originally related. This is plausible because one of the origins of the name Van Arnhem indicate that the original ancestor came “from” (or “Van”) the Town of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Naturally there was likely more than one person from that town who came to North America in the earlier years who could have adopted this phrase as a surname. Varied pronunciations of other early surnames such as Van Immen and Van Naamen etc. also may have led to the adaptation of the Van Norman spelling.

Another possibility is that two or more of the lines trace back to an original VanNorman (etc.) immigrant, and the other lines are the result of one of the anomalies that sometimes occur  -- Adoption, Illegitimacy, Infidelity, etc. As additional participant's results are added to our database, we will be able to get a better idea of what situations we are dealing with.

However, we can now state with confidence that the Smithfield, Pennsylvania Van Normans are descendants of a different line than the Van Aarnhem families of Albany, New York, and quite probably the early New Jersey crowd belong to a third progenitor.

As we stated at the start of this project, the rewards are not going to come overnight, but will benefit researchers of the Van Norman surname over the long haul.


26 November 2017