Estes Family Surname Project - News

October 4, 2009

When the Estes DNA project was originally founded several years ago, we hoped to do two things.

First, we wanted to sort through the various families, see if all the Estes old-timers matched and were from the same Estes family in Kent, and try to reassemble our family using DNA. We’ve been doing that test by test, person by person, for over 7 years now.

Second, we wanted to prove or disprove the oral history that the Estes family descends from the d’Este family in Italy. We have been unable to do that because we have been unable to find any male descendants of that family to test, or any males with a d’Este surname for that matter.

In the mean time, some new technology and scientific research has come to fruition which is helping us with our second goal. Now before everyone gets all excited…..we don’t have a positive, absolute answer, yet, BUT, we have clues and hints.

I had to decide if I should write this when we have the answer, or whether I should allow you to share my torture as we wait in suspense for more information....and I decided that I need company… come along for the ride.

A few weeks ago on the Estes group list, I asked for a volunteer to take a special test called a “Deep Clade” test. If you recall, I said that only one person per group, meaning one person of any group that shares a common ancestor, needed to take the test and it was good for all of us who descend from that ancestor. Well, a big thank you to Les Sutton who paid for his grandson’s Deep Clade test so we can all benefit from the information. (Everyone take a minute to say a silent thank you and clap for Les now!!!!)

To remind folks, this is for the Estes line that descends from Kent, England. We do have other Estes lines who have tested, and those folks will have to take their own “deep clade” test within their group to identify their extended haplogroup.

Haplogroup, how many of you remember what that means???? Your haplogroup is your ancient ancestry. Ancient ancestry???? Who wants to talk about that? Well, we all do. Ancient isn’t so ancient anymore, kind of like getting old yourself.

The new science and technology has allowed us to refine the meaning of the word ancient, in our case, to mean three to four thousand years. The new Deep Clade test showed a particular mutation that occurred during that timeframe, and we believe that it occurred in Europe, perhaps along the border in the mountains between Germany and France. Now you notice as I get more specific in my descriptions, you start seeing weasel-words like ‘perhaps” and “believe”. That’s because this is such new technology. This particular mutation was only discovered a few months ago and we’ve already had enough people test to establish some geographic patterns.

The first thing that jumps out at everyone is that the British Isles is overrun with these. However, the mutation didn’t happen there, because we also find it throughout central Europe. So apparently our ancestors were Europeans who liked to go on holiday to the British Isles and apparently went in droves, a few forgetting to come home it appears

Here are two maps that were created and are maintained by the haplogroup R1b2b3a15b administrators.

R1b1b2a15b… that some kind of a robot you ask??? No, that’s your new extended haplogroup. Remember each one of those letters and numbers represents a very specific mutation that happened sometime in the past several thousand years, with the final “b” happening about 3-4000 years ago. The haplogroup’s nickname is L21 which is the name of the last mutation that happened 3-4000 years ago someplace in Europe.

You’ll notice on the European map that there are no occurrences in Italy. Actually, I know of one that has not been mapped yet. Now this does not mean that they won’t eventually be reported in Italy, but so far, it seems that the Italian Alps have pretty much been a barrier to southern migration. This implies that it’s unlikely that our Estes family originated in Italy. Notice the weasel word – implied. We don’t know yet, but the data looks suspiciously like that so far. On the flip side of this coin, we don’t have a lot of Italians who have tested, nor Italian descendants, but the data base grows over time. Another big thank you again to the two L21 haplogroup administrators for doing all of this work so we can learn.

For those of you who really want to suffer along with me, you can go to a forum where L21 is being discussed as we learn, at The rest of you will probably be happy to wait for my periodic updates.

And speaking of periodic updates, here’s another one for you.

Several of our project members have upgraded their number of markers they have tested. This allows the various family lines to be further divided. To date, we have the following:

12 markers – 6 people
25 markers – 27 people
37 markers – 19 people
67 markers – 7 people

We have several people participating in the project. Some have different surnames other than Estes, but they are due to adoptions and such. A few of the folks (McNiel, Kvochick and Moore) are my cousins (and husband, although my husband is not my cousin) and I keep them in this project to “watch over their DNA kits” for them. Many women have also joined to have their mitochondrial DNA tested. In total, we have 98 people in our project and a total of 79 people with the surname of Estes or Eastes have tested. Some men with a surname of Easter belong to the Estes group and some belong to the Easter project. There is a large group of Easter men who do not match the Estes family and a couple of years ago, they formed their own Easter surname project. There are 20 Easter men who have tested and a couple of them match the Estes family. Ironically, both of these families are found in the same area of Piedmont southern Virginia about the same time, so without DNA testing, we would never have known if they were the same or different families.

March 2, 2007

We have now done the deep ancestry SNP testing at two different labs on two different Abraham descendants, and we have determined that our official haplogroup is R1b1c*. The star means that we have been tested for the subgroups R1b1c1 through R1b1c9, and we are not those. Today, that probably doesn't mean much to people, but someday this subgrouping will help us further isolate our ancestors and where they were in what timeframe. In the mean time, the only way discoveries are made it for people to have this testing performed so that the scientists can look for that grouping and associated population migration.

February 14, 2006 - We welcome the Estridge/Eastridge family to the Estes project. Like we did with the Easter group, we'll see if this is one family or two distinct familys.

By the way, we're still looking for descendants of any Moses Estes to test. We are also looking for descendants of Samuel Estes, son of Abraham, to test.

January 2006 - the Easter folks have formed their own group. Only one Easter is an Estes so far, so we kept him. Best of luck and we'll continue to work with their group administrator in the case of any other matches.

4-15-05 Welcome to the Easter folks. The Easter family group has asked to join the Estes group. It will be interesting to see if the two lines are related.

We are currently looking for descendents of Moses of SC and Moses of Halifax Co. Va to test. If you are from these lines and are interested, please contact Roberta, the surname administrator.