When I submitted our Great Uncle Jordan’s kit to the FTDNA.com database, I had joined the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT . Naively I reasoned since I was submitting our branch in 2012 and the Jordan Surname Project began in 2004 the early Colonial Carolina Jordans would all or mostly all be established. I thought I simply had to submit our MATTHEW JORDAN branch and we would receive results showing our relationships with our neighboring JORDANS and of course the results would show me which Carolina JORDANS we could call KIN!
I ordered the Y37 marker test. I had been told by genetic experts 37 markers are required to establish your branch and find your true family tree.
Well, the results were less than thrilling. In fact they were downright confusing. We had no close matches. A close match is one where the kit you submit has the exact same markers or only one different marker than your match(es). We had lots of 2 different markers, and plenty of 3s, and some 4s. FTDNA’s lab cuts off matches for Y37 kits at 4 markers different.
This is where the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT RESULTS are so important. You can see ALL of the folks (who participate), even those outside of the lab returned matches who are part of your JORDAN FAMILY TREE. Note: Each Jordan tree requires three matching kits before an unique tree (new subgroup) can be established. The labels for each tree such as JG3 simply means J(ORDAN) G(roup) 3 – at least three JORDAN kits matched after two previous groups of JORDANs matched. The number is just an assignment based on participation. The quicker you get your JORDANS established the better! Each FTDNA DNA SURNAME PROJECT is unique. The Beasley Surname Project uses colors as subgroup labels. Another surname project uses names of trees. I chose to use the same labels for the NC 1700s JORDAN PROJECT as the FTDNA JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT for continuity sake.
For me, after the results were published I found several points of concern about the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT results we received. First, there were over 30 kits in the JG3 JORDAN FAMILY TREE with less than 37 markers! I wondered if our 0-1 match could be hiding in plain sight? I ended up spending nine months tracking down as many of the deficient kits (that is what kits with less than 37 markers are called). At last count, there were only 9 deficient kits. Many of these are for South Carolina JORDANS. It is my hope these kit owners will upgrade their kit and if not possible will provide a new kit to properly establish their JORDAN JG3 branch.
The second oddity I found was with the two first matches for our kit. Both of the matches were from ALABAMA JORDANS and each had listed GRAY JORDAN of EDGECOMBE COUNTY, NC as their EARLIEST ANCESTOR. I looked and looked for the Carolina kit for this GRAY to confirm their claim! ** IT TAKES THREE UNIQUE GENERATIONAL MATCHES TO CONFIRM A BRANCH! That is to say, you and two first cousins may be able to establish a subgroup BUT it will NOT CONFIRM YOUR BRANCH. It takes you working with folks who are three or more generations from your specific pedigree to CONFIRM A BRANCH! The administrator said this Alabama branch HAD confirmed their branch. I knew that would take a CAROLINA kit. And I also wanted to see just what the genetic distance would be for Gray’s actual Carolina branch and our Matthew branch!
I had been interested in GRAY JORDAN of EDGECOMBE (ROCKY MOUNT) for a long time. You see, Gray’s grandson Cornelius Haywood Jordan also fought during the Civil War. And C.H. was confused on Ancestry.com and in several early published genealogies with our Cornelius. Gray’s grandson made it through that terrible war and returned to his family! I visited his grave site in the Fisher Cemetery in Stedman (Cumberland county), NC during the first months of my research. I could go on and on with why I was interested in Gray’s branch. But this blog is focused on DNA.
I could NOT SEE a CAROLINA GRAY JORDAN BRANCH established in the FTDNA database. So I sought out a descendant. I try to be very specific about whom I ask. In this case, I asked a man whose family tracks from GRAY SR to GRAY JR to CORNELIUS HAYWOOD to.. He agreed to help me and submitted a kit! At this time we have three CAROLINA kits for GRAY SR established in the FTDNA.com database. When the Carolina kit populated it showed that GRAY’s BRANCH was 4 markers from our MATTHEW’s BRANCH. Still the same family – KIN! HURRAY- somewhere we will have the same shared ancestor. But at 4 markers different, we have work to do to find that common ancestor! The Carolina kit also clarified the claims of the Alabama kits and I could properly analyze my results! It was sort of like a puzzle with missing pieces.
The Alabama fellas were NOT GRAY of Edgecombe’s branch afterall. It took several more months of work to discover these two fellas had simply accidentally used research notes when they keyed in their earliest ancestor! I hope my project will help them solve the mystery of which Carolina branch they do connect!
When GRAY’s BRANCH populated I learned something very important and I count it a deficiency. It is one of the main reasons I began this independent research project. KIT results do NOT necessarily give you all of the data the lab’s have about your family tree! I thought I had received all Carolina matches for Jordans within my Jordan family tree. I didn’t. When Gray’s kit populated there was ANOTHER EARLIER Carolina KIT for a different descendant line of Gray’s branch. This GRAY of EDGECOMBE didn’t return as a match for our MATTHEW because it was FIVE MARKERS DIFFERENT.
The reality is each of us are Carolina Jordans and each of us belong to the same FAMILY TREE, JG3, but if it had not been for the kindness and cooperation of CORNELIUS HAYWOOD JORDAN’s line this researcher would never have been able to connect to a true cousin via the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT.