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Benedict Surname DNA Project Pages

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Thomas Benedict
and Mary Bridgham?
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Test Results Data Tables

In addition to being accessible from the Test Results page, Test Data may be reached from the following links.

The English Benedicts' data are represented here: English Benedict Test Results
Test results for the other two groups are available here: Other Families.

A new page, devoted to the distinction of our Project group descended from Thomas Benedict of Norfolk, England, and Norwalk, Connecticut, as members of the rare Haplogroup G2a1a will be found here.

Background of Our Test Results and Current Project Status

The Benedict Surname DNA Project was initiated in July 2004 as a research program to possibly discover the early origins and international branches of the Benedict Family. The ancestry of the Benedicts has been traced by traditional genealogical methods, primarily through wills and parish records, to a small family in early 16th century Norfolk, England. The line was brought to America a century later (1637) by Thomas Benedict and his step-sister, Mary Bridgham, whom he married. Thereafter, the family proliferated in America, initially in Connecticut and New York. The DNA Project has the mission of searching for a genetic trail, laid down prior to the family's earlier emigration into England, back through Europe. As techniques and international research programs have evolved, so too has our knowledge of our pre-English Benedict Family origins.

Recent major Project news item indicates that all members of the "Connecticut Sub-Group" (ie, all those descended from Thomas Benedict, the immigrant) have received as of early May 2008, in addition to two earlier gifts, still another. At the beginning of October 2006, we learned from Family Tree DNA that they had re-SNP-tested, without prompting, the samples of Bob (B-462) and Les (B-892). In both cases, the P15 and the P16 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) were found. P16 is the defining SNP for Haplogroup G2a. In November 2006, we received notice from the Garvey Project that P18, the SNP that defines Haplogroup G2a1, had been found in Bob's sample. Therefore, by similarity of haplotype, all members who were previously designated only as Haplogroup G2 had gotten a "promotion" to Haplogroup G2a1. At that point, there were fewer than a dozen men worldwide who were confirmed as G2a1. Several were field tested in the region of Georgia/Turkey. The Garvey Project also found that Dr. David Moody, whose family line also originated in East Anglia, about thirty miles from where the English Benedict family line originated, is also G2a1. Also, Kagan Gursel of Istambul, Turkey, was found to be another member of G2a1. This implies that the Moody, Gursel and Benedict families have a common ancestor. We are working on discovering where and when that ancestor lived.

In early May 2008, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) issued the Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree 2008 which contains the latest developments in a rapidly changing field. The Haplogroup G portion of the tree contains much revised data concerning new SNPs that define new clades. As a consequence of this influx of new data the clade structure of the haplogroup has been modified. A result of this is that former Haplogroup G2a is now redefined as 13 new sub-clades. Former clade G2a1, to which we Benedicts belonged, is now divided into two subclades; we are now in G2a1a.

Ten members comprise the "Connecticut Sub-group," all being descended from Thomas Benedict of Norwalk, Connecticut. They are all considered by similarity of genetic haplotype to now be of Haplogroup G2a1a.

We now have haplotype samples for each of four of the five sons of Thomas1, the English immigrant. We really need several descendants of Thomas's son James to step forward and join the Project to help provide a fuller picture of the genetic basis of the Benedict paternal lines. But continued representation from all five sons' descendant lines is greatly needed and desired.

While most of the Project's members, including those not descended from Thomas Benedict, have England as their country of ancestral origin, other countries or regions represented include the Czech Republic (Bohemia), Germany and Italy. (For the most part, our members do not presently reside in their country of ancestral origin, but rather in Australia, Canada and USA.)

A number of Project members are part of the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project and of other surname projects; and some members's data are also listed on the ySearch website.

The Benedict Haplogroup

The first important milestone for the Benedict DNA Project, established in April 2005, was the confirmation by SNP test for Bob of Haplogroup G2 (P15+) for the oldest Benedict family line of descent (from John2) tested up to that time. We now have a new milestone with the 2006 discovery of the P16 and P18 SNPs, establishing Benedict men descended from Thomas Benedict of Connecticut to be of the rare Haplogroup G2a1a (P18+). Other implications, primarily historical, are under research.

It is important to emphasize, however, that not all males bearing the Benedict name are, for various reasons, automatically members of this haplogroup (witness the case of two members of this Project, for example). Only by actually committing to a simple Y-DNA test may a person's haplotype be identified, thereby removing any doubts. In effect then, verifying the haplotype by test (and hence, the haplogroup) is the ideal way to confirm (or disprove) an ancestry, either previously unknown or established by traditional research methods.

The Benedict Haplotype

The Benedict Haplotype, as discussed here, refers to the genetic signature or "fingerpint" that, for simplicity, identifies the male descendants of Thomas Benedict of England and Connecticut. It has been mentioned in previous reports in terms of the differences between members of this Project based upon the values of a few fast-evolving genetic markers on the Y-chromosome. It is obvious by examining the Table of Test Results, however, that the members of this "Connecticut" group have more similarities than differences. By taking the test results panels for George and Tom as the standard, then all members of this group (except for Clark) have the STR markers 1 through 12 in common and most of the markers 24 through 37. More variations in values are seen to occur in the middle group of markers, 13 through 25, which contains six fast evolvers.

Based on this analysis, and until such time as much more data is received from many more lines of Benedict descendancy, the Complete or Standard Benedict Haplotype shall be defined by that given in the Test Results Master Table for the full 67 markers of data for Member Tom (B-166).

We can define a Generalized Benedict 56-Marker Haplotype as the set of markers expected to be exhibited by most males surnamed Benedict who are descended from Thomas Benedict of Norfolk, England. The table for the Generalized Benedict Haplotype includes none of the mutations seen so far in tested descendants.

For purposes of a "quick look," we also define the Shorter Benedict Haplotype as the first 25 marker values listed in the Master Table and in the following table.

The Shorter Benedict Haplotype
  Listed in FTDNA Order
Marker No.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
DYS No. >
393 390 19
391 385
426 388 439 389
392 389
458 459
455 454 447 437 448 449 464
14 22 15 10 16 17 11 12 11 12 10 30 16 9 9 11 11 25 16 21 29 13 13 14 14
Usual G2
14 22 15 10 14 14 11 12 11 12 11 29 16 9 9 11 11 23 16 21 28
12 13 14 14

About Marker DYS449 and Other Fast-Evolving Polymorphisms

It is important to understand the idea of genetic marker mutation. Markers, scientifically called polymorphisms, are sequences of DNA proteins called Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). Most markers remain stable (that is, constant) as they are passed down over many generations for hundreds and even thousands of years. Some markers (eg, for example, DYS449 and the DYS464 group) are less stable and may randomly mutate within a shorter period of time. Knowing the rate at which such fast evolvers change allows geneticists to estimate approximate dating for various ancestral lines. Mutations may take the form of the substitution of a base sequence, or the insertion or deletion of a group of STRs. The study of these genetic mutations is full of uncertainties.

The marker DYS449 (discovered in 2002) has an allele count range from about 26 alleles to 34 alleles. In the world populations tested so far, DYS449 with 29 alleles usually occurs about 30% of the time as the most common level of mutation. But DYS449 with 28 or 30 alleles also occurs, about 20% and 21% of the time respectively. Our test results show that most "Connecticut Benedict" members carry DYS449 at 29 alleles, the most common count. This may indicate that this haplotype will represent the more usual Benedict haplotype. Nevertheless, it is clear that the DYS449 marker (and in the case of Jim and Robert, two DYS464 markers) changed for some male descendants of John, Samuel and Daniel Benedict between the time of their birth (in the early 1600s) and the present.

Marker DYS464 is considered to be probably the fastest evolving (i.e., most polymorphic) marker in the set of markers used for testing by Family Tree DNA. Most of the population (more than 98%) carries four replications of this DNA segment, labeled DYS464a, 464b, 464c and 464d. A small percentage of the population (less than 2%) may have up to seven replications. This marker is of particular interest in genetic genealogy and is deliberately included in the test panel as a useful means of evaluating close relationships within families and closely related groups.

The two tables below show the distribution and frequency of DYS464 alleles in the Benedict Project and in the confirmed haplogroup G population. The reference to the "Basic" Benedict Haplotype is to data for most Connecticut Benedict members. However, the counts of 14 alleles for Members B-304 and B-789, Jim and Robert, are very unusual when compared to the "Basic" Benedict Haplotype as well as the population at large. Without considerably more data, both for the "Samuel" line and from parallel family lines, it is difficult to guess when these mutations might have occurred. Historically, the Samuel line started later in time than the lines from John, but before the line of Thomas's son Daniel. At this time, with insufficient data, these DYS464 mutations for the Samuel line present a mystery.

Benedict DYS464 Allele Counts
DYS No. >
"Basic" Benedict
Allele Count
13 13 14 14 G2
"Samuel Line"
Allele Count
14 14 14 14 G2

DYS464 Frequency in
Haplogroup G Population
DYS No. >
Allele Count
Frequency ( % )
84 8 3 -
13 76 71 11
13 37 74
- 3 5 13
Frequency data courtesy of  W. Athey

R + B
Copyright © 2004-2008 R.A. Benedict (unless otherwise credited)
This Update: 10 September 2008