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As previously presented in this DNA part, we have been involved with other HELME, HELM, Helmes and others in a broad Y-DNA project, which is largely completed. So, it is appropriate to take a look at what it has meant to us, from a genealogy standpoint. The immediately following paragraphs analyze some of the things we have learned from our part in the Project. Following this new discussion, the prior material is provided. for those who might not have followed the project closely, and to preserve the DNA Project description, etc.

Analysis of our Y-DNA Study Results

It has been some time since the initial phase of the Overall Helm/Helms, etc Y-DNA Project has been completed.

This portion addresses what has been added to our own NC HELMS Genealogical efforts?

The first was that we have only about a 1 % chance of being close kin to any of the English families in the initial project, despite having the same HAPLO type, Rib, as most Englishmen. So we would expect to have some similarity of the first 12 markers but have divergence in the results for higher marker count matches. That means that in the distant past we share ancestors with many Englishmen. As an example even with a zero to 2 mismatch at 12 markers, but a 5 or more mismatch at 25 or more markers, the MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) would have lived in about 200-500 AD which is much sooner than surnames were in use in England. Surnames were only partially been started by Wm The Conqueror after his invasion in l066. And, to get that MRCA be in the wider scale startup time of surnames like 1300 to 1400 AD, one needs no more than about 2 to 3 mismatches with high marker number testing. It is possible to compute the MRCA using the figure below showing a typical MRCA calculation for us.


So what common ancestor might the data be suggesting? One then has to look at the distribution of migrants and immigrants who may have been present in England in that 200-500 AD time period. And again in say 1300-1400 AD. There would be little chance of identifying any individual in the early period but one can use the DNA output to show that whoever he was, he likely came to Britain from France. There were such people, largely the CELTS who first came to the western edges and provinces such as England's the "lands-end" area and not only to Ireland and Wales, but also to Scotland. In the later time period after surnames were beginning to be more generally used, there were the so-called Normans who got their name from Normandy, the uppermost section of France. But they had other nationalities represented, such as the Danes and many mercenaries of uncertain origins. Prior to that there were the Romans who are thought to have not had much effect on the nationality mix in England and in the times of the first AD centuries the Vikings and, most particular, the Danes raided and occupied large sections of England, and a very strong component of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians and Picts, who were generally very aggressive Germanic peoples, came in the period, 400 to 600 AD. Thus by Surname-time there was a complex makeup in the British population, yet each subgroup brought their genetic heritage with them. And one should expect to find representatives of those groups distinguishable by their HAPLO group, Rib for the French, Rla for the Danes, and I, II, and I-1 a for the Northern Germanic Group, etc.

In the HELMS Y-DNA work, done so far, one of the output results is a determination of our HAPLO group, R1b, which is shared by a large group of people who have the same Unique Event Polymorphism's, which is a big word way to say that they have the same or approximately the same collection of so called slow genetic marker content. Significantly, if there are too many mutations in those slow markers, an infant would not survive. Another way of saying it is that those with little change or favorable change in those slow-changing marker segments would survive, thus continuing a line. That is the reason a valid HAPLO type has such strength in defining a line of people through many generations. The scientists have a good idea which parts go to make up the HAPLO group definition. That determination is beyond the scope of this discussion. Human migrations have been going on for eons, so this is a powerful tool to use to go backward in time for a line, and it is possible to trace those migrations, which have expanded to all parts of the world in discoverable paths. Just when and where our specific line became Helms is conjectural. I strongly suspect that there were and are genetic Helms with other surnames. Thus, if one is looking backwards in time from a particular place and time like for Colonial period in England, he can discover the most logical immediate previous location of a group in places like France, Germany or Denmark, as examples. In a broad general way, it may be possible to assign dates on those steps from place to place. But will have no idea what surname such lines eventually become.

There is considerable literature available on those migrations so it is easy to visually trace those moves.
See: Wikipedia has a good piece on it: Human Y-Chromosome DNA haplogroup.

In that article, there is a particularly striking figure showing the thrust of the Rib Haplogroup into Britain from France, as well as other such migrations. The figure also shows and the article discusses the deeper roots of that, and other groups.

Having written all of this as a non-professional, what has been done to our collected genetic data is to record the definite DNA contents - including the key parts which constitute the controlling long term parts. The data collected has given us the defined definition of our family HAPLO group which was Rib. Also the data has given us a set of common Y-DNA results which will enable us to determine whether a new person or line is related to us. Separately, over the years, by collecting statistical data around the world, the area of the world which were founding places for one's HAPLO type have been determined. This is obviously still going on and something less than 100 % certainty applies to it, in that it does not account for moves of single and small groups of people. For instance, a Chinese cook could have been placed in the middle of London almost at any time.

Without professing to understand all of that information, we now know our HAPLO group, and it is possible to know their immediately prior and earlier location(s) and, in fact, to trace that path back to a quite ancient location thousands of years ago. It is here that the Genetic data has to give way to historical and genealogical data, or at least work together to arrive at useful genealogical results.

An interesting observation is that if we ask questions like such as, if we had an immigrant in England and knew his Haplo group to be Rib, where was his most logical immediately prior location? The answer is France and if his Haplo group was Rla, his last place was probably Denmark, etc. However his line may have been in Britain a long time nevertheless . Since we now know ours to be Rib it says we should look in France, not Denmark for very early ancestors.

Megan Smolenysk(1) has shown a way to use the Y-DNA lab tests which show the numbers of units at each marker tested, to define the DNA of an individual and how to use a second person's DNA to compare them and to determine how many mismatches there are, at a given number of markers tested, like 12, 25, 37, etc. Then, using an average number of years in a generation one, can determine the, Most Recent Common Ancestor, MRCA, as predicted by the results, at each number of makers used. A figure such as the one attached will show those relationships assuming a generation length of 30 years. In the case of the NC Helms that number is 32 years This discussion is intended to illustrate the technique. Thus, the technique is used to predict the approximate date when the two people had a common ancestor. The established HAPLO group designation tells us where and that chart tells us when.

As will be observed, the predicted date will be a long time ago, so it is only useful in the deep sense. A close match at larger marker tested numbers the date is advanced. Note that to get into the genealogically useful range a good match is needed. This should have very significant effect on our genealogical work. It means that we should focus on what it means to be looking back at France, or even earlier times and places. When was that, is the key question? In France it obviously could be any time after about 400-100 BC. . Needless to say, those times are of little use to us genealogically. As it would be 1600 years too soon for surname genealogy. It is almost 100 generations of unnamed people. Even with a date like 1400 AD we have about 20 generations to deal with. Yet, the descendants of any person entering Britain even in such early times would still be carrying that RIb Haplogroup. DNA.

Of course, in later times we had groups such as the French HUGENOTS going to Britain and America in so-called Surname - supported genealogical times. I know that my Mother's Lavender family went from France to England in 1496, to help transfer the technology of larger scale container steel iron production. But I have not determined their personal names in 1496. I do know that some of their descendants married French Duboses in SC later - both groups having come here from France in colonial times. In the cases of the overall Helms-like groups in America, we have some well defined lines with known immigrants; however with the North Carolina Helms, their coming to America is as yet obscure. We have well defined HELMS families after about 1750. But their coming is not established. Yet we now know that they have the Rlb Haplo group type and with a defined deep ancestry. Our problem is to clear the obscurity of their existence "over there" and their coming here. Gerald Helms and his workers have been at this for at least 30 years or more. At the present time, as reported in this web site, with the availability of very extensive new data and methods, we are endeavoring to clear that fog.

1) "Trace Your Roots with DNA" pp201-203, by Megan Smolenyak et al, RODEL 2004.FLASH

Of significant present interest is a new English DNA project at this address:

That Project group is planning to determine more about the male Y- DNA patterns in English Counties. They want participants, ideally, those who have a known ancestor who resided in a county in England. As it turns out, we have several potential participants who are ideal to enter the project as Lancs persons.They have already had a DNA test at the right Lab and have an account already. At least one of our Helms study group is considering doing it. All he or she needs to do is enroll and give them access to their existing DNA. test data. And, I imagine they will want to know more about their specific genealogy.

There is a similar Welsh Project coming available soon. Perhaps there will be others.


Below is the material referred to above which is a repeat of the previous discussion of this topic.

Recently, Matthew Helm, a descendant of the line of Georg Helm, the Weaver-Merchant in Winchester, VA initiated a Project of DNA testing. The purpose of this project is to use DNA tests as a basis to determine the extent of kinship among the several lines of Helm/Helms, etc lines in this country. For years the various groups have wondered about it. The logic is that since the male Y-DNA is passed from the father to son as an exact copy at each generation, in theory at least. Therefore, a single test of a male descendant in each such line could be compared and conclusions reached as to similarity. The assumption is that if any two or more lines have nearly exact copies of their Y-DNA, this would signify a possible kinship. Exact copies would doubtlessly show the two are directly related in some way.

So, continuing with that assumption, Y-DNA tests are were being made, with at least one such test subject from each line which could be compared. These test results will be compared and some conclusions reached. In the case of the North Carolina Helms, we have candidates for the lines of three Helms men Tilman Helms, George Helms, and Jonathan Helms lines. The reasoning is that it has not been proven the Helms men were brothers. It is thought this might be the case, and the tests will show any relationship. The results of this first phase testing should be available in soon.

Initially 12 DYS Y-DNA tests were done, which were essentially identical, indicating that the three were probably brothers. Now extended tests are being done for George and Tilman. In those cases 37 DYS tests are being done. The reason for these tests is to discover a so-called modal Y-DNA data set for our Helms lines as well as to compare with the other tests in the project. That was a Phase I of the project and follow-on activities are being continued at the same DNA Lab test site. The participants from the North Carolina Helms, should continue this cooperative effort.

Further testing for new participants can be made by using link below to join the project by purcasing your DNA test:

It should be mentioned that the same general idea is also present for the female lines involved. That sign-in site discusses that option.

Since a mother's DNA is similarly passed to her daughter and so on down the line. However, it is difficult to find a present-day (living) descendant with an unbroken female line all the way back to the three families (Partly because a new or different DNA is introduced at each generation and because not every family had daughters.)

This is a good way to use the female DNA test results where there is a break in the male line if there are no sons in a line family, but where there were female children. In such a case, a female detour is a workaround to recover the continuity needed on the male side. As an example there were no known female children in the original families of Tilman, George and Jonathan Helms. This means that a female continuous linkage in the Helms case is not possible, baring finding a sister of the original Helms mother who had a traceable genealogy. Of course, working on the so-called allied lines, meaning the lines of the numerous wives over the years, is also a legitimate area of study. We intend to perform this study selectively, and are looking for cases where unique benefits are offered. In addition simply recording of one's genetic data is a valid thing to do for both males and females.

Sound genealogy is required to make the best use of this new approach.

You may expect to hear more about these activities. Your ideas and participation would be welcome. The more cases there are, the better the statistics and conclusions will be.

More information on this research will be placed here, as it is developed.

We would like to obtain DNA tests of the SC Hellums to establish their line and to compare it with ours and efforts in that direction are under way.


The Helm-Helms project is located at:, a nationally recognized DNA testing program.

Additional information or instructions for test volunteers should contact one of the following people:

Matthew Helms at:


Ira Helms at:


Gerald Helms at:

Use the link below to join the project and purchase your DNA test.

(Follow the instructions to locate and join the project under "H").

Matthew Helms has written a summary report of the first phase of the DNA project. However the project was administered as a private rather than an open or "Public" project. This protects the privacy of the participants. While this phase death only with non-sensitive generic issues, this may be best way to administer the project. However, in order to expand the utility of the project, a more open approach may be needed in the future. A number of other such DNA projects are being administered as "Public" projects. In the case of the North Carolina Helms, it has been so far found that the Helms DNA, as represented by descendants of Tilman, George, and Jonathan Helms, settlers in Old Anson County, North Carolina in about 1750, does not closely match that of any of the other lines, and since our dna for the three "brothers" substantially match, any one of our DNA's can be considered representative. It would be desirable to have additional Helms participation particularly for Jonathan Helms descendants..

Therefore, I the editor of this web site have decided to open my own DNA data, which is representative, to any Helms person who is seeking to know if we may have common ancestors. If you desire to make comparisons to my DNA data please contact me direct at:

So, any such person can obtain a DNA test to make comparisons. Since we have the North Carolina Helms genealogy fairly well developed, we can exchange data as needed to establish the genealogy side. Hopefully, some new candidates will be entirely new to us and thus we will both profit from the exchange.

We have not yet encountered a genealogy problem needing candidates for the female genetics, but we recognize that possibility and would entertain examples.

Also, there is great value in the idea of archiving the DNA for private and future potential uses, especially in lines which are thinning.

The attached file illustrates some uses of the female mt DNA to assist in solving some family puzzles. Click here to view the file "Maternal or Matrilineal Studies Using mt DNA"

Background and Additional Instructions

In October 2005, the Helm/Helme/Helms Surname DNA project was initiated.

The goals established for the project include:
(1) discovering the number of common ancestors bearing the Helm/Helme/Helms and similar surnames;
(2) establishing how the various lines bearing the surnames are related;
(3) determining how the families within the United States are related to those families located elsewhere in the World;
(4) connecting individuals with the surname who have not established their ancestry with those families with established ancestry;
(5) deriving genetic footprints for the various family lines -- to be used to match future researchers with family lines established by the project.

As of January 2006, the project has 29 members representing 14 family lines.
These lines include:
Christopher Helme of Rhode Island
Georg Helm of Virginia
George Helms of North Carolina
Jacob Helm of Gammelsbach, Germany
Jonathan Helms of North Carolina
Leonard Helm of Virginia
Littleton Helm of South Carolina
Moses Helm of Pennsylvania/Virginia
Peter Helm of Grevenmacher Luxembourg
Robert Helme of Lancashire, England
Thomas Helme of New York
Tilman Helms of North Carolina
William Helme of Lancashire, England
William Jasper Helms of Tennessee

The project is now focusing on getting a wider representation of participants from families located outside of the United States. The test is quite easy. It requires swabbing the cheek with two swabs and mailing the test into the testing company who analyzes the results -- the project selected FamilyTreeDNA as its testing service.

See the site above for current prices.

The testing process is quite simple and is as follows:

A test kit is mailed to you (or the test person) by the lab. The testee uses a swab to rub their cheek then send the swab back to the lab. The lab performs the DNA test and informs both you (or the testee) and Matthew Helms about the results. The lab analyzes the results and compares them with the other Helm-like lines in their database (if you permit it) and the results will be integrated into the Helm/etc project study. Some of the tests have been of English residents and since there are two long distance mail times involved, the English tests have taken somewhat longer to complete.

A simplified family line for the testee is needed which covers up to the earliest person for which you have records. An typical example would be:

GGGF John Elmes (dates if known, place, if known,), Lancashire?(1600?-1689)
F George Elmes
Son Hanabal ELMES of Worwick (1932- )

An extensive genealogy is not required. But, information sources would be of great benefit.

If your line corresponds to one of the current lines listed above, such as Leonard of Lancashire or Christopher of Lincolnshire, you might explain the connection, if known.

Additional information on DNA Testing can be seen in the attached file. "Maternal or Matrilineal Studies Using mt DNA" Click here to view this file which shows, as an example, the essentials from a similar Blair DNA project.

Another example can be seen at the following web site;

We are interested in the Falkenburgs because they intermarried with our HELMS in America.



New February 2006
Revised September 2006
Revised August 2007 Request for DNA on SC Hellums

Revised March 2010 added DNA analysis