The Y-DNA Project of the Ewing Family Association welcomes your questions and comments: dna@ewingfamilyassociation.org.

We use three types of diagrams to display project results graphically: relationship diagrams, phylogeny diagrams and network diagrams. These can make relationships among the haplotypes of men in the project easier to see, but reading these diagrams can be tricky, and it is worth spending a little time to make sure you know how they are constructed, what information they contain, and how to interpret them.

  • Relationship diagrams are like conventional family descendants charts, except that they show only the male line; these are discussed at About Relationship Diagrams.
  • Phylogeny Diagrams look something like relationship diagrams, but they are based on a hypothetical order in which STR changes might have taken place, and they do not coincide exactly with facts we know from conventional genealogies. Some of this stuff is too technical for the beginner — just skip to the Network Diagrams discussion below.
  • Network Diagrams look nothing like the other two kinds of diagram. They display genetic distances in a way that makes it especially easy to see clusters of what are or may be closely related men.

Phylogeny Diagrams

Our phylogeny diagrams were prepared using Microsoft Excel. So far, we have prepared a phylogeny diagram only for those individuals in M222+ (or Ui Niall) haplogroup, which includes only the men in Ewing Groups 1, 2 and 3. Individuals in the diagram are shaded to correspond with their Group membership.

You can read about how Group membership is assigned in the Results Introduction document.

The phylogeny diagram contains all of the information that is displayed in the Results Tables, but it is displayed in a very different way. At the very top of the chart, the box labeled R1b represents the R1b1b1c modal haplotype. The line below that is labeled with the eleven mutations that distinguish this from the M222+ modal haplotype. If you will have a look at the results table on the chart, you can see that each place that the R1b and M222+ modals differ shows up on the line separating these two boxes. Similarly, the line between the M222+ box and the Ewing modal is labeled with the 7 mutations that distinguish the M222+ modal haplotype from the Ewing modal haplotype. Take a look at EL in Group 3b (off to the left of the M222+ box). What this diagram says is that he exactly matches the M222+ haplotype except he has CDYa = 37 and CDYb = 38 (or CDYa/b = 37/38 for short—the two mutations on the line just below the M222+ box, before the line takes off to the left), DYS 456 = 16 (which he shares with all of the other men in Group 3 so far), DYS 447 = 24 and DYS 576 = 17 (which he shares with RA2, the only other man in Group 3b so far), and DYS 464c = 17 (which only he has — this one is shown in red because it is a back mutation and matches the R1b1b1c modal rather than the M222+ modal, see below.) For any participant on the chart, we can see where his haplotype differs from any of those above him on the chart by just working back up the lines connecting him to the men or modals above him.

Back Mutations: Notice that on the line from M222+ to the Ewing modal haplotype, the mutations CDYa/b = 37/38 are shown in red. This signifies that they are 'back mutations,' which means that R1b had these values, they mutated to CDYa/b = 38/39 in the M222+ haplotype, and then they mutated 'back' to CDYa/b = 37/38 in the Ewing modal. Notice also that there are five more mutations below CDYa/b leading to the Ewing modal, but that a line takes off laterally to the branch containing Group 3 before these mutations are shown.

It is rather interesting that all of the M222+ Ewings not in the closely related group of Ewings (which is to say, all of the Ewings in Group 3) share the M222+ off-modal marker DYS 456 = 16, but we do not know what to make of this.

This is because all of the men in Group 3 except HM do share CDYa/b = 37/38 but do not share the other five mutations with the rest of the Ewings. HM has CDYa = 38, which we are interpreting here as a back mutation to the M222+ value.

Parallel Mutations: Notice now that in the vertical line leading down to TD, the mutation DYS 576 = 19 is shown in blue. This signifies that this is a 'parallel mutation.' This means that there are other men in this chart who also have DYS 576 = 19, but they appear in the chart in a way that shows (or more strictly speaking, makes the claim) that they did not inherit it from a common ancestor with TD — the same mutation occurred twice on 'parallel' branches, if you will, by coincidence rather than because of common descent. Indeed, this mutation appears in four different places on the chart, a couple of which have driven us crazy. Look in the first row under the Ewing modal haplotype and just to the left of it. DN in Group 1b differs from the Ewing modal only at DYS 576 = 19, and RB and GW in Group 1a also differ from the Ewing modal only at DYS 576 = 19. Since DN, RB and GW have identical haplotypes, they appear in the same node in network diagrams, which are constructed using only the Y-DNA results. Here, we have put them in separate boxes because conventional genealogy shows that RB and GW are descended from John Ewing of Carnashannagh, who cannot have had DYS 576 = 19 because most of his descendants do not have this, but rather they must have inherited this from John Ewing (born 1754).

See the Group 1a Relationship Diagram to see why this must be so.

But DN is not descended from John Ewing (born 1754), so he must have gotten DYS 576 = 19 from somewhere else; that is, there must have been a parallel mutation by coincidence in the line leading from his ancestor James Ewing of Inch Island.

Two more men on the diagram have DYS 576 = 19:  RA and AL. What we know about the conventional genealogy of RA does not allow us to connect him with any of the known kinship groups in the chart, but he does not have DYS 391 = 10 (which would put him in Group 2), so we have put him in Group 1*. RA is genetic distance two from the Ewing modal haplotype, so we could have just put him on his own branch below the Ewing modal haplotype showing both mutations. Instead, we have put him below DN and RB/GW with dotted lines going to each, signifying that we do not have any evidence preferring one choice or the other, but the fact that he is only genetic distance one from each of these suggests that he might be related to either.

Notice that RA’s other mutation, DYS 390 = 24, also appears in blue, signifying that it is also a parallel mutation, and is shared by JC in Group 1e and TG in Group 2*. We could move RA’s box to show that he inherited this mutation from a common ancestor with either of these men, but this would require adducing some back mutations and other shenanigans that I will leave it to you to figure out.

On the other hand, AL does have DYS 391 = 10, so he is in Group 2. We have assumed that everyone in the project with DYS 391 = 10 has inherited this from a common ancestor,

Except GR in Group 1b, whose conventional genealogy shows him to be descended from James Ewing of Inch, and since the other descendants of James of Inch do not have DYS 391 = 10, we have concluded that he must have had a parallel mutation at this marker. The alternative is to argue that his conventional genealogy is mistaken.

so we have put this mutation first in the line leading to all of the men in Group 5. There is no good reason for the order in which the other two mutations leading to AL are shown, DYS 448 = 19 and DYS 576 = 19. We could as easily have put DYS 448 = 19 first, and then stuck in a branch point with one branch labeled DYS 448 = 19 going to AL, and another going to RA. Can you see what labels would have to be on that branch? It would have to have RA’s other mutation, DYS 390 =24, and also a back mutation at DYS 391, from 10 back to 11, the Ewing modal at that marker. DYS 391 is a rather slowly mutating marker, and we would like not to have to make claims about frequent mutations at that marker, especially not back mutations, because the probability that DYS 391 would mutate forward and then back within the number of generations that we are speaking about here is rather low.

Difference Between Phylogeny Diagrams and Relationship Diagrams: Though phylogeny diagrams are a little more like family trees than network diagrams are, there are important differences. One is that we do not have conventional genealogic evidence linking most of the individuals on the diagram, but we show all of them on the same tree anyway. Another is that the vertical distances between individuals on the tree have nothing to do with how many generations separate them, but rather with how many mutations separate them. Indeed, all of the individuals shown on these diagrams are roughly contemporaneous. There are no ancestors shown. Those individuals near the top of the chart that you might think represent ancestors have haplotypes that are closer to what we think the ancestral haplotype was, but this does not mean that they lived closer in time to the ancestors, but rather only that there have been fewer mutations in the line leading from the ancestor to the individuals at the top of the chart than to those at the bottom.

These phylogeny diagrams are not maximum parsimony trees: In biology, phylogeny diagrams are usually constructed by using algorithms designed to make 'maximum parsimony trees.' That is, individual haplotypes are placed on the tree so as to minimize the total number of mutations required to explain the differences among the haplotypes. These diagrams are not like that, because in cases where we have conventional genealogical evidence of a family relationship between two or more men, we have generally forced them to appear on the same branch of the tree even if this requires us to assume more mutations.

We can force an individual haplotype to appear on any branch of the chart by using a suitable combination of parallel and back mutations: If this does not bother you, you are not paying close enough attention. What I am saying here is that we can force the data into virtually any tree structure we like. Take a look at individual GR, who is the rightmost yellow-shaded individual in the chart. Notice that he differs from the Ewing modal at DYS 391 = 10. This mutation is shown on the chart in blue to signify that it is a parallel mutation, or rather that it is our hypothesis that it is a parallel mutation. You may recall that DYS 391 = 10 is what we have used to define Group 2 — the green-shaded individuals on the chart. If we did not have conventional genealogy linking GR to Group 1b, we would have put him in Group 2. Perhaps you can see that if we did that, he would show up in the second row on a new branch, one mutation (DYS 460 = 9) below RC and JM2. That is a more parsimonious solution (because it requires only one DYS 391 = 10 mutation rather than two), but choosing it is the same as arguing that GR is mistaken about his conventional genealogy. Maybe he is. Indeed, the more shenanigans of this kind we have to use to put an individual on the chart where we think they ought to fit, the more likely it is that we are mistaken.

Here is another example. Take a look at Group 2a, which consists of TW2 and all the men below him on the Phylogeny Diagram, and see what we had to do to keep them together. First trace the line from the Ewing modal to TW2. There is nothing unusual in the steps leading to TW2. First, we have DYS 391 mutating from the Ewing modal of 11 to 10, and then CDYa down from 37 to 36, CDYb down from 38 to 37, and then CDYa down another step to 35. TW2 is genetic distance 4 from the Ewing modal, with two steps at CDYa. Now to keep WR and TNS in this group, we had to adduce a back mutation at CDYb from 37 back to 38, and then to show another couple of mutations for TNS, one of them a unique back mutation to the M222+ and R1b modal value of DYS 442 = 12.

It is also really interesting to see that JN and DG also both have back mutations at different markers to the M222+ modal — this makes one wonder if we could construct an alternative tree that had Group 2a branching off before the Ewing modal somewhere — like Group 3. But DYS 19 = 15 unifies the whole closely related Ewing group.

We could also root Group 2a on JW and get rid of the back mutation CDYb = 36, but this does violence to the conventional genealogy. Start with William?, put his mutations in first, then work on down.

Network Diagrams

Our Network Diagrams were prepared using Network, a shareware program from Fluxus Engineering, which is available for free download from their web site. These diagrams include only 37-marker data; project participants that have not been tested for 37-markers do not appear in these diagrams, and only 37 markers are considered for those that have had additional markers tested. Network Diagrams are not family trees and they are not intended to show kinship relationships, but rather show relationships among haplotypes. Now, there is considerable overlap between kinship relationships and relationships between haplotypes, but these are by no means identical.

Circles and Colors: In these diagrams, for example, haplotypes are represented by circles. The size of a circle is proportional to the number of participants who have that exact haplotype. As most participants in our project have unique haplotypes, most of the circles are small and represent just one individual. The largest circle is the one representing the Ewing modal haplotype, because five project participants match the Ewing modal haplotype exactly, so this circle represents five individuals. There are also a couple of circles representing three individuals and some circles representing two individuals. The circles are color-coded to identify which of the Ewing groups each of the project participants in the diagrams belongs to.

You can read about how Group membership is assigned in the Results Introduction document.

In the circles that represent more than one individual, the colors are applied to 'pie slices,' but this is only evident when participants with identical haplotypes are in different groups, as with the Ewing modal haplotype.

Lines: The lengths of the lines connecting these circles are proportional to the genetic distance between the haplotypes represented by the circles. The Network program allows us the option of showing the actual mutations along the lines, but this makes the diagram almost impossibly busy and difficult to read. Please be careful to notice that genetic distance is not represented 'as the crow flies,' but only by the paths along the lines. The orientation of circles and their absolute proximity on the page has no meaning. The only thing that 'counts' is the distance along the lines connecting circles. In many cases, there are alternative pathways connecting two circles, though these are always the same length. The significance of alternative pathways is that they represent alternative orders in which mutations might have occurred.

Details: This is not the place to discuss details of how the Network program makes decisions, but suffice it to say that the program allows users to make many changes in the way Network calculates and displays networks. Anyone interested in the details of this is encouraged to have a look at the Network Users Manual. I have also prepared a simplified, step-by-step set of directions for how I have made the program work for me, which is available here.

Mistakes and Corrections

Mistakes are inevitable. We strive for accuracy, but invariably fall short. If you spot inaccuracies or inconsistencies (or any plain old stupid mistakes), please contact the project at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Corrections are always welcome.

Most project participants have provided a lineage including their known direct-line Ewing ancestors and their wives and children, with dates and places of birth, marriage and death. These lineages are posted here to facilitate research. We have not scrutinized or independently verified the evidence for these lineages, and we have intentionally focused rather narrowly on the lines of Y-DNA transmission to the participants. Some participants have provided incomplete information, and we probably have made some mistakes in transcription. A few lineages (so far, only for Groups 1a and 1b) are available in the Ewing Genealogy Documentation (EGD) project, where they are much more comprehensive and well documented than the lineage sketches that appear here on the Y-DNA Project website. We very much encourage participants and others interested in the lines represented by the various project groups to prepare EGD genealogies for posting in that section of our website.

To Contact Project Participants

We encourage interested persons to be directly in touch with project participants to discuss their lineages more fully. Please send all inquiries to the project administrator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and he will forward them to the appropriate person.

How the Lineages are Prepared

The lineage charts posted on this web site have been prepared using the report feature of Legacy, a genealogy database program.

The “standard” version of Legacy (i.e., a stripped down version) is available for free download at http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/. If you are already using another genealogy program you like, there is no advantage to changing to Legacy—you can easily communicate with the project by using GEDCOM or even sending copies of your genealogy program file to us.

We have intentionally omitted details about all living persons.

Many people have found the way siblings are displayed in these lineages to be confusing. In each generation of the direct paternal lineage, the lineal male ancestor of the project participant is shown in bold type with his relationship to the participant following in parentheses. Immediately below this line are shown the dates and places of his birth, marriage and death, if known. Immediately below that, there appears a list of his younger siblings in the order of their birth. Above his name appears a list of his older siblings, also in the order of their birth. The idea is that in each generation block, there is a list of siblings in birth order with the direct-line ancestor in bold type. There is a space below the youngest sibling, and then the name of the mother of the direct-line ancestor in the next generation appears, with the dates and places of her birth and death.

Other wives of the direct-line ancestor are not shown. Often, not all of the siblings are shown and sometimes none of them are shown. In many lineages, we have excluded sisters of the direct-line ancestor and brothers who died without issue, even when this information has been supplied to us. This results from our focus on the transmission of Y-DNA in these lineages, which does not pass through the female lines, and from our wish to minimize data entry to the extent possible and still sketch the line of interest while providing enough information for a researcher to identify the line.

To Submit a Lineage to the Project

It is crucial to the success and usefulness of the project to have lineages for as many of the participants as possible. Project participants have submitted their lineages to the project in a variety of forms. If genealogical data is submitted to us as a GEDCOM

GEDCOM is a standardized file format designed to help different genealogy programs communicate with one another. Virtually every genealogy program has the ability to export data as a GEDCOM file. If you do not know how to do this with your program, you can probably find directions by Googling the name of your program along with the words “GEDCOM directions” or some such. GEDCOM is not perfect and it often screws up notes and references, but it works fine for our purposes. In the Y-DNA Surname Project, we can also work from the original genealogy program file, if that is more convenient for you.

or genealogy program file, we can easily prepare the lineage without having to do any data entry. It is virtually effortless for us to exclude collateral lines, remove data on living persons, and to achieve the focus and uniformity we are trying to accomplish. When we get the data in this form, we leave in all of the siblings’ names that are contained in it.

We will also accept genealogical data in any other form — PDF or word processing documents, handwritten charts, references to book chapters, basically anything — but when we receive data in these ways, we must type it into our Legacy Program to prepare the chart. This involves a little work and creates the possibility of making transcription errors. If we have to enter the data by hand, we usually leave out female siblings, etc. Still, we are happy to do it, because our success depends on sharing this information with others interested in the project.

Mistakes and Corrections

Mistakes are inevitable. We strive for accuracy, but invariably fall short. If you spot inaccuracies or inconsistencies (or any plain old stupid mistakes), please contact the project at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Corrections are always welcome. If we made a transcription error, we will correct it. If you think you have found an error in the lineage information provided to us by a project participant, we will put you in touch with him to discuss it and if you convince him, he can give us a correction.

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EFA has collected numerous resources to explain the concepts and tools of Y-DNA analysis for genealogy.

Learning Material

Haplogroups, Haplotypes ... for the Flustered

Modal Haplotypes

Project Articles

Y-DNA Project Articles - 20 articles, published 2005-2009; Status Report, 2011.  These articles lay out the case for the Y-DNA project as a way to understand the relationships among Ewing men.  Y-DNA clarifies relationships that are often more ancient than our conventional genealogies can show.

Related Articles and Books

Colson: A Brittonic Y-DNA Cluster  

Ewing, David Neal: Chancellor's Message  

Ewing, Eddie L.: Using Y-DNA Testing to Prove a Relationship  

Ewing, Thor: Who Were the Ewings?  

Fife: Ewing in Early America  

Gilbert: Oscar Ewing and His DNA Odyssey  

Hodges: Frank Hodges' Link to the Ewings  

McEwan: Origins of the MacEoghainn Clan: ...  

McEwan: What can Y-DNA Tell Us ...?  

McLaughlin: The Clan Ewing of Loch Lomond -- An Alternate View

Moore: A Y-Chromosome Signature of Hegemony in Gaelic Ireland

Smith: A Family Story  

Spitler: Who Was James, Son of John of Carnashannagh? 

Tools

Dean McGee's Y-DNA Utility  

Fluxus Engineering's Network

For each Ewing Y-DNA group, there is a "discussion" (a section of this web page) and a "table", which is provided as a pdf file for graphical viewing, downloading, or printing. Choose the discussion or table for the group of interest from the following table.

Discussions: Group 1 2 3 4 5
Tables: (pdf) Group 1 2 3 4 5

Updated November 30, 2008

Ewing Surname Y-DNA Project Group 1

Group 1 is one of the two Ewing Y-DNA Project groups that together comprise the “large, closely related group of Ewings.” All of the men in Groups 1 and 2 have very similar Y-DNA results. These results match so closely that we think these men must have had an ancestor in common who lived about 400 years ago, though we do not know who he was or where he lived. About two thirds of project participants who are in this closely related group have the marker DYS 391 = 11, and they constitute Group 1. The remainder of the men in the closely related group have DYS 391 = 10, and they constitute Group 2.

There is nothing intrinsically special about DYS 391. It is of interest to us only because 1/3 of the men in this closely related group have it and 2/3 of them do not. Because of this, we think it represents an early branching in the tree of this family.

In the Group 1 Results Table, mutations are shaded with respect to the Ewing modal haplotype in the first row.

All the men in Groups 1 and 2 have haplotypes characteristic of M222+, and though only two men in Group 1 (DN and JC) and one man in Group 2 (JN) have been tested for M222, we are confident that all of the men in both of these groups are M222+. M222+ is the SNP that defines the haplogroup once known as R1b1c7, but the name of that was changed earlier this year to R1b1b2e and more recently to R1b1b2a1b5, and “most” recently to R1b1b2a1b6b. These changes result from the discovery of upstream SNPs that do not really change anything but the naming scheme, but you can see that this has gotten completely out of hand. By any name, this is the same as the Uí Neill modal haplotype. We are resolved just to start calling it M222+.

Project participants in Group 1 that are known on the basis of their conventional genealogies to be related to one another have been broken out into subgroups designated with lower case letters: 1a, 1b, etc. Those in the group who do not know their genealogical connection with any of the others have been put in subgroup 1* ("one star").

Subgroup Descriptions

  • Group 1a consists of the descendants of John Ewing of Carnashannagh, Parish of Fahan, county Donegal, Ireland, whose lineage appears in Chapter 11 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". There is a very detailed Ewing Genealogy Documentation (EGD) Project genealogy of this kindred posted on our website.
  • The seven men in this group who have the marker YCA IIb = 22 (are all descended from Pocahontas James Ewing b1722. An argument could be made that there is insufficient conventional genealogic evidence that Pocahontas James is in fact the son of John Ewing of Carnashannagh, and that his descendants who are included in this Group should be broken out into their own Group, but the Y-DNA evidence is consistent with there having been a mutation to this value in Pocahontas James himself, so it is certainly not impossible that he is the son of John of Carnashannagh, as many think. Y-DNA evidence alone cannot answer this question.
  • Three of the four men in this group with DYS 576 = 19 (RB, GW and RL) are descendants of John Ewing of Carnashannagh’s grandson, John b1754, m. Alice Caswell, and we can pretty well conclude that John b1754 had this mutation himself. LE also has DYS 576 = 19, and so does one man in Group 1b (DN) and one in Group 1* (RA). We do not know RA’s conventional genealogy back far enough to rule out that he is descended from John b1754 somehow, or that he might be related to DN, but it is rather clear that the lines leading to DN and LE had so-called parallel mutations to DYS 576 = 19, which means that they occurred independently and by coincidence, and that they do not have this marker because they inherited it from an ancestor in common with the descendants of John b1754 or one another. As it happens, DYS 576 is the third most rapidly mutating marker in the FTDNA 37-marker panel, and we see quite a few parallel mutations in this marker. We certainly cannot discount it completely, but we should hesitate to hang our hats on it.
  • EG2 has three markers not shared with the others in Group 1a and is genetic distance six from RL and genetic distance five from some of the other men. This raises some question about whether there might be a mistake in his conventional genealogy that resulted in us placing him in this group, but it is certainly not proof that he does not belong here. Interestingly, EG2 shares two off-modal markers (DYS 437 = 14 and DYS 576 = 17) with WC in Group 1c. This should make us wonder whether either he belongs over in Group 1c or if Group 1c is not somehow connected to EG2’s branch of the tree in Group 1a.
  • Group 1b consists of the descendants of James Ewing of Inch Island in Lough Swilly, county Donegal, Ireland, whose lineage appears in Chapter 41 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America", and elsewhere in Fife. There is a very detailed Ewing Genealogy Documentation (EGD) Project genealogy of this kindred posted on our website.
    • GR and HW are further from the Ewing modal haplotype at genetic distance three and four, respectively, and they are genetic distance four from one another (two steps at each of two markers). Based on their conventional genealogy, GR and HW are thought to be fourth cousins (see the Group 1b Relationship Diagram). If we assume an average mutation rate of .004, fourth cousins are most likely to be at genetic distance one from one another (exactly one 33.7% of the time), and 93.7% of the time they will be genetic distance 3 or less from one another. Of course, this means that 6.3% of the time they are genetic distance 4 or more, so what we have here is not impossible, just unusual.
    • Even more striking is the fact that GR and HB, who are thought to be sixth cousins, are genetic distance seven from one another. This is not impossible, but even assuming a fairly rapid average mutation rate of .004, over sixty-five percent of the time sixth cousins would be at genetic distance of two or less, and they would be at seven or more in only a little over a half a percent of cases. Again, what we see here is not impossible, but it is very unusual. See the discussion in Y-DNA Article 9, which is posted elsewhere on this website.
    • Also problematic is that GR has DYS 391 = 10, which is our criterion for including men in Group 2, but his conventional genealogy places him in Group 1b. Our working hypothesis is that there was a parallel mutation to DYS 391 = 10 in his line, but we have to consider also that there may be a mistake in his conventional genealogy. Again, while we can raise questions with the Y-DNA results, we usually cannot answer them without conventional genealogy.
    • As was mentioned in the second bullet under Group 1* below, HB has the unusual marker DYS 390 = 26, which is shared by three of the men in Group 1*. It is possible that some or all of them belong in his line, or that the four of them belong in another. The Y-DNA evidence strongly suggests that at least TF and DL are close relatives of HB.
    • Notice that DN has DYS 576 = 19, as was discussed in the second bullet under Group 1a above. Unless DN has a serious mistake in his genealogy, this must have been due to a parallel mutation in his line.
    • I do not want to beat a dead horse, but notice that both SR and HB have DYS 570 = 18. James of Inch cannot have had this, because none of his other tested descendants have it. This means they have been parallel mutations at this marker in their respective lines.
  • Group 1c consists of the descendants of James Ewing m. Maria Shellenberger, whose line appears in Chapter 37 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". He is thought to have been born in 1720-25 or so, perhaps in Pennsylvania, married in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, had most of his children in Washington County, Maryland and finally settled in Wayne County, Ohio sometime after 1805.
    • DC is the son of SC, and though we only have 12-marker data on him, he is all but certain to have exactly the same haplotype as his father.
    • WC is the brother of Jill Ewing Spitler, who has been banging her head against the brick wall of James Ewing m. Maria Shellenberger for many years. She has had the idea that perhaps it was this James who was the son of John Ewing of Carnashannagh, rather than Pocahontas James. The Y-DNA evidence is largely silent on this, but it is true that the men in this group are not systematically distinguishable from the men in Group 1a on the basis of their Y-DNA. Of course, the same thing can be said for all of the men in Group 1. You can read about Jill’s ideas in her article that appeared in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Clan Ewing (Vol. 14, No. 4). Jill should also have a look at EG2’s line in Group 1a—her brother shares a couple of off-modal markers with him.
  • Group 1d consists of three descendants of Joshua Ewing b1793 in Kentucky and d1846 in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. On the Group 1d Relationship Diagram we have also shown the lineage of DF from Group 1*, because his Y-DNA results bear some resemblance to a couple of the men in this group, most especially WE3, with whom DF shares the marker DYS 456 = 17.
    • DC is the son of SC, and though we only have 12-marker data on him, he is all but certain to have exactly the same haplotype as his father.
  • Group 1e consists of two men named Ewin, who are both known on the basis of their conventional genealogy to be descendants of William Ewing b. ca1750 maybe in county Sligo, Ireland.
  • Group 1* consists of men whose Y-DNA results do not differ significantly from the others in Group 1, but we do not know their conventional genealogic connection with the others.
    • FLH and CHY are men whose surnames are Hodges and Young, respectively, but though they do not know their conventional genealogic connection with any Ewings, their Y-DNA results are so characteristic of Ewings that it is certain that they each had biological paternal-line ancestors who were Ewings. Both of them have family stories lending additional credence to this idea. See Y-DNA Article 16 for some discussion of this.
    • MS, TF and DL all have the unusual value DYS 390 = 26, which they share with HB in Group 1b. It appears very likely that TF and DL are close relatives with HB and it is at least possible that MS is, as well, but we have not been able to prove this with conventional genealogy.
    • CA is descended from James Ewing (1755-1806), the subject of Chapter 9 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America".

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 Updated November 30, 2008

Ewing Surname Y-DNA Project Group 2

Group 2 is one of the two Ewing Y-DNA Project groups that together comprise the “large, closely related group of Ewings.” All of the men in Groups 1 and 2 have very similar Y-DNA results. These results match so closely that we think these men must have had an ancestor in common who lived about 400 years ago, though we do not know who he was or where he lived. About two thirds of project participants who are in this closely related group have the marker DYS 391 = 11, and they constitute Group 1. The remainder of the men in the closely related group have DYS 391 = 10, and they constitute Group 2.\

There is nothing intrinsically special about DYS 391. It is of interest to us only because 1/3 of the men in this closely related group have it and 2/3 of them do not. Because of this, we think it represents an early branching in the tree of this family.

In the Group 2 Results Table, mutations are shaded with respect to the Ewing modal haplotype in the first row.

All the men in Groups 1 and 2 have haplotypes characteristic of M222+, and though only two men in Group 1 (DN and JC) and one man in Group 2 (JN) have been tested for M222, we are confident that all of the men in both of these groups are M222+. M222+ is the SNP that defines the haplogroup once known as R1b1c7, but the name of that was changed earlier this year to R1b1b2e and more recently to R1b1b2a1b5, and “most” recently to R1b1b2a1b6b. These changes result from the discovery of upstream SNPs that do not really change anything but the naming scheme, but you can see that this has gotten completely out of hand. By any name, this is the same as the Uí Neill modal haplotype. We are resolved just to start calling it M222+.

 

Project participants in Group 2 who are known on the basis of their conventional genealogies to be related to one another have been broken out into subgroups designated with lower case letters: 2a, 2b, etc. Those in the group who do not know their genealogical connection with any of the others have been put in subgroup 2* ("two star").

Subgroup Descriptions

  • Group 2a consists of the descendants of Nathaniel Ewing b1693 and his half siblings. Notice that all seven of the men in Group 2a have CDYa = 35.

    The situation with CDYb is rather confusing. (The remaining part of this paragraph will be boring to all except those interested in the details of thinking about DNA. Please feel free to skip it if you don't fall into this category.) This discussion will be easier to follow if you will print out the Group 2a Relationship Diagram and the Group 2 Results Tables. The CDY markers are the most quickly mutating of those in the 37-marker panel and they can drive you crazy. Even so, we still expect a mutation in one of them only once every 14 generations, so they have value in trying to trace family lines over the relatively short term. All seven men have CDYa = 35, so we can conclude with some confidence that their common ancestor, “William?,” also would have had this. And since JN, DG and TW2 all have CDYb = 37, we would think that their common ancestor would have this, too. But this is "William?" again, and if he had CDYb = 37, then we also would expect WR, WW, TNS and JW to have it, but they don’t. In fact, WR, WW and TNS have the Ewing modal value at that marker, CDYb = 38, and JW has CDYb = 36. We could try to explain this by arguing that there were parallel mutations in the lines leading to JN and DG/TW2, so that “William?” actually had the Ewing modal CDYb = 38, JN and one of the three common ancestors of DG and TW2 had independent, coincidental mutations to CDYb = 37, and that the line leading to JW had another independent two-step mutation to CDYb = 36 (or two one-step mutations, first to 37, then to 36). But this seems rather implausible, because we need to argue that four independent mutations took place (or one two-step plus two one-step mutations) in a relatively small number of generations. A more parsimonious explanation is that “William?” and his son, Joshua did have CDYb = 37, but that there was a back mutation to the Ewing modal CDYb = 38 in the line leading to WR, WW and TNS, and there was an additional one step mutation from CDYb = 37 to CDYb = 36 in the line leading to JW. Since Samuel b1740 is the most recent common ancestor of WR, WW and TNS, we should think that the CDYb = 38 back mutation occurred in him or before. But the next generation before him is Joshua, and we think he had CDYb = 37, so we conclude that the back mutation must have occurred in Samuel b1740. This can explain the observed pattern by adducing only two independent one-step mutations, which is still improbable, but not nearly so improbable as the first alternative. It looks like ME2 in Group 2* (with CYDa/b = 36/37) could also belong to this kindred, but we have not made a conventional genealogical connection, yet.

    The name of their father is not known with certainty, but as Margaret Ewing Fife recounts on page 186 of Chapter 24 of her book "Ewing in Early America", Nathaniel Ewing b1772, one of the great grandsons of the progenitor of this line, wrote of his great grandfather in a letter just prior to his death in 1846, “I believe his name was William Ewing.”  Because of this, we have been calling this man “I believe his name was William,” or for short, “William?.” Furthermore, the names of William?’s wives are also not known, notwithstanding that there has been some speculation on uncertain grounds. In the Group 2a Relationship Diagram, we have stuck in names for these women that have no documentary support as far as we can tell, but have tried to flag the uncertainty with question marks. William? is supposed to have had seven sons:
    • Nathaniel b1693, who is the subject of Chapter 24 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America" , is the only son by William? and his first wife. So far, JN is the only project participant known to be descended from Nathaniel.
    • John b1695 is the subject of Chapter 31 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America", and is supposed by Fife to be William?’s son by his second wife, but there is at minimum some confusion about which of a number of contemporaneous John Ewings in the general area we are talking about, here. The only two men in the project who trace their lineage to this man (PT and RL2) are in Group 4c and are plainly not biological close relatives of William? Further, on page 188 of Chapter 24 in her book "Ewing in Early America", Fife says:

      “John Ewing ‘age about 55 in 1745’ (Q.A. 2:299) Deposition taken in Queen Annes Co., MD-1745. He died there in 1751 without a will. His children’s names and ages are in the settlement of his estate. I believe his age is in error and he was half-brother to Nathaniel [See Chapter 31 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America"]. He, too, lived in Sadsbury twp. Lancaster Co., PA 1738-40.”

    • If Fife is mistaken and the age given in this deposition is correct, then this John was born before Nathaniel, and so is unlikely to be William?’s son by his second wife, but it is not at all unreasonable to speculate that he was the son of William?’s second wife by a previous relationship and that William? may have adopted him when he married her. You can find some discussion of these issues in Y-DNA Article 10.
    • William b1700 and George, the second and sixth sons of William? and his second wife, are covered in Chapters 27 and 19 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America", respectively. So far, we do not have any project participants thought to be descended from either of these sons.
    • Joshua (c1704-), the third son of William? and his second wife, is the subject of Chapter 25 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". Four project participants trace their ancestry Joshua; their Y-DNA results are consistent with their conventional genealogies.
    • Samuel (c1705-1758), the fourth son of William? and his second wife, is the subject of Chapter 26 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". Some of the recent ancestors of project participant JD appear in this chapter, but his Y-DNA is completely different from the other descendants of William?. There must be a mistake in Fife, but we are not certain at what generation it occurs. As with PT and RL2, we have shown the Y-DNA results of JD in the Group 2 Results Table only for the sake of comparison in connection with this discussion, because he plainly does not otherwise belong in this Group.
    • James (c1712-), the fifth son of William? and his second wife, is the subject of Chapter 28 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". Two project participants trace their ancestry James; their Y-DNA results are consistent with their conventional genealogies.
  • Group 2b [Karen Avery’s Group based on Alexander b1732] RC and EN are known on the basis of their conventional genealogies to be third cousins of one another, but their connection with the others in this table is not known. WE and JC2 are both descended from Henry Ewing b1740 in county Tyrone, Ireland, and Karen Avery believes that AL is also descended from this man, but this is not proven. RF’s results raise the possibility that he and AL are related, but we do not have conventional genealogy establishing this.
  • Group 2c consists of the descendants of William Ewing (1768-). This is the ancestor of Margaret Ewing Fife and appears in several chapters of her book "Ewing in Early America", including especially Chapters 34, 38 and 43. We have two descendants of this man in the project so far, and we have included Margaret on the Group 2c Relationship Diagram for interest. She thought that this William was the great grandson of James Ewing of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, but the Y-DNA results of the two project participants descended from William b1768 bear no resemblance to those of the three other project participants thought to be descended from James Ewing of Hunterdon County, who appear in Group 4d.
  • Group 2d consists of men thought by Karen Avery to be descended from Henry Ewing (1740-). Project participant AL is descended from one of his sons, William Ewing b1762, who is the subject of Chapter 21 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America".
  • Group 2* consists of men whose Y-DNA results do not differ significantly from the others in Group 2, but we do not know their conventional genealogic connection with the others.
  • TG is an especially interesting case. He is descended from the Alexander Ewing who appears in Chapter 23 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". On page 172 in the first paragraph of the chapter, Fife says that this Alexander Ewing is "called by some 'cousin' to Nathaniel" (the eldest son of "William?" and the ancestor of project participant JN in Group 2a). Can this be true? If so, then "William?" and Alexander's father, Robert b. c1654, were brothers (who some to believe to be sons of the semi-legendary William of Stirling). Perhaps disappointingly, the DNA evidence supports a fairly strong argument against this hypothesis, though it does not conclusively disprove it.

    In the discussion above, I explained why we believe that "William?" had to have had CDYa/b = 35/37. TG has rather CYDa/b = 37/38, which matches the Ewing modal. Furthermore, he has four other markers that do not match those of any of the descendants of "William?" We have seen other lines where four mutations have occurred in this many generations, so it is not impossible that there were that many here, but the CDYa/b markers present a special problem. If "William?" and Robert were brothers, they should have had the same markers. Since Robert's descendant TG has the Ewing modal CDYa/b = 37/38, our first guess should be that Robert and his father had this as well. But we just showed that "William?" most likely had CDYa/b = 35/37. Do we want to argue that he had a three-step mutation? This is not impossible, but is very implausible. And if we argue that Robert actually had CDYa/b = 35/37 like "William?," then we have to explain the rather unlikely scenario of three steps of CDYa/b back mutations on the way down to TG somewhere, not to mention four independent mutations on other markers.

     

  • JT is another interesting case, because his ancestors never immigrated to America. He was born in England, but his father and grandfather were born in Belfast. He thinks his second great grandfather lived near Lurgan, county Armagh, in Ulster, now Northern Ireland, presumably descended from folks who emigrated from Scotland during the time of the plantations. They were in Ireland for a few generations, and then immigrated to England rather than to America. The fact that JT is in Group 2 suggests that he is descended from the same family of Ewing immigrants to Ireland that gave rise to some of the families that later immigrated to America, though he does not appear to be descended from the William?, who is the common ancestor of the men in Group 2a.

Members of Other Groups shown in the Group 2 Results Tables.

  • GR has conventional genealogy linking him to James of Inch and so is in Group 1b, but since he has DYS 391 = 10, we have also put his haplotype here for the sake of comparison. Our current working hypothesis is that he inherited DYS 391 = 10 on the basis of a parallel mutation at this marker, and so does not belong in Group 2 even though he has it.
  • PT and RL2 are members of Group 4c, who are discussed above under Group 2a in the section on John b1695.
  • JD is in Group 5b and is discussed above under Group 2a in the section on Samuel (c1705-1758).

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 Updated January 11, 2008

Ewing Surname Y-DNA Project Group 3

Group 3: In the Group 3 Results Table, mutations are shaded with respect to the Ewing modal haplotype in the first row. Like the project participants in Groups 1 and 2, the participants in Group 3 are M222+, but they are too far from the Ewing modal haplotype to be related to them within a genealogical timeframe.

It is rather interesting that all four of these M222+ men have the marker DYS456 = 16, which not only does not match the Ewing modal, it also does not match either the M222+ or the McLaughlin modals, but it is hard to know what to make of this.

So far, Group 3 consists of two pairs of known relatives and one man not closely related to either. Just to give a general sense of the degree of relatedness, consider that the men in Groups 1 and 2 had a common ancestor on the order of 400 years ago, but their most recent common ancestor with the men in Group 3 probably lived more like 1500 years ago. The two pairs of known relatives in Group 3 have common ancestors more recently, but the common ancestor of all the men in Group 3 is also something like 1500 years ago—that is, the common ancestor of all the men in Groups 1, 2 and 3 is just the common ancestor of all the men with the M222+ SNP. Except for the two pairs of known relatives, the men in Group 3 are distant relatives of one another and of the men in Groups 1 and 2, whereas the men in Groups 1 and 2 are relatively closely related to one another.

Subgroup Descriptions

  • Group 3a consists of the descendants of Jacob Ewing (1783-1851), whose lineage does not appear in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". He may have been born in Maryland. The earliest civil record that has been found is the record of his marriage to Susannah Ebaugh in 1812 in Baltimore County, Maryland, and they appear in the census records there from 1820-1850. His surname is ordinarily shown as Ewen, but his sons gradually changed the spelling to Ewing. In one record, a granddaughter referred to him as William J. Ewing. Family tradition states that his father was James Ewing, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, who died when Jacob was a small boy, and that Jacob served in the War of 1812, but no proof of these traditions has ever been found. Jacob and Susannah raised eight children in Maryland, sometimes very near to the Pennsylvania state line. The children were Margaret Armacost, Henry E. Ewing, George E. Ewing, John E. Ewing, Zachariah E. Ewing, Jeremiah E. Ewing, Mary Eva Debaugh and William Jacob Ewing, with birth dates ranging from circa 1813 to 1831, and with their residences mainly in Maryland, Ohio and Kansas.
  • Group 3b consists of EL, a descendant of Robert Ewing (c1740-?), and RA2, who is a very close Y-DNA match of ELEL joined the project and persuaded RA2 to do so because he suspected a relationship based on the fact that their ancestors were living as neighbors in Ohio and Illinois from the 1790’s until at least 1857, and a number of unusual given names were the same in both families. It is also of considerable interest that though these men do not appear to be biologically related to other Ewings in the project, they are very close matches for a group of McLaughlins from the same part of Donegal to which many Ewings immigrated from Scotland before coming to the USA. It will probably be impossible to find records proving anything, but we consider it likely that one of their common ancestors was a McLaughlin whose son somehow ended up with the Ewing surname.
  • Group 3* ("3 star") so far has no members, but will consist of M222+ men who are not closely related to the men in Groups 3a and 3.

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 Updated November, 2008

Ewing Surname Y-DNA Project Group 4

Group 4 consists of project participants who are in Haplogroup R1b1b2, but not in the M222+ subclade. Their common ancestor with the men in Groups 1, 2 and 3 and (except for some related clusters of men) with one another probably lived something like 6000 years ago in continental Europe. Haplogroup R1b1b2 is a subset of R1b. A modal haplotype of R1b1b2 has been prepared and is called the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH).

We should actually probably speak rather of the “Super Atlantic Modal Haplotype,” because the early publications about the AMH were based on only a few markers—I think it was eight—and often times you will see the 37-marker modal distinguished from the 8-marker modal by calling it “Super.”

In the Group 4 Results Tables mutations are shaded with respect to the AMH. Several other modal haplotypes are also compared with the AMH, including the Irish type III modal, the M222+ modal, the Ewing modal and the R1bSTR43-Scots modal.

Project participants in Group 4 that are known on the basis of their conventional genealogies to be related to one another have been broken out into subgroups designated with lower case letters: 4a, 4b, etc. Those in the group who do not know their genealogical connection with any of the others have been put in subgroup 4* ("4 star"), except that we have stretched our group naming convention a bit by including some men whose genetic similarity is too close to ignore into subgroups with men with whom they are not actually known to be related.

Subgroup Descriptions

  • Group 4a is a cluster of six men in Haplogroup R1b1b2 that appear closely related to one another based on their DNA results. The men in this cluster are not related to any of the other men in the project in a genealogical time frame.
    • Three of them have conventional genealogy documenting their descent from William Ewing b. c1730 and d. 1774 in Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, whose line does not appear in Fife.
    • The conventional genealogical relationships of the remaining three is not known, but they form a genetic cluster suggesting that they may have a relatively recent common ancestor.
  • Group 4b consists of a cluster of men who are thought to fall within McEwan’s R1bSTR43-Scots cluster. Steve Colson has identified a subset of this cluster he believes to have originated among the Brythonic Celts of Strathclyde. See his interesting article in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of Clan Ewing.
    • SL and ME, are known third cousins, descended from Charles Alonzo Ewing (1836-1877) of Illinois, m. Mary Funkhouser.
    • PA is not known to be related to SL and ME, but has a very similar DNA pattern. PA lives in Scotland. His earliest known ancestors come from around Glasgow and never immigrated to America.
    • McE is the only McEwen (pay attention to the vowels—we do have a McEwan, too) in the project so far. Although he seems to fall in the R1bSTR43-Scots cluster, I think he does not fall into the subset of that discussed by Steve Colson. Though McE is more closely related to the men in Group 4b than he is to the others in the project, he is almost certainly not related to them in a genealogic time frame.
  • Group 4c consists of two men who believed themselves to be descended from John Ewing b1695, one of the sons of William?, the progenitor of Group 2a. RL2 and PT are known to be sixth cousins of one another and their DNA results are entirely consistent with that, but Fife thinks John Ewing b1695 was one of the sons of William? and the DNA of RL2 and PT is nothing like the DNA of the other descendants of William?, so there must be a mistake somewhere.
  • Group 4d consists of the descendants of James Ewing of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, who is the subject of Fife, Ch 7 and 13. JR is descended from John Ewing b. ca1739, one of the grandsons of this man, through Thomas b1782 who appears on Fife p359. Fife thought that her ancestor William b. ca1768 (he and his descendants are discussed at length in her Chapters 34, 38 and 43) was the older brother of Thomas b1782, also the son of John b. ca1739, but the Y-DNA evidence has shown that this cannot be so.  Project participants who are the descendants of William b. ca1768 have Y-DNA completely unlike those in 4d, and they appear in Group 2c.

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 Updated January 3, 2009

Ewing Surname Y-DNA Project Group 5

Group 5 consists of project participants who are not in Haplogroup R. So far, they are all in Haplogroup I, though there is a question about DR2, our newest participant. The common ancestor of men in Haplogroup I with the men in Groups 1 through 4 lived something like 40,000 years ago in Asia minor. Haplogroup I is probably the oldest haplogroup in Europe, and it is more diverse than the larger Haplogroup R1b. The most recent common ancestor of Groups 5a and 5b may have lived something like 30,000 years ago. In the Group 5 Results Tables mutations are shaded with respect to the Group 5a modal.

Project participants in Group 5 that are known on the basis of their conventional genealogies to be related to one another have been broken out into subgroups designated with lower case letters: 5a, 5b, etc. We will probably eventually have members of this group who do not know their genealogical connection with any of the others, and they will be put in subgroup 5* ("5 star").

Subgroup Descriptions

  • Group 5a consists of men descended from William Ewing of Rockingham County, Virginia (c1696-1794), whose lineage appears in Chapter 32 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America". Two of them are surnamed Ewin, but they know which of their ancestors changed his name from Ewing. This group has haplotypes quite different from the others in the project. WM was the first member of this group and thought he must be descended from an adopted son of his ancestor—but then HN turned up as an almost perfect match!

    WM has prepared The ANDY Tribe, a humorous video skit about his reaction to the results. Lots of information in his skit has been superseded, but the only important mistake is him joking about not being a "real" Ewing. We are all Ewings and no Ewing is any more "real" than any other. [The link The ANDY Tribe leads to a large 115 MB MPEG file. It may take a while for this file to open and run on your machine. And the link sometimes appears to be 'broken;' nothing appears to happen when you click on the link. An alternative to opening the file over the Internet is to download the file to your machine and run it directly. Under IE, you can download the file by right-clicking on the link, choosing the Save Target As option, and identifying your desktop, or some folder, as the place where the downloaded file should be saved on your machine. If all else fails, contact the Web Master Martin Ewing (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and ask him to send you a copy of the file via EMail.]

    Another surprise was that FTDNA had predicted that WM was in Haplogroup G2, a rather rare type in Great Britain. We have subsequently had SNP testing of all three of these men and they have been found to be M170+, confirming their membership in Haplogroup I, which is found at a frequency second only to Haplogroup R1b in Great Britain. More recently, HN and WM upgraded to the 67-marker panel and discovered that they had a null value at DYS 425, which is to say that DYS 425 did not show up at all on the assay.

    This is thought to result from an SNP in the primer region of DYS 425 that renders it undetectable in the assay. By coincidence, this is the SNP that defines I2b1a1. There is really very little doubt that this is the case for our Group 9 men, but to confirm it unequivocally, one of them would have to order deep clade testing for this specific SNP.

    This is a finding that has been associated with men in haplogroup I2b1a1. We think that this haplogroup has been in Britain for a very long time, perhaps long antedating the R1b haplogroup and certainly antedating any Celtic incursions into Britain. Some have suggested that the makers of Stonehenge may have been members of this haplogroup. Genealogy, it is not, but I find this sort of stuff really fascinating.
  • Group 5b consists of lonesome old JD, who we probably should have relegated to Group 5*, except that he matches Ewan exactly at all 12 markers that Ewan was tested for. We cannot hang our hats on 12 markers, and we do not have lineage information on Ewan, but this is a provocative clue, and we thought it would be interesting to display his data alongside JD’s. JD has traced his conventional genealogy to James D. Ewing b1773, who appears on page 220 of Chapter 26 in Fife's "Ewing in Early America", the subject of which is Samuel Ewing (c1705-1758), one of the sons of William?, the progenitor of Group 2a. But JD's DNA results are nothing like the men in Group 2a, so there has been a mistake somewhere.
  • Group 5* as yet has no members, though perhaps DR2 will end up in this subgroup. Family Tree DNA has predicted that he will be in Haplogroup G, but we have been down that road before—see the discussion at Group 5a, above.

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Purpose

The purpose of this project is to explore how genetics can help elucidate the genealogy of the Ewing families of Scotland, Ulster, America and the world. Most of our participants so far are American, but we welcome the participation of Ewings everywhere.  We are especially interested to have the participation of Ewings from Ireland and Scotland who know their genealogies back to 1700 or before, because we think this can help us trace the deep origins of many Ewing families. Already we have participants from Canada, Scotland, England and New Zealand--where are you Ireland and Australia? We also hope to understand better what the relationship may be between Ewing, Ewen and McEwan in any of their variant spellings. Analysis of Y-DNA samples from men who have well-documented conventional genealogies will allow us to solve some thorny old genealogical puzzles about the relationships among many different Ewing lines. Genetic genealogy will never replace conventional genealogy, but it is a useful tool for determining what line to focus on for conventional research, and it will sometimes help a genealogist break through a maddeningly tenacious genealogical brick wall.

Group Administrator

The project's group administrator is David Neal Ewing, who is primarily responsible for the content of this web site. Neither Dr. Ewing nor the Ewing Family Association benefit financially in any way from the DNA project and all the work you see here was done by volunteers. DNA testing costs money, but project participants purchase this testing directly from testing laboratories, mainly from Family Tree DNA, the vendor that hosts our project. Neither Dr. Ewing nor the Ewing Family Association have any financial interest in Family Tree DNA. We welcome feedback and suggestions, and we would really welcome volunteers who would like to help with the project and web site. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call +1.505.764.8704 weekends or evenings before 9 PM Mountain Time.

Results

The project now has over two hundred participants. We have concluded based on the results of DNA testing that about two thirds of these men are probably related to one another within a genealogical time frame. In addition to the large cluster, there are some smaller clusters of related men. For the sake of discussion, we have divided the participants into Groups, which are comprised as explained in Results Introduction. Group Relationship Diagrams have been prepared to show conventional genealogical relationships between those participants we know to be related on conventional grounds. Finally, Lineage Charts have been supplied by most project participants and are posted on the web site. We urge first time users of the web site to have a look at the Y-DNA Project Help page to understand how the results pages are organized. Experienced researchers who are interested in our Raw Data can download an Excel file of the results. Check the menu in the left column of the Y-DNA pages for further options.

Resources

For those interested in learning more about DNA testing for genealogical purposes in general or about the rationale and implications of the Ewing Project in particular, a number of resources are available. Project coordinator David Neal Ewing has written a series of Y-DNA Project Articles, which were published in the Journal of Clan Ewing and its successor, the Journal of the Ewing Family Association, and are posted on this web site. A number of related articles have been commissioned by the project and are also posted on the Y-DNA Project Articles page. Links to pertinent articles in the scientific literature are also offered, as are links to a number of other web sites and on-line resources about genetic genealogy and anthropological genetics. Finally, a number of Tools useful for working with genetic data are discussed and links for finding them are offered in the About Resources page.

Should I join?

Please see the page Join the Project? for more details on who should consider joining the Y-DNA project and how to proceed.

Who can join?

The Ewing Y-DNA project is for direct paternal line descendants of men named Ewing or any of a large number of variants, including Ewan, Ewen, Ewin, McEwan. Women or men who may have descended from a Ewing woman will not have Ewing Y-DNA. Ewing women and maternal line descendants of Ewings are welcome to join the project, but they will need to find a male relative with the Ewing surname to submit a sample for them.

Who should not join?

We generally do not recommend that two very close relatives both be tested. Partly, this is because their results are practically certain to be identical, and any small difference they may have is not going to shed any light with respect to the larger purposes of the project. Another reason is that there is always a small chance that two men who believe themselves to be closely related will turn out not to be related, and this can create a lot of embarrassment and hard feelings. By 'very close relatives,' we mean first cousins or closer, but you should define this with your own family’s sensitivities taken into account.

What test should you order?

For most project participants, we recommend starting with the 37-marker test at $149. The less expensive 12-marker test can rule out a relationship with the Ewings we have tested, but to establish a relationship or to get interesting sub-branch information, you will need at least 37-marker data. We recommend that participants start with the 37-marker test and then, based on the results of that, discuss with the group administrator what upgrades are most likely to provide more information. Please feel free to email the project group administrator with questions about this at DavidEwing93 at gmail dot com.

How is the DNA sample collected and processed?

A collection kit will be mailed to you directly from Family Tree DNA. You will collect DNA by rubbing a swab against the inside of your cheek. (To see an amusing demonstration of how that is done, go to Dave Dorsey’s web site.) You will return the sample to Family Tree DNA for processing, which usually takes about six weeks.

How to Join

Go to our Join Page (at FamilyTreeDNA.org) and fill out the form. Choose Y-DNA37 from the “Type of Test” pull-down menu. If you have any trouble with this or have questions, email the group administrator, David Ewing, at DavidEwing93 at gmail dot com or telephone him weekends or evenings before 9 PM Mountain Time at +1.505.764.8704.

For each participant in the Ewing Y-DNA project, we ask for as much "conventional" genealogical data as available.  The following are the available lineages, given for each participant, according to their identification code.  If you click on the identification, a pdf lineage file will be shown.

A-E

AD AL AS BE BJ CA CA2 CE CJ DC
DC2 DF DG DG3 DH DJ DL DL2 DN DP
DR DR2 DS DT EF EG EG2 EL EN EW

F-L

FE FI FLH GR GW HB HD HM HM2 HN
HW JC JC2 JC3 JC4 JC5 JD JD2 JE JF
JG JH JL JL2 JM JM2 JM3 JN JP JR
Js JS JT JW KL LE        

M-S

MA MD ME ME2 MK MS MT PA PA2 PT
RA RA2 RB RB2 RC RD RD2 RE RE2 RF
RI RL RL2 RM RP SA SC SC2 SL SL2
SR ST                

T-Z

TD TF TG TGS TN TNS TW TW2 TW3 VC
WC WC2 WC3 WE WE2 WE3 WK WL WM WP
WR WR2 WR3 WS WW          

Other lineages:

Margaret Evangeline (Ewing) Fife

Contents


About Network Diagrams

We use three types of diagrams to display project results graphically: relationship diagrams, phylogeny diagrams and network diagrams. These can make relationships among the haplotypes of men in the project easier to see, but reading these diagrams can be tricky, and it is worth spending a little time to make sure you know how they are constructed, what information they contain, and how to interpret them.

  • Relationship diagrams are like conventional family descendants charts, except that they show only the male line; these are discussed in Relationship Diagrams.
  • Phylogeny Diagrams look something like relationship diagrams, but they are based on a hypothetical order in which STR changes might have taken place, and they do not coincide exactly with facts we know from conventional genealogies. Some of this stuff is too technical for the beginner — just skip to the Network Diagrams discussion below.
  • Network Diagrams look nothing like the other two kinds of diagram. They display genetic distances in a way that makes it especially easy to see clusters of what are or may be closely related men.

Phylogeny Diagrams

Our phylogeny diagrams were prepared using Microsoft Excel. So far, we have prepared a phylogeny diagram only for those individuals in M222+ (or Ui Niall) haplogroup, which includes only the men in Ewing Groups 1, 2 and 3. Individuals in the diagram are shaded to correspond with their Group membership.

You can read about how Group membership is assigned in the Results Introduction document.

The phylogeny diagram contains all of the information that is displayed in the Results Tables, but it is displayed in a very different way. At the very top of the chart, the box labeled R1b represents the R1b1b1c modal haplotype. The line below that is labeled with the eleven mutations that distinguish this from the M222+ modal haplotype. If you will have a look at the results table on the chart, you can see that each place that the R1b and M222+ modals differ shows up on the line separating these two boxes. Similarly, the line between the M222+ box and the Ewing modal is labeled with the 7 mutations that distinguish the M222+ modal haplotype from the Ewing modal haplotype. Take a look at EL in Group 3b (off to the left of the M222+ box). What this diagram says is that he exactly matches the M222+ haplotype except he has CDYa = 37 and CDYb = 38 (or CDYa/b = 37/38 for short—the two mutations on the line just below the M222+ box, before the line takes off to the left), DYS 456 = 16 (which he shares with all of the other men in Group 3 so far), DYS 447 = 24 and DYS 576 = 17 (which he shares with RA2, the only other man in Group 3b so far), and DYS 464c = 17 (which only he has — this one is shown in red because it is a back mutation and matches the R1b1b1c modal rather than the M222+ modal, see below.) For any participant on the chart, we can see where his haplotype differs from any of those above him on the chart by just working back up the lines connecting him to the men or modals above him.

Back Mutations: Notice that on the line from M222+ to the Ewing modal haplotype, the mutations CDYa/b = 37/38 are shown in red. This signifies that they are 'back mutations,' which means that R1b had these values, they mutated to CDYa/b = 38/39 in the M222+ haplotype, and then they mutated 'back' to CDYa/b = 37/38 in the Ewing modal. Notice also that there are five more mutations below CDYa/b leading to the Ewing modal, but that a line takes off laterally to the branch containing Group 3 before these mutations are shown.

It is rather interesting that all of the M222+ Ewings not in the closely related group of Ewings (which is to say, all of the Ewings in Group 3) share the M222+ off-modal marker DYS 456 = 16, but we do not know what to make of this.

This is because all of the men in Group 3 except HM do share CDYa/b = 37/38 but do not share the other five mutations with the rest of the Ewings. HM has CDYa = 38, which we are interpreting here as a back mutation to the M222+ value.

Parallel Mutations: Notice now that in the vertical line leading down to TD, the mutation DYS 576 = 19 is shown in blue. This signifies that this is a 'parallel mutation.' This means that there are other men in this chart who also have DYS 576 = 19, but they appear in the chart in a way that shows (or more strictly speaking, makes the claim) that they did not inherit it from a common ancestor with TD — the same mutation occurred twice on 'parallel' branches, if you will, by coincidence rather than because of common descent. Indeed, this mutation appears in four different places on the chart, a couple of which have driven us crazy. Look in the first row under the Ewing modal haplotype and just to the left of it. DN in Group 1b differs from the Ewing modal only at DYS 576 = 19, and RB and GW in Group 1a also differ from the Ewing modal only at DYS 576 = 19. Since DN, RB and GW have identical haplotypes, they appear in the same node in network diagrams, which are constructed using only the Y-DNA results. Here, we have put them in separate boxes because conventional genealogy shows that RB and GW are descended from John Ewing of Carnashannagh, who cannot have had DYS 576 = 19 because most of his descendants do not have this, but rather they must have inherited this from John Ewing (born 1754).

See the Group 1a Relationship Diagram to see why this must be so.

But DN is not descended from John Ewing (born 1754), so he must have gotten DYS 576 = 19 from somewhere else; that is, there must have been a parallel mutation by coincidence in the line leading from his ancestor James Ewing of Inch Island.

Two more men on the diagram have DYS 576 = 19:  RA and AL. What we know about the conventional genealogy of RA does not allow us to connect him with any of the known kinship groups in the chart, but he does not have DYS 391 = 10 (which would put him in Group 2), so we have put him in Group 1*. RA is genetic distance two from the Ewing modal haplotype, so we could have just put him on his own branch below the Ewing modal haplotype showing both mutations. Instead, we have put him below DN and RB/GW with dotted lines going to each, signifying that we do not have any evidence preferring one choice or the other, but the fact that he is only genetic distance one from each of these suggests that he might be related to either.

Notice that RA’s other mutation, DYS 390 = 24, also appears in blue, signifying that it is also a parallel mutation, and is shared by JC in Group 1e and TG in Group 2*. We could move RA’s box to show that he inherited this mutation from a common ancestor with either of these men, but this would require adducing some back mutations and other shenanigans that I will leave it to you to figure out.

On the other hand, AL does have DYS 391 = 10, so he is in Group 2. We have assumed that everyone in the project with DYS 391 = 10 has inherited this from a common ancestor,

Except GR in Group 1b, whose conventional genealogy shows him to be descended from James Ewing of Inch, and since the other descendants of James of Inch do not have DYS 391 = 10, we have concluded that he must have had a parallel mutation at this marker. The alternative is to argue that his conventional genealogy is mistaken.

so have put this mutation first in the line leading to all of the men in Group 5. There is no good reason for the order in which the other two mutations leading to AL are shown, DYS 448 = 19 and DYS 576 = 19. We could as easily have put DYS 448 = 19 first, and then stuck in a branch point with one branch labeled DYS 448 = 19 going to AL, and another going to RA. Can you see what labels would have to be on that branch? It would have to have RA’s other mutation, DYS 390 =24, and also a back mutation at DYS 391, from 10 back to 11, the Ewing modal at that marker. DYS 391 is a rather slowly mutating marker, and we would like not to have to make claims about frequent mutations at that marker, especially not back mutations, because the probability that DYS 391 would mutate forward and then back within the number of generations that we are speaking about here is rather low.

Difference Between Phylogeny Diagrams and Relationship Diagrams: Though phylogeny diagrams are a little more like family trees than network diagrams are, there are important differences. One is that we do not have conventional genealogic evidence linking most of the individuals on the diagram, but we show all of them on the same tree anyway. Another is that the vertical distances between individuals on the tree have nothing to do with how many generations separate them, but rather with how many mutations separate them. Indeed, all of the individuals shown on these diagrams are roughly contemporaneous. There are no ancestors shown. Those individuals near the top of the chart that you might think represent ancestors have haplotypes that are closer to what we think the ancestral haplotype was, but this does not mean that they lived closer in time to the ancestors, but rather only that there have been fewer mutations in the line leading from the ancestor to the individuals at the top of the chart than to those at the bottom.

These phylogeny diagrams are not maximum parsimony trees: In biology, phylogeny diagrams are usually constructed by using algorithms designed to make 'maximum parsimony trees.' That is, individual haplotypes are placed on the tree so as to minimize the total number of mutations required to explain the differences among the haplotypes. These diagrams are not like that, because in cases where we have conventional genealogical evidence of a family relationship between two or more men, we have generally forced them to appear on the same branch of the tree even if this requires us to assume more mutations.

We can force an individual haplotype to appear on any branch of the chart by using a suitable combination of parallel and back mutations: If this does not bother you, you are not paying close enough attention. What I am saying here is that we can force the data into virtually any tree structure we like. Take a look at individual GR, who is the rightmost yellow-shaded individual in the chart. Notice that he differs from the Ewing modal at DYS 391 = 10. This mutation is shown on the chart in blue to signify that it is a parallel mutation, or rather that it is our hypothesis that it is a parallel mutation. You may recall that DYS 391 = 10 is what we have used to define Group 2 — the green-shaded individuals on the chart. If we did not have conventional genealogy linking GR to Group 1b, we would have put him in Group 2. Perhaps you can see that if we did that, he would show up in the second row on a new branch, one mutation (DYS 460 = 9) below RC and JM2. That is a more parsimonious solution (because it requires only one DYS 391 = 10 mutation rather than two), but choosing it is the same as arguing that GR is mistaken about his conventional genealogy. Maybe he is. Indeed, the more shenanigans of this kind we have to use to put an individual on the chart where we think they ought to fit, the more likely it is that we are mistaken.

Here is another example. Take a look at Group 2a, which consists of TW2 and all the men below him on the Phylogeny Diagram, and see what we had to do to keep them together. First trace the line from the Ewing modal to TW2. There is nothing unusual in the steps leading to TW2. First, we have DYS 391 mutating from the Ewing modal of 11 to 10, and then CDYa down from 37 to 36, CDYb down from 38 to 37, and then CDYa down another step to 35. TW2 is genetic distance 4 from the Ewing modal, with two steps at CDYa. Now to keep WR and TNS in this group, we had to adduce a back mutation at CDYb from 37 back to 38, and then to show another couple of mutations for TNS, one of them a unique back mutation to the M222+ and R1b modal value of DYS 442 = 12.

It is also really interesting to see that JN and DG also both have back mutations at different markers to the M222+ modal — this makes one wonder if we could construct an alternative tree that had Group 2a branching off before the Ewing modal somewhere — like Group 3. But DYS 19 = 15 unifies the whole closely related Ewing group.

We could also root Group 2a on JW and get rid of the back mutation CDYb = 36, but this does violence to the conventional genealogy. Start with William?, put his mutations in first, then work on down.

Network Diagrams

Our Network Diagrams were prepared using Network, a shareware program from Fluxus Engineering, which is available for free download from their web site. These diagrams include only 37-marker data; project participants that have not been tested for 37-markers do not appear in these diagrams, and only 37 markers are considered for those that have had additional markers tested. Network Diagrams are not family trees and they are not intended to show kinship relationships, but rather show relationships among haplotypes. Now, there is considerable overlap between kinship relationships and relationships between haplotypes, but these are by no means identical.

Circles and Colors: In these diagrams, for example, haplotypes are represented by circles. The size of a circle is proportional to the number of participants who have that exact haplotype. As most participants in our project have unique haplotypes, most of the circles are small and represent just one individual. The largest circle is the one representing the Ewing modal haplotype, because five project participants match the Ewing modal haplotype exactly, so this circle represents five individuals. There are also a couple of circles representing three individuals and some circles representing two individuals. The circles are color-coded to identify which of the Ewing groups each of the project participants in the diagrams belongs to.

You can read about how Group membership is assigned in the Results Introduction document.

In the circles that represent more than one individual, the colors are applied to 'pie slices,' but this is only evident when participants with identical haplotypes are in different groups, as with the Ewing modal haplotype.

Lines: The lengths of the lines connecting these circles are proportional to the genetic distance between the haplotypes represented by the circles. The Network program allows us the option of showing the actual mutations along the lines, but this makes the diagram almost impossibly busy and difficult to read. Please be careful to notice that genetic distance is not represented 'as the crow flies,' but only by the paths along the lines. The orientation of circles and their absolute proximity on the page has no meaning. The only thing that 'counts' is the distance along the lines connecting circles. In many cases, there are alternative pathways connecting two circles, though these are always the same length. The significance of alternative pathways is that they represent alternative orders in which mutations might have occurred.

Details: This is not the place to discuss details of how the Network program makes decisions, but suffice it to say that the program allows users to make many changes in the way Network calculates and displays networks. Anyone interested in the details of this is encouraged to have a look at the Network Users Manual. I have also prepared a simplified, step-by-step set of directions for how I have made the program work for me, which is available below.

Mistakes and Corrections

Mistakes are inevitable. We strive for accuracy, but invariably fall short. If you spot inaccuracies or inconsistencies (or any plain old stupid mistakes), please contact the project at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Corrections are always welcome.

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Creating Network Diagrams

I use Fluxus Engineering's free shareware program, Network, infrequently enough that I have to spend a little time each time I do it figuring out how it works all over again. Today, I made myself a set of directions for displaying Y-DNA STR data in median joining network diagrams, and I thought maybe some of you would find these useful--especially if you haven't used this program before. You can get the program from www.fluxus-engineering.com.

A user guide is available at http://www.fluxus-engineering.com/Network4510_user_guide.pdf.

If you are going to make this work, you need to pay careful attention to file extensions--when you try to open the files you make, the default file type is almost always wrong, which makes it so that you can't find your file unless you change the file type in the "Open" window. Anyhow, maybe these instructions will help you get started with a useful but not very intuitive program. If not, they didn't cost you much.

  1. Prepare an Excel file with participant IDs in the first column and markers in FtDNA order (or use another standard order, but be sure to tell the McGee program what order to use in step 3 below).
  2. Copy the IDs and all the markers, but if you have the marker names in the first row, do not copy those.
  3. Go to http://www.mymcgee.com/tools/yutility.html?mode=ftdna_mode.
  4. Under "Generate Tables" check the box "Generate Fluxus phylogenetic network.ych data" and uncheck all the other boxes except "FTDNA order haplotype comparison."
  5. Under "General Setup" uncheck "Show Status." Depending on whether you want a modal haplotype calculated from your data to appear in your completed network diagram, you can check modal haplotype or not, as you wish. The Network program will treat the modal as if it were another individual.
  1. Paste your Excel data into the "Paste haplotype rows here" field and click "Execute."
  2. A new window will open. scroll to the bottom of the new window, labeled "Fluxus data..." select everything in that window (click in the window somewhere and press Cntrl+A), and then copy and paste it into a text file. I use my Notepad utility for this.
  3. With your text file open, click "Save As." Under "Save as type" choose "All files." Name the file what you wish, followed by .ych. it is crucially important that the file extension be .ych. Save it on your desktop.
  4. Alternatively, if you have this data in a file ending with .txt, you can just change the .txt to .ych but it HAS to be .ych.
  5. Open the Network program. (This is available as a free download from http://www.fluxus-engineering.com/.)
  1. Click on "Calculate Network" then "Network Calculations" then "Median Joining".
  2. in the new window, click on "File," then "Open," and then in the "File Type" pull-down menu, choose "Y-chromosomal data file (*.ych).
  3. Navigate to the .ych file you made with your plain text program and click open.
  4. It won't look as though anything has happened, but click on "Calculate network" again and you will see some action.
  5. A "Save As" window will appear with a default file name the same as your .ych file except with a .out extension. This is a good name to use. Just click "Save."
  1. You will get a message, "File saved successfully. You may proceed to the Draw Network menu to draw your *.out file." Click OK.
  2. A new window will open. Click on "Draw network." Another window will open.
  3. Click on "File," then "Open," and then change the "Files of type" pull-down menu to "MJ or RM out files (*out)." Now select the .out file you made in step 15 above and click "Open." You will get message "Diagram is not adapted to the screen. It will be redrawn." Click OK.
  4. You will get message "The torso has been completed. Do you wish to modify the torso?" Click NO.
  5. A diagram will appear. At this point, you can do a tremendous amount of fooling around. If you click on a line, it will become highlighted and you can click and drag either end of it without changing the length of the line. If you click on a node without first selecting a line, you can move the node but this will change the length of the line. As a rule, you don't want to do this, because the line length is proportional to the genetic distance. If you do something you don't like, click "Undo." I move things around so they are not stacked on top of one another too badly. If you can't get a hold of something, zoom in so that you can see what you are doing better.
  1. When you are done with this preliminary fooling around, click "Finalize" and you can fool around some more.
  2. Now a diagram with node names, "median vectors," and mutated positions appears. Uncheck "Display mutated position" or you won't be able to see anything.
  3. I usually find that changing font size to 10 works best for me. Then right click on a node name (not the node, the name), change font style to "Bold," check "Apply to all taxa" then OK.
  4. Right click on a line, then change the link color to light gray and check both "Apply to all links outside torso" and "Apply to all links within torso."
  5. Double click on a node and it will show you how many individuals are in the node (these will be individuals with identical haplotypes) and will tell you their IDs. In the diagram, each node is labeled only with the ID of the first individual of that haplotype.
  1. Right click on a node and you can change the color of the node or add pie slices and color them how you like.
  2. When you are done fooling around, uncheck "Show median vectors." For my purposes these just clutter up the diagram, but you can't move the nodes around while preserving the line lengths without having these show, so get rid of them last.
  3. If you don't have too many individuals, or if you aren't using too many markers, you might want to click "Display mutated positions" again. This will put the mutations along each link. You can change the color, size and style of type by right clicking on one of the mutation names.
  4. When you are all done, you can print the result from the File menu, but the result is pretty rough to my taste. I have had better luck by making a screen shot jpeg by pushing Alt+PrtScn, and then pasting it into another document (I use PowerPoint, but I suppose lots of different programs would work for this) for cropping and resizing by pushing Ctrl+V.
  5. When you close, Network will ask if you want to save the diagram. It will save your diagram as a .fdi file, but opening it is a little tricky. The first time you open it, your machine won't know which program to use. Tell it to always use Network to open this type of file. Then Network will open to its start screen. Click on "Draw network," then "File," then "Open," then change the "Files of Type" pull-down menu to "Formatted diagrams (*.fdi)" and then you can open your .fdi file.

    Whew! No wonder it took so long to figure out how to do this. Good luck.

    David Ewing

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