Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee – Part Three

jesse montesWe continue the series of reports on Phase II of our Cherokee DNA Project with case histories for the various haplogroups in the study.

Read the full paper
More Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee

Case Histories:  Where There’s Smoke

Non-anomalous Types A-D and X

Of the eleven cases of classic Native American haplotypes, none knew beforehand they had an “approved” type. None belonged to a Federal tribe or lived on on a reservation, although two (Michael Joseph Little Bear, Sr., participant 17, A, and Tino De la Luz Thundereagle, participant 10, D) had Native American names. The majority joined the project just like the others to confirm genealogical rumors or traditions of having an Indian ancestor somewhere in the family tree (usually a distant unknown grandmother). Their primary motive for testing, in other words, was to find the truth, not to qualify for tribal enrollment or benefits. Many came from Latino or Hispanic backgrounds. Among American Hispanic people, at least, Indian ancestry or identifying as indio has historically not been seen as a socially desirable family trait, though a nationwide trend in recent years has witnessed Hispanics using “American Indian” to identify themselves on census forms (Roth 2012; Decker 2011).

The results of the test, according to Jesse Montes, a third generation American (20, C, photo above), were both surprising and galvanizing. “I always had a gut feeling that I was Native American, and it was such a relief to find out I have a strong line of it from my mother. I am usually a very quiet person, but I am so excited about this that I want to be recognized. This is me!” His mitochondrial type had five unique SNPs and fully matched four Puerto Rican matrilines, and no other type in the world. His mother’s maternal grandmother was born in the southern part of Puerto Rico near Ponce. Family traditions mentioned Taino in both his mother’s and father’s lines. “I am hoping to now be able to connect with some of my ancestors online on my mom’s side to discover even more from the Native American DNA test,” said Montes. “It has given me a golden key.” (See interview by Teresa Panther-Yates, September 23, 2014, on DNA Consultants Blog,“Jesse Montes:  Where Do I Come From.”)

Leroy James (25, D) had a rare mitochondrial type that matched the descent of just three people worldwide (HVR1 only), Kitty Prince of Bear River Athabaskans (Mattole), an anonymous Caucasian American (Twygdam 69) and an unknown line in Mitosearch (7MP7K). Katherine Frances-Prince was the wife of James Prince of the Mattole and a member of the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria located south of Eureka, in Loleta, California.

kitty princeNancy Ward Statue

Fig. 3. Kitty Prince in 1921. Native American Indian – Old Photos Facebook Page (public domain photos). Kitty Prince’s DNA (haplotype D) matched that of participant 25.

Fig. 4. Nancy Ward Statue. See Yates (2012) 107. Nancy Ward’s DNA matched that of Patricia Gurule of Denver, Colorado. © D. Ray Smith. Used with permission.


Patricia Gurule (66) was a walk-in client at Denver DNA Center, an affiliate of DNA Consultants. She knew “absolutely nothing” about her heritage before taking an autosomal ancestry test from us and then joining the Cherokee DNA project. Her type of C matched, among several New Mexican , Sonora, Zacateca and Chihuahua lines, the DNA of Nancy Ward, the Cherokee Beloved Woman and Tribal Mother (ca. 1738–1822 or 1824; Mitosearch record 8U6AP and CBC 115669, Allene Gay Kearney; see Yates [2012], Chapter 8, pp. 106-117 on Ward). It also matched Gayl A. Gibson Wilson, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and participant in our pilot project, Southern U.S. Native American DNA. Wilson, who is Wolf Clan, has traced her descent to Sarah Consene, a daughter of Dragging Canoe, born about 1800 in the Cherokee Nation East (see Yates [2012] 48-49, 158). This is evidently an ancient and widespread haplotype in Mexico and the United States, linked in Cherokee genealogies with the Wolf Clan, the traditional clan of war chiefs and most prevalent affiliation of Cherokees since the nineteenth century (Panther-Yates [2013] 4-10). In “Nancy Ward DNA” we have a clear example of exact correspondence between genetic matriline and a historically documented, genealogically proven, tribally specific clan.

Haplogroup H: Thorn in the Side of Theory

Before our studies, haplogroup H had been reported in small frequencies in surveys of the Cherokee but routinely explained as post-Columbian European admixture (Schurr 2000). As noted in “Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages” (2009), it is the quintessential European haplogroup, responsible for about 40% of European populations today (Sykes 2001). If our sample reflected non-native women settling among the Cherokee and not the genetic trace of pre-Columbian founder types, one would expect the H to dominate the scene. Instead, we found H in only 16% of the samples in Phase II and 8% in Phase I. In the CBC data, on the other hand, it occupied the top position with 40%—exactly as we would expect from a cross-section of European Americans.

There were 11 subjects with H in Phase II. These were about equally divided between haplotypes that were unmatched or rare, judged to be possibly ancient Native American on the strength of the matches (5), and haplotypes of very probable recent European origin, several of them in fact corresponding to the CRS (6). All of the latter failed to submit convincing genealogies linking their form of H with descent from a Native American woman. The former (9, 11, 12, 27, 33), on the other hand, invariably had unique, unmatched SNPs (Fig. 1) combined with compelling genealogies. For instance, Joel Kenneth Harris, Sr. (11) had several unique mutations, including the rare 16319A, also occurring in haplogroups D, A and J*. Add these 5 to 3 similar cases of H from Phase I and the true percentage of likely Native American H matrilines project-wide appears to be 6.7%.

James Eric Walker (9) was one of the strong cases. He started family research only in 2010. Born in North Carolina, the 57-year-old, 6-foot-five-inch-tall Walker lives in Mobile, Alabama. “There was a lot of so-called dark stories, as in my Jewish-Cherokee Walker and James lines,” he said. “So my inner drive sent me into the world of paper trail ancestry . . . I found so much sadness with my mother’s side, but the stories were true . . . DNA did in fact put my mother’s line to bed.” In autosomal testing he matched a Native American forensic population labeled Brazilian Belem Amazonians (n=325). His documented and published family tree verifies direct descent from Nancy Beacham, born about 1845 in Virginia, the wife of an emigrant born 1837 in Russia (both died in Mobile).

Mary England (12) had the reference series on sector 1 but a rare mutation in sector 2 that caused her to match only four users in Mitosearch, all of whom reported unknown origins for the type. She traces her maternal line securely to Sally Bingham, born 1833 in Knox County, Kentucky (and tentatively beyond). An intertwined line in her family tree goes back to Hatchet Grey Letty Durham, a reported full blood Cherokee, born in Wilkes County, Georgia, who died September 1, 1843 in Floyd County, Kentucky. Another Cherokee line she has assiduously traced zigzags back to Aaron Brock (Chief Red Bird, born 1727, died February 10, 1787, Clay County, Kentucky.

Beulah David Cane DeFleronBeulah Defleronjames eric walker

Fig. 5. Great-grandmother Beulah David Cane was born March 16, 1878, the daughter of Nancy Beacham, born about 1845 in Virginia.

Fig. 6. Grandmother Beulah Alexandra deFleron (married name Soderquist) was born November 7, 1905 in Mobile, Alabama.

Fig. 7. Participant 9, James Eric Walker, has H ancestry that may be Native American. His grandmother and great-grandmother were known as Seminole-Cherokee.


A third H is Sharon Rebecca Chatterton (nee Toms). Her unique configuration of mutations brings up no one in the Cambridge Mitochondrial Concordance and produces only a very few exact matches in Mitosearch, all from North America (4U6K5, GECV7, Y9UQC). One of her maternal ancestors was a Frazier.


peramelia vaughnchatterton sharon

Fig. 8. Grandmother Peramelia Vaughn was born September 22, 1901, in Coffee County, Tennessee. After marriage she went by Amelia Vaughn Street. She died October 7, 1987 in San Pablo, Calif.

Fig. 9. 68-year-old Sharon R. Chatterton, participant 27, of Lady Lake, Florida, is an H who traces the line to 3rd-great-grandmother Lucinda Gilley, born 1801 in Franklin Co., Ga. Lucinda’s mother was named Dorcas. She married Zachariah Bush in Rutherford Co., Tenn.


The earliest female ancestor’s identity in all these cases support the phenomenon I have described elsewhere of an Indian trader, typically Jewish or crypto-Jewish, marrying the daughter of a Cherokee chief or headman (Yates 2012:46ff.). The mitochondrial evidence tells us that H was part of the pre-contact Cherokee population. H did not enter the Native American haplogroup array with a colonial English woman marrying an Indian (“admixture”). While it is fashionable, and even politically ordained, to dismiss the Cherokee grandmother “myth,” which can be traced to a single, suspect source in the literature, and which grew legs on the Internet so that it now seems unassailable, the uncomfortable truth seems to be that a goodly number of families who do not deserve to be called “Indian wannabes” have a bona-fide Cherokee matriarch corresponding approximately to that description in their family tree (Martin 1996).

T Haplotype Diversity and Sephardic Motifs

Our initial report remarked on the high incidence of haplotype T and compared its frequency to that of Egypt (25%). Phase II produced T’s amounting to 19.4% of haplogroups in the sample, bringing its overall presence project-wide (n=119) to 24.4%, exactly the same number to three decimal points reported in Iraqi and Iranian Jews (n=217, see Bedford, Table 4). Compare the high level in Cherokee descendants and Egypt together with Misrahi Jews to the much lower frequencies of T in Northwest Spain (6.9%), Portugal (9.2), Ashkenazi Jews (4.8), Sephardic Jews (11-14%), Great Britain and Ireland (9.1), North Central Italy (13.7), Western Saudi Arabia (12.5), Mitosearch (mostly U.S., 9.1) and National Geographic (8.7), and the T-intensive populations can be seen surpass all the others by a factor of 2 to 5. On the basis of this comparison, we can safely call the T in aggregate among the anomalous Cherokees Middle Eastern in scale and importance.

In 2012, attention focused on T5, renamed T2e, and Felice Bedford of the University of Arizona published her article, “Sephardic Signature in Haplogroup T Mitochondrial DNA” (2012). “It was found that the rare motif [in subhaplotype T2e] belonged only to Sephardic descendents (Turkey, Bulgaria), to inhabitants of North American regions known for secret Spanish–Jewish colonization, or were consistent with Sephardic ancestry [sic],” Bedford wrote of the new Sephardic signature, T2e5. She dated the founder of the signature back to “one woman from Iberia who lived between 500 and likely 2000 years ago.” So were there any instances of the new Sephardic signature, defined by mutations 16114T and 16192T, in our anomalous Cherokees? No, unsurprisingly, since Bedford found only 12 in an exhaustive search of world databases, but there were two cases of the parent sub-subhaplotype T2e, defined by mutations 16153A and 150T. They are Cheryl Green (Phase I participant 34) and Evie Nagy (Phase II participant 22). And as Bedford reminds us, “Suspicion of a signature in a minority ethnic group can be initiated with as little as a haplotype match in two unrelated individuals from that group.”

The sheer diversity of T types in Cherokee descendants, just like their high ratio, would seem to point to a source in the Middle East, not Europe. Although the phylogeny of T subclades and nomenclature is still somewhat unsettled (Pike et al. 2010), the prevalence and absence of subhaplogroups across different studies show strong similarities between the Cherokee sample and Iraqi and Irani Jews. Thus, T2b, which occurs at an almost non-existent level in Iraq, and reaches a high of 4.2% in Great Britain, is completely lacking in the Cherokee sample. T2e (6.9%) has a relatively high presence, as in the Ottoman Sephardim, Western Saudi Arabia and Italy. T1 (5.8%) is about the same as in Iraqi and Irani Jews (5.1%). Finally, there is a large amount, one-third of T subclades, categorized as T*. Their prevalence could be read as a sign of the antiquity of the Cherokee sample, with many T types which are common in the source population, but which have died out, not survived or have escaped being studied in standard contemporary genetic surveys. This inference is strengthened by the numerous unmatched T mutations, although a caveat should be added that the branches and sub-branches of T, as already noted, have not been completely dissected. Some of the T* haplotypes may be falsely assigned or need re-assigning.

Apropos of matching population contours, let it be noted here that many of the T’s in Phase II volunteered information that they are Jewish by faith and/or descent.

Tara in the New World

Kathleen Rogalla of Panama City, Fla. (49) joined the project in July 2010, after learning family secrets from her 92-year-old mother (Fig. 11) and receiving “disappointing” results from other companies. Of one, she wrote, ” My test results came in a few days ago and I was shocked and dismayed by the results. They have me as 100% European with no chance of being Native at all. That also means that there is little chance of being matched with others who have Native blood.” Subsequent testing revealed “a trace” of Asian ancestry. Her maternal line traces to Elizabeth Hensley of Stafford County, Va. But her genealogy on file with the project also identifies Deborah Cook(e), wife of William Chisholm (born 1720 in Amelia County, Va.) as a remote ancestor. Amy or Annie, no last name, was Deborah’s mother. Both Deborah and her husband were associated with the Cherokee in historical documents. Rogalla descends from their daughter Sarah, who married Thomas Tinsley. Another daughter, Margaret, married her first cousin John Chisholm, and their daughter, Annie, married John Walling of the well-known long hunter family in Tennessee. A son of William and Deborah Chisholm, John D., was a friend and advisor to Doublehead.

According to Rogalla’s research, “A descendant’s wife, Mary Ann Roberts filed an application to the Dawes Commission on behalf of her children. They were rejected. She said ‘My children have Indian blood that comes from their father Eli Roberts who gets his Indian blood from his mother Joanna Tinsley (daughter of Thomas Tinsley and Sarah Chisholm) and her from her mother(Sarah Chisholm). Her mother was the sister of Absolom and William Chisholm whose names should appear on the Old Settler’s Rolls west of the Mississippi River.”

Another excellent witness for Cherokee enrollment, B.W. Alberty, testified: “I am a resident of Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation. I met Dave and William Chisholm near Belview Texas and they lived there on the [illegible] and I was introduced to them as living Cherokee’s by George Harnage and also by William Harnage that is I know about them said they were kin of old Tom Chisholm of the Cherokee Nation (Thomas Chisholm was the interim 3rd Chief of the Western Cherokee Nation in Arkansas). Hornage told me they were relatives of old Tom Chisholm. That was the year of 1852 or 53. I would judge Dave Chisholm to be about 45 years old and William I think was the younger of the two.”


John Ratling Gourd testified: “I am a resident of Tahlequah District, Cherokee Nation and am about 65 years old. I was acquainted with Absolom and William Chisholm when they lived low down in Georgia. This was about the time the Cherokee came to this country. They were among the first who left country and came west. They were Cherokee’s by blood in at least that was looked upon as such. I first saw Absolom and William Chisholm at a council on the fork called by John ross in regard to the division of some money. These parties voted to not divide the money. They looked like Cherokee’s and appeared to be half or three fourth. I saw William Tinsley several times. I understand he married into the Chisholm family.”

These historical accounts are given here in detail to document the early Cherokee affiliation of the line. More could be added. Suffice it to say that the Chisholms and all their marriage partners were well known to Cherokee leaders from the 1760s on, first in the East and later, continuously in the West. The famous Chisholm Trail was named for the family. All the names are well documented in Cherokee and Melungeon genealogies, as well as U.S. Indian treaties, chiefs-lists and agency records. If we estimate the earliest named Cherokee’s birthdate to be around 1700, we are in a period when the first intermarriages between English settlers and Indian women took place. It is unlikely that Amy or Annie was the daughter of an English woman, and the line she founded was “admixture.” There is every reason on genealogical grounds to regard her T* haplotype as Cherokee, not Eurasian.

Amy-Annie apparently produced many direct descendants in the United States and Canada and had distant genetic cousins in Europe. Her prolific form of T* (16126C  16294T 16296T  16519C 73G 263G 315.1C) exactly matched individuals with origins in England, Cornwall, Quebec, France, Mississippi, California, North Carolina, Russia, Texas and Florida. Many of the haplotype assignments and origins were “unknown.” As it turned out, they also matched Timothy Joseph Benjamin (18), an adoptee residing in Alva, Florida, who subsequently was able to have the Catholic  charity unseal his adoption records, and who learned that he was born in Burlington, Vermont, his given name at birth Joseph David Ward.

The verdict in Rogalla’s report stated:


Although not one of the classic Native American lineages (A, B, C, D, and X ‐‐ Schurr), T has been discovered in the Cherokee, Choctaw and other East Coast Indians (data on file; see DNA Consultants Blog, “Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee”). Most investigators attribute this to recent European admixture. But T haplotypes without exact Old World matches (we exclude T2 matches from consideration) could just as well be considered Native American if as prevalent as the subject’s is in North America. The majority of the T* matches in Mitosearch are possibly Native American in our estimation. In the presence of a genealogical tradition of the female line being Native American the haplotype should therefore be pronounced Native American. The matches in Mitosearch to Tennessee, North Carolina and surrounding states point to the Cherokees, although matches in Canada suggest a Canadian indigenous woman (where T has also been identified). The T* matches that are truly European (such as V2DER, Russia) may represent a remnant of the original Middle Eastern lineage that survived in Europe, but the largest expansion of the lineage was clearly in North America.

Ethel Estelle CaywoodKaren Worstell’s grandmother Odessa Shields Coxkaren worstell
Fig. 11. Mother of Kathleen Rogalla (T*),Ethel Estell Caywood Christian, about 1930.Fig. 12. Karen Worstell’s grandmother Odessa Shields Cox (shown with her husband William M. Cox and Karen’s mother Ethel as a baby about 1922) was born about 1904 in Indian Territory. She was known as Dessie. “My mother cut off all connection with her own mother sometime before I was born,” says Worstell. “My grandmother has strikingly Indian features and I do wonder if perhaps she was an adopted Indian child.” Fig. 13. Karen Worstell (56) tested as having a rather widely distributed T2c that matched Cherokees on official rolls, even though T is universally considered a non-Indian type. “There was tremendous secrecy about anything related to my Indian background,” says Worstell. My grandfather used to call me ‘squaw,’ which would infuriate my mother.”

Ward is a common Cherokee surname. A T2 who also happened to have the birth name of Timothy Benjamin (18) was Deann Ward of Vincennes, Indiana (19). Ward traced her unbroken female descent to a 3rd-great-grandmother, Olive Thompson, born about 1800, died 1850 in Lincoln County, Tenn. Her parents are unknown. Olive Thompson married Garrett Merrill of Rowan County, North Carolina, a locale bordering on the Cherokee. Ward’s great-grandmother, Emily Roper (a surname common on Cherokee rolls), was born in Tennessee, February 19, 1848, the daughter of Joseph Roper.

Karen Freeman Worstell (57) is a risk management professional in Gig Harbor, Washington, who wrote on April 24, 2010, “I just learned of the potential link between Cherokee and Eastern European Jews this morning. I was told I am Cherokee by my mother, and Scottish/Irish on my father’s side. I am also deeply involved in the Messianic Jewish movement.”  Her rather widely distributed T2c haplotype exactly matched two participants in Phase I of the DNA Cherokee Project. Patrick Pynes, a professor of indigenous studies in Arizona, was a descendant on Mitosearch, traced the line to Mildred Gentry (1792-1852) and Nancy Gentry Little (b. 1801). “According to oral tradition, Nancy Gentry was of Cherokee descent,” he wrote for the record. “She moved with her family from Tennessee to Clark County, Arkansas, in 1817. During the 1830s she lived with her husband James Little and children in Washington County, Arkansas. Several of her neighbors were of documented Cherokee descent or had family connections with documented Cherokees. Nancy’s mother’s name was possibly ‘Delilah Clark.’ Her father was likely Tyre Gentry of South Carolina.”

Worstell says her mother passed away after a lengthy illness at the age of 90 and kept her family origins a secret. “Once when I asked her why, she said, ‘I want you to have friends to play with.'” Worstell never met her maternal grandparents but always heard stories of Cherokee relatives. One of her ancestors was on the Trail of Tears. She has published an elaborate family tree on but continues, like Patrick Pynes, to find the earliest link.  Her maternal line research comes to an end with direct maternal ancestor Catherine Reed, born in 1776 in Loudoun County, Va. She married John Carlin on November 13, 1799, in Harrison County, (West) Virginia and died in Barbour County. Several of the figures she has identified in her research were labeled as mulatto in local records. Her mother’s paternal grandmother was Choctaw. Says Worstell, ” I don’t know if I am chasing a myth or not.”

Haplogroups U, U2, U5 and K

Haplogroup U is very old and deep seated in Eurasian populations. Its top-level subclades can all be seen as haplogroups in their own right. Those uncovered in this phase of our study consist of U, U2, U3, U5 and K (formerly U8). There were no examples of U4, characteristic especially of Balto-Slavic countries and Finland; U6, associated with Berbers; U7 primarily from the East Mediterranean to India; or U9, spread from Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula to Pakistan.

The complex mega-haplogroup was born on the edge of Northeast Africa and Arabia some 60,000 or more years ago, when the first Homo Sapiens exited the African continent. Complex human societies began with U. In Europe, where U types today (11%) are the second most common after H (40+%), U was the first lineage to encounter and interbreed with the declining Neanderthals. U was identified as a minor haplotype in surveys of Cherokee and other Southeastern Indians (Schurr, Bolnick), although its presence was attributed to “admixture.” It has also reported in Mexican Indians (Green). U2 was the mitochondrial signature of a link between archaic Europeans and modern-day Native Americans discovered in the 24,000 year-old Ma’lta skeleton whose DNA was recently sequenced from near Lake Baikal (Raghavan et al. 2014).

Vivian A. Santos-Montanez (14), a Hebrew School teacher in DeLand, Fla., took a combination of Jewish and Native American DNA tests for herself and several family members. Her mitochondrial mutation set produced only one exact match in the world: Mercedes Rivera-Rivera, born about 1915 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Based on family traditions, Santos believes her maternal line could have come from Cherokees sold into slavery during the Spanish colonial period who joined Taino Indians living in the remote mountainous region of her native Puerto Rico.


U5, U5a and U5b samples include 5 participants from Phase II and 6 from Phase I, totaling 11 for the project, the bulk of all U’s. U5 is of interest because of its important role in the peopling of Europe (Malyarchuk et al 2010). It is the oldest mtDNA lineage in Europe which is human, with an estimated age estimated at 50,000 years ago, greatly predating the expansion of agriculture. In the new three-fold scheme of European ancestry, U5 is the largest contributor to the component known as WHG or Western European Hunter Gatherers (Lazaridis et al. 2014). U5 is also found in significant levels, however, in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Central Asia.

Elizabeth DeLand (67), who tested her mother Juanita L. Sims, a U5a1, had an unreported set of mutations in the Cambridge Concordance, but matched five persons in Mitosearch, all three different haplogroup assignments, U5 (Ireland), U5a1* (Alabama, Ireland) and Unknown (Ireland). DeLand reported that her grandmother and great-grandmother spoke Cherokee. The mother of Pamela Bowman, Juanita Wilson (65), was another U5a1, with no exact matches on both sectors.  Her rare/unique 16526A was reported in a single case by Van Oven and has been discussed sporadically on Internet boards. Bowman is a member of the CBC.  She shares her rare SNP with (name removed), who traces his line to Lucinda Lusk, born January 31, 1823. The SNP also appears in the U5a1a* mutations of Dr. Bruce Dean (Phase I, no. 19), whose genealogy goes back to Jane Rose, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and who matched Marie Eastman, born 1901, Indian Territory.

Turning now to U2, we have an interesting U2e haplotype in Carol Myers Rymes, a genealogist, Melungeon descendant (her uncle is a Sizemore) and CBC member who has pursued her mitochondrial line for several years. In Mitosearch, her single match was a descendant claiming descent from Bridget Garrity, born about 1816 in Ireland. Rymes also matched her own record in CBC data, plus Brian Voncannon, a Williams descendant. Rymes has been active in restoring the Occoquan Burying Ground in Prince William County, Va., and wrote a book on the descendants of Samuel Rymes. There were six U2e’s in Phase I.

With Charlotte Walker (36), U3, we have an exotic haplotype that seems to match only Native American lines. U3 is a minor haplogroup centered around the Black Sea, with a strong presence today in the northeastern part (Colchis, Scythia, Transcaucasus, the Steppes). It could be related to ancient Indo-Europeans. There were two exact matches in Mitosearch, one from Alvina (or Elwina), born about 1820 in South Carolina and thought to be Native American, and another from Sarah Elizabeth Snyder, born 1828, origin unknown. The information from all three congeners is incomplete and uncertain. And as textual transmission experts say, “One witness, no witness.” Participant 36 is the only instance of U3 to date. There are two examples in CBC data.

K (formerly H8) is an important Jewish haplogroup, and it has a small, but significant presence across all datasets. There were 2 (3.0%) in Phase I and 4 (nos. 13, 29, 34, 53, 7.7%) in Phase II. The CBC data shows 11 K’s (8.1%). Haplogroup K is represented by 17 samples in a grand total of 252 participants (6.7%), a lower incidence compared both to European populations (10%) and Ashkenazi Jews (32-50%).

Three of our K’s (Ashley Nielsen 29, Earl Dulaney 34, Ann Pyle 53) had such rare haplotypes, all with unique, partly overlapping mutations, that no exact matches could be found in the databases. It was felt that this specificity spoke for types that died out and were no longer reported in the rest of the world but survived in an exotic North American population, where they had been implanted in the remote past. By comparison, the chances of a large number of unmatched modern types dating to European admixture in the Colonial window of history were estimated to be slim.

To be continued…


  Comments: 13

  1. Hello, Don Yates. We are cousins through Mary Ann Black and William Davis. I am a descendant of their daughter Lucia Davis who married William Polson. I noticed something about the 3rd great grandmother of Deanna Ward that her name was Olive Thompson and she died in Lincoln County TN. and that she married Garrett Merrill. The Thompsons and the Merrills have a connection to our family. Olive Thompson may be the daughter of Cherokee interpreter John / Jack Thompson who lived at Creek path next to our Blackfox. Nanny Thompson, daughter of John Thompson married Benjamin Merrill. I saw Benjamin Merrill in a Lincoln County Tennessee census along with our Davises. Benjamin and Nanny Thompson Merrill had a daughter Elizabeth Merrill who married a William Polson (who maybe the son of William and Lucia Davis Polson?) The Merrills , Thompsons and William Polson are in Emmet Starr’s Old Cherokee Families Genealogy Book . Elizabeth Merrill and William Polson and children are on the Chapman Roll from Marshall County Alabama. Thanks. Jennifer Page.

  2. M three two three nine. Four eight
    My Ged match number
    I am kin to Nancy Ward , Letty Hatchet Grey Durham
    and the Motoy Line.

    I am part Irish and Cherokee , Aztec,Maya mix
    Geneva Bailey

    • Geneva-
      Are you by chance related to the Hubbard family?


    • Hi there, wow I just saw your short post…….THIS IS SO AWESOME…Letty Hatchet Grey is my 5th great grandmother, through my maternal grandfather, William Nimrod Montgomery/HOWARD lines: I do not know how much they give us here to write in….so I started with William Nimrod Montgomery and skipped up to Matilda Howard. I do not know who her twins is would you by any chance that information?

      I also lead into MOYTOY by Luella Belle Carter…Alma Jean Montgomery, me….down that line, NOW back up is Luella Belle Carter, William Sherman Carter, Samuel C Carter MARRIED Elizabeth COKER, her mother was full Cherokee Mary Polly who married Bryant Coker. If you look at photo of Elizabeth COKER YOU CAN SEE THAT SHE IS HALF CHEROKEE. I have the

      I would be delighted to have us visit more if possible. THIS DNA PROJECT is the FIRST PROOF OF OUR LETTIE GREY HATCHET’s stories of our being of Cherokee blood……both my maternal grandparents were of Cherokee bloodline and of Scotland/Ireland on Montgomery/Howard lines, and Grandma Luella Belle was England CARTER LINES. When I found out that the CHEROKEE DNA PROJECT was finished to the stage they are now in…..I went scrambling to find them and when I SAW LETTIE HATCHET GREY’s name I cried and cried and could barely finish the report…….Now that they also speak of THE RED PAINT CLAN I also knew that I was in that group also… now I wait and devour and find all I can to learn more, I was like all the rest of us who kept saying that LETTIE was our 5th great grandmother, and we were told it is a childish wanna be story……..we are all so blessed that now have our proof of our beloved grandmother. I hope to hear back from you, but if you can’t for whatever reason I pray for OUR CREATOR TO WATCH OVER YOU, as HIS SON IS RETURNING SOON…..Love to from a cousin in Coeur d’ Alene Idaho.

      Matilda Howard (twin)
      Matilda Howard (twin)
      BIRTH 1802 • Morgan, Kentucky, United States

      DEATH 1 SEP 1887 • Georgetown, Williamson, Texas, United States

      3rd great-grandmother

      Joseph Johnson Montgomery
      Joseph Johnson Montgomery
      BIRTH 31 MAY 1799 • Clinch Valley, Russell, Virginia, United States

      DEATH 22 JAN 1866 • Cherokee, San Saba, Texas, United States

      3rd great-grandfather
      Thomas Howard Sr
      BIRTH 8 JUNE 1740 • Wilkes County, Georgia, United States of America

      DEATH 5 JUN 1822 • Floyd County, Kentucky, United States of America

      5th great-grandfather
      Letitia Lettica “Letty Du” “Hatchet Grey” Full Cherokee Durham 1744 Cherokee
      BIRTH 13 SEP 1744 • Cherokee Nation, Wilkes, Georgia, United States

      DEATH 1 SEP 1843 • Floyd, Kentucky, United States

      5th great-grandmother

      Common DNA Ancestor

      Direct Ancestor

      DNA Connectio

      • Hello Virginia,
        I just wanted to say I am also descended from Letticia “Letty” Howard through her son John Covey “War Jack” Howard and Mary Ann Risener and also their son Benjamin Howard (1778-1850) and his wife Julia Phoebe Slusher (1780-1853). Their offspring (cousins) married and had Elizabeth Howard (1837-1911). She married Thomas Bingham (1831-1864). Their daughter, Varilla Bingham (1865-1956) was my GG grandmother! Nice to meet you. If you would like to talk via email, let me know.

        • Kerri Vann Pritchard

          Leticca Letty Durham HOWARD was my 6th GGmother via James Howard 1772, then Elizabeth Jewel Howard Snellgrove 1790, Jessie Cephas Snellgrove 1827, Beatrice Nicie Elisabeth Snellgrove Cotter 1851, Mary Frances “Mollie” Cotter Mixon 1880, then from Mixon to Ingram to VANN. The paternal heritage is also connected via William Vann SQUIRREL KING “The Cherokee Trader 1665.

          I wasn’t aware that DNA could be done to show Native American heritage… from what the indicated it wasn’t possible.

    • Hello my name is William Howard and a descendant of Hatchet Grey Letty Durham. Was wondering if you have proof of Letty being Native. The article said reported but didn’t have proof listed. We connect on Gedmatch on a 7 one segment chromosome 1 at 14.7 cM and MRCA 4.8. My dads number is NT4 five two 3 eight 7 four.

      • Comparing Kit LR9050871 (Debra J. Reynolds Knight) [Ancestry] and Kit NT4523874 (William E Howard) [Ancestry]
        Largest segment = 4.3 cM. 12 shared segments found for this comparison. 🙂

  3. I just discovered your article when I search for ancestry of my name Vaughn.

    I too only have family oral tradition of my indigenous heritage:

    Paternal Graandfather – Ernest Leonta Vaughn
    Choctah and Creek (Muskogeee)
    born in Biloxi Mississippi, migrated decades after trail of tears to Oklahoma.

    Paternal Grandmother- Ora Lee Andrson West
    born on thee Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma and lived there until on the rez until she was 16.
    Her grandmother was a medicine woman
    Buried in Ada, OK
    She had a Dawson Roll number.

  4. I am attempting to find a connection with either Native American or Melungeon ancestries . My Mother always told me that my great grandmother was a full blood Cherokee but I can’t find any proof that backs it up . Her name was Rachel Higgins Edwards , she died in 1940 in Burke Co N.C . She married William Hensley , the Hensley ancestry goes back from Lee Co Va. to the Jamestown colony to Devonshire England . Part of my Hensley ancestor family branched off and moved to Kentucky . If anyone might have some information that might help in clearing this up , I would greatly appreciate it . P.S I was also told by my Aunt’s that their grandmother was a full blood Cherokee . I don’t know if it’s true or not but I would like to find out if possible . Thank you.

  5. I descend from the line of Tyree Gentry and Delilah Clark, on my Mother’s mother’s side. I have not done any dna testing, as I feel it would not help me determine anything in particular. My two children have a small amount of “egyptian” dna (unsure of the exact terminology, this is told to me by their great aunt who discovered this through dna testing). I wonder if anyone descended from Tyree and delilah show any markers similar to this? I am learning the ways of DNA testing and get quite confused! I do have the dawes rolls showing my ancestors who are considered cherokee by blood but I suspect my own dna test would show nothing.

  6. I am very interested in this research. My mitochondrial haplotype is U2e2 and I’ve traced my maternal line to a woman born in Shawneetown, Illinois about 1812 but I can’t find any record of her parents. I always thought it was just a European mitochondrial line but I see according to this research U2e has been associated with Native American mitochondrial lines. That might explain why she’s buried in Oklahoma, which was Indian Territory when she died. Fascinating.

    Thanks for your work.

  7. Hello – I am trying to conduct some ancestry research. I believe that my ancestors came from Harlan, Kentucky.oPhilip Howard in Harlan, Ky. (Philip would have been Lydia’s great-grandfather. I think Letty Durham would be about two generations earlier. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

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