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Greathouse Point > Greathouse Surname Y-DNA Project > Summary Results
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Summary Results

It is our goal to make as much information as we can available to you with regard to progress, participation, and results for our Greathouse Surname Y-DNA project. We are requesting that each test participant provide his ancestry, as far back as he can.

As Y-DNA results are gathered, patterns of matching markers are revealed. People generally have a family history that suggests their lineage, but the DNA results show if they match others who believe they are of the same family line. Although there were a number of Greathouse males in America prior to 1800 whose paternity remains undocumented, it's rather surprising to see how many of those Greathouse males have been confirmed to share Herman Groethausen as their common ancestor, through the use of Y-DNA testing.

Lineage I (Haplogroup I1 - Northern Europe): Ancestral Haplotype of Herman Groethausen

In 1710, when Herman Groethausen moved his family consisting of two sons, Henry and Johann Adolph, from Bielefeld, Ravensberg, Brandenburg to Springfield, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he created a bottleneck epoch through which his Y-DNA was passed down through successive generations of Greathouse males in America, preserved without change through the years, as demonstrated by the Y-DNA results for fourteen Greathouse males who share a 100% match across 43 STR markers, which includes seven Greathouse males who share a 100% match across 67 STR markers.

The Y-DNA results obtained for the fourteen Greathouse males who share a 100% match across 43 STR markers, place them in the Y-DNA Tree under Haplogroup I1, which has been related as the original paternal lineage from Nordic Europe. It is suggested that this group dispersed from Denmark through Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

The quality of the Y-DNA matches for those Greathouse males, in addition to their lineage through Herman Groethausen having been supported either by genealogical documentation or genetically by their Y-DNA results matching those with proven lineage through Herman Groethausen, promotes a reasonable likelihood that all members of the group shared Herman Groethausen as their common ancestor.

Therefore, it was from those fourteen Greathouse males who share a 100% match across 43 markers that the ancestral haplotype for Herman Groethausen has been reconstructed by triangulation, a method of determining the ancestral haplotype from the Y-DNA matches obtained from known direct-line male descendants.

Continued Y-DNA testing has resulted in the discovery of one participant's Y-DNA results which match the reconstructed ancestral haplotype for Herman Groethausen at 100% across 67 STR markers, as represented by the Y-DNA results for Participant 036. Basically, the Y-DNA results obtained from this participant have been passed down to him, preserved without change through the years, so that if Herman Groethausen's Y-DNA could be tested, the results would be the same as those of Participant 036. The lineage of Participant 036 descends through John Greathouse, William Grothaus, Johann Adolph Grothaus and Herman Groethausen.

The Y-DNA results for participants whose lineage through Herman Groethausen has been supported by either genealogical documentation and/or genetically by their Y-DNA results matching the ancestral haplotype reconstructed for Herman Groethausen, have also been presented in the following focus group:

  • Lineage I (Haplogroup I1 - Northern Europe) - Ancestral Haplotype of Herman Groethausen [born 1670; emigrated from Bielefeld, Ravensberg, Brandenburg to Springfield, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1710]. Results sorted by: Participant ID | Family | Closest Match


1) Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary relates the definition of epoch as: E'POCH, n. [L. epocha; Gr. retention, delay, stop, to inhibit; to hold.] 1. In chronology, a fixed point of time, from which succeeding years [or generations] are numbered; a point from which computation of years [or generations] begins. The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and the Babylonish captivity, are remarkable epochs in their history. 2. Any fixed time or period; the period when any thing begins or is remarkably prevalent.

2) The last nine markers in the results table will only be available for participants who have tested with DNA Heritage or with Family Tree DNA's 111 marker test.

3) The variation seen on STR marker DYS 413b between participants 001 and 016 when compared, suggests that a duplicated STR marker due to recombinational loss of heterozygosity (recLOH) has occurred on this STR marker in participant 001. E.g. first we have the alleles as 23-25, after recombination we have the alleles as 23-23. The most likely allele values for DYS 413a/b between these participants would be: DYS 413a = 23 and DYS 413b = 25.

Why 43 markers?

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Haplogroup R1b (Western Europe)

Five of our participants Y-DNA results place them into Haplogroup R1b, which means that their ancient origins are in Western Europe.

One of these participants lives in Europe today and he is a descendent of Michael Groithausen born about 1690.

Three of these participants live in the US. One is a descendant of William Greathouse and Charlotte McClendon. The other two are descendants of Samuel Greathouse and Susannah Greathouse. We had presumed that all American Greathouses were descended from Herman Groethausen. So why do these participant's Y-DNA results place them in Haplogroup R1b? There are several possibilities. One is that William and Samuel Greathouse could have descended from an American immigrant other than Herman Groethausen. Another is that there is a non-paternity event in this participant's past (e.g., adoption, name change, etc.). The participant representatives of William Greathouse and Samuel Greathouse share a Y-DNA match on 30/37 markers, which is suggestive that they do share a common ancestor, but probably many generations before their respective immigrant ancestors came to America. Testing of other direct line male descendants through different sons of both William Greathouse and Samuel Greathouse would be very useful in helping to solve this mystery.

The third participant lives in the US, but isn’t sure of their Greathouse lineage.

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Haplogroup G (Middle East)

Four of our participant's Y-DNA results place them in Haplogroup G. They live in Europe. Three are descendants of Otto von Grothaus born about 1492. One is a descendant of a Grothaus who moved to Italy where the surname name was changed to Casagranda.

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Haplogroup R1a (Eastern Europe)

Two of our participant's Y-DNA results place them in Haplogroup R1a. Thy live in Europe.

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Following is a Network Diagram, also called a Cladogram, which can be used to show DNA marker differences in a way that makes it easier to interpret the results that have been obtained. It can only be used on a group that consists of three or more participants that have a significant number of markers in common. So, at this time, we can only use it on the [Lineage I (Haplogroup I1 - Northern Europe)] group.

Network Diagram for the Greathouse Surname Y-DNA Project
Updated 19 May 2007

Greathouse DNA Project Cladogram

Always, the first feature to focus on is to see that the cousins from each ancestral line match up with each other. Each yellow circle in the network diagram represents one or more participants with matching DNA test results. Three of the participants in the large yellow circle have been tested on fewer markers than the typical 43 markers that we have been using for this project, but on the markers tested, there is an exact match. The participant id, is the number 001-018 for the participants. The family line that the participant comes from is represented by the color coded abbreviation in front of the participant id. The black codes, on the lines connecting the yellow circles, are the DNA test markers that show differences when making a comparison between two or more people.

Since none of these participants differ by more than three markers, they all, very likely, share the same recent common ancestry, which is Herman Groethausen born about 1670 in Germany or a close ancestor of his .

The largest yellow circle is the group that is represented by participants 001, 004, 005, 006, 013, 016, and 018. This group has the largest number of participants with identical test results. They all have exact matches on all markers tested. They represent the lines of: John Greathouse and Sarah Mc Dade; Jacob Greathouse of Georgia; Michael Greathouse and Debbie Snawder; Herman Groethausen, and a Greathouse Orphan. The test results of these people are currently considered to be the ‘ancestral haplotype’1 – the haplotype that defines the family line, because it is the largest group with identical test results. We would like to have at least two and up to four participants from each family group in order to firmly establish Herman Groethausen’s haplotype. From each line, at least two participants are needed. Non-paternity events (i.e., adoption, infidelity, etc.) occur at about 2-5% every generation, so having two or more participants per line is vital to ensure that the correct haplotype is obtained for a particular family line. As a general rule, the further back the common ancestor, the more participants are required.

Participants 009 and 011 are both documented descendants of Herman Groethausen. They both differ by one marker from the ‘ancestral haplotype’. If the ‘ancestral haplotype is correct for Herman Groethausen, then somewhere between Herman and participant 009, a mutation occurred. If we had more cousins related to participant 009, we might be able to locate the ancestor where the mutation occurred. The same is true for participant 011.

Participant 010 and 008 also differ on one marker each from the ‘ancestral haplotype’. Again with enough participants, we might be able to determine the ancestor where the mutation occurred. The same is true for participant 007.

Participant 003, shares the S456a mutation with participant 007, but participant 003 shows two additional mutations. Participant 003 is a documented descendant of Harmon 1750, while participant 007 is a documented descendant of Harmon Greathouse 1787. It has been considered that Harmon 1750 might be the father of Harmon 1787. While they share the S456a mutation, the descendant of Harmon 1750 has two additional mutations that do not show up for Harmon 1787, as one would think they should if they are indeed father and son.

Some DNA projects have hundreds of participants. As you can see, there is a lot more to be learned as we add participants to the project. DNA testing should only be used in conjunction with documented genealogy. Therefore the conclusions drawn are not absolute certainties, but the DNA evidence does give very strong support for the conclusions. These first results from these participants, shows that our genealogy research is on the right track, and that these participants are descended from Herman Groethausen, or a close ancestor/relative of his, even if they can not provide other documentation to prove it.

1 A Y-DNA haplotype is a set of 43 numbers. There is one number for each of 43 markers being tested in the Greathouse Y-DNA Surname Project. The haplotypes of two or more individuals can be compared as a check on genetic relationship. The ‘ancestral haplotype’, in this case, would be the haplotype of Herman Groethausen. Although Herman’s haplotype can not be ascertained directly, it is inferred by a large number of descendant participants with matching haplotypes.
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