We did the DNA now what…

I asked my father if I could take his DNA earlier this year. I got the results back. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge of what it all signifies means that I am not as prepared to decipher the results as I thought.

What I can tell you that there are three other DNA samples with FamilyTreeDNA that are the most like my fathers. We share the same Haplogroup (R-M269 aka R1b1b2). A haplogroup is a genetic population of people. It is like a clan (Vikings, etc). This Haplogroup is the dominant lineage in all of Western Europe. It is said that R-M269, is the most common European Y-chromosomal lineage. If you look at the map below, it shows where our Haplogroup (clade) was in 2010. (Source: Hammer M269 Diversity in Europe)

R-M269 in 2010

R-M269 in 2010

Some people have asked why the test results cannot give a percentage of different ancestral groups. The reason is that my father got his DNA from his father, who got it from his father. So, in my case, Dad got his from Fred Whitehead, who got his from Walter Whitehead, who got his from George Whitehead, who got his from Joel, to Samuel, to Samuel, to UNKNOWN. I have only confirmed my father’s paternal side back to my 5th great-grandfather. So I still have some research to do.


The map below shows which regions where my Haplogroup appears. Notice the red arrows. Please don’t ask me what all the pie charts mean, I am still working on that.

Haplogroup M269

Haplogroup M269

Source: Family Tree DNA

If you think of these haplogroups as branches on a tree, we can state that R-M269 is the dominant branch on the Western European Tree. It also seems that this clade (a grouping of organisms (i.e. humans) traced to a common ancestor) is also the largest, so the test that I did, was not sufficient to narrow down a subclade, I had my father take the 37 marker test. It now looks like the  111 marker test will be necessary. I will save my money!

My father’s Haplogroup R1b, can trace their roots back to the Saxons, Vikings and Celts.


This lineage is the most common haplogroup in European populations. It is found in about 90% of Basques, 80% of Irish and Welsh, 70% of Scots, 60% of English, 50% of French, 50% of Germans, but only 25% of Norwegians and 1% of Syrians. It is believed to represent the main pre-Ice Age population of western Europe, which expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last Ice Age 10-12,000 years ago (Hauridna, 2016).


So, what has this really taught us? First, don’t always believe the hype. Yes, it is true that I believe this DNA test will be fruitful in the long run, in the short one; it did not produce a smoking gun. Second, I am a member of a DNA Whitehead Family Group with 81 members and growing. My goal in 2016 is to start working on these angles to see if I can break down my brick wall. Third, although it didn’t give me the result I wanted, I got to spend a wonderful 30 minutes on the couch with my father discussing it. To me, that is priceless!

Larry and Krista 1971

Larry and Krista 1971

Larry and Krista 2014

Larry and Krista 2014

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.




Family Tree DNA

Hammer, Michael, University of Arizona, Family Tree DNA, 9th Annual Conference

Hauridna, Hauri yDNA Project, retrieved on 1/18/16 at http://www.hauridna.com/haplogroups/haplogroup-r.


Vignettes and such

I have been busy and not able to do as much research as I would like. But, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and post a new message.


I have shared Martha Whitehead Moore’s stories before. Below is another story.

Grandpa takes us to the circus

This was in 1914 or thereabouts. Luther Harris drove Grandpa (Gus Stevens), Walter (Walter Chandler Stevens) and me to Athens to see the “then” popular circus, Barnum and Bailey.

I was frightened at seeing so many strange animals. The crowd was so thick, tall and big, I couldn’t see over the people. Luther, Bless his heart, picked me up and lifted me to straddle his neck on his shoulders in order to see what was going on. Then I felt safe and could see. Grandpa held Walter’s hand so that he would be OK. It was lots of fun – especially the monkeys.

Luther, the brother of my good friend Agnes, worked for Stevens, Huff & Co. – and boarded at Uncle Chandler’s (Walter’s father.) My father (Walter Whitehead) had worked at Stevens, Huff & Co and lived in one room in the back of the store. This was when he was about 16 or 18 and not married to Mama.

Stevens Martin [& Co.] grew out of the Sandy Cross store and there was a Stevens Whitehead in Comer (Uncle George [Whitehead]).

We were probably the first chain store in existence.


The reason why these little vignettes are so important is that they provide an insight into the lives of our ancestors. We all have stories and memories. However, something inside of us thinks that our memories are not worth writing down, not worth sharing. I beg to differ. I am grateful for Martha’s stories.  She shares funny times and frightening times, but each time we learn a little bit more about her and her family.  Here is one of mine.

When I was a young girl, my father used to take the four of us to see the Cleveland Indian’s play baseball at Municipal Stadium. It was also called Lakefront Stadium due to its proximity to Lake Erie. I remember several occasions going to the stadium for Bat Day or Ball Day. If there was a promotional day going on, we were there.

On one occasion, Dad, Kathy, David, Joey and I went to the lakefront prior to the game for a pregame lunch. I cannot recall if my mother packed us a picnic or if Dad bought us hot dogs. But I do remember a local news crew filming at the same location. I think we got o the news, but I am not sure if my memory serves me correctly? I will let my siblings chime in!

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo at Municipal Stadium

Not sure where, but age is about right.

Not sure where, but age is about right.

What are some of your favorite vignettes?