To Define and Verify Family Lines and Connections
Project Results and Discussion
The Anglo/Norman D’Arcy Line
Though not closely matched to each other, the haplotypes of Lineages I – IV include a large number of markers typical of English or Irish origin and have all been predicted by the Family Tree DNA Lab at the University of Arizona to belong to the R1b Haplogroup. Several members have had additional testing that confirms this assignment. It is generally believed that populations bearing the R1b Haplogroup arrived in Spain from the east about 30,000 years ago among the Paleolithic or "old stone age" peoples considered to be indigenous to Europe. Populations of R1b are believed to have sheltered in the Iberian Peninsula during the last glacial maximum then expanded throughout Europe as the ice receded about ten to twelve thousand years ago.1 The frequency of this Haplogroup increases from east to west across Europe with its highest concentration along the Atlantic façade--including the British Isles. In fact, R1b is found in nearly 100% of natives of western Ireland.2
Interestingly, however, the members of Lineage V present marker profiles (Table V-1) typically found in what has recently been renamed as the E1b1b1 Haplogroup (formerly desitnated the E3ba haplogroup), a haplogroup which is believed to have originated in eastern Africa 24-27,000 years ago.3 It expanded into the Mediterranean during the Pleistocene Neolithic expansion. It is currently mostly distributed around the Mediterranean, southern Europe and in North and east Africa. The E3b Haplogroup is found in low frequencies in England and even more rarely in Ireland.7 However, there are anecdotal hints that the E3b Haplogroup may appear with increased frequency among those with Anglo-Norman surnames, many of whom are said to descend from companions of William the Conqueror.
The results for the 12 members of Lineage V are presented in Table V-1.
The first two haplotypes in both Table V-1 are from descendants with registered Anglo-Norman pedigrees going back to George and John D’Arcy, the first and second sons of Sir William D’Arcy of Platten, County Meath, Ireland.8 ,9 Each participant is a 14th generation descendant of Sir William D’Arcy of Platten.
Extending the tests to 37 markers reveals a two step difference at DYS 576 and a one step difference at DYS CDYb. Both of those markers have been chosen by Family Tree DNA because their relative volatility makes them potentially useful in identifying branching points of closely related lines. Consequently, these mutations are not surprising considering the separation of 14 generations from a common ancestor.
Table V-2 reports the probability of observing different numbers of mutations between two individuals each descending 14 generations from a common ancestor (via different sons). It is uncertain whether to count the differences between the two descendents of William D’Arcy of Platten as two (assuming the two step
difference at DYS576 occurred as one mutation) or three mutations (assuming the difference at DYS576 occurred as two separate mutations). The probability of finding two mutations between such a pair is .27033 (actually, the most likely number) and the probability of finding three mutations is .18671 (greater than the probabilities of finding no or one mutation). In either case the results of this test are an excellent corroboration of two lengthy strings of records!
Data Line 3 of Table V-1 represents the Y chromosome DNA of a participant who can trace his line back to James D’Arcy, the father of John D’Arcy who, according to his baptism record, was born in 1820 in Balbriggan in County Dublin, Ireland.11 Circumstantial evidence says that James D’Arcy most likely was born in Oldcastle in County Meath Ireland about 1780. This participant hypothesizes that James’s father was Edward D’Arcy who was born about 1742 in Co. Meath, an eighth-generation, direct-line descendant of Sir William of Platten’s son George. This project member has a two step difference at DYS 388 (for a very unusual value of 14 for this marker) and a one-step difference at DYS 449 compared to the two proven descendants of William D’Arcy of Platten, and is included in this Lineage. Upgrading the test to 37 markers extends the match with the descendent of George of Platten to 35/37 markers, further supporting this member’s hypothesis.
Also included in this biologically defined group are five American Dorsey/Darseys. The first two of these (Data Lines 4 and 5, Table V-1) are well documented descendants of Joseph Darsey who is said to have fought with his sons Joel, James, Joseph, Jr., William and Benjamin in the Revolutionary War. According to family members, Joseph Darsey moved from Maryland through North Carolina and finally settled in Georgia. Family lore says either Joseph or one of his sons was imprisoned by the English during the American Revolution and died on an English prison ship in Charleston, SC. Joseph Darsey’s descendant differs from the Irish E3b D’Arcys at three markers—DYS385b, DYS389ii, and DYS449. The match continues as a 34/37 marker match with the descendant of George D’Arcy of Platten. Though no firm records exist that tie Joseph Darsey to an English or Irish ancestor, these results are sufficiently unique to place him in this Anglo/Norman D'Arcy lineages.
The next four participants are also Americans. They trace their lines back to George Darsey who was born September 18, 1774,12 most likely in Maryland. George Darsey was in the state of Georgia by the early 1800’s. The first of this group (Row 5, Table V-1) descends from George Darsey’s son Edward who was born June 11, 1802. 13 He matches the Joseph Darsey descendant on all but the very volatile marker DYS449 at which they both also differ from the Irish D’Arcys.
The next three members of Lineage V descend from John Speer Darsey (Dorsey), a 59 year old farmer who reported his birthplace as Maryland on the 1860 US Census for Spaulding County, Georgia.14 According to a family Bible, George D. Darsey and his wife Millinda Anne (married December 30, 1798) also had a son named John S. Dorsey.15 All evidence supports this son being John Speer Darsey. George Darsey left a will in Columbia County, Georgia naming his eldest son John S. Darsey “who no longer lives in this county”16 at a time when John Speer Darsey was living in Henry (now Spalding) County Georgia. John Speer Darsey named his first son George,17 which, if he acknowledged naming traditions of his time, further indicate his father was George Darsey. The descendants of John S. Darsey match the descendant of George Darsey’s son Edward at all markers except DYS385a.
Efforts to locate parents for George D. Darsey have only yielded some thin speculations. One researcher of this line has reported to me, “I have found an Internet reference to a John Darsey born in 1737, in Prince George’s County, MD, with a son named George born in 1778 that could work, but I’ve never found any confirmation of this.”18 This same researcher has also reported speculative arguments that George Darsey was a son of Joseph Darsey, Jr. (above) who fought with his father and brothers in the Revolutionary War.19
The final three members of this group all know or believe they have Georgia roots but have not yet found their exact connection to either Joseph or George Darsey. The first of these three is a descendant of Henry Darsey who was in western Mississippi by the beginning of the 19th century. He is the son of Benjamin Darsey who most likely came to Mississippi from Georgia. It seems likely that this Benjamin was one of the sons of Joseph Darsey. However, documentation of a father for Benjamin has not been found. The next participant descends from Edmund Dorsey who was born about 1811 in Georgia. He is found in Newton County, Georgia in the 1850 through 1870 censuses after which he moved his family to Texas. Edmund was first married in Columbia County, Georgia to Martha 2 January 1834 to Martha Stanford and secondly to Lucy Lunsden on 15 July 1839 in Jasper County, Georgia. In spite of years of careful research, there are no proven parents for Edmund. Finally, our last member of Lineage V is a descendant of George W. Dorsey who was born in Georgia about 1854 and later moved to Texas
These close matches insure this group shares a common ancestor. While two of the Irish members of Lineage V have solid genealogies back to the eleventh century and can identify their common ancestor through traditional records, it is not so easy to connect the remaining groups members. Certainly the 35/37 marker match of the descendant of James D’Arcy of Ireland with the descendant of George D’Arcy son of William of Platten supports his hypothesis that his ancestor was also George D’Arcy.
On the other hand, it is difficult to say whether the American Darseys share an Irish ancestor with the descendants of Sir William of Platten or whether they share an English D’Arcy ancestor much farther back in time.
Interestingly, the American Darseys share the same 389ii marker value (29) with the descendant of James D’Arcy who differs at that marker from Irish D’Arcy’s of Platten line (30). In turn, the Americans share the same 388 marker value (12) with the William D’Arcy of Platten line, which differs at that marker value from the James D’Arcy line (14). It is not possible to say whether the match at DYS389ii is the result of parallel mutations that have occurred coincidentally in two lines of this group or whether they indicate the American Darseys and the descendant of James D’Arcy descend from the same line—perhaps as hypothesized from a branch of the line from George D’Arcy of Platten.
The American Darseys do have a vague tradition that their D’Arcy ancestor came to America from England. However, it is difficult to determine whether this tradition has its roots in publications by genealogists endeavoring to forge a connection to England for all Dorsey/Darcy/D’Arcy lines in the US or is actually a valid oral tradition passed down from English immigrant ancestors. If they are descendants of an English D’Arcy line, a shared ancestor with the Irish D’Arcys would be at least fourteen generations back.
The DNA match between the US and Irish groups supports a common fourteenth century ancestor. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of traditional records to identify a British ancestor as it appears that the line of the English D’Arcys, though prolific and complex, has “daughtered out” and there are no known living direct male line descendents of the English D’Arcys. One of our very generous project participants has even engaged the services of the Royal College of Heralds to search for possible direct male line descendants of the English line of Sir John D’Arcy de Knayth but, as yet, to no avail.
Norman D’Areci, Companion of William the Conqueror
Unfortunately, the recorded pedigree from John D'Arcy back to Norman D’Arcy is a straight line without reported collateral lines of additional sons along the way, although surely they must have existed. Consequently, at this time, it is impossible to verify by using DNA testing there were no intervening non-paternal events between Norman D’Areci and Sir John D’Arcy de Knayth. However, the contention is supported by the E3b Haplogroup shared by Lineage V members as that Haplogroup, though sparsely represented in England and Ireland, may be more prevalent amongst descendents of Norman origin. Given the continuity of good records through so many centuries and the unique Haplogroup assignment of E3b, it is highly likely that members of Lineage V are indeed descendents of Norman D’Areci, companion of William the Conqueror.
Fantasy and Speculation
Intriguingly, some historians name William of Arque, the son of Robert II the Fourth Duke of Normandy, as the father of Norman de Arcei. William of Arque was the brother or paternal half brother, depending on the source, of Robert II the Sixth Duke of Normandy, the father of William the Conqueror.
If all of these reports are accurate, then the D'Arcy/Darsey Y chromosome would represent the Y chromosome of the patrilineal line of William the Conqueror.
If this were true, it would imply that perhaps the legendary Rollo the Walker, purported to be the ancestor of both Norman de Arcei and William the Conqueror was also E3b. Sound a bit farfetched? He was reportedly a Dane. It is rare to find an E3b Haplogroup in Denmark though he could have strolled in from anywhere. However, an eastern or southern European origin is a more consistent with the E3b Haplogroup designation.
To be fair in reporting, another historical yarn, that makes more sense from the point of view of the E3b Haplogroup, names Norman D'Arcei as a patrilineal descendent of Charlemagne or perhaps more generally a descendant of a member of the court of Charlemagne.
A final word of warning—other lines of other surnames make similar claims of patrilineal lines to William the Conqueror. If several of these surnames suddenly show groups with matching Y chromosome DNA, there will be something to think about. Until this, these ancient connections are no more certain than fiction.
1 DNA Heritage, Masterclass, SNPS and Haplogroups, 2004
2 Emmeline W. Hill, Mark A. Jobling, Daniel G. Bradley, “Y-chromosome variation and Irish origins, A pre-neolithic gene gradation starts in the near East and culminates in western Ireland.” Nature, Vol 404, March 23 2000, 351.
3 Fulvio Cruciani, Roberta La Fratta, Piero Santolamazza, Daniele Sellitto, Roberto Pascone, Pedro Moral, Elizabeth Watson, Valentina Guida, Eliane Beraud Colomb, Boriana Zaharova, Joa˜o Lavinha, Giuseppe Vona, Rashid Aman, Francesco Calı`, Nejat Akar, Martin Richards, Antonio Torroni, Andrea Novelletto, and Rosaria Scozzari, “Phylogeographic Analysis of Haplogroup E3b (E-M215) YChromosomes Reveals Multiple Migratory Events Within and Out Of Africa,” American Journal of Human Genetics Vol. 74 pp. 1014–1022, 2004 available online: www.familytreedna.com/pdf/hape3b.pdf
5 Cruciani, et al 2004
6 Cruciani, et al 2004.
7 Christian Capelli, Nicola Redhead, Julia K. Abernethy, Fiona Gratrix, James Wilson, Torolf Moen, Tor Hervig, Martin Richards, Michael P. H. Stumpf, Peter A. Underhill, Paul Bradshaw, Alom Shaha, Mark G. Thomas, Neal Bradman, and David B. Goldstein, “A Y Chromosome Census of the British Isles”, Current Biology, Vol. 13, 979–984, May 27, 2003.
8 Registered Pedigree G.O.168 Vol.14, Genealogical Office, Dublin, Ireland
9 Burke, Bernard, Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland, 210.
10 Ann Turner, (2002) “Mutation Calculator for Y Chromosome STR Markers” , Version 1.0, http://members.aol.com/dnafiler/MutationCalculator.exe.
11 James D’Arcy baptismal certificate, Balrothery Catholic Parish Register, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin , Baptism Records from Irish Catholic Parish Registers are held by the National Library of Ireland in Dublin and are available there for viewing on microfilm.
12 Darsey Family Bible record held by a Mrs. W. P. Danforth, Augusta, Georgia.
13 Darsey Family Bible record held by a Mrs. W. P. Danforth, Augusta, Georgia.
14 1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Griffin, Africa District, Spalding County, Georgia Page 236, Dwelling 545, Family 545, John S. Dorsey household, jpeg image, (Online: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2004), subscription database, Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC , <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 9/072004.
15 Darsey Family Bible record held by a Mrs. W. P. Danforth, Augusta, Georgia.
16 George Darsey will, Registered March 12, 1845, State of Georgia, Columbia County, Transcribed from copy sent to Steven Darsey by Brian Dorsey Farrell, 20 March 2004., Cambridge, MA, sent by email attachment from firstname.lastname@example.org to Nancy Custer August 13, 2004.
17 1850 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule) District 42, Henry County, Georgia, Page 227, Dwelling 558, Family 558, John Dorsey household, MrSid image, (Online: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2004), subscription database, Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC , <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed September 15, 2004.
19 Steven Darsey, RE: “great Grandfather in common?” email message August 12, 2004
Member International Society of Genetic Genealogy