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French-Canadians/Acadians & non-European genes

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  • French-Canadians/Acadians & non-European genes

    French-Canadian/Acadian descendants often ask one another: "Are you of any Native American ancestry?" Does Native American ancestry show up for any such North American French descendants who frequent the forums here? Either through Population Finder or tools on other sites (like GEDmatch)?

    As I build my own family tree and read more about the history of New France I wonder about this type of thing. Place names like Port Royal and Annapolis Royal pop up more and more the further back I go. As far as I know, it was not unusual for Catholics of Acadia (French, Irish, Native American or African) to intermarry with one another. I've also read where Canadian Native Americans would sometimes raid American settlements and take back black slaves who would eventually become family members; their descendants, in turn, would intermarry with the French Europeans.

    In answer to my own questions: Yes, Native American and African segments do show up for me using the tools on GEDmatch.

  • #2
    I am the first generation French Canadian born in the US. My mother (who is also DNA tested here) was born in Ontario descends from several Acadien families. My father is Québécois and descends from an early settler to Quebec since 1650. I suspect my grandfathers mother was Métis (European/NA admixture).
    No trace of NA in any population finder tests I have taken. I suspect there are several factors involved. First it depends on whether the families were de souche or more recent immigrants. Second it would depend on who intermarried. I believe the majority of French Canadians would not show NA because 1. none existed or 2. likely they descend from long ago admixtures .
    For many there is sort of a fascination with NA ancestry but I find the story of founder effects far more interesting.

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    • #3
      I think the best answer is: it depends.

      Agreed, the founder effect is more interesting. My daughter descends from one Tremblay couple at least 10 different ways. She is 1/4 French Canadian, and maybe about 1/1000th Aboriginal (Miqmaq from Acadia), and nothing shows up on any BGA for Indian but you can sure see her Tremblay matches.

      On the other hand I have a first cousin who is between 1/8th and 1/16th Métis (Plains Cree), and if I test her she might have a shot at showing perhaps as much as 2% Aboriginal.

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      • #4
        My wife is 100% French Canadian. Dr. McDonald's painting shows two African segments and no Native American. She has several Native Americans 7 or 8 generation back. If you google French Canadian dna you will find several sites with the mtDNA lineages of founders, you can tell from these maternal lines that some of her ancestors were in fact Native American (because of these direct maternal line mtDNA results).

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        • #5
          Thank you for all of your replies. It is people like you who have very much enriched my experience with this site.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Brunetmj View Post
            I am the first generation French Canadian born in the US. My mother (who is also DNA tested here) was born in Ontario descends from several Acadien families. My father is Québécois and descends from an early settler to Quebec since 1650. I suspect my grandfathers mother was Métis (European/NA admixture).
            No trace of NA in any population finder tests I have taken. I suspect there are several factors involved. First it depends on whether the families were de souche or more recent immigrants. Second it would depend on who intermarried. I believe the majority of French Canadians would not show NA because 1. none existed or 2. likely they descend from long ago admixtures .
            For many there is sort of a fascination with NA ancestry but I find the story of founder effects far more interesting.
            I started thinking about what you said about founder effects for this group. I have some matches that are Colonial American in the New England states, and on their gedcoms further back for some they have ancestors in Quebec. Some even listed going from Quebec to Vermont, though I can't remember the exact year listed for that. Vermont was one of France's early colonies.

            In my own tree I can trace ancestors back to Langeudoc, France and Embrun Hautes-Alps, France. They are however 10 generations back into the 1670s. Is it possible I am related to those matches through a more French-Canadian/Acadian founder effect? Or more likely through the Old World even though it seems really far back?

            BTW even though we all know Population Finder really stinks, I find it interesting that the French are my first group listed. Given that I have to go 10 generations back in my direct maternal line to get to France! Then again does FTDNA really just consider France, France? Kind of like everybody's Orcadian.
            Last edited by Táltos; 7 October 2012, 02:01 AM. Reason: typo

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            • #7
              My family FF and RF matches include users with French or French Canadian ancestry offering some proof that our maternal ancestry was French Indian, in part, a not unusual mix for our maternal geography of origin.

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              • #8
                Is it possible I am related to those matches through a more French-Canadian/Acadian founder effect? Or more likely through the Old World even though it seems really far back?
                I have a very large group of southern state matches. This would make sense because of my mothers Acadien family (cajuns). However I have been surprised by the amount of Creole matches ,some with African heritage.
                So if my surname has been in Canada since 1650 with my 9th great grandfather how do I end up with many Creole matches? There were several men with my surname immigrating to early New Orleans, some where expelled from Haiti. Was one an uncle or close relative to my 9th great grandfather ? Or are these chromosome matches dating back to France? I think in the end it is impossible to know until a paper connection is made.

                I find it interesting that the French are my first group listed. Given that I have to go 10 generations back in my direct maternal line to get to France!
                My mother had a Irish/Scot grandfather but has a plain pure French Population finder label. My population finder results , as seen in my signature , are rather all over the place.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brunetmj View Post
                  So if my surname has been in Canada since 1650 with my 9th great grandfather how do I end up with many Creole matches? There were several men with my surname immigrating to early New Orleans, some where expelled from Haiti. Was one an uncle or close relative to my 9th great grandfather ? Or are these chromosome matches dating back to France? I think in the end it is impossible to know until a paper connection is made.
                  Yes, I agree.

                  I descend from a family named "de Vassal," some of whom stayed in France; others of whom were Huguenots who came to England with some of them going from there on to the US; and others of whom went to Québec. I have a match with someone who is one-quarter Wabenaki from Québec, and it is documented that there was a Vassal living around Trois-Rivières who had children with a Wabenaki woman from Odanak.

                  But my match is missing crucial genealogy for his Wabenaki grandparent so I can't prove that this is the link, there are certainly other possibilities. Though I have to say this still seems most likely.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brunetmj View Post
                    I have a very large group of southern state matches. This would make sense because of my mothers Acadien family (cajuns). However I have been surprised by the amount of Creole matches ,some with African heritage.
                    So if my surname has been in Canada since 1650 with my 9th great grandfather how do I end up with many Creole matches? There were several men with my surname immigrating to early New Orleans, some where expelled from Haiti. Was one an uncle or close relative to my 9th great grandfather ? Or are these chromosome matches dating back to France? I think in the end it is impossible to know until a paper connection is made.



                    My mother had a Irish/Scot grandfather but has a plain pure French Population finder label. My population finder results , as seen in my signature , are rather all over the place.
                    Yes Brunetmj, I was thinking it would be hard to tell without the paper trail. I would think with your Creole matches it could be through an uncle or sibling of your 9th great grandfather.

                    My line in France comes from the daughter of my Mary Wise, (my 3rd great grandmother) she married a man that had one set of great grandparents from France. They went into Germany for 2 generations and then moved to Colonial Pennsylvania. I still don't know anything further back about my direct maternal line only that she was mtDNA H, and therefore European.

                    I know two of the men that married into my direct maternal line they came into Colonial Pennsylvania in the 1700s. I don't know if I would be way off base thinking my direct maternal line is Colonial as well. Mary Wise born in 1796 is only 20 years after the Revolutionary War. If I'm not mistaken I didn't think the U.S. had any new immigration until sometime after 1810. I think due to other wars in Europe. I wonder if it is possible if this line could have been connected to the King's Daughters (not royalty, kind of like wards of the state).

                    Back to the founder effect, I don't have overwhelming Colonial matches, I have 15 of them. I also have 20 matches that don't list anything so who knows there! About a little over half are New England Colonial, with some having connections further back into Quebec. I have one who lists having some possible Native American ancestry. None of my matches that I can tell have any African heritage. Though like I said I have enough people that listed nothing. The other Colonial matches that I have are actually Southern ones. And surprisingly just two of my matches list for Colonial Pennsylvania.

                    So I'm thinking because I only have the connection to Colonial America through my direct maternal line, and it is far back, it is probably why only 15 matches. I would imagine that if my father had the Colonial American ancestry, I would probably have more matches through Colonial America. So is it because of a founder effect that the DNA lasted longer down to myself?


                    Brunetmj yes I see your PF is all over the board like mine!
                    Last edited by Táltos; 7 October 2012, 12:35 PM. Reason: typo

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                    • #11
                      Depending on a crucial, but vague link around 1500, my maternal direct line is connected to the Plantagenets of England (originally from France). But that is so long ago, I may not have any Plantagenet DNA. It's hard for me to tell exactly who was a Plantagenet, since they don't always use that surname on entries at Ancestry.com. The Earl of Lancaster married a maternal ancestress. And his grandfather was Henry III.

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                      • #12
                        [QUOTE] I still don't know anything further back about my direct maternal line only that she was mtDNA H, and therefore European. [QUOTE]
                        Is that the full sequence mtDNA?
                        I have learned that FTDNA does not develop the mtDNA haplogroup H.
                        If it is full sequence then I would suggest running the FASTA file through James Lick utility for an updated haplogroup .
                        I was fortunate and had one match from a woman living in France. She immigrated to France from Quebec. It turns out she was born close to where my mother was. Through family trees we found a common ancestor and traced my mtDNA to a particular village in France.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PDHOTLEN View Post
                          Depending on a crucial, but vague link around 1500, my maternal direct line is connected to the Plantagenets of England (originally from France). But that is so long ago, I may not have any Plantagenet DNA. It's hard for me to tell exactly who was a Plantagenet, since they don't always use that surname on entries at Ancestry.com. The Earl of Lancaster married a maternal ancestress. And his grandfather was Henry III.
                          Looking at my Ancestry stuff, this maternal ancestress who married Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, was Maud Matilda De Chaworth, born 1282 in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales. You can see the drift back to Ireland, if this path is valid. But there is a lot of disagreement on Ancestry among entries.

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                          • #14
                            Is that the full sequence mtDNA?
                            I have learned that FTDNA does not develop the mtDNA haplogroup H.
                            If it is full sequence then I would suggest running the FASTA file through James Lick utility for an updated haplogroup .
                            I was fortunate and had one match from a woman living in France. She immigrated to France from Quebec. It turns out she was born close to where my mother was. Through family trees we found a common ancestor and traced my mtDNA to a particular village in France.
                            Not a full sequence, one day down the road I will have to. My curiosity will never be satisfied until I do. I saw a website for the King's Daughter's descendants and there are many with different subclades of H on there, though not surprisingly! It would be cool to see if I could match on there.

                            Yes I remember your story with your mtDNA match, being born near your mother, and being able to connect to your common ancestor. I think that is one of the most wonderful stories I have heard on the forum .

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                            • #15
                              I am second generation FC (maternal grandfather).
                              NA ancestry confirmed by Dr. McDonald.

                              Some family genetic medical/physical issues related either to FC inbred status
                              or NA ancestry.

                              Some of my southern matches seem to be linked to one FC ancestor who was married to a French soldier in early Quebec. He was transferred by the King to the garrison in New Orleans/Ala.

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