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Gist, Gest, Guess, Guest Project Mystery

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  • Gist, Gest, Guess, Guest Project Mystery

    It's difficult to write too much about a project mystery while maintaining member privacy to the degree it must be respected these days. I hesitate to even mention kit numbers, let alone members' names. Back In May I became the admin of the Gist, etc. DNA Project (my mom's maiden name). Fortunately for me the former admin, who passed away in October of 2018, was a pretty sharp guy who left some very excellent notes. Those have helped a lot, but there is still a big mystery in the project that remains to be resolved.

    The difference between groups 01 and 02 (as seen on the DNA Results page of the project web site) is the heart of the Gist Project mystery, because both groups have a core of members whose pretty decent paper trails say they descend from Richard Gist (1683-1741), the only son of the English immigrant Christopher Gist (d. 1690). Group 01's claim is based on descent from Richard's son, Nathaniel Gist (1707-1788). Group 02's claim is based on descent from Nathaniel's (alleged) brother, William (1711-1794). From what I can see, the paper trails are equally good, so obviously something slipped, some form of NPE: sexual indiscretion, informal adoption, simple surname change, something.

    Group 01 thus far has only men with the Gist spelling of the surname. Group 02 also includes men who use the variant Guest. None of those with the Guest spelling claims the immigrant Christopher Gist as mdka, and when one runs the whole Gist/Guest Group 02 in Dave Vance's excellent SAPP tool, the tmrca drives things back to about 1100 AD. It is only through separating those with the Gist spelling in Group 02 from those with the Guest spelling that any part of that group gets a tmrca in which Christopher the immigrant could be a shared ancestor. Group 01 doesn't have that issue. That doesn't mean Group 01 has the sole claim on descent from Christopher's son Richard. It just complicates things.

    After the former project admin died on 21 October 2018, I was the first one with a connection to the Gist Project to notice, and I did not start noticing until the spring of 2020, when I tried to send him an email and got no answer. I was the one who figured out he had passed away and contacted FTDNA about it.

    That just shows you how inactive that project is.

    I put out a plea for the Big Y-700, however, and this evening word came in that the daughter of one of our members in Group 01 actually ordered it for his sample. Unfortunately her dad passed away some years ago, so FTDNA will have to make do with what they have from him in cold storage. I pray it's good enough.
    Last edited by Stevo; 5 October 2020, 09:30 PM.
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