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The Chaffe/Chaffey/Chaffee/Chafe DNA Analysis



Correlating DNA tests is a bit like working with a combination lock, where it is necessary to link one series of DNA numbers with others.  Two tests to date have been performed on markers analysed by DNA Heritage. If all the markers match with another person, then there is a positive correlation with a high degree of certainty of a family tie.  If a marker is one digit off then there is a genetic deviation from the line.  A two marker difference mean more deviation.  

Only further DNA tests can confirm the true family line back to Devon, and provide the basis to prove common heritage connections between the Chaffe, Chafe, Chafff, Chaffee, Chaffey and maybe Chaffin surnames.  If you are a male member of any of these families and wish to participate this DNA study, please contact the webmaster

The two branches below represent the last possible divergence point between two DNA tests done to date. The DNA tests do not appear to share a common ancestor.  Somewhere after 1750, one or both of these branches broke from the Chafe surname in Newfoundland.  Detailed below are possible scenarios and statistical analysis about both test results.  Reference the Family Tree Diagrams to see the Chafe family relationships.

woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Henry Chafe 1757-1814 Branch: DNA Testing requested by Glenn Chafe (1956- ) was undertaken in August 2005.  The earliest family member that can be dated back in time where there could be a deviation is Henry Chafe 1757-1814 born in Wolborough, Devon and died in Petty Harbour, NF.  Without more test samples it is difficult to determine if this DNA test represents the Chafe surname back to England.  It is possible this represents the Chafe line as other ancestors are from the Devon area.  It is also possible this sample is a "non-Chafe" branch off the Newfoundland family tree.  There is a 67% chance of a perfect match with John Chafe born 10 generations ago in Devon (c.1685), if there was another sample found that has the exact same 25 gene sequence and taken from a descendant from a different son of John Chafe (c.1685-1759). 

The individuals who come close in a mismatch of at most two markers in all 25 markers are two individuals surnames; Bishop, Graves, Hatcher and Land presently residing in the US.  Assuming a 30 year time period per generation:

25 Marker Test 50% Probability 50% Approx Year 90% Probability 90% Approx Year
Exact Match 7 generations c.1795 23 generations c.1315
1 Mismatch 17 generations c.1495 40 generations c.805
2 Mismatches 28 generations c.1165 56 generations c.325

LDS has the above surnames for 8 DNA tests found at YSearch:
- Bishop - c.1612, Bridport, Dorset (1 testt, 1 marker variation). Bishop is a surname common to Newfoundland
- Graves - see below.  No correlation to Devon, Somerset or Dorset (five tests, 1or 2 markers variation)
- Hatcher - c.1785, Marnhull, Dorset althouugh there is a wide variation (1 test, 2 markers variation)
- Land - c.1626, Halberton, Devon (1 test, 2 markers variation).  Hatcher is a surname common to Newfoundland

Further on the Graves/Chaffe link.  The Graves surname historically appears in England in these areas: Cumbria, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.  However some Newfoundland Chafes are known to have been descended from Gov. Thomas Graves, Lord Gravesend, through his illegitimate daughter Anne.  The Graves surname evolved from Yorkshire, northern Derbyshire, northern Lincolnshire areas of England.  There is no documented connection with the Graves family in Devon, Dorset or Somerset.

Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves (1680-1755) was born at Mickleton Manor, Yorkshire, and died at Thanckes, Cornwall. His son was Admiral Thomas Graves, Lord Graves, (1725-1802), Governor of Newfoundland from 1761-1764. Graves became governor of Newfoundland in 1761. His first duty was to convoy the fishing fleet to the island convoying merchant vessels to Portugal and then back to England. On arrival in Newfoundland in 1762 he learned that French ships had captured St. John's. Graves reinforced Bois Island in Ferryland harbour and repaired the fortifications at Placentia. He then joined Colonel William Amherst in retaking St. John's. The end of the Seven Years War in 1763 required re-mapping Newfoundland and Labrador and hired James Cook as his surveyor. Graves an affair with Hannah Tucker, a planters daughter from Ferryland in 1764. His daughter, Ann was born in Ferryland in 1764 and baptized twice in St. John's (privately then publicly) and she was known by her father's surname although illegitimate. Her maiden name was carved on her headstone in 1811 (an expensive stone and rare to put a maiden name on a stone). Ann married married Edmond Doyle of Tipperary in 1784. One of their four children,  Luke (1786-1849), had a daughter Anne (1825-1902) who married Henry Edward Chafe (1821-1894).  However from this branch of the tree one needs to branch back two generations to Henry Chafe (1757-1814) to match the line that Glenn Chafe descended from. In addition the male gene carries the DNA markers, so there are some parts of the story missing to make a complete connection.  Graves would have had to have an illegitimate son of a Chafe family member, or the child was adopted by a Chafe family member.  The male child could have been adopted into a Chafe family at any point thereafter. If the above theory is correct the child would have been born between 1761-1765.

The Graves DNA website has over 180 people tested.  Of the 158 Graves surnames with the full 25 markers only one was a "1 off" and 2 were "2 off".  The closest match is John C. Graves (b.1809) and Frances Bew, and maybe his possible father William Graves - 1780-1845 from Virginia.  One of the "2 off" links is Rear Adm. Thomas Graves. Thomas Graves (1605-1653) was born at Ratcliff, England, near London and died in a sea battle with the Dutch in the English Channel.  He brought his wife and two children to America about 1636 or 1637 and settled in Charlestown, Mass. Thomas is said to have been commissioned Rear Admiral in the British Navy by Oliver Cromwell, after the overthrow of King Charles I.  Previous to that event he had been in America and laid plans for his future home near Charlestown, now Wilmington Mass. For some years he commanded a vessel running between Boston and the ports of the mother country.  He was held in high esteem by Gov. Winthrop.

Sorenson DNA Comparison of surname Originwoodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Edward Chafe b.1751 Branch:  Tests were conducted in October 2005 on Alan Chaif, whose great-great-grandfather was William Bond Chafe/Chaif (c.1834-1903) born in Petty Harbour and related to Edward Chafe's branch.  Edward was born in 1751 in Wolborough, Devon.  43 Markers were gathered, but only 25 markers were used in the analysis below.  It is obvious that the two recorded Newfoundland Chafe samples to date are genetically distinct.  Owing to the possibility that the Henry Chafe branch is following a "Graves" bloodline, then the question arises as to if this branch carries the Chafe surname into Devon or does it following another bloodline as well.  The results with other surnames on the web show no Devon/Dorset links on Alan's tests.  They do show possible common ancestors with two outside surnames; one with a Scottish name (McConnell from the MacDonald clan but could also have Irish roots) and another with the Irish O'Brien surname.  St. John's and Petty Harbour did have a significant Irish Catholic community and O'Brien was one such name.  St. John's has an O'Brien gravestone dating back to 1855.  If there was a break from the bloodline, it could have happened at the time of William Bond Chafe who left the Petty Harbour and moved to St. John's in 1890. O'Brien is one of the ten most popular surnames in Ireland.  There are at least 573 gravestones in Newfoundland (38% from St. John's) with this surname.  There are also 4 McConnell gravestones in St John's. We do not know the pedigree of the McConnell and the O'Brien matches from the websites that were referenced.  Assuming a Scottish McConnell/McDonald heritage, 58 MacDonald DNA surnames were compared to Alan's markers and there was only no match - indicating a non Scottish heritage.  Only one of 14 O'Brien/Bryant DNA surnames matched. From the Sorenson DNA site, the best link is with a McGrath surname followed by surnames such Corbett, Lynch and Hogan all with an Irish pedigree (30 out of 33 matches).  The Sorenson site also provides a graph of the possibility of the country of origin.  Without more test samples it is difficult to determine if this DNA test represents the Chafe surname back to England.  It is possible this represents the Chafe line, although there appear to be an Irish correlation with the few other samples available on the web.  It is also possible this sample is a "non-Chafe" branch off the Newfoundland family tree.  It is highly probable the two Chafe DNA samples tested to date are not genetically related.

woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Results:

Sort Order 1




19 385a 385b 388 389i 389ii 390 391 392 393 426 437 439 447 448 449 454 455 458 459a 459b 464a 464b 464c 464d
11KT6H Henry Chafe's
R1b 15 11 14 12 13 29 24 11 13 13 12 14 12 25 19 31 11 11 18 9 10 15 15 16 17
AR5W987 Edward
Branch b.1751
R1b 14 11 14 12 13 29 26 11 13 13 12 15 11 25 19 30 11 11 17 8 9 13 13 15 16
Difference Count = 15   1           2         1 1     1     1 1 1 2 2 1 1
Sort Order 2




393 390 19 391 385a 385b 426 388 439 389i 392 389ii 458 459a 459b 455 454 447 437 448 449 464a 464b 464c 464d
11KT6H Henry Chafe's
R1b 13 24 15 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 18 9 10 11 11 25 14 19 31 15 15 16 17
AR5W987 Edward
Branch b.1751
R1b 13 26 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 8 9 11 11 25 15 19 30 13 13 15 16
Difference Count = 15      2  1            1        1          1  2  1  1
Branch 1:
Other DNA Matches on the Web linked to Henry Chafe's Branch 1757-1814
1363 Thomas Graves 1605-1653   13 24 15 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 18 9 10 11 11 25 14 19 29 15 15 16 17
17210 John C. Graves b.1809   13 24 16 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 18 9 10 11 11 25 14 19 31 15 15 16 17
Areas of Difference        x                                    x        
Branch 2:
Other DNA Matches on the Web linked to Edward Chafe's Branch b.1751
HQTRT McConnell R1b 13 25 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 8 9 11 11 25 15 19 30 13 13 15 16
28970 O'Brien R1b 13 25 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29 17 8 9 11 11 25 15 19 29 13 13 15 16
 Areas of Difference      x                                      x        
Edward Chafe's Line b.1751 - Full DNA Genome Sequence
Sample 19 385a 385b 388 389i 389ii 390 391 392 393 426 437 438 439 441 442 444 445 446 447 448 449
AR5W987 14 11 14 12 13 29 26 11 13 13 12 15 12 11 13 12 12 12 13 25 19 30
  452 454 455 456 458 459a 459b 460 461 462 463 464a 464b 464c 464d A10 C4 H4 B07 IIa IIb Haplo
   12 11 11 15 17 8 9 11 12 11 23 13 13 15 16 13 23 12 10 19 23  R1b
Understanding Genetic Distance for 25 Marker Matches
Distance Relatedness Explanation
0 Related A perfect 25/25 match means you share a common male ancestor with a person who shares your surname (or variant). These two facts demonstrate your relatedness.
1 Related You share the same surname (or a variant) with another male and you mismatch by only one 'point' on only one marker. For most closely related and same surnamed individuals, the mismatch markers are usually either DYS 439 or DYS 385 A, 385 B. from our first panel of 12 markers, and on the following from the second panel: DYS #'s 458 459 a 459b 449, 464 a-d, which have shown themselves to move most rapidly. The probability of a close relationship is very high.
2 Probably Related You share the same surname (or a variant) with another male and you mismatch by two 'point' on from the 25 markers we tested. For most closely related and same surnamed individuals, the mismatch markers are usually either DYS 439 or DYS 385 A, 385 B. from our first panel of 12 markers, and on the following from the second panel: DYS #'s 458 459 a 459b 449, 464 a-d, which have shown themselves to move most rapidly. The probability of a close relationship is good, however your results show mutations, and therefore more time between you and the other same surnamed person.
3 or greater Probably Not Related You share the same surname (or a variant) but are off by 3 'points' or 3 locations on the 25 markers tested. If enough time has passed it is possible that you and another distantly related family members' line each have had a mutation, or perhaps 2. The only way to prove that is to test additional family lines and find where the mutation took place. 

Markers 439 and 464b drift faster than other markers so the separation of those two is significantly less.

woodbullet.gif (174 bytes)Human DNA Evolution:

Haplogroup MapThe R1b Haplogroup means that the Chaffe group are of "Celtic" origin. Male ancestors in the I Haplo group are "Viking" and came from Northern Scandinavia and prior to that when Scandinavia was covered with the ice sheet, from what is now Croatia.  The R1a Haplo group had origins around the northern Caspian Sea area and also spread across into central Asia and as far as India and Pakistan. Chaffe male ancestors would have lived in the Basque area of Spain about 10,000 years ago.

The oldest known hominid is dated at 6-7 million years old from Chad in Central Africa.  Gorillas branched apart 5 million years ago but did not develop the use of tools as hominids did.  Australopithecus afarensi, the first bipedal hominid, was found in east Africa about 3 million years ago. Over time other hominid species evolved, diverged or became extinct in Africa, Europe and south/central Asia.  Homo neanderthalensis existed between 230,000 and 30,000 years ago.  Homo sapiens first appeared about 195,000 years ago.  In 73,000 BC, the human population of Modern Humans plummeted to only 2,000-10,000 individuals, greatly reducing the genetic variation in the species. A key remaining society were descendants of the Khoisan (San) bushmen now located in Botswana, northeast South Africa (Haplogroup A) but then found as far east as Kenya.  In addition to having the most ancient living genome found to date, the San language !Xu is exceedingly complex using 141 distinct sounds, two thirds more than other languages, suggesting a very ancient origin. 

The prime suspect for the reduction in the human species was the catastrophic eruption of the Toba Volcano in Java.  This volcano ejected 2,800 times more pyroclastic material than the Mt. St. Helens' eruption in 1980.  Most hominids located around the Indian Ocean died off as a result of the fallen volcanic ash and subsequent glacial conditions for 1,000 years.  The earth was then substantially more colder for 10,000 years.  The remaining hominids living near the warmer equator, may have been able to adapt by developing superior cooperative and technical skills.  40-50,000 years ago their descendants migrated to Asia and Australia (Haplogroup C). Haplogroup O arose in India 35,000 years ago from Haplogroup K. The Neandertal's died off as they required higher caloric requirements and could not compete against the superior hunting/gathering abilities and faster breeding cycle of Modern Humans.  Gorillas and chimpanzees did not die off, as populations were located on the more protected west cost of Africa. In addition small group of any other remaining Human species were prone to rapid genetic divergence because of the disruption to natural selection and genetic drift.  25-30,000 years ago a land bridge connected Asia to North America starting migration to the continent carrying Haplogroup Q.  Neolithic farming expansion of Haplogroup J began about 9,500 years ago from the Fertile Crescent.  The Upper Paleolithic period based on migrations from the Central Asian steppes 10-45,000 years ago in Europe, was characterized by rapid population growth, migration, the development of stone and ivory tools; spears; clothing and near the end, bows and arrows.  Cro-Magnon man lived in Europe 35,000 years ago and carried the R1b DNA (carried by 70% of southern England and 90% of Spain and Ireland).  10-18,000 years ago these societies developed a more advanced culture, that hunted the vast herds of reindeer, bison and horses in organized clans.  5-10,000 years ago agriculture and animal domestication profoundly affected the course of human history. By 6,500 BC the land bridge between England and the mainland disappeared.

Three groups of humans had evolved in the upper Mediterranean area for so long that their DNA had picked up mutations, and consequently formed into different haplogroups. Growth into upper Europe was impeded by a massive northern Ice Age that started 25,000 years ago and receded 12,000 years ago.  As the sheet melted these groups spread out, the older Haplogroup I (Teutonic) moved from the Balkans into Scandinavia and later formed the Viking people.  The R1a (Slavic) lineage originated in the Eurasian Steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas. The R1a lineage is believed to have originated in a population of the Kurgan culture, known for the domestication of the horse (approximately 3000 BC). These people were also believed to be the first speakers of the Indo-European language group, that over time evolved into many of the languages we know of today.  During the Ice Age, the third group, the carriers of R1b (Atlantic Modal), wintered south of the Pyrenees and the Alps. When the Ice Age ended, these people radiated north across Western Europe. They became the pre-Roman population of Spain, France, the British Isles, and large portions of the Rhineland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Northern Italy. 

Although the Celtic language itself had roots in Asia, the indigenous people of Western Europe became its primary speakers.  Traditional areas of Celtic settlement were Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany, and Galicia in Northern Spain.  The Paleolithic population of Europe also became one of the earliest components of the Spanish, Italian and German peoples, and were among the first speakers of the Romance and Teutonic languages, even though the Indo-European source of these languages developed with the R1a Haplogroup. The isolated Basques, are perhaps the purest "Paleolithic" population in Europe, do not speak a Celtic language, have a distinctive blood type, but share the same key DNA markers.  The six basic markers for the R1b are; DYS# 19=14/388=12/390=24/391=11/392=13/393=13.  Celtic-speaking men, genetically very close to the Basques settled the British isles around 500 BC bringing their religion and culture. 

It is not known precisely when the Celts first entered Britain in their steady expansion outwards from central Europe. But Caesar states, in his own account of his campaigns, that they hade been migrating across the Channel since at least the 2nd century BC. The genetic diversity of Britain became more complex by the invading Romans in 44 AD.  Caesar makes his first tentative excursion to Britain in August of 55 BC. He landed on the coast of Kent, meeting considerable opposition from the cavalry and war chariots of the neighbouring Celtic chieftains. During the winter Caesar built 600 new ships. He sailed again in July of 54 BC, with five legions and 2000 cavalry. They were sufficient to capture England.  The Romans had a chief military station in Exeter, from which they had roads diverging mostly in the lines of the British track ways. The principal of these passed through the whole length of Devonshire from northeast to southwest, and was called Ikeneld street. It entered this county from Dorsetshire, a little east of Axminster, whence it proceeded by Shute hill, Dalwood-down, Honiton, &c. From the latter it passed by Colestock, Talewater, Tallaton Common, and Larkbeare to Stretwayhead, where it is still known by the name of the Old Taunton road. It crossed the river at Exeter, a little below Exe Bridge, and went over Haldon hill, near Ugbrooke. Below Newton Abbot it crossed the Teign by a ford still called Hacknieldway. It passed over Ford common to Totnes, which was a station of the ancient Britons.

Further invasions were made by the Jutes (in Denmark) and Anglo-Saxons from northern Germany in 400 AD (50% R1b, 40% I, 10% I), and the Vikings (in Norway) starting in  793 AD (40% R1b, 40% R1a, 15% I).  These invasions and possible migrations largely contributed to the mix of Haplogroups I and R1a in the British genome.  The average genome in Britain is 55% R1b, 22% I and 5% R1a. 

In Devon, Anglo-Saxon invasions were a constant threat as these people took over the old Celtic regions further east after the Romans left in 410 AD. There were many battles with the West Saxons who, by AD 658, had taken most of Somerset. They appear to have gained a strong foothold around the early 680's.  The Exeter area was again besieged many times by Vikings but neither the Saxons nor the Vikings seem to have established a genetic presence in the area as it did in North and East England.

Adding to the complexity of the mix of DNA is that the Anglo-Saxons took over as a ruling elite but left the peasants largely untouched, an action that was continued by the Norman's after 1066.  Genetic studies show that the native Celtic population survived as testing moved towards the south coast towards Cornwall (as well as West Wales, Scotland and Ireland).  Thus odds are that if the Chaff/Chafe/Chaffe/Chaffey/Chaffee surname is founded on early settlers it will have closer DNA matches with England Celts and prior to that, Basque area Celts.


Global Y-Search Website: http://www.ysearch.org 
Ybase Search Website: http://www.ybase.org
Family Tree DNA Website: http://www.ftdna.com
Arizona DNA Research: http://nitro.biosci.arizona.edu/ftDNA/TMRCA.html
Worldwide Geonographic Study: http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html

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April 20, 2020