Sunday, January 14, 2018

Raney DNA Helps Locate 16th C. Somerset Ancestral Home

Flag of County Somerset, England
When Pat Raney and a host of other Raneys/Raineys took the paternal line DNA test in about 2007, the results informed Pat that our family's closest DNA match was to a descendant of Francis Rainey (c.1730-1804), a plantation owner, born and buried in Virginia. Francis was not our direct ancestor. I continue to try to link our 3rd great-grandfather James Rainey (b.1814 - died before 1870 in Indiana) to one of Francis's numerous brothers or uncles born in Southside Virginia (those Virginia counties above the North Carolina line). What we know with certainty is that we are descended from a Rainey who settled in Virginia in the 17th century.
Southside Virginia
For some time we believed our Rainey ancestor immigrated to Virginia about 1732 in the huge Scots--Irish diaspora out of Ulster (present-day Northern Ireland).  I even visited Derry (Londonderry) a couple of years ago, took photos of the broad River Foyle so many sailed away on and bid our distant-in-time ancestor a good life in America. Some of our ancestors did come to America in that migration - the Dougans - for instance. But not the Raineys.
Foyle River at Derry, Northern Ireland
William Rainey (c.1666-1722) and possibly a brother John Rainey came to Virginia earlier. There is record of William being granted land in Prince George County in 1713. Additionally, because of Pat's DNA test, I've discovered that the Rainey family resided in Bridgwater, Somerset, England, at least a hundred years earlier.
Somerset, England
The graph below exhibits Pat's closest DNA matches of present-day Raneys/Raineys. See the vertical line of numbers on the left. Francis Rainey is a 1. That means the late Claude Gladwin Rainey, able to trace his ancestry on paper up 6 generations to Francis Rainey, was one degree of genetic distance from Pat Raney. If Francis Rainey were our direct ancestor, the degree would be 0. There is a 95% chance that within 8 generations Claude and Pat shared a mutual ancestor, a 99% by the 12th generation. So Claude's and our mutual ancestor might well be Francis's father Roger Rainey (1700-1747) or Roger's father William (c.1666-1722) or his uncle John (d.1740). We know only that we're related to that group of Southside Virginia Raineys. Now pay attention because the next paragraph is important to my story. 

67 Markers - 15 - Matches
Genetic Distance  ↑ Name Earliest Known Ancestor Y-DNA Haplogroup Terminal SNP Match Date
1 Francis RAINEY b ca 1725, d 1804 VA R-M269
2/17/2010
2
J RAINEY
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67    FF
John Rainey b.1827-1832 GA d.abt 1884 FayetteCo.AL R-FGC12307 FGC12307 12/5/2017
2
J. M. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   

R-M269
7/25/2011
2
M. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67    FF
William Rainey b ca 1774 VA d 1855 SC R-M269
11/1/2007
2
B. W. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   
John Y. Rainey b ca 1800 NC d MS R-M269
11/1/2007
2
 J. S. Raney
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   
J.Russell M. Raney b ca 1856 MS, d 1884 MS R-M269
11/1/2007
2
H. F. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   
Francis Rainey b ca 1725, d 1804 VA R-M269
11/1/2007
2 William Raney 1805 - 1885 R-M269
11/1/2007
2
T. L. Raney
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   
William Raney b ca 1770 VA R-P25 P25 11/1/2007
2
P. T. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   
John Y. Rainey b ca 1800 NC, d MS R-M269
11/1/2007
3
  E. M. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67    FF
William Rainey, b. 1774 and d. 1855 R-M269
10/12/2015
3
E. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note GEDCOM Viewer Y-DNA67   
William Rainey b ca 1774 VA, d af 1855 SC R-M269
2/8/2012
4
D. Rainey
email FTDNA Tip note GEDCOM Viewer Y-DNA67   
William Rainey b ca 1734 VA, d 1815 VA R-M269
11/1/2007
5
L. W. Raney
email FTDNA Tip note Y-DNA67   
Daniel Epps Rainey b 1796 VA, d 1862 VA R-M269
11/1/2007
7
Craig E---
email FTDNA Tip note GEDCOM Viewer Y-DNA67   

R-M269
7/14/2016

See the bottom line on the graph where the degree of genetic connection to Pat Raney is 7. It indicates that the ascent for Pat and Craig E--- to reach a mutual ancestor is a real stretch. What's surprising is that Craig's surname is not Rainey. Craig E--- (identity withheld) lives in Tasmania. He was asked to take the Family Tree DNA test by a person with his same surname, who is trying to trace her family bloodline to Cornwall and beyond.  Craig could trace his E--- family to an ancestor who married in Withycombe, Somerset, England, in 1743. But lo and behold, when he took the paternal DNA test the results indicated his paternal line was actually the same as the Raineys/Raneys. He and Pat Raney (and the rest of us) have a mutual Rainey ancestor far up the direct male line. My curiosity was whetted.

I looked online at the Wythicombe, Somerset, parish records to see if any Raineys had lived there. They had not. I was able to search all the extant Somerset parish records. I found a few Raineys in Tickingham and Long Ashton, but no family of E---. And then I found some Rainey women baptised, married and buried in Bridgwater. I searched the Bridgwater parish records for the family E---. And there was little Michael E---, baptized 23 January 1613/14 at St. Mary parish church. These records aren't complete, and there was no suspect Rainey male who could be the child's possible biological father.  I changed the search to Raynye, as our ancestors William and John Rainey occasionally spelled their name. And there he was - Rafe Raynye, baptized 24 December, 1574, at St. Mary parish church in Bridgwater. Is Rafe the mutual ancestor linking us with Craig E--- in Tasmania? It's something to consider. The Raineys were merchants, so they must have had a female servant or two. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
St. Mary parish church, Bridgwater, Somerset, where our Rainey ancestors worshiped in the 16th and 17th centuries.
 In my next blog, I'll tell you about the Rainey's merchant ship, The Friendship of Belfast, and the pirates.
 PS: The woman who asked Craig to take the DNA test read this blog and explains the DNA mutations: 

You say " If Francis Rainey were our direct ancestor, the degree would be 0".  That is not my understanding of Y-DNA. One degree of difference means there has been one variation/mutation in one or other descendant's Y-DNA since the common ancestor. With Y-DNA these occur every 200 years or so, on average (sometimes more frequently and sometimes less, it can depend on which gene it is). You can use the TiP report in FTDNA to see the probability of the number of generations to the common ancestor (generally 25 years per generation).

I would think it highly likely that if Rafe Raynye was born in 1574 and is the common ancestor, there would have to be at least 1 genetic difference and more likely 2. I think the common ancestor could be someone a bit closer to now. Experts are able to make more accurate predictions, but it is a very inexact science.