To recap, as at the time of the 1841 census, there were four Emptage trees, two in Thanet, one in Sheppey and Grimsby, one in Barbados and we are seeking to prove that the descendants of all four trees are genetically linked.
We have Team Emptage members who represent all four trees but only the DNA from direct male Emptage descendants can be used for our purpose.
Andrew, David, Mark, Roger and Tim are our direct male descendants. They have been joined by Bertram, the uncle of one of our female members and by Andrew Laurence Emtage.
This gives us:
Andrew, Mark and Tim descended from the Henry and Ann Peal tree of Thanet.
David descended from the Humphrey and Catherine Pearce tree of Thanet.
Roger descended from the William and Ann Fisher tree of Sheppey.
Bertram and Andrew Laurence Emtage descended from the John and Elizabeth Stafford tree of Barbados.
The test results
Roger had started the DNA ball rolling in 2013 when he’d taken a Y-DNA 12 marker test, which he later extended to 67 markers. This strongly suggests that he was of Anglo-Saxon origins with the suggested route northwards taken by the Jutes through what is now north Germany, Schleswig-Holstein and Southern Denmark and on towards Norway. So, most probably his ancestors were Jutes and this fits in well with our theory that the Emptage name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word æmettig.
But in order for his DNA to be compared with other Emptages, in February 2015 he upgraded to Y-111 DNA markers. And then sat back and waited.
In December 2015, Andrew picked up the DNA baton and submitted his Y-111 marker test. He writes about his theory concerning our Anglo-Saxon origins and about his DNA test here.
Andrew’s results proved a genetic match between him and Roger, thus connecting the Henry and Ann Peal tree of Thanet with the William and Ann Fisher tree of Sheppey.
Cue jubilation amongst Team Emptage members!
We know that we may never manage to establish the paper trail but we do know that our theory that the Emptages of at least one of the two trees in Thanet were connected with the Emptages of Sheppey is correct.
In March 2017 came the results of Bertram’s test, showing a genetic relationship between him and Andrew, thus connecting the Emptages of Barbados with those of the Henry and Ann Peal tree of Thanet.
Again, cue jubilation and Michelle could say that she is officially connected to the Emptages of Thanet.
In genetic distance terms, the link with between Roger and Andrew appears more recent than that with Bertram and Andrew. And we must face the fact that the chances of establishing the paper trail become fewer the further back we’re looking. However, the link is proved and that’s what matters.
David was the next to take the test and in August 2017 his results confirmed a genetic relationship with Andrew and therefore a connection between the tree of Humphrey and Catherine Pearce and of Henry and Ann Peal, both the Thanet trees.
David, Pat and I could now come in from the cold and say that we too are officially members of the great Emptages of Thanet family.
Mark is our most recent recruit to Team Emptage. Many years before Andrew, Mark had the same two theories: that we are of Anglo-Saxon origin and that all Emptages originate from the Isle of Thanet.
His test results came through in October 2017. Not only did they indicate the expected/hoped for probable Anglo-Saxon origins, but confirmed the genetic links with the other four test results.
Andrew Laurence Emtage had also stepped up to take the test and his results also arrived in October 2017. They confirmed a genetic link with Bertram, confirming their joint Barbadian ancestry.
Clearly, whether you spell the name with a p or without a p, the Emptages and Emtages of Barbados are connected.
We are now avidly awaiting Tim’s test results. [In my view, patience is such an over-rated virtue!]
DNA testing for genealogical purposes has its limitations. Unfortunately, it cannot tell us who the Most Recent Common Ancestor was, or even who it was who went to Sheppey or Barbados. We still have to pursue the paper trail to be able to connect all – or at least some – of the dots.
But we have proved our theory that the Emptages of Thanet have Anglo-Saxon origins and gone quite some way to prove that all Emptages are descended from that small island off the Kent coast.
However, as with all family history, answering some questions give rise to others:
How were the trees linked?
Who were the common denominators in the respective trees?
Who was the most recent common ancestor?
Genetic relationships are expressed in terms of probable genetic distances (in percentage terms).
From Family Tree DNA:
Genetic Distance is the number of differences, or mutations, between two
sets of results. A genetic distance of zero means there are no differences in
the results being compared against one another, i.e., an exact match. This is
the meaning when comparing Y-chromosome DNA or mitochondrial DNA.”
Since each marker [of the 111 tested for each person] has a different mutation rate, identical Genetic Distances will not necessarily yield the same probabilities. In other words, even though Andrew Emptage has a Genetic Distance‡ of 9 from Mr. Bertram Clifford Emptage, someone else with the same Genetic Distance may have different probabilities, because the distance of 9 was prompted by mutations in different markers, with different mutation rates.”
We will be comparing the results of the six 111 marker results, to see where mutations have occurred. This may give better ideas of the actual relationships or at least the generations involved.
Remarkably, we have proved that all four trees so far identified are related.
As Andrew wrote: “Six Emptages covering four countries and three continents [all] related with an Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA), [from] what shall we say.. … several hundred?… years ago is pretty amazing.”
We can confidently say that all Emptages who appear on the English 1841 census and who were born in England between 1841 and 1911 are related to the Thanet Emptages, whether directly or through Sheppey or Barbados.
However, we cannot assume:
that the four identified branches are the only branches of the Emptage family and therefore that all current Emptages anywhere in the world are descended from one of those four branches,
or that we have enough information to connect all those early Thanet Emptages to one of those Thanet branches or even to develop any other trees.
Therefore there is still information to be gathered, including if there any Emptages / Emtages who do not have a genetic match with us, thus disproving our theory that all Emptages originate from the Isle of Thanet.
Being pretty certain about something is not the same as proving it beyond reasonable doubt.
And we are only partway to proving that all Emptages in the world today originated from one common ancestor in a very small part of England called the Isle of Thanet (or even from elsewhere in Kent).
We are notified by Family Tree DNA when there is a match but not if there is somebody of the same name has tested who is not a match.
Therefore we have established a full Emptage / Emtage DNA project on FamilyTreeDNA so that any male Emptage / Emtage seeking to have their Y DNA tested can see that there is such a project in existence.
And that way, if somebody joins our project but is found not to be matched with any of the six so far tested, we will know that there is another tree in existence and can investigate.
If you want to have your DNA tested to see if there is an Emptage match, you need to use the same company, Family Tree DNA, and the same Y-111 DNA marker test.
Mark Emptage is co-ordinating the DNA project on Family Tree DNA.
If you have already taken a Y-111 test with Ancestry.com the results can be uploaded to Family Tree DNA for comparison and matching.
As regards what constitutes a generation, I’ve always thought it was 30 to 35 years though I have seen reference to 25 or 28 years. To me, around 33 years seems reasonable.
My paternal family tree is headed by David Jefferys, who died in 1603. From the baptism dates of his grandchildren, it’s reasonable to conclude that he was born c1540-1550. He was my 9 x great grandfather. I was born in 1948, so that makes 11 full generations in some 400 years, an average of 36 years per generation but they were farmers, who tended to marry later than agricultural labourers.
Of course, there are anomalies.
William Emptage of Thanet had 22 children (including one set of twins) between 1674 and 1720, thankfully with two wives. A spread of 46 years but they all counted as the same generation.
David Emptage is my mother’s first cousin and so appears on the same generation line as her but due to my mother being the second eldest of 12 children and him being the product of his father’s second and late marriage, he is just four years older than me.
My ex mother in-law was the youngest of 13 children. When she married, her father in-law was the same age as her eldest brother. To have such youthful parents in-law came as quite a shock to her.