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Mark Bunch
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Posts: 15

« on: December 04, 2010, 11:45:59 AM »

Season's Greetings!

I'm sending this out to update everyone as to the status of the Bunch Project, and what I've been up to recently as project co-administrator.  The project has grown from 13 "official" members this time last year to 21 members as of today -- that's a growth of over 50%!  This includes some mt-DNA members who don't appear in the project's y-DNA Results Table, as well as some members whose results are still pending.  The y-DNA Results Table has grown from about 12 entries to 17 entries currently listed, which is also fairly impressive growth.  Among those 17 is our first "unofficial" member with results from Ancestry instead of FTDNA.

The project's general fund balance now stands at $408.00 after I was able to take advantage of the Thanksgiving sale to have one of our y-12 results uppgraded to y-67.  That result is for a descendant of James Bunch of Anderson County, Tennessee, discussed below.

Speaking of the fund balance, I've discovered that there's a problem with the PayPal link on FTDNA's general fund contribution page.  I've contacted FTDNA about that problem and they're supposed to be working on it, but it hasn't been fixed as of yet.  Another outstanding programming problem is the GEDCOM upload facility for FTDNA's y-Search site.  Once I learn that either of these have been fixed, I'll be sure to send out another update.

To sum up the project status in short, the project is alive and well and has grown this past year by leaps and bounds.  Thanks to everyone for your recruiting efforts, for your financial contributions, and for the interesting discussions I've enjoyed with you.

I've been recently very occupied tracing out some of the descendants of John Bunch of Louisa County, Virginia, through his second son William, with the hope of identifying a candidate to join our project from that branch of the family tree.  Very early in the course of my explorations I came across one of our current mt-DNA members, which was a suprising and encouraging coincidence.  I have more recently come across Clarence Bunch, the "notorious" East Tennessee outlaw who you might say was the Bunch version of Bonnie & Clyde.  I still don't have any positive recruitment results to report for my efforts, but it's been an interesting journey.  I've wrapped that search up for now and I'm changing course to add whatever assistance I can to "fleshing out" the Bunch-Nelson link.

Maybe the most significant progress we've made this last year has been among the descendants of James Bunch (born about 1795 in South Carolina, moved about 1820 to Anderson County, Tennessee).  We've added members from that line (one result still pending), and ordered an upgrade for an existing member (results pending).  However, the most interesting result on this line just came in from a different line:  A member belonging to a second branch of the Virginia line (descendants of John Bunch of Louisa County, Virginia, born around 1690) recently received his upgraded y-37 results, and these indicate a closer match between him and the Anderson County Bunches than between him and other descendants of the Virginia line.  We now have a descendant of John Bunch's son David as well as descendants of his son Samuel who test closer to the Anderson County Bunches than they do to each other:  It's beginning to look like it may be time to reassess the judgment that the Anderson County Bunches came through the Carolina line of the family.  More results for other Virginia and Carolina lines, including results from other South Carolina branches, should help firm up this possibilty one way or the other.

Research priorities for the coming year include:

- Recruiting a descendant from a second son of George W. Nelson;

- Recruiting more descendants from the Carolina line (hoping to confirm the DYS385b=20 result);

- Recruiting more R1b Bunches (looking for a bona fide genetic "lineage" and learning more about the Bunch-Cherokee connection);

- Recruiting a descendant from a third son of John Bunch from Louisa County;

- Recruiting a desecendant from a second son of Samuel Bunch (probing DYS464a=16).

Administrative priorities for the coming year include:

- Helping all project members (including mt-DNA members) get GEDCOM pedigree files uploaded to FTDNA (and to y-Search as applicable, assuming the upload facility gets fixed);

- Fleshing out the Discussion page;

- Adding more research resources and topics to the Project's Forum;

- Adding a "Project Update" topic to the Forum (to include the text of this e-mail as a first entry).

Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

-Mark Bunch
Mark Bunch
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Posts: 15

« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 10:20:34 PM »

10 Jan 2012
Happy New Year!
Here's the 2012 update for the Bunch Surname Project. To begin let me just say that while I couldn't have imagined my life getting busier in 2011, it seems that's what happened. In addition to training to complete my first marathon in October, my kids are getting older and taking a larger slice of our home computer time during the day (time to invest in another computer!), both of which have curtailed my ability to devote as much time to genealogical pursuits as I would like. Nevertheless, I remain very much engaged working on the Bunch Surname Project and look forward to any and all correspondence I receive from project participants -- I just may be a little slower to repsond than I would be otherwise, and a little more prone to dropping conversational threads. If this has happened to you, please accept my apologies.
Here's a quick status report for 2011. We grew from 21 FTDNA members last year to 33 as of today, or 57% growth (compared with 62% growth from the year before). This includes some mt-DNA and/or Family Finder only members who don't appear in the project's y-DNA Results Table. The y-DNA Results Table has gone from 17 entries to 27 (59% growth), including now 2 results from individuals who tested with Ancestry instead of FTDNA. My personal goal is to see at least 50 entries listed in the result table before I can consider turning over the reins as project adminstrator. Looks like I'll be at it for a couple more years at least!

The General Fund balance now stands at $106, after a contribution of $50 back in December 2010, and expenitures of $153 in March (2011) and of $199 in November. The outlays were to pay for a new member's y-37 test (member ID B-34) and for an existing member's Family Finder (B-02).
In short, this has been another very good year for the project, in terms of number of participants. In terms of what we've learned, the most significant lesson seems to be that, with a small number of notable exceptions, the Bunch E1b1a STR haplotype has changed very little overall across the various lineages. We still have not confirmed any obvious markers distinguishing one lineage from another, although there is still one viable candidate (extensive changes in the DYS-464 complex that may mark the line of Samuel Bunch born about 1726, or of his son Charles). The other candidate marker that was under consideration last year (20 repeats at DYS-385b as a marker for the line of Henry Bunch of North Carolina, born about 1695, died 1775) seems to have been called in to question by the results for participant B-34, who accounts himself a descendant of Henry and whose result show the normal 19 repeats there.
Using last year's priority list as a scorecard, we had mixed success last year:

We are still looking to recruit descendants from at least one other son of George Nelson. Running score: 0/1;
We did have 2 new members join who descend from the North Carolina line of the family, and in the process disconfirmed (but not necessarily disproved) DYS385b=20 result as a marker for Henry Bunch's descendants. Running score: 1/2;
We did recruit another R1b Bunch, but still haven't established any consistent R1b lineages; the Bunch-Cherokee (or, more generally, the Bunch-Indian) connection remains a complete mystery. We also gained a participant (B-27) who represents a completely new Bunch haplogroup, R1a, from the same area of Tennessee (Grainger County) that my own line came through. Running score: 2/3;
We did not gain any participants descended from unrepresented sons of John Bunch of Louisa County; currently David and Samuel remain the only represented sons (we are still looking for descendants of William and Henry). However, we should get points for gaining a Bunch of the South Carolina line(s) who believes he can trace his roots all the way back to John the Immigrant (participant B-28). Running score: 2½/4.
Administratively, I did not get the Discussion Page updated -- that remains a priority for 2012. Running score: 2½/5.
I did not manage to get any more research resources added to the Forum, and that, too, remains a priority for 2012. I have in mind listing a number of internet trees that I've found particularly useful, but I'd like to solicit recommendations from you as well: Any Bunch sources that you've found helpful? Running score: 2½/6.
I did get the "Project Update" topic up on the Forum, to which this note will duly be appended. Running score: 3½/6.

That's a 58.3% completion rate which isn't great, but if you think of it as a 583 batting average it's phenomenal!
Goals for next year are, 1) to accomplish the unaccomplished goals from last year, 2) to finally finish a draft of my essay on "The Origin and Meaning of the Surname Bunch" and put it up on the project site, 3) to add at least 6 new entries to the Results Table. That should be enough keep me busy!
Here's hoping you all have a great year!
-Mark Bunch

« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 10:21:41 PM by Mark Bunch » Logged
Mark Bunch
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Posts: 15

« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 08:29:12 PM »

12 Jan 2013
Happy New Year!
It's hard to believe yet another year has rolled by (or over?) us, but I've learned not to question the little clock/calendar in the lower right corner of my computer screen. :-)
This is my Bunch Surname Project annual retrospective message for the year just passed (which was 2012 in case you weren't paying attention). To summarize it as briefly as possible, it was a pretty good year for the project. What follows is a considerably less brief summarization, I'm afraid, and I apologize for my somewhat witless lack of brevity. I had wanted to add a section of suggestions and recommendations for project members this year, but because of the unusual length of my usual status report, I'll save that for a second message which I hope to send out before the end of January. Both that message and this one will be posted to the "Project Update" topic on the Project's Forum (  I've added a handful of likely names to my distribution list this year, unsolicited.  If you receive this and would like to be removed from the distribution list, please let me know.
Project Statistics & General Fund Balance
The number of project members on FTDNA grew from 33 last year to 52 today, a gain of 19 (or 58% growth). This includes a number of observers who don't appear in the project's y-DNA Results Table (some mt-DNA and/or Family Finder only members, as well as interested non-Bunch y-DNA members). The y-DNA Results Table went from 27 entries to 38, a gain of 11 (or 41% growth), with an additional 2 results pending. The current General Fund balance is $227, after a repayment contribution of $200 in May (thanks Tami!) and a $79 expenditure in December (to extend results from 37 to 67 markers for project ID B-47, an R1b1a2, Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype participant who appears to closely match descendants of Benjamin Collins and Shepherd Gibson of Melungeon fame -- see below for more on the Melungeons).
Project Developments
Let me begin the list of recent project developments by mentioning a 2011 development I neglected to mention in my project update last January. Not only did we add a couple of new representatives of the North Carolina lines in 2011 (project ID's B-25 and B-34), we also added representation from one of the four known early Mississippi lines (project ID B-35). This is the Adams/Wilkinson County Bunch line that traces back to Elijah Bunch, who may have come to Mississippi as early as the 1790's, when the southern portion was controlled by Spain and called "West Florida." This is an E1b1a line, so it must connect back to the colonial Virginia Bunches somehow. Another E1b1a Mississippi line is represented by project member B-11, a descendant of George Bunch (we believe) who came to Wayne County, Mississippi by 1815 -- this is another E1b1a line, but no longer carrying the Bunch surname. Both of these lines likely came from South Carolina, but the jury's still out on that. Two other early Mississippi lines are still unrepresented in the project.
Moving on to 2012, maybe the most significant development was the explosion of new SNP haplogroups represented in the project. At the beginning of last year there were just 5 individuals representing 3 haplogroups (J, R1a and R1b) outside of the main E1b1a lineage. By the end of the year, there were 13 individuals representing 6 haplogroups (adding C3, E1b1b and R1). There were only 3 additional results added to the E1b1a lineage (two of the Virginia line and a new South Carolinian), bringing the total there from 22 to 25. These developments combined to dilute the representation of E1b1a's down from comprising 81% of the project participants to just 66%. Although the overall number of participants is probably still too small to make an accurate statistical projection from this, it does begin to appear that non-E1b1a Bunches are more common than previously appeared to be the case.
It still seems to me that the most likely explanation for most of the non-E1b1a's involves NPE (non-paternity event) connections to the E1b1a lineage (for example, by offspring taking the Bunch surname from their mother instead of their father), rather than unconnected Bunch lines that go a long way back. This is because nearly all of them trace back to places and times where E1b1a Bunches were probably close neighbors (at least!) -- typically frontier counties in Kentucky or Tennessee between about 1800 to 1830. Two of the new non-E1b1a's appear particularly closely connected to the E1b1a Virginia line: B-47 represents an Augusta County, Virginia line with a many-times great uncle named "Fountain," (an unusual name used by the E1b1a Virginia Bunches) while B-48 traces back to the Washington County, Kentucky neighborhood where descendants of Henry Bunch (son of John III) are believed to have settled. But as the project accumulates more non-E1b1a Bunch lines, it becomes less and less likely that my preferred explanation covers every case. There is, in fact, at least one new participant who I believe does not have any genealogical connection to the E1b1a Bunches whatsoever (but I'm not prepared to point him out just yet) -- this is a significant development all by itself.
Another important development was the establishment of a second bona fide genetic lineage within the project by the addition of project ID B-51, who along with B-12 now comprises "Bunch Haplogroup R1b Lineage 1." They are relatively close cousins to one another, but their match begins to provide a basis for triangulating their line further back. Although they don't match the E1b1a line in terms of y-DNA, by history and location this line may well connect to the E1b1a's via some sort of NPE. Adding another genetic lineage has been a long-standing goal of the project and I'm glad to finally check that one off (thanks Libby!) -- now I guess we shoot for three!
On another front, we made some more progress this year on a question related to Samuel "the Quaker" Bunch's line. Various changes in the DYS-464 complex show up in descendants of Samuel's son Charles, and there was a question of whether the changes happened between Samuel and Charles or earlier, between Samuel's father (John III) and Samuel. Project member B-41, a descendant of another of Samuel's sons (James) joined the project in 2012 and his results show no changes at DYS-464. So it looks as though we can expect the changes to be confined to Charles' descendants only -- another result or two from Charles' line should confirm or disprove this pattern. A definitive answer to this question may have some bearing on figuring out the Bunch connection of project member B-29 (a non-Bunch match with the same DYS-464 changes as Charles' descendants). At the same time, B-41 also represents a second Oregonian line (Bunches who went to Oregon before statehood in 1890), alongside the line represented by project members B-08 and B-23. There's at least one other old Oregon line that remains unrepresented.
Finally, in addition to adding representation from a second of Samuel the Quaker's sons, we added representation from a second son of Samuel's brother David: Project member B-49 is a descendant of David's son Pouncy (alongside B-04, who is a descendant of David's son Joseph Martin Bunch).
Research Citations - Notoriety at Last!
The Bunch Surname Project was cited by two significant research papers published in 2012, a development that certainly deserves mention here. Both involved not simply citation, but extensive use and interpretation of the Bunch project results. This is a big part of what surname projects are all about, and it's the participation of our project members that makes it possible -- thanks all!
The Bunch project's first citation came in, "Melungeons, a Multi-Ethnic Population" by Roberta Estes, Jack Goins, Penny Ferguson and Janet Lewis Crain, published by the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JoGG) around the end of April. This paper makes a fairly comprehensive, scholarly attempt to survey and assimilate the various historical, genealogical and genetic sources of information about the Melungeon group and to arrive at some coherent conclusion about their origins. If you're not familiar with the Melungeons, see the Wikipedia article ( for an excellent introduction -- for our purposes here, suffice it to say that Bunch is one of the core surnames of the "original" Melungeon group. The authors of the paper are the administrators of the Melungeon Core Surname Project and the Melungeon Families DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. If you haven't had a chance to take a look at their paper, it's worth a read. You can access it at
The second citation was by an research group making the case that President Obama may have been descended from John Punch, considered by many to be the first African slave in British North America. Their case hinges on the President's genealogy (which connects to the E1b1a Bunch line through his mother), and on establishing that John Bunch of Virginia (born about 1630) was the son of John Punch. It's interesting reading if not an airtight case, and it received a lot of press attention when it came out at the end of July. If you haven't run across their work yet, the three research documents and press release can be accessed at
2012 Report Card
I strongly believe in setting and tracking goals as a means to keeping a continuing project such as this moving ahead. So here's my annual report card, measuring our progress against the goals set last year for 2012:

Goal: Recruit at least one descendant from a second son of George W. Nelson. I did spend a little time in 2012 working on the Nelson tree, but didn't get around to making any recruitment efforts. We'll score it as a 0 on this for 2012 and plan to make it a priority for 2013. Running tally: Zero for one (0/1).
Goal: Establish at least one bona fide R1b1a lineage. I wasn't responsible for getting this checked off the list, but will happily take it as a credit on the report card. Running tally: 1/2.
Goal: Learn more about the Bunch Cherokee connection. There are two Bunch lines of interest with Cherokee associations: 1) Descendants of Rabbit Bunch, a vice chief of the Cherokee Nation West (he's the namesake of Bunch, Oklahoma), and, 2) Bunches with possible Melungeon associations who came principally to southern Kentucky (e.g., Barren County) around 1810 or so, and had oral traditions (at least) of Cherokee descent. At the time I set this goal, I had the Melungeon/Kentucky Cherokees in mind. In 2012 a descendant of "the Big Indian," Lorenzo Dow Bunch of Barren County, Kentucky (not to be confused with a number of other Lorenzo Dow Bunches) joined the project. This is a small but significant step in the right direction. I'm inclined to score a full point for this on the report card, but I'll also keep it as a priority goal (now to include Rabbit Bunch's descendants) for 2013. Running tally: 2/3.
Goal: Recruit a descendant of a third son of John Bunch of Louisa County (John Bunch III). John Bunch III is the patriarch of the "Virginia line" of E1b1a Bunches. He had six sons: John IV, William, Henry, David, James and Samuel. John IV apparently never married and had no children, while James' only son had only daughters. This leaves only William, Henry, David and Samuel with y-DNA lines that might still have living representatives. Male line descendants of David and Samuel are currently represented in the project, so we have been hoping to recruit male line descendants of William and/or Henry. A participant who joined in 2012 (B-48) believes he is likely descended from Henry, but his SNP haplogroup appears to be R1 -- Henry's male line descendants would be presumed to be E1b1a. My best guess is that B-48 probably is a descendant of Henry, but not a male line descendant. In the meantime, another representative of Henry's line has been contacted and may become a participant in 2013. I would like to claim full credit (A for effort) on this item, but will only take half credit until we resolve this more fully. Running score: 2½/4.
Goal: Recruit a descendant of a second son of Samuel the Quaker. As noted above, a descendant of Samuel's son James joined the project in 2012, so this scores a full point without equivocation. Running score: 3½/5.
Goal: Flesh out the Discussion Page. Okay, this was a big flop in 2012 -- I focused on researching the origins of the Bunch surname and never even got to this. It stays on the list for 2013, and hopefully I'll make a little better progress on it. Running score: 3½/6.
Goal: Add more research resources and topics to the Project's Forum. I took care of this early (and often) in 2012, and get to score a full point on this item. Running score: 4½/7.
Goal: Finish and post a draft of "On the Origin and Meaning of the Bunch Surname." I spent a good deal of time and effort on this, but got stuck for a lack of resource material while researching the beginnings of European surnames outside of the Bristish Isles. I've located material that will hopefully cover that and have it on order. Score half a credit on this for 2012, but it stays on the list for 2013. Running tally: 5/8.
Goal: Add at least 6 new entries to the Results Table. We added 11, 'nuff said. Running score: 6/9.
Overall Batting Average: 667. This would probably score a "D" in a college course, but would be phenomenal in Major League Baseball. I'll just call it respectable.
Goals for 2013
Now is the time for brevity: Let me just cite, without elucidation, a list of holdovers (see above) and new items for the coming year's goals:

-- Recruit at least one descendant from a second son of George W. Nelson.

-- Learn more about the Bunch Cherokee connection.

-- Recruit a descendant of a third son of John Bunch of Louisa County (John Bunch III).

-- Flesh out the Discussion Page.

-- Finish and post a draft of "On the Origin and Meaning of the Bunch Surname."

-- Cut the percentage of participants who aren't listed on Y-Search in half.

-- Add at least 7 new entries to the Results Table (including the two pending results and the two mentioned below).

-- Recruit our first participant from outside the US (preferably Canada or the UK).

-- Recruit at least one other participant from one of the unrepresented groups listed on the project's Home Page (descendants of: Atlantic islanders, late arrivals to the US, or former slaves).
That's enough to be getting on with, but here's one more: I don't think I'll get to it in 2013, but I want to keep it on the back burner for 2014.
Goals Saved for 2014
-- Get more GEDCOM trees posted to FTDNA and Y-Search.

Okay, that's enough. Finally, as usual I apologize for dropped conversational threads last year -- free time is never as abundant as I'd like, and it seems I just keep slowing down from year to year. Last of all, Jim, I still intend to send more BFR information -- if I don't get it done this year you can shoot me (or we'll just list it next year as a goal for 2014). My high school biology teacher used to say I was like a cow's tail -- always behind. Some things never change. :^)
Here's hoping you all have a great year in 2013!
-Mark Bunch
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