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 (http://www.worldfamilies.net/forum/index.php?topic=9718.0
). 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melungeon
) 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 http://www.jogg.info/72/files/Estes.pdf
The second citation was by an Ancestry.com 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 http://www.ancestry.com/obama
. 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!