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Mark Bunch
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Posts: 16

« 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: 16

« 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: 16

« 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
Mark Bunch
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Posts: 16

« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 10:32:50 PM »

Time has flown and my "annual" project update is more than a year overdue!  There have been some significant project developments since my last update in January 2013, and I will try to review them all below.  But first, here are the numbers:

Project Statistics & General Fund Balance
In 2013, the number of FTDNA project members grew from 52 to 75 (44% growth), and the number of result table entries went from 38 to 53 (39% growth).  Project growth slowed substantially in 2014, with FTDNA project members going from 75 to 85 (up 13%) and result table entries rising from 53 to 61 (up 15%).

The general fund balance went from $227.00 at the end of 2012 down to $52.00 at the end of 2014.  Contributions of $480.00 in the first quarter of 2013 brought the fund total up to $707.00 (thanks to Aleda, Janice, Karen, Kentucky, Minnie, and Sue); expenditures of $541.00 on y-DNA, mt-DNA, and autosomal DNA testing for kit 270672 brought the balance to $166.00 (kit 270672 is project ID B-58, no longer listed in the result table, but still appearing on the Patriarchs Page -- the contributions were specifically earmarked for this kit).  An additional $132.00 was invested in the purchase of three 12-marker y-DNA tests for future use.  Two of these (kits 275804 and 275805) have since been committed with results back (one for the Wayne County, Mississippi line to test a genealogical theory, the other for a new South Carolina line from Colleton County); the third kit has recently been committed, but not yet mailed out to the participant.  The purchase of the 3 kits brought the fund balance down to $34.00.  Addtional contributions of $187.00 in April 2013 (thanks again to Aleda, Janice, Karen, and Minnie) were earmarked and applied toward autosomal testing for kit 275817 (not a project member), at a cost of $169.00, bringing the fund balance to $52.00.  There has been no further general fund activity since April 2013.

In Remembrance
Unfortunately, this section of the annual report begins with some sad news:  Since the last project update was sent out, the Bunch genealogical community has lost a couple of big players.  DeWitt Bunch, erstwhile editor/publisher of The Bunch Family Record and inveterate Bunch genealogical researcher for some 60 years, passed away in November 2012.  I didn't report this in the January 2013 project update because I didn't find out about it until after that update went out.  I first came across DeWitt's work through a scanned pdf collection of the 1965 issues of The Bunch Family Record that had circulated on the internet for awhile -- I was duly impressed and inspired!  I was eventually able to establish e-mail contact with DeWitt and enjoyed some discussions with him about the import of the Bunch Y-DNA Project on his genealogical research.  DeWitt had done y-DNA testing with and his results are listed on Y-Search (he matches to the American "Old Line" E1b1a Bunches).  Unfortunately, in the course of our discussions I was never quite able to obtain his permission to post his results with our project (I don't think he was averse to the idea, he just never got around to giving a definite go ahead).  I also learned from DeWitt about a second run of The Bunch Family Record (1997-2000), and was able to obtain copies of those issues from him.  He was interested in all aspects of Bunch genealogy, and his knowledge in that regard was encylopedic.

We also lost Aleda Bunch in January 2014, just over a year ago.  It was Aleda who enlisted her brother’s assistance to initiate the Bunch Y-DNA Surname Project in 2005.  Aleda contributed to the Bunch project not just as a founder: She was an enthusiastic e-mail collaborator who was always willing to help other project members, a dependable contributor to the project's general fund (see the general fund report above), and a frequent forwarder of newsworthy items of genealogical interest.  Aleda was a dedicated genealogist with an analytical/mathematical inclination, which no doubt led to her interest in using DNA for genealogical purposes.  In addition to surname projects based on y-chromosome DNA, she was also keenly interested in using autosomal DNA to figure out the links between somewhat distant genetic cousins.  She was very persistant at anything she turned her attention to, and it was never wise to tell her that something couldn't be done or known.  Her absence continues to be keenly felt.

Project Developments
The slowdown of the project's growth in 2014 (noted above) was probably at least in part due to your project administrator becoming involved in a couple of genealogical side interests (the Dobbins Y-DNA Project, and an independent Bunch one-name study), and having less time to devote to the Bunch Y-DNA Project as a consequence.  Considering the project's rapid growth in 2012 and 2013, the slowdown in 2014 was almost a welcome development from the administrative perspective.  In any case, the time spent on a Bunch one-name study (at least) has the ulterior motive of helping recruit project participants from Great Britain.  We will see how things go in 2015, but there are already a number of test results "in the hopper."

One development reported in the January 2013 project update was establishing the first "lineage" (group of two or more of matched results) outside of the haplogroup E1b1a Bunches.  This had been a project goal for 2012.  Since that update, three more project lineages have been established:  Haplogoup R1b lineages II, III, and IV.  Establishing lineages allows "paper trail" genealogies for the matched parties to be compared and searched for commonalities -- this can confirm prior research or send it off in an entirely new direction.  I think it's safe to say that each of the three new lineage discoveries has shed at least some light on the associated genealogies, and it's to be hoped that additional lineages will found in the year ahead.

Another item reported on in the January 2013 update regarded achieving some clarification on how DYS-464 variations developed in the Old Line (E1b1a) descendants, and developments in the past two years shed additional light on this.  DYS-464 is a set of 4 markers with a relatively high mutation rate.  The Old Line ancestral pattern is [13, 16, 17, 19] -- the pattern is seen in most of the Haplogroup E1b1a results, and among descendants of both sons of John Bunch I.  Among descendants of John Bunch I's grandson, John Bunch III, there's a branch descending from Samuel "the Quaker" Bunch (son of John Bunch III) which, prior to 2012, was represented by 3 different DYS-464 patterns among 3 descendants -- none of the three patterns was the ancestral pattern.  All three were descendants of Samuel's son Charles, so it wasn't clear whether there was a change between Samuel and Charles, or whether all the changes occurred among Charles' descendants.  In 2012 a descendant of Samuel's son James joined the project -- his pattern matched the ancestral pattern ([13, 16, 17, 19]), making it clear that Samuel himself must have had the ancestral pattern and that the changes must have been confined to Charles and his descendants.  It remained unclear, however, what the sequence of changes must have been.  In the intervening two years, project member B-0059, a descendant of Charles' son Nathaniel, joined the project and showed a pattern of [19, 16, 17, 19], which was shared by member B-0023, a descendant of Charles' other son, Charles Albert.  In addition, project member B-0037 (another descendant of Charles Albert) had his results extended to include DYS-464, and they also matched the pattern [19, 16, 17, 19], confirming that Charles' pattern must have been [19, 16, 17, 19] as well.  This is a significant development for project member B-0029, who shares the [19, 16, 17, 19] pattern but has a different last name and has been searching for his connection to the Old Line Bunches:  It seems very likely that the connection must be through Charles Bunch or one of his male line descendants.

One goal for 2013 was to recruit a descendant of a second son of George W. Nelson to the project, and in the intervening couple of years we've added descendants of two of them.  Prior to 2013, there were four project members who are descendants of George Nelson, all of who matched the Old Line Bunch E1b1a y-DNA.  From this it appeared that George Nelson must have been an NPE descendant of an Old Line Bunch.  However, all four Nelson project members were descendants of only one of George's sons -- Thomas G. Nelson.  To confirm the conclusion (that George W. Nelson was a Bunch), it was important to have representation from (descendants of) more of George's sons.  Now with three sons (Jacob, Caleb, and Thomas) represented, the results are mixed:  Caleb and Thomas match the Bunch Old Line, but Jacob is altogether different.  Thus, the plot thickens on this line -- hopefully we'll be able to recruit more descendants of old George W. Nelson in the near term.

A very significant new development in the past two years was the addition of a descendant of Rabbit Bunch to the project (project ID B-0064).  Rabbit Bunch was Assistant Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, serving with Principal Chief Dennis Bushyhead from 1879 to 1887.  It is claimed that he was a full-blooded Cherokee, and his descendant's Q haplogroup result supports that claim.  DeWitt Bunch researched and wrote fairly extensively about Rabbit Bunch in "The Bunch Family Record", and it has been a long-standing Bunch Y-DNA Project goal to recruit some of Rabbit's descendants as participants.  Although there's apparently no genealogical connection between Rabbit and other Bunch lines (it remains a bit of a mystery how Rabbit came by "Bunch" as his surname) most American Bunch families seem to have at least some family legend of Cherokee ancestry.  Maybe some ancestors' knowing about Rabbit Bunch provided the source for some of those claims.

Another family name popped on to our DNA radar screen in early 2014.  It first appeared as "Mitchum", but was shortly after joined by a variant "Meacham".  We believe their Bunch connection may go back to old Paul Bunch of Chowan County, North Carolina, who left a legacy to Joseph Meacham in his 1726 will (Joseph may have possibly been Paul's son).  The paper trail lines of the project members B-0082 and B-0090 don't yet connect to each other, much less back to anywhere near old Paul, but this is something I hope I have time to work on in the coming year.

A significant recent development was the addition of a descendant of John Bunch III's son William to the project (project ID B-0086).  With his STR-haplotype matching other Old Line (and Virginia Line) descendants, this makes three of the four sons of John Bunch III with expected y-line descendants (William, Henry, David, and Samuel) now unequivocally represented in the project.  (There are a number of project participants who may be descendants of the fourth son -- Henry -- but so far there are none with the Old Line y-DNA.)  The new member has a DYS-464 signature of [14, 16, 17, 19], which is completely new to the project.

These were the project highlights of the past couple years that I was able to recall.  If I've left something out, please drop me a line and jog my memory.

Reorganization of the Patriarchs Page
In November 2014, I started a project to reorganize the Patriarchs Page on the project's website (  If you've visited the website lately you may not have noticed any changes -- this would be because so far I've been conducting the revision on the Discussion Page (  Having nearly set up the basic framework, I'll soon be to the point of transferring the updated format to the Patriarchs Page, where I expect it will be continually appended to over the next few years.  The point of the reorganization it to provide better coordination between the result table and the patriarch trees, and to allow for the trees to be annotated.  I would be very happy to receive your feedback about the new layout.

More Publicity for the Project
Of final note (before moving on the the "report card" section), I've been asked to give a presentation on genetic genealogy at the Historic Hope Foundaton's genealogy fair this June 26 and 27 (2015).  This will be held at the Hope Plantation, located near Windsor, North Carolina.  As a bit of historical perspective, there were (at least) three generations of an "Old Line" Bunch family who were active in the Windsor area (Bertie and Hertford Counties) as house carpenters between about 1780 and 1860, with a construction style that was influential for its attention to detail (see  The mansion house at the Hope Plantation is an example of their work.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Historic Hope Foundation, a non-profit formed to restore and maintain the grounds of the Hope Plantation, and to provide recreational and educational access to the site.  This will be the Foundation's 5th annual genealogy fair, and this year the focus will be on the Bunch and Capeheart families in the area.  If there are any project members who will be somewhere near Windsor at the end of June, please come on out -- I'd love the chance to meet face-to-face.  See the Hope Foundation's website ( for more details.

2013-2014 Report Card
Our report card covers two years this time, so by rights I should cut the overall score in half.  But I'll claim full credit for each accomplishment, anyway:

Goal: Recruit at least one descendant from a second son of George W. Nelson.  Mission accomplished twice over, but left unresolved questions.  It should remain a project goal to recruit more representation for George W. Nelson's line, but score 1 for now.  Running score: 1/1.

Goal: Learn more about the Bunch Cherokee connection.  More was certainly learned, as a fairly large tree of Rabbit Bunch's descendants was fleshed out.  Score 1 for this, but curiosity remains about how some full-blooded Cherokees came by European surnames.  Running score: 2/2.

Goal: Recruit a descendant of a third son of John Bunch of Louisa County (John Bunch III).  It took me a few months to realize that a descendant of John Bunch III's son William had joined the project in 2014, but I get to score 1 for this as well.  Let's make it a goal for 2015 to stay a little better on top of things.  Running score: 3/3.

Goal: Flesh out the Discussion Page.  I did manage to make progress on the Discussion Page, although not as much as I'd hoped.  Unfortunately, that much has been temporarily taken down to make a space for revising the format of the Patriarchs Page (and for me to learn the rudiments of HTML).  The goal, as stated, doesn't specify how much "fleshing out" was to be accomplished, but I think I'll only claim half credit for this one.  Much of that discussion will now be incorporated into the Patriarchs Page, so I'll have to rethink the Discussion Page going forward.  Running score: 3½/4.

Goal: Finish and post a draft of "On the Origin and Meaning of the Bunch Surname."  I'll score half a point for this one, too.  I made some progress on the draft, but most of my effort in this regard was on research.  This seems especially true when I consider that all of my work on the Bunch one-name study could be viewed as research along this line.  Running score: 4/5.

Goal: Cut the percentage of participants who aren't listed on Y-Search in half.  I think I may have been instrumental in getting a few results uploaded to Y-Search, but I didn't make any sort of concerted effort toward this goal -- zero points.  Running score: 4/6.

Goal: Add at least 7 new entries to the Results Table.  By my rough count, we added 15 new results in 2013 and 8 new results in 2014, so score 1 for this.  Running score: 5/7.

Goal: Recruit our first participant from outside the US.  This goal remains unaccomplished, but not from lack of working on it (principally, via the one-name study).  I'll score half a point for effort.  Running score: 5½/8.

Goal: Recruit at least one other participant from one of the unrepresented groups listed on the project's Home Page.  Rabbit Bunch's descendant joining the project completes this goal.  Now I need to update the project's Home Page!  Running score:  6½/9.

2014 Goal: Get more GEDCOM trees posted to FTDNA and Y-Search.  This didn't happen in any sort of organized way -- no points.  Running score:  6½/10.

Overall Batting Average: 650. Not too shabby, even though it took twice as long as usual to accomplish.

Goals for 2015
I think the project has matured and grown large enough over the past few years that the goals for the year ahead should focus less on growing and more on catching up on administrative details.  Still, there are a few strategic recruitment items I'd like to keep on the table.  Here's my list for 2015:

-- Finish setting up the framework for the revised Patriarch Page layout.

-- Make sure all project participant trees are posted up (of those who want them posted).

-- Post up notes for at least 10 trees (the two already posted up count toward this).

-- Update the project's Home Page.

-- Work through my project maintenance list (this is a high priority -- score 2 points).

-- Get all new results and trees posted up within 2 weeks of receiving them (backlog items excepted).

-- Work on recruiting descendants of Henry Bunch (John Bunch III's son) to the project.

-- Work on recruiting more descendants of George W. Nelson to the project.

-- Work on deciphering the lines of the "3 Williams" of South Carolina.

-- Work on recruiting Britons/Canadians: Post at least 5 trees of interest to the Patriarch Page.

That's plenty and then some to be getting on with.  Let's get cracking!  I hope you (continue to) have a great year in 2015!

-Mark Bunch
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