The Muncey Project at FTDNA

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) has a surname project, appropriately named “The Muncey Project.” This project was created on January 1, 2015 in order to determine the history and relationships of the various Muncy families in America and around the world.

This project is for anyone who descends from the Muncey, Muncy, Munsey, Munsy or similarly spelled lines, including people who have taken the FTDNA Family Finder test. We are also looking for males who carry the Muncey or derivative surnames to determine if they share share a common male ancestor through Y-chromosome testing and to find additional cousins and relationships through autosomal testing

This is currently a small group, but with time it will grow – and as it grows it will be even more informative and helpful. Joining the project is easy and there is no charge although you must purchase (or have purchased) a test from FTDNA to participate. You can jump to the join page by clicking “The Muncey Project at FTDNA” menu item in the left column of this page,  or click this link and then click the “Join” button. If you have not yet tested with FTDNA, you will be given the opportunity to purchase a test at the same time you join the project. If you are logged into FTDNA, simply select the “Projects” drop down menu, select “Join a Project” and search for the “Muncey” in the Search by Surname box (note the spelling).

VERY IMPORTANT!  Significant discounts on purchasing tests are given when you join the group so make sure you join the group BEFORE you test.  If you purchase a test this week, and join the group next week, you don’t get the discount. JOIN FIRST!

ALL of the current testers are descendants of Francis Muncy (b. 1630s. d. 1674). We very much need testers who are descendants of William Muncy (b. 1640’s. d. 1698). Until we get a descendant of William Muncy to test, we are not able to compare the results to Francis Muncy to establish a relationship! If you are a descendant of William Muncy and considering testing, please contact me or leave a comment and I will contact you. (When you leave a comment, your email address is not published.)

Of our current members, one member of the project is descended from Thomas Muncey, born in Hertfordshire, England in 1710. This project member lives in Australia and his ancestors never settled in North America. Out of 111 markers tested, he has only three mutations from the profile of our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA). Based on this information, this person is probably my 10th cousin (or closer).

Three members of the project show NO mutations of the 111 markers from the profile of our direct common ancestor.  (I have a single mutation in 111 markers). The more Muncy males that test, the better we will be able to identify different lines and relationships.  If you are a Muncy male, I urge you to take a FTDNA Y-Chromosome test–particularly the 67-marker test if possible, but the 37-marker test will also help.

I maintain a spreadsheet noting mutations and groupings and will provide any members of the Muncey Project with updates if they send me a request to be added to the list. Please use the “contact us” link to request the spreadsheet updates.  (As an incentive to join the Muncey Project, only members of the project will receive the spreadsheet and updates.)


Steve Muncy

DNA Testing, Part 4 – Mitochondrial DNA, The Female Connection

In Part 1 of this series I discussed autosomal DNA, the most common type of DNA tested for genealogy by the major testing companines (AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe.) Parts 2 and 3 explored Y-DNA and the y-chromosome and its application to tracing the male lines and surname projects.  In Part 4 I conclude the DNA testing series with information about mitochondrial DNA, that DNA that follows the female line.

Mitrochondrial DNA and the Female Connection

As mentioned in parts 2 and 3, Y-DNA defines male-ness. Only males have Y-DNA and they pass this down to their sons. Mitrochrondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the female component and can trace mother-line ancestry – mother inherits mtDNA from her mother, who got that same mtDNA from her mother, and so on.  There is, however, one big difference between the inheritance of Y-DNA and mtDNA. While mtDNA is passed down from mother to daughter, it is also passed down to sons. The big difference, however, is that while sons inherit mtDNA from their mother, they do not pass it on. I carry my mother’s mtDNA but my son does not. My son carries my wife’s mtDNA.

This is an important consideration in DNA testing. I do not have to rely on my mother or sister to provide a mtDNA sample. I can be tested for mtDNA, and it will be the same as if my mother or sister tested. You can see some graphics of how mtDNA applies to mother-line ancestry here.

As with Y-DNA, there are several different levels of mtDNA testing. One can test only HVR1 and HVR2 regions. For a more complete test, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) offers a full-sequence test that covers all the normal coding regions including the HVR1 and HVR2 regions. The full sequence test can take the results back to almost 180,000 years!

I haven’t seen any definitive statistics on this, but I suspect that mtDNA is the least tested type of DNA (but it is definitely getting more popular). The primary reason for this is that genealogy research tends to concentrate on male lines because typically male surnames remain the same down through generations. Because females have in the past typically changed their surname to match their husband, it becomes easy to lose the connections to their family. This is not to say that mtDNA can’t be very useful. My Mother’s mtDNA can be traced back to her 3G-grandmother, Mary (Polly) Gilliam who was born in Virginia in the mid-1700’s. Using services like FTDNA, matches to her DNA might yield more information about Mary Gilliam and sisters and mother. I already have one perfect match to another woman, Mary Polly Hearn in the 1770’s. I have yet to establish the connection between the two – the connection could be within a relatively few generations but could be a hundred years or more.

Currently FTDNA is the only company in the U. S. that offers mtDNA testing for genealogical uses.