Bowers DNA Project
Discussion of Results
Y-DNA Results
Discussion of Results
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Helpful Background on the Significance of Matches and Close Matches:

         See the Y-DNA discussion at Reading and Comparing Results for a general overview of what the results are expected to show.


         See Understanding 12-Marker Matches, Understanding 25-Marker Matches, Understanding 37-Marker Matches, and Understanding 67-Marker Matches for more detail as to the likely significance of matches and close matches for the chosen level of testing.


         Those desiring more information should consult the other tutorial information available at Family Tree DNA and World Families Network.


Discussion of the Bowers DNA Project's results: 

         Initial Thoughts as Results are posted:

o    We have our first match!  B-1 and B-3 are a perfect match for the first 12 markers.  We are awaiting pedigree information from B-3 to see if the paper trail connects these lines.  If not, an upgrade to the 25-marker or 37-marker test is probably advisable to increase the surety level that Giles Bowers is a common ancestor.  See the discussion in the next paragraph.

o    The results for B-2 and B-3 provide an excellent example of the strengths and weaknesses of the 12-marker test.  It was expected by the participants that there would be a match between B-2 and B-3.  Instead, the results show there was no possibility they shared a common ancestor within the last 600 years.  This shows the 12-marker test is very useful in disproving a relationship.  It is not, however, as helpful in proving a relationship.  Although B-3 was a perfect match to B-1 over the first 12 markers and thus the probability is 91.41% that they shared a common ancestor within the last 600 years, the probability is only 70.69% that the most recent common ancestor occurred within the last 300 years, the time frame for Giles Bowers.  The 37-marker test, and to a lesser extent the 25-marker test, would increase the accuracy of the probability Giles is a common ancestor.  In other words, although there is a point of diminishing returns, the more markers the more useful the test in helping to prove a relationship.


o    With the posting of results for B-4 and B-8, we have our first results for a northeastern U.S. Bowers line and a German Bauer line.  Thus, we are beginning to get some geographical diversity in our database.  Hopefully, this trend will continue.  With the posting of 25 marker results for B-5, we have our first results from a line that begins in Pennsylvania, which seems to be the starting point in America for so many Bauer/Bower/Bowers families.  Obviously, the project will benefit greatly if we can get a sizeable number of participants with Pennsylvania roots.


o    The posting of 37 marker results for B-5 provides the opportunity to discuss non-surname matches and also the significance of the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype ("WAMH").  B-5 was a 25/25 match with a participant in another surname project, which on its face suggested a high probability of a common male ancestor in the not too far distant past.  But, B-5 is very close to the WAMH, which consists of the most frequent result for each marker and thus is a haplotype shared by many.  It is to be expected, then, that B-5 will show many matches with those of other surnames who are also close to the WAMH.  While such matches suggest they have a common male ancestor in their respective paternal lines, this common male ancestor will usually predate the introduction of surnames and thus be of little genealogical interest.  As it turned out, with the full 37 marker results, B-5's match with the other surname participant broke down and the end result was that it is unlikely they share a male ancestor in their respective paternal lines, no matter how far back you go.  To summarize, only surname matches will normally be genealogically significant, particularly for those close to the WAMH, and when in doubt upgrade to the 37 marker test.


o    With the posting of results for B-6, we have our first results from a line that "begins" in North Carolina.  That is another very important state for our project.  More participants from North Carolina lines are needed.


o    B-9 and B-10 thought they might match up since their respective families lived in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania at the same time.  However, their DNA did not establish a relationship, nor did they match up with any other line currently represented in our Project.  It should be noted, however, that B-10's results can be viewed as a 23/25 match with Lineage III, although on first glance the match appears to be only 21/25.  This is because the misses at 389-1 and 389-2 count as only one miss.  Likewise, the misses at 464c and 464d count as only one miss.  However, since the modal haplotype for Lineage III is a near match for the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype, i.e., the most common Y-DNA signature of the most common European haplogroup, coincidental matches are a distinct possibility.  Additional testing of B-10 would be necessary before we could say he shares a common ancestor with Lineage III.


o    B-5 has a new earliest known ancestor.  He was found the old fashioned way, i.e., by traditional research.  It is important to remember that at this time DNA only supplements traditional research; it does not replace it.  It is hoped that DNA will lead to the discovery of B-5's immigrant ancestor and/or his national origin.  Thus far, the DNA results suggest his line was German, not English as always thought.  We'll see what future testing shows.


o    With the posting of results for B-11, we have our first results from a line the "begins" in Maryland.  A branch of this line moved to Carter County, Tennessee.


o    BX-1 is someone who was tested by a company other than FTDNA.  As you can see, FTDNA and the other company do not test for the same markers and thus comparisons are not as easy as with our other participants.  Nonetheless, we feel it is important to include his results so that the 32 common markers can be compared.  Note that BX-1 has a genetic distance of 3 from B-4 with respect to the 32 common markers.  That would seem to indicate a match of some sort.  Unfortunately, since the results are not from FTDNA we can't generate a probability table that would show the likelihood the earliest common ancestor was within a certain number of generations.  The fact both lines "start" in New York may indicate the common ancestor was not that far removed.  Conventional research will hopefully provide further answers.


o    B-13 represents another Bowers line that came to Tennessee from Virginia.  Thus far, none of the Tennessee lines have matched.  It's beginning to look like there may be many more distinct lines than originally anticipated.  While this gives new participants more targets to match up with, it also probably means we will need many more participants before we are able to group participants into lineages.  We will probably begin by sorting participants by haplogroups.


o    B-12 is a perfect 25/25 match with B-1!  While that result may have been suspected, since Green Bowers named a son Giles, I'm sure the participants are gratified to see those suspicions confirmed.  We will post a revised pedigree for the line of Giles Bowers of the Isle of Wight, VA, which will include the line of Green Bowers, as soon as the participants work one out.


o    When B-1 and B-12 upgraded to 37 markers, they dropped to a 35/37 match, with both mismatches occurring at markers that are known to have a more frequent mutation rate.  While the mismatches slightly reduce the probability Giles was the common ancestor and at least raises the possibility the common ancestor may have been earlier, perhaps the father of Giles, it is still a solid match.  It may even be a better match than first appears.  For example, if Giles could be tested and if his haplotype reflected the value of B-1 at one of the mismatched markers and the value of B-12 at the other, then although B-1 and B-12 would be a 35/37 match with each other, they would be a 36/37 match with Giles.  To develop a modal haplotype for Giles would require several more participants from this line to be tested.


o    The posting of results for B-14 resolves, at least for the time being, a difference of opinion over the ancestry of John Leonard Bowers of Washington Co., MD and Carter Co., TN, as represented by B-11.  Although B-14 had found evidence suggesting John Leonard Bowers was of the line of his Henry Boward of Washington Co., MD, the DNA results show he and B-11 never shared a common ancestor.  The only possibility that B-14's theory could be correct is if there was a non-paternal event in one of their lines, in which case the DNA results would be worthless.  Unless and until additional descendants from each line are tested to confirm his line's haploptype and haplogroup, there remains a slight chance the current results are not the final word on this matter.


o    B-15 is a Boyer.  It will be interesting to see whether future results show a connection with the other variant spellings.


o    B-1 and B-12 are our first participants to upgrade to the new 67 marker test.  The resulting 65/67 match had the effect of increasing the odds their most recent common ancestor was within 8 generations from 67.47% to 82.63% and within 12 generations from 88.35% to 96.03%.  In other words, depending on the degree of match, the 67 marker test may provide more assurance that the most recent common ancestor was not in the distant past.


o    The posting of results for B-17 establishes the modal haplotype for the patriarch Henry Bowers Sr. of Berkeley Co., VA/WV, since he is a 36/37 match with B-5.  It also thereby confirms the research of B-5's ancestry.


o    B-18 was previously BX-1.  His FTDNA results now provide a better comparison with B-4.


o    Not knowing of any probable common ancestor, B-4 and B-18 (previously BX-1) decided to upgrade to the 67 marker test to better determine if their match on earlier tests meant their most recent common ancestor was in the relatively recent past or the distant past.  They matched 65/67, but since they missed by 2 alleles at one marker, they have a genetic distance of 3.  Since no more mismatches resulted by going from 37 markers to 67 markers, the results point to a more recent common ancestor than was previously predicted.  Per FTDNATiP analysis, the probability they shared a common ancestor within the last 8 generations is 85.64% and within 12 generations is 97.13%.  These probabilities suggest their most recent common ancestor was probably in America.  [The results for B-4 and B-18 show how valuable testing for more markers can be.  Based on just 12 markers, they were only a 10/12 match with a genetic distance of 3 and thus were not considered to be related.  As more markers were tested and there were no more mismatches they were determined not only to be related, but to be closely related.]

o    B-19's results do not match with anyone else's.  His haplogroup is being further tested, but he appears to be in haplogroup I.


o    B-20's results do not match with anyone else's.  Hopefully that will change as we increase our Bauer database.


o    B-26 represents another Boyer line, who does not match our one other Boyer participant.  Hopefully more Boyers will choose to make our Project their home.


o    B-21 is a 12 marker participant, who matches B-40.  However, in the absence of a paper trail to a probable common ancestor, 12 marker matches are not sufficiently reliable to establish a lineage.  It is hoped that either B-21 will upgrade to 37 markers or that B-40 will supply information about his earliest known ancestor.


o    B-22 is a 24/25 match with B-6 and thus they become the foundation of Lineage IV.  This match was not expected and as yet they have not determined how they are connected.


o    B-27 is a 12 marker transfer from the National Geographic project, who as yet does not match anyone.


o    B-28 is a participant in the Farmer DNA Project and has also joined our project because it is believed Christian, the immigrant ancestor from Germany, was originally named Bauer.  As yet he has not found a match in either project, but it would appear his chances are best with our project.


o    B-23 is a 36/37 match with B-22 and a 24/25 match with B-6.  The match with B-22 was thought to be likely and apparently confirms their research.  The connection with B-6 is still not obvious.


o    B-25 is an 11/12 match with the others belonging to Lineage I.  However, an 11/12 match only means B-25 possibly belongs to Lineage I.  Only by upgrading to more markers can one confidently predict whether B-25 in fact belongs to Lineage I.  The 12 marker test is most useful in determining to whom you are not related, but even then, as Lineage II shows, a 12 marker test that shows you are not related may also be misleading.  12 marker participants are urged to upgrade to at least 25 and preferably 37 markers.


o    B-24 does not match anyone currently in our project.  He belongs to Haplogroup E3a, the most common haplogroup of African-Americans.  (R1b is the most common haplogroup in our project, with I being the next most common.  Thus far, haplogroups have not been particularly helpful in determining the national origin of our participants.  This should not be too surprising, since R1b and I, to a somewhat lesser extent, are common throughout Europe.  A good mapping of haplogroups can be viewed at this link.)  B-24's earliest known ancestor, Henry Bowers of Southampton Co., VA, had been a slave, possibly owned by Carr Bowers of Southampton Co., VA.  Thus, Henry is the "Adam" of his Bowers line and all Bowers who match B-24 share Henry as their most distant Bowers ancestor.  Since Henry apparently adopted the surname of his owner, non-surname matches may provide clues as to his earlier African-American lineage.


o    B-25's upgraded 37 marker test resulted in going from an 11/12 match with those of Lineage I to a 35/37 match, thus validating the earlier match.


o    B-29 matches the haplotype of Lineage IV.  It is hoped that his paper trail will assist participants in Lineage IV to identify their most recent common ancestor.


o     B-31 has joined our project as a possible variant spelling.


o    B-30 and B-32 have joined our project via National Geographic.  While they are an 11/12 match, it is premature to conclude they share a particular Bowers lineage.  This is because B-32 also matches the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype, which is the haplotype with the most common allele readings for the most common European haplogroup, and thus can be expected over 12 markers to have many random matches.  Indeed, even within our project B-32 is also an 11/12 match with B-5, B-9, B-15 and B-17.  Additional testing of B-32 is necessary to eliminate random matches and to determine which, if any, of the current participants shares his lineage.


o    With 25 marker results now available for B-32, we have a 23/25 match with B-15 and thus a possible lineage.  I say "possible" because there is still the problem that B-32 matches the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype and thus has hundreds of matches at 25 markers.  The match would be more convincing if the surnames were the same, but B-32 is a Bauer and B-15 is a Boyer and so this may just be another match that predates the advent of surnames.  (While one of the goals of this project is to determine whether certain spelling variants share a genetic history, 25 marker results are insufficient to so conclude in this case.)  Additional testing of B-32 is necessary before we can definitely declare this to be a lineage.


o    B-32 did update his test kit to 67 markers to see whether the tentative match with B-15 held up.  It actually took only 37 markers to establish this was not a match.  This demonstrates the desirability of starting with at least 37 markers from the outset.


o    B-33 represents our first all English line.  He shows no matches with any American line.  Note his haplogroup is I.  Although there are exceptions, it seems that the I haplogroup is more likely to be English and the R1b haplogroup is more likely to be German.  It will be interesting to see if this tendency persists as the database grows.


o    B-34 is another TN line, which means most of the TN lines that have been researched are now represented in our project.  The fact there are no matches among these TN lines indicates the Bowers surname and its variants probably have more distinct lines that initially thought.  We simply need a larger database, with increased participation from especially NC and VA lines, in order to get more matches.


o    B-35 is a genetic distance of -1 from Lineage III, although the match would appear to be only 10/12.  This is because of the way markers DYS 389-1 and DYS 389-2 are reported.  DYS 389-2 is really the sum of the reading for DYS 389-1 and 2.  Thus, B-35's true readings for DYS 389-1 and 2 are 14 and 16, respectively, but they are reported as 14 and 30 (sum of 14 and 16).  The modal result for Lineage III is 13 and 29, which looks like a genetic distance of -2 on this set of markers, but the true results for Lineage III are 13 and 16 (difference between 29 and 13).  Thus, B-35 and Lineage III actually only differ at DYS 389-1, resulting in a genetic distance of -1.  Nonetheless, I have not assigned B-35 to Lineage III because that is a lineage that belongs to the Western European Modal Haplogroup, which consists of the most common readings for each marker, and thus random unrelated matches are not uncommon.  An upgrade to a test with more markers is needed to be sure B-35 belongs to Lineage III.  [N.B. B-35 did upgrade to 67 markers, but the possible relationship to Lineage III failed to materialize.]


o    The 37 marker results for B-36 are most unusual in that not only isn't there a match with anyone in our Bowers DNA Project, there also isn't a match with anyone in the FTDNA database, even at 12 markers, which is most unusual since the R1b1 haplogroup is the most common haplogroup.  It seems that the reading at DYS-019 is the major reason B-36 matches no one.  The reading of 17 occurs only .1% of the time, while a reading of 14 occurs 93% of the time.  Thus, B-36 starts out at a genetic distance of 3 from 93% of those R1b's tested, just on the basis of this one marker.  It is hoped that another branch of this lineage can be tested to verify B-36's unusual results.


o    B-37 is of particular interest because his family has Romany roots.  While there is no match with him at this time, it will be interesting to see if eventually we can identify any other Romany lines.


o    B-41 is yet another Bowers line that currently has no matches.  It seems that we have a multitude of unrelated Bowers lines.  Stated a different way, the Bowers surname seems to be as common as dirt, which I guess should not be that surprising given the derivation of the name.  While B-41 did match the modal haplotype of Lineage III over 12 markers and to a lesser extent over 25 markers, the match fell apart over 37 markers.  Once again, this shows how important it is to be tested for at least 37 markers.


o    B-40 is a 12/12 match with B-21.  However, 12 marker matches alone are not sufficient to declare a lineage.  It is hoped that B-21 will either upgrade to 37 markers, or that B-40 will provide a provable pedigree that points to a common ancestor.


o    B-42 is a 37/37 match with B-11.  This match establishes the modal haplotype for John Leonard Bowers of Carter Co., TN, because each participant descends through a different son of John Leonard Bowers.  Note that John Leonard Bowers is listed as the son of George Bowers on the Patriarchs Page.  See Lineage V discussion for more on his parentage.


o    B-43 failed to match anyone at this time.  As a Bauer from Germany, it was hoped there might be a connection with other German lines, but no such luck.  His haplogroup of I1, along with our other I haplopgroup results, suggests one cannot infer national origin from this haplogroup.


o    B-44 failed to match anyone at this time.  Also, earliest known ancestor information has not yet been provided.


o    B-45 failed to match anyone at this time.  Also, earliest known ancestor information has not yet been provided.


o    B-46a (both B46a and B-46b were assigned the code number B-46 by mistake, which made the a and b designation necessary) is a recent transfer into our project. He is a 12/12 match with B-30, but that does not necessarily indicate a shared lineage. If B-30 upgraded his results to 37 markers, then we could determine whether a shared lineage exists.


o    B-46b (both B46a and B-46b were assigned the code number B-46 by mistake, which made the a and b designation necessary) is the first participant we've had that belongs to the G2a haplogroup. Until and unless there are other G2a results, there is no possibility for a match. Matches do not occur across haplogroups.


o    BX-1 is the first participant we've had that has been tested by another company than Family Tree DNA, in this case by This explains why there are some gaps in the results, for the two companies do not test all the same markers.


o    B-47 is a perfect 37/37 match with Lineage V. Congratulations!  Whether this match was expected, merely hoped for, or a complete surprise is not known to your administrator.


         B-48 is a strong match with Lineage III. Inasmuch as B-48 is a Bauer by birth rather than a Bowers, this match suggests the most recent common ancestor predates Henry Bowers, Sr., who was the first of this lineage to use the Bowers spelling.


o    Individual results will no long be commented upon unless there is a match


o     B-51 was an 11/12 match with Lineage V, but that match did not persist at 37 markers.


o    B-57 was not a match with anyone in our project, but did match a participant in the DNA project. uses Sorenson as its testing lab.  The resulting match has yielded us another lineage – Lineage VI.


o    B-63 is a -2 genetic distance from B-35 (see B-35 discussion above on why it is not a -3 genetic distance).  This match has resulted in another declared lineage – Lineage VII.


o    B-68 and B-74 are a match, resulting in another declared lineage – Lineage VIII.  See below.

    • B-70 and B-77 are a match, resulting in another declared lineage – Lineage IX.  See below.  There is an unusual result at marker #YCAII, which is a marker with multiple results.  B-77 shows 3 results instead of the normal 2 results, which may be a historic first.  Since this is expected to be a rare occurrence, a third column for #YCAII has not been added to the spreadsheet.  If it had been, B-77’s results would have been 11-11-21 for that marker.  The extra result plus the difference at #570 results in a genetic distance of -2, instead of -1 as would first appear from the chart.

    • B-81 and B-54 are a match, resulting in another declared lineage – Lineage XI.  Efforts are being made to determine the most recent common ancestor.


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