Hollow DNA Project, First Results June 2013

The results for four tests are now available.
When we get test results there are two parts to them. One part is a string of thirty seven numbers and this is called a person’s haplotype. It is this string of numbers that is useful for family history. The other part of the result is a short series of letters and numbers such as R1b1a2 or I2a. This is a broader grouping that helps us understand where a whole group originated from, well back before surnames, thousands of years ago. This is called the haplogroup and is not used much in family history studies which is more interested in movement in the last 500 years or so. Haplogroup studies does give clues as to where groups of people migrated to after leaving Africa some 60,000 years ago.

Y-37 DNA Test Results

Note: the colours are to show the differences between test results. Adrian has only five sites the same as Colin/Robert, Jim a little better with 15 sites the same. Adrian and Jim share eleven sites the same.

NumberNameOldest Paternal AncestorHaplogroupHaplotype
Genetic Group 001
1ColinJohn Holla b. c1670 ZennorR1b1a21323141110141212121313291691011112715193014161718111119231615171636381212
2RobertJohn Holla b. c1670 ZennorR1b1a21323141110141212121313291691011112715193014161718111119231615171636381212
Genetic Group 002
5AdrianWilliam Hollow b. c1660 ZennorI2a132315101215111512141130188911112514182911141415101021211410181634351210
Genetic Group 003
6JimIshmael Holla b. c1723 ZennorR1a1a1324151111151212111311301591011112314203112151516111219211616171634371211

The two first tests were from Colin and Robert, members of the John Holla/Chesen Thomas family and sixth cousins. Their results were identical. Below are charts of their male lines for comparison with the common ancestor underlined.

Colin’s male line

John Holla, b. c1670 at Zennor, CON,
John Holla, b. c1700,
Matthew Hollow, b. c1736 at Zennor, CON,
Matthew Hollow, b. 1771 at Redruth, CON,
Joseph Hollow, b. 21 Dec 1817 at Redruth, CON,
Joseph Hollow, b. 21 Jul 1841 at Redruth, CON,
Alfred Hollow, b. 22 May 1868 at El Dorado, VIC, AUS,
Robert Keith Hollow, b. 10 Feb 1914 at North Prentice, VIC, AUS,
Colin Hollow

Robert’s mail line

John Holla, b. circa 1670 at Zennor, CON,
John Holla, b. circa 1700,
John Hollow, b. circa 1730,
Thomas Hollow, b. 1774 at Zennor, CON,
Thomas Hollow, b. 1805 at Zennor, CON,
Thomas Hollow, b. 1828 at Zennor, CON
Thomas Hollow, b. 17 Apr 1856 at St Ives, CON,
Thomas Hollow, b. 1877 at Penzance, CON,
William Alfred Hollow, b. 9 Dec 1909 at Norseman, W.A., AUS,
Robert Hollow

The common ancestor for Colin and Robert is John Holla b c1700, after him the lines diverge.
Because we have two people on this line with the same haplotype we can tentatively call this the John Holla/Chesen Thomas signature haplotype, the identifying sequence for this family. Any Hollow male whose DNA has the same sequence belongs to this family whether we have documentation to show his line or not. It is through this that we may be able to link families that we have not been able to link through the written records.

The third test was from Adrian, a descendant of the William Holla/Uslea Cock family.

Adrian’s male line

William Hollow, b. c1660 Madron, CON
William Holla, b. c1690, m.1724 at Zennor, CON
Edward Hollow, b. 1743 at Zennor, CON,
William Hollow, b. 1764 at Zennor, CON,
James Hollow, b. 1802 at Phillack, CON,
William Hollow, b. 1838, at Phillack, CON
Richard Whitford Hollow, b. 1868 at Phillack, CON
Andrew Hollow, b. 1893 at Hayle, CON,
Andrew Raymond Hollow, b. 10 Sep 1923 at Swansea, WAL,
Adrian Hollow

This result was quite different and shows multiple differences with the other test results and poses several questions.
Are the two large Hollow families from Zennor related? It is hard to imagine that they are not related as Zennor is a small rural community. More likely, somewhere along the line there is an anomaly or as genealogists say, a non-paternal event.

The non-paternal event could be in Adrian's lineage or it could have started way back at William Hollow and Uslea Cock or before. The original William may be the son of a unmarried Hollow woman whose child(ren) where given the surname Hollow. I have no evidence it was William equally it could be that William's father or grandfather or further back was the illegitimate male child. It could also be however that John Holla who married Chesen Thomas may have been the son or grandson of an unmarried mother. The fact that there are two tests that are identical just shows that the two people share a common ancestor. Because the common ancestor is named Hollow, or in our case Holla, it does not mean that his Y DNA comes from another Hollow/Holla. If Illegitimacy or adoption or some other non-paternal event occurred then the DNA would be from another male with a different surname.

Before we start on that conundrum we need to first find out whether Adrian's DNA is shared with others on the William Hollow/Uslea Cock line. If we do find someone with the same DNA who is not closely related to Adrian then we can call that sequence the William Hollow/Uslea Cock haplotype, the identifying sequence for this family. The more people that are tested and have the same sequence, the stronger the assumption about the identifying sequence becomes.

The fourth test from Jim whose results also differ from the first two tests.

Jim’s male line

Ishmael Holla , b. 1723 at Zennor, CON, son of Jane Holla (, b. circa 1700)
Ishmael Holla , b. 1757 at Morvah, CON,
John Holla , b. 1791 at Morvah, CON,
Thomas Hollow , b. 1824 at St Just in Penwith, CON,
John Edwards Hollow , b. 1847 at St Just in Penwith, CON,
John Rowe Hollow , b. 9 Oct 1886 at St Just in Penwith, CON,
John Rowe Hollow , b. 31 Aug 1912 at Penzance, CON,
Jim Hollow

Jim is descended from Ishmael Hollow, also born in Zennor but he was the base son of Jane Holla. This would explain the different result, as Jim will carry the Y DNA of Ishmael’s father whose name is not recorded in the Baptism register at Zennor where Ishmael’s birth is registered.

The aim in the project is to establish a signature haplotype for each Hollow family that has males alive today. The origin of the DNA can be pursued but ultimately we will get back to a time when our surname originated and it may well be that several unrelated men took up the name Holla or Hollow. More testing may help unravel this.

The Haplogroup Results

From the four tests we have three different haplogroups. The study of haplogroups is still developing so only general trends are described in the literature. The information here comes via Family Tree DNA, the company we test with.

Haplogroup R1b1a2 and R1a1a

These are subgroups of the Haplogroup R1 that originated in Central Asia. 30,000 years ago. In turn R1 split about 20,000 years ago into its branches R1a and R1b in Central Asia. R1a and R1b migrated west and settled in Europe.

Haplogroup R1a. While R1a can be found throughout Europe, it is most frequent in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. R1a is the most frequent haplogroup amongst the Eastern Europeans but also there is a high proportion found in Norway and Iceland (20-30%). Some people use this to say they may have Viking blood.

Haplogroup R1b journeyed into Europe from Central Asia, then spread and multiplied until its lineages can be found throughout Europe and until it became the most frequent haplogroup in Western Europe. A sample of Cornish people showed it was carried by 78% of them.

Haplogroup I2a

Haplogroup I. Ice Age 25,000 years ago. This haplogroup originated either in the Middle East or in Southern Europe. During the last ice age when much of Europe was covered by glaciers, people took refuge along the Mediterranean.

Haplogroup I2a. Southern Europe. At the end of the ice age, members of the I2a branch spread north into eastern Europe and west along the Mediterranean. One of the I2a branches may have been the first to settle Sardinia.

Less seems to be known about this haplogroup but some suggest they made it to Scandanavia and maybe came to Britain via the Vikings too. There is also a suggestion they may have come via the Normans. The study of haplogroups is an interest that I am reluctant to take on, but I am happy to pass on links to further information if anyone is interested.

As the DNA project grows more thorough discussion of our heritage will be possible. As well as the three different trees we have represented now I have another seven or so family trees that I want people to test in. So watch this space.

Copyright 2019 Colin Hollow

Last Modified : 12 December 2019

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