Pratley DNA Study

In an attempt to bridge the gap between the 1600s and the 1700s which has been left by the missing baptism register, and determine how all the various branches of the Pratley family are related, I've set up a DNA project with FamilyTreeDNA. If we can get as many male Pratleys as possible to participate, we should be able to build up a picture of how each line descends from William Spratley.

So if you are (or know of!) a male Pratley, and are interested in taking part in this project, please get in touch to discuss submitting a test kit. The results will remain completely anonymous - only you and I will know which set of results are yours. The cost of a test kit is around £85, though I will of course contribute to this.

In order to reduce the number of test kits (and save a bit of money!), only one representative from each family is needed. So if your brother/father has already taken part, you don't need to as well.

Hopefully the technology of the 21st century will help to solve the puzzle of the 17th century!

Results so far: The raw DNA data

The raw data that has been gathered so far can be seen here on FamilyTreeDNA's site.

The results in the red "Main Pratley branch" section form the backbone of the results. They differ from each other by only a handful of mutations, which not only shows that they are related within the last 20 or so generations, but more importantly the differences give an indication of how the ancestors of the testers are connected. A few notes on the data in this section:

  • Kit IN17693 comes from one of the few branches of the Pratleys to spontaneously appear outside of Oxfordshire in the 1700s, so it's good to have confirmation through DNA that this branch did indeed have the same origins as all other Pratleys.
  • A few markers have independently mutated in the same way in different branches, which initially caused possibly ambiguity of interpretation of the relationship between test kits - in particular, DYS570 changed from 22 to 21 in branches where DYS607 is 14 and also where it is 13, so either DYS570 or DYS607 could have been the earlier common mutation. However, increasing the number of tested markers led to DYS712 showing the same grouping as DYS607, implying that the DYS607 change between 14 and 13 happened first.

The results in the pink "Potters Hill Lodge Pratley branch" section don't match the main body of the results, so this branch of the family must have had a female Pratley ancestor some time before the common ancestor of the two testers.

The results in the beige "Joseph Guy b.1812 descendants" section have a couple of results which match the main body of the results, and so show that Joseph Guy's father was indeed a Pratley, presumably Joseph Pratley as his mother had stated. Of the two Joseph Pratleys of the right age from the right place, one descends from the Potters Hill Lodge Pratleys, and so would have had a different Y-DNA signature (see above). So it seems likely that the other Joseph Pratley, born 1794 to Michael Pratley, was Joseph Guy's father.

(The remainder of the results don't match the main set of results, so had a female Pratley ancestor in the past, but more tests are needed to determine when this might have been.)

Results so far: Applying the DNA data to the known branches

Main Pratley branch (including Joseph Guy branch)

At the top of the graph is the tree of mutations from the proposed "original" Pratley markers. At the bottom of the graph are the known ancestors of the testers, based on the paper-based research. The boxes show which testers have which mutations, and so allows us to overlay the ancestry of the testers onto the shape of the tree of mutations.

Some points of interest:

  • The test kits delineated by a dashed box have identical markers (despite not having a common ancestor since at least the early 1700s), and all other test kits each vary from these marker values by just a handful of differences, so it is currently being assumed that this set of markers are those of the earliest common Pratley ancestor.
  • It's reassuring to see that, where the ancestral relationships of the testers (in the bottom half of the diagram) is known, the shapes of the trees of mutations (top half of the diagram) clearly map to the shapes of the ancestral relationships.
  • The four kits on the left seem to be more closely related to each other than to other Pratley branches.

"Potters Hill Lodge" Pratley branch

We have two results from the Pratley branch that descends from John Pratley of Potters Hill Lodge. Again, the graph shows the tree of mutations at the top, and the known ancestry of the two testers at the bottom, with boxes to show how the top half maps to the bottom.