Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Artisans….Haplogroup R1B

“So Matt, will you do a DNA test for me if I pay for it?” I asked him. I think he thinks I’m nuts sometimes…but you can blame it all on Grandma Smith with her dusty old box of photos. I did explain to him that it was for our family history search. I explained that I had been stuck in 1809 with James Smith for years. I explained that maybe this would help us to isolate whether we were descend from Smith’s in the Northeast / New England area or Smith’s from the Maryland/ Virginia area. I have wanted to do this for some time.

I needed a Smith male volunteer and Matt seemed the most logical. After all he is the father to Nolan, our last remaining male Smith from our immediate lineage of the family. He agreed with a grin, “Sure I’ll do it!” he replied. I did the maternal test. I ordered the kits online through I got a little break on the price because I bought them both at the same time. It is a 47 marker test which I hope will give us a bit more information that the 25 marker test offered from some of the other DNA projects which are available online.

The test itself was interesting…and really quite quick and easy. The direction said to wipe the inside or you right cheek with one swab for 30 seconds and place it in the envelope provided fro mailing the test back. Then repeat with swab 2 on your left check and around your gums for swab 3. Place them in the envelope and leave it open for 30 minutes. Then seal it and mail it… We did them in May and I sent them off right away. About two weeks later I received notification that Matt’s results were in. So I went out to look at them.

We are from the Paternal Haplogroup R1b, “the Artisans”! Great…..What the heck does that mean? Well, the report stated that our ancestors were likely responsible for the first cave drawings and probably lived in the areas of what is present day England, France, Spain or Portugal! The report goes on to say that “the Artisans” first arrived in Europe about 35000 – 40000 years ago at the dawning of the Aurgnacian Culture. This culture was remarkable for its subtle, yet significant, technological progress. Aurignacian People collected and shaped flint into tools which they learned to use in their everyday life. They were also the first people known to have made beads and jewelry. They were the culture to exhibit this first sign of the uniquely human quality of self-awareness and adornment.

Well heck, I was hoping for a bit more current data…Like maybe around the time of the Pilgrims or Columbus….That goes back a bit too far. On the ancestry site, there are no other close matches…as a matter of fact; our closet match is not even a SMITH! It is a Musgrave from 5 generations or at least 250 years ago. Can you believe it! I am glad that we are now in the database so when other Smith’s get their DNA tests done, we will be there for possible matches.

So my blog, the “Needle in the Haystack" and my search continues….. I think I’ll stick to searching for wills, obits and death records next time…they are cheaper!

Happy Smith Hunting! 



  1. Dear Jan,
    I found your blog trying to figure out just who these Artisans R1bs are, since I did exactly what you've described, with my brother John P. Cunningham. No Smith, but we are members of the tribe! I was hoping to find more current relatives as well, but it's nice to know where the heck we came from -- Asia! How exotic! I'm going to accessories my jewelry now.
    Jennifer E. Cunningham-Hewitt

  2. Jennifer, Send me your Email so we can compare notes! Thanks, Jan

  3. Hi Jan,

    I too, did the Y-DNA test offered by Ancestry to only to find out I belong to the Haplogroup R1B, the Artisans. Hence the reason I am now 'googling' - trying to find more information. I was listed closest to someone with the surname Taylor. However, I realized that it doesn't mean there is or is not a Taylor in my tree, it just happens to be their current surname. I, like you, was hoping to see my surname repeated somewhere in the tree!


  4. Welcome Tribe member! Robert send me your email if you want to stay in touch!

    Thanks, Jan

  5. Robert I did the same thing you did. I lost to all this. Y'all can e-mail me at



If you would like me to respond to you, please include your email address. Thanks I hope you enjoy!