I mentioned in an earlier blog that an upcoming issue of the Vick Family Newsletter would cover claims made by 29 descendants of Stephen5 (Jacob4, Isaac3, William2, Joseph1) to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes (Dawes Commission). Pam (Strickland) Vick’s article appears in the July 2010 issue. She details both the descendants’ claim that Stephen5’s father was a full blooded Choctaw, and the history of the commission. One of the problems we know now with the descendants’ claim was that they incorrectly identified who Stephen5’s father was. While the commission did not recognize this error, it still rejected the claims. Since we have four descendants (three females and one male) of Stephen5’s father (Jacob4) who have tested as part of our Vick and Allied Families DNA Project at 23andMe, we took a look at the DNA results to see if they would have supported the claimants’ position that Stephen’s father was a full blooded Choctaw.
One of the tools 23andMe provides is the Native American Ancestry Finder. 23andMe uses “either two or three lines of evidence in assessing a person's likelihood of Native American ancestry (depending on whether a person is male or female).” Men have their Y-DNA tested to look for Native American ancestry in their patrilineal line (father’s father’s father’s…line). Since women do not have a Y-chromosome, they cannot be Y-DNA tested. Both men and women have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed from a mother to both her sons and her daughters (although only women can pass mtDNA to the next generation). 23andMe uses mtDNA to check the matrilineal line (mother’s mother’s mother’s…line). Finally, both men and women have autosomal DNA, and 23andMe checks autosomal DNA. We inherit autosomal DNA from both of our parents, who inherited it from their parents, who inherited in from their parents…. 23andMe’s assessment of the possibility of a Native American in the patrilineal line of the one male descendant of Jacob4 was that the results were “…inconsistent with Native American ancestry along the paternal (father's father's father's ...) line.” So, we can rule out patrilineal Native American ancestry.
Mary [ ] is not in the matrilineal line of any of our project members, so mtDNA results will not help us evaluate her ancestry. However, autosomal DNA is helpful in evaluating both Mary’s and Jacob’s paternal and maternal ancestry. We have one 2nd great granddaughter, one 4th great granddaughter, one 4th great grandson, and one 5th great granddaughter of Jacob and Mary in our project. The 2nd great granddaughter’s results are the most informative since she is the closest to this couple. This descendant is just four generations removed from Jacob4 and Mary. 23andMe said this descendant “did not have any genetically Native American ancestors in the past five generations.” The results from the other three descendants did not contradict the results from the 2nd great granddaughter.
So, if Stephen5’s descendants had been DNA tested, it is highly likely the DNA evidence would have supported the commission’s conclusions that these descendants did not have Choctaw blood from their VICK line.