The descendants of John Paris on Hawaii carry an oral history that he was from Guam, then a Spanish colonial colony.
In order to answer the question, DNA testing was performed, ultimately on three groups of people. Are these people related, and if so, how and how far back in time?
Group 1 – In Hawaii, known descendants of Juan Perez/John Paris [aka Demetrio Perez] which include his great-granddaughter Yolanda and her brother, Benjamin Paris.
Group 2 – From Guam, Jillette, her father
Group 3 – From Guam, Jose Perez. Jose ultimately tested to be a second cousin of Jillette’s father, but that was unknown prior to DNA testing.
Two different kinds of DNA testing can be utilized to answer the question. These two types of tests answer fundamentally different questions.
The Y DNA test tests only the Y chromosome, handed from father to son, unmixed with the DNA of the mother, so it stays mostly intact generation to generation, except for an occasional mutation.
1. In order to determine whether or not the Paris family on Hawaii is genetically the same as the Perez family of Guam, Benjamin Paris, great-grandson of John Paris of Hawaii, and Jose Perez, descendant of the Perez family of Guam, tested. Indeed, their Y chromosomes do match, with one mutation difference, which would be excepted to occur over time. Initially, only 12 markers were tested, which included the mutation difference, so the tests were expanded to 37 markers each to confirm the match. The two men match perfectly on the rest of the markers, so at 37 markers, they still have one mutation difference.
Family Tree DNA provides a tool called TIP which estimates the time to a common ancestor between men whose DNA matches based on the mutation rates of different markers and the known generational distance between the men. For example, we know that these families aren’t related in the past three generations, since Juan Perez came to Hawaii.
The TIP tool estimates that at the 50th percentile, these men are likely to be share a common ancestor between 4 and 5 generations ago. So it’s very likely that either the father of Juan Perez who immigrated to Hawaii was their common ancestor, or his father. One thing we know for sure, it was after the adoption of Spanish surnames on Guam. Guam was colonized in the 17th century after the Spanish claimed it in 1565 and the first Catholic missionaries arrived in 1568 and began to baptize people with Spanish given and surnames.
Therefore, if Juan Perez was born in 1843, his father would have been born approximately 1813 and his father approximately 1783, allowing for the average 30 year generation.
This means that the common ancestor of these two families was probably 5 or 6 generations ago, and possibly more.
The second type of test is autosomal testing which tests all of the DNA passed from both parents to a child, not just the direct Yline of the paternal line. The reason to use this type of test is that it shows you who your cousins are as measured by the amount of DNA that matches.
Each parent gives have of their DNA to a child. Different children don’t get the same “half” of the parents DNA, so each child inherits somewhat differently. Therefore, siblings share approximately half of their DNA.
In the case of 5th or 6th generation descent, as in our case, we’re looking at each descendant carrying about 3.12% of the DNA at the 5th generation, and 1.56% at the 6th generation. Two individuals descended from these common ancestors would both carry an estimated 3.12%, but not necessarily the same 3.12%. In fact, you only share .78% of common DNA with a third cousin and .195% with a 4th cousin.
I’ve said “on average” and this means that after the parents’ generation, the DNA of each preceding generation is not passed in exactly 50% packets. In other words, you might not get exactly 25% of the DNA of each of your grandparents, but might receive 20%, 30%, 24% and 26%.
Autosomal testing is a powerful tool, but it’s less and less specific in terms of exactly how closely people are related, the further back in time relationships and common ancestors reach.
Because of this, it’s important to use the oldest generation available for testing.
1. We tested 4 individuals using the Family Finder autosomal test at Family Tree DNA; Jillette’s father, Jose Perez from Guam and both Yolanda and Benjamin Paris who are siblings from Hawaii.
The results were that Jillette’s father matched Jose Perez from Guam as a second cousin, suggesting that they share a common great-grandfather, and at the third cousin level with both Benjamin and Yolanda, suggesting that they share a common great-great-grandfather with Jillette’s Dad.
Jose and Benjamin/Yolanda are further removed from each other than is Jillette’s father, so Jose does not show as a match with Benjamin or Yolanda at Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA has established thresholds in terms of the amount of common DNA in a single segment that much match to be considered a “match” within their system. However, in cases of a known or proven relationship that is several generations back in time, hovering around that 1% of common DNA level, these people may not share a long enough segment of DNA to be considered a “match,” but they are still related.
By utilizing other tools and then by downloading their raw DNA results into a spreadsheet, we can see smaller segments of DNA that match. Family Tree DNA utilizes the 5cM (centimorgan) threshold, where we can see to the 1cM threshold on the raw data. I did this breakout for all parties, and indeed, they did show as related.
On the graph below, each of the three individuals is being compared to Jillette’s Dad. Notice that in many cases, both Yolanda (blue) and Benjamin (orange), together, match Jillette’s Dad, which would be expected because they are siblings. There are other cases through where either Yolanda or Benjamin matches Jose (green) on the same segment where they both match Jillette’s Dad. For example, on chromosome 2, you can see the blue stacked on top of the green. We also see examples of orange and green as well, but no place do we have orange, blue and green together. This illustrates how differently siblings (Yolanda and Benjamin) inherit DNA from their parents.
We’ve now proven that the Paris/Perez family is one and the same on Guam and Hawaii utilizing Y-line DNA and that these people are all related at some level. Of course, in genealogy, answers generally produce more questions.
Jillette will have to utilize genealogy records in Guam to determine who the father of Jose Perez was, and indeed, she has made inroads in doing so.
The second question is just how is the Perez family related to Jillette’s family? We know that her father is likely a second cousin to Jose Perez, meaning they share a common great-grandparent, but whom? Keep in mind that these are estimates based on the percentage and length of shared DNA, and the cousin estimate could also fall a generation or half-generation (once removed) in either direction.
This is both a genealogical and a genetic question, and can be approached in both ways simultaneously. Obviously, were Jillette to discover that the next generation includes a Perez, then the mystery would be solved. However, using genetics can narrow the scope of this hunt.
Jillette needs to utilize known relationships to narrow the scope of which line descends from the Perez family.
The best way to do this is to test another relative of her grandparents, assuming both grandparents are deceased. The best bet here is to test a sibling of a grandparent. If you test a sibling of both grandparents autosomally, one of them should match Jose Perez. That immediately eliminates half of Jillette’s Dad’s ancestors. If a sibling of Jillette’s Dad’s grandparents isn’t available, then test their children.
Let’s say, by way of example, that we have now limited the search to Jillette’s Dad’s paternal line. That consists of two grandparents, Rita and Justo. The next step, genetically, is to test people who descend from the parents of Rita and Justo, but not the children of Rita and Justo. So, Jillette needs to find siblings of Rita and Justo and test their siblings oldest descendants. Again, one line should match Jose Perez.(1)
Utilizing this technique, it’s possible to “walk up the tree,” so to speak. In the meantime, this technique will help Jillette focus on where to concentrate her genealogical efforts.
~Roberta Estes, Founder, www.DNAeXplained.com