26 February 2017

Jim’s Y-DNA Basics

Last year I took a Y-DNA test through Family Tree DNA. Y-DNA tests a man’s father’s paternal line. Fathers only pass on their Y-DNA to their sons. The test can only be done by males. It shows only your direct paternal line and haplogroup. A human haplogroup is a group of people, in this case males, who share a common ancestor, usually back some distance in time. The results will be the same as my father William Summers, grandfather James Peter Summers, great great grandfather Peter Joseph Summers, 3x great grandfather Daniel Summers and brother Dennis Summers. My sons, Steven, Bennett, Anthony and grandson Solomon have inherited my Y-DNA.


My Y-DNA test results told me my haplogroup. Mine is R1b and traces back sixty thousand years to Africa and one of the “sons of Adam”. It also shows me that approximately forty-five thousand years ago my Homo Sapiens ancestor picked up stone tools and headed northwest out of Africa into western Europe.  His travels led him through Spain to meet some more advanced folks, the Neanderthals, very cool dudes.



The Neanderthal were larger in frame and had a head with a brain twice my ancestor’s size. The leader made my ancestor work with the females so he would not get hurt.  The Neanderthals taught him how to hunt mammoths and herd animals. The women taught me so much about the differences in our two cultures.  Whoa, big differences! Within a few thousand years my Y-DNA mutated to a subclave of R1b, M269. This shows my Y-DNA includes one percent Neanderthal DNA! Neanderthal DNA is present in most Europeans but not found on the African continent unless the person descended from European ancestors. 

Map of Neanderthal Habitats
For further reading: 

Smithsonian Institutes "Ancient DNA and Neanderthals"

European Haplogroup R1b Y-DNA

23 August 2014

Jean-Jacques DeGerlais dit Saint-Amand - My 7th Great Grandfather

Jean-Jacques DeGerlais dit Saint-Amand was born about 1628 in the Parish of Saint Paul which is now part of Liège, Belgium, child of Ferdinand DeGerlaise (Seigneur (feudal lord) of Hannetaux) and Dorothy Cona.

Carignan-Salieres Regiment
Jean-Jacques held the title Sieur of Saint-Amand and was probably part of the landed gentry.  What caused him to join the military is unknown.  He was a soldier of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment, specifically the  La Fouille Company, in France.  Various companies of the Regiment were sent to New France in 1665 to contain the Iroquois' murderous raids and to hold back the English from the French lands.  The soldiers of the La Fouille Company arrived in Quebec on the ship La Justice on 14 Sept 1665 having left La Rochelle, France on 24 May 1665.   Jean-Jacques was about 37 years of age.  He would be one of the 450 or so soldiers of the regiment who decided to remain in New France when the rest of the regiment sailed back.

When he was 39, he and Jeanne Trudel,daughter of Jean Trudel and Marguerite Thomas, signed a marriage contract in front of Royal Notarie Claude Aubert on 12 Sep 1667 in Ange-Gardien, Rouville, Quebec, Canada.  The contact stated that Jeanne Trudel's parents support them for a period of one year and her father would build them a house.  It also stated that Jeanne was big and strong for her age (she was only 11, quite young even for the standards of that time).  Jean-Jacques continued with his military career and it was quite possible the marriage was not consummated until Jean was more mature.  The couple would eventually have nine children, the first born about 1671.  I am descended from their 6th child, Marguerite.

Jean-Jacques and his wife would farm the land with his children.  His land was in the seigneury of Rivière-du-Loup about 12.5 miles west of Trois-Rivieres.  Eventually he was given a second lot, perhaps due to his success with his first farm.  

He died on 19 Dec 1722 and was buried on 20 Dec 1722 in the cemetery of the church of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue in Louiseville.  His descendants can be found carrying the surname DeGerlais, Gerlais, Jerlais and St. Amand to name a few.

Jean-Jacques DeGerlais dit Saint-Amand and Jeanne Trudel had the following children:


  1. Antoine DeGerlais was born before 1671. He died on 22 Feb 1762 in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada. He married Marie-Angelique Pelletier on 25 May 1709 in Trois-Rivieres, Les Chenaux, Quebec, Canada.
  2. Catherine DeGerlais was born before 1673. She died on 28 May 1683 in Sorel, Pierre-De Saurel, Quebec, Canada.
  3. Pierre DeGerlais was born on 30 Aug 1677 in Louiseville, Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada. He died on 15 Jan 1678 in Quebec, Canada.
  4. Marie-Madeleine DeGerlais was born on 01 Jan 1679 in Sorel, Pierre-De Saurel, Quebec, Canada. She died date Unknown.
  5. Marie-Jeanne-Anne DeGerlais was born before 1683 in Quebec, Canada. She died on 24 Nov 1771 in Baie-du-Febvre, Nicolet-Yamaska, Quebec, Canada. She married Pierre Benoît on 20 Aug 1705 in Trois-Rivieres, Les Chenaux, Quebec, Canada.
  6. Marguerite DeGerlais dit Saint-Amand was born before 1685. She died date Unknown. She married Pierre DuLignon dit Lamirande on 27 Jul 1703 in Louiseville, Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada.
  7. Marie-Josèphe DeGerlais was born on 05 Nov 1689 in Louiseville, Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada. She died on 12 May 1768 in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada. She married Jean-Baptiste Lesage on 25 May 1709 in Trois-Rivieres, Les Chenaux, Quebec, Canada.
  8. Jean-François DeGerlais was born on 18 Mar 1693 in Louiseville, Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada. He died on 07 May 1759 in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada. He married Marie-Catherine Aubert on 23 Jun 1719 in Québec, Quebec, Canada.
  9. Marie-Anne DeGerlais dit St..Amand was born on 26 Jan 1698 in Quebec, Canada. She died date Unknown. She married Jean-Baptiste Brissard dit St.Germain on 04 Mar 1714 in Trois-Rivieres, Les Chenaux, Quebec, Canada. She married Jean-Baptiste Foucault dit Lefrancois before 31 Dec 1736 in Quebec, Canada.




04 March 2013

Family Resemblances



Do you see the resemblance of my four children and my paternal grandfather, James P Summers? 






James  was a handyman worker in Duluth, Minnesota. On weekends he would travel to the small surrounding towns and sing Irish medleys in his beautiful tenor voice in the local pubs to earn extra monies for his family.  On one Saturday he again was traveling by bus to sing in the next town.  Somewhere along the way the bus broke down broke down.   Even though it was a very chilly, rainy day he walked to get help.   When he finally arrived home he was struck with a chill which turned into pneumonia. At the young age of twenty six years, he passed away.  Now his wife, Catherine Nagle Summers (age 25), and four children (Mary Frances almost 7, William James age 5, Agnes Catherine 4, and Anastasia Myrtle not yet one year old, would need to survive without their loving father. 

Family resemblance to our ancestors does not stop with my paternal side.  The following picture is one of my maternal grandfather, Rolf Schmidt (on left).  On the right is my late uncle, Ralph Leroy Schmidt, and in the middle is a picture of my brother, Leroy Richards. 


The Schmidt tree is on my maternal side of my tree. Ralph Leroy Schmidt was my mother's brother. Interesting that the Schmidt Tree is traced back to 1530 in Aurich-Oldendorf, Aurich, Germany, previously part of Ostfriesland. There are relatives to this day living on the family farm. Truly amazing!