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welcome to the BRIGGS DNA project


There are many 'Briggs' families in the United States, and it is often assumed that each had a common origination in Great Britain, and that the name came from having lived "by the bridge," as popular heraldry sites explain. Efforts have been made in various genealogies, to trace the 'Briggs' ancestry to John Briggs or Atte Brigge of Salle in Great Britain from the 13th century, as the first known family patriach. The earliest "Briggs' ancestor in the United States is thought to be 'Clement Briggs' of Plymouth Colony, MA, who arrived on the ship "Fortune in 1621, one year after the 'Mayflower.' At the time of the Revolutionary War in the United States, there are at least eight different Briggs lines that have been documented in various genealogies:

-Clement Briggs of Plymouth Colony and His Descendants, Vol. 1 & 2, Edna Anne Hannibal, Claude Barlow, private printing, 1969. See also A Complete Genealogy of the Descendants Of The Sons Of Michael And Sarah (Greene) Briggs of Otsego County New York State , Orlo Gardner Briggs, The Sugar River Printing Company, Albany, Wisconsin, 1931.

-John Briggs of Sandwich, Massachusetts And His Descendants, Edna Anne Hannibal, Claude Barlow, private printing, 1962.

-"Richard, William, and Hugh, Sons of John Briggs of Taunton, Mass.", Edna Anne Hannibal, Claude Barlow, The New England Historical And Genealogical Register, Boston, MA., Vol. 125, April 1971, No. 2;/ Vol. 125, July 1971, No. 3;/ Vol 125, October 1971, No. 4;/ Vol. 126, January 1972, No. 1/; Vol. 126, April 1972, No. 2;/ Vol. 126 July 1972, No. 3;/ Vol. 126 October 1972, No. 4...See also Briggs Family Records Compiled for the Briggs Family Association by Winifred Lovering Holman, S.B., The Rumsford Press, Concord, NH, 1931. See also We And Our Kinsfolk Ephraim And Rebekah Waterman Briggs, Their Descendants And Ancestors, Beacon Press, Boston, MA 1887.

-(Walter Briggs of Scituate, Mass.) History and Genealogy of the Briggs Family, L. Vernon Briggs, Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., Boston, MA, 1938.

-(John Briggs of Portsmouth, RI) A Partial Record of the Descendants of Walter Briggs of Westchester, NY, Sam Briggs, private Printing, 1878. See also The Briggs Genealogy Including The Ancestors and Descendants of Ichabod White Briggs 1609-1953, Bertha Bortle Beal Aldridge, private printing, 1953.

-John Briggs of Newport and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and his descendants, compiled by Mrs. Lilla Briggs Samspon, New York, 1926

-John Briggs of North Kingston, Rhode Island, and his descendants, compiled by Mrs. Lilla Briggs Sampson, New York, 1926. See also, Ancestors and Descendants of Justus Akin and His Two Wives Elizabeth Briggs and Mary Cory, compiled by Jane C. Whitaker, 1997, and Descendants of Robert Weir and Elizabeth Green of Old Cambridge-White Creek Washington County, New York, compiled by Jane C. Whitaker, 1996 (the latter by Jane Whitaker pertain to the lines from John of Portsmouth->William Briggs->Eliakim Briggs in the White Creek , NY area).

-Nathaniel Briggs of Block Island and his descendants, compiled by Lilla Briggs Sampson, New York, 1926 [If anyone has a copy of the genealogies by Lilla Briggs Sampson, please contact me. ]

These genealogies while not exhaustive, respresent our 'long' Briggs lines, because we have a record of the Briggs families that predate the American Revolution. In the 1790 U.S. Census, there are hundreds of individuals with the surname "Briggs" and its variants, Brig, Brigs, Brigg, Brigges, etc. Many of these individuals cannot be linked to the known Briggs lines mentioned due to an inability to locate paper documentation, or possibly, because they are not related to them, representing lines not yet fully documented, or lines which arrived in the United States after the Colonial Period but before the American Revolution. Additionally, judging by the reoccurance of the surname "Briggs" and its variants in the 1800 U.S. Census through the 1930 U.S. Census, there appear to be many individuals who arrived in the United States bearing the 'Briggs' surname directly from Great Britain, Europe, and other nations, whose roots and relation to other documented lines and each other are unknown.

Purpose of Project

The purpose of the BRIGGS DNA PROJECT is multifold: It will determine if there are any common ancestors between our various Briggs lines; it will help identify previously unknown Briggs lines; it will 'flesh out' and add previously unknown relatives to the known Briggs lines; and it will serve as an invaluable link for individuals with the Briggs surname where the paper trail has run cold and origination cannot be otherwise determined. DNA research is a wonderful new tool to use because many of the traditional genealogical sources such as birth, death, and marriage records, tax records, census records, military and pension records, court records, or family bibles, either yield no results, or may have been destroyed by various disasters and cannot provide the information sought. This project originally began in 2003, and was combined with the DNA project for the surname "Bridges," due to the belief that the surname "Briggs" meant living 'by the bridge.' In 2005 the Briggs surname project was severed from the "Bridges" surname project, because there were no demonstrative matches between the DNA test results for both surnames. We became the administrators for the BRIGGS DNA PROJECT in 2005, and have no financial interest in this project, nor have any association with Family Tree DNA of Houston, TX, the testing service used to produce the dna results.

What is DNA Testing

DNA Testing uses cutting edge technology to help us trace our ancestors. In this project, the testing is done on males with the surname "Briggs." The test is limited to males because the Y chromosome is analyzed for 'markers' that have been shown to remain stable and unchanged as they pass from father to son over many generations. When a change or difference occurs, it is due to a random mutation. The mutation or difference is shown as a different number assigned to a marker. The 'markers' can be analyzed in groups of 12, 25, and 37 intervals, for numerical matches with another individual with the same surname. Thus, if all or most of your numbers match those of another individual with the same surname, that you are related can be established. The test is done with a swab that is rubbed inside the mouth, and sent in a kit by Family Tree DNA, after you join the project. While the test can be purchased at the 12, 25, and 37 marker range, the 25 or 37 marker test is strongly recommended as the results at these levels are the most accurate. If you begin with the 12 marker test, it is strongly urged that you upgrade to the 25 or 37 marker test as soon as possible. There is a link on this site below to "Buy the DNA Test" online, and we are receiving the following discount group rates: The 12 marker test is $99.00, the 25 marker test is $169.00, and the 37 marker test is $219.00. We have a sponsorship fund that may offset the cost of these tests if you belong to a certain Briggs line where results are sought, so be sure to check the 'sponsorship' link on this page.

DNA Testing and Privacy

The test performed on your DNA for genealogical research, is different than that used by government agencies to identify and track criminals. There is absolutely no cross-over between databases used by the state and federal governments, and the private database used by Family Tree DNA. Your results are completely protected by state and federal privacy laws and legislation. Family Tree DNA, the company which performs the genetic test, is bound by these stringent privacy laws. Family Tree DNA maintains the surname database library and test scores, and the University of Arizona physically houses the genetic samples, so there is an added layer of privacy in not having the test results and samples located in one place. You retain ownership of your genetic sample before, during, and after the genetic sample is tested, and can request that it be returned to you at any time, even though it is securely stored. Additionally, the Project Administrators may not disclose, divulge, or otherwise reveal your identity without your prior consent, and are committed to insuring that the identities of all living persons are not listed online or in any other forum.

About DNA Results

Haplogroups: These are considered "deep ancestry" and every male tested belongs to a group. The group is determined by testing the Y chromosome for mutations that occured at different periods of time. Haplogroup information is used by anthropologists in determining ancient migration patterns, as it points to origins over 10,000 years ago when Europe was first settled. The most common Haplogroups and their area of origination are: R1b-Western Europe; R1a-Eastern Europe; I-Nordic; J2-Semitic; Q3-Native American. Family Tree DNA provides a wonderful Haplogroup map that you can review, which contains all the different groups. Two individuals who belong to different Haplogroups cannot be related for many thousands of years, so it would be impossible to draw a genealogical connection between them based on like surnames, as surnames only came into use during the 1300's in Great Britain and Europe. Where the Haplogroup has been predicted rather than tested with a SNP Test(Single Nucleotide Polymorphism), the results are 90% accurate.

Genetic Distance: If two individuals markers match 37 out of 37, they are related with certainty. Genetic distance pertains to interpreting the results for non-matching, markers having undergone mutation, in the context of the 12, 25, or 37 marker tests. Non-matching markers are shown by having different numbers. Thus, if one individual has a marker series, 21, 21, 21, and another individual has a marker series of 21, 22, 21, we would say that there is a one-step difference or mutation between them. A two-step difference would be shown by comparing a marker series, 21, 21, 21, to a marker series 21, 23, 21, or 21, 22, 20, depending on the interpretive method used. It is assumed that one mutation occurs per marker one time every 500 generations in unrelated individuals.Thus, we would expect one or two mutations if two people were related during the 14th century. Based on this formula, a 37 out of 37 marker match means that the common ancestor between the individuals tested, 50% of the time, is found within 5 generations, and 90% of the time, within 16 generations. As the degree of distance increases between the markers, the degree of predicting relatedness via a common ancestor also diminishes. As a very general rule, if the degree of mismatch exceeds 6 steps, the individuals are probably not related, unless an individual "in between" the markers emerges, showing a slow transition between the marker differentiations. Family Tree DNA has provided some general tables that you can see in the"Tables" link below, which illustrate the degree of relatedness as per the 12, 26, and 37 marker tests.

Fast Moving Markers: It is assumed that one mutation occurs per marker one time every 500 generations in unrelated individuals. This assumption has been proven to be overstated with respect to 'fast mutating' or volitile markers within a known family. These markers are indicated in red on the DNA results page. It appears that there can be more variation in mutation and distance with these fast moving markers, and relatedness even if unknown through other sources, can still be drawn. As a very general safe rule, if two individuals match exactly but for one fast mutating marker, they are more closely related than the one step difference (from the mutation) indicates. Research is currently being conducted to determine the frequency and rate of mutation along these markers. It is assumed that they will not show a standard rate of change and prediction, and are thus difficult to interpret with regard to whether or not individuals are related, and if related, within what time period. It appears that some families have more mutations than others, though this has not been tested.

Other Forums:

Join the "Taunton Briggs" Group for discussions about your Briggs ancestry and more! Click on "Taunton Briggs" below. You can also share your DNA results on the public database "ysearch" to locate additional lost ancestors! Go to: Ysearch.org

Please feel free to contribute any of your own materials to this project by sending them to us at the link below. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us at:

Email: Timothy H. Briggs & Louise S. Briggs, Project Administrators: louise.briggs@yahoo.com





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