For a number of years, I've been told that a Nixey researcher had found the origins of the Nixey family to be a John Nichols who was a Miller in North Hinksey in Berkshire. Apparently he had found proof that this particular John Nichols had also been known as Nixey. Unfortunately, this researcher has since died, and it seems as though he has taken this evidence with him to the grave. Through all of my research, I have been unable to find this critical piece of information, even though I'd found Nichols families in the North Hinksey area.
So in early 2016, I decided to take a Y37 DNA test with family Tree DNA through the Oxfordshire Family History Society. My hope, of course, was to be able to link to others who share my Y37 DNA results, and lead me to where my family had originated. Well, I certainly found some matches, ten of them in fact ... but not one solitary Nixey, and not one solitary Nichols. There is quite a large Nicholls project on Family Tree DNA, with numerous links back to England, but still there were no matches with my Y37 DNA. There was, however, a match with a gentleman in the United States whose surname is Nix, our matching markers being thirty-five out of thirty-seven. His family have a very extensive tree dating back to Sussex in England in 1425, but so far we have found no connection at all between our families.
I had three even closer matches with three gentlemen whose surnames are Scott and Ogden, our matching markers being thirty-six out of thirty-seven. One of the Scott gentlemen has quite an extensive tree dating back to the mid 1700’s, but we can’t find a link between our family trees either.
Of course, It’s important to remember that a printed family tree doesn't always reflect the truth of someone’s ancestry. By this I mean that just because a family tree has a Joe Blogs born in 1850 to Jack and Jill Blogs doesn’t actually mean that Jack was Joe’s biological father.
Putting this into a real life senario, take James Nixey who was born at Slough around 1787 or 1788. Most Nixey researchers place him as the youngest child of John Nixey and Elizabeth née Hissey. However, no baptism record has been found for him, which suggests that he was an illegitimate child of one of their elder daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, or Sarah. The only son of James to get married and have children was David who married Jane Payne. Any of their sons who married would not pass on the Y DNA from John Nixey unless he was James’ father. Of course there is a chance that james was in fact the son of John and Elizabeth Nixey, and for some reason known only to them, he wasn’t baptised as his siblings were. One thing is for sure, a Y DNA test on a living male who descends from James through David will give a definite answer to whether James was the son of John or not, provided that there wasn’t a case of illegitimacy along the way.
What My Y37 DNA Test Revealed
Haplogroup I is said to date to twenty-three thousand years ago or more. The I-P215 lineage is said to be about fifteen thousand years old and began in southern Europe. Today it is found primarily in Sardinia and the Balkans.
Haplogroup I represents one of the first people in Europe. Haplogroups formed over time and are documented in a tree-like structure. I am ‘presumed’ I-P37 which means that it is thought I am down the I tree as far as a subgroup called P37, but I would need further testing to confirm this. The tree containing the I haplogroup from ‘ancestral Adam’ is as follows: Adam-BT-CT-F-then into I, which for me then breaks down into M170-P215-L460-P37 – and even deeper.
I-M170 originated in Western Eurasia. During the last Ice Age when glaciers covered much of Europe, members retreated to pockets of habitable land (refugia). The group then spread to Eastern and Western Europe, with high populations in Sardinia and eventually Scandinavia.
What Happened Next
On Friday 17th June 2016, I placed an order with Family Tree DNA to upgrade my DNA results from Y37 to Y67. I did this because their Father’s Day offer was exceptionally good, costing me just $79 as opposed to the normal price of $268, so saving me $189. I was aware that by doing this, it could filter out some of my matches on the Family Tree DNA database, but would also link me more positively and closely with others.
I received the results of my Y67 DNA test on 10th July. Unfortunately, some of my close matches at the Y37 level hadn’t taken a Y67 test, and so they had dropped off the 67 marker results. Interestingly, one of the gentleman with the surname Scott who was at a marker difference of one at the Y37 level was still there on the Y67 results, and still at a genetic distance of one. The gentleman whose surname is Ogden was also still in the results, although his matching markers were very slightly lower at a genetic distance of two.
The Y67 DNA test has brought out a number of interesting surnames, but most are at a genetic distance of seven, meaning that they aren’t that closely related to me: Benbow, Cameron, Church, England, Mackey, McCaskill, Northridge, Rasmussen, Shapendonk, and Terry.
I also took Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test which gave me between 800 and 900 people I am related to. Obviously that is going to take quite some time to find out exactly how they are related to me. Whether any clues of my Nixey origins will come to light from this test, well, only time will tell. In September 2016, I uploaded my raw data to the GEDmatch website in the hope that more matches may be found, rather than just relying on the database held by Family Tree DNA. For anyone reading this that has also signed up to GEDmatch.com, which, for those who aren’t aware, is free, my kit number is: T496917.
My Family Finder test also gave me my ethnic makeup which I found fascinating. Obviously this is rather unique to my sister and I, as other families are involved with our cousins, so the percentages would be different. The results of my ethnic makeup told me I'm 97% European and 2% Middle Eastern. That’s made up of British Isles 45%, Western & Central Europe 41%, Scandanavia 4%, Finland & Northern Siberia 4%, Southern Europe 3%, and Asia Minor 2%. I can't help but wonder what the remaining 1% is...!
Looking to the Future
As time passes, I sincerely hope that more people will decide to take a DNA test, which of course will increase the number of possible matches. Eventually, I hope this will help to find the answer to the question I’ve been asking for such a long time – Where did the Nixey family originate?