Group 4 & 38 - Descendants of an unknown Zimmerman-222353
likely of Switzerland
who came to North America in various emigrations

Group 4 & 38 – An Introduction

The Carpenter Cousins Project has Group 4 and Group 38 as a genealogical offshoot. But, while Group 4 is connected together as a genetic family group, Group 38 is not connected genetically. This brief will provide the basics of why and how Group 4 is related genetically via Y-DNA testing. And even though Group 38 is connected genealogically, it clearly is very different genetically from Group 4.

Confusing? Yes, many of these concepts and how they are related can be confusing. But, there is a certain logic and symmetry when one does understand what is being seen. Hopefully my basic presentation that follows will be clear enough to understand.

In traditional Genealogy one documents the facts of person A connecting to person B, to person C and so forth back into time. Genealogy is based on the facts of birth, marriage death and the connectiveness of marriages to confirm relationships. All is very logical and predictable as long as you have the documentation proving what you claim.

If one can not connect them in some manner with some sort of documentation then we are left with speculations and educated guesses. This is unless we find another way of documenting family members using genetic DNA testing. And specifically using Y-Chromosomal (Y-DNA) genetic tests which has proven very successful in surname studies.

In Genetic Genealogy we have the hybrid of genealogical with DNA testing to help break down genealogical road blocks and to show genetically related individuals who have been DNA tested. This is done via triangulation. Simply person A matches person B genetically (the base of the triangle) and when they compare their genealogies they find the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) which forms the peak of the triangle. It is all very simple to show person A and person B are connected genetically and genealogically.

It is all very simple until you have person A matching person B genetically but NOT genealogically. There are books written on all of the above including things to do when the “very simple” is no longer simple.

One technique is a Y-DNA surname study. There one collects the same or similar surnames using Y-DNA testing and sort them into genetic groups. These genetic groups are based on Y chromosome Short Tandem Repeats (Y-STRs) that form a genetic profile or genetic fingerprint. This is done by using the numerical value indicating the number of protein repeats of each specific DNA Y-Chromosomal Segment – aka DYS – marker. For example, if DYS19=14, which is the Group 4 mean in this case, and one member has DYS19=15 then that 15 value is considered a mutation to the group mean.

This can be seen in the next image from Table 1 of the Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project showing Family Tree DNA marker set 1 to 25. Those who test the 26 to 37 marker sets (Table 2) are indicated by the red block with the greater than symbol on the end of the line.

Another important item is the number of Y-DNA markers tested. The more Y-DNA markers one compares, the better. This is because it increases the probability of the genetic relatedness. With Group 4, our determination of genetic relatedness is based on 37 markers. The following image is from Table 2 of the Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project web page.

If you have noticed, there appear more than 37 Y-DNA markers tested for the majority of Group 4. Appearances in this case are a little deceiving because some DYS markers have multiple values. We are seeing something like a double hump on a camel for that specific Y-DNA marker value. Please notice some DYS values have a “i” or a “ii” or “a” or “b” or similar. For example, DYS464 has six humps or six values (a,b,c,d,e,&f) in these Group 4 tests.

Now I need to mention Group 38. Group 38 is uniquely different in its genetic profile or fingerprint than Group 4. The reason for this is that it’s Y-DNA Progenitor – aka the husband of Mary A. Carpenter is unknown. And her children carried on her maiden name Carpenter. Again this is from Table 1.

And from Table 2 …

Please notice that the numerical values are vastly different. And even the DYS464 has only four values (a,b,c,&d).

This proves that Group 38 is a very different and unique in its genetics compared to Group 4. While it has a genealogical relationship with part of Group 4, it is clearly NOT genetically related.

This next image is adapted from the The Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project lineage page. This is showing Group 4 and how Group 38 is related genealogically.

No doubt you will have observed that we are showing Zimmerman and Carpenter surnames on the above image. For many immigrants to America, they Anglicized their surnames as they assimilated into their adopted homeland. In German, Zimmerman is old German for a worker of wood which matches the word Carpenter in English.

In other Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Groups we can see even more surname variants than this. Imagine the variant names like Carpentier, Carpender, Timmerman and Simmerman just to name a few.

And occasionally we get those with a formal or informal adoption of another surname entirely matching our different Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project Groups. Imagine a young widow with a very young son remarrying. The son bonds with his step-father and adopts his surname. In older times this was an informal adoption. In more modern times, society has more formalized this into a legal adoption process. Are there other versions of this Non-Parental Events – aka Non-Paternity Events (NPEs)? Yes. This can include rape, child stealing and other similar things.

In summary - Group 4 is connected genetically through Y-DNA genetic profiles but not connected genealogically. However, it still is consider a close genetic family. Group 38, even though not connected to Group 4 genetically is still a genealogical descendant of a part of Group 4.

It is important that DNA Projects show their work in triangulation of both the genetic DNA matches and how lineages fit together genealogically. Or how we believe they may fit genealogically. Group 4 needs much more work genealogically and with more Y-DNA testing to bring the genetic parts together as a genealogical whole.

This brief along with the rest of the effort is to help educate and encourage those matching Group 4 and Group 38 either genetically or genealogically. Why? Because if you are related (genetically or genealogically) in any way, please be part of the solution! Help share your genealogy and please participate in Y-DNA testing!

Regarding Genetic Genealogy there are many very well done books and many web pages that show how the genetics match up with the genealogy. The following two links will provide a basic guide on DNA testing and a follow up on two advanced tests. Please remember that there are different DNA tests and that each DNA test is a tool with their own plusses and minuses. The following links maybe helpful.


If you have any questions about the Carpenter Cousins Project (genealogical support) and the Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project, please see: The Carpenter Cousins Project webpage

John R. Carpenter
La Mesa, CA USA

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