To register and be tested at familytreedna.com

Page Updated 25 Mar 2012


 James Stockton Longley

Leon and son A.C. Longley

"Crippled Bill" Longley

John Posey Longley

1st Lt. John Raymond Longley, Sr., WWII

 Arthur Longley & wife

 James Thomas Longley, 1866 MO-1938 TX

 James Lafayette Longley

History of the Longley DNA Project

Twelve years ago, in 2000, the remains of the outlaw William Preston "Wild Bill" Longley, hanged in 1878 and buried in the Giddings City Cemetery in Fayette Co., TX, were exhumed by anthropologist Dr. Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History in response to repeated claims by a man in Louisiana that he descended from Wild Bill; that Longley was in cahoots with the sheriff, didn't really die, but escaped to live a long life in Louisiana and raise a family there.

Locating the correct grave was complicated by the fact that, over the years, the cemetery boundary and some markers had been moved some in fencing and cleanups. When Bill Longley's body was identified by a memento piece of jewely buried with him, the Y-chromosome DNA in his bones was too degraded by the passing of 122 years to test. So a tooth, which contains mitochrondrial DNA, was compared to that of a known great-grand-niece in Texas. The resulting match proved that Longley was indeed buried in the Giddings Cemetery and not in Louisiana.

Longley's remains were returned to Texas by Dr. Owsley for reburial in the Giddings City Cemetery in July 2001. A private, family reburial service was conducted. Later the case was featured on a History Channel TV "historical mysteries" program moderated by Alan Alda.

That Fall, three Longley men agreed to be tested and Dr. Owsley recommended FamilyTreeDNA Lab in Houston, Dr. Bennett Greenspan. Their three Y-chrome test kits were #1574, 1575, and 1576.

One was a Dallas man who wasn't sure of his ancestry; another the great-grand nephew of "Wild Bill" Longley in Texas; and the third descended from Benjamin Longley of Baltimore, MD. Longley descendants sharing genealogical research on the Longley GenWeb website suspected their families might be related and hoped to determine a kinship.

The human genome and DNA testing is a relatively new science; most of us hadn't heard of it in 2000, except possibly by police to identify suspects. Using DNA for genealogical purposes is even newer.

In 2001 the book, The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science that Reveals our Genetic Ancestry, by Prof. Bryan Sykes, leading world authority on DNA and human evolution, published by W. W. Norton & Co., brought his research to the attention of scientists and nonscientists alike.

After plotting the DNA of thousands of European and North American Caucasians he concluded that almost all of them descended from seven females who lived many thousands of years ago. All seven females descended from one woman he designated as Eve, as in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

Sykes' book focused on the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Females carry only the DNA of their mother and pass it to both sons and daughters. Males carry both the mitochondrial DNA of their mothers (matrilineage) and the Y-chromosome DNA of their father (patrilineage), but do not pass it to their daughters.

Patrilineage is from son to father to father to father, ad infinitum. Matrilineage is from son or daughter to mother to mother to mother to mother, ad infinitum.

It wasn't long, however, before further research revealed the greater specificity of Y-chrome testing.

Initial Y-chrome DNA tests for genealogy were available only on 12 allelles (markers). Steady advancement in the technology increased testing capability to 25 markers, then to 37 markers, then to 67 markers, and currently to 111 markers. Initial matches on 12 markers sometimes broke down on the next set of makers, making the subjects' common ancestor longer ago. At present two of the original test subjects match a thousand other individuals tested on the first 12 markers, mostly with different surnames, meaning their common ancestor was hundreds of years ago before most European had surnames. Adopting surnames was a gradual process which began after the Norman invasion of England in 1066.

By March 2012 with the most recent Longley test, more than 234,000 kits have been tested by FTDNA. Most participants have upgraded their test kit to 37 markers, several to 67 markers, but none to 111 markers. An amazing exact 37-marker match has been found to one of the original three test subjects.

The red (maroon) markers on the Results chart are known as faster-moving (mutating) markers and we need a better map of the haplotree (what marker mutated from what parent haplogroup). We need more Longley males to be tested.

Meanwhile, there is a Langley DNA Project as well. Logically, since our name was spelled both ways in old records, the projects should be combined, but theirs declined.

Y-chrome Test Results | Pedigrees of test subjects

To quote from familytreedna.com, which did this testing:

Genetic Distance

When comparing people’s samples in our system we show individuals who are closely matched, but not identically matched, as being different by what the Anthropologists call genetic distance.

If two people were identical in all markers except they are off in one marker by 1 point, the genetic distance would be 1. If they were off at 2 different markers by 1 point in each marker, then the genetic distance of those two samples would be 2. If they were off by 2 points at one marker and 1 point in a second marker, then the genetic distance would be 3. This is called the Stepwise Model of calculating genetic distance for shallow time depths (i.e. Genealogy not Anthropology).

If you and another person match in all 12 loci -- If you share the same surname or variant, this means that there is a 99% likelihood that you share a common ancestor in a genealogical time frame. If you match another person without the same surname or variant, you still probably share a common ancestor, but this ancestor most likely lived in the time before surnames were adopted.

It is obvious from our observation of 10's of 1000's of samples that some markers change or mutate at a faster rate than others. Therefore not all markers should be treated the same for evaluation purposes.

The markers in red have shown a faster mutation rate then the average, and therefore these markers are very helpful at splitting lineages into sub sets, or branches, within your family tree.

Explained another way, if you match exactly on all of the markers except for one or a few of the markers we have determined mutate more quickly, then despite the mutation this mismatch only slightly decreases the probability of two people in your surname group who match 11/12 or even 23/25 of not sharing a recent common ancestor.

 Alvis, John R., Chris, and Paul Longley had a common ancestor probably 200-400 years ago

They had a common ancestor with Jay Longley probably 500-600 years ago in England

R1b1 Haplogroup is the most common in European populations. It is believed to have expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago. This lineage is also the haplogroup containing the Atlantic modal haplotype.

Someone said, "I believe all the Longleys descend from one man in England," but that's very unlikely. Langley/Longley was a place name, and the one Longley wealthy enough to be listed as a landowner in the 1086 Domesday Book probably had descendants. He would also have had serfs who assumed his surname as that practice began to be adopted from the Norman after their invasion in 1066. While many Langleys/Longleys no doubt descend from that one prominent man, many others do not, judging from Y-chrome DNA analysis.

Langley is the more common spelling. Early records of our family had both spellings, Langley and Longley, until it became fixed as Longley in 18th century Virginia and Maryland. The surname "Longley" is much less common.

In the 1700s and 1800s, the family tradition of Benjamin Longley of Baltimore, Maryland, descendants was that their Longleys in Loudoun County, Virginia, were kin to ours who got there first, and used to visit back and forth. The two families, including William Longley, Revolutionary soldier, and his father Joseph Longley, moved from Hunterdon County, New Jersey, to Loudoun County, Virginia, in 1763-64 and some still lived there when Benjamin's children came to Loudoun County and after a few years moved back to Baltimore or to Ohio or Tennessee or further south in Virginia.

Three Langleys were tested in the Longley DNA Project whose ancestor Moses Langley of South Carolina moved to Missouri, with results matching the Longleys on the first 12 markers of the test; however, results on markers 13-25 or 13-27 lost the correlation. Moses lived among and is thought to be related to the Langleys descending from William Langley in Lower Norfolk Co., VA, before 1653.

The earliest Langley record found thus far in Virginia was in 1622 when William Langley gave a deposition in a case involving the owners of ship Falcon. This was prior to creation of the eight shires in Virginia and the town court was probably London, but relating to Virginia. One descendant of a Longley in Mecklenberg Co., NC has been tested.

The Langley site has a very interesting discussion of the origins and English locales of the surname. Langley Project Test Results.