Scientists have found that there are parts of
the Y chromosome that remain unchanged, unmutated, or non-recombinant (NRY)
for many generations. This male NRY DNA is passed from father to son to
grandson and so on and is essentially identical in each of these people.
This non-recombinant part of the Y chromosome can be chemically tested at
predetermined locations, or "loci", to count the number of repetitions of
the 4 base pairs or allele markers cytosine, guanine, adenine, thymine. Each
male has a distinctive number set of repetitive NRY markers that can
distinguish him from all other males from other non-related families. These
markers also can be used to link each male grandson directly back to his
immigrant great-grandfather that lived hundreds of years ago.
12 Marker Y
The original test used in this project is a
12-marker test, a basic test performed by Family Tree DNA, the company that
we selected to do the testing. Each of the 12 markers tested is given a
numeric value and these values differ from individual to individual unless
they are related. To be closely related, one would expect all 12 of these
DNA markers to match another individual. The fewer markers that match,
the more distantly two people would be related. For more information about
the testing we suggest you visit the Family Tree DNA web site,
Tested 3 Mireault men from Canada,
descendants of Joseph, son of François.
had an identical score in the 12-marker test.
Tested Jacques Amirault from France (kit #1040 in the
Jacques is an author of several books on the Amiraults of
France and has traced the Amirault lineage there back to the 12th
century. Most of Jacques ancestors came from the area around Tours, France.
For many years it has been widely accepted that our ancestor François
Amirault "dit" Tourangeau came from Tours and was a descendant of this same
group. Jacques has identified 7 men named François Amirault from this region
who could possibly be our ancestor, but for which he cannot find what ever
happened to them. If we could find a genetic match in France, then we might
be able to find a common ancestor which would help identify who François was.
Surprisingly, Jacques Amirault’s DNA was not a genetic match to the North
American test subjects. Not even close, as only 4 out of 12 markers match.
Tested another Amirault from France.
new test revealed this Amirault did not match the North American subjects
NOR did he match Jacques. So now, we find two distinct Amirault lines
Tested a U.S. Amero (descendant of Jacques, son of
François), U.S. Mero (descendant of Joseph, son of François), a U.S.
Amirault (Jacques’ line), and a Canadian, Neil Amirault, president of Les
Descendants de François Amirault (Jacques’ line).
all North American men match in all 12-markers, so now we have
descendants of two of François Amirault dit Tourangeau’s sons, Jacques and
Joseph, with the same DNA markers or haplotype.
We can now say for sure that we have
identified the "genetic fingerprint" of François Amirault "dit" Tourangeau and we can use this 12-marker haplotype to find his descendants here in
North America as well as his ancestors in France.
Continued testing in France by
testing 8 other men from various parts of France (Amirault, Amirault,
Lamiraux, Amirault, Lamirault, Ladmirault and Lamirault).
Again, NOT ONE of these was an exact match to the North
American subjects. In fact they do not all match each other in France as
the results show 8 different haplotypes among the 10 men tested.
25 marker testing
Two of the test subjects, one Mireault from Canada
(1042) and one Amirault from France (2693) who matched in 10 of 12 markers
were investigated further with an additional 13 marker test to see if they
were anywhere near being related.
3 shows all 25 markers. They only match in 19 of 25 markers. This would
seem to indicate that these two individuals are not genetically related.
Does this mean we are not related to
Amirault families in France? Not necessarily.
There are actually several factors, which
could explain why the subjects from France not be related to the subjects in
North America. Some of the possible reasons would be that somewhere in their
past in France, there was infidelity, an adoption, a rape or an incestuous
relationship. This does not rule out a genetic relationship with other
Amiraults in France.
What could it mean?
The test results from France have generated more
questions than they have answered.
1. Perhaps François Amirault "dit" Tourangeau used an
assumed name and is not related to the Amiraults of France at all.
2. Perhaps we are related to Tourangeaus in France and not the Amiraults.
3. Perhaps there are several distinct (genetically different) lines of
Amiraults in France and François descends from one of these other lines.
4. Perhaps we were unlucky and just picked Amirault descendants that fall
under one of the categories listed above (adopted, infidelity, rape etc.).
This is highly unlikely at this point since we have tested several Amiraults
We haven’t given up hope that someday we will
find some genetic cousins in France. Perhaps they will be Amirault or
perhaps they will have different names. Many other families are using the
same type of testing to complete research in their genealogy. Now that we
have the 12-marker score or “haplotype” we can compare with other families
and perhaps find a match.
Over $3000 has been spent on this DNA
testing so far with the funds coming from the project coordinator and other donors,
but the search will continue and additional testing will be done. We are
quite certain of the relationships of the Descendants of François Amirault
but the solution to the mystery lies somewhere in France.
Donations will be gladly accepted. Please
contact Site Administrator
for more info.
RESULTS FROM 17 TEST SUBJECTS
Table 1. Y-DNA Alleles Scores: This table
shows the actual scores sent by the lab and indicate the number or repeats
for each DYS#. Table 1 indicates that tested American and Canadians who
are descendant from Francois Amirault dit Tourangeau are related. All 12 of
12 marker match. To be related, one would expect that a minimum of 10 of 12
Allele - Allele is the number of repeats of
the short base sequence of the loci tested.
DNA - Desoxyribonucleic acid. The chemical
make up of genes and chromosomes.
DYS - A label for a class of genetic markers
that are used in genetic genealogy.
Haplotype - Our family Haplotype, is the
sequence of numbers that is provided by the lab on the conclusion of an
Amirault or Mireault's Y Chromosome test. Once these numbers are confirmed
as a match by a test done on a second male descendant, then we can safely
say what the 12 marker Haplotype is for our line. From testing done to this
point we have found that the 12 marker Haplotype for the descendants of
François Amirault "dit" Tourangeau is:
Locus - (plural: loci) Literally, "place". The
location of a gene or set of genes on a chromosome. It is the specific site
on your DNA chain that is reviewed when you are tested.
X Chromosome - is one of the two
sex-determining chromosomes. An XX Chromosome belongs to a female.
Y Chromosome - is one of the two
sex-determining chromosomes. An XY is male. The Y chromosome, unlike the
others, does not trade DNA with a "partner chromosome" and it therefore
passes intact from father to son. This property leads to a minimum of
ambiguity in interpreting the results of Y DNA analysis.
More information on DNA testing is available at