DNA Home Page Results Discussion Page Table of Results Ancestors


Introduction and Results Presentation

Most of the analyses reported here were performed by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) but some participants had their DNA analyzed by Ancestry and some of the data was extracted from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) database. The primary data for the sets of results currently available are given in the Table of Results. In the table the order of the 111 markers and the conventions used to define each of the markers are those used by FTDNA. Results obtained from other companies were converted to the FTDNA conventions as given in the table at the SMGF web site. According to FTDNA, those DYS sites given in red in the table headings are ones that tend to mutate more rapidly.

One column in the table, titled Ysearch ID, gives this ID code for most of the participants in order to facilitate examining their marker results in the Ysearch database. The table also has a column headed Haplo which gives the predicted haplogroup for each participant. The meaning of this term will be considered later. In addition to the table with the primary data, another table titled Ancestors lists the earliest known Bush ancestors of the participants. The Ancestors table can be accessed either by clicking on this term here or at the top of the page, or by clicking the code for a particular individual in the primary results table. In that case you will be taken directly to the part of the Ancestors table that has the earliest known ancestor for that individual.

There are obvious similarities among the results given within each of Groups A to K as indicated by the color coding. Within each group identical values are colored and any differences due to mutations are highlighted by not being colored. It will be noted that the marker values in each of these groups are quite different from one group to the next so individuals in one of these groups are not closely related to individuals in the other. However, the similarity of the values obtained within each group strongly implies that the DNA donors in each group have a fairly recent (probably within 10 to 30 generations) common Bush ancestor. Thus, there were presumably 12 different initiating ancestors for these 12 groups, one for each group. In contrast to the foregoing, none of the results in Group X is a close match to any other in that group or to the results given for those in Groups A to K. Consequently, over 40 unique haplotypes (distinct sets of marker numbers) have been identified by the results to date indicating that there are more than 40 different Bush lines. As we obtain more results it is expected that matches will be found with some of those in Group X, but it is likely that additional Bush lines will also be found. The fact that there appear to be so many Bush lines makes DNA analysis particularly useful in sorting out the derivation of lines that do not have an extended paper trail.


Since the term 'haplogroup' is used frequently in the subsequent discussion, it seems appropriate to briefly describe here what it means and how it arose. In the DNA analyses summarized in the Table of Results, what is actually being measured at each DYS site are so-called STRs or Short Tandem Repeats. The marker values are a measure of how frequently particular sequences of DNA bases are repeated at each DYS site on the Y-chromosome. In an attempt to place humans on a phylogenetic tree, anthropologists in recent years have mainly used so-called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (in other words, substitution of one of the bases on the DNA backbone by a different base). In the SNP analysis investigators initially assigned various letters to different branches on the human phylogenetic tree. These are referred to as haplogroups. However, since it was found that these initial SNP groups (or haplogroups) had further SNPs, what one really has is a series of haplogroup families headed by the initial ones characterized by capital letters. In the original attempt to name other members of these families alternating numbers and lower case letters were used to further subdefine the different branches on the human phylogenetic tree. However, it soon became clear that stringing a large number of letters and numbers together to name a subhaplogroup can be very cumbersome so another method has been derived to define each branch in the haplogroup families. By this method the branch is named by starting with the capital letter defining that haplogroup family and then adding the name of the terminal SNP that defines that branch. As an example of these methods for naming haplogroups, the haplogroup for kit 36886 in our Group B1 is currently named by the first method as R1b1a1a1a1a1 and by the second method as R-L21. In other words, he is in the haplogroup R family but is in a branch of that family defined by a series of SNPs with the terminal one being L21. This second method for naming branches of the haplotree is now being used most often. New SNPs continue to be identified at a fairly rapid pace. This is expected to continue in the immediate future, especially since methods for sequencing all or parts of the Y-chromosome are becoming readily accessable. Therefore, although the initial capital letter used to define a haplogroup family will likely not change, some of the additional numbers and letters to further define the haplogroup may change with time and new terminal SNPs may be found. The best up-to-date listing of haplogroups is maintained by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy at their ISOGG web site. There is frequently a considerable delay before FTDNA takes into account the recent results so their designation of the haplogroup for individual participants is often out of date.

A major difference between mutations at STR sites and those at SNP sites is that the STR sites mutate in a time period of one to a few hundred years (that is one of the reasons why they are so useful in genealogical investigations) while the rate of mutation at SNP sites is measured in the 10s of thousands of years. Thus, individuals in different haplogroups could not have a common ancestor along all male lines in the last 10,000 or more years.

By direct SNP analysis the haplogroup of any given Y-DNA sample can be measured; when this has been done the haplogroup designation in the Haplo column of the primary results table is given in bold green. However, in most cases that is not done because it has been possible to correlate certain patterns of STR marker values with the SNP analysis. Whit Athey has developed a formula for calculating the probable haplogroup from STR data and also at the FTDNA web site most participants receive an estimate of their suspected haplogroup. When predicted these haplogroup designations are given in regular black type in the Haplo column of the primary results table. As indicated in the table, the most common haplogroup found for participants in the Bush project is some variation of the R (or R1b1) haplogroup family but there are several with other haplogroups as well. It is not too surprising that most have the R1b1 haplogroup since the majority of English men are in this haplogroup and the immigrant ancestors to most of the current participants have probably come from England. The R1b1 haplogroup is not only common in England but is found throughout Europe with over 50% of all European men being R1b1. A summary of the suspected origin and distribution of various haplogroups in Europe can be found here.

Group A

It is not too surprising that the last 3 participants in this group have similar results since they were previously known to be related; all 3 are descended in well documented lines from Samuel Bush (1647-1733) who resided in Westfield, MA for much of his life. Each of these participants is descended from a different son of Aaron Bush, who was a grandson of Samuel. Since the first 25 marker values for B-005 and B-011 are identical, it is likely that this is the Y-DNA profile for their most recent common ancestor, Aaron Bush. Apparently a mutation has occurred at DYS449 at some point in the line from Aaron to B-008.

For some time it has been suspected that Samuel Bush, Jonathan Bush (the ancestor of B-026 and B-094) and Abiel Bush (the ancestor of B-007 and B-069) were brothers, all sons of John Bush (died 1663) and grandsons of Reynold Bush (1600-1686) who emigrated from England (Fering Parish, Essex Co) to the Massachusetts colony about 1640. However, there is solid evidence only that Abiel Bush is a son of John and thus grandson of immigrant Reynold; in the Cambridge, MA, vital records the birth of Abiel in 1661 to John Bush is recorded. The similarity of the DNA results for all seven members of Group A indicates that they all share a common ancestor in the not too distant past, and are certainly consistent with Samuel, Jonathan and Abiel all being brothers as considerable circumstantial evidence had suggested. If that is the case then B-026 and B-094 are about 8th cousins of both B-007 and B-069 and all three are about 8th cousins of the others in Group A.

One characteristic of the Group A DNA profile is that it is quite uncommon; only a few others in the FTDNA database with other surnames match this DNA profile even at the 12 marker level. The reason for this is that some of the marker values found for Group A are unusual. This is evident from an analysis of the dispersion in values for those in haplogroup R1b1 (the haplogroup for the Bush participants in Group A). The marker value at DYS393 for the Group A Bushes is especially noteworthy; for those in haplogroup R1b1, a value of 12 at this site occurs only 2% of the time and a value of 11 is extremely rare, occurring less than 0.1% of the time among R1b1 folk. It is of interest that 11 is probably the value for this marker for the most recent common ancestor of those in Group A since this value is retained through two of the lines. Apparently a mutation from 11 to 12 took place at DYS393 in the Samuel Bush line at some point in the generations from the common ancestor to Aaron Bush. Two other sites among the first 12 markers with relatively infrequent values are DYS389-2 where a value of 30 occurs only 23% of the time, and DYS439 where a value of 11 occurs only 22% of the time in R1b1 individuals. Therefore, it is perhaps not too surprising that the Group A 12 marker profile is limited to a small group indlufing the Reynold Bush line. In the 37 marker set, other infrequently occurring marker values for R1b1 individuals, but which those in Group A have, include (% of total in parentheses): 9 at DYS459b (19%), 14 at DYS437 (12%) 14 at DYS607 (14%), and 13 at DYS438 (3%). It is useful to focus on infrequently occurring marker values because these are the ones that really define a particular DNA profile. For most of the markers in R1b1 individuals, only one value is predominant so a proifle with such values does not as easily distinguish it from many others.

Group B

Whereas all those in Group A are probably descended from only one Bush immigrant who took up residence in New England, the evidence suggests there were two Bush immigrants who have given rise to those in Group B. For this reason this group has been split into two parts, B1 and B2. Nevertheless, since all of those in Group B match quite closely, there must have been a common ancestor for all of them in the not too distant past. This common ancestor presumably lived before the lines emigrated to America. The large differences in the DNA profiles for Group A and Group B, however, indicate that the ancestors of Reynold Bush, the immigrant progenitor of Group A, were not closely related to the ancestors of the immigrants who eventually led to those in Groups B1 and B2.

Participant B-010 has summarized the following evidence concerning the ancestors of Group B1. It is known that at least some and possibly all those in Group B1 are derived from immigrant William Bush, born about 1655 in England, who emigrated to Maryland in 1671 and died in Talbot Co, MD in 1739. The first 5 participants (B-003, B-010, B-034, B-035, and B-048) listed in Group B1 are descended from this William through his son Richard (died after 1748 in Talbot Co, MD), grandson Andrew (born in Talbot Co and died in 1791 in Caroline Co, MD), and his great grandson Andrew, Jr. (born 1762 in Talbot Co, MD, died 1839 in Monroe [now Lamar] Co, GA). These 5 participants are derived from 3 different sons (see Ancestors) of Andrew, Jr. Participant B-071 is a close relative of B-003 so he is also derived from this Andrew. The close DNA match of B-002 and B-027 to the Andrew, Jr., descendants and the fact that John Cooper Bush, the known ancestor of B-002 and B-027, also lived in Caroline Co, MD, strongly suggests that John Cooper was closely related to Andrew, Jr. The final two participants with values for 67 markers (B-019 and B-047) in Group B1 are proven descendants of an Abraham Bush and his son Sanders who moved from Dobbs Co, NC, after 1790 and appears in a 1794 Warren Co, GA, tax list living near Andrew, Jr. The comparison of the DNA results for B-019 and B-047 with the results for the rest of those in Group B1 suggests that Sanders was related to Andrew, Jr., and John Cooper but that the most recent common ancestor of all three of them was probably an earlier generation than the most recent common ancestor of Andrew, Jr., and John Cooper.

All the participants in Group B2 are probably derived from immigrant Richard Bush (b 1655) who emigrated from Essex Co, England to Essex Co, VA in 1670. The sister of B-006 has thoroughly researched this line and, after the DNA results became available, was able to definitely place several of the other participants as descendants of this immigrant (see Ancestors). Prior to obtaining the DNA results, none of these participants knew they were related and most did not know their lines back to immigrant Richard. This illustrates the power of the DNA technique; it allows people to find others to whom they are only distantly related, it focuses attention on those lines that best match the DNA results of your line, and it frequently allows a major expansion in the knowledge of your line when you connect to one that has been extensively researched.

In contrast to the rarity of some marker values for those in Group A, most of the values for the first 25 markers for Group B individuals are quite common (see analysis). As a result, at the 12 and 25 marker level, there are many people in the FTDNA database with surnames other than Bush that match the Group B results. It is only when one goes to the 37 marker level (or bwetter the 67 marker level) that one obtains a DNA profile that is unique to the Bush participants in Group B; very few in the FTDNA database with a surname other than Bush match the 37 marker profile of those in Group B. Notable sites where the Group B individuals have a low frequency marker value are: YCAIIb where a value of 24 occurs only 6% of the time in R1b1 individuals, and DYS576 where a value of 20 occurs only 5% of the time and values of 21 or 22 are exceedingly rare, occurring only 1% and less than 0.1% of the time respectively.

Groups C, E, G, I and J

It is likely that all those in Group E have a fairly recent common ancestor who is most likely the immigrant Abraham Bush, b 1622 in London, England or possibly a relative of Abraham back in Britain; connections to this Abraham have been shown conclusively for B-004, B-044, B-049, B-075 and B-094 (see Ancestors) and the others will probably be shown to be derived from this immigrant when further traditional genealogy has be done. Marker values for those in Group E are rare. As a result, no-one in the FTDNA database matches most of these participants even at the 12 marker level. Notable sites where the marker value is rare for the Group E participants are DYS393 where a value of 14 occurs only 5% of the time in R1b1 individuals, and DYS385b where a value of 11 occurs only 2% of the time.

Since only 12 marker results have been obtained for the participants in Group C, it is not possible to conclude definitely whether the two individuals share a common ancestor or not. The fact that the ancestors of both of these participants come from Germany and also that they share related surnames of Busch and von dem Bussche makes it reasonable to suspect they may have a common ancestor in the not too distant past, but values for more marker values will need to be obtained before such a conclusion can be definitely drawn. At least one of the participants in Group G believes his anestors came from Germany as well and the close match of his results (B-037) to those of the others in this group imply that they have a common ancestor in the recent past. However, those in Group G are probably not closely related to those in Group C, nor is either group closely related to the other R1b1 groups (A, B, and E) whose ancestors are believed to have come from England. The two participants in Group I are clearly related to each other but not closely related to any of the other haplogroup R1b1 groups.

Groups D, F, H, and K

Because the haplogroups for those in Groups D, F, H and K are different from that for those in Groups A, B, C, E, G, I and J, there is no possibility that those in these could be related to the others along all male lines within the last 10s of thousands of years. Participant B-045 of Group D believes his Bush line is derived from original immigrant Thomas William Bush who emigrated about 1620 from Wiltshire, England to Virginia. The similarity of his DNA results to the results for the others in this group suggests that they are all derived from this immigrant.

Group X

As indicated in the table, 31 participants are currently placed in Group X because their results do not match those for any of the other Bush participants that have been analyzed. However, as more individuals with the Bush surname have their DNA analyzed it is expected that matches to some of these will be found. The last 20 participants in Group X are in the haplogroup R1b1 family as are all those in Groups A, B, C, E, G, I and J. However, their DNA profiles are quite different so there could not have been a common all male line ancestor linking any of these in thousands of years. A variety of haplogroups have been found for the first 11 participants listed in Group X. Those with different haplogroups certainly could not be related along all male lines within thousands of years, but even those in Group X with the same haplogroup all have different DNA profiles so they could not have a recent common ancestor in the past 1000 years or more.


The results obtained to date have already provided answers to some questions about the relationships among various individuals with the Bush surname. Some notable conclusions that can be derived from the current data include: (1) the results obtained for the Group A participants strongly imply that Samuel (1647-1733) and Jonathan (1650-1739) Bush are grandsons of Reynold Bush who immigrated to the Massachusetts colony about 1640; (2) the results obtained for the Group B participants indicate, among other things, that at least two original immigrants to the southern US, including William Bush (born 1655) who emigrated to Maryland and Richard Bush (born 1655) who emigrated to Virginia, were from related families in England, and that their families were not closely related to that of Reynold Bush, the progenitor of the Group A participants, or to Abraham Bush (born 1622), the presumed immigrant ancestor of Group E, or to Thomas William Bush (immigrated about 1620), the presumed immigrant ancestor of Group D; (3) the results obtained for all the current participants, including those in Group X, indicate that there are several Bush lines, of which more about 40 have been identified by the current results.

The current results, however, merely begin to scratch the surface. As more results become available one expects that many currently unforseen relationships among the various lines will be found as has already occurred among several participants in Groups A to I. Consequently, all those with Bush lines are encouraged to have some male from their line analyzed.

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Last updated July 2014