Notes for Christian Funkhouser: Preliminary Conclusions
From the Funkhouser DNA Project
Daniel W. Bly
In January 2006, I set up the Funkhouser DNA project in order to see if DNA testing would help answer some of the questions regarding the origins and the relationship of John Fankhauser Sr., Jacob Fankhauser Sr, and Christian Fankhauser, who were in Virginia by 1737 and whose many descendants spell their name Funkhouser. It has long been assumed that they were descendants of the large Fankhauser family which originated at Trub in the Emmenthal Valley of Canton Bern, Switzerland, but their parents and the specific links to Switzerland have not been identified and it has never been clear how they were even related to each other. Two brothers, Peter and Michael Fankhauser, who were born in Alsace to Swiss parents, settled in Lancaster County in 1743 and 1750, respectively and their descendants have spelled their name Frankhouser. In the 19th century a number of other Fankhauser immigrants arrived in America from Switzerland and so it was thought advisable to include members of the Frankhouser, Fankhauser and Fankhouser families along with the Funkhousers in the DNA study, because a number of these had well documented lineages back to Switzerland and in the case of some of the Fankhausers, documented lineages all the way back to the origins of the name in the fifteenth century.
The DNA test looks at ‘markers’ on the Y chromosome (the male chromosome, passed from father to son) and is able to determine which haplogroup a man belongs to and can determine by variations in the markers how closely or remotely any two individuals are related to each other. The haplogroup refers to the ethnic-geographic origins. The more markers that are studied the more precisely the number of generations any two individuals are removed from a common ancestor, can be determined.
The first series of test were 12 marker tests. Twelve men participated, three from each of the three early Funkhouser ancestors in Virginia, two from the Frankhouser family and one from a well documented Fankhouser family that arrived from Switzerland in the early nineteenth century. All twelve markers for eleven participants matched perfectly. One marker for a descendant of Jacob Funkhouser Sr. varied, but it was for a marker that mutates more often and was therefore not a significant factor. These tests showed conclusively that all twelve participants definitely shared a common ancestor within the last 500 years and therefore were all descendants of the Fankhauser family that originated in the Fankhaus Valley in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland. They were also in the R1b1 haplogroup, the Indo-European people who had inhabited Western Europe for the last 30,000 years or more. While this was an important step more advanced tests on more markers would be needed to determine at what point these individuals shared common ancestors.
Thirty-seven marker tests were performed on four of the original participants, one from each of the three Virginia pioneers and one from the Frankhouser family. They all continued to match at the 25 marker level but at the 37 marker level, only the descendant of John Fankhauser (Funkhouser) Sr. and Christian Fankhauser (Funkhouser) match all 37 markers. The Frankhouser descendant differed from them on one marker and the Jacob Fankhauser (Funkhouser) Sr. descendant differed from them on four markers and from the Frankhouser descendant by three! This indicates that John and Christian Funkhouser, two of the Virginia pioneers were closely related, with a 95 percent chance that they could be brothers, or uncle and nephew, but that Jacob Funkhouser Sr. the other early Virginia pioneer was not closely related, at least not through the paternal line. It also indicates that the Fankhauser-Frankhouser pioneers of Pennsylvania were probably more closely related to John and Christian Funkhouser in Virginia than most people had ever assumed.
However, since one sample can be an anomaly three more of the 12 marker tests were upgraded to the 37 marker test, including the member of the documented Fankhouser family, and another descendant of Jacob Funkhouser Sr and the other Frankhouser. The results of these three tests proved somewhat more conclusive. The documented Fankhauser matched all 37 markers with the two Frankhouser descendants and the second Jacob Funkhouser Sr. descendant was only 2 markers different from the John and Christian Funkhouser descendants and one marker from the Fankhauser and Frankhouser descendants. Again the markers for the Jacob Funkhouser Sr. descendant who was four markers different from the John and Christian descendants, varied on several markers than mutate more often, and therefore should probably be more in line with the other Jacob descendant, who only varied by two. This only confirms what the first several 37 marker tests seemed to indicate- that John and Christian Fankhauser-Funkhouser, who were in Virginia by 1737 were very closely related but that Jacob who apparently was with them was not closely related in the paternal line. It also confirms that the Frankhouser family of Pennsylvania was closely related to the documented Fankhauser line that came over later and that Jacob may have been somewhat more closely related to them than to his Virginia neighbors.
Since the ancestors of the Fankhouser, whose family arrived in America in 1819, is well documented back 16 generations to the origins of the name in the Fankhaus, at Trub and the ancestors of the two Frankhousers, whose immigrant ancestor, Peter settled in Pennsylvania in 1743 can be identified back ten generations to Trub, it is now possible to make a tentative identification of the common ancestor of these two lines. The documented Fankhauser family is what is known as the Vorder Fankhaus line- because in 1495 (13 generations back) the entire Fankhaus valley, which had been the property of Niklaus (Clewi) Fankhauser, was divided between his two sons, Niklaus (Clewi the Younger) and Hans. Clewi the Younger got the portion known as the Vorder Fankhaus (Lower Fankhaus) and Hans got the part known as the Hinter Fankhaus (Upper Fankhaus). Both Hans and Clewi were ancestors of large families that continued to live on and continually divided these properties. Since the 37 marker tests match all markers for the Fankhauser line and the Frankhouser line it means there is a 98 percent chance that they shared a common ancestor no more than ten or eleven generations back. This means that Peter Fankhauser of Trub, earliest proven ancestor of the Frankhousers of Pennsylvania, who married Christina Schwander at Trub in 1663 was definitely in the Vorder Fankhaus line. There were four other Peter Fankhausers born at Trub from the late 1620s to the early 1640s, almost certainly the time frame in which this Peter Fankhauser was born. Three of these can be proven to be in the Hinter Fankhaus line, but the fourth one, Peter, son of Peter Fankhauser and Stina Stalder, from the farm called Lehn, born 2 February 1640, is almost certainly the same Peter Fankhauser who married Christina Schwander in 1663 and had a son, Christian, who was born October, 1668 at Vechigen near Trub, and emigrated to Alsace about 1700. Christian settled at a farm in the panhandle of Alsace called Hansmannshof, where an Ulrich Fankhauser, aus Schweitz, had gone a generation earlier. This Christian Fankhauser, married and had children in Alsace and is father of Peter Fankhauser, the 1743, settler in Pennsylvania and ninth generation ancestor of the Frankhouser participants in the DNA study.
Peter Fankhauser, born 27 December 1607, son of Hans Fankhauser, from the Vorder Fankhaus und Lehn, and his wife, Barbara Wï¿½thrich, married Stina Stalder 24 August, 1632 and died at the farm Lehn in 1652. He was father of six sons and four daughters. Peter’s father, Hans was born about 1575, son of Hans Fankhauser of the Vorder Fankhaus und Lehn, who also had a son, Christian, born about 1570. Christian later got the farm Vorder Fankhaus and Hans lived at Lehn. Christian is the tenth generation ancestor of the Fankhouser participant in the DNA project. The older Hans, father of Hans and Christian, was born about 1545, son of Christian and grandson of Niklaus (Clewi) who had received the Vorder Fankhaus in 1495.
By the last half of the seventeenth century the farm lands of the Fankhaus had been divided until a single farm was barely large enough to support a family and with a large family the only solution was emigration to other parts of Switzerland or down the Rhine into the German provinces of Alsace and the Palatinate. The fact that when Christian Fankhauser, son of Peter, went to Alsace about 1700, he went first to the same farm where Ulrich Fankhauser had gone about 25 years earlier would indicate that he was joining a close relative. In fact Peter Fankhauser (b. 1607) and his wife, Stina had a son, Ulrich, born 17 November 1644, who is most likely the same Ulrich Fankhauser who settled in Alsace sometime in the 1670s. Yet another Christian Fankhauser, married at Trub in 1690, lived at various sites in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland before settling in the same area of Alsace about 1709. He was most likely another grandson of Peter Fankhauser (b. 1607) and wife, Stina Stalder, of the farm Lehn but his parentage has not yet been identified.
There is not enough evidence at this point to identify specific ancestors of the Funkhouser pioneers in Virginia, but based on the 37 marker tests John Funkhouser Sr. and Christian Funkhouser were closely related, possibly brothers or perhaps an uncle and nephew. They were only one marker different from the Funkhouser line and the documented Fankhauser line, indicating they could be from the Vorder Fankhaus line but with a common ancestor a generation or two further back. That makes it possible they could actually be from the Hinter Fankhaus line. However, Jacob Funkhouser Sr’s descendants differed from them by two marks and but were only one mark different from the Fankhauser and Frankhouser lines so it is hoped that the next and most sophisticated stage, testing 67 markers, involving additional participants, will finally resolve some of those questions.
If you are interested in knowing more about this project, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will forward your inquiry to Daniel Bly. Thanks.
More About Christian Funkhouser: Died 2: 1818, Tumbling Run, Virginia, USA.737
More About Christian Funkhouser and Barbara Layman: Marriage: 21 Jun 1774, ,Shenandoah, Virginia, USA.
Children of Christian Funkhouser and Barbara Layman are:
+Moses Funkhouser, b. Jun 1794, Tumbling Run, Shenandoah, Virginia, USA737, d. 30 Jul 1839, Corydon, Harrison, Indiana, USA737.