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DNA Project

In 2003, the Bunker Family Association started a Bunker DNA surname project. Our purpose is to identify the different branches of the Bunkers that live in various parts of the world. Much to our surprise, we discovered that the English Bunkers are not all related as we have always suspected. In fact, the Bedfordshire and Devonshire Bunkers are not even remotely related. In this posting, individuals who are mentioned only by first name have last names of Bunker.

The Y chromosome is passed down intact from father to son for generations. Over the centuries it occasionally mutates. These mutations come about on the average of every 300-500 years but all of them occur from one generation to the next. Whenever a mutation occurs, the son’s Y-DNA, will differ from the father’s Y-DNA. Usually, the difference shows up on only one marker and is usually only one allele different from the father’s.

Scientists testing DNA for genealogical purposes study a short strand of the Y chromosome where mutations occur more often than on some other strands. After all, if there were never any mutations we would not be able to distinguish the DNA of Adam from my brother’s. There is no way that these results can be used to identify any one test participant as thousands of men descend from the same man. The BFA database lists about 4,000 men that descend from James Bunker of Dover, NH. This is not sufficiently accurate to be used in a court of law. All the Y-DNA tests will tell us is if two men share a common ancestor in the past. The test also cannot tell you if you are a Bunker. You are a Bunker if that is the name you use. It can tell you if there are any other male Bunkers out there that share a common ancestor. This test cannot be used for women, as they do not have a Y chromosome. Much more complicated tests are needed to determine specific identity for paternity, maternity, criminal identification or the identification of a dead person. That is not what the Y-DNA test is designed to test.

Our project has enabled us to determine that Kenneth, Gil, Gerald Lorin and Gregory are in the Bedfordshire branch of Bunkers.It also helped to confirm that Andrew was in that branch.We also determined that the descendants of Thomas of Plymstock, England; Benjamin and Betsey Daniels; and Jonathan were related to the descendants of James of Durham, New Hampshire.It is interesting to note that Merrill and Dale are brothers and have a difference at one marker which indicates one of them was the source of a mutation.These men are the only member of our Mormon branch tested as yet.Brian John Bunker has also been tested but by a different company that uses different markers.Both companies test the same 9 markers and 7 of those 9 markers match with those of the descendants of William and Sarah of Bedfordshire.All the Bedfordshire people descend from Roger Bunker of Tingrith circa 1500.We do not know the common ancestor of the Devon Bunkers.The two Germans tested are not related at all giving us two distinct German Bunker families.The only Charlestown descendant tested does not match anyone else which raises all sorts of questions that probably will never be solved as we have so few Charlestown male descendants left.

We would really appreciate more men coming forward to be tested.We are really looking for more Nantucket descendants to be tested.Two of our Nantucket men are brothers and we would like to have some more distant relatives to test as well.We are also looking for descendants of Chang and Eng Bunker, our Native American and African American Bunkers.Males who do not know their ancestry can be tested to see which of our branches they belong to.In addition, everyone tested gets all the known information about their ancestors and our genealogist helps them with further research about their ancestors.For the ladies – get your Bunker named brothers, cousins or uncles tested to which branch you are in.

The test is simple, painless and we get a discount on price.

If you are male and born a Bunker, please contact Bette Bunker Richards at betterichs@gmail.com, especially if you are a Nantucket or Charlestown descendant or a descendant ofEdward Bunker, the founder of our Mormon branch.