A couple of years ago, ‘Tom’, a member of my family, submitted a cheek swab to one of the biggest DNA testing companies in the US, Family Tree DNA. I’d signed on the dotted line whilst I was at the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ family history show in Earl’s Court, London. I paid for and was given a testing kit comprising a couple of sterile swabs, a container, labels and paperwork. I’d hoped that Tom’s DNA might connect us with some other Ridouts and Rideouts around the world and perhaps even make sense of our ancestry.
The genetic material in the Y chromosome (yDNA) changes (mutates) very little from grandfather to father to son and indeed very little down the entire male line in a family. However, there are small mutations which occur at specific areas of the Y chromosome called STRs (single tandem repeats) or, in the world of comparative yDNA testing, markers. In order to arrive at a working hypothesis on the relatedness of two males with the same surname, it is valuable to compare 37 of such markers in each man’s yDNA. Since the mutation rates for each STR are fairly constant, one would expect that second cousins should show a perfect match of 37/37 markers; their common ancestor being as close as their great-grandfather. However, the greater the number of generations away from a common male ancestor two male descendants are, the more likely it is that their yDNA sequences will mismatch slightly. So, for example, two men with a x6 great grandfather in common might match only 36/37 markers. Hence, a statistician will compare two yDNA sequences and, taking mutation rates into account, determine the probability that two men with the same (or similar) surname are related and will offer a very broad estimate of when their common ancestor probably lived. This is especially useful when those two men have each researched their family history and can compare notes.
My own research indicates that my family have the same origins as the descendants of Christopher RIDOUT of Sherborne. My cousin Tom had also submitted a saliva sample to a UK company called Oxford Ancestors in 2004. This was only tested for 10 markers but we were delighted to find that we had an exact match with many other descendants of Christopher and so I knew that my research was at least on the right track.
Many people in the US and Canada will know of their ancestors George Ridout the baker (1701-1779) and his father Christopher the miller (1669-1743). I have written about these folk extensively elsewhere on this blog. With luck, many Ridouts will have a family tree indicating just how they are related to George and Christopher but I am not so lucky, even though my family actually lived in Sherborne as recently as 1827. My own family tree peters out at my x4 great grandfather who I know simply as John Ridout of Sherborne, born in approximately 1750-3. It’s not much to go on!
So, what did yDNA testing reveal? For a start, there are only two other Rid(e)out men on Family Tree DNA’s results database who come close to matching Tom’s 37 marker results. One man is called ‘Dick’ and the other ‘Harry’. Tom and Dick shared 34/37 markers in common and, as Dick is a x7 great grandson of Christopher Ridout, I was rather disappointed as I had hoped our connection with that family was closer – in fact, Tom and Dick’s common male ancestor probably lived ‘within the past 1,680 years’ which, genealogically speaking, is not much use to someone whose known family doesn’t stretch back further than 1750!
The match between Tom and Harry, 35/37 markers, was much more interesting. Harry’s earliest known ancestor was William Thomas Rideout (1839-1885) of Virginia. There are a dozen or more public family trees on Ancestry.co.uk all suggesting that William Thomas Rideout was probably a grandson of Elijah Rideout (1768-1862) and possibly great-grandson of a John Rideout, although opinion seems to be divided on John Rideout’s origins. I don’t think anyone quite knows for sure just who it was in this family that first left England in the eighteenth century and sailed across the Atlantic to settle in America. Anyway, Tom and Harry share a common male ancestor within twelve generations, a man who lived roughly 300-360 years ago (about 1652-1712). This time frame equates to a Ridout male who was alive at a similar time to Christopher (1669-1743) or George (1701-1779).
The most interesting result amongst all this yDNA confusion is that Dick and Harry are more closely related to each other than either of them is to Tom! They share 36/37 markers, meaning that there is a 90% probability that their common male ancestor walked the earth as recently as eight generations ago (roughly 1772-1812). We know that Dick’s x6 great grandfather was George Ridout and Harry’s x6 great grandfather was the father of John Rideout. But their common male ancestor is unlikely to be George Ridout himself since he probably didn’t father another boy named John, in addition to two other sons named John (one was christened John and the other John Gibbs). So, Dick and Harry’s common male ancestor might be one generation back from George i.e. Christopher Ridout. So, who was John Rideout’s father? Here’s a wild guess … how about John Ridout, Christopher’s son, born in Sherborne in 1699 and about who very little seems to have been written other than that he left England and sailed to America at some point in his early life? Just saying 🙂
Interested Ridouts and Rideouts, from all over the world, are cordially invited to join our RID(E)OUT yDNA project.
STOP PRESS! Family Tree DNA have a special offer on 37 markers which extends to the 14th January… !!
I live in washington state and my 4x GG is Dr.. Issac Ridout
I have done a dna and would like to put the family tree into a more complete picture. We have not truly found a link beyond Dr. Ridout and there are numerous
Hi Tracy … thanks for dropping by and reading my blog. Our yDNA project may be of some value to you I would have thought. We are persuading as many Rid(e)out men to join as we can – some know their lineage and others do not. Between us we think we can eventually unravel all the lines going back to however many original Rid(e)outs there were; given the relatively few that we are in number, there may only be very few unrelated lines. If you did your DNA test with Family Tree DNA then why not joim our project? If not, then please could you consider testing for 37 markers with them? You can do this relatively inexpensivley through the Rid(e)out project; currently $119 until Christmas I believe. Let me know if you’re interested and I can email you a link. I can see, by looking online, that there are several other descendants from Dr Isaac Ridout and so our yDNA study may be of some interest to them too! Hope to hear from you 🙂
I live in Virginia and Dr. Issac C. Rideout is also my 4xGG through a Dawson-Ridout marriage on my maternal side of the family.
Hi there … glad you found this blog. As I said to Tracy, some of us in the UK, US and Canada are contacting Rid(e)out men and asking them to consider having a yDNA test. If we can get enough results we can analyse patterns and hopefully establish whole clans, with a view to one day determining just how many original Rid(e)out ancestors there were. Every piece of information helps and we are already making progress – if you would like to join us, simply follow the instructions on the blog 🙂 Regards, Karen
Hi my name is John Ridout I’m 44 and live in saffron walden Essex England. Very interested to read about your DNA test results. I haven’t ventured that way as yet. I have however traced my own ancestors back to 1650 ish from the Dorset area on the south coast of England. The village is called Okeford Fitzpaine and still has Ridouts living there now. In fact the. Church bell ringers are the Ridout family and a chap who drinks in the pub is apparently named Fido Ridout which is a very unusual name. The family has a smuggler called Thomas Ridout from Fiddleford who snuggled contraband Brandy from France in through Lulworth Cove and hid it beneath his water mill. My great great grandfather travelled up from Dorset to London looking for work around 1879 during the agricultural depression. However his name on his birth certificate was Ridout but on his wedding certificate it was Rideout. I believe the reason for the change is two part, on the wedding certificate he didn’t sign his name but made his mark ie he was illiterate. The second reason being that the Dorset accent is a very strong English country/ rural accent and they pronounce Ridout as Ride-out in that area and that is how the registrar would have recorded it.
I hope this is of interest good luck with searches.
I’m glad you found my blog and I hope you found it interesting, although I know that your family is different from mine, at least more ‘recently’ perhaps 🙂 I am guessing that your ancestor Thomas was son of Roger, another infamous smuggler at Fiddleford bp at Farrington 19 Feb 1736 to William and Susanna (nee APPOWELL) If so then you will perhaps have traced your lineage back to Richard (b.1650) but you have gone no further? You may be related to me very distantly, and therefore to the Sherborne family, if your Richard can be traced back to William Ridout and Agnetha BARNARD, about whom I have written in the blog. I will reply personally regarding yDNA.
I will seek out this information to do the DNA and have it done. My father is Floyd Ridout and is 84. Both of us have done DNA for other historical reasons, but to discover the relationship past Dr. Isaac Ridout is truly a quest of discover.
Indeed it is. You would be most welcome to join our yDNA project! You are the second person today 🙂 If you go to this link and press ‘Join Request’ you can get a 37 marker yDNA test (like the other members) at a discounted rate: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Ridout_yDNA_Project
Hope to ‘see’ you soon then.
Karen can you email me please. My DNA has come up as a 5th cousin to you. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks Pauline Stables New Zealand
Where can I go to compare my DNA results with other Rideouts? I am on Ancestry and have descended from Reverend Peter Rideout, then his son George + Arabella Rideout. You will be able to find me on facebook (Tanya Housham)
Hi Tanya…. you can go to my Rid(e)out yDNA project with FamilyTreeDNA… but you’d need a male Rideout relative to give a saliva test as the yDNA test wouldn’t work for females… the company does so called Family Finder tests but they’re not much use unless you’re VERY closely related to another person in the database.
You say that you’re descended from Rev. Peter Rideout… have you found anything that rings a bell with you on this site? Do you have a town or village associated with the ancestors that you know about? I am not on FB but am happy to help you…. Cheers, Karen
I’m assuming that you’ve read…. 🙂