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The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. Since its inception in 1904, the Club has served as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide.

The Club provides assistance in expedition planning, awards fieldwork grants to scientists, writers, and photographers, and at our famed annual dinners, honors accomplishments in exploration. But probably the most powerful resource available to those who join the Club is fellowship with other members--a global network of expertise, experience, technology, industry, and support. The Explorers Club actively encourages public interest in exploration and the sciences through its public lectures program, publications, travel program, and other events. The Club also maintains Research Collections, including a library and map room, to preserve the history of the Club and to assist those interested and engaged in exploration and scientific research.

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Next Chapter Meeting:

June 9th, 2017 Meeting:

**Note: location change in June

NOTE: We will be trying another lunch/meeting location in May. This time, we will be at Senate’s End (Dupre Catering and Events). See more details below.

The June meeting of the Greater Piedmont Chapter of The Explorers Club will be Friday, June 9th. Our speaker will be chapter member David Brinkman and the topic is "A King's match in America: King Richard III and the emerging true ancestry of America." See more details below.

We will meet at "Senate’s End", 316 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29201. This is at the west end of Senate Street at the Congaree River. Parking will not be a problem as they have plenty of spaces on the property.

You can find more info on Senate's End at: Cost for the lunch will be $20.00 (maybe a little less).

If you plan to attend, please RSVP (by Wed the 7th) to David Brinkman at

More on the topic and our speaker:

In February of 2014, David Brinkman's full sequence mtDNA test showed him to have an undocumented Mitochondrial DNA set. His DNA record was used to create the new mtDNA haplogroup J1c2c3. Nine months later, a full sequence mtDNA test was completed on the new found bones of King Richard III. There was an exact match and King Richard III became the second documented member of J1c2c3. This launched an effort on both sides of the Atlantic to discover the relation and migration that has occurred over the last 530 years between Richard III and Brinkiman's maternal line in the United States. After 3 years, the J1c2c3 group has proven to be extremely rare suggesting that the mutation that defines this group probably occurred recently in the Plantagenet family between 600 to 1000 years ago. This has opened up a unique opportunity for science and genetic genealogy.

This project started off in a very personal way for Brinkman, and as typical in scientific research, unexpected things were discovered along the way. Although not a part of our recent scientific paper, after four years of looking over DNA results and matches from people all over the United States, Brinkman began to see patterns in autosomal DNA data that could change the way Americans look at their origins. In general, America's DNA seems most influenced by the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia which took hold ten years before the Mayflower landed. At Jamestown, there is the emerging pattern that these people were not just English. More specifically, many of them were Plantagenets. This is a family that most people wrote-off after King Richard III was killed in battle in 1485. In his short time as King (less than three years) he lost his only son,  his wife, his own life and the crown. If this was not bad enough, immediately after his death, a campaign of slander against Richard III was launched by the new House of Tudor to keep the Plantagenets from regaining the Throne. The propaganda and slander continued for over one hundred years and culminated with the fictional play "The Tragedy of King Richard the Third" by the Tudor puppet William Shakespeare.  It seems that by the mid-1600s, many of the remaining Plantagenets had had enough of England and many came to America. It has become no surprise to Brinkman that the extensively studied genealogy of US Presidents shows that all but one (Martin van Buren), and including Presidents Obama and Trump, have Plantagenet ancestry. But, it's not just the Presidents that are Plantagenet because, going back just a couple of generations, it can be seen that these men all came from average families. So, this really means that almost all Americans with European ancestry also have Plantagenet ancestors. The bottom line is that the Plantagenets may deserve more credit than anyone for both building and ruling America. As more Americans have their DNA tested, this theory may be proven and could rewrite the history of who really made our country.
The project that found Brinkman:
In 2013, David Brinkman took a $99 DNA test to see if he carried the genes that led to the early death of his father and others on his paternal side of the family. His hope was that this part of his DNA came from his mother. He was fortunate not to find the bad DNA but something from his mother called J1c2c found him. In that same year, a partial sequence mitochondrial DNA (maternal line DNA) test on the newly found bones of King Richard III was published. The results showed the same mtDNA haplogroup (J1c2c) that Brinkman had, meaning, King Richard III was his uncle or a cousin. What a surprise!  In England, two people in the maternal line of Richard III's sister, also showed the same J1c2c haplogroup in DNA tests. As a consequence, Brinkman started a project to search for others with the same mtDNA haplogroup. Researcher Dr. Ian Logan in England, who had a strong interest in the J haplogroup, found Brinkman's website ( ) and suggested that he have a complete full sequence mtDNA test as the same sort of test was being done on the bones of King Richard III and the other two living matches. Brinkman's results came first in February of 2014 and it showed an additional mutation. Dr. Logan suggested he submit his mtDNA to Genbank (a DNA database for the scientific community) and he soon became the first official documented member of the J1c2c3 haplogroup. Brinkman thought that extra mutation would be the end of it but nine months later (December 2014), Dr. Logan informed him that the full sequence results of the King had come through and he also had the same extra mutation. In fact, all 16,569 mtDNA base pairs were an exact match to Brinkman and King Richard III became the second member of the J1c2c3 haplogroup.
Through continued work over the next three years, the project has located (and tested) another 16 matches and all of these people have become active in the project. They all live in the United States (CA to NY) and all of their maternal lines appear to have come from England. Most of the lines came through the Jamestown settlement area in North Carolina and Virginia. Only 2 other matches in the world have been found (the two used in the original work in England). Progress has been made on the American genealogy with autosomal DNA matches proving one of the lines back to the year 1680. That's about the limit of current autosomal DNA matching. From there, one possible genealogical maternal line path takes them right into the heart of the Plantagenet family and into the area of Richard III's immediate family. Proving this and the rest of the genealogy may take years but that's where the work is now taking place.
Without the genealogy in place, the American matches did not feel worthy of requesting a place in the family section during the reburial ceremony for King Richard III but they look forward to future family gatherings if they are successful with the continued work. That's a big if. Building a maternal line genealogy (bottom-up) from today through Colonial America to King Richard III would be one of the greatest genealogical accomplishments since the 77 generation paternal line from Adam to Jesus was completed and documented in the New Testament. Of course, that case could never be scientifically proven. This case is different. Between some lucky finds in old North Carolina probate papers, autosomal DNA matches, and the extremely rare J1c2c3 mtDNA haplogroup, Brinkman feels it is possible that they could prove their case. After four years: in one of their lines, twelve generations have been found and there are, at least, eight more to go.


The Greater Piedmont Chapter holds luncheon meetings on the second Friday of each month at 12 noon at the Capital City Club in Columbia, SC.
Cost for lunch is $20.00. Please email your attendance plans to David Brinkman at . Often people show up who have not made reservations. We try to make sure there is more seating than reservations, but please notify us in advance to be assured a place. If you are bringing any guests, please email David their name(s). We like to record who attended each meeting.

Past Meetings

The Fort Congaree II Flag Expedition 



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