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Both the Y-chromosome and the surname are passed from father to son to grandson in patrilineal descent through time. In effect, a male's Y chromosome markers became a tag, or barcode, for his surname lineage. Sampling a small, stable portion of the Y chromosome--using a simple cheek swab--from a representative male in a family establishes his patrilineal lineage's Y chromosome pattern. Finding others who share the same pattern, and comparing family histories, can lead to new discoveries about your surname line.

Y Chromosome Testing Complements Traditional Research

  • Identifies new branches of a name that share a common ancestor,
  • Overcomes gaps and brick walls in paper trails,
  • Confirms, supports or challenges hypotheses suggested by traditional research,
  • Gives pointers to further paper-based research,
  • Identifies the haplogroups and subclades for participants, revealing their evolutionary history since Africa,
  • Demonstrates which surname variants have a common genetic root and identifies new variants,
  • Supports or challenges hypotheses concerning illegitimacy or adoption,
  • Indicates a common geographic origin when combined with research in early records and distribution maps, and
  • Provides evidence concerning single or multiple origins of the name.

Whenever someone new joins the Family Tree DNA database who matches you, you will be notified and given that person's email to contact them.

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Copyright Martha H. Bowes 2007-Present