Centre for Lifelong LearningGenetic Genealogy Research

We have had a long-standing commitment to the study of genetic genealogy as an essential component of our postgraduate courses and believe that its importance will grow as the size of databases of test results increase and knowledge and skill in the interpretation of these results develops. The wealth of knowledge and expertise of our staff in this area ensures continual refreshment of course content which also benefits from research such as the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project and the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project. 

We also offer a PhD in History with Genealogical Studies for individuals who have a research topic with a genealogical focus. Students are expected to undertake research that results in a thesis which contributes to the wider literature in the field, thereby making an original contribution to current knowledge. Further information can be found on the PhD course page. 

Our Research

Ancient DNA (aDNA), genetic genealogy and biohistory

We are interested in how biohistorical techniques - in particular the analysis of ancient DNA - can be used to investigate and help us understand the lives and familial relationships of medieval and modern historical people. Find out more about our work in Anicent DNA


Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project

The project incorporated the use of genetic genealogy in the research, to help reveal living descendants of combatants in the Battle of Bannockburn. Visit the Documentary strand and Genetic genealogy strand pages to learn more. 



Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project

The Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme launched the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project in association with the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy

Find out more about the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project.

Scottish Clans and Families

This area of research consists of continuing research on the families focussed on in the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project plus a number of other well-known Scottish surnames. Find out more about Scottish Clans and Families.

Kindred Groups

Genetic genealogy holds the potential to validate or refute traditional accounts of the early origins of historically significant families and clans, and thereby contribute to our understanding of kin-based societies. Learn more about Kindred Groups.

SNP Dating

The estimation of when stable genetic markers known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs – pronounced ‘snips’) were formed in the Y-DNA of ancestral lines is of great importance to genetic genealogists, as they attempt to establish when different lines of descent were formed. Learn more about SNP dating.

About Us

Our team are all passionate about Genetic Genealogy and their wealth of knowledge and expertise support the development and delivery of our short courses, postgraduate learning and further research in this field;

Alasdair Macdonald

Alasdair is an administrator for a number of surname, haplogroup and geographical projects and utilises genetic genealogy to resolve genealogical puzzles particularly for surname and lineage research.  He has a particular research interest in Scottish Clans, families and kindreds.  He is also active in providing support and assistance to adoptees or individuals who have a disconnect between documentary and genetic evidence in their recent ancestry.

Graham Holton

Graham has a long term interest in the field of genetic genealogy and leads the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project, the concept behind which has potentially major implications for tracing early descents using documentary and genetic evidence. He has given a number of presentations relating to the Project and the methodologies of Y-DNA research.

Dr Maurice Gleeson  (Honorary Research Fellow)

Maurice brings extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of genetic genealogy to the department and his own personal research interests include Genetic Genealogy, Clan research, surname research and unknown parentage.

If you would like to contact us in relation to our research and learning opportunities, please email scosh@strath.ac.uk