Genetic Genealogy ResearchScottish 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.

The full list of surnames is as follows –

Boyd                         Graham                         Ramsay                         
Bruce Lindsay  Ross  
Campbell MacArthur  Seton 
Cummings MacDougall  Sinclair 
Dunbar  Maxwell  Stewart 
Dundas  Monteith  Sutherland 

To support further Y-DNA testing please visit the following Strathclyde site hosted by Family Tree DNA. 

Criteria used for reaching conclusions

A number of criteria have been used to reach the conclusions displayed in the genealogical haplotrees linked to the families in the table above. These consist of the identification of SNP progenitors and the application of multi-generational SNP dating, plus the combination of genealogical data with the hierarchical sequence of SNPs established by Family Tree DNA (Houston). In addition, to calculate the range of dates within which SNPs were formed, an average of 30 years has been allowed per generation. In some cases, this has been adjusted slightly to conform with available genealogical data.

To take an example of how these calculations were made, we can look at the Dunbar family.

David Dunbar of Durris was born ca 1460 and since his documented descendant Craig Dunbar carries SNP FT29439, which is not carried by descendants of David’s brother Alexander Dunbar of Conzie and Kilbuyack, we know that FT29439 was formed in David or one of his descendants. Craig also carries ZP168, which is one step downstream (more recent) than FT29439. From this, it can be deduced that ZP168 must have been formed not earlier than around 1490, one generation later than the earliest possible date for the formation of FT29439.

The next known SNP downstream of ZP168 is ZP169, which is carried by descendants of Robert Dunbar, b ca 1634, who emigrated to Hingham, Massachusetts, but also by Martin Dunbar, whose family remained in Scotland. This means that the latest ZP169 could have been formed would be ca 1634, if Robert had happened to have a child before leaving Scotland. This in turn means that the latest formation date for ZP168 would be ca 1604 – one generation earlier than that of the emigrant. See the Dunbar genealogical haplotree.

Areas of activity so far have included:
Bruce – testing of documented descendants planned.
Dunbar – conclusions of the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project updated following a new test result.
MacArthur – initial gathering of genealogical data begun.
MacDougall – collaboration with a private researcher has identified genetic markers for descendants of Dougall founder of the Clan and approximately 20 other distinct MacDougall lineages.
Monteith – research on descendants in New Zealand and Australia in progress.
Ramsay - testing of documented descendants planned.
Seton – conclusions of the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project updated following a new test result. Another Big Y-700 test result expected.
Stewart – funding secured from the Stewart (Royal) DNA Project for upgrades to tests of Archie Shaw Stewart and Private test taker CS to Big Y-700. These have not resulted in any new conclusions to date.
The Disinherited - Research findings on several of the ‘disinherited’ have been submitted by students. This group includes individuals and families, such as the Cummings (Comyns), MacDowalls and MacDougalls, who were opposed to Robert the Bruce and associated with the Balliol and Comyn faction.
Further details of conclusions reached and ongoing research will be made available online in due course.