Dna Surname Projects Online Genetic Forums

DNA surname projects are online forums on which individuals can upload their DNA results and compare them with the DNA samples of others. A DNA surname project can:

  • confirm immigration records from family trees
  • determine if two people with the same surname are related
  • determine if two people with the same surname have a common ancestor
  • trace ancestral origins.

These projects can not provide the exact identity of an ancestor.

Getting Started in DNA Testing Surnames

DNA surname genealogy is traced through the Y-chromosome with a procedure known as a Y line DNA test. Y Chromosomes are passed along a paternal line. Chemical markers on the Y chromosome form distinctive patterns called haplotypes, which distinguish each male lineage.

Only males with the surname of interest are eligible for Y line DNA test by surname, since women do not possess Y chromosomes. Women interested in participating in surname projects do have options, however. They can join in these projects by asking a close male relative to contribute DNA to the study. Good choices for close male relatives include a:

  • brother
  • cousin
  • father
  • uncle.

To research a surname of a mother or grandmother’s family, a male descendant from the maternal side can participate. This can include an uncle, cousin or other relative who shares the mother?s or grandmother?s maiden name.

Getting Started

DNA testing surnames is simple and easy. Often DNA testing kits are sold directly from the surname project Web site and can be shipped to people?s homes within a matter of days. These testing kits can cost anywhere from $100 to $400. To complete the DNA test, the male must swab the inside of his cheek with the materials from the testing kit, carefully package the sample and mail the kit back to the surname project. Some kits allow the individual to take the sample to a qualified facility to determine the DNA results.

How to DNA Test by Surname

After a surname project receives a DNA sample, the results are uploaded into a large database. A project administrator will then examine them to determine the haplotype, or a unique identifying marker for each family branch. This haplotype is then compared with other haplotypes registered within the database. If a match is found, both individuals are notified. The administrator of the DNA test by surname works closely with customers to help them understand the results and the relationship between two people once a match is found.

Why Join a DNA Surname Project

While some are apprehensive about the cost of a surname project, the advantages are numerous:

  • Access to a large database of DNA samples creates a higher probability of a match.
  • Discounts on testing are often offered to members of a project.
  • Ongoing projects may continue to introduce you to new family members.

Thousands of surnames already have projects underway, and more are being created every day. An online search may uncover an ongoing project with your surname, or you can contact one of the online DNA testing sites to find out about possible projects.


Bachelor, R. E. (2008). DNA testing locates ancestors by surname. Retrieved September 10, 2008, from the Suite101 Web site: http://genealogy.suite101.com/article.cfm/dna_testing_locates_ancestors_by_surname

DNA Kin. (2006). Surname projects. Retrieved September 10, 2008, from the DNA Kin Web site: http://www.dnakin.com/surnames.html

Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. (2007). Family Tree DNA. Retrieved September 10, 2008, from the Family Tree DNA Web site: http://www.familytreedna.com/default.aspx.

The Generations Network, Inc. (2008). Is there a DNA project on your surname? Retrieved September 10, 2008, from the Ancestry Web site: http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=9582