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DNA Study Note #11:


Updated, 23 May 2003

Updated 1 February 2008:


The subject of this note is a discussion of certain aspects of the DNA Study as it relates to "The Strange of Balcaskie and certain associated groups", here referred to as the “Strange of Balcaskie” Group:Refer to: for presentation of information relating to the Kits discussed here.

I will preface what follows with the caution that a lot of this is the result of "first impressions"... sober second thought may result in modification of my comments below. Particularly, I need to spend some more "in depth" thought regarding the various differences which are apparent.    I MAY be falling into the trap of finding patterns which are more indicative of DIFFERENT Haplotypes rather than of mutations away from a modal standard which I am calling the Assumed Strange of Balcaskie Haplotype.

Note also, that what I have termed the "Ulster Divide" below, may in fact just be another way of saying the Ulster Group are members of separate and distinct haplotypes.   Similarly, I may be pushing the envelope to include the Sligo kit as part of the Strange of Balcaskie haplotype.

Sub-Group "Balcaskie" (6 kits): Kit # 8881  represents “The Strange of Balcaskie”.   That is a "term of art", and generally means that he has been recognized by the Lord Lyon as The Chief of Clan Strange of Balcaskie, Scotland.  See: "All heraldry in Scotland is controlled by the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, commonly known as the Lyon Court, and located at New Register House in Edinburgh. The origins of the Lyon Court are literally lost in the mists of time as the office of Lord Lyon incorporates that of the Royal Sennachie or Bard whose duty it was to proclaim the lineage and deeds of the ancestors of the King. From this Celtic start, the position has developed into a judicial one, with the Lord Lyon sitting as a judge on armorial matters."

We are honored that The Strange of Balcaskie has participated in the DNA Study, and I think I can reassure him, based on the evidence of the DNA results, taken together with all of the circumstancial evidence and the documented proof he has of his lineage, that he is indeed whom he represents to be!   The Strange of Balcaskie has a lengthy genealogy, covering some 20+ generations, and dating back to the 13th Century in Scotland.   He is very interested in genealogy, and provided the late John  R. Mayer with much material which John incorporated into his book “Strange of Balcaskie. The latter book is a major reference book with regard to the Strange/Strang/Strong/Stronge surname as it originates in Scotland.

Many differing but possibly related lineages are discussed in John R. Mayer’s book, “Strange of Balcaskie .    Given a 20+ generation genealogy, there have been plenty of opportunities for the occurance of mutations away from the original haplotype of the original Strange of Balcaskie.  Indeed, it is highly likely there have been mutations in the direct lineage itself.   It seems clear  there are many Strang/Strong/Strange/Stronge families which may be related to Strange of Balcaskie... so it is most important for the purposes of our DNA Study that the present The Strange of Balcaskie agreed to participate.   I think the results are most revealing!

In the attached chart, you will note that I have assigned an "Assumed Strange of Balcaskie Haplotype", which very nearly approximates the DNA signature of The Strange of Balcaskie.    I am assuming a "chunk mutation" in his lineage at DYS #392, with his value of 15 resulting in his having a two step difference from the other participants in the group, each of the rest of whom have a value of 13.  It appears that he may also have  mutations at DYS #389-2, where he has a value of 30, vice the usual 29; and at DYS #449, where he has a value of 29 vice the apparent 28 held by other subgroups.

I have placed Kit # 6680 , formerly standing alone as a “Pennsylvania Sub-group”, and Kits # 16001  and 23314 ,      in the same group with  Kit #8881. As indicated, we now have results for Kit #16001, confirming the haplotype for #6680;  these three kits represent descendants of a common ancestor, Samuel Strong of Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania.   It appears that Samuel Strong’s ancestors were “Strangs” from Scotland.    It appears the respective participants should start researching the surname variation "Strang", as Kits #6680,  #16001 and #23314 are quite close to The Strange of Balcaskie... with three steps difference from him, but still matching fairly closely the Assumed Strange of Balcaskie haplotype overall, with a total of just  two-steps difference.   It was fairly common for the surname Strang to be transliterated into Strong by early immigrants to the US ... and I think it probably happened in this case.  We  have added results for two additional participants, Kits # 17527  and 17528 .   Each of these participants is descended from James Strong of York County, Pennsylvania.  See DNA Note #14 for additional discussion re these kits. 

The "Ulster Divide": Next, we have an interesting divide in the results.   The overall pattern is there, seeming to confirm a Scottish origin for the other Kits in the Group. However, there are several differences which may well be explained by the lengthy times over which mutations may have occurred, initially away from the basic Strange of Balcaskie Haplotype, and later away from the various resultant branches.    As most of you are aware, some of the Strong families in Ireland appear to have been "planted" in Ulster as a part of the Plantation of Ulster implemented at the direction of King James VI of Scotland who became  King James I of England.   The plantation took place in the period 1607-1641, now nearly 400 years ago.   It appears we have at least two and possibly three lines in Ulster which are offshoots from the main Strange of Balcaskie Haplotype: Stronge of Tynan Abbey, and a possibly related family which consists of those members of what was formerly dubbed the Antrim, Down & South Carolina group.  The third group MAY be, but is not likely, the hypothetical Sligo-Cavan  group.  For now, it suits to discuss the various groups together in this DNA Note #11.

Group "Tynan Abbey?" (7 kits): What appears to be the Tynan Abbey lineage has a large "chunk mutation" away from the Assumed Strange of Balcaskie Haplotype at DYS #385b (16-12=4 steps), plus several other mutations differentiating them from the main Strange of Balcaskie Assumed Haplotype by a total of 6 steps (if we count the suggested DYS#385b mutation as only one step). It has prompted me to introduce the "Ulster Divide Circa 1600" which correlates to the period of the Plantation when the Ulster lineages were split away from connections with the main Scottish lineages.  While I have for now characterized the difference at DYS #385b as a 4-step “chunk mutation”, I have severe doubts about the validity of such an assumption.

It is not the first time doubts have been raised concerning the relationship between the Tynan Abbey Stronges and Strange of Balcaskie. See, for example, John A. Marshall, "History of the Parish of Tynan in the County of Armagh, with notices of the... Stronge... families connected with the district"; The Tyrone Printing Co., Ltd., Dungannon (1932), at p.68: "Although probably correct, the missing link connecting Balcaskie of that ilk with Matthew Strang of Strabane, has not been found..." Details of an email discussion concerning Stronge of Tynan Abbey between David B. Strong, the late John R. Mayer and others may be found in the Archives of the Rootsweb Strong List. See Rootsweb Archives; Search "list: Strong > year: 1997>subject: Tynan Abbey". Pending further testing and investigation, it serves us to view the two lineages together at this point.

Burke's has a discussion concerning Stronge of Tynan Abbey in County Armagh, Ireland; see: John Burke and Sir Bernard Burke, C.B., Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 105th edition, edited by Peter Townend, London: Burke's Peerage Limited 1970; p.2564ff.   John R. Mayer also discusses the Tynan Abbey family in his book "Strange of Balcaskie".  The Tynan Abbey Stronges have always claimed to be scions of Strange of Balcaskie.   I have a fairly lengthy section on the family on my website.   See: Stronge of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh, Ireland, HTML SPECULATIVE Descendency Chart.

Several years ago, the participant in Kit #8920  hypothesized that the Strongs of County Monaghan might be descendants of William Strong, youngest son of Rev. John Stronge of Tynan Abbey (the latter whom died c.1744).  See:

Later, the nephew of participant in Kit #7548  also reminded me of some previous research by a relation of his which was to the effect that his ancestor, John Strong of Carlisle, Cumberlandshire, England, was supposed to be another son of Rev. John Stronge of Tynan Abbey.    See: Strong of Carlisle Diocese, Cumberlandshire, HTML SPECULATIVE Descendency Chart.  And see:

The results for Kits # 8920  (Monaghan) and #7548  (Borders)  seem to confirm the hypotheses that these lines are indeed: (a) closely related (exact matches), and (b) by virtue of confirming each other, tending to indicate that they are indeed of the  Tynan Abbey lineage.   Now, we need a test of a scion of the main Tynan Abbey Stronge lineage to confirm the analysis!  And, we have an answer to Kit #9014 's "Brickwall"... he is also an exact match of this lineage.   I suspect his ancestor, James Strong, was probably a close connection of Kit #8920 's ancestor, Michael Strong.


See DNA Note #16 for additional discussion of these kits, plus Kits # 24614  and 106170 .


Sub-Group "Antrim, Down, & South Carolina" (2 kits): Here we seem to be proving out one of the hypotheses which has been floated amongst certain folks.... that the at least three separate lineages mentioned are really one lineage, with a common ancestor. Indeed these two individuals so far constitute one of the few instances of a common haplotype in the study, according to Family Tree DNA. There is only one step in variance out of the twelve reported on re these individuals... perhaps a result of genetic drift. We need additional samples from two or three sources which are also interested in these results to confirm the hypothesis... and hopefully, some 25 marker test results as well. Given that in 12 markers, the Antrim, Down & SC kits are just one or two steps removed from Kits #7548, 8920, and 9014 (on DYS#391), a comparison of the 25 marker results between the Antrim, Down & SC Sub-group and the “Tynan Abbey?” sub-group is quite productive, particularily re DYS #437,447, 448, and 459b.

Note that the Antrim, Down & SC group, including Kits # 6256  [with 25 markers] and #6386 , [while lacking a full set of 25 markers], seems to fit with the supposed "Tynan Abbey" lineage.  Kit #6386 so far has only a 1 step difference at DYS 391 (12-11=1).   Kit #6256, one of the members of the Antrim, Down & SC group, received an  upgrade to 25 markers to help verify the relationship indicated above.  Kit #6256 has a two step difference which includes the one step at DYS391=12vs11, plus an additional step at DYS389-1, where (13-12=1).   All of the remaining markers from Kit#6256 match the rest of the overall “Tynan Abbey” group, for a 23/25 match. There is extensive discussion of the possible relationship of the Antrim, Down & SC group to the Strang families of Scotland at: and see the "Strongs of Ulster" website: .  We could use some participation from other members of the "Tulliniskey" lineages, particularly including the Albany, Kentucky Strongs!  {:-)    The latter’s participation could resolve the long standing confusion regarding whether they were “from Cork”… or really from County Down, with an escape through Cork.   See:


Sub-Group "Sligo" (1 kit): We have some unresolved issues regarding a kit which we had thought might be related: the Sligo Kit # 6822 .  In some regards, the lineage fits in fairly closely with some of the DNA patterns of the main Strange of Balcaskie line; it is, after all a part of Haplogroup R1b1.   However there are some reservations arising out of the number of steps of difference or mutations involved, which possibly arise out of the lengthy time since the "Ulster Divide", and possibly from an even earlier divide in the lineage in the time-frame 1200-1600 AD, but more likely from the fact that the origins of the respective haplotypes are different, and certainly so within any so-called “Genealogically Significant” timeframe.   See also the rules stated at:   and

   The Kit #6822 results appear to have a number of almost unique variations from both groupings, namely  Kits #8881, #6680#, #5825; and Kits #7548, #8920, #9014, #6256, #6386. In particular the allele for DNA Y-chromosome segments 390 (a  2 step difference), 392 (a 1 step difference), 447 (a 1 step difference), 448 (a 1-2 step difference), 449 ( a 2-3 step difference) and 464a-d (a 2 step difference) differ uniquely from the results obtained from all the other kits referred to above. The two additional test kits from the County Longford Strong lineage which we had been awaiting did not confirm a hypothesis that the Sligo, Cavan and Longford Strongs are related.  In fact, the Longford lineages appear to be more closely related to the Shetland Island Strongs, and to the Strongs of southwest England.  We are hoping for additional test participants from lineages originating in Counties Cavan, Kings & Queens, and an Armagh lineage which emigrated to Vermont, to help test the hypothesis that these lineages are all related to the Sligo Strong lineage.

David B. Strong (Click for contact information).

DNA Study Coordinator & webmaster:
Database and manuscript.  See especially Chap. 13,
entitled "Lineages"; and Chapt. 15, "DNA Study"
Research and study of Counties Donegal and Fermanagh Strongs and
related families.

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