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Elliott (And Border Reivers) DNA Project News (May 31, 2006)

Hello Border Reivers & Other Rapscallions,


Project Name Change


First of all, let me note that the Elliott & Border Reivers Surname Project has recently been renamed the Border Reivers Geographical Project, and can now be found in the Geographical Project section on Family Tree DNA's main page.


The main page of my web site is still the same, and remains at .


An Update On The DYS393=12 R1b Study


Some of you may know that Dave Strong and I started the Border Reivers DNA Project because we both had R1b haplotypes with a DYS393 value of 12.  This value is unusual for R1b and tends to occur much more commonly among R1b haplotypes in Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor than in the British Isles.  Dave and I initially had little but Hungarians and Siberians among our matches in the FTDNA Haplogroup database, and similarly exotic matches in the YHRD database.  Since DYS393 has one of the lowest mutation rates of the original 12 STR markers used by FTDNA, we believed that our haplotypes were quite old and ultimately of "Eastern" origin.  We hypothesized that some of the many thousands of auxiliaries and legionnaires who served at Hadrian's Wall and elsewhere in North Britain might have brought that variation of R1b to the Borders region.  After all, many of these troops came originally from Southeast Europe and Southwest Asia - e.g., Dacians from Romania, Thracians from Bulgaria and Northern Greece, Stratoniceans from Turkey, Syrian archers, Mesopotamian boatmen, Breuci from Bosnia, Dalmatians from Croatia, Pannonians from Czechoslovakia and Austria and - last but hardly least - some 5,500 Sarmatians from the Pontic Steppe of South Russia by way of Hungary.  We still believe some actual "Eastern R1b" - or "ht35" as it has been called in the scientific papers - did indeed come from these or similar sources. 


For some background information on this aspect of our project, check out Dave Strong's "DYS393=12 R1b" web page at the URL below:


Now that we have wrestled with this thesis for a while, let me amend it with some qualifications:

  • DYS393=12 R1b is associated with the Black Sea region, Asia Minor, the Balkans and other parts of Southeastern Europe - but is not associated with the wilds of Central Asia.  Dienekes Pontikos has theorized that it was spread by the Phrygian peoples, who most likely originated in the Balkans and invaded Asia Minor, generating, in turn, the Dacians, the Thracians and the Armenians.
  • Sarmatian cavalrymen are not the only Roman auxiliaries who might have had "Eastern R1b", nor is "Eastern R1b" the only - or even the most likely - haplogroup the Sarmatians might have had. Originally, they may have been J2 or G, which would be consistent with their Iranian ancestry and the haplogroups found among modern day Ossetians.  As nomads they would have readily absorbed other groups - and, therefore, other haplogroups - into their gene pool.  These may have included K, L, R1a, C, Q and others - in addition to "Eastern R1b".
  • Few of our official participants were found to have the DYS393=12 R1b variation.  It is present in 3.4 percent of our overall Border Reiver DNA database, but the percentage among our official participants is closer to 1 percent.  This is perhaps ironic, considering that we started the project to look for it in Border Reiver descendants.
  • This R1b variant has been reported in the literature as being positive for the SNP M269.  But that means very little, as the vast majority of R1b anywhere is positive for M269 - or is, in other words, R1b1c.  M269 is not, and never has been, synonymous with ht35.
  • The reported mutation rate for DYS393 has changed since our study began two years ago.  Although it still has one of the lowest mutation rates among the basic STR markers, it is no longer virtually zero - as it had once been when fewer studies had been conducted.
  • There is at least as good a chance that an R1b haplotype with a DYS393 value of 12 is simply the result of a downward mutation from 13, and therefore may not have originated as "Eastern R1b" at all.
  • Nonetheless, there is still a strong likelihood that at least some of the DYS393=12 R1b we have found among Border Reiver descendants is real "Eastern R1b".  The appearance of this R1b variant in a population correlates strongly with the appearance of J2, a haplogroup more closely associated with Southeast Europe and Southwest Asia.  Close to 3 percent of the Border Reiver DNA database is J2, which corresponds well with the proportion of DYS393=12 R1b.
  • Based on the very small number of DYS393=12 R1b haplotypes of Eastern and Southeastern European origin in Ysearch, Ken Nordtvedt has suggested that the modal 25 marker haplotype for true "Eastern R1b" may be distinguished by a DYS391 value of 10, a DYS458 value of 16 or lower, and a DYS464a value of 14.   Several of the DYS393=12 R1b haplotypes in our Border Reiver database have one or more of these characteristics - most notably several Scottish Turners, a few Beals (a variation of Bell) and a Maxwell.   So does Dave Strong himself.  But then, so do many of our regular DYS393=13 R1b haplotypes. Moreover, considering the size of the sample on which this assessment was based, and the fact that "Eastern R1b" in the Borders region is likely to be at least 18 centuries removed from its source, we should not assume that all DYS393=12 R1b will show these values - even when it did originally come from the east.
  • Lately, we have found DYS393=12 R1b to occur with greater frequency, less among the Border folk per se, than among persons of English descent a little further to the Southwest.  Several families whose ultimate origins were in Lancashire, or very close to it, exhibit that R1b variation fairly frequently.  These include Barlows, Hollingsworths, Edmundses, Kerrs, Cliffords and others.  This is interesting to note, as the Sarmatians were known to have settled in Lancashire.
  • Beyond the caveats above, we are still convinced that some legitimate "Eastern R1b" found its way to the Borders region.  Its existence is assured; only its identification is problematical.


A Report On Recent DNA Results


Since our last bulletin on October 26th of last year, we have received:

  • 1-12 marker results for 4 Armstrongs, 1 Barraford, 2 Bells, 1 Bennet, 1 Bogue, 1 Bone, 1 Burns, 5 Carothers, 1 Cruthirds, 1 Dixon, 1 Douglas, 22 Elliotts, 1 Ellwood, 1 Engle, 1 Gilchrist, 2 Halls, 1 Henderson, 3 Herons, 1 Hunt, 1 James, 1 Johnson, 3 Johnstons, 1 Kenny, 1 Musgrove, 1 Ogles, 1 Oliver, 1 Simpson, 1 Storey, 1 Tait and 1 Taylor - 63 new DNA profiles altogether.
  • 13-25 marker results for 3 Armstrongs, 1 Barraford, 2 Bells, 1 Bone, 4 Carothers, 1 Dixon, 1 Douglas, 15 Elliotts, 1 Forrester, 2 Halls, 2 Herons, 1 Hunt, 1 James, 1 Johnson, 4 Johnstons, 1 Kenny, 1 Ogles, 1 Simson, 2 Taylors, 1 Waugh and 1 Wilson.
  • 26-37 marker results for 1 Armstrong, 1 Bell, 4 Carothers, 2 Carrs, 1 Douglas, 1 Elder, 5 Elliotts, 1 Forrester, 1 Hall, 2 Herons, 1 Hunt, 1 Johnson, 3 Johnstons, 1 Ogles, 1 Reade, 1 Simpson, 2 Taylors and 1 Thibault (a Border Reiver on a distaff lineage).
  • mtDNA marker results for 1 Barraford, 1 Bell, 1 Dixon, 1 Elliott, 1 Hall, 1 Johnson, 1 Koch, 1 Muhn and 1 Oliver.   The Koch and Muhn participants are both females of Border Reiver ancestry.  mtDNA results are not officially part of our Border Reiver DNA database, but we do make them available through links from our newsletters.
  • SNP results for the following:  E for 1 Hall; E3b (M35) for 1 Elliott, 1 Johnson and 1 Ogles; J2 (M172) for 1 Forrester and 1 Robson; I (P19) for 1 Barraford; I1b (P37.2) for 1 Armstrong; L for 1 Elliott; R (M207) for 1 Simpson; Deep-SNP -R1a for 1 Henderson; and R1b (P25) for 1 Dixon and 1 Hall.  


The complete Y- DNA results for all official participants may be found at this URL:


The complete mtDNA results for all official participants may be found at this URL:


A Count Of Official Participants By Surname


We now have 276 official participants. Of these, 266 have so far returned their kits.   The total count per surname is as follows:

  • 12 Armstrongs
  • 1 Barraford
  • 4 Bells
  • 1 Bennett
  • 1 Bone
  • 1 Bogue
  • 2 Burns
  • 11 Carothers, Carruthers and Cruthirds
  • 1 Cook
  • 1 Coulter
  • 1 Crawford
  • 1 Cresswell
  • 1 Crozier
  • 2 Davisons and Davises
  • 1 Dilks
  • 4 Dixons 
  • 1 Dodson
  • 2 Douglases
  • 1 Duckworth
  • 94 Elliotts, Elliots and Ellwoods
  • 1 Elder
  • 1 Fenwick
  • 1 Forrester
  • 4 Gilchrists
  • 1 Gowland
  • 1 Graham 
  • 10 Halls
  • 1 Hamblen (but likely patrilineal Irvine or Irving)
  • 1 Headley
  • 5 Hendersons
  • 6 Herons and Herrons
  • 1 Hume
  • 2 Hunts and Hunters
  • 11 Irvings, Irvines, Ervins, Irwins and Erwins
  • 2 Inglises or Engles
  • 2 Jameses
  • 13 Johnsons and Johnstons
  • 1 Kenny
  • 7 Kerrs and Carrs
  • 1 Kilpatrick
  • 1 Kimbley
  • 1 Koch (female Border Reiver descendant)
  • 1 Laidlaw
  • 1 Little
  • 3 Lowthers
  • 1 McCormick (but possible Witherington)
  • 1 Milburn
  • 1 Muhn (female Border Reiver descendant)
  • 1 Musgrove
  • 1 Neely
  • 2 Nixons
  • 1 Noble
  • 2 Ogles 
  • 2 Olivers (1 female)
  • 1 Pople
  • 1 Reade 
  • 1 Ridley
  • 2 Robsons
  • 4 Rutherfords and Retherfords
  • 1 Scott
  • 1 Shortridge
  • 5 Simpsons (although 1 person apparently joined twice)
  • 1 Spence
  • 1 Stevenson (or Steenson)
  • 2 Stewarts
  • 1 Storey
  • 2 Taits
  • 1 Thibault (Border Reiver descendant through non-patrilineal lines)
  • Taylors
  • 1 Telford
  • 1 Tweedie
  • 1 Walker
  • 1 Watson
  • 1 Waugh
  • 1 Weir
  • 1 Whitfield (but probable descendant of another North British lineage)
  • 1 Wilson
  • 4 Witheringtons and Wetheringtons


If there is a Family Tree DNA project dedicated to your surname, we encourage you to double-join with that group so that you might gain the additional benefit of another group administrator's insights.  But we do want you to stay with us.  Keep in mind that we are most interested in recruiting any male who believes he is patrilineally descended from a family that resided in Northern England or Southern Scotland at any point from the late Middle Ages to about 1600 A.D.   This area would include primarily Dumfries & Galloway and The Borders in Scotland , and Cumbria , Northumberland, Durham , and Tyne & Wear in England .   But we are also willing to consider persons with ancient patrilineal roots in Yorkshire and Lancashire in England , and the eastern portions of Strathclyde in Scotland (e.g., Lanark, Ayr and Renfrew). 


As always, we place a premium on persons with a known Border Reiver surname, as they were the original focus of the project.  We are still actively looking for new participants who belong to any of the families listed on these web pages.


Border Reivers Web Site - New Features


I have made the following changes and additions to the "Elliott (And Border Reivers) DNA Project" web site:

  • I have added a "Border Reivers Webliography", which is essentially a resource page that provides links to web pages about Border Reiver history, tourism in the Border Reivers area, genealogical resources for Ulster Scots and Border folk, and web sites where you can buy books about the Border Reivers - maps, videos, action figures, whatever takes your fancy.  The URL is:
  • I've also added a web page that provides links to the Geographical Match tables I've constructed from haplotype searches in YHRD.  These include web pages dedicated to E3a, E3b, J/J2, I1a, I1b, I1c, R1a, Q, C, G, N - and, of course, the many different flavors of R1b.  Some of these match tables are now about two years old - especially the R1b WAMH ones - but I am trying to update them one by one as time goes by.  The web page may be found at this URL:
  • To provide a little Scottish atmosphere, I've also created a photo gallery I call "The Border Reivers DNA Project Photo Tour of Scotland".  This includes both pictures and commentary, and may be found at this URL:
  • I have 1,435 entries in the Border Reiver DNA database now - and that's not even counting a new Bell and two new Elliotts I have to post this week, and the Elders and Jameses I will add in the coming weeks.  Because of the increasing number of entries, the database web pages had became too unwieldy to modify and update, and I had to split both the "Border Reiver DNA By Surname" and the "Border Reiver DNA By Haplogroup" web pages into two apiece.   I now have an introductory web page for each database.  The Surname web page at  shows the Border Reiver Surname Map, and provides an entry point to one page for surnames Allison through Irvine, and another for surnames Jackson through Young.   The Haplogroup web page at shows the Haplogroup Percentage breakdown for the Capelli data set (which probably needs to be revised and corrected), and links to two other web pages - one for all R1b haplotypes and the other for all non-R1b haplotypes.
  • Each "Border Reiver DNA By Haplogroup" web page now has an internal link menu at the top that will navigate to the appropriate haplogroup or haplotype set within the page.  The R1b Only web page, for instance, has links to individual R1b subsets - e.g., WAMH, "North Sea Celtic", "Ui Niall", "ht35", etc.
  • Lastly, I have added a DNA Results page dedicated to the Heron clan, which may be accessed from the "Project" link for the Heron clan in the "Border Reiver DNA By Haplogroup" chart at - or directly at this link:


Latest Developments By Clan


Here is a partial report on the results of our analysis and research on selected Border Reiver families.  I have focused on clans that have the largest number of official participants, because most of you belong to these.   Don't feel slighted if your clan has not been mentioned.  If you have any questions about our analysis of your haplotype and our investigations into your genetic heritage, please email me directly - and I will respond.


The Armstrongs

  • We currently have 27 Armstrong haplotypes posted at .  Some of these are participants in our project, while most of the rest are participants in from Dave Strong's Armstrong Surname Project.  We cordially invite all Armstrongs tested by Family Tree DNA to join both the Border Reivers Geographical Project and the Armstrong Surname Project.
  • Our Armstrong data set include haplotypes belonging to I1a, I1b, K2, R1a and R1b.
  • Armstrong participant 29084 (Ysearch ID Z9ZMV) was SNP tested for I1a last year, and we eventually got results late last fall that this individual belongs to I1b.  Curiously, he was a close match on 37 markers with one of our Robson participants, who was subsequently verified as belonging to J2.  Hence, there can be no connection between the two participants.
  • 20 of our 27 of the Armstrongs posted belong to the haplogroup R1b, and the modal 25 marker haplotype among those Armstrongs is still:  13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-19-10-10-11-11-23-15-19-32-15-15-17-17.


The Carruthers

  • We now have 16 Carruthers, Carothers, Crothers and Cruthirds haplotypes posted at .  Most of these are official participants, but a few - namely the Crothers entries - are drawn from Ysearch.
  • Most of the haplotypes of this clan are "Ultra-Norse" I1a signatures, which suggests a Scandinavian origin.  I1a is found among individuals with the names Carothers, Crothers and Cruthirds.  Although many of these individuals claim ancestors with the name Carruthers, none of our actual participants with the surname Carruthers belong to I1a.  These are mostly R1b, with the exception of one I1b, and there does not appear to be any patrilineal relationship among them.  The I1a individuals on the other hand all have similar haplotypes, and are all probably at least distantly related.   It is hard to identify their 25 modal haplotype, however, as there are nearly equal numbers of haplotypes with similar variations. 


The Elders

  • We have recently accepted an Elder into the Border Reiver DNA Project, and would gladly accept others.  The Elders are a Scottish Border clan, and are clearly eligible for inclusion.  We have not yet posted any Elder haplotypes in our on-line database, but we will do so in the coming weeks.


The Elliotts

  • We have 91 Elliotts, Eliots and Ellwoods posted at .  In addition, we have had two new sets of results this past weekend, and they will be posted shortly, bringing to the total posted to 93.
  • Elliott participant 30980 (Ysearch ID YA5HB) has been SNP tested as belonging to haplogroup L, which is most common in Central and Southern Asia.  The closest match for this participant's haplotype in the YHRD database falls in Iran, suggesting a possible Indo-Iranian origin.  This participant's ancestors resided in Georgia, U.S.A., and believes that his Elliotts came originally from Ulster.  30980 is an exact 25 marker match for Elliott participant 24589 (Ysearch ID D724U), who almost certainly belong to haplogroup L as well.
  • We have recently obtained Elliott haplotypes belonging to haplogroups E3b (42142 or Ysearch ID JDATA) and J2 (57226 of Ysearch ID 99PFQ and 48051 or Ysearch ID XH6DS).  48051 has roots in Sussex, England, but we have as yet no details about the origins of the other two. 
  • We have a new Elliott descendant from New Zealand, who belongs to R1a, but does not appear to be related to either of our other R1a Elliotts.  He does, however, have roots in southern England, specifically Devon and Cornwall.  He is one of several southern English Elliotts, belonging to several different haplogroups, whom we have managed to recruit.  This raises questions about the haplogroup of the original Eliot family of St. Germans, Cornwall - but unfortunately does not answer them.  Several of these Elliotts belong to R1a or I1a, which are haplogroups associated with Viking populations.  As such, these are candidates for the haplogroup of the semi-legendary Norman knight, William de Aliot, from whom the Eliots supposedly descend.  Paradoxically, the only southern Eliot with the right paper trail is an R1b only a few steps removed on 25 markers from a few of our Scottish Elliotts.  In other words, the plot thickens...
  • We have Elliotts belonging to two different haplogroups who both claim descent from the same individual named Daniel Elliot, who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century.  One Elliott is an I1a (N12169 or Ysearch ID 3EB8J) while the other is an R1b (50622 and Ysearch ID 4RV4H).  We don't know yet which of these Elliotts is descended from Daniel Elliot, and which is not.  3EB8J has no close matches in our data set, but 50622 does.  Although 50622 has an unusual haplotype for an Elliott, he is a 24/25 match with an Elliott whose ancestors came from Wales and settled in North Carolina (31225 or Ysearch ID 3PZXW) and a 25/25 with an Elliott from New York who claims Irish ancestry (19761 or Ysearch ID FYQWR).  The Welsh origin for 31225 is interesting because 50622 claims that Daniel Elliot came originally from Devon, England, which is close to Wales.  Although the closeness of 31225 to two other Elliotts suggests that he is descended from a long-standing Elliott lineage, that does mean that this was the lineage of Daniel Elliot.  N12169, on the other hand, claims that Daniel Elliot's forebears came originally from Scotland.  It is unlikely that we will come even close to the truth on this matter until we test more alleged descendants of Daniel Elliot.
  • We have a group of four I1c Elliotts, all apparently of Scots-Irish descent, who appear to be tightly related.  All are within 2 steps of one another on 37 markers.  A fifth is a 12/12 match with three of the other four.   The ancestors of this group settled in Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania - a typical settlement pattern for Scots-Irish immigrants.  Their I1c haplotype exhibits its highest match frequencies in Scandinavia in the YHRD database (, and is most likely of Scandinavian origin.
  • We have identified eight Elliotts who have the R1b 25 marker haplotype 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-17-9-9-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17 and another eight who have the R1b 25 marker haplotype 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-18-9-9-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17, and we have many others who are close to one of these signatures or to both.  We have long suspected that these haplotypes represent the modal signatures for the Scottish Elliotts, and now we are closer than ever to validating that hypothesis.  A recent participant claims descent from Robert Elliot, Captain of Hermitage Castle, through William Henry Elliot of Peel, a Captain of the Royal Marines, born 1790.  This Elliott also claims descent from Martin Elliot of Braidley.  All of these names are mentioned in "The Elliots: The Story of a Border Clan".  This participant has the haplotype 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-17-9-9-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17, and is only one step removed from our only other Elliott participant who claims descent from Martin Elliot of Braidley.
  • We have a core group of four Elliotts who are an exact match on 37 markers, four others who are within 3 steps of those, and another two within two steps.  One member of this core group is a native Scot who has traced his roots to Jedburgh.  This 37 marker signature is 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-18-9-9-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17-11-11-19-23-16-16-18-17-40-41-12-12.
  • And now for some comic relief - or at least something with a little novelty value.  My own R1b haplotype is an odd one, a possible "Eastern R1b " with the match pattern in YHRD shown at  (i.e., "ht35 R1b Haplotype #27").  I recently took an autosomal DNA test, based on my CODIS markers, and I got results that agreed remarkably well with the Southwest Asian and Southeast European match pattern of my general Y- DNA haplotype.  In fact, it was a perfect expression of what a DNA geographical match pattern would look like for a Scottish American of at least partly Indo-Iranian (i.e., Sarmatian) descent.  Check out my results at the URL below and tell me what you think.  (Better yet, order the test yourself and see what you come up with.)


The Halls

  • We currently have 28 Hall haplotypes posted at .  Most of them are taken from Ysearch, and only about a third of them are official participants of the Border Reivers group.  The Hall DNA results are still quite diverse, and it is difficult to discern more than a few solid lineages thus far.
  • One of our Halls, 30791 (Ysearch ID MS2RX) has recently been SNP tested as belonging to haplogroup E.  We have also had the good fortune identifying another Hall in Ysearch who is also clearly an E, and is a 34/37 match MS2RX.  Both Halls share roots in mid-19th century Florida, and are most likely related.
  • Atlas Hall, the top officer in Clan Hall, has agreed to join us.  Atlas is 49801 (or Ysearch ID QU5PB) and belongs to R1b, but has no close matches so far in our data set.  Interestingly, his closest match thus far - not that it is that close - is a 21/25 match with another Clan Hall officer, David Hall (20857 or Ysearch ID GA5HP).
  • Most of the Border Reiver Halls belong to R1b, but their haplotypes are quite a mixed bag.  There are at least two - 35821 (Ysearch ID WGZJQ) and 46076 (Ysearch ID 4K6KK) - who exhibit the basic "Scottish R1b" haplotype, which consists of the Atlantic Modal Haplotype with a DYS391 value of 10.  However, there is an even greater genetic distance between them than between Atlas and David Hall.


The Herons

  • We have a new web page featuring 9 sets of Heron DNA results at . Most of these are participants of the Border Reivers group, but a few were taken from Ysearch.
  • Our Herons and Herrons not only group closely with one another.  They also group closely with various Herrins and Herrings found in Ysearch.  The modal haplotype is of the Northwest Irish R1b variety, whose typical marker values are 13-25-14-11-11-13-12-12-12-13-14-29.   This suggests that Herons may be of Gaelic origin, and may have come to Northwest England with the Norse-Gaelic colonization of Cumbria.  All but one of the haplotypes posted are a variation of that haplotype.  Three differ by a distinctive DYS391 value of 12, and three others differ by an equally distinctive DYS385b value of 12.
  • Two of our participants - one from Angus, Scotland (30767 or Ysearch ID 5P8CB) and another from Cumbria, England (35749 or Ysearch ID HJKGJ) match on 24 out of 25 markers, differing only on the rapidly mutating DYS439 marker.
  • The Herons and Herrons appear to be a genetically cohesive clan, and it would be well the effort of individual Herron and Heron participants to upgrade to 25 or 37 markers to determine the actual closeness of their relationship.


The Hendersons

  • Although the Hendersons are quite genetically diverse, with only faint hints of common lineages emerging thus far, we have several Hendersons in our project and will be creating a separate web page for them soon.


The Irvines and Irvings

  • We were fortunate enough to detect a strong modal grouping among this clan early on, and the few upgrades we've had on Irvine and Irving participants in the last sixth months have only strengthened our assumptions here.  At least six of our Irvine, Irving and Irwin participants who have been tested up to 37 markers are within 5 steps of one another, strongly indicating that they belong ultimately to the same lineage.  For more info, please refer to our prior newsletters, which are available from the project main page.  Or consult the Irvine/Irving DNA Results page at .


The Jameses

  • Two Jameses have joined the Border Reiver DNA Project.   No James haplotypes have been posted yet, but at least these two will be posted in the coming weeks.  The Jameses are an Ulster family.  The surname may also be a variation of Jamieson, which is commonly found in the Scottish Borders.


The Robsons

  • One of our Robson participants, identified as QEEMA in Ysearch, was SNP tested late last fall as J2.  QEEMA was previously a close match on 37 markers with one of our Armstrongs, but the identification of that participant as an I1b has eliminated the possibility of a relationship.  Mr. Robson's closest J2 match in Ysearch, however, is another Border Reiver participant, a Forrester with North Carolina roots.  Mr. Robson's ancestors are most likely from Northumberland.  The basic J2 haplotype that both individuals share occurs most commonly among samples from the Caucasus, Romania, Northern Italy, Turkey, Syria and Iran.


The Simpsons

  • Our haplogroup R Simpson participant, 23238 (or Ysearch ID 5TFZM), has recently acquired an exact 25 marker match in Family Tree DNA.  This is a different Simpson of English ancestry, and exists in Ysearch under ID D3AMF.


The Taits

  • We have a Taitson participant from Brazil who claims descent from the Anglo-Scottish Taits.  We are pleased to report that this participant matches a Tate of English origin in Ysearch on 24 out of 25 markers, which suggests that this participant is indeed descended from that family.


Final Notes

  • You probably already know that Family Tree DNA is now offering a 67 marker Y-DNA test at a group rate of $269.  I am as yet skeptical about the value of this test.  For many, it may hold out the false hope of matching someone more closely at 67 markers than they had at 25 or 37 markers.  To my way of thinking, it exploits that quirk of human nature that makes us say, when we lose a game, "Let's play for the best two out of three..." - and then, when we lose again, to say, "How about the best three out of five..." and so on.  I am addicted to DNA tests, so I know whereof I speak.  My own personal advice is that I would avoid upgrading to a 67 marker Y-DNA unless your 37 marker match is on the cusp of "Relatedness" - say, ranging between 4 and 6 steps distant.  Or, if you have an extremely close match on 37 markers with a person with a different surname.  In that case, you would definitely want to refine your match before you assume a real connection.  Those of you have 34/37 matches or closer with a person of the same surname should be confident that you are indeed related to that person, and would be better off spending your time and money trying to improve your paper trail, or helping your match improve his.  But that is only my opinion.
  • Our Border Reiver DNA database now has 1,435 entries - and will have close to 1,440 entries by the end of this week.  The latest Border Reiver DNA Results are at .  It has been brought to my attention as long ago as last year that I only display 25 markers on both this spreadsheet and in my general on-line database.  This was intentional, and a sign of the times.  I created the on-line database in 2004, and 37 marker tests only became available that year - and, even then, few people yet had 37 marker results.  I know that limitation has rapidly grown more glaring as more people have upgraded, and I have endeavored to include 37 marker results on my DNA Results pages dedicated to particular clans.  Now that 67 marker results may become the norm of the future, I realize that I will have to modify my on-line database format to keep pace.   I will try to display more markers eventually - time and HTML logistics permitting.


As always, I welcome any feedback anyone can give me on the Border Reivers DNA Project.  Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions, remarks or suggestions.




James V. Elliott

Group Administrator

Border Reivers DNA Project