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AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HARRIS Y-DNA PROJECT

Compiled by Glenn Gohr

Last updated January 1, 2017.

The Harris Surname DNA Project is one of the largest DNA surname projects. As of January 1, 2017, there are 1071 members (Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Family Finder) of the Harris Y-DNA Project and 761+ kits have been Y-DNA tested and charted with 456 being assigned to one of the 64 unique groups listed on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page with the others being unmatched Harrises or kits that connect to a Harris line through mtDNA or autosomal DNA.

A few kits from other companies have been transferred in and also are included in the Harris Surname DNA Project. The first test kit was submitted to Family Tree DNA in 2001; the project was created in 2003 after several other DNA kits had been submitted for comparison. In addition to the kits submitted to Family Tree DNA, a few kits tested with other companies have been manually added to the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

Please contact one of the project administrators if you can provide funding for a DNA test, are looking for a participant in a particular line, or can provide a Y-DNA sample yourself. You may contact the 4 administrators of the Harris Group study (private individuals who do not work for Family Tree DNA, but who voluntarily maintain a web page and can answer questions you may have) by clicking on this address: Jeff, Glenn, Pat, and Craig

To get special group rate pricing and to have your test results included in the Harris Surname DNA Project, you need to order through the Harris DNA website:
http://www.familytreedna.com/surname_join.asp?code=Q41837

For the latest listing of DNA kits and marker designations, see this listing set up by Family Tree DNA which includes kits as soon as they have been tested:

Harris Y-DNA Classic Chart Results on FTDNA

Harris Y-DNA Colorized Chart Results on FTDNA (showing DNA marker variations in color)

Harris MtDNA Results on FTDNA

Harris Surname DNA Study on FTDNA

Additional information on the Harris Surname DNA Project can be found at Familypedia. More general information on DNA testing can be found in the Wikipedia entry for Genealogical DNA test .


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who can be a test participant?

Since a Surname Project in essence traces members of a family that share a common surname (in this case, HARRIS), and females (a) don't carry their father's Y-DNA, and (b) acquire a new surname by the way of marriage (at least in Western cultures), in order to be relevant to the Surname Project, the tested individual must be a male that wants to check his paternal line (father's father's father's ... ) in an unbroken lineage. The test to be ordered is either the Y-DNA12, Y-DNA25, Y-DNA 37, Y-DNA 67 or Y-DNA 111, and females should look for a father, uncle, brother, or cousin with the HARRIS surname to be tested.

How are the tests done?

The standard DNA testing is NOT done through a blood test. Instead, a “buccal swab” is used for DNA tests. This means that a cotton swab, similar to a Q-tip, is rubbed against the inside of the cheek, to collect cells for evaluation. While it is just as accurate as a blood test, this procedure is painless and non-invasive, making it a much more desirable test. Some laboratories use mouth wash or chewing gum instead of cheek swabs.

All HARRISes are encouraged to participate in the HARRIS Surname DNA Project. Male HARRISes may participate directly. Because females do not have the Y-chromosome they can only participate through a male HARRIS relative (father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin). Each male participant will provide a mouth swab sample to be analyzed by Family Tree DNA. This sampling technique is painless and only involves the use of a swab to collect a small amount of cells from the inside of a person's cheek. The participant administers the test in the privacy of his own home.

What is the history of DNA markers and the study of genealogy? How old is it, and are the results reliable?

According to a report found at GENEX a molecular diagnostics company, this is a history of DNA markers being used for genealogical purposes:

1992
“The first polymorphic Y-DNA (Y-Chromosome) STR marker Y-27h39 (now known as DYS19) was discovered.

2002
“30 markers had been discovered. These markers were utilized by genealogists to trace their family roots. Unfortunately, because only approximately 30 markers had been discovered, genealogists wishing to refine their studies were limited by the number of markers available at the time.

Between 2002–2004
“Scientists have been successful in uncovering more than 200 additional markers on the Y-DNA. This discovery will allow genealogists to map huge regions of their Y-DNA and obtain precise information regarding their ancestry and family line.

“The number of markers tested by a laboratory is limited to the technology that they have available. Due to the recent completion of the Human Genome Project and improved bioinformatics, there recently has been significant progress in Y-DNA testing technology. In the past year, more than 200 additional markers on the Y-DNA have been discovered and deposited in the Genome Database.”

As of 2012, Family Tree DNA now tests 111 Y-DNA markers.

What about DNA mutations and the Atlantic Modal found among Europeans?

Regarding DNA, we need to remember that it is common for DNA markers to mutate about every 4 generations. This explains why with Y-DNA you can find cousins and distant cousins who match but with a variantion or two in the marker numbers.

DNA studies have charted what is called the Atlantic Modal which is associated with the R1b1 haplogroup. This is the most common haplogroup for Europeans, and it turns out that because of intermarriage over centuries, that people of different surnames are likely to all have a very similar set of markers if they match up with the Atlantic Modal. We have a number of Harris groups that are R1b1 and have very similar DNA markers, but the markers are enough different that they have been charted into different groupings. These groupings would not be possible without larger numbers of markers being tested. The Atlantic Modal could explain some close matches in Y-DNA between some Harrises and people of other surnames.

With mutations that are seen, they are not always mutations.  Some are more properly called variances.  If you have two lines of unrelated people with very similar DNA markings and the mutations take place up or down in the numbers on one of the markers, this unrelated line of people might appear to be a close match to someone of the other unrelated line.  Why? Because their DNA markers were very close to begin with (due to intermarriage over the centuries. Technically they still could be related, but it would be so far back in time, that it could not be charted. That is why it is so important with comparing Y-DNA to make sure that both parties being compared have the same surname.

Also, with as many people as there are in the world, there are bound to be people of a different background that show up with practically the same DNA markers. I have found people in the Ysearch and FTDNA matches that are from Sweden and other places. The donors actually live in Sweden and are full-blooded Swedish. Yet they show as a match to an American-born Harris of English ancestry. I call this a false match, as there is no way they can be related, especially if the surname is different.

Can I find something about whom I might be related to?

If there are questions about the paper trail that documents one’s family line (suppose there are two John Smiths in the same county at the same time), then DNA markers can be tested to show if two people are closely related or not. The closer the matches, the closer the connection should be; however a valid match should be part of the same haplogroup and have the same last name (if comparing male DNA samples). For females, it would be a comparison between two females who trace back through the same matrilineal line (mtDNA). Also, it should be noted that there are clusters of haplotypes. For example, in Harris Group 1, the kits shown are part of the R1b1 haplogroup. However some have further been mapped out to group them further—i.e. R1b1b2, R1b1b2a1a, etc. The additional numbers and letters at the end of the haplogroup listing map out additional markers and tests that have been done that help to group the kits. But if the marker values match closely, and the last name is the same, etc., kits with the basic haplogroup listing, but with additional coding, can still be kits from close or traceable relatives.

UPDATE: On April 25, 2014, Family Tree DNA released the new Y-DNA haplotree in partnership with National Geographic’s Genographic Project and dropped the long Haplogroup names listed above. This also conforms to the ISOGG SNP nomenclature, which uses the shortened haplogroup name (one letter only) combined with the terminal SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism). In groups where kits are matched together, they will show the same haplogroup letter, but they may show different SNP designations (See FAQ information on SNP’s below).

In September 2012, Family Tree DNA provided the following explanation of its changing Y-DNA haplogroup nomenclature to individual customers on their Y-DNA results pages: "Long time customers of Family Tree DNA have seen the YCC-tree of Homo Sapiens evolve over the past several years as new SNPs have been discovered. Sometimes these new SNPs cause a substantial change in the "longhand" explanation of your terminal Haplogroup. Because of this confusion, we introduced a shorthand version a few years ago that lists the branch of the tree and your terminal SNP, i.e. J-L147, in lieu of J1c3d. Therefore, in the very near term, Family Tree DNA will discontinue showing the current "longhand" on the tree and we will focus all of our discussions around your terminal defining SNP. This changes no science – it just provides an easier and less confusing way for us all to communicate."

It is obvious that the long haplogroup names were getting too long (although they make a lot of sense and show how groups of people in various haplogroups are interconnected). Using actual haplogroup designations as found in the Harris DNA Project, here is my own comparison of how the two haplogroup naming systems compare (although this does not cover every known haplogroup—only the more common ones). I have also been noticing that as the haplogroup tree continues to evolve, even these designations can change over time:

E= E-M96
E1b1a= E-M2
E1b1a8a= E-P278.1
E1b1b1= E-M35.1

I= I-M170
I1= I-M253
I1a3= I-Z63
I1d= I-L22
I1d1= I-P109
I2a= I-P37.2
I2b1= I-M223
I2b1a= I-M284

J1= J-M267
J1c3= J-P58
J2= J-M172

R1a1= R-SRY10831.2
R1a1a= R-M198
R1b1= R-P25
R1b= R-L159.2/R-Z255
R1b1a2= R-CTS1202/R-M269/R-U152
R1b1a2a1a1a= R-U106
R1b1a2a1a1a1= R-U198
R1b1a2a1a1a4= R-L48
R1b1a2a1a1a4a= R-L47
R1b1a2a1a1a4a1a=R-L46
R1b1a2a1a1b= R-P312
R1b1a2a1a1b3c= R-L2/R-U152
R1b1a2a1a1b3c1= R-L20
R1b1a2a1a1b4= R-L21/R-CTS3386
R1b1a2a1a1b4b= R-M222
R1b1a2a1a1b5a= R-SRY2627
R1b1b2a1a2d= R-U152
R1b1b2a1b4= R-U152

The most complete and updated listing of Y-DNA haplogroups which shows the haplogroup longhand designation and the equivalent (new) haplogroup shorthand designation is found on ISOGG’s Y-DNA haplogroup projects page. It should also be noted that the chart of haplogroups and related haplogroups is constantly changing. And with the ISOGG nomenclature, especially, it should be noted that a person’s Y-DNA haplogroup can change (even without doing additional testing) due to the constantly changing haplogroup charts.

What became of DNA Heritage and Ybase?

In April 2011, DNA Heritage signed an agreement with Family Tree DNA to transfer the DNA Heritage database, and also the Ybase domain, site and database. Customers within the DNA Heritage database were able to opt-in to be uploaded into the FTDNA database. Family Tree DNA was in charge of organizing this opt-in process. New orders can then later be taken through Family Tree DNA. Project Funds for Surname Projects were to remain intact in the transfer. The Ybase.org website is no longer functional as all results have been transferred to Family Tree DNA.

What if I find that I am listed with a different haplogroup when I test with different companies. How does that happen?


Example:
According to GeneTree, based on testing by Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, I'm R-M207, subgroup R1b1b2a1a-S128.

According to Family Tree DNA, I'm R-M269 (they didn't elaborate any further), while another statement from them refers to R-DF25. Apparently the latter is the subclade, but there's no indication.

The answer is that depending on which company a person tests with, the haplogroups can show up a little different. In fact the haplogroup naming can change almost overnight. This is a work in progress. What shows here looks to be different subclades of the same original haplogroup. The most complete and updated listing of Y-DNA haplogroups which shows the haplogroup longhand designation and the equivalent (new) haplogroup shorthand designation is found on ISOGG’s Y-DNA haplogroup projects page as listed above.

What is the "Short Hand or Terminal SNP" and how do you use it?

SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism. This same marker in a strand of DNA is known to have a range of possible values (as over time morphisms and changes take place). Just as a string of vital records documents can help to map out a family tree, a string of SNP markers can help to flesh out a haplogroup tree, which in turn can help to determine a lineage.

There is a new shorthand to the binary subclade nomials which can get quite long. For example, R1b1a2a1ala4a is a long haplogroup notation. R1b3 is a another short one, but the short hand or terminal SNP for R1b3 would be - "R-M269." This is important, because Family Tree DNA uses a different nomenclature system than other testing companies, and even in various haplogroup charts, they have not listed R1b3. But no matter what company that a person uses, the SNP M269 is the tell-tale SNP that defines R1B3 in DNA Ancestry, RG, DNA Heritage, Genetree, SMGF and other DNA companies that follow this nomenclature.

Although the same terminal SNP notation may show up in different haplogroups or groupings of Y-DNA kits, once you find a set of kits with the same surname that match as a group, and they fall into the same haplogroup, then you can look at the terminal SNP (also called short hand) and determine that those kits with the same terminal SNP could be more closely related than those with different SNPs. We are talking about hundreds of years, but still it can give a clue as to haplogroup groupings and DNA family trees in the big picture of things.

Update: In my own study of the various old style (long) haplogroups and SNPs, it appears that kits that have done additional testing on ethnicity and other tests will show up with a more defined haplogroup (longer haplogroup) under the old style. This can also account for the varying SNPs assigned to test kits. For example, we see these 3 haplogroups (all in the same group, and all are shown to be descended from the same ancestor back in the 1700s): R1b1, R1b1a2 (did more testing), and R1b1a2a1ala4a (did extensive testing). The new style of haplogroup/SNP as defined by the Genographic Project lists these same 3 kits as R-P25, R-L47, and R-L47. It appears that if the first kit would do more extensive t+esting, it also would show up as R-L47 for the new haplogroup/SNP listing. See the first 3 kits in Group 1 of the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

Does Information on the Earliest Known Ancestor that is Highlighted in Red Ever Change??

When the MDKA (Most Distant Known Ancestor) is black, this information is from the kit owner's Most Distant Known Ancestor entry from FTDNA.

When it is in red, it is from emails or ysearch entries and it is hand entered into the results page.

When a kit owner does an update their personnel FTDNA personal web page, the results page will use the new information and overwrite the red MDKA on the next results update.

Do DNA Results Highlighted in Red Ever Change???

DNA markers that are highlighted in red indicate DNA markers which are likely to mutate at a faster rate than other markers.

Thus, if you see a difference in marker numbers in these red columns, remember that a mutation is more likely to occur, so this might explain any questions on why the numbers between two matching kits may be a little different.

Can I find the origin of ethnicity through DNA testing?

The most popular ancestry tests are Y chromosome (Y-DNA) testing and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing for determining possible kinships. Other additional tests offered by various DNA companies attempt to determine a researcher's comprehensive genetic history and/or ethnic origins. These include testing for Biogeographical ancestry, Native American ancestry, African ancestry, Jewish and Cohanim ancestry, European and Viking testing, Hindu testing, Melungeon testing, etc.

Is the Harris Surname Project only for people in the United States? Or does it have a broader scope?

Although the main testing company for the project – Family Tree DNA – is based in the United States, the Harris Project Administrators also oversee the results from DNA Heritage and other companies. Other DNA testing companies for genealogy purposes include Ancestry.com, DNA Ancestry Project, DNA Consultants (does autosomal testing only), DNA-Fingerprint, Genebase, GeneTree, MyFamily.com, National Geographic Genographic Project, Oxford Ancestors, Relative Genetics, Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and 23andMe.com (does autosomal testing only).

Harrises who have tested with these companies and have done the Y-DNA testing are welcome to contact the Harris Project Administrators to have your results listed with the project also. Y-DNA results can also be posted on Ysearch.com to locate matches with other Harris test. Autosomal results can also be posted at Gedmatch.com to find matches with others. The Harris Project does not have a way to post information about autosomal results from other testing companies, and those done with Family Tree DNA are only able to share results through the FTDNA site.

With DNA test results available from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and coming from Oxford Ancestors, one of the main testing companies in Europe, the project most definitely has an international scope. An increasing number of kits are being submitted to the project from Europe, Canada, Australia, and other places.

What is a non-parental event (NPE) and how can this affect Y-DNA results?

There are several ways that other surnames can have the same genetic pattern as “Harris.” The change of name could be due to 1) Adoption; 2) Absorption of a Harris child into another remarriage and name change; 3) Name change for the purpose of continuing another surname line, though not genetically related; 4) Non-parental event (such as infidelity); 5) Death of a male parent before an actual marriage and a child is on the way; 6) Other.

In the Harris Surname Y-DNA Project I know of one case where a male child was a little older than his siblings, and the DNA did not match up. That particular Harris line appears to match up with the Graham surname. The conclusion (all supported by DNA, but the specifics being lost to history) is that the mother was married briefly to a Graham who died young and then almost immediately married a Harris. The son took the Harris surname, even though biologically he should have been a Graham. The Graham father who died young has been discovered as well. Test kits were done for the descendants of the male in question and also of descendants of a brother of this child. This all helped to prove the non-parental event that occurred in this one family. Similar case scenarios will continue to unfold in other families that have questions because the DNA or surname differs.

What is autosomal testing and how does it differ from Y-DNA (paternal) and mtDNA (maternal) testing?

In the spring of 2010, Family Tree DNA made available the Family Finder Test and 23andMe introduced the Relative Finder test. Ancestry.com has introduced a similar test, but their test is not yet compatible with Family Tree DNA’s results. These are autosomal DNA testing for genealogical purposes which help people to local distant relatives as far as 6 or more generations away (although in comparing autosomal results for distant relatives within the Harris Project, we have discovered relationships connecting back as far as 8 or 10 generations). This type of testing uses autosomal DNA which can be passed through the male, female, or a combination of male and female through all the generations. As with the Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, it is possible that there could be some mutations and false matches with Y-DNA. It has also been noted that over the centuries the DNA gets scrambled, and sometime siblings show different matches because the siblings have slightly different DNA that is passed down in the heredity. Every person’s DNA is unique. But in the long run, the autosomal testing has helped many people to locate relatives they never would have located any other way.

For autosomal matches (Family Finder and Relative Finder), why do some people show up as closer relatives than they actually seem to be (such as 3rd or 4th cousin that is really a 5th or 6th cousin or further removed)?

From comparing notes regarding autosomal matches in various families, it comes to mind that prior to 1900 families did not move around as frequently as the present population. Travel was not as simple, and much of the population was involved in farming, which required staying in the same place for long periods of time.

It was very common to marry a neighbor or a cousin (1st cousin, 2nd cousin, or other relative) because family groups and population groups tended to stay in the same locality for long periods of time (even centuries). This would result in many intermarriages. Thus with autosomal connections there can be double kinships involved back in time which may not be determinable in recent history or knowledge.

When intermarriages (double kinships) are involved, then a 5th or 6th cousin will actually show up as a closer relative because of double relationships. This is often found in Ashkenazi Jews but is also found in most European and other people groups over time.

What about X chromosome matches with autosomal (Family Finder) testing?

The X chromosome is passed down through the maternal line and shows up in autosomal testing. The X chromosome can be seen at Family Tree Maker when looking at Family Finder matches and using the chromosome browser. It can also be seen in kits that are registered at Gedmatch.com when the “One to Many” comparison is done. If a kit matches through the X chromosome, then either on the original kit or in the kit that matches, there will be a chromosome connection that goes through the female (mother’s) line of either kit. The X chromosome can be seen in the maternal line going back and also can be shared if there are siblings (male and female or female and female) who are of the same generation—but still going through the maternal line of one of the kits being compared. There are sites which give charts to show the possible connecting links which should help to understand the X chromosome matches. A good starting place to read is: X-chromosome testing at ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy).

Further questions and answers regarding the Family Finder results and matches:

http://www.familytreedna.com/faq/answers/default.aspx?faqid=17#612


What is the cost of the Y-DNA testing?

Test participants who participate in this Harris Surname group study are eligible for a special discounted testing rate (and it should be noted the Family Tree DNA has LOWERED its prices since the economic crisis emerged). These prices may change whenever a special sale is taking place (about twice a year—one of these DNA sales is traditionally during the month of December).

Normal group testing rates (prices change when there is a sale) for Y-chromosome testing at Family Tree DNA are:

            12 marker Y-DNA test: $49 group rate (originally $149) plus shipping

            25 marker Y-DNA test: $124 group rate plus shipping

            37-marker Y-DNA test: $149 group rate (normally $259) plus shipping

            67-marker Y-DNA test: $248 group rate (normally $268) plus shipping

            111-marker Y-DNA test: $339 group rate (normally $359) plus shipping

Normal group testing upgrades (prices change when there is a sale) for Y-chromosome testing at Family Tree DNA are:

            From 12 to 25 Marker Upgrade: $90 plus shipping

            From 12 to 37 Marker Upgrade: $109 group rate plus shipping

            From 12 to 67 Marker Upgrade: $199 group rate plus shipping

*Note: a person cannot do an upgrade from 12 to 111 markers without first upgrading to 37 or 67 markers.

            From 25 to 37 Marker Upgrade: $49 plus shipping

            From 25 to 67 Marker Upgrade: $148 plus shipping

*Note: a person cannot do an upgrade from 25 to 111 markers without first upgrading to 37 or 67 markers.

            From 37 to 67 Marker Upgrade: $99 plus shipping

            From 37 to 111 Marker Upgrade: $220 plus shipping

            From 67 to 111 Marker Upgrade: $129 plus shipping

Normal group testing rates (prices change when there is a sale) for mtDNA-chromosome testing at Family Tree DNA are:

            mtDNA Plus test: $49 group rate (originally $159) plus shipping

            mt Full Sequence test: $199 group rate (originally $289) plus shipping

Normal group testing rates (prices change when there is a sale) for autosomal DNA testing at Family Tree DNA are:

            Family Finder test: $99 group rate (originally $289) plus shipping

To get the group rates shown above, you need to order through the Harris DNA website: http://www.familytreedna.com/surname_join.asp?code=Q41837.

*I will also mention that it has been the policy of Family Tree DNA to offer sales on DNA testing and upgrades about two or three times a year. Usually there is a short sale in April (for DNA DAY), then sometimes there is a sale for about a week in July and another sale in the month of December (as a Christmas special). The sale prices are usually very good compared to any discounts given at any other time of the year, so it might be worthwhile to wait until one of the sales takes place. But be advised that sometimes the sales are only for certain tests (either Y-DNA, mtDNA, or autosomal), but maybe not for all of them at the same time.

I highly recommend doing at least the 37-marker or 67-marker test for the Y-DNA to make sure you get a good reading in order to find a match. The higher resolution tests are more useful to help to reduce the number of generations between you and a potential match. They also might help in distinguishing the branches of major families when enough test results are available. This is especially true with the 111-marker test if you are interested in knowing which branch of a family you would fall under.

Who is the best testing company?

The official testing company for the Harris DNA Study is Family Tree DNA. Their website is www.familytreedna.com. The Project administrators also manage Harris test results submitted to DNA Heritage.

How do I order a test kit?

Test kits are ordered directly from Family Tree DNA. You can send an email to the Harris Project administrators asking how to order a test kit. Or, you can go to http://www.familytreedna.com/surname_join.asp?code=Q41837.  An option is available for instances where the test participant and the person who is paying for the test are different. Payment can be made by credit card or invoice.

What if the test participant and the person paying for the test are different?

When a test kit is ordered, the form on the first page with the blanks is for the test participant.  The form on the 2nd page will be information on who pays for the test.  The test company may have filled in some lines on the 2nd page, assuming that the same person is being tested as well as paying.  Since this is not the case for you, you will need to overwrite your payment information on the invoice page.  You have the option of credit card or by having them mail you an invoice.

Where can I find test results for kits which have been submitted to the Harris Surname DNA Project?

The charts showing test results for the Harris Surname DNA Project are listed on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page. Another view of the Harris DNA project results is found at Family Tree DNA’s website. This link also allows you to view the mtDNA results submitted on direct female lines.

What are modal listings on the Y-DNA search results?

It is my understanding that the modals for each group are the projected DNA results which would be present in the most recent common ancestor of all lineages shown in each DNA grouping. This is determined by comparing kits which have been tested and making note of the commonalities in the results. In the future, when additional kits and markers are submitted, it is possible that the modal listing for a certain group might change slightly. When variations from the modal are shown in different markers, this shows either 1) a mutation in the DNA marker (which is common every couple hundred years among direct descendants), or 2) a variation in the DNA marker (which might mean the person is not related at all—it could just be coincidence that with billions of people living in the world today, that the two kits are very similar in markers tested. But if the kits represent the same surname and haplogroup, it is pretty solid that there is a close kinship if the kits fall in the same grouping.).

If there is any question in the comparison of the test results, a better paper trail is needed to verify kinship or non-kinship. The modal listings are shown at the beginning of each grouping on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

As an aid to researchers, these modal listings have also been plotted on the Ysearch.org website. Just look for the Ysearch code listed for each modal at the beginning of each group listing on the chart on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

Also this same modal listing for each group of the Harris Surname Project has also been posted at Ancestry.com on its DNA site. For those in each group who have tested with Ancestry.com, in many cases you should find a match with your kit listed under Group[#]Modal and surname Harris. These were manually posted by myself in order to assist others in locating and understanding DNA matches.

Are 12 markers enough for accurate results, or is it better to test for 25, 37, or 67 DNA markers?

Here is what one submitter said regarding the 12-marker test and testing a higher number of markers:

“When I had a 12 marker DNA on file at Family Tree DNA I had 18 ‘perfect matches.’ When I went to 37 markers I have ZERO. Don't get excited about matches with only 12 markers.”

When at all possible, it is better to test for a higher number of markers (more than 12). Otherwise one will never know if the results are all-conclusive or not. Currently there are 111 DNA markers that can be compared through Family Tree DNA (other companies are not able to test this many markers). The more markers tested and the more markers in common can show a close kinship. And if very many of the markers do not match, then one can conclude that a relationship (if any) is very remote. My own rule of thumb is that if you have more than 4 mismatches with another kit, then the relationship is probably further back than 400 years.

What about testing with other DNA companies?

Currently I am aware of the following DNA testing companies who test for genealogy purposes (although there are many others shown in the internet): Ancestry.com, DNA (used to do Y-DNA and mtDNA, but as of 2014 is only doing autosomal testing) Ancestry Project, DNA Consultants (does autosomal testing only), DNA-Fingerprint, Genebase, GeneTree, MyFamily.com (has now joined with Ancestry.com as of September 2014), National Geographic Genographic Project, Oxford Ancestors, Relative Genetics, Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and 23andMe.com (does autosomal testing only). From my experience, Family Tree DNA does the best job of charting and explaining the results and in having a way for testees to make contact with others they may match with, whether it is Y-DNA, mtDNA, or autosomal testing.

Also be aware that there are other DNA testing companies out there that seem to be doing this just to pique someone’s interest or share things about people’s DNA from a scientific or geographic perspective—without tracking Y-DNA, mtDNA, or autosomal DNA markers. Some may also be testing DNA for forensic purposes or to determine parentage in the event of an unidentified biological father.

If you are not familiar with the company, or if it seems to be brand new on the market, it is probably not worth the money to invest in another company besides the ones listed above. Some other companies that test DNA for reasons other than genealogical purposes include: Connect My DNA, DNA Tribes, Knome (health tracking), and Navigenics (health tracking).

What about matching or closely matching kits for people with a different surname than my own?

After a serious study of DNA as it relates to genealogy, I have come to the conclusion that there are billions of people in the world today. And we are mostly talking about tests that measure DNA marks for 12, 25, 37 and 67-marker kits. (Oxford Ancestors now has a 43-marker test, but some of these are different markers than what Family Tree DNA measures. Other test companies including Ancestry.com and Relative Genetics also test fewer markers and different markers than the standard tests done by FTDNA.) In 2012 Family Tree DNA expanded the testing to 111 markers. With only testing a relatively small number of markers, it seems logical that there could be a large number of people in society that would have the same markers or similar markers (and only a select few of the world population so far have even done DNA testing for genealogy purposes). (When this science becomes better refined, the number of markers tested may even be able to increase beyond the current 111-marker threshold.)

The thing that validates the DNA testing is that this is a Y-DNA test that is done to compare markers that are passed only from father to son through each succeeding generation. Thus for close relatives of the same surname, the DNA markers should match or be very close. The test results/matches with someone of another surname will not apply unless 1) the test submitter has a different surname due to adoption or similar change of name, but the individual in fact biologically should have the same surname; or 2) the test submitter does not have a traceable male lineage, due to adoption, having an unknown father somewhere in the lineage or some other reason (so there is a chance he could actually tie in to the Harris male lineage, if the DNA matches up and other evidence might bear this out).

**Note** In some instances, on the Harris Y-DNA results, test results and lineage for a different surname may be listed that do not seem to tie in to any Harris family. (The migration patterns are not similar, and the families do not live in the same locality.) If there is a connection, this might be in the case of a rare DNA marker result that matches a Harris listing, which might possibly indicate a connection. *For related comments regarding matches with other surnames, see the FAQ question about a non-paternal event (NPE). At this point, no one (no matter what their surname) has been discouraged from joining the Harris Surname DNA Project. If someone, in their own DNA/genealogy study thinks there might be a Harris connection, they are encouraged to join the project.

Although in most cases when people of different surnames show similarities in DNA marker results, it usually does not indicate a close kinship. Although it is possible that a very distant kinship could maybe be shown if one were able to trace two families back to the 1400s or earlier—about the time that surnames began to be established—and then show evidence that the descendants of different sons of a certain personage each took on different surnames. One example of this is in the families of Harris, de Beaumont, Montgomery, and Hamilton which each claim to go back to the same ancestral family back around 1000 A.D. These possible connections are explored by the Harris Group 4 at the Harrisline Yahoogroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harrisline/

One personal thought of my own is that when we are talking possibly thousands of years and only a few markers (usually 67 markers or less when compared with a possible 111 or more markers that can be tested (and maybe a higher number than that in the future), and only a small sampling of the world population (there are still millions of people living today—not to mention the population of previous generations—who have not been tested) being tested so far, then by the odds of probability, it seems reasonable that mutations in one direction or another could make differing family lines appear to be more closely related than they are. That is why a good paper trail is also needed to prove relationships.

What about women who wish to be tested or if a submitter wishes to also test on the maternal side?

Females may order what is called an mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) test for themselves such as the mtDNA or the mtDNAPlus test and participate in an mtDNA project. Also males who have been tested for Y-DNA markers can do an additional mtDNA test for themselves if desired. This mtDNA test would allow for testing to show a migration pattern of ancestors as well as proof of Native American or other ethnic ancestry (although some of the other DNA testing may be able to provide this information as well). It could also be used if a group of testers wanted to prove out an all-female lineage going back through maternal lines to find evidence of a common ancestor.

What is the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF)?

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to building the world's foremost collection of DNA and corresponding genealogical information.

Inspired by discussions in 1999 between philanthropist James LeVoy Sorenson and Brigham Young University Professor Scott Woodward about using DNA in genealogy, this foundation has now collected more than 70,000 DNA samples, together with four-generation pedigree charts, from volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.

Y-chromosome DNA results and pedigree charts (also mitochondrial DNA results and pedigree charts) are now available for searching in the Sorenson Database (although since kits are not organized in groups, it is harder to interpret results and find matches). Currently SMGF is only testing 37 markers, and these markers are NOT the same as those being tested by Family Tree DNA and other DNA testing companies.

One positive element of this company is that testing is FREE. If you have already tested with FTDNA or some other company, you can submit an additional DNA sample to Sorenson.

The downsize is that it can take a year or longer to get results, and then it may be difficult to compare the results with others. When doing a search on their website, each marker value for a kit has to be manually added in order to do a comparison. Also, Sorenson does not provide any contact information for other kit submitters. People are encouraged to use the charts submitted (only ancestors born 100 years ago or more are listed on their website) to try to locate people through genealogy message boards and the like who may have a common ancestor.

For further information, go to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation website.


Using DNA to Support Lineages

Much discussion is going on in genealogical circles regarding DNA and how it can be used in proving lineages. At first many were suspect of this new approach to genealogy. Part of this was because it is new. Part was because people didn’t understand how it works. Also some have had concerns regarding privacy issues. Also, many have trouble interpreting the results. But all in all, using DNA as an aid to studying genealogy is a GOOD thing, and it works, because it is a proven scientific procedure.

According to mongabay.com, the HARRIS surname ranked as the 15th most common surname in the U.S. as surveyed in the 1990 Census (behind Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, Wilson, Moore, Taylor, Anderson, Thomas, Jackson, and White).

In the 2000 Census (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the 25 most common surnames in rank are: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller, Davis, Garcia, Rodriguez, Wilson, Martinez, Anderson, Taylor, Thomas, Hernandez, Moore, Martin, Jackson, Thompson, White, Lopez, Lee, Gonzalez, Harris, and Clark. Harris ranks as the 24th most common surname in the United States.

Because HARRIS is one of the most common surnames in the world, it is vitally important to study the DNA samples of certain Harris family members to show a definite kinship whenever the links become shaky. There are several ways that DNA studies are being promoted in the HARRIS family and in other families.

In checking on the Family Tree DNA web site and other places on the internet, it appears that the Harris DNA Study is one of the largest and most organized Surname DNA studies being conducted. It includes participants from the U.S. and other countries. Hats off to all those who have submitted DNA or posted information to aid in this study!

In checking the internet a found an interesting site on the World Families Network which lists DNA studies with more than 50 participants at Bill Davenports Summary of Surname Projects: “Over 50 List”.

The World Families Network also has a forum for posing DNA-related questions of all types. It is called WFN Forum. There are related boards on a number of different topics divided by surname, general discussion, Y-Haplogroups, Mitochondrial DNA, etc. Some pedigrees of various families are included on this forum. You may also do keyword searches of all postings.

In addition to Family Tree DNA, there are a number of other companies who are doing DNA testing for genealogical purposes. One of these is Oxford Ancestors, located in Great Britain. They offer testing up through 43 markers. They also offer a number of genealogy forums, including one on their Y-Chomosome Database and ones on the Seven Daughters of Eve. Currently there are 5 Harris DNA kits which have been processed through Oxford Ancestors. DNA submitters with Oxford Ancestors have access to their online Y-chromosome database. Guest users only have access to a limited amount of information. One of these customers descends from a Harris in Denmark.

The National Geographic Genographic Project is a 5-year project which commenced in April 2005. National Geographic's DNA processing company partners Family Tree DNA.  Genographic participants may opt to join a Family Tree DNA genealogical project once their results are in. Likewise, Family Tree DNA customers may upload their results to the Genographic Project for a $15 fee.    However, both National Geographic and Family Tree DNA are separate entities and becoming a customer of one, does not automatically affiliate you with the other. National Geographic Genographic kits who also join Family Tree DNA will have kits that transfer that begin with “N.” Family Tree DNA also processes tests for African DNA, along with its European subsidiary iGENEA, and DNA Ancestry & Family Origin. Participants who join Family Tree DNA's database will have kit numbers that begin with 'A' from African DNA, 'E' from iGENEA, and 'M' from DNA Ancestry & Family Origin. Those whose kits are loaded through Jewish Voice will have kit numbers that begin with ‘V.’


YBASE: Genealogy By Numbers

Another good source for DNA studies is Ybase: Genealogy by Numbers which allows searches by haplotype, surname, etc. It also includes a database that is searchable by up to 49 Y-chromosome markers. There are also several Ybase forums accessible through this site. These are organized by surname, by geographic locations, and by general topics relating to DNA.

Currently there are 9 DNA tests (with Y-DNA results listed) for the HARRIS surname listed on the Ybase website. These test results are supplied through DNA Heritage, but it appears that these all match up with DNA kits that were submitted to Family Tree DNA, as a search shows no Harris surname project at the DNA Heritage site. (DNA Heritage also offers 43-marker Y-DNA testing.) Here is a synopsis of some of the kits listed:

HARRIS ID #60C4C. This kit #is for a descendant of Charles Creed Harris (1878-1929) of Patrick Co., Virginia. It is a 25-marker test connected with the R1b haplogroup. This is the same as Kit #2461 listed on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page. See Lineage #U2 in the Unknown Lineages listed at the end of the groupings for more on the family of Charles Creed Harris (1878-1929).

HARRIS ID #YQ8BP. This kit #is for a descendant of James Douglas Harris (b. ca. 1868), whose family lived in Maryland and Illinois. It is a 23-marker test (not sure why 2 more markers are not reported), but no haplogroup is listed.

HARRIS ID #J1KLW. This kit #is for a descendant of Abraham Harris (d. 1863) of New Jersey and Lycoming Co., Pennsylvania. It is a 25-marker test connected with the I (HG2) haplogroup. See DNA Kit #12065 listed under the unmatched kits on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

HARRIS ID #WT7IV. This kit #is for a descendant of Joseph Harris (b. ca. 1766). It is a 37-marker test connected with the R1b haplogroup. See DNA Kit #20600 listed under Group 9 on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

HARRIS ID #KBGP4. This kit #is for a descendant of Elijah Harris (b. ca. 1800-ca. 1875) of North Carolina. It is a 37-marker test connected with the R1b haplogroup. See DNA Kit #12922 listed under the unmatched kits on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page.

HARRIS ID #RWYA6. This kit #is for a descendant of Sergeant John Harris (ca. 1588-ca. 1638) of Charles City Co., Virginia. It is a 37-marker test connected with the I haplogroup. The Y-DNA results for this kit would place this kit in Group 4 or Group 12 of the Harris DNA Study.

HARRIS ID #JF7NR. This kit #is for a descendant of Sergeant John Harris (ca. 1588-ca. 1638) of Charles City Co., Virginia. It is a 12-marker test connected with the I haplogroup. The Y-DNA results for this kit would place this kit in Group 4 or Group 12 of the Harris DNA Study.

HARRIS ID #IEGN9. This kit #is for a descendant of Israel Harris (b. ca. 1800-ca. 1859) of Bedford, Bedford Co., Tennessee. It is a 25-marker test, but no haplogroup is listed.

HARRIS ID #P1SZV. This kit #is for a descendant of Joel Harris (1728-1750) of Virginia. It is a 25-marker test connected with the I haplogroup.


HARRIS-DNA E-mail List on Rootsweb

One way to stay in touch with what is happening regarding Harris DNA, is to subscribe to the HARRIS-DNA list which is a mailing list on Rootsweb.com for participants in the Harris DNA Study.

To subscribe send "subscribe" to
harris-dna-l-request@rootsweb.com (mail mode) or
harris-dna-d-request@rootsweb.com (digest mode)

There is also a mailing list that specifically deals with DNA studies of all family surnames:

It is called: Genealogy-DNA-L

To subscribe send "subscribe" to
genealogy-dna-l-request@rootsweb.com (mail mode) or
genealogy-dna-d-request@rootsweb.com (digest mode)


Other Harris DNA E-mail Lists

In addition to the HARRIS-DNA list on Rootsweb.com, special e-mail lists have been established on Yahoo! Groups for a few of the DNA groupings on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page which appear to trace back to a common ancestor.

The Yahoo! Groups are a combination of mailing lists with other features such as photo and database storage, polling, etc.

NOTE: When you sign up for Yahoo groups to get a user name and password, one of the things that is requested is your date of birth, to be used only to identify you in case you forget your password and they have to send it to you. You do not need to give a real date of birth; just remember whatever date you provide. This advice also applies to any security question you are ever asked, including postal code, mother's maiden name, etc. You can always use fictitious information as long as you make a note of it and can remember it (which that can be hard sometimes).

To view the group home page of each of these Harris Yahoo! Groups and to learn how to subscribe to one of these groups, go to the following pages which relate to Groups 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 12 of the Harris-Y-DNA Project:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harrisdnagroup3

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harrisline [Group 4]

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crispincousins [Group 4]

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HarrisGroup6

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HarrisGroup8

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HarrisGroup9

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HarrisGroup12



Harris Surname DNA Study

Currently there is a Harris Surname DNA study being conducted through Family Tree DNA, one of the best and most reputable companies that is doing DNA studies for families. If you will go to their web page, they can probably answer many of the basic questions you might have on DNA testing:

http://www.familytreedna.com/

There are now more than 100 people who have submitted DNA for the HARRIS surname. An introductory page for the Harris DNA study (along with an order form for submitting DNA to Harris DNA project) can be found here:

Harris DNA Study

There is a group rate for joining (submitting DNA) to the Harris Project. Currently, the prices of testing are $99 group rate (normally $149) for 12 markers; $148 group rate for 25 markers; $189 group rate (normally $259) for the 37-marker test; and $269 group rate (normally $349) for the 67-marker test. Some companies in Great Britain are also doing a 43-marker test. The higher resolution tests are more useful to help to reduce the number of generations between you and a potential match.

You may contact the 4 administrators of the Harris Group study (private individuals who do not work for Family Tree DNA, but who maintain a web page and can answer questions you may have) by clicking on this address: Darlene, Jeff, Craig, and Glenn

To participate in the Harris DNA Project, you must be male and have the Harris (or a variant spelling of the) surname. The Y-chromosone is passed exclusively from father to son through each generation and only rarely mutates after several generations. The more people with known lineages who participate, the more useful the results will be. An introduction to the Harris-Y-DNA Project can be found here: Welcome to the Harris Y-DNA Project

The Harris Group Administrators have set up a page to help see the DNA markers as they relate to various lines. All kits submitted are shown on this chart, which covers 12, 25, and 37 marker tests:

HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS

For those kits submitted where there is a definite or close match of the DNA, these results have been grouped together to show kinship. Also, when the earliest given ancestor is shown, if you put your cursor over the name, you will see their birth and death dates. Then if you click on numbers to the left of the names shown (if they are hyperlinked), then you can see the full or partial lineage that goes from the DNA submitter back to the earliest listed ancestor. This chart is a wonderful tool to help people understand and interpret the results given. THANK YOU Craig and the other administrators for all your work to list and update the information on the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS PAGE! (And thanks to all Harris descendants who have helped me to chart out these various family lines.)

If you are having trouble understanding the results from a particular Y-DNA testing, here is a page with some answers:

Understanding Your Results: Are We Related?


Donate to the Harris Project General Fund

There are a few individuals who would be willing to submit a sample of the DNA if they had the money available. Currently Family Tree DNA has a link for the general fund if someone is willing to contribute money to help fund someone else’s DNA test. If you specify “Harris” it would be credited to the Harris DNA project. If you would like to donate to the general fund, use the following link and specify the surname for your donation. You may also specify one certain person to receive the donation to be used for their DNA testing. The site is: Contributing to the General Fund

In order to use money for the general fund, if you have donated the money, you can contact FTDNA and ask them to credit your money in the general fund to a specific kit or test that is being ordered. Otherwise the Harris Project Administrators can use the money for a future testee that is needing monetary assistance in order to get testing done.


Harris-Calvert DNA Study

There is also a Harris-Calvert DNA Study being conducted by Family Tree DNA which revolves around a group of Harrises that descend from family members whose name may have originally been CALVERT, as some of the names in early records are shown as “Calvert alias Harris,” “Calvert alias Harrison,” “Harris alias Calvert,” and “Harrison alias Calvert.” This seems to indicate that at least one family member of this group had more than one set of parents. The child could have been illegitimate, orphaned, or assumed a stepfather’s last name, etc. In some records the surname is given as CALVERT and other places it is listed as HARRIS or HARRISON. (From my study of this family, it appears there were 3 brothers, Thomas, George, and Burr Calvert, sons of John Calvert (ca. 1692-1731) of early Virginia. Their mother was Jane HARRISON. It appears that this family should trace back to either the Calverts or to the Harrisons, rather than a Harris line.) However, with DNA testing it is possible that this riddle may be solved once and for all. If a strong match can be found with a HARRIS, HARRISON, or CALVERT. That should end the questions about the origins of this family.

At least one Harris from this Harris-Calvert group is listed in Group 3 of the Harris Y-DNA Results Page. This is DNA Kit #9703 for the family of Burr Calvert/Harris (ca. 1728-1787).

Currently there 41 participants in the Calvert DNA Study. This group also has a website: Calvert DNA Group Study.

To find the main site for the Harris-Calvert group at Family Tree DNA, go to this link: CALVERT (and variants) Surname Y-DNA Study

This group also has a web site found here: Calvert DNA Group Study

Project Coordinators are Beth Calvert and David Edwin Bell.

Another place to look for information on this Harris/Harrison-Calvert connection is the HARRISON DNA Project.



Pioneer Families of Northern Pennsylvania

In the 1790 Census, Harris was the 12th most popular name in the U.S., and a majority of Harris families lived in Pennsylvania. One research project has been started at Family Tree DNA which is called Pioneer Families of Northern Pennsylvania. The Harrises in Group 43 (and probably Harrises from other groupings in the Harris DNA Project) are part of these pioneer families of Northern Pennsylvania, as well as other surnames including Campbell.

Here is some background information on the Pioneer Families of Northern Pennsylvania project:

New project 8/30/2013. A project intended to help descendants of pioneer families and early settlers of North Central Pennsylvania find their roots using DNA results and family tree information. The targeted groups include those of British Isles, German, French, Native American Ancestry, and others living within or traveling through Penns Woods during the mid-1600's to late 1700's. This project is intended to help members make tree connections using DNA results and family tree information; so, prospective members must have DNA test results and enough family tree information to trace their ancestry to the targeted groups/area. GEDCOM uploads to FTDNA preferred. Please include enough information in your join request to determine your qualification as a descendant of colonial or pre-colonial Pennsylvania. This is a Dual (Y-DNA & mtDNA) Geographical Project.


Autosomal DNA Testing

One of the latest developments in the DNA study of ancestry is the recently released Family Finder DNA Test (launched May 3, 2010) which is an autosomal DNA test. Rather than only finding connections through either male line testing or female line testing, the Family Finder test will allow anyone, regardless of gender, to look for connections such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, half siblings, and first, second, third, and up to fifth cousins. Some of those who have tested in Unmatched Kits are using this method to hopefully find a connection with someone else who has done DNA testing. This test is becoming more and more popular now that the news is out. Hopefully some new (and maybe surprising) connections will be found using this test. The initial Family Finder test that was run from May 2010-December 2010 is called the Family Finder Affymetrix. Anyone tested during this time frame should have their results available. Starting with January 2011, a new, more comprehensive Family Finder test was initiated. All new Family Finder tests, as well as those done originally are being retested with the new platform which is called Family Finder Illumina OmniExpress. Another testing company called 23andMe.com has a similar autosomal test called the Relative Finder test. One of the best ways to compare autosomal results with other testees is to load the results from Family Finder and Relative Finder to a site called Gedmatch.com



Charts for Groups 1-54+, and some Unmatched Kits from the Harris Y-DNA Results Page

Links to each of the groups shown on the Harris Y-DNA Results Page can be found at the bottom of this page, along with links to other Harris genealogy sites. Actual lineage charts and an introduction are included with each section.


My main interest in studying Harris DNA is to try to show the interconnections of several lines that tie back to early Harrises in Virginia. But because there could be a tie-in back in England (or even an unknown connection here in the U.S.), I have attempted to show the interconnections of all the Harris lineages that have been grouped together (because of matching or similar DNA markers) in Groups 1-47 as shown on the Harris Y-DNA Results Page. I have also mapped out the lineages of some of the Unmatched Kits because they may possibly match up with some of the other lineages shown.

As time permits, I have been attempting to incorporate lineages from all the groups of Harrises on the Harris DNA page. Quite a few of the lineages originate in early Virginia (which is my main interest), as well as some Harrises in Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina, who could easily have crossed paths with the Virginia Harrises which have been charted. Others are found in England and Australia, Canada, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, New England, etc.

This information on my webpage, including the charted lineages, is intended to augment or supplement what Craig Harris has mapped out on the official Harris-Y-DNA Results page. Disclaimer: Please view this information as a tool and not as proven fact (even when supported by DNA samples). I have gleaned this information from a number of different sources (some may be inaccurate). Sources for these lineages include the Harris Y-DNA Results Page, Rootsweb’s WorldConnect Project, the LDS FamilySearch.org, messages posted to the Harris-DNA list on Rootsweb as well as other Harris lists and message boards on Rootsweb, various web sites, personal e-mails, and published family history books and articles. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the following link: Contact Glenn Gohr

What is needed to better prove out the results shown by the DNA testing is a better paper trail of records—death certificates, census records, Bible records, wills, land deeds, and family records recorded in other primary documents. If the paper trail is not accurate, then someone could easily misinterpret the DNA results. The DNA results are helpful to either prove or disprove a given lineage back to a common ancestor. If the DNA markers match, then there is strong evidence of a given lineage. If the markers do not match, then research needs to be done elsewhere.

Also remember, that even with oral history, a good paper trail, and matching DNA markers, the matches are not 100 percent conclusive. One of the best-known DNA studies so far is the example of President Thomas Jefferson and his reported mistress, Sally Hemings. Oral history supports that he fathered children with Sally Hemings, but because of the situation, little if any paper evidence can be found to prove that he was the father. With the assistance of DNA testing, the best conclusion was that the children were fathered either by President Thomas Jefferson or by a very close relative of his (brother, uncle, nephew, etc.). Evidence and tradition, backed by DNA testing, would lead us to the conclusion that Thomas Jefferson is the father as has always been reported. But the DNA results are not 100 percent provable (as another close family member could also have been the father and had the same results with DNA testing). So DNA testing is a well-defined science, that can assist in proving lineages (or disproving them), but they cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. The same criteria used in establishing the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings link can be applied to each of the Y-DNA Results charted out on the Harris-DNA shown on this page and on the harrisdna.org pages.



“Some Early Harrises And Possible DNA Connections” on WorldConnect

For another place to view these lines I have mapped out, go to the site:
“Some Early Harrises And Possible DNA Connections” on WorldConnect

This is an unofficial working file to try to show kinship of various groups of Harrises in the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, etc. that have sent DNA samples to the Harris Y-DNA Project. Names with * are not proved as children of the previous generation. Use this listing for research clues and not necessarily as fact, as some lines are not well documented. Living descendants not listed. There are at least two good ways to search these files:

1) Once the page comes up, then in the box given, type in a name of interest, such as: HARRIS, CAPT. THOMAS
Then click the box that says LIST

Then go several names down the list to where it says HARRIS, THOMAS <8> b. ABT 1586 d. 1658

Click on that entry. It will give you the birth, marriage, etc. for Capt. Thomas Harris of Jamestown, VA who is listed in Group 8 of the Harris Surname Y-DNA Project.

Then at the bottom of this page, click DESCENDANCY. It will list all known descendants of Capt. Thomas Harris for 10 generations in chart form. Each line of DNA is marked from father to son down several generations. <8-#35835> is one line down through William Harris (grandson of Capt. Thomas Harris). <8-#8991> is another line, etc. is a line that is supposed to connect up, but the DNA does not match up, so that line is UNKNOWN. For questionable generations, the names are preceded by an asterisk *. This means the connection between the person with an asterisk and the previous generation are unproven.

The same procedures above can be used to find Thomas Harris of Isle of Wight Co., VA (ca. 1636-ca. 1688) and his descendants, Britton H. Harris, Graves Harris, Samuel Harris, or any of the other names of interest. Feel free to click on various links on this site to better see the individuals listed, their personal information, and their connections.

2) One other way to view the various DNA lineage charts on this site is to type in the DNA Kit number. Go to the main site for Rootweb’s WorldConnect Project Global Search . In the GIVEN NAME field, type in the Kit number, such as 8991, 35835, etc. This will list all person’s in the direct line which has been DNA tested for that specific kit number. If you go to the earliest ancestor (by determining the earliest dates listed), then you can double click on that name, and then on the personal page for the person, at the bottom of that page, click DESCENDANCY. It will list all known descendants of the earliest known ancestor for the tested line for 10 generations in chart form. Each line of DNA is marked from father to son down several generations, with the kit numbers included in the direct line. . For any questionable generations, the names are preceded by an asterisk *.


Another good page that relates to Harris DNA is: Gregg Bonner’s HARRIS Family Page.


Here is a listing of some other Y-DNA Surname Projects and DNA Pages on the Internet. Double click on the names to view the URL addresses:

Kevin F. Duerinck’s DNA Links

Surname DNA Projects Database

World Families Network

DNA Surname Webring

Chris Pomery’s DNA Portal

Chris Pomery’s List of Y-Chromosome DNA Studies being undertaken by Family Historians

Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA Surname Projects

DNA Heritage

GeneBase BioNet

Genetrack Biolabs

Oxford Ancestors

DNA Consulting

Ancestry by DNA (find geographic origins)

DNA 101 Y-Chromosome Testing

DNA Basics

Tour of the DNA Basics

DNA Information & Resources Page

Evolution Tutorials

Genetic Genealogy at MSNBC

Jefferson – Hemings DNA Project

National Geographic Project

Newsweek DNA Article

Relative Genetics (Sorenson)

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy (Free DNA Test)

TMRCA Calculator

YBASE (Match your DNA to others in this database)


Understanding Matches

The following comes from Family Tree DNA and was sent along with one of those notices of another perfect match with a complete stranger bearing a different surname...

I honestly think this clears up quite a bit, though this is a lengthy explanation, because the subject can become quite mundane and over-drawn if given to uninformed translation...Read On:

“Just as there are surnames which are very common, (such as Smith and Jones), and surnames which are uncommon, there are Haplotypes (a set of results that characterize you on the Y-Chromosome) with a high frequency of occurrence (aka common), and Haplotypes with a low frequency of occurrence (aka uncommon). The 12 Marker result from the Y-chromosome test is called a Haplotype, and can help determine if your DNA sample is common or uncommon.

“When you compare a 12 Marker result to another 12 marker result of someone with the SAME surname, and the results match 12/12, there is a 99% probability that you two are related within the time frame included in the MRCA tables. If the match is 11/12, there's still a high probability that you are related IF the 11/12 match is within the same surname. If you compare a 25 Marker result to another 25 marker result for the SAME surname, and the results match 25/25, then there is also a 99% confidence that the two individuals are related…and at a much closer time interval then with the 12 marker test.

“If you compare the 12 marker result to someone else who does not have the same surname, but the scores match, you are most likely NOT recently related. When we use the term recently related, we are talking about a time frame within the last 1000 years or 40 generations, a time depth that accommodates the earliest known use of surnames.

“According to current theories, we are all related. The degree of relatedness depends on the time frame, or the number generations between the participants and the common ancestor.

“We all descend from one single person, but of course the DNA test that we do is not to tell us this obvious fact.

“Since we all descend from one person, and then from a few families, and as times goes by those families keep branching out up to the point where we get to our own family nest, it would be natural that when we check our DNA, the less markers we check, the less unique they are, and the more markers we test, the more unique the whole string of markers is. In other words, to go to extremes, if we tested only one marker, we would most certainly match with millions of individuals that shared that marker for thousands of years. But if on the other hand when we test many markers, we will match very very few people that share those same markers. Those would be the ones that are closely related to us.

“This is valid when checking our matches on 12, 25 or 37 markers. The likelihood that we will match other individuals with 12 markers is far greater than matching on 25 or 37. Especially if our family descends from a populational group that came from one or a few prolific families thousands of years ago (which is the case for Western Europe). Dr. Luigi Lucca Cavalli-Sforza, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, in his fascinating book: The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolutions says that the total population of Europe was 60,000 people at the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago. Now Europe has a population of 300 million people. This increase is almost entirely due to a natural increase in population rather then immigration from other continents. Keeping this in mind it is reasonable that many people alive today in Europe will match with other Europeans from BEFORE the time that our ancestors began the adoption of surnames, and when you match someone who has a different surname your first thought should be that the ‘connection’ is distant rather then recent.

“Our bodies work as copy machines when it comes to the Y-DNA. You can have a copy machine doing 1,000 copies without a problem, and then, the 1,001 copy may have an "o" that looks more like an "e". And when we use this copy to make additional ones, all the new ones will now have an "e" instead of an "o". This is a simple way to explain how variances occur in our Y-DNA when it's transferred (copied) from father to son. Variances don't happen frequently, on the contrary, very seldom, but they can happen randomly in time, which means that I could be one variance off of my father. That is why all those matches or close matches on 12 markers will in most of the cases go away when they happen between different surnames, and we increased the numbered of markers that are compared: more variances showing up, which means way back in time when the common ancestor lived.

“The only exceptions to this are if an unannounced adoption or false paternity has taken place, but that is difficult to prove, although certainly not impossible.

“If two 12 marker results match for two participants with the same surname, and the genealogy research shows a common ancestor in 1835, the DNA test has validated the research and proven that the two descendents are related. In this example, you have two items of evidence to support that the individuals tested are related…a documented paper trail and the DNA results. In addition, the research provided a precise time frame for the common ancestor.

“Without the genealogy research, and where 2 participants with the same surname match on the 12 marker test, then the scientific answer to the degree of relatedness is that 50% of the time the common ancestor would have occurred within 7 generations, or within approximately 150 years. The range of generations for the common ancestor extends to 76.9 generations, or almost 2000 years for those cases where there is not a surname in common. Therefore the importance of a surname link is paramount to provide a comfortable conclusion of relatedness. Most of the time random matches with people with different surnames do not stand the test for extended DNA testing.

“While the MRCA tables will give you the general probabilities for relationships on different levels of matching, the FTDNATiP found in your personal matches page will give you probabilities that are specific to others that you may be related.”


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Glenn Gohr's Introduction to the Harris Y-DNA Project
DNA Needs for the Harris DNA Project
Harris DNA—Group 1
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Glenn Gohr's HARRIS/HARRIES/HERRIES/HARRISS GENEALOGY Page
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The Will of Thomas Harris of Creeksea, County Essex, England, 1617
Gathering of Harris Descendants
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