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16 June 2006

Ball Surname Y Chromosome DNA Study

A Ball surname Y Chromosome DNA study has being organized by Mike Ball, and Steven C. Perkins,

Using DNA for Genealogy

The Y chromosome is passed from father to son and only appears in males. Each individual line of a surname has a different Y DNA signature. This makes the Y DNA signature suited for study in surname projects. As the database of test results grows we will be able to help persons who have reached a "brick wall" in their research. By finding your Ball Y DNA signature and then getting into contact with others of the same signature, you will be able to focus your research and be more efficient in finding your ancestry.


How are the various Ball families related to each other? There are Ball families throughout the English speaking countries. Are they related? Is the family from Ireland or England, Scotland or Wales? We may be able to start answering some of those questions as more people are tested and share their results.

How to Participate:

The Y chromosome study is open to any male named Ball. Males and females named Ball may also test their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to determine the genetic heritage of their mother.

If you are a male surnamed Ball and you would be interested in participating in the Y or mtDNA study, or the wife or sister sponsoring a Ball male or testing your mtDNA , please use the Join form on this web page: Join the Ball Y DNA Study. To donate to the Surname Project General Fund to help cover the costs of testing, use this link: Contirbute.


We are using Family Tree DNA as our testing facility. The test kit is described on their web page at and consists of two swabs to collect skin cells from insode your mouth. This is just like brushing your teeth. The swabs are returned to FTDNA and about 4 to 6 weeks later, you should get your results.

There are four tests available for the Y Chromosome from FTDNA: 12, 25, 37, or 67 markers. These test results determine your haplotype. Another test is needed to determine your haplogroup. Two haplotype tests are available for testing mtDNA: HVRI, and HVRII, with an additional deep-clad haplogroup test also available. The haplotype results can be used for genealogy to determine your relatives and the haplogroup results will place you within the larger population groups for human origins.

You can also test for free by contacting the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation , requesting a test kit, and returning it with a 4 generation pedigree chart. See this web page for details:


I am not an FTDNA Associate and I do not make any money from these tests.

Current Results

The current results are arranged in groups by Haplogroup and then by similar genetic haplotypes. They are on the following web page:


The Ball surname displays multiple origins with representatives from the E, G, I, J, K, and R1b haplogroups. The majority are from the R1b and R1b1 haplogroups. The descendants of Col William Ball are in the I haplogroup. Comparison of the results for descendants of John Ball of Stafford and Fairfax Co.s VA, Edward Ball of Newark, NJ, John Ball of Concord, MA, Zopher Ball of VA and Pa, and other Ball families show no connection to Col. William Ball.

Anglo-Saxon, Norman, Viking, Celt?

At this time, it is not possible to absolutely differentiate between the Anglo-Saxons and the Scandinavian and Norman Vikings through DNA analysis, although the following articles make a start in that direction using Haplogroups of selected markers.
Helgason, etc., "Estimating Scandinavian and Gaelic Ancestry in the Male Settlers of Iceland", Am. J. Hum. Genet., 67:697-717, (2000);

and, this article:

Wilson, J. F., Weiss, D. A., Richards, M., Thomas, M. G., Bradman, N., Goldstein, D. B. "Genetic evidence for different male and female roles during cultural transitions in the British Isles". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., vol 98 (9) p5078 (2001)",
contains evidence for the following preliminary table of Y DNA markers for Celtic/Basque, Anglo Saxon and Norwegian ancestry:

Celtic/Basque:  12-----13-----13-----14-----24-----11  
Anglo Saxon:    14-----13-----11-----14-----22-----10 
Norwegian:      12-----13-----11-----16-----25-----11 
Other Y DNA marker sets: 
Atlantic MH*    12     13     13     14     24     11 
Cohen    MH     16     12     11     14     23     10 
MH=Modal Haplotype       

Preliminary results from a more recent study are reported in this article from the BBC:
Nicola Cook, "Viking Genetics Survey Results", reporting on a study done by Prof. David B. Goldstein at University College London. Once Dr Goldstein's results are published, a link will be made to the paper.

More Information on DNA and Genealogy:

The following page at the University of Leicester contains links to primary scientific research on the Y chromosome: The Y Chromosome as a Marker for the History and Structure of Human Populations.

The following article is one of the more important discussions of Y DNA: Semino,, "The Genetic Legacy of Paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens in Extant Europeans: A Y chromosome Perspective", Science 2000, v 290, p.1155 et. seq.

This is a glossary of genetic terms: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms from the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Information on Y DNA testing and Genetics in family history research is available from the following web page:
Chris Pomery's DNA Portal: DNA & the Family Historian.

This page by Dennis Garvey discusses Haplogroups and gives frequency tables for the possible variations: Haplogroups.

This page by Nancy Custer gives information on the Y-STR Loci Allele Frequencies as Reported in the Y-STR European and USA Databases.

Kevin Duerinck's page gives information on the various testing laboratories:
Genetics Laboratories and Testing Sites

See also:
Genetics and Genealogy

There are online Y DNA databases for YSTR Europe, YSTR America and YSTR Asia at the Y STR sites.

There is a discussion list at Rootsweb. Instructions for subscribing and searching the archives are at this URL:

Steven C. Perkins