The DNA Project

Amy Eberlin
Friday 4 October 2013

A DNA project associated with the Scotland and the Flemish People Project is now up and running.  This will be an important complement to the project’s historical research.  There are two key issues that DNA analysis could help address.  First, there are a significant number of families with potential Flemish origins in Scotland that do not have the name Fleming.   In many cases, genealogical research cannot trace these families fully back to Flanders. As the techniques of DNA analysis are becoming more refined, it is possible to pinpoint the geographic origins of a family with more accuracy.  The second key issue relates to the name Fleming itself.  The question is whether or not all people named Fleming descended from one early Flemish immigrant to Britain or if some families simply adopted the name Fleming when arriving in Scotland. Again, DNA analysis can help shed light on this issue.

Our DNA project is focusing on Scottish families that believe they may have Flemish roots.  If you have a name that appears in last week’s blog post or if your name is not on the list of Flemish names but have reason to think that it should be, please consider joining the project.  Our DNA project is hosted by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and we are liaising with the surname projects that already exist in FTDNA.

If you would like to participate please note that the Y-Chromosome is carried only by men who inherit it from their fathers.  As surnames in Europe are typically patrilineal in descent the Y-Chromosome can be used to identify men who share a common ancestor.  As women do not carry a Y-Chromosome, females who wish to participate require a male family member to participate who bears one of the project surnames.

The DNA test itself involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek.  There are two levels of testing for genealogical research. We recommend you purchase the 37 marker Y-DNA test as the minimum for surname research which may well identify distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database.  The 67 marker test provides extra data and will help us in the analytic work described above. This test may give you an indication of your “deep ancestry” by matching with other participants who have been found positive for advanced “deep ancestry” markers.  These advanced markers can be ordered at a later date if required.  The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

The DNA Project is administered by Alasdair Macdonald from the University of Strathclyde (Department of Genealogical Studies).  He is a leading authority in Scotland on genetic genealogy.  Should you have any questions please contact Alasdair at [email protected]. Alternatively feel free to contact co-administrator Alex Fleming on [email protected].

Related topics

Share this story