07.24 Join the Sterling Y-DNA Project

From Clan Stirling Wiki

07.24 Join the Sterling Y-DNA Project

<img src="http://old.clanstirling.org/uploads/gene8.jpg">

Some of you may be aware of a project underway to genetically analyze the distribution of families with names that sound like "St*rling". Several participants have now been tested and received results back from thelab, and so we have successfully identified the "genetic signature" of the Starling/Sterling line that arrived in Accomac County, Virginia in the late 1600s.

We need to recruit people from all theSt*rling lines: Sterlings from the Lyme, Connecticut branch, Scottish Stirlings, Starlings in the UK and Australia. We welcome all comers, especially people with well-fleshed-out family trees.

The purposes of this effort are several:

  • The written records for many of our lines go back only a few hundred years,but our Y-chromosomes are useful in tracking backwards for thousands ofyears. Though we may never know the details of how we are related,through Y-DNA testing we should be able to prove that some of our surname groups are -- indelibly -- family.
  • Developing genetic signatures for various lines may show proximity, and help researchers determine where a group originated. Perhaps someone named Sterling in Australia has no idea where his forebears came from -- but by having his DNA tested, he may find that his "genetic signature" matches the Soderlings of Oslo, the Starlings of Norwich or the Asteritas of Madrid. Such a boost can be of enormous help in genealogical research,as most of you probably recognize.
  • It's interesting and groundbreaking. This is a revolutionary new approach to genealogy, and it's exciting just to be part of it.

It places your genealogy research in the context of the development of thefamily of man. Given ongoing research in haplotypes and other geneticmarkers, we may be able to track the migration of our sperm-line backthousands of years. Was the first St*rling a Celt? A Goth? When didthey arrive in Britain? As more and more people are tested, researchersare able to attach a probability to these things, and they becomeknowable. In the Accomac Starling/Sterling research, we've found thatour "genetic signature" is extremely distinctive and has a fairly rarestructure. While there are no closely related lines in the publiclyaccessible European or North American databases, we do find distantrelatives (dozens if not hundreds of generations' separation) locatedin Eastern Austria.

The restrictions are two-fold

  • Only men can submit genetic material to the project, since only men carry aY-chromosome. There is a test women can take, the mtDNA or"mitochondrial DNA", but it tracks descent along the egg-line, not the sperm-line, so it is not useful for surname tracking. Our interest at this time is surname tracking.
  • Because we're part of a surname project, we get a discount, and the test costsonly $100 US. Because I've been asked before, I'll tell you that none of that money goes to me or anyone else in the project. It is the fee charged by the lab, FamilyTreeDNA, and it is the lowest-priced alternative we were able to locate.

A site has been set up with the results and additional information.


You can submit a request to join the project here:


Please consider joining! The more participants, the better the results.

Rick Stirling, St*rling DNA Project Administrator

UPDATE July 2015: We have identified 8 distinct 'St*rling' family groups to date and have over 100 members in the St*rling DNA Project