Y DNA Tests

The principal test of value to a one-name study is the Y DNA which tells you about your direct male line.  You must be male to take this test. If you are female, you can perhaps find a direct line male to participate, to represent your tree.

The Kelsall DNA Project has been established at Family Tree DNA, and it is ready for participants to join and order a test kit. Full details about testing methods and the scientific basis are at the Family Tree DNA web site. Full details about testing methods and the scientific basis are at the Family Tree DNA web site. To join the Project you should have the Kelsall surname (or one of the variants such as Kelsell) or a reason to think that you have a common ancestor with a male Kelsall.

The Kelsall Group Project website will include results as they become available. The objective of the study is to try to establish if various Kelsall family trees are related. We may determine that most Kelsall lines trace to a common origin in Cheshire or we may establish there are multiple distinct lines. Testing may establish a connection between trees that is now only suspected.

We encourage males to order a Y DNA test for at least 37 markers and preferably 67 or 111 markers. The current price for the Y-DNA 37 is $169 plus postage (169 US dollars). There is a discounted price for someone who joins a surname group and are often available . A test kit can be ordered from anywhere in the world. The test is a harmless genealogy test of locations on the Y chromosome, called markers, which are passed from father to son, typically unchanged.  The test result is a string of numbers, and contains no personal information.  You will be an exact or close match to those men to whom you are related.  By also testing a distant direct line male in your family tree, if possible, you will validate the family tree research to the common ancestor shared by both men who test.  In addition, the test result will tell you about your distant origins. You can read more at Family Tree DNA.

Y DNA Results

My results on Family Tree DNA show matches to other people who have tested based on genetic distance.

The following table shows matches for people who have tested at least 37 markers. In each case the match is defined by the genetic distance, i.e. the number of markers that are different within the total tested. For 37 markers FTDNA only shows matches for genetic distances of 4 or less.

Y-DNA Matches to Peter Kelsall

FTDNA describes a genetic distance of 4 as “Probably related: a 33/37 match between two men who share a common surname (or variant) means they may share a common male ancestor. This relationship should be confirmed with additional testing’.

One of matches shares the Kelsall surname. Dr. David John Kelsall (1929 to 2016) was descended from Richard Kelsall born 1803. Family Tree DNA provides a Time Predictor (TiP) report specific to my matches with David John predicting that there is an 88% probability that we shared a common ancestor within 8 generations.  Prior to DNA testing, genealogical research by Andrew Kelsall Pearson showed that Richard was descended from another Richard Kelsall born 1736, one of the children of Richard Kelsall and Mary Birks. I know independently that Richard Kelsall and Mary Birks were my 5th great grandparents. The DNA results support that the genealogy is correct, and that David John was my 6th cousin, once removed. Our common ancestor, Richard Kelsall was born in 1713 – a span of 7 generations for me and 8 for David John.

The other Y-DNA matches on FTDNA do not share the Kelsall name and I am not aware of any genealogical connection. The next table shows the probability of sharing a common ancestor within a specified number of generations based on FTDNA’s TIP calculations.

Probability of Sharing Common Ancestor

It can be seen that according to the TIP calculations there is a >99% probability that all these men are related on the direct paternal line within 24 generations, i.e. since about 1200. My Kelsall lineage has been traced unbroken to James Kelsall of Audley (preceding me by 12 generations) was first recorded as an adult in 1539. One explanation of the results is that there was a common ancestor before 1500 and likely before about 1300 when surnames were being adopted. Another explanation is that there has been a break in one of the paternal lineages due to infidelity.

One name, Done, is interesting because a prominent Done family was established at Utkinton Cheshire in the 13th and 14th centuries at the same time as the Kelsall name was being established. Utkinton and Kelsall are villages a few miles apart. The TiP report for my match with Done provides a 77% probability of a common ancestor within 12 generations (corresponding approximately to the year 1590), 91% within 16 generations (approximately 1470) and 97% for 20 generations (approximately 1350). These DNA results, combined with the geographical association, suggest the probability that Kelsall and Done males have a common male ancestor. My most distant known ancestor, James Kelsall of Audley preceded me by 12 generations and he was first recorded as an adult in 1539. Based on my known Kelsall lineage the common ancestor was likely born before 1500 and he could have lived a century or two earlier. This connection will be subject of further research.

Another interesting name is Sandbach which presumably has its origins at the town in Cheshire about 20 miles from Kelsall. The match with my results is very close at 37 markers (genetic distance = 1). At 111 markers the FTDNA TIP report shows a 96.5% probability of a common ancestor at 16 generations (about 1430) and a 99.4% probability of a common ancestor at 20 generations (about 1300).

At this time, there is no indication that the matches on Family Tree DNA are indicative of connections within a genealogical timeframe (other than David John Kelsall). It is possible for separate lineages to converge over time leading to false matches. This can be reexamined if any of their genealogies point to origins in Cheshire, or with additional DNA testing.

An interesting analysis of genetic distance for males with known genealogical connections is presented by Jim Owston. While he showed that genetic distance does increase with number of generations, he also found a wide scatter of results. For example, eighth or ninth cousins were found to have a genetic distance as low as zero and as high as 6.

Y-DNA Haplogroup

Haplogroup is a term used to describe individual branches, or closely related groups of branches, on the genetic family tree of all humans. All members of a haplogroup trace their ancestry back to a single individual. The Y-chromosome haplogroup refers to a common ancestor on the male line.

I have recently taken a “Big Y” test at FTDNA which currently provides the most detailed analysis of the Y chromosome. My Y-DNA belongs to Haplogroup R-BY3290. This is a subclade of R-M269 known as R-P312, which in turn is a subclade of Haplogroup R1b (also known as R-M343) which is the most frequently occurring paternal lineage in Western Europe.  Bryan Sykes, in his book Blood of the Isles, gives the populations associated with R1b the name of Oisín for a clan patriarch. This clan accounts for 64% of all paternal lineages in England and 84% in Wales. It corresponds to the ancient Celtic population of Britain that preceded the influence of Saxon and Viking invasions from the east.

Advanced DNA studies available on the internet indicate that the R-BY3290 Haplogroup originated about 1750 years before present and that the most recent common ancestor for anyone in this haplogroup lived about 1250 years before present. R-BY3290 is a subclade of Haplogroup DF27 which originated in northern Spain about 4200 years before present at the transition from the Neolithic to Bronze Age associated with migration of Beaker culture.


Autosomal Test

The autosomal test is designed to find relatives on any of your ancestral lines within the last five generations. The test uses autosomal DNA, which is the mixture of DNA you received from both parents (about 50% from your mother and about 50% from your father). Because autosomal DNA is a mixture of your mother’s and father’s DNA, it is unique to each person. Both men and women can complete this test.

I have tested at FTDNA and Ancestry for autosomal DNA, and uploaded the FTDNA to My Heritage. My father has also tested at FTDNA so in that data set I am able to distinguish paternal and maternal matches.

Ancestral Origins

FTDNA, Ancestry and My Heritage all provide estimates of ancestral origins. From the genealogy of my 32 3x great grandparents I know that my ancestry at that generation level (born generally 1780 to 1800) is 91% English and Welsh, with the remaining 9% very likely Welsh. Both FTDNA and Ancestry provide a good match with the genealogy (Ancestry 89% Great Britain and FTDNA 98% Great Britain). My Heritage provides 51% Great Britain 43% Scandinavia 6% other (Italy, North Africa and Ashkenazi Jewish about 2% each.) Possibly these point to a more ancient ancestry.

The results from Ancestry are shown in the following charts which very closely match known genealogy.


Autosomal matches

Autosomal testing typically reveals many “matches” based shared DNA that have no known connection. As discussed below, I have matches with known genealogical connections that connect to my 4x or 5x great grandparents. Even after many years of research I know only 13 of my 64 4x great grandparents level and only 10 of my 128 5x great grandparents. Looking another way, I am predicted to have about 17,000 5th-cousins who connect to 4x great grandparents and about 170,000 6th-cousins who connect to 5x great grandparents. It is not surprising that many matches are a mystery especially beyond 2nd-cousin level. Matches that have been connected are described below.

John Lamb is a descendant of Ann Kelsall who married John Lamb in Buckley, Flintshire in 1806. John and I have a match on Ancestry with a shared 16.3cM and a predicted relationship of 5th to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Richard Kelsall (born 1713) and Mary Birks.

Kenneth Poole and I have a match on Ancestry with a shared 15.2cM and a predicted relationship of 5th to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Enoch Bloor (born 1785) and Elizabeth Pool, my 3x great grandparents.

DC Lovelady and I have a match on Ancestry with a shared 11.8cM and a predicted relationship of 5th to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Samuel Shone (born 1817) and Esther Bloor, my 2x great grandparents.

ND Stevenson and I have a match on Ancestry with a shared 9.1cM and a predicted relationship of 5th to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Edward Peters (born 1784) and Frances Gittins, my 3x great grandparents.

J Kelsall and I have a match on Ancestry with a shared 11.7cM and a predicted relationship of 5th to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Joseph Kelsall (born 1791) and Esther Thornton, my 3x great grandparents.

Jenny Coombes and I have a match on Ancestry with a shared 6.3cM and a predicted relationship of 5th to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Thomas Shone (born 1760) and Mary Parry, my 4x great grandparents.

Rose Figgins and I have a match on FTDNA with a shared 35cM and a predicted relationship of 3rd to 5th cousins. Our common ancestors are William Shone (born 1789) and Charlotte Peers, my 4x great grandparents.