DNA Home Page DNA Results Discussion Table of Results Ancestors


Introduction and Results Presentation

Most of the analyses reported here were performed by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) with one set of results performed by Relative Genetics (RelGen), another by GeneBase, and two by Ancestry. The primary data for the sets of results currently available are given in the accompanying Table of Results. In the table the order of the 111 markers and the conventions used to define each of these markers are those used by FTDNA. Results obtained from other companies were converted to the FTDNA conventions as given in the table at the SMGF web site. According to FTDNA, those marker sites shown in red in the table headings are ones that tend to mutate more rapidly. One column in the table, titled Ysearch ID, gives this ID code for the participants in order to facilitate examining their marker results in the Ysearch database. The table also has a column headed Haplo which gives the predicted haplogroup for each participant. The meaning of this term will be considered later. In addition to the results table with the primary data, another table titled Ancestors lists the earliest known Forrest/Forrester ancestors of the participants. The Ancestors table can be accessed either by clicking on this term here or at the top of the page, or by clicking the code for a particular individual in the primary results table.

As indicated in the table, seven groups (A, B, C, D, E, F and G) have been found where the DNA results match as indicated by the color coding. In each of these groups when the marker values match the box is colored, but one of the boxes is not colored when the marker values do not match. Although each of the participants in the seven groups match those in that group, the DNA profiles for each of Groups A to G are quite different from one another. Also, these DNA profiles are quite different from each of those in Group X; in this group none of the profiles match. When DNA profiles match it is likely that those participants share a common ancestor in the not too distant past (for example, in the past 500 years), but when the profiles do not match it is unlikely that they share a common ancestor within the past thousands of years or more. Thus, the results to date indicate that there were at least 22 different initiators of Forrest lines, 15 for those in Group X and one each for those in Groups A to G. However, as more Forrest/Forrester participants are analyzed one suspects that additional profiles will be observed and that matches to some of those currently in Group X will also be found,

That the first three in Group A match is not surprising since they are known to be related as indicated in the Ancestors table. The observation that their 37 marker profiles are similar does prove, however, that there has not been a non-paternal event in any of their lines since their common ancestor. The fourth participant in Group A (F-021) was not previously known to be related to the other three but the similarity of his profile to those of the others in Group A strongly implies that they all share a common ancestor in the recent past (less than 500 years). One interesting aspect of the Group A DNA profile is that it is very similar to a variety termed the Northwest Irish Variety because it is common in Northwest Ireland (about 20% of the males in that area). However, it is also found to some extent in Scotland where the Forrest ancestors of the Group A participants come from. Some have conjectured that people with this signature are descendants of the legendary fifth-century king 'Niall of the Nine Hostages' or his close relatives. There is a web page with more details on this particular DNA profile.

The participants in each of Groups B, C and E were not previously aware that they are related but the DNA results clearly indicate that the participants in each group share a common ancestor in the recent past. This illustrates the power of the DNA technique because now these participants can share information about their lines with the knowledge that at some point their lines converge. It is of interest that the surname of one of the participants (F-017) in Group B is not Forrest but is Cain. Since the earliest known ancestor of F-017 was known to be an orphan, the results strongly imply that his all male line actually was initiated by a Group B line Forrest. Similarly two of the participants in Group C have a surname of Dick rather than Forrest. Although there is currently no known connection between these Dick lines and the Group C Forrests, the results again strongly imply that they have a common ancestor in the recent past (probably sometime within the last 500 years). Unfortunately, however, the DNA method cannot give a definitive answer to how long ago their common ancestor lived; that can only be determined by traditional genealogical methods.

It is not too surprising that the two participants in each of Groups D and F match since they are known to be related as indicated in the Ancestors table. Also, the three participants in Group G appear to have the same ancestral family and their matching profiles are in agreement with that.

Haplogroups and Deep Ancestry

In the DNA analyses summarized in the table, what is actually being measured at each DYS site are so-called STRs or Short Tandem Repeats. The marker values are a measure of how frequently particular sequences of DNA bases are repeated at each DYS site on the Y-chromosome. In an attempt to place humans on a philogenetic tree, anthropologists have also in recent years used so-called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and correlated their findings with the ethnicities of various people and their movement throughout history and prehistory. As more data become available it has been possible to correlate certain patterns of STR marker values with the SNP analysis and therefore arrive at suggestions concerning the deep ancestry (5 to 10 thousand years or more) of individuals from their STR values. In the SNP analysis investigators initially assigned various letters to different branches on the human phylogenetic tree. These are referred to as haplogroups. However, since it was found that these initial SNP groups (or haplogroups) had further SNPs, what one really has is a series of haplogroup families headed by the initial ones characterized by capital letters. In the original attempt to name other members of these families alternating numbers and lower case letters were used to further subdefine the different branches on the human phylogenetic tree. However, it soon became clear that stringing a large number of letters and numbers together to name a subhaplogroup can be very cumbersome so another method has been derived to define each branch in the haplogroup families. By this method the branch is named by starting with the capital letter defining that haplogroup family and then adding the name of the terminal SNP that defines that branch. As an example of these methods for naming haplogroups, the haplogroup for kit 231326 in our Group B is currently named by the first method as R1b1a2a1a1c2b2a1 and by the second method as R-Z2. In other words, he is in the haplogroup R family but is in a branch of that family defined by a series of SNPs with the terminal one being Z2. This second method for naming branches of the haplotree is now being used most often. New SNPs continue to be identified at a fairly rapid pace. This is expected to continue in the immediate future, especially since methods for sequencing all or parts of the Y-chromosome are becoming readily accessable. Therefore, although the initial capital letter used to define a haplogroup family will likely not change, some of the additional numbers and letters to further define the haplogroup may change with time and new terminal SNPs may be found. The best up-to-date listing of haplogroups is maintained by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy at their ISOGG web site. There is frequently a considerable delay before FTDNA takes into account the recent results so their designation of the haplogroup for individual participants is often out of date.

By direct SNP analysis the haplogroup of any given Y-DNA sample can be measured; when this has been done the haplogroup designation in the Haplo column of the primary results table is given in bold green. However, in most cases that is not done because it has been possible to correlate certain patterns of STR marker values with the SNP analysis. Whit Athey has developed a formula for calculating the probable haplogroup from STR data and also at the FTDNA web site most participants receive an estimate of their suspected haplogroup. When predicted these haplogroup designations are given in regular black type in the Haplo column of the primary results table. As indicated in the table, the most common haplogroup found for participants in the Forrest/Forrester project is some variation of the R (or R1b1) haplogroup family but there are several with other haplogroups as well. It is not too surprising that most have the R1b1 haplogroup since the majority of British men are in this haplogroup and the immigrant ancestors to most of the current participants have probably come from Britain. The R1b1 haplogroup is not only common in England but is found throughout Europe with over 50% of all European men being R1b1. A summary of the suspected origin and distribution of various haplogroups in Europe can be found here. By SNP analysis those in Group A have been shown to belong specifically to the R-M222 haplogroup which was expected since this is characteristic of the so-called Northwest Irish Variety of R1b1a2.

The haplogroup for the two participants in Group D is E1b1b1 (or E-L117) . This haplogroup is much less common in Britain than R1b1a2 but it is known to occur there to some extent. The E1b1b1 haplogroup is believed to have evolved in the Middle East and is currently especially common around the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and in north and east Africa.


The number of participants in the Forrest/Forrester DNA project is still relatively small so it is perhaps not too surprising that few matches have yet been found. As more results become available one expects that more matches will be observed. Consequently, all those with Forrest/Forrester lines are encouraged to have some male from their line analyzed.

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Last updated July 2014