Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Y-DNA: Why men with different surnames have a Y-DNA match

Ron Hawkins sent me a very interesting article to read that tells about why participants with differing surnames may have a yDNA match.

You can read the article for yourself at:


Ron went on to tell about his own experiences with his research on his wife's ancestors which is enlightening.  Here is the information that Ron sent:

The information above I found online.   I was curious about on how the exact and close matches in Y-DNA and different surnames occur. I ran across how this could have happened while doing my wife’s family tree at the same time I was working on mine. Her family roots trace back to Norway and had I not found her relatives over there I would not have made the connection on how surnames changed. In a matter of fact they changed numerous times back in the day.  The naming patterns quite sometime ago back in Norway was different then they are now. Now the surname stays the same but was not the case years ago. Let me explain, and here is an example.

In Norway and I assume it was in other countries as well in Europe most of the people lived on farmlands, and each farm had names as well. In tradition when a family had a farm the farm was first offered to the eldest child of the family, if they did not want to live there then it was offered to the next eldest child and so on which would then become the owner of the farm. Then the parents would move into the house to live out the remainder of their lives. Most of the farms had either 1 large house or 2 houses on the farm. As I stated earlier on the naming patterns I see how the surnames changed however the Y-DNA stayed the same. Back in time in some parts of Europe the naming pattern was quite different. If the eldest child or whoever took over the farm from their parents was a male the surname and Y-DNA would stay the same, however if the eldest child that took over the farm was female this is how the Y-DNA and surname changed because of the naming pattern back then. The naming pattern back then was a little confusing if you are doing research because of this.

For a example of what I mean is as follows. Let’s assume there was a father named Nils Rustad in Norway and his wife just gave birth to a son and they named him Tor. The child’s name would end up being Tor Nilson Rustad. Tor being his given name, his middle name Nilson, means son of Nils, and his last name comes from which farm they lived on, as I stated each farm had a farm name as well as most still do yet today. So if the next generation taking over a farm in the family was a female from the family even though her husband may have had a surname such as Kraby, when they started a family the children’s surname would end up becoming Rustad because they lived on the Rustad farm. A little confusing in doing genealogy work but hope this sheds some light to other Hawkins researchers out there. I believe this is the number one cause of Y-DNA and surname changes, followed by adoption, then followed by children born to un-wed mother’s who’s children took their mother’s surname and not the father’s.

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