Surname DNA Journal – Jan 2015 News

Posted    Last Modified: January 15, 2015 at 2:25 pm
· Announcements, Industry News

New Article

English surnames: Plural Origins and Emigration

By Dr. John S. Plant and Dr. Richard E. Plant
Doctors John and Richard Plant have written a number of important papers on English surnames previously and bring their formidable skills to Surname DNA Journal with a multi-faceted comparison of the distribution of English surnames in modern England versus the diaspora to former colonies.  They make distinctions between the relative rareness of the surname and the overall population size of persons using that surname. Geographical surname patterns, Monte Carlo population simulations, and Y-DNA results are also considered. Some examples using very early written sources are also used to address the controversy of single versus multiple surname origins in England. A reassessment of the DNA data and conclusions of King and Jobling’s 2009 results is also made. Overall, this article is an important analysis of the current state of research on English surname history using genetic genealogy.

Full Article

Genetic Genealogy News

Speaker Brad Larkin at the podium during genetic genealogy ireland 2014 conference in Dublin.

Surname DNA Journal Editor Brad Larkin gives a presentation on the Future of Genetic Genealogy during GGI 2014 in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Joss Ar Gall of ISOGG.

Report on Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2014 Conference

The Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2014 conference (primarily sponsored by Family Tree DNA) was a success with many DNA test kits sold and a healthy dialog established between historians and genetic genealogists.  Dr. Maurice Gleeson did a fabulous job of organizing and leading the event.  Here are links to some of the presentation and material we were involved in:


DNA vs the Irish Annals

The Future of Genetic Genealogy

Other presentations can be accessed via the GGI 2014 web site.

Y-STR Test Results Delayed at FTDNA

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) laboratory added to their holiday sale this year with a sort of scratch-off lottery discount program that did stimulate interest from consumers for upgrades.  Unfortunately, the throughput of DNA testing at FTDNA seems to have been behind ‘challenged’ even before the holiday sales.  Samples submitted for basic Y-STR testing in October are still not complete as of this writing (77 days and counting).  One commenter expressed the idea that DNA test results are in-effect a mail order product and that their fulfillment should be consistent with the reasonable basis guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  On the positive side for FTDNA, the throughput on Big-Y testing has improved greatly with a recent example coming back with results within 40 days. Kills Y-DNA and mtDNA Programs

FTDNA’s difficulties are nothing compared to the blow that inflicted on genetic genealogy by discontinuing its Y-DNA and mtDNA testing program and projects this past year., which was acquired by a European private equity firm in late 2012, also terminated a number of genealogy information-sharing platforms such as during 2014.

23andMe Turns to Pharma

23andMe has been unable to overturn the FDA ban on disclosing personal health information to consumers thus far despite powerful advocacy by some such as ISOGG Director Katherine Borges.  23andMe continues to sell autosomal DNA test kits in the United States but does not make the personal medical information available for new test results.   Strategically, 23andMe has turned to the pharmaceutical industry for funding and has struck deals involving revenue in exchange for drug companies being able to access 23andMe data and samples.  23andMe states that such access is only allowed if the participant has authorized their DNA results to be used in medical research.  It is ironic that the FDA’s ‘consumer protection’ is driving more exploitation of consumer data by the pharmaceutical industry.


Web Site Enhancements

By request, the Surname DNA Journal web site has added a global visitor counter with map as well as an article-specific view counter.  Our citation format has also been made more consistent with modified-APA format for new articles.


Surname DNA Journal welcomes original research papers on the subject of genetic genealogy. See our Author guidelines for more information and suggested topics. Research papers will be peer reviewed prior to publication which generally improves the presentation, quality, and soundness of the final paper.

For more information and to read the articles, see our homepage at