This page is about the goals of Taylor Family Genes and the project's
progress in achieving them.
Our goals include:
- To aid Taylor families in linking together through DNA results;
- To remove questions causing brick walls and information blocks in family histories;
- To discover, through DNA, the global origins and evolution of the Taylor surname and Taylor
- To survey -- provide a resource and reference for -- Taylor DNA; and
- To provide future generations with documented backgrounds of their genetic heritage.
To aid Taylor families in linking together through DNA results
Linking is more commonly called "matching and grouping" in project
administration. It consists of determining which project members share a
common paternal ancestor and grouping them together into Taylor genetic
This activity is limited to Y-DNA because it is most closely associated with
the surname. We've been able to match up slightly more than
half of all members with Y-DNA results.
- After adjusting for those with inadequate resolution and those with
maternal and/or indirect Taylor ancestry, the matched proportion rises to
almost 3/4, a considerable achievement.
An advanced aspect of linking is to determine branches of genetic
families. See our
triangulation page. For a variety of reasons, we've been less successful
To remove questions causing brick walls and information blocks in family histories;
Our ancestors did not always stay put, often moving several times in a
generation. Often, they left few clues as to their origins.
Connecting with other of their descendants can provide valuable clues to
complete a family history. We have been able to match up about half of project
members with genetic cousins.
One surprisingly common reason for many genealogical brick walls (i.e.,
dead ends) is "NPE", for "not the parent expected". We define NPE
as a "surname discontinuity"; the child does not bear the same surname as
the biological father.
This can happen for many reasons, including adoption and name change.
Up to 40% of families have an NPE somewhere in their family trees. (See our
NPE page for more.)
These events are often poorly, if at all, documented
and seldom discussed. They are often discovered only through DNA testing.
They present an issue which is sometimes sensitive. We have helped many project members find their ways past these
To discover, through DNA, the global origins and evolution of the Taylor
surname and Taylor families
There is not, and never has been, a single founding patriarch for the
Taylor surname. We estimate that there were no less than 200 and likely as
many as 2,500 founding Taylor families; they were overwhelmingly English,
though a minority of Taylor families originated in Scotland and Ireland..
The name's source is occupational. Taylor comes from the Old French "le tailleur",
a cutter of cloth. More is on this page.
Our results support the finding of multiple origins for the Taylor name; that
is, many unrelated families adopted the name when surnames became universal,
probably prior to 1400 AD. Y-DNA results fall into the haplogroups common in
England and in approximately the same distribution.
Some clues as to the origins can be gleaned from Y-DNA haplogroup statistics:
- 70% of Taylors are haplogroup R1b1a2 (shorthand. R-M269); this consists of two predominant
- R1b1a2a1a2 (R-P312) represents two-thirds of the R-M269 (46% overall). The
prevalence in the Taylor surname is mostly attributable to Celtic
migrations into the British Isles during the Bronze and Iron Ages. (2-4
- R1b1a2a1a1 (R-U106) represents one-third of these (23% overall). The
prevalence in the Taylor surname is most attributable to
Anglo-Saxon migrations into the British Isles from about 400 AD.
- Haplogroup I (15% overall) originated in Europe and its highest frequencies
are in Scandinavia.
It was probably carried to the British Isles by Norse raiders and
settlers, about 800 AD.
- I1 (I-M253) represents two-thirds of I haplogroup Taylors (10% overall).
- I2 (I-M438 or I-M223) represents one-third of I Taylors (5% overall).
- Haplogroup E (E-M96) and its subclades represent 5% of Taylors. This is
an old haplogroup, having emerged some 50-55 kya and found at low to
moderate levels in various parts of Europe, where it may have spread during
the Neolithic Age. Some ancient European remains from 6-9 kya are E.
- Haplogroup G (G-M201) includes 3% of Taylors. The haplogroup originated
14-30 kya and G men may have been among the inhabitants of Europe in the Ice
- About 3% of Taylors are haplogroup J (J-P209), including J1 and J2. The haplogroup is most
frequent in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and Middle East, but spread to Europe
during the Ice Age, say 12-20 kya.
- Another 3% of Taylors are R1a (R-M512), a classic Scandinavian haplogroup and
probably carried to British Isles in Norse settlement.
- About 1% of Taylors are in haplogroups A, N, O & Q taken all
together. We think they mostly represent adoption of the surname post-1600.
Taylor is the 5th most frequent surname in the United Kingdom,
where it is borne by more than 0.5% of the population. It is 13th in the US, with about 0.3%. The name is ubiquitous throughout the British Isles, with these distinctions:
- It is somewhat more frequent in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and the
West Midlands than in other English counties;
- It is decidedly less frequent in Wales;
- It is more common in lowland Scotland than in the Highlands;
- It is more common in northern Ireland (Ulster Province, plus County
Donegal) than in southern
Ireland (Irish Republic, less County Donegal).
More statistics can be obtained from
The name spread to the New World with emigration from the British Isles where,
in English-speaking countries, it
maintained a position among the most frequent names in the local populations. The name had
also been adopted by some families whose ancient ancestry lies outside the British Isles;
they are no less Taylors.
To survey -- provide a resource and reference for -- Taylor DNA
We are close to attaining a sample size (AKA, "penetration rate")
sufficient to start drawing some conclusions about Taylor Y-DNA in the
We are beginning to see which Taylor genetic families are more closely related, and
which more distantly. It is a difficult task because (1) of the wide variety in the DNA
and (2) we are -- mostly -- looking beyond genealogical time. Fortunately, the FTDNA TiP
(Time Predictor) tool allows us to measure the similarity and dissimilarity of any pair
of project members.
We have, for example, found a cluster of genetic families near the center of the DNA
space in R1b and another cluster of families sharing Irish heritage. More information
on the survey can be found on each genetic family's group page.
We still have an inadequate penetration in England to draw any conclusions. We are aggressively
addressing this issue.
To provide future generations with documented backgrounds of their
This website provides facilities for project members to publish their
Taylor family trees in an abbreviated form (focusing on Taylors). About a third of members have
done so and their trees can be searched.
We encourage you to submit your Taylor lineage.
E-mail it to a project admin team member. We will publish it for you.
We also encourage uploading a complete GEDCOM file to the FTDNA database;
about 16% have done so. Log
onto your My FTDNA pages
with your kit number and password, then click "Manage personal information"
under "Profile" and select the "Genealogy" tab.