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Y-DNA Results

This page reviews the publishing of Y-DNA results from the project, what we publish on this site and what is published on other sites. It also summarizes the findings of the Project to date.

Also review our About Y-DNA page.


We do not publish individuals' detailed DNA results; those may be found on the FTDNA site. While DNA results are essential to conclusions about genetic relationships, they are also private information.

We do publish some aspects of DNA results when relevant to genetic families. These may include genetic distances & marker differences between members of genetic families.

Summary: Overall Findings

Contrary to the belief of some, there is not one homogenous Taylor family with a common patriarch; there are many separate and distinct Taylor families, each with its own heritage.

We estimate that there are at least 250 and, perhaps, as many as 2,500 separate Taylor lineages. While we say that based on the DNA evidence, it is also consistent with the history of the surname's origin -- adopted in many places from the occupation and probably mostly in the mid-14th century..

Both of these findings would be expected for a multi-origin occupational surname originating in the mid- to late 1300s.

How many Y-DNA markers to test?

More is better than less, because more markers give higher-resolution results and permit more precise interpretation. Taylor Family Genes recommends at least 37 markers and specifically recommends against the 12-marker test as inadequate for most genealogical purposes.

All Results

All Y-DNA results from the Taylor Family Genes Project can be found here on the Family Tree DNA public site, see http://www.familytreedna.com/public/taylorfamilygenes/default.aspx?section=yresults

Interpreting Y-DNA Results

Y-DNA results mean little in isolation; they take on meaning only in comparison to others' results. When two or more sets of results are sufficiently similar, we can conclude that the men share a common direct paternal ancestor (i.e., a "common male ancestor" or CMA) and something about when that CMA may have lived. The comparison relies on two factors:

Another way to put this is that your results represent a description of your haplotype; the more markers, the more complete the description.  We look at teh descriptions to assess the similarity of haplotypes; the more similar they are, the more likely that the men share a common paternal ancestor and the more recent in time.

For more, see the discussion of genetic families below.

Convergence Caveat

Recent advances in SNP testing and understanding of Y-DNA have brought to the fore a new consideration:  Under some circumstances, some haplotypes have converged toward similarity, though they do not share paternal ancestors in genealogic time. For men with very many matches, we recommend relatively detailed SNP testing.


We caution against placing too much emphasis on surnames in Y-DNA match interpretation. It may be misleading in up to 40% of instances. We have seen too many examples of persons with different surnames sharing a CMA when adequate documentary research is done. The association between surname and Y-DNA haplotypes may be much less strong than generally believed.

Genetic Family Results

As of this writing, we've identified ~82 genetic Taylor families among the members, whose Y-DNA is sufficiently similar to indicate a common male ancestor within genealogic time. About 54% of project members with Y-STR results are assigned to one of these genetic families.

How genetic families are found and named

A matched group is formed when two or more project members, at least one of whom has the Taylor surname, are found to have  a Y-DNA match of sufficient quality for us to conclude that there is a high (~80% or more) probability of them sharing a common direct paternal ancestor within genealogic time (24 generations). While there are sometimes complications, the types of matches which qualify are:

Legacy matches

In the early days of the project, some men who had tested only 12 Y-DNA markers were placed in matched groups. With hindsight based on more knowledge, this was unwise and does not meet the scientifically-based standards in place since 2008. However, we  are not revoking those assignments. The group assignments will continue but members should remember that scientific support is slim.

Group Statistics

We publish group statistics for those groups, including the markers and allele values, with the count of the number in the group who've tested each marker and the mode of the allele values.

The mode is a measure of central tendency for grouped data, the most frequent value in the group. Individuals may vary from the mode. As the most frequent value, it is thought to most closely represent the "original" haplotype of the line.

Publishing group statistics does not reveal the specific Y-DNA of individual members of the group, but does allow viewers to assess whether their Y-DNA (if known) would match the group.

See our Groups page for links to the groups and their Y-DNA statistics.

Most Recent Common Male Ancestor (MRCMA)

It should be obvious that -- if two men share one common ancestor -- they will also share that ancestor's ancestors. Therefore, the priority is on determining the most recent of the common ancestors, MRCMA.

This can be estimated probabilistically, based on the resolution and quality of the Y-DNA match. Higher resolutions (more markers compared) and smaller genetic distances lead to a higher probability of the MRCMA being more recent. Conversely, lower resolution or larger genetic distances lead to a lower probability and a larger time window.

For a simplified model, see this page.

Unmatched Results

Almost one-half or more of Taylor Family Genes  members do not have high-quality matches with other members of the project and, therefore, can not be placed in one of our matched groups. (Project administrators can work only with results of project members.) The shorthand term is "singletons". However, few members -- less than 10% -- have no matches in the FTDNA database and some of these matches are of high quality and resolution.

We do not publish individuals' Y-DNA results. They are, however, available directly from Family Tree DNA at the URL given above

By definition, "unmatched" means that the individual results do not share sufficient common characteristics for any grouping to be meaningful. For us to publish this information would require specifically identifying a person with his DNA. We choose not to do this.

Comparing results between companies

Different companies may report different values for the same Y-DNA, due to differences in technical, counting & reporting procedures. It does not mean that either is "wrong", only that conversion to a common basis is required in order to compare the separate results.

Revised: 15 Aug 2014