Using y-dna testing in “deep family history” research

The popularity of “family history shows” has coincided with the creation of  an industry offering genetics testing for genealogical research. One product offered by this industry is testing “y-dna”, in which genetic information is passed from son to son.

The information provides insights into movement of men (and, by inference, their wives and daughters) through the hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution.

In limited, but important, circumstances, the y-dna tests can help in genealogical research, but how they can help is often misunderstood.

On this website, we explore and attempt to reconstruct the family history of a number of families, each of whom is descended from Europeans, particularly families from England, France,  Germany and Scandinavia.

There are two areas of y-dna research that have our attention. The first is the strong possibility, for which evidence continues to mount, that we have identified a line of fathers and sons involved in mercantile activities and seafaring, perhaps stretching back a millenium or more, whose surnames in the current generation are Saunders, Crump, Kerley and Burnett (the latter through the circumstances of three illegitimate sons whose father was almost certainly surnamed Saunders).

Another area relates to another, completely different male y-dna line, surnamed Carter, where the genealogical evidence suggests concerted mercantile and other economic activity, beginning possibly in 16th century Gloucestershire in England, and more certainly was in place in the 17th century Gloucestershire, the English port of Bristol, and Virginia.

Much information already exists on this website, but much more can and will be added.

At present we are particularly interested in connecting with persons who have information on men of y-dna haplogroup I1, M-253, whose SNP testings indicates they are positive for SNP Z-59 and negative for SNP Z-60. For more information, contact me at

William Burnett

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