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Due to the interest of several members of the Hamilton National Genealogical Society, Inc. (HNGS) in a DNA project focused on the Hamilton surname, HNGS in 2002 initiated such a project. Participation is not limited to HNGS members or to residents of the USA; any person with a Hamilton lineage (or some variant of this name, such as Hambleton) from anywhere in the world is welcome and encouraged to participate. On this page a brief description of the project, as well as the procedures you should follow if you wish to participate, are given. On a second page a more extensive discussion of the study and the reasons why each of you should consider participating is presented.

Since markers on the Y-chromosome are being analyzed in this study, the DNA sample donor must be a male with a direct male Hamilton lineage. Only males have the Y-chromosome and it is passed directly, virtually unchanged, from father to son, never to or from females. Thus, females interested in obtaining information about their Hamilton lineage would need to have a male relative (father, brother, uncle, a male cousin, etc., from their direct Hamilton line) actually supply the sample for analysis. Sample collection is painless; it merely involves rubbing the inside of the cheek with a foam swab.

Initially, one of the goals of the project was to determine whether most Hamiltons are derived from one common ancestor or whether there were several initiating ancestors. From the results obtained to date it is evident that there were several initiating ancestors. However, the results have also shown many Hamilton lines, not previously known to be related, are in fact related and derived from a common ancestor. Thus, the participants from these lines have new avenues to explore in pursuing their Hamilton genealogy. Finding relationships among various Hamilton lines is one of the main goals of this project. Other goals are to determine what lines are derived from Walter Fitzgilbert de Hamilton and from other well documented Hamilton lines in Scotland, and what lines are connected to that of Alexander Hamilton, the statesman, founding father of our country, and first treasurer of the United States.

The primary company that is doing the DNA analyses in this study is Family Tree DNA. As a member of our Hamilton surname group, the usual cost for a 12 marker Y-chromosomal DNA test (Y-DNA12) by FTDNA is $99, for a 25 marker test (Y-DNA25) is $124, for a 37 marker test (Y-DNA37) is $149 and for a 67 marker test (Y-DNA67) is $239. In addition, there is a $4 postage charge for US residents and $6 for mailing the test kits to foreign addresses. If you initially obtain results for 12, 25 or 37 markers, you can (for a fee) upgrade to more markers at a later date without sending a new test sample since the company stores your original sample for several years. It is strongly recommended that participants in our DNA project choose at least the 37 marker test (Y-DNA37) because the 12 and 25 marker tests are frequently not definitive enough to make distinctions among different lines. However, if cost is not too much of a concern the 67 marker test (Y-DNA67) would be even better.

Each participant is given a personal page on the FTDNA web site where the participant’s test results, and comparisons of the results with others in the FTDNA database, can be viewed when the results become available (typically 4 to 6 weeks after FTDNA receives the test kits back in their facility). Most communication with participants is by email but FTDNA also eventually sends each participant a written report and certificate with that person’s results. From time to time a summary of the results obtained by all members of the group will be posted at this web site. Names of sample donors will not be used in the web reports; the results will be linked only to the earliest known Hamilton ancestors of each participant. In this way the results become useful since it is by comparing the results of each participant with those of others that meaningful genealogical conclusions can be drawn.

Contact Person and Procedures for Participants to Follow

All communication concerning this DNA project should be directed to HNGS Life Member Gordon Hamilton who has volunteered to be the project coordinator and to oversee all aspects of the study. He can be reached by email (preferable method), by regular mail at 806 McCormick Ave, State College, PA 16801-6527, or by telephone at 814-238-5695. To initiate the process each potential participant should send to the coordinator the name, mailing address, telephone number and email address of the person who will be the sample donor and to whom the test kit should be sent. If someone else will be paying for the test then you should also also send the name, mailing address, telephone number and email address of the person to whom the invoice for the test should be sent. Unless you specify otherwise each participant will be signed up for the 37 marker test.

When the foregoing information is received the coordinator will sign you up with Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) as a participant in the Hamilton DNA project. Within a few days you should receive from FTDNA a test kit, instructions on how to collect the DNA sample, and an invoice for the test. After collecting the DNA sample you should return the test kit and invoice with your payment directly to FTDNA.

Eventually each participant should also send to the coordinator a list (or a pedigree chart or Gedcom file) of your direct Hamilton line back to your earliest known Hamilton ancestor. This information is needed when the results are posted to the web summary. As indicated in the current results compilation, you will not be identified in web reports, only your earliest known Hamilton ancestors will be associated with the results.

If you have any questions concerning the project that are not covered above, do not hesitate to contact the coordinator.

Last updated February 2011