Border Reiver DNA By Surname
We have gathered the data displayed on these pages from the Border Reivers DNA Project at Family
Tree DNA, from private contributions, and from public haplotype databases such as YSearch and
Ybase. There is more data available for some of these surnames, but that is owned by other Surname
Projects administered through Family Tree DNA, and has not yet been contributed to any public
database. We have provided links to those Surname Projects that have websites, should you wish
to view the complete data set.
Please note the following:
1) We selected from YSearch and Ybase only those entries which gave evidence of ancestors from
England, Scotland or Ireland - or which explicitly noted an ancestor living in America who was
born prior to 1850.
2) If the earliest known ancestor could be traced back to the United States prior to 1850, British
(or Scotch-Irish) descent was assumed, and "British-USA" was assigned as "Place of Origin".
3) The term "Scotch-Irish" is used to identify entries of American origin that have not
declared their specific origins in the British Isles, but which do have origins in states of
the American South and Midwest known to have been settled primarily by Ulster Scots,
Lowland Scots and other North Britons. This group corresponds with the "Backcountry
Borderers" described with great skill in David Hackett Fischer's excellent book.
Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways In America.
4) We have taken care not to select entries whose surnames have been Anglicized from
other languages (such as "Little" from "Klein", "Stephens" from "Stefan",
or "Johnson" from "Johansen").
However, some individuals in this category may have been accidentally included.
5) We have obtained entries of a Scotch-Irish or Scottish origin whose surnames represent
septs of Border Clans, or which are known variations of Border Reiver surnames
(e.g., "Robinson" from "Robson", or "Hunt" from "Hunter"). We have integrated these
into our table under the Border Reiver surname, but with the real surname in parentheses.
We hasten to add that some of the Border Reiver surnames included, such as Turner,
Taylor and Chamberlain, are occupational surnames common throughout England,
and not all who bear them are necessarily descended from Border folk.
6) Most of the haplogroups here were suggested by the testing service, some were confirmed by
SNP tests - and the rest have been carefully estimated by comparisons with other haplotypes
that were officially assigned a haplogroup.
7) The surnames selected for this study include those listed in George Macdonald Fraser's
The Steel Bonnets, as well as those taken from other slightly different or more extended lists
found on various Border Reiver web sites. We have taken the vast majority of these surnames
It is important to note that not all of the surnames included in our study are those of classic Border
Reiver clans. Most are, but some surnames belong to the March Wardens who policed them (e.g.,
Wharton and Musgrave) - to families native to Southwest Scotland and Northern England who had
some interaction with the Border Reivers either as observers, victims, tenants, neighbors or collaborators
(e.g., Jackson, Crawford, Orr, Taggert, Langley, Allison and Hetherington) - and to noble families who
took a prominent part in Border Raids from the Scottish Wars of Independence of the 14th century to the
Pacification of The Borders in the 17th century (e.g., Bruce, Montgomery, Douglas, Kennedy, MacLellan,
Heron, Howard and, of course, Stewart). Taken altogether - whether noble or common - these families
represent the people of the Anglo-Scottish Borders.
Border Reiver Surname Map