About The Project


About The Project
Oldest Ancestors
Participant Codes

About the Marshall Surname

"Originally a Marshall was a shoeing blacksmith, but as the importance of horses grew in both the economic and social life of the age, the importance of men expert in their care and selection grew too. In the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries a Marshall was a man in charge of the horses. The root of the word is probably the old French word "mareschal" meaning Ďone who tends the horsesí. The earliest record of the name is Goisfridus Marescal in 1204".
Source: J. R. Dolan, English Ancestral Names, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., New York, 1972.

To learn more about the Marshall name and one of the most famous Marshal's, one of our testees suggests his favorite book William Marshal, Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England, by Sidney Painter, John Hopkins Press, 4th printing 1971.  William was  born 1145 and died May 14, 1219.  The book is a thorough discussion of Williamís long and colorful history and lineage, as translated from the original French purportedly written by a close lifelong associate of Williamís soon after his 1219 death.  William, who became Earl of Pembroke by marriage, served as friend and confidant to 4 or 5 post 1160 English kings.  Among other things, he served as the Kingís administrator for all of southern Ireland, and signed Magna Carta as one of the Kingís witnesses.  His ancestors apparently arrived in England in 1066 with the Norman invaders.

Marshall's in the United States

In the first United States census (1790), approximately 280 Marshall families were enumerated living in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,  South Carolina, and Vermont. Approximately 125 families were also enumerated with the surname of Marshal (one "L").  In many cases, the second "L" was added or dropped by the enumerator without knowledge of the family.  Therefore, one could say that by 1790, over 400 Marshall/Marshal families had removed from other parts of the world to the United States or were born here after their parents arrived.

By the time of the Civil War, the Marshall family was well represented in the ranks for both the Confederate and Union.  Over 1500 Marshall's served with the South and over 2800 served with the North.

Marshall Surname DNA Project

With the large number of Marshall families in the United States over 200 years ago, many of us find that our traditional genealogical research is at a full stop due to courthouse fires, lost church records, or just no written records of our American ancestors.  Many have spent years of research and thousands of dollars attempting to connect themselves to other American Marshall's and to Marshall's back in Europe and the United Kingdom.  Several families have collected and published Marshall family histories that take them back to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, or even South Carolina.  But after all their efforts, there is still no connections outside the United States and many questions remain about the kinship of Marshall neighbors living nearby. Dedicated researchers call this stopping point a brick wall.

This Marshall Surname DNA Project is intended to help get the Marshall family more connected, breaking down as many of these so called brick walls as possible. 




The principal objective of this Project is to provide insight into the lineages for persons with the Marshall surname.  It entails Y-DNA testing for males with the Marshall surname in order to establish genetic connections with cousins worldwide, prove or disprove genealogical research through genetics, and research various theories of the origin of the Marshall surname.  There are several levels of interest in this objective.

    ●    The broadest interest deals with the origins of the Marshall surname, and if all Marshall lineages are linked together by a common ancestor?

    ●    A narrower interest deals with linkages among families, which immigrated to America from Europe or elsewhere 200-300 years ago. This same view would deal with families, which remained in countries of origin of the Marshall family. This is a much closer view than the common ancestor view, which might look back 500-1,000 years or more.

    ●    The more narrow interest deals with possible linkages within the past 5 to 8 generations. A relatively large number of families can trace their history back about 5-generations before the trail turns cold. Perhaps this Project can help those families link up with other lineages to which they might be related.

    ●    Finally, the most narrow interest involves those people who have no information about their ancestors before their grandparents. As the database of test samples grows with this Project, these people may discover connections to earlier Marshall families previously unknown or unsuspected.





Determine who is related


Prove or disprove theories regarding ancestral research


Solve brick walls in research


Validate existing research


Determine areas for further research


Develop a DNA database for future researchers


Requirements for Participation 

This project will test the Y-chromosome DNA of males with the Marshall, Marshal or similar surnames ("Marshall" will be used hereinafter to represent all these surnames). Males with two or three generations of known direct Marshall male descendants are eligible to be tested.  Since a father passes his exact Y-chromosome DNA to his son, this test can be used to determine common ancestors many generations back.


Selected Laboratory and Sample Collection

FamilyTreeDNA was selected as the company/laboratory to conduct these tests.  The test is not painful and does not include the use of needles or other sharp objects.  A cheek swab (Q-tip like device) is used to collect cells from the inside of the testee's cheeks.  The swab is then forwarded to the laboratory where the analysis is conducted.  The results can be made public and thus compared with others having the same type test performed, or the test results can be held in privacy.  The results are only meaningful when compared to others.  If made public, there is nothing that can be used to steal ones identity.  It can neither be used to get a drivers license, nor to remove assets for any financial institution.  The results are simply a series of numbers, something like this 12, 11, 14, 29, 9, 19, 14, 11, 11, 13, 17, 21. Please visit the laboratory's web site for additional information. By participating in this Marshall Surname DNA Project, each testee is eligible for a 33% reduction in the cost of the test.  The normal cost of a twelve marker test is $149.  Through this project, the cost is only $99.  One can join using the link at the bottom of this page.  Depending upon each testee's goals, the twenty-five marker test should also be considered at the group price of $169.  If determining a near term common ancestor is the goal, please consider this upgraded test.

Tests are now available at the 25, 37 and 67 marker level.  The 37 marker test has now become the standard.  This level seems to cost trade, benefit vs. cost for the majority of testees.  If one is looking to find a brother, son, father, uncle or nephew, the 67 level test is recommended.


Project Results

It is hoped that many male Marshall's with two or three known direct male Marshall ancestors will come forward for testing.  Using this large data base it is hoped that kinship connections can be made that cannot otherwise occur due to missing documentation.  For an example, there were two Marshall's that arrived in Southeast Alabama about the same time both from South Carolina.  If a Y-chromosome DNA match from direct male descendants of both men is found, it can be determined they have a common ancestor then conventional research can continue to locate the common father.  However, if the match is not there, the two families can move on and spend their time and money looking for other kin.

We now have our first connection of two Marshall families that before DNA testing were not able to prove a common ancestor.  Having test results with a 24 of 25 marker match and through additional research prompted by these results the two Marshall families have found a common ancestor in the early 1700's.  The two testees are Kit Numbers 17798 and 27215, Family Group 11.

We have also now located a direct male descendant of Chief Justice John Marshall for testing and his test results are now posted.

Join the Project

Click on the link below to join now.

Join the Marshall Surname DNA Project

Y Search Database

After joining and receiving the test results, please consider entering your results in this new database hosted by Family Tree DNA.  The database allows the testee to search all surnames for matching or near matching results.

Financial Benefit

The Group Administrator receives no financial benefit from your participation in this project.  The major benefiting parties are you and other Marshall related individuals/families in search of their roots.  Your test results generate another item of genealogical data available to researchers seeking to piece together this big puzzle, one piece at a time. 


© Copyright 2003 thru 2009  Marshall Surname DNA Project

Marshall Surname
DNA Project


The End