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DNA Study Note #14:


The subject of this note is a discussion of certain aspects of the DNA Study as it relates to "The York County Pennsylvania Strongs” and their possible relationships to “The Strange of Balcaskie” and the descendants of Samuel Strong of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.

Refer to: for presentation of DNA data relating to the Kits discussed here, and refer to

 for further background discussion.   See also the references found on the chart at


For many years there has been on-going discussion amongst many researchers concerning the origins of the lineage known as the “York County, Pennsylvania Strongs”… descendants of one James “Schim” Strong or Strang.   James Strong is said by some to have come from Ireland;  see the discussion at  Emmett Bratt suggests that  James Strong  is belived to have landed on the ship Hampshire and settled into York Cty, PA in 1752”; see:  It has been suggested by others that he came from Germany.   The fact that he married into a “Pennsylvania Dutch” family when he married the daughter of his employer, that his family were raised speaking German, and that  his Last Will and Testament was written in German, led many to conclude that he was in fact German.   No one has been able to trace his ancestry beyond establishing his date of birth, 2 February 1727.   


Through the cooperation of two DNA project participants, Kits #17527 and #17528,  from amongst the descendants of one of James Strong’s grandsons, Jacob Strong, we now have DNA evidence which tends to support the hypothesis that he was either from Scotland, or possible of Scots-Irish descent and from Ulster.   Our participants are members of The Jacob Strong Family Organization, of Salt Lake City, Utah.    The descendancy of members of this family from Jacob Strong is well documented, as is Jacob Strong’s identity as a grandson of James Strong of York Co., Pennsylvania.


The haplotype results for Kits #17527 and #17528 closely match the “Assumed Strange of Balcaskie Haplotype”.   This Assumed Haplotype is inferred from study of the DYS marker values accumulated from Kits #8881, 6680, 16001, and the addition of these latest kits.   Kit #8881 represents the Chief of Strange of Balcaskie; his lineage has been recognized as accurate by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.   The close match of the other kits to Kit #8881 tends to support the hypothesis that the lines represented by the other kits all are of Scottish descent.


Kit #8881 represents the longest lineage in the group, Clan Strange of Balcaskie, with some 22 generations.   Kits #6680 and #16001 represent lines descending from a single known common ancestor, Samuel Strong of Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania.     While there is no documented connection between Samuel Strong and The Strange of Balcaskie, the marker values of the two lines are remarkably similar.   If one assumes from the usual “Rule of Thumb” that one mutation will occur in 12 markers in 500 years, the three steps of difference involved are well within the range of possibility for these lines, if one assumes further that each of the two lines may have experienced mutations since the time they may have had a “Most Recent Common Ancestor”.   This assumption is reinforced when one notes that there is a two-step differential between Kits #6680 and #16001 which appears to have arisen in the span of the past 150 years since the lines represented split and descended from their Known Common Ancestor, William Adelbert Strong.  [Note a difference of one step at the results of DYS389ii minus DYS389ii, and also at DYS449].


The modal difference at DYS389ii minus DYS389i =16 for R1b haplotypes.   Thus Kits #6680 and #17527 are right on at {(DYS389ii=30 minus DYS389i=14)=16}.   Kits #8881 and #16001 are each off by one step with values resulting in 17.   Anecdotally, it appears that the differential between the two markers tends to mutate from time to time, but with subsequent mutation trends back toward a resultant value of 16.   One can infer that the existence of mutations around these two markers with resultant values of 16+/-1 is not hugely significant in evaluating the possibility of  a Common Ancestor.   Further, with regard to differences at DYS449, that marker is noted as a “rapidly mutating” marker.  Again, one can infer that the existence of a one step difference at DYS449 where the lines in question may have split at any time in the last 150 to 1000 years is not particularly disturbing in evaluating the possibility of a Common Ancestor.


Intriguingly, one might speculate that the Samuel Strong line of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania may be descended from James Strong of York County, Pennsylvania.    The close match of the DNA results, taken together with the fact that James Strong had several children, each of whom had descendants, not all of whom appear to have been completely and accurately traced through the records from his November 2, 1763 marriage to Maria Imenheiser  forward; that Samuel Strong’s ancestry  has not been traced further back in time than his approximate date of birth circa 1790-1794;  and further with the geographical proximity of the point of origin of the two lines in Pennsylvania, suggest that further research may result in  finding a relationship. 


We cannot, based on DNA evidence alone, conclude the relationship of the York County Pennsylvania Strong lineage to The Strange of Balcaskie lineage, nor to that of Samuel Strong of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, is proved.   That remains the province of traditional genealogical research.  However, the DNA evidence should help focus the further research efforts of the various lineages involved.   For a further examination of the hypothesis see DNA Note #21 .


David B. Strong (Click for contact information).

DNA Study Coordinator & webmaster:
Database and manuscript.  See especially Chap. 13,
entitled "Lineages"; and Chapt. 15, "DNA Study"
Research and study of Counties Donegal and Fermanagh Strongs and
related families.

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