Holden Surname DNA Project

Holden DNA Genealogy Project

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The goal of the HOLDEN DNA Genealogy Project is to add to what we already know about our ancestors from genealogy research by using the technology of DNA testing.  Anyone with Holden lineage (as well as those with Hauldren, Holdin, Holding, Holdren, Olding or other variant spellings of the surname) from anywhere in the world is welcome and encouraged to participate.  DNA tests can show:

The Y-chromosome passes virtually unchanged from father to son to grandson to great-grandson, etc.  That is why it is of interest to genealogists.  A male has exactly the same Y DNA as his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. or close to the same when counting in mutations (random changes that rarely occur).  The DNA tests of men with the same surname can be compared to see if they had a common ancestor or not.  If two Holden males share the same DNA test results, they share a common ancestor somewhere back in time.  If the DNA test results are different, the two men can rule out being related.

DNA testing is useful in several circumstances.  If a Holden ancestor from many generations ago had two or more sons, then DNA tests of descendants of each of these sons would help to confirm genealogy research showing that these people are part of the same family and not a different person who happened to have the same last name.  If two or more people with the same last name lived in the same place at the same time but there are no records that show if they are the same family, DNA tests of their descendants can be compared to see if they are related or not.  Genealogists also face difficulties in proving that people who moved from one location to another or that people with variant spellings of the same surname are related or not.  Matching, or mismatching, DNA test results from their descendants may be able to provide the answer.

Since markers on the Y-chromosome are analyzed to determine the DNA test results, the person taking the DNA test must be a male with direct paternal Holden lineage.  Males have one Y-chromosome from their father and one X-chromosome from their mother.  Females have two X-chromosomes - one from their father and one from their mother.  Since females do not have Y DNA, they are unable to be tested themselves; however they may be able to find a father, brother, uncle, or male cousin to take the test on their behalf, someone who is a direct patrilineal descendant of the Holden ancestor.

Tests for the Holden Genealogy Project are done for us through a company called Family Tree DNA, one of the leading companies in the field of genetic genealogy.  The test is simple, painless, done at home, and does not require blood to be drawn.  After receiving the test kit in the mail, the participant swabs cells from the inside of his cheek with a small brush and mails the test tubes and release form back to Family Tree DNA in Houston, Texas.  The tests are processed by a lab at the University of Arizona.  Family Tree DNA sends results to the participant and also will inform them in the future when someone else has a matching DNA test.  The Holden DNA Genealogy Project organizes matching results into groups of related individuals and posts that information in the results table of this web page along with genealogy information submitted by the participants about their ancestors and the places their ancestors lived.

The Holden DNA project is run by volunteers who are Holden descendants and interested in genealogy.  We do not make any money from the DNA tests or the project, but are interested in providing a forum where Holdens doing DNA testing can compare results to further their genealogy research.  If you have questions, contact Kathryn Hamilton, the coordinator of the Holden DNA Genealogy Project, at the address listed below.

Sometimes the Holden surname has been spelled as Holder, and vice versa.  DNA tests can show whether the two families are related or not. To compare results to the Holder DNA Project see: mindspring.com/~holderdna/

To Participate

To order a test kit as part of the Holden surname group, go to FamilyTreeDNA.com, click on surname projects, find the Holden surname, and click on the link there.  Or you can go directly to the link for ordering a test kit by clicking Here.

You have the choice of ordering one of four different versions of the Y-DNA test, each with a different number of markers.  The discounted group rates for participants in the Holden surname project are:
           Y-DNA 12 marker test $  99
           Y-DNA 25 marker test $148
           Y-DNA 37 marker test $189
           Y-DNA 59 marker test $269

In addition there is a $4 charge for shipping to US residents and a $6 charge to foreign addresses.  Payment can be made either on line or by mailing a check or submitting credit card information with your invoice.  Some families choose to have several family members contribute to cover the cost of the test.

Ordering a 37 marker test is recommended for participants in the Holden DNA project. Having results from more markers provides more data. If someone orders a test with 12 or 25 markers and find out that they match to someone else but cannot link their family trees through genealogy research, they can narrow down the estimated time to their most recent common ancestor by upgrading to the 37 or 59 marker test. On the other hand, mismatching results on a 12 marker test can clearly show that two people are not related, but more markers are needed to show the degree of relationship when the two tests have matching results.  Matching results in 25 marker tests may be sufficient to confirm relationships already shown in genealogies.  Those are some general guidelines in helping you decide which test to order.

When ordering a test kit, you also need to send a list of your ancestors and the locations where your ancestors lived (not including current generations and living people).  This information is used to organize results by kinship groups on the results page of this web site.

This is an ongoing project and new participants are welcome.  We are particularly looking to get tests from people who live in England or who can trace their ancestors to a known location in England to link to matching results of people whose ancestors migrated to other locations.

To ask questions and to submit data about your ancestors, contact Kathryn Hamilton – the coordinator of the Holden surname group at:


Revised March 31, 2009