Skuce Family DNA Project

Pedigrees and Results page

Great news for genealogists, particularly women!

How might joining this project help my Skuce family research?

At a brick wall with your Skuce ancestor? Don’t know where to look next? Wonder whether the Bristol Skuses are related to the Irish Skuses? Or the Wiltshire Skuses? Or the Oxforshire Skuses? Well, testing males with the Skuce or variants surnames from each of these regions will answer which branches or the family are related and which ar not. That is the essence of Y-DNA testing.

Where do you go looking for your brick wall? Knowing that your ancestral line is not related to the family from another region can save you time in needless research. Knowing that it is related can provide encouragement.

Additionally, you may identify cousins (matches) who definitely share a common Skuce ancestor. You can contact them and, potentially, share research. As a service, participants' contributed pedigrees are part of this website.

The DNA contributor must be male and carry the surname of interest (Skuce or similar). If that does not match you, the researcher, you may be able to recruit a brother, parent, uncle or cousin to provide the DNA sample (using a painless cheek swab)

Project Overview

Our Skuce DNA Project began in January 2007 at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) after some discussion on the SKUCE mailing list on rootsweb.

Early in February 2007, a few days after announcement of the project, the first participant joined. There are now nine Y-DNA participants. Seven of the results match proving they share a common Skuce ancestor. These participants did not know they were related, each had traced their earliest-known Skuce ancestor to Ireland. These project members live in the US, the UK and Canada. The other two participants are from other branches.

We also have a female perticipant who has taken a Family Finder test.

The purpose of the project is to assist Skuce family genealogists to make connections with proven relatives using the tools of DNA testing. By collaboratively sharing the testing results and pedigrees via this website it guides Skuce family researchers to find documentary source to back up known connections.

The project goals will change over time as results come in but the current goal of the project is to determine just how people with the surname Skuce, Skuse, Skues, Skews, Skewis and other variants are related. Much of the time there is insufficient 'paperwork' to achieve this particular goal. DNA testing cannot, at the current time, tie anyone back to a particular person in the distant past but Y-DNA testing can prove whether two individuals have a common ancestor through the male line within, say, 1000 years. Autosomal DNA testing, such as Family Finder, allows participantes to identify cousins on all lines but is only reliable in finding up to fifth cousins. The closeness of the match will indicate a approximate timeframe. Since Y-chromosome DNA and surnames are passed on through the male line DNA corresponds very closely with surnames (see Exceptions section).

Purpose of this website

The purpose of this website is to provide information about the Skuce DNA project and to provide information about the descendants of the Skuce ancestors of participants. This will include

  • The current goals
  • The results so far - without revealing personal details to identify participants
  • Who is being tested and the descendancy chart of their most distant Skuce ancestor - again without revealing personal details of living people
  • Rudimentary details about the origins of the various Skuce families
  • Provide links to other websites which may be of use to Skuce researchers
  • General information about genetic genealogy

Spelling of the surname

Centuries ago people's attitude towards spelling was very different from today. Many people were illiterate and those who could write just did the best they could - writing things as they heard them.

So, even though we may be very particular how people spell our surname these days, it is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Although this project describes itself as the "Skuce family" project it includes all spelling variants.

Origins of the surname

Cork, Ireland

Seven members of this project trace their origins to Ireland, four of them to County Cork in the latter half of the 1700's. Keith Skues wrote on the Skuce list on Rootsweb in 2002 "John gave much information that I did not know concerning the SKUCEs of West Cork dating back to 1590."


One participant traces his origin back to Cornwall in the early 1700s. There are several places in South West and Southern England where Skuces lived over many generations in the 1500s, 1600s and 1700's. They include Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. Provided that there are current representatives of those families with the Skuce surname willing to contribute this project could easily determine which of those families are related to each other. It can also determine whether the any of the English branches are related to the Cork Skuces.

What do test results look like?

The primary result of a Y-DNA test is a series of numbers, either 12, 25, 37, 67 or 111 numbers depending on which test has been purchased. Twelve markers tests are not recommended for surname projects - conclusions cannot be drawn with statistical confidence. Anyone who matches those numbers closely is related to you. The closeness of the match will indicate how far back you share a common ancestor. A 36 or 37 out of 37 would indicate a more recent common ancestor than, say, a 34 out of 37 match. There are tables on FTDNA's websites to estimate the number of generations back that two people share a common ancestor. FTDNA lets participants know when they match others in their project or within FTDNA's database (participant's choice). Additionally there are databases to which participants may upload their results to find matches with people tested by other companies.

There is a Y-DNA test available called the Big Y. It tests many more markers, is considerably more expensive and is only relevant to those doing advanced DNA research.

The results and the pedigrees of our participants can be viewed on the pedigrees and results page.

Although not strictly related to surnames the Y-DNA test results also allow a determination of which Y-haplogroup the participant belongs to. A haplogroup can be thought of as a tribe; people descended from a single individual who lived many thousands of years ago. Knowing one's haplogroup can indicate the geographical area of the participant's paternal ancestry. Included with your results you will be told your haplogroup which is a short code such as I1a or R1b. Using these two examples, haplogroup I1a probably has its roots in northern France and currently is found most frequently within Viking / Scandinavian populations. Haplogroup R1b is the most common haplogroup in European populations. It is believed to have expanded throughout Europe from the Iberian Peninsula as humans re-colonized Europe after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago. There are dozens of haplogroups and much research is being done to analyse the history of each of them.

The participants with their origins in Ireland who have received their results are haplogroup I2b, unusual for that area. The participant with origins in Cornwall is in haplogroup I2a also unusual for that location. I2b is now most common in Scandinavia and Northwest Europe. I2a is now most common in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

How to join our project

Testing for surname projects is now possible with one of two tests.

The Y-DNA test tests non-coding (i.e. not genes) on the Y-chromosome. This chromosome is carried by males only. Skuce females are welcome to join the project but would have to get a brother, cousin, father or grandfather to provide the DNA sample of couls take the Family Finder test (see below). The sample can be provided by any male who has the Skuce or variant surname. Click here to request to join the Skuce DNA Project and to order a DNA test kit which will be mailed to you.

The Family Finder test was introduced in April 2010. It tests DNA that is inherited from both parents. Each participant is compared with others who have taken the test. It can confidently match up to 4th cousins and can give tentative matches to 5th cousins and higher. This test may be taken by males and females.

DNA is collected by scraping the inside of the cheek with a small soft brush provided in the kit. It is a simple, painless procedure and does not involve any drawing of blood.

Participants' pedigrees

This is a collaborative project and all participants are encouraged to contribute their pedigrees back to their earliest Skuce ancestor. The purpose of this is to let researchers analyse the relationship between the various lines and to give potential participants a chance to see what lines are represented so far.

The pedigrees of our current participants can be viewed on the pedigrees and results page.

Circumstances where a test may lead to unexpected conclusions

There are circumstances where children do not share the surname of their biological father. There are several reasons this can happen; some were particularly prevalent in past times. Females may get pregnant to men other than their husbands. Children born outside marriage would usually take their mothers surname or perhaps later her new husband's surname. High mortality or poverty often meant that orphans or children of poverty-stricken parents were adopted, informally until recent times, by relatives such as a sister, aunt or grandparents. Some societies used a system of naming where surnames were not passed from father to son, as Y-DNA is; for example the patronymic naming system that was widespread in Wales until the Industrial Revolution.

Y-DNA analysis is going to show a 'no match' if one of the above circumstances has occurred along a participant's male line.

Request for information

For the project and its associated webpages to be as successful as they can be I would like as much feedback, comments, criticisms, suggestions and links to other webpages as you can provide.

In particular, I would like to build a picture of the various Skuce 'tribes' that we know of. I am particularly interested in the geographic area, most common spelling(s), the earliest known occurrence of the name, if they spawned any 'sub-tribes' e.g. went to Canada or Australia and if they are still in the same district to this day.
Please email me your contributions of information.

General Information

Click here to see current prices in US dollars (prices do change from time to time so please check prior to placing any order). A small charge is made for international postage. If you have already taken a test you can find the prices and order upgrades from your own Family Tree DNA personal page.

FTDNA can ship a DNA test kit to any country in the world.

Once FTDNA has received your kit you may order upgrades to a Y-DNA test for a larger number of markers or other tests without having to resubmit a sample. It is more expensive to order a test and then upgrade than it would be to order the higher test in the first place. Family Finder test require a unused vial.

The advantage of the 25, 37 & 67 marker Y-DNA tests is that testing more markers helps to narrow down how recently two or more SKUCE men share a common ancestor. If they substantially match on those tests then they have stronger proof that they share an ancestor within a more recent time period and it would be easier to determine when their common ancestor lived. There is a 12 marker test but is too few markers to make conclusions about matches with a high probability.

SKUCE project members that have matching DNA scores are notified by FTDNA of the names and e-mail addresses of each participant who is a match. The participants then share their genealogical research with each other and work together to learn more about how they are related to each other and try to discover who their common paternal ancestor was.

Click here to request to join the Skuce DNA Project and to order a DNA test kit which will be mailed to you:

You will need to make a choice of test. There is a drop-down menu at the above website and you can click on which of the tests you want to order. You can also choose whether you want an invoice to be mailed with the DNA sample kit (which you can pay for later by a variety of methods including credit/debit card or Paypal) or if you want to pay for it with a credit/debit card. When you receive your DNA sample kit from FTDNA, a Release Form will be enclosed authorising Family Tree DNA to use your DNA sample for genealogical testing. This form should be signed by you and returned with your DNA sample otherwise you will not be matched against other participants.

Other genetic genealogy tests are available that are not useful to surname studies but do provide interesting information. There is sub-clade testing where you can determine which sub-group of your Y-chromosome haplogroup you belong to. Both men and women can have their mitochondrial DNA tested. Mitochondrial DNA is passed virtually unchanged from a mother to all her children. It changes (mutates) even more rarely than the Y-DNA so is useful only in identifying a different set of haplogroups relating only through the female line. That is, you can find out the 'tribe' of your mother's mother's ... mother going back thousands of years.

Useful links


The SKUCE Surname DNA Project organisers have no commercial affiliation with FTDNA or any profit making organisation and receive no compensation for services or expenses involved with the project.

While a match between two participants may indicate that they share a common male ancestor, it will not identify the specific ancestor and there is no guarantee that every participant will match another participant.


Please contact the SKUCE DNA project coordinator for further information about the project or to contribute information.

[ Email Project coordinator ]

We are counting visitors since December 2018


Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Last updated 9 Dec 2018

Copyright © 2007-2018 Robert Allison. All rights reserved.