Caithness and Sutherland DNA Project


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Caithness and Sutherland DNA Project

This is a Global DNA Project for Sutherland's around the world and all others who descend from the North of Scotland in Sutherland and Caithness. Have any questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us. 

Below is a video clip from Dr. Greenspan (CEO of FamilyTree DNA) outlining the reasons for analyzing your DNA to further your genealogical research.

 Which DNA test is the right one for you?

Paternal Lineage Test

If your goal is to try to expand your family tree, the Paternal Lineage tests provide the DNA results necessary to help find other participants who might be genetically related to you. The Paternal Lineage test analyzes specific segments of the Y-chromosome which is only found in males. And because the Y-chromosome is passed largely unchanged from father to son, DNA results from a male participant today can be used to represent the paternal lineage dozens of generations into the past.
 
Are you a male whose surname is Sutherland (or a female whose father, grandfather, brother or paternal Uncle or cousin is a Sutherland)? Or do you descend from ancestors who came from the North of Scotland? Would you like to find out about your deep ancestry and whether or not you are relatesd to other's throughout the globe who are also participants in our 'Sutherland DNA Project'? Then follow the link below to get started: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Caithness/
 
Note: If you are female, you can recruit a brother, father, or paternally related Uncle or Cousin to provide the DNA sample to use as if it were your own. Otherwise, maternal testing is also available.
 
In addition to helping to expand your family tree, the Paternal Lineage test also provides insights into your Ancient Ancestry stretching back many thousands of years. Learn about where your ancient ancestors migrated and settled as humans spread throughout the continents.

Maternal Lineage Test

Available to both males and females, the Maternal Lineage test traces your ancient ancestry from your Mother's side. As the earliest humans migrated out of Africa, they adapted to their new surroundings and became distinct populations from one another which can be detected by analyzing DNA. The Maternal Lineage test differs from the Paternal test in that it cannot validate a family relationship -- so even if your maternal DNA is an identical match with another participant it can only prove that you may have been related thousands of years ago. On the other hand, if your results differ in any way, the results prove that your are definitively not related. Please note that the purpose of this website is mainly for those whose ancestors descended from the North of Scotland, in Caithness and Sutherland, and for those seeking to learn about their deep Northern Scottish ancestry.
 
 

The purpose of this website is to help Sutherland's and others from around the world who also descend from Caithness or Sutherland in the North of Scotland to determine if they may be genetically related to others from this region in Scotland and to help all of us learn more about our deep ancestry and 'From whence we came'.

If your last name is Sutherland, McKay, Gunn, Forbes, Ritchie, Bain, etc do you simply assume that your ancestors were from Scotland? Remember Scotland was named such only about a thousand years ago and back then her inhabitants were made up of several DIFFERENT groups, including the Picts, the Irish, the Norse Vikings and the Saxons, each having migrated there from different geographical areas over the centuries.
 
From which of these differing groups of people do you descend from? And remember, it was the Vikings during the 8th-9th centuries who after conquering the Shetland and Orkney Island's in the north of Scotland and then after gaining a foothold on the mainland in Caithness who then began referring to the inhabitants living to the south of them as being from the 'Sudrland''.
 
Yes, this is how our ancestors eventually came to be known as Sutherland's. And this was true regardless of whether they were actually genetically related to one another. 'Sudrland' was a geographical place name, not a family name. This is also why there are other surnames stemming from this Norther Scottish territory, like MacKay, Bain, Ritchie, Forbes, Gunn, etc 
 
And what about the time BEFORE surnames were used? Is it possible for you to find out which group your distant ancestors belonged to (Vikings, Picts, Saxons, Irish, etc) and who among their living descendent's you may be related to today, even after a multitude of Sutherland's from Scotland were dispersed to the four corners of the globe? Yes!   
 
How? For males (or those who have reason to believe they descend from a male Sutherland) this is made possible through DNA analysis of a small section (approximately 0.01% of your total DNA/genome) of the Y-Chromosome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosome) which is passed down from father to son, indefinately.
 
Each of us has 46 chromosome strands we inherited from our parents, 23 from our mother and 23 from our father. These strands pair up giving each of us 23 paired chromosomes, 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes. It is the sex chromosome, chromosome #23, that is responsible for determining the sex of a child, male or female. And we inherit one sex chromosome strand from the mother and one from the father during conception.
 
Having two X-chromosome strands means the baby will become a female while having a single X-chromosome strand and a single Y-chromosome strand means the baby will become a male. Because females always have two paired X-chromosome strands mothers can only pass along a single X-chromosome strand to a new baby while the father can pass along either an X-chromosome or a Y-chromosome strand.  
 
Thus scientists can analyze very small sections (~0.01% of your total genome) of the Y-chromosome passed along by the father to his son, and from the son to his son, and so on and so forth for generation after generation to determine whether or not certain sections along the Y-chromosome, called genes, are similar from one individual to another. This can only work because genes rarely change, even over long periods of time. Thus, the Y-chromosome inherited by males today are very similar to the Y-chromosomes of their male ancestors many thousands of years ago!