A warm welcome to the Clan Carruthers Y-DNA Project.
Since the turn of the millennium many Scottish Clans have launched surname studies. As a Clan, our priority has to date been to support a Chief being confirmed by the Lord Lyon. As of August 2019, our Chief, Dr Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains was confirmed ‘of the Name and Arms of Carruthers’, thus closing the first phase of our journey.
The Clan Carruthers Y-DNA Project is part of the next phase and is fully supported by our Chief and the Clan Carruthers Society International, our parent organisation based in Scotland. It is administered by the Clan Carruthers Society – United States of America and will always be a work in progress, but it will remain open to Carruthers worldwide. The project is run through the auspices of the Family Tree DNA Group (FTDNA) and can be found at:
The Project :
- To advance our knowledge base.
- To offer the opportunity to have DNA tests taken and analysed within the clan setting.
- To allow comparisons within the database to establish genetic relationships.
- To assist with circumventing genealogical ‘dead ends’.
- To identify family lines and interconnections within the clan itself.
- To offer clarification of the derivatives of our surname as an indicator of our ancestral ties.
It is important to remember that genetic genealogy is only part of the whole, and can be used as a valid tool to enhance and augment the work done by genealogical investigation but must be reconciled with the same.
As a clan and family, we have hailed from the West March of the Anglo-Scottish border in the region of Annandale in Dumfriesshire for well over 1500 years. Our ancestral home is a land rich in its peoples, culture, music and Reiver history, yet it has been harsh in its lifestyle. Our people have lived, loved and died for their family and country in this beautiful but harsh landscape, but it has made us who and what we are. It is therefore from this hardy stock that Carruthers have been melded over many generations into the proud family we are today.
As Carruthers we have achieved many things throughout the ages. We have been at the forefront of international trade, held senior positions in the military, have been academics, sports people, explorers and involved in senior positions in the judiciary to name but a few.
But from small beginnings in Annandale, we have spread throughout the globe and through this project, and by using the latest genetic tests available, we will attempt to enhance our proven genealogy in order to dispel any myths that bad research and false claims have left in their wake.
DNA testing and analysis will therefore help improve our knowledge base, form family connections and shine a light even further into our clan history and ancestry. This will all help bring the diaspora that is Carruthers even closer together, while enhancing that overwhelming feeling of pride and belonging for the both the clan and the land and culture from where we hail.
There are estimated to be well over 60,000 Carruthers worldwide. We accept that many of them may possess lengthy genealogical pedigrees, some very accurate and sadly some not much. What we do know is that none of these pedigrees have reliably connected the diaspora of Carruthers. This is something we are keen to resolve, both as a Project and as a Society.
Therefore according to information from other Clans, approximately 90% of the participants in studies of this nature will be able to connect their genetic paternal ancestry with a geographical origin within the surname era.
DNA and Genealogy
Although research of this nature may be open to abuse through false claims, our Project pledges total confidentiality as well as honesty, ensuring that the information is accurately dovetailed into the larger genetic picture. DNA testing can enhance the time consuming investigative work of our genealogists, and although not an easier option nor in fact a replacement, it may better assist them to bypass any ancestral dead ends that are met along the way.
DNA testing is based on the understanding that its transmission remains largely unchanged through the generations. There are however occasional changes and mutations within the markers of an individual and as such testing is never 100% conclusive. However, these results can be compared to others participating in the project to establish the ‘likelihood’ of a common ancestor and this can be very helpful when backed by robust genealogical research.
Testing is carried out by taking a simple saliva sample from the inside of the mouth. Your DNA can then be analysed and added into the Carruthers database, in a similar vein to adding another piece in the huge jigsaw that is our family.
This information is kept private by the use of only the ‘ancestral markers’ pertaining to this project being gathered. It will not reveal any personal details or the full DNA ‘signature’ of the individual involved. Further, personal information will not be disclosed without prior consent.
Currently there are 4 applications of DNA testing available, all of which may be popular with certain genealogists and for particular reasons:
- Y-DNA Surname Studies.
These look at the characteristic of Y-chromosomes and are linked to the surnames. However, they only descend through the male line. Y-DNA tests can be undertaken for three reasons:
- Focussed testing: generally by two participants and to support or refute some specific hypothesised genealogical relationship – this is basically a paternity test, which is not legally binding;
- Blind testing: which is used to seek and investigate genetic relationships (“matches”) when compared with other participants in a database or research cohort. These individuals will typically share a common surname as a root. It is used to explore ‘branches’ of a surname, to breakdown or circumvent a genealogical “brick wall”, or find previously unknown ‘cousins’.
- Deep ancestry studies: used to explore ‘ethnicity’ issues going back several millennia, but not necessarily accurate to offer clan connections nor overly specific.
It is important to realise that although beneficial, Y-DNA tests have three very important limitations:
- Females can only participate through a male relative.
- Surnames only go back a 1000 years at the very most. (The first mention of the Carruthers family was during reign of Alexander II (1215-1245) when William de/of Carruthers gave a donation to the Abbey of Newbattle)
- Not all who descend through the male line have inherited the surname.
- Mitochondrial (mT) DNA tests.
These only follow the female line, and are usually undertaken to support or refute some hypothesised relationship, or for deep ancestry studies.
- Autosomal (called aT) DNA studies (as FTDNA’s “Family Finder” test).
This test hypothesised relationships, male and female up to the 4th or 5th cousins.
- X-DNA tests
Are similar to autosomal tests.
The Clan Carruthers Y-DNA Project will use ‘blind testing’ to explore our baseline relations. In other words, this Y-DNA Project will not address relationships through female lines identified by mitochondrial or autosomal tests, nor address deep ancestry studies dealing with ethnicity issues. In line with other clans, this route is being taken as it offers a more robust testing process and analysis, which will produce the most accurate set of defined outcomes to fit our needs.
Of course as with all research, the viability and validity of the project will continue to improve as more people sign up and as testing techniques become better in their analysis, however it is not a stand alone tool and will not replace boots on the ground genealogy research.
- To initiate and coordinate Y-DNA testing of all males carrying the name of Carruthers or rooted to the same and link others not carrying the name where the DNA has a match.
- To look at and clarify ancestral divisions within the Clan, based on locality or House, if and when they occur.
- To coordinate and assimilate these results with current genealogical data.
- To help promote and enhance our Clan history and pedigree in an accurate manner, for the benefit of future generations.
- To feed into the general database of genetic genealogy, in order to enhance its understanding and improvements.
- To ensure that the information is kept private and only used to accurately represent our Clan’s history, heritage and genealogical profile.
Like our Society, the Clan Carruthers Y-DNA Project is all about bringing together our family and enhance its knowledge and understanding as a Scottish Border Reiver Clan. We do this to share the commonality of who and what we are as Carruthers and and the pride we have in our name. Therefore we sincerely hope that you will support us in our endeavours.
Thank you in advance.
Promptus et Fidelis
Clan Carruthers Y-DNA Project Team