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Breland DNA Project

  • 84 members

About us

Welcome to the Breland/Breeland DNA Project

By Tom Hughes

Project Founder and Administrator

Many of the Breland and Breeland families in the United States -- especially in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana  -- are descended from a man named Abraham Breler/Breland, who lived near Beaufort, South Carolina, in the late 1700s and died there in the early 1800s.

I, too, am a descendant of Abraham Breler/Breland. He was my 5th great grandfather on my mother's side. In particular I am descended from Abraham's grandson, John Robertson Breland (1794-1875) who migrated from South Carolina to Louisiana about 1810. John Robertson Breland served in de Clouet's Regiment in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and then lived the rest of his life in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and Pike County, Mississippi.

My maternal grandfather, Robert Milton Breland (1889-1959), was born and raised near Sunny Hill, Louisiana. Robert’s father, my great grandfather, was Cicero Malachi Breland (1857-1917), who lived his entire life in Washington Parish, Louisiana, and is buried in Mount Hermon. Cicero's father, my great great grandather, was Elisha Elliott Breland (1832-1862) who died in Louisiana while serving as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War.

Where Abraham Breler/Breland was born is a subject of much speculation and dispute. Some say he was born in Pitt County, North Carolina, while others say he was born in Germany. To date, no one has been able to answer that question definitively.

I started the Breland/Breeland Surname DNA Project with the hope of answering the question of where in Europe my Breland ancestors came from. This followed my involvement in the Hughes DNA Project, as both a member and administrator. Through my involvement in the Hughes Project, the Clan Colla 425 Null Project, and the McMahon DNA Project, I learned that my paternal ancestors lived in the vicinity of County Monaghan, Ireland, before they settled near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the 1700s and then migrated from there to North Carolina and South Carolina. My experience with these DNA projects gives me great hope that the Breland/Breeland DNA Project will help solve the historical mystery of where this line came from.

As of December 18, 2017, the Breland/Breeland DNA Project has 40 members. The project needs to recruit many more members – especially men with Breland/Breeland surname – if it is to be successful. Anyone with the Breland/Breeland surname, or who has Breland/Breeland ancestors, is welcome to join. Here is the link where you can do so:


In order to join the project, you will need to buy a DNA test kit from Family Tree DNA. Men named Breland/Breeland who join the project should order the Y-DNA37 test or the Y-DNA67 test. Y-DNA37 is a test of paternal ancestry only and costs $149 if you order it through the Breland/Breeland Project (it costs $169 if you order it outside of a project). We strongly encourage all Breland men in the project to test their Y-DNA to 67 or 111 markers. All women who join the project, and men without the Breland/Breeland surname, should order the Family Finder test, which costs $99. The Family Finder tests both maternal and paternal ancestry and helps find matches within about five generations.

In addition, if you have already done an autosomal DNA test through AncestryDNA or 23andme, you will need to transfer your results to Family Tree DNA first before joining the Breland/Breeland Project. Here is the link where you can do that:


Feel free to email me at tahughesnc@gmail.com if you have any questions about the Breland/BreelandDNA Project. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tom Hughes was born and raised in Mobile, Ala., and now lives in Durham, N.C. He is the son of Gloria Breland Hughes, whose parents were Robert Milton Breland (1889-1959) and Cora Peirce Breland (1891-1936). Robert and Cora met in the early 1900s when they were both high school students at Sunny Hill School in Washington Parish, Louisiana. Tom’s uncles, Charles Gregory Breland and Hunter M. Breland, wrote, “The Breland Families of the Southern States, 1794-1875."