The Bruce Surname Y-DNA Project
  • 357 members


Q: Where are the project specific webpages hiding?
A: Use the tabs found under the About tab to access our project specific webpages.
FTDNA has unfortunately (and confusingly) hardwired some of our public webpage names to the following...
Our Main landing page is named Background.
Our Paternal Lineages page is named Goals.
Our Data Analysis page is named Results.
Our Misc Data Lists page is named News.

Q: Why am I in the Associate_Members group?
A: This project is specifically for Y-DNA tests with the Bruce surname (or variants thereof).
If you do not have a Y-DNA test or your Y-DNA test's surname is not Bruce, then you are assigned to the Associate Members group.
Y-DNA markers are passed directly from father to son. They are NOT passed from mother to son.
Therefore, if (say) your grandmother's maiden name was Bruce, it will have absolutely no bearing on your Y-DNA markers.
If you believe you are an NPE (Non Paternal Event) case, please contact us to discuss.

Q: What do the group names mean?
A: Each groups is named to indicate the haplotype of it's members.
It is also numbered to show it's relative position compared to the other groups of that haplotype. This is it's 'Parsimony Position' within the haplotype. (Refer to our TMRCA graphs)
Previously our groups were simply named A, B, C, D, etc.  Where possible these old names have been retained in brackets, eg, "09-M269 (B)".
As new members join the project, the group names and their composition evolve.

Q: How (closely) are a group's members related to each other?
A: Generally, each group will contain members that have a 75% probability of having a common male ancestor within 20-25 generations or less.
The groupings are estimates that use probabilistic and best-fit calculations, and the groupings evolve as new members join the project.
Y-DNA markers mutate randomly, but at predictable rates for each particular marker.
Therefore the probability that 2 members share a common male ancestor within some given number of generations can be calculated.
Refer to FTDNA's TIP tool, and our TMRCA tables and graphs.

Q: How important is it for me to set up my Beneficiary Details?
A: Very important!

Q: How do I get my lineage included on this project's Paternal Lineages page?
A: All members are encouraged to send their paternal lineage to us by email (as plain text), so we can include it.
Members can browse our Paternal Lineages to see if their paper trail matches any of those already published.
As our Paternal Lineages page is public, it will increase the likelihood that other family historians will find yours when searching the net.

Q: Should I use FTDNA's tree builder?
A: There is no compelling reason to publish your tree at FTDNA.  The trees at FTDNA cannot be automatically searched for matches.
Regardless, there are probably better tools available elsewhere for the purpose of building and maintaining your family tree.
Note that FTDNA trees are totally unrelated to this project's published Paternal Lineages.

Q: If I purchase more STR markers, will I see more matches in this project?
A: No. More STR markers will provide better discrimination and hence fewer very close matches.
More STR markers will enable you to better discriminate between other members of your group.

Q: Is our membership (data sample) skewed or biased?
A: Yes. Our membership is directly related to FTDNA'a market penetration.
Our membership consists solely of those that (1) have chosen to have their Y-DNA tested; and (2) have chosen to use FTDNA (or a couple of other 3rd party affiliates).
Existing members may enlist other Bruces in their region to join up, resulting in regional clusters.
The actual global distribution of the Bruce surname (see our data analysis page) probably does not reflect FTDNA's market penetration.
Our membership is likely skewed toward the US.

Q: I have no close matches within the project. Does this mean I have no living Bruce cousins?
A: No. It may just be that that none of your Bruce cousins have yet been tested with FTDNA.
See above regarding FTDNA's market penetration.

Q: Why are there so many different haplotypes in this surname project?  Aren't we all descended from King Robert the Bruce?
A: King Robert the Bruce may or may not have had any male descendants that continued the Bruce surname.  Regardless of that...
Consider that most people did not use surnames before the 1300s, and how surnames were taken up by the masses after that period.
Consider also the rate of NPEs that occur per generation.
Our data analysis indicates that there were probably more than 20 distinct 'founding fathers' at around 1300 AD.
It is likely that most Surname Y-DNA projects will show a similar range of diverse haplotypes.

Q: What is the cheapest Y-DNA test?
A: Although not advertised anywhere, the 12 marker Y-DNA test can still be purchased via 
This is useful for 3rd party transfer members, and any others who are looking for the cheapest way to get their markers into our project database.