The Bruce Surname Y-DNA Project
  • 249 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 our public webpage names as follows...
Our Main landing page            --- Background
Our Paternal Lineages page  --- Goals
Our Data Analysis page         --- Results
Our Misc Data Lists page       --- News
Other project-private pages are unused at this time named Updates and Bulletin.

Q: What do the group names mean?
A: Each groups is named to indicate the haplotype of it's members.
It is numbered to show it's relative position compared to the other groups of that haplotype.  Refer to our TMRCA graphs.
In years past our groups were simply named A, B, C, etc.  Where possible these old names have been retained, 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 probability that 2 members share a common male ancestor within some given number of generations can be calculated.
The groupings are estimates that use probabilistic and best-fit calculations, and the groupings evolve as new members join the project.
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: What is the Paternal Lineages page all about?
A: Members are are now required to send their paternal lineage to us by email (as plain text).
Refer to our lineages page to see the required format/layout. Note that details of living people are not made public. 
You can look there for any lineages that may match with your known lineage.
Our lineages page is public, so it increases 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 Y-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 over 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.