Clan Campbell Society of North America DNA Project
  • 2314 members

About us

The Campbell DNA Project was launched in October of 2002 with the purpose of trying to help genealogy researchers break through brick walls. The goal of the project was to attempt to get DNA samples of several Campbell reference lineages and to look at opportunities to link current genealogy research to these lines.

The Campbell DNA Project was initiated to augment genealogical research and to provide general insight concerning our Clan’s overall history and genetic composition. DNA testing is not a substitute for genealogy research. Instead, it is a companion tool to prove or disprove research, determine relationships, and to provide clues for further research. DNA testing can be an extremely powerful tool when combined with your genealogy research. DNA testing can uncover information that was not previously known, as well as confirm your research, and get leads for further research.

From elementary genetics we learn that the Y-chromosome is passed down through the male line, essentially unchanged, from generation to generation. These chromosomes "mutate" or change slowly over time allowing identification of specific families and surnames. The rate of change is extremely slow, being measured in terms of tens or hundreds of generations. The reader might want to read an excellent article about the Y-chromosome written by Dr. Mark Jobling of Leicester University entitled "". Additional articles and journals have reported the examination of the STRs (Short-Tandem Repeats) on the Y-chromosome to trace and analyze surnames. A well-publicized case involved the question as to whether or not President Thomas Jefferson fathered any slave children by Sally Hemings.

Many other articles such as "" by Dr. Neil Bradman and Dr. Mark Thomas as well as a review article by Dr. Mark Jobling entitled "", volume 17 of Trends in Genetics are worth reading for background information as they deal with this specific subject. There are many web sites now dedicated to this subject that provide links to many excellent articles and the results from other surname projects. Thus, it has been well demonstrated through university research that an analysis of the male Y-chromosome can be used to trace the male descendants of a progenitor through many generations, all of which share a common surname.
Project Chronology. This project has been underway several years

  • February 2002 – Becky Waltier volunteers to help me create Project Web Site and gets a terrific site up in 2 weeks.
  • June 2003 - Since the initial project was launched in October of 2002, 21 men have submitted DNA samples for the Campbell Surname DNA Project. Results have been received for 17 men with 4 samples awaiting analysis. Having achieved “critical mass, the first version of our analysis was created.
  • October 2003 - On the one-year anniversary of the project we have approximately 30 participants. The project also organized reference information on the 20 Campbell Houses with the idea of obtaining as many samples as possible from living descendants of these lines.
  • February 2004 - Clan Donald distributed a press release asserting that they had defined the genetic signature of Colla Uais, father of Dalriada. The proposed signature is a distance of 3 away from the Campbell modal value.
  • May 2004 - Samples were received from several well documented historical lines. A paper speculating on the DNA signature of Sir Colin "Iongantach" Campbell, who lived in the 14th century was drafted and submitted to the Journal of the CCSNA for printing in the summer issue.
  • Summer 2005 - The Campbell project exceeds 100 participants and establishes itself as one of the largest Surname projects in the world. (top 4%)
  • Fall 2005 - A paper is published that hypothesizes the DNA signature of a 5th-century warlord known as "Niall of the Nine Hostages" (Niall established a dynasty of powerful chieftains that dominated Ireland for six centuries.) This information is used to distinguish the Campbells with deep Irish roots from those whose roots may be Scottish or Scots-Irish.
  • June 2006 - The Campbell project has 165 participants and is tied for the 21st in terms of size among surname projects. The project includes participants from Scotland, Ireland, America, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand
  • Winter 2006 - An article was published in the winter 2006 issue of the Journal of the Clan Campbell society of America speculating on the DNA signature of the Campbells of Lochawe. The article analyzed three historic Campbell lines and based upon a 23/25 match of the samples postulated a DNA signature for the mythical Diarmid O'Duibne and his grandson Sir Cailean Mor Cambel (a/k/a Mac Cailein Mor) who lived in the 13th century and founded Clan Campbell.
  • January 2007 - The Project Administrator’s analysis of Bryan Sykes data from his book, “Blood of the Isles” and Stephen Oppenheimer’s data from “Origins of the British yields some interesting results. Conclusions derived from this data are planned to be published in an upcoming paper. However, it appears that the bulk of the R1b Campbells fit into Oppenheimer gene cluster (R1b-9) that he nicknames “Rox”. Rox was the main male gene cluster that moved into the British Isles after the last Ice Age over 15,000 years ago and represents the earliest male hunter-gatherer re-expansion from the south-west European. The gene flow follows the ancient extended coastline, favoring Ireland and Scotland.
  • Spring 2007 - An article the Journal of the Clan Campbell Society whimsically speculates about the presence of a unique, distinguishable “Campbell gene”. While neither technically a gene nor truly a unique discriminator, it has been discovered that while allele DYS458=20 appears in 2% of the overall R1b population, it occurs with a frequency of 31% among Campbell R1b participants.
  • May 2007 - My technical article entitled "Geographic Patterns of Haplogroup R1b in the British Isles" is published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. This article attempts to deconstruct Bryan Sykes analysis in his book "Blood of the Isles" (UK Title), also known as "Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland" (US Title). The study identifies a haplotype designated OGAP4 that makes up 34% of the Campbell project -- by far the largest portion. OGAP4 is ubiquitous across all areas of Scotland and exceptionally strong in Grampian, Tayside, and Strathclyde. If we discount the Irish influx in Argyll and the Hebrides, it is also among the strongest haplotypes present in these regions. It would not be too much of a stretch to label OGAP4 the quintessential Scottish haplotype and the single closest identifier to whatever is considered the indigenous Scottish population.
  • November 2007 – A second article entitled "Geographic Patterns of Haplogroup R1b in the British Isles – Deconstructing Oppenheimer” is published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. This article attempts to recreate Professor Stephen Oppenheimer’s analysis and decipher his definition of R1b sub-clans. My private analysis shows that approximately 60% of all the Campbells tested are likely to be members of Oppenheimer’s R1b-9 sub-clan. This sub-clan is the oldest branch of R1b in the British Isles and the progenitor of other R1b lines including the Celts. This finding is consistent with the finding that most Campbells are members of the indigenous Scottish genotype concluded from my May 2007 analysis.
  • Summer 2008 – The Campbell project has approximately 280 members. The revision of the YCC haplogroup tree nomenclature in April of this year (Karafet et al) has resulted in changes to most haplogroup designations in the FTDNA data base. FTDNA completed programming changes in the early summer and new designations are now viewable in the "Y RESULTS" tab above. This web site was also updated.
  • Fall 2010 - The Campbell project is unique in that since its inception, the project has been collecting paternal lineage information from all its participants.  This information is not published on the web and is only made available only to other members who have shared their information.  In the Fall of 2010, the FTDNA map function was updated to display all project participants.  With over 380 participants world-wide, the Campbell DNA project is the 26th largest surname project in the world.
  • Summer 2011 - At the end of June the Campbell project crossed 400 members, but slipped another space to the 28th largest Y-STR Surname Project.  Though losing ground is somewhat disappointing, the Campbell project is run as a pretty "tight ship".  Specifically, (a) the project remains focused on male Y-STR DNA and does not actively recruit maternal mtDNA participants, (b) the project does not go out of its way to encourage septs and allied families, and (c) each new participant is approved by the Project Administrator to ensure that they qualify and understand the nature of DNA testing.  In addition, as described above, the Campbell Lineage Summary file has grown to about 170 pages.
  • July 2011 - A file listing the Campbell wills available from the Scottish National Archives (and available online via Scotland's People) has been provided by Robert Robb and uploaded to the Campbell Project Web Site.  This file is approximately 3MB and is available here:  Campbell Wills and Testaments-(1513-1800)
  • June 2012 - In 2011, James Wilson and  Alistair Moffat published a book,  .  Here is an summary that the authors posted to the web: Brief Summary of The Scots: A Genetic Journey.  The second link summarizes the SNP tests conducted by the Campbell participants as of this date (Appendix B) and includes maps and descriptions from the Wilson and Moffat book for the genetic subgroupings present in the Campbell Project.   Subclades described in The Scots: A Genetic Journey
  • December 2012 - The Campbell Project has reached several milestones.  First, In October of this year, the project reached its 10 year anniversary.  This decadal milestone also means that I have reached this milestone since I have been the site's administrator since the very beginning.  (Hard to believe.)  In addition, in the last month the project has topped 500 members.  However, this is slightly misleading in that our Y-STR count is slightly less as some mtDNA and full sequence (Family Finder) members have also joined and are counted in this FTDNA total.  Nonetheless, this number is quite impressive as I can remember hoping that I would be very happy if we got to 20 participants.  Finally, as my members know, I ask each participant to provide a short summary of their male lineage.  This has proved an invaluable as a reference document as participants change e-mails or otherwise lose interest or leave the project. This year the compendium of these Campbell lineages has reached 200 pages and is becoming a significant document in its own right. 
  • June of 2013 -- The Campbell  Project, working with the Campbell Kids Yahoo group, published a paper showing that six families located in located in were closely related, if not brothers.  Later in 2015, Mike Landwehr identified a unique Amherst County  signature that ties these families together.
  • November 2013 – FTDNA held 9th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy.  As part of this conference, FTDNA began recognizing project administrators who had reached 10 year milestones as pioneers of Genetic Genealogy.  I was graciously included though this year marks my 11th year with the project.
  • November 2014 Wayne Wickson links three lines from as brothers using Y-STR Data .  His results are published on a very nice website.
  • August of 2015 - The  Project, working with Rev. James Campbell, determined that the line of Robert Campbell, father of Charles Campbell and Mary Trotter of , was not part of the Campbell\Ramsey\McCoy\Hay line described by Pilcher.  It appears that this line is descended from another Duncan Campbell whose sons settled in the North part of Augusta County Virginia the while the more famous descendants settled along the Southern Shenandoah River.  A paper entitled "Tale of Two Duncans.  documenting this DNA analysis was published in the Spring 2016 issue of the CCSNA Journal 
  • January 2, 2017 -The Campbell DNA Project is proud to report that we’ve reached a project milestone with over 1,000 members.  The project was started in 2002 and has grown steadily.  The rush of atDNA testers in the last several years has resulted in the following mix of test types: 730 Y-DNA Results and 272 other tests.
  • April 6, 2019 -  Just checked - the Campbell DNA Project has 1,503 total members.  1,065 Y-DNA participants and 580 Family Finder members. 
  • May 2023 - The Campbell DNA Team identifies the DNA discontinuity with the Campbells of Glenorchy which was publicized months later by a press release by the Strathclyde Institute for Genealogical Studies (SIGS).  The earlier Campbell DNA Team Glenorchy Results were presented at the CCS(NA) General Membership Meeting in October 2023  
  • Summer and Fall of 2023 - The Campbell DNA Team establishes the Campbell Patriot Project (SAR & DAR) and the "Campbells of ..." County Projects on Wikitree.  [Campbell DNA Project on WikiTree Link] (Special thanks to Kevin G., Adam, and Brandon)
  • January 2024 - The Campbell DNA Team identifies a haplogroup signature for the Campbells of Craignish. (Publication forthcoming)

Please Note: This website is the official Campbell DNA Project Website. Though there may not be a recent update posted in the paragraphs above, the data under the “Y Results” tab is automatically posted by FTDNA and by definition is always current.