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Fox Y-DNA Surname Project

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About us

 Please Read the Overview Section before making a request to join the Fox Y-DNA Surname Project

Privacy Settings for new members:  https://www.familytreedna.com/privacy-policy   After May 25, 2018, Administrators will not be able to assist new members unless they go to Group Preferences on their personal page at FTDNA, select the Fox Surname Project and edit to read 'limited access or 'advanced'.

Updated May 2018:

While the FTDNA test results posted here are up-to-date, results from other test labs are available.
Contact the administrator.

The 2006 book Growing with America - the Fox Family of Philadelphia has the early history of the project and early results for the null439 Fox Group.  A second (fall 2016) book Growing with America - Colonial Roots has several chapters which carry the Fox DNA Project and the null439 Haplogroup (R1b-L1/S26) into BigY testing. A May 2018 revision has updated the Big Y test results.  Finally, Y-DNA Testing of a Paper Trail - The Fox Surname Project is a peer reviewed article in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy, Volume 8 Number 1, that summarizes many of our conclusions in concise fashion.

Initial efforts to trace the origins of the Fox surname via DNA testing of the Y-chromosome began in Britain at the University of Leicester in 2002 as part of a general survey of British surnames by Mark Jobling and Turi King. Only two Fox men were tested. Further testing of other Foxes was begun in the United States in 2004, when the Fox Surname Project was established with Familytreedna (FTDNA) as the testing laboratory. Both Y-DNA (male line) and mtDNA (female line) and Family Finder (all ancestors but limited range) tests are offered but the emphasis in this project is on Y-DNA testing of the Fox surname. The Y-Chromosome is ideal for tracking the Fox line since only males have this chromosome.  The only problem is that only males in the direct male line (i.e. with the Fox surname unless there has been an adoption) can be tested.  The other tests are open to males and females but do not test the Fox surname directly. In general, membership in the Fox Project is of little value for those testing only Family Finder.

Technical Background – Y-DNA testing

DNA in the Y-Chromosome has many microsatellites where the nucleotides (adenine, guanine, cytocine and thymine) form repeat patterns, eg  GATAGATAGATAGATAGATA. These markers are known as "short tandem repeats" or STRs. They are hereditary and the number of repeats is normally passed on from father to son without change. Cheek scraping samples are submitted to the laboratory where specific primers are used to isolate sections of DNA containing these microsatellites. These are then amplified with polymerase enzyme and subjected to separation by electrophoresis. The number of repeats at a given marker shows up as a peak height on the resulting electropherogram. The resulting set of numbers - number of repeats at each marker tested - is called one’s "haplotype." This is the result one sees when the laboratory submits their report.  You will then be given access to your results and their interpretation on your personal web page at FTDNA.

A change in length of a marker is a random event that occurs primarily due to recombination effects as the chromosomes rearrange during the conception of a child (the process of meiosis.) This is termed a transmission event. Sons are separated by 2 transmission events, first cousins by 4.  Thus, divide transmission events by 2 to obtain generations back to the most recent common ancestor (MRCA).

Changes in the number of repeats occur – on the average for FTDNA’s 37 marker test - once in every 300 transmission events, which makes these markers valuable for genealogical purposes.  FTDNA has offered tests of 12, 25, 37, 67 markers and now offers a 111-marker test.  FTDNA's TiP tool gives an estimate of the time to most recent common ancestor for two people based on the number of mutations observed (genetic distance) but MacDonald’s TMRCA calculator (using Walsh’s infinite alleles formula) uses lower mutation rates and is more reliable.  Any estimate is subject to the laws of probability.

Choice of Test

Generally speaking, the 37-marker Y-DNA test – with its high mutation rate - is the best choice for a new recruit with limited resources.  With 37 markers tested, a change might be expected - on the average – once in 303/37=8.2 transmission events or 4.1 generations.  Very roughly, if two men having the Fox surname have 33 out of 37 matching markers they can be considered related within a genealogical time frame of 20 generations or 600 years. (FTDNA’s TiP analysis would estimate more like 400 years.)  [Note: This same guideline does not apply when the surname is not Fox.]

A 67-marker or 111-marker test will provide further confirmation in cases where a relationship is questionable and may well help distinguish between different branches of the same family.  They also offer additional information on stable markers useful for deep ancestry studies of Haplogroup subclades or single founder clusters. If affordable, these tests are certainly recommended.  12 or 25 markers can sometimes conclusively disprove a relationship but cannot reasonably confirm one unless there is a firm paper trail. Additional markers are available as special tests.  The 2018 version of the Big Y test brings the total number of STR markers reported to over 500.

Ancestry.com used to use the SMGF lab and had what they call a 43 marker test but this is a bit deceiving since they included 4 markers that are absent in most individuals.  Their 39 markers tested included 11 that are not in FTDNA’s 37 marker test and nine that are not in their 67 marker test but are in the 111 marker test.  However, they are missing seven fast mutating markers in FTDNA’s 26-37 panel that are quite valuable.  It was possible to transfer one’s 39 marker results from Ancestry.com to FTDNA at a nominal cost (B1176 is an example) and then upgrade to 48 or 74 markers (B2143 and 205722 are examples.)   Ancestry.com no longer offers Y-DNA testing!!!  Autosomal test results can still be transferred to Family Finder.

Often a close match may be found with an individual having a different surname.  These matches should be treated with great caution, looking for possible cases of adoption or name change, examining the geographical proximity of the ancestors of both lines and, perhaps, deciding on additional testing.  It is possible to have close matches across surnames that go back before the adoption of surnames and, if the two are in different Haplogroup subclades, this is a foregone certainty.

Genetic Distance (GD) is often used as a measure of deviation between two haplotypes.  It is the sum of absolute numerical differences between haplotypes for all markers tested.  The number of markers tested should always be specified along with the GD.  FTDNA can search their entire tested database for matches by GD and number of markers tested but results are only shown where the GD is indicative of a possible genealogical relationship. (You must agree to this search in your personal preferences.)

Since two-step changes can occur in a single transmission step only some 5% of the time, simply counting the number of matching markers is also useful and is used in the infinite alleles formula for predicting the number of generations to the most recent common ancestor (MRCA).  Note that such predictions must be hedged in probabilities and that multi-valued markers require special care in interpreting deviations. 

A word of caution about FTDNA’s TiP prediction of generations back to the MRCA: While this does attempt to account for measured father/son mutation rates in individual markers, the effect of deviations at different markers is really not that significant.  The average mutation rate for all markers being compared is the critical factor and FTDNA’s mutation rates are thought by most experts to be considerably on the high side, thus predicting too low a generation difference.  Keeping this in mind, a TiP analysis can be a useful tool.

The exact function of these STR markers is not yet known and they have no known medical function but recent research shows they have some sort of regulatory function on the genes. While there is no medical information in these numbers, the absence of a certain few markers near a fertility gene could indicate sterility - something that would certainly already be known.

The results do provide a partial means of personal identification and, for this reason, our haplotype tables list only the FTDNA kit number and the most distant known male line ancestor.  Within the project, however, the administrators feel free to disclose identities, particularly when a close match occurs.

SNP Testing for the Haplogroup Subclade – the BigY Test

Another type of mutation can also occur, but much less frequently – so much less that they are known (mistakenly perhaps) as unique events. This is a change from one nucleotide to another at a specific site on the Y-Chromosome, say a change from C to T. This is called a "single nucleotide polymorphism" or SNP. The chances of this occurring are once in10,000 to 15,000 transmission events at a specific site but there are so many places on the Y-Chromosome where this can occur that sons are predictably different than their father. These are private SNPs unless they happen in a founder situation, where they are passed down for many generations and become public SNPs.

Certain specific SNP events have been identified over the course of history that have proven useful in tracing the migrations of mankind over time. These public SNPs identify ones "Haplogroup” and the subclade of that Haplogroup to which one belongs. They fall into a sequential tree-like structure with branches and twigs.  Often one’s Haplogroup designation and primary subclades can be predicted from one’s STR haplotype but, to be absolutely certain, SNP testing needs to be done. FTDNA will either make such an estimate or provide a backbone Haplogroup test when they can’t make an estimate. Basic SNP testing is highly recommended since it offers the Fox Project administrators the opportunity to divide results into meaningful groupings (see our Y-Results Tables.)

The Big Y test, offered by FamilytreeDNA starting in late 2013, used ‘next-generation,’ targeted, non-recombining Y-DNAsequencing of around 11.5 to 12.5 million base pairs to reveal genetic variations across the Y-Chromosome.  This was not the most complete test available (Full Genomes Corporation had higher coverage) but covered the most useful sections of the Y at reasonable cost.  The result of all this testing was a vast expansion in known SNPs.  Some11,000 new SNPs were identified by the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) in 2014 alone, with more still to come.  In late 2015, FTDNA started offering selective chip based panel tests covering selected Haplogroup subclades identified by BigY testing.  This no substitute for BigY as it will not find new subclades but will be less expensive and help to define your known subclade.  Generally speaking you should join a Haplogroup Project and get advice from the administrators before taking any of these tests.

The Haplotree section of ones’ personal web page at FTDNA provides further information. With the advent of advanced Y-DNA sequencing techniques, such as the BigY test, so many new SNPs are being discovered that FTDNA’s Haplotree is becoming quite large.  They are now updating it, however, as new BigY results come in.   are interpreted by project administrators. In some cases, these new subclades are down to genealogical age levels.  The optimum procedure is to join a Haplogroup Project and get advice from the administrators.  They maybe able to suggest further SNPs to test but, ultimately, FTDNA’s Big Y test (or one of its competitors) offers the best opportunity to discover new subclades and pin down relationships.  FTDNA's BigY tables do not do an adequate job of analysis.  Many project administrators are now providing this analysis but, where this is not adequate, a solution is to have an outside firm such as Full genomes Corp. or YFull do an analysis of one’s BigY BAM file.

In Haplogroup R-U106/S21, the project administrators have done a very adequate job of BigY analysis and BigY results have now been analyzed for fifty Haplogroup R-L1/S26 members (R-L1/S26 is a subclade of R-U106/S21).  Many new subclades of R-L1/S26 have been discovered as shown in Figure 1.  The Fox Project has contributed eight of the 50 members of R-L1/S26 who have been Big Y tested and seven of their results have been used to more accurately define the common ancestor, born before the year 1600, of our British/American Foxes who are in this Haplogroup. This is described in the Results Section of this website. The eighth kit 205722 of German descent, has matched a man surnamed Maxwell to define the new subclade R-A7108/A7109.

A half dozen other Foxes have done BigY testing and the Fox Project administrators would appreciate it if those tested would share their results over and beyond what FTDNA is able to provide.

There is a general tendency nowadays to use the limiting SNP as the Haplogroup designator and this, for the most part, has been adopted by the Fox Project.  Haplogroup R-S26, for example, would be the subclade of Haplogroup R which tests positive (or derived) for the SNP called S26 – which is identical to the SNP called L1 by FTDNA.  In contrast, the long name for this subclade is currently R1b1a2a1a1c1a2a. 

In the Y-Results Tables for the Fox Project, the results are grouped by Haplogroup Designation and – within Haplogroups – by Ancestral Family Groupings.  All members of a Family Grouping will lie in the same Haplogroup subclade.  Note that the tables show the Haplogroup in green only when critical SNP was tested by FTDNA.  There is also a separate table on this Website showing the results of SNP testing of Fox Project members at FTDNA.  We have several who were SNP tested elsewhere and these results are used when known.

Figure 1 can be downloaded here



Fox Families Currently in the Project

While not always possible, the optimum way to use the Fox Project is by testing a hypothesis based on genealogical research. If two Foxes claim the same Fox ancestor, their Y-DNA haplotypes should match within probable limits.  The first thing any interested Fox researcher should do is to look at the Y-Results tables, which are organized by Haplogroup and, where applicable, by known family groups. Wherever this has been supplied, the most distant known male line ancestor (MDKA), his location and date of birth are shown. Outside of the known family groupings, results are ordered by genetic distance to emphasize deep relationships.

Next, go to Ysearch.org and search for the surname Fox.  The administrators endeavor to get every member into the Ysearch database, where their test results, most distant ancestor and, often, their pedigrees (prior to 1905) are made available to researchers. If you can find a matching ancestor to your own genealogy research, you are a good prospect for the Fox project.  Bear in mind, however, that many family trees available on the internet today have errors – errors that are being uncovered by DNA testing.

As the project builds in numbers, an increasing number of family connections are being made and the Y-Results tables are divided into family groupings in alphabetical order by Haplogroup and then by the known ancestors.   The following is a summary of these groupings.  For more detail see the Results Section.

Project Groupings

In the Y-Results Tables

Haplogroup E1b1b1
Three members have this estimated Haplogroup - Mostly German Origin.  Only one has extended to 37 markers.

Haplogroup G2
Two members tested Haplogroup G2, one is estimated G2c, one G2a, plus another from the SMGF database estimated G2.  Three have upgraded to 67 markers and have joined special projects.  One member has been tested G-M201 - German and Ukrainian origin.

Haplogroup I-P37.2
Tested Haplogroup I-P19, estimated I-P37.2 from 12-marker result – one member German ancestry.

Haplogroup I-L39 Richard Fox of Virginia Descendants
Four men of Fox ancestry who match on 66 out of 67 markers.  Two from Richard Fox of Virginia and two from Joaquin Fox from Mexico via New Orleans.  Group has tested Haplogroup I-L39 (or I2b2).

Haplogroup I-L533 Johann Fuchs of Germany Descendants
Two first cousins one of whom (114418) has been tested L65.1+ L533+ L272.3+.  Haplogroup I-L65.1 is considered equivalent to I-L38/L39 or I2b2.  ISOGG calls this Haplogroup I2a2b.  L533 and L272.3 have yet to be placed.

Haplogroup I-M223 Probably From Lancashire England
Three Foxes who match closely enough to be related genealogically.  Two from Lancashire and one from NC.  Possibly originally from Dublin, Ireland, and of Viking origin.

Haplogroup I-M223 Christian Fuchs Descendants
Two known Fox cousins of German origin via Berks County, PA

Haplogroup I-M223 Other
Four unmatched Foxes of German and Irish origin.

Haplogroup I-M253 Elijah Fox of NC and TN Descendants
Four descendants of Elijah Fox’s three sons: Ransom, Absolom and John plus matching descendants of Allen Fox of NC and James Fox of Virginia.

Haplogroup I-M253 Jacob Fuchs of Germany Descendants
Five descendants of Jacob Fuchs who came to Bucks County, PA, in 1739

Haplogroup I-M253 Other
Four Foxes of German and British descent who have yet to find matches within the project – plus a Burris and a Roy admitted to the project because of possible Fox connections.

Haplogroup I-P109 Thomas Fox of Concord, MA, Group
Six matching descendants of Thomas Fox , born in England in 1619 plus two matching Foxes tested by FTDNA.  We also have three matching results from the SMGF database who trace back to Thomas Fox and another matching Fox result who was tested by Relative Genetics. Two have been tested Haplogroup I-P109, which may indicate Scandinavian origin and Thomas Fox has been tied to a Scandinavian Church in London.

Haplogroup J1
Two non-matching results of Polish and Russian ancestry

Haplogroup J2
Four non-matching Foxes one of whom (97877) has been tested Haplogroup J-M67*, or J2a4b*, and a second (110488) tested J-M172 (the backbone test for J2).  The other two are of German ancestry, estimated as Haplogroup J2.  These matched at 12 markers but diverged as more markers were added.

Haplogroup Q
Two men, one a Fuchs descendant from the Ukraine, tested Haplogroup Q (backbone) and 25 markers.  The other, of known American Indian male line descent, who tested Haplogroup Q-M346*, or Q1a3*, confirming his ancestry.  Twelve markers only.

Haplogroup R1a1a  Glastonbury, CT, and Dorset, England
This group is a real challenge.  Descendants of Richard Fox of Glastonbury, MA, and of Vaniah Fox, who was married in Glastonbury, match a descendant of Harry Francis Fox of Dorset, England, almost exactly at 37 markers.  Two have been tested Haplogroup R-M198, or R1a1a and one, (N55006) has been extended to 67 STR markers.  They are closely matched at 67 markers by an adoptee, surnamed Rude.

Haplogroup R1a1a Other
Two Foxes of German descent who do not match other Foxes closely – one tested at 37 markers the other at 12.

Haplogroup R-L1/S26 Null at DYS 439
This matching group consists of:
(1) Four Foxes descending from Justinian Fox of Philadelphia and his father, Edward Fox of
Plymouth, England.
(2) Three Foxes descending from Francis Fox of Wilshire, England, plus a fourth Francis Fox descendant tested at 17 markers by Jobling and King and not listed on the Y-Results tables.  Francis Fox is said to have been from the same family as Sir Stephen Fox.
(3) Three Foxes descending from Matthew Fox of Abbeville, SC, and his father, John Fox.
(4) A matching Clark ancestor from Lycoming County, PA, who was adopted.
(5) A less closely matching descendant of Thomas Dudley Fox of Vermont and Canada.
(6) A descendant of Johann Caspar Voß - - - B. 21 Oct 1677 in Dormagen Germany who is GD=20 to 23 in 67 markers from others in this group.  There was a name change from Voß to Fuchs to Fox.  He has been tested L1+.

All tested by FTDNA are null at DYS 439 and thus members of Haplogroup R-L1/S26 or R1b1a2a1a1a3.  One (14179) was tested R-S26 by Ethnoancestry, which is the same as R-L1 at FTDNA.  This Haplogroup is consistent with a late arrival to Britain.

Haplogroup R-L2 and Subclades (tested) No Matches in Project
Including three members of this R-U106 Subclade, one of whom (50481) suspects royal Stuart ancestry, one (28579) who was also tested by Jobling and King and one (201967) who does not know his ancestral surname.  This Haplogroup is also consistent with a late arrival in Britain.

Haplogroup R-L21 (probable) Andrew Fox of VA and TN Descendants. 
Fourth cousins, once removed, these Foxes differ at 3 markers in the 26 through 37 marker panel.  The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) was Andrew Fox’s son Jacob Fox, who married Elizabeth Broyles.  The Haplogroup assignment is from Neal Fox’s clustering analysis.

Haplogroup R-L21 (tested) No Matches in Project
Three Foxes with ancestry from Ireland, Lancashire, England, and Saarland, Germany, plus a Bonham with possible Fox connections.  The Fox with German ancestry suspects a reverse migration from Britain to Germany.

Haplogroup R-L21* William Fox, Loudoun County, VA, Descendants
A group of three Foxes, three with records tracing back to William Fox, b 1710, in Loudoun County, VA, plus another matching William Fox descendant tested by Relative Genetics and not listed in the Y-Results tables.  Two have tested 67 markers and one (59674) has tested Haplogroup R-L21 or R1b1a2a1a1b4, with negative results for M37, M222 and P66 downstream.  They are closely matched at 67 markers by a descendant of Enos Fox, 1814, KY.  A Hugh Fox (1745, VA) descendant matches them on 32 markers out of 37 with only 5 single step deviations and has been tentatively included in this group.  Another Hugh Fox descendant matches at 12 markers.  This Haplogroup determination is consistent with an early arrival in Britain. Three have been tested out to 67 markers

Haplogroup R-L47 Henry Fox/ Anne West Group
Five Foxes tracing back to Henry Fox, III, generally accepted as the grandson of Henry Fox and Anne West, plus an African American who matches them closely at 67 markers and is also tested Haplogroup R-L47 or R1b1a2a1a1a4a.  This group can be traced back to Henry Fox, b 1521 in Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.  One researcher has proposed a line of descent from Robert de Vaux, a Norman invader. These men are part of a founder cluster that contains Norman names but there is, as yet, no direct evidence of a Vaux/Fox match. The Haplogroup assignment is consistent with a late arrival to Britain.

Haplogroup R-L47 Gloucestershire Ancestry
Four closely matching results with ancestry from Alabama, Georgia and Gloucestershire, England, plus a Smith, with Fox connections, also from Bristol, Gloucestershire. The Haplogroup is estimated to be R-L47 by the project administrators.

Haplogroup R-M269 & Subclades  Descendants of Francis Fox of NC and SC.
Descendants of two different sons of Francis Fox, Jr.’s, son, William Moses Fox, 1801, Wilkes County, NC and his wife, Morning Ayres, these third cousins match on 37 markers out of 37.

Haplogroup R-M269 & Subclades  Descendants of John B. Fox, 1745, of Orange Co., VA
One tested at 37 markers, the other at 12, they match exactly at 12 markers.  Fourth cousins, once removed, the most recent common ancestor was John B. Fox, who married Ann Barber.

Haplogroup R-M269 Probably Pennsylvania Ancestry
Four closely matching Foxes, two descending from John Fox of Virginia, whose parents have in turn been identified as William Fox, 1777, Pennsylvania and his wife Sarah, another descending from Levi Fox, Sr.,1802, Pennsylvania, and, finally, one descending from Taylor Fox of Indiana, tested at 12 markers.  The latter has been included because of research indicating a connection to the Levi Fox descendant, who has been tested at 67 markers.  The Haplogroup, R-M269 or R1b1a2, is estimated – this is the basic Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype and the subclade has yet to be determined.

Haplogroup R-M269 Origin Southern US
There are so many unmatched Foxes in Haplogroup R-M269 and Subclades with Southern American Ancestry that it was deemed advisable to segregate them geographically.  For the most recent known ancestor (MRKA) of these project members, simply refer to the Y-Results tables.

Haplogroup R-M269 and Subclades (Other)
We have yet to find matches within the project for this large group of Foxes, some of whom have done extensive additional testing.  Ancestry (outside the US) goes back to mainly to the UK and Germany but we have one from Romania, one from France and one quite unexpected result from the Ukraine.

Haplogroup R-M269 Vanfossen
A large group of men of Dutch ancestry most of whom descend from Arnold Van Vossen of Germantown, PA, and his descendant Peter Vanfossen of Chester County, PA.  Several have changed their name to Fox.  One of these has been tested M269+, S21-, S26-, S28- and S29- so they are all also in Haplogroup R-M269. All but 5 of them are close matches to each other. They maintain a separate project at World Families where more detail is available. VanFossen Project

Haplogroup R Subclade Determinations

See Y-DNA SNP Tables

A number of the Foxes in the Haplogroup R groupings have done additional SNP testing and genealogical research and have joined specific Haplogroup Projects, with some very interesting findings.  If the ancestry is British, R-U106 Subclades were late arrivals to Great Britain whereas R-P312 and R-L21 represent very early arrivals::

R-U106 Subclades:
14179 was tested S21+ and S26+.  These are the same as U106+ and L1+ putting him and his null439 relatives in Haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1a3.
26383 and 48275 are Haplogroup R-L47 or R1b1a2a1a1a4a.  This is the Henry Fox/Anne West grouping.
93372 is Haplogroup R-L48 or R1b1a2a1a1a4 and negative for R-L47.  Descendant of Matthias Fox, Saar, Germany.
123131 is Haplogroup R-U106 and negative for L1, P107 and U198, yet to be tested for R-L48.  Descendant of Hyram Fox of Michigan.

R-U106 and R-U152 Subclades:
28579 is Haplogroup R-L20 or R1b1a2a1a1b3c1, a subclade of R-L2.  Descendant of Thomas Fox, 1608, Norfolk, England.
50481 is Haplogroup R-L2 or R1b1a2a1a1b3c. A probable descendant of Charles II, based on a paper trail and Y-DNA haplotype matches, he is L20 negative but has yet to test for L196.
201967 is Haplogroup R-L2*, negative for L20 and L196.  Admitted to the project because of Fox connections, he does not know his paternal ancestry.

R-P312 Subclades:
38430, 65065 and 92311 are Haplogroup R-L21 or R1b1a2a1a1b4 and 38430 is tested Haplogroup R-L21*, meaning negative for all downstream SNPs.  92311 is negative for M37, M222 and P66 downstream of L21.  Descendants of George Fox of Lancashire,  Michael Fox of Ireland and a Bonham who has Fox connections.
58674 is Haplogroup R-L21 and negative for M37, M222, P66 and L193 downstream.  This is one of the William Fox, 1710, Loudoun County, VA, descendants .

Upstream of R-U106 and R-P312:
38215, with no Fox Project matches, has done additional testing and genealogical research and is Haplogroup R-M310* or R1b1a2a1a1*, a precursor U106 and P312, the more prevalent downstream subclades. English, but possibly with deep ancestry in Italy with the name of Forz.  He has joined the R-S1194 Project and is called Haplogroup R-BY61280, a recent downstream SNP that he shares with another surname.
See the Y-DNA SNP Table for all results determined by FTDNA, including other Haplogroups.

Summary of Y-DNA Testing

We have representatives of most of the major European Haplogroups represented in the Fox Project and, within the most common Haplogroup R we have representatives of both of the major subheadings (R-U106 and R-P312) as well as one who is negative for both.  You have to conclude that the Fox surname was adopted many times by many people of differing backgrounds as well as being the Americanized version of similar names such as Fuchs, Forz, Van Vossen and, possibly, Vaux.

Anyone with the surname Fox or its variants is welcome to join the project, including transfers from the Genographic Study, and we now have enough members that there is a good chance of establishing a connection. There are at least eight separate families represented in the Fox project that trace back to the VA, NC, TN, KY areas so Foxes with early ancestors from the Southern USA can reasonably expect to find future matches. We have at least seven members of German descent and also have several members with Irish ancestry. We are anxious to get more members of known Irish or German descent.

Mitochondrial DNA Testing

Many members (both men and women) have ordered Mitochondrial DNA testing in order to establish their maternal ancestry. Mitochondrial DNA surrounds the cell nucleus and is passed from the mother to her children of either sex. It is possible to use mtDNA testing to support a maternal paper trail but there are several problems. First, the straight maternal line is often not known back more than a few generations and, of course, the surname changes with each generation. Second, the mutation rate is much slower than in STR testing of the Y-Chromosome and, to establish a close connection, some people (including a number of Fox project members) have ordered the full mtDNA sequence. For both these reasons mtDNA testing has proven most valuable in studying the migration of populations.  It is less useful for genealogical purposes, though some success stories have been told.  For this reason, the administrators leave it up to the individual member to track down his or her own matches.

Nevertheless, a tabulation of mtDNA results is available on this website and can help to verify a paper trail. The results presented show where the sequence of nucleotides differs from one particular reference sample - the Cambridge Reference Sequence - in two regions of the mtDNA molecule - Hypervariable Regions 1 and 2 (HVR1 and HVR2.)  Full genome mtDNA sequencing results for a number of project members are considered confidential.

Family Finder Testing

FTDNA’s version of autosomal chromosome testing for genealogical purposes is called Family Finder and is discussed elsewhere.  For a project where the project members have such diverse ancestry as do the Foxes in this project, it would be foolhardy to try to correlate results.  Many project members have elected this option and are following up on their own results.   FTDNA now makes available the use of a gedcom file to show ancestry and this is highly recommended.   When multiple matches occur on the same segment a common ancestor may be indicated if all match each other on the same segment.  This can be determined by having all upload their results to GEDmatch.


Leigh Fox Wilson has been the Fox Project Co-Administrator since the summer of 2023.  She an expert on the Thomas Fox of Concord, MA, Group but has been diligent in handling new results for all membes of the project.
The administrators would like to acknowledge the assistance of other project members who have spent hours analyzing data and making contacts. David Edward Fox has been diligent in recruiting members and is co-author of the ISOGG paperhttps://jogg.info/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/81.003.pdf.  Clay Fox has recruited members of the Vanfossen clan into the project and Dr. Lewis Fox has been recruiting Foxes with New Jersey ancestry.  Genealogists John William Fox and Paul Fox have also been of great help in reviewing the paper trail and in soliciting prospective members.  Terry Fox, John Gary Fox, Jon Myron Fox and Roland Fox have also been avid researchers and Roland was the one who got us Foxes into DNA testing in the first place. Kevin Archer Fox has also been very helpful in finding recruits and assessing results as has Kevin Daniel, a descendant of William Fox of Loudoun County, VA.

James Neal Fox was project co-administrator for a long time and did extensive studies that grouped Haplogroup R results into related clusters. He also helped set up the Haplogroup L1/S26 (null39) Project at FTDNA. John Henry Fox has provided access to the Steadman Genealogy Books and, in general, project members have been most cooperative in supplying family background information.  All of us are unpaid volunteers.