• 1196 members

About us

2 July 2023:  The largest Graham family, the J1-L1253 lot, whose ancestors came originally from the Scottish Borders, do not descend from same family as the Noble Grahams of Montrose and Menteith, and DNA testing has confirmed this.

It is known that the largest single family of Border Grahams (sometimes known as the Grahams of Netherby), descend from Lang Will Graham of Stuble (1468-1540, who arrived in the Scottish Borders about 1516, had 8 sons, including Richie Graham of Brackenhill, and became a notorious Border Reiver. There was a legend that Lang Will Graham was the eldest son of John Graham of Kilbride, "John of the Bright Sword", the second son of Malise Graham, Earl of Menteith, but recent DNA tests have shown this to be wrong. Long Will Graham was not the earliest Graham on the Borders by any means, as there had been Grahams there for generations before Lang Will arrived.

11 March 2023:  The most recent common ancestor of all members of haplogroup I-FT233821 is estimated to have been born between 901 and 1499CE. The most likely estimate is 1243CE.

11 March 2023: Estimated dates for J-L1253 (From the Discover Haplogroups links) are estimated to have been between 1011 and 1357CE, with the most likely estimate being 1201CE.

19 November 2021: We now have confirmation of the lines from the Graham Dukes of Montrose.  These are represented by I-M253 Group Type 2. I-M253>DF29>>>A5723>Y48464>FT233821>. The tester, IN108665, is a direct descendent from William Graham, 1st Earl of Montrose (1447-1513). William Graham's son, Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie (1508-1538), was granted the land at Inchbrakie (near Crieff) in 1513, along with other land in Perthshire, and the tester is Patrick's great (x12) grandson. The family's main seat remained at Inchbrakie until 1882, when they finally sold it. Patrick Graham's elder brother, William Graham, 2nd Earl of Montrose, was the patriarch of the line that led to James Graham (1612-1650) 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of Montrose, and to James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose (1682-1742). The line is proved by a match with tester IN35441, whose ancestors come from a cadet line of the Grahams of Montrose.

20 March 2021: There were 644 Y-DNA results in the Graham DNA Project. 456 testers had at least one match within the project, while 188 testers (29%) had no project matches. There were 325 mtDNA test results in 17 different major haplogroups. Details are given in the Results section.

16 March 2021: Dates for J-L1253 from combined STR and BigY tests. Courtesy Dr. Iain McDonald.

From 111-marker STR results for J-L1253 testers I arrive at a mean TMRCA of 399 years, a median of 407 years and a standard deviation of 118 years. For a 95% uncertainty interval we're probably looking at something close to 400 +/- 150 years. The errors will be asymmetric, so something close to 300-600 years as a rough guess for the STR age. These ages are rather younger than the BigY SNP ages - more likely 300-600 years than 500-1000 years. So probably the true answer is closer to 400-700 years ago or (taking into account the age of the average tester) around 1250-1550 AD.

15 March 2021: Dates for J-BY89 and J-L1253 from BigY tests. Courtesy Dr. Iain McDonald.

As a rough estimate, the BigY results indicate a common ancestor around 500-1000 years ago for J-L1253 and around 1500-2500 years ago for J-BY89.

This puts the migration from the Middle East to Scotland sometime between 2500 and 500 years ago. Statistically, we most commonly see a migration from an under-tested area to a well-tested area occurring at the end of an unbroken chain of SNPs, so I would posit that if the arrival in Scotland happened 500-1000 years ago - either directly or indirectly via a third location.

6 Feb 2021:  IN35441 has just got his BigY results back and he is I-Y48464 like several other members of the I1-Group Type 2 group. This is interesting as I-Y48464 it is quite an old group and could represent that of the Graham Earls of Menteith. The STRs within the group are quite variable, but the I-Y48464 SNP establishes the group's common ancestor. The Earls of Menteith owned most of the land around the Lake of Menteith until the 1700s, and had their castle on the Island of Inchmahome in the middle of the Lake. The family of IN35441 were tenants on one of the local farms, while the Grahams of Gartmore lived a few miles away. This group is localised in the right area.

23 June 2018: R1b Group Type 6 has been confirmed as belonging to the branch R1b Group Type 6: R-M269>L23>L51>PF7589>CTS6689> S1141>FGC24138>BY12006. Most members have links with Northern Ireland, but links back to Scotland which are currently being explored as well. The block age estimate of 665 years (1285AD) ties in well with the time when the first named Graham arrived in Scotland from England with King David I. It also predates the period when most surnames became fixed in Scotland, so that would explain the many different surname matches with this group.

18 May 2016: The largest Graham family, the J1-L1253 lot, whose ancestors came originally from the Scottish Borders, are unlikely to belong to the same family as the Noble Grahams of Montrose and Menteith.

Legend has it that the Grahams of Netherby (in the Scottish Borders) descended from Long Will Graham, eldest son of John Graham of Kilbride, "John of the Bright Sword", who was the second son of Malise Graham, Earl of Menteith. However John of the Bright Sword was born in 1427 and Long Will Graham was born in 1468. They were NOT the earliest Grahams on the Borders by any means, nor the largest Family. There had been Grahams there for generations before the Netherby lot arrived and one reason for John of the Bright Sword taking refuge there was that he could join men of his own surname.

Records on the medievalsoldiers site show two men named Grame in service in Border forces in earlier times. One, Thomas Grame, archer, in 1383-85, served under the command of Henry Percy, Duke of Northumberland in "Scottish Marches". The other, John Grame, archer, served in the force commanded by John of Lancaster, in the "Berwick Garrison".

22 August 2015: We welcome a new Co-Admin to the Graham project.  Victar Mas is an expert in the analysis of Y-haplogroup J1 and we look forward to seeing his contribution to the analysis of our J1 Y results.  

22 August 2015: As at 22 Aug 2015 there were 380 Y-DNA results in the Graham DNA project, and 138 of those testers (or 36% of the total) did not have any matches within the project.

There were 230 testers who had at least one match within the project and they were listed in 33 different family groups, ranging in size from 115 down to 2. The largest single group was that of the Ancient Grahams (J1-L1253), with 115 testers in that group, or one of its subclades. The next largest groups were R1b Group Type 1 and R1b Group Type 4 with 8 members each, followed by I1 Group Type 2 with 7 members. In all there were 33 family groups and they accounted for 230 testers who had at least one match within the Graham Project.

At that date there had been 13 Big-Y tests within the project and 160 mtDNA tests, of which 80 were for the Full Sequence and 130 for HVR1 & HVR2, and these tests were grouped into 16 different major haplogroups. We have also had 149 testers who have taken the Family Finder test.

12 August 2015:  FTDNA has added some downstream SNP values to their Y-tree, with the result that some of testers who have tested positive for downstream SNPs now are shown as having a new revised haplogroup description. For example, many of the Grahams in the J1 haplogroup who have tested for Big-Y or for the J1 subclade test have been revised to be J-Z18186. This is not the lowest known point on the tree for those testers as most of them are also positive for L1253 which is not yet shown, but we are making progress. For those of you who are into SNP-testing this will come as a welcome change, and there will be further revisions to come. 

15 June 2012:  There’s great news for Grahams and Jordans and their relatives in the J1c3d group. One of their number (N42042) has just been WTY-tested positive for two new SNPs: L1252 and L1253.

L1252 appears to be widespread among J1 testers, but the new SNP L1253 could prove to be a marker for this cluster within J1, presently characterised by DYS388=15, YCAII=22-22 and DYS455=10.

Dec 2010: All J1 testers in the Graham group to date can be recognised by their STR signature, as all have DYS388=15 and YCAII=22-22. The modal value for this line of J1 Grahams, and probably the signature of the earliest Scottish ancestor of the Ancient Grahams, William de Graham (c1080-1127), can be found in Ysearch at CMCFF. Several of the Grahams from this line have been subclade-tested as J1c3d with P58+, L147+, L222-. 

We have had three unexpected matches all who have ancestry in North Carolina. Those participants are busy comparing their family trees to identify their common ancestor.