Part of the Hollow One-name Study
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When we get test results there are two parts to them. One part is a string of thirty seven numbers and this is called a person’s haplotype. It is this string of numbers that is useful for family history.

The other part of the result is a short series of letters and numbers such as R1b1a2 or I2a.This is a broader grouping that helps us understand where a whole group originated from, well back before surnames, thousands of years ago. This is called the haplogroup and is not used much in family history studies which is more interested in movement in the last 500years or so. Haplogroup studies do give clues as to our deeper ancestral history where groups of people migrated to after leaving Africa some 60, 000 years ago.

The Haplotype Results

The results for ten tests are now available. They show that seven of the people tested have almost the same haplotype. Interestingly their male lines go back to three different Holla/Hollow men.

John Holla born circa 1670,and married to Chesen Thomas at Zennor in 1695

William Hollow b c1660and married to Uslea Cock at Zennor in 1685

William Hollow b c1780possibly in St Ives.

The fact that the haplotypes are almost identical indicates these three Holla/Hollow lines are all related. This provides us with a couple of breakthroughs.

1.      Although we have been unable to link John Holla b c1670 to William Hollow b c1660 using the conventional family history sources, their Y-DNA results indicate they had a common ancestor.

2.      William Hollow bc1780 must also share the same ancestry because his line has the same Y-DNA result.

A chart of these results, showing how close the results are, can be found on this website by clicking on the ‘Results’ link on the side panel and going to ‘Y-DNA Colorized Chart’.

A look at the results shows that all seven people in Genetic Group 00 have almost identical haplotypes. Each of them has one or two differences. This is not unusual for pedigrees that cover over 400 years. A difference in the value of one or two sites is pretty regular in such pedigrees. .

If we look more closely at the male descendant lines they show that the people who have tested are not closely related. The closest relationship is third cousins,the rest are even further apart.

What do these results tell us?

The consistency of the results means we can confidently say what the marker haplotype or identifying haplotype of the Holla/Hollow family from Zennor is. Any male Hollow whose tests show this same haplotype, give or take a couple of differences, can be confident their ancestry goes back to John Holla and Chesen Thomas whether they can trace the line back by available records or not.

The other three tests

Two different haplotypes have been found.

The first of these different haplotypes, shown as in Genetic Group 002, presents us with a conundrum. The haplotype is quite different to the seven in Genetic Group 001 but the family tree for this person shows a pedigree back to William Hollow and Uslea Cock. They are the same couple that gave rise to three members of Genetic Group 001.

This suggests there has been, what is called anon-paternal event. That is, somewhere in the family tree there is a male whose father was not the son of a Hollow male. This may have been due to adoption,born out of wedlock, baby mix up in hospital. There are quite a few ways this could happen. To identify where this happened in the family tree we need to closely analyse this particular family tree. The line diverges from the root family tree after three generations from William b c1660. What also might help are more tests of people on other lines that link to this divergence.

The second different haplotype has a different story.Two people we have in the project had this haplotype but only one is a Hollow.The other has the surname WEBB. The person with this test has asked to be a member of the project. But in the Family Tree DNA database another project harbours people with almost the same haplotype as our Hollow. There are several people whose tests come up with only one or two differences to him. Now if these people’s surname was Hollow that would be great and we would have found more Hollows for our project. The problem is the people from the other project with matching haplotypes are all TUCKERs.

So we have a WEBB and several TUCKERS with the same or very similar haplotype to our HOLLOW.

There are two Tuckers with only one different test site difference, and eleven with only two test site differences. We cannot get too excited as some of these may be quite close relatives but the fact remains that their haplotype is almost the same as our Hollow haplotype and within the excepted margins. The Webb haplotype has just the one difference to our Hollow haplotype.

This highlights the fact that we need to study the written records alongside the DNA results. What we can say is that it is highly probable that our Hollow, the Webb and the various Tuckers share a common ancestor. Where the common ancestor is on the family tree we do not know.

There may be a non-parental event that we have not found that would explain the result. We are pretty sure that the Hollow tree actually starts with a non-parental event. The oldest male Hollow on his tree is Ishmael Holla b 1723 in Zennor to Jane Holla b c1700 and described in the baptism record as a base child, that is, born out of wedlock.  The quick answer would be to find a Webb or a Tucker in Zennor at the same time, but we haven’t been able to find such a person.

There is a slim chance of finding out the father of Ismael through written records.When searching for Holla records on the Cornwall Records Office on-line catalogue I came across two references to Jane Holla. In 1723 Jane Holla of Zennor was excommunicated from the Church (children look away) for fornication.Both the references refer to this event. Now through my regular viewing of the TV program Who do you think you are? I remember that there have been similar happenings and that the official church record of this non-parental event often includes the name of the father.

I ordered copies of the two records and they are to hand. I now find I have two additional problems. A, the records are written in an old English script that is hard to decipher and B, they are also written in Latin. I have had a couple of people who know Latin and can read Old English script but the names Webb or Tucker do not seem to appear.

So another part of the study is still a work in progress. More tests could help so if you are a Hollow male please make contact and we can work out whether a test on your Y-DNA would be helpful.

The Haplogroup Results

From the tests we have three different haplogroups. The study of haplogroups is still developing so only general trends are described in the literature. The information here comes via Family Tree DNA, the company we test with.

HaplogroupR1b1a2 and R1a1a

These are subgroups of the Haplogroup R1 that originated in Central Asia. 30,000 years ago. In turn R1 split about 20,000 years ago into its branches R1a and R1b in Central Asia. R1a and R1b migrated west and settled in Europe.

HaplogroupR1a. While R1a can be found throughout Europe, it is most frequent in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. R1a is the most frequent haplogroup  among the Eastern Europeans but also there is a high proportion found in Norway and Iceland (20-30%). Some people use this to say they may have Viking blood.

Haplogroup R1b journeyed into Europe from Central Asia, then spread and multiplied until its lineages can be found throughout Europe and until it became the most frequent haplogroup in Western Europe. A sample of Cornish people showed it was carried by 78% of them.

There is a graphical representation of this migration in the Photos page of the website.


Haplogroup I. Ice Age 25,000 years ago. This haplogroup originated either in the Middle East or in Southern Europe. During the last ice age when much of Europe was covered by glaciers, people took refuge along the Mediterranean.

Haplogroup I2a. Southern Europe. At the end of the ice age, members of the I2a branch spread north into Eastern Europe and west along the Mediterranean. One of the I2a branches may have been the first to settle Sardinia.

Less seems to be known about this haplogroup but some suggest they made it to Scandinavia and maybe came to Britain via the Vikings too. There is also a suggestion they may have come via the Normans.

There is a graphical representation of this migration in the Photos page of the website.