Huntsman Surname DNA Project

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Origins of the Huntsman Name

Huntsman is thought to be an occupational surname, similar in derivation to Hunt and Hunter in being associated with the hunt, an important activity in the Middle Ages.   According to Charles Wareing Bardsley (A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, 1968), Huntsman, and its original forms Hunteman and Huntman, describes a hunter, or a servant of the hunt or servant of the hunter.   In England the first documented occurrence of the name Hunteman was in 1273 A.D., of Huntman in 1379, and of Huntsman in 1650.  

Map of Huntsmans in 1881 census
Map of Huntemans in 1881 census

One would expect to find an occupational surname spread relatively evenly around the country, depending on local population density, but puzzlingly this is not what we find for the Huntsman and Hunteman surnames in the 1881 census of England and Wales.   See the maps above (thanks to Archer Software for these graphical representations).   There is a clear concentration of the Huntsman name in Yorkshire East Riding, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.   One possible explanation for this unexpected geographic distribution of the name is that some "founder effect" was at work, either because there was a single family founder, or one of the early holders of the name was well-off and had a large family with many sons who took the same surname, most of whom also prospered.   It is also possible that the occupation was especially common in that region of England.   Perhaps our project can resolve this puzzle after we have a sufficient number of members in the project.

The Huntsman DNA Project

The Huntsman Surname DNA Project, begun in October, 2009, intends to use DNA testing of the Y-chromosome to connect scattered Huntsman families who share a common paternal-line ancestor, even though this common ancestor might have lived before the genealogical time frame.   Using standard genealogical Y-DNA tests we hope to identify lost cousins and family branches whose family history might be incomplete.   As the Huntsman name is thought to have an occupational origin, we don't expect that there was just a single founder of all Huntsman families, but as the project grows we will be watching to see how many founders there might have been and how genetically diverse the Huntsman origins are.

By Participating In This Project

Each participant will :

  1. Learn which genetically distinct founding line of Huntsmans he is descended from;
  2. Learn his "Y-haplogroup" or the ancient ethnic and geographic origins of his paternal line;
  3. Learn his defining genealogical Y-chromosome markers which he can use for his own family history research, such as finding "lost cousins" through genetic matching; and
  4. Contribute to our understanding of the migration and settlement of ancient peoples.

Who May Join?

This project is open to all male Huntsmans (and spelling variations).   (Only males have the Y-chromosome which is tested in this project.)   Please encourage a male Huntsman in your family to take part in this project.   Women who are interested in this project should sponsor their Huntsman father, brother, uncle, or a male Huntsman cousin.   To participate fully in this project, members should identify their earliest known paternal line ancestor by name and where and when he was born, or, where and when he lived as an adult.

Taking a Test

Taking a Y-DNA test for this project simply involves scraping the inside of the cheek to collect old skin cells with DNA material in them.   It is NOT a medical procedure.   FTDNA's test kit is described here and the instructions are here.

Your Privacy

Taking a Y-chromosome DNA test for genealogical purposes is not a medical procedure and will not provide any health-related information, nor is it related to forensic testing, nor can anyone can steal your genetic identity by learning the DNA results found in this project.   While there are no special privacy concerns involved in genetic testing for genealogical purposes using the commonly-tested DNA markers, Family Tree DNA and the Huntsman Surname DNA Project have a strict policy for ensuring the privacy and anonymity of all project participants.   Many people prefer this.   Please see the FTDNA Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.

If You Have Questions

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Martin Potter, the volunteer administrator, at the address near the top of the page.   In addition, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) is a good source of factual, non-commercial information about DNA testing for genealogy.

©2020 Family Tree DNA All Rights Reserved.   Last updated 15 January 2020.