The MacAulay surnames have their origins in Scotland and Ireland. There are multiple separate and distinct branches that are Irish and Scot, with both Nordic and Celtic origins in multiple locations throughout Western Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Northwestern and Central Ireland. The original MacAulay surnames from Ireland and Scotland are the result of anglicized versions of old Norse and old and middle Gaelic personal names such as: Áleifr or Óláfr from old Norse and Olaf, Amliaoibh, and Amhlaidh from Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Many of the descendants preceded their original surname with abbreviations for “son of”,ie: Mac, Mc, M' and O’. Development of surnames in the British Isles and Ireland are the direct result of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The Normans were obsessed with the feudal social system, control of the population, and heredity. Recording of surnames expanded north and west as the English expanded their conquests and control throughout the isles. The many and varied spellings of MacAulay surnames are the result of those who recorded the names over the past 4 centuries. The exact spellings of surnames appear to be due more to the person who recorded the name and their location at the time than the actual surname itself. My McAuley family line was recoded with 12 different spellings going back to 1635. Since the Y-DNA is only pasted from father to son, Y-DNA testing provides information for paternal (father-to-son) genealogical testing for surname DNA projects. The first direct to consumer Y-DNA test available was the Y chromosome STR DNA tests. A Short Tandem Repeat (STR) is when short DNA sequences that are adjacent to each other repeat multiple times. Y-STR Testing results reports out the number of times a pattern repeats at specific locations on the Y-DNA. These results are reported out a sequence of the number of times a pattern (called an allele) is repeated (typically from none to 26 times) at each specific location. These numeric values are referred to as markers. Because any individual Y-DNA STR (Y-12 to Y-111) marker can increase or decrease in value at any generation, their usefulness as an indicator of genetic genealogy degrades as the number of generations increase. This means that the STR results may provide a general indication of a distant genealogical connection. However, STR testing cannot provide confirmation of a genetic relationship. The Y-STR test results provided the first method to utilize DNA to trace male genealogical lineages. When Y-DNA is passed down from father to son, the number of repeats at any one location can randomly increase or decrease in value (which is called a mutation). And at any subsequent generation, the number of repeats at the same or other location can randomly decrease or increase in value. The focus of a more recently available Y-DNA testing method called the Big-Y tests for SNPs rather than STRs. A Y-SNP is a single mutation, at a specific single base-pair location of the Y-DNA. Typically, once these mutations occur, they are passed down unaltered to every subsequent generation. As a result, if two males have the same Y-SNP, then they have a common ancestor who was born sometime after that SNP first appeared. BigY DNA SNP testing will provide a positive confirmation of direct male ancestral connections. Since once a SNP appears in the DNA, it is passed down to all subsequent generations. And if two males have the same SNP then they have a common ancestor who existed sometime after the SNP first appeared. As additional SNP testing results continue to come in, analysis of the DNA data in conjunction with individual genealogical and historical data additional failial branches and emigration patterns continue to be developed. If you are serious about finding (and confirming) your direct male ancestral roots, you need to take the BigY DNA test. As additional information becomes available, it will be posted in the Results Section, in the Activity Feed and on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MacAulayDNA If you join our project, please include the name, birth and/or death date and location of your most distant known male ancestor on the straight male line and add information on at least the direct male genealogy to your FTDNA family tree.