Milley Males Y-DNA Project

Discovering Connections
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This list of questions and answers is not exhaustive, so if you have a question that isn't answered here, email the Project Administrator, Craig Milley, at I coordinate this project as a volunteer, I always attempt to respondto inquiries within 48 hours.

1.      What is this project about?

The main focus of the Milley Males Y-DNA Project is to use genealogical DNA testing as a means of pursuing Milley genealogy and family tree research, while at the same time providing a better understanding of the origins and history of the surname and its variants.

2.      How do people participate?

Because our project relies on testing of the male Y-chromosome (which is passed from father to son, usually with the father'ssurname), it is best to arrange for a male Milley to have his Y-DNA tested. Depending on your situation, this may involve arranging for a DNA sample to be collected from a husband, son, brother, father, uncle or other relative who carries Milley Y-DNA. Of course, if you are a male Milley then testing your ownY-DNA will do.

3.      Is there a cost to participate?

Yes, there is a cost for the DNA testing and analysis to be done. For current costs through FTDNA please click here .

When we are able, we provide sponsorshipsto help offset some of the testing costs, particularly for newcomers to our project who are from previously untested family lines. Information about sponsorships is located under # 14 below. Donations towards sponsorships are always welcome (click here for details on how to make a contribution).

Please note that the administrators do not receive any form of payment, commission, etc., for recommending the services of FamilyTreeDNA. Despite being zealous about genetic genealogy, we're just volunteers.

4.      How do I obtain a DNA test kit and join the project?

The fastest way to join the Milley project is to go to this webpage at FamilyTreeDNA where you can scroll down a little bit and then select a test to order.

Alternatively, you can order a Y-DNA test through the Guild of One-Name Studies in England, which often provides a discounted price for the 37-marker Y-DNA test.

We recommend the 37 marker Y-DNA test as a good starting point.

Note, however, that it is better to test 111 or more markers- the more markers that are tested, the more informative and definitive the results will be. Best of all would be the "BigY" test, which includes approximately 700 STR markers (includingall those of the 111-marker test) and also analyses roughly ten million nucleotides to detect the presence of SNP mutations.

If you need or want some assistance with the process of ordering a test then get in touch with the volunteer administrators for the Milley Males Y-DNA project (click here to email us).Included in the kit that is then mailed to you will from FamilyTreeDNA will be two or three brushes to collect some cheek cells from inside a person's mouth (note that the collection process is painless and does  involve blood or needles). Still, before ordering a kit, please take a moment to read the information below.

The Milley Males Y-DNA Project primarily relies upon tests performed on the Y-chromosomes of Milley males. Since the Y-chromosome is passed only from father to son, those who get tested ought to have direct Milley paternity (i.e., their father's father's ... father's father should have been a Milley) and/or carry the Milley name themselves. If you are not a male Milley,you are still welcome to join the project, especially if you can arrange for a male Milley relative to provide a DNA sample for analysis.

5.      What if I need assistance with genealogy or with understanding the DNA results?

The project coordinators can assist with tracing your Milley ancestry, and with interpreting the Y-DNA results. Feel free to contact us to discuss your Milley ancestry, etc.

There are many Milley families that are not yet represented in the project. We are eager to get as many families as possible involved, so please feel free to ask us whether your family is one of those that isn't yet in the project.

6.      How are the DNA results used to help genealogy?

By comparing the Y-DNA genetic signatures for various Milley family lines we can find out which ones are related, and which are not (regardless of whether corresponding historical records are available). On our"DNA Results" page we display which family lines have been shown to be connected to one another.

Here are a few examples that illustrate how the DNA results can be used in practice:

Example 1:

Two people have Y-DNA results that aren't even a close match. In this case, they learn, with certainty, that their paternal lines are unrelated. They now know not to waste time or money in trying to discover the elusive connection between their Milley families, since their DNA tells them that there isn't any connection to be found (well, at least not via their direct paternal lines).

But what if people who don't match each other genetically thought they were related? Then maybe the relationship isn't in their direct Milley lineage. Or maybe one of them has made a mistake in tracing his/her lineage. Or maybe what's often called a "non-paternal event" has occurred, such as an adoption that might not be accurately reflected in the historical records.

Example 2:

Two people have Y-DNA signatures that are a perfect match.Provided that they tested enough markers, then they are afforded a strong degree of confidence that they share a common forefather, although they may not know who he was or when he lived. In cases where those who match had previously been strangers, they can then share their genealogical research with each other to try to find out who their common forefather was, where he lived, etc.

7.      Where does the Milley name come from?

According to many sources the name Milley is Gaelic and originatedin County Offaly, Ireland and from there spread around the world as part of the Irish diaspora. According to the genealogy site Geneanet, there are now Milley families in 17 countries around the world.

8.      Can people with variants of the Milley surname participate in this project?

Yes, all variants of the Milley surname are welcome within our project as it is likely the surname has evolved over time depending on ocation.  

9.      Can women participate? And what about people who are not Milleys themselves but have Milley ancestors or relatives?

Yes women can participate, but only males can provide the required Y-DNA sample (because only males carry a Y-chromosome). Female Milleys who want to participate will have to get an appropriate male relative (such asa father, brother, nephew, uncle, etc.) to donate a cheek swab of DNA. It's actually fairly common for women to participate in projects such as ours (often a sister or wife is the family genealogist, while a brother or husband is the DNA provider).

Likewise, if you are not a Milley by birth, but you have some Milley ancestors or relatives, you would have to locate a living male Milley to provide a Y-DNA sample.

Keep in mind that the Y-chromosome is passed only from father to son, so those men who provide DNA samples ought to have direct Milley paternity (i.e., their father's father's ... father's father should have been a Milley). Since a son typically inherits his surname (as well as his Y-chromosome) from his biological father, the men with the bit of DNA that we are looking for usually have the surname Milley.

We understand that some Milley genetic lines might have originated with an adoption, an illegitimate birth, or some other circumstance. All Milley lineages, regardless of how they began, are welcome within our project.

10.  What about other kinds of DNA tests?

In 2010 FamilyTreeDNA began offering an autosomal DNA test that scans genetic markers from throughout a person's genome. By then identifying people that share some DNA segments with you, it is possible to find genealogical connections from throughout your ancestry. Some more information about this test can be found here. Note that this test can be taken by anybody, whether male or female. FamilyTreeDNA is also able to test a person's mitochondrial DNA for genealogical purposes, especially in relation to their direct maternal line.

11.  Are there any geographic restrictions on participation?

No, it doesn't matter where you or your ancestors lived. It also doesn't matter what ethnic background(s) your ancestors might have had. Milleys everywhere are welcome to get involved.

12.  Who does the genetic analysis?

The genetic analysis that is done by FamilyTreeDNA in their accredited lab in Houston, Texas.

13.  How is the DNA sample collected?

The DNA test is easy, painless, and a blood sample is not required. The DNA sample itself is collected by brushing the inside of a person's mouth with two or three swabs that are provided with the test kit. These swabs are like little brushes that are designed to gently scrape away some cheek cells.

14.  Are sponsorships available to help offset some of my testing costs?

Our project has a Sponsorship Fund which contains donations that are used to encourage newcomers to join our project, especially those who may need some enticement or assistance to pay for their initial Y-DNA tests.Donations (which can be made by clicking here) are always welcome.

General Sponsorships:

When funding permits, the sponsorships listed below are available for Y-DNA tests:

(1)         Sponsorship of $75 for anybody with a Milley lineage that has been reliably traced back at least 8 generations, and without any indication that the lineage ties in with one of those already represented in our project.

(2)         Sponsorship of $75 for anybody with a Milley lineage that has been reliably traced back at least 4 generations to the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or mainland Europe, and without any indication that the lineage ties in with one of those already represented in our project.

(3)         Sponsorship of $50 for any Milley not residing in Canada or the USA.

As of April 30, 2021, our fund's balance for general sponsorships described above is $100.

If you are interested in availing of any of these sponsorship opportunities, then please contact the Administrator

Sponsorship Guidelines:

In exchange for receiving one of the sponsorships described above, recipients must agree to have their pedigree information published on the project's website. The general idea here is that if the project is helping to pay for a test, then the project should benefit in the form of being able to associate the DNA results with a pedigree.

Because funding is limited, support from our Sponsorship Fund is available on a first-come first-served basis. Please contact the Administrator at to inquire about seeking support from the fund.

As a special message to those receiving support, it would be greatly appreciated if at some time in the future you are in a position to do so, please consider making a contribution so that others in need might also be able to avail of support as you once did.

How to Contribute:

To contribute to our Sponsorship Fund, go to this webpage at FamilyTreeDNA. Please also send an email message to the Administrator at to describe how you want your donation to be applied. In particular, if you want to restrict your donation in some way (such as to a particular person, or to descendants of particular Milleys, or to people with Milley ancestry from a certain location, etc.) then you will have to tell us about it; otherwise, we will assume that your contribution is to be put towards the three general sponsorships listed above.

As a point of disclosure, note that cash in our Sponsorship Fund is held in trust by FamilyTreeDNA. The Administrators generally do not handle the money itself, although it is our role to advise FamilyTreeDNA which tests are eligible to receive support from our Sponsorship Fund.