THE POLLARD SURNAME PROJECT is open to anyone who has the surname Pollard—or any variant spellings—in their family tree. Aiming to help identify and bring together the various branches of this family line by use of DNA, the test results center around the Y-chromosome, which is passed down essentially unchanged from father to son to grandson. Because yDNA isn't recombined at conception, as is autosomal DNA, it has immense value in genealogy and can look back multiple generations to confirm relationships, even provide information in anthropological timeframes about how that paternal line migrated thousands of years ago.
While yDNA casts a very deep net when fishing for unbroken lineages of early surname use, autosomal DNA, like the Family Finder test, casts a much broader though shallower net. It is quite difficult to accurately employ autosomal DNA evidence farther back that 3g-grandparents—matches to 4th cousins—but the average person will have about 190 3rd cousins and 940 4th cousins. Combining the use of yDNA and atDNA provides the best possible opportunity to build a genetic picture of a surname line. Even if they can't take a yDNA test, we most certainly welcome those with the Pollard name in their trees who take a Family Finder test.
Seemingly the most likely origin of the surname is the medieval personal name "Polhard," a derivative of "Paul," which seems to have been pronounced "Poll" by the end of the 12th Century, plus the element "-hard," meaning strong, or brave. The first recorded use of it as a family name seems to be that of a William Pollard, recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey in 1181, during the reign of King Henry II. A Pollardus Forestarius appears in the 1207 Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire; and in 1275, a Stephanus filius Pollard is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Kent. "Pollard" has been established in Ireland since the 14th century.