Rutherford Surname Project

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Updated 4 January 2013 by Gail Riddell

Tracing your ancestors beyond that of your paper trail is one of the huge advantages of testing y chromosomal DNA.  This requires your investment in DNA testing. 

But to get the benefits, sharing the result of your Y-DNA is essential and wherever possible, I encourage all men to take the Y-67 test as well as 'Family Finder'  (FF).   FF will aid the women who cannot locate a male relative, but who may have excellent family trees and who have tested their autosomal DNA (FF). 

The Y-67 test is to remove the arbitrary "mis-match" cut-off used by FTDNA, although another possible method is to upload your Y-37 results to Y Search (a sister company of FTDNA).  But please be aware that if you are in the R1b1 Haplogroup, then since this is the most common for Europeans, you may find that Y-67 has become the "entry" level for Y-DNA testing because of the great progress in STR markers (and their meanings and their mutations) that has been made in recent years.  Not that long ago, Y-37 was the preferred entry level, but for this particular Haplogroup, it is no longer sufficient in many situations.  (Note this comment does not yet apply to the other Haplogroups, just R1b1).

Allow me to quote a short extract from pages 390 and 391 of the 3rd volume of 'Scottish Nation' - this is aimed at giving you an indication of the origination of the family name of RUTHERFORD.

RUTHERFORD, a border surname, borne originally by the ancient Teviotdale family of Rutherford of that ilk.  The surname is traditionally said to have had its derivation from the circumstances that their ancestor guided RUTHER, one of the Scots kings of "hoar antiquity," through a ford in the river Tweed, in an expedition against the Britons, and the lands adjacent being conferred upon him were thereafter called Rutherford, which name his posterity adopted, when surnames became hereditary in Scotland.
   Another traditionary story, - which, if correct, must refer to a time preceding the epoch of authentic border history, - gives a different account of the origin of the name.
It says that an English army once occupied fro several days a position on a rocky height, overhanging the Tweed, in the parish of Maxton, Roxburghshire, called Ringly Hall, when, finding itself confronted by a Scottish force ensconced on the opposite bank of the river, it forded the Tweed, and was defeated after a severe encounter.  The spot was afterwords called Rue-the-ford, on account of the disaster sustained by the English in fording the river, and the name, altered into Rutherford, was transferred to the lands around it, and to a village, now extinct, in its vicinity.
   In the frequent border forays into England under the DOUGLASes, the RUTHERFORDs bore a conspicuous part.  Among the first of them on record were Robertus domnus de Rutherford witness to a charter granted by David I to Jervasius Ridel in 1140 and Hugo de Rutherford, in a grant by Philip de Valoniis of some lands in Northumberland in 1215.  Hugo's son, Sir Nichol de Rutherford, mentioned in a charter of Alexander III., in 1261, is also witness in several donations to the monastery of Kelso, and in 1270 and 1272 is designed Nicholaus de Rutherford, miles.  He had two sons, Sir Nichol, who succeeded him, and Aymer de Rutherford, both of whose names are in the Ragman Roll as among the Scots barons who swore a forced fealty to Edward I of England in 1296.  The son of the former, Sir Robert de Rutherford, is particularly mentioned in Barbour's History as fighting valiantly under Robert the Bruce, for the independence of Scotland.  His son, Sir Richard Rutherford of that ilk, was witness in a charter granted to the abbacy of Coupar in 1328.  Sir Richard's grandson, Sir Richard Rutherford, a distinguished favourite of Robert III., was in 1390 witness to a charter granted by William Turnbull to William Stewart, his nephew of the lands of Minto.  In 1398 he was appointed one of the ambassadors extraordinary to the court of England, and in 1400 he and his sons were made wardens of the marches..."