Sinclair DNA Study

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About us

The Importance of Bequeathing Your DNA Kit

It’s always sad when members of the DNA study pass away, especially when we’re within just a few years of providing definitive answers about their ancestry.

Today I was attempting to get in as admin to order an SNP pack for a likely member of one of our lineages. Tragically, the member of our study passed away in 2015 without bequeathing his DNA kit to a loved one - in this case his brother. His settings also prohibited me getting in as admin to order the SNP pack for the brother. 

UPDATE: MARCH 11TH - I’ve written an email to the team at Family Tree DNA, and they've been wonderful about allowing the transfer. However they have an understandably cautious and somewhat involved process for this.

I’ve posted a video here that shows just how easy it is to designate a beneficiary for your DNA kit at this link -

Please do this at your earliest convenience.



2017 Plans for the Sinclair DNA Study

It’s been an incredible couple years, especially with the Big Y test coming out and so many of our family members testing with it.

Our friend Craig Sinclair has completed his work on re-organizing our DNA results page using the latest SNP testing, especially the Big Y results + Yfull analysis. Click here to see the results

The really big thing about Craig’s work is it shows our participants where the target is… what they should be aiming to do in order to add more data to each of our lineages and to their place within their lineage. The Herdmanston, Caithness, Shetland, and Alexander Sinkler lineages are beginning to show the value of this.

Big Y and Yfull have been used to get to an extreme point of clarity in each lineage.

First, it proves they are who we thought / hoped they were. They are distinct lineages and - with a ton of work on our part - will eventually get back further to connect with their medieval narrative (That’s a phrase you’ll hear more and more during 2017).

Second, it proves the limits of what we now know: None of our lineages can claim to get back before their Yfull predictions: A1. Ancestral St Clairs of Herdmanston TMRCA (time of most recent common ancestor) dating to approximately 500-375ybp, so 1517-1642 A.D.; A2. Ancestral Sinclairs of Orkney and Shetland (and Caithness) R-S5246 SNP dating to the latter part of the 14th century. Although these estimates will be amended should earlier matches test out to the Big Y.

The addition of Rondo’s & Gerry’s book, The Enigmatic Sinclairs, to our resources adds extremely factual evidence to the narrative. There are other resources out there which point to a deeper family narrative before the 14th century. Now it’s the job of our DNA study to find which of our lineages connect with which families within the narrative to prove them more accurate or false. For example, when we found the Herdmanstons connected to the Forresters in an interesting time frame we knew this could prove very useful. The Forresters fit into the narrative of the family. There are many more connections to be made out there, and none of our lineages will be left out of this chapter of the study. Your lineage matters greatly.

Much is yet to be learned.
In fact, I’ll say more is yet to be learned than is yet known.

The 2017 To Do List:

Affinity family testing

If you’ve seen me working over the past 4 years, you know I’ve been obsessing with what I’ve been calling SuperFamilies, otherwise known as Affinity Groups. Rondo, Craig, Gregg and I all feel this is an important step in getting the answers to the older brick walls we all face or will eventually run into. Testing affinity groups will require identification of these groups and testing them using an important “shortcut” method which will be clarified soon.

While we’ll continue to add affinity folks to our Sinclair DNA page, as Craig has got it working nicely, we’ve also decided to launch a few new study pages with FTDNA which will be dedicated to the affinity groups we’re seeing. This way, these other families can feel a part of the study of affinity relationships. This is a relatively new idea in DNA / genealogy testing and will provide a lot more clarity for all who participate.

Revise and revamp the website.

I wrote much of the website many years ago based on what we knew at the time, but tons of clarity and new information has been added thanks to SNP testing, Big Y, and new research by Rondo and Gerry. The entire website will be revised in 2017,and it will be re-published in a format that will make it easier to do rapid updates.

Completion of Big Y + Yfull analysis of each Lineage

We need at least 2 Big Y test subjects from each lineage. We’re close now on the Exeter Lineage. We need help on the Argyle Lineage.

Shortcut Testing

SNP packs

If you’re new to SNP testing, then we recommend SNP packs. They are recommended both in the FTDNA account homepage (see your “mydashboard” section) and in the Sinclair surname Y-DNA results page. These packs were designed following the first round of the ultimate FTDNA Y product, the Big Y. At $99-$119 they are incredibly good value. Ask for our advice before ordering.

Shortcut to Big Y matching

Big Y is very expensive. There’s no way around it for at least 2 of the members of every lineage. These intrepid early Big Y testers will make it possible for all who follow them to use a shortcut test using primers - for SNPs estimated to date within the target period from the early medieval to the genealogical timeframe - which we can have designed for each of our family lineages.

In this method, we will work with experts to identify these “shortcut” tests for haplogroups awaiting SNP Packs; for example, newly discovered haplogroups such as R-P310>A8055. This will lower the cost of testing for the Big-Y-identified SNPs which members will be able test at an infinitesimal fraction of the cost of Big Y. In the interest of fairness, this must be a group effort moving forward. Everyone in a lineage will benefit from this, and we need to find a way to help defray the cost of such testing. Big Y is incredibly expensive, but the new “shortcut”approach won’t be anywhere near as much.

More information. More clarity. More publishing.

While DNA testing has become more interesting for those who understand it, the process of getting there has grown more complex. The complexity has led to great understanding, but only for those who have the time to keep up with it.

We’re going to go further to making this all more understandable. The videos I’ve put up on YouTube over the past 13 years have a huge number of views, clearly far more views than our project has members. The highest is currently showing15,080 views. Another on Big Y shows 5,658 views. One from 5 years ago on early results from our SNP testing shows 3,372 views. To me this clarifies the lack of answers out there and the demand for such information. We can help.

We have the brainpower among the friends of the Sinclair DNA study to help many other families get this done for themselves, and those within our family to understand the value of further testing. For many of our family, the end of testing is already here. There will likely be nothing further than Big Y + Yfull.

Higher publishing standards

Moving forward, I’ve asked Rondo BB Me and Craig Sinclair to check whatever I publish and to publish on the website themselves. If others in the family have a particular area of expertise – Antonia Sinclair comes to mind – then I’ll ask you to contribute your wisdom if your time allows.

If you have questions, email Steve St. Clair at

As always, thanks for participating. You make it all possible.

Updating paternal ancestry information

Finally, a message from Craig Sinclair: "many of us joined Family Tree DNA at different stages in our ancestral odyssey, so the information we gave for our earliest paternal ancestor may now have been superseded or just clarified further. Therefore, could you please update your "Genealogy" information in your "Account Settings" with the most accurate known information for your ancestor such as place of birth and/or death. It will allow you, at the very least, to grouped by geography. Geographical groupings are an important tool to use when separating lineages, or just to map the early migration of Sinclair families. Please keep visiting the results page to see where you are placed or which tests are recommended. Thank you, Craig."