The text on this page was last updated on September 27, 2011.
The web site of Clovis LaFleur, one of the Stark Family Y-DNA Project Volunteer Administrators, will have more comprehensive information about the genealogy and members. Click HERE to go to his Home Page.
Sheila Schmutz, the other Stark Family Y-DNA Project Volunteer Administrator, maintains a website with charts showing the Lines of Descent from the shared Stark ancestors. Enter http://homepage.usask.ca/~schmutz/StarkLines.html in your browser to access that page.
Who Can Join
Membership is restricted to Males with one of the above Project Surnames or a derivative. The male Y-chromosome is handed down from father to son relatively unchanged through the generations. A comparison of the Y-DNA of two males with the same surname can determine their relatedness to each other. Groups of males with the same surname so tested and compared can define family groups and establish a probability they have a most recent common ancestor within the time frame that surnames were adopted in Western Europe (about the 13th and 14th centuries).
Genealogical research combined with Y-DNA testing can often determine and verify a most recent common ancestor of a group of males who have been found to be related. Because subtle mutations will occur over the generations, some family branches can often (but not always) be defined or verified — provided the genealogy is known and accurate. As the genealogical research of these families is being developed, Y-DNA test can often assist in furthering and refining the direction of the research.
Those who have participated in the Stark Family Y-DNA Project have come from many different lines of descent and nine unrelated groups of project participants have evolved. The Stark Family Y-DNA Project has clearly verified descendants of Aaron Stark [1608-1685] of Connecticut are not related to descendants of Archibald Stark of New Hampshire (father of General John Stark of Revolutionary War Fame); James Stark of Stafford County, Virginia; nor Dr. Richard Starke of York County, Virginia. [See Aaron Stark Genetic Genealogy Report] However, descendants of Archibald, James and Richard are related to each other; although the identity of their common ancestor is not known. [See Killermont Stark Families Genetic Genealogy Report]
This is an example of the benefits of combining genealogical research with Y-DNA testing. Even if a person doesn’t know their ancestry, a Y-DNA test may reveal their relatedness to one or more of the participants in this project.
Understanding Your Y-DNA Results
The purpose of the article entitled, Understanding Your Y-DNA Test Results, is to educate our Project Members and potential new members. Using examples from the Stark Family Y-DNA Project, this publication will attempt to: 1) explain the presentation of your genetic results; and 2) explain the significance of your genetic comparisons to others. While I could go into a complicated discussion of the biology and chemistry — if your interested in more detail on this subject — I suggest visiting the web page entitled DNA101.
Because Family Tree DNA supports "surname projects," they have been selected to perform the Genealogical DNA testing and analysis. FTDNA is one of the more prominent research firms in this field. The Houston, Texas based company was founded strictly for performing genealogical DNA testing and analysis. They work closely with Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona who is actively pursuing DNA surname research.
The project will compare these test results to the genealogical research to: determine relatedness; prepare reports; and define and separate the participants into family groups. These goals are best accomplished by individuals being tested over 25 (Kit Y-DNA12) or 37 (Kit Y-DNA37) markers . 12 (Kit Y-DNA12) marker test results are welcome; but our experience to date suggests the project objectives can best be achieved if new participants are tested beyond 12 markers.
Y-DNA Test Kit
Blood test are not needed to provide a Y-DNA sample for testing. A cotton swab is provided in the Y-DNA Kit you receive from Family Tree DNA. You swab the inside of your cheek per the kit instructions and return the kit to FTDNA. Click HERE for instructions on how to use your test kit.
A Word of Caution About Non-paternal Events
Be aware that your test results could have an unexpected outcome. Some comparisons may vary by two or three markers which could be representative of lines of descent that are either older or younger than the currently observed lineages. The most difficult unexpected outcomes to explain are those in which a participant is not related as expected. These are classified as unrecorded "non-paternal events." Types of non-paternal events could be; pregnancy outside a marriage; adoption; man takes the Stark name when he marries a Stark daughter; Stark man marries a pregnant woman whose husband died; wife who was a Stark chooses to give her children her surname; clerical errors assigning the surname Stark to the wrong person. These are a few examples of unrecorded non-paternal events.
Some may not want to see a result indicating a “non-paternal event” — but we are all legal Starks and a small sample size could be misleading. Therefore, remember, as more participants join the project along your line of descent, the mystery could be resolved; or you and others related to you will have defined a new Stark family group.
Test Kit Cost
By joining a FTDNA Surname Project, you receive a price discount. There are also special prices available for upgrades of Y-DNA12 and Y-DNA25 kits to 25 and 37 markers respectively. Check with the administrators if you desire to be tested over additional markers. Click Here to Join the Stark Family Y-DNA Project
A History of the Stark Surname
In Scotland, the family name is an old one. In the words of Sir George Mackenzie (1636-1691), a legend, then nearly 200 years old, proclaimed one origin of the name in Scotland.
"Stark, beareth azur, a chevron, argent, between three acorns in chief, or, and bull's head erased of ye 2nd base. Those of ye name are descended on one John Muirhead, 2nd son of ye Lord of Lachop, who at hunting in ye forest of Cumbernauld, one day seeing King James ye IV in hazard of his life by a bull hotly pursued by ye hounds stept in between ye King and ye bull, and gripping ye bull by ye horns and by his great strength almost tore ye head from it for which he was called Stark and his posteritie after him and bears ye rugged bull's head in their arms. Ye old sword of ye family has on it "Stark, alias Muirhead."
The origins of the Stark surname in North America began with the arrival of Aaron Stark in New England between 1630 and 1637 — most likely from Scotland or England. He was born about 1608 and died in 1685 in New London County, Connecticut. His service in the Pequot War under Captain John Mason in May of 1637, is the first record we have of him in Connecticut. He eventually settled in New London County, Connecticut in a region that later became Groton Township. Aaron Stark had three sons named Aaron Stark (Junior), John Stark, and William Stark (Senior). John Stark had no sons to whom he could have passed his surname. William Stark (Senior) and Aaron Stark (Junior) had numerous male descendants; many living today who carry the surname Stark.
About 75 to 100 years after the arrival of Aaron Stark in Connecticut, three men with the surnames Stark and Starke arrived in New Hampshire and Virginia. Their names were Dr. Richard Starke of Virginia, James Stark of Stafford County, Virginia, and Archibald Stark of New Hampshire (the father of General John Stark of Revolutionary War fame). The genealogical research has not been able to determine if these three men were related. However, independent research of each has suggested their ancestral home could have been in or near Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland.
As Stark pioneers began to move westward, descendants of the progenitors of these four early arrivals in North America became mixed in the records as they settled in the same regions. In some instances, some of the descendants of Aaron Stark began to spell their name "Starks." This occurred most often in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Northeastern New York where the descendants of Archibald lived. Some spelled the name Starke and were descendants of Dr. Richard Starke. About 1732, descendants of William Stark (Senior) — son of Aaron Stark — moved to New Jersey and later migrated into Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and later into Kentucky and Indiana. At about the same time, descendants of James Stark of Stafford County, Virginia moved into these same regions. As occurred in the Northeast, these families also became mixed in the records.
In later years, many German immigrants arrived, having the surnames Stark, Starks, Starke, Starkes, and Stork. These would be new lines, having arrived anywhere between 1750 and the present. Within this time frame, more recent arrivals came from Great Britain.
In 1896, the Stark Family Association was created for the purpose of collecting and preserving the genealogy of the early arrivals to North America. From 1903 to 1952, an annual yearbook was published by the Association on the activities and research of it's many members located throughout the United States and Canada. In 1927, Charles R. Stark compiled a genealogy based on the Association's research entitled; "The Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations of the Family of Aaron Stark of Groton, Connecticut." This publication recorded 2,171 descendants of Aaron. Today, the number of descendants recorded has grown to approximately 15,000. [See Descendants of Aaron Stark (1608-1685) of Connecticut.]
In 2002, an excellent genealogy of the family of General John Stark entitled "The Family of General John Stark (1728-1822)" was published by Jane Stark Maney, which has a large collection of the descendants of Archibald Stark. Another publication entitled "James Stark of Stafford County, Virginia and His Descendants" was compiled by Mary Kathryn Harris and Mary Iva Jean Jorgensen.
Although there is a wealth of genealogical research available on these families, we do not as yet know where Aaron Stark lived in Scotland; nor do we have proof he came from England. While the Genealogy suggests Dr. Richard Starke, James Stark, and Archibald Stark have their origins in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, documentation has not been found which positively records they were relatives. Further more, many Aaron Stark family researchers believed Aaron was related to the New Hampshire family — the Y-DNA Project providing proof their descendants are not related.
This Project may help answer these questions:
Was Aaron Stark related to Dr. Richard Starke, James Stark, and Archibald Stark? [ANSWERED]
Were Dr. Richard Starke, James Stark, and Archibald Stark Related? [ANSWERED]
When did the common ancestor of Richard, James and Archibald live? (See Genetic Genealogy Report)
Is there any relationship of these families to the other Stark families of Virginia? [ANSWERED]
How are other Stark Ancestors related to other families with the surname Stark?
Is there a connection of any Stark families to the Muirhead families of Scotland?
What is the Country of origin of the America Stark family progenitors.
Do any of the Stark families of Scotland have ancestors in common with the Stark families of Germany?
The Stark DNA Fund is a fund established in conjunction with Family Tree DNA for people to contribute funds towards the cost of DNA testing. This fund will be used to help defray the cost of the Y-chromosome DNA test. All contributions will be sent directly to Family Tree DNA and deposited into a general fund earmarked for the Stark DNA Project. Contributors may specify how the funds are to be used, i.e. for example, to the descendants of John Stark and Mary Smith; or for a test for a specific participant; or they may make a general contribution to be used by any participant who meets the criteria for using the fund. A General Fund contribution can also be made "in memory" of someone. Donations of any size will be welcome. Click Here to contribute to the fund.