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About us

The name Stephen or Steven was originally derived from the New Testament Greek word stephanos, which means "crown" or "garland" (from the Greek verb stepho - to twine or wreathe). St. Stephen, called the "Proto-Martyr" because he was the first Christian martyr after Christ Himself, was a very popular saint throughout medieval Europe. Many boys were named for him. When surnames began to be adopted in Europe, various versions of the name Stephen were used as a patronymic denoting "son of Stephen." Thus different forms of the patronymic surname "Stephens" appear in every country in Europe, according to the language of each country. Immigrants to the English-speaking New World often anglicized their own versions of "son of Stephen" to the English "Stephens" or "Stevens" or had their names anglicized by census takers or immigration workers. The purpose of this project is to help Stephens-Stevens families with their genealogical research. It is open worldwide to Family Tree DNA customers with the surnames Stephens, Stevens, Stephan, Stephen, Stevin, Steven, Stebbins, Steffins, Steffen and other versions of the surnames Stephens or Stevens, meaning primarily "son (or descendant) of Stephen". This is a Y-DNA project. Only men have a Y-chromosome, which is passed from to son. Women may participate by having a male Stephens-Stevens relative submit a DNA sample for testing. Please click on the tabs above to view the various aspects of our project.

We strongly recommend Family Tree DNA's Big Y-700 test as the best and most thorough, reasonably priced Y-chromosome DNA test available. The 37-marker "Y-37" test is a very economical way to begin, however. You can always upgrade later.

Since the Stephens/Stevens Project is a Y-DNA project, what we are primarily interested in are SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) on the Y chromosome. Currently the best test for those is Family Tree DNA's Big Y-700. The Big Y-700 will show you where you are on the Y-chromosome phylogenetic tree and which of your matches is truly closest to you. It can reveal the fine details of family branching, connect you to ancient Y-DNA test results, and may, at some point in the near future, even enable researchers to pinpoint the geographic origin of your Y-DNA haplogroup, perhaps down to the village. The "700" in the name of the test represents the added benefit of the over 700 STR (Short Tandem Repeat) markers that are also part of your test results. 

Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) Testing

What is a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism?

The following definition comes from the National Institutes of Health's Genetics Home Reference web site: 

Single nucleotide polymorphisms, frequently called SNPs (pronounced “snips”), are the most common type of genetic variation among people. Each SNP represents a difference in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide. For example, a SNP may replace the nucleotide cytosine (C) with the nucleotide thymine (T) in a certain stretch of DNA.

SNPs occur normally throughout a person’s DNA. They occur once in every 300 nucleotides on average, which means there are roughly 10 million SNPs in the human genome     . . .