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About us

Thirty two male STERRYS have now joined the Project. Numbers corresponding to individual STERRY lines are as follows:

  • Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 6
  • Melbourne, Victoria, Australia [linked to Bury St Edmunds tree] - 1
  • Longhope, Gloucestershire - 3
  • Minsterworth, Gloucestershire [linked to the Longhope tree] - 1
  • Bermondsey, Surrey [linked to the Longhope tree] - 1
  • Lowestoft, Suffolk - 3
  • Southwold, Suffolk [linked to the Lowestoft tree]- 4
  • Ipswich, Suffolk [linked to the Lowestoft tree] - 2
  • Pakefield, Suffolk; [linked to the Lowestoft tree] - 0
  • Lambeth, Surrey [linked to the Lowestoft tree] - 1
  • Ruardean, Gloucestershire [incorporating Southwark,Surrey line] - 1
  • Worcestershire - 1
  • Stonington, Connecticut, USA - 3
  • Starks, Maine, USA [linked to the Connecticut tree] - 1
  • Tennessee, USA [linked to the Connecticut tree]- 1
  • Hafslo, Norway - 2
  • Burford, Shropshire - 1
DNA results for Harvey Starey indicate no match between his Burford, Shropshire line and any other STERRY tree.

DNA results for the Hafslo, Norway tree indicate that all the descendants of this line belong to a completely different haplogroup to all the other Sterry trees so far tested. That effectively means that there is no connection between the Hafslo Sterri/Sterry line and any other tested Sterry line within thousands of years.

Our big DNA surprise this month was that the Starks, Maine, USA line is connected to both the other two US Sterry lines. However, all three US lines share a common haplogroup that does not match any other Sterry line. So their common point of origin is either a yet unidentified Sterry line - and this is unlikely - or came from another surname or variant - the surname Starie/Starey being a likely contender. The Starie/Starey family tree has been extensively researched in an attempt to find such a connection but without success. We are of course hoping we can persuade a male descendant of that line to join our STERRY DNA Project.

The results for David John Sterry show the Lambeth line is clearly related to the Lowestoft line.

The latest DNA results have led to a re-examination of the links between the Southwold and Ipswich lines and the much older Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK Sterry line. There is now strong DNA evidence for a connection between both branches of the Southwold line and the Ipswich and Lowestoft lines. We have now located sufficient documentary evidence to determine the exact point of connection between three three lines.

To date we have an exact DNA match across 37-markers between three documented members of the Longhope line. This provides a baseline for comparison to others who share the same genetic pattern and who can then be linked to this line. A member of the previously unlinked Bermondsey, London line has matched exactly with the three established members of the Longhope line enabling the Bermondsey line to be linked to the Longhope line, something that years of documentary research has failed to establish. More recently a member of the Minsterworth, Gloucestershire tree has also been matched with a 1-marker difference to the other members of the Longhope line establishing that these two lines are also connected. It is now almost certain that the documentary evidence required for making such a link has not survived and that DNA testing has again proved its particular value where other evidence is unavailable.

The current DNA results for the six members of the Bury St Edmunds line who have been tested to date indicate there are two completely different ‘haplogroups’ represented in this tree. Three members share a J2a4b1 haplogroup; three share one of the most common in the UK, an R1b1b2 haplogroup. [Haplogroups are major DNA groupings and different haplogroups can’t share a common ancestry for a particular surname within thousands of years.]

We have now traced the DNA record of all the sons of Simon Sterry [1713-1792] that AS FAR AS WE KNOW produced male descendants.

Simon Sterry [1747-1821] produced theR1B1B2 signature. This is the direct line of David R, Mike, Richard and Dave.

Simon’s brother John [1743-1821] is the direct line of Charles Sterry [in the J2A4B1 haplogroup].  Simon’s brother Richard [b. 1745] did not have any known children from either of his two marriages. William Sterry [1751-1805] was the only son of Simon [1713-1792] from his second wife Sarah Silver to have produced living male descendants. This is the direct line of Robert and Barry [also in the J2A4B1 haplogroup].  

So we now know that both DNA signatures [or haplogroups] occurred very early in the Bury St Edmunds line and both can be considered representative of the line. We have pursued the available DNA evidence just about as far as we can. We know fairly precisely where the DNA signature difference occurred within a couple of generations and only the discovery of additional historical documentation may offer a more exact explanation.

DNA evidence has also confirmed the assumed link between the Melbourne, Australia line and the main Bury St Edmunds tree.

The Southwold, Suffolk tree now has four members tested so far representing two distinct documented family lines. One line is descended from John Sterry and Mary Strange who married at St Edmunds, Southwold in 1796; the other descends from James Sterry who married Elizabeth Cobourne, also at Southwold, in 1760.

The test results from Paul G Sterry exactly match those of John Sterry, confirming the documentary evidence.  Their common ancestor is William Sterry [1817-1880] who married Harriet Welch in 1839 at St Edmunds, Southwold and they are both descended from the line of James Sterry and Elizabeth Cobourne. David Eric Sterry shares the same line as Paul G and John Sterry and should have the same matching DNA. However, David's DNA is in a completely different haplogroup, indicating that he is not genetically related at all within thousands of years.

This is almost certainly due to a break in the DNA connection that is evident in the documentary evidence. David's grandfather, Henry Archibald Smith Sterry [1880-1941], was born, in Middlesbrough, before the marriage of his father Henry William Sterry [1853-1926] and Hilda Mary Smith. Amazingly, however, David has recently learned that have matched his DNA with that of two Americans; James and Everett CALVERT, the match being of a very meaningful 36/37 markers. Their common ancestor was a John Calvert bn 1648 at Lurgan, Co Armagh, Ireland.  Quaker annals tell us that John Calvert, who emigrated with his family to America in 1683, was a descendant of a family of Calverts that originated from Moorsholm in the parish of Skelton-in-Cleveland, North Yorkshire. Furthermore, several Calvert families/individuals were recorded living in Middlesbrough in the 1881 census. David has also found a photograph of another American descendant of John Calvert, a DeWayne Edward Calvert(1922-1999) with whom he bares a striking resemblance. 

Peter Sterry, who is descended from the Southwold line of John Sterry and Mary Strange, shows a two marker difference in his Y-DNA signature to that of Paul G and John above. This result does not support the theory that John Sterry and James Sterry were brothers. However, they may still have been related further back in their family tree. Recent DNA testing has established a definite link of both branches of the Southwold line to the Lowestoft, Suffolk line.

Three member of the Lowestoft line have now been tested. The latest DNA results unexpectedly are completely different to the first person tested on this line and indicate a link to both the Southwold and Ipswich lines. 

Our latest result involved a second member of the Ipswich, Suffolk line when an exact match was anticipated. However, in the event, a 2 marker mismatch was recorded which, initially, was rather disconcerting but after consulting other project administrators and the helpdesk we were reassured that they were related and that the mismatch could have been the result of genetic mutation in a recent generation, possibly caused by the common ancestor fathering one of his sons "later" in life. In this case we noted that George Arthur Sterry was 24 when Mervyn`s grandfather  Ernest Sterry was born whilst he was 42 when John`s father Robert Charles Sterry arrived. Another feature noted was the sharing of a common marker difference to the combined Lowestoft, Southwold & Ipswich modal indicating an earlier mutation which may be related to the progenitor George Starry being 48 when his son, George, was born. Ultimately, the suggested connection of the Ipswich line with the Southwold branches and the older Lowestoft tree appears to be firming up.

One member of the Ruardean, Gloucestershire [incorporating the Southwark, Surrey] Sterry line has now been tested. There is documentary evidence for a possible connection between this line and the Longhope, Gloucestershire and a common ancestor from abt 1515. The DNA results to date do not support this connection. However, we need at least one more to be tested to be sure that the DNA 'signature' is actually representative of the line.

We were very excited to welcome the first participant to the STERRY DNA Study from any of the US STERRY lines, John Brewster Sterry Jnr. As expected Jack's results represent a completely different DNA signature to any of the other STERRY lines and do not support the suggested link to the Ruardean Sterry line. Jack belongs to the Stonington, Connectcut, USA line. A second participant from the USA has now joined our Project - from the new Tennessee, USA line. The DNA signature of James William "Bubba" Sterry matches that of John Brewster Sterry Jnr [one marker difference over 37 markers] demonstrating that the two lines share the same common ancestor.

There are now five distinct haplogroups in the STERRY DNA Study suggesting quite different origins dating back many thousands of years. This provides very early data for eventually linking to surname variants that may have existed before documentary evidence is generally available but within the period when the use of surnames became established.