Y-DNA Surname Project
  • 224 members

About us


Our project got its start in 2004 when the Stevenson/Stephenson/Stinson Surname Project was first announced. 

But genetic genealogy as a concept dates back much further. The term may have first appeared as early as 20 February 1989, when the Dallas Morning News published an article by Tom Siegfried, "Genetic genealogy and the Search for 'Eve.’"

Less than a decade later, forward-thinking genealogist Alan Savin had launched the first surname project by a hobbyist – the 1997 Savin project. Initially in that project only 6 STR markers were tested – a tiny fraction of the 700+ markers we can order today. By the year 2000, FTDNA was offering the first of its consumer DNA tests to the general public – an 11-marker test that morphed into a Y-12 when it became apparent that one of the STRs, DYS385, typically had two copies. Several of our current project members were among those pioneering testers.

After our project’s 2004 launch it experienced steady growth for ten years, hosted by Terry Barton’s But when changes to European genetic privacy laws restricted information sharing, the World Families site shut down, and our project – along with many others – migrated to FTDNA. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) enacted in 2018 have hampered collaboration, but they have ensured that the information you choose to share within your FTDNA projects will be private and protected.


Update: mid-year 2024

There’s excitement in the air as more and more of FTDNA’s Family Finder (FF) testers are receiving their newly-assigned Y-DNA haplogroups – a no-strings-attached gift that benefits each lucky customer as well as our entire surname project!

One benefit for our project is that this extra information can bring us closer to connecting groups of tests, and might also help us find the best candidates for test upgrades from our match lists. In some cases, two men who previously shared a higher-level haplogroup through STR testing might now find they share a much more recently formed SNP mutation – possibly from the age of lineages. 

While these ‘free’ haplogroups can be helpful, they are generally going to be mid-level, not the more recently-formed or refined haplogroups we get with Big Y testing. It also bears mentioning that FF-only tests will not be given Y-DNA matches – only Y-specific tests get those.

For more details, here’s a link to a November 2023 DNAeXplained blog post by Roberta Estes. Her detailed explanation of the FF haplogroup rollout helps us know what to expect from new FF tests or from older tests and unlocked transfers.

Let us know via the Activity Feed or email if you find these new haplogroup assignments helpful. Until then, happy ancestor sleuthing!

December 2023 update

·       FTDNA begins assigning haplogroups to male Family Finder tests

·       FTDNA offers major markdowns on two end-of-year sales

·       Segment and match list downloads temporarily paused

Historical Timeline

Below is a brief timeline of our project from 2014 to the present:

1 May 2014 - Curry Walker assumes co-administrator role, later becoming administrator

20 Oct 2014 - Karen Carlini assumes co-administrator role

1 Nov 2014 – A revised Patriarchs page is released on the World Families hosting site

22 Aug 2015 - FTDNA MyGroups format is activated

25 Aug 2015 - STR results pages are activated

1 Sep 2015 - Paul Stone assumes co-administrator role for I1-Z63+ SNP group

1 Apr 2016 – An active email address in the member profile section becomes mandatory for project membership 

24 May 2016 - The Patriarchs page from the World Families Stevenson DNA site is migrated to GOALS in About Us on MyGroups - info is periodically updated

8 Jun 2016 – The Patriarchs tab on the World Families Stevenson site is removed

29 Apr 2017 – Requirements to join (including Y DNA test) are prioritized in the project profile 

27 Apr 2018 – Email addresses and kit owner names are removed from pages displayed on the Patriarchs page (under Goals) to satisfy GDPR requirements effective 25 May 2018  

21 May 2018 – Instructions for joining the project are revised, removing references to the World Families site. 

22 May 2018 - World Families STR results are turned off, and FTDNA STR and SNP results are displayed under Results. Note: a World Families Results xl spreadsheet with Lineages may be obtained by request to

25 May 2018 – Instructions for accessing and setting privacy and security settings as well as Group Access settings on each kit are sent via bulk email

13 Jun 2018 – We begin sending personal emails to members who still have not updated their group access settings

7 Jul 2018 - Reminders are sent to Group Access-only members to update if they wish to remain in the project

7 July 2018 - Patriarchs information under the GOALS tab is edited to reflect the change in format on the Results pages.  Lineage groups that had been assigned by the World Families project are no longer visible in the results, only haplogroups with SNP groups done by co-administrator Paul Stone. 

1 Aug 2018 – Five members who had not updated Administrator access to Limited or Full are retired from the project

15 Aug 2018 - FTDNA announcement dated 1 Aug 2018 renames project administrator access levels. Under the Genealogy Tab, the following names have changed but the access level remains the same: Minimal Required (formerly Group Project Access Only); Limited (Recommended) and Advanced (formerly Full Access) 

12 Dec 2023 – Lisa Stevenson assumes administrator role