1 Apri1 2016. Marker for male line descendants of King Robert III (1337-1406):
The results of the Big Y test for a documented male line descendant of Sir John Stewart of Blackhall & Ardgowan, d. c.1412, an illegitimate son of King Robert III, have now been received and analysed. Alex Williamson, author of The Big Tree http://www.ytree.net/ has identified a new SNP carried by this individual, which has been given the name ZZ52. Our two other Big Y test results, that is one for Earl Castle Stewart, a descendant of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, and the other for a documented descendant of Sir John Stewart, Sheriff of Bute, do not carry this SNP. Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, and Sir John Stewart, Sheriff of Bute are both brothers of King Robert III. This means that ZZ52 must have occurred in Robert III or one of his male line descendants. In other words, ZZ52 is a distinct marker identifying descendants of Robert III. He may also have descendants who do not carry this, since the generation in which the mutation took place is not yet known.
20 July 2015. Grouping within the Ancient Stewart family (i.e.descendants of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland) have been rearranged to be slightly more conservative than before. Grouping is now based on SNP results as analysed by Alex Williamson and shown in his websitefor Big-Y testers under R-P312. Results for the Royal Stewarts can be seen at http://www.ytree.net/DisplayTree.php?blockID=7. The group is split into two (with subgroups below those levels) representing descendants of James, 5th High Steward, characterized as R-746, and his younger brother, Sir John of Bonkyl, characterized as R-L746>S781. The two subclades have been split further, according to presence or absence of various SNPs found in Big-Y tests.
2 Jan 2015: As at 2 Jan 2015 there were 697 Y-DNA results in the Stewart DNA project, and 340 of those testers (or 49% of the total) did not have any matches within the project.
There were 243 testers who had at least one match within the project and they were listed in 61 different family groups, ranging in size from 114 down to 2. The largest single group was that of the Ancient Stewarts, with 114 testers in that group, or one of its subclades (that is, descendants from Alexander Stewart 4th High Steward of Scotland (1210-1283)). The next largest group was R1b Group Type 1c with 15 members, followed by I2b1 Group Type 1 with 11 members. In all there were 61 family groups and they accounted for 243 testers who had at least one match within the Stewart Project.
At that date there had been 46 Big-Y tests within the project and 277 mtDNA tests, of which 134 were for the Full Sequence and 215 for HVR1 & HVR2, and these tests were grouped into 14 different major haplogroups. We have also had 241 testers who have taken the Family Finder test.
24 Apr 2014: The SNP S781 can now be tested for at FTDNA and YSEQ, and results are coming through to split the Ancient Stewart family into two sub-families: Descendants of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland, are testing S781-, while descendants of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl are testing S781+. Groupings within the Ancient Stewart family are now changing on a daily basis - see the Y-results page for details.
29 Jan 2014: The three Ancient Stewart SNPs (L744, L745, L746) can also be tested for at the ScotlandsDNA company where they are labelled S388, S463, S310. Now Dr Jim Wilson has discovered another SNP which arose in an early Stewart, Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl, ancestor of the Lennox Stuart lines and the English Stuart kings, as well as many other less noble families. This new SNP has been labelled S781, and a positive test for S781 indicates that the tester descends from Sir John of Bonkyl (1246-1298). Descendants of his elder brother James, 5th High Steward, ancestor of the Albany line of Stewart Kings of Scotland, have been found to test negative for S781, so this new SNP has the potential to divide the Ancient Stewarts into two different subfamilies, and there could be more Stewart SNPs to come.
8 Oct 2013: The odd result of one Ancient Stewart tester being found L745- but L744+, L746+, has been found to be an error. Rechecking his SNP results has revealed that he is L745+. This means that the three Ancient Stewart SNPs appear to be equivalent - a great relief to everyone.
30 June 2013: Recent analysis of the 111-marker Y-DNA results suggests that the L744+, L745-, L746+ tester (#75703) descends from one of the male-line Stewart ancestors, before they used the name Stewart. So #75703 could easily have come from a descendant of the old English line, i.e. from Alan Fitz Flaad, Lord of Oswestry, on the Welsh Border, whose son Walter Fitz Alan travelled north from England to Scotland in 1124 and became the First High Steward of Scotland. Or he could be descended from one of the early High Stewards of Scotland. What is now apparent is that by the time of Alexander, 4thHigh Steward (1214-1283), Alexander's genome and those of his descendants included the L745+ SNP. As tester #75703 is L745-, he still has the original value of that SNP, so he cannot be a descendant of Alexander. However he has L744+ and L746+ so he must be a descendant of one of Alexander's near ancestors, and he is now labelled as descendant of some precursor to the Ancient Stewarts.
15 March 2013: Recent research by Doug Stewart has established that his male-line ancestry can be traced back to the Stewarts of Jedworth. Doug has also found persuasive evidence that these Stewarts are not male-line descendants of Sir John of Bonkyl (as had been surmised by some 18th century historians) but come from a local line of Seneschals in Jedworth, whose name had been anglicized to Steward or Styward. This is the male line of the Stewart Earls of Galloway, and the Stewarts of Castlemilk. The relevant subgroup (I2b1 Group Type 1) has therefore been subtitled as "Descended from the Stewards of Jedworth, ancestors of the Earls of Galloway".
28 Feb 2013: Analysis of 111 marker tests for a number of Ancient Stewart descendants suggests that there are two main lines of descent from Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. These are (1) from his eldest son James, 5th High Steward, and then via King Robert II of Scotland. (2) from his younger son, Sir John of Bonkyl, and then from various cadet lines, including the Earls of Lennox and the English Royal Stuarts. Consequently a number of family groups have been renamed, according to which basic line they descend from according to the 111 marker tests, while two new groups have been created for descendants of Robert II, and Sir John of Bonkyl.
Jan 2013: A new SNP has been discovered within the large Scottish subclade of R-L21 known as the Scots Modal Group, Scottish Cluster, R1b-Pict, or R1bSTR47SCOTS. This subclade has been found to test positive for the SNP L1335.
July 2012: The Ancient Stewart SNP, L744, can now be positioned on the Y-DNA Family Tree, immediately below another SNP labelled DF41, which in turn lies below the widespread British marker R-L21. The longhand description of R-DF41 was included in the latest version of the ISOGG Y-DNA Tree a few days ago, where it has been designated R1b1a2a1b3a9. If all goes to plan, the new designation of R-L744 will be R1b1a2a1b3a9a, but this is still subject to confirmation by the ISOGG Committee.
17 Apr 2012: ScotlandsDNA announced that "The DNA of the Duke of Buccleuch was found to be an exact match of a descendant of Charles Stewart of Ardshiel, who fought at Culloden, both men descended from Alan, the Seneschal of Dol, a Breton aristocrat. His family came to Britain in 1066 with William the Conqueror and then made its way to Scotland to found the Stewart line." The Duke of Buccleuch had been SNP tested and found to be positive for L744 (=S388) and L745 (=S463).
27 Dec 2011: An article in The Scotsman revealed that the Ethnoancestry DNA company has evidence that around 16% of Scotsman with the surname Stewart carry the DNA marker S310, the same marker as undoubted descendants of descendants of James V, and James VI and I. It is a subtype of the widespread Celtic marker S145, also known as L21. SNP S310 is identical to one of the marker s which FTDNA has found in a number of Stewarts to date, namely L746.
4 Nov 2011: Updates on news items in September 2011.
1. The tester who has the non-modal value of 12 for 406S1 has tested positive for L744 and L746, though negative for L745, so is closely related to the Ancient Stewart Group.
2. All Stewarts tested for the L743 SNP have proved negative, so this hasn't advanced our knowledge of the Scots Modal variety.
3. All members of the Ancient Stewart who have tested for L746 have had POSITIVE results, so it looks as though L746 is a marker for the Ancient Stewarts. Results for L744 are similarly positive for all Ancient Stewarts tested to date, and for all but one L745 testers. The L745- tester also has the value of 406s1=12 so he can be expected to be a relative.
30 Sept 2011: New results have been found in the 'Walk Through the Y' (WTY) Project which could have important ramifications for two different groups of Stewart testers.
Firstly a new SNP labelled L743 has been found in a man who belongs to the Scots Modal variety of the R1b haplogroup. As there are a large number of Stewarts who are known to belong to this group on the basis of their STR results (plus others presently unassigned within R1b who might also belong there) it is likely that the L743 mutation will provide a SNP test for membership in the Scots Modal Group. More testing is needed to confirm this but we are optimistic as to the outcome. If this comes to fruition members who test positive for this SNP will move into a revised haplogroup, R-L743, probably to be described as R1b1a2a1a1b4u or similar.
Secondly, three new SNPs (L744, L745 and L746) have been discovered in a tester who belongs to the Ancient Stewart family group. If one or more of these SNPs turns out to be a label for all members of the group, that would provide us with a specific SNP test for Ancient Stewarts in future. Again, more testing is needed, so I'll report results as they come through. If this comes to fruition members who test positive for one of these SNPs will move into a revised haplogroup, probably to be described as something like R1b1a2a1a1b4v.
20 Sept 2011: Discovery of a tester who is a close match to several members of the Ancient Stewart Group yet has the unusual value of 12 for 406S1, suggests that the definition of the Ancient Stewart signature should be extended to: GataH4=10, 406S1=11 or 12, 565=11. CONFIRMED.
14 June 2011: A reanalysis of 67-marker results, combined with improved knowledge of some family relationships within the line of the Lennox Stuarts, has cast doubt on the usefulness of markers CDYa, b, and DYS464a, b, c, d as indicators of family lines within the Ancient Stewarts (see 20 Nov 2010 item 2, above).
The variation DYS464=14-15-16-17 appears to have arisen at least twice among Ancient Stewart descendants, so although it appears to mark the English Royal Stuarts, as all known descendants of that line have the 14-15-16-17 variation, it is believed to have occurred somewhere in the latter part of the Lennox/Darnley line, certainly since the time of Sir John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Lennox (c1490-1526). The Results section will be amended accordingly.
14 May 2011: A revised version of the Ancient Stewart DNA Relationship Tree, based on 67-marker DNA tests (Haplogroup R1b) from Stewart/Stuart descendants, was released. Details of Stewart relationships can be seen at http://www.chuckspeed.com/balquhidder/history/DNA_Stewarts%20May2011.htm
31 Mar 2011: The project now has 450 members.
20 Nov 2010: Promising DNA indicators have been found for different branches of the Ancient Stewart line, descendants of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. The tree relationship diagram and details of these indicators can be seen at http://www.chuckspeed.com/balquhidder/history/DNA_of_Ancient_Stewart_descendantsNov2010.htm
The first requirement for any descendant of the Ancient Stewarts is that he needs to be 10,11,11 for GataH4, 406S1 and 565. Then there are two further possibilities:
1. For most Ancient Stewart descendants from Alexander, 4th High Steward of Scotland, certainly for the Scottish Royal Stewart line, and for the Stewarts of Appin and Ardsheal, he should have 14-15-17-17 for DYS464. There are several minor variations but this is the main 464 signature for the Ancient Stewarts.
2. For descendants from the English Royal Stuarts, and from their ancestral Scottish line back through the Lennox Stuarts, he should have 14-15-16-17 for DYS464. All men of this ancestry descend from Sir John Stewart of Bonkyle, second son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland, though the DNA split must have occurred lower down the line than Sir John himself. That line produced an ancestor (identity unknown) of our friend Charles MacLeod-Stuart, and, later, a progenitor of the line of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, down through James I and VI, Charles II, and later descendants via noble but illegitimate lines.
The variation DYS=14-15-16-17 appears to apply to a very small subgroup of the Ancient Stewarts. It just happens to be the subgroup that contains the English descendants of Henry Darnley, heir to the Earl of Lennox, who married Mary Queen of Scots and whose son James I and VI inherited the English crown after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. King James V of Scotland would have had 14-15-17-17, but his grandson, James VI of Scotland (and I of England) inherited his 14-15-16-17 from his father Henry Darnley.
11 Nov 2010: Belinda Dettmann was added to the Stewart Project as Co-Administrator. The project now has 415 members.
8 Nov 2010: A new Stuart Project has been created, catering for testers who belong to the family described therein as Royal Stewarts. The criterion for acceptance is that they must be within a short genetic distance of a particular DNA tester who is known to descend from King Charles II. Details can be found at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/stuart
7 Nov 2010: Announcement of a new definition for the Y-DNA group of Royal and Ancient Stewarts. It requires 67 Y-DNA markers and applies to people in Haplogroup R1b1b2a1b5. Anyone in that subclade with a Y-DNA test with GATAH4=10, 406S1=11, and 565=11, is likely to descend from the line of the High Stewards of Scotland.
12 Sep 2010: A revised version of the Ancient Stewart DNA Relationship Tree, based on 67-marker DNA tests (Haplogroup R1b) from Stewart/Stuart descendants, was released. Details of Stewart relationships can be seen at http://www.chuckspeed.com/balquhidder/history/R1b_Stewart_DNA_Aug2010.htm
30 Jan 2010: Doug Stewart called our attention to his 67-marker test which belongs to Haplogroup I2b1. This is an important piece of information as Doug has traced his ancestry in an unbroken line back to William Stewart, 1st Laird of Dunduff, born circa 1500, Ambassador to France in the year 1528. That family traced its male line directly to King Robert II of Scotland via the Lords of Avondale. This line of ancestry challenges the idea that the Royal and Ancient Stewart line belonged to Haplogroup R1b. Research to elucidate the DNA signature of the Stewart High Stewards of Scotland is continuing, although the Y-DNA signature of the ancient Stewart line being similar to QHV9S is presently preferred.
18 Aug 2009: A revised version of the Ancient Stewart DNA Relationship Tree, based on 67-marker DNA tests (Haplogroup R1b) from Stewart/Stuart descendants, was released. Details of Stewart relationships can be seen at
The haplotype designated ORIGIN is believed to be that of Alexander Stewart (1214-1283), 4th High Steward of Scotland. He was the ancestor of the Royal Stewart kings of Scotland (via King Robert II), and the Royal House of Stuart in the United Kingdom (via King James I and VI). He was also the progenitor of many other lines of Stewart or Stuart nobles and gentry in Scotland, England, Ireland and France. The ORIGIN haplotype does not represent the test result of a single person, but has been inferred from the pattern of Stewart descendants. It is entered in Ysearch as QHV9S.
7 Mar 2009: Charles MacLeod-Stuart revealed that four members of the British aristocracy (two Dukes, a Lord and an Earl), all of royal Stewart ancestry, have had DNA tests results in the R1b haplogroup quite similar to his.
May 2008: Dick Stewart loaded an Excel file at the Stewart-DNA list site and asked all Stewart DNA researchers to enter their ancestral details.
14 Jan 2008: Belinda Dettmann put a diagram of Stewart R1b 37 marker relationships up on the web, now showing at http://www.chuckspeed.com/balquhidder/history/StewartYDNA.html
20 Nov 2006: Debi Stewart was added to the Project as third Project Administrator.
3 Nov 2006: The Stewart group now has 185 participants. Of the 171 kits returned there are 112 unique marker strings (results). This represents great diversity within the group. It means that 59 have matches within the group at the 25 marker level (those who have taken the 25 marker test). There are 85 unique 12 marker strings, 64 unique 37 marker and 11 with 67 markers.
16 July 2002: The Stewart Project began with a test numbered 4137 from Kathi Bobb’s father, and with Kathi as Project Administrator.