The paper trail for my own family tree dates back to the marriage in 1685 of John Swithenbancke and Isabell Allan in Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales in northern England; but with some heroic assumptions my line can be pushed back to the late 16th Century in Sedbergh or Ravenstonedale. A John Swinbancke was vicar of Kirkby Stephen at the beginning of the 17th Century; and other Swinbanks are to be found in the historical records elsewhere in England’s northern counties. Although my family’s name has usually been recorded as Swinbank we have also appeared as Swithenbank (as in 1685), Swidenbank, and Swainbank, on occasion. Although far from common, these family names can now be found in North America and Australasia as well as in the UK.
The purpose of the Swinbank y-DNA project is to try to establish whether these family names (Swinbank, Swithenbank, Swidenbank, Swainbank) have a common origin. There are two Swinbanks in the Family Tree DNA data set, both of whom can trace their ancestry back 9 generations or more without discovering a common link in the records. The 37 marker y-DNA test, however, does suggest a strong possibility of a common ancestor in the last 15 generations.
The Y chromosome is only passed on through males, from father to son; and so this project will only accept males who can demonstrate a direct Swinbank descent. From what I have seen and read, the 37 marker y-DNA test is the minimum requirement to tease-out relationships over many generations, but I am still learning! As part of the learning process I’m in the process of upgrading to the 67 y-DNA test.
Anyone who thinks their families might have originated in Ravenstonedale might like to look at the Ravenstonedale project on Family Tree DNA.
I look forward to hearing from you.