• 160 members

About us


19 May 2016:  A DNA success story!  Jack Terrell, a member of our R1b lineage 1 who was given up for adoption at birth, has at age 85 found half-sisters he never knew, and learned that his mother deeply regretted giving him up.  Read the heartwarming stories:
  Houston Chronicle, 19 May 2016: "What color were my momma's eyes?"
  People magazine, 19 May 2016:  "85-year-old Texas man adopted as a baby finally finds his biological family ..."


1. Current project summarization  (C. Terrill, 29 May 2018)

We have identified five "Terrell" lineages so far, which we call R1b Lineage 1, 2, 3, 4, and I2 Lineage 1.  A lineage is "identified" when we have two members, both of whom have been tested to at least 25 markers, whose YDNA test results match so closely that their common ancestor must surely have lived within the era of surnames (say the past 1000 years).  We add test results of less than 25 markers to an established lineage, although we do not use such results to establish a new lineage.  Most of our members belong to the R1b haplogroup, the most common European one.

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 1:  This is a major U.S. lineage, several members of which have traced their paternal lines back to 17C immigrants to Virginia Colony, namely Richmond, William and Timothy Terrell. There are two competing paternal lines for these Terrells, one which was first proposed in 1910 by Joseph Henry Tyrrell in The Tyrrells or Terrells of America, while the other was proposed in 1996 by John M. Tyrrill in "The American Connection? – Part 2," published in the Tyrrell Family History Society (England) Newsletter (vol. 19 no. 1 pp. 8-9). Although the first line is currently considered discredited by many (it lacks any documentary evidence), we allow our members to link up to whichever line they believe in.  One goal of our project is to prove genetically which is the correct line.  If the paternal lines of N93176 (a descendant of Timothy Terrell) and 197582, 476577 and 431040 (descendants of Richmond Terrell) are correct, then we already know that brothers Richmond and William were certainly related to Timothy, and we now know the yDNA characteristics of their common ancestor to nearly 111 markers.  We also know that Timothy's father, Timothie Tirrell, Leatherseller of London, was a son of Avery Turrell of West Hagbourne, Berkshire, per a 1630 London Leathersellers' Company apprenticeship binding record (He was not a son, but probably a grandson, of Robert Tyrrolde of West Hagbourne).  Through Big Y testing one member of this lineage (431040) has proven to be of haplogroup R-BY36025.  It is fairly likely that this is the current terminal haplogroup of all the members of this lineage, meaning that "Mr. R-BY36025" (the first in the line with this SNP mutation) lived not long before the era of surnames.  A few more Big Y tests would help to support this contention.  R-BY36025 is a descendant group of R-U106, which "appears to descend from an ancestral R1b group located among or near the Yamnaya culture, north of the Black Sea area.  The group rose to significance in southern Germany and the surrounding areas probably a bit before 3000 BC."  Descendants of R-U106 adapted to a variety of different cultures over the centuries since that time.  (See the FTDNA R U106 page for more information).

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 2:  This is another major lineage, the U.S. members of which may all descend from Roger Terrill of Milford (Connecticut, USA) Colony in the 1600's.  We also have one British member with Warwickshire roots, and one Australian member with Surrey, England, roots.  Roger Terrill had five sons who propagated his line, and we have members descended from all five.  We do not yet know Roger's origins, but we're confident that he was from England (and probably Surrey).  He appears to have come over to New England in the late 1630’s, at the tail end of the Great Migration.  We also have two closely-related "Terry" members, who might or might not be descended from Roger Terrill.  All members of this lineage are of haplogroup R-L165, and many have joined the FTDNA R-L165 Project.  Three members of the lineage, all of U.S. ancestry, have been Big Y tested and have proven to be of terminal haplogroup R-FGC20084.  R-L165 was at one time believed to be of Celtic origin with "Mr. R-L165" having lived about 1500 years ago.  This theory now appears to be in dispute.

Haplogroup I2 - Lineage I:  The two members of this lineage are separated by a genetic distance of 5 at 37 markers, so their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) is most likely someone who lived long before Andrew Jackson Terrell, b. 1816 in KY (the earliest known ancestor of the first member).  Member 181371 has a predicted haplogroup I-M223, while member 147687 has a predicted haplogroup I-CST616, an immediate subclade of I-M223, suggesting that SNP mutation I-CST616 dates from the era of surnames (although this could bear further investigation).

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 3:  This lineage has been traced back to two Matthew Terrells born in western Virginia Colony in 1740 and 1762. We don’t know the relationship bewteen these two Matthew Terrells yet, but there surely must be one (Matthew Terrell b. 1740 had a son Matthew Terrell b. 1777). We’re looking for other men paternally descended from Terrells of western Virginia of this era to learn more about this lineage.

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 4:  This, our latest, lineage, connects two distant Terrells, each of whom has traced his lineage to an Edmund or Edward Terrell born in 1768.

Those not yet assigned to a lineage:  These members are patiently waiting for a connection, in hopes of learning more about their ancestry. One member (110356) is a relatively new Terrell.  His father's father (a McPherson) was killed in a hunting accident when his father was seven years old, and his father was soon thereafter adopted by a Terrell and took the Terrell surname.  We suspect there are many such origin stories of "Terrell" lineages, the details of which are much harder to uncover.