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About us

Welcome to the Thornton Surname DNA Project web site -
WE NEED YOUR HELPWe need THORNTONs with documented connections in the UK!!!

The THORNTON Surname DNA Project needs to go global!
A quick search for the origin of the surname THORNTON reveals that the name in Old English means “from a thorn bush enclosure or settlement.” Anglicized Irish forms of Gaelic surnames are derived from Mac Sceacháin ‘son of Sceachán’ (son of the Briar), or Ó Draighneáin ‘descendant of Draighneán’ (descendant of the Blackthorn). As surnames were adopted approximately 1,000 years ago individuals living in these thorn enclosed settlements adopted THORNTON as their surname (or similar variants). The Domesday Book of 1086 lists 24 places called Thornton. The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; A Registry of Armorial Bearing from the Earliest to the Present Time, by Sir Bernard Burke (1884) lists 36 THORNTON families as entitled to bear a Coat of Arms. Today, the THORNTON surname is widely distributed across the globe, all originating from the British Isles within the last millennium.
We now have a large number of THORNTON Surname DNA Project participants from the United States, a few participants from Canada, and we also have a few participants from the United Kingdom! The vast majority of participants (over 96%) fall into one of two genetic groupings (i.e., Haplogroups): either I1 (“eye-one”) or R1 (“are-one”). While there is a significant amount of genetic diversity (heterogeneity) in the R1 group, the I1 group is remarkably homogeneous (90% of the I1 participants are closely related). The THORNTON Surname DNA Project is now at a point where we almost have a critical mass to begin to deconstruct the various THORNTON lineages. In order to connect immigrants in the United States, Canada, and Australia, we will need more participants from the United Kingdom with documented pedigrees...and that's where YOU come in!

A Little Background on Our Project
The Thornton Surname DNA Project was started in June of 2003 by Stan Thornton. His stated goal at that time:
“…in order to see if DNA mapping of Thornton males combined with traditional genealogical research could help sort out the Thomas, Luke, and William Thorntons who seem to be everywhere you look in early Virginia records.”
We have over 200 participants, and we have 5 different Haplogroups represented. The primary group representing the I1-Haplogroup is deemed “Virginia-A.” The R1-Haplogroup is represented by approximately 10 different subgroups; about one-third of the R1 folks have yet to be placed in a subgroup. In order to further group the R1 people we will need a wide range of Thorntons from across the UK to identify their respective origins.
The success of our THORNTON Surname DNA Project will depend on the number of participants who join our project, as well as the documentation (dates and locations of baptisms, burials, marriages, census & land records, wills, etc.) to connect individuals within each group.

Be sure to check out the Results page for further information!

YOUR ASSISTANCE IN RECRUITING NEW MEMBERS IS VITAL! The more members, the more likely it is that you will find a new "cousin."  But what we really need right now is people who have documented lineages within the United Kingdom - only then can we begin to trace the origins of THORNTONs around the globe.

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING to the THORNTON FTDNA General Fund. There are many elderly retired Thorntons who would like to participate, but their limited budgets will not allow it. In addition, there may be individuals that are descendants of Thornton males that might be vital to proving/disproving linkages, but would not otherwise participate. In order to provide these potential participants with the opportunity to be involved, a General Fund has been set up to help fund testing in these exceptional cases. You may contribute to this fund by using VISA, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DISCOVERY, or PAYPAL. If you would like to contribute please see the link immediately below (”To donate to the General Fund...”) and select THORNTON (ALL contributions are managed directly by Family Tree DNA).
With your help we may be able to add several new members who might otherwise be unable to afford DNA testing, and please remember that ‘every penny counts!’