Thrift /Frith /Firth

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About us

The Thrift /Frith /Firth Surname DNA project is intended for any male with any of the surnames listed among those possibly derived from Old English "fyrhpe"  (frith, woodland) (in which the character "p" stands for the runic Anglo-Saxon character "thorn") -the project is NOT restricted solely to Thrift, Frith and Firth.  See the list at top of page for other relevant surnames. Similar surnames with non-British origins are also welcome.  (There is a separate project specifically for the related surnames Freed and Frid: )  Males who are from an unbroken male line in one of these surnames will be most helpful to this project.  Adoptions and other "nonpaternity events" (NPEs) such as "out of wedlock" births are a part of life; their documentation and confirmation will be particularly important for future generations, so males with a relevant surname from families with histories of such events are welcome in this project. 

The goal of Y-chromosome DNA testing is to prove whether or not two families are related, based on specific markers in the DNA of the Y chromosome.  This can be in lieu of a "paper trail," where no historical records exist (although there may be family legends); it can also be done to confirm the validity of the documented paper trail.  (Errors in records, or in their interpretation, DO occur.)  Beyond just finding whether two families are related, DNA testing can sometimes be used to show which branches are closer to each other and which are more distant, allowing a group of families to be arranged into a larger tree covering many generations, showing which families probably branched off soon after the earliest common ancestor, and which branches split more recently.  (For an example, see the diagrams worked out for the American MUMMA and German MOMMA families -the diagrams are in the section labeled "Mutation Rates".)

Please contact the administrator for questions, or to join the project:  Richard Thrift, rtx at cox dot net --Please put "DNA project" in the subject line.   Disclaimer: I am a volunteer, I am not associated with FTDNA, and I do not make any money from these tests or this project.

Some important Project links:
[NOTE: has temporarily (?) taken down all pages hosted at, including several project pages linked below]
[NOTE: If you are reading this at, please instead go to the original website at . has copied the info from the original website inaccurately, and has omitted many of the links. Further, it may be cheaper to order tests directly from FTDNA than from]

Each participant's privacy is important.  Participants are not identified on project sites by name, but by kit or ID number.  The most distant known ancestor is shown.  Participants may choose to upload a pedigree to display.  For the sake of privacy of living persons, in these pedigrees by default FTDNA automatically hides the names and details of individuals born after 1900.

The DNA is collected in your home easily and painlessly from cheek cells, by gently swabbing the inside of the cheek.  A kit nicely designed for the purpose is mailed to you, which you return to the company by mail.

The Y-chromosome is possessed only by males, and is transmitted from father to son, similar to the pattern that is observed (typically, in our culture, though not always) with surnames.  The DNA tested here is in a unique part of the Y chromosome where there are no genes. Although this DNA can change or mutate over several generations, the mutations tested here have NO effect on the individual.  This DNA test is extremely limited, in the sense that it DOES NOT report on any genes at all.  The Y chromosome DNA markers used for these studies provide NO information about genetically transmitted health issues, etc.  [There is one very rare exception: one out of ~6000 males will show no results for marker DYS464.  These males have a rare deletion of this marker and possibly a deletion of a nearby gene necessary for sperm production, so may be infertile.]

Females do not carry the Y chromosome and so cannot transmit it to their descendants OR have it tested.  But we still need you; often the only reason a male even considers joining is because a female in his family has urged him to do so.  If you are a female and want to help, round up a male and get him to join, or help pay for his test.  If you wish to help but don't have a specific individual you want to help pay for, at bottom left is a link for contributing to the project's general fund.  Or, contact the administrator to discuss your interests.  Great ways for anyone to help would include work on genealogy and family trees, gathering vital and census data from a region, or even web design related to the project.

A very good, clear, brief introduction to the use of DNA testing in genealogy is "Is the Answer in your Genes?" by Debbie Kennett.  Another excellent (but more in-depth) resource is "I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?" (particularly the first two chapters).  For more detailed explanations, see Genetics & Genealogy - An Introduction or DNA 101

Reality check: People are sometimes under the impression that once they are tested they will immediately find a distant relative in the company's database, who will undoubtedly lead to the identity of their long-lost great-great (etc) grandfather.  In fact it probably won't work out that way, at least not immediately (the databases are not that big).  Sometimes people do find relatives quickly, but unless you see a family already in the database who you suspect is related (perhaps from the same locale and with the same surname), chances are it won't happen right away.  You may need to wait until someone from the "right" branch drifts into the project -and this is exactly why the project web site is set up with resources such as links to family trees, the one-name study, etc: to encourage your potential matches to join the project.  OR if you can't wait, in order to speed things up you may need to proactively search for suspected relatives (perhaps by searching the genealogy message boards, censuses, vital records, etc.) and -once you find them- convince them to be tested.  BUT the results can be well worth the wait and the effort.  Don't consider this a slam dunk, but rather part of an investigation. Sometimes this is the ONLY way to get those results.

If you have DNA results from companies other than FTDNA, we we will be able to work with your results, and we welcome your participation.