The BRADBERRY_BRADBURY DNA Project - Results

JAN '07 The first two members are of different haplogroups: I1a and R1a. This indicates at least two distinct unrelated Bradberry families. Interestingly, both participants trace their earliest paternal ancestor to early Virginia, and both participants are from haplogroups with old world associations with far northern Europe.

JAN '08 The project now has five members, four of whom have their yDNA analyses completed and one whose is in progress. The results so far show three distinct and unrelated paternal lines representing three haplogroups: I1a, R1a, and R1b1. A likely explanation is that several (perhaps many) unrelated men took the surname BRADBURY (all spellings) several hundred years ago when surnames came into use by ordinary people. The shape of our family tree is just beginning to emerge from the mists of time (please pardon the purple prose) and should become clearer as the project grows and we accumulate data. Meanwhile, here are some facts about our three lines:
THE R1a BRADBERRYS. The earliest known paternal ancestor is Lewis BRADBERRY, b. 1765 in Henry Co., Virginia. This line has close yDNA matches with men descended from William BROOKS, b. c. 1780 in North Carolina. In the 1881 U.K. census, the BROOKS surname was popular near Bolton, Lancs.
THE R1b1 BRADBURYS. This line descends from Cyril BRADBURY, b. c. 1905 in Lincoln, Lincs. There are close yDNA matches to men with surnames BENNETT and METEYARD. The 1881 census shows both BENNETTS and BRADBURYS most numerous around Stockport, in greater Manchester (near Bredbury). I can find no information on the METEYARDS.
THE I1a BRADBERRYS. This line descends from Richard BRADBERRY, b. c. 1776 (place unknown), d. 1826 King William Co., Virginia. There are very close matches to men named FOSTER, WHITEHEAD, and BUIE. In the 1881 census, FOSTERS were widespread and BUIES were not numerous enough to be statistically significant. However WHITEHEADS and BRADBERRYS were numerous in the greater Manchester area, especially Oldham and within about a twenty mile radius of Fountains Abbey.

WHAT DO THESE NON-SURNAME MATCHES MEAN? I don't know. However, one plausible explanation is that when surnames first came into common usage, closely related men (even brothers) sometimes took different surnames, just as unrelated men took the same surname. At any rate, the evidence so far suggests that our surname may have its origins in the region east of Manchester.

Spring 2009. DNA results now show that there are at least five unrelated Bradbury/Bradberry lines. These lines represent four distinct haplogroups, I1, J2, R1a1, and R1b1b2 (two distinct lines). Clearly the two lines from R1b1b2 are more closely related than any of the others, but it is very likely that the five lines are not related within genealogic time (that is, since surnames came into common usage). This is supportive of the interpretation that unrelated men who lived in or near Bradbury (there were apparently at least two similarly named villages) adopted this surname.