McClellan (various spellings) DNA Project - News

This project was initiated on 22 July 2004. The Goals section is available for project members interested in contacting others about their genealogies. The International Society of Genetic Genealogists http://www.isogg.org/ is a recommended organization and has “Newbies” information with an excellent forum and mailing list.  You are also encouraged to participate in the McClellan DNA forum.

McClellan Surname                                  

There are many opinions about the origin of the McClellan surname (and the various ways it is/was spelled). The landed classes adopted surnames first and the Clan MacLellan history suggests this was around 1200 for this surname in the Galloway area. At this time the civilizations consisted of small groups or clans and most people lived and died within fifty miles of where they were born. Epic journeys would be hundreds of miles, which would not result in a rapid spread of one’s genetic characteristics. Therefore, we would expect to see a large group with this surname who descend from the Galloway area. What we are finding with our small DNA sample is quite different than expected. We are finding that there are diverse groups with this surname that are not closely related since the advent of surnames and, surprisingly, some are as genetically related to other surnames, as they are to each other. We see genetic connections with names such as McCune, McCown, Wilson, McClenny and others with obvious Scottish and Irish ancestries. We can assume that some of those genetic cousins took the names of leaders other than McClellan but we should also recognize that some of our ancestors probably adopted the McClellan surname without being genetically related to their leader. Some of the DNA surname projects are finding that the practice of assuming non-genetic surnames occurred more frequently in Scotland and Ireland than elsewhere.