Gauss/Gaus/Gausz Y-DNA Project - Results

Summary of results
Now with eight results, still none of us are related to each other!

To be related within the historical period of surnames, a 12-marker test would need to show a ‘genetic distance’ of 0, or possibly 1 at the most. The genetic distances of the first seven participants to each other are shown below and are all considerably more than 1. The closest distance represented is 4, but even this gives only about a 15% probability of a common ancestor within 24 generations i.e. since about the year 1400.

Table of genetic distances on 12-marker test for the first 7 participants: (This data is no longer available from the FTDNA website)


Probability of a common ancestor within 24 generations for all 8 participants, based on 12 marker test:


Three of the eight are Haplotype I, which tends to be more prevalent in Northern and Eastern Europe, two are R1b1a2 which is more prevalent in Western Europe, one is R1a which has highest concentrations in Eastern Europe, and two are subgroups of E1b, which seems to be rare outside Africa.  In southern Germany about 48% of men are R1b, 20% I, 9% R1a and about 8% are E.

Assuming all 8 of us do indeed have variants of the same name, it is clear that the name has multiple origins and that we are not all descended from a single individual.  To have a greater than 50% chance of picking 8 persons at random from different lineages, from a large pool of individuals of each lineage, would require in excess of 43 lineages.  (To clarify this, supposing there were only 10 lineages, then the chance of picking randomly one person from each of 8 with no duplicates, would be only 2%.  In other words, there would be a 98% chance that at least two of the eight would share a lineage.)  This suggests that there could well have been more than 40 individuals with the surname Gauss from whom all present day Gausses are descended.

With this conclusion of a multiple origin, comes the need for a multiple origin of the surname.  The most plausible meaning of ‘gauss’ is that it is the Swabian dialect word for ‘goose’ and as such presumably became the surname of numerous gooseherds in the area.

41340: The descent back to Florian Gauss runs through many generations living in Württemberg and is well documented, though of course there could have easily been an illegitimacy or adoption which is not recorded as such.

48102: Stephen Gauss is known to have come from
Croatia, and the closest matches on the YSearch database are also mainly from Slavic Eastern Europe. This suggests that his surname was either a Croatian name which happens to have been spelt the same way as the German name (there were 10 families with the name in the area at the time), or that an emigré German adopted a Croatian boy, either knowingly or through illegitimacy.

47931: Has an origin in
Baden, Germany.

57430: Does not know much about where his ancestors came from, other than from

60363: Has an origin in Felldorf,
Württemberg, Germany

179594: Has an origin in
Baden, Germany.

211434/N88454: Has an origin in


241953: Has an origin in Württemberg, Germany.

12 Aug 2012)