Strickland DNA Project


The Strickland DNA project was established in late 2000 by Ron Strickland with most participants in the first phase of DNA testing recruited by 31 January 2001. The DNA testing for the first phase of the Strickland DNA project was performed by The Center for Molecular Genealogy at Brigham Young University (BYU) and was established as project SC#41 at BYU by May 2001. Phase 1 included several participants with paper trails back to Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, with the goal of determining Matthew Strickland's DNA haplotype (pattern of DNA results). In 2001, the type of DNA testing available in the early days of genetic genealogy was y-chromosome DNA (yDNA) testing.

The second phase of yDNA testing was performed by Relative Genetics. Test results were also extracted from the Sorensen Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) website. Some Strickland DNA participants also submitted their results to the Family Tree DNA's YSearch database.

In 2007, there were 110 Strickland yDNA participants in the Strickland DNA Project. Unfortunately, most of these early yDNA results are currently unavailable online, although some participants have retested at Family Tree DNA. Others are now deceased and not available for retesting. Those who tested earlier at other testing companies may still be able to transfer their results to Family Tree DNA and join the Strickland DNA Project there or retest at Family Tree DNA.

The data from the BYU study was originally transferred to Relative Genetics and Relative Genetics was later purchased by Ancestry. Ancestry's goals changed and they shut down the yDNA surname projects that had transferred from Relative Genetics. Ancestry also acquired the Sorensen Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and again later closed down the database to the public. With the implementation of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, Family Tree DNA removed the YSearch database from the public although the database hadn't been updated for some time. The Strickland DNA Project currently is located at Family Tree DNA.

Today, not only is yDNA testing available in the Strickland DNA Project for men with the Strickland surname, but the project also accepts autosomal DNA test results for both men and women who have Strickland ancestry. The yDNA test for men with the Strickland surname is still the easiest test to interpret to determine which group of Stricklands a Strickland man belongs to. As in the past, women and men of other surnames can find candidate family members to take the yDNA test for their line of the Strickland family.

There are currently 63 yDNA participants in the Strickland DNA Project at Family Tree DNA and a total of 162 project members, including those that have taken autosomal DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests. (28 May 2018).

The Strickland DNA Project welcomes all Strickland descendants to participate in the Strickland DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.

Findings and Results

1) Strickland Modal Haplotype

    Results from the first phase of testing at BYU in 2001 indicated that 40 of the 46 participants tested represented one major Strickland line. This group included 21 participants who had paper trails to Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. From these 40 participants, the initial "Strickland Modal Haplotype" of the 28 markers tested by BYU was determined. The modal haplotype consists of the most common values for each of the tested Y-DNA markers. Participants with 3 or less mutations or differences from the modal haplotype of 28 markers were deemed related and shared a common paternal ancestor. Results for six participants did not fit the criteria to match the Strickland Modal Haplotype and also none of these six participants matched each other. These six participants were categorized as singlettes and represent other Strickland lines.
    In 2007, there were 74 yDNA participants in the Matthew Strickland group of the project with 27 participants having documented lines to Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight Co. Virginia.
    Currently, there are 45 yDNA participants at Family Tree DNA who belong to the group matching the "Strickland Modal Haplotype" associated with the Matthew Strickland family. (28 May 2018)

2) Thwaite Strickland - Matthew Strickland DNA connection

    By 2007, three participants with paper trails to Thwaite Strickland (born about 1622) of Dedham, Massachusetts and Glastonbury, Hartford Co., Connecticut participated in the DNA project. Two of these participants, one a descendant of Thwaite's son John and one a descendant of Thwaite's son Joseph, matched the Strickland Modal Haplotype associated with Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, with a 26/26 match of the markers tested for the participants. The perfect 26/26 match of the tested Y-DNA markers suggests that both Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, and Thwaite Strickland of Massachusetts and Connecticut share a common ancestor. The third Thwaite Strickland participant did not match the other two Thwaite Strickland participants, nor any other participant in the project at the time. A third "Northern" Strickland participant, a descendant of Noah Strickland (born about 1807) of New York also matched the two Thwaite Strickland participants and the Strickland Modal Haplotype on 26/26 Y-DNA markers.
    Currently, there are two Thwaite Strickland descendants participating in the Strickland DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. Both have only tested 37 yDNA markers. Additional markers are needed to determine how closely the Thwaite Strickland descendants match the Matthew Strickland group at 67 and 111 yDNA markers.

3) Multiple Strickland/Stricklin Origins

    As Y-DNA testing of Strickland/lin participants has continued, it has become apparent that there are several other Strickland/lin lines in the United States that are not related to Matthew Strickland or Thwaite Strickland through the paternal line. These other Strickland/lin lines have roots in both the northern and the southern United States and indicate multiple origins of the Strickland/lin surname.
    For example, descendants of Peter Strickland of early New London, Connecticut, have tested and they belong to their own group of Stricklands. Multiple descendants of William Riley Stricklin (b. 1802 in South Carolina d. 1885 in Alabama) have tested and their line of Stricklands have been confirmed to have Native American ancestry on their yDNA line.
     A few of these other Strickland lines are lines in which a non-paternity or mis-attributed paternity event was known to have occurred even before the DNA testing was done or was discovered by yDNA testing.
     A couple of Stricklands from England have tested, including one whose ancestors were from Westmoreland, England, but the Matthew Strickland/Thwaite Strickland group matches neither.

4) Samuel Strickland DNA Haplotype

    Four participants in the early testing at Relative Genetics who are descendants of two sons of Samuel Strickland (d. abt. 1784 Johnston Co., NC) and his wife Mary were tested. All four participants had a mutation or change to 29 repeats at DYS 449 from the Strickland modal value of 30 repeats. Three participants were brothers and are descendants of Samuel's son Daniel Davis Strickland (d.1806 Johnston Co., NC) and the fourth participant was a descendant of Samuel's son Benjamin (d. 1821 Johnston Co., NC).
    The DNA change at DYS 449 to 29 repeats appears to be ancestral at least to Samuel Strickland (d.abt 1784). It is expected that all descendants of Samuel Strickland (d.1784) will have 29 repeats at DYS 449, unless an additional mutation (backwards or forwards) occurred at that location in a generation between Samuel Strickland (d.1784) and the descendant. Currently this result cannot be assumed for earlier generations of this line without further DNA testing of descendants through different sons of the earlier generations.
    This is the first big breakthrough of the Strickland DNA project in associating a particular DNA result with a particular line of descent from Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. This breakthrough came about through the willingness of one of the participants to upgrade the number of DNA markers tested to include DYS 449 to determine whether a descendant of Samuel's son Benjamin shared the mutation found earlier in the line of Samuel's son Daniel Davis Strickland.
    At the same time, another participant whose line ends with Levi Shivers Strickland (b. 1832 Wake Co., NC) also upgraded the number of DNA markers tested to include DYS 449. It was suspected that Levi Shivers Strickland was a descendant of Daniel Davis Strickland and his wife Nancy Shivers, although solid documentation is lacking for the generations between Levi Shivers Strickland and Daniel Davis Strickland, son of Samuel Strickland (d.1784). The results of these two marker upgrades not only helped determine the ancestral haplotype of Samuel Strickland (d. 1784), but also supplied evidence that the Levi Shivers Strickland participant was most closely related to the Samuel Strickland (d.1784) line of Stricklands than to all of the other current Strickland DNA participants. Until further participants test and it can be determined whether or not the 29 result at DYS 449 occurred at the birth of Samuel Strickland (d.1784) or with an earlier generation, it cannot be conclusively stated that the Levi Shivers Strickland participant is a descendant of Samuel Strickland (d. 1784) by the DNA results alone, although the DNA results in combination with other evidence and documentation found through traditional genealogical methods suggest that the Levi Shivers Strickland participant is likely a descendant of Samuel Strickland (d.1784).

5) DNA testing for a "Null 439" result

    The Null 439 phenomenom occurred when FTDNA's proprietary primer for testing DYS 439 could not obtain any results for DYS 439, although the primers used by other companies such as Relative Genetics and SMGF did obtain results for DYS 439. When participants who have the Null 439 result at FTDNA were tested at Relative Genetics, marker DYS 439 had 12 repeats. "The working hypothesis [of the Null 439 phenomenom] is that FTDNA is unable to find the marker due to a recent single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the flanking area of the marker. If this interpretation is correct, the null 439s represent a recent subclade of Haplogroup R1b. Estimates of the age of this subclade range from 1500 to 2500 years." (Fox DNA Project, select "News" tab, accessed 4 Mar 2006). The DNA testing company EthnoAncestry identified the SNP associated with the Null 439 phenomenom. The SNP was labelled S26 and is also called the Little SNP after Leo Little (a Strickland descendant) who was instrumental in its discovery. Today, it is called the L51 SNP by Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA started using a new primer in 2012, and since that time the "null" is no longer detected at DYS 439 ("R-L1/S26 Y-DNA Haplogroup" Project, Family Tree DNA, 28 May 2018).
    The Strickland DNA project was approached by the Fox DNA project in 2005 for testing for the Null 439 result at FTDNA. The Strickland Modal Haplotype was a close match to the Fox haplotype that had tested positive for the Null 439 phenomenom and the Strickland Modal Haplotype also had the requisite 12 repeats at DYS 439 when tested by Relative Genetics. A possible familial connection was also proposed between the Fox family and the Strickland family and if the Strickland family also had the Null 439 result, then the Null 439 result would suggest that the Fox family with the Null 439 result and the Strickland family did indeed share a common ancient ancestor. The line of William Fox (1497-1559) of Stewkley Manor in Buckinghamshire had been traced by one Fox researcher back to the Norman Invader Robert de Vaux born about 1010. A possible common connection between the Fox or De Vaux family and the Strickland family was proposed to have occurred between Robert De Vaux and his reputed descendant Walter Fitzadam de Strickland, born about 1237, the supposed son of Adam de Vaux who is believed to have changed his name to Adam de Strickland.
    A Strickland participant with a paper trail to Matthew Strickland of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, and with no mutations or differences from the Strickland Modal Haplotype, was selected to represent the Matthew Strickland and Thwaite Strickland lines in the Y-DNA test for the Null 439 phenomenom. It was determined that the major Strickland family represented by the (Matthew) Strickland Modal Haplotype was NOT part of the Null-439 group as FTDNA was able to produce a result of 12 repeats at DYS 439. We can conclude that the Strickland family represented by the Strickland Modal Haplotype is not related to the Fox family that has the Null 439 result. It can also be concluded that BOTH the Null 439 Fox family and the Strickland family can NOT descend from Robert De Vaux.

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This page last modified on: May 28, 2018