Merrill Y-DNA Project Results

Summary of all known results of Y-chromosome DNA testing to date, for males of surname Merrill (or spelling variations).

There are about 15 human Y-DNA haplogroups. These are subpopulations having specific genetic mutations that occurred up to 60,000 years ago. Broad prehistoric migrations have been traced by determining the prevalence of individual haplogroups in specific geographic regions. See Y-DNA Haplogroup Descriptions.

Two major haplogroups, R1b and G, are associated with the Merrill surname. As of 5/23/13, 126 Merrills have had Y-chromosome DNA tests. Of those, 77 are of Haplogroup R1b and 47 are G. There is one testee of Haplogroup J2 and one of T1.

R1b Haplogroup

The R1b Haplogroup arose in Europe about 25,000 years ago. It is the most common haplogroup in European populations.

Among the 77 tested R1b Merrills, the largest subgroup has 34 related individuals. 23 of the 34 testees are believed to descend from William(1) who emigrated from Warwickshire to Staten Island, New York; 10 others from Richard(1) who emigrated from Warwickshire to Staten Island; and one is an Australian resident whose ancestor lived in Yorkshire. The relationship between Richard(1) and William(1) and the Yorkshire ancestor is not known.

Almost invariably, the descendants of Richard(1) and William(1) can be distinguished by the value of one Y-DNA marker, if that marker has been measured. The value is DYS464d=16 or 17 for descendants of Richard(1) or William(1), respectively. The 23 William(1) descendants include descendants of the famous Capt. Benjamin (3) Merrill 1731 of North Carolina.

In addition to the Warwickshire/Yorkshire group of 34 persons, there are 43 other R1b testees. 23 of these fall into five subgroups. Each subgroup has several related members but the subgroups are unrelated to each other. These include descendants or close relatives of:

          Stephen Merrill ca.1832 of New Brunswick, Canada (2 persons);

          Thomas Merrill ca.1683 of Saybrook, Connecticut (4 persons);

          William Merrill ca.1668 of Somerset County, Maryland (6 persons);

          William Merrill ca.1828 of Wirt County, West Virginia (4 persons).

          Thomas Hazen Merrill ca.1781 of Nova Scotia, Canada (7 persons).

Finally, 20 other R1b Merrills have been tested.  They are not known to be related to other Merrills apart from close family members.

G Haplogroup

Of the 126 Merrills tested as of 5/23/13, 47 are of Haplogroup G. The G Haplogroup arose in the Middle East about 20,000 years ago.  Today it occurs most frequently (up to 70%) in the Caucasus region.  It is relatively rare (less than a few percent) in Western Europe.

Among the 47 Haplogroup G Merrills who have been tested, there are 4 whose DNA does not closely match the others.

The main group, 43 US residents, have nearly identical DNA, proving their descent from a recent common ancestor.  38 of the 43 have well-documented "paper trails" proving their descent from Nathaniel (1) Merrill 1601-1655 of Wherstead, Suffolk, England and Newbury, Massachusetts.

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