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I have chosen Family Tree DNA for the Hollyer DNA study, since they are one of the most experienced firms in this field and provide good value for money.
DNA testing has produced some striking results for many projects. See here for some success stories.
I took the test under the Walker Project and even though I don't know a lot about my Walker ancestry before 1800, it shows that my ancestors are from a group of peoples who are more frequently found in Scotland and other places with large Viking settlements.
I have now started a DNA study of the names Hollyer, Hollier and Holyer. The purpose of a DNA study is to demonstrate genetic linkages between families, which in some cases cannot be achieved by traditional research using paper records. I have started a DNA Project with Family Tree DNA, one of the leading DNA testing firms and details can be found here. The Project (though not my One-Name Study) also includes the surnames Hallier and Ollier, recognising the potential or actual crossover between these names.
What can a DNA study achieve? It can:
In terms of the Hollyer, Hollier and Holyer One-Name Study, the objective of the DNA study is to confirm or otherwise the possibility of common ancestral links between branches where the paper records have not yet established a link and may never do, as well as confirming that many of the southern instances of the name are entirely independent of the groups in the Midlands.
So, I'm hoping that over time we can answer the following sort of questions:
A DNA test is painless, quick, and the result contains no personal information. A test kit is sent to you in the mail and you swab the inside of your cheek. Test kits are available from Family Tree DNA (see my project website) and a 37 marker test costs US$189 while the 12 marker test is US$99. (These prices are when ordering via this project and are lower than independent tests). The 37 marker test is recommended, if possible, due to the additional information provided. A 12 marker or 25 marker test can be upgraded in the future, though this costs a little more.
There are two kinds of DNA testing, but for a One-Name Study, the important test is that on the Y chromosome, which only males carry. So only males can take a Y-DNA test. Males with the surnames Hollyer, Hollier, Holyer, Hallier, and Ollier are encouraged to participate. This is an opportunity to make discoveries not available in the paper records.
If you are interested in your direct female line, which is your mother, her mother, and back in time, you would order a test on the mitochondrial DNA: the mtDNA test. Though the test result probably wouldn't benefit the Hollyer One-Name Study, you can order through the Hollyer DNA project to get the lower project pricing. A mtDNA test is an opportunity to discover information about your direct female ancestry.
If you are female, and want to find out more information about your Hollyer, Hollier or Holyer ancestry, then please find a male in your family to participate.
It's important to understand that genealogical Y-DNA testing is quite different from the sort of DNA information that police might use to identify criminals or that lawyers and doctors might use to prove paternity.
Y-DNA testing relies on the fact that a small portion on the Y chromosome, found only in males, is passed from father to son, usually unchanged. Amongst this DNA are found several places (called markers) where the DNA sequence repeats between about 8-22 times and this number is characteristic of your all-male descent. By testing this section of 'Junk DNA', you can determine if two men are related. The result is a string of 37 numbers, and contains no personal information. The number merely shows the number of DNA repeats at each of the 37 markers.
The number of repeats does mutate slowly over long periods of time, so that over the entire period of human history, different families have different marker patterns, but these patterns are mainly stable over the relative short period of time when we have used surnames. By using 37 markers, tests also include some markers that mutate slightly faster than the 12 markers and this can sometimes help identify individual branches within a connected set of families.
A Y-DNA test does not uniquely identify you, since your father, brothers and uncles will in all probability have identical results (so it's not worth testing very close relations, except in very specific situations), but it will show what other families share the same ancestry. For that reason, we need to establish the DNA 'marker patterns' of the main Hollier lines and I am therefore seeking all male Hollyer/Hollier/Holyers who would be willing to take the test. If you are female, can you find a male holder of the name who could volunteer?
Note: while the project website will eventually show the results of tests from project members, this information is not identified by name, so your particular results remain confidential.
The first major DNA result from the DNA Project has shown a 35 out of 37 marker match between a member of the Sharnford Holliers and the Barton Park (Tatenhill, Staffs) Holliers. The Sharnford Holliers, though mainly a family associated with Leicestershire in the 19th century, has its earliest known ancester at Bickenhill, WAR in the 1770s, while the Barton Park Holliers can be traced back to Tatenhill, Staffs in 1712. But in both cases, it has always been thought that they connected to the many other Hollier families in the region. This result, while showing two one-step mutations in the 37 markers, nevertheless proves that these two Hollier families share a common origin in earlier times.
Tests on the Kent Holyers turned up a surprise. The first two tests were for individuals whose most distant shared ancestor is the earliest known Holyer in this line: John Holyer (c1714-1772). Obviously, we hoped for a close match, but in fact the DNA was quite different. So somewhere the male descendency as researched does not line up with the genetic reality. We therefore need more Kent Holyer/Hollyers to take the test to see if we can identify where this discontinuity occurred. Was it, for example, connected with the enigmatic entry into one Holyer line of the middle name Collis, which has continued to be used ever since? Was the Collis connection more than just one of friendship?
There are two ways you can help. As indicated above, if you are male and hold any of the name variants, you could take the test or if your are female, try to find a male name-holder who could take the test. Secondly, if you are on another branch through female descent, you can assist the general research by making a small donation towards a DNA fund that will assist those who cannot themselves afford the test. This would be a nice 'thank you' for all the information on your family ancestry I may have provided free to you over the years. This should be an exciting voyage of discovery and I do hope that many of you will support this new venture and assist finding out more about the early origins of our ancestry.
If you'd like to take the DNA test, then go here:
Click top left "Request to join this group"
Click button "I want to purchase a test to join the group"
Fill in your details and select the test from the dropdown list marked:
Y-DNA37 male 37 marker paternal test $189 (Group)
They will then send you a kit in the post which you use and return. You just take a swab from inside your cheek - very quick and easy! You can pay by credit card or by invoice - the former is much easier.Back to top