Welcome to the web-site of the Clan Irwin Surname DNA Study.  This Study was launched in 2005, with the assistance of Kent Irvin, and its website was re-vamped in 2011 with the assistance of Rick Byers. 


This Study and its website are fully independent from FamilyTreeDNA and from the Clan Irwin Association, although the Study continues its support of the Association and to recognise that the interests and memberships of the Study and of the Association have considerable overlap.


This is Update No.29 of our Study, marking its 15th Anniversary.  Highlights include:

  • Both FTDNA and our Study continue to weather the Coronavirus storm, with new participants joining and many existing participants upgrading. 
  • Some FTDNA tests are taking longer to process, especially if re-runs are required for quality reasons, as their laboratory is also running Covid-19 tests and all but their lab staff are working from home.
  • Our Study now has 545 participants, of whom 66 have BigY test results, and of these 53 are BigY700. A further 72 have SNP L555 Pack Test results,
  • 96% of our participants have opted to share their results in public.
  • We have identified 45 branches of the surname ("genetic families") which are unrelated to one another during the surname era but whose members use the Irwin surname or variant spellings thereof.
  • Our largest branch, the Border Irwins, now has 353 participants, of whom 57% can now be included in the L555 haplotree. 
  • The L555 haplotree has been revised and extended to include the triangulation with several pedigrees; further refinement continues.
  • The remainder of our Border Irwins who are not yet on this haplotree are recommended to consider taking the L555 SNP Pack test at $119 or the more comprehensive BigY700 test, now at reduced prices. 
  • Our Study remains amongst the leaders in the rapidly evolving field of Surname DNA projects, particularly in our growing ability to connect the human haplotree to conventional pedigrees. 


I have recently published three books on Irwin genealogy.  These incorporate several decades of diligent research in many libraries and archives, public and private.  They update previous publications on the Irvings of Bonshaw and the Irvines of Drum and introduce new findings hitherto unpublished.  In particular The Irwin Surname: its Origins, Diaspora and Early Branches provides a comprehensive background and context to our DNA Study. 

All three books can now be ordered on-line from Amazon or www.waterstones.com.  Proceeds go to the Bonshaw Preservation Trust. 

For more details see FURTHER READING.



James Irvine,
Ashtead Surrey UK
Kit 29479 (Orkney 1)
Study  Administrator
Trustee, Bonshaw Preservation Trust
Seneschal to the Chief of Irvine of Drum
10 November 2020