Joining the Study

All adult males around the world with the surname Irwin, or its variant spellings such as Arvin, Erwin, Irvin, Irvine, Irving and Urwin, are invited to participate in the Clan Irwin Surname DNA Study.  Females are welcome to participate if they can first persuade an adult male relation with such a surname to undergo a yDNA test on their behalf.  Males with other surnames are also welcome if their yDNA signature is a close match with an existing participant.

There is no membership fee or admission form.  Membership is achieved automatically by ordering a yDNA test on-line at:

This process entitles you to FTDNA's discounted rates.  For most prospective participants we recommend FTDNA’s 37-marker yDNA STR test at $119, plus a shipping charge of $9.95 (USA & international).  Alternatively their 12-marker test at $59 (plus shipping charge) offers a cheap start, but it is usually found desirable to upgrade to 37 markers.  FTDNA no longer offer discounted rates for project members or their 25- and 67-marker tests, but their 111-marker STR test is $249 and they also offer various upgrades and SNP tests.  As the most appropriate upgrades depend on various personal considerations we recommend prior consultation with the Study Administrator before placing further orders so as to avoid wasting money on inappropriate tests.  If an upgrade is ordered the original sample can usually be used, thus avoiding a further shipping charge.   If not FTDNA will contact you.
Three ways to reduce the cost of a DNA test may be considered:
1.  Individuals may persuade other members of their family to share the cost.  
2.  Our General Fund can usually finance tests of individuals with a pedigree that reaches back to Scottish ancestors in the 17th century.
3.  FTDNA often have bargain-offer sales from mid-November to end December, for a week in April around DNA day and again in June around Fathers' Day.
FTDNA's yDNA tests are not thought to have any medical significance and, lacking any custody trail, are irrelevant to paternity or criminal cases.  However DNA test results may bring surprises and be disappointing: prospective participants are advised to read section 2.8 of Interpreting DNA Test Results.

We have chosen FamilyTreeDNA (“FTDNA”) as our preferred testing company because, in the absence of any international standard for yDNA tests, it has the largest data bank.  FTDNA was established in Houston, Texas in 2000 and has now conducted over 500,000 yDNA tests, many more than all their competitors combined.  It hosts over 9,000 registered surname studies, and provides useful support.  No participant in our Study has any financial connection with FTDNA.

When FTDNA receives your application they will send you a sample test kit and simple instructions on its use.  On receipt of your two saliva samples they will undertake the relevant analysis, enter your results in their confidential database, compare these results with those of other participants in this database, and advise you of any testees with exact or close matches.  We recommend that you complete FTDNA’s Release Form so you you gain access to the e-mail addresses of these testees, and to quantified probabilities of how closely you are related to them.  Uploading to “Ysearch” posts your results on the web and enables non-FTDNA participants to contact you without your name or e-mail address being disclosed.

When your test results are complete FTDNA enable you to download a certificate and a note on “Understanding your results”.  In addition your Study Administrator will enter your test results in the Results Table for the Study and discuss with you by e-mail their significance and implications. 
If you already have the results of a yDNA test with FTDNA and your surname is Irwin (or variant spelling) but you are not a participant in this Study you are welcome to e-mail the Study Administrator to request participation at no additional cost.  

If you already have the results of a yDNA test with the Genographic Project and your surname is Irwin (or variant spelling) you can also participate in this Study at no additional cost:  simply log in to your Genographic Project page, go to "What else can I do with my results", click on "Learn more" and follow the instructions. 
If you already have the results of a yDNA test with another company and your surname is Irwin (or variant spelling) you are also welcome to participate in this Study, although for full benefits it is desirable to re-test with FTDNA.  For this a discount may be available - please contact the Study Administrator. 

If you already have the results of a yDNA test with any company and have a surname quite dissimilar to Irwin but your yDNA signature is a close match with existing participants (as evidenced, for example, by FTDNA "Matches" page showing all or nearly nearly all of your matches are with Irwins, or by examination through ysearch), then you are welcome to contact the Study Administrator to request participation in this Study. 
Leaving the Study
You may request to leave this Study at any time by sending an email to the Study Administrator, or to groups advising your wish to leave the Irwin Clan Surname Project, or by clicking the relevant "Leave" box on your Project Preferences page. 

1.  Individuals whose surname is not Irwin (or variant spelling) and whose yDNA signature does not match many Irwins will be asked to leave the Study.

2.  Individuals hoping that a Mitochondrial (mtDNA) or Family Finder (atDNA) test will find or prove a relationship with someone with the name of Irwin (or variant spelling) should note that participation in this Study will not help you.  This is because the Study is only addressing yDNA tests and their relevance to the paternal inheritance of the surname.  Individuals who have taken such a test but have not taken a yDNA test should remove themselves from this Study.

3.  Those asked to leave this Study are most welcome to follow the Study's progress on this website.

4Individuals who have taken a Family Finder test and have an Irwin or variant spelling in their recent ancestry are invited to join the Irvine Clan Autosomal DNA Project - see and  Those interested in taking FTDNA's Family Finder Test at $59 the following table shows the probability of "finding" a match with a cousin who has also taken this test:

Relationship Match Probability
2nd cousins or closer > 99%
3rd cousin > 90%
4th cousin > 50%
5th cousin > 10%
6th cousin and more distant Remote (typically less than 2%)
Note that not only must the cousin be relatively close, but he or she must also have taken a Family Finder test.  This test is thus useful for confirming two suspected close cousins are indeed related, but is unlikely to be of much use to a single participant "fishing" for possible unknown cousins.  This latter consideration is especially relevant outside USA, as few non-Americans have taken Family Finder tests. 

5.  All those interested in genetic genealogy, whether members of this Study or not, are encouraged to join ISOGG, the International Society of Genetic Genealogists - membership is free.  See