May 2017 Report

In the past 12 months, the number of individuals who have joined the Irvine Clan Autosomal DNA Project has increased from 126 to 191, although some of these have joined out of curiosity and not yet taken a Family Finder test. More significantly, the number of members who have taken this test has more than doubled, from 77 to 162. Of these 162, 107 (i.e. about two-thirds) have suggested familial relationships with one or more other members of the autosomal project.

This data includes, in some cases, family groups of siblings, parents, and children that demonstrate the peculiarities of autosomal DNA (atDNA). For example, two members of a family group may match a certain third party, but another one may not. When working with full siblings, one must keep in mind that one’s siblings have exactly the same ancestors as we do, but DNA may not be consistent in identifying the same cousins for each sibling (in spite of having exactly the same cousins). So if N and S are my brother and sister, they may match A, but I do not. Or N may match A but not B, while S matches B but not A, and I don’t match either of them. This is because each person inherits different bits of atDNA, with 50 percent coming from their father and 50 from their mother, but not exactly the same bits as their siblings.

For a matrix that shows suggested familial relationships of all members, click here. This is an easy-to-read spreadsheet that shows relationships among project participants. Note that these familial relationships are as “suggested” by FTDNA; for example “3rd cousin" is suggested to be just that, but may be a 2nd or 4th cousin.

All the current suggested familial relationships of individuals who are members of both the Irvine Clan Autosomal DNA Project and the Clan Irwin Surname DNA Study are now, for the first time, integrated into the Main Results Table of the Surname Study: the Family Finder (autosomal) suggested familial data is shown at the extreme right of this table. This data has been edited down to the suggested relationships with other members of the Surname Study in column ab of this table.

We are entering a new era in DNA study, in which yDNA and atDNA are used together to discover relationships that cannot be deduced from only one type of DNA. Look for more developments of this sort in the future.

Finally, I have been asked to serve on the genealogy committee of the Clan Irwin Association, and I have agreed to help clan members locate sources that are likely to produce results. Please e-mail me, if I can be of assistance.

Peter B. Irvine


IrvineClan Autosomal Project

P.S. Please note my new e-mail address:

May 2016 Report.

The autosomal project has grown by 25 percent over the past six months to 126 participants. Many participants have had their yDNA tested to 111 markers, and many have done SNP testing, both of which bode well for the reliability of the study. The Borders subgroup continues to be the largest, with 19 members out of a total of 77 who have tested their yDNA, or 25 percent.

Of the 126 total participants, 85 have taken Family Finder tests, and 77 of those have autosomal (atDNA) matches within the group. In the attached table all atDNA matches are shown by kit number and rounded-off centiMorgans (cM). Please keep in mind that these matches do not necessarily correspond to a common Irvine ancestor: they may indicate a non-Irvine common ancestor.

We welcome inquiries as to specific atDNA matches and will assist in determining who the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) may have been. To sight this table click here.

[Signed] Peter B Irvine

November 2015 Report.

The project continues to grow. We now have 101 participants, of whom 61 have Family Finder Matches (the equivalent figures 6 months ago were 60 and 41). The 101 includes about 30 who are not members of the Clan Irwin Surname Project, but does not include about 40 participants in the latter project who have not yet joined the autosomal project.

I have prepared a spreadsheet of the 61 participants in the autosomal project who have Family Finder matches, in which the cells show the relevant matching segments in centimorgans (cM).

[Signed] Peter B Irvine

May 2015 Report.

The new Irvine Clan Autosomal DNA Project, which started in October 2014 as an offshoot of the Irwin Clan Surname DNA Study, now has 60 participants, over 70% of whom have identified cousins within the Project.

Of the 56 participants who have received results, cousin matches within the project have been identified thus:

The names of cousin matches are posted in the “Activity Feed” of the group, which is restricted to registered participants of the project. Because of FTDNA privacy policies, Family Finder (autosomal DNA or atDNA) test results are not publicly displayed, but yDNA results are. When used together with documentary evidence, these two types of DNA are powerful tools for reaching further back in a family tree to “capture” additional ancestors.

The earliest confirmed paternal ancestor of these participants lived in a spread of countries similar to the Surname Study. We recently gained three new members from Australia and New Zealand. One of these suspects he is a descendant of Drum by a female line, and after paying for a “Drum” participant in the surname study to take a Family Finder test, he may be able to confirm the family tradition. This is a classic example of the potential of autosomal DNA testing.

Perhaps the most promising aspect of autosomal DNA (atDNA) is that it typically reaches back a maximum of five or six generations, which means that whoever the common ancestor or ancestors may be, it is quite possible that documentary evidence can be found to confirm or disprove the relationship. We must emphasize above all that atDNA by itself does not tell us very much, typically identifying a fourth cousin we did not previously know. It is then the cousins’ job to investigate who their Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) might be. They do so by comparing family trees, which all are encouraged to upload to FTDNA, using a GEDCOM file generated by any genealogy software program. This is the fun part and can take years, but the results can be quite enlightening.

Because much of the atDNA information is confidential, members are encouraged to contact the Project Administrator ( for help in confirming relationships (or not). Members are also encouraged to post information about their specific family histories to the “Activity Feed,” found at — the more information we share, the more we all benefit from the study.

My report would be incomplete without thanks to James M. Irvine, Administrator of the Irwin Surname Study and Co-Administrator of the Irvine Autosomal Project. Without his guidance and unstinting spade work we would know a great deal less about the Irvine/Irving/Irwin Clan (however spelt) than we do now, and I am honored to help continue the excellent work he began a decade ago.

Peter Bennington Irvine

Irvine Clan Autosomal DNA Project


May 5, 2015

The following may help some to understand autosomal test results.

Strategies to Analyze Endogamous DNA.pdf