Atkinson DNA Study

Discussion of Results:

More detailed trees can be seen when looking at the list of researchers & participants.

To-date there are 48 sets of results (these include 3 siblings, their uncle and uncle's cousin: also a father and son). Family groups are becoming more evident. Individuals can now be grouped into approximately 29 distinct such groups. 


I had my own Y Chromosome results checked. (Both my brother's, my paternal uncle* and his cousin have taken part.) The results can be viewed via this link.. To-date they have been very promising. For me all five objectives of the DNA Study have been achieved.

I started my family research some 25yrs ago and almost immediately hit a brick wall with my main branch. At last with a bit of research in Kew and a DNA test I think I'm in the process of bridging that wall. The chief problem is that Atkinson is such a common name. Particularly in the north of England. And they all seem to have the same Christian names.

My GtGt Grandfather William Atkinson was c.1808 at Bishop Burton son of John & Ann. They had two children at Bishop Burton and then vanished. I found myself drowning in a sea of John & Ann Atkinson's. I found a possible candidate for his parents....but proving it! This John Atkinson & Ann (nee Waugh) married in Beverley in 1804. So the timing was good as was the locality. A possible source to research was that this John claimed he was in the Cumberland Militia. Did this mean he was from Cumberland or Yorkshire...and where exactly?

I seem to have found him in the Militia Records at Kew. His regiment was encamped on Beverley Westwood at that time (even closer to Bishop Burton). The first reference of him in the Militia is in Penrith, Cumberland in 1799. To-date I've found no attestation papers but a later reference to a John lists a John as being from Edenhall, Cumberland. Possibly the same John? Question is, is the John from Cumberland my ancestor? Another trip to Kew is still warranted. Of interest I've found a close match to an individual by the unusual name of Rastrick. A Rastrick family lived in Penrith in the right time period. The chances are that they descend from my branch of Atkinsons via a non-paternity event.

This is where the DNA Study is proving useful. I already know my gene results are rare. All the better in that I have found a connection with Mike Atkinson in the USA who shares this rare result. See results above Mike and I, based on comparing 48 markers, are at a genetic distance of 5. Mike is descended from Wiley A Atkinson son of Burnwell Atkinson bn 1814. Good unusual names. I had speculated that, Burnwell was descended from a Shadrack Atkinson bn 1706 who emigrated to the USA. See . My hopes here have proved ill founded. A descendent of Shadrack (Richard) has since tested and there is no connection.

Searching the Sorenson Database I found John Fate Atkinson son's results. Jimmy is the earliest ancestor of John Fate. He was born on the 20th March 1830 at Hartsville, South Carolina and married Nellie Pope. Of interest Mike's family are from this area. It is clear that myself and Mike & John Fate share a common forebear.  For example, his father or grandfather, or even further back. John Fate differs from Mike on one marker DYS 438. Chris & Mike are both DYS 438/12, John Fate DYS 438/13. This is significant in that this is clearly a mutation that has taken place from the early ancestor down John Fate's line. It will be present in all John's descendents but not Mike's. Any Atkinson's in the USA with this marker will be able to localize themselves to John's branch of the family. This may give them clues as to localities in which to focus their research but certainly as to family groups. Mike has successfully traced John's son, who we now know to be Fred Atkinson. Fred & Mike match at a genetic distance of 1 based on 43 markers. they have a 50% probability of being connected within 4 generations or a 95% probability of being connected within 13 generations. Mike always suspected a connection with his family and that of Phillip. Phillip has now taken part, confirming Mike's assumptions. He tested 37 markers. He is at a GD of 1 from both Mike and Fred.

Of late we have found a connection to Donald Wayne Atkisson. Though they have yet to find a papertrail connection he is clearly connected to Mike, Fred & Phil.

*my Uncle Eric has a mutation not present in myself, my brother's or his cousin, indicating that this mutation would not have been evident in his father my grandfather.

Joseph would appear to be a distant connection to myself. We could only compare 32 markers together as he had tested with a different company.  We mismatched on three markers.  I purchased the further 5 markers, enabling a 37:37 comparison. This changed the match to a 32:37 match. He has also taken part in the Sorenson project and in all now has 47 markers back. This now becomes a 42:47 match. He is classed as being at a Genetic Distance of 5 from myself. This is a very distant connection. His kin are traceable to a William Atkinson bn. circa 1730 lived in Brunswick County, VA and d.1807. William married a Martha Pepper. 

The GD's between myself and Phillip are very high ie 7 & Philip & Joe 8. These distances would be questionable for a link but other factors taken into account suggest that this link, within the time frame of surnames, does indeed exist. My suggestion is that the link between Chris & Joe is very early in the history of surnames. That Chris (that is myself), has a closer connection with Mike & Fred's ancestor and that from one of his sons Phil's line descends. As time goes on I hope we can provide more evidence for these suppositions.

There is a possibility that David Paul Atkinson is very distantly connected to this family (I'm inclined to think that he is). The only way of knowing for sure would be if he was to increase the numbers of markers he has tested on to 67.


Note where data has been obtained from the Sorenson Project the person who tested is unknown. The names used refer to an ancestor of the participant. DNA suggests the following individuals belong to one family group ie descend from a common Atkinson ancestor:

'Alfred' Henry  & Alfred 'Levi' are father & son. Both have results for 43 markers. As one would expect they match. However, a mutation has taken place between father & son and they only match on 42/43 markers. NB  possible connection  Atkin DNA Study

Robert tested on 26 markers, he is at a genetic distance of 2 from the above. It would be worth him upgrading as it is quite possible that they are connected.  By the same token this suggests a possible relationship. 


Thomas 'Aleph' (43 markers) & Thomas Alfred (38) from the paper trail provided are the same person. It looks like two separate descendents have contributed to the Sorenson Project. They are as you would anticipate a 38/38 match. there is a possibility that they are both distantly related to Donovan J (37 markers). He matches them both at a GD of 4. However, this is based on a comparison of only 32 markers as between the testing companies it is only 32 markers they share in common.


Richard Berrie Atkinson and Joel Walter Atkinson are clearly connected at a GD of 1 out of 37 markers. Van possibly belongs to the same family group being an exact match to Joel but having only tested on 26 markers. Van tested  with RG. and has tested with the Sorenson project. Partial results are back and at present he can compare 25 of his 31 markers with Richard and Joel who both who tested with FTDNA

Family Five:

Robert Nelson Atkinson's grandson & Leander Atkinson's son are both participants in the Sorenson project. John A Adkison has now tested on 43 markers with Relative Genetics: he is an exact match to Robert Nelson Atkinson's grandson and 42:43 to Leander Atkinson's son. They are clearly connected. I note that the Sorenson project list Leander's earliest ancestor as Cornelius Atkinson bn 1739 Ireland.

Family Six:

Willard Glenn Atkinson & Ken Adkisson can both trace their roots back to Elijah Adkinson bn abt 1802. He married Sally Todd 1823, Warren County., KY. 

The other participants have yet to find connections.

Note: Robert & William are in fact first cousins. There has been a family legend that William's grandfather was illegitimate. This has been confirmed by their results. Furthermore the story indicates that William's Gt Grandfather had the surname Fulford. He has in fact been found to match a member of the 'Fulford DNA Study', confirming both strands of this family legend and enabling his line to be taken back to the early 1700's.

NB James Atkisson & Arthur Atkinson show possible connections to members of the Atkin DNA Study

Donovan Atkinson has been estimated as belonging to haplogroup R1b1c7. This group is associated with Northern Island and with "Niall of the Nine Hostages".

Richard C Atkinson has been estimated as belonging to haplogroup the I1a lineage likely has its roots in northern France. Today it is found most frequently within Viking / Scandinavian populations in northwest Europe and has since spread down into Central and Eastern Europe, where it is found at low frequencies.

The descendent of Joseph Atkinson bn circa 1790 in Northumberland, would appear to be potentially connected to a number of the group participants i.e., he is at a GD of 2 from Rob Atkinson (based on 26 markers), a GD of 3 to Van (based on 26 markers), GD 3 to John A Adkison (also on 26 markers), and a GD of 1 to Robert Louis (only comparing 12 markers). It would be interesting to see if this was to be borne out further in any of these individuals with upgraded markers.

Thus out of 40 sets of results we seem to have approximately 26 distinct genetic family groups. One of whom, the DNA study has clarified, does not have early Atkinson forebears.

Doug Atkinson & Robert Louis Atkinson: Robert Louis has only tested on 12 markers but based on these 12 markers there appears to be the tantalizing possibility of a connection. This really requires more markers to be tested to confirm or deny this connection. 

John Sheridan Atkinson at first glance looks to have one or two possible connections but this too is based on only 12 markers which is insufficient for me to really make a proper judgment. 

NB: My best advice to people is to test on as many markers as they can afford. certainly 25 or more (preferably 37 or more). For a common surname like Atkinson any less, in my opinion, is meaningless. When results have been received upload them to Y Search - this will enable access to a larger database then individual companies maintain, thus increasing the odds of finding a match. (I think it also helps to upload a Gedcom File). When reading results I would suggest that the number of generations back to the earliest origin of surnames is probably no more than 20 to 30 generations ie about 800 yrs. Finally, if you don't have a paper-trail which is confirmed by the DNA, I would probably be guided by the 95% probability results.