A Positive View of Our Hamilton DNA Research

DNA strand

Continued from Some Conclusions on the Hamilton DNA Research.

In the last two articles, I looked at the shortcomings of the DNA research into our Hamilton line. In this article, I will take a look at the positive side. What have we gained?

Regarding Preston Fields

• Our family's y-DNA matches on 37 markers with that of a descendant of Preston Fields, of Pike County, Kentucky. For the background see the series of articles starting with Preston Fields, of Pike County, Kentucky.

FamilyTreeDNA estimates that for a 37 out of 37 match, there is a 90% chance of having a common ancestor within 5 generations, and a 95% chance within 7 generations.1

There are 5 steps back to our earliest known Hamilton ancestor, born in 1818, and at least that many steps back to Preston Fields (1795). Both were born in the United States. So it is very likely that we have a common ancestor on the American side of the Atlantic.

• Looking at the Fields family and a few Hamilton families of the mid-Atlantic and Appalachia has taught me to study migration routes. Although Preston Fields lived most of his (adult, anyway) life in Kentucky, his family and the Hamiltons arrived there from Virginia, by way of North Carolina and Tennessee. Before that, two of the Hamilton families were known to be in Maryland.

Since my earliest known ancestor is James D. Hamilton, who was born in Cape May, New Jersey, the migration paths probably intersect in Baltimore as a port of entry, or possibly Philadelphia. I haven't got that far back yet, but that looks like where we are headed.

• It is reassuring to know that you are who you say you are, although I think I could have dealt with the alternatives. None of the Hamilton wives were fooling around with the mailman unless, maybe, he was her brother-in-law. If so, we might never know.

Joseph Hamilton of Ayrshire, Scotland

His descendant submitted a 25 marker test of his y-DNA and it matches ours on all 25.

• If the research stands up to examination, then a match with Joseph Hamilton confirms our Hamilton tradition that the family is Scotch-Irish. If we can learn where Joseph Hamilton was born, it could tell us what part of Ulster we are from.

• If Joseph moved back to, and died in, Ayrshire because that is where his family's roots were, that might point us to our Hamilton family's origins in Scotland.

The Haplogroup

Our DNA falls into Haplogroup R1b1a2 or R-M269. FamilyTreeDNA calls it Celtic-Iberian. So our "way back" Hamiltons apparently came up the Atlantic coast on their way to Scotland. A lot of native Irish are in this group also, so just remember the story that "the Irish came from Spain."

Some of the Hamiltons in the Hamilton Surname DNA study are of a Haplogroup that is Scandinavian. I believe their migration route ran through Central Europe into Scandinavia, before turning southwest into Scotland. As in the Vikings.

The Hamilton Surname DNA Project, R-Groups spreadsheet has the results of the DNA samples covered in this series of articles. Look for our participant code number, H-255. The matches discussed in this series are all in the same group, R1b-9.


1.Understanding Your Y-DNA37 Results, at FamilyTreeDna.com.


The image of a DNA strand comes from Wikipedia:File:DNA orbit animated static thumb.png.

My Old Ohio Home
Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own research.
-- Ed Hamilton