Saturday, July 25, 2020

I WANT YOU ... To Take A Y-DNA Test

If you've read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am an advocate of DNA testing as one of the many useful tools we have available to help us with our genealogy. I've tried over the years, mostly unsuccessfully, to recruit Ackley men to take Y-DNA tests in an effort to add to the pool of data in the Ackley surname project at Family Tree DNA, which I happen to manage. Right now the project is quite small -- we only have 10 members who have taken some level of Y-DNA test, ranging from a 37-marker STR test up to the more comprehensive Big Y-700 (see this post for a brief discussion of Y-DNA testing). I would like to see the numbers grow, so I am once again trying to recruit more people to test.

Our project has managed to get some donations to test additional Ackley men, so I've come up with a plan to try to get the most benefit for the dollars available. The way I see it, we need to recruit three different types of Ackley men to take Y-DNA tests:

(1) Ackley men who already know how they descend from Nicholas Ackley. We already have known descendants of Nicholas’s sons James and John – we could always use more. However, we also need descendants of Nicholas’s other sons – Thomas, Nathaniel, and Samuel. Nathaniel is not known to have had any children, but Thomas had at least two sons and Samuel had seven. As of now we have no known descendants of these men. The goal of adding to this pool is to have enough descendants of each son so that we can create subgroups of men within the project. This could potentially help future project members learn how they descend from Nicholas.

(2) Ackley men who do not know if or how they descend from Nicholas Ackley. I wrote about a couple of these lines in this post titled "Some 'Other' Ackley Lines" back in 2016. By testing, these men can either discover that they are descended from Nicholas or establish that they are not and be the foundation of a new, separate Ackley line. Either way, a valuable new piece of information can be learned that will aid in future genealogy research.

(3) Ackley men from England. While we have some bits and pieces of information about Nicholas’s ancestors in England, in my opinion we are nowhere near a definitive answer on who they are. Having Y-DNA results from English Ackley men could get us one step closer to discovering our English forebears.

So here's the deal -- we have enough money in the project to purchase five Y-37 tests if we buy them during the FTDNA summer sale, which usually begins around August 1 and runs for a few weeks. If you are an Ackley male who would like to test, at no cost to you, send me an e-mail at and I will consider your request. Ackley females can participate by recruiting one of their Ackley male relatives (father, brother, uncle, cousin, etc.) to test. My goal is to cover as many of the situations listed above with the five people I choose.

The five people chosen will each have to create an account on Family Tree DNA if they don't already have one. You won't have to give a credit card number or anything like that -- I'll give you instructions on how to acquire the kit and have the Ackley surname project funds pay for it. The kit will be sent directly to you, and you will need to return it in the pre-paid package that comes with it.

There are a few (small) strings attached to this offer:

1. With your request, you'll need to submit to me a minimal tree showing your line of descent from Nicholas Ackley so I can verify where you fit into one of the categories discussed above. Alternatively, if you are from one of the Ackley lines not yet proven to be descendants of Nicholas, submit a tree that shows your Ackley line as far back as you can take it.

2. You'll agree to join the Ackley surname project at FTDNA so your data can be viewed by other project members (no personal identifying information is attached to that data).

3. You'll send your sample back as soon as you get the test kit in the mail. No dilly-dallying!

That's it -- pretty simple. Hopefully there are at least five Ackley men out there who want to take a free Y-DNA test and contribute to the Ackley surname project. Since I don't know exactly when the sale is going to be yet, I am not setting a firm deadline at this time. I would recommend getting your request to me as soon as possible, and when I find out the sale dates I'll establish a cut-off so we can ensure the kits get purchased before the sale prices expire.


  1. In my "Nicholas" Genealogy I have descendants of sons John, Thomas, Samuel and James. I many descendant males of John and James. I only have one 10th gen descendant of Thomas and he has one son. I have five 10th generation male descendants of Samuel. One of them has three sons. I have 11 9th generation male descendants of Samuel. It's not likely that any are still living, but there were several sons born to them in the 1940s to 1960s. I have no idea if I'd be able to contact them.

  2. Mike,

    I sent you an email. However, as I am reading through the blogs you have posted, I wanted to also say thank you for all the work you have done. Amazing!