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The Hamilton Y-DNA Surname Project was initiated by Gordon Hamilton and several other members of the Hamilton National Genealogical Society, Inc. (HNGS) in 2002. Currently, Family Tree DNA reports a membership of 855. Participation is open to any person with the name Hamilton, or variant, as well as those with a Hamilton lineage but a different surname. On the second page there is more discussion about the study.


One of the original goals was to determine if Hamiltons are derived from few or many lines. From the results obtained to date it is evident that there were quite a few initiating ancestors. Some Hamilton lines, not previously known to be connected, are in fact related and derived from a common ancestor. Thus, the participants from these lines have new avenues to explore in pursuing their Hamilton genealogy. Other goals are determining which ones derive from Walter Fitzgilbert de Hamilton and from other well documented Hamilton lines in Scotland, and which lines are connected to Alexander Hamilton, founding father of the United States.


Since markers on the Y-chromosome are being analyzed in this study, the DNA sample donor must be a male with a direct male Hamilton lineage. Only males have the Y-chromosome and it is passed directly (STRs are virtually unchanged) and (SNPs are unchanged) from father to son, never to or from females. Thus, females interested in obtaining information about their Hamilton lineage would need to have a male relative (father, brother, uncle, a male cousin, etc., from their direct Hamilton line) actually supply the sample for analysis. Sample collection is painless; it merely involves rubbing the inside of the cheek with a foam swab.

A Y-DNA test must be taken in order to participate.


The primary company doing the DNA analyses in this study is Family Tree DNA. It is recommended that participants choose at least the 37 STR marker test (Y-DNA37). Though it may be done later, it might be to the advantage of the test taker to go directly to the Big Y700 test to begin with rather than discovering later that you would rather have the additional resolution of the higher marker test. The initial expense is more, but it might be less costly in the long run, saving time and money. The Big Y700 test covers 700 STRs as well as many SNPs. The SNP is very helpful in many cases in making connections with others. Those wishing to join may first wish to discuss this with the Project Administrator, see information below.


After purchasing your Y-DNA test you can then sign in to your personal web page at www.ftdna.com choose "group project" at the top menu. Find the Hamilton Project and make your "join request" with notes telling the Administrator which test was taken and something of your Hamilton connection. Remember, it needs to be a direct, all male line Hamilton connection or a direct Y-DNA connection to other Hamiltons. Your answer will come directly from the Administrator.


Each participant has a personal page on the FTDNA web site which will show their test results, and they will be able to compare with the results of others in the FTDNA database. From time to time a summary of results will be posted at this website. Names of sample donors will not be used. The results will be linked only to the earliest known Hamilton ancestors of each participant. In this way the results become useful by comparing with others and hopefully making meaningful genealogical connections.


All communication concerning this DNA project should be directed to Don Glossinger, Project Administrator, Email who has worked with our Coordinator Emeritus, Gordon Hamilton for the past 20 years. Gordon remains a valued part of the team as a Co-Administrator. Rounding out the team is Glen Hamilton, a serious genealogist and keeper of all things technical for the Project. It is helpful for each participant to send the Administrator a pedigree chart or short family history synopsis of the direct Hamilton line back to their earliest known Hamilton ancestor. This information is needed when the results are posted to the web summary. As indicated in the current results compilation, you will not be identified in web reports, only your earliest known Hamilton ancestors will be associated with the results.

Private discussion group

The Project maintains a private discussion group for all participants. Invitation to join this group will be made by the Administrator once results are reported from Family Tree DNA.

Updated January 2024