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Cathcart yDNA Study Basics
 Why, What, How, Who, What else?

Why look at genetic background by participating in a yDNA study?

We have all experienced hitting the proverbial brick wall in our genealogical research.  Those of us with the last name "Cathcart/Kathcart/Kithcart" are no exception.  Also, given the nature of Scots-Irish research, only the most lucky of us can trace back with any degree of certainty into the 18th Century.  The genealogical records are pretty scarce back in Scotland, England, and especially in Ulster (Northern Ireland).

What if you've only been able to trace back three or four generations?  What to do?  There often simply aren't enough records to fill in the blanks for those ancestors... and the brick wall looms large and impassable.

Genetic testing gives us another option.  Once you find out which male Cathcart's yDNA most closely match your own, you can concentrate your genealogical research in those families most likely related to you in a reasonable number of generations.

The Family Tree DNA website is sometimes unintelligible.  Markers, haplo-groups, I mean, do I really care if my marker number 459b is a 9?  And what does that mean? J

What I'm going to try to do is allow us to see the results of our tests, and have a look at the genealogy of those most closely related to us genetically speaking.


What is a yDNA Test or Study

Family Tree DNA's Home PageRaymond Cathcart originally set up our Cathcart yDNA group with the company Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and still serves as the group co-administrator. 

Rather than try and explain the process myself, please have a look at their website, you'll find most of your questions answered (What it is, how it works, how much it costs, etc.).

Other Links

A few more points and links:


Who have you found so far?

Unique Haplotypes @ 12-marker level
as of Feb 14, 2023


How... rules & explanations


Ongoing and Future Enhancements



  1. SNP Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism (pronounced "snip") is a long-lasting DNA sequence that is increasingly being used to track genetic and population changes.  In the past, the genetic genealogical community used a "phylogenetic" or family tree based naming system to define Haplogroups.  Now it is more common to use the SNP marker designation. However, one drawback of this newer system is that it's harder to easily recognize subclades (i.e. related Haplogroups that begin with the same starting sequence of numbers and letters).
    1. R1b1a2 is thus replaced by R-M269.
      1. The included sub clade R1b1a2a1a2 is now typically defined by the mutation SNP marker R-P312 (also known as S116).
    2. In the chart below, R-M269 (R1b1a2) is located on the far left, with specific subclades (branches) spreading to the right.  The most common of our participants' predicted Haplogroup, R-P312 (R1b1a2a1a1b) is highlighted in blue at the bottom right.
    3. In the map below, you can see the migration/mutation geographically with notes indicating the timeframe of the mutation(s). Look for R-M269 just above the Black Sea, and the later R-P312 mutation is just north of the Alps.  Note that we are looking at genetic changes from thousands of years ago... not particularly helpful with our genealogical research!

      R1b Migration Map
    4. For the participants of Haplogroup I, things get a bit difficult.  There is apparently ongoing debate on just how to place the two SNP subgroups I-M253 (I1a) and I-M223 (either I1c or I2*).  Here are two charts depicting the different trees... I'll leave it to the experts to figure out which one is more correct!:
  2. By studying past results of specific SNP markers, can predict the participant's Haplogroup by studying specific STR (Short Tandem Repeat) markers. It's not as precise as testing the individual SNPs, but can give fairly accurate results.HaplotreeButton
    1. You can explore your own Haplotree by clicking on the icon on your main welcome page that  from this page you can also order individual SNP tests (currently $39 each).