About the Abernathy DNA Project

Y-Chromosome DNA Testing

y-chromosomeThe purpose of Y-chromsome DNA testing is to find relationships between men of the same or similar surnames and lead to genealogical discoveries when the paper trail has led to a brick wall. If two men are a close match, it can be concluded that they share a common ancestor, although the number of generations back to that ancestor cannot be determined with any accuracy. Best case scenario - maybe that new-found cousin has the family bible!

Pattern of Inheritance of the Y-Chromosome


The y-chromosome is passed directly down a male line in the same way that a surname usually is, father to son, father to son. As it happens, the DNA of this chromosome is inherited virtually unchanged from one generation to another. Therefore, the Y-chromosomal DNA of a man living today will be nearly identical to that of his direct male line ancestors living thousands of years ago.

Project Participation and Candidates for DNA Testing

All male Abernathy/Abernethys of any variant spelling are invited to participate, regardless of present residence or country of origin. All males whose DNA tests clearly show a close relationship to the defined groups are also included even if the surname they carry is now different, for whatever reason, known or unknown. Bernethy has been proven to be a valid variant along with the two most common spellings, Abernathy and Abernethy. Abanatha is also now a recognized variant.

Getting Tested for Y-Chromosome DNA

DNA test kits suitable for this study may be ordered from from, , Family Tree DNA, or from any other commercial service that tests Y-DNA for genealogy purposes. The collection process is as simple and non-invasive. Please check out the price comparison link to decide which best fits your budget.

A minimum test to establish probable relationship between two individuals or lineages would be 24 or more markers, but low-end tests typically suffice to eliminate a relationship between individuals or lineages, and upgrades are generally available. Prices vary depending on where you order your kit, and as in so many things, you get what you pay for. The least expensive test kit may not be what you will ultimately need, and you may have to upgrade or re-test. For efficiency and cost considerations, we do not recommend that you start with an inexpensive low-end test (i.e., less than 20 markers), but a more comprehensive one, despite the higher initial cost.

If you purchase your test kit from one of the sites that have surname projects with member discounts associated with it, be sure to apply first to become a member of the Project to get the discount. For those who purchase test kits from sites other than DNA Heritage, please be aware we will not be automatically notified of test results. You will have to send us copies of your results in order to be included in this study.

Females and DNA

Female descendants are not able to directly contribute to the project with their DNA. They can still support the project via research and/or by helping pay for the testing of those who are willing and able to contribute a Y-DNA sample but may not be able to afford the relatively high cost.