Clan Forbes Family History Project: Frequently Asked Questions


The Clan Forbes’ Family History Project is now in full swing, headed up by Philip Stead, MSc student of Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. As announced earlier, Mr. Stead plans to conduct analysis of the Y chromosome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the Clan Chief, Malcolm, Lord Forbes, and calculating time to “The Most Recent Common Ancestor” (TMRCA) of those project participants who belong to this lineage. Mr. Stead will also analyse the Y chromosome SNPs associated with those with the surname Forbes from different yDNA haplogroups and investigate the autosomal DNA (atDNA) connections between project members to determine associated families or “septs.”


The success of the project depends on wide participation from individuals willing to contribute their Big Y-700 DNA data, which will be used to carry out the genetic analysis components of the investigation. Participants will need to have tested their DNA at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) or be willing to upload their atDNA raw data from other services such as Ancestry.com to the Forbes FTDNA project.


We have received some questions about the project and would like to provide you with some answers.


What do I need to do to take part in the project?

If you have already taken a genetic test, then you will be asked to grant the researcher access to the data on the FTDNA database and provide details regarding your documented lineage to a Forbes ancestor. If you have not taken a genetic test then you will be provided with a test from FTNA. The testing service has robust procedures in place for testing DNA ethically and with full respect for the privacy requirements of a tester. The DNA sample is easy to provide and non-invasive: it involves lightly scrubbing the inside of your cheek with a small brush to provide some cheek cells. These are placed in a phial and sent by post to the lab in Houston, Texas, USA. After several weeks the results will be announced in a dedicated webpage that is provided for your use, along with other information. Once your test results are available, you will be asked to grant the researcher advanced access to the data. If you have already taken a test but the results need upgrading, then this will be done with your consent.


What happens to the information in the project?


All participants will be anonymised in the final report using pseudonyms. Information about the segments of DNA shared between you and your genetic relatives will be discussed, and the surnames in question will also be mentioned. Once the project is completed, the researcher and the University of Strathclyde will no longer have access to your DNA data. The University of Strathclyde is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office who implements the Data Protection Act 1998. All personal data on participants will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.