Big Y-700 Test for Clan Chief Lord Forbes


Thanks to the generosity of a Clan Forbes Society member, FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) will conduct the Big Y-700 DNA analysis for Malcolm, Lord Forbes, chief of Clan Forbes. The results will probably be available in August 2021 and will be included in the Forbes Surname Group project hosted by FTDNA.


Clan Forbes Historian Alexander Forbes of Druminnor Castle has observed that, unlike many other clans, the Forbes chiefly line has continued primarily through direct descendants rather than adoptions into the clan. Therefore, this analysis of the male Y DNA will be very helpful in connecting modern day Forbeses to the House of Forbes. Lord Forbes himself has noted that “I am more than happy for further analysis to be carried out as you suggest on the sample that I provided.”

FTDNA Group Administrator Philip Stead

The Society covered the costs of his Y-111 analysis in November 2020. The test results identified short tandem repeats (STR) markers which are useful to find genealogical matches within the past 500 years, depending on mutations. During the Clan Forbes Gathering in March 2021, FTDNA Group Administrator Philip Stead presented a complete analysis of these STRs, based the results of this test. He noted that the chief haplotype group for Clan Forbes is most probably R-DF27, a subdivision of haplogroup R-M269, which mutated about 4,200 years ago. However, he noted that more precise Y-DNA indicators are required for more accurate study. He recommended that the DNA of Lord Forbes should be included in a Big Y-700 analysis in order to identify the single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) would reach much further back in time and help with this analysis.


That’s where Don and Brenda (Forbes) Chandler stepped in. They generously contributed to the FTDNA Forbes General Fund and covered the cost of not only the Big Y-700 test but also the autosomal DNA (“Family Finder”) and mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA (“mtFull Sequence”) tests. The autosomal DNA test is designed to find relatives on all ancestral lines within the last five generations and the mtDNA test allows for investigation into the maternal line.

Most of the Forbes Group participants will probably test positive for an associated SNP. the haplogroup R-M269 or DF27 of the chiefly line. However, Mr. Stead noted that the lack of a connection doesn't mean you're not a member of Clan Forbes. If you have not descended from the direct paternal line, your ancestor may have given his allegiance to the Forbes chief at the time and taken on the surname of the chief. Another possibility is that your ancestor descended from a female of the chiefly line and then took Forbes as the surname.

Mr. Stead encouraged more members of Clan Forbes to get the Big Y-700 test in order to expand the DNA database. If you have tested with another DNA testing service, you can upload your results to FTDNA and join the Forbes surname group. For more information, please see the FTDNA article Tested with Another Company? Upload Your Data for Free!


This important work will provide valuable research into the history and the genealogy of the members of Clan Forbes. This will also explore whether Forbes is linked to descendants who have spelling variations such as Faubus, Fobbs, Fobes, Forbess, Forbis, Forbus, Forbush, Fordice, Fordyce, Furbish, and Furbush. You can get started now by visiting FamilyTreeDNA.

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