The Livingston/Maclea/Boggs DNA Surname Project

Founded February 2003, Last Updated 22-May-06


This project is open to all families potentially affiliated with any Livingston(e) or Maclea family.

It is run by participants, for participants.

This is a joint genealogical effort to try to reconstruct family trees, which may contain errors. If you think you see something you want to copy, please also do me the favor of contacting the maker of this webpage (Andrew.Lancaster “at” to give me a chance to update you on the latest possibilities.




Introduction to our surnames

(For a more detailed listing of variants, see here.)

The central name, to which all the others in this project are linked is Livingston (or Livingstone etc, once widely pronounced and spelt as Leviston in many places). Concerning the participant families with the Livingston-type names, the possible distinction between “highland” and “lowland” versions of the name, should be kept in mind. Highlanders come from the more broken landscape of North Western Scotland (the term tends to include the “Isles”) where Gaelic, a language also spoken in Ireland, was the main language until relatively recently.

1.     Highland Livingstones.

Dr David Livingstone, the missionary, explorer, opponent of slavery, and proponent of free trade for Africans, was a member of the clan MacLea, sometimes known as the “highland Livingstones”. In our project we have members of this clan’s leading family, still based on the island of Lismore. This clan once used many surnames, most famously Maclea and Maconlea, and for a long time they only used the surname Livingstone when they were in English speaking areas. In the 18th and 19th century many Macleas who were still in Scotland took up what they considered to be the English version of their name.


2.     Lowland Livingstones.

The “lowland Livingstons”, include Philip Livingston who signed the US Declaration of Independence. This English-speaking family of southern and eastern Scotland held political power of different kinds throughout Scottish history. Famous titles include Callendar, Linlithgow, and Falkirk and Dunipace. Originally they are thought to descend from the man who founded the town that is still called Livingston, in West Lothian, Scotland (not so far from Edinburgh). Modern historians tend to believe he was English or even a continental European, because the name Living was common in England at that time, coming (if it was the Anglo-Saxon name) from an earlier form, “Leofwin”. But the Macleas (and perhaps the Livingstons) seem to have once felt that the name was Gaelic. Indeed, the earliest Living/Livinus I am aware of on record, St Livinus, seems to have been a Gaelic speaker rather than an Anglo-Saxon.


Although no longer the standard theory, this old folklore, accepted once by so many of the families who linked themselves to the surname Livingston, can be summarized as stating that the origin of all these names was a Gaelic name. That name was most likely a version of the Northern Irish royal name Dhunnshléibhe (Dunleavy). So much knowledge of these times is lost that this project can only state this as a challenge. As DNA projects gather more and more data they will become more accurate. What will be the limits?



Amongst our participating families we have many who claim either a distant relationship with Philip Livingston and the Callendar group of families, or with Dr David Livingstone and the clan MacOnlea. We have none who claim both. On the other hand, as stated above, it seems that in pre-modern times the two families felt themselves to be related or allied somehow. Consider this 18th century statement:-

It is very ordinary for the McLea’s to call themselves ‘Livingston’ when they come or go to the low country. What is or hath been the occasion of this, I cannot well tell, but it is very ordinary for the ‘Livingstons’ in the low Country to be very kind to the ‘McLeas’, and to reckon themselves to have come of the ‘McLeas’ in the Highlands, and it is alledged upon the Highlanders that for ordinary they have two names, as the McLea’s have – that of ‘McLea’ in the Highlands, and ‘Livingston’ in the low country.

An Account of the Name of McLea, 1743, See


For genealogy of Dr Livingstone, see here:                                          

For genealogy of the early lowland house of Livingston, see here:      

For genealogy of the Barons Bachuil of Lismore, see here:                



A quick introduction to the DNA results and what they mean

Background reading:






Here are some example of multi-part markers from our first results table below. Compare these to these more full lists of the possible interpretations to the standardized formats presented below…

























CDY (DYS724)

normal number of alleles

2 parts


most common is 4 parts, but often more or less


2 parts




2 parts





9-9 or just 9?

15-15-15-15 or 15-15-15 or 15-15 or 15 or something else?






38-38 or just 38?






15-15-17-17 or 15-17 or something else?

















9-9 or just 9?

15-15-16-16 or 15-16 or something else?






19-19 or just 19?


39-39 or just 39?



9-9 or just 9?


















19-19 or just 19?








KEY. To make it easier to take this large R1b group in I have divided it into two tables and used a colour coding based which tries to make what is most unusual most obvious. Only the very fastest markers are given red titles. And all coloured cells within the table are on the following basis:

1.      Pale Yellow for 1 repeat less than the typical group value (group modal) chosen for comparison (bright green row at top).

2.      Bright Yellow for 2 repeats less than group modal.

3.      Pink for 1 repeat more than group modal.

4.      Magenta for 2 repeats more than group modal.

5.      Purple for 3 repeats more than group modal.

6.      Red for 4 repeats more than group modal.

7.      Bright green for more distant, and therefore outstanding, results.

Individuals marked as SMGF come from the Sorenson database at and are not participants of the project as such.


The Results:-


R1b Haplotypes.


The others.


Y-DNA Haplotypes are the greater branches of the human family tree of all men.