The Lancaster, Lancashire etc Surname DNA project.

Results from the R1 haplogroup


Welcome to one of the results webpages of our genealogical DNA project for several Northern English surnames, which are especially associated with the historic county of Lancashire, especially Lancaster group of surnames including Lanchester, Lancashire, Lankshear, Lankester, etc. Click for the homepage.

This page is about results for all the results in Haplogroup R1 (R-M173), which includes R1b and R1a, the most common male lines amongst men of European ancestry.

This project is a volunteer-run genealogical project, open to all families potentially affiliated with any surnames potentially related to those mentioned. It is run by participants, for participants, and affiliated with ISOGG, and not any single commercial lab. (We are recognized by most major testing companies working with genealogists.) This webpage and most associated with it are kept up-to-date, more-or-less, by Andrew Lancaster. The project and its webpages are work in progress, and may contain errors. If you think you see something you want to copy, please contact the author ( to give us a chance to update you on the latest possibilities.

DNA results table for Haplogroup R-M173, including all R1b and R1a Lancasters, Lancashires, Lankshears.

R-M173 is much more common and is indeed the most common haplotype by far in northern and western Europe. In most surname projects for British surnames it dominates. There are two main branches, R1b, which dominates in Western Europe, and R1a, which is more important from Eastern Europe all the way to India. The European R1b population is dominated by R-L42, which appears to have arrived from the Middle East.

Because R1b is so common it is worth pointing out that matches should be viewed critically, and some of our results below are only for 12 markers, which is not usually enough for high confidence. Nevertheless, there are certainly some important groupings we have managed to define with very high confidence, using more markers.

R1b GROUP 1.

York/New Kent & Henrico County, VA, Lancasters

Note: From a DNA point of view the first 12 markers show extremely common values – the most common of all amongst European male lines. It is very important to compare more markers in such cases. SNP testing however has shown that this is in the R1b branch defined by M167, also known as SRY2627. This put this family in haplogroup R1b1b2a1a2c (formerly R1b1c6), which is relatively unusual in Britain, though closely related to other R1b types which are more common there. It appears to be more common in the region of the Pyrenees Mountains.

The closest matches to this Lancaster family are a Venable family descended from Abram Venable who came from Devonshire to Virginia in the late 1600s (d. 1710 Hanover, New Kent County). They are also M167+. The Venable surname originates with a Norman family who settled first in Cheshire, next to Lancashire. The particular DNA matches are from a family who, like the Lancasters they match, immigrated early to America. Two other close matches with the surnames Clausen and Knauer are known to come from adoptions. A key to the connections and possible connections is as follows…

1a. York/New Kent County Lancasters: Gowan Lancaster arrived in America in 1635 and lived in York Co. and is one of the earliest Lancasters in America who is known to have founded a lasting family.

Gowan, or Gawen, etc, named John in one document after his death, came to America in 1635 at the age of 28 aboard the Transport. Gowen’s name is a relatively unusual variant of Gawain, as per the King Arthur stories. The name Gowen Lancaster has been found over several generations and parishes in Cumberland, both before and after the founding of this line in America. It seems reasonable therefore to suggest that Gowen’s ancestry is in Cumberland. But apart from several theories, his origins in Britain are not yet really known.

Between 1635 and Gowen’s later appearances in records, an Owen Lancaster, otherwise unaccounted for, appears in records concerning Richmond Co. Virginia. More certainly, once Gowen appears in the York Co. records in the 1640s, at his death he left orphan children, one of whom was a son, often referred to now as Robert Lancaster, Sr. The family is also recorded as having a presence in New Kent Co. where the Venables family come from. Robert also had two daughters. He lived quite close to Henrico Co., in York Co. Might Robert have been the father or grandfather of John Lancaster of Henrico Co?

Ancestry5’s Y-DNA values are a perfect match to those of Ancestry3 with 37 markers compared, but his paper trail appears to connect through the Henrico Lancasters as follows: Rogers Lee Lancaster>Charles L Lancaster>William Henry "Buck" Lancaster>Avery King Lancaster>Robert A Lancaster Sr>John Jr. Lancaster>John Sr. Lancaster>Robert Jr. Lancaster>Robert Sr. Lancaster>John Gowan Lancaster.

1b. Henrico County Lancasters: The simplified view of this family found in many online trees is that John Lancaster was born about 1700 and married Frances Allen. He Lived in Henrico Co, Virginia and died about 1770.

Most descendents of John Lancaster are thought to now live in Texas and Arkansas. "Lancaster-Smith-TN was named for one of these folks and there are still a few in that area." It is frequently claimed that John Lancaster was a Factor for the firm of Hyndman & Lancaster, 10 Gould St, London, which was heavily involved with Virginia. However I have not found any evidence for his link to the partner of this company, whose name was Richard Lancaster.

What we have found however, first in the DNA, and then by looking for a paper trail with the help of Nancy Mathews, is a probable link to another Virginia Lancaster family, that of Gowen Lancaster. We have explained some paper trail ideas on a separate webpage, but in summary the theory makes John the same man as John Lancaster of nearby Hanover Co. It would make him the son of Robert Lancaster Junior, who in turn was the grandson of Gowan Lancaster. Robert Lancaster Jr. would then be the common ancestor of all the families of the York/New Kent/Henrico Lancaster group.

Another aspect of the revised picture of the Lancaster family of Henrico County, VA proposed by Nancy Mathews is that John of Henrico had children not by one, but by two wives, Mary (Unknown) and Frances Allen. The John Lancaster Jr. (1730-1800) from whom the owner of Kit 206798 descends, was in Nancy’s analysis a son of John’s first wife, Mary, who was also the mother of a daughter, Joyce, and another son, Nathaniel. John of Henrico’s second wife, Frances Allen, was the mother of William Allen Lancaster (1737-1860), from whom most of our Henrico Lancaster Y-DNA participants descend.

He descends from Orville O. Lancaster, who was born about1859 in Arkansas and died about 1897 in Mississippi.

Starting with our participant’s grandfather, his lineage going backward is as follows: Robert Roy Lancaster > Robert F Lancaster > James Lancaster > William Allen Lancaster Jr. > William Allen Lancaster Sr. > John Lancaster (1694-1770).

R1b GROUP 2.

The Catholic Lancasters of Charles County, Maryland

Descendants of Captain John Lancaster, Jr. (d. 1760), who became resident in Maryland in the early 1700s, along with his brother Joseph, also a ship’s captain.

This is an important Catholic family from colonial times in Maryland. Many US Lancasters descend from John. It seems quite likely that this family descends from the Lancasters of Rainhill, Lancashire, many of whom were also Catholics in this period – something which was not common in England at the time. Indeed, such families faced official harassment, and lost many of their rights. We have a separate webpage about research into the Rainhill family, and another webpage about their possible links to this Maryland Lancaster family. The project has confirmed the matching DNA signatures of one line descending through John’s son John Sr. and two lines descending from his son Raphael:-

John Sr.’s descendants apparently remained mostly in Maryland. Counting backward and starting with our participant’s grandfather, his ancestors were as follows: John Jenkins Lancaster > Simon Spearman Lancaster > Ignatius A Lancaster > Charles I Lancaster > John Sr. Lancaster > Captain John Lancaster, Jr. (d. 1760).

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. Our participant is 7 generations down from Captain John Lancaster, Jr. (d. 1760).

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. Our participant is thought to be 7 generational steps down from Captain John Lancaster (d. 1760) and 6 steps from Raphael Sr.

Our participant descends from Patrick Raphael Jr.>Patrick Raphael Sr.>Raphael John>John Raphael>Raphael Jr.>Raphael Sr.>Captain John Jr. (d. 1760).

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. There are eight generational steps back to John Lancaster (b. bef. 1687), the immigrant founder of this line in America, seven steps to Captain John Lancaster (d. 1760), and six steps to Raphael Lancaster, Sr, (d. 1801) who moved his family from Maryland to Kentucky about 1785.

R1b GROUP 3.

Lancasters of IOW/Surry, Virginia, and English Families from Kendal and Birmingham

3a. Quakers and West Midlands Connections.

These haplotypes are all for Quaker families with a connection to Birmingham in England. Two are connected by known pedigree. They do not have many known close matches for 37 or 67 markers, except Lancasters. Genetically though, they are clearly quite distant relatives to the rest of this group that we have found so far.

These results should be compared to our kit N5390, discussed under DNA results table for Haplogroup I Lancasters, below, and also to our special webpage on the subject, by Elaine Jeter. Concerning his links back to England see the other webpage by Tony and Carol Murphy. There seems to be a chance that the mother of Thomas had the maiden name Stretch, and was from Stafford.

Tony and Carol Murphy believe John Lancaster might be the one who married Sarah Knight on 17 June 1810 in St Martin, and this is as far back as we have gotten so far.

3b. The descendants of John Lancaster (b. Guisborough Yorkshire) and Mary Forster through their son, John Lancaster (b. 1801), Darlington, Durham. A very good source of information on this family is a recent book by Marjorie Williams, Emma Laura Lancaster (1874-1942) and her Ancestors, which focuses on the descendants of John. Some members of this family were noted photographers active in the development of photography in England in the 19th century.

3c. The descendants of Henry Lancaster, who lived in Kendal in the early 1800s.

Our participating family is from Maine in the USA, but our participant’s grandfather's name was Joseph C Lancaster. Joseph died in Corinna, Penobscot, Maine From this information we could confirm a family legend of a connection to Kendal in England. From censuses we could find that his father's name was also Joseph. This family, containing Joseph senior and junior, had moved to Maine from New York in the late 1800s. Joseph senior and his parents and eldest siblings were all born in England. The names and ages of the children gave us a means to go further back,

Most of the family appear to have arrived in New York on the ship Compromise, 20 Oct 1858. It had departed Liverpool. However, looking after the family was apparently a man named William Lancaster, who was 26 at the time and therefore significantly younger than Elizabeth, the mother.

David Hall writes of the earliest we could trace so far…

Henry was married twice it seems. He first married Esther Simpson at Kendal in 1824 and they had at least 4 children, John born 1825/6 (who later married Elizabeth and emigrated), James bapt 1827 at Kendal, Charlotte bapt 1829 at Kendal, and William bapt 1831 at Kendal Methodist. This William being John's brother was probably the William who was on the ship to NY in 1858 as he is the correct age accompanying John's wife Elizabeth and children.

Henry married secondly to Ann Collinson in 1836 at Kendal. Henry and Ann had Peter bapt 1837 at Kendal Methodist, followed by Thomas in 1839/40 and Henry in 1845/6 and possibly others.

Unfortunately I cannot find Henry's baptism and he died before the 1851 census so we do not know where he was born.

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. Tracing back from our participant, there are 5 generation steps to Henry Lancaster of Kendal.

3d. The Isle of Wight Co./ Surry Co. Lancasters

Most or all of these seem to descend from an identifiable founder, who therefore deserves a heading of his own…

Robert Lancaster, whose name (signed with his mark) appears on a 1652 petition as Robert Lancashire, is generally said to have arrived in Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, shortly before 1652. His descendants are a major American Lancaster family, covering several families in this project.

We now have a separate webpage for discussion of what is known of the founder of this family. Here is a key to the connections and probable connections:

3d.i. The descendants of Robert Senior’s son, Robert Lancaster (Junior)…

3d.ii. The descendants of Robert Senior’s son, Samuel Sr. Lancaster, via his son, also named Robert

A relatively unusual single step mutation is clearly distinctive in two of the lines of Robert son of Samuel, DYS385 is 12-15 instead of the more common 11-15. That it does not appear in the other line is suggestive that there may be a one generation error in the paper trails we have?

R1b GROUP 4.

The Cecil County, MD, and Craven County, NC, Lancasters

Members of this Lancaster family were living in Craven County, NC, at the end of the 18th century. They trace their descent from James Benjamin Lancaster (1765-1805), whose immediate ancestors are unidentified. DNA evidence has shown them not to be direct male line descendants of the IOW/Surry County, VA, Lancasters as some had speculated. Research to determine whether they might descend from Lancasters who lived in Charleston, SC, earlier in the 18th century has so far been inconclusive. A breakthrough came in May 2012 when Y-DNA results reported for a participant descended from an important Lancaster family that settled in 17th century Cecil County, Maryland, showed a close match with the Craven County Lancasters. Consequently, we now believe the Craven County, NC, Lancasters are a branch of the Cecil County Lancaster family of Maryland.

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. There are 8 generational steps from our participant to Henry Lancaster (1657-1717).

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. There are 6 generational steps from our participant back to James Benjamin Lancaster (1765-1805), the earliest documented ancestor of this line, and five steps back to Jesse, their most recent common ancestor.

PEDIGREE SUMMARY. There are 6 generational steps back to James Benjamin Lancaster (1765-1805), their earliest documented ancestor, and 5 generational steps back to their most recent common ancestor, Jesse Lancaster.


The Pateley Bridge, Wath Lancasters

It is believed that his line goes back to Robert Lancaster of Ramsgill who had substantial holdings, and that further back they might have migrated from the North and worked their way down the Nidderdale Valley to Pateley Bridge.

R1b Lancaster Individuals not yet in groups.

Our participant is English but a branch of this family is thought to have emigrated to the USA in the mid-1800s, descending from one Levi Lancaster. I am presuming so far that this family is the one which can be seen in easy-to-find records starting with the marriage of Robert Lancaster and Charlotte Pantling, 26 November 1812 in Leighton Buzzard? Robert and his descendants lived in Eggington, just outside Leighton Buzzard, with the Pantlings as neighbours, at least in 1841. Robert is shown in the 1861 and 1871 censuses as being born in Eaton Bray. Various online family trees trace the line further back in Chalgrave, with Robert being the son of a John Lancaster and a Martha Lake, and then in turn to William Lancaster and Mary Cook.

The two families from South Carolina (Kit 104900 and Kit 87890 in Group 3) do not match, although both are R1b, and the Lancasters of the area were thought of as one family. This was finally explained by Lancaster genealogist Nancy Mathews. This family, to quote her, is…

out of Laurence Lancaster, lineage... However his DNA will show out of the Maternal side... he goes back to Eliza Jane Lancaster (who never married) and had children... then one of her daughters (Maryann Caroline Lancaster, a twin) never married and had children (which one is Wm. A. Lancaster (b. abt. (1878) he married Minnie (?) and had two children in 1900 census, one Gertrude age 2 yrs., and Linder Lancaster 4/12 mos.

Eliza’s line back to the Isle of Wight is as follows, according to Nancy: Eliza>Joel Sr.>Larkin Sr.>Samuel Sr.>Laurence Sr.>William>Robert Jr.>Robert Sr.

It will be an aim of the project to confirm that we have defined the main Sockbridge male line by testing people who can be distantly connected by pedigree. This family traces back to Arthur born about 1550 (alive 1566 - 1609) who was the son of Edward Lancaster of Sockbridge (known from will of Edward proved 1571). Edward is the son of the William Lancaster of Sockbridge who married Elizabeth Lowther about 1494. See our Sockbridge page:

This family lived for several generations in the area of Kirkland and Culgaith in Cumberland. Our participant lives in England.

The family is thought to have moved around before arriving in the Wigan area, for example Lyth and Crosthwaite, and the area of Alston and Garrigill in the high moors on the border of Cumberland (and modern Cumbria). These leads come from poor law removal certificates.

Our participant maintains a family tree on Also see This family remained for several generations in the general area of London.

Our participant maintains genealogical webpages at

This family appears to be related to the Surry Co. Lancasters, despite being in a completely different male line. Lancaster genealogist Nancy Matthews says “this family is intermingling way to much to be a different Lancaster line. They are in 3 different county's documents together, so his family was moving with Laurence Lancaster's family”. She believes that it is most likely that John V. Lancaster was a nephew of Laurence Lancaster, his mother either dying of child birthing in 1739 or the flu in 1740 and that John V. Lancaster remained close to his uncle, being his only living relative. The family divided, step mother, Mary Womble Lancaster and half sister Ann, moving into Sussex Co., VA and Laurence and John V. moving into North Carolina.

1. The header of this webpage uses the Red Rose graphic symbolizing Lancaster and Lancashire which can be found on English Wikipedia. Click on the Rose to go there.