The following yDNA test results are for Lawrence Calder McDonald, 5th generation from James McDonald & Sarah Ferguson. An exact match of yDNA results put me in contact with Rex McDonald who is also a direct descendant of James McDonald born 1802. Other participants with a close match to ours were all over the world, but most were in Northern Ireland & Scotland. Most of them have surnames that are variations of McDonald, but a significant number have other surnames. Since this was a paternal DNA study it is interesting to see other surnames with which our yDNA says we share a common paternal ancestor. This may be a clue leading to the discovery of other surnames in our paternal ancestry or may indicate a need to reexamine the influence of maternal (mitochondrial)DNA on yDNA.
The yDNA results are categorized into what are called Haplo groups. Our Haplo group is R1b1a2 which sounds like a robot from Star Wars, but it is the name of our group of similar (related) yDNA results. The Chiefs of Clan Donald are all in Haplo group R1a which has been identified as those who are direct paternal descendants of Somerled. Our Haplo group is close, but not exactly like the chiefs of Clan Donald. That means we are related, but the Clan Donald, USA DNA researchersaccept the 35,000 year timetable and therefore categorize R1b as only having a common ancestor with R1a over10,000 years ago. Somerled, the Lord of the Isles lived only 1,000 years ago. This is the premise for their conclusion that only 17% of Clan Donald are direct paternal descendants of Somerled. They say we are part of the other 83%. Considering most surnames have only been in use for the last thousand years it doesn’t make much sense that 83% of those with the surname Macdonald (with its various spellings) are descended from a common ancestor, but that common ancestor was not Donald of Islay from whom the name is traditionally derived. At first blush it appears to be just a miscalculation of the length of time that artificially separates our ancestors.