Your Project Needs You!

From: Stephen J. Entwisle member 120 
To: Eileen Cowen, Editor 
Sent: July 2022 
Subject: DNA 

I think my own story is now a great illustration of the usefulness of DNA. I received an email  last night from FamilyTreeDNA stating that they had now officially placed me as a member of the Lancashire Prescott family, perhaps at or just before my Entwisle brick wall in 1600’s.

I’m learning a lot from the DNA courses, and I’m also in the process of setting up an Entwis(t)le project on FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA).

Could anyone answer the following questions?

  1. Who is the earliest Entwis(t)le for whom there is a tree, and available to view (through EFHA or other)?
  2. How many distinct Entwis(t)le branches are known for which trees exist?
  3. Is a log available of each (past and present) member’s earliest known ancestor, and is it kept updated?
  4. Is a log available of member (and non-member) trees on Ancestry, 23&Me etc.?
  5. Are trees available for ex- and current members if not available on any of the genealogy sites?
  6. Is a log available of members who have had their DNA tested, which test/s and which site/s (categories will be Y-DNA, X-DNA, mt-DNA, autosomal DNA)?
I’m guessing #6 doesn’t exist……?

Twissle Times, September 2022


Announcing the Launch of the Entwis(t)le Surname DNA Project!


A surname DNA project is a genetic genealogy project which uses genealogical DNA tests to trace male lineage and focused on the type of DNA known as Y-DNA.

FamilyTreeDNA hosts over 9000 such surname projects, and of all the names typically  ssociated with origins in Lancashire, an Entwis(t)le project was, until now, a glaring omission. The project is now launched and open to all variants of our surname.

Y-DNA testing should not be viewed as an unnecessary expense but as a complementary to standard genealogy research i.e., they are dependent on each other in building an accurate lineage. Indeed, I did not fully appreciate the value of a Y-DNA test until my results arrived. Before revealing more, below are answers to some frequent questions on DNA testing.

What Is Y-DNA?

There are four types of DNA test used in genetic genealogical research:

  • autosomal (at)DNA
  • mitochondrial (mt)DNA
  • X-DNA
  • Y-DNA
  • atDNA is used to match cousins up to 3rd. Great Grandparents i.e., 4th Cousins only. atDNA testing is widely available and is the core type on which sites such as Ancestry and 23&Me are built.
  • mtDNA is used to trace a person’s matrilineal ancestry, typically up to 50 generations.
  • Y-DNA and X-DNA are the sex chromosomes; females inherit one X chromosome from their mother, and one X chromosome from their father, and are known as ‘XX’, whilst males inherit one X chromosome from their mother and one Y chromosome from their father and are known as ‘XY’ i.e. the Y chromosome is passed from father to son only. Whilst X-DNA testing is of little value alone and rarely used, Y-DNA is invaluable in identifying members of a patrilineal line. If you are female, you can’t take that test yourself as you don’t have an Y chromosome but a male relative such as brother or father can act as substitute.

Who Should Test?

All male members who are descended from an Entwis(t)le male should test their Y-DNA.

Where Should I Test?

For Y-DNA testing the choice is restricted to FTDNA (FamilyTreeDNA) as this is the only DNA testing site that provides the full set of features of use to genealogists, to include DNA matching and family name projects. FTDNA offer three tiers of Y-DNA test: Y-37; Y-111; Big Y-700.

Y-37 is sufficient to confirm whether individuals are from a particular patrilineal line and the recommendation generally given is to commence with a Y-37 test. The cost of an upgrade is, the cost difference between one tier and another so there isn’t usually a cost disbenefit in this approach. However, there are advantages of testing at a higher tier, not least Big Y-700, and it is hoped that some members will undertake this test.

How Do I Test?

Having entered your details on the FTDNA website and paid, the company will send you a pack that includes a receptacle in which to collect your saliva. A pre-paid envelope will also be provided to enable you to post the saliva sample to the company.

When Should I Test?

ASAP! But FTDNA often offers a discount at e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving etc.

Why Should I Test?

And now my revelation!

Whilst I and other EFHA members have confirmed, from standard genealogy research, that we share common Entwis(t)le ancestors back to late C17, early C18, we had all hit a ‘brick wall’. Perhaps the reason for the brick wall is that my Y-DNA test revealed that we share a common ancestor with the Lancashire Prescott family! So, although we may have been Entwis(t)les biologically from the time of the earliest Entwis(t)les, we later became Prescotts biologically, and it is predicted that this occurred some 13 generations back i.e., in C17. Unsurprisingly, I have now been accepted as a member of the Lancashire Prescott Project at FTDNA, along with another EFHA member, Paul Gleitsmann (Entwisle).

I am, however, the first FTDNA Prescott Project member to test at Big Y-700, but other project members are now testing at Big Y-700, and this should help us identify our MRCA.

Y-DNA testing by male EFHA members will enable us to build the Entwis(t)le family tree, biologically. Provided there are no unexpected events, known as NPEs (non-paternity events) as in my tree, all male Entwis(t)le will be matched at Y-37, as they would all share one common Entwis(t)le ancestor.

Whilst FTDNA Big Y-700 provides significantly more data that would help to refine projected branch points in the Entwis(t)le lineage, a very significant amount of information can be gained from many members testing at just Y-37, and in combination with standard genealogical research, we should be able to significantly strengthen our understanding of our Entwis(t)le family tree.


[Stephen J Entwisle, member120]