Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Update - Summer 2013

Current Status

The project now has 24 members who have been Y-DNA tested. These are grouped into 7 distinct clusters, with 11 members in Genetic Family 1 (the Limerick Spearin's), 2 members in Genetic Family 6 (Spearman), and an additional member in Genetic Family 3 (Spearin/Spearing; bringing the total to 2 members in this group). Since the last newsletter we have received the Y-DNA results of 5 new members and these are discussed below.

Hopefully as more people join the project, the other genetic families will fill up too. We also need to keep in mind that even though the different families may not be "genetically" related, they may still be “genealogically” related to the Spearin’s in GF1 (or to any of the other family groups). This situation arises due to NPE’s (non- paternity events) such as adoption, illegitimacy, or legal name change.

We also have Family Finder results for 6 members - including 1 member from AUS1-NSW1, and two from IRL4-DUB1, but unfortunately there are no strong matches so it has not been possible to identify any Spearin-specific DNA segments. This may change if more people do the Family Finder test but the chances are relatively slim.

You can view older newsletters by clicking here.

New DNA Results

The 5 new members that joined the project since the last update are as follows:

Member 280257 - a Speering from Australia who can trace his paternal line back to James Sperin 1790-1882 (AUS2-NSW2) and therefore he should have matched the other members in GF1. There is a lot of documentary evidence for this particular family, which probably came from Pallaskenry, but the results of this particular member indicate that an NPE (non-paternal event) occurred somewhere down the line. Fortunately his genetic signature is relatively rare and it is highly likely that with a bit of additional paper-based research, the details of the NPE can be elucidated. 

Member 224620 - our first European Spiering, with a pedigree that stretches all the way back to 1543. This member has done extensive research into his European roots and has also joined the new Spiering DNA project at FTDNA. He belongs to Haplogroup R1b1a2 and does not closely match any of the existing project members (hence he is in the Ungrouped R1b cluster).

Member B3082 - our second Spiering with roots in Europe. This new group member belongs to Haplogroup I2b1, just like the members of GF1. However, despite this, he is quite far removed from them genetically and differs by about 16 steps from most GF1 members. The Time Predictor (TiP) tool predicts that the chances of him being related to anyone in GF1 within the past 24 generations is less than 3%.

Member 238328 - this project member is in fact a Wall, not a Spearin. However he requested to join the project as he is a relatively close genetic match with the Spearin's in GF1. He therefore belongs to the same haplogroup (I2b1) and possibly the same subgroup or subclass. Further SNP testing will help clarify this. In all likelihood, this member and the members of GF1 share a common ancestor before the advent of surnames (i.e. 1000-3000 years ago).

Member 268290 (Frank) - this is in fact a Spearing from the UK with ancestors reportedly living in the west of London for the past 5 generations or so. Interestingly, at 37 markers, he differs from Member 212714 (US39-ME2) by a genetic distance of only 3 steps, and all on fast-mutating markers. This indicates that the two individuals are highly likely to be related within a genealogical timeframe (i.e. since the advent of surnames approximately 1000 years ago). The Time Predictor (TiP) tool suggests that they have a 50% chance of sharing a common ancestor within the past 9 generations or so (about 270 years) and a 90% chance within the past 16 generations (c. 480 years).
This latter result is interesting as it suggests that the members of this group originate from English Spearing's. More information is needed regarding the ancestry of both these members and a lot of work has been ongoing (with the help of our Facebook group) to get further information about the MDKA of the Family US39-ME2, one of the Maine families (represented by member 212714).

Finally, Bob did some further SNP testing to further refine the position of GF1 members on the Y-Haplotree. The results of the series of SNP tests are: Z78+ Z185+ L1198+ Z79- Z190- F3195- This means that our Haplogroup is I-M233 (using the new terminology) and our terminal SNP is L1198, which places us in the subgroup Cont1 or Cont1a in Aaron Torres' I-M233 Y-Haplogroup project (no change here for the last year or so) or the subclade I2a2a1c2a2a1 or I2a2a1c2a2a1* on the current ISOGG Haplotree.

We are still actively looking to recruit new members so please spread the word.

Website updates

Two two key tables on the website have been updated - the "Traditional Families Table" and the "Direct Male Lines of those tested so far". Both have been linked to a spreadsheet in my Google Drive and any changes made to that spreadsheet are automatically synced with the website. This secures version control and makes updating these tables so much easier.

In addition, it is now possible to view FTDNA Y-DNA results within the website itself, without having to click on a link to the FTDNA website. This has been achieved by embedding an "iFrame" within the website.

And in addition to the new website, a sister website or blog has been created at This will facilitate ongoing documentary research by allowing people to post comments and updates to existing webpages. In this way, greater collaboration can be achieved between the members of the group. Individual MDKA Biographies of the Australian participants will be uploaded in the next few weeks to be followed by the Irish members and others thereafter.

Traditional Genealogy update

Individual MDKA Biographies of the Australian participants will be uploaded in the next few weeks to be followed by the Irish members and others thereafter. These are hosted on the new sister website/blog for the project as this allows people to comment on any new posts and will allow real time research to be added on an ongoing basis.

If you add your email address to the "Follow by Email" box at the bottom of the right hand column, you will get an email as soon as any new post is published. All project members are encouraged to do so.


Our Facebook group continues to grow and currently boasts 168 members, 14 additional members since the last newsletter.

It is a wonderful place for sharing information, photos, documents, and newspaper articles, and in the last few months it has seen some in depth discussions about the Maine Spearin's (US39-ME2), the Pallaskenry Spearin's, and some early military records for James Sperin 1790-1882 (AUS2-NSW2).

If you haven’t done so already, please fill in your family ID in the document “Which Family Are You” – just click on Edit Doc and add your Family ID. This helps everyone to know exactly where you fit into the bigger picture! You will find your Family ID in the Traditional Families table on the website.

You should also keep an eye on the Sperring+ Facebook page where Fiona and her cousins have done some sterling work tracing their particular line of Sperring's and Mockridges back into the 1700's.

Also, Margaret's specialist group for Limerick Genealogy is going strong and now has 453 members, an additional 146 since our last update. This is already putting us in touch with researchers with a lot of local knowledge, some of whom are investigating the families that the Irish Spearin’s married into.

Spreading the Word

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who is interested in researching the Spearin name, or ask them to send me their email address and I will add them to the list.

If you want to be Y-DNA tested at a discounted rate through our project, click here. Currently the discounted rate for the Y-DNA-37 is $129 US (about £83 or 97 euro).

Be sure to get notification of each new post by putting your email address in the "Follow by Email" box at the end of the column to the right.

And if you ever want to unsubscribe from this list at any time, just let me know.

Aims of the Project

It is always useful to recap on the goals of the project, namely to use genetic genealogy to enhance traditional (documentary) genealogical research with the ultimate goal of tracing each family with the Spearin/Spearing/Sperring surname (or other variant) back to their ancestral roots. The DNA part of the project has the following objectives:
  1. to identify which Spearin/Spearing families can be grouped together and therefore are related to each other genetically
  2. to identify the likely origin of each genetic family
  3. to establish which Spearin families are most closely related to each other and thus help to focus further documentary research (for example, are the Irish Spearin's related to the English Sperring's or the Dutch Spierink's?)
  4. to help people named Spearin/Spearing establish to which genetic family they belong
  5. to generate theories based on the DNA data relating to the deeper ancestral origins of each genetic family, both within a genealogical timeframe (i.e. after 1000 A.D.) and before it (i.e. route of migration out of Africa and into Europe, up to 1000 A.D.) 

Maurice Gleeson 
Project Co-Administrator 
Aug 2013


  1. beauiful look to the newsletter

  2. Thank you for the plug Maurice :) Limerick is going to be at the magic 500 members soon

  3. Great initiative on your part Margaret - thank you!