Harper Surname DNA Project

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Member Count: 157
Harper, Harperson, Harpor, Harpour, Harpur
This is a project to determine the Y chromosome DNA pattern of male Harpers, and variants of the name, and if and how they may be related. This DNA information can often confirm a link that has been proposed from other sources, but could not be proved. If only one or two of the values for the 25 markers differ, one can calculate a most recent commom ancestor (MRCA), and an approximation of the number of generations back. When a match occurs, this provides a pointer to focus the paper trail.
We are interested in tracing Harpers who left Ireland and Scotland over the past 400 years for Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand to determine how many different lines there may be and how many families with paper trails that state only they came from Ireland or Scotland may in fact trace back to a most recent common ancestor. For this we need to get samples from as many male Harpers (or variant spellings such as Harpur, Harpor, etc.) to agree to be tested. The tests are non-invasive and do not identify an individual as only the Y chromosome (father to son transmittal) is tested. The cost can be made reasonable if several family members chip in.
We are particularly interested in identifying the relationship (or not) of Harpers who came from Scotland around the early 1700s and settled in Co. Monaghan and Co. Cavan Ireland. We also hope to identify Harpurs who may have moved to Ulster from the English Midlands in the 1600s or later. We also have interest in Harpers originating from Co. Donegal. For male Harpers who do not know their origin, Y chromosome testing may disclose a match with some one already tested. So we welcome all comers, but with the caution that no matches can be guaranteed. See below.

We also now have another special subproject which focuses on the Harpers of Pendleton County, West Virginia. These were immigrants from Germany rather than the British Isles. Their surnames were anglicized to HARPER from HERPER, HERBER, etc. In 1758 three contemporary but distinct Harper families first show up in the county records. These were headed by Philip Harper, Jacob Harper, and Adam Harper. The first two are known colloquially among researchers as Philip the Pioneer and Jacob the Pioneer. Adam, who appears to have been somewhat younger than the other two, was probably still single in 1758.
Although we have information on Philip's origins in Germany, and to a lesser degree on Jacob's origins, we do not have anything regarding Adam before 1758. Nor have we been able to answer this question: Was the settlement in the same region by three German families named Harper strictly a coincidence--after all, Pendleton County was initially settled by Germans and Swiss--or were they perhaps related in some way which we have yet to discover? Genealogical records rule out the possibility that Philip, Jacob, and Adam were brothers. Could they have been cousins, for example? By comparing the Y-chromosome markers from descendants of each of the three Harper lines, it was hoped to answer this question. However, on the basis of testing one descendant from each line, it appears that these men are unrelated. We are always looking for additional descendants to participate to see if the picture changes.
We have had interest expressed by several individuals, but often they are put off by the cost. If several family members are interested, contributions from them may make the cost reasonable. We do get a discount from www.familytreeDNA.com for being in a group. we are especially interested to find male Harper decendants of Joseph Harper and his sons Joseph and Ephraim Harper who went from Cavan to N. Burgess, Perth, Ontario around 1800, as there is a possible connection there, and descendants of Andrew and his son Robert, who settled in Harpursville, NY.
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At present we have results for 8 Harper/Harpur men from Ireland who are clearly related, all having Haplogroup R1a1a and DYS449=35 (a rare value). One of them kit 8711 has all the modal values for the group. The following relationships are all calculated from this individual. He is descended from Robert b. 1797. A third cousin also descended from Robert matches him 34/37. John b. 1805, a brother of Robert, has two putative descendents (paper trail defective), one a probable fourth cousin matches 34/37 and a fourth cousin, once removed matches 36/37. A third brother Archibald b. 1812 has two descendents tested, one a third cousin, once removed matching 36/37 and a fourth cousin also matching 36/37. Unfortunately, the mismatches are with one exception all on different markers and thus random. It does not help to determine relationships.
We were convinced that another Harpur family descended from Rev. Samuel Harpur of Drumlarney, Co. Cavan was related, but testing of two descendents who matched each other 25/25, but not 8711, told us otherwise as they were R1b. A member of that family is convinced that research, particularly in Ysearch, shows that they originated in the English Midlands. We also have results for other individuals (Haplogroups R1b, G and I) who may be related to others withe same Haplogroup, but not to others in the database. Recent additions show five individuals (22178, 21776,45457, 47817, and N31909), who are Haplogroup G2 and match each other, suggesting a likely, but previously unknown, relationship, which they are trying to verify. There are four (8011, 21762, 30820 and 36201) Haplogroup I who match each other, 3 at 25/25 and one at 24/25. They are now seeking a paper trail to determine the relationship.
Trying to group the many with Haplogroup R1b has been more difficult as this is much more common, and to date no obvious relationships except for a pair of cousins suggests it self.
Previously the maximum number of markers was 37 through FTDNA, but now it is possible to select 66. I am testing on my own family what benefit, if any, an upgrade provides. Re the Peterborough Ontario Harpers, I have found 2 individuals willing to be tested. One is clearly not related to anyone in the data base, and results are awaited for the second. I also found a Harper in Harpursville, NY supposedly a descendant of Andrew Harper of Ballybay, Co. Monaghan. His wife was keen to proceed, but he declined to be tested.
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