For those with well-documented paper trails going back hundreds of years or those just starting their very first family history project, genetic genealogy is one of the best tools one can use to connect with related family members no matter where they presently might live.
The Merrill family (and related names) are said to have possibly originated from distinct roots, including the DeMerle of France, the Meriel, Meryl (Welsh), the Myrgael, Muirgheal (Irish) or the Muirgel (Norman). Some of the family names might have originated from other root names. One thing we do know is that surnames were not commonly used by the majority of humanity until well up into the 1400's. The other thing we know is that it is nearly next to impossible to find records of our families going back that far. The one record that does document our past lies within our DNA. The very specific mutations along the Y-DNA of every male tells a very exciting history. Not only does it allow one to connect with their correct family in the near-term, it allows one to follow their ancestors' journey for thousands of years.
I urge each of you to have a male family member Y-DNA tested. It only takes one test. Once you have those test results in hand, they are valid for your like-surnamed sons, grandsons, brothers, cousins, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and so on for many generations. If you are lucky enough to have a great paper trail back hundreds of years, you are fortunate. If you don't, having a Y-DNA test can help match you to the correct line you descend from. It's also a great way to get over those bumps in the road many of us have in our own pedigree, which keeps us from knowing for certain if that great-great-great grandfather "Samuel" actually was the Samuel you thought he was.
If you'd like to take a look at our new project, follow this link: http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/m/merrill
If you'd like to read more about Y-DNA testing, go to: http://www.ftdna.com/
Remember this, too: If you have Y-DNA testing done, it's best to do the 37-marker test, as it will give you the highest resolution and most certain matches.
If you have any other questions, please email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
I urge all Merrill, Merrell, Merle, Murrell, Marel family history buffs to contact me directly. I will provide you with an invite to our special group setup to share our test results and to help folks connect to their proper family line.