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Welcome to the Black surname Y-DNA project. This project’s aim is to help genealogical researchers of Black surname families, to gain better understanding of the geographic origins of the surname, and the various sources of the surname.

This Family Project is started to:

1. Help researchers on common or related families work together to find their common heritage  (See the Patriarch Page)

2. Identify the DNA of the ancestor families and compile them and their lost branches into distinct genetic lineages through DNA matches


Researching the Black surname can be frustrating, as it is a very common surname, and is sometimes difficult to determine which family individuals are related. Origins of the surname can be in many countries, including Scotland, England, Germany, France, all of which are present in the DNA project.


Even in Scotland, Black had several origins. Black may have referred to someone who had Black hair or a dark complexion, as in So and So “the Black”. It can also stems from the Old English BlFc for White or Fair. Also in Scotland, several clans' people changed their names when their names were banned, those include, McLean, Lamont and MacGregor.  They changed to Black, as it was a "safe" name, and this would result in DNA matches between people with different surnames.


An English tradition for the surname may have been from the occupation of Blacksmith.


Black may also have been a phonetic translation of the French ‘Blanc’, this may have happened in both Scotland, and in people who migrated to the Americas from France.


There also appears to be cases of translation of German “Schwarz” to Black. Translation changes may have also occurred from translating Gaelic “Dubh” or “Duff” into the English “Black”.


There are many variations of the surname, and a related family may now have differing surnames. Some of these variations include Blake, Blanc, Bluck, Blakeley, Blackwood, Blackwell, Blackshaw, Blackmore, Blacklock, Blackham, Blackie, Blackett, Blagg, Blakeman, Blackman, Blackmon, Bleach and Blacke.


The surname has many origins, resulting in individuals sharing the same surname, but not being related. I hope that this project can help determining relations in all this confusion.



A Dictionary of Surnames, Patrick Hanks and Flovia Hodges

British Family Names; Their Origin and Meaning, Henry Barber, 1903

Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, P H Reany, 1997

Surnames of Scotland; Their Origin, Meaning and History, George Black, 1946


Click here to link to the original project page at FTDNA

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