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Surname DNA testing (using the Y-chromosome) is the newest tool available to genealogists. These tests help genealogists verify their paternal ancestry (father's father's father, and so on) in a quick and easy way. It saves time, prevents mistakes, and provides invaluable data that can be obtained in no other way.


Surnames included: Head

The Head DNA Project has several key objectives:


1. Identify the DNA profiles ("haplotypes") of the various Head immigrants to colonial Virginia. A number of them were in the area of Orange County, which was formed from Spotsylvania County in 1734. In November 1730, Anthony Head moved his wife and children to this area (probably from one of the counties near the Chesapeake Bay along the "Northern Neck", like Richmond or Westmoreland Counties). He inherited 200 acres of land, a portion of the Octonia grant, from Robert Beverley (Beverley's will dated 12 May 1730). Anthony Head was apparently an overseer for part of Robert Beverley's lands. Anthony Head may be a son of William Head (the younger) and grandson of William Head (the elder), both of whom died in Richmond County around 1710-1711. This Head family is believed to have immigrated to Virginia from England in the early- to middle-1600s. Many of the Heads from this part of Virginia and their descendants who moved to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky are closely related, as shown by their Y-DNA haplotypes.

The haplogroup I1* (not belonging to any of the subclades of I1) and the STR markers within the Head haplotype indicate an Anglo-Saxon origin for the early English Head ancestry of this family, probably from the Anglo-Saxon migration into Britain following the withdrawal of the Romans after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 400s CE). By analyzing the Y-chromosome DNA of descendants with this surname and connections to colonial Virginia, it may also be possible (through minor mutations of the markers through the next 8+ generations) to be able to determine the branch of this family to which a living individual belongs. We can already seen several unique markers starting to emerge, and these will be further refined as more participants join the project.

More information on the I1 haplogroup can be found at

See Mark Arslan's "Head Genealogy - Benjamin Head & Martha Sharman (of Orange County, Virginia)" website:



2. Establish the relationship of the colonial Virginia Head families to other families of the Head surname (and its variants) in England and determine where in England these families originated.

3. Establish the relationships of other Head families in the USA, England, and other countries. (Some Head families in this project, not of colonial Virginia, are of haplogroup R1b1a1a2 and are clearly not related to the group from colonial Virginia.)



Useful Links


World Families Network Forums

Head Family Forum
Head Pedigree Forum


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