[Posted: 9 Apr. 2012, by Conrad Terrill, cwterrill@comcast.net]

The Terrell DNA Surname Project is open to all persons of surname T*R*L, where the asterisks are vowels and the R and the L may be single or double.  Persons of other surnames who may want to join should write to me.  Our goal is to identify all the "Terrell" lineages worldwide.  We have identified four so far, which we call R1b Lineage 1, 2 and 3, and I2 Lineage 1.  A lineage is "identified" when we have two members, both of whom have been tested to at least 25 markers, whose YDNA test results match so closely that their common ancestor must surely have lived within the era of surnames (say the past 1000 years).  We have recently decided to add test results of less than 25 markers to an established lineage, even though we do not use such results to establish a new lineage.  Most of our members belong to the R1b haplogroup, the most common European one.  For that reason, the color reference for our y-Results chart is the R1b modal haplotype.  Our twelve-color color code covers all the test results collected to-date.  This color code scheme allows us to easily sort members into lineages, and to easily be able to recognize when new lineages can be established.

Note: On 4 Mar. 2011 FTDNA announced that it had updated its Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree to reflect new haplogroup sub-branches. This had an effect on all the haplogroup R1b members of this project, all of whom were designated "R1b1b2" before that date, and "R1b1a2" after.

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 1:  This is shaping up to be a major U.S. lineage, and some new members have traced their paternal lines to back to 17 C immigrants to Virginia Colony—Richmond, William and Timothy Terrell. There are two competing paternal lines for these Terrells, one which was first proposed in 1910 by Joseph Henry Tyrrell, in The Tyrrells or Terrells of America, while the other was proposed in 1996 by John M. Tyrrill, in "The American Connection? – Part 2," published in the Tyrrell Family History Society (England) Newsletter, vol. 19 no. 1 pp. 8-9). We're not yet going to advocate one theory over the other here, but if you'd like to know what each is based on, feel free to write me. New members may link up to whichever line they believe in. We're hoping that this yDNA surname project will eventually help determine which of the two is correct. What we need is for men who are descended from the English parts of each of these two lines, but not through Richmond, William or Timothy, to join the project. If the paternal lines of MA Terrell (N93176, a descendant of Timothy Terrell) and WD Terrell (197582, a descendant of Richmond Terrell) are correct, then we already know that brothers Richmond and William were certainly related to Timothy, and we know the yDNA characteristics of their common ancestor to 25 markers. One member of this lineage (132849) has had deep-clade testing to refine his haplogroup determination, which is R1b1a2a1a1b* (ISOGG), or R1b1b2a1a* (YCC), which very likely applies to the lineage as a whole.

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 2:  This is certainly another major U.S. lineage, but its apparent size relative to the previous one may be distorted here.  I myself have recruited many of these members, simply because this is my own lineage and I happen to come across many descendants of Roger Terrill of Milford, Connecticut Colony in the 1600s.  Roger Terrill had five sons who propagated his line, and we now have members descended from all five.  We do not yet know Roger's origins, but we're confident that he was from somewhere in England.  He appears to have come over to New England in the late 1630’s, at the tail end of the Great Migration.  Two members of this lineage, N10308 and DG Tyrrell, know their ancestry in England back to the late 1700’s, and their connection to the rest of us appears to predate Roger Terrill. Two members who are Terrys might also connect to the line prior to Roger. Two members of the lineage (3134 and N60197) have been deep clade tested, and have found that they belong to haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1b2b2 (ISOGG), or R1b1a2a1a1b5b (YCC), known as R-L165 for short. Six others have been SNP-tested for L165 to prove (in support of the FTDNA R-L165 Project) that they too belong to this haplogroup. The rest of the lineage also surely belongs.

Haplogroup I2 - Lineage I:  The two members of this lineage are separated by a genetic distance of 5 at 37 markers, so their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) is most likely someone who lived long before Andrew Jackson Terrell, b. 1816 in KY (the earliest known ancestor of the first member).

Haplogroup R1b - Lineage 3:  This, our latest, lineage has been traced back to two Matthew Terrells born in western Virginia Colony in 1740 and 1762. We don’t know the relationship bewteen these two Matthew Terrells yet, but there surely must be one (Matthew Terrell b. 1740 had a son Matthew Terrell b. 1777). We’re looking for other men paternally descended from Terrells of western Virginia of this era to learn more about this lineage.

Those not yet assigned to a lineage:  These members are patiently waiting for a connection, in hopes of learning more about their ancestry. One member (110356) is a relatively new Terrell.  His paternal grandfather (a McPherson) was killed in a hunting accident when his father was seven years old, and his father was soon thereafter adopted by a Terrell and took the Terrell surname.

We have four members now who were not tested by FTDNA, and we would happily welcome others.  If you have not been tested yet, though, we highly recommend that you get tested by FTDNA, since the comparison of your results to those of others would be more complete, and wouldn't require conversion.