Because I have received such favorable response, I think we should proceed with the surname Y-DNA study project. For now, we can include all the variant spellings (RAIL, RAILS, RIAL, RIALL, RIALLS, RIALS, RILE, RILES, ROYAL, ROYALL, ROYALLS, ROYALS, ROYL, ROYLS, ROYLE, ROYLES, RYAL, RYALL, RYALLS, RYALS, RYLE, RYLES, etc.). If the families bearing these various names are not related, the DNA testing will indicate that, and they can be separated accordingly at a later time.
The moderator of the ROY surnames Y-DNA study project, Terry Barton, has graciously consented to allow us to piggy-back on the ROY study. Their project looks at ROY and its variants (RAY, ROI, etc.) and also any name that could be shortened to ROY (GILROY, KILROY, MULROY, ROYAL, etc.). Their project website can be viewed at:
Because of the connection between ROYAL and names such as RILES in some of the lines, Terry has agreed to let us include all of these names. When we have test results for enough individuals to group the various lines into related branches, we can spin off those branches into distinct projects at our discretion. We have asked Family Tree DNA to contact the individuals already indexed on their database with eligible names (RIEL, ROYAL, ROYALL, RYALL, and RYALS) to ask them to let us use their results in our project. It will be at the discretion of those tested individuals as to whether or not they wish to be included.
I have agreed to be a coordinator for this project for the time being, but I could use lots of help. Anyone who is willing to volunteer to assist, please do. We eventually will need to set up our own webpage to display results and discussion (I’m not personally technically proficient). We will also need help recruiting men to participate in the study. If there are eligible men in your branch of the family, please inform them about the project and encourage them to participate. If you or they have any questions, please contact me, and I will do my best to find out the answer. I want to emphasize that this is a voluntary project, and no one is compelled to participate if you do not wish.
IN A NUTSHELL: Most of our DNA is a combination of chromosomes from each of our parents. However, the Y-DNA chromosome is passed down from father to son basically unchanged. Over a number of generations, slight variations occur, and comparing the variations in the Y-DNA of two related individuals allows us to approximate how many generations back the two men share a common ancestor. The testing will not tell exactly who the common ancestor is, but will indicate approximately how many generations back he lived.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE AS A DNA DONOR: Because only men carry the Y-chromosome DNA, only men can be tested for this study. Because the Y-chromosome is only passed from father to son, only men with the name ROYAL, the name RILES, or any name that is potentially a variation of one of these can be tested. The candidate should have no known adoption in his direct-male line (that is, he should not be adopted, his father should not be adopted, his father’s father should not be adopted, etc.) – if you are not sure about this, however, go ahead and be tested. Men with a surname other than a ROYAL/RILES variant and all ladies will need to find a male they are related to with one of the eligible surnames who can be tested for their branch.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING: You will need to go to the site of our testing service, Family Tree DNA, and order a testing kit at this site (by the way, this step is free):
When the kit arrives in the mail, the participant rubs the inside of his cheek with a swab provided, then mails that swab back to the lab for testing. Results are generally ready in about six weeks. The results are under the sole control of the participant. If he wishes to keep the results private, he may. Our hope, however, is that he will allow us to post the results on our website for comparison with the results of other participants’ tests. The participant’s line of descent will be posted with his DNA test results; however, his identity and the identity of any other living person (father, grandfather, etc.) in the line of descent will be held confidential.
WHAT DOES IT COST? There is a cost for the testing. The price per test is cheaper as part of a surname study project than for an individual not participating in a study. The price as a participant in the study project depends on how detailed the test is (the more markers analyzed, the higher the cost):
12 marker - $99
25 marker - $148
37 marker - $189
59 marker - $269
Upgrades are $49 from 12 to 25 & from 25 to 37. They are $99 from 12 to 37
and from 37 to 59. We can start out with a 12-marker test to determine which of the participants are likely to be related, then upgrade to see how far back the common ancestor may be on those who are related.
If the participant is not able or willing to pay for the test himself, we will have a fund set up that others can donate to for helping defray the expense of running the test. Many of us cannot be tested, but we will all benefit from having the results of the tests, so it’s only fair that we help pay for the tests, rather than having that burden rest solely on the participants. I should mention that I am a volunteer and have no financial interest in this project – I am simply a genealogy hobbyist and ROYALS collateral descendant who is interested in learning more about this family. Terry Barton of the ROY surname DNA study project is also a volunteer and not profiting in any way from this process. He is simply a facilitator for family groups who want to set up studies. If you want to be tested and need help paying for some or all of your test, please let me know. Also, if you are willing to donate to the fund, please contact me. Your donation can remain anonymous if you prefer. We will accept pledges, but will not collect money until it is needed for the test of a specific individual.
WHY PARTICIPATE IN THE STUDY? The results of an individual test cannot tell us a great deal alone. They will suggest an ethnic group that the donor is probably descended from. (DNA testing has proved that I have Native American ancestry on my SIZEMORE line – we had always heard we had Indian background on that side of the family, but now we have proof.) However, it is by comparing the results of various participants that we may learn which lines are related and how distantly. These results are combined with documentary research to create a clearer picture of our lineage and learn where we might best direct future research in order to surmount our “brick wall” problems. As an added service, Family Tree DNA routinely runs the results of each test through their database to compare them with the results of those already tested by the service. If there is a match, they notify each donor and ask if they wish to be put in touch with the other.
This project can potentially tell us a great deal about how the various ROYALS and RILES families do or don’t fit together – it will only be limited by the number of persons who are willing to participate and volunteer. If anyone has further questions, please take a look at the FAQ section at the address below or feel free to email me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
TO JOIN the ROY / ROYALS / RILES surname DNA study project, go to the following page at Family Tree DNA:
Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and support. I look forward to working with all of you to learn more about our ancestry!
John Mallory Land
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