Elder Worldwide DNA Study

Over the past 20+ years a select group of researchers have collected and organized a vast amount of genealogical records for families in the US carrying the surname ELDER. We now want to carry our research efforts to the next level and branch out into a more scientific approach using the Y-chromosome DNA testing.

Click here to view the stats online

A few months ago Nancy Elder Petersen began a DNA project on James Elder descendants that really peeked my interest. One of the largest groups of ELDER progeny is a Pennsylvania line we often call the "Paxtang Group" with the oldest known ancestor ROBERT ELDER d. 1746 Paxtang Twp, Dauphin Co, PA. But even with all of the research that has been done over the years this lineage still relatively disjointed and connecting to it can be extrememly difficult! Currently we have 3 male participants in the study from a Pennsylvania ELDER line that connects with JOHN ELDER family of Wood County Ohio. With this line of the study we are attempting to connect the progeny of JAMES ELDER (1712-1818) of Franklin County PA (his dates verified by Sons of the American Revolution). It is believed the father of James is ROBERT ELDER, b. 1679 Scotland, d. 1746 Paxtang Twp, Dauphin Co PA. For more information on this particular line go to Nancy Elder Petersen's site at:


I have read about DNA studies for genealogical purposes but didn't realize a company had been set up to gear specifically to genealogy nuts like us. The FamilyTreeDNA.COM site does just that.

I checked out the site and a couple surnames I am familiar with that are somewhat similar to the ELDER genealogies. One specifically was of interest. Christine Rose has done a study over the years of the various ROSE surname families. She started this DNA project over a year ago and has almost 150 participants.

The test results from this ROSE STUDY were to put it mildly amazing! You can read about it here (where they have a synopsis of the study results).


I think this offers Elder researchers a very unique opportunity. I firmly believe a study such as this, with enough participation, will help people connect to their proper lines much more easily and ultimately save time, energy and $$ tracing an incorrect ancestral line.

Nancy and I have agreed to expand the study to include all ELDER surname lines. We will co-manage the study and I will be posting the test results to our ELDER site click here.

We welcome any male worldwide with the surname ELDER to participate in the Y-Chromosome DNA project. In order to participate in the Y-Chromosome DNA study (with 12 markers) the participant should be a male with the surname ELDER. In simple terms, these genetic markers are passed from male to male in successive generations. If you are a female researcher with a close male relative still carrying the surname ELDER we encourage you to request their participation

Our ultimate goal is to define the various ELDER immigrants to America and their progeny by using Y-chromosome DNA testing. (and that a year from now we'll have a study similar to the ROSE lines)


1) To determine whether the surname ELDER has one or several origins and ultimately where the ancestral line(s) began (Ireland, Scotland and England).

2) To scientifically establish specific immigrant ancestral lines and progeny.

3) To recruit ELDER males from Ireland, Scotland and England (for now) in an attempt to pinpoint origins of American ELDER lines.

4) To make the results of the testing available to researchers on our web site. (Individual test results will only be posted with permission of the subject!)

Why should you participate?

If you're a new researcher this study will help you save time, energy and $$ by being able to link to a particular line easily and scientifically. If you're like the rest of us and have spent hundreds if not thousands of $$ doing research over the years only to hit the proverbial brick wall finding a link through this study will help prove your lineage.

Ultimately I believe, once we have enough participants, that many of these ELDER lines previously thought unconnected will connect through DNA markers.
We have just started this study so it will take some time to gather up the clan. But if you think you'd like to participate but you're not sure if we have anyone that is possibly from your anticipated line, let Nancy or I know and we'll try to find another person to test with.

A discussion of the various testing services FamilyTreeDNA offers is here:


For general information about DNA use this link:


Participation decisions are completely up to the participant. You can join and choose not to disclose the results of your test to anyone besides yourself. Or you can choose to just disclose the DNA data with no identifying information about yourself. Privacy is very important to me and to this company! So quite simply your participation level is your choice.

If you think you might be interested in participating I encourage you to read more about it at the above links And please contact Donna or Nancy Petersen and we will give you the information on our group discounted prices and where to go for more information.

Click here to visit to our Elder group information at FamilyTreeDNA web site.



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