This project was initiated in the fall of 2003 by a number of researchers actively investigating the possible links between various Thorpe families in the United States, Canada and England.  The Thorpe surname originated in England almost a thousand years ago and most likely has Norse roots.  A number of Thorpe families emigrated to the United States in the 1600-1700's from England and today thousands of families can claim descendant from these early American settlers.  This project represents a historic effort to determine if these various Thorpe lines share a recent (i.e. within approximately 500 years) common ancestor with each other.  

Additionally, this project is intended to allow descendants and  researchers who have been unable to discover a connection between their earliest Thorpe ancestor and another Thorpe family line to be able to possibly make that connection.  Sometimes the documentary records available for study do not provide enough evidence for descendants to adequately trace their Thorpe lineage.  The DNA study can be used as an aid for descendants and researchers to link their Thorpe ancestors to an earlier Thorpe line by providing evidence of a genetic link between these families.

Finally, this Project allows Thorpe families to document their genetic "fingerprint" for future study and comparison.  Test results are maintained in the database of Family Tree DNA for twenty-five years, so that Thorpe families in the future may also test for a possible genetic connection to volunteers that may have been tested decades earlier.  In order to provide a accurate genetic "fingerprint" for a particular Thorpe line, we recommend obtaining test results from at least two or three volunteers claiming descendant from the same Thorpe ancestor.  This will prevent any skewing of test results due to adoption or illegitimacy.

The Thorpe DNA Project selected Family Tree DNA ( ) as the company to process our tests.  Seven volunteers from five different Thorpe lines joined the project early on and agree to be tested.  From these volunteers, we obtain tissue samples that were tested for certain genetic markers to determine if  any of these lines shared a recent common Thorpe ancestor.


For further information on the various Thorpe lines tested, please click on the "PROJECT PARTICIPANTS" link below.  Although the identities of  all volunteers remain confidential, this link will provide you with information on the Thorpe lines participating in the project.  As more Thorpe families join the Project, we will continue to add their distinctive Thorpe histories to this section.

If you have questions regarding how the DNA testing procedures work or how DNA samples are obtained, please visit the "FAQ" link below.

There are two sections you can click on below that contain results obtained from DNA testing.  The first section, entitled "DNA RESULTS," contains information about the haplotypes uncovered by the testing process.  Haplotype testing allows geneticists to determine if two different lines shared a common ancestor in the recent past.  Haplotype testing is incredibly useful for genealogical purposes, allowing us to determine if two Thorpe lines were related to each other within the last 500 years or so.

The other section,  entitled "ancestral roots," involves placing each Thorpe family in its appropriate haplogroup through a determination of that line's deep ancestral origins.  Haplogroups are based on various ancestral groups that lived 50,000-10,000 years ago and migrated through various parts of the world.  One way to look at the testing is that haplogroups represent the branches of the larger family tree, and haplotypes represent the leaves on that tree.  (Looking at it this way, the Y-chromosome "Adam" and mitochondrial "Eve" repesent the trunk of the tree, since all living human beings today stem from these two African ancestors that lived 150,000-200,000 years ago!)

WE CONTINUE TO SEEK INTERESTED VOLUNTEERS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS HISTORIC PROJECT.  The more families that participate, the clearer the picture we can all obtain regarding our Thorpe ancestors.

The DNA Project involves a Y-chromosome test, a chromosome that is only carried by men.  Thus, we can only test male volunteers with a paternal line (father to son) of descent back to a male Thorpe ancestor.  Female Thorpes can still take the haplogroup test (mitochondrial DNA test).  However the results of female tests cannot be included as part of this Project.  The easiest way to determine if you are eligible to participate  is if you still possess the surname  "Thorpe" (or Thorp, Tharp, Tharpe).  If so, then you are probably eligible.  Thus, males descending from a female Thorpe ancestor are ineligible to participate, since they no longer carry the Y-chromosome from their Thorpe ancestor.  This is not to say that females and descendants of female ancestors have not inherited genetic characteristics of their Thorpe ancestors.  We hope that in the future geneticists will create testing procedures that will allow us to trace recent genetic links for females Thorpes and descendants of female ancestors.

If you would like to participate, please contact me (Ellen Coffman, Project Coordinator) by clicking on the "CONTACT US" link below.   Additionally, you can go directly to to sign up for the Project.  Once you are at Familytreedna, click on their link "Surname Projects," then click on the letter "T."  Finally, scroll down the list of "T" surnames until you see the surname "Thorpe."   Once there, you will be given directions on how to sign up for the Project.

If you have any further questions about the project or wish to obtain further information, please click on the "CONTACT US" link below.  Again, this will allow you to email me directly.