Are all Francises descended from one individual with the Francis surname?
No. Our study has
turned up many different haplogroups. This implies that any common paternal line ancestor of
all of our participants would have to have lived tens of thousands of years ago, long before the Francis surname existed.
Further, even people named Francis with the same haplogroup are not necessarily related in a historical time frame, and, as the
surname origin page shows, the name has several different origins. That said, some of the participants in our study clearly do share a common ancestor.
Does the study show any relationship between the Francis surname and similar surnames?
For the most part, no. Although some individuals in the study report having had ancestors who changed their names to Francis from Francisco or to France from Francis,
and there are documented other cases of this having occurred, the only surnames that have so far been found to match Francises are
Fraunces and Francies, both of which are probably simply variant spellings of the same English names. The group also contains individuals named
France, Francois and Francisco, and so far, none have found any matches with Francises.
Has the study found any ties between individuals with the Francis surname and dissimilar surnames?
Yes, several Francis lines have close DNA matches with individuals with other family names. The Wethersfield Francises,
for example, have been proven to be related to the descendants of Robert Rose of Wethersfield, CT. Other surnames with close
matches to individuals named Francis include Duke, Haydon, Hunt and others. In most cases we don't know why. On the other hand,
no matches have been found between any Francis line and individuals named Blair, who are said to be descended from a John Francis, who
changed his name when knighted.
What does the study say about the ancestral national origins of its participants?
Looking at haplogroup alone, the study suggests that the majority of the group's members originated in Western Europe. By far, the
largest number of lines in the study belong to the R1b1b2 haplogroup, the predominant Western European haplogroup. Of the smaller groups,
most are reasonably common in Western Europe. I1 appears mostly in Northern Europe, including Scandinavia, Germany, the Low Countries,
Norman France and Great Britain. I2b has a similar, but slightly more southerly range. T is very common in parts of Italy and southern Germany.
The other small groups may appear more commonly in other areas (R1A in Eastern Europe, E1b1b2 in southeastern Europe and North Africa, J2 in the Mediterranean and Middle East, G in the Caucasus),
but sometimes show up in Western Europe. A few Francises show evidence of African or Jewish descent.
Self-reported ancestry of members supports this evidence. Most members are from North America, with a few Australians, Europeans and others.
Among these, by far, the largest group reports British -- usually English or Welsh ancestry, although this varies somewhat among the different
surnames. The English derivation of the name, combined with an 1891 census showing the distribution of the Francis surname in Great Britain supports this, showing the two largest clusters in Wales around Glamorgan
and East England from London extending eastward. British ancestry is not universal among Francises, however. One individual reports descent from a Portuguese
named Francisco, who changed his name to Francis; another believes he is descended from a child of German extraction who was adopted by a Francis family; and
one claims French ancestry. Others, as mentioned above, show evidence of Jewish or African ancestry.
Among individuals surnamed France, the picture is less clear. According to a genealogist working with one branch of the France line, that particular
line is descended from a Swiss individual named Frantz, but has the haplogroup of E1b1b2. Another line is of the R1b1b2a1b5b subgroup of R1b1b2, indicating that
he may be related to the Great Northern Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages, and possibly of Scots-Irish descent. A third France line has not provided
an ancestry but comes from a branch of I2b that is common in Great Britain.
Not surprisingly, both Francoises in the study claim French ancestry. The French in the study claims Irish descent, while the Franciscos do not indicate ancestry,
but are probably of Spanish, Italian or Portuguese ancestry.
Where in Britain did the different lines of Francises came from?
So far, there seem to be two large nodes: Eastern England on the one hand, and Wales, Cornwall and southwestern England on the other.
The eastern England group seems to be made up primarily of I1s, while R1bs predominate in the west. This is not surprising. I1 is more common in
eastern England than any other part of Britain, although even here, it is much less common than R1b. On the other hand, R1b is much more
common in the west. Aside from the R1bs and I1s, the only other individual we can place in a part of England is a J2, which comes from Wales.
What lines of Francises have you isolated?
A complete listing of the lines uncovered appears on the groups
Some lines that we understand reasonably well in terms of both a paper trail and DNA are:
- The Baltimore Line of Samuel Francis
- The Wales to Pennsylvania line of Philip Francis
- The Wethersfield line of Robert Francis, although we can only prove descent genetically to his
son John Francis.
There are several other lines that are reasonably well-documented in terms of paper trail, but do not have enough matches to
isolate the DNA signatures, while another cluster has 4 matching individuals, but has not provided much information about
its background. For others, we have neither enough paper trail background nor enough matches. Even the Theodore Francis line
above is only a sub-group of a major group of Francises that is not yet well-understood.