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DNA testing of Plant and related names

Plant DNA

Introduction to Y-DNA testing and the Plant project

Plant is the 617th most common surname in England and Wales, where it represents 0.022% of the total population, and it is the 5729th most common name in the USA, where the figure is 0.002%. In North America, there may be some confusion of spelling with the French-Canadian name Plante, but tests in this study indicate that the different spellings largely correspond to two different genetic families.

The Y-DNA evidence was soon quite persuasive that Plant is an `effectively single origin' surname, despite being populous. It had previously been held to be multi-origin. It now seems that it is probably plural-origin with a few, rather than many, origins and with around 75% of the living popluation of Plants descended from a single genetic origin in fourteenth-century SE Cheshire. A sufficient number of results is now avaiable at the 37-marker level to begin to piece together closest matches between the different Plant branches, within the main Plant family for example, for which the documentary evidence does not provide genealogical links. For a male Plant, a 37-marker test will help to reveal the closest Plant matches to your own ancestral Plant line.

If you are not suitable to be tested yourself, you can recruit suitable relatives for the Plant project.

You may be a female who is interested in a Plant line of descent. If you are familiar with genealogy, you will already be accustomed to the idea that you often need to look for collateral relatives (brothers, cousins, etc.) in order to make progress with tracing back your family lines. Only men have a Y-chromosome, which descends purely down the paternal line (i.e. from his father's father's etc. father): this carries information about this male-line of descent (which usually coincides with the descent of a surname).

Click here to see how to sign up yourself, or someone else, for the test.

The person whose address is entered in the on-line form will receive a testing kit with very simple instructions (for him painlessly to take a swab from inside his cheek). You may, for example, select the 12-marker Y-DNA12 test and, if necessary, upgrade to more markers later. Taking the 37 marker Y-DNA37 test, however, will more probably identify your own particular branch of the family more uniquely. Payment (e.g. by invoice) goes direct to the testing laboratory: I take no payment myself. I am available to offer advice, however, and to help with analysing the results - click here for further advice for participants, such as about how to contact me.

Open to all `Plant like' names

Some preliminary results are becoming available for various surnames, including Plant. Given a few characteristic Y-line DNA signatures for Plant, Plantt, and Plante, the study may be extended to other `Plant like' names such as Planty, Plenty, Planta, Plantard, Planterose, and names such as Somerset which are believed to have descended from Plantagenet (though recent Y-DNA from Richard III's skeleton illustrates that there may be breaks in supposed male lines of descent, particularly if they extend over many generations).

Early planning for a Plant Study

Starting in 2001, volunteers were sought for studies on Plant-like names (any spelling). It was initially unclear what to expect. The earliest study for the name Sykes had shown it to be essentially a single-ancestor name despite the fact that it had been held to be a multiple-ancestor topographical name. Some have since questioned the reliability of this early Sykes study however. It now seems that Sykes is plural-origin albeit with perhaps a dominant family in the geographical region around West Yorkshire.

An early focus for a DNA study of the Plant name related to:-

In Britain, the R1b clade (Celtic regions) is widespread but found mostly down the western side, with Scandinavian clades (Anglo-Saxon and Viking regions) found more to Britain's east. The `offspring' or `children' meaning of Plant can be associated in particular with the nearby Welsh language, though similar meaning is found in early English and other meanings for the name are possible. The ancestral line of the main Plant family was found to belong to the R1b-P312+ sub-clade, which is rarer in England than in Spain and Portugal. More recently, the sub-clade of the ancestral line has been identified more precisely as R1b-P312-DF27-L617-FGC14951+ which apparently migrated from SW Europe to England around 3,100 to 700 years ago.

Y-DNA testing does far more than just identify the clade, or haplogroup, of the person being tested. It identifies a unique signature for the particular branch of his surname, and so helps with the genealogy of the different branches of a surname.

Volunteered Plant-like and possibly-related name branches so far

As well as adult male Plant volunteers from further branches, additional adult male Plant volunteers from the same branches are sought in order to check the branch genealogy. The study was also opened to Warren/Waring-like names, though these have now gone their own ways with their own separate projects. Volunteers called Somerset are welcome as these may add further insights to the possibilities of Plantagenet descents.

Branch/spellingCode for Earliest known ancestor of branchTesting company,
volunteerkit number
Main matching Plant family
Sheffield, England. PlantP1aThomas Plant of Clowne, ?b 1745 Sutton-cum-Duckmanton in NE Derbyshire son of William Plant of Duckmanton. Descent apparently through William (bap 1772), William (b 1803)OA + FT 11830
Humberside, England. PlantP1b?ditto - i.e. ?Thomas Plant of Clowne, as above, but descent apparently through Benjamin (bap 1782) and John (Bark) Plant (b 1812)FT 18329
Sheffield, England. PlantP1c?ditto with descent from John Bark Plant through George PlantFT 141186
London, England. PlantP2aWilliam Plant of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, c1720 (born 1716 Tur Langton).OA + FT 277384
Northants, England. PlantP3aJoseph Plant, b c1794 Ashton Under Lyne, Lancashire, subsequently of Duckinfield (1815) and Denton (1821-35).OA
South Cheshire, England. PlantP5aEdward Plant of Siddington, c1565; with a line possibly from 15th century Rainow in east Cheshire.OA + FT 11858
Livingston, NJ, USA. PlantP7aJohn Plant, b c1646 England, d 1691 Branford, Ct, USA (married Betty Roundkettle). FT 7818
Austria. PlantP7b ditto FT 105871
Houma, LA, USA. PlantP12aJames Plant, b c1839 Ireland, moved to New York City. FT 22839
Vancouver, Canada. PlantP14aRichard Plant bap 27.4.1740 Brewood, son of Richard Plant of Chillington, Brewood, Staffs.FT 43911
Davis, California. PlantP19a Edward Plant b 1787, Birmingham, England FT 96105
York, England. PlantP20a John Plant, b 1700, Old Swinford near Stourbridge, Worcestershire FT 119000
Hampshire, England. PlantP23a Alec P Plant; b 1914 Sheffield, EnglandFT 144948
Waterford, Ireland. PlantP25a John Plant b c1808 Donoughmore Parish, Co Wicklow, Ireland (likely related to earlier Plants in parish register dating back to 1720)FT N83079
Dudley, England. PlantP26aEdward Plant, b 1779, Brewood, StaffordshireFT 182593
Texas, USA. PlantP27a AN
Queensland, Australia. PlantP28a Samuel Plant b 1768 m Mary Dignan b 1776 County Cavan, Ireland. Descent through James, Samuel, Sidney. FT 230023
Queensland, Australia. PlantP28b Samuel Plant b 1768 m Mary Dignan b 1776 County Cavan, Ireland. Descent through Samuel (ca.1800-81), Samuel (1836-1917). FT 248032
Narellan, NSW, Australia. PlantP29a James Plant b Buglawton/Macclesfield circa 1830 Cheshire, m Mary Ann Colyer and moved to London. Earlier descent possibly from William Plant (son of William) bap 2.3.1777 Knutsford, Cheshire. FT 232765
Gosford, NSW, Australia. PlantP30a Benjamin Plant (Master Potter) 1754-1823 at Lane End, Longton, Staffs, m Ann Clewlow 1762-1828 on 9 Jul 1781 at St Giles church in Newcastle, Staffs - had seven sons at Lane End; descent through 4th son John Plant b.1796, another John 1833-99, James Bradley Plant b 1858, John Thomas Plant 1885-1959. FT 273914
New York state, USA. PlantP31a FT 280105
Florida, USA. PlantP32aWilliamson Plant b 1763 m Frances Watts b 1760, a grandson of John Plant of county Caroline, Virginia who was possibly a son of William Plant resident of the "Pamunkey Neck" territory of Virginia prior to 29/1/1677. FT 280384
Davidson, NSW, Australia. PlantP33aWilliam M Thomas Plant b 1871 Sheffield, Yorkshire, possibly son of William b 1841 Sheffield who was possibly son of Benjamin b 1819 Clowne Derbyshire d 1861 (cf. P1a).FT 295512
Canada. PlantP36a Joseph Plant (1840-1919). Descent through his son Harry Campbell Plant, who emigrated to Canada with his brother Joseph Eugene Plant in 1910.FT 372698
USA. Plant(t)PT1aWilliam Plantt, b c1655, lived in Virginia, USA. Descent through John, William (fought with brother Williamson in the 1775-83 Revolutionary War and then moved to South Carolina), Lewis Henry, Wesley Henry, James Henry, Joseph Enoch, Robert HenryOA + FT 18227
Ontario, Canada. CarrX1aNow believed to be a lost son of the late PT1a aboveFT 40279
Florida, USA. PlanttPT2aFT 60092
Ontario, Canada. PlanttPT3a Robert Plant, b circa 1780 County Longford, Ireland and son Thomas; Thomas and his family emigrated to Orillic area of Ontario in 1855 FT 235642
Matching south-Lincolnshire Plant
Brough, Yorks. PlantP9aWilliam Plant b 27.5.1832 Leake East Fen Allotment (south Lincs, England) to John and Eliz (b 1791) FT 17015
NSW, Australia. PlantP18a Robert Plant m Isaat Warner 1.7.1650 at Winthorpe, Lincolnshire, England; descent through Thomas Plant, bap 25.3.1666 Winthorpe, will 2.10.1734 Sibsey, Lincolnshire; ...down to James Plant b 5.6.1792 Sibsey, son of Richard Plant and Sarah Waltham; James's sons emigrated to Australia FT 86357
Other Plant
(P4a, P10a and P15a are non-Plants who thought they might be descended from Plants)
London, England. Not Plant.P4a?James Plant b 1806 Cheadle, Staffordshire.OA
Ohio, USA. PlantP6aGeorge Plant, b 1819, Stafford England, son of Richard. Living in Finney Green, Keele, Staffordshire in 1840 when he married Dinah Grocott. Migrated to USA in 1882.FT 6948
Manchester, England. PlantP8aJonathan James Plant born of Martha Plant (spinster) at Leek on 25.10.1852; descent via Mark Ernest Plant b 1.May.1877 d 1.May.1951 Manchester (i.e. probably not a Plant by genetic male-line descent but by descent from Martha) FT 16102
Bedford, England. BrownP10a?John Plant b c1813 Laxfield, Suffolk (hitherto uncertain whether a Plant by genetic descent) FT 19112
Norwich, England. PlantP11aJoseph Plant father of Alfred Plant b 1839 Lichfield, Staffs. FT 22831
London, England. PlantP13aEdmund Plant, b Yorkshire c1900FT 32239
Anglesey, Wales. BoothP15a?Henry Plant b 1814 Bidulph son of John Plant - descent through his son Daniel Plant b 1860 Astbury, Cheshire who married Mary Ellen Booth (nee Harding). FT
Newport, Wales. PlantP16a Charles Plant, b 1916 Birmingham, England. FT 59162
Stamford, Lincs. PlantP17a George Plant b 1670 Wrangle, Lincs m Ann Skelton, descent through: Thomas b 1695 Wrangle; Thomas b 1720 Greetham, Rutland; John Plant b 1741 Gretham m Sarah Barsby at Morcott Church Rutland 31 March 1761. FT 67159
Portland, Oregon. PlantP21a Uriah Edward Plant; b 1849 Cork, Ireland; d 7.9.1911 York, Canada; possibly a son of Uriah Plant b 1821 Cheshire who was a merchant involved in a lawsuit in Clare in 1849, possibly coal merchant Uriah Plant b 1821, d 1868 Poplar London, son of Uriah Plant b 1768, lived in Leicester, 5th son of Samuel Plant of Lach Dennis near Northwish Cheshire, moved to Wicham, son of William Plant of Winsford, Cheshire FT 124512
Melbourne, Australia. PlantP22a John Plant (labourer) emigrated unmarried, aged 17, to Australia in 1868 from County Cork, Ireland; son of John Plant (labourer) and Johanna Keiley FT 133135
Cheadle, Staffordshire, England. PlantP24a Thomas Plant, b c1699 Leek who settled with his wife Margaret (nee Walker) in Cheadle c1722. Descent through John (1726-98), Thomas (1750-??), William (1783-1862), James (1806-59), James (1831-89). FT 165936
Reading, England. PlantP34a Evidently, Thomas Plant, b c1585 Bucks, descent through: John b 1632 Wooton Underwood, Bucks; William b 1677; Charles b 1704 Marsh Gibbon, Bucks; William b 1727; Edward b 1771 Charndon, Bucks; James b 1816; John b 1849; Thomas James (or James Thomas) b 1879 Appleton Whisk, Yorks; James Herbert b 1913 ManchesterFT 299895
Aukland, New Zealand. PlantP35a George William Plant, b 1875 Madeley, Shropshire, England; descent through George Geoffrey Plant, b 31.5.1910 Aukland, NZ. Earlier descent evidently from Francis Plante, b Jul 1626 Sheriff Hales, Shrops; via John Plant (1659); John (1695); William (1725) Stanton upon Hine Heath, Shrops; William (1758); Joseph (1794); James (1843) Wrockwardin Wood, Shrops.FT 332860
Utah, USA. PlantP37a (AN) FT B12091
New volunteer currently awaiting results from lab
Somerset, UK. PlentyPEY1a Theophulis Plenty, Walton, Somerset. Descent through his son John Francis Plenty.FT 399575
California, USA. PlantP38a Louis Jefferson Plant, b Mussel Shoals, Alabama 1832 or 1835. Descent through Forrest Plant, attorney, Sacramento.FT 402360
Matching Quebec Plante family
Quebec, Canada. PlantePE1bJean Plante, sailed to Canada in 1647 from La Rochelle-Laleu, France, landed at Quebec City, settled at Chateau Richer just to its east. (Descent through Francois b 1668 C.R. and Jos- Ambroise b 1697 C.R) FT 5420
Idaho, USA. PlantePE1cditto (Descent from Jean through his son Jean, then Louis, Joseph Marcel, Antoine, Jean Baptiste, Thomas, etc.) FT 13484
NJ, USA. PlantePE1efrom Quebec FT 101225
New York, USA. PlantePE1fJean Plante, sailed to Canada in 1647 from La Rochelle-Laleu, France, landed at Quebec City, settled at Chateau Richer just to its east FT 232920
Richmond, Virginia, USA. PlantePE2aErnest Plante (1918-91) Burlington, Vermont FT 76595
Illinois, USA. PlantePE3aJoseph Plante father of George Plante b 1871 Kanakee, Illinois FT 116202
Ames, Iowa, USA. PlantePE4a?France FT 62516
Other Plante
Ontario, Canada. PlantePE1aJean Plante, sailed to Canada in 1647 from La Rochelle-Laleu, France, landed at Quebec City, settled at Chateau Richer just to its east. (Descent through Francois b 1668 C.R. and Pierre b 1702)FT 5469
Michigan, USA. PlantePE1dAdolphe Ovide David Plante of Quebec (3.5.1841-1907, son of Louis Plante and Marie Anne Gingras); descent through David's 10th child Wilfrid Nazaire Leopold Plante (24.2.1880-1924)FT 92735
Indiana, USA. PlantePE5a?from Quebec FT 168281
Other Plant-like names
Zaragoza, Spain. PlanterPR1aRamón Planter (Goser) b 17 Dec 1844 Zaragoza (Descent through Antonio Planter (Sangorrin) b Jun 1905 Zaragoza) FT N11991
West Virginia, USA. PlantsPS1aChristian Plants, b 21 Apr 1747 Bavaria, Germany; descent through Jacob Plants, b c1807 Washington County, Pensylvania, USA.FT 71599
Warren/Waring-like names
Illinois, USA. WaringWG1aJohn Waring, father of Emanuel Waring, bap 4.Oct.1807 Dewsbury, W.Yorkshire, UK. FT
NSW, Australia. WaringWG2aWilliam Waring, b Lancashire, England; d Kilkenny, Ireland, will 1709 proved 1713. FT
Jacksonville, Arkansas, USA. WaringWG3aSampson Waring 1617-68, born in Shropshire, England, died in Maryland, USA.FT
Memphis, Tennesse, USA. WaringWG4aThomas Waring, Essex County, Virginia, USA, early 1700s. FT
Cornwall, England. WearingWEG1aHenry James Wearing, b Whitechapel, Middlesex, England 1828, d Nova Scotia 1909, son of James Wearing m Sarah Bignold 1824 St Mary, Whitechapel. FT
Columbia. WareingWREG1aHarry Wareing, b Gainsborough, Lincolnshire 1899FT
Suffolk, UK. WarrenW1aJames Warren, b 28.12.1716 Marnhull, Dorset FT
Warren (VNFSM, 66386)W2aGeorge Warren, EnglandFT
Warren (70059)W3a FT

Each volunteer has been given a code (e.g. P1a, P2a, etc.) and the above table relates each code to an "earliest known ancestor" based on documentary evidence.

Links to details of DNA Results

The very first results for those marked with the Testing Company "OA" (Oxford Ancestors) in the above table of volunteers are summarised under Initial Results. Some further results (though not the most recent ones) for those tested with the Testing Company "FT" (FTDNA) appear under Futher Results where there is also included one tested with the company "AN" (Ancestry). Most results, including the most recent ones, are given as follows.

Standard Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) presentation of almost all of the Results

A kit number is given in the above table of volunteers for each FTDNA testee (i.e. for most of those who have been tested, since nearly all have been tested or registered with FTDNA). Hence, almost complete Y-DNA results (Y-SNP and Y-STR) for each FTDNA kit number appear here.

Y-DNA matching to the Main English Plant family

The quality of the matches to the main English Plant family is tabulated in terms of genetic distance and discussed here.

Matching diagrams for Plant

I am grateful to Prof Richard E Plant for producing the diagrams and maps in this and the next section, from the available FTDNA data.

12 marker Y-STR results

Early volunteers (OA) had only 10 markers measured and the following Network diagram includes only Plant volunteers who have had at least 12 markers measured (with FTDNA). It shows differences in the measured values of these 12 markers. The labels in the diagram correspond to the labels for the different tested individuals in the table of volunteers above. However, where more than one volunteer matches exactly (larger circles in the following diagram), only one label is shown.

12 loci Network

The largest red circle above shows that many of the Plant volunteers have exactly matching DNA signatures, at the 12 marker level, with other smaller red circles almost matching it. The red circle labelled P33a might be thought borderline but further testing shows that it belongs to the main English Plant family along with the other red circles. The yellow and green circles do not even nearly match for one of two possible reasons: an NPE (see next paragraph); or, an entirely separate medieval origin to the Plantt surname. The two green circles almost match one another and might be from a separate south Lincolnshire origin of the name. The yellow circle labelled P16a corresponds to both P16a and P21a.

NPEs arise when the DNA signature has not been inherited from a Plant ancestor but from a different father, perhaps because of a wifely infidelity, or adoption, or any other mechanism by which the Plant surname is passed on in a different way from that of the y-chromosome signature of the true father. Though there is only about a 2% chance of a NPE at each generation, this can accumulate to around a 40% chance when all the generations of descent are taken into account throughout Plant surname history and this can explain most, if not all, of the significant number of yellow and green circles.

Migration beyond Staffordshire

Some of the Plant volunteers have traced their paternal origins back only as far as ancestors overseas, such as in Ireland or the USA. However, for those who have traced their ancestry back to around the main Plant homeland of Staffordshire, England, the following map shows the location and date of their earliest known male-line ancestor. The colours of the circles have the same significance as in the above Network diagrams. Also, the darker the brown of the background colour, the higher the proportion of Plants in the county in 1881. This proportion of Plants to the general population of each county is derived from 1881 Census data. The darkest brown in the background corresponds to the highest proportion of Plants which is in the county of Staffordshire. Superimposed on this brown background, the DNA data shows that a single Plant family (red circles) extends beyond the county boundaries of Staffordshire by the eighteenth century.

Local distribution of matching Plant ancestors

37 marker Y-STR results

When 37 markers are compared (see diagram below), the large red circle for the 12-marker results (above) is differentiated into closely matching smaller red circles though those who have had only 25 or less markers measured do not appear in this diagram. Imprecise matching of the red circles to the ancestral Y-DNA signature can be expected because of occasional harmless mutations to the marker values down the generations. The yellow and green circles are more distant from the red and are due to NPEs or distinct medieval origins. The green circle corresponds to one of the pair of volunteers with geographically close ancestry in south Lincolnshire as well as a close genetic match at the 25 marker level (i.e.the highest level for which that data is available).

37 loci Network

The above diagram was obtained using the Flexus Engineering Network software package and the following diagram is for the same data using the MEGA6 software package. The labeled volunteers in the top right corner correspond to the yellow and green circles of the Network diagram and their large distance to the right indicates that they are distant from the main English Plant family - as already indicated, this large distance is explained by NPEs or separate origins. The scale at the bottom of the diagram indicates a genetic distance of 2 in going from left to right with PMH at the left indicating one possible estimate of the ancestral DNA signature of the main English Plant family, as discussed a little further below.

37 loci MEGA6 tree

Because of the limited number of Plants that have been tested, it is not always clear in which order the Y-STR mutations have occurred. Also, the markers CDYa and CDYb, for example, are very fast changing (i.e. "unstable") and so down the centuries they may have occurred independently in different branches (i.e. so-called parallel mutations) or changed back to an earlier value (back mutations). For these reasons, derived descent trees based on Y-STR data over a 700 year time span are not unique. Measuring more markers, especially very slow changing Y-SNP ones, can lead to more reliability but BigY testing for example is so far still expensive.

Some parts of the descent tree are more reliablle than others. For example, we can confidently identify the following for which the MEGA6 tree (based purely on the Y-STR data) confirm suspicions that are indicated by the documentary data.

For the red circles at the 37-marker level (i.e. for the main "matching" Plant family), a fuller ancestral descent tree can be tentatively inferred, though further results might lead to some revisions. There is some ambiguity about whether, for example, the ancestral value of the marker CDYa was 36 or 37 and only the CDYa=36 case is illustrated below, as well as above for the MEGA6 tree. The numbers against the descent lines in the tree below represent the numbers of harmless DNA mutations that have occurred randomly down that descent line.

Descent Tree assuming CDYa=36

Migration maps for the apparent main Plant family branches

Based on the locations of the earliest known ancestors of each of these volunteers, the following schematic maps outline how Plants from the main Plant family connect back to the evident ancestral homeland of east Cheshire. There may of course be missing detours in the implicit migrations of these schematic maps.

Descent Map assuming CDYa=36

The following diagram zooms in on the west-midlands homeland to show the detail there more clearly (A denotes the apparent fourteenth-century homeland of the main Plant family).

Descent Map core assuming CDYa=36

The above 37-marker diagrams show, for example, that the DNA-tested Plants whose earliest-known male-line ancestors were near Sheffield (P23a, P1a, P1c, P33a) are not only geographical neighbours on the map but also are genetically linked in the computed red part of the DNA descent tree. This suggests that a particular branch of the Plant family found its way to that region fairly early, as was already suspected for the genealogically-linked P1a and P1c but not necessarily for P23a or P33a. The more recent addition, P33a, has since been considered to have a similar genealogical descent to that of P1a.

However, the DNA data also indicates that geographic proximity does not always correspond to a close family relationship of Plants in that region. For example, the genetic network is also spread across the Irish sea and indicates that PT3a links back to England through a different branch of the Plant family from that of P28a and P28b - this is despite the geographical proximity of PT3a to P28a/b in Ireland. Similarly, we can take individuals who apparently belong to the same branch of the Plant descent tree and find that they are far from being geographic neighbours. For example, the purple part of the descent tree links together diverse Plants from around the world who were not previously known to belong to the same branch of the main English Plant family.

Some caution is needed, however, in interpreting all of the details of the network for the descent tree and maps. The lines do not necessarily imply direct migration paths in the maps. This is especially so when the genetic distance between linked neighbours in the network is large, since it is possible that there were substantial meanderings on the map while the genetic mutations were taking place.

The descent lines of migration can also be misleading when the Y-DNA signature of a volunteer approximates that of the medieval ancestor of the main Plant family. With few genetic mutations down the centuries for a particular descent line, there is then nothing to tie the descending generations of the volunteer's unchanging Y-DNA signature to any particular time since the fourteenth century. For example, P20a evidently seems to have no mutation from the Plants' ancestral signature, in the model of the above descent tree. It just happens that P20a's earliest-known male-line ancestor was near Birmingham, in 1700. However, the overall documentary evidence makes it more reasonable to suppose that the geographic focus of the lines should not be placed near Birmingham but, rather, at the evident fourteenth-century ancestral homeland, marked "A" in the map, near the Cheshire-Staffordshire border.

We can expect a better definition of this ancestral tree as more Plant volunteers come forward to be DNA tested and as more tested makers become available beyond the 37 used above to infer the above descent tree and maps.

67 marker Y-STR results

The genetic network for those who have had at least 67 markers measured is shown below. The red circles represent the different Y-signatures that have diverged from the ancestral signature in their various ways, by the occasional mutations down the generations. As before, the yellow circle might have arisen from this same Plant family, through a female link (NPE) rather than down an intact male line, or it could alternatively have arisen from an entirely different origin to the Plant surname. The network is computed, as above, using the median joining algorithm of the Network software package.

The details of the network diagrams are sensitive to the relatively-few off-modal mutations in the DNA results; this can be expected to improve as more markers are measured so that the computed network is not as substantially affected by one or two extra discovered mutations. This sensitivity, for the limited-marker data, can be seen in particular by the very different juxtapositions of P1a and P30a in the following 67-marker diagram as against the 37-marker diagram above.

The overall picture is hampered also by the fewer volunteers participating in the 67-marker results, as against the slightly better Plant participation in the above 37-marker diagrams. When there are few participants, significant gaps can be expected in the Plant descent tree about which the algorithm has to try to make guesses. Such guesses can be expected to be more reliable when there are more participants.

67 loci Network

More Plant volunteers will determine the network with more certainty. So far, only a few Plants have had 111 markers measured and no corresponding network diagram is shown here for that marker level.

The L617 haplogoup of the main Plant family

The following diagram combines data assembled by John Marsh with 37 marker Y-STR data for the main Plant family. Though the details of Network diagrams are sensitive to who is included (see above) it shows the main family groupings for tested individuals known to belong to the L617+ haplogroup. This L617+ clade is believed to have first formed around three to four thousand years ago in Iberia.

The limited number of bearers of L617+, found so far, largely have English surnames; this is especially true for those with the further mutation FGC14951+. There could have been an early arrival of a shared ancestral line from western Europe which then branched out in England before the formation of these English surnames. However, it cannot be ruled out that their ancestral lines arrived separately in England at various dates between the Bronze Age and late medieval times.

Network diagram of surnames within the L617 haplogroup

In the above diagram, the label T1 corresponds to four individuals from the surnames Teague, Westmoreland, Spink and Marsh and it can be seen that this closely clusters with other individuals from the surname Marsh (labels prefixed M); the other nearby circle T2 is for Tyndal. The labels prefixed P are for Plant, R is for Rogers and O is for Oreel (which is found in northern France and Flanders). The R1bMod circle represents the R1b modal DNA signature which can be used to approximate the DNA signature of a much earlier ancestor from whom individuals in the R1b-L617+ sub-clade have descended. The Plant cluster is well separated to the left of the diagram and its ancentral line evidently diverged from those others in this diagram perhaps around three thousand years ago.

As more Plants take the BigY (or similar) test, it should help to confirm and extend our knowledge of the branching points in the descent tree of the main English Plant family.

In BigY matching, the following 18 Novel Variants are so far shared by only P1a and P19a:

7050610 8013094 8109454 17566829 17947942 19276257 19288927 17030131 17064004 21520112 22053304 16338026 14070649 14229517 23884802 23887964 22460503 22775722
implying that they occurred after the Plant male line split from others in L617 (perhaps around 3000 years ago) but before P1a split from P19a (perhaps around 700 years ago). Since then, P1a has had five unique Novel Variants (7395249 9493697 15129909 16494359 1750827) and P19a has had six (13211302 13239222 13404996 17680770 18589702 19566267). Some of these (so far unique) variants are no doubt shared with other (untested) Plants on the same branch of the main Plant family as P1a or P19a.

Some statistical considerations

Y-DNA test results are often clear cut; but, in some cases, it is appropriate to consider their statistical basis:

Summary of Results for Plant-like names so far

A characteristic Y-line DNA signature has been found for 27 of the 41 Plant (and Plantt) volunteers tested so far. Different results have been obtained for 1 volunteer called Plants and for 10 volunteers called Plante (though 7 of the 10 called Plante match one another). Largely consistent results with at least half of the volunteers matching, such as has been found so far for Plant (and separately for Plante), can be considered to be expectable provided that one supposes each name, Plant and Plante, descended mostly from its own single family. The Canadian Plante family is of different male-line stock from the main English Plant family. Either might be fantastically imagined to have descended from the fictionally-supposed 7th century Plantard family in France; or, fiction aside, from Eimeric de la Planta (alias de Plant') in Anjou in 1202. Alternatively, the main Plant family could be just an English family from around 1200-1400; other evidence, taken with these Y-DNA findings, suggests that the name of the main English Plant family may have originated as that of perhaps polygynous children in the Welsh Marches in the 13th or 14th centuries and have the Welsh meaning `[many] children' or the surname might have been ascribed to several related men with the topolgical meaning `living near the newly planted vaccary (of the Black Prince)' which is where the name is first found in its main homeland; more certainly, this single medieval family has grown to an unusual extent.

A further preliminary comment is that the characteristic Y-DNA signature for Plant (so far) has been found to agree with one for Plantt. Plantt appears in early records in England and it is sometimes written Plantt. This might be fancifully imagined to point to a possibility that Plant was an abbreviation of a French surname such as Plantinet (rare) or even Plantagenet (see also further details about Plantt). The Plantagenets can also be associated with Warren/Waring-like names (see also evidence for a Plant-Warenne affinity) but, so far, only one of the Warrens/Warings tested matches with the Plantt/Plant family. Indeed, further Warren results appear in the Y-search database; and, so far, few named Warren or Waring have matched any other Warren or Waring, such that it is beginning to look as though, unlike Plant(t), Warren and Waring are multiple-ancestor surnames, perhaps mostly descended from various unrelated individuals with the common Norman personal name Warin. There has been a close match of one Warren (W2a), at the twelve-marker level, to the main English Plant family; but, further evidence would be needed before it could be claimed that the Y-DNA signatures of this Warren and most Plants descend from the yet-unknown Y-DNA signature of the Plantagenets. Any connection to the Plantagenet name is hence more likely cultural, relating to the nutritive, augmentative and generative powers of the (royal) plant soul, such as at the above mentioned vaccary of the Black Prince.

Grossly inconsistent results, unlike those found so far for Plant(t), could have been expected if there had been many false paternity events down the centuries or if there had originally been many different Plant families. The DNA results so far tend not to confirm particulalry such suppositions as ones that there were many different Plant families who happened to be called Plant simply because they were (a) all `gardeners' or (b) all influenced into calling themselves Plant out of respect for the Plantagenet name. It is possible of course that they all descend largely from one family that was so influenced, with most other Plant lines having died out. Our computer simulations indicate that there is perhaps just a handful of surviving Plant families, with in particular one dominant one that has grown abnormally as indicated by the DNA results. Another possibility that can not yet be discounted is that the English Plant name was sanitised from Plente (meaning abundant or fertile) - no DNA result is yet available, for comparison purposes, for the surname Plenty which may have derived from Plente.

Further Y-line testing of Plant-like names, such as for the Plante family of Gascony (SW France), or the Plantard family of Brittany (NW France), or the noble Planta/Von Planta family of Switzerland, might shed further light.

The Plant project was begun in late 2001 and initial accounts of its implications for the Plant and Plantagenet names have been published as:

Further advice for participants

The test involves the volunteer simply taking a swab of cells from the inside of his mouth. A summary of the results may be published here, with the personal names of each testee being kept anonymous.

The Plant Family History Group has offer prices with the FamilyTree-DNA (FT-DNA) Testing Laboratory. The standard FT-DNA test measures 12 markers for 49 US dollars, though 25 markers can be measured instead for 124 US dollars or 37 markers for 149 US dollars or 67 markers for 239 US dollars. You can take the 12-marker test and then subsequently upgrade to more markers if appropriate though measuring (or upgrading to), for example, 37 markers can be beneficial in the long run.

If you are interested in participating in the Plant DNA Testing programme, you can either:

It would be helpful to the project if you could supply me with the earliest known male-to-male Plant ancestor of the intended testee and that ancestor's historical location.

You may send your message with questions and/or comments to me by whatever method you prefer..

(email: john.plant@one-name.org or by postal address: Dr J.S.Plant, 7 Ontario Close, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 8TG, England).

Plant Name
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