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The Toole Surname DNA Project

July 4, 2000


Due to recent advances in genetic science, it is now possible to extend family trees by confirming family relationships using DNA testing.  Called "Y polymorphism", the technique involves comparing the Y chromosomes of living male members of a surname group to determine if the members have a common male ancestor.  It has been shown that the male Y-chromosome can be used to trace the descendants of a particular male through many generations.  See the articles "Genetics and Genealogy" by Kevin Duerinck and "The Y-chromosome in the Study of Human Evolution, Migration and PreHistory" by Neil Bradman and Mark Thomas.  This technique is particularly useful when one has extended the family tree as far as possible using available written records. 

The Toole Surname DNA Project

I have been researching the Toole surname for over 5 years, and during that time I have had contact with many others who have been researching this surname.  What we all seem to have in common is that, after a period of time, our research is hindered by a lack of written records that could be used to extend our surname research.  We are then temped to assume relationships based on common given names, common geographical locations, "tradition",  or other factors which we assume to be too coincidental to be the result of chance.  However, such assumptions cannot be relied upon to establish familial relationships with any certainty.

Much well documented research has already been accomplished for many of the Toole surname lines.  But I have yet to find many researchers who have solved the puzzle of their original Toole immigrant or how their line is related to other Toole lines.  For example, did Anderson Toole descend from the Isaac Toole line?  Did the Irvin Toole line in Georgia descend from Isaac Toole?  Were Edward Toole, Lawrence Toole, Matthew Toole, and Robert Toole of North Carolina related?  Are the Toole descendants in Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, and Ohio related?  Using Y-chromosome DNA testing we could answer many of these questions, particularly the question of whether the Toole surname lines are related through a common male ancestor.

The Plan

I propose that we perform Y-chromosome DNA testing for males who have the Toole surname.  Each male participant would need to provide a mouth swab sample to be analyzed by an established DNA laboratory.  The sampling technique is painless and involves the use of a swab to collect a small number of cells from the inside of one's cheek.  The participant would collect their own sample with a standard collection kit provided by the laboratory. 

Participants' privacy would be protected by using numbers to identify the participants.  It would be desirable to have at least two male participants from each established Toole line to provide additional certainty of results.  Also, it would be desirable to use the oldest males of the line to decrease the probability of introducing variables such as chromosomal mutations that can occur naturally from generation to generation.

The samples would be collected over a short period of time and analyzed as a batch to reduce the costs of analysis.  The analysis itself take about four to five weeks.  The results of the analysis would be reported directly to participants and their Surname Line Coordinator, if applicable.

I have been in contact with Bennett Greenspan, President of Family Tree DNA, regarding the DNA analysis.  See the Family Tree DNA website.   The normal cost for each participant would be $229.00, but I have negotiated a discount based on volume testing.  If we have 6-9 participants the cost is $217.00, for 10-19 participants the cost is $206.00, for 20-29 participants the cost is $195.00 and for 30 or more participants the cost is $185.00.  While the tests are not inexpensive, they are much more reasonably priced than just three months ago.  Also, the knowledge gained could save many hours of researching the wrong family line.

I cannot personally provide the financial resources to fund the entire project.  It is hoped that there are enough Toole family members who feel that this project is sufficiently important to Toole surname research that they will be willing to pay for the cost of the analysis of their own sample.  Since testing of  males within each documented Toole line will provide the required information  for the entire line, perhaps family members of the line, who would benefit from the knowledge gained, would be willing to provide financial assistance for testing the male participants in their line.  I will volunteer my time to serve as administrator of the project to coordinate the testing, distribute the collection kits, serve as liaison with the laboratory, and disseminate the project results.

To Participate

If you would like to participate in this project as a provider of a DNA sample Sign Up Now.  If you would like to serve as coordinator of your Toole family line or would like to make a donation to the project, please email me.  If you would like to talk with me directly, my telephone number is 910-295-6676.

Lets honor our Toole ancestors by using  proven technology to expand our knowledge of our common Toole Family.

Project Update May 2001

The initial round of DNA testing has been completed and the results discussed with the participants.  Additional testing will begin in June 2001.  At this time we are accepting requests for participants for the next round of testing.


Sanford Toole