Main Menu

Family Trees & Pedigrees


Family Information

General Information


Holland DNA by Brian Holland

DNA research was introduced into the sphere of genealogy as a means of assisting in the resolution of problems within family trees constructed from conventional means. Several web sites set themselves up in the late 20th century aiming to provide a facility for comparing primarily Y- chromosome DNA results, these included, family tree dna, my heritage and others. Initially, ancestry provided Y-chromosome DNA results which indicated the Haplogroup deduced from the participant’s results, the origin of the Haplogroup, and identification of the approximate number of generations to the nearest close relative identified within the database. Initially, 12 STR marker points were used, but this was steadily increased to improve accuracy of the prediction techniques, this had an adverse effect on the cost of the test. The website “” was set to enable willing participants from any of the DNA providers to enter their data into the data-base and compare their results with others. Regrettably, the y-search website was closed down in 2018 in response to an EU directive involving improved data protection.

In order to reduce the cost of acquiring the DNA data, Ancestry and other providers changed their methodology from providing Y-chromosome DNA results to autosomnol DNA. The result is that they no longer provide Y-chromosome data, or indication of Haplogroup type; instead they provide details of the nearest possible cousins. This is a retrograde step for the serious genealogist as it is no longer affordable to compare the DNA of paternal line descendants as only a few companies now provide Y-chromosome and Haplogroup data and it is prohibitively expensive. To identify a potential relative within the genealogical timeframe he has to be in the same Haplogroup, not having this data limits the scope of the research. The autosomnal DNA method is useful in identifying possible close relatives within an eight-generation timescale, and may throw up connections that would not appear with the Y-chromosone method. Some companies now offer both methods but this adds to the cost.

At the time of writing the recommendation is that the Y-chromosome results should provide data at a minimum of 43 STR marker points but preferably at 111 marker points.

Prior to Ancestry changing from the Y-chromosome method to the autosomnal method, Paul Holland, my first cousin once removed, and our seventh cousin Timothy Holland via our common ancestor Owen Holland of Newmarket, both obtained results from the 43 STR marker Y-chromosone test. Perhaps not surprisingly their results agreed on 41 of the 43 markers, the differences being by one allele point respectively at markers 389ii and 449. The Ancestry deliverables also confirmed that they had a common ancestor within the 8-generation timescale. This result confirmed our confidence in the 8-generation pedigree descending from Owen Holland and Catherine Davies, which had been derived with the aid of Parish records, wills, marriage licences, birth and death certificates etc. Regrettably, ancestry deleted the Y-chromosome data-base when they changed over to autosomnal testing. Paul Holland also undertook the autosomnal DNA test, but to date it has not thrown up any common ancestors. The Ancestry data-base appears only to be of use in identifying possible relations if the participant has submitted a reliable pedigree going back 8-generations.

The following information has been derived from the deliverables of the two testing methods at ancestry.

The Y-chromosome data identified us as being in Hapologroup I1 (Stonemasons) (Now known as I-M253). This group primarily occupied Norway, Sweden and Denmark and parts of Finland. There are two possible ways this Haplogroup could have arrived in Britain, either directly via the Viking invasion, or indirectly via the Norman invasion. At the time of writing the University of Leicester is conducting a DNA investigation, “The Viking DNA Project”, which indicates that some of today’s Normans probably are Viking descendants. Normandy is the only sustainable colony established by the Vikings in mainland Europe outside of Scandinavia. Over 45% of the Scandinavian population belongs to Hapologrop I1 in some areas, but a Germanic origin is also possible. In haplogroup I1, some Norman Y-chromosomes show an affinity with the Germanic, while others show an affinity with the Scandinavians. However, it is tempting to consider l1 as a mark left by the Vikings in Normandy because it is present in approximately the same proportions as those observed in other populations with known Viking history. If the Viking Project confirms that some of the Normans that invaded England in support of William the Conqueror were from Haplogroup I1, it is tempting to consider that the origins of the Holland line descending from Adam de Holland were of Norman descent. This could explain why the French coat-of-arms “azure a semi of fleur-de-lis” was selected as the field of the Holland shield. Holland derives from the name Hoiland whose origins are Scandinavian.

From the data within the ancestry autosomnal data-base, as illustrated below, it has been deduced that many of our ancestors resided in Lancashire, the Wirral and N Wales. This is consistent with the conclusions of our research and reflected in the overall pedigree.

Adam de Holland, alive in the late 11th century, is reputed to have been of Litherland, an area east of Liverpool, and his grandson Adam de Holland was of Eakaston (Euxton) which is in close proximity. Their supposed descendant Matthew de Holland, circa 1175, was of UpHolland, Lancs., which is further East near Wigan. The descendants of Matthew de Holland were predominately residing in the highlighted area with property as follows: -

Sutton - Within the borough of St Helens, North of Liverpool, came into the possession of Richard de Holland, son of Robert ap Matthew de Holland in the mid-13th century and remained in the family until the 18th century.

Sharples - The manor lies to the North West of Bolton and was granted to Sir William de Holland, s/o Sir Thurston ap Robert ap Matthew de Holland by Sir Roger de Sharples in 1315. The Manor was then granted in 1316 to Thurston de Holland after which it became part of the Denton estate.

Denton -Lies five miles East of Manchester. It came into the possession of Thurston de Holland via his mother Margaret de Shoresworth in the mid-14th century and remained in the family until the 17th century.

Clifton - The manor of Clifton lies between Manchester and Bolton and passed into the hands of William de Holland, s/o Thurston de Holland s/o Sir William de Holland and Margaret Shoresworth in the mid-14th century. It remained in the family until the late 17th century.

Mobberley - Situated close to Knutsford in Cheshire the property was bought by William Holland, a descendant of Sir Thurstan de Holland of Denton in 1650, it remained in the family until it was sold in the late 19th century.

Sandlebridge and Knutsford - Situated close to Knutsford. Colthurst House was acquired through the marriage of Mary d/o Peter Colthurst of Sandlebridge in 1717 to John Holland of Mobberley, great-grandson of William Holland of Mobberley. The property was inherited by John’s 2nd son Samuel Holland who married Anne d/o Peter Swinton of Knutsford from whom descended the Viscounts Knutsford and the Holland Hibberts and others.

Further details of the descendants of the above Lancashire and Cheshire families can be found in Bernard Holland’s "The Lancashire Hollands".

In addition to the Lancashire and Cheshire families the Hollands in N Wales are also believed to be descended from Adam de Holland of Euxton. In particular the prominent families of Eglwys Bach, Kinmel and Abergele, Plas Berw Anglesey, Llangelynnin and Newmarket are all believed to have descended from Roger Hoesgin Holland who arrived in N Wales in the mid to late 14th century. Also, the Hollands of Conwy are believed to be descended from the same Adam de Holland. Many of the descendants of Owen Holland of Newmarket, who we believe to be a descendant of Roger Hoesgyn Holland, migrated to the Wirral and Liverpool area in the mid to late 19th century.

Although some of the lines of the Lancashire and Welsh Hollands are theoretically extinct, it cannot be discounted that there are unknown descendants that have so far not been traceable by conventional means. The Ancestry prediction of where those descendants are most likely to exist, highlighted as the green area on the above chart, is compatible with our expectation as portrayed in the pedigree produced from conventional research, supplemented by deduction and intuition in areas where provenance is scarce. The search for additional documentation has been exhaustive and the probability of finding additional material is low. The only means available to increase the probability of the accuracy of assumptions in areas of uncertainty is by Y-chromosome DNA comparison.

There are four links that would benefit by DNA comparison as follows:

1. The assumption that the Lancashire and Welsh lines have a common ancestor, namely Adam de Holland of Euxton:

This would require a Y-chromosome DNA comparison between a descendant of Matthew de Holland of Upholland, Lancashire, and a descendant of Ingelrham de Holland the progenitor of the Welsh line, signifying a high probability of a common ancestor existing within a 25-generation timescale. There are several male descendants who are probably descended from Ingelrham de Holland via Roger Hoesgin Holland, including myself, and my cousins Paul and Tomothy Holland who share virtually the same DNA. Descendants from Matthew de Holland are more difficult to find with certainty; however, they do exist as shown in the pedigree of the Hollands of Knutsford depicted in the “Visitation of England and Wales, Vol 21” (Available on This line of descent can be traced upwards from Samuel Holland of Sandlebridge to Matthew de Holland of Upholland with high confidence. (ref The Lancashire Hollands by Bernard Holland). Many of the male lines descending from Matthew de Holland are theoretically extinct, however it is quite possible that there are male descendants from the less prominent family members that have not yet been traced.

2. The assumption that Owen Holland of Llangelynnin was descended from John ap Morgan Holland.

The evidence for this assumption is circumstantial, and is based on the paper-trail of documents that identify a succession of Holland family members residing or owning land and property in Llangelynnin from the early 16th century until the early 18th century. Regrettably, no known living male descendants of Roger Hoesgyn Holland have yet been identified other than those believed to be descended from Owen Holland of Llangelynnin, including myself and my cousins Paul and Timothy Holland. There is a possibility that some other male descendants of Roger Hoesgyn Holland exist, as it has not been possible to trace all of the lower-rank family members included on the different pedigrees of Eglwys Bach, Kinmel and Abergele, and Plas Berw, Anglesey. The only other source of DNA from the Roger Hoesgyn Holland line would be via the skeletal bones of either Humphrey Holland, d1612, and buried in his stone tomb in the churchyard at Llanelion yn Rhos, or Jeffrey Holland, d1775, and buried in his stone tomb in the churchyard at Eglwys bach. Access to this data seems highly unlikely within our lifetime.

3. The assumption that Owen Holland of Newmarket was descended from Owen Holland of Llangelynnin.

The evidence for this is again circumstantial, however the probability is high. He had connections with other family relations from the Llangelynnin and Gyffin parishes via his association with the Ellis and Jarvis families during his residence in Llandrillo Yn Rhos and Denbigh. He was the only possible candidate to have been the Owen Holland born in Llangelynnin in 1691, s/o Owen ap Humphrey Holland and believed to be descended from John ap Morgan Holland. There are no known male descendants of Humphrey Holland and therefore no means of confirming his paternity via DNA comparison.

4. The assumption that William Holland of Burwarton, Shropshire was descended from Roger Hoesgyn Holland.

The Hollands of Burwarton, Shropshire, descend from William Holland who is reputed to be descended from the Hollands of N Wales. This assertion appears in a document held in the Bodleian Library; however, no documents have been found that give any clue as to who was his immediate ancestor. The most likely scenario is that he was a descendant of the Kinmel & Abergele line but it has not been possible to prove this. There are male descendants of William Holland living today, however it has not been possible to obtain a Y-chromosome DNA result from one of these descendants to compare with our own. Such a comparison might enable a prediction of how many generations there are between us and our common ancestor who we would expect to be Robin ap Roger Hoesgyn Holland, i.e. 18 generations above. Such a comparison would increase the probability that the assumptions in 1, 2 and 3 above are correct.

In conclusion, it seems unlikely that these problems will be resolved by DNA methodology any time soon unless someone interested enough, and with very deep pockets and a persuasive personality comes along. Who is to say that sometime in the future someone might decide to catalogue the remains of the identifiable gentry with their DNA as part of some historical project, or tidy up the graveyards to make room for the next generations as happened in the past.

Holland DNA Project

The Holland DNA project was set up early in the 20th century. Participants data was progressively entered onto the website and was readily accessible. By 2013 there were 113 participants whose DNA data appeared on the website. It was therefore possible to compare one’s own data with that existing on the website, the data was grouped by Haplogroup. There were seven different Haplogroups represented including I-M253, of which there were nine participants. This implies that although sharing the name Holland 8o% of their common ancestors were beyond the genealogical timescale.

Of the nine I-M253 participants, none had sufficient common marker points with the same number of model values to have had a common ancestor with ourselves within a 25-generation timescale. This website is no longer actively updated and the DNA data has been removed, possibly another victim of data protection. From this data it would appear that there are many people with the surname Holland in existence that do not descend from either the Hollands of Lancashire or N Wales. Possible alternative origins are: - Lincolnshire; Down-holland, Lancashire; people who changed their name; illegitimate issue; incorrect transcription e.g. Hulland to Holland.

Follow on

Any Holland researchers interested in using DNA for the purpose of genealogical research, particularly the families referenced here, can get in touch with me Paul Holland at this email address





Copyright Paul Holland © 2006 - 2020 All rights reserved.

Permission is granted for all free personal and non-commercial uses. Sources are available on request.