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DNA testing of Plant and related names

Plant DNA

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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 entirely 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 (i.e. that it descended from many genetically distinct ancestors who adopted the Plant surname independently). 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 male ancestor 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 which there appear to be four major branches that formed in the centuries before when adequate documentary evidence is available. Using just documentary evidence, most Plants do well if they manage to trace back their male-line ancestors as far as 250 years ago. Useful Census data is available back as far as around 160 years ago and, before then, ambiguities between such names as several possible William Plants or John Plants can quite often become a problem. Geographical proximities can sometimes help but the Y-DNA evidence shows that these are not always a reliable guide to building the Plant descent tree. For a male Plant, a 37-marker test will help to reveal the closest Plant matches to your own ancestral Plant line. With the help of Y-DNA evidence, some main features of the Plant descent tree are beginning to emerge.

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 (J S Plant) 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.

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Open to all 'Plant like' names

Some preliminary results are becoming available for various surnames, including Plant. Characteristic Y-line DNA signatures have been measured for Plant, Plantt, Plants, Plenty and Plante, and the study is yet to be extended to other 'Plant like' names such as Planty, Planta, Plantard, Planterose, etc.

This project started early in this century in Y-DNA investigations of names (such as Warren, Cornwall and Somerset) associated with possible male-line descents from the Plantagenets (since Plantagenet is another "Plant-like" name). However, only many mismatching Y-DNA signatures were found amongst these claimed Plantagenet descendants. (This same situation has been found again in more recent and more widely publicised investigations in connection with the skeleton of the Plantagenet king Richard III). These mismatches suggest that there were false claims of royal or noble descent in earlier centuries or that there were, for example, wifely infidelities introducing non-Plantagenet Y-chromosomes into these lines. (The more sensational newspapers have pointed in particular to the long-debated possibility that there were infidelities in the supposed male-line of the successive Plantagenet kings themselves). More clarity might eventually emerge with more testing.

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Early planning and progress for the 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 is widespread but found particularly down the western side (i.e. in so-called "Celtic regions" though its ancestral origins in Britain are now believed mostly to have predated the so-called "Celtic era"). Scandinavian clades (often too simplistically called Anglo-Saxon or Viking) are found more often to Britain's east. 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 3,500 to 700 years ago. Rapid advances are currently being made with this so-called "deep ancestry" testing.

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 descent branches and twigs of a surname.

For the abnormally large main Plant family, the challenges are greater than for a rare surname. However, valuable progress is now being made with dividing up the branches of this large descent family, as well as with the earlier distinctions that were more readily made between the main Plant family and some smaller descent families (such as an apparently separate-origin Lincolnshire Plant family and the North American Plante family). The progress now being made with the abnormally-large main Plant family is in some ways more valuable as it divides the large Plant population into more personal chunks.

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Plant and possibly-related name sub-branches so far

As well as adult male Plant volunteers from further sub-branches, additional adult male Plant volunteers from the same sub-branch are sought in order to check the branching genealogies. Volunteers with other similar names are also welcome.

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Location/spelling Code for Earliest known ancestor of sub-branch Testing company,
volunteerkit number
Main matching Plant family
Sheffield, England. Plant P1a Thomas Plant of Clowne (1745-1827) born Sutton-cum-Duckmanton in NE Derbyshire son of William Plant of Duckmanton (d 1769). Descent through William (1772-1848) to Sheffield, William (1803-48), James (1829-1904), Tom (1859-1931), Tom (1905-89). Fuller details (Chapter 2 and Appendices A to C). OA + FT 11830 + YSEQ 410 + YF4268(BigY) + YF12704(YElite EUDKM) + YF72236(Y700)
Humberside, England. Plant P1b ?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. Plant P1c ?ditto with descent from John Bark Plant through George Plant FT 141186 + YSEQ 5426
London, England. Plant P2aWilliam Plant of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, c1720 (born 1716 Tur Langton). cf. P40a for possible earlier ancestral connection. OA + FT 277384 + YSEQ 2849
Congleton, Cheshire, England. Plant P2b William Plant of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, c1720 (born 1716 Tur Langton). Descent through Thomas Plant (b 1753 Little Bowden, Northamptonshire), then John Plant (b 1785 Ringstead, Northamptonshire) OA + FT 475951 + YSEQ 5050
Northants, England. Plant P3aJoseph Plant, b c1794 Ashton Under Lyne, Lancashire, subsequently of Duckinfield (1815) and Denton (1821-35). OA
South Cheshire, England. Plant P5aEdward Plant of Siddington, c1565; with a line possibly from 15th century Rainow in east Cheshire. OA + FT 11858 + (YSEQ 15073 pending)
Livingston, NJ, USA. Plant P7aJohn Plant, b c1646 England, d 1691 Branford, Ct, USA (married Betty Roundkettle). FT 7818
Austria. Plant P7b ditto FT 105871 + YSEQ 13295
Houma, LA, USA. Plant P12aJames Plant, b c1839 Ireland, moved to New York City. FT 22839
Vancouver, Canada. Plant P14aRichard Plant bap 27.4.1740 Brewood, son of Richard Plant of Chillington, Brewood, Staffs. FT 43911
Davis, California. Plant P19a Edward Plant b 1787, Birmingham, England FT 96105 + YF4270 + YSEQ 4019
Anchorage, Alaska. Plant P19b ditto FT 988941
York, England. Plant P20a John Plant, b 1700, Old Swinford near Stourbridge, Worcestershire FT 119000
Hampshire, England. Plant P23a Alec P Plant; b 1914 Sheffield, England FT 144948
Waterford, Ireland. Plant P25a 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. Plant P26aEdward Plant, b 1779, Brewood, Staffordshire FT 182593 + YF4839 + YSEQ 5995
Texas, USA. Plant P27a AN
Queensland, Australia. Plant P28a Samuel Plant b 1768 m Mary Dignan b 1776 County Cavan, Ireland. Descent through James, Samuel, Sidney. FT 230023
Queensland, Australia. Plant P28b 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. Plant P29a 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 + YSEQ 5898 + YF76562(Y500) + YF81284(Y700)
Gosford, NSW, Australia. Plant P30a 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. Plant P31a FT 280105
Florida, USA. Plant P32a Williamson 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. Plant P33a William M Thomas Plant b 1871 Sheffield, Yorkshire, possibly son of William b 1841 Sheffield who was possibly son of Benjamin b 1817 Clowne Derbyshire d 1861 as in Figures 9.1, 9.3 and 9.4 of Chapter 9 (cf. P1a). FT 295512 + YSEQ 4554
Canada. Plant P36a Joseph Plant (1840-1919). Descent through his son Harry Campbell Plant, who emigrated to Canada with his brother Joseph Eugene Plant in 1910. (Supplied ancestry suggests origins in Leicestershire circa 1720 with a possible link back to Staffordshire circa 1550; cf. P2a and P40a). FT 372698
Aukland, New Zealand. Plant P39a William Plant, b 1770 in Norton le Moors, Staffordshire, d 1830; son Daniel, b 1788 Norton le Moors m Phebe. Their son William Plant (potter and chemist, worked for Plant bros) b 1838 in Tunstall, Staffordshire moved to New Zealand. FT B68907
Toronto, Canada. Plant P40a John Plant, b ca. 1667 Swynnerton, Staffordshire, considered to be grandfather of William Plant b 1716 Tur Langton, Leicestershire, England (cf. P2a and P36a). FT 436455 + YF5854
Port Augusta, Australia. PlantP43a Francis I Plant (1849-1921) Barossa Valley, Australia with probable ancestry back to John Plant, b ca.1778, Manchester, m 31.7.1797 Ellen Diggles Manchester Cathedral, England (see details here). FT 453216 + YF5858 + YSEQ 7681
Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Plant P46a ?William Plant (1550-1614 Muckelstone, Staffordshire, England) m.1582 Elizabeth Byrchenhaugh, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK. FT 487651
Rotherham, S Yorkshire, England. Plant P48a John Plant, bap 28 Aug 1804, Adwick on Dearn, d 1874, son of William Plant YSEQ 8042
Epsom, Surrey, England. Plant P49a George Plant, b 1739 Cheadle, Staffordshire; descent through John Plant (1785-1859). Deeper ancestry likely back through John (1719) and William Plant (1679-) of Leek, Staffs and John Plant (1659-) and Francis Plante (1640) of Shropshire (see further details here). FT 684179 + YSEQ 12243
Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. Plant P53a Thomas Edward Plant born in Montreal, QC, Canada 11 July 1908 to Thomas Edward Plant (born in Georgetown, British Guyana) and Harriet Blake (born in St John's, NB, Canada). FT 823410 + YSEQ 19029
Bluffton, SC,
USA. Plant
P56aWilliam H Plant, b 1868, d 1942, Central Islip, Long Island, New York, USA.FT 871723
Coatbridge, Scotland. Plant P60a Benjamin Plant (1670-1730) Kinver, Staffordshire, England. Descent through: Bemjamin (1702-76) Oldswinford; John (1730-80) Oldswinford; Benjamin (1753-1833) Stourbridge, 7th Dragoon Guards, Peninsular wars, Dumbarton Castle; Thomas (1802-?) returned to Staffs; Benjamin Valentyne (1847-1925) returned to Scotland. Further details. FT IN94232
Salford, England. Plant P61a                FT IN100646
PlantP67a FT1015208
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 Henry OA + FT 18227
Ontario, Canada. Carr PT1bNow believed to be a lost son of the late PT1a above FT 40279 + YSEQ 5897
Florida, USA. Plantt PT2aFT 60092
Ontario, Canada. Plantt PT3a 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 + YF4841 + YSEQ 5696

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Small Plant family I
Brough, Yorks. Plant P9aWilliam Plant b 27.5.1832 Leake East Fen Allotment (south Lincs, England) to John and Eliz (b 1791) FT 17015
NSW, Australia. Plant P18a 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
Small Plant family II
Stamford, Lincs. Plant P17a 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
Australian territory. Plant P51a (cf.P17a) George Plant b ca.1670 Wrangle, Lincs, England, descent through: Thomas b 05 July 1695 Wrangle; Thomas b ca.1720 Greetham, Lincs; John Plant b 14 Feb 1741 Gretham d. 1805 Haringto, Northamptonshire; William Plant b 8 Apr 1765 Harringworth, Northamptonshire, d ca.15 Aug 1822 Nassington, Northants; Thomas Plant b 1798, Nassington, d ca.1865; Thomas Plant b 11 Jun 1834 Castor, Northants, d ca.Sep 1898, Huntington; George Plant b 28 Mar 1859 Huningdon; Vivian George Plant b 20 March 1889 Yoxford, Suffolk, England d 28 Mar 1916 Harwich (drowned at sea); Vivian George Plant b 19 Jan 1916 Gillingham, Kent, England, emigrated to Sydney Australia.  FT IN10279
Small Plant family III
Newport, Wales. Plant P16a Charles Plant, b 1916 Birmingham, England. FT 59162
Portland, Oregon. Plant P21a 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
Anglesey, Wales. Plant P55a Samuel Plant b 1810, m Eliz Redfearn, at Hurdlow farm near Longnor in 1851 Census (see pages 51-54 here for further details) FT IN25817
East Cheshire, England. Plant P63a John Plant b 18.11.1825 Elworth Hall, Sandbach, d 21.6.1868 Gove House, Wheelock (co-owner of brewery with brother Joseph) m 15.10.1863 Elizabeth Beswick 1845-1915/17 of Fingerpost Farm, Toft, 6 miles north of Holmes Chapel. Descent via son Thomas Beswick Plant b 28.10.1866, d 1948.
Apparent early descent and Elworth Hall details: John Plant b 1667 Swynnerton d 1750 Uttoxeter m 24.8.1688 Mary Hunt Uttox; son Thomas b 1690 Uttox d 1747 Hallaton Leicestershire m Mary probably Tur Langton; son William b 1715 Market Harborough d 1784 Little Bowden m(2) 14.12.1747 Abigail Peabody M Harb; son Thomas Plant 1763-1828 of Elworth Hall; son John d 1849 Elworth. [Elworth Hall details: Journal Issues 1, pp.13-17; 2 15-26; 3 25-31; 5 5-16: e.g. these mention a 1848 Trade Directory with entries John Plant gentleman of Elworth and John Plant brewer of Whealock; in 1849 will of John gentleman of Elworth, property in Wheelock left to son Joseph, whilst all property in Holmes Chapel plus £3000 left to son John bap 25.11.1825, hence P63a line as above].
FT IN118016
Small Plant family IV
Aukland, New Zealand. Plant P35a George William b 1882, Rotherham Yorkshire Engalnd, d 1969 Dargaville NZ (see eldest child of P52a's Great Grandfather in further details given below for P52a); descent through George Geoffrey Plant, b 31.5.1910 Aukland, NZ. (It was initially thought that this descent had stated 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, then George William Plant, b 1875 Madeley, Shropshire, England. However, this was due to an evident confusion of this George William with one in ancestry of P52a who, it turns out, matches with P35a which evidently helps to resolve the ambiguity). FT 332860
Hull, Yorkshire, England. Plant P52a William Plant 1706-1768 of Duckmanton (cf. P1a), descent through John (1733-1816) with supplied genealogy here. (Match to P35a evidently resolves some confusion concerning George William (see eldest child of P52a's Great Grandfather). Mismatch to Branch A from Thomas (1745-1827) perhaps implying an NPE in descent line from Thomas's brother John (1733-1816). FT IN20394
Small Plant family V
New South Wales,
Australia. Plant
 P50a  John Plant of Stepny, Middlesex, England, sea captian, sailed and joined in 1852 by wife and 3 children in Melbourne, Australia. FT 732760
New South Wales,
Australia. Plant
 P50b  ditto FT IN14959
Small Plant family VI
Utah, USA. Plant P37aHenry Plant b 1835 (cf. P45a). Henry was the son of Catherine Plant, a single woman, hence unsurprisingly not a match to the male-line main Plant family. Henry took on his mother's maiden name and was raised by his grandfather, John Plant and uncle John Plant. He was born in Cadeby, Leicestershire. (AN) FT B12091
Salt Lake City, USA. Plant P45aHenry Plant b 1835 (cf. P37a) FT 366463
Small Plant family VII
London, England. Plant P13aEdmund Plant, b Yorkshire c1900 FT 32239
British Columbia,
Canada. Plant
P59a FT B475597
Small Plant family VIII (Plant-Booth)
co. Durham, England. Plant P41a John Plant bc 1775 descent through John bc 1815 Burslem,Staffs d 1867 St Marlebone, London; John Robert (1838-82) Marlebone; Harry b 1876 St Pancras d 1922 Goole (m E. Alice J. Simonette b 1884 Coundon, Co.Durham) professional musicians FT 444929
Anglesey, Wales. Booth B1a/P15a?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 53146
Anglesey, Wales. Booth B1b?Henry Plant b 1814 Bidulph son of John Plant - descent through his son Daniel Plant of Odd Rode, Cheshire b 1860 Astbury, Cheshire who married Mary Ellen Booth (nee Harding) and through George Booth (1911-93). FT IN69331

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Other Plant
(P4a and P10a 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. Plant P6aGeorge 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. Plant P8aJonathan 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. Brown P10a?John Plant b c1813 Laxfield, Suffolk (hitherto uncertain whether a Plant by genetic descent) FT 19112
Norwich, England. Plant P11aJoseph Plant father of Alfred Plant b 1839 Lichfield, Staffs. FT 22831
Melbourne, Australia. Plant P22a 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. Plant P24a 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. Plant P34a 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 Manchester FT 299895
California, USA. Plant P38a Louis Jefferson Plant, b Mussel Shoals, Alabama 1832 or 1835. Descent through Forrest Plant, attorney, Sacramento. FT 402360
Hebden Bridge, England. Plant P42a FT 446600
Leek, Staffordshire, England. Plant P44a George Plant, b 1816 Appleby (in the Asby-de-la-Zouch district of Leicestershire), descent in Black Country through Joseph then Mark. Possible ancestry of George back through 3 generations called William to 1726. FT 470746
Western Australia. Plant P47aWilliam Plant, b 1844 Stone, Staffordshire, England (see further details) FT 497822
Aukland, New Zealand. Plant P54a William Plant m Hannah ca.1790; descent through son James, bap 2 Mar 1794 at St John's Church, Burslem; then through his 6th son Abraham b 1828 at Hanley, moved to Anderston, Glasgow by 1851, d 1874 Scotland. Supplied details. FT IN22746
Bubwith, East Yorkshire,
England. Plant
P57a John Thomas Plant born 1882 in Chapel St Leonards, Linclonshire (evident son of James Plant b 1854), descent through John Oswald Plant, b 1914 Skegness. FT IN53627
nr Clitheroe, Lancashire,
England. Plant
P58a FT IN59391
Burton upon Trent, east Staffs, England. Plant P62a William Plant b 1832 Apple Magna, Leicestershire; likely son of Sophie née Ison and William Plant in nearby Measham. Descent through Herbert Edward Plant b 1873 Burton and then Leonard Plant b 1904 Burton. FT IN101977
Plant P64a FT IN118791
Somerset, England. Plant P65a FT BP48739
Dorset, England. Plant P66a Joseph Archer Plant (b. Dec 1866) from Staffordshire, apparent father is Enoch Plant. Enoch Plant (as listed as Joseph’s father on his marriage certificate) was evidently not his biological father since, on an 1881 census entry, there is Enoch Plant with a child called Joseph McDermott as a servant who matches the age and birth location of Joseph Archer Plant. There is not a father listed on Joseph McDermott’s birth certificate but there was a court case in which Joseph McDermott’s mother claimed she was pregnant by Bernard Sweeney. The y-DNA37 signature is unusually common with over 2000 matches though seven of these match the Sweeney surname, consistent with the Sweeney hypothesis as the father of Joseph Archer Plant. There is also one match with the McDermott surname, with perhaps at some stage the Sweeney and McDermott families living close to one another, if this is not due to genetic convergence like the many other 'accidental' matches. FT IN129292

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Matching Quebec Plante family
Quebec, Canada. Plante PE1bJean 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. Plante PE1cditto (Descent from Jean through his son Jean, then Louis, Joseph Marcel, Antoine, Jean Baptiste, Thomas, etc.) FT 13484
NJ, USA. Plante PE1efrom Quebec FT 101225
New York, USA. Plante PE1fJean 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. Plante PE2a Ernest Plante (1918-91) Burlington, Vermont FT 76595
Illinois, USA. Plante PE3a Joseph Plante father of George Plante b 1871 Kanakee, Illinois FT 116202
Ames, Iowa, USA. Plante PE4a ?France FT 62516
Portland, Maine, USA. Plante PE6a Jean Plante, sailed to Canada in 1647 from La Rochelle-Laleu, France, landed at Quebec City, settled at Chateau Richer just to its east FT 718769
Hickory, NC, USA. LaPlante LPEa Jean Charles Plante, b. 1560, d. 1611, Pouance, France FT B144379
Quebec, Canada. Plante PE9a PLANTE Nicolas + CHAUVIN/JOUINNE Elisabeth, av. 1626, FR. Descent through: PLANTE Jean + BOUCHER Marie Françoise, 1650 SEP 01, Québec QC; PLANTE Jean + LEFEBVRE/BOULANGER Suzanne, av. 1700, au QC; PLANTE Louis + BISSONET/LAFORME Marie Josèphe, 1740 NOV 26, St-Michel-de-Bellech; PLANTE François + DAIGNEAU/LAPRISE Françoise,1786 FEV 21, St-Charles de Bellech; PLANTE Louis + RUEL Marie, 1812 SEP 08, St-Charles de Bellechasse QC; PLANTE Thomas + ROY Henriette, 1847 JUL 06, St-Anselme-de-Lauzon QC; PLANTE Alfred Joseph + BLAIS Amanda, 1887 AOU 25, St-Anselme-de-Lauzon QC; PLANTE Antonio + CARON Yvette, 1924 JUN 09, Québec (St-Roch) QC. See here for supplied fuller details. FT IN83821
Plante PE10a FT 932665
Plante PE11a FT 943465

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Other Plante
Ontario, Canada. Plante PE1aJean 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. Plante PE1dAdolphe 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. Plante PE5a ?from Quebec FT 168281
Michigan, USA. Plont (sic) ex Plante PE7a Pierre Plante m Theresa Fortier (b ca.1770 Sorel), descent through Pierre Plante m Josette Bouilette (b ca.1790), Pierre Plante (b ca.1814) m Maria Wisc (b ca.1821), Pierre Plante (b 1841 St Ignace Mi) m Veronique Derocher (b 1845 St Ignace Mi), George Luke Plont (b 1883 Crystal Lake Mi) m Myrtle Berry (b 1882 Newago Mi), George Joesph Hurculane Plont (b 1910) m Merl Parks (b 1917 Minot North Dakota), John Richard Plont (b Mar 2 1934 Ludington Mi) m Jeri Grogg (b Sept 2 1940 Rockville MD) FT 841907

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Other Plant-like names
Zaragoza, Spain. Planter PR1a Ramón Planter (Goser) b 17 Dec 1844 Zaragoza (Descent through Antonio Planter (Sangorrin) b Jun 1905 Zaragoza) FT N11991
West Virginia, USA. Plants PS1a Christian Plants, b 21 Apr 1747 Bavaria, Germany; descent through Jacob Plants, b c1807 Washington County, Pensylvania, USA. FT 71599
Somerset, UK. Plenty PEY1a Theophulis Plenty, Walton, Somerset. Descent through his son John Francis Plenty. FT 399575
Western Australia. Pianta Pi1a Pietro Pianta lived in Brusio, Switzerland; father of Pietro (Peter) Angelo Pianta, b. 5 Feb 1895 Brusio, d. 13 Apr 1959 in Western Australia. FT 640196
Marseille, France. Plantade.PD1a b 1738, Saint Nicolas de la Grave in Tarn et Garonne, likely descended from Jacques Plantade 1643-1698, Malause, Tarn et Garonne.FT IN47252

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Warren/Waring-like names
Illinois, USA. Waring WG1aJohn Waring, father of Emanuel Waring, bap 4.Oct.1807 Dewsbury, W.Yorkshire, UK. FT
NSW, Australia. Waring WG2aWilliam Waring, b Lancashire, England; d Kilkenny, Ireland, will 1709 proved 1713. FT
Jacksonville, Arkansas, USA. Waring WG3a Sampson Waring 1617-68, born in Shropshire, England, died in Maryland, USA. FT
Memphis, Tennesse, USA. Waring WG4a Thomas Waring, Essex County, Virginia, USA, early 1700s. FT
Cornwall, England. Wearing WEG1a Henry James Wearing, b Whitechapel, Middlesex, England 1828, d Nova Scotia 1909, son of James Wearing m Sarah Bignold 1824 St Mary, Whitechapel. FT
Columbia. Wareing WREG1a Harry Wareing, b Gainsborough, Lincolnshire 1899 FT
Suffolk, UK. Warren W1a James Warren, b 28.12.1716 Marnhull, Dorset FT
Warren (VNFSM, 66386) W2aGeorge Warren, England FT
Warren (70059) W3a FT

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No new volunteer currently awaiting results from Lab

Location/spelling Code for      Earliest known male-line Plant ancestor    Testing company,
volunteerkit number

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 and also, where appropriate, to a FT kit number of the testing company Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), a YSEQ number of the testing company YSEQ, a YF number of the analysis company YFull, a YElite code of the testing company Full Genomes Corporation (FGC).

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Links to details of DNA Results

Early presentations only of early 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, for those tested with the Testing Company "FT" (FTDNA), appear under Some futher Results where there is also included one tested with the company "AN" (Ancestry). More results have been added more recently however. Most results, including the most recent ones, are given as follows.

Standard Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and YSEQ presentations of nearly all the Results

A kit number is given in the above table of volunteers for each FTDNA testee (i.e. for nearly all those who have been tested). Hence, almost complete Y-DNA results (Y-SNP and Y-STR) for each FTDNA kit number appear in these listed FTDNA Results though it is necessary to be logged into a FTDNA account to see the results for every kit number in our project.

Some supplementary YSEQ Results (no login required) use different Sample codes which are also given in the above table of volunteers - these are also summarised here as: P1a is 410, P1c 5426, P2a 2849, P2b 5050, P5a 15073, P7b 13295, P19a 4019, P26a 5995, P29a 5898, P33a 4554, P43a 7681, P48a 8042, P49a 12243, P53a 19029, PT1b 5897 and PT3a is 5696.

These results are for the YSEQ group 'Plant surname DNA project'.
To help with browsing these results, you can click top of column to order by Sample number or Marker.
Alternatively, there is a filter symbol near the bottom of the page which can be used to pick out the Sample number of a particular person, or a particular marker such as Y22430 or DYS710.
(Note A: M5778=PF1031 is based on a G to C mutation, even though the HG19 reference is C. This is shown in YSEQ as C+ for P1a, P1c, P33a and indicated as such (1C+) also for PT3a and P43a by YFull, with all others being no call. Hence, it is probably of no significance).
(Note B: Though the HG19 reference is A for PF1376, it is no call or A+ in YFull, or 1T- for P40a and P43a, with the latter being a YFull miscall. It has been shown by YSEQ to be A+ for both P1c and P43a).

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.

YSEQ extra measured markers

Branch A
P1a, #FT11830, #YSEQ410, Y22430+, FGC22149+, A21072=FGC73521=Y139502+, DYS552=23, DYS650=18, DYS710=33.2
  (33.2 represents a rare 2 base micro-allele at 19436836-7)
  (also M5778=PF1031+ though, in YFull, P43a and PT3a both + while P1a, P19a, P26a, P40a all no call)
P1c, #FT141186, #YSEQ5426, Y22430+, A21072-, FGC22149-, DYS552=23, DYS650=19, DYS710=33.2
P33a, #FT295512, #YSEQ4554, A21072-, FGC22149-, DYS552=23, DYS650=18, DYS710=33.2
P48a, #YSEQ8042, Y22430+, DYS650=18, DYS710=33.2, DYS552=23, DYS570=19
P53a, #FT823410, #YSEQ19029, FGC22149-, A21072-, DYS650=18, DYS710=33.2
Branch B
P26a, #FT182593, #YSEQ5995 (#YF04839), PF428-, (PF6726 tested but ambiguous Y+, Y means C or T)
PT3a, #FT235642, #YSEQ5696 (#YF04841), PF428-, (PF6726 tested but ambiguous Y+, Y means C or T)
Branch D
P2a, #FT277384, #YSEQ2849, Y22430+, A10650+, A10964+, A10965+, DYS710=34, DYS485=17, DYS504=16, DYS513=13, DYS532=13, DYS552=24, DYS561=15, DYS593=15, DYS650=18, DYS712=22, DYS715=22
P2b, #FT475951, #YSEQ5050, DYS712=22
P7b, #FT105871, #YSEQ13295, Y22430+, A10650-
P29a, #FT232765, #YSEQ5898, F3085-, A10650-, Y22430+
P40a, #FT436455, A10965+, Y22430+
P43a, #FT453216, #YSEQ7681. DYS504=16, DYS513=13, DYS532=13, DYS552=24, DYS561=15, DYS593=15, DYS650=18, DYS712=22, DYS715=22
Uncertain Early Branch I
P19a, #FT96105, #YSEQ4019, F3085+, Y22430-
PT1b, #FT40279, #YSEQ5897, F3085-, Y22430-
Uncertain Early Branch II
P49a, #FT684179, #YSEQ12243, Y22430-

YFull extra measured markers

Branch A
P1a, #FT11830, #YF04268(BigY), #YF12704(YElite), #YF72236(BigY-700); SNPs (Y22430+=877613-A-T), FGC22149+, (A21072+=Y139502=8072280-T-C) [YFull analysis #YF04268 indicated that the following were either positives or false positives but YSEQ then clarified that they were negatives: A10165, CTS11688, PF374; YFull analysis #YF72236 indicated 10 private SNPs of best quality and 3 acceptable ones, of these 13 two are currently being YSEQ tested]; 498 reliable BigY Y-STRs (including DYS710=33.2); 470 reliable YElite2.1 Y-STRs (including DYS710 n/a).
Branch B
P26a, #FT182593, #YF04839; SNPs (YFS1211490=8084397-C-A+, YFS1211919+); 526 reliable Y-STRs
PT3a, #FT235642, #YF04841; SNPs (YFS1212991=15237869-G-T+, YFS1213002=18024409-C-T+, ?YFS1212707=8805116-T-A+); 514 reliable Y-STRs
Branch D
P40a, #FT436455, #YF05854; SNPs (Y22430=877613-A-T, A10650, A10964, ?A10965); 496 reliable Y-STRs
P43a, #FT453216, #YF05858; SNPs (Y22430=877613-A-T, A10650, A10960, A10962, ?A10961, ?A10963, ?YFS1770187=15791020-C-A); 496 reliable Y-STRs
Uncertain Early Branch I
P19a, #FT96105, #YF04270; SNPs (F3085+, YFS529117+, YFSS529118+, YFS529119+, 13211302-C-T+, 13239222-T-A+); 497 reliable Y-STRs

BigY extra useful Y-STRs for Main Plant Family Branching

Results for A:P1a, D1:P5a, D1:P29a D2:P40a, D2:P43a, B:P20a, B:P26a, B:PT1a; B:PT3a, C:P28a, I:P19a

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DNA matching diagrams

I (JSP) 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. 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 same labels as those used to identify different Plant males 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
Diagram produced by Prof Richard E Plant using the Flexus Engineering Network package.

The largest red circle above shows that many of the Plant volunteers have exactly matching DNA signatures, at the 12 marker level. There are other smaller red circles almost matching the large one. Red indicates that these volunteers belong to a single descent family (as judged by these and further DNA results including some illustrated further below). We call this the main Plant family.

The above automated Network diagram gives a quick identification of who are near and distant matches but occasionally it misrepresents the data. In particular, the small red circles for P33a and P49a (shown towards the right of the other red circles) have a bent link, allocated by the Network algorithm, that is longer from the large red circle than the raw Y-DNA12 raw data actually indicates. The Network algorithm has, in a sense, overthought it and, in this case, it is misleading. Further investigation (e.g. 37 markers) shows that, even though P33a and P49a are not an exact match to the large red circle, they remain in fact close enough, with more markers, to belong to the main Plant family.

The two green circles P9a-P18a still almost match each other when they are upgraded to the 25-marker level. They might be from an entirely separate origin than the red circles, away in south Lincolnshire from the others, or they might perhaps have descended through a female link from the main family. Either way, we call this small family I. The same can be said for the two pink circles P17a-P51a which we call small family II and this also remains confirmed when upgraded to the 25-marker level.

The grey circle labelled P16a corresponds to an exact match of P16a, P21a and P55a at the 12-marker level. P21a has had 67 markers measured and, in principle, more markers could be measured also for P16a and P55a, to double check the resilience of this matching of three men. Unfortunately however we have lost contact with P16a to investigate his case further. We call these three tested Plants, small family III.

The blue circle (near the top right) represents an exact match of P35a to P52a. No other Plant (and indeed no other man in the FTDNA database) matches their particular Y-DNA12 result. They were not previously considered close relatives but a possible confusion in the documented genealogy has now been resolved. We call them small family IV.

The orange circle labelled P44a is an exact 12-marker match to P50a. However, 37 markers have now been measured for P50b and these do not match with the 37 for P44a. We hence now call P50a and P50b small family V, while P44a so far stands alone unmatched.

Though measuring 12 markers gives a good indication of the various Plant families most of the time, some imperfections in the above diagram can arise because 12 markers can be insufficient to distinguish between real and accidental matches of some of the tested Plant individuals. For example, the part red/pale-orange circle labelled P37a is a superposition of Y-DNA12 results for three different Plant men. It turns out that P37a and P45a (father and son in fact) match one another but they match also with P43a only by accident. Further testing confirms that P43a remains a close match to the main Plant family (red circles) but that P37a-P45a are only close to the main family at this 12-marker level by accident - they separate off too far to be real matches to the main family when more markers are measured. The pair P37a-P45a match exactly at the 32-marker level as can be expected as they are father and son (32 is an unusual number of markers to compare but this arises because one of them tested using FTDNA and the other using a different testing company). Though this pair are unsurprising matches to one another, being genetic father and son, we call them small family VI and this distinguishes them from the main Plant family.

Mismatching circles arising from NPEs

So-called NPEs arise when a man's Y-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 genetic father. Though it is generally estimated that there is only about a 1% or 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 the seven or more centuries of Plant surname history. This can explain most, if not all, of the significant number of yellow circles above which match no other Plant. The alternative explanation of mismatching circles above (or for the triangles as well for small yellow squares in the map below) is that the descent is from an entirely separate medieval origin. For example, this seems likely for the green and/or purple triangles for example below, since thirteenth-century Plants in Lincolnshire were apparently quite distant from the main homeland of the main Plant family.

For a boy's adoption from a young age, one should stress that a non-genetic father might be regarded as his true father during his upbringing in a close family. However, when considering all the generations over hundreds of years, any emotional consideration about this, amongst living people, is typically offset by the fact that any revealed adoption or illegitimacy has usually occurred many generations ago. The anonymity of the personal labels (P1a etc) also avoids possible embarassment in the eventuality of a recent NPE.

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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.

Local distribution of matching Plant ancestors

The darker the brown of the background colour, the higher the proportion of Plants in the county in 1881. The darkest brown corresponds to the county of Staffordshire. The proportion of Plants to the general population of each county is derived from 1881 Census data.

Superimposed on this brown background, the DNA data show that a single Plant family (red circles) had grown and migrated to become extended beyond the county boundaries of Staffordshire by the dates shown including some in the eighteenth century or even earlier. The first known precise location in the main homeland is indicated by the black star. The small families and other Plants might or might not have originated from this same homeland.

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37 marker Y-STR results

In the diagram below, 37 DNA markers are compared. (Hence, needless to say, those who have had only 25 or less markers measured do not appear in this diagram).

37 loci Network

At each generation, there can be an occasional mutation of a Y-DNA marker. With more markers measured, more mutations can be expected to show. There is accordingly more separation of the red circles in the above 37-marker diagram than was apparent at the 12-marker level. These separations represent accumulated mutations, down the generations, from the Y-DNA signature of a male ancestor of the main Plant descent family.

Detail of some amendments.The large red circle for the 12-marker results (shown in the 12-marker Network diagram above) is here differentiated into quite closely matching smaller red circles, nearly all of which are singletons when 37 markers are considered. There are slightly larger circles for PT1a (includes PT1c), P28a (incudes P28b) and P25a (coincides with P46a). However, three of the markers are fast changing and, though they are useful for studying the detail of close family "twigs" in the last few centuries, they tend to distort the overall picture for the main Plant family (red circles) which has developed over perhaps around seven hundred years. The effects of these three fast-changing markers are hence omitted from the 37-marker Network diagram above. Also, the link to P38a is omitted since it is even more distant from the red circles than all the other yellow circles which are included.

In the above diagram, there is now only one green circle (P18a towards the right of the diagram). This corresponds to one of the pair (P9a and P18a) of volunteers who, as well as having geographically close ancestry in south Lincolnshire, had a close genetic match at the 25-marker level.

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Measuring more Y-STR markers and their stability

The above diagram was obtained using the Flexus Engineering Network software package and further diagrams were obtained using the MEGA6 software package.

MEGA6 analyses were carried out at the 37-, 67- and 111- Y-STR marker levels. Also, these analyses were repeated leaving out some of the relatively unstable markers. Some aspects of the resulting branching, in the descent of the main Plant family, were resilient throughout these various analyses whereas others were not. See here for the details of the initial MEGA6 analyses. Though not necessarily entirely reliable, they provided a start for estimating the major branches in the descent of the main Plant family.

Those Plant volunteers who do not belong to the main Plant family appear well over to the right of these MEGA6 diagrams whereas those in the main Plant family appeared well over to the left. The smaller horizontal distances from the left corresponds to relatively small genetic distances from the PMH, i.e. from the estimated ancestral DNA signature of the main Plant family. The DNA evidence that these Plants descend from a single medieval man is outlined more directly elsewhere.

Because of the limited number of Plants who have been tested, it is not always clear in which order the Y-STR mutations from the ancestral signature have occurred. Put simply, when only those in the main family are included, the MEGA6 diagrams can be regarded as representing an average of the guesses at how the mutations down the centuries of the main Plant family have progressed in going from left to right (though, in detail, the algorithm is complex).

Because of the averaging, the horizontal lines can correspond to fractional genetic distances. For example, averaging genetic distances of 1 and 2 would give an average value of 1.5. At face value, such an average would seem to imply that one can have fractions of a mutation though, of course, that would be a false interpretation that does not make physical sense.

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Four or so major branches of the main Plant family

The following branching model takes account of the aforementioned MEGA6 diagrams and it also seeks to identify specific mutations which identify some particular branches in the descent of the main Plant family.

Such branching helps to break down the abnormally large main Plant family into rather more manageable sub-populations. Further genealogical connections within these sub-populations can then be investigated using a combination of documentary and DNA evidence.

The branches differ in how much Y-STR testing is required in order to gain a relatively clear idea of which major branch is theirs. The following discussion applies initially only to those who have taken at least the Y-DNA37 test, and so have results for the standard 37 Y-STR markers or more. However we are now recommending a cheaper Y-DNA12 test, at least as an initial possibility, which can then be followed by some more-tailored further testing if appropriate. This can form the basis of an alternative possible testing strategy that can be more cost-effective than just blindly measuring more and more Y-STR markers by means of standard FTDNA tests. Towards this end, some additional Y-STR and Y-SNP information is being appended for each branch listed below, as shown in small italics.

Branch A
Identified by DYS570=20 in a Y-DNA37 or YSEQ test: P1a, P1c, P23a, P33a, P53a
Note, this is a fast changing marker but P1a, P1c, P33a and P53a have a rare micro-allele value DYS710=33.2 (though recorded as 33 by FTDNA) as found in YFull and checked out at YSEQ. So far, this occurs only along with DYS570=20. Also (except for P53a untested) they have DYS552=23. Both DYS710 and DYS552 are at the Y-DNA111 level but are available more cheaply as single marker tests at YSEQ. P23a is no longer available for such additional testing.
Branch B
Identified by DYS534=16 in a Y-DNA67 or YSEQ test: P20a, P25a, P26a, PT1a, PT3a
Note, the value DYS458=19 for this fast changing marker is a parallel mutation for PT1a/b erroneously suggesting a partial link to Branch D and to the tentative Branch I.
Branch C
Identified by DYS385b=13 in a Y-DNA12 test: P28a, P28b, P30a, P39a, P61a
Note, this is another fast changing marker though it can so far be identified with Branch C alone.
Branch D
Indicated by DYS710=34 (Y-DNA111 or YSEQ test): P2a, P7b, P29a, P36a, P40a, P43a
(P2a, P7b, P36a, P40a, P43a also have DYS456=17 and DYS712=22 with P2a having had DYS712 determined by YSEQ and P40a and P43a having had it determined by YFull; P43a has also tested DYS456=17 by Y-DNA37; P2a, P40a and P43a have also tested A10650+ but P7b has tested A10650-)
Super branch A+D
Can be identified by a Y22430 test at YSEQ.
Uncertain Early Branch I (none of the above)
In superBranch B+C+I, see below: P19a
Uncertain Early Branch II (none of the above)
All of the above branches have been eliminated (assuming no back mutation): P49a

The Y-DNA tests identified above are in the first instance standard tests that are available from the testing company FTDNA. However, tests for some specific markers (such as DYS712) can be bought more cheaply at the testing company YSEQ. Those who are not yet tested are advised that they could begin with a realtively cheap Y-DNA12 test at FTDNA and then we are always available to advise on what further testing could be the most cost effective options leaving, of course, the final decision to you.

Some caveats

  • It is possible that Branch A might be quite well defined by the rather unusual (8%) value (20) for the marker DYS570 as well as by the rare micro-allele 33.2 for DYS710.
  • At the Y-DNA111 level or with a single-marker YSEQ test, DYS650 cuts across the above branching model, in so far as it has apparent parallel or back mutations. The value DYS650=18 brings together four out of five tested in Branch D (P2a and P29a and P36a and P40a, but not P7b) with two of the three tested in Branch A (P1a and P33a but not P1c). Since branches A+D form a very credible superBranch, one might suppose that DYS650=18 might have occurred early in Branch A+D and the value for P1c and P7b could be back mutations. The value DYS650=19 for Branches B, C, and I could then be ancestral, if not a shared mutation for the superBranch B+C+I. Further testing can help with such ambiguities.
  • In the following 37-marker Network diagram, the grey circles are for P19a-PT1a/b (Uncertain I) and separately P49a (Uncertain II) though more recent evidence indicates that PT1a/b belongs to Branch B (blue) not I. The other branches are denoted: yellow (A); blue (B); green (C); pink (D). At the modal marker values (PMH), there is both P25a and P46a – more markers have been measured for P25a, including DYS534=16 which places him in Branch B; whereas for P46a, with only 37 markers, his known marker values are not distinct enough from those of other branches such as A and B, though subsequent YSEQ testing has ruled out the superBranch A+D – hence he remains as yet as Uncertain Branch II.

    Coloured branches in 37-marker Network diagram
    Diagram produced by Prof Richard E Plant using the Flexus Engineering Network package.

    This automated 37-marker Network method, though not entirely reliable, distinguishes moderately well between the different branches for most volunteers, in a similar way as when more markers are considered. One particularly noticable shortcoming however is that Branch D (pink) is here split in two. A different method below includes more markers including some more reliable ones. This then indicates that the two separate parts of D belong to the same branch but that the above split occurred quite early in branch D's history, with P2a-P36a-P40a-P43a having the Y-SNP A10650+ while P5a-P7b-P29a do not.

    Another automated survey uses 67 markers, which are available for fewer of the tested Plants. The 67-marker MEGA7 diagram below shows the branches somewhat better separated. Starting from the bottom left of the diagram, the label PMH indicates one possible estimate of the ancestral Y-DNA signature of the main English Plant family. Moving upwards, there is branch I (PT1a/b and P19a); branch B (P25a, PT3a, P20a, P26a); branch II (P49a); branch A (P1a); branch D (P29a, P7b, P40a, P36a, P43a); and branch C (P39a, P30a, P28a). This removes some of the split between the two parts of Branch D – the further analyses below identify the early splitting into separate branches more clearly.

    67 loci MEGA7 tree
    Diagram produced by Prof Richard E Plant using the MEGA7 software package.

    The results of some further analyses of the branching are described below. These take more account of the logic and merits of these and some extra individual markers.

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    Main Plant Family Descent Tree – current state of the art (May 2021)

    The prospects for making progress with the branching of the genetic lines of descent in the ancestral main Plant family are now good, as both the Plant project and the available DNA tests have advanced. As well as the above-mentioned Y-STRs, more-reliable Y-SNPs are now being identified to help confirm the major branching. Some Plants have upgraded to the FTDNA BigY test, which can be expected increasingly to help.

    So far, the following individuals have upgraded to BigY thereby pioneering the way to cheaper and more effective DNA testing: Branch A, P1a; Branch B, P20a, P26a, PT1a and PT3a; Branch C, P28a; Branch D, P5a, P29a, P40a and P43a; Branch I, P19a.

    YFull BigY-ySTRs branching within Main Plant Family
    SNP details   Distinct 112-Y500 STRs

    Rough timeline of major branching within Main Plant Family

    As well as Y-SNPs, BigY testing provides extra y-STRs as indicated above. These have identified that superBranch I+B+C started out as a single branch as so also did superBranch A+D which also has the additional benefit of a connecting y-SNP Y22430+ that is available at YSEQ.

    The extra markers can also help with the sub-branching as well as branching; a limitation is that the y-STRs marked * in the above descent tree cannot be tested individually but only with a full BigY test. However, some BigY y-SNPs and other y-STRs can be tested one at a time at YSEQ; so other Plants volunteering for testing can explore these more cheaply to help identify whether they belong to a particular branch.

    Unlike in the diagram above, most of the named markers in the two diagrams below can be tested one at a time at YSEQ; or upto 111 y-STRs can be tested severally at FTDNA. That said, instead of the full FTDNA Y-DNA111 test however, there is much more to be gained by paying the extra for their BigY-700 test which includes the 111 y-STRs and much more.

    Emerging branching within Main Plant Family - part 1

    When a specific Y-SNP is associated with a branch, others can test for this single SNP using the testing company YSEQ. In turn, better results for the major branches can lead on to progressively further identification of the sub-branching. Once the major features are identified, DNA testing of a new volunteer's place in the descent tree becomes more straightforward. The current state of this art is indicated in the diagrams immediately above and below. Part 1 above is for the superBranch A+D. Part 2 below is for the superBranch B+C+I and branch II. The individual main Plant family branches I and II have not, as yet, been linked to any other Plant.

    Emerging branching within Main Plant Family- part 2

    In short Y-DNA tests help to distinguish between the many Plants. A simple test indicates whether they belong to a small male-line Plant family or the very large one. If in the large one, BigY-700 testing (was BigY-500) helps further with the branching beyond that possible with simple Y-DNA tests and this then forms a basis for further simpler testing of other individuals to see if they belong in one particular branch or, for example, whether they are in two different parts of the descending branches despite being geographical neighbours just by accident.

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    Example of branching in connection with Branch A

    For example, the following diagram shows the outcome of further testing of Branch A individuals based on the BigY-700 results for P1a: in this case, YSEQ testing was carried out on P48a, P53a, P33a, and P1c.

    For P35a and P52a, there is a male-line discontinuity in their descent from Branch A. Towards the earliest extreme of thiis branch, all of the others have DYS570=20 apart from P48a – this indicates that P53a branches off after P48a to have the mutation to DYS570=20 though it is not, as yet, clear whether the DYS570 mutation occurred before the William Plant (d 1769) denoted Wm(0) as shown below or at the birth of his son Thomas (b 1745).

    In the case of some other branches (e.g. Branch D), BigY results were obtained for more than one individual, as well as YSEQ testing of others. This can help to uncover more key markers to test to help to unravel the branching. Also, a BigY-700 test is now available which, at least in principle, can help beyond BigY-500.

    Emerging branching within Branch A

    Thus, in the blue boxes, the mutation of the Y-STR marker DYS650 for example, from the value 19 to 18, apparently occurred early in the superBranch A+D followed by a back-mutation to 19 in the descent of the Plant volunteer P1c. The possibility of back mutations such as this for the Y-STR DYS markers underlines the value of more stable Y-SNP markers such as R-Y22430 for the apparent superBranch A+D. However, the rare micro-allele value DYS710=33.2 for Branch A seems likely to be sufficiently distinctive to have occurred only once so that it can be reliably placed as shown. In the white boxes, the William Plant designated Wm(1) for example is described in more detail in a number of places, including Figure 17.6 of Chapter 17 which is available in Journal 17 on the Plant website at the location shown in red. More generally, some relevant documents for the Branch A genealogy in particular are available here

    Some documentary notes concerning the place of Branch A in the superBranch A+D.

    The Plant volunteers P5a and P29a have ancestry in the Cheshire Main Homeland and the Y-DNA results show that they are indeed linked together at the top of Branch D before others in this this branch split off into a separate sub-branch.

    As well as in the main Plant homeland, many of those tested to be in Branch D have ancestry at Market Harbourough in Leicestershire. They might have migrated into Leicestershire as late as around 1700 though perhaps earlier. For example, there was a drover called Edmund Plant of Hurdesfield in Cheshire who was being sued for debt in Leicestershire as early as 1453, presumably in connection with his activities away from Cheshire as a drover.

    Turning to Branch A, all those tested so far have ancestry around Sheffield and it seems that they could well have arrived in NE Derbyshire, near Sheffield, around 1700. A detailed discussion of this link around 1700 is given here, direct from the main Plant homeland to around 30 miles away at Duckmanton (and hence to the ensuing documentary genealogy for Branch A near Sheffield). That said, a possibly unrelated migration part way along this route seems evident much earlier. Some Plants were apparently on their way by 1538, when Ralph Gell of Wirksworth had provided a Christopher Plant with a cottage (now the Old House Museum in Bakewell) for him to act as his tythe collector. It is possible that this Christopher Plant maintained a connection back to the main Plant homeland in as much as there is a 1591 will for a Christopher Plant of Leek (perhaps the same one as in a 1567 will which is summarised here) or earlier there is a 1532-3 Christopher Plant at Swynnerton. Some other nearby Plants, though not necessarily closely related, include ones at Bakewell and Great Longstone both just 17 miles from Duckmanton – these include: Anna Plant married in 1616 at Bakewell; Richard Plant married 1640 Great Longstone; there is also for example a 1545 will for Hugh Plant of Wirksworth, around 12 miles to the south of Bakewell.

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    Location and Migration maps of Plant families and branches throughout Britain

    here for individuals corresponding to such codes as P28a]

    The evident fourteenth-century homeland of the main Plant family is indicated by the black star on the following two maps. Good documentary evidence for the male ancetral line of each man who has been Y-DNA tested is generally not available until many centuries after the main Plant family first formed. The Plant name is first known in Normandy in 1180 and the adoption of the Plant surname in England is estimated to have been around the thirteenth or early fourteenth century. Much mystery surrounds the Plants' first surname bearers: clear documentary evidence for the ancestral male line of living Plants usually reaches back no more than a couple of centuries, often less. Often there are several Williams or Johns, for example, to confuse which one belongs to which line. Y-DNA evidence helps by showing the locations of the relatively recent Plant ancestors for some small Plant families and also within the large main Plant family with its discernible branches. Fortunately, most migrations in earlier times were evidently less distant than happens now though that was not always the case. New volunteers for Y-DNA testing can see how they fit with the locational evidence that has already become available.

    In the following two maps, the locations of some symbols are approximate because they need to be spread to make room for their labels. The circles are for the large main Plant family and the triangles are for some smaller ones. The small squares are for Plants who do not yet Y-DNA match any other Plant who has been tested so far. Further details for the tested Plants who are shown in these maps are given through the labels which also appear in the lists of participants near the start of this webpage.

    The first map takes in the relevant parts of the British Isles and the county boundaries are those of post-1974. The second map clarifies details within the main Plant homeland and shows boundaries of the earlier counties (which are now often called ceremonial counties).

    Descent Map including small Plants families and the large main
        See also close-up map of main homeland below.

    All of the Plants in six small families have traced their ancestry back to the British Isles (sometimes making progress after obtaining their Y-DNA results). The small families I and II (green and purple triangles) are from ancestors in south Lincolnshire, shown near the right edge of the above widespread map. For family III (grey triangles), P21a has known ancestry in Ireland, with P16a and P55a in the West Midlands of England: the label for P16a can be seen with its grey triangle near the bottom of the close-up map below and that for P55a just south of the black star. For family IV (blue triangles), both P35a and P52a have ancestry near Sheffield, as shown in the close-up map; they are shown spread around that region to aid visual clarity. For family V (red triangles), P44a is shown in the ceremonial county of Leicestershire in the close-up map though with the latest testing it should be replaced by a yellow square while P50a is shown in the more widespread map at London, since he is evidently descended from a mariner based there, as so is P50b. For small family VI (orange triangle), both P37a and P45a are shown in Leicestershire in the close-up map.

    Turning to the main Plant family (circles), by the times that the earliest known male-line ancestor of a tested Plant man is known with some certainty, that ancestor had typically migrated from this family's evident fourteenth-century location. The black star indicates the first precisely known location for this family, evidently at Midgley in south Cheshire, though they may have been earlier a little to its south, as suggested by a feudal hypothesis that associates them with Horton in north Staffordshire. Some have since travelled far; others have remained more local into recent times as indicated in the close-up map.

        See also wider view of British Isles above.
    Close up Map
including Four or more Branches

    Within the main family, the earliest known ancestors of PT1a (Unknown Branch) and P7b (Branch D) are in the USA: hence they do not appear in either of the two maps. Such a distant migration can sometimes lead to a lesser concentration of Plants in a region, perhaps seemingly with less confusion concerning similarly named Plants. However, the Y-DNA evidence can still provide information to help identify a living man's relatives in England, either as a main family branch or a particular small family.

    Careful checking by DNA is generally advisable, even when there are only a few Plants in a distant region from their main homeland, because they might not all be from the same Plant family or the same branch of the large main family. Some examples are outlined below.

    The DNA data indicate that geographic proximity does not always correspond to a close family relationship between Plants in a particular region. For example, the Y-DNA evidence shows some migration of the main Plant family across the Irish sea. The ancestors of PT3a and P25a in Ireland belong to Branch B of the Main Plant Family, whereas P28a and P28b have a different ancestral male line: to wit, the sub-branch of Branch C for P28a/b has separated from others in Branch C who are shown with green circles in the close-up map. The closest geographical proximity in Ireland is between Plants of these two different branches: P28a and P28b (Branch C) are not far from PT3a (of Branch B). Relying on geographical proximity, for assuming a close family connection between these quite close neighbours in Ireland, would have been misleading in this example.

    Although they are found in quite well separated places in Ireland, the earliest known ancestors of PT3a and P25a are both linked through Branch B to P20a and P26a in England (blue circles in the close-up map) towards the south of the main Plant homeland. Further north, the earliest known ancestries of P30a and P39a (green circles) are in the main homeland (green circles), near Stoke-on-Trent, as well as this branch also having reached into Ireland (P28a and P28b).

    On the other hand, the yellow circles in the close-up map are all near Sheffield (P23a, P1a, P1b, P1c, P33a, P48a). This Branch A of the main Plant family evidently arrived in this region before the Industrial Age though that then led on to many around there congregating more closely in this industrial centre (Sheffield and Rotherham). Incidentally, P1b is shown as a yellow circle - in fact, the available DNA evidence indicates that he belongs to the main Plant family but not sufficiently many DNA markers have been measured to confirm that he belongs specifically to Branch A - he is also ascribed a yellow circle just on the basis of documentation. Taken together, the evidence suggests that this particular branch (Branch A) of the main Plant family found its way across the Dark Peak to reach NE Derbyshire and Sheffield around or before 1700. Results for Branch A so far appear isolated in one region unlike other branches.

    The known ancestors of Branch D men (purple circles) are quite widely spread, being near the black star in England (P5a and P29a) as well as to its north (P43a) and its south (P40a); moreover its ancestry had spread into the south east of the ceremonial county of Leicestershire (P2a, P2b, P36a) seemingly by 1716. It has been suggested that the ancestral line of this trio (P2a, P2b, P36a) was ealier at the location shown for P40a (at Swynnerton in north Staffordshire). The purple circles have been ascribed purely on the basis of the Y-DNA evidence, with one exception. It is the documentary evidence that indicates that P2b belongs to the same branch as P2a - only a few of his Y-DNA markers have been measured, just enough to confirm that he belongs to the main Plant family - it is on the basis of just documentary evidence that he too is ascribed a purple circle (Branch D) instead of a grey one (Unknown Branch).

    In order to reach its large population, the Main Plant Family can be expected to have had many early branches, descended from quite closely related early cousins within the single main family. Some of these early branches might not have proliferated much beyond the confines of their early locations and, indeed, some might have daughtered out there with no living male-line descendants at all. However some, such as P19a, might have migrated early from the black star at the northern-most tip of Staffordshire to the vicinity of Birmingham. Such an early migration south seems possible, in so far as there is a record of a Plant by 1401 at Overton not far from the grey circle for P19a (for more detail, see this map showing some early locations in both north and south Staffordshire). Turning to the unknown branch of P49a, it appears that his ancestry might have belonged to a Sheriff Hales branch in Shropshire. However, the ancestral line of P49a then apparently returned from there back to Leek in the main Plant ancestral homeland (black star) by 1679 and his line was still there in 1719. It should be added however that, since many early records for Leek parish are missing (as evidenced here), it is in general difficult to know whether some such lines, in fact, had remained in Leek parish throughout the early centuries of the main Plant family.

    Some of those shown by grey circles in the close-up map simply have not had suffieciently many Y-DNA markers measured to determine their branch within the main Plant family. However two of them (P19a and P49a) have had many markers measured which has indicated that they do not match any of the well populated branches (A, B, C or D). Nor do they share any telling markers with one another. The two blue circles (Branch B) are not far from the known ancestral location (grey circles) of P19a and perhaps also that for P49a. This suggests that there could have been much divergence of the main family branching near Birmingham near the far south of Staffordshire, or perhaps the divergence had occurred before they arrived there.

    The locations of these two particular grey circles (P19a and P49a) and the blue circles, near Wombourne and Sheriff Hales, are near early locations of the Audleys, who have been associated with a feudal hypothesis for the origins of the Plant surname. That said, it is far from certain that it was specifically main-family Plants who were in south Staffordshire so early. In the early thirteenth century the Audleys held land at Shareshill near Wolverhapmton, to which one might add that the 1981 telephone directory (before mobile phones) for Wolverhampton (Wolverhampton, Dudley and Walsall) had the second largent number of Plants, second only to Stoke on Trent in north Staffordshire near other Audley lands. However migrations of main-family Plants from north Staffordshire to the south more recently than the thirteenth century can clearly not be discounted. It might be added that the small family III (grey triangles) also has evident ancestry in both south and north Staffordshire.

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    The L617 haplogoup of the main Plant family

    The following diagram combines data assembled by John Marsh (ca.2010-18) with 37 marker Y-STR data for the main Plant family. Though the details of Network diagrams are sensitive to the chosen markers and to who is included (see above) it shows some main family groupings for some initially tested individuals who are known to belong to the R1b-L617+ haplogroup.

    Network diagram of surnames within the L617 haplogroup
          [Diagram suplied by REP]

    In particular, the Plant cluster (individuals P) is well separated to the left of the diagram. Its ancentral line evidently diverged from those others in this diagram (e.g. individuals M for Marsh) perhaps around three thousand years ago.

    Details of 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.

    Increasingly many L617+ individuals have since been identified beyond those in the above diagram. The following MEGA6 diagram shows some individuals who have been identified as L617+. Tight groupings, such as Marsh-Westmoreland-Teague are more likely to be resilient than looser groupings, such as Plant-Warren-Coursey-Dunstan, which are more likely to be revised as more data become available. Even tight groupings can be deceptive however, especially when they are not connected by a single surname, as they can arise from haplotype convergence.

    MEGA6 diagram of surnames within the L617 haplogroup
          [Diagram suplied by REP]

    The above scheme has been improved (and partly confirmed) more recently by further results as outlined in the haplotree below which includes the benefit of some newly identified Y-SNP markers – new Y-SNPs can be uncovered by FTDNA BigY-500 testing for example with an improved BigY-700 test now available instead. The following diagram shows, beneath FGC14951+ for example, that Dunstan has the further marker BY31995+ whereas it is -ve for Plant; however, this marker has not been tested for a Warren (FT-B4020) or for Coursey (both are single marker FGC14951+ confirmed, though via a proxy surname FT-285446 for Coursey). Some of the L617 results are publicly available here.

    Haplotree of surnames within the L617 haplogroup

    Living individuals in the parent clades of R1b-L617+ are found mostly in Iberia. In particular, many of the individuals in the parent clade R1b-DF27+, perhaps originating a few hundred years before R1b-L617+, are found mostly around the Pyrennees. Though we cannot be certain, it is reasonable to suppose that these locations may be near where these clades first formed and that most of their descendants have not migrated far from their ancestral origins, near the Pyrenees.

    Those so far found for L617+ might well represent a biased dataset however. It might so far be noted that many are for surnames further to the north. It seems that the ancestors of these individuals had migrated northwards between around 3000 to 1000 years ago perhaps, in particular, with trade along the Atlantic and Baltic coasts of Europe. Surnames for the Atlantic coast of France are notably missing but this can be expalined by the fact that genetic genealogy is so far banned in France (Jan 2020), with potentially large fines, such that relatively few Frenchmen have been tested.

    In the above diagram, there are surnames for Poland and Lithuania (Sobolewski and Puras), ones from evidently around the Netherlands (Oreel and Strydom) and Normandy (Coursey) as well as several English surnames. There is also one for Iberia (Ortiz) though he does not have the additional Y-SNP mutation FGC14591+.

    For the English surnames, there might 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. Alternatively, the ancestral lines of some of these surname descents might have arrived separately in England at different dates between the Bronze Age and late medieval times.

    The deep ancestral descent of the male line leading down to the main Plant family is discussed further elsewhere in the website.

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    Matching Diagram for Plante

    Similarly as was outlined above for Plant, the following is a 12-marker Network diagram for the French Canadian Plante family. So far, all those tested with this spelling live in North America. Their locations are shown in this map though, as shown in another map, untested men with the Plante name live also in SW France, with a few also elsewhere. In the Network diagram below, it is clear that the green circles do not match with the main Plante family (yellow circles). All men with the Plante name that have been tested so far are genetically distinct from all those tested with the Plant(t) name.

    12 loci Network for Plante

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    Some statistical considerations

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

    Some early considerations of a single ancestor model and polygyny

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    Summary of Results for Plant-like names so far

    A characteristic Y-line DNA signature has been found for 40 of the 76 Plant (and Plantt) volunteers tested so far, indicating an unusually large single family in this populous surname. Different results have been obtained for 1 volunteer called Plants and for 1 called Plenty and for 11 volunteers called Plante (though 8 of 12 with the Plante name, including one called LaPlante, 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 or Plante, descended mostly from its own main single family. The Canadian Plante family is of different male-line stock from the main English Plant family. Though unlikely, either might be fantastically imagined to have descended from the fictionally-supposed 7th century Plantard family in France; or, fiction aside, perhaps from Durand Plante in western Normandy 1180 or perhaps Eimeric de la Planta (alias de Plant') in Anjou in 1202. Alternatively, the main Plant family could be just an English family from around 1300-1400 near Dieulacres abbey in north Staffordshire, perhaps with links also to adjoining Audley lands. That said, the deep male-line genetic ancestry of the unusually large main Plant family seems to have come from Gascony a millennium or two or more ago and one possibility is accordingly that it came across in the thirteenth or fourteenth century when the English crown had very strong links with Aquitaine, not least in connection with England's biggest import: Gascon wine. This does not rule out other possibilities for the Plant(e) name more generally though I discuss the likely relevance of the medieval French vineyards in some detail in section 6(ii) here.

    Other evidence, taken with these Y-DNA findings, suggests a less likely possibility that the name of the main English Plant family might have originated as polygynous children in the Welsh Marches in the 13th or 14th centuries with the Welsh meaning '[many] children' relating to a sense 'offspring' as opposed to 'religious brethren'. Alternatively, the surname might have been ascribed to several related men with the topolgical meaning 'living near a newly planted (or established) place' perhaps near where the name is first found in its main homeland of the northern border of Staffordshire with Cheshire, England. Yet another possibility is that the name might have been associated with the placename le Plantis in Normandy which is consistent with a Longspee-Audley hypothesis for the name's arrival in its main homeland.

    Leaving aside such conjecture, a single medieval family now called Plant has more certainly grown to an unusual extent. Uncertainties concerning the origins of the Plant and Plante families are not helped by the fact that, for example, no Plante in France has yet been Y-DNA tested to try to investigate further the belief that, for example, the main Canadian Plante family came from France. Also, though the main Plant family is generally regarded as English, it has an ancestral deep-clade R1b-L617 which is found mostly in the same region as the Plante name in SW France; legal restrictions on DNA testing in France, however, are hampering further investigation.

    Though research is ongoing, some major branches have been identified for the main Plant family. Since these branches evidently split early, the details are difficult to ascertain. However, geographical considerations suggest, for example, that Branch A might be associated with the sixteenth-century (Tudor) Christopher Plant of the Bakewell Old House Museum (Derbyshire, England). Some of the other branches include early links to America. Though medieval peasants were generally tied to their local plot of land, it seems there was a mobility that could have been as early as a Sir John Plant in Dublin, Ireland (1479-84) who served as head of household of the Primate of Ireland. Though the difficulties of distinguishing one John from another should not be understated, even in those early times of relatively few, there was a John Plant jnr listed as a worthy of east Cheshire in 1445 [NW Midlands Plant homeland in England]; or, if we were to push our imagination further, a John Plante as an archer in the Duke of York's expeditionary force to France, in 1441, before the Duke was withdrawn to Ireland in 1447. The earliest surviving evidence dates from 1360 for the most populous Plant homeland, around NE Staffordshire and SE Cheshire. Within the realms of the more solid Y-DNA evidence, the main Plant family Branches B and C include links from the main homeland to Ireland; and, Branch D to the USA in the seventeenth century, as well as across north Derbyshire to become (as a sub-branch of D, as it turns out) the aforementioned Branch A near Sheffield by early in the eighteenth century.

    The characteristic Y-DNA signature for the main Plant family 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 have also been associated with the surnames Somerset, Cornwall and Warren/Waring-like names (see also evidence for a Plant-Warenne affinity) and the Plants had early proximities to descents from the Warren earls and from an illegitimate grandson, William Longspée of Geffrey Plantegenest of Anjou and western Normandy. The nineteenth-century claim that the Plants are illegimate descendants of the Plantagenets, much doubted since it was claimed in the nineteenth century, has been disconfirmed by Y-DNA. In the course of investigating this, it emerged that, unlike Plant(t), Warren and Waring are multiple-ancestor surnames, perhaps mostly descended from various unrelated individuals with the common Norman personal name Warin. Neither has there been any Y-DNA match to the surnames Corwall, Somerset nor to the skeleton of Richard III. Any possible connection to the Plantagenet name is hence far more likely to have been cultural, perhaps relating to such contemporary beliefs as in the nutritive, augmentative and generative powers in the vegetal soul; or, seemingly more likely, God's planted craft in man's intellective soul which were topical features of early Plant, not least in the main Plant homeland.

    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 that had all grown to similar extents. The DNA results, at least so far, do not confirm 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. On the other hand, there is particular evidence of many unrelated Plants around the main homeland, allowing that they could have originated as 'abbey offshoots' [such as lay brothers or retainers] who were unrelated in the male line [see elsewhere on this website such as here]. Together with our computer simulations, the evidence suggests that there are a handful of Plant families surviving intact from the eariest times, with in particular one dominant one that has grown abnormally, in keeping with the male-line Y-DNA results with some of the unmatching ones descended through later female links in passing down the Plant surname.

    A possibility that seems at least so far unlikely is that the English Plant name developed from the spelling Plente (meaning abundant or fertile). There is only a single Y-DNA result so far for the surname Plenty, which quite feasibly derived from Plente, and this does not match any similar name tested so far.

    Further Y-line testing of Plant-like names, such as for the Plante name in Gascony (SW France), or the Plantard name in Brittany (NW France), or the noble Planta/Von Planta family of Switzerland, as well as many with the name Planta in the Phillipines and South America, might shed further light in due course.

    I began the Plant DNA project in late 2001 and, apart from this my website, some accounts elsewhere of its implications for the Plant and Plantagenet names have been included in the following publications:

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    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 a project with the FamilyTree-DNA (FT-DNA) Testing Laboratory. The standard FT-DNA test measures 12 markers for 59 US dollars, though 25 markers can be measured instead for 109 US dollars or 37 markers for 149 US dollars or 67 markers for 248 US dollars. You can take the 12-marker test and then subsequently upgrade to more markers, only if appropriate. That test will tell you if you belong to the abnormally large main Plant family, for example. Then we are always happy to advise on the merits of any further testing, beyond the basic Y-DNA12 test, in any given particular case.

    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 (J S Plant) by email:

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