New DNA marker found for undetermined branch of Clan MacLeod

The years of research in the ACMS ( and L-165 DNA project ( has yielded a new result- The path of SNPs (a kind of DNA marker) to the Y-DNA (Male line descent) of Clan MacLeod is:



This means any male with a direct male-line descent from the predominant male ancestor of the clan will likely test positive for BY3210, which could be significantly older than the clan itself. One new marker, discovered by Clan Members testing FTDNA’s BIG-Y discovery test marks an uncertain branch of Clan MacLeod– BY13703

BY13703 has not been dated by YFull yet ( ), so it’s impossible to know exactly how old it is yet but since it is a “child” of BY3210 that known MacLeod of Lewis and Raasay kits have tested negative for, it is younger than 1200CE. Ancestry from Uist and Harris is reported by 2 of those 14 pioneers who have tested positive, and no further information will be known until more test.

The admins of the ACMS DNA project and L165 Project along with the testers who self-funded all the testing deserve all the credit for advancing our knowledge of the Ancestry of the Clan!

One potentially earth-shattering realization that may come from the project– Known Nordic branch kits in BY3253 (The “Father” of BY3210) have an STR MRCA of 840CE or later… which is after the start of the massive Viking slave trade from Ireland and the Hebrides. The SNP diversity and Hebridean spread of the remainder of L165 just might reverse the belief in an ultimate Norway origin of the Male-line DNA in favor of indigenous Gaels from a minority male-line lineage that migrated in skin boats from the Iberia peninsula in the Bronze Age to the Hebrides, and converted culturally to the Norse when heavily intermarrying with them.  Also, remember that a Majority of folks with the name MacLeod or a variation test Y-DNA R1b-L21, which is the more common Gael Haplogroup, that currently has over 1,600 SNP sub-branches– So if, like me, you are L21 you may need to ask an expert what to test for. I have recently established by own branch (shared with one other tested person) of the Human Y-DNA tree (R1b-FGC61663) with a common ancestor SNP estimated by calculation 225 years ago (Although if it is who we currently believe it is, the actual MRCA was born 252 years ago!). Since it would take way more time to describe how to do this, if you have a particular case you want advice on, write is at


2 thoughts on “New DNA marker found for undetermined branch of Clan MacLeod

    • After Big-Y testing, there is a surprising amount of “Cleanup” still to do! The cheapest way to SNP test is still YSEQ, at $17.50 per single SNP test. FGC (fee), YFull (fee), Alex Williamson of (free) also interpret Big Y results, and often have findings that FTDNA will accept and update. FGC also offers Y Elite 2.1, where FGC both tests and interprets, but is much more expensive than Big-Y. Yfull interpretations also provides a Date for origin and MRCA of each SNP, and it’s not too high of a fee.


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