Tattersfield Y-DNA Project

The Project was carried out between Dec 2019 and April 2020. There were eight Participants, including myself. Two were from the Heckmondwike family, Charts 1 and 2,3, and one each from the families of York, Hull, London, Leeds and Lancashire, Charts 5-9 respectively. The eighth was from the Tatterfield family of Massachusetts, Chart 20.

One other Tattersfield joined later, having tested previously. He was known to be from the Heckmondwike family, Chart 2,3.

Tests were carried out at FTDNA, Houston, and a lead and advice was kindly given, both in setting up the Project and in interpreting the results, by Susan Meates, DNA Advisor to the Guild of One-Name Studies.

One sample from each participant was analysed using 37 Markers. Any genetic relationship was expressed as the Genetic Distance (GD) between the individual participants, on a scale GD0-GD4. The number is the number of mutations, so GD0 is the closest, and GD4 the furthest. We use “UNR” to denote where testing has indicated branches are unrelated. The relationships discovered between the Tattersfield branches, and with Tattersalls and Tatterfields are in the following table.

Chart(s) 1 2, 356789TattersallTatterfield
Table of Genetic Distances between Chart Members Participating in the Tattersfield DNA Project

The above results are very interesting and revealing, if rather unexpected.

The Participants fall into three Groups, given arbitrary numbers 001, 002 and 003.

Genetic Group 001 includes myself and the other two results from the Heckmondwike family, each at Genetic Distance GD1-2 (meaning separated by one or two mutations). This Group do NOT match any other Tattersfield participants, nor the Tattersall/hall families who have tested separately.

Genetic Group 002 includes the five Participants in the table above, from the York, Hull, London, Leeds and Lancashire families, who match each other at GD0-4. They also match the Tattersall/hall families at GD0-4.

Genetic Group 003. This Participant, from the Tatterfield family of Massachusetts, does not match any of the Tattersfields or Tattersall/halls.

Some observations about the three Genetic Groups are set out below.


This Group are in Haplogroup I-M253. This Haplogroup occurs at greatest frequency in Scandinavia. It makes up about 20% of England, and is either Viking or Anglo-Saxon. The three Participants were already known, and shown on the family tree Charts 1 and 2,3, so it was to be expected that they would match each other.

As a part of the presentation of results, and to aid comparisons, the earliest known ancestor (or Most Distant Ancestor–MDA) is stated. Originally the three Participants from Heckmondwike were given Joseph Tattersfield (1747-95) as MDA. Two Participants were known to be descended form his eldest son, Joseph (1779-1851), and the third Participant from his youngest son Moses (1791-1857). The DNA results, and a general review of the evidence, has led to the MDA being changed to Christopher Tattersfield, who married in Dewsbury Parish Church in 1712.

The only known Tattersfield, earlier than Christopher, in Dewsbury, or, indeed, anywhere, was Thomas, who married in 1686, and died in 1706. This may not have been his first marriage. There is no evidence that he was related to Christopher, but the dates suggest he could possibly have been his father. Various on-line family trees give dates of birth and death for Christopher, and a date of birth for Thomas. I have not seen any source quoted, and the dates are not from the Dewsbury Parish records. Accordingly, I have not accepted them.

Each Participant has matches with names other than Tattersfield. A common ancestor with such surnames could well have been before the adoption of surnames in the period 1250-1450, so no useful conclusions can be drawn.

The fact that there are no earlier Tattersfields suggests that the name is a recent variant. Moreover, it is not a variant of the Tattersall/hall families who have tested. There are no known males today, descended from this family before Joseph (1747-95), who could be asked to take a DNA test. Future research will have to centre on scouring sources from any other early records, and hoping more information might arise from new DNA projects which reveal a match.


This Group are in Haplogroup I-M223, and are not in the same Genetic Group as the Heckmondwike participants. The group is rare in the British isles, and could be Viking or Anglo-Saxon. The Yorkshire origin indicates, but does not prove, Viking.

Earliest ancestors (MDA’s) from York, Hull and Leeds, and, possibly, Lancashire, were married in Dewsbury Parish Church in the period 1770-1788. It is not, therefore, surprising that they match each other. However, there is no known documentary evidence to link the London family with Yorkshire, so the match between them is very revealing.

Given the absence of early Tattersfields in the documentary records, a match between this Group and Tattersall/hall is not very surprising. These matches appear to cover five different Tattersall/hall families, but, in fact, three of those are related to each other, and the other two possibly so. The matches are not, therefore, as wide spread as they appear to be.

The earliest ancestors for York, Hull and Leeds all married in Dewsbury, while the earliest ancestor for London married in Holborn, London, in 1772. The earliest ancestor for Lancashire, is shown as John, who married in Halifax, Yorkshire, in 1816. In fact it is probable that his father was James, married in Dewsbury Parish Church, in 1788, but this is not displayed, pending further research and greater confidence.

The FTDNA website also offers a TiP analysis. This gives the statistical probability that men who match had a common ancestor within any specified number of past generations. Typically it shows probabilities of about 99% for GD0 to 78% for GD4 , within the last twelve generations.

However, the advice we have received is that mutations are random events, and therefore no time scale can be deduced from the GD values, except that the common ancestor was after the period 1250-1450, and before the start of the documented trees. Accordingly the TiP analysis is not pursued any further here, but can be studied against the DNA values for each Participant.

It seems reasonable to think that low GD numbers show more recent common ancestry than higher numbers. On this basis the Leeds family would be more distantly related than the others.

The only GD0 is between York and Lancashire. It is interesting to note that the Marriage Certificate of Thomas Tattersfield, head of the York family, in Dewsbury in 1770, was witnessed by James, who I have suggested above was head of the Lancashire family. Possibly they were closely related, such as brothers.

Also the Hull family match at GD0 with the Tattersall/hall families who have tested.

Further research will concentrate on the Tattersall/hall families to the west of Dewsbury in the 17th and 18th centuries. Already a number of examples have been found of men whose name was changed from Tattersall to Tattersfield. These are shown in Charts 11 and 15 in this website. Also very speculative links further back have been suggested on Charts 15A and 16. These latter may well be abandoned or changed after further research.


The single sample from the Tatterfield family shows Haplogroup R-M269. This is part of R1b, making up about 45% of Europe. It is the most common European Haplogroup, and increases in frequency from east to west.

The earliest known Tatterfield ancestor was William Henry Tatterfield, born in Burin, Newfoundland, in 1846. The church register is indistinct, and his father might have been William Tar(?)field, who was called a planter in 1842, and a fisherman in 1838, 1847 and 1848. Burin had a population of 1158 in 1836, and strong connections with the area of Poole, Dorset, England.

There are no matches with any Tattersfield or Tattersall/hall families who have tested. Perhaps future DNA tests will reveal a link. Otherwise the name might be a late variant of a different root.