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What we have learned from Y-DNA testing
The Renshaw Y-DNA project was formed seven years ago to help Renshaw, Rencher, Runshaw, Ranshaw, Ramshaw, Olorenshaw, Wrenshaw, Wrench and Wrenn researchers learn whether various families of these names were closely related. Generally speaking, the more DNA marker values two men have in common, the more closely they are related. We now have DNA tests completed or in progress for over sixty Renshaws and men with similar surnames. Through DNA testing we have already discovered that several Renshaw / Rencher family groups are related to each other and we have disproved other presumed relationships. To see the various lines for which one or more Renshaws have tested, click on the Charts link at the top of this page. The first chart, the Alleles Chart, shows the DNA results according to the numbers. The second chart, the Quick Chart, outlines a brief genealogy for most of the men who have tested, although there are still some questions about a few of the genealogies.
Y-DNA testing has enabled us to group together Renshaw and Rencher cousins. When you click on the Charts link, you will see that there are several blocks of test results, grouped according to DNA results and also according to their known migration and family relationships. The ancestors of the men in the first six color blocks, from the bright yellow color block through the strong blue block, lived in England, mostly in several adjacent counties in the Midlands. The Renshaws in these first six color blocks are all related, although some of the relationships are at a distance of 400 years to the most recent common ancestor. The seventh block, which is colored bright aqua, is comprised of men whose ancestors lived in Scotland and in Northern Ireland. The eighth block is for men whose surname was originally Olorenshaw and who originated in Warwickshire. There are also about twenty men who do not yet have DNA matches. Some of these men may have had an adoption or other unrecorded paternal event in their line. Some of the men may come from Renshaw lines which do not have any living representatives or whose other representatives have not yet tested. We continue to test Renshaws in the hopes of finding family groups for as many as possible.
The results for the men in the top yellow block with ancestors from Leicestershire and from an area near the old Cheshire / Lancashire border are thought to represent the "ancestral haplotype" -- the oldest Y-DNA values for the related Renshaws and Renchers from England based on current knowledge. If we create a phylogram of the results from these obviously-related Renshaws, the result looks like a modified starburst with the ancestral haplotype in the middle and the other subgroups radiating out from the center. We can also describe this effect as, "The ancestral haplotype has the greatest number of close matches."
The balance of the page contains many Renshaws and variations whom we hope to place into wider family groupings as the testing progresses. We are pleased that there are project members from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well as men from the UK and the US in this group, and we would like to find more who are interested in Y-DNA testing.If you would like to learn more about the results, email Eleanor Gordon at Egrdn@aol.com with your questions.