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the Appleby one-name study and DNA project

the Appleby one-name study and DNA project

Surnames covered in our DNA project:



plus any other variants


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The current banner shows Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland - a county in the far north east of England, bordering Scotland.  This region is home to a number of Appleby lines - and our DNA project has confirmed genetic connections between several of these, which also match lines in Canada, USA and Ireland.


As well as thirty eight sets of results from men who have tested with Family Tree DNA, this spreadsheet includes results from two Appleby descendants who tested with another company (Ancestry DNA).  Because different companies use slightly different ranges of markers to those used by Family Tree DNA, this reduces the level of certainty about degree of matching.

This is a pdf file of an Excel spreadsheet, which will open with Adobe reader.  To view the details, you will need to enlarge the image to about 200% (using the magnification tool on your Adobe browser) and then scroll across and down.


It is very encouraging to report that of the 40 sets of results received to date, 31 of them match at least one other person within our project.  The results point to there being several geographical locations for the early origins of the Appleby surname - though we have not yet found the 'Founding Appleby' for any of the groups!

Appleby deep ancestral origins

As well as providing evidence of links between different individuals within a genealogical time frame, DNA testing also provides information about a person's Haplogroup.  Much scientific research has resulted in an clearer understanding of the routes by which holders of the different Haplogroups migrated from the 'cradle of humanity' in East Africa, and the timing of their likely arrival at the eventual place of settlement.


So far, five of our testers belong to the E Haplogroup, the rest all belong to the R Haplogroup*.  

  • Migration map for R Haplogroup - Haplogroup R journeyed into Europe from Central Asia about 25,000 years ago, then spread and multiplied  until its lineages can be found throughout Europe where many sat out the last Ice Age in Southern France.  It is particularly frequent around the Atlantic coastal areas of Western Europe and the Western parts of Ireland and Britain.

  • Migration map for E Haplogroup - Haplogroup E had its origins in East Africa where it spread amongst the North and West African populations, then to the Middle East about 20,000 years ago.  From there it moved into Europe from the Mediterranean.  Only a small percentage of Britain's population belongs to this group and there are various theories as to how they arrived - see the article on Wikipedia about this haplogroup

* NB - in the Spring of 2014, Family Tree DNA revised the Haplogroup naming system as a result of expanding the Phylogenic Tree - this affected all our test results however the Migration map is unchanged.

The DNA Project began in 2010, and we now have forty sets of yDNA results.  

Latest yDNA results (updated December 2015)

If you are a male Appleby/Applebee from a line that has not yet tested - please contact me today to find out if you qualify for one of our reduced price 37 marker yDNA test kits - and discover if your ancestors are linked to any of the lines which have already tested.  

  • Applebys of Haswell (MDKA John Appleby, born ~1786 Lanchester, Co Durham

  • Applebys of Embleton (MDKA Thomas Appleby, b ~1817 Long Framlington, Northumberland  We believe we have established the connection between this line and that of the Acklington Applebys - details to follow shortly!

  • Acklington Applebys (MDKA Thomas Appleby, b~1615, Acklington, Northumberland)

  • John Appleby, stonemason of Acklington (MDKA John Appleby b~1790 Acklington, Northumberland - we have two sets of identical results for this line and now know that it is another branch of the very large main Acklington line.

  • William Appleby of Philadelphia (MDKA William Appleby b~1752 who arrived in America from Ireland in the 1770s) - we have two sets of results from different branches of this line.  From the level of matching, it seems likely that their ancestor came from Northumberland - possibly from the line of Acklington Applebys.

  • Gabriel Appleby of  Canada,  was born in Gagetown, New Brunswick in 1850 though his descendants moved to the USA, however, his ancestors are believed to have originated in England (tree to be added asap).

  • Applebys of Kirkcaldy, Scotland - the most distant known ancestor in this line is Patrick Appleby who was born in Ireland in about 1784, but the family lived in Kirkcaldy for many generations.

  • Applebys of Roscommon and Middlesbro' - we suspected a link with the Kirkcaldy line and yDNA now confirms that the two lines share a common ancestor who lived within 8 generations. 

Details of the lines tested to date

Northern counties



Note: we have recently upgraded several sets of results in this group to 67 markers, and hope to use the more detailed information provided to work out when the different lines broke away from the original line for this cluster.

Northern counties


Our biggest successes to date are with the test results for descendants from Northern Appleby lines - where all but one of the 20 results so far fall into one of two groups, which shows that they all share one or other of two common ancestors. Four of our Essex lines are also a good match.  However, we have not yet identified who the shared ancestors for these groups are - the Most Distant Known Ancestor (MDKA) for each line is shown for each line below:

  • Robert Appleby of Thornaby and Eryholme (MDKA Robert Appleby b 1777 Kirkby Malzeard, Yorkshire).  

  • James Appleby of Hurworth (MDKA Henry Appleby, mar 1687 Kirkby Malzeard, Yorkshire) - which also means the Henry of Kirkby Malzeard line is in this group.

  • Thomas Appleby of Leeds (MDKA Thomas Appleby, mar 1818 Leeds, Yorkshire)

  • Applebys of Framwellgate (MDKA William Appleby, b ~1756, Sunderland, Co Durham) - this descendant tested with a different company so the results are not directly comparable, but appear to match the other sets of results very closely.

  • John Appleby of Corbridge (MDKA John Appleby, d. 1696 Corbridge, Northumberland) this set of results matches the Barningham and Framwellgate results more closely than the first three lines in this group, but does appear to be very distantly related to the other Yorkshire lines.

  • Henry Appleby of Barningham (MDKA Henry Appleby b~1560 Barningham, N Yorks)  closest match to John of Corbridge, indicating that these two lines are more recently connected to each other than the other lines.

  • John Appleby of Kelloe (MDKA John Appleby, mar 1769 Kelloe, Co Durham). This line matches that of John of Corbridge in 35/37 markers, Henry of Barningham in 34/37 markers and Thomas of Leeds in 33/37 markers.

  • Cramlington Applebys (MDKA Thomas Appleby, b~1798 Craw Crook, Durham, ENG).  We believe that Thomas actually fits into the John of Corbridge line.  

  • Adam Appleby of Easby (MDKA Adam Appleby, b~1787 Easby, Yorks)

The following sets of results do not match with any of the above groups, or with each other ... I hope that we will soon recruit more testers from these regions to discover if there are connections between lines with similar geographical origins

Lines originating in Essex

Lines originating in the Midlands

Lines originating in Somerset

  • James Appleby and Sarah Norman (MDKA James Appleby, mar 1805 Fingringhoe, Essex).  The results from this line do not match a second tester from the same line or either of the sets of results from the Essex lines in Group Three above.  Although the results held are not closely matched to any of our Appleby results, they do match a number of men in the LEWTER DNA project at 25 markers.  The LEWTER surname appeared in Essex as early as 1130 in the Pipe Rolls, so it is possible that this line of Applebys shares a common ancestor with the LEWTERs, though possible many generations ago.

  • George Applebee of Ardleigh (MDKA George Applebee b~1780 Ardleigh, Essex) We were surprised to find that this set of results did not match the first set of results received for this line, but we are now investigating whether in fact this is because one of the more distant Applebees in the branch the child of a former relationship and adopted as an Applebee.

  • Joseph Applebee of Snitterfield (MDKA Joseph Applebee, b~1823 Snitterfield, Warwickshire)

  • Samuel Applebee, pipemaker (MDKA Samuel Applebee, mar 1726 London) although all his descendants lived in London, we know that his father came from Tutbury in Staffs

  • William Barker Appleby (MDKA Wm Barker Appleby, b~1774, Boston, Lincs) - this is the first line we have tested with origins in Lincolnshire.

  • William Appleby of Kingsdon (MDKA William Appleby, b 1786 Kingsdon, Somerset)

Lines with unknown origin

  • James Appleby was born in around 1813 in Kentucky - it is believed his ancestors came from England, but we don't know where.  Although this set of results is only for 12 markers, they also fall into the E haplogroup like the London/Midland results in Group Five above.



  • Nathaniel Appleby of Langenhoe (MDKA Nathaniel Appleby 1759-1830 Langenhoe, Essex)

  • George Appleby of Ardleigh (MDKA George Appleby, b~1780 Ardleigh, Essex)

  • James Appleby and Sarah Norman (MDKA James Appleby, mar 1805 Fingringhoe, Essex)

  • Miles Applebee of Dedham (MDKA Miles Applebee, b~1790 Dedham, Essex)

Midlands counties


  • John Appleby, trimming maker (MDKA John Appleby b. 1774 Coventry, Warwicks) - line one: descended from his son John Appleby and Ann Pluck

  • John Appleby, trimming maker (MDKA John Appleby b. 1774 Coventry, Warwicks) - line two: descended from his son Thomas Appleby and Phoebe Davis



All these lines fall into the E Haplogroup, however whilst the two WILLENHALL lines are a very close match,  the other two are only distantly related - it is likely that any common ancestor between the two Willenhall lines and the other Midlands lines lived 500 years ago or longer:

  • WILLENHALL Applebys - line A (MDKA Humphrey Appleby, b ~1610 Willenhall, Staffs)

  • WILLENHALL Applebys - line D (MDKA Humphrey Appleby, b~1610 Willenhall, Staffs)

  • HINCKLEY Applebys (MDKA William Appelbee, d.1789 Hinckley, Leics)

  • Joseph Appleby, tin plate worker (MDKA Joseph Appleby b ~1821 Bethnal Green, London, but we have recently dicovered possible links to the Midlands) 

  • Scarborough Applebys (MDKA William Appleby, 1754-1831, Scarborough, Yorks - this set of results does not match any of the other Northern Counties lines tested to date, so we hope to recruit more descendants from Yorkshire lines to discover where this Scarborough line may have originated.

Lines originating in Northern Counties

location of MDKAs for results to date

see these results on a map

Lines originating in Europe

  • Norwegian Applebys - Christen Bringle Appleby was born in Norway in about 1821, where he married Anna Malinda Olsen and their first six children were born. The family migrated to the USA in about 1870 where they had two more children.  We had expected to find that the line originated in England, but from the DNA results it looks to be more closely matched to other Scandinavian testers.



These two lines are quite distantly related - there is a 78% likelihood of them sharing a common ancestor who lived within the past 24 generations

  • Applebys of Buckinghamshire (MDKA John Appleby, b~1620, Bucks, ENG)

  • Applebys of Oxfordshire (MDKA Wim Appleby, b~1721 Britwell Salome,Oxfordshire, ENG)

Members of the second of these lines have been found living in Swyncombe in Oxfordshire in the mid 18th century and remained in this county for several generations.  Did they originate in Buckinghamshire?  More research is necessary to answer this question!