Stark Lines of Descent

brief highlights pertaining to Stark Family genealogy and the publicly posted DNA results from the Stark Y DNA project


Last updated on Feb. 2, 2017 by Sheila (Stark) Schmutz sheila.schmutz@usask.ca It was originally posted on October 7, 2006. This is a private webpage that has no "official" connection to FTDNA or the Stark Surname Project there or at any other such company. Please address corrections and additions to her.

The official website shows all the Y-DNA results for members of the Stark Y DNA Project at FTDNA.

The detailed pages of information about these members has been designed and maintained by Clovis LaFleur.


In addition to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) where most of these men have been tested, there is one man who has been tested at the Sorenson Lab (http://www.smgf.org), Mr. 9Z5ZG Stark who is also a descendant of Aaron Stark.

To me, genealogy is the study of family history and heritage across time and geography. Genealogy involves sociology, history, geology and perhaps psychology but not necessarily biology. Y DNA is bare bones biology. It provides no context or interpretation of indication of the caring relationships in families. It should therefore not be surprising that the results of genealogical studies and Y DNA studies will not always be in perfect agreement. A difference in biology does not negate our shared heritage.

The drawings below are an attempt to capture some of this information in a visual format. The drawing simply shows one line of descent from an ancestor through males. That is because Y DNA can only be used for males descended from males. In most cases there are many male lines of descent, plus some other lines of descent where female Starks are descended and have sons and/or daughters. Once there is a daughter though, the Y of her sons comes through her husband's line to her sons and of course her daughters do not get a Y at all but an X chromosome from both their mother and their father.

Among the immigrants to North America, there are 3 large Stark families of matches, a couple smaller ones, and then several Starks who do not yet match another Stark.

Stark Settlers from Scotland

This "family" consists of a few very well known ancestors in the United States. The most famous one is General John Stark who fought in the Revolutionary War. He did not leave many male descendants (see above). His father, Archibald Stark came to America from Scotland.

Dr. Richard Starke was probably a cousin of Archibald Stark and came to Virginia from Scotland even earlier.

Clovis LaFleur has posted genealogical information on the men who match this group, which he refers to as Group 2 in the Stark Y DNA Project at FTDNA.

James Stark, of Scotland, also settled in Virginia. He had at least four sons who have descendants who are participants and match each other at most markers. How James is related to either Archibald Stark or Dr. Richard Starke is not known but the DNA of their descendants suggests they have a common ancestor.

Mr. 25347 Stark participated through the Donnachaidh Clan Y DNA project originally. He matches some members of this clan quite well. This clan is composed primarily of Robertsons with some people of other surnames.

Alan McNie wrote "Some Starks were originally Robertsons of Strowan, with descent from Alexander Robertson, who having been found guilty of manslaughter apparently during a family feud, found refuge in Ballindean, where he changed his name to Stark or Stirk. Beatrix Stark recorded in Glasgow, in 1544." This is an excellent example of a case where there could be a dramatic break in the Y DNA haplotype matches based on Surname.

Other Stark family histories explain that a man named Muirhead defended the king from a bull and the king then bestowed him with the name of Stark, meaning strong.


Stark Settlers in Connecticut

Since the project began, the number of descendants of Aaron that have been Y DNA tested and match has outgrown this webpage. The chart shown here only includes some of his early descendants. Please go to the specific page about Aaron's Descendants to see the lines of all the men that have been tested up to June 2016.

A more in depth analysis of the Y DNA results from the men who share a high percentage of markers and trace their genealogy to Aaron Stark, please see a page by Clovis La Fleur. He refers to this family as Group 1.

The country of origin of Aaron Stark has interested many people. It was hoped that data from the Y DNA results would help provide a clue to his birthplace. For some information about this, please see an accompanying page.


Stark Settlers in Virginia

Colonel John Starke and his wife Ann Wyatt of Virginia have several living descendants. All five descendants have been tested at 37 markers. They are all identical for at least 36 of the 37 markers. Since 2014, two more men have been tested that match this group and they have helped show that this line descends from Thomas Starke born about 1616 in Essex England.

This is an interesting group with a very different haplotype than all the other Stark families tested so far.

Clovis LaFleur has posted genealogical information on the men who match this group, which he refers to as Group 4 in the Stark Y DNA Project at FTDNA.

Chart updated December 2016

The diagram above includes all the sons of Colonel John Starke (based on the William and Mary Quarterly "Starke Family of Hanover County" page 257). One is Thomas Starke born in 1740 (see also the chart below). The youngest son, Dr. Joseph Starke served as a physician in the Revolutionary War. Hanover County Chancery wills and Notes by Cocke refers to the will of Pettus Ragland who mentions a daughter Ann who married Joseph Starke. Three children are mentioned: Elizabeth Ann Starke, John P (likely Pettus) Starke, and Wyatt Starke.

An application to the Sons of the American Revolution, filed by John William Starke, Jr. in 1936, reports that the father of Joseph Starke, DD was Joseph Starke, born 1753, died 1817, who in turn was a son of John Starke and Ann Wyatt. However, this will would not support that well and the participant has reported his genealogy as shown.

Two participants are working together to trace their lineage back to Thomas Starke who settled in Virginia, but then moved to Georgia. They would welcome other participants who believe they are descended from Stark men in Georgia.

Starks Settlers in Tennessee and Kentucky

Chart posted 2009.

Clovis LaFleur has posted genealogical information on the men who match this group, which he refers to as Group 3 in the Stark Y DNA Project at FTDNA.

This family named Starks had always thought they were not related to the other Stark families and the Y DNA results support this. Zerubabel Starks is the ancestor, according to genealogical research, of Mr. 82072 Starks and Mr. 80570 Starks and Mr. 137905 Starks. They also have the R1b haplotype, thought to originate in Western Europe.

Mr. A624253 Starks is also a member of this family, based on matching at markers tested by Ancestry. He has not shared his genealogy to date.

Since 2009, 270111 has been tested and also matches this group. I do not know his lineage however, so it is not shown in the chart.

Shirley Starks is willing to work on the genealogy of this line. Please write her at sstarks@tampabay.rr.com

Other Stark Immigrants to America See a partial listing on a separate page

Note that there are many Stark immigrants who came to North America. Some came to Canada. Two of Aaron Stark's descendants were given land grants in Horton Township in the 1760's, which eventually became Halifax, Nova Scotia. Other Starks have lived in Quebec in a place called Stark's Corner in the mid-1800's. Still others lived in other provinces.

Genealogical Information

Genealogical information can be supported or confirmed by Y DNA data. However Y DNA data alone can not trace ancestry.

The genealogies shown in the drawing of Aaron Stark descendants are based on the diligent and well documented research of people like Gwen Boyer Bjorkman and Clovis LaFleur whose closest Stark ancestor happens to be a female. They can't donate DNA for a Y study but have obviously helped tremendously by researching and posting their genealogical data on RootsWeb. Note that not all the information posted in the WorldConnect section of RootsWeb is verified with census data or wills or birth/death records, etc. Most researchers provide what sources they used in their "notes" section. I am unable to show this important information on the line charts however, or to verify what is supplied by individual genealogists in the various Stark families.

Diane Stark Sanfillipo is researching the line of Thomas Stark or Starke who was born in Virginia in 1686. Please email her (dsanfilippo303@comcast.net) if you would like to contribute information or have her help if you believe this is your line of descent.

Donna Stark is researching the line of James Stark of Scotland who was born in 1695 and whose descendants settled in Virginia in the early years. Please email her (donnaStarkKy@fewpb.net) if you would like to contribute information or have her help if you believe this is your line of descent.

I have posted information sent to me by participants and/or based on the information they provided that was posted on the FTDNA site, with additional census data that I could find on WorldConnect at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=germanstarks for additonal Stark immigrants to the United States and at http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=nsstarks for Stark immigrants to Canada.

Y DNA Haplogroups

According to research done on Y DNA marker sets, by researchers in Ireland and others, letters were assigned to groups of haplotypes that were similar. R1b is such a group and men with this "haplogroup" usually had ancestors in Western Europe. There are several Stark men with this haplogroup.

Another haplogroup with a Stark representative is the I haplogroup, Mr. N24725 Stark. Typically ancestors of such men came from central Europe or had Viking ancestry, but they may have gone via the British Isles first of course. Yet another is in the G haplogroup, which is common is Spain, Greece and especially Turkey.

Note that the more markers that are tested the more precise the information can become. Essentially this means that it is less likely that unrelated men would share that same set of markers. If data on only the basic 12 markers are available, there is much more chance that several men would have that set of markers. This is why we can we verify or confirm genealogy, but do NOT PROVE it. Unless every man was tested, we can not say that there is not another man somewhere with the same set of markers who might be our ancestor instead of the man who our historical and genealogical research lead us to believe was our ancestor.

Conversely the first 12 markers chosen by FTDNA typically provide all the information most people want. The common question pertaining to genealogy is do two men from different lines of descent from one ancestor have the same Y DNA markers. If the answer is yes or almost, then it is higly likely that their genealogy and their biology coincide or match.

Links to Other Related Sites about Y DNA


Aims and Limitations of this Webpage

In the fall of 2006, several people interested in Stark family genealogy began corresponding about confirming the genealogical data many people have both individually and jointly collected using Y DNA. I will do my best to update the page periodically, using the information posted on public websites.

Note that the names of the participants and their Fathers are not shown to protect the privacy of the individuals. If individuals do not wish their line to be shown at all, please contact me and I will respect your wishes.

FTDNA provides estimates of the average MAXIMUM distance to a common ancestor based on the number of markers that are different between two men, or alternatively on the cumulative number differences across the markers. The microsatellie markers chosen for testing by these various companies are prone to mutation and that's why they work well for studies of migration and genealogy. Microsatellite markers are runs of repeats - 12, 13, 14 CT or AG in a row, for example. Occasionally a microsatellite will not occur in an individual and this is called a null allele. It only takes a single deletion to eliminate a microsatellite and so a score of 0 is really of no greater significance than a difference of 12 and 13. Both types of mutation have been seen in Y DNA studies.

One should not expect to take these estimates of distance literally in a specific family. A mutation happens, when it happens. This can be between a father and his son, even though the estimated distance stated on the FTDNA charts is much longer than a single generation.

Participants should participate with the full knowledge that they may find out that they do not match the ancestor they expected to. This can be a heart wrenching experience. Many families have adopted children over the years and these adoptions were not openly discussed in some periods, as they are now. Giving the child the name of its adopted family was considered the norm and a sign of the strong esteem in which the child was held. Also see this excellent webpage on "paternity events".