Stark Lines of Descent

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


This webpage was posted on October 7, 2006 and last updated on March 11, 2012 by Sheila (Stark) Schmutz sheila.schmutz@usask.ca 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 recently been tested at the Sorenson Lab (http://www.smgf.org), Mr. 9Z5ZG Stark who is also a descendant of Aaron Stark. We welcome him! We hope soon to welcome the more Stark men recently tested at Ancestry DNA.

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

A more detailed chart of this family is available on a separate webpage.

Several lines of Starks, who immigrated to America, apparently believed their ancestors came from Scotland prior to Y DNA testing. To the amazement of many, they all seem to match which supports this belief! It is not yet certain how they connect or who their common ancestor may be. Again although FTDNA charts suggest the common ancestor occurred within 20 generations, he could have been much closer than that. It is also likely that the branching between Archibald, Richard and James who settled in America did not occur in the same generation. Their haplotype is quite different than the descendants of Aaron Stark and also the descendant of Thomas Starke of England.

Dr. Richard Starke, who appears to have arrived in Virginia on the ship Morning Star is the ancestor of one line. Mr. N21529 Starke is his descendant.

James Stark, of Scotland, also settled in Virginia. He has three sons who have descendants who are participants and match each other at most markers. Mr. 74402 is a descendant of his son James Stark II. Mr. 115705 is a descendant of his son Thomas. Jeremiah Stark has three sons with descendants who match at Y DNA markers: Mr. 76284, Mr. 84342, Mr. 171929, and Mr. 76964 Stark.

Mr. 136832 Stark and Mr. 175209 Stark also match the descendants of James Stark. Anyone who might provide more information on the genealogical connection of this line, please write.

Many genealogists have tried to trace the descendants of General John Stark (1728-1822), whose father was Archibald Stark from Scotland. Because John is such a common first name in many Stark families, as is James and William and some others, there has been considerable confusion interpreting old records over the years. Mr. 94630 and Mr. 95073 Stark are his descendants through General John and match Mr. 25347 Stark who is a descendant of Archibald through his oldest son, William.

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

Calverley ,in a "History of Rutland, Vermont", suggests Zephaniah Stark immigrated to Connecticut from England, and that his son David moved to Rutland County, VT. His mother Hannah Edgerton, remarried Oliver Thorpe in Nova Scotia after Zephaniah died at sea. Mr. 76667 Stark is a descendant of this line.

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 participants as of December, 2009. Please go to the specific page about Aaron's Descendants to see the lines of all the men that have been tested.

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.

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

There are some participants who are working together on the descendants of Colonel John Starke of Virginia. Mr. 78032 and Mr. N47628 match at 12/12 markers. Mr. 89006 matches Mr. 78032 at 23 of 25 markers, but matches Mr. 149455 Starke perfectly at 25 of 25. Although Mr. 149455 Starke's connection to the others has not yet been established from the genealogical records, it would seem he is most closely related to the line of Mr. 89006 Starke. Although Mr. 214358 Stark seems to be most closely related by paper trail genealogy to Mr. 78032 Starke, his DNA is a closer 24/25 match to Mr. 149455 Starke.

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

Two participants are working together to trace their lineage back to another 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

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.

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

Other Stark Families, with no match thus far

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

The lines below represent men who have shared their genealogy but do not yet have a Y DNA match to another Stark. They could represent Stark families who immigrated later, or had few sons.

Mr. 140291 Stark's ancestor applied for immigration in Laupheim, Wuerttemberg, Germany in Jan 1852. He and his wife Walburga came to America and settled in Akron, OH by 1860. The DNA haplotype of this family is R1a1a, different from most of the other Stark men tested in this project so far. However, the same as Mr. 228697 Stark and N92648 Stark.

Mr. 140291 Stark of German descent does match 5 other men at http://www.yhrd.org All five come from Germany or the current western Poland. This database contains more men outside of North America, but one is not given their name or email so I do not know if they are also named Stark. A nice map is produced that shows the location of the match. The match is based on 15 markers tested by FTDNA and two that are not. These five men were a perfect 15/15 match to Mr. 140291 Stark.

The ancestor of Mr. 228697 Stark came from Prussia when it likely included part of Poland. His current matches at 12 markers have Polish sounding last names.

Stark Immigrants to Other Countries

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.

Likewise Starks immigrated to other continents as well. One example is James Stark who immigrated to New Zealand in the late 1800's from Scotland, shown at the right. Although Mr. 76345 matched the descendants of James Stark who settled in Virginia at 11 of 12 markers, he has six additional differences in markers 13-25 and thus is not related to that group.

Stark Families in Europe

Some Stark families have remained in Europe, or emigrated and returned. The descendants of John Stark who settled around Lanarkshire, Scotland in the early 1800s are such a family. Some members stayed in the U.S. and others returned. A descendant of this family has been tested by Ancestry DNA as haplogroup I1A. Thus far, no other Stark matches him. His line is shown at the far left.

Mr. GG01 Stark who lives in Great Britain has had Y DNA testing done and his haplotype is published. The company that tested him uses a large panel of markers, although not quite the same set as are used by FTDNA. His haplotype is different from any of the other Stark men tested to date. He has also posted his genealogy back a few generations and his line has resided in Britain during that time period. His line is also shown above.

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".