Stark Lines of Descent in North America

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


Last updated on August 11, 2020 by Sheila (nee Stark) Schmutz sheila.schmutz@usask.ca It was moved to a new server in July 2020. 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. However, Sheila is one of the co-administrators of that project. 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.

For many years, information about these members was maintained by Clovis LaFleur. However, in fall 2017 RootsWeb was taken down by Ancestry and the files relevant to this project he had there were not all restored. Please see an associated website for additional links to supporting genealogy..


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 former Sorenson Lab (http://www.smgf.org), Mr. 9Z5ZG Stark who is also a descendant of Aaron Stark. Some men also tested with Ancestry when they still offered Y testing. If you are a Stark male and wish to participate, please order a 37 marker Y DNA test from FTDNA and join the Stark project there.

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 drawings simply show 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 few smaller ones, and then several Starks who do not yet match another Stark.

Stark Settlers from Scotland

The Y DNA results of the men in this chart as called Group 2, or the Killermont Stark Family on the FTDNA webpage.

last updated December 2019

This "family" consists of a few very well known ancestors in the United States. The most famous one is General John Stark (1728-1822) 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 (1668-1704) was probably a cousin of Archibald Stark and came to Virginia from Scotland even earlier.

James Stark, of Scotland, (1695-1754) 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. The Y DNA results of these men are also shown as part of Group 3.

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.


Chart posted August 2018

Another family with the surname Stark also has ancestors who hailed from Scotland, or still live there. This chart shows the lineages of two men who have close matches of Y DNA over markers 1-67. Walter Stark was born in Kirkintiloch, Scotland in 1796.

The Y DNA results of one of the men shown in this chart is shown in Group 5 on the FTDNA webpage. The other has opted not to have his DNA results displayed.


Stark Settlers in Connecticut

The Y DNA results of the men in this chart are shown as Group 1 on the FTDNA webpage.

Since the project began, the number of descendants of Aaron Stark, born 1608, 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.

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

The Y DNA results of the men in this chart are shown as Group 4 on the FTDNA webpage.

Colonel John Starke (1715-1799) 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.

Chart updated Feb 2019

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.

Stark Settlers in Georgia

The Y DNA results of the men shown in this chart are shown in Group 6 on the FTDNA webpage.

Two participants are working together to trace their lineage back to a Stark family that settled in Georgia. They would welcome other participants who believe they are descended from Stark men in Georgia.


Starks Settlers in Tennessee and Kentucky

The Y DNA results of the men shown in this chart are shown in Group 3 on the FTDNA webpage.

Chart posted May 2020.

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, born in 1760 is the ancestor, according to genealogical research, of Mr. 82072 Starks and Mr. 80570 Starks and Mr. 137905 Starks.

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

In Spring 2020, another man named Mr. Stakes was a close match to the descendants of Zerubabel Starks. The name Stakes has been used in his family for many generations. His oldest known ancestor was born in North Carolina. Although the chart states Zerubabel Starks was born in Virginia, some descendants believed he was also born in North Carolina.


Starks Settlers from Germany

The Y DNA results of the men shown in this chart are shown in Group 7 on the FTDNA webpage.

Chart posted August 2018.

Although there were several Stark men who immigrated to North America from Germany, there are three men whose Y DNA matches closely over markers 1-37. The lineages of these men are shown on this chart. Thus far a common ancestor has not yet been identified. Two hail from Mecklenberg and the third from Schleswig-Holstein. One family settled in Canada and the other two in the United States.

Chart updated in August 2020.

In April 2019, a "family" of Stark men who had settled in Pennsylvania originally was identified. The two men who have been Y DNA tested match 37/37 and descend from two sons of born before 1750 in the Palatinate area of Germany. He immigrated to the Lancaster County area of Pennsylvania in the late 1700s. Only one of these men has joined the Stark project thus far.


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 men who were believed to be 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.

How Many Y markers?

37 markers is the "standard" recommended to participants. At the onset of this project, only 12 markers were available and then 25. Therefore not all participants have tested to 37. In recent years the set was expanded to 67, then 111, and then Big Y. For genealogical purposes, 37 is likely "enough" and certainly the place to start, in my opinion.

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 only 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.

Autosomal DNA tests, such as "Family Finder"

Some years ago, several companies offered Y DNA testing. By 2017, most of these have stopped offering Y tests and only offer autosomal tests (i.e. Ancestry, 23andMe). Others such as Sorenson's have stopped DNA testing completely.

For women, Family Finder is the best DNA test to do since mitochondrial testing offers virtually no genealogical information. However, it can be a great deal of effort to find common ancestors with autosomal tested matches. If you decide to do this, please be prepared to post a complete family tree for at least 5 generations back. Without this, your matches can not hope to try to work with you to find your common ancestor.

The Stark Project at FTDNA is a Surname or Y project. We are not able to help you find your Stark ancestor based on autosomal DNA tests, nor will those results be displayed on these charts.

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".