Sooner or later we are going to run out of paper records to advance the tree in any direction and DNA testing has become an extremely useful research tool.

Real value from these tests comes from either finding other families who share your connection or knowing you don’t share a connection with a particular family. The latter can reduce the size of your search by eliminating whole trees within a geographical area. Finding a connection confirms your research and suggests new directions to find the ancestor you both have in common.

There are three basic types of genetic testing you can use in your genealogy research and each one is used for a different set of questions:


A Y-DNA test examines only the male Y chromosome which has been passed from father to son over and over again for over 300,000 years. There are two projects associated with Fleming Y-DNA and both run through FamilyTreeDNA:

  • The Fleming Y-DNA Project explores the possibilities of genetic connections between Fleming  families regardless of spelling and is seeking participants from around the world. Joining the project also gives access to discounted pricing if you are a Fleming male … or have access to one. Further information, results and to explore this map, visit the project website. 
  • The Scotland and the Flemish People Y-DNA Project is focusing on Scottish families who believe they may have Flemish origins. For further information, results and exploring this map visit the project website:

An atDNA test examines the autosomal DNA you’ve inherited from all your ancestors (male & female) and is good for about 200 years or 7 generations. Use it to find family connections within this period. It has several brand names eg AncestryDNA at ancestry.com and FamilyFinder at FamilyTreeDNA.


An mtDNA test examines the mitochondrial DNA and is good for about 200,000 years. It is passed from a mother to her sons and daughters but only her daughters will keep passing it down to their children.
It is run in conjuction with the Fleming Y-DNA project so for further information, results and to explore this map, visit the project website and see the Project Results tab.

DNA – Brick Wall Buster?

A great lecture given by Maurice Gleeson to the Irish Genealogical Research Society at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, 2013