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The R-BY3374 and Subclades Y DNA Project - Mure/Muir/Moore of Southwest Scotland

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The goal of this project is to join various ancestral lines together under one "umbrella" study of R-BY3374 and its subclades. R-BY3374 emerged ca. 1200 AD/CE and is very likely rooted in a Mure/Mor progenitor in SW Scotland (though, within the different branches/subclades of BY3374, there are also surnames indicating various NPEs)[1]. It was also during this time in which the use of permanent surnames began in Scotland. Initially, however, surname use was limited to the upper echelons of Scottish society. Others in the Lowlands continued to use patronyms until after the 15th century.</ref>[2][3][4] [5], while others appear not to have emerged until later.

There are also surnames among BY3374 test takers which did not originate in SW Scotland, and are likely the result of non-paternal events/NPE (a term used in genetic genealogy to describe any event which has caused a break in the link between an hereditary surname and the Y-chromosome resulting in a son using a different surname from that of his biological father.).[6] As these pages expand, this will be further analyzed on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, the location of BY3374's immediate "ancestors" will also be examined in this study. See BY3374's pre-12th Century Roots, below.

Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done, and I'll be working on them.

  • Adding WikiTree pages under this "umbrella" for lines which include those who tested with FTDNA, using the Big Y option, resulting in terminal haplogroups
  • Expanding interest and encouraging others to test at the Big Y level, for inclusion in these pages and this study
  • Making more sense of this Y DNA connection

I'm Robert Moore, the developer and coordinator of this project and these pages. Will you join me? If you've tested to a haplogroup downstream of BY3374 and a link to your line is in WikiTree, let me know! If you haven't tested yet, but think you might be descended from the lines of "Clan Muir" of Scotland, see this link about testing. Otherwise, if you have something relevant to this project, please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. Thanks!


Haplogroup BY3374 Age Estimation

  • Per FTDNA, estimated ca. 1200 AD/CE.

BY3374 Big Y-700 Tests Completed

As of 23 August 2022, thanks to those who tested at the Big Y-700 level and Big Y-500 levels, to subclades of BY3374, we can identify over 200 test-takers who fall under BY3374.

BY3374 Subclades/Phylogenetic "Children"

Note that "Children" does not mean that one line is a literal child of another line, but that there is a shared common ancestor within the haplogroup of a shared phylogenetic "parent", at some point in history, and within the time window of the age of the particular haplogroup. The following is a list of BY3374 subclades and associated surnames identified by Big Y DNA tests:

  • For a complete list of Muir/Mure/Moore lines that 1) have tested to a terminal haplogroup; 2) have tested, but have not yet classified to a specific haplogroup under BY3374, and 3) lines for which no one has yet to test, but are traceable to SW Scotland... see additional details regarding BY3374 lines of Muir/Mure/Moore
  • For an overview of all Y DNA test results which have been identified by the respective test takers as originating in an ancestor from Ayrshire, see Ayrshire Y DNA, and how those results relate to L627>BY3364>BY3368>BY3374.

BY3374's pre-12th Century Roots

Understanding "ancient" Y DNA is really a matter of interpreting patterns and anomalies. Remaining too focused on a narrow path inhibits the opportunity of seeing who we were before surnames. In the case of BY3374, I looked at the age of the haplogroups (ranging from Z30233 to BY3368), Y DNA matches beyond just the limited scope of the Y matches page of FTDNA, and surnames and origins of those surnames within the scope of history, back to the Iron Age.

Given the estimated age of BY3374 (emerging as early as 1200 AD), the time-frame in which surnames emerged in Scotland, and that the bulk of these surnames are heavily concentrated in Ayrshire, this group was in SW Scotland by the 11th century. Prior to this, R-BY3368 appears identifiable to the area between Cheshire and Yorkshire, England (possibly the Kingdom of Elmet); but, BY3364 appears to be identifiable to southwest England, and possibly the area in or very near the medieval kingdom of Dumnonia.

Reconsidering FTDNA's Interpretation of Genetic Distance (GD)

For those who have tested their Y DNA to Y-111, or those who have spent time considering and interpreting the results, a word of warning about FTDNA's interpretation of genetic distance.

First, genetic distance (GD) represents a difference in mutation in markers. For example, looking at the results of two test takers, who tested at the Y-111 level, there may be differences between 0 and 10 (after 10, per FTDNA standards, this is not a match... which is not always the case, but that's another point for discussion). This difference in markers is also used as an interpretation of the genealogical distance between Y matches... and is rarely accurate. As an example, within Group 2 of the Moore Worldwide Y DNA Project, consider kits #B284181, 643636, N25192, N17390, 461253, 675678, and 815350. All of these are descendants of James Moore, of Four Hills... who settled, sometime before 1670, in what is now Prince George's County, Maryland. Of James' children, there are two sons of particular interest... Peter and Benjamin... because out of the kit numbers indicated above, all are descended from either Peter or Benjamin. Kits B284181 and 815350 are descendants of Peter, while the rest are descendants of Benjamin. Interestingly, all but two of the test takers are nine generation descendants from James, but two others... N17390 and 643636... are 7 and 8 generation descendants, respectively. Nevertheless, taking kits B284181 and 815350 (the two descendants of Peter), compared to N25192 (a descendant of Benjamin), the results are as follows (keep in mind that we KNOW the actual distance between these test takers is nine generations):

N25192 is a GD of 4 from B284181, and a GD of 6 from 815350...

For the N25192 to B284181 comparison... a GD of 4 interprets the connection (in generations apart) as 7/11/13/16 (broken down in levels of confidence by 50% /90% / 95% / 99%). So, per the GD of 4, this would represent a confidence level of between 50% - 90% that the two test takers were seven or eleven generations apart, respectively. So, this is, as they say, "in the ballpark".

For the N25192 to 815350 comparison... a GD of 6 interprets the connection (in generations apart) as 10/15/17/20 (broken down in levels of confidence by 50% / 90% / 95% / 99%. So, per the GD of 6, this would represent a confidence of 50% that the two test takers are 10 generations apart. Nine generations apart, at GD 6 isn't even represented.

Lastly, whenever a Y DNA match with a genetic distance of "10" appears, FTDNA's chart suggests this is actually "Not Related"... more specifically, "The two men are totally unrelated within the genealogical time-frame on their direct paternal line." This is a point for argument when we consider a bigger package of information with the combined terminal haplogroups, genetic distance, and other details. Being a GD of "10" or "11", "12", etc, etc, is not an exclusionary point. They may, in fact, be related, but outside the definition of "genealogical time-frame" (in other words, good luck creating a tree which actually shows the two persons coming together under a common ancestor... it's just not going to happen). Yet, if we consider the terminal haplogroups, we might get a small window into defining when the two may have actually had a common ancestor. Take for example, N25192 is BY132823, and (looking again at Group 2, in the Moore Worldwide Y DNA Project), we compare to Kit #429662 (which is a terminal halogroup of Y133180). The two are not a match to each other (a GD of more than "10"), yet Kit #429662, with a terminal haplogroup of Y133180, does share a common ancestor in haplogroup FGC15791, which is the phylogenetic "great-grandparent" of BY132823, and the phylogenetic "great-grandparent" of Y133180. (note that "parent" and "great-grandparent" used here is not a literal genealogical representation, but, rather, of the relationship within the haplogroup tree). So, if we knew the age of FGC15791 (which has not yet been determined), we would get a general idea of when these two persons shared a common ancestor.

This being said, there is also another complication when using FTDNA's GD interpretation. A "close" GD match may not be accurate. An excellent example for this might be in a comparison between N25192 and a Y match to an Alexander, at a genetic distance of "6". We've seen above what a GD of "6" suggests, yet in all probability, and considering the BY3374 study, in these pages, these two test takers had a common ancestor much further back in the tree... perhaps as early as the 12th or 11th century, at the time when the two surnames in SW Scotland began to emerge.

BY3374 Phylogenetic Parent

Phylogenetic Children of BY3374


  1. Refer to the varous groups of the FTDNA R-BY3364 and Subclades Project... from the F series through the Z series... and note that the surname Moore dominates nearly every one of them. This alone should be enough to tell us that BY3374 is indeed rooted in Muir/Mure, ca. 1150 AD/CE, and all information from this point, forward, is supportive of that. Of course, we know these Moores were once of the surname Muir/Mure/Mor of SW Scotland. The very earliest branchings from BY3374 are all dominated by the Moore surname (Muir)... in groupings F (FGC15791)... which branched almost immediately, apparently, ca. 1200; H (FT229475) emerged ca. 1300; I (BY50703) emerged ca. 1350; and J (FT38883) emerged ca. 1300. That's a significant number of branches, alone, which retained the etymological root of Mor/Mure/Muir/Moore, all before 1400 AD/CE. I do want to address three groups, however, which are interesting, and do not reflect the same dominance of the Moore/Muir surname in test-takers... groups G, K, and M. Group G is dominated by the Walker surname, but only beginning in haplogroup FT62461, which, per current FTDNA estimates, originated ca. 1700. You'll see that Carson and Bertram are two completely separate branches/subclades of FT63645. So, in the absence of any Muir/Moore test-takers in the G series grouping, I'm estimating a Muir NPE took place sometime between 1250 (the estimated date of emergence for FT63645) and ca 1700... but I'm leaning more to the later date than the earlier. As for the K series grouping, Lusk is the dominate surname, but we have a hint of NPE origins in the sole Muir test-taker. I believe that a Muir NPE occurred in this line between 1400 (the estimated date of emergence for BY12309) and as early as 1550 (the estimated date of emergence for BY12311). Finally, there is the M series grouping, dominated by the surname Harshaw. You'll note this is a slow mutating series, BY111495 emerging only as "recently" as ca. 1600. As there are no Muir test-takers in this group, I suspect the Muir NPE occurred before 1600. So, in short, these are estimates based on the data we currently have. We may never know who our BY3374 progenitor was, but we have a few clues pointing us in what appears to be the right direction. The first Mor/de Mor/Mure/Muir with solid documentation to Ayr is David de More. "The most ancient of the name on record are the Mores of Polkelly, near Kilmarnock ; one of whom, David de More, appears as witness to a charter of Alexander II", between 1214 and 1249. This may be the same (or a son of the elder David) "David Mor" who was a consentor of an agreement between burgesses of Irvine and Godfrey de Ross, on 19 Jun 1260. The second Mor/Mure/Muir with solid documentation to Scotland appears in the story of Sir Gilchrist Mure/Muir (ca. 1200 - ca. 1280), at the Battle of Lairges/Largs, on 2 October 1263. Given the naming tradition, and locality (Ayr), it appears at least three descendants of his (Adam, Gilchrist, and Reginald/Ronald) appear in the Ragman Rolls, thirty-three years later. And, finally, we have a list of potentials (and I really think the three from Ayrshire and Lanarkshire are the best candidates) in the Ragman Rolls of 1296 AD: More (Mor) de Cragg, Reynaud (del counte de Lanark) - translated = Reginald Muir of Cragg of Lanark, Lanarkshire More de Leuenaghes, Douenal le fiz Michel (del counte de Dunbretan) - translated = Donald, son of Michael Muir of Lennox. More, de Thaugarfton, Symon de la (del counte de Lanark) - translated = Simon of the More, of Thankerton, Lanarkshire More, Adam de la (del counte de Are) - translated = Adam Muir of Ayr/Ayrshire More, Gilcrift (del counte de Are) - translated = Gilchrist Muir of Ayr/Ayrshire More, Renaud de la (Renaud) (del counte de Are) - translated = Reginald Muir of Ayr/Ayrshire
  2. Patronymics - Scotland Surnames, Wikipedia; Retrieved 11 August 2020
  3. Ragman Rolls are the collection of instruments by which the nobility and gentry of Scotland subscribed allegiance to King Edward I of England, during the time between the Conference of Norham in May 1291 and the final award in favour of Balliol in November 1292; and again in 1296.
  4. 1834 transcription of the Ragman Rolls by the Bannatyne Club.; Retrieved 17 August 2020
  5. Ragman Rolls Names Index, in Rampant Scotland; Retrieved 17 August 2020
  6. Concepts: What are NPEs and MPEs?; Retrieved 17 August 2020

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