Brogden News

The Brogden Family DNA Project

The Project

This project offers a Y-chromosome DNA test (Y-DNA) to males with the surname BROGDEN or any of its derivatives such as BROGDON, BROGDIN, BROGDAN and BRAGDAN. The test is limited to the males because females do not have the Y-chromosome. This works nicely for family historians who try to trace their ancestry through surnames as surnames are usually inherited from their male forebears. Female surnames are much more complex.

The Test

The Y-DNA test used in this project produces a string of 37 markers which will show a close match with other related Brogdens. The results will also show the haplogroup, which is the deep ancestral population group. Mike Brogden, whose website carries information about various Brogdens from around the world, has taken the test and finds that his “deep ancestry” indicates that he descends not as he had hoped from Scandinavian Vikings but – less romantically – from Europeans, perhaps Germans. (See the Y-DNA migration map at Whilst other groups (ie haplogroups) migrated from Africa to other areas of the world, Mike’s group (“R”) travelled some 20,000 – 30,000 years ago into what is now Europe, spreading into central, northern and western Europe and thence to England, with descendants now all over the world. A very recent study reports that almost 30% of the DNA of white British people is shared with modern-day Germans through our shared ancestry via the Angles and the Saxons. (1)

There’s a lack of information about the people who become Brogdens when geographical surnames developed in the 1100s. Bolton Priory in Yorkshire mentions Ade de Brockedene in its accounts in 1299 – 1324. So far, this is the earliest known record of a Brogden, the surname originating in the place, Brogden (brook-dene, the brook in a valley) in the old West Riding of Yorkshire, now in Lancashire since the boundary was moved. (2) In theory, all the Brogdens in the world are descended from someone who took the name from Brogden, the Yorkshire place. A DNA test will prove the relationship.

The Variants and the Difficulties

The theory is that the Brogden, dons, dans, dins and other variants, all descend from the original person who took the surname from his home village. Surname theorists, such as Professor George Redmonds (see footnote), believe in the likelihood of one origin but there could, of course, be more than one. There is a second place called Brogden, in Essex, but the theorists don’t believe that this is the source of any Brogden surnames. Spelling variations cause difficulties, especially for surnames with Brock in them as this refers to badgers, not brooks. Was Ade de Brockdene a Brogden? George Redmonds thinks he was but there are numerous Brock-persons who may or may not be related.

The Y-DNA test could confirm membership of one Brogden clan or more than one origin for the surname. It may reveal something different. If a mother in any previous generation gave birth to a boy who was not her husband’s but kept this secret, the child might well have thought himself a Brogden when he was not. It will not be known in which generation this “non-paternity event” occurred. There may be a similar difficulty for adopted children or children whose parents remarried and a problem may occur for Brogdens with a black heritage as it was the habit of some slave “owners” to give the slaves’ children the owner’s surname. (3)

The Test Company

The testing company is Family Tree DNA in the USA. They hold the largest DNA database in the world and are thus well-placed to find matches. The UK Guild of One-Name Studies supplies the test kit for the Brogden DNA Project at a discounted price of £80.

The Oxfordshire Surnames Project

A separate study is being conducted by the Surnames of Oxfordshire DNA Project. Mike Brogden’s Oxfordshire Brogdens have a documented history going back to 1709 so they are of interest to this research. If you are related to the Oxfordshire Brogdens and agree to take part, your Y-DNA data will be shared with this project at no extra charge. See


Sorry; some Brogdens have been waiting for several years for this project to be set up. Constant development of DNA testing is part of the reason for the delay as I have been awaiting the next improvement. At last, things are happening but if you contacted me in the past and have not heard from me recently, it could be because my computer lost some contact details or you have changed your email address. Apologies for the inconvenience but please contact me again.


Many thanks to Susan Meates, the Guild of One-Name Studies DNA Adviser, for her help and advice in setting up the Brogden DNA Project.


  1. Nature Vol 519 No 7543; 18 March 2015
  2. See: Redmonds; G 1973 Yorkshire West Riding in the English Surnames Series, pub Phillimore
  3. There are Brogdens in the records who owned slaves in the West Indies and in America.