I've been researching my Speir(s) family for about 15 years and after total frustration in figuring out several connections, I decided that maybe DNA might be a way around the missing paper trail. As Speir(s) is my mother's direct line and dna requires a male carrying the same Y chromosome of your ancestor, it was necessary for me to solicit the aid of a fourth cousin, who was kind enough to be our donor.
We have only received the results of our 37 marker test in the past week, and even though it may take us a while to find the matches we need to resolve some of the questions I have, I feel extremely satisfied with our investment and the information that we have gleened from those who have proven to be our distant ancestors!
Here are the things that we have learned:
1. We seem to be the first Speir(s) who lived in Scotland AFTER 1700 to have done DNA.
2. We did have some very good matches and they all shared some variation of our surname. We all have been assigned to the haplotype I2b1. These Speir appear to have lived in Scotland around 1600 and then moved to Ireland. Most of them now use the SPEER/SPEER spellings.
3. The SPEER researchers in this project have evidence that suggests that their line can be traced back to a nobleman by the name of Milius Speire or Spär. Malius married Eupheimia whose lineage can be directly traced back to BOTH the King of Norway and the King of Scotland.
4. As all Speir(s) members of our project seem to fall into two main types, I strongly feel that we are going to find that ALL of the Speir(s) of the Ayrshire and Renfrewshire are related. The only question will be how far back we have to go to find that connection. A 37 marker test can't tell you the exact way that you are related, but it can give you a pretty good idea of the time period where you share a common ancestor. Take a look at the project at the link below, and see for yourself!
Link to the Y-DNA Spears Project: http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/spears/results
You can see that almost all of us share the same haplotype and similar markers.
Clearly DNA can only be a good tool if there is a sizeable pool of donors with your surname and from the same geographic location. So the more Speir(s) who join us, the more we all can benefit in ALL learning more about our past.
Please contact me if you care to share information on Speir(s) or want to know more about DNA testing on EITHER FamilyTreeDNA or Ancestry. (The Ancestry 33 marker test would allow you to compare 31 markers with those in our project).