The Pearsall Family DNA – Surname
The primary objective of this project is
to find and relate near and distant cousins that share a common heritage.
This project has less to do with the name “Pearsall” since there are so
many variations to the surname, and no surname has lesser or greater
rights to our common history; but rather more importance is given to the
genealogical aspects (e.g. employing science to trace our collective
heritage back some two thousand years).
Male members of the family have
inherited an ancient heirloom: a Y-chromosome that traces its roots to
the kings of Sweden
some 2,000 years ago. The male Y-chromosome is unlike other types of DNA
in that it is non-recombining – thus it does not change except by the odd
chance of a mutation every several hundred years.
Depicted in blue below, the Y-chromosome is inherited
along the paternal line (father-to-son) without recombining with any
other chromosomes. In contrast, other chromosomes shown in gray below
recombine, thus genetic markers can be inherited from many ancestors –
making these chromosomes less useful for genealogical purposes.
Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) shown in pink
below is a non-sex-linked cellular DNA strand that is passed from mothers
to their offspring (both male and female). Because mtDNA is passed
exclusively from the maternal line, it can be used to trace maternal
relationships. This project relies on Y-DNA testing; women can
participate by proxy (i.e. having a father, brother, or male cousin from
the father’s side participate).
Figure from the Genographic Project
46 chromosomes illustrated below (23-pairs). 22-pairs are autosomes, and the last
pair is the sex chromosomes (e.g. “X” and “Y”). Besides these 46 chromosomes for human
DNA, mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) is also found in every cell and acts as a
“power house” for cellular functions.
The left photo below shows the relative size of the Y-chromosome
with an X-chromosome. Y-chromosome genes are identified near different
STR-markers in the diagram on the right.
The Pearsall family is a relatively
small family with about five thousand members sharing the same surname worldwide.
Including related surnames, there maybe about fifteen thousand members.
Though relatively small in number, the Pearsall family, which includes
related surnames, has a well-documented history that stretches back about
two millennia. The family is thought to originate in present-day Sweden
about two thousand years ago (prior to the use of the surname Pearsall).
Over centuries, individuals and branches of the family migrated from Sweden to Norway,
France, England, America, and elsewhere. The etymology of our surname dates back
to ~1200 A.D. in England;
from there the surname developed into many other variants due to
geographical, political, and linguistic separation over time.
Even though descendants of a common
ancestor may not share the same surname – they are by definition sharing
the same patrilineal
(paternal) blood-line and are related to the same family.
This project can be divided into several
Geographic study (to
link lost branches in Sweden,
Norway, France, England, and elsewhere),
Surnames study (to link
the various spellings of different Pearsall-related surnames), and
Genetic genealogy study
(to link individual members back to the family whose deep roots go back
The family is believed to have settled
in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden (“gamla”
means “old” in Swedish) for about 20 generations (from ~200 B.C. to ~700
A.D.). Genealogy traces our family
to a Scandinavian king named Dyggve (~200
A.D.) in Gamla Uppsala. Dyggve was the twelfth generation in the House of Yngling. Some consider
Dyggve to be a mythical king, whereas others consider him a real king.
The House of Yngling are descendants of Odin (third generation). There is
some uncertainty as where to draw the line between myth and history. Some
believe the first probable king to be Egil (nineteenth generation, ~500
A.D.) due to several contemporary sources. Scandinavian sagas indicate
that prior to locating to Gamla Uppsala, Odin migrated his
people from somewhere in the central region of the Eurasian continent or
perhaps the Caucasus region.
Artistic images of Odin “the wise,” also known as “the wanderer”
Burial Mounds at Gamla Uppsala, home for 25-generations:
above taken on trip in 1998
Some fourteen generations after Dyggve
(~700 A.D.), Olaf the Treefeller left Gamla Uppsala for Vanland (thought
to be a heavily forested area around the present-day Swedish-Norwegian
border). His descendants migrated to present-day Norway, and settled there for
Rognvald, Earl of Møre og Romsdal
(~800 A.D.) was a famous Scandinavian chieftain. He lived on the island of Giske, near present-day Ålesund (pronounced with a
long-ō, “Ō-la-sund,” and spelled “Aalesund” if “Å” is not
available). Rognvald’s son, the famous Viking Rollo, was expelled from Norway
for raiding other Norwegian settlements. Rollo left for Normandy,
France with other
Scandinavians from Denmark.
Rollo and his descendants in our family
line lived in Normandy
for six generations (between ~900 A.D. to ~1100 A.D.). Rollo’s brothers
settled other areas of the Viking world: the Orkneys, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.
Norman statues of Rollo “the walker” (l), William “Longsword” (c),
and Richard I “the fearless” (r):
Could you be related to Rollo?
Is it possible to find out?
The Norman branch of the family followed
their cousin William the Conqueror’s
move into Britain
with the Norman invasion (after the Battle of Hastings in 1066). Our
family line and William the Conqueror’s line both share Richard I, Duke of Normandy as
their common ancestor. William’s grandfather is Richard II, first son of
Richard I. Our line branches off with Richard I’s third son, Mauger,
Count of Corbeil. Mauger’s great grandson, Gilbert de Corbeil left Normandy and resettled in Britain.
Richard II “the good” (l), Richard III (c), Robert I “the
magnificent” (r), and William “the Conqueror” (two below):
Norman family tree:
Initial settlement in Britain was in Northumbria. After two generations,
the family again moved and resettled, this time to Staffordshire – in the heart of Britain.
They there acquired ownership rights to a manor called Peshale (near
Eccleshall; now known as Pershall, Staffordshire, SJ8129) whence our
surname derives (~1200 A.D.). By the late 1500’s, the surname evolved
from Peshale to Peshall, to Pershall, and eventually to Pearsall.
Thomas Pearsall arrived in the Colony of
Virginia ~1629. From Virginia, the
family relocated to Long Island, Colony
of New York. New York state has the
highest concentration of Pearsalls in the United States.
Pearsalls can also be found in many
other countries that were former English colonies: Australia,
Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. These
family members probably trace their lines directly to Pearsalls that were
in the United Kingdom.
The main geographical search areas for
other Pearsall lines follow the migration and settlement areas:
Uppsala, Sweden - 59.899° N 17.631° E (59°53'56.4000" N, 17°37'51.6000" E)
(from ~200 B.C. or ~70 generations to present-day)
og Romsdal County, Norway
- 62.500° N 06.050° E (62°30'0.0000" N, 6°2'60.0000" E)
(from ~700 A.D. or ~44 generations to present-day)
Normandy Region, France
- 49.437° N 01.087° E (49°26'13.2000" N, 1°5'13.2000" E)
(from ~900 A.D. or ~38 generations to present-day)
Region, France - 48.610° N 02.481° E (48°36'35.9999"
N, 2°28'51.6000" E)
(from ~1000 A.D. or ~35 generations to present-day)
- 54.837° N 01.541° W
(54°50'13.2001" N, 1°32'27.5999" W)
(from ~1200 A.D. or ~32 generations to present-day)
County, England - 52.866° N 02.275° W (52°51'57.5999"
N, 2°16'29.9999" W)
(from ~1200 A.D. or ~30 generations to present-day)
Island, New York - 40.765° N 73.818° W (40°45'54.0000" N, 73°49'4.8000" W)
(from ~1600 A.D. or ~15 generations to present-day)
Density of Scandinavian settlements in Normandy,
Prior to the Norman period (~1200 A.D.),
the family did not have a surname tradition. In order to find distant
relatives in Sweden, Norway, the Orkney Islands, the Faroe
Islands, Iceland, and France,
the project will more than likely have to rely solely on chance findings
in DNA databases and comparative results from documented descendants of
From the establishment of the original
surname (de Corbeil) to Lumley, to Peshale, and others, we can search
various directories around the world for:
Parasol, Parcell, Parcelle, Parcells,
Parcoll, Parsells, Parsells, Parsels, Parshall, Parsil, Parsill, Parsils,
Parsoll, Parsolls, Pascal, Pashley, Passal, Passaley, Passelew, Pearcall,
Pearceall, Pearceaull, Pearsall, Pearsel, Pearsell, Pearsol, Pearsoll,
Peartil, Peashall, Peirsol, Perceaull, Persall, Persaul, Persee, Persel,
Pershall, Persil, Persils, Persoll, Pertil, Perzel, Peschale, Peshale,
Peshall, Pesenschale, Pexsall, Piersol, Piercall, Pierceall, Piersall,
Porselly, Purcall, Purcel, Purcell, Purkell, Pursel, Pursel, Pursell,
Purshale, Pursley, Purslow, Pussal, Pysse; Corbeil, Lumley, Suggenhull,
Swinnerton, and Swynnerton (e.g. those that we believe to be related).
Based on modern DNA Y-STR marker
testing, we can begin to verify/validate relationships, and estimate when
individuals or groups shared a Most Recent Common
Statue of Rollo, Duke of Normandy
in Ålesund, Norway:
above taken on trip in 1998
Previously unavailable, genetic testing
now gives genealogists and hobbyists the ability to investigate their
biological records (e.g. DNA). Since 2000, a number of companies now
offer Y-DNA testing. The services do not decode the entire Y-chromosome;
they will test a number of locations on the Y-chromosome (or markers) for
repeated coding (or alleles). The number of markers tested range from 12
to 67. Testing less markers provides less resolution in estimating common
ancestry; lower resolution tests are designed to identify deep ancestry
(e.g. 10,000s of years). The more markers are tested, the nearer
geneticists can estimate when two individuals shared a common ancestor.
Based on current products offered, the 43-marker test is recommended
With results from the 43-marker test, an
estimate can be made of how many generations back two individuals shared
a common ancestor. My Pearsall line extends back between 60 to 70
generations (depending on what is accepted as genealogy vs. folklore).
Maybe the Scandinavian sagas were right?
Bure – first in family (progenitor) [possibly present-day or ?]
Dyggve – twelfth generation in family (genealogy begins)
Olaf Treefeller – 26th generation, first to Norway
Halfdan the Mild
Rognvald (b.c. 830, d.c.
890) – 32nd generation; sons to
Rollo (b.c. 860, d. 932) – 33rd generation, first to France
William Longsword (d. 942)
Richard I (b.c. 932, d. 996)
Mauger de Normandie (d. 1033)
Gilbert de Corbeil – 39th generation, first to England
Robert Fitz-gilbert de Corbeil
Robert de Peshale
John de Lumley de Peshale
William de Peshale
Walter de Peshale
Walter de Peshale
Adam de Peshale
Adam de Peshale
Sir Richard de Peshall (b.c. 1340, d.c. 1380)
Sir Thomas de Peshall (b.c. 1370, d.c. 1420)
Nicholas de Peshall (b.c. 1400, d.c. 1450)
Hugh de Peshall (b.c. 1430, d.c.
Sir Hugh de Peshall (b.c. 1450, d. 1488)
Humphrey Peshall (b.c. 1470, d. 1489)
John Pershall (b. 1485, d.c.
Richard Pershall (b.c. 1500, d.c. 1550)
Edmund Pershall (b.c. 1531, d. 1629)
Thomas Pearsall (b.c. 1580, d. 1643) –
57th generation, first to America
Henry Pearsall (b.c. 1630, d.c.
George Pearsall (b.c. 1650, d.c.
George Pearsall (b.c. 1670, d.c.
Nathaniel Pearsall (b.c. 1700, d.c. 1750)
George Pearsall (b. 1739, d. 1825)
Peter Pearsall (b. 1769, d. 1838)
John Pearsall (b. 1801, d. 1886)
John Henry Pearsall (b. 1831, d. 1897)
John Albert Pearsall (b. 1855, d. 1937)
Roscoe Harrison Pearsall (b. 1889, d. 1947)
John Albert Pearsall
James Allan Pearsall
Please participate! All are welcome to
join. Science is now available to help “reconstruct” our family tree with
your help. The three primary service providers are: DNA Heritage,
Relative Genetics, and Family Tree DNA. The Pearsall Family project is
registered with each of the three providers linked in the table below. In
order to join the project, the process includes:
with one of the three service providers below and contact the project
a test and request a sample kit (typically with two cheek swabs)
a cheek swab, gently rub the inside of your cheeks for ~60 seconds
the cheek swab in a sealed envelope or container
~4 hours, repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second cheek swab
both samples to the testing service
usually takes about 6 weeks
will be notified of the results on-line
results can then be compared with others to calculate genetic distance
(e.g. when two individuals likely shared a common ancestor)
10. Values from the test results can be used
to search public databases (listed below) for other closely-related
Family DNA surname project links
test is 43-markers (minimum 37-markers)
Y-DNA 37 or
*67-marker test recommended
over 37-marker test;
DNA testing details
DNA storage provided
MtDNA testing offered
service providers – these tend to be specialist labs (not recommended
for this project)
International Society of
Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)
Link to detailed comparison of labs from ISOGG
TO INITIAL 12-MARKER RESULTS --à
TO 43-MARKER RESULTS --à
TO COMPREHENSIVE 123-MARKER RESULTS --à
TO INITIAL PROJECT RESULTS (updated
August 23, 2006)--à
TO SECOND PROJECT RESULTS (updated
October 14, 2006)--à
TO THIRD PROJECT RESULTS (updated
November 5, 2006)--à
TO FOURTH PROJECT RESULTS (updated
January 8, 2007)--à
TO NEW RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT (updated March
RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT (updated April 14, 2007)--à
TO FIFTH PROJECT RESULTS (updated May 4,
TO NEW NOTICE (updated May 10, 2008)--à
TO NEW CALCULATOR
(updated May 17, 2008)--à
TO NEW RESULTS
(updated May 26, 2008)--à