Calling All Clay Men: We Need Your yDNA

The majority of people in the United States with surname Clay descend from one of three colonial immigrants: John Clay(e) (c. 1595 England – c. 1655 Virginia), Jonas Clay (c. 1617 England? – c. 1663 Maine) and Richard Clay (c.1713 Maine – c. 1801 Maine).

The Problem: Today there are over 12,000 Clays in the UK (most numerous in Manchester), over 18,000 in the United States (most numerous in Texas) and over 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada). Yet no living Clay in the United States can trace their pedigree back through any of the big three early Clays to a living Clay on the UK side of the Atlantic. Thus, the big-3 are brick walls for thousands of living Clays in the Americas, who would like to find distance cousins in the UK that remain unknown. DNA testing for atDNA (the most common test) will not provide solutions to ancestry back more than 5 or 6 generations and is ineffective for this research. And DNA testing for mtDNA (maternal line) offers no help in tracing a male paternal surname Clay line.

The Solution: yDNA testing and analysis of as many surname Clays as possible.

yDNA Defined: The DNA y sex chromosome is only passed from male fathers to male children. And because it changes (mutates) slowly between male generations it can be used to trace the male line back hundreds of generations! So, as more surname Clay testers join the Clay project (at the closer we will get to finding their parents. They will be discovered over time with more Y-DNA testers and more genealogy research, it’s just a matter of when!

yDNA pedigree diagram:

If you have a FamilyTreeDNA account you can view all 116 yDNA Clay yDNA test results in our surname Clay project here. A portion is also show in the picture below.

How You Can Help: If you are a male Clay or know one, please do or have them do the following:

  1. Join the Clay Family Society here
  2. Order your yDNA test and create your FamilyTreeDNA account here
  3. Log into your new FamilyTreeDNA account and Join the FamilyTreeDNA Clay project here
  4. Have questions about FamilyTreeDNA – go here

OR… email our DNA administrator at with questions.

Want to learn more about how the Clay Family Society is revolutionizing the integration of yDNA with genealogy? Click here!