The SANKEY DNA Project
To study our origins

The name Sankey appears to originate uniquely from the north shore of the Mersey River in England, where a township of that name predates the Norman conquest. Early documents mostly use the form Sonky; the variant Sainty arose more recently in East Anglia, Sinkey in Pennsylvania ca.1800.

Before about 1500, surnames such as those of European culture use today did not exist in England. Anyone living in the area could have used the form "de Sankey" to denote where they lived. So, holders of the name are not necessarily related. Given the history of the area, people with this surname should be of either male Norse, Saxon or Norman provenance, with a chance of earlier Briton. The male ancestry of Normans 1000 years ago was often Norse, but it appears that this route can be separated from the main Viking settlements of England in the 8-900's by marker JN15.

However, as a search on Facebook will quickly show, it appears that a slave owner named Sankey in the southern USA gave all his black slaves his name; these people will not of course be related to the English line, or probably to each other. And besides affairs, there are unmarried moms who marry later, and adoptions. There's a local case where two infants were left with a foster parent temporarily and got switched. (They both kept their transferred names.) There's a case in our federal cabinet where an ancestor changed his surname to get a bequest. So I well accept the fragility of relying on surname for common ancestry. But, this project uses it for a start.

The first aim of the project will be to determine to what extent holders of the name possess haplotypes classifiable as one of the above possible provenances. Some DNA features change rapidly, some more slowly. The haplotype groups those features which change the most slowly of all.

If you are a male Sankey who can trace his male line ancestry back to England, or if you already live there, please join us!

You will need a Y-DNA test from Family Tree DNA in order to do this - the Genographic project is no longer compatible with us.

If you are new to DNA testing, visit the FTDNA site above.

Project Results:

So far, two members who can trace their male-line Sankey ancestry back to England are haplotype Q, one is I. Two who live in England are R1b. Haplotypes I and Q are strongly suggestive of Norse origin, most of whom settled in England 8-900. JN15 is Norse from eastern Norway who, it seems most likely, arrived via Normandy about 1066; his earliest proven ancestor is Peter Sankey m.Elizabeth Eaton probably Daresbury Cheshire. The earliest ancestor of the I haplogroup member was born as Isaac Sankey in 1705 Warrington and married Elizabeth Churton. Haplogroup R1a indicates an origin in eastern Europe, possibly Saxon. Haplogroup R1b indicates an origin from western Europe, probably non-Norse French.

#H39339019391 385a385b 42638843938913923892matchesadditional tests
Haplotype I
1I-M2531322141013-14 1114111211290Helix(Genographic),STR-37
Haplotype Q
1Q-JN1513231411 1317 1212121312293892BigY
2Q-M24213231410 1316 1212121212290
Haplotype R1a
1R-M19813251511 1114 12121114113233STR-37
2R-SRY1083113261511 1114 12121114113213
3R-M51213251511 11-14 1212111411322160STR-37,Family Finder
Haplotype R1b
1R-M26913241411 1114 12121213132910596
2R-M26913241411 1114 121212131429649
3R-M26913241411 12-1412 1212131411292104Family Finder
4R-M26913241411 11-1412 121213141129649
5R-M26914241410 11-1412 1211131415310
The red values mutate the most rapidly, the blue most slowly.

All members in R1a are related to each other within 2 generations; members 1-4 in R1b are also related to each other within 2 generations. No other members have any close relatives within the FTDNA database.