In recent years DNA has become increasingly useful for genealogy purposes, allowing family lines to be pieced together that don’t have the required documentation. In surname studies this is particularly true for Y-DNA, which is passed down from father to son. If there is an unbroken male line of descent the descendant should have the same Y-DNA as his distant male ancestor with the same surname, and that is true for Cavers as well.
Bearing this in mind, and also bearing in mind the large number of Cavers lines that we can’t trace back past the late 18th century, but are probably in many cases connected, I have started a Y-DNA project for Cavers. This has been set up with FamilyTreeDNA which is one of the largest genealogical DNA testing companies, based in America. For surname/one-name study purposes it’s generally necessary to do a Y-DNA test accurate to 37 markers, and this company offers a good deal on this level of testing.
Now DNA testing isn’t cheap, although prices have dropped considerably in the last few years. I can’t afford to pay for other people’s tests. I would need descendants to volunteer to pay for their own tests, or perhaps for family branches to group together to cover costs. To give an example of costs, I can provide a single Y-DNA 37 marker test kit to people in the UK for 80 pounds. If ordering the same item directly from FamilyTreeDNA (if you’re outside the UK) the same kit bought via the project currently costs $149 US dollars.
What I’d hope is that male descendants from a number of different Cavers lines would sign up to be tested. You would get the results from your own test, and by combining them and comparing them with other Cavers Y-DNA tests, which I would be able to do as the project administrator, it should be possible to see if different lines are related, and how closely. This is potentially very useful for the Cavers one-name study, and genealogical purposes, and has already proved very useful for other one-name studies.
To read more about the project see the project’s public page on the FamilyTreeDNA website. This is very much a long-term project, but I hope that it will be very useful.