The Family Name

Lin - Lind - Line - Linn - Linne - Lyn - Lynd - Lyne - Lynn - Lynne


Copyright 2011 Loretta Lynn Layman


The Lynn surname has several completely different origins and even more variant spellings.  In some cultures, particularly the United States and Britain, the spelling of surnames was relatively inconsistent even into the 19th century.  This phenomenon is important to bear in mind, whether following a paper trail or studying your family's DNA portrait.  However, it is the DNA itself which most reliably defines family relationships.

The primary goals of this project are to identify and connect those Lynns, Linns, etc. who share a common ancestor - within the DNA haplogroup R-U198 - and to discover where our family's origin lies.  The most important tools at this site are our chart of Y-DNA results and its companion diagram, Lynn phylogeny in R-U198, a phylogeny being the evolutionary history of an organism.

The Y-DNA results for R-U198 Lynns suggest that these men share a common ancestor sometime within the past 300-500 years but possibly as long ago as the 11th century. An 11th-century origin would mean that the family's surname was assumed during an era in which only families of property and position had surnames, but this scenario remains to be proven. R-U198 Lynns do have Scottish and Ulster Scot connections, but the migrations of their haplogroup suggest that they originated either in England or somewhere in the vicinity of French Flanders / Belgium.

The paper trail for R-U198 Lynns is also vital.  While DNA provides estimates of the time within which specific individuals share a common ancestor, the historic documents and records are needed to corroborate those estimates and refine them into lineages.  In addition to the discussion of Lynn surname origins, there are at this site reliable histories of three of our group's most distant known ancestors.  Others will be added over time.  It is hoped that, eventually, it will be possible to connect some of these ancestors to each other.

Also available here are extracts of the 1850 U.S. Census listing all men by the name Lynn or one its variants who were born in either Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, or continental Europe.  Also included on each census chart are sons, if any, born in the U.S. or any country other than the country to which that specific chart relates.  It must be borne in mind, however, that not all Lynns, etc. have the same genetic origins.  See "Important Note" on the main 1850 U.S. Census page.

The DNA charts, phylogeny diagram, census, and lineages constitute the resources currently available at this site.  However, please also see the following discussion concerning the family's ethnic origins.

Our Y-DNA Haplogroup


Condensed and adapted from R-U198 Discussion, with permission of the R-U198 Project.

R-U198 is a rather uncommon, significant haplogroup within the huge R1b super-haplogroup that is ubiquitous in Western Europe.  Even in those areas where it is relatively prevalent, such as the United Kingdom, it does not seem to comprise more than about 2% to 3% of the male population.

We do come across R-U198 quite often in men whose ancestry is Ulster-Scots, Lowland Scots, English, Flemish, Dutch, or German (particularly from the Rhine Valley).  At the same time, however, our wing of R-U198 (DF89) seems to appear more frequently in Britain while the other large wing of R-U198 (DF93) may be more prevalent in Dutch or German populations.

In our group of ten R-U198 Lynns, seven claim Scottish or Ulster Scots ancestry, while the remaining three are of unknown origins.

Well-sampled populations where we do not tend to find much R-U198 include Gaelic Irish, Highland Scots, and Scandinavians, although of course it has spread a lot over the millennia and might occur anywhere.

One question is how much R-U198 is in France and exactly what part of France.  A huge disadvantage is that European populations have not been scientifically sampled in any consistent way, and France is a notoriously under-sampled area.  We would love to know how much R-U198 [particularly our DF89 wing] is in places like Normandy, Alsace, and “French Flanders”.

Lynn (and its variants) is one of a very few R-U198 surnames that are starting to emerge as genuinely old.  Some of these surnames claim Norman, Breton, or Flemish origins.  Indeed, we do seem to come across post-1066 events quite often, but that evidence is circumstantial, and it is likely that R-U198 reached Britain in several different ways over many centuries.

As it concerns circumstantial evidence, of particular interest to R-U198 Lynns is the fact that our surname is proven by extant medieval-era documents to be a heritable surname in the Scottish Lowlands from at least as early as 1175.  Further, it is believed from an historical perspective that such a family would have been of the aristocracy and perhaps would have had its origins on the European continent.

For the R-U198 Discussion in its entirety, see


Surname Origin Y-DNA Results Phylogeny Ancestors 1850 U.S. Census


Contact : Group Administrator : Lynneage or Lynneage