The Family Name

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


Copyright 2011, 2020 Loretta Lynn Layman


The Lynn surname has several completely different origins and even more variant spellings.  In the English-speaking world, 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.  Our most important tools are the Y-DNA results and the phylogeny [the evolutionary history of an organism].

Certain R-U198 Lynns have known Scottish and/or Ulster Scottish connections.  At the same time, the Y-DNA results for all known R-U198 Lynns suggest that they share a common Lynn ancestor in about the 14th century and possibly as long ago as the 12th.  In Scotland, even as recently as the 14th century, only royals, nobles, and aristocrats had hereditary surnames.  Of particular interest is the fact that our surname is proven by extant medieval-era documents to be a heritable surname in the Scottish Lowlands from as early as 1175, with one Lynn family among the aristocracy.

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.  There are at this site reliable histories of six of our group's most distant known ancestors, including citations to some or all of the sources for their respective paper trails.  More histories will be added over time; and it is hoped that, eventually, it will be possible to connect some of these ancestors to each other.  In truth, there are three branches within the R-U198 Lynn family with descendants for whom the Y-DNA has already proven vital to confirming paper trails and establishing precise relationships.

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.

Note: In our group of 11 R-U198 Lynns, 8 claim Scottish or Ulster Scots ancestry, while the remaining 3 have 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 today.

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.

For the original R-U198 Discussion, in its entirety, see


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


Contact : Group Administrator : Lynneage