We Search for Scruggs Past & Present
Scruggs Family Association

Scruggs Surname DNA Project

SFA has sponsored a Y-DNA project since 2003 with exciting results. DNA results indicate that there is a common Scruggs ancestor about 10 generations back, possibly in the late 17th century, which happens to coincide with the first known Scruggs in America, Richard, who appears in Virginia records in 1655.


SFA wanted to find out if the members of our organization who were not known to be related actually are related.  We all had the Scruggs surname, or had ancestors with the surname, but SFA did not know if all the members were actually related to each other by a common ancestor, either in America or in the generations shortly before the start of colonization by England.

  • While DNA results in themselves never prove exactly who was father to whom, they do indicate if two males almost certainly have a common ancestor within a given period of time.


SFA identified an initial group of 13 males with the Scruggs surname who represented the most fully documented separate lines in the association.  The first results were astoundingly clear.  Twelve of these males are clearly descended from a common ancestor.  Ten were perfect matches on the 12-marker test.  Two others matched on 11 of the 12 markers, with a one-step mutation on one of the markers.  Two lines tested were anomalies, perhaps indicating adoptions into the family.

Currently 24 male Scruggs have been tested, with several to the more precise level of 37 markers, carefully covering a variety of lines.  The higher levels confirmed the initial findings.

When having a 36 of 37-marker match, it gives 90% likelihood of a common ancestor in eight generations.  With several of our lines that are matched at 37 markers, the likelihood is even higher of a common ancestor in eight generations.

  • For some of our lines, such as the Henry and Elizabeth Scruggs line, the line is known for 9 generations.  That means that Henry, his father, or grandfather are almost certainly the common ancestor linking this line with other member lines.


We all have DNA that is unique to ourselves.  Your unique DNA came directly from your parents at the moment of conception, half of the chromosomes from your mother and half from your father.   Although your particular combination is unique, obviously the various chromosomes are not.  Basically, you have your genealogical history written in yourself. Indeed the DNA of the Y chromosome is unique to men, so it always passes from father to each and every son, barely changing for centuries as it passes down the line.  That makes it a very interesting tool for genealogists in societies where the surname of the father becomes the surname of the child.


After receiving the test kit, the man swabs the inside of his mouth for 60 seconds 3 different times, placing each swab in a different test vial.


Contact the Project Administrator Janice King Carter at [email protected] or Co-Administrator Mary Beth Scruggs Rephlo at [email protected].  We would be delighted to have you join.