While DNA testing for genealogical purposes is a complicated subject, the following is a simplified explanation of the process.


DNA is a substance found in the cells in our bodies, and it contains our genes.  It is contained in pairs of thread-like material called chromosomes, which are passed down to us from our parents.  Since we are all different, the characteristics of the DNA in our chromosomes are different from those in other people.  We all have 23 pairs of these chromosomes.  Both males and females have 22 pairs that are essentially the same, called X chromosomes.  The 23rd pair, however, can be very much different from the rest.  In females, all 23 pairs are made up of X-chromosomes.  But in males, that 23rd pair contains only one X-chromosome and one completely different, called the Y-chromosome.  Those of us with the 23rd pair with 2 X's are always female, and those of us with the 23rd pair made up of one X and one Y are always male.

The image to the left shows the 22 pairs of X-chromosomes that both males and females have in the cells in their bodies.  The 23rd pair in the blue box shows the Y-chromosome that only males possess.  The 23rd pair that females possess would have both X's and no Y.  It is the DNA in that Y-chromosome that is passed down from father to son, mainly unchanged over the generations, that is being tested.

On the right is a cell showing the chromosomes in its center. 


An enlarged chromosome is shown to its right in the box with its contents ending in the thread-like strands of DNA.

The exciting part of DNA testing from the genealogy standpoint is that the Y-chromosome is passed down from father to son almost entirely unchanged generation after generation.


Though probably unlikely, assume that Keeps all over the world are descended from Keep families in England.  If all male Keeps world wide had DNA-Y tests, we would find that related males in England and elsewhere would have the very same Y-chromosome, and we would find that they would divide into distinct lines of Keep families in this hypothetical case.


We have already discovered using the DNA-Y testing that John Keep of Longmeadow, who died in 1676, is a descendant of a particular Keep line in England--the line of Walter Kep, who was born in Astwood, Buckinghamshire, in 1230.  We also know, by this testing, that this English family line descends to a John L. Keep, who now lives near London.  What isn't known yet is where the ancestral line of our Longmeadow John Keep intersects the Walter Kep/John L. Keep line.   Many participants in America and  England (and elsewhere) are needed in this quest.


How Was This Discovered?


We know that John of Longmeadow had a Y-chromosome, of course, and we know that all of his male descendants in America have virtually the same one, because he passed it down from father to son.  In the same way, we know that John inherited that same Y-chromosome from his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and so on back.  Obviously, if John came from England, we knew that there must be males living right now in  England who have the very same Y-chromosome as John's American descendants, because not all Keeps in that family came to America. The electrifying part is that with DNA testing of male Keeps in America, and DNA testing in England, a match was found in a Keep there with that same Y-chromosome, the John L. Keep of London.  Very importantly, this modern-day Keep knows his family line back to the 13th century Walter Kep of Astwood.  From this, it is established that the Longmeadow John Keep's ancestor lies in that Walter Kep/John L. Keep family line.


The test results and family lines of those involved can be found on this site.


How Can the Project Help Discover Other Keep Family Lines?


There is an unknown number of Keeps in America, England, and all over the world who do not fall into the lines of John Keep and Walter Kep.   As the number of participants increase, these Keeps may discover related family lines that they didn't know they had.   Indeed, Keeps all over the world could learn of their roots and relationships by the testing of their Y-chromosomes together with the usual traditional genealogical methods. 


Because it is possible that Y-chromosomes can change just a bit over time, there will have to be a substantial number of Males with the surname Keep to participate in the project.  Females can also participate by sponsoring their male relatives with the surname Keep.


Those of you who would like a more detailed explanation of DNA and the Y-chromosome are welcome to go to the Blair family website to find it.   http://blairdna.com/dna101.html


The Keep Family DNA Project is using FamilyTreeDNA, a very reputable laboratory widely used by family DNA project groups, and an internet search of family DNA projects will show the great number that use it   The laboratory is located at the University of Arizona.  A detailed explanation of its process is found at FamilyTreeDNA.


FamilyTreeDNA Explanations Click here for "watch videos" at the lab.


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   The Keep DNA  Project
 World Wide    All Keeps   All Countries

Welcome to the Keep Family DNA Project                                   


Introduction. This Project was begun with the narrow purpose of attempting to discover the ancestral roots of John Keep of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, who was killed by the Indians near the end of King Philips War in that Colonial Colony.  His ancestry and his place of origin were unknown from just after his lifetime down to the year 2008, when DNA evidence in this Project revealed that he was in fact from  England and that his ancestry is in the line of Walter Kep b. 1230 in Astwood, Buckinghamshire.


The difficult process of establishing John's particular line leading to Walter's has now begun, and much DNA testing of both American and British, and indeed of world-wide Keeps, remains to be carried out in aid of this quest.

The Extension and Enlargement of the Keep DNA Project   It has become very evident that much has to be done in Great Britain and in other parts of the world to discover and record the family's history.  
There is an exciting possibility that the Keep family originated in  Saxony in the very distant past.  Therefore, Keeps in North America, Great Britain, and around the world are encouraged to participate in the DNA testing in order to provide as much of this type of evidence as possible to aid in the traditional methods of genealogical research.


Testing kit showing swabs and storage vials.

The attempt is being made not only to discover the ancestral lines of John Keep of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, U. S. A., and Walter Kep of Astwood, Buckinghamshire, England, but to discover the lines of other parts of the extended Keep family and variations of that name.


For some time, genealogists have been excited that DNA testing can be a great aid in this type of research.  There is a substance in the human cell that contains material that is handed down virtually unchanged from father to son, father to son, generation after generation.  This DNA Project tests that material of Males with the surname Keep in order to discover roots, relationships, and connections of the greater Keep Family and variations of that name.  The testing lab being used for this work is located at the University of Arizona.


The simple test described below can be used to place Keeps in the various lines of our family, though it must be understood that much testing, traditional genealogical research, and the passage of time will be required to create the type of family tree that is sought.  It also has to be emphasized that Females in the Keep family wishing to participate would have to sponsor or elicit the cooperation of a Male relative with that surname to act as a proxy, so to speak.


Please continue reading below for a bit more detail.



Back to DNA Site Index
The Keep Family
The Keep Family
DNA Project
Back to The Keep Family Home Page 
Back to DNA Site Index 
Keep Family DNA Site Links

A Basic Explanation of the Process

DNA Testing and the Y-Chromosome


Explanation of Genetic Links

DNA Test Results
A Basic Explanation of the Project
DNA Testing and the Y-chromosome
Table of Contents