Updated - February 2021


  Questions and additions or corrections to this page may be sent to John Wolcott (johnwolcott at mail.com).

The Wolcott/Woolcott/Walcott/Walcutt/Wilcott/Woollacott DNA project was begun by Charles W. Wolcott and John B. Wolcott in 2004. The purpose was to establish DNA base data for these families, to attempt to identify common ancestors, to ascertain how their DNA mutated, and to help Wolcotts, Woolcotts, Walcotts, Wilcotts, Woollacotts, etc. find or verify their patrilineal descent. We also hoped to prove or disprove some relationships that had previously been conjectural.

The Wolcott/Woolcott/Walcott DNA program uses the Family Tree DNA testing program, which has the largest DNA data base in the world. We are testing for the Y chromosome, which has the biological feature of being passed from father-to-son, much like a surname, without any contribution or mixing from the mother. In this way, men who share a common patrilineal ancestor can be matched by their shared Y-chromosome, even if separated by many generations and hundreds of years. Over time, the Y-chromosome accumulates minor mutations, which then are passed to subsequent generations, showing branches from the original paternal source. For this reason, only DNA from males in a direct Wolcott/Woolcott/Walcott line can participate. Several women have obtained samples from male relatives for testing. There is a charge by the laboratory to process your DNA sample, but no other cost for participating in this all-volunteer effort run entirely by participants in the project.

Over one hundred twenty Wolcott/Woolcott/Walcot,Walcott,etc. men have participated in this project. We encourage use of the Y-DNA 37 marker test, which is sufficient for most purposes. Some participants have extended their tests to 67 markers, and a few participants have extended their tests to the maximum 111 markers. We compare this with the historical and documentary evidence we have or can find. In most cases the DNA data supports or confirms our expected relationships. In the few cases where this does not happen, we re-examine our data. If the data appears to be correct, we assume the results to be an "anomaly" caused by an adoption or out of wedlock birth.

Our Y-DNA tests allow us to place our participants in specific officially recognized "haplogroups", groups descended from a common ancestor. These haplogroups divide into other sub-groups as additional mutations are identified. These become branches and twigs on the human family tree. Most of our participants are members of the Wolcott Family Society and descendants of Thomas Woolcott of Tolland, Somerset, b. c.1500. Wolcott has become the chosen spelling of this family in America, whereas Woolcott was and remains the favored spelling in England. Thomas' descendants are part of a haplogroup designated R-U106>L48>Z11>S16701 (c.330AD)>Y19921 (c.1285AD)>Y19922 (c.1425AD), of Anglo-Saxon origin. Another family which branched off of Y19921 before the taking of surnames, now carries the surname of Long. Four separate groups of descendants of Thomas Woolcott have been identified by their DNA as individual branches of Thomas' designation as Y19922.

Shortly into our project we found that there was a particular marker that was different in the descendants of Henry Wolcott who immigrated to Connecticut in 1630, and his second cousin, John Wolcott who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1634. Henry's descendants, the most numerous of our participants, have been given the haplogroup number of Y20600. Of these, four are descendants of Samuel Wolcott of Charleston MA, whose historical ancestry was and is uncertain. Three others are members of the Newberry family, believed to have been adopted into a Wolcott family of born out of wedlock with a Wolcott father. Descendants of Henry's second cousin, John Wolcott, have been designated as haplogroup Y22158, branching from Henry's haplogroup about 1570AD. Two other participants descended from Thomas by an unknown descendant other than Henry and John, are now designated as haplogroup Y29888 (c.1650 AD). Another five participants, including descendants of Samuel Woolcott who immigrated to New Jersey in 1660, appear to be related to Thomas, but not descendants of the other three groups, and are now designated as haplogroup BY34177. Each of these branches are derived from at least two individuals who have DNA markers not found in the others. Thus, the majority of our participants fall within Haplotype Y19922, with origins in Somerset and with Anglo-Saxon origins.

There is only one other English family with the Woolcott surname, originating in Devonshire. It has been given the haplogroup designation, R-P312>L21>DF13>DF49>DF23 (c.2500BC) >Y24874 (c.1000AD)>Y24879 (c.1500AD). It is of Celtic origin, with the earliest known common ancestor being Ralph Woolcott, c.1330, of Thrushelton, Devonshire, where the property long called Woolacotts still bears his name. Our DNA participants showing this DNA includes two descendants of John Woolcott, surgeon, who immigrated to Kent Co., Maryland in 1649, and four descendants of Philip Wilcutt, mariner, who was at Massachusetts in 1711. The other participant in this group's family lived at Exeter.

The Walcot family of Shropshire, once thought, in error, to have been related to the Somerset Wolcotts, has been given the haplogroup designation, R-P312>L21/DF13, and are also of Celtic origin. We have two descendants of the Shropshire Walcot family participating in the project, both descendants of Rev. Charles Walcot, b.1794. They have tested negative for the SNPs that identify Somerset and Devonshire Woolcotts.

The Walcott descendants of William Walcott of Salem MA have been designated haplogroup I-M253>Z17954, and are of Nordic origin, probably descended from early Scandinavian settlers in Eastern England. Another family of Walcotts originated in Buckingham or Hampshire, is now classified as haplogroup I-M253>DF29>L22>P109>S18218. Our four participants in this Haplogroup have historic roots in Eastern England, three by way of Barbados.

We have had three African-American participants; two Walcotts and a Wilcott. Each DNA sample shows African descent in the male lines, descending from three different ancestors in Africa.

Several other participants have varying DNA that fit in none of these haplogroups, probably due to adoptions, out-of-wedlock parentage or other reasons.




We invite any male Wolcott, Woolcott, Walcott, Walcutt, Woollacott, Willcutt, Wilcott, etc. to participate in our DNA project. We especially encourage Woolcotts and Walcots who have other descent than Henry and John Wolcott of Somerset to help us expand our knowledge of those families. Charles Wolcott of Houston TX, who has handled the technical part of the project has recently decided to retire for health reasons, and has selected Charlie Wolcott of London, England to supervise that part of the project. His email address is charles.wolcott@mac.com. If you are interested in participating in this test, please let Charlie know.

DNA evidence is supported by available historical records. DNA can tell that two individuals are genetically related, but not specifically how they are related. Historical records can often show the exact relationship, supported by the DNA evidence. John B. Wolcott of Corvallis OR, supervises that aspect of the project. If you give him your Wolcott/Walcott/Wilcott line of descent as far back as you know it, he will be happy to assist you in connecting your genealogical line with known Wolcott/Walcott/etc. family data. For this assistance please contact him at johnwolcott@mail.com. If you participate in the Wolcott project, Charlie and John will receive the results of your test to compare with other participants' results. Your information will be used only for that purpose. If you wish more anonymity, we suggest you sign up for the DNA test using your Wolcott grandfather's name.

You can register yourself and order a DNA kit by going to www.familytreedna.com/, then clicking on "Surname Projects", then on "W", and then on "Wolcott". At the bottom of that page is an order form that will allow you to join the Wolcott Surname Project and order a test kit from FTDNA. The current cost of the basic Y-DNA37 test is $109, but if you order through our Wolcott group there may be a discount. Once your order is placed, it will take a week to ten days to receive your DNA test kit from FTDNA. The test itself is simple and painless, involving a swab of the inner cheek with a cotton swab. After your test kit is returned to the FTDNA laboratory, in a provided return envelope, it will take about six weeks to receive your results. We will be available to assist in the interpretation of those results.

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