Pennington Research Association

Prior to the implementation of the DNA Study, a DNA Plan was presented to the Board of Directors by Gene Pennington, Research Director.  The plan was approved by the Board on December 15, 2000 and the DNA Study was started.

The Phase I report was issued in 2001.  Since then, Phase II (2002) and Phase III (2005) reports have been issued.

Click here to Participate in the PRA's DNA Study

Click here to read an article titled "DNA Study & PRA Family Groups".

The DNA Study

The Pennington Research Association Board approved a DNA project to study the Y chromosome structure of the Pennington family and its several Family Groups. The DNA Study Group consists of Nick Penington (Chairman), Paul A. Pennington and Monte Pennington.

The DNA Study Group selected Family Tree DNA as the company to process our tests.  The PRA was one of the first genealogy associations to participate in an organized DNA Study.

In Phase I, tissue samples will be sought from volunteer male PRA members and associate members who are reasonably certain that they are members of a specific PRA Family Group.

In Phase II we continued to collect samples from volunteers and we made a strong effort to reach Pennington volunteers in the United Kingdom by publishing articles in several genealogy newsletters and magazines in England.

In Phase III, the study became more open to any Pennington descendant that was curious to find out about their ancestry. The goals of Phase I and Phase II were still in operation but the process of the study (see below), into the future, became largely web based.  The only criterion for entry to the study became the possession of a Y-chromosome (i.e. maleness) and an inkling that it should correlate with your direct paternal surname line.

We encourage ALL participants to select the 37 marker test because the results are more useful and help to reduce the number of generations between you and a potential match.

We have simplified the process to make it easier and less expensive for volunteers to participate.  A volunteer will work directly with Family Tree DNA to sign up and to have their test kits mailed directly to them.  To learn how the new process works, read below.

DNA Study Process

The basic tenants of the DNA Study procedures are:

  • Family Tree DNA (FTDNA - the company we use for the DNA tests) will handle the administration of the future participants in our DNA Study, including accepting payment for the testing.

  • The interested party is directed to the FTDNA website ( where they click on Surname Projects on the left side of the page, chose “P” and then "Pennington" and then read the Pennington study blurb.

  • Next request to join the PRA DNA Study, and get our group rate (BIG SAVINGS over public prices)

  • Next, the DNA Study Coordinator replies with a join code if the test will work for them. 

    • The current DNA tests available are: 

    1. Y-DNA 37 Markers Test  - Public prices is $169 - PRA discount price is $149 - $20 discount.  PRA recommends the Y-DNA 37 Markers Test for our Study.

    2. Y-DNA 67 Markers Test - Public price is $268 - PRA discount price is $238 - $30 discount. 
  • Once you have paid and entered the study, FTDNA will then send you a kit for your sample (simple and painless). You send it back to them and your result will be sent to you via a secure web link. The study coordinator will be able to help you interpret the result.

  • The results are sent to the applicant by FTDNA and shared with the DNA Study Coordinator who will include the result with our database and interpret it. No Names will be included with the posting of results so the table will list only sequences associated with different PRA family groups.

  • All the data collected to date is not affected by these changes, only new participant data.


New participants will share their identity with FTDNA. This should not pose a problem for anyone once they understand everyone's motives and FTDNAs privacy policies (strict). Should they have any questions, they can contact our DNA Study Coordinator Nick Penington who can help them understand the DNA Study and the privacy policies.

If the PRA wants to sponsor someone, all the DNA Study Coordinator will need to do is order the test for them and pay FTDNA.

Since payment for the DNA test will be directly to FTDNA, a volunteer will not be able to claim a tax deductible donation to the Pennington Research Association, Inc. If this is a problem for a volunteer, they can send their payment directly to Nick Penington at his address which will be forwarded to the participant. Nick Penington will then order the test for that individual.

More Details:

Ideally, two or more males from each Family Group would be analyzed. Even though we have not yet attained this goal for every Family Group, the findings to date are very exciting and have yielded an initial understanding of the Y chromosome makeup of the Family Groups, allowing the Study Group to draw conclusions about which of the Family Groups share common ancestors. This should help to clarify the lines of descent of the family and all its branches. The Study Group continues to design future research based on the findings to date.

It is important for our volunteers to know that in order to obtain the Y chromosome analysis at the special price of $209, you must be willing to provide the Research Committee with their results and information on at least some of their family tree in order to further clarify the structure of the Pennington family. Family Group Leader or the Research Director.

A number of steps will be taken to protect the privacy and anonymity of volunteer participants. The names of participants will not be known to any person except the DNA Study Chairman Nick Penington.  (A backup copy of data will be maintained to prevent accidental loss, as is done with all PRA materials.) Published Y chromosome analyses will show only a code for each person analyzed, his Family Group number, and the corresponding analysis. However, in contrast to a fully funded study, volunteers are asked to pay the cost of their analyses, and should therefore are entitled to receive their personal results. This may give rise to situations in which absolute anonymity is difficult to maintain if individuals publicize their own results. The PRA will not release names of participants in any form.

Grants may be available for those volunteers who request financial assistance.  Grant applicants should contact the DNA Study Chairman, Nick Penington for details.  Please note that on August 6, 2008, the PRA Board of Directors established the follow guideline for grant applicants.

There was a consensus of the Board that if PRA gives a grant to pay for the DNA study, it must be agreeable to the family to release information concerning the family line, not to include living persons. If the person pays for the study privately, they can keep the information private or make it available to the PRA.

Volunteers are now being accepted.


1. How much does Y chromosome analysis cost?  The current DNA tests available are: 

  1. Y-DNA 37 Markers Test  - Public prices is $169 - PRA discount price is $149 - $20 discount.  PRA recommends the Y-DNA 37 Markers Test for our Study.

  2. Y-DNA 67 Markers Test - Public price is $268 - PRA discount price is $238 - $30 discount. 

2. How is the DNA sample obtained? DNA can be obtained from any cell, but one of the easiest samples is obtained by swabbing the inside of the cheek with a sterile cotton swab.

3. Why do we analyze the Y chromosome? The Y chromosome is the only chromosome passed unchanged from father to son, and therefore indicates the paternal line of descent. All males in a patriarchal line have the same Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is not present in females.

4. What is analyzed? We look at specific parts of the Y chromosome to obtain a “signature”. Two or more males whose Y chromosome signatures match come from the same paternal line of descent. Those whose signatures do not match are from different lines.

5. Exactly what does a Y chromosome match demonstrate? A Y chromosome match shows that two males have a common male ancestor. This ancestor could be their father, or it could be a male from a thousand years ago.

6. Can we analyze female descent? Yes, but not in the same way. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother but, unlike the Y chromosome, it is passed to both male and female children. Mitochondrial DNA from either sex can be analyzed to see if two people have a common female ancestor. The present study will not analyze mitochondrial DNA.

7. If no Y chromosome match is found, what does that show? It demonstrates to a very high degree of probability that the two males analyzed do notshare a male ancestor. Although this is true for the two individuals tested, it may not be true for the family groups of the individuals who were tested, because there are a number of sources of “non-paternal events”. 

8. Does a Y chromosome match prove this relationship? Although no evidence is ever absolutely certain, the confidence level for such a match is very high. Typically, there is less than one chance in a million or more that the demonstrated relationship is in error.

9. Couldn’t it be embarrassing if an individual’s Y chromosome does not match when it should? Yes, and for this reason no individual volunteer’s Y chromosome analysis will ever be revealed except by a code. The individual volunteer will receive a confidential personal report unless he specifies otherwise, but he will not be given his code. Names of volunteers will not be published or released in any way. No one will know the names of participants except the project director.

10. Do Y chromosome analyses sometimes match, but not at every point? Yes. Over a period of many years, a small number of mutations can be counted on to appear, so there may be one or more points where the Y chromosome analysis does not match exactly.

Click here to participate in the DNA Study.

Cash donations are welcome to help support this DNA Study.  Donations are tax deductible and are used for volunteers who cannot afford to pay for the tests themselves.

The PRA is a non-for-profit charitable corporation and donations to the PRA are tax deductible.  Please contact your own tax adviser for details and to confirm this. 

Corporation Information

The Pennington Research Association, Inc. is a not-for-profit charitable corporation as defined in section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donors may deduct contributions to the Pennington Research Association as provided in section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. Bequests, legacies, devises, transfers, or gifts to the Pennington Research Association are deductible for Federal estate and gift tax purposes if they meet the applicable provisions of sections 2005, 2106, and 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Copyright © 2003 Nick Penington Chairman, DNA Study Group, & Gene Pennington, Research Director.

The three words on the scroll of the Coats of Arms are "Vincit amor patriae"

"Vincit amor patriae" means "The love of my country prevails" or "Love of Country Conquers" which is the United States Army 28th Infantry Regiment's motto.   "Vincent amor patriae laudumque immensa cupido" means "The love of my country exceeds everything."

The following motto appears in English above the mountain cat of the original Baron Muncaster Crest.  "Firm, Vigilant, Active" -Virg. AEn. vi. 823 v. Muncaster b. Pennington

Pennington Research Association, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) organization and donations are tax deductible.  Comments and suggestions are always welcome.  Copyright 2000 - 2021 Pennington Research Association, Inc. - All Rights Reserved 

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