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Lost Colony Information and Frequently Asked Questions



Thank you for your interest in the Lost Colony project.  Whether the DNA you carry makes you eligible for participation in the Y-line or mitochondrial DNA portion of the project or not, there are many ways to participate, including our new Family Finder project.


The goal of this DNA project is to compile a data base of individuals whose names are closely related to the Lost Colony project AND those whose genealogy and family history makes them a good candidate to actually be connected to the colonists or the Native tribes in the geographic area of interest.  Clearly, if the colonists survived, they assimilated into one or more tribes.


Many people are interested in joining the project to compare their DNA to that of the colonists.  Plain and simple, we don’t have the DNA of the colonists yet, or if we do, we don’t yet have the documentation to prove it.


We have established three different projects, each with its own special focus, to help us in our quest to find the colonists. 


What Are the Projects?


We have three Lost Colony projects, as follows:


1.  The Y-line DNA project, for males who have a colonist surname or a surname of interest and whose families come from either Eastern North Carolina or England or have Native heritage.


2.  The mitochondrial DNA project, for males or females whose maternal line carries the Lost Colony surnames or surnames of interest and who are from Eastern North Carolina or have Native heritage.


3.  The Family Finder project who is for anyone who believes they are descended from the Lost Colonists.  This project was created specifically for those who have taken the Family Finder test.


Anyone in the Y DNA project or the mitochondrial DNA project should also join the Family Finder project if they take the Family Finder test.


Because we are trying to build a data base of “likely candidates”, at this time we must restrict the DNA portion of the project to those who meet the criteria as set forth below. 


Who Can Join?


Anyone can join the Lost Colony Family Finder project, however, both the y-line and the mitochondrial DNA project have guidelines.


You can join the Lost Colony Y-line or mitochondrial DNA projects if you fulfill one or more of the following criteria for the Y-line or mtDNA lines you have been tested for:

·        Your surnames include those of the Colonists or others on the interest list AND your family is proven to descend from Eastern North Carolina, preferably before 1700, or the areas of interest shown on the maps later in this document.

·        You have a history of Native Ancestry from this area, confirmed or unconfirmed.

·        You have an oral history of Lost Colony ancestry.


The list of colonist names and other surnames of interest can be found here:


Managing a project of this magnitude (by volunteers) is a daunting prospect.  In order to assure that our records are complete for those who join and that the lines in question match the criteria above, you will be asked for your genealogy pertaining to the DNA tested lines before joining the Y or mtDNA projects.


However, just because your DNA lines don’t qualify you to join the DNA project doesn’t mean you can’t participate.  You can join the Lost Colony Family Finder project and there are other ways to participate as well.


If I Don’t Qualify to Join the DNA Project, How Can I Participate?


Y-Line and mitochondrial DNA are only representative of two of our ancestral lines on our pedigree chart.  There are many more and those may contain colonist or other names of interest.  You can adopt one (or more) of these surnames and coordinate the research for that surname.  You can provide a writeup about the surname along with references for other researchers.  Check out your surnames on the list and see what you have to offer.  We need volunteers and contacts for each surname.  In addition, you can join our Lost Colony DNA and Research Yahoo group and also add your name to the Surname Interest List.


To join the Yahoo group, send an e-mail to Roberta Estes at [email protected] telling us why you are interested in joining the research group.  An invitation will be sent after receiving your e-mail.  This is a private group in order to eliminate spammers and focus on Lost Colony research.


You can also join the Lost Colony Family Finder project or the North Carolina Native Heritage project.



Surname Interest List


We’ve recently added a surname interest list on our website.  You are most welcome to send your contact information along with the Lost Colony related surnames that you are interested in to our webmaster, Nelda, at [email protected].  Take a look at our interest list to identify the surnames associated with the lost colony at  The goal of this list is twofold.  First to allow folks who share an interest in the same surname to communicate, but secondly to allow those who live in a common geography to join resources, especially for those in North Carolina.


Completing your DNA Pedigree Chart


Obviously, you’re interested in the Lost Colony for a reason.  Probably you carry the surnames within your pedigree chart, if not your Y-line or mtDNA.  For those who can’t participate directly in the Y or mtDNA DNA projects, you can complete your DNA pedigree chart and then use the chart to determine who in your family would be a good representative for those colonist lines.  You can then find a “cousin” to test and sponsor their test, and they can join the DNA project.  We have many people who sponsor others to obtain information about their ancestors DNA.


Here is an example of the DNA pedigree chart where the red oval on the right represents your mitochondrial DNA and the blue square on the left represents your Y-Line, if you’re a male.  All of the other ovals are mitochondrial DNA lines and all of the other squares are Y DNA lines. 


You can see how you can match this up with the names on your pedigree chart and then use the information to find representatives within your family for the various colored boxes and ovals.


More detailed instructions for the DNA Pedigree chart are here:


I Don’t Qualify to Join, But I Want to Compare my DNA Results to the Lost Colony Project DNA


Anyone can do that without joining the project.


First, if you tested with Family Tree DNA, be sure that your User Preferences tab on the left side of your personal page is set to “match against entire data base”.  Any match within the Lost Colony project whose user preference is similarly set will appear among your matches.


Secondly, you can go to the public results pages for the yline and mtDNA and compare your results.


Question – Where can I see the Public Results page for the DNA Projects?


You can see the results for the Yline project at:


You can see the results for the mitochondrial project at:


Lost Colony Website and DNA Results


Our Lost Colony website is located at and provides DNA results, research by surname and many other useful and educational items. 


Our Blog


Our blog is at  You can read about the project and ask questions of those involved.  You can also subscribe.


The project is also listed at Wikipedia at


Making a Contribution


Many times, we want to test someone who doesn’t have the money or inclination to test.  To date, for the most part, the administrators have paid for these tests and other costs of running this project individually.  If you would like to contribute to DNA testing for the Lost Colony project, please click here to contribute directly to the DNA fund.


Our Store


We have Lost Colony products available for sale to support this project at  Please take a look.  


Question – Is there a group I can join to follow the progress of the project?


Major announcements will be posted on the blog listed above, but the working group itself of those who are intimately interested in the project on a day to day basis will be through a special genealogical group called the Lost Colony DNA and Genealogy Research Group which has a private Yahoo Newsgroup.   Researchers will be working together to solve the Lost Colony mysteries and to collaborate and share information.  To be invited to the Yahoo group, contact any of the administrators.


Question – I want to have my DNA tested but don’t know where to start.


Visit our website and click on “order DNA kit”:


When you arrive at the Family Tree DNA page, type the words “Lost Colony” into the search box on the middle right side of their page.  The next page you see will show you both the Lost Colony Yline, mitochondrial and Family Finder DNA projects.  If you’re a female or male testing your mitochondrial DNA, join the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) project.  If you’re a male testing your paternal line, join the yline project.  After your tests results are returned, you can join multiple projects.


Question – How much does DNA testing cost?


For men (surname - yline), the tests cost as follows:

12 marker - $103 ($99 plus $4 shipping)

25 marker - $128

*37 marker - $153

*67 marker - $243


Maternal line testing (men and women)

mtdna (hypervariable region 1) - $103

*mtDNAPlus (region 1 and 2) - $154

Full Sequence (entire mtdna) - $304


Family Finder - $249 (no shipping if ordered as an add-on)


I've included the $4 shipping/handling fee in all of the above prices.  These are significantly discounted from the public pricing of these tests because of the Lost Colony project.  There are also further discounts if you purchase more than one test at a time, such as the 37 marker plus the mtDNAPlus.  Check their website for current pricing and also for bundled specials.  Be sure to check within a project name to get the best pricing.


For Y-Line testing (surname), for our project we recommend the 37 marker test.  At a minimum, the 25 marker test.  The 67 marker test is even better if the budget allows this level of testing.


For mitochondrial, the mtDNA plus is required and the full sequence is preferred.


Tests can later be upgraded but it costs more to do the smaller test and then the upgrade than doing the larger test in the first place.


Question – I have already had my DNA tested with Family Tree DNA.  Can I join the Lost Colony Project with the test I’ve already had performed or do I need to have a new test?


If the DNA that was tested is appropriately descended from the ancestor in question, you can join the Lost Colony Yline or Mitochondrial DNA project by clicking on your blue Join button on your personal results web page at Family Tree DNA.  If your surname is listed, the Lost Colony projects will be displayed as join options. 


Question – I’ve already tested with the National Geographic Society Genographic project. Can I join?


Yes, and it’s free. If you haven’t already transferred your results to the Family Tree site, you’ll need to do that first.  On your personal results page for the Genographic project, at the bottom of the page, you’ll see a link that says “to learn more”, or something similar.  Click on that link to transfer your results to Family Tree DNA.  Then you can join the Lost Colony project by following the instructions in the previous question.


Question – I had my mitochondrial DNA tested, and I believe I may descend from a Lost Colonist, a Native American or another family of interest from that area and I’d like to join the Lost Colony DNA project.  However, when I click on my blue Join button, the Lost Colony projects are not displayed.  Why is this and how can I join?


As we genealogists are all painfully aware, female last names change with every generation, so it’s very likely that if you are tracking your maternal genealogical line, which is your mother’s, her mother, her mother, etc., the last name will change every generation and the last name of the current participant is not on the Lost Colony list.  That’s fine and to be expected. 


You can still easily join by clicking the blue Join button on your personal page and scrolling down past the blue projects listed and typing the words “Lost Colony” into the search box.  You will then see both the Yline and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) projects listed.  Click to join.


Question – I’ve had my mitochondrial DNA tested and I can’t find any matches within surname projects.  I’m very frustrated.  What can you recommend?


Because mitochondrial DNA follows the maternal line, meaning yourself, your mother, her mother, her mother, on up the tree, the last name changes every generation, so you are very unlikely to find any matches within surname projects.  Geographic area and haplogroup projects will be much more important to you. 


Geographic area projects are projects associated with certain areas of the country, or in this case, the Lost Colony.  You will be much better served to join one of these kinds of projects so that you are comparing your mtDNA with those of neighbors.  After all, every sister of your ancestor had a different last name, so they too are much more likely to appear in a geographic project rather than a surname project. 


You can also join a haplogroup project that allows people of the same haplogroup to be matched together.  These projects are very important for people who are researching haplogroups.


Question - Can I join more than one project?


Yes, you can join multiple projects so you don’t need to choose between projects.  Use your join button to join projects.  Joining projects is free.


Question - How can I share my genealogy with others in the DNA project?


The best way to share your genealogy is to upload a GEDCOM file with your DNA results on your personal page at FamilyTreeDNA.  This file will only be available for those people to see who match either your Y-Line or your mtDNA (in addition to the project administrators).  You can upload different versions of your Gedcom for both yline and mtDNA.  To upload your GEDCOM file, click on Gedcom on the left side of your personal results page and instructions are provided.  Family Tree DNA does not display birth and death dates or other information, just the basic pedigree chart, but that is enough to provide a basic pedigree chart and will let you if you and another participant converge.  You can also share genealogical research information within the Yahoo newsgroup.  If you qualify to join the DNA project here, you will be asked to provide your genealogical information and it will be posted with your kit number.  Information for living people will be removed before posting.


Question – If I join the Lost Colony DNA project, will I be able to see the surnames of people whose DNA I match?


Yes, you’ll be able to see the results in two ways.  First, all of the Lost Colony DNA information is available on the public web sites for yline and mtDNA as already noted.  The second way you’ll be able to see your personal matches is through the normal Family Tree DNA matching procedure.  If you have your user preferences set to match the entire data base, then you’ll see matches within their entire data base.  If your selection is set to match within the project only, then you’ll see matches within only the Lost Colony project.  Many people toggle back and forth between these settings to see who they match within projects, then set the selection back to “entire data base”.  Your User Preference tab us available on the left hand side of your personal page.  After making changes, be sure to click on the update button on the bottom of the page or changes won’t take effect.  While you’re visiting this page, be sure your Most Distant Known Ancestor field is completed as well.


Question – Since the Lost Colonists were never found, how can you compare our DNA against theirs?


That’s a great question.  Think of this as a puzzle where the surrounding pieces will define the shape of a missing piece.  We will be using several tools to infer the colonists DNA, if they did in fact survive.  For example, if we find DNA in the Native Tribes that matches known surnames of colonists, that’s a huge hint.  If we can find family members from England related to the colonists, and they test, they provide a baseline for the colonists DNA.  If we find European mitochondrial DNA in the native tribes, that’s a significant finding as well.  Many pieces of tiny data will be combined to attempt to discover whether or not the colonists survived, and if they did, where they and their descendants went.  A very important part of this puzzle is the genealogy and other research contributed by DNA and other participants.


Question – I believe I may have Native American heritage.  How do I prove it?


Roberta Estes, the founder of the Lost Colony DNA Projects, wrote a paper about just that.  You can find it on our website at


Question – Are there any specific physical characteristics associated with the particular group of Native Americans from the area surrounding the Lost Colony?


No, not that we know of. However, there are some physical characteristics that are associated with many Native Americans, aside from the high cheekbones that everyone is familiar with.  They include the shovel teeth which means that your front upper 4 teeth are curved on the back and not straight, and a ridge on the back top of those same teeth at the gumline.  Another dental feature is a missing Carabelli's cusp, which is indicated by a flat inner side of the sixth tooth on the top from the center of your upper teeth.  Another possible indication is a particularly wide space between your large and second toes and/or small toes that rest under the toes beside them.  Some tribes also have an unusually elongated or heave earlobes.  An inverted breastbone, called Chicken Breast, is also found in some people with Native Ancestry.  Many people with Native ancestry have almond or almost oriental shaped eyes with a fold of skin called the epicanthal fold.  Facial hair and hair on the chest and legs is often minimal or nonexistent.  While these traits alone do not indicate Native American ancestry, Image:Epicanthal fold.jpgthey can certainly be considered a clue, and should be considered along with other evidence such as genealogy, family oral history and DNA.  However, these traits are not found ONLY in people with Native ancestry, so having these traits does not eliminate another source.


The epicantal fold shown here is a fold of skin between the bridge of the nose and the inner side of the eyebrow.


Question – What contemporary North Carolina counties are of primary interest in the Lost Project?


Hyde, Beaufort, early Curritick, Chowan, Dare, Washington, Pamlico, Tyrrell, and Bertie Counties, have records such as deeds, wills, etc. that indicate a connection with the early colonists/natives.  There are a number of sites in all of these areas that appear to have a connection to the colony and/or their descendants.  Large numbers of the surnames of interest are found in these counties as well.


Below, we’ve provided information about the formation of the North Carolina Counties as well as some in South Carolina that are of interest as well due to migration.












The Formation of the North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943 by David L. Corbett. 



Albemarle Precinct – original county created in 1663, abolished in 1739

Anson – formed in 1750 from Bladen County

Archdale – created in 1705 from Bath, name changed to Craven in 1712

Bath – an original county created in 1696, abolished in 1739 – today Beaufort.  The original Bath County was divide in 1705 into Archdale, Pamtecough and Wickham Precincts before being discontinued in 1739.  Bath was also the haunt of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. He is said to have married a local girl and briefly settled in the little harbor town of Bath about 1716.

Berkeley Precinct – created in 1670 as a precinct in Albemarle.  Today, Perquimans county but was known as Berkeley precinct from 1671 to 1681.

Beaufort – created 1705 from Bath - location of Chocowinity, possible settlement of the Lost Colony

Bertie Co. – created 1722 from Chowan

Bladen – formed in 1734 from New Hanover

Brunswick – formed in 1764 from Bladen and New Hanover

Camden – created from Pasquotank in 1777

Carteret – created in 1722 from Craven

Chowan – created 1668 from Albemarle Precinct

Columbus  - formed in 1808 from Bladen and Brunwsick Counties

Craven – created 1705 from the Archdale Precinct of Bath County

Currituck – created in 1668 from Albemarle

Dare – Created 1870 from Currituck, Tyrrell and Hyde counties, it is the county where Gum Neck is located and it is "50 miles into the main".  Hatteras Island is located in Dare County.

Duplin – formed in 1750 from New Hanover

Edgecombe – Formed in 1731 from Bertie.  Neighbors Martin and Halifax.

Hyde – 50 miles into the main – created 1705 from Wickham Precinct of Bath Co. (formerly Wickham Co, name changed to Hyde in 1712)

Martin - Piney Woods is located here and is inhabited by many descendants of Native Americans. Formed in 1774 from Halifax and Tyrrell. 

New Hanover – created in 1729 from Craven

Onslow – formed in 1734 from New Hanover

Pamlico – formed in 1872 from Beaufort and Craven

Pamtecough – created in 1705 from Bath, name changed to Beaufort in 1712

Perquimans – created 1668 from Albemarle Precinct.  Originally known as Berkeley Precinct from 1671 to 1681.

Pasquotank – created in 1670 as an Albemarle Precinct

Pender – formed in 1875 from New Hanover

Richmond – formed 1799 from Anson County

Robeson -  Home of the Lumbee who have always had the oral history of their ancestors being from the Lost Colony.  Formed in 1787 from Bladen.

Scotland – formed in 1899 from Richmond County

Tyrrell – located 50 miles into the main – created in 1729 from Chowan, Currituck and Pasquotank

Wickham – created 1705 from Bath Precinct, name changed to Hyde County in 1712

Washington – formed in 1799 from Tyrell County



Download county maps here:

South Carolina Counties


Additionally, there are some South Carolina counties that border North Carolina that are also of interest as many of the NC families moved into these areas, particularly along the PeeDee Rivers.


Chesterfield, SC

Dillon, SC

Horry, SC

Florence, SC

Marion, SC


map of South Carolina rivers



Good luck with your Lost Colony research!!!




Contact Information: 

Electronic mail

General Information/Project Membership: [email protected] 
Webmistess: [email protected]



The Lost Colony Research Group is in NO WAY affiliated with The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research.  The Lost Colony Y-DNA and MT-DNA projects at Family Tree DNA are NOT IN ANY WAY  affiliated with The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research,
regardless of what their links imply.


"Please notify us of any claims to the contrary."


There is no fee to join our group and no donation of monies or objects are needed to participate in "The Lost Colony Research Group".


As with any DNA project, individuals pay for their own DNA testing, but the
group itself  - is strictly volunteer and free to join, upon approval of membership.


Neither, myself, nor the Lost Colony Research Group together or individually are  responsible for the personal content submitted by any individual to this website.


Send mail to [email protected] with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2008 Last modified: October 10, 2010