Tracing the Founding Fathers of Tristan da Cunha

Would you like to create a pedigree chart for this extended family?

Tristan da Cunha is a remote group of volcanic islands in the middle of nowhere. It is in the south Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1,511 miles (2,432 km) off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa. That is roughly half way between South Africa and Brazil The main island has 278 permanent inhabitants who all carry British Overseas Territories citizenship.

See Wikipedia at for more information about Tristan da Cunha.

The island, which boasts rich and detailed historical and genealogical records, has a population of just 300, believed to have descended from 15 ancestors – seven men and eight women who arrived on the island between 1816 and 1908. The current population of 278 individuals reportedly are all descended from only seven females and eight males.

The island’s founders all originated from Scotland, England, Holland, the US, and Italy. At least, that is what the genealogy records claim. However, DNA analysis of many of the island’s records indicates that one more, previously undocumented male ancestor came from Eastern Europe.

Researchers behind the study stumbled upon the existence of a “traveling stranger’s” DNA while tracing the island’s DNA and genealogy records. The undocumented appearance of an unknown DNA is euphemistically referred to as a “non paternity event” by DNA researchers.

The genetic study conducted by Professor Himla Soodyall and colleagues at the National Health Laboratory Service, in conjunction with the University of the Witwatersrand and the South African Medical Research Council, was conducted to test the accuracy of the island’s ancestry.

You can find the DNA study at

One Comment

There was an eruption on the island in the early sixties and all the occupants were moved to England, as soon as the volcano settled down most of them chose to return. It was apparent from their speech that their English pronunciation was quite different, possibly ancient.


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