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About the study
This Surname project is headlined with 'Beasley', the most common spelling.
There are three primary variants found in the 2000 US census. In order of prevalence after Beasley is Beesley, Beazley and Beezley Other homonyms include Besley, Bezley, Beesly, Beasly and Beisley.
All indications are that the name originated in England. So far, I have found very little evidence of spontaneous origination outside of England. A review of the 1841 census for UK shows that people with any variation of the surname were almost entirely living in and born in England, with a few in Wales, extremely rare in Scotland or elsewhere covered by the census.
History of the name
For numerical perspective, Beasley ranked #679 among surnames with a count of 46,179 in the 2000 US Census. In order of prevalence is Beesley (Rank #11,171, count 2,604), followed by Beazley (Rank #17,984, count 1,431), and Beezley (Rank #30,120, count 723). The 2000 US census shows surnames with a count of at least 100. Other homonyms making that list include Besley (count 391), Beasly (count 221) and Beisley (count 138). Worldwide, the relative ranking of the four top variants is approximately the same
Distribution of the name
The largest present day populations are found in UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Most of the work I have done personally so far is with Beezley's in the US. That record is becoming quite extensive. We have identified three major lines in the US that probably account for at least 90% of the living Beezley's in the US. These lines are well developed and proven distinct by DNA testing. Of those, one may be a result of a "non-paternal event" in the 18th century.
In expanding to all spellings, world-wide, we have been collecting clusters of data based on "Patriarch Trees", descendants of an earliest known Patriarch. In most cases, a Patriarch Tree is based on the pedigree of at least one living descendant. In the case where that descendant is a male Beasley who has participated in the YDNA study at FTDNA, that tree is typed, first by broad YDNA Haplogroup (specifically, R1b, R1a, E1b1 and I1), second, within that Haplogroup, into "CLANS". A CLAN would be defined by FTDNA participants whose genetic distance is near enough to "match" at least one other participant. For Y37 that would be a maximum of 4 mismatches or Y67 a maximum of 7 mismatches. We have very few Y111 tests. Y12 and Y25 are considered inconclusive in the absence of historical data. Other descendants of a given Patriarch Tree are considered of the same type lacking evidence to the contrary.
The CLANS are designated by color and the tree by the identity of the Patriarch: name, approximate date and place of birth. For example, mine is R-BLUE-WilliamBeesley1680MD. As earlier Patriarchs are identified, the Patriarch name would change, but the Haplogroup and CLAN remain the same. Those Patriarch Trees without YDNA confirmation are noted as Haplogroup X. Those with a tested Haplogroup, but no genetic match are designated as "WHITE" clan. Those without YDNA testing or documented connection but with evidence suggesting a possible connection (e.g. atDNA) are designated, for example, X-YELLOW. Those with tests submitted but awaiting results are designated X-PENDING. Those with no testing and no provisional connection are designated X-UNTESTED. As of January 2016, we have nearly 50 Patriarch Trees:
E-OLIVE - 2 trees
I SILVER - 1 tree
I-WHITE - 1 tree
R-BLUE- 5 trees
R-GREEN - 1 tree
R-ORANGE - 1 tree
R-PURPLE - 1 tree
R-RED - 1 tree
R-TEAL - 2 trees
R-WHITE - 5 trees
R-YELLOW - 5 trees
X-PENDING - 2 trees
X-UNTESTED - 15 trees
X-YELLOW - 8 trees
Most of the Patriarchs were born in America (US/Colonies) except England - 5, Australia - 1, New Zealand - 1, Sweden? - 1
We have a DNA project under the name Beasley that includes all variants. We have identified several larger groupings, each including all spellings. Spelling variations are rather constant after 1800. Most lines in the US appear to have originated during the colonial period.