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Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

This project is very much a work in progress. I started tracing my family history in 1999, and my Denman One Name Study has evolved from my research into my mother's family - the Denman family of Somerset. Through my research I have become very interested in the history of the Denman name and its origins, as well as tracing my own Denman line.

I became aware during census searches etc that the surname seemed to have three main centres - Somerset, Nottingham and Sussex. I have always been interested in the history and origin of names, and had registered a surname study with The Guild of One Name Studies.

Collaborator wanted! My own work so far has been mainly concentrated on the Somerset Denman families. The DNA Project is for any male Denman, and through this I am aware of some of the Nottinghamshire and Surrey lines, but my information on them is much more limited. If anyone is actively researching these lines and would like to collaborate on this project, I would be very pleased to hear from you!

Variant names

In my own Denman family history research I have seen the name spelled as Dinman and Dunman, but have decided not to register these as variants, because within the families I have looked at so far, the name seems to revert to Denman. So my interpretation is that these spellings are deviants (the spelling variation does not become a permanent change, and not variants (where the spelling becomes a 'new' name). Further investigation may prove me wrong!

Name origin

George Redmonds (a published author of several books on surnames) says that much of what has been written previously about surname history is assertion; you need to marry surname study with family history as much as etymology (the study of words). Each surname is unique beginning with one person or family at a particular time and a particular place.

A quick look at the distribution of the name using the censuses indicates that the surname is most prevalent in Somerset, Nottinghamshire and Sussex. Early records indicate that the surname was found in the 1300s in Nottinghamshire and Somerset, showing that shortly after surnames were adopted, the Denman name existed at opposite ends of the country simultaneously. Although much further research is necessary, this could point to the surname having at least two points of origin, and early results from the DNA project indicate that the Somerset and Nottinghamshire Denmans are not connected.


The Denman DNA project has some specific goals:
Where did the surname originate? Are there several origins?
Are all Denmans related? Or did the surname spring up simultaneously in different areas at different times?
Are the Sussex, Somerset and Nottinghamshire Denmans related?
Is the rumour that the name was Dane-man, meaning someone who hails from Denmark, have any basis in fact?
Did the name began as Denmann in Germany?
From which of these UK lineages do families now living in other countries descend?
...and analysing Denman DNA will also help us to:
Discover information to help with our family history research
Discover information which may solve research problems, and/or resolve brick walls
Discover which family trees are related
Sort out multiple families found in the same location
To help individuals with smaller goals which they might have closer ties to
Find any mistaken connections in family trees
Validate family history research
Confirm or get clues regarding migrations
Confirm suspected events, such as illegitimacy and adoption
Bridge gaps in the paper records
Confirm surname variants or find previously unknown variants
Discover information to define the major branches of the tree going back to the origin of the surname
Discover information about the evolution of the surname
Discover clues regarding the origin of the surname
Combine results with research in early records to determine the number of points of origin for the surname

I chose to host the Denman DNA Project with Family Tree DNA because (most importantly) they have the biggest gene pool - therefore greater chances of finding matches. Also, they come with an impressive pedigree in the field of DNA testing and are the company of choice for 95% of genealogists. I do not get any financial reward for using them as my testing company, I run the project on a voluntary basis for the benefit of Denman researchers.
Tests ordered through this project are charged at the special group rate which provides a substantial saving on the standard FTDNA price. You can sign up for the discounted rates here. This is a link which gives (in dollars) the group discounted rates.