The 'Erbland' Surname
DNA Project

(Including the 'Apland' Anglized variant)

The DNA double-helix of deoxyribonucleic acid

Using the Y chromosome DNA test
for genetic matches between Erbland males

Haut-Rhin, Alsace
The Erbland Homeland











en fran?ais
en fran?ais

Project Background:

The ERBLAND Y-DNA surname project is designed to find genetic links between ERBLAND males world-wide. This includes males with the Anglized APLAND variant of ERBLAND.  Because this project uses Y-DNA testing, females (who do not carry the Y chromosome) can only participate via a male surrogate who bears the Erbland surname. For example, the female could ask her father, brother or a known male cousin, who bears the Erbland surname, to get tested on her behalf.  DNA test kits for this project can be ordered through the Erbland project order page at Family Tree DNA - Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. (FTDNA).  FTDNA is affiliated with the University of Arizona and is one of the world's leading organizations devoted to DNA testing for genealogical purposes. FTDNA is also equipped to distribute test kits worldwide.  FTDNA is a for-profit company, but the Erbland surname project is a NOT-for-profit, non-commercial venture.  It is composed exclusively of Erbland's who are interested in learning more about the family's ancestral roots and the connections between different Erbland lines.

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If you prefer to get tested by a company other than FTDNA, that is possible. A list of other testing companies is shown on our links page.  That said, we strongly suggest the use of FTNDA for the Erbland surname project.  This is because using a single laboratory makes the comparison of results much easier.  Different laboratories test different markers and sometimes even use different methods of counting values for the same marker.

If want to help link Erbland's world-wide but find the cost of a commercial DNA test to be prohibitive, then we suggest you consider supplying a DNA sample to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Y-Chromosome Database.  This process is totally free. The only restriction is that participants must know and supply at least four generations of paternal pedigree data along with their DNA sample.  Other differences between Sorenson's free service and commercial companies is that Sorenson participants do not receive an individual report of their allele values and Sorenson does not supply the information needed in order for people with matching values to contact one another.

Project Goals:

It is believed that the ERBLAND surname has its roots in Haut-Rhin (southern Alsace), France and that most (if not all) of the ERBLAND's who now live in North America have ancestors who emigrated from Alsace. It is known that a substantial number of ERBLAND's still live in Alsace, especially Haut-Rhin, and it is hoped that this project will have participants from both North America and Alsace. To the extent that ERBLAND's have emigrated to other areas of the world, it is hoped that they will also consider participation in this project.

ERBLAND's are known to have emigrated from Alsace shortly after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. Emigration continued for several subsequent decades. There may have been earlier emigration of Erbland's from Alsace to the U.S. but that is not yet known. It is known that there were at least two principle centers where the first ERBLAND immigrants settled in the United States. One was the area around Rochester, New York and the other was the area around Canton, Ohio. The descendents of these first groups are known to have moved as far afield as Alaska, Arizona, Florida and other locations.

A significant number of ERBLAND's with U.S. addresses still live around Canton, Ohio, and, particularly, around Rochester, NY.. Many genealogists who are studying the ERBLAND surname believe that both of these two clusters are descended from a common ancestor in Haut-Rhin. Unfortunately, there is no known proof of this. One of the first goals of this project is to prove or disprove this conjecture. A similar situation exists in Canton, where there are known to be two distinct lines of ERBLAND's, each descended from an AUGUST(E) ERBLAND, both of whom were born in Alsace, but one of these AUGUSTE's was born in 1836 and the other was born in 1864. A second goal of this project is to prove or disprove if these two lines of ERBLAND's share a common ancestor. The project's third goal is to find a genetic link between the ERBLAND's now living in North America and ERBLAND's who still live in Alsace. A refinement of this goal is to try to narrow the area of Alsace that was the home of the North American emigrants. It is thought that in the mid-19th century, the area around Sondersdorf, Haut-Rhin, was home to the largest cluster of ERBLAND's in the world.  In modern times, it is probably the second largest concentration of Erbland's in the world; the cluster around Rochester, NY, USA, now being larger than that in Alsace.

Project Methodology:

The process of participating in this project is simple: 

  1. Sign-up to purchase a DNA test kit from FTDNA. The kits for this project can be ordered from anywhere in the world via the Erbland surname project order page at FTDNA.  If you order a kit through the Erbland surname project, you will receive a group rate that is discounted from FTDNA's posted prices. To see the group rate, you can begin to place your order and the prices will be shown before you have to confirm your purchase with a credit card number.

  2. When the test kit arrives via postal mail, the cheek swab enclosed in the kit is used to collect a small sample of cells by opening your mouth and rubbing it along the inside of your cheek.

  3. The swab, including the collected tissue cells, is enclosed in the return envelope provided in the kit and mailed to FTDNA.

  4. Upon receipt of your returned sample, FTDNA performs a DNA test to identify certain genetic "Markers" on the genes in the DNA. They will analyze either 12, 25 or 37 genetic Markers, depending upon which of these tests you ordered when you purchased the test kit. The more Markers that are tested, the more precise the results will be in defining you genetic connection with other Erbland's. We strongly suggest ordering the 37 Marker test.

  5. FTDNA provides the test results to you and, if you have signed a release form, to the Erbland project surname administrator. When you sign up for the project, you will be asked to sign this release form.   If you sign the form, it will allow the results of your test to be shared with others.  You do not have to sign the release but the Erbland surname project is based upon the idea that people will share their results. Success will only be achieved if participants are willing to do so. It is your willingness to share results that will allow us to successfully determine what lines of Erbland's share common ancestors.

  6. Your results will be posted on a FTDNA webpage created specifically for you (see sample) and (if you have signed the release form) will be forwarded to the Erbland surname project administrator.  This will allow your Y-DNA DYS #'s and Allele values to be included in a chart on the Erbland project's web pages. FTDNA will also provide an interpretation of the results to suggest which participants share common ancestors and how many generations have elapsed since the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).

  7. Genealogical DNA results are based upon a statistical analysis of the rate of mutation in the genetic Markers being tested. While extremely high levels of statistical certainty are possible concerning related persons (especially with the 37 Marker test), it is still a statistically-based process.  It is important to understand this going into the test, so that you do not expect more than the test can deliver.  If two males have a match for all 37 Markers, then there is a 90% change they share a common ancestor within the last 5 generations.  Compare this with a match of all the Markers in a 12 Marker test.  Such a match could only predict a common ancestor within the last 23 generations, instead of within the last 5 as with the more comprehensive 37 Marker test.  This is why it is so important that participants in this project choose the 37 Marker test if at all possible.  The only reason not to choose the 37 Marker test is its higher cost.

  8. FTDNA stores your genetic sample for 25 years as a part of their service. This may be useful if your ancestors want to continue with this project.

  9. There are other companies that do genetic testing besides FTDNA. Oxford Ancestors and The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation are two examples. There is no magic as to why FTDNA was chosen for the Erbland surname project. Since it is not practical to use multiple labs for a single project, one of them had to be picked. FTDNA is one of the largest and most professional of these organizations. They offer reasonable prices and good customer service, combined with world-wide data collection.  Hence, they were chosen. If you are a male Erbland who has already had your Markers tested at another lab, FTDNA can sometimes convert these results to match the current project for a fee that is less expensive than having a complete re-test.  If you do not want to have FTDNA do a translation, it is still possible to have your non-FTDNA Markers listed on our results page.  Just email us to request this.

  10. It should be noted that FTDNA has found that even when a match is supported by genealogical research, a genetic match may not always exist. This is due to the fact that each generation experiences births due to infidelity or participates in unreported adoptions at a rate of between 2% to 5%.

Project Administration

The current project administrator and webmaster for is Mardon Erbland.  Mardon is the great grandson of Auguste Erbland, born 16-OCT-1838 in Sondersdorf, Alsace, now known as Dept. 68,  Haut-Rhin.  Auguste Erbland was a survivor of a Prussian prison camp during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71.  Shortly thereafter, he emigrated to the U.S., where in April of 1874 he married his Swiss wife (Annie Marie Gerber of Bern), and they settled in Canton, Ohio.  Mardon now lives in Logy Bay, Newfoundland, Canada.

The DNA double-helix
of deoxyribonucleic acid


Many Thanks to:

Val?rie MEYER
English - French certified translator

Member of the French Chamber of Expert-translators and Sworn Translators

Val?rie did the French translation of this website.
Please visit her websites at:

?  2005  M. J. Erbland

Please visit our web page at:

The Erbland Surname Project at


Mardon Erbland's Personal Webpage.