lion Venter DNA Project

Welcome to the

Venter Surname DNA Project

Researching the Ancestry, Origin, and Genetics of the Venter Surname

DNA analysis can be used to verify the genealogies that have been built on good research and documented evidence as well as expose the errors in those genealogies that are a result of faulty research. But analysis of an individual's Y-chromosome will not tell anything about that person by himself. In order to be useful, one individual's DNA must be compared to that of another, and that is what gave rise to surname projects.

For an informative article about how DNA analysis is changing genealogy see AARP's "Are You My Cousin?", by Richard Rubin © AARP Magazine, November/December 2008.

The Venter Surname DNA Project

The Venter Surname DNA Project is a group effort by family history researchers who are not only investigating their own Venter family line, but are also interested in determining their family's place with respect to the origins, distribution and relationships with other Venter family lines throughout the world. The tool being used to do this is Y-chromosome analysis.

The Venter Surname DNA Project has been established in association with Family Tree DNA, the world leader in DNA analysis for genealogy research. The project is actively seeking males with the Venter surname (or surnames with related variations in spelling) to participate. Participating in this project will help a man learn more about his own family origins as well as his relationship to other people around the world. Women can participate as well, by having a brother, cousin or other male relative with the Venter surname take the test for them. To learn more about participating in the project go to Venter Surname DNA Project. Further discussion on DNA analysis can be found at DNA Testing or by visiting Family Tree DNA's website.

Finding the origins of the Venter name

When compared to other genetic lines of European descent, the Venter surname is quite rare. For example, in the U. S. Federal Census conducted in the year 2000, there were 48,821 names more common than Venter. Although the name shows up in many locations in Europe, North America and other places around the world, this project is aware of only two locations where major clusters of the name can be found. One is in southwest Germany in an area approximated by the triangle defined by the cities of Trier, Mainz and Kaiserslautern. The other is in the Republic of South Africa. Those in South Africa are believed to have originated with a single immigrant who came from the Netherlands by way of Germany. Are these two clusters related or do they represent two, or more, completely unrelated Venter lines? Can all the Venters in the German cluster trace their ancestry to a single individual? And if so, could that individual be the progenitor of all the Venters in the world today?

Project Goals

Since the Venter name is not very common, it seems reasonable that the name originated in only a limited number of places. A major goal of the project is to determine just how limited in number those places are. Other goals will be met by using DNA analysis to answer such questions as the following:

  1. Are all the Venter family lines of the world related and do they originate with a single common ancestor?
  2. If they did not originate with a single ancestor how many unique lines exist and where did each originate?
  3. Did the Venter surname evolve as a variation of another surname such as the Dutch van Deventer?
  4. Into how many other surnames has the Venter surname evolved, names such as Fenter, Fender, and Venator?
  5. On a world-wide bases, how is the Venter surname distributed and to what location can each occurrence trace its origin?

It is our ultimate goal to construct one or possibly a number of "Family Trees" that will be global in scope and on which every Venter family line will have its branch.


In reality, it is not really the Venter family tree that we hope to construct. It is a tree showing all the various branches of the DNA common to the Venter surname and any other related names whether that name is Fenter, Venator, or van Deventer. If the DNA is found to be connected to the group, then it is part of the greater genetic family and the name variations will make it that much more interesting. If we share DNA than we are all of one family and our DNA will tell us just how big or how small our family is.

If you are as interested in finding your position on the global Venter family tree as we are in ours, then please join our project. It could very well be one of the most important genealogical decisions you will ever make. You can join our project at the Venter Surname DNA Project's website.

Related Links

Visit the Venter Surname Research Center Home Page.

Visit Robert Venter's Genealogy Home Page.

Prepared by Robert Venter
Venter Surname Project Leader

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