I've changed the heading as the subject is different, and I've tried to make
my explanation easy to understand. There is a lot written about DNA &
research on the web.
A father passes on a Y-DNA packet to his sons. A test enables you to compare
results with others of the same surname. If there is a close match that
indicates that you share a common ancestor, though it could be a long time
back, and with other matches could indicate a geographic area. The more
markers tested the more accurate the comparison results will be.
In my case I had an almost identical match with a Roger STEER whose family
originated in Bletchingley, Surrey, moved onto Dartford, Kent then
Gravesend, before moving up to Lincolnshire. (He published my research
recently under his name on the Steer Message Board). I can identify two
William STEER's that may be who I'm looking for but need to find documentary
I've also found a good match with a STEER family that emigrated from
Crockham Hill, Kent, and another from Bexley, Kent. That indicates my
missing connections will be from a STEER family from the West Kent/East
It also tells me that at least back to the common ancestor that I am a
STEER, so not adopted, taken up the surname or a cuckoo in the nest, which
can often happen, and as you say only a mother knows.
You can match with others of a different surname, and this can be where
children take on a stepfathers surname, changed name or are illegitimate by
a STEER father.
As time passes the Y-DNA slightly changes, but the change is not constant so
you cannot date back from it with any accuracy.
The female DNA packet is called mtDNA and the hypothesis is that all modern
women are descended from one of seven individuals. This of course will not
help you with your research.
This is a loose explanation and I've no doubt I'll be corrected by experts,
but explains why I took the test to try and break down my STEER brickwall.
It seems that nearly all STEER's share the tendency of not liking to part
with their money, so only a few have tested. While it is expensive a person
can set up and manage a surname project, and members of that project get
testing slightly cheaper.
The theory is that the different STEER groups in England are unrelated but
until more of us get tested we will never know.