Pace Surname DNA Study

A project of
The Pace Society of America, Inc.

PACE DNA Project Administrator
Rebecca Christensen
Email - Rebecca Christensen

Purposes - of the Pace DNA Study

The purpose of the study will be to determine possible relationships between different Pace family lines (worldwide, not just the US including variant spellings of Pace). Although the study was initiated by the Pace Society, which consists mainly of Paces of English descent (and some of German descent), we are interested in Paces of all nationalities.

Surnames: Pace, Pais, Pacey, Pacy, Paice, Paise, Pass, Peace, Pees (German, pronounced like Pace and often transposed to Pace on entering the US), or any other surname that sounds somewhat like Pace.

  1. To assist Paces (and variant surnames) of all nationalities
    in locating possible common ancestors.
  2. To assist Paces, not sure of their lineage,
    to determine which group or nationality they might fit into.
  3. (Our original top priority.)
    To test whether there may or may not be a relationship between
    the JOHN PACE of Middlesex - and - RICHARD PACE of North Carolina lines.
    This was formerly our first goal.
    • It has been realized;
    • DNA submitted by descendents is entirely different,
      so they are NOT related.
  4. (Original second priority)
    To determine possible relationships between other Pace lines of British descent (including those in the British Isles and other countries).

    Sub objective:
    To seek evidence as to which English line(s) of Paces the early Virginia Paces might have belonged.

    We have identified a large group of descendents of Virginia/North Carolina Paces who are clearly related.  These Paces believe they are descended from Richard Pace of Jamestown, and the evidence seems to point in that direction.

    (It must be emphasized that at its present stage of development, a DNA study is not very reliable at determining relationships less than 8 generations back, and even at 8 generations can only show a 50% probability.)

The Pace surname has two main points of origin:  England and Italy.  The Pace Society of America currently is composed mostly of Paces of English descent, with a few of German descent due to name changes after immigrating.   There is no German surname of Pace.  However, there are Americans named Pace who are of German descent because their ancestors changed their name to Pace from Pass, Pees, or other similar sounding names.  There would be no common ancestry between these Paces and those of English descent. However, there is the possibility that some Paces who believe they are of English descent might actually be of German descent. Therefore, submissions from German Paces are welcome.

This study would also welcome submissions from Paces of Italian descent and would be happy to add them to our chart or set up a special chart should submissions become numerous.

There are also other possible origins of names similar to Pace.   For example, the name Pais (variations Paes, Payes)  is said to be of sephardic origin. This is a term applied to the Jews who lived in the Basque area of the Pyrenees, most of whom left during the Inquisition. Some may have converted (at least nominally) to Christianity. We welcome submissions from persons of this surname. - Return to TOP

DNA Explained

The male Y chromosome is usually passed unchanged from father to son. However, every so often, there is a mutation in one of the alleles, or segments. Therefore, taking the average rate of mutation as the standard, an estimate can be made of how far back two individuals are related with a common ancestor. This estimate of Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) is the heart of a DNA study.

Keep in mind that it is ONLY an estimate.  Even the average rate of mutation is not completely agreed on; different data seem to show somewhat different rates.  Also, the average may not be true for all sub populations.

With a perfect match between two males on a 25 marker test there is a better than 50% probability that the MRCA is less than 8 generations back, rising to about 80% at 12 generations or less. However, if two individuals show numerous differences, it is almost certain that they are unrelated within any meaningful number of generations.

There is another type of DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which tests DNA passed by the mother. Testing for mtDNA would not meet the objectives of this study.  It cannot trace a surname as the female surname changes with marriage. To see how Y chromosome dna and mtDNA work in practice click here for a chart. - Return to TOP


HELP EXPLAIN what DNA Testing tells us
CLICK on links to read
Understanding DNA research findings may be confusing
- at first -
reading these emails can help overcome residual confusion

How the Pace DNA Study Works

  1. Participants may sign up using any of the methods outlined in the next section.
  2. FTDNA sends a kit which includes the necessary equipment and a release form allowing the personal information to be given to the Project Administrator and releasing the administrator, FTDNA, and the Pace Society from liability. If the participant did not sign up by credit card, an invoice is sent with the kit. 
  3. When the kit arrives, the participant takes a saliva sample on a swab, places it in an envelope, and mails it in with the signed release form and the payment (if credit card was not used).
  4. FTDNA notifies the Pace Project Administrator that the sample is being evaluated. At intervals, FTDNA sends copies of release forms in batches to the Project Administrator.
  5. FTDNA sends the kit to the University of Arizona lab. In a few weeks the results will be sent to the participant and to the Pace Project Administrator.
  6. The Project Administrator posts the results on a web page in a table, identifying the individual by an ID number, not by name. The name of the participant is known only to the Project Administrator, the testing lab, and the individual himself.
  7. The ID number will identify line of descent for each participant. The individual can look on the web page and see how his results compare to others in his and other Pace lines. The web page will include explanation and interpretation of the results. - Return to TOP

Privacy and Security

For the study to function properly, it is necessary for the Project Administrator to receive the results of your test.  These results will be sent ONLY to you and the Project Administrator.  The Project Administrator will assign you an ID number and post the results in a chart on this web site.  (Example) Only you and the Project Administrator will know your ID number.

You will sign a release form (Example) which will exempt the Pace Society, Family Tree DNA, inc., and the Project Administrator from liability. - Return to TOP

Click here to go to the FTDNA site for further information on how privacy and security are maintained.

Possible Disadvantages

1. You might find out you are NOT a Pace.
This could be due to an unrecorded or unannounced adoption, or illegitimacy
("Mama's baby, Papa's maybe" - yes, it happens in the best of families.)
If you could not live with this information, don't sign up.

2. Many American Paces are looking for evidence of descent from Richard Pace of Jamestown.  This study can not prove that you ARE a descendent of Richard; it can only give evidence that your ancestors may be related to him in some way. On the other hand, it could show beyond reasonable doubt that you are NOT a descendent of Richard.  If you could not live with this information, don't sign up.

3. Results might be inconclusive. You might spend the money and not learn a thing. This could occur if there are a few differences in you and the others being compared, thus not affirming a probable relationship but not enough to deny a relationship.

4. You are looking for a specific answer to a specific question - "were B and C, supposedly the sons of A, brothers?" or "I have hit a brick wall five generations back; I want to know which Pace line I am in.". Neither of these questions could be answered using current science.

In the first instance, the study could show that B and C are NOT closely related (probably unlikely) or that they MAY BE closely related. However, even if closely related, they could be brothers, first, second or third cousins, uncle & nephew, etc.

In the second instance, the study does not have validity in less than 8 generations, and does not have major validity until about 12 generations.

Response to objections 2 and 3

Your DNA would be preserved and available to your descendents. As the science improves (it is VERY MUCH in its infancy), these questions may become answerable. We never know when we will leave this earth so especially for older Paces, preserving this evidence for future generations may be a very worthwhile thing to do. - Return to TOP

Sponsoring Organization and costs

A study committee appointed by Pace Society president Bob Pace and chaired by Roy Johnson studied possible sponsors and labs for nearly two months.  We browsed the Internet, subscribed to DNA mailing lists, and asked questions.  Of about15 responses to requests for recommendations, all but one recommended Family Tree DNA, Inc (FTDNA).  FTDNA provides evaluation tools, facilities, services, and used the University of Arizona lab for the actual tests.  Click here for the FTDNA home page and further explanation.

Costs (project pricing at a discount)

Y-DNA12: 12 Marker Test $99
Y-DNA 25: 25 Marker Test $148
Y-DNA37: 37 Markers Test $189
Y-DNA67: 67 marker test $269
Y-Refine 12 to 25 *** $49
Y-Refine12 to 37 * $99
Y-Refine 12 to 67 ** $189
Y-Refine 25 to 37 ** $49
Y-Refine 25 to 67 ** $148
Y-Refine 37to67 *** $99

NOTE: International Postage is $4.00 US

"Marker" refer to the number of alleles, or positions, that are checked in the Y chromosome tests of male subjects. The more markers tested, the more accurate the results. It should be emphasized that a 12 marker test can only give negative results; in other words, many differences on a 12 marker test would prove that the individuals compared were NOT related, but a perfect match would only show a 90% probability of relationship within 48 generations, so it wouldn't prove much.  An upgrade would be needed.

So which should you choose?  It depends on your objectives.  If you can afford it, the more markers the better. If you are not sure if you fit in, and are just trying to find out. it might be better to start with 12 and see if you match anyone. If there is no match, then there is no need to go further until and unless a possible match comes up. - Return to TOP

How to sign up:

(1) Send a descendency chart of your line -
from you - to as far back as you can trace it - CLICK HERE - Email to - Rebecca Christensen

 This may be in an e-mail or attached file. You need only send the straight male line.  Be as specific as possible with birth dates, and include source evidence if you have it. PLEASE LOOK AT THE EXAMPLES ON THE DONOR LINEAGES PAGE AND USE A STYLE SIMILAR TO ONE OF THOSE. Donor 6429 is especially good in that he indicates which listings are documented and which are not.

(2) Go to the SIGN UP PAGE at Family Tree DNA and fill in the form.
You will receive further instructions on how to apply and pay for your kit.

(3) If the participant does not have computer access
.....or for some reason does not wish to sign up online,

For further information
Email - Rebecca Christensen


Return to TOP

If you would like to join the project but cannot afford the price,
.....there may be help available.
Your DNA sample is valuable to the Pace Society. 
Email - Rebecca Christensen

Similarly, if you would like to contribute to this cause, email for information.

This page updated June 29th, 2015 - GTP