A Harriman/Herriman Surname Y-DNA project has been started at www.familytreeDNA.com. Y-DNA is the genetic signature passed down unchanged from father to son - it cannot be inherited by females, as only the Y chromosome is involved. This makes it ideal for tracing the male ancestral line. For genealogical purposes only so-called "junk" DNA is used - it has no known purpose and cannot reveal anything about medical history or personal characteristics. Occasionally, mutations occur and the signature changes very slightly in one person. This means that after many generations, there will be a slight difference in the signature. Men who are closely related (within a few generations) should have identical signatures. Those who are related much further back will have signatures that differ in only one or two markers. The tests are most useful to either prove or disprove a known relationship between two men and to help determine their most recent comment ancestor (MRCA). Standard tests examine 12, 25 or 37 markers. The MRCA can be determined more accurately with more markers, but the cost is greater.
By joining the Harriman Surname project you should be able to determine whether you are related to one of the known lines of Harrimans and also help establish the Harriman Haplogroup - that is, the area of the world where the lines originated.
To join or for more information go to www.familytreeDNA.com and search for the Harriman project. Also, see the Harriman Family Association web site at www.harriman-family.org.