Recently, after almost 30 years of doing genealogy research on my lines, I located a male "cousin" McLeland to do the Y-DNA test with FTDNA in the McClellan Project (all spelling variants included).I had long ago given up on my McLeland line (as our branch ended up spelling it) after running into a maze of McC's and McL's in SC and had no clue which area might be the correct one.
My oldest known ancestor was Archelaus D. McLeland born c1799 SC and moved to MS by 1818 then on to LA in early 1840s and eventually to TX.About as many of his records (known for sure to be his) are under the name Archibald but I believe his preference was Archelaus.Perhaps the clerks, census takers etc. couldn't spell Archelaus so opted for the easier Archibald or maybe just their feeling "they knew better."And of course everyone who researchers these McCs and McLs know how that goes!
Extensive research in SC records (where I lived when I started research and have access to the SC archives and counties) left me with more questions than answers so I gradually just dropped my research in SC for this line.
With the DNA testing of my "cuz," however, I have renewed my interest in finding the connections and am going back over all my files and what is easily available now.Much of my early research on the surname was before internet days, message boards and all the various family trees posted there.
I find the conflicting information on these lines frustrating as most of you probably do also.Especially when it seems that there has been inadequate actual research and confusion of men with the same given names.
While we got definite Y-DNA matches, geographically the connection isn't obvious although almost all seem to have direct documentable ties back to Ireland.The lines we need to compare with which seem to have been in SC at the time period around 1790-1820 have not participated in the project.
As the administrator of another very large surname DNA project, I know how valuable testing can be in sorting out which lines are related and which can not be related.I thought I'd put in a plug for the McClellan DNA Project and strongly encourage others to get busy and find a male McClellan of whatever spelling you ended up using to test with the project under FTDNA.
We can figure out so many of the questions on these lines if people will get involved.The test is so easy to do.Finding an appropriate male to test is the hardest part.
If your line has not been Y-DNA documented, then you are missing perhaps the most vital element for your genealogy proofs.Without it, a lot is purely speculation.
It is no longer possible to say "All these McClellands" were related.The DNA clearly shows they are NOT.Many errors have been made in assuming certain lines are related.
Please get your line tested.While there are other companies who do the test, Family Tree DNA Company is the only company that actually has surname projects which make it possible to easily compare the results.Because all companies do not use the same battery of DYS markers and also conversions are required to compare results from the varying companies, that also sometimes make it more difficult to know if the necessary conversions were made correctly for direct comparison.