Riegel DNA Project

This page updated 21 Mar Feb 2010

Welcome to the Riegel DNA Project

This Project is designed to help people whose surname is Riegel or any of the many variants learn more about the history of their families by use of DNA analysis to support and guide traditional genealogical research techniques.

Carl Riegel and James Reigle, in their book Riegell to Riggle (Penobscot Press, 1996), traced many families with surname Riegel and variations, as they settled in Pennsylvania and New York in the early 18th century and then scattered across the U.S. They focused primarily on the descendants of Mattheis Riegell (c. 1610-1672) of Rheinland-Pfalz. But they also identified several family groups of these surnames that could not be connected to that of Mattheis Riegell. The largest of these unconnected families was that descended from Simon Riegel (1695-1750) of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Initial results of this project appear to confirm that there is in fact no connection.

While Carl and James' book identified many members of these families, many people with these surnames cannot trace their ancestry to any of the documented families. The purpose of this project is twofold:

  1. To determine whether all people with these surnames are members of the known families, or whether there are un-related families with these surnames.

  2. To see whether those who have been unable to trace their ancestry to an immigrant can clues can find in DNA results indicating linkage to a specific branch of the known families, and thus help focus traditional genealogical research more productively.

To accomplish these objectives we will need to obtain Y-DNA test results for people known to be descendants of Mattheis Riegell of Rheinland-Pfalz or Simon Riegel of Lancaster Co., as well as those who are seeking more information about their ancestors. Every male descendants with any variation of the Riegel surname is invited to participate. Note that this is a Y-DNA project, so only males who are direct descendants of Riegels can be tested. Others can participate by gaining agreement for a male relative who is a Riegel descendant to be tested.

The project is in it's very early stages, but has already provided confirmation of what had long been suspected by those doing conventional research – that the Mattheis and Simon families are not related. There is no doubt more to be learned.

For more information or to join the project, please use the links below, or contact me using the link at the bottom of this page.

Articles of Interest on this Site
Spelling Variations
The known spelling variations of the surname, and frequency of occurrence in the U.S.
DNA Basics
Understanding how DNA analysis can assist in genealogy research
Other Resources
Official Website
The Project's official website – view current results; join the project
The Testing Process
How testing works; see the test kit and instructions
Riegel/Riggle Freundschaft
Website of the descendants of Simon Riegel of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania


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Riegel DNA Project Home

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