The Hoy Family

All humans have 23 sets of 2 chromosomes, one each of which is inherited from one parent. One pair determines the sex of the person. One of the pair is called the X and the other the Y chromosome. Two X chromosomes will produce a female and one X and one Y will produce a male. It is the Y chromosome which is the most useful in tracing ancestry.

All chromosome are made up of long double strings of DNA. The strings themselves are not interesting (the blue ribbons in the left picture below), it is the connections between the strings which we look at. Only 4 chemicals make up these bonds and they always occur in pairs. It is the pattern of these pairs and how they change through time which tells us the story of our descent.

Double helix

The pictures to the right and left are examples of sections DNA from the Y chromosome. We only use the first letter to indicate one of the 4 chemicals.

These pairs that make up the bonds of DNA are passed from parent to child through many generations without change, but very rarely, there will be a change in a single pair, as seen on the right.

This change is called an SNP and is very unlikely to occur again in any human except for the descendants of the man in which it originally occurred.

Tracing these SNPs lets us track our ancestors through thousands of years.

The SNP of the Hoy family is M222, but very recent work has refined that to new SNPs which are discussed on another page.


The 23 sets of human chromosomes. The rods are immensely long ribbons of DNA.
23 chromosomes

All of the photographs and information about the three generations of the Hoy family on these pages has been gathered by Bob Hoy of Arlington, VA. The information for the book "Story of the Hoy Family" was compiled by Bob Hoy and the artwork was done by Lou Smull. Bob is the son of Frank Hoy from the second generation born in this country and Lou is the grandson of Frank's brother Tom.