Oxford University researchers in Britain want to use DNA testing to find out if those with the rare surname of "Christmas" all descend from a single male.
They think the DNA of men from different Christmas clans may show if they are linked by a common genetic heritage.
This will be done by looking at similarities and differences in the male, or Y, chromosomes of volunteers, reports the BBC.
A DNA analysis firm is appealing for volunteers to participate in the study and is being assisted in the effort by Henry Christmas, a former telecommunications engineer who has spent 50 years researching the origins and history of his own family name, the report said.
Professor Bryan Sykes, who is leading the study, told the BBC, "There are several interesting questions such as was there one original 'father' Christmas or were there several different ones?"
Copyright 2005 by United Press International