Elliott (And Border Reivers) DNA Project News (November 11, 2009)
Hello Border Reivers & Other Rapscallions,
Contrary to rumor, the Border Reivers DNA Project is still actively accepting participants and gathering data from them. Moreover, there is currently a holiday sale at Family Tree DNA and prices have been slashed. See the details at http://www.familytreedna.com/products.aspx - you may want to convey this info to fellow clan members who are still on the fence about DNA testing.
A Report On Recent DNA Results
Rather than give you a tedious rundown of what clans received what types of test results, I am attaching the complete Y-DNA and mtDNA results of all participants so that you can see for yourself. Altogether we have at least 650 Y-DNA haplotypes ranging from 12 to 67 markers, and 87 mtDNA results. In the attached Y-DNA spreadsheet, SNP-tested haplogroups are highlighted in Green while merely estimated haplogroups are highlighted in Red. Both spreadsheets are also available online at the URLs cited below:
The complete Y-DNA results for all official participants may be found at this URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/Border_Reiver_Y-DNA.xls
The complete mtDNA results for all official participants may be found at this URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/Border_Reiver_mtDNA.xls
A Count Of Official Participants By Surname
We now have 675 official participants. Of these, 654 have so far returned their kits. The total includes:
- 35 Armstrongs
- 1 Barraford
- 8 Beatties (including one particpant named McVitty)
- 10 Bells
- 1 Bennett
- 1 Bligh
- 1 Bogue
- 1 Bone
- 1 Bryant
- 7 Burns
- 1 Carlile
- 19 Carothers, Carruthers and Cruthirds
- 1 Charlton
- 1 Chernek (female Border Reiver descendant)
- 1 Christian
- 1 Clendaniel (or Glendenning)
- 2 Collingwoods
- 1 Cornwell
- 1 Coulter
- 5 Crawfords
- 1 Cresswell
- 3 Croziers
- 1 Dalgliesh
- 6 Davisons and Davises
- 1 Dilks
- 6 Dixons
- 3 Dodsons/Dodds
- 3 Douglases
- 2 Drysdales (including a genetic Drysdale surnamed Stewart)
- 1 Duckworth
- 1 Dunn
- 1 Eckersley
- 187 Elliotts, Elliots, Eliots and Ellwoods
- 3 Elders
- 1 Erskine
- 1 Fenwick (surname variation Penick)
- 1 Fletcher
- 5 Forresters and Forrests
- 6 Gilchrists
- 1 Gordon
- 1 Gowland
- 13 Grahams (including genetic Grahams under the names Peavoy and Nethery, and a female Graham descendant)
- 3 Grays
- 23 Halls
- 1 Hanson (female Border Reiver descendant)
- 1 Harle
- 2 Headleys
- 8 Hendersons
- 9 Herons and Herrons
- 1 Hetherington
- 1 Hildreth
- 2 Hodgin and Hodges
- 1 Hounslea
- 1 Hume
- 5 Hunts and Hunters
- 2 Inglises or Engles
- 29 Irvings, Irvines, Ervins, Irwins and Erwins (including one genetic Irvine named Hamblen)
- 2 Jameses
- 46 Johnsons and Johnstons
- 1 Kenny
- 15 Kerrs and Carrs
- 2 Kilpatricks
- 1 Kimbley
- 1 Kirkland
- 1 Koch (female Border Reiver descendant)
- 1 Laidlaw
- 1 Langley
- 8 Littles
- 5 Logans
- 3 Lowthers (including two genetic Lowthers surnamed Webb and Lonsdale)
- 1 Mason
- 1 McCracken
- 1 McClure
- 1 McCullough
- 1 Milburn
- 1 Minto
- 1 Muhn (female Border Reiver descendant)
- 5 Murrays and Morrows
- 4 Musgroves and Musgraves
- 1 Nelson
- 4 Nixons
- 1 Noble
- 4 Ogles
- 2 Olivers
- 3 Plunketts
- 1 Porter
- 1 Proctor
- 2 Reades or Reeds
- 1 Redpath
- 2 Ridleys
- 5 Robsons
- 6 Rutherfords and Retherfords
- 1 Rutledge
- 1 Salkeld
- 1 Scoles
- 15 Scotts
- 2 Shortridges
- 1 Silvey
- 7 Simpsons (although 1 person apparently joined twice)
- 2 Spences
- 2 Stevensons or Stevenses
- 1 Stewart
- 5 Storeys
- 6 Taits or Taitsons
- 1 Thibault (Border Reiver descendant through non-patrilineal lines)
- 10 Taylors
- 1 Telford
- 3 Trumbles (or Turnbull)
- 1 Tweedie
- 1 Veitch
- 1 Vowles
- 2 Watsons
- 1 Waugh
- 1 Weir
- 5 Whites
- 2 Wilsons
- 9 Witheringtons and Wetheringtons (including a genetic Witherington surnamed McCormick)
- 1 Young
The Elliotts, the Johnston (and Johnson) clan, the Scotts, the Armstrongs, the Beatties, the Crawfords and the Grahams were among the data sets that saw the largest proportional gains in the last year and a half.
As always, let me say that those of you who have not sent in your kits should try to get them in. We would welcome your participation. Those of you who have lost their kits can have new ones sent out at no extra cost, and should contact me for details.
Border Reivers Web Site
The Border Reivers DNA web site retains its old format, although I have updated it several times in the last year and we now have 2,122 results posted. The haplogroup percentages have remained roughly the same as before.
Latest Developments By Clan
Here's a partial report on the results of our analysis and research on selected Border Reiver families. I have focused on clans that have the largest number of official participants, because most of you belong to these. Don't feel slighted if your clan has not been mentioned. If you have any questions about our analysis of your haplotype and our investigations into your genetic heritage, please email me directly - and I will respond.
In the last year and a half, I've expanded the total data set of Armstrong haplotypes to 63. This includes a new participant who is a native of Germany, Peter David Armstrong - but I took many of the rest from Ysearch records that had been posted by the administrators of the Armstrong Surname Project at FTDNA. Those of you Armstrongs who belong to the Border Reiver group should join this group, if you haven't already done so.
The most common Armstrong haplotype is still the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype, usually coupled with the DYS447/437/448/449 combination of 23/15/19/32 - or some variation of it. This is a very distinctive signature. It's also the most widespread, appearing among participants with roots in England, Scotland and Ulster. As a matter of fact, not only is this one of the typical Armstrong signatures in County Antrim - Ballymena in particular - it is also found among a cluster of Elliotts who share Ballymena roots. I believe these guys are pretty much "genetic Armstrongs" despite their Elliott surname.
We have an R1a Armstrong, and a K2 Armstrong - the only K2 in the Border Reiver database - but the only non-R1b Armstrong haplotype that appears to occur among multiple participants with roots in different parts of the British Isles is an "Ultra-Norse" I1a signature. This is a clearly a Viking signature, and as such lends credence to the old legend of the Armstrongs descending from Danes.
The same Ultra-Norse I1a signature that appears among some Armstrongs totally prevails among the Carruthers clan. The basic 12 marker pattern is 13-23-15-10-14-15-11-14-11-12-11-28. Every new Carruthers, Carothers or Cruthirds who joins us seems to have it - including one of our newest participants, Ian Carruthers from Zimbabwe.
The Carruthers data set has been one of the most satisfying to assemble and analyze. Along with the Heron data set, the Carruthers group presents the best case of how a genetic pattern can trump dramatic surname variations - as it appears among those named Carruthers, Carothers, Crothers and Cruthirds with little if any change. The whole clan is largely defined by a single lineage.
We now have 191 Elliott DNA signatures posted on the Border Reiver DNA web pages. These include not just our own official participants, but unofficial participants who have been tested with Dna Heritage, Ancestry and Sorenson - as well as a few others I have found in Ysearch. Among our participants, we have many Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and natives of the British Isles - as well as Elliotts from all over the United States. Some project administrators complain about the difficulty of recruiting participants from overseas, Europe in particular - but we've never had that problem. This international representation gives us a greater perspective on the origin and spread of our Elliott lineages than other projects might have on their surnames, and our large British sample in particular gives our project enviable "street cred".
The Donegal Bay-Fermanagh Elliotts Conclusively Belong To Subclade L21
The Donegal Bay-Fermanagh Elliott cluster has grown to eleven participants. All are R1b, and at least two participants - one with a DYS393 value of 12 and another with a DYS393 value of 13 - have been confirmed as L21. L21 is an R1b subclade found most frequently in the Celtic fringe of the British Isles, and its appearance among this group overwhelmingly suggests that it has a native Scottish origin. It also proves that those R1b Elliotts who have the DYS393 of 12 do not, after all, belong to the Eastern R1b group known as ht35. The Ysearch ID's of this group are 2Z62Z, YVQU6, XT27N, XQR3K, FMNEA, SVC6H, ZDVGJ, G8HXP, 73HA8, 2J4KB and PV8VD. This is one of the most populous Elliott groups in Ulster, with some branches extending into Derry and Antrim. (On a personal note, participant XT27N is my own third cousin once removed, Andrew Elliott of Screen Townland, Donegal. He and I are only 2 steps distant from one another on 67 markers, which confirms our relationship.)
Unfortunately, I have not yet found a single participant from this group who has a solid pedigree leading back to Scotland, but everyone in the group is within 8 steps of everyone else at 37 markers - suggesting that the lineage is very old and bore the Elliott surname in 16th century Scotland. Curiously, the closest matches outside this group with any other family in Ysearch are with the Scottish clan Hamilton - including matches with Hamiltons who claim roots in Lanarkshire. More curious still, is the fact that the Hamiltons of Lanarkshire were the original landlords of the Donegal Town and Enniskillen locations where this group of Elliotts first settled. Make of that what you will. It is most likely just coincidence, as this group of Hamiltons has similar, if not far closer, matches with a much wider group of families than just the Elliotts - and that the closest matches between these Hamiltons and our Elliotts are at 7, 8, 9 and 10 steps, which is beyond the conventional definition of "relatedness".
Daniel Elliot Of Salem May Have Been Scottish, But Was Definitely Not Related To Andrew Elliot Of East Coker
There has been something of a revolution in thinking among those R1b Elliotts who claim descent from Daniel Elliot of Salem. That Daniel Elliot was born in Salem between 1660 and 1665 and served as a witness at the Salem witchcraft trials is not in doubt. What is in doubt are Daniel Elliot's origins in Southwest England. Linda Elliott, who represents Elliott participant 4RV4H, sent me several monographs on the colonial Elliots from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. These monographs account for the origins of the various Elliot families in 17th century Massachusetts. There is no account of any Daniel Elliot from Somerset and Devon, and no evidence that any Daniel Elliot settling in Salem was related to Andrew Elliot from East Coker, Somerset - the ancestor of the poet T.S. Eliot. There is an account of one Daniel Elliot born in Hunsdon, Hertfordshire circa 1586, who was related to some Elliots who later emigrated to Essex - but that is it.
Another participant, Mark Elliott (Ysearch ID SEYDN), has demonstrated that the name "Daniel Elliot" existed in both the Scottish Borders during reiver times and in Fermanagh in the first years of the Ulster Plantation. He has suggested that Daniel Elliot's father fought against Cromwell as a teenager in the Battle of Worcester in 1651, and that he was captured and sent to Massachusetts as an indentured servant. This was the fate of many Scottish and Scots-Irish soldiers captured by Cromwell. In fact, as Mark pointed out to me, the Saugus Ironworks - a 17th century historic site less than 5 miles from my house in Melrose, Mass. - was manned by such men, most of whom served their terms of indenture and settled locally. The Scottish or Scots-Irish origin of this group of Elliotts is further supported by the fact that one of Mark and Linda Elliott's closest matches - Ysearch ID FYQWR - claims roots in Ireland circa 1800, and that another close match - Ysearch ID DKJGT - can trace his roots back to Northern Ireland and ultimately to Roxburghshire, Scotland. The most typical 25 marker haplotype for this group - 14-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-11-13-13-29-16-9-10-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17 - differs from the most common Scottish Elliott haplotype by just three steps: a DYS393 value of 14, a DYS439 value of 11, and a DYS458 value of 16. As a result of this new information, I have changed the place of origin for these descendants of Daniel Elliot from "England" or "England (Devon)" to "British Isles". The Scottish theory seems more and more feasible, but I will need more proof in the long run. The Ysearch ID's of this group of Elliotts include 3PZXW, NYZE9, 4RV4H, FYQWR, 75PWU, SEYDN, FB7UZ, 97SGU and DKJGT.
A Sidebar On The Elliotts Of Cavan And Fermanagh
Among the documentation sent to me by Mark Elliott on the origins of Daniel Elliot of Salem were some notes from The Scotch-Irish Families Of America on the first Elliots to settle in Ulster. One of these was one "Sir John Elliot, Knight, Baron of Exchequer, who was allotted the small portion known as the Manor of Kilcronehan, County Cavan". The title "Sir" suggests that this Elliot may have been of English descent rather than a Border Scot, but that is pure speculation. The notes continue to say, however, that there is "no evidence" to connect Sir John Elliot with any of the earliest Elliot settlers in Fermanagh. Coincidentally, the only Elliott participant who claims roots in County Cavan - Ysearch ID FZ2PG - has only one close match among the other Elliotts participants (an Elliott with Ontario roots, Ysearch ID NNJ2A). The haplotype is also quite distinct - 13-24-13-11-11-13-12-12-12-14-13-30-17-9-10-11-11-26-15-19-29-15-15-16-17, a 25 marker signature at least 5 steps distant from the most common Scottish Elliott haplotype, and even more distant from most other R1b Elliotts. The Elliotts of Cavan may well have had an entirely different origin from Elliotts elsewhere in the northern counties of Ireland.
As for the Elliotts of Fermanagh, the same source claims the following:
"This branch of the old Scottish border family of Elliot appears to have come over to Ulster at or shortly after the Plantation. According to old family tradition, the founder was a cadet of the house of Stobbs, County Roxburgh. We have several old family papers from which the pedigree is clearly traceable back to William Elliot; he married Margaret, sister of David Cairnes of Londonderry. His son was also named William, and was designated 'of Straghan,' in the County of Fermanagh, in 1689. He appears along with Thomas Elliot of Galoon and George Elliot of Tully, also in Fermanagh, in the list of Protestant gentry attainted by King James's Parliament. In the plantation papers we can only find record of two planters with the name of Elliot. These are Daniel Elliot, who obtained the lands of Tullacoltier and the precincts thereof, in the County Fermanagh, part of the extensive grant originally allotted to Sir Robert Hamilton; and..." Then it goes to mention Sir John Elliot. This source claims, however, that there is no incontrovertible evidence of a family relation between Daniel Elliot and the later Fermanagh Elliots William and Thomas, but it does imply that that all these Elliots belonged to the same family. The question is this - is Daniel Elliot of Tullacoltier the ancestor of Daniel Elliot of Salem, or of the Donegal Bay-Fermanagh Elliotts whose DNA signatures are entirely different?
Whatever his origins, William Elliot of Straghan served as a Lieutenant in the army of William of Orange defending Ballyshannon against the army of James II, and later - as a Captain - in The Battle of The Boyne.
Some Notes On The Elliotts Of Eskdale And The Glendennings
Kent Irvin, the former administrator of the Irwin Surname Project, was kind enough to send to me the results of some research he had done on the Border Elliotts. His notes contain speculations on the placement of the Elliotts within the Border region, their connection with the Glendenning family, their possible origin in Eskdale - and much else. He sent these notes to me in January 2008, and I had intended to include them in the February 2008 newsletter, but regrettably did not. They are full of riches, so I will include them verbatim below:
"There is supposedly an early reference to the name Elliot in Teviotdale which I have not seen, but apparently it does not establish that the Elliot in question actually lived in Teviotdale. I do not believe it would have been unusual for a man from Liddesdale or Eskdale to witness a document concerning lands in Teviotdale. The earliest reference I have found to a border Elliot that seems to establish a place of residence is found in the Exchequer Rolls in 1459 when Johannis Elwald de Danduran was mentioned in the accounts of the lordship of Eskdale. Danduran is undoubtedly Dalduran in Westerkirk Parish which belonged to the Glendinnings but which was renamed Westerhall in the seventeenth century. Since the terce lands of the widow of Simon Glendinning of that ilk who died in 1464 included Dalduran, I would suggest that John Elwald was Glendinning's tenant. The Glendinnings derive their name from Glendinning in Westerkirk Parish. Given the similarity of Glendinning and Border Elliott DNA, it hardly seems coincidental that the earliest documented residences of both families are in the same parish.
Ewesdale is occasionally referred to as the lordship of Ewesdale but formed a part of the lordship of Eskdale and consisted of the modern parish of Ewes which adjoins Westerkirk. On 3 January 1456/7 Adam Elwald and Robyn Elwald witnessed the sasine of George, fourth earl of Angus, in the lands of Ewesdale on 3 January 1456/7 at Mallano, the "cheife chemes" of the lands of Ewesdale. This establishes that they were actually present in Ewesdale on that day but not that they held lands in Ewesdale or Westerkirk. However, they would have been witnesses either as local tenants or as servants of the earl of Angus and would not have been witnesses unless they were men of substance. It should be remembered that the earl of Angus was himself a new tenant in Eskdale at this time, receiving lands forfeited by the earls of Douglas following the rebellion of 1455. Since George Douglas, earl of Angus, was also lord of Liddesdale, it seems likely that either he introduced the Ellots into Liddesdale from Ewesdale or into Ewesdale from Liddesdale. It is unlikely to be coincidental that he had Ellot tenants in both places. There was undoubtedly a branch of the Ellot family established in Ewesdale in the sixteenth century. In 1569 "Niniane Ellot, callit the Portar of Ewesdurris" was pledge "for himself, his bairnis and haill Ellottis dwelland in Ewisdaill" [Register of the Privy Council, page 43]. The question to be answered is whether Ninian Ellot's family had been in Ewesdale since the 1450s. The Robyn Elwald who witnessed the Ewesdale sasine in 1457 was possibly the ancestor of the Redheuch family named as Robert Ellot, grandfather of Robert Ellot, at the end of the fifteenth century.
I would suggest that the Ellots of Eskdale have been unjustly ignored, especially when it is considered that no one seems to believe that the Elliots were aboriginal to Liddesdale. Given that the documentary evidence places them in Eskdale at least as early as in Liddesdale and that the DNA evidence suggests they are the same male line as the Glendinnings, it seems that serious consideration should be given to a possible Eskdale origin for the Border Elliots.
The Border Elliots may well have originated in Cumberland before 1400, but the evidence suggests that if this is so then the surname probably disappeared from the county before 1500 and was later reintroduced by Scottish Elliots. The key document for supporting this position is the 1581/2 Muster Roll of Cumberland in the Calendar of Border Papers. This list is fairly comprehensive for three of Cumberland's four wards. No names are given for Allerdale Ward, the district farthest from the border, but the total number of Elliots in the remainder of the county is certainly less then the number of contemporary Scottish Elliots and does not appear inconsistent with the known "resetting" of Scottish rebels within Cumberland throughout the sixteenth century.
Allerdale Ward (1040 unnamed men; area farthest from the border)
Leith Ward (2086 named men; 8 Elwalds)
Town of Penrith [a large town so the Elwoods here not necessarily closely related]
…Robert Elwold, Edward Ellott…John Elwood…
Kirkoswald and Staffell
Peter Ellott…Adam Elwodd
Cumberland Ward (1309 named men; 2 Elwalds)
Eskdale Ward (2163 named men; 20 Elwalds)
[It is noted that only the inhabitants of Eske, Leven, Bewcastle and Kirklinton did not appear for the muster - see the following Graham clan list of 1602 which covers this area]
Mikel Corbye, with Bridgend, including Little Crokby
William Elwoulde…Thomas Elwoulde…
John Elwoulde, Jeffereye Elwold….Thomas Elwoulde…
Richard Elwoulde….Jefferye Elwould…James Elwoulde…
…Roger Elwould…Christofer Elwode…Leonard Elwould…John Elwold…John Elwolde…
Martine Elwold…Leonarde Elwold…Richard Elwolde, John Elwold…Peter Elwold…William Elwold…
The Graham clan list of 1602 has been published with about half the names abstracted. The abstractor included comments such as "and 25 more, by name" and "with 84 more, by name". By my estimation these notes indicate that 226 out of 439 names were given. Only one Elliot was included in the transcription:
"A note and abstract of the several names of the clans of all the Grames…the eighth day of October 1602… Young Hutchin's clan and gang. And first the names that Geordie answers for, being brother to young Hutchin….Andrew Elwood…The whole number of these names given in to my lord as aforesaid, 439"
"Young Hutchin" was Hutchin Graham. Individuals with Scottish Border Reiver" surnames in the list include John Baytie, Robert Carrudders, David Moffett, Richie Urwen, John Batie, Davie Batie, Matthew Urwen, John Baitie, Simon Urwen, Matthew Moffett, Davie Baitie, Andrew Glendoniong, Jock Urwen, Thomas Urwen, John Glendonning, David Carrudders, Adam Glendonning and John Glendoning. There are also many Bells, Grahams and Armstrongs but these families are known to have had both English and Scottish branches. These names are consistent with the evidence for the "resetting" of Scots in Cumberland, such as in the following Scottish complaint of 1541:
"Alsua thair is reset and authorisit in the West Marchis of Ingland…diverse tratouris and theifis and brekaris of the trewis, and specialie ane Andro Bell, Johne Scott, and his sone, Andro Elwand callit Dand of Baghed, Will Elvand callit Fute Grwme, [blank] Elwand callit Pengrise, Johne the Grame callit Lokhart, Wille Bell callit the Flaggatt, Nichol Baty callit Bullman Ryddin, David Litle, Thomas Bell callit the Smy, Mathew Glendverneyn, Will Irveyn callit Blak Will, and mony and diverse uderis…" [History of Liddesdale, Appendix XXXIV]"
Additional Elliotts Have Found Matches
We have been able to find a match for at least a few unmatched Elliotts over the last year and a half. One pair we brought together were participants 5JXFP and MP4AY, both of whom exhibit the highly unusual (and not typically Elliott) R1b haplotype of 13-23-14-11-14-15-12-12-14-13-13-29. Both claim descent from one George Elliott, an Oklahoma physician who reputedly married many times. Another pair we were able to connect are participants QH83A - the descendant of a Liverpool sea captain - and Ballymena Elliott RR73J. Both belong to a group of "genetic Armstrong" Elliotts that appears to have originated in Ballymena, County Antrim.
I don't yet have a web page dedicated to Graham DNA results and genealogies - principally because there is a Graham Surname Project already in existence at Family Tree DNA, and I provide a link to that web page for those seeking more information. The Grahams are one of several Border clans whose members have started to join our project in greater numbers. I welcome their participation with open arms - not least because my own granddady Elliott was the son of a Graham as well as the son of an Elliott.
I now have 60 Graham haplotypes posted on our Border Reiver web pages. There is a growing "Anglo-Saxon" I1a lineage among the haplotypes I have posted, several different distinct R1b lineages - and one large group of 22 entries that comprises a single J1 lineage. I initially had a smaller version of this group posted as J2, but when I was updating my Graham data sets a few weeks ago I discovered that many of these had been SNP-tested as J1, and have since changed their haplogroup designation. This haplogroup designation surprises me a little - although it does appear among other Border clans like the Liddells - and has inspired me to revisit Ysearch to see if some of the other Border reiver entries I have estimated as J2 months (if not years) ago have since been SNP-tested as J1 instead. These would include many Scotts and Montgomeries.
We now have 45 Hall haplotypes posted. Several distinct lineages appear to be taking shape, although no one lineage predominates. The range of haplogroups is extraordinarily diverse, including E, G, I1a, I1b, I1c, J1, Q, R1a and R1b. The absence of one prevailing lineage is a source of frustration. The Halls are the opposite of the Carruthers, Heron and Irvine clans. Each of the latter three clans exhibits a single primary lineage that prevails over a wide variety of surname variations, while the Halls exhibit a bewildering variety of lineages all with the exact same surname. I apologize for not discovering a unifying genetic signature for this clan, but there simply does not appear to be one.
We now have 13 Heron, Herron, Herrin and Harron haplotypes posted. Most of these come from our own Heron participants, but I poached a few from the Herrin Surname Project participants in Ysearch. There are most likely more Herrins in Ysearch by now, and it would behoove me to poach some more. At any rate, all but one of the haplotypes I have posted belong to the same Northwest Irish R1b subclade. Some of my Heron participants have been SNP-tested as M222, and I assume that those who resemble them are also M222. The Heron clan is not itself Irish, but instead comes from Northern England. I believe the antecedents of the clan came to Northern England with the Gall-Gaedhil or Norse-Gaelic invasion of Cumbria in the 9th and 10th centuries.
We now have 64 Irvine, Irvin, Ervin, Erwin, Irwin and Irving haplotypes posted - and there are a lot more out there on Ysearch from the Irwin Surname Project that I have not yet included on my web pages. I will probably not be able to include all of these Ysearch entries, but I intend to provide links from my Irvine/Irving DNA Results web pages to the Irwin Surname Project. One of the reasons why I have not yet felt compelled to add these new entries is because, quite frankly, they tend simply to be more of the same. Nearly 95 percent of what I've got posted already are R1b, and nearly three-quarters belong to the same distinct variation of the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype. I've documented this haplotype several times in a few previous newsletters over the years, so I won't rehash that description here. Let it suffice for me to say that this clan is one of the most genetically coherent I've had the privilege to analyze, and that I give my thanks to Kent Irvin - the former administrator of the Irwin Surname Project - and his successor, James Irvine, for helping identify the main lineage of this clan and its amazing persistence through many different name changes.
We now have 100 Johnston and Johnson haplotypes posted on our main Border Reiver DNA web pages. I was in contact early on with the administrators of the Johnson/Johnston Surname Project, and have maintained a link to their web page almost since the beginning of our own project. It is no wonder then that this clan has been one of the largest contributors of new participants to the Border Reivers Project in the last year and a half.
The Johnson/Johnston Surname Project has a far more extensive collection of haplotypes and genealogies than I could possibly show, but I will attempt a few of my own observations. In our subset of the Johnson/Johnston data, there are some I1a and I1b entries, and many I1c entries. All of the I1b entries are Scots-Irish Johnsons, the I1c entries make up 20 percent of the total data set and are represented mostly by Scottish and Scots-Irish Johnstons - while our I1a group is much smaller and more mixed. I1c appears more quintessentially Johnstonian than the other subclades.
Slightly more than half of our Johnson/Johnston data set are R1b, and at a glance the most common 12 marker haplotypes include North Sea Celtic (13-23-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29), Scottish Modal (13-24-14-10-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29) and Western Atlantic Modal (13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29). There are many other haplotypes, but these - which are the most common in the Border Reiver data set as a whole - seem to be the most common here, at least within R1b. Unlike some other clans, where the more common haplotypes are outnumbered by a particular familial R1b signature, there does not seem to be a specific Johnson or Johnston R1b signature. Nor does either the surname Johnson or the surname Johnston prevail among this group.
More Links To Other Surname Projects
Since the beginning of the project, I have tried to include links to the DNA Results web pages for the surname projects devoted to individual Border Reiver surnames. I can't post all the DNA results that are available on my own web pages, either because I lack access to those results or explicit permission to post them if they have not already been posted in Ysearch. Nor, realistically, do I have the time to post everything that is available - but I can certainly redirect your attention to the resources provided by other project administrators.
Over the last year, I have received an increasing number of enrollments from the Johnstons, Graham, Scotts and Beatties - among others - and will endeavor to enrich my own web pages with the additional DNA results for those clans that are available in Ysearch. I will retest the links I have to the surname project web pages for those clans, to make sure that they are not broken. I will also add yet more links to other Border Reiver surname projects that have either begun or grown substantially since I started my own project. I intend to make my "Border Reiver DNA By Surname" web pages a central hub for genetic information about the Border Reivers, wherever that information may lie.
In the next few weeks, look for these links in the "DNA Project" column on the following web pages:
A Few Notes About 23andMe
The autosomal genetic testing company, 23andMe, has become all the rage these days. During my lurking sorties on the Genealogy DNA message board, I find thread after thread pertaining to that company and its unique products. I took the plunge myself last Christmas, shelling out 400 bucks to learn, in essence, what might eventually kill me. As a hypochondriac of the first water, I signed up for 23andMe partly to see if I could learn about my various disease risks without reducing myself to a fretful bowl of Jello. I believe I passed that test, but - since one has just so many internal organs and just so many diseases that could afflict them - my interest in 23andMe began to ebb towards the end of summer.
Then I started getting invitations from people to share my "genome" with them, and my interest revived. I started sending out invitations myself, and within a few weeks I was sharing genomes with more than a hundred people. It becomes almost addictive, especially once you learn how much you can do with all this shared data.
23andMe allows you to compare your genome with others in a number of different ways:
- It provides your Y-DNA and mtDNA results, right down to the subclades. Unlike FTDNA however, 23andMe does not give you the DYS values of your actual haplotypes - nor does it seem practical (or even possible) to extract them from your raw data.
- It uses its own set of AIMs (or Ancestry Informative Markers) to calculate your percentages of European, African and Asian ancestry, to rank your level of similarity to a series of global population groups (e.g., Northern European, Southern European, Middle Eastern and so on), and to plot your likely ethnicity on a diagram that is blocked into various zones (such as Irish, English, German, French, Norwegian, Orcadian, etc.). Not surprisingly, I found myself to be 100% European, more like Northern Europeans than anyone else, and squarely in the "Irish" zone among the Northern Europeans. I suspect that if they had a "Scottish" zone, I would fall within that as well - but "Irish" is certainly close enough.
- It ranks your matches with your partners in terms of how much of your entire genome (or at least more than 550,000 SNPs) you share with them. It also ranks your matches on subsets of your genome that govern traits like Endurance, Circadian Rhythm, Immune System Compatibility, Pigmentation and Body Mass Index.
- It provides a feature called "Relative Finder" that predicts your potential genetic relationship with other 23andMe customers - such as who might be a 5th cousin, a 6th cousin, and so on. You can invite these individuals to share their genomes with you. After they agree to share, you can visit another feature called "Family Inheritance" that shows the swatches of "half-identical regions" you and your distant cousin have in common. When chromosomes from two parents break apart and recombine to create a new human being, they swap whole contiguous chunks of genetic real estate. As the generations progress, and the chromosomes recombine yet again, fewer and fewer of those original contiguous chunks remain. The level of relatedness between cousins is calculated from the proportion of contiguous sections that they still share. I am currently sharing genomes with 15 of these putative "distant cousins", the closest of which is a young woman with the surname "Robson" from Canada. The Elliotts were frequently the nemesis of the Robsons during the Border Reiver days. Maybe that is why Miss Robson has been reluctant to answer my queries about her pedigree...
The most remarkable - and bemusing - aspect of these different types of autosomal comparisons is that you tend to get different results for each. Someone who sits right on top of you in 23andMe's biogeographical scatter diagram may or may not be a distant cousin - or even resemble you all that closely in their overall genetics. Likewise, those who match your genome most closely may not be related to you at all, while a 4th cousin may have a genome that matches yours no better than anyone else's, despite that "half-identical region" you both share.
For those who can afford 23andMe testing, I heartily recommend it. It's not just for scaring you witless with your medical risks. It's also great fun to see whom you most resemble genetically, where they came from and who their ancestors were.
Here is the 23andMe URL:
And here is the URL for their fascinating blog:
Please note that I have a new email address - email@example.com - but also please note that I have chosen to retain the old one as well - firstname.lastname@example.org . This means you have at least two ways of contacting me. Don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have questions, remarks or suggestions.
As always, the URL of the Border Reivers DNA Project main page is:
James V. Elliott
Border Reivers DNA Project