A few years back, when I started researching our family history, ancestry DNA tests became available. As a present to my Dad - myself and my brother paid for my Dad to have a test done. The results only showed his maternal side at the time. I have personally always wanted to have one done. When I discovered Living DNA and found out that they were looking for bloggers to review their DNA kit, I of course jumped at the chance.
Being a girl, I remember from biology classes, that females have XX chromosomes and males have XY chromosomes. After looking at some FAQs I decided that if I wanted to trace both the maternal and paternal line I would need either my Dad or one of my brothers to take the DNA test to get those all important Y results. Although sibling DNA is not 100% identical - it would be as near as damn it.
The kit arrived, with instructions on how to set up our online account, it was all very easy to follow. You then need to take a swab from your cheek (obviously my brother did this) pop it into a sealed pot and labelled bag and then post it. We were told to expect results within 10-12 weeks. Paul had an email last week, to say the results were in, so it ended up being around a 6 week turnaround.
When he phoned me I could hardly contain my excitement, the results were available to view online.
This was our break-down from roughly the last 10 generations:
The results show 98.2% Great British and Irish and 1.8% Europe (North & East) ancestry - I must admit I'm slightly disappointed that there wasn't something more exotic thrown into the mix. They have even provided a regional breakdown and it is amazingly accurate:
East Anglia - 36.2%
South East England - 23.8%
South England - 13.8%
North West Scotland - 4.1%
Cornwall - 4%
Aberdeenshire - 4%
Northern Ireland & South West Scotland - 2.7%
Lincolnshire - 2.7%
North Yorkshire - 2.5%
Ireland - 1.7%
South Yorkshire - 1.3%
Central England - 1.1%
Northwest Germanic - 1.8%
The genetic signature covers the areas of northwestern Germany, the Netherlands and the Jutland region of Denmark.
Looking deeper into our DNA test I have found by analysing the raw data I have discovered even more interesting results. Our family are of Saxon, Celtic, Danish Viking, Frank and Vandal origins!
If you have followed my research you will see that the majority of my family were born in London, Surrey and Sussex (South East) going back a few generations. I then discovered the Scottish ancestry particularly around the highlands, Edinburgh and Ayrshire on my maternal grandmother's side.
The Head family on my Dad's side and the Blake family on Mum's side originate from Norfolk and Suffolk (East Anglia).
The Bushnell's and Straftord's were from Wiltshire and Berkshire (South England). The Kingham's and Martin's were from Devon and Cornwall.
The Owen's were from Westmeath in Ireland.
The Yorkshire part remains a mystery but in my original research (which I scrapped) I did find some possible Yorkshire ancestry.
Now, onto the ancient DNA.
What is a haplogroup?
A haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patriline or the matriline. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations.
mtDNA: Haplogroup H. Subclade H10. Haplogroup H is one of the most common groups in Europe. It is found in most European countries. This group is thought to have originated between 25,000 and 30,000 years before present. Its exact place of origin is unclear, but it most likely arose in or around the northeastern regions of the Mediterranean. Our motherline originated during the height of the Ice Age, up to 35,000 years ago. Conditions would have been extreme and competition for resources was fierce. Carriers of our motherline may have been at the heart of the recolonisation of Europe. At this time, people would have been very hardy nomads, travelling with the melting ice caps and migrating animals. They would have moved as and when the harsh climatic conditions allowed them, and would have relied heavily on foraging plants, hunting land animals and occasionally fishing for sea food, such as mussels. The climate had a snowball effect, first changing the environment which in turn changed where people lived, what they ate and how they hunted. The climate change caused the ice to melt rapidly and as a result the sea levels rose by 52 feet across a 500 year timespan. Subclades of our motherline are found in very high frequencies in North Africa, particularly amongst the Tuareg.
Y-DNA: Haplogroup R-U106. Subclade: R-S497. The Germanic branch of the R1b fatherline. Our fatherline signature belongs to the R-U106 group. This haplogroup is found in large concentrations in both Northwest Germany and the Netherlands. R-U106 would have been carried into Germany at the dawn of the Bronze Age, when massive Indo-European migrations were sweeping across much of Eurasia. Today, most R-U106 results found outside of Germany are a result of the Germanic migrations that have shaped much of Europe for the past two millennia. The Anglo-Saxons who first settled in Britain in the Fifth Century AD were not one united folk, but instead were numerous disparate tribes originating from modern day Saxony and Denmark. The Anglo-Saxon way of life dramatically altered British demographics, leading to a cultural and political overhaul that still influences British life today. The English language, law system, and many other key customs all stem from this time. Yet there is much about the first Anglo-Saxons that would be alien to a British person today. They were pagans that worshipped a pantheon of gods and they performed great ship burials to commemorate their dead rulers. The most famous of these burials at Sutton Hoo was excavated by archaeologists, and showed amongst other things that the Anglo-Saxons were connected to trade routes spanning as far as the Byzantine Empire in Greece and Turkey.
I have also discovered this interesting information from Family Tree DNA: "Although U106 is found all over Europe, and in countries that Europeans have migrated to, it is most significant in Germany and surrounding countries, Scandinavia, and Britain. Depending on which branch of U106 a member descends from, the people on that branch adapted to a variety of different cultures along the way, including various derivatives of Slavic, Latin, Celtic, Belgae, Saxon, Viking, and other cultural groups. U106 is a family, not a culture. Some families of the historic nobility have paperwork ancestry that reaches back farther into The Genealogical Gap of the Dark Ages. This enables us to compare the paperwork to the DNA as follows: both the Bourbon family of the Spanish and the former French Royal families, and the Wettin family of Saxe-Coburg from which the British and the Belgian Royal families, and the former Portuguese and Bulgarian Royal families descend."
I am amazed at the accuracy of the regional breakdown, it does co-inside with the research that I have done so far. Obviously if I can somehow find a link to royalty that would be very exciting. I shall continue with my research and see what else I can find.
Richards, J.D., 1992. Anglo-saxon symbolism. The Age of Sutton Hoo, pp.131-47.
Lambert, T. (2014) Daily life in Anglo Saxon England
Bruce-Mitford, R.L.S., 1983. The Sutton Hoo Ship-burial: pt. 1-2. Late Roman and Byzantine silver, hanging-bowls, drinking vessels, cauldrons and other containers, textiles, the lyre, pottery bottle and other items (Vol. 3).
Hay, M. 2017. Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA). [ONLINE]
ISOGG (2017) Y-DNA Haplogroup R and its Subclades. [ONLINE]
Myres, N.M., et al., 2011. A major Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b Holocene era founder effect in Central and Western Europe. European Journal of Human Genetics, 19(1), pp.95-101.
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*Disclaimer - I would like to thank Living DNA for allowing me to take a test in exchange for my honest review of the service*