The most common misunderstanding - mtDNA

I just see so many misunderstandings on genetic genealogy and DNA test forums concerning mtDNA haplogroups, that I feel compelled to try to explain.

DNA testing businesses tend to dumb down a lot of information for their "audience".  I feel that this actually increases misunderstandings, and mtDNA haplogroups are a good example.  Rather than use the lengthy description mitochondrial DNA, or even it's shortened mtDNA, businesses describe it more frequently as Mother Line, or Maternal.  It misleads so many of their customers.  So let us put this straight:

  • A haplogroup is a  "combination of alleles at different chromosomes regions that are closely linked and that tend to be inherited together"  A series of mutations, that are inherited across generations.
  • mtDNA are a series of mutations within the DNA of mitochondria.  Mitochondria exist outside of a cell nucleus.  They have their own independent DNA, apart from the nuclear chromosomal DNA that dictates how we develop, what we are.  We all have mitchondria, in most of our cells.  They actually serve a function by processing energy.
  • As humans, we use nomenclature to group those mutations within a family tree of humanity.  My mtDNA mutations fall within Haplogroup H.
  • mtDNA cannot be passed on to future generations by males.  it is passed down to the children from the mother only.  I inherit H6a1a8 (my haplotype) from my mother, as do my brother and our sisters.  Only my sisters though will reproduce that mtDNA in their children.  My own children inherited the mtDNA of their mother, not mine.

So what does this mean in practice?

  • A Maternal / Motherline / mtDNA Haplogroup does NOT represent your biological ancestry.
  • A Maternal / Motherline / mtDNA Haplogroup does NOT even represent your mother's "half" of your biological ancestry.
  • For example, your father's mother most likely carried a different mtDNA.  Your mother's father most likely had a different mtDNA haplotype.  Only one of your sixteen great great grandparents passed down their mtDNA to you.
  • Instead, it acts pretty much as a single line genetic "marker" that can be traced only along one very narrow, single line of ancestry.  Look at the image at the top of your post.  Do you see?  Just one line of descent. It follows your mother's, mother's, mother line, and so on, all of the way back to a hypothetical "Mitochondrial Eve" 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
  • It is not a tribe, ethnicity, or identity.  It is just the mtDNA genetic marker (Haplotype) that you inherited from your mother.
  • It is no good going onto mtDNA genetic genealogy forums and giving the names and origins of ANY direct ancestor, other than a woman (or her children) on that maternal line (mother's mother's, mother, and so on).
  • Forget surname studies.  In most western societies, and in many other's, the "family" name is inherited from the father - and follows a completely different course (Y-DNA).  Indeed, the surname of your true mtDNA ancestor changes most generations with marriage.  That is what makes this the most difficult line to trace with documentary methods.
  • Although difficult, it is the most true and secure.  Although secret or hidden adoptions can occur, the risk of non-parental events is much lower than for the strictly male line (Y-DNA).
  • Mitochondrial DNA mutates at a very slow rate.  This, along with the change in surnames most generations, can make it difficult to use successfully for genetic genealogy.  Many of the mutations are thousands of years old.  Alternatively, it makes it a valuable evidence for tracing ancient ancestry within a population.

That is all that I wanted to say.  it is a fascinating marker, but it is not representative of even 50% of your ancestry, it is not an identity, it is pretty irrelevant to surname (studies), it is inherited only down one narrow line - but all of the way back.

My earliest mtDNA ancestor with a surviving photograph.  My mother's mother's, mother's, mother (2xgreat grandmother), born Sarah Daynes in Norfolk, during 1845.  Her mtDNA would be H6a1a8.  Her mother was born Sarah Quantrill in Norfolk during 1827.  Her mother in turn was born Mary Page in Norfolk during 1791.  Her mother in turn was born Elizabeth Hardiment in Norfolk during 1751.  Her mother in turn (my 6xgreat grandmother) was Susannah Briting, who married John Hardyman in Norfolk during 1747.  If my documentary research along this line is correct, then Susannah inherited mtDNA haplotype H6a1a8 from her mother.

Living DNA - my early results are in!

After a four month wait, my initial results have arrived today from Living DNA.  The wait has, I feel been understandable for a launch company.  The results are still limited to standard mode only.

Living DNA Standard mode

100% European
Regional:
74% Great Britain & Ireland
10% Europe (South)
7% Europe (North and West)
10% Europe (unassigned).

Sub-regional:

39% East Anglia
8% South Central England
5% South East England
5% Lincolnshire

2.5% Cornwall
2.4% North Yorkshire
2% South England
1.9% Devon
1.6% Central England
1.5% North West England
1.3% South Yorkshire
1.2% Northumbria

3.5% unassigned Great Britain & Ireland

10% Tuscany (Europe South)
5% Scandinavia (Europe North and West)
2% Germanic (Europe North and West)
9.7% Europe unassigned.

My initial response?  Enthralled and highly impressed.  A little disappointed that the East Anglia percentage was not higher.  I suggest 77% based on my documentary record.  Living DNA gave it 39%.  I still find that a very good result.

However... let's get this into perspective to 23andMe and FT-DNA tests.  Documentary evidence suggests that I am 100% British over the past 300 years.  23andMe said 32%.  FT-DNA said 36%.  Living DNA gets it so much closer at 74%!  That is a whole lot more accurate.

What about the remaining 26% on regional level, where do Living DNA say that comes from? All European.  It suggests 9.7% unassigned European, 9.6% Tuscan (Southern European), 4.6% Scandinavian, and 2% "Germanic".  The Tuscan is interesting, but I'm not convinced yet that it is not ancient and population based.  The Scandinavian is also most likely ancient - in my opinion.

Two things please and impress me about my results on the sub regional level:

1) Based on documentary research, I estimate that 250 years ago, 77% of my ancestors were in East Anglia.  Living DNA indeed, sees it as by far my largest sub regional percentage.  At 39%, a little low, but very impressive.  They correctly identified me as East Anglian.

My next main region, in my Family Tree, I have circa 12% ancestors from "South Central England".  Living DNA saw this, and it is indeed, my second  largest percentage at sub regional level.  I get South Central England with 7.5% - incredible.  The small "South England" would also tied to this line.

Then I get 5.4% South-East England.  It could be over spill from the East Anglia ancestry, but I do have one 3xgreat grandfather Shawers In London, that I do not know the origins of.  I wonder now?

Then it's "Lincolnshire" with 4.8%.  Brilliant!  I had a 3xgreat grandfather from the southern parts of Living DNA's Lincolnshire sub region.  That fills my documentary record almost perfect.  The small "Central England" percentage would also tie to this line.

Then follows a number of low percentages from all over Southern and Eastern England.  They might tell a story, or might not.  Surprisingly Cornwall and Devon show up in low percentages, as does Yorkshire.  Did my Shawers line actually come from one of those regions?  I have seen Shawers in Devon, Cornwall, Shores in Yorkshire, and Shawers in Lancashire.

2) What is excluded can also demonstrate the accuracy of such a test.  No Welsh, Northumbrian, French, Normand, Irish, Scottish, or Iberian ancestry suggested.  Not that I'd have any objection against descent from any of these, or anywhere - but that this test successfully sees that I am NOT descended from these close regions, is to my mind, a great success, and a vast improvement on any past autosomal DNA tests for ancestry by other businesses.  The truth is, that the English are so like these other populations!

On mtDNA they get my haplogroup down to H6a1a.

They have not yet completed my Y-DNA analysis.  I guess L in an English tester might have thrown them a bit.

No other DNA test has ever existed quite like this.  My initial response is - an amazing test.  The future of autosomal testing for Ancestry.

Breaking through? My Brooker line - the Hagbourne records

Hagbourne St Andrews, Berkshire.  By Andrew Mathewson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

I have recently become aware, that there were Brooker families, including John Brookers born circa 1722 in the parish of Hagbourne, only 5 km / 3 miles by road, from Long Wittenham, where my ancestor john Brooker, married to a Mary, fathered several children between 1749 and 1760.  I'm here collating evidence and data.  The problem is that there are TWO candidates for my direct ancestor in the same parish.  One baptised 1721 (the son of widower, Elizabeth Brooker (nee Fox), and the late John Brooker), the other 1722 (son of John and Ursula Brooker (nee Deadman).  I have to somehow decide which one it is, if either.  Both families may descend from a Thomas and Anne Brooker, that were in the village, married before 1662.

Hagbourne Parish Register Transcript CD-ROM OXF-WAL02

Marriages

  • 1679 15 Jun BROOKER Thomas to HIDE Lettice
  • 1694 6 Oct BRUCKER John to HEWS Martha
  • 1698 12 Nov BRUCKER Lawrance to WOODLEY Anne
  • 1700 5 Jun HOLDER John Aston Upthorpe to BRUCKER Mary widow
  • 1714 20 Jun JONES Edward to BROOKER Mary
  • 1716 24 Feb BROOKER John to DEADMAN Ursula
  • 1720 27 Nov BROOKER John to FOX Elizabeth
  • 1721 3 Sep CHILD Luke to BROOKER Anne
  • 1728 23 Feb BROOKER John to ACRES Sarah

Baptisms

  • 1662 Apr 1 BROOKER John s. Thomas & Anne
  • 1667 Sep 3 BROOKER Anne d. Thomas & Anne
  • 1673 11 BROOKER William s. Thomas & Anne
  • 1679 Apr 5 BROOKER Marie d. Thomas & Anne
  • 1680 Aug 8 BROOKER Marie d. Thomas & Lettice

Gap

  • 1696 May 21 BRUCKER Anne d. Thomas & Lettice

Gap

  • 1712 18 BRUCKER John (no parents!)
  • 1714 18 BRUCKER Anne d. William & Elizabeth
  • 1714 24 BRUCKER Martha (no parents)
  • 1718 May 4 BROOKER Mary d. John & Ursula
  • 1719 Jan 3 BROOKER Elizabeth d. John & Ursula
  • 1721 Oct 21 BROOKER John s. Elizabeth widow
  • 1722 Dec 2 BROOKER John s. John & Ursula
  • 1725 Oct 24 BROOKER William s. John & Ursula
  • 1730 Dec 13 BROOKER William s. John & Ursula

BURIALS (FindMyPast Berkshire Burial Index)

  • 30 Mar 1721 John Brooker St Andrews, Hagbourne (appears to be late husband of Elizabeth Fox?)
  • 12 May 1745 John Brooker St Andrew, Hagbourne
  • 4 jun 1783 John Brooker St Andrew Hagbourne

MARRIAGES (FindMyPast England Marriages 1538-1973)

23 Feb 1728  John Brooker to Sarah Acres, Hagbourne.

MARRIAGES (FindMyPast Sarum Marriage Licence)

02 Oct 1745 John Brooker to Ann Dearlough at Blewbury.  grooms parish Hagbourne.

So, 

Likely founder is Thomas Brooker & Anne married before 1662, OR Thomas Brooker that married Lettice Hide 1679, OR John Brucker and Martha Hews that married Oct 1694.

Both John Seniors (circa 1695) could have been grandchildren of Thomas & Anne Brooker.  One, son of Thomas & Lettice.  The other of John & Martha.

John Senior 1 married Elizabeth Fox in Nov 1720.  He died Mar 1721!  She gave birth to son John Junior 1 in Oct 1721.

John Senior 2 married Ursula Deadman in Feb 1716.  They had children between 1718 and 1730 - Mary, Elizabeth, William (x2), and son John junior 2 in Dec 1722.  He may have died May 1745.

Surviving in village was a John Brooker that married Ann Dearlough Oct 1745.  Junior 1 or 2?

My John Brooker had children at Long Wittenham 1749 - 1760 with his wife mary (married circa 1748?)  Included a Martha, Anne, John, Sarah, and Mary.  Junior 1 or 2?

  • Gen 11: Thomas & Anne (mar. before 1662) Did the same Thomas later marry Lettice? 
  • Gen 10: John (b. 1662.  Mar. 1694 to Martha)  John (mar Ursula 1716), John (mar Elizabeth 1720), William (b. 1673.)
  • Gen 9: John 1 (b 1721 John & Elizabeth) John 2 (b 1722 John & Ursula) William (John & Ursula 1725)

Resolution.

I need to see marriages of all John seniors (1694, 1716, 1720).  Two could have been same guy (2nd as widower).  I do think there were two John Seniors, because John & Ursula had kids contemporary to John & Elizabeth.  Martha could have died, replaced by Elizabeth?

Update.

A member of the Facebook Berks and Bucks Ancestors and Genealogy Group, dug up the burial of Junior 1.  Widow Elizabeth's young son tragically died, and was buried at Hagbourne 12th January 1723.

Now can I tie Junior 2 (son of John Brooker and Ursula (nee Deadman) to my ancestor, John Brooker, married to Mary, at Long Wittenham?

An English Ancestry - Documentary and DNA

Myself

An amateur genealogist and genetic genealogist.  Born in an English family, in Norfolk, East Anglia, England, UK.  I first became interested in traditional genealogy over twenty eight years ago.  I still live in Norfolk, the home of the majority of my recorded ancestors.

GEDMatch

  • 23andMe kit. M551698
  • AncestryDNA kit A741049
  • FT-DNA Family Finder kit. T444495
  • Living DNA kit (GEDmatch Genesis) JA5264324

The Paper Trail and Family History

I was born in Norfolk, to a local family.  My current gedcom database includes records of 2,502 family members and ancestors for my children.  I currently have records of 279 of my direct ancestors.  All but two (a 3 x great grandfather and his named father of Switzerland) were in South-East England, predominantly in Norfolk, and appear to have been English.  Most of my recorded ancestors over the past 330 years, appear to have been rural working class.  They most likely descended predominantly from the medieval English peasantry.

Surnames of My Direct Ancestors

Yallop, Wymer, Wittham, Wick, Waters, Waine, Upcroft, Tovell, Tovel, Tibnum, Thurkettle, Thacker, Tammas-Tovell, Tammas, Symonds, Springall, Sniss, Snelling, Smith, Shilling, Shepherd, Shawers, Seymore, Saunderson, Sales, Rowland, Rose, Rix, Rippon, Riches, Read, Ransby, Quantrill, Porter, Portar, Peach, Page, Osborne, Norton, Nichols, Nicholls, Nicholes, Neville, Neale, Morrison, Moore, Mollett, Moll, Mitchells, Mingay, Merrison, Maye, Marsh, Ling, Lewell, Lawn, Larke, Key, Jacobs, Hill, Hewitt, Hedges, Harrison, Harris, Harrington, Hardyman, Harding, Hardiment, Hammond, Hagon, Gynby, Gunton, Gregory, Gorll, Goodram, Goffin, Goffen, Ginby, Gaul, Gardiner, Gall, Freeman, Ellis, Edwards, Edney, Durran, Dove, Dingle, Dennis, Deadman, Daynes, Dawes, Curtis, Crutchfield, Cruchfield, Creess, Cossey, Coleman, Brucker, Brown, Brooks, Brooker, Briting, Britiff, Briggs, Breeze, Bradfield, Bowes, Bond, Bligh, Blaxhall, Bennett, Beckett, Beck, Baxter, Basing, Barker, Barber, Annison, Aimes.

Father's Ancestry

On my father's side, I currently have 131 of his direct ancestors recorded.  The majority were in Norfolk, but some distant ancestors on record also lived in Oxfordshire, London, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northants, Berkshire, and a great great grandparent from Switzerland.  This map demonstrates his English ancestral events in his database, over the past 330 years:

Image: His great grandfather William Baxter, born at Gressenhall Workhouse, Norfolk, in 1846.

Mother's Ancestry

On my mother's side, I currently have 146 of her direct ancestors recorded.  They were all in East Anglia - almost all in the County of Norfolk, with a few distant ancestors over the county border in Suffolk.  Her ancestry over the past three centuries has a particularly dense cluster in Broadland, East Norfolk.  This map demonstrates the ancestral events in her database, over the past 330 years:

My maternal grandparent's wedding at Limpenhoe, Norfolk in 1932.  Includes not only my maternal grandparents, but all four maternal side great grandparents, and one 2 x great grandmother.

A Photo Album of some of my ancestors (followed by the "DNA test results")

Image.  My father's brother in Korea (Royal Norfolk Regiment) 1952.

Image:  My great great grandfather, Samuel "Fiddler" Curtis.  Born at Hassingham, Norfolk in 1852.

Image: My paternal grandmother as a little girl in Norwich, Norfolk, circa 1908, with her father, my great grandfather Fred Smith, a wheelwright, born at Attleborough, Norfolk, in 1866.

Image:  My great great grandmother Sarah Thacker (nee Daynes), born at Besthorpe, Norfolk in 1845.

Image: My paternal great grandfather John Henry Brooker, born 1884 at Deptford, London, with his partner Mabel at Sheerness, Kent, in 1933.

Image: Four generations of a Norfolk family.  The baby is my aunt, holding her, grandmother Ivy, behind her, my great grandfather Sam Tammas-Tovell, the elderly lady, my great great grandmother Eliza Tammas-Tovell (nee Lawn) born at Tunstall, Norfolk in 1849.

Image:  My paternal grandmother as an infant, with her older brother circa 1905, Norwich, Norfolk.

Image:  My late grandfather "Krewjer" Curtis, holding my young mother.  On crutches behind them, my great grandmother Flo' Curtis (nee Key) born at Freethorpe, Norfolk in 1885.

Image: My great grandmother Emily Smith (nee Barber), born at Woodton, Norfolk in 1859), with my great uncle Sidney Smith at Norwich.

Online Family Trees

Screenshots of my great grandparent's trees (2017-08-24) on Ancestry.co.uk

That is my documented family history and ancestry.  I would dare postulate that most of my ancestors previous to this record, most likely descend from the peasants and freemen of medieval East Anglia, and also in the Thames Valley of Oxfordshire, and Berkshire.

The Genetics

So how does the above documented genealogy compare with the genetic genealogy?  Let's see.

Here's my paper trail (2017-10-21) as verified biologically so far through DNA matches (coloured in - darker shades multiply verified):

Biological verification here is achieved by DNA Matching systems such as Ancestry.co.uk, GEDmatch, and FT-DNA Family Finder, where a match that shares DNA segments, has a shared paper trail that corresponds to the suggested relationship, ie. known shared ancestry.  There is always the possibility that the segments were inherited alternatively down other routes, therefore I seek to find multiple matches to increase verification.  The darker the shade, the more verified.

Next, the auDNA (Autosomal DNA tests for ancestry), generally agree that I'm 100% European, and at least mainly North-west European.  I can't argue with that.  At that level auDNA tests work reasonably.  Let's look at my personal auDNA tests for ancestry, see what they report:

Living DNA (updated July 2017)

This new DNA test, with a very rich and good quality data set for the British Isles, has so far proven to be by far the most accurate that I have so far commissioned.  I recommend it particularly for testers with significant British ancestry, as it tries to break British ancestry down into 21 regions.

Below are my Living DNA regional ancestry, based on Standard Mode.

Below are my Standard Mode results broken down into sub regions.

Living DNA has now two new modes of confidence called complete and cautious modes.  Below are my Cautious Mode results for sub-regional:

The Living DNA Test was surprisingly good at detecting many of my ancestors at sub-regional level, into the English regions.  Not perfect by any means - but with an impressive accuracy compared with any other auDNA tests for ancestry that I have investigated.  The Scandinavian, Germanic, and some of the unassigned percentages I am confident, were really East Anglian.  Living DNA give me 37% East Anglia.  I predict from my recorded genealogy, that I most likely have around 75% East Anglia in reality, however, that a DNA test could even identify a half of such a small sub region is I feel very impressive.

The Tuscan percentage, I could not explain.  However, the recent discovery on record of Swiss ancestry at Generation 6 could correlate to it.  It could explain some of the enhanced (for an English tester) southern European ancestry on a number of tests.  Although most likely only responsible for 0% to 5% of my DNA, I do have a Swiss great great great grandparent.  Could he account for that percentage, or do I have an additional Southern European ancestor at around that generation, that I haven't yet found in the record?

Ancestry.com










FT-DNA Family Finder My Origins (Updated April 2017)

97% European

Broken into:

51% British Isles

46% West and Central Europe

Traces (<2%):

  • Southeast Europe
  • Western Middle East
  • Ashkenazi

23andMe V4 chip, Ancestry Composition speculative mode (before any phasing):

100% European:  94% NW European.  3% Southern European.  3% Broadly European.

Broken down to:

32% British & Irish

27% French & German

7% Scandinavian

29% Broadly NW European

2% Broadly Southern European (including 0.5% Iberian)

23andMe V4 chip, Ancestry Composition speculative mode phased with one parent (mother) and updated July 2017:

100% European:  96% NW European.  2% Southern European.  2% Broadly European.

38% British & Irish  (23% from father, 15% from mother)

24% French & German  (13% from father, 11% from mother)

0.8% Scandinavian  (from mother alone)

34% Broadly NW European  (22% from father, 12% from mother)

2% Broadly Southern European (1% from father, 1% from mother)

The 23andMe test for ancestry fails to recognise English - and commonly splits our English ancestry into British & Irish, French & German, Scandinavian, Broadly North west European, and often with a small percentage of Southern European.

auDNA Tests for Ancestry - a conclusion

The tests prove very good at identifying that I am pretty much 100% European, and usually see me as mainly North-West European.  Ironically, as my Y-DNA below demonstrates, I do have some distant Asian ancestry on that particular line.  The only test that might some how pick this up is the latest FT-DNA My Origins (2:0), but it is probably coincidental.

The tests in general, are not so good at identifying me as English, or even as British.  In the cases of the FT-DNA, and 23andMe tests, they have not made any attempt to create reference data sets for English populations, in order to distinguish their medieval (and earlier) admixture between older British, and Continental populations.  Instead, they tend to bundle English with Irish, Welsh, and Scottish.  As a result, English testers receive confusing results with lower than expected levels of British / Irish, and percentages of French, German, Scandinavian, and Southern European that they are wrongly assured are the results of recent family admixture from those parts of Europe.  Only Living DNA has made an effort to untangle this issue.

I was also impressed by the Ancestry.com / Ancestry.co.uk Genetic Communities feature, that correctly assigns me to the "East Anglia & Essex" genetic community, with "very likely" and 42 initial DNA matches within it.  In comparison, the 23andMe offering of Your Ancestry Timeline is nonsense and totally inaccurate.

I accept that my results are consistently atypical for a British tester, even perhaps an extreme for an English tester.  They are more Continental than the average.  Sometimes French.  Sometimes Germanic, Sometimes Scandinavian.  I cannot account for this with my documented and recorded family history, which is localised, rural, totally South-East English, and strongly East Anglian.  I receive lower than average (for a British person of British recorded ancestry) British ancestry from all three DNA test businesses.  The only answer that I can see, is that my ancestry is so strongly rural and localised in East Anglia, that I have higher than average admixture from the 5th to 10th Century AD immigration events - the Anglo-Saxon, and perhaps Anglo-Danish, and Anglo-Norman/French.  It isn't really a surprise - particularly when you look at the above map of my mother's recorded ancestry.

This does though raise the question, how much are these auDNA tests affected by background population admixture?

The second aspect to my results, is that they keep producing a Southern European influence.  On 23andMe, this manifests itself as only a small percentage - but phasing reveals that I inherited it from both parents.  I surveyed 18 English testers on 23andMe, and on speculative mode, no less than 16 received small percentages of Southern European.  Therefore, it would in this case appear to be a case of population background.  However, FT-DNA 1:0 threw a whopping 32% Southern European at me, but then retracted that in the new version.  23andMe hints at Iberian.  DNA.land suggests North Italian and Balkan.  Then Living DNA suggests 9.6% Tuscany.  Ancient admixture calculators (see further below), consistently suggest that my autosomal DNA has a slightly more South European flavour, than is average for a North west European.  I cannot account for these sort of percentages within my known recorded genealogy, other than one Swiss 3 x great grandparent.  I'm currently open minded to having other unknown Southern European ancestors within the past ten generations, either that, or it is some sort of English population background signal, perhaps related to unknown prehistoric admixture, Roman British admixture, Norman Medieval admixture, or a combination.  The randomness of genetic recombination perhaps, with an almost endogamous maternal family history set in Norfolk.

I want to discuss and look at third party analysis of these results further down in this post, but first, I want to report my DNA Haplogroups, as I feel that they are more precise:

My Haplogroups

Haplogroups act as genetic markers that follow strict rules of inheritance, passing down only one direct line of ancestry.  They can be traced back into prehistory, and have a high reliability.

My Y-DNA Haplogroup

This is the haplogroup that you inherit on your direct paternal line, from your father, from his father, and back in time.  I have tested my Y-DNA at 23andMe, then FT-DNA Y111, Big Y, and have had further analysis of my raw data at YFull, and FullGenome Corp.  In other words, it has had a lot of investigation!

Y Haplogroup L (M20)

This is regarded as rare in Europe, and generally thought of a minority haplogroup spread across Western, Central, and Southern Asia.  Going further downstream, I currently reach:

Y Haplotype L1b2c (L-SK1414)

This is regarded as a very rare sub clade, of a rare haplogroup!  The FT-DNA Y Haplogroup L Project, currently contains only five SNP confirmed L-SK1414, and thirteen STR predicted L-SK1414.  I know of one other SNP confirmed sample, and a few more STR predicted.  The confirmed (including myself) are from: Southern England (English), Lebanon (Druze), Azeribaijan, USA (German) and Makran, SW Pakistan (Baluchi).  The STR predicted are from Southern England, France, Russia, Kuwait, UAE, Eastern Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

I currently regard the origin of Y hg L1b2c as most likely to be in the region of Iran and Iraq.  I believe that I most likely had a single Y ancestor, that travelled from Asia to Southern England sometime between 2,000 years ago, and 500 years ago.  A "medieval" Asian traveller".  No autosomal DNA tests have so far yielded any evidence of any Asian ancestry above that expected for an English person.  Therefore, any auDNA evidence has likely been washed out by genetic recombination.

My earliest documented surname ancestor on record is my 6xgreat grandfather, John Brooker of Long Wittenham, Berkshire, born circa AD 1723.  Some of the STR predicted L-SK1414 descend from a Thomas Chandler, that lived about the same time (early-mid C18 AD) at Basingstoke, which is only 32 miles from Long Wittenham.  Most likely, John Brooker and Thomas Chandler shared a common Y ancestor.

Red are L-SK1414. 

FT-DNA currently see my known haplotype as L-FGC51036 (downstream of SK1414).  YFull currently list my haplotype as L-FGC51074 (SK1414).

My mt-DNA Haplogroup

This is the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup that you inherit on your direct maternal line, from your mother, from her mother, and back in time.  I have tested my mtDNA at 23andMe, then FT-DNA mtFull Sequence. My 23andMe raw data was also correctly predicted by the James Lick mthap analyser website and by WeGene.  In other words, it has also had a lot of correlation and investigation!

MT Haplogroup H (Helen)

This is the most common mtDNA haplogroup in Europe, but it is also common in Asia, where it is believed to have originated.  Possibly originating in Arabia, before moving up to Central Asia.  Further downstream?

MT Haplogroup Branch H6a1a8

H6a1, based on studies of ancient DNA to date, most likely originated on the Pontic and Caspian Steppes of Asia. It has been found in the ancient DNA of human remains, from the Copper Age Steppe pastoralist Yamnaya Culture.  H6a1 and H6a1a have both been found in the ancient DNA of human remains, from the Early Bronze Age East European Corded Ware Culture and Unetice Culture.  More recently H6a1a has been recorded in the Netherlands ( 1883–1665 calBCE) in Bell Beaker Culture.  No H6a1 or descendant branches have yet been recovered from earlier contexts in Europe.

Therefore it would appear that my mtDNA was carried into Europe from the Eurasian Steppes during the Early Bronze Age, as a part of the great Yamna expansion of that time.  Most haplogroups associated with this expansion have been male Y haplogroups, which makes H6a1 of particular interest, because it was carried into Europe by Steppe women.

I haven't found enough current data on branch H6a1a8 to determine when or how it entered Lowland Britain, but it most likely formed during the Bronze or Iron Age, and so far, I've mainly seen North American and Austrasian H6a1a8 testers that feel that they most likely have British or Irish maternal ancestry.

I trace my direct maternal (mtDNA) line to my 6xgreat grandmother, Sarah Hardyman (nee Briting), who lived nearby at Bunwell, Norfolk, and was born circa 1725.

Above image by User:Dbachmann [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, enough of my haplogroups, let's return to more auDNA evidence, and then look at Ancient Origins.

Other Third Party auDNA for ancestry analysis services

GedMatch.com. Eurogenes K13 (using my 23andMe data)

On Single Population Sharing, it rates my DNA against the closest references.  In order of closest to not so close, the top five are:

1 South_Dutch 3.89
2 Southeast_English 4.35
3 West_German 5.22
4 Southwest_English 6.24
5 Orcadian 6.97

On four populations admixing?

1 Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Valencia + Swedish @ 2.087456
2 Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Murcia + Swedish @ 2.147237
3 Norwegian + Portuguese + Southeast_English + Southeast_English @ 2.216714
4 Danish + Portuguese + Southeast_English + Southeast_English @ 2.225334
5 Portuguese + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Swedish @ 2.230991

Alternatively, running my FT-DNA Family Finder auDNA file through Eurogenes K13 gives me:

1 Southeast_English @ 4.276322
2 South_Dutch @ 4.559027
3 West_German @ 6.230592
4 Southwest_English @ 6.575822
5 Orcadian @ 7.239489

and on four populations admixing:

1 Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Valencia + Swedish @ 1.864642
2 Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon + Swedish @ 1.919987
3 Portuguese + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Swedish @ 1.928191
4 Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Murcia + Swedish @ 1.955522
5 Norwegian + Portuguese + Southeast_English + Southeast_English @ 1.958800

Gedmatch.com. Eurogenes EU Test K15 (using my 23andMe data)


Using Oracle for single population first, the top five closest:

1 Southwest_English 2.7
2 South_Dutch 3.98
3 Southeast_English 4.33
4 Irish 6.23
5 West_German 6.25

1 Southwest_English + Southwest_English + Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon + West_Norwegian @ 1.080952
2 Irish + North_Dutch + Southwest_English + Spanish_Galicia @ 1.111268
3 North_Dutch + Southwest_English + Spanish_Galicia + West_Scottish @ 1.282744
4 Southeast_English + Southwest_English + Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon + West_Norwegian @ 1.295819
5 North_Dutch + North_Dutch + Southwest_English + Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon @ 1.304939

Gedmatch.com. MDLP K16 Modern (23andme File)

1 German (Germany) 2.37
2 French (NorthwestFrance) 4.05
3 French (EastFrance) 4.17
4 French (France) 4.55
5 French (WestFrance) 4.69
6 Scottish (Dumfries_Galloway) 5.15
7 Welsh (Wales) 5.24
8 Scottish (Fife) 5.24
9 Scottish (Grampian) 5.31
10 English (England) 5.62

Admix two population.

1   90.8% German (Germany) + 9.2% Scottish (Argyll_bute) @ 2.21
2   86.6% German (Germany) + 13.4% Irish (Connacht) @ 2.23
3   91.7% German (Germany) + 8.3% Orcadian (Orkney_Islands) @ 2.24
4   87.7% German (Germany) + 12.3% English (Kent) @ 2.25
5   89.2% German (Germany) + 10.8% Dutch (Netherlands) @ 2.28
6   89.6% German (Germany) + 10.4% Shetlandic (Shetland_Islands) @ 2.28
7   93.9% German (Germany) + 6.1% Norwegian (Norwegia) @ 2.29
8   94.6% German (Germany) + 5.4% Icelandic (Iceland) @ 2.3
9   88.1% German (Germany) + 11.9% French (France) @ 2.31
10   92.6% German (Germany) + 7.4% English (England) @ 2.34

Eurogenes K36 Map Tool by Tolan

Eurogenes K15 PCA Plot 

DNA.land (3rd party auDNA raw file analysis)

23andMe V4 raw file for myself on DNA.land:

100% West Eurasian.
77% North West European
19% South European (broken into 13% Balkan / 6.1% South/Central European
2.4% Finnish
1.3% Ambiguous

FT-DNA FF raw file for myself on DNA.land:
100% West Eurasian
75% North West European
25% Balkan

Gene Plaza Ancestry

  1. 74% NW European
  2. 14.9% SW European
  3. 8.5% Ambiguous

WeGene

  1. 99.96% French
  2. 0.04% Others

Genecove

Ancient Origins (auDNA calculators)

Neanderthal Ancestry

23andMe V4 chip

Neanderthal ancestry 2.9% DNA (82nd percentile)  23andMe average European tester is 2.7%

Updated July 2017:  New Experience reports that I have 328 Neanderthal variants, more than 98% of 23andMe customers.

WeGene analysis of above 23andMe raw data

3.325% Neanderthal proportion of more than 81.94% of the users WeGene (Chinese based DNA service).

Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer ancestry

My Y line as we have seen, was most likely in the area of modern day Iran or Iraq, perhaps in the Euphrates and Tigris valleys, or perhaps in the Zagros Mountains, hunting animals such as the Ibex.  My mt-DNA line was most likely in a hunter-gatherer band somewhere in Asia.  Perhaps Central Asia.  What about my other Ice Age ancestors?

David Wesolowski's K7 Basal-rich test

Villabruna-related

The Villabruna cluster represents the DNA found in 13 individuals in Europe from after 14,000 years ago.  They were Late Ice Age hunter-gatherers.  They appear to have links with the Near East.  The current thought is that they replaced earlier groups of hunter-gatherers in Europe.  The DNA of people in the Middle East and Europe pulled together at this time, and they may represent an expansion from the South-East.  Much of the Aegean Sea would have been dry, with low sea levels (glaciation), so the migration may have been easy.  It is believed that they had dark skin, and blue eyes.  They were possibly, the last hunter-gatherers of Europe and the Middle East.  They may have contributed to our DNA both through or either, later Asian or European admixtures.

David gives the English average as 56.7%.  My result is 57.1%

Basal-rich

The Basal Eurasians are a hypothetical "ghost" population derived from DNA studies.  It is suggested that they splintered from other modern humans 45,000 years ago, presumably outside of Africa, somewhere around the Middle East.  They significantly contributed DNA to the Early Neolithic Farmers of the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia, and consequently, on to all of us modern West Eurasians.  

 David gives the English average as 26.5%.  My result is 28.8%

Ancient North Eurasian

Another Ice Age hunter-gatherer "Ghost" population, but this one has been associated with human remains and an Upper Palaeolithic culture (Mal'ta-Buret') at Lake Baikal, Siberia.  We know that it significantly contributes to modern West Eurasians, through earlier admixture on the Eurasian Steppes.  Copper Age pastoralists then carried it westwards into Europe with their later expansion.

David gives the English average as 16.6%.  My result is 14.0%

Neolithic and Bronze Age mix ancestry

My Y line at this time as we have seen, may well been Early Neolithic Farmers in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia.  My mtDNA line would have most likely have been women of the Yamnaya culture on the Eurasian Steppes, in Copper Age pastoralist tribes.

By Dilawer Khan, and available on GenePlaza.

My K12 results and populations

ANCIENT FARMERS 58.9%

West European Farmers (4000-5000 years)  25.2%  References include Neolithic genomes from Portugal, and Chalcolithic genomes from Spain. The similarity between these farmers and other Mediterranean farmers points to a rapid spread of agriculture in Europe around 7000 years ago.

East European Farmers (5000-8000 years)  22.9%  References consist of genomes from Turkey, Greece, and other parts of SE Europe from the Neolithic period. These represent descendants of the first farmers to colonize Europe from the Near East.

Neolithic-Chalcolithic Iran-CHG (5000-12000 years)  6.7%  Based on Neolithic and chalcolithic period samples recovered from Northwest Iran. The farmers from the Zagros mountain Iran region descended from one of multiple, genetically differentiated hunter-gatherer populations in southwestern Asia.  They are estimated to have separated from Early Neolithic farmers in Anatolia some 46,000 to 77,000 years ago, and show affinities to modern-day Kurd, Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan populations.  The Neolithic Iranian references used for this component, were recovered from the Kurdistan region of Iran, and appear to be around 9000 years old. The Chalcolithic Iranian references have been dated to around 5000 years old. The Caucasus Hunter Gatherers (CHG) appear to have genetically contributed to present day Europeans, W Asians, and S Asians.

Levant (4000-8000 years)  4.1%  Based on neolithic and bronze-age period samples recovered from the Levant area in the Middle-East. The references for the bronze age Levant farmer (BA) samples were recovered from the Ain Ghazal, Jordan area and were dated to about 4300 years ago.  The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter-gatherers. By the time of the Bronze Age, these two populations and Anatolian-related farmers had mixed with each other and with the hunter- gatherers of Europe to drastically reduce genetic differentiation. The impact of the Near Eastern farmers extended beyond the Near East: farmers related to those of Anatolia spread westward into Europe; farmers related to those of the Levant spread southward into East Africa; farmers related to those from Iran spread northward into the Eurasian steppe; and people related to both the early farmers of Iran and to the pastoralists of he Eurasian steppe spread eastward into South Asia.

STEPPE CULTURES 30.8%

Andronovo-Srubnaya (3000-4000 years)  14.3%  The Andronovo culture, which are believed to have aided in the spread of Indo_European languages, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished around 3000-4000 years ago in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. This culture overlapped with the Srubna culture in the Volga-Ural region of Russia.

Yamnaya-Afanasievo-Poltavka (4000-5000 years)  10.1%  Believed to be among the first Indo-European language speakers. The Yamnaya genetically appear to be a fusion between the Eastern European Hunter Gatherers that inhabited the western Siberian steppe, and a populations from the Caucasus region. Descendants of the Yamnaya would later change the genetic substructure of indigenous Neolithic Europeans via invasions of Europe from the Eurasian steppe.

Karasuk-E Scythian (2000-3000 years)  6.4%  This cluster is based on ancient genomes from the Karasuk culture, supplemented with two Iron-Age Eastern Scythian samples. The Karasuk percentage should be interpreted as a diffusion of DNA from the Eastern Eurasian Steppe populations post Bronze Age, via Turkic expansions, as well as more subtle diffusions via NE Caucasus populations.

WESTERN EUROPEAN & SCANDINAVIAN HUNTER GATHERERS (4000-5000 years)  8.8%

These were the indiginous populations of Europe that substantially contributed to the genetics of modern Europeans. It is believed that these hunter gatherers arrived in Europe around 45000 years ago from the Near East.

EASTERN NON AFRICANS (modern)  1.5%

Eastern Non Africans are one of the earliest splits from humans that migrated out of Africa to the Near East around 100,000 years ago. It is believed that ENAs split from the population in the Near East around 50,000 years ago. Populations such as Papuans and Aboriginal Australians are modern descendants of ENAs. The ENA component here is based on Papuan and Aboriginal Australian references.

AFRICAN - 0%

SOUTH EAST EURASIAN - 0%

Neolithic and Bronze Age Ancestry K11 Rarer Alleles

This is the K11 admixture calculator with rarer alleles created by Dilawer Kahn, now available for a small fee as a test on Geneplaza.  I had previously commissioned Dilawer to run my 23andme DNA raw data through the calculator, but this is a nicer presentation.  The test seeks to estimate ancient ancestry admixture using his rarer alleles principle.

My results:

Western European Hunter Gatherers

"These were the indigenous populations of Europe that substantially contributed to the genetics of modern Europeans. It is believed that these hunter gatherers arrived in Europe around 45000 years ago from the Near East.".

My Western European Hunter-gatherer admix is 21.7%

Neolithic European

"This population introduced farming to Europe during the Neolithic, and were very likely descended from Neolithic farmers from the Near East. Their genetic signature is best preserved in modern Sardinians and other southern Europeans.".

My Neolithic European admix is 21.7%

Neolithic Anatolian

"These early farmers from Anatolia from about 8000 years ago were the ancestors of the Early European farmers that introduced farming to SE Europe, and replaced the hunter-gatherer cultures that lived there.".

My Neolithic Anatolian admix is 16.4%

Andronova-Srubnaya

"The Andronovo culture is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished around 3000-4000 years ago in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. This culture overlapped with the Srubna culture in the Volga-Ural region of Russia.".

My Andronova-Srubnaya admix is 14.6%

Yamnaya-Poltavka

"The Yamna culture (also known as the Pit Grave culture), was an early Bronze Age culture from the Pontic Eurasian steppe from around 5000 years ago. The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the homeland of the Proto-Indo-European language.

My Yamnaya-Poltavka admix is 12.6%

Neolithic-Chalcolithic Iran

"Based on Neolithic and chalcolithic period samples recovered from Northwest Iran. The farmers from the Zagros mountain Iran region descended from one of multiple, genetically differentiated hunter-gatherer populations in southwestern Asia.  They are estimated to have separated from Early Neolithic farmers in Anatolia some 46,000 to 77,000 years ago, and show affinities to modern-day Kurd, Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan populations.  The Neolithic Iranian references used for this component, were recovered from the Kurdistan region of Iran, and appear to be around 9000 years old. The Chalcolithic Iranian references have been dated to around 5000 years old.".

My Neolithic-Chalcolithic Iran admix is 7.6%

Neolithic-Bronze Age Levant

"Based on neolithic and bronze-age period samples recovered from the Levant area in the Middle-East. The references for the bronze age Levant farmer (BA) samples were recovered from the Ain Ghazal, Jordan area and were dated to about 4300 years ago.  The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter-gatherers. By the time of the Bronze Age, these two populations and Anatolian-related farmers had mixed with each other and with the hunter- gatherers of Europe to drastically reduce genetic differentiation. The impact of the Near Eastern farmers extended beyond the Near East: farmers related to those of Anatolia spread westward into Europe; farmers related to those of the Levant spread southward into East Africa; farmers related to those from Iran spread northward into the Eurasian steppe; and people related to both the early farmers of Iran and to the pastoralists of he Eurasian steppe spread eastward into South Asia.".

My Neolithic-Bronze Age Levant admix is 4.4%

Eastern Non-African

"Eastern Non Africans(ENAs) are one of the earliest splits from humans that migrated out of Africa to the Near East around 100,000 years ago. It is believed that ENAs split from the population in the Near East around 50,000 years ago. Populations such as the Andamanese Onge and Papuans are modern descendants of ENAs. The ENA component here is based on Papuan references.".

My Eastern Non-African admix is 1%

Global 10 Test

The recent Global 10 test, run by my friend Helgenes50 of the Anthrogenica board, resulted in:

  • 55% Baalberge_MN (European Middle Neolithic)
  • 38% Yamna_Samara (Eurasian Steppe Pastoralist)
  • 7% Loschbour:Loschbour (Late Eurasian hunter-gatherer)

That is 55% European Neolithic Farmer, 38% Yamnaya Steppe Pastoralist, and 7% European hunter-gatherer.

Alternatively, the FT-DNA test, although many in the population genetics community feel that it is unreliable:

FT-DNA My Ancient Origins

  • 9% Metal Age Invader
  • 47% Farmer
  • 44% Hunter-Gatherer
  • 0% Non European

GEDMatch Ancient Calculators

My MDLP K16 Modern Admixture
  • 31% Neolithic (modeled on genomes of first neolithic farmers of Anatolia)
  • 25% Northeast European (ancestry in North-Eastern Europe based on older type of ancestry (WHG, west European Hunter-Gatherer)
  • 22% Steppe (sourced from ancient genome of European Bronze Age pastoralists)
  • 22% Caucasian (derived from genomes of mesolithic Caucasian Hunter-gatherers)

My Eurasia K9 ASI Oracle:

  • 39% Western Hunter-Gatherer
  • 27% Early Neolithic Farmer
  • 15% Eastern Hunter-Gatherer
  • 12% Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer
  • 7% SW Asian
  • 1% Siberian East Asian

My MDLP Modern K11 Oracle:

Admix Results (sorted):


# Population Percent
1 Neolithic 37.33
2 WHG 33.26
3 EHG 23.19
4 Iran-Mesolithic 3.25
5 Basal 2.66

Least-squares method.

Using 1 population approximation:
1 British_Celtic @ 6.948432
2 Bell_Beaker_Germany @ 8.143357
3 Alberstedt_LN @ 8.426399
4 British_IronAge @ 9.027687
5 Halberstadt_LBA @ 10.273615
6 Bell_Beaker_Czech @ 12.190828
7 Hungary_BA @ 12.297826
8 Nordic_MN_B @ 12.959966
9 British_AngloSaxon @ 12.993559
10 Nordic_BA @ 13.170285

Using 4 populations approximation:
1 Bell_Beaker_Germany + Bell_Beaker_Germany + Corded_Ware_Germany + Hungary_CA @ 1.085814
2 BenzigerodeHeimburg_LN + BenzigerodeHeimburg_LN + Corded_Ware_Estonia + Hungary_CA @ 1.089547
3 Alberstedt_LN + Bell_Beaker_Germany + Corded_Ware_Germany + Hungary_CA @ 1.117882
4 Bell_Beaker_Germany + BenzigerodeHeimburg_LN + Hungary_CA + Srubnaya_LBA @ 1.149613
5 Bell_Beaker_Germany + British_IronAge + Hungary_CA + Karsdorf_LN @ 1.185312
6 Alberstedt_LN + BenzigerodeHeimburg_LN + Hungary_CA + Sintashta_MBA @ 1.226794
7 Nordic_BattleAxe + Hungary_BA + Hungary_CA + Karsdorf_LN @ 1.234930
8 Nordic_BattleAxe + BenzigerodeHeimburg_LN + Hungary_CA + Unetice_EBA @ 1.238376
9 Alberstedt_LN + Hungary_BA + Hungary_CA + Yamnaya_Samara_EBA @ 1.247371
10 Bell_Beaker_Germany + Hungary_CA + Nordic_LN + Srubnaya_LBA @ 1.268124

My Gedrosia K15 Oracle:

  • 40% Western Hunter-Gatherer
  • 25% Early European Farmer
  • 21% Caucasus
  • 5% Burusho
  • 5% SW Asian
  • 3% Balochi
  • 1% Siberian

Ancient Eurasia K6 Oracle:

  • 40% West European Hunter-Gatherer
  • 39% Natufian
  • 21% Ancient North Eurasian
  • 1% East Asian

Finally, Generation 1.  In an Orcadian Cairn, 2016.  Thank you for taking an interest.

Some recent Documentary Genealogy Posts

Our Norfolk wherryman ancestors of Reedham

The families that sailed far, far away

Henry Shawers - a weaver in the tree

Henry Shawers - timeline of an ancestor

My Family and Abraham Lincoln (Swanton Morley, Norfolk)

The Thackers of Norfolk

My transported great great great grandfather

Maxey - near Peterborough

Long Wittenham - the ancestral home of our Brooker line

On the trail of the Brookers of Oxfordshire

Our missing great grandfather

Two fathers and more online genealogy

Bunwell, Norfolk, ancestral parish

Breaking through - my Brooker Line


Brooker Surname Study

Above map modified from "© OpenStreetMap contributors".  The red dots represent baptisms of BROOKER (including derivations such as Broker, Brocker, etc) between 1550 and 1600.  The larger the red dots, the more baptisms in that parish.

The area focuses on South-East England.  There was also a secondary cluster in Warwickshire, and stray families in Manchester, Yorkshire, Devon, and Norfolk.  However, I have not catered for all of those on the above map.  See the below larger scale map for Brooker baptism counts in those areas by county.

The Blue dots and notes mark ancestral birthplaces and dates of my recorded surname ancestors in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Deptford, London.  My line traces back reasonably securely to a John Brooker born at Long Wittenham, Berkshire, circa 1722.

The Purple dot and text represents Thomas Chandler of Basingstoke, Hampshire.  Living there circa 1740's, he appears to have shared my Y-DNA markers L-SK1414 judging by some of his Chandler surname descendants that have tested.  At some point before 1722, we must have shared Y line (paternal) ancestors.

From this map I can conclude that during the late 16th Century, the BROOKER surname was most common in Sussex, Kent, Surrey, and Hampshire.  There was a secondary cluster in Warwickshire.

Surname origin

This interesting surname derives from two possible origins. Firstly it may be of English topographical origin from the Old English word "broc", a brook, stream, plus the agent suffix "-er", used to describe a dweller at, hence "dweller at the brook". There is also a place called Brook in Kent and Wiltshire, from the same Old English word "broc" as above. Also the name may be an occupational name used to denote a broker, originating from the Anglo-French word "brocour", one who sells an agent in business transactions. The earliest recordings of the surname appear in the 13th Century (see below). John le Brouker was recorded in the 1327, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. William le Brocker was listed in the 1326, Feet of fines Rolls. The Close Rolls in 1332, record a Elena Brocker. Kirby's Quest for Somerset recorded an Adam Brocker in 1328. Geoffrey Broker, aged 17, an immigrant to the New World, sailed aboard the "Merchant's Hope", bound for Virginia in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Brokere, which was dated 1296, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Source: Surname.com

I am a Western Eurasian

The Caucasus.  By NASA/MODIS - Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=1939) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

I grew up in the age where archaeology was the main driver behind our understanding of the distant past.  It still plays an important role in helping us to understand our human past before writing, and to sometimes correct our understanding of our past ever since the advent of writing.

During the past 24 months however, there has been a silent revolution.  It has been read by what is inside of us, the story of human DNA, and a foray into exploring and mapping ancient human DNA.  It is rewriting the prehistory of Western Eurasia.

First of all, we have to stop retaining ideas that somehow, Western Europeans are an isolate population.  We are the result of admixture after admixture, across Eurasia.  The DNA of humans from Ireland to Iran is strikingly similar.  We are a combination of different admixtures from different populations that lived 1) North of the Caucasus, 2) South of the Caucasus, and 3) Europe.  The Caucasus, as in the photo above, has been the great division between peoples, that allowed local Western Asian populations to divide, that then to admixed in both Western Asia, and in Europe.

This revelation is not yet widely known.  Even many professional archaeologists remain unaware, or skeptical about this new tool.  New migrations and admixture events are being discovered, into Europe, and across Eurasia that contradict previous consensus.

The Founder Populations

Europe

The latest evidence suggests that the earlier humans and their cultures of Ice Age Europe, did not survive all of the fluctuations in climate.  A new genome arrived and established 14,000 to 7,000 years ago, as represented by the Villabruna Cluster of human remains.  These last hunter-gatherers appear to have less Neanderthal DNA, and a closer relationship to Near East populations than did earlier Europeans.  They may have migrated into Europe when much of the Aegean Sea dried towards the end of the Ice Age.  These late hunter-gatherers may have contributed DNA to modern Western Eurasians both inside Europe, and in West Asia. When Early Neolithic Farmers arrived in NW Europe, it was probably the descendants of the Villabruna Type that they encountered.  They may have admixed with them.  A genetic legacy from these populations appears to be blue eyes.

South of the Caucasus

The Fertile Crescent spawned the Neolithic Revolution of Agriculture.  A distinctive genetic "ghost" population that has been named the Basal Eurasians significantly contributed to their DNA, along with other hunter-gatherer populations within the area.  Their descendants, the Early Neolithic Farmers, took agriculture, wheat, barley, sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs - along with pottery production, and polished flint axe heads across the Levant, to North Africa, Anatolia, and then on to Europe.  Along the way, they may have admixed with the hunter-gatherer populations that they displaced.  Today, their surviving DNA signal in Europe, is strongest in Sardinia, followed by the remainder of Southern Europe.

North of the Caucasus

Arable agriculture made only a temporary appearance on the Pontic and Caspian Steppes, but was soon replaced by pastoralism and a very different way of life.  The horse was well adapted to life on the Steppes, and humans there domesticated it.  Mounted on horses, they could control larger flocks and herds of livestock.  They also introduced wheeled carts, enabling them to easily mobilise to the best pastures depending on season and climate change.  They also encountered and mastered the new copper then bronze working technologies.  Steppe pastoralists could range long distances across the Steppe Corridor across Eurasia. They were also adapting by natural selection to a dairy based diet, with a rising percentage of lactose tolerance into adulthood.  A significant contribution to their DNA came from a group of Siberian hunter-gatherers known to population geneticists as the Ancient North Eurasian.  The copper age archaeological culture associated with this genetic group is the Yamna or Yamnaya.

Yamna Culture Tomb.  By XVodolazx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What happened in Europe?

Villabruna types entered Europe around 15,000 years ago, perhaps from the Near East.  They may have replaced earlier groups of European hunter-gatherers.

Early Neolithic Farmers from south of the Caucasus, then spread into Europe around 7,000 years ago, both across the Balkans into Central Europe, and also along the Mediterranean coast, bringing agriculture and pottery.  They may have at times admixed with hunter-gatherers within Europe.  However, their much better abilities at food production created a wave of displacement that must have been hard to resist.  They could rear so many more children.  By 5,000 years ago, their descendants dominated Europe.

Eurasian Steppe Pastoralists from north of the Caucasus, then spread into Eastern Europe around 4,100 years ago.  Why wasn't there a resistance from the Early Neolithic Farmers living there?  Latest research suggests that the Steppe Pastoralists had contracted a plague strain known as Yersinia pestis from Central Asia.  The current favoured hypothesis is that they may have accidentally spread this disease to less resistant Neolithic Farmer populations in Europe.  Some plots in Neolithic activity do indeed suggest a crisis at this time.  Therefore, the Steppe Warriors could easily dominate the depleted and weakened social structures of the Neolithic Europeans.  They brought with them, an Indo-European language, that appears to be the ancestor of most present day European languages.

In Europe, the fusion had a clear sex bias, with many Neolithic mitochondrial DNA haplogroups surviving, while Steppe Y haplogroups such as R1A still dominate today.  The fusion also seemed to give rise to a new archaeological culture known as the Corded Ware.

We know that the Yamnaya expansion didn't stop at all in Eastern Europe, it continued into Western Europe.  A fusion culture may be the Bell Beaker of the Early Bronze Age.  Again, a sex bias, with some mtDNA haplogroups surviving, but a strong dominance of Steppe Y haplogroups including the many clades of R1b.  Indeed, some of this domination is strongest on the Western edge of Eurasia, in places such as Iberia, Ireland, and Scotland, where later admixture events failed to reach - but the Steppe Pastoralists had dominated, particularly in male haplogroups.

How does this relate to this East Anglian?

According to the latest K7 Basal-rich test by David Wesolowski of the Eurogenes Blog, my ancestral breakdown of my autosomal DNA, around 14,000 years ago would be:

  • 57% Villabruna-type (Europe and the Near East)
  • 29% Basal-rich (Middle East)
  • 14% Ancient North Eurasian (Siberia)

My Y haplogroup (L-SK1414) ancestor would have most likely been an ibex hunter in the area of present-day Iran and Iraq, possibly in the valleys of Mesopotamia, and or the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

My mtDNA ancestor would have been Eurasian - by 4,400 years ago, a woman of the Yamnaya, on the Pontic and Caspian Steppes, in a pastoralist tribe.

So, you get where this is taking me.  Step back into prehistory, and what DNA is revealing to me is that my ancestors were NOT all in Britain, or even all in Europe.  They were scattered across Siberia, the Steppes, the Caucasus, the Zagros, the Middle East, the Levant, and go further back, to Africa.

Alternatively, the equally recent Global 10 test, run by my friend Helgenes50 of the Anthrogenica board, resulted in:

  • 55% Baalberge_MN (European Middle Neolithic)
  • 38% Yamna_Samara (Eurasian Steppe Pastoralist)
  • 7% Loschbour:Loschbour (Late Eurasian hunter-gatherer)

These two tests may not actually conflict, as they are essentially tests referring to the Eurasian populations of two different time periods, with different admixtures.  The K7 Basal-rich test refers to my proposed ancestral populations towards the end of the last Ice Age.  The Global 10 test refers to more recent admixture leading up to the Bronze Age. 

I am a Western Eurasian.

Was our Y ancestor a Druze?

From an image published by Ashley Van Haeften and copied here under Creative Commons Licence Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Within hours of publishing my most recent hypothesis: Was our ancestor a Baloch Lascar, I receive news of an incredible rare event.  Someone else on the FTDNA Big Y tested to Y Haplogroup L L-SK1414 (L1b2c).  The sample belonged to a Druze genetics project, and was taken from a man from the Druze town of Zaroun (Matn District) in Lebanon.  The project administrator told me "his ancestors -at least for the past 1000 years- should have been either residents in Mount Lebanon or migrated as many other Druze families from the Idlib region in NW Syria (Jabal el Summaq Mountain)".

The Druze

The Druze are a Levant community, dispersed primarily through Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.  They consider themselves an Arabic culture, but they follow their own faith system, which according to Wikipedia: "The Druze faith is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of Hamza ibn-'Ali, al-Hakim, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and Akhenaten.".


What makes the Druze particularly interesting to population geneticists, is that they stopped accepting converts one thousand years ago.  They marry within their community only.  Therefore they potentially represent a snapshot of the medieval Levant population, without more recent admixture.  A recent genetic study of the Druze confirms this history:

"The researchers also found that there is no evidence of new genes entering the Druze gene pool over the last 1,000 years. In other words, no additional groups from the outside joined this community. In addition, the researchers found evidence of genetic differences between Druze populations from different regions: Lebanon, the Golan Hights, the Upper Galilee and the Carmel Mountain. This strengthens the evidence that marriages take place only within each clan.

When they went further back in time, the researchers discovered another interesting finding. It came to light that, 500 years prior to the beginning of the Druze religion, around the 6th century AD and at the time of the birth of Islam, a genetic group began to take shape that formed the basis of the Druze community’s ancestors.

According to this study, the Druze genome is largely similar to the genome of other Arab populations in the Middle East. They also found a few genetic elements in the Druze genome that originated from Europe, Central and South Asia (the Iran region) and Africa.".

Source.

Studies have found that although a variety of both Y and mt haplogroups can be found in the Druze community, they appear to have been isolated for that time period.  So a haplotype found within the Druze, would have been in the region of North-West Syria and Lebanon, during the 11th Century AD.

Druze Clerics During the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate era (late 19th Century AD). See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

How does this change my perspective on my Y origins into Europe?

L-SK1414 now looks more dispersed across Western Asia, from the Levant, to Pakistan.  That might mean that my medieval Y migrant from Asia to England didn't take a Lascar route from the Persian Gulf / Arabian Sea after all.  It could be that they traveled from the Levant along the Mediterranean, or even across Europe?  They may not have a Balochi connection - they could have been of many Asian ethnicities.  It's a good example of how easy it is to develop a hypothesis based on too little evidence.

As for the origins of L-SK1414, I'm now looking a little more south, and a little more central.  Favourite suggestion now is Tigris and Euphrates Valleys, and the Zagros Mountains, in Iraq and Iran.  L-SK1414 could have dispersed westwards to the Levant, and eastwards to Makran, SW Pakistan.

Here is the distribution of recorded Y haplotype L-SK1414 so far in Western Asia:

Note the centralised nature of the Iran / Iraq "Cradle of Civilisation" to L-SK1414.  Could our Y ancestors have passed through Ancient Mesopotamia?  Now there's an interesting thought!

My Ancestral Events Mapped

Here I map the ancestral events as recorded on my Gramps genealogical database.  These events can be baptisms, marriages, census records, etc.  The larger the dot, the more events for that particular parish.  I have modified images of Southern England from OpenStreetMap.org Copyright attribution-sharealike 2.0 generic.

My Mother's Ancestral Events.

This includes the recorded events for my mother's 134 recorded direct ancestors and siblings.  As you can see, her known ancestry over the past 330 years has been incredibly localised!  All English.  All East Anglian.  Almost entirely in Norfolk - with one line drifting back to nearby Suffolk.  An incredibly dense cluster in East Norfolk, around the River Yare in Broadland.  Sure enough second cousin and third cousin marriages have been detected in her tree.

My Father's Ancestral Events

This includes the recorded events for my late father's 116 recorded direct ancestors and siblings.  A little more travelled over the past 330 years, although I feel that the events record has a bias in research to show this - as indeed, I estimate his known Norfolk ancestry over the past 330 years to amount to at least 70% of his combined heritage.  Nonetheless, some of his lines trace back temporarily to London, then back mainly to Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley.  All South-East English again.

None of this makes my family any more special than any other family anywhere else in the World, with any type of recent heritage and admixture.  Indeed, the English are a particularly admixed population. However, in testing commercial DNA tests for ancestry, I feel that we offer a good reference sample of SE English, and even East Anglian Norfolk.

I'm particularly interested in how these commercial DNA companies are failing to discriminate ancient or population admixture, from recent (350 years) family admixture.  Some populations they are able to detect with some certainty and accuracy.  However, others such as the English, not at all.  They are unable - despite their claims otherwise, to break recent autosomal admixture on lines over the past ten generations, from earlier, sometimes much earlier population admixtures.

I'm looking forward to seeing if the new Living DNA test fares any better, with it's rich British data set.