Who were my great great great great grandmothers? Generation 7 Female ancestors

Above.  One of my daughters posing in workhouse pauper attire, in the very workhouse that some of her own ancestors lived.  Gressenhall Rural-Life Museum, Norfolk.

Here I will attempt to list as many of my 4 x great grandmothers, who they were, where they lived, and something about them.

  1. Elizabeth Brooker (nee Seymore).  b.1797 Drayton, Oxon. England.  Mother to seven children.  Wife of an agricultural labourer.
  2. Hannah Edney (nee Hedges)  b. 1784 Enstone, Oxon, England.  Wife of a thatcher.
  3. Brickwall.  Switzerland.  Wife of a copper smith.
  4. Susannah Durran (nee Waine) b. 1809 Tadmarton, Oxon, England.  Wife of a tailor, mother of seven.
  5. Anne Bennett (nee Neale).  b. 1786 Norfolk, England.  Farmer's wife.
  6. Frances Baxter (nee Shilling). b. 1778 Gressenhall, Norfolk, England.  Bricklayer's wife and mother of four.
  7. Mary Barker (nee Bligh). b. 1797 Scarning, Norfolk, England.  A shoe maker's wife.
  8. Jemima Barber (nee Harris).  b. 1800 Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England, an agricultural labourer's wife, and mother of eight.
  9. Mary Smith (nee Smith).  b. 1775 Attleborough, Norfolk, England.  An agricultural labourer's wife, and mother of seven.
  10. Elizabeth Hewitt (nee Freeman).  b. 1779 Attleborough, Norfolk, England.  An agricultural labourer's wife, and mother of five children.
  11. Ann Peach (nee ?)  b. 1779. Northants, England.  Wife of a Shepherd, mother of four.
  12. Elizabeth Riches (nee Snelling) b.1781 Banham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of nine children.
  13. Elizabeth Barber (nee ?) Lived at Halesworth, Suffolk, England.
  14. Brickwall
  15. Elizabeth Beckett (nee ?)  b.1770.  Lived at Tasburgh, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of seven.
  16. Frances Gooderham (nee ?) b.1790 Saham Toney, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of eight.
  17. Mary Ann Curtis (nee Rose) b.1806 Buckenham Ferry, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a marshman and agricultural labourer, mother of nine.
  18. Elizabeth Larke (nee Dingle)  b.1795 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer. Only two children found.
  19. Elizabeth Rose (nee Brooks) b.1806 Postwick, Norfolk, England.  Wife of agricultural labourer, mother of nine.
  20. Hopeful Barker (nee Morrison) b.1804 Lingwood, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of eight. 
  21. Susanna Key (nee Briggs) b.1781 Strumpshaw, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of four.
  22. Elizabeth Waters (nee Ransby) b.1772 Freethorpe, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a mole catcher, mother of four.
  23. Judith Goffen (nee Shepherd) b.1772 Reedham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a carpenter, mother of six.
  24. Emily Nichols (nee Beck) b. 1795 Halvergate, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of only two known.
  25. Elizabeth Tovell (nee Smith) b.1795 Toft Monks, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of six.
  26. Ann Tammas (nee Dove) b.1786 Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of five.
  27. Ann Lawn (nee Porter) b.1763 Limpenhoe, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of four.
  28. Mary Springall (nee Wymer) b.1789 Mouton St Mary, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of seven.
  29. Brickwall
  30. Catharine Thacker (nee Hagon) b.1797 Shipdham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of three (died 1832, husband remarried).
  31. Sarah Daynes (nee ?) b.1783 Witchingham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of an agricultural labourer, mother of ten.
  32. Mary Quantrill (nee Page) b.1791 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.  Wife of a weaver, mother of four

What I will also say, is that these ancestors could have had more children, that I have not found baptism records for.  Also, that in addition to looking after the household, and rearing so many children, they would have to contribute to income whenever they could, be it by laundering for others, tailoring, and seasonal casual work on the fields.

The Roman Contribution

I took the above photo of a Roman tombstone at Colchester.  It's the image of a Roman cavalry officer, ruling over a defeated Briton.  It had apparently been damaged during the following Boadiccan Rebellion.  No doubt the Iceni-led rebels against Roman authority would have found this image a tad humiliating.  The point that I want to make here though, is that the cavalry soldier that this tombstone commemorates, may have been Roman, may have died in South-East Britain, but actually hailed from what is now Bulgaria!

The archaeological and historical evidence suggests that as a foreigner in Roman Britain, he was far from alone.  There are a number of similar stories, that suggest that Roman Britain was visited by many other people from across the empire -  not only people from what is now Italy and Bulgaria, but also from what is now the Netherlands, France, Greece, Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Spain, Tunisia, Algeria and Iraq.  Visitors appear to have included not just military, but merchants, specialists, politicians - they all occasionally stare out at us from the archaeology and histories of Roman Britain.

We know that they were here.

Previous anthropological investigations at Trentholme Drive, in Roman York identified an unusual amount of cranial variation amongst the inhabitants, with some individuals suggested as having originated from the Middle East or North Africa. The current study investigates the validity of this assessment using modern anthropological methods to assess cranial variation in two groups: The Railway and Trentholme Drive. Strontium and oxygen isotope evidence derived from the dentition of 43 of these individuals was combined with the craniometric data to provide information on possible levels of migration and the range of homelands that may be represented. The results of the craniometric analysis indicated that the majority of the York population had European origins, but that 11% of the Trentholme Drive and 12% of The Railway study samples were likely of African decent. Oxygen analysis identified four incomers, three from areas warmer than the UK and one from a cooler or more continental climate. Although based on a relatively small sample of the overall population at York, this multidisciplinary approach made it possible to identify incomers, both men and women, from across the Empire. Evidence for possible second generation migrants was also suggested. The results confirm the presence of a heterogeneous population resident in York and highlight the diversity, rather than the uniformity, of the population in Roman Britain.

Leach, Lewis, Chenery etal 2009

I could have alternatively used more historical evidence of individuals - the General from Tunisia, the Syrian in Northern Britain, with a Southern British born wife, the York woman that appears to have had mixed African ancestry, etc, the recurrent Greek names, the Syrians, Algerians and Iraqis that patrolled Hadrians Wall.  As Charlotte Higgens stated in Under Another Sky, Journeys in Roman Britain 2013:  

"In Roman Britain, you do not have to look far to find traces of people sprung from every corner of the empire.  Because of the Roman's insatiable desire to memoralise their lives and deaths, they left their mark.  Some fell in love, had children, stayed.  Many no doubt to, were brief visitors, posted to Britannia and then off to the next job, in Tunisia, perhaps, or Hungary, or Spain.  In the Yorkshire Museum is an inscription made by a man called Nicomedes, an imperial freedman and probably Greek, to go by the name.  He placed an altar to the tutelary spirit of the provenance - 'Britanniae sanctae', sacred Britannia.  Also in York, a man called Demetrius erected two inscriptions in his native Greek - one to Oceanus and Tethys, the old Titan spirits of the sea; the other to the gods that presided over the governer's headquarters.  The Roman empire was multicultural in the sense that it absorbed people of multiple ethnicities, geographical origins and religions.  But Roman-ness - becoming Roman, living as a Roman - also involved particular and distinctive habits, architecture, food, ways of thinking, language, things that Romans held in common whether they were living in York or in Gaza.".

South east Britain was a part of the Roman empire for no less than 370 years, and was strongly influenced by it both before and after that membership.  That represents quite a few generations, maybe around 12 to 18 generations.  So in AD 410, as locals in Britannia fretted about their Brexit, Germanic immigration, and were petitioning Rome to send the troops back, some of their pretty distant ancestors, had witnessed the arrival of Rome with the Claudian Invasion.  That's a long time for contact and admixture to drip feed.

Did this long membership of the empire leave a genetic signature in Britain?  The current consensus is no!  We have not yet found anything in the British admixture, that can be ascribed to Roman Britain.  Not on an autosomal DNA level.  The given explanation is that the Romano-British admixture experience was so cosmopolitan, and diverse, that no one contributing population managed to leave a lasting signature.  Each case was apt to be washed away by the phenomena of genetic recombination.  It hasn't left a background admix in modern South-East British populations that has yet been detected and recognised.

However, enthusiasts that test their DNA haplogroups do often find results that are not easily explained by conventional British population history.  Odd haplogroups turn up.  My own Y-DNA, L-SK1414, with a Western Asian origin, is just one example.  Perhaps some of these rogue haplogroups in Britain, are a smoking gun of Roman Imperial experience. 

The site of Venta Icenorum here in Norfolk.

The K12 Ancient Admixture Calculator

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%


K7 Basal-rich comparison charts

Davidski published a spreadsheet of his K7 Basal-rich ancient admixture calculator results.  I've harvested some of those test results to compare to my own.

Sorted to three admixtures.

1. Villabruna (component of Western Hunter-Gatherer) sorted:

2. Basal-rich (component of Early Neolithic Farmer) sorted:

3. Ancient North Eurasian (component of Copper Age Steppe) sorted:

Discussion.

1. Villabruna.

I was surprised just how much Villabruna I had in my results, but clearly, this component is found not only in Villabruna, but also in Iceman / Sardinia (Neolithic Farmer) at 53-55%, and in Steppe Yamna (Bronze Age Steppe) at 34%.  Therefore I have inherited substantial Villabruna not perhaps directly, but from early admixtures via Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement of Western Europe.

On Villabruna sorted, my closest neighbours are indeed other British - English, Scottish, and also Dutch and Anglo-Saxon ancient.  I'm correctly positioned.

2. Basal-rich.

This one is an enigma, but it repeats in other calculators.  I receive more Southern European / Neolithic than do most British or indeed North West Europeans. I do have one Swiss 3 x great grandparent, but otherwise, all of my recorded genealogy is South East English.  I have more Basal-rich than do other "British" results in the spreadsheet.  Why is that?  Could have the randomness of genetic recombination given me just a little more of that Swiss line than I should normally expect, or do I have another ancestor from the South within the past several generations, that I'm not yet aware of?  Living DNA suggests Tuscan in their test.

My neighbours in Basal-rich are East French, Dutch, and Swiss.

3. Ancient north Eurasian.

This trades with my Basal-rich results.  I usually have less Steppe than I would normally expect as a Brit or as a North West European.  More Neolithic, less Bronze Age Steppe.  It does suggest some unknown Southern European ancestry.

My ANE neighbours are East French, Swiss, and North Italian.  One ancient British result not too far away is Romano-British 6DT18.  He was a young male (aged 16 to 18 years at death), in a multiple grave with three other men, at Driffield Terrace, York.  He carried Y haplogroup R1b1a2a1a.

In summary, for a Brit, even for an Englishman, I have just about expected percentages of Villabruna and Western Hunter-Gatherer ancestry.  However, something is atypical in the other two founder mixes.  I look more like French or Swiss, with more Basal-rich (Neolithic) and less ANE (Steppe) than the average British or even English.

 

Neolithic & Bronze Age Calculator (K11): Geneplaza

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%

Discussion

Any autosomal DNA tests for ancestry admixture have to be understood under a number of conditions:
  1. Timeline.  for what period in the past is this ancestry being weighed?
  2. Population.  How are the proposed admixture populations quantified and distinguished?  Where did they live?  Are they associated with any archaeological culture?  What are the references - are they based on ancient DNA or inferred in modern populations?  What previous populations were they admixed from?

Admixture is repetitive.  What we are looking at are ancient migrations, population expansions (sometimes marked with culture, sometimes not), admixture - sometimes with strong sex bias, displacements - all in prehistory, long before any written record.  It's like rows of jars of mixed sweets, resulting by mixing, and remixing.  Even siblings can have slightly different "flavours".

How does the above K11 compare with some of my previous ancient admixture calculations?  How about the K7 Basal-rich for example?  It looks at a different admix, from an earlier time, but do they make sense together?

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%

Comparing  K7 Basal-rich to K11 Neolithic & Bronze Age

The K7 Villabruna should relate I feel, to the K11 Western European Hunter-Gatherer.  It's quite different.  The K7 gives me 57%.  The K11 gives me only 22%.  Refer back to the Discussion further up.  Different admixes, different times.  I was surprised at the high Villabruna percentages when I recieved the results.  Some of that Villabruna could have gone into other later admixes that are represented in the K11 populations.

The K7 gave me a higher-than-average (for a North west European) percentage of Basal-rich at 29%.  This is an earlier ghost population, that hasn't yet been securely associated with ancient DNA or an archaeological culture, but has been inferred as a component of Early Neolithic Farmers in the Middle East and Anatolia.  That could have gone into some of the later K11 Neolithic populations such as Neolithic European (22%), Neolithic Anatolian (16%), and Neolithic-Bronze Age Levant (4%).

The K7 gave me 14% ANE (Ancient North Eurasian), which is low for a North West European.  The fashionable thought is that ANE went into Yamna-Poltavka Steppe as a significant component, before being carried into North West Europe by Copper Age Steppe pastoralists.  K11 gave me 13% Yamna, and 15% Andronovo.

Comparing my K11 results wnot with the K7, but with other K11 testers online, my results are not that atypical for a North west European at all.  I still fit in pretty well with other people of North West European ancestry.

Time Travelling back through my ancestry timeline - Super Family History

The Dance of Cogul, tracing by Henri Breuil.

A Timeline for my ancestry based on current evidences.

3,000,000 years ago.

In Africa.  Eastern and / or maybe Southern Africa.  Hominids.  We call them Australopithecines, and in some ways, they resembled modern chimpanzees but that were adapting to walking upright bipedally, in open environments.  They made stone tools.  They had an omnivorous diet.  They were my ancestors three million years ago.  As they were for all of us.  Natural Selection was the big, very slow kicker for prehistory.  Things changed very, very slowly,

200,000 years ago.

The first hominids that are regarded rather loosely as Anatomically Modern Human emerging in Africa.

At this time, most of my ancestors still lived in Africa, but some of my non-anatomically modern ancestors had already migrated out of Africa, and had dispersed across Eurasia for some time.  They included those archaic humans that anthropologists presently call Neanderthals and Denisovans. 

50,000 years ago.

Most likely by now, most of my hunter-forager ancestors had left Africa.  An early out-of-Africa base appears to have been Arabia and the Middle East.  Some of my ancestors had met now, after long family separations (I have 328 Neanderthal variants in my DNA, according to 23andMe), it was the birth of the Eurasians.  The last Ice Age encroached.

14,000 years ago.

People had been learning to live with the climatic fluctuations of the last Ice Age.  Each hardening of climatic conditions had frozen Eurasian human populations into isolated conditions that increased genetic drift.

Where were my hunter-forager ancestors 14,000 years ago?  Most likely in pockets dispersed across Western Eurasia, from South-West Europe, across to Central Asia, and from Arabia up to Siberia.  My direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor at this time, most likely lived somewhere between what today is Syria, and Pakistan.  He could for example, have been an ibex hunter in the Zagros Mountains of Iran.  My direct maternal ancestor (mtDNA line) most likely lived in another pocket of hunter-foragers somewhere in Central Asia, such as what is now Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, the Siberian Plain, or nearby.  Some of her, or other of my ancestors at this time, had shared ancestry with a Siberian tribe of mammoth hunters, that archaeologists now call the Mal'ta–Buret' culture.  Other of my ancestors of this time may have most likely lived in the Caucasus, Southern Europe, Middle East, and Arabia.

5,600 years ago.

Many people in Western Eurasia were adapting to a new way of living, where farming and agriculture, with a range of domesticated species of animal and plant were spreading, often carried along in waves that are marked in our DNA.  The Neolithic Revolution that had affected my ancestors had occurred a few thousand years earlier in South-West Asia, in an area that we call the Fertile Crescent - the Levant, and down the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys. Some of my ancestors may have been early pioneers of this new way of life in the Middle East.

My direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor may have lived in one of the Uruk farming settlements in Babylonia, or could have been a Neolithic farmer in a number of cultures spread across what is now Iraq, Iran, or Pakistan.  He alternatively could be one of a number of specialists that early civilisation was generating - a potter, a weaver, or a miner.

My direct maternal line had drifted out of Central Asia, and onto the Eurasian Steppe Corridor.  My mtDNA ancestor was most likely living now on the Pontic and Caspian Steppes - what is now Ukraine, Southern Russia, or Kazakhistan.  Her people would have most likely herded domestic livestock including horses, cattle, goats and sheep.  They were mastering the horse and using the first wheeled wagons. On the Steppe corridor, they had access not only to trade with the civilisations south of the Caucasus, but to other cultures, and their materials.  They were experimenting with some of the earliest metallurgy including copper working.

Asides from her, I most likely had a number of other ancestors living in these pastoralist cultures on the Steppes at this time. Perhaps around 28% of my ancestors 5,500 years ago, lived there.

Other ancestors of mine at this time, were dispersed across Europe.  They include the Neolithic European farmers.  They had descended largely from populations that had previously lived in the Levant and Anatolia (what is now Turkey and the Middle East).  Some of my Neolithic European Farmer ancestors could have even lived in Megalithic Britain, but most likely, many of my European Neolithic ancestors lived elsewhere on the Continent, in for example, the Rhine valley, Danube valley, Italy, or Iberia.  Many of them had ancestry that had hopped westwards along the Mediterranean, the first farmers from Anatolia and the Levant (50% of my ancient admixture), but with a smaller admixture of hunter-gatherer ancestors that had previously lived in Europe (12% of my ancient admixture). Did this 12% admixture include the surviving DNA of any of the last Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of the British Isles?  I'd like to think so, but possibly not.

4,600 years ago.

My Copper Age, horse riding Steppe ancestors had migrated westwards into Europe.  There they had admixed with the earlier European Neolithic people.  Their DNA appeared in a Copper Age fusion culture across Central Europe (Poland, Germany, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, etc) that we call the Corded Ware Culture.  My direct maternal ancestors (mtDNA line) were most likely of that culture for a time.  Their mtDNA markers turn up associated with it.

Aside from her, some of my other ancestors would have been in the Corded Ware Culture.  However, the westward movement of DNA from the Steppes didn't end there.  In Western Europe, it triggered the birth of another culture, that archaeologists call Bell Beaker Culture.  Much of the Y-DNA of the Steppes, was carried into the Rhineland Bell Beaker men.  Some of my ancestors could have belonged to the Bell Beaker culture in Iberia, or Western France.  However, what is more likely is that at least some of them belonged to the Bell Beaker culture that had settled in the Lower Rhine Valley (The Netherlands and NW Germany).

Many of my ancestors at this time may have played a part in the Corded Ware and Bell Beaker cultures of Europe.  mtDNA (H6a1 and H6a1a) very close to my direct maternal line has been found in both cultures, including in a Bell Beaker context in the Netherlands.

My direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor was an exception.  He most likely was living somewhere around what is now Iran, possibly as a farmer in the Bronze Age civilisations there.  Ancestors in Southern Europe were less affected by the Copper Age Steppe migration event (mainly in their Y-DNA), and continued to carry mainly Neolithic European Farmer DNA in their autosomes.

3,600 years ago.

I want to just stop here, to record that some of my Bell Beaker Culture ancestors had crossed the North Sea from the Lower Rhine (Netherlands) to settle in South East Britain.  Their descendants were living in Bronze Age Britain.  I can't say with any degree of certainty, if my direct maternal (mtDNA line) ancestor was a part of this migration, or whether her line was still on the European Continent, and crossed later.  Either are equally feasible.   I would have had other ancestors, perhaps the majority at this time, scattered across the European Continent, but most likely, some in what is now Germany, France, Scandinavia, and Southern Europe.

My direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor was most likely still in the area of Iraq, or Iran. Perhaps for example, he was an Assyrian.

2,600 years ago.

I'd estimate that perhaps around 38% of my ancestors were now living in Iron Age Britain.  My Iron Age British ancestors would have lived in the round houses and would have farmed the land.    Some people refer to the culture of the British Isles at this time as Celtic.  Some of my ancestors may well have belonged to a tribal federation, that was later known as the Iceni.

This may or may not have included my direct maternal (mtDNA line) ancestor, who could have been a Briton, but may have equally lived along with many of my other ancestors - in an Iron Age Germanic culture in the Netherlands, Northern Germany, or Denmark. Others may have lived further to the south and west in Europe in other cultures  such as the Gauls.  I have a great great great grandparent from Switzerland.  His ancestors at this time, could have been dispersed through a number of tribes across Central and Southern Europe.

My direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor was most likely still in the area of the Middle East, or Iran. Perhaps for example, he was a subject of the Persian Empire.

1,700 years ago.

Lets stop here a moment.  Roman Britain.  Perhaps 40% of my ancient ancestors living here at the time.  Britain had been occupied by the Western Roman Empire for some time.  My ancestors in Britannia would have very much identified as Romans, although they largely descended from the Iron Age Britons. However, there were traders, soldiers, and merchants from further afield here.  That might have even included my direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor, that could for example, have traveled to Southern Britannia from Assyria or Persia, or perhaps even from the Eastern Roman Empire in Anatolia and the Levant.

Meanwhile many of my ancestors were living in Germanic pagan tribes across the North Sea in what is now the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Denmark.  Others may have been living in Roman Gaul, Tuscany, or elsewhere on the Continent.

1,000 years ago.

I believe that the majority of my ancestors now lived in early medieval southern Britain, although some may have still lived further to the south in places such as Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Spain, or Italy.  If he didn't arrive earlier, perhaps my direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor arrived in Wessex about now, as for example, a specialist from the Middle East, working for the Roman church.  Many of my ancestors in South-East Britain had arrived from across the North Sea over the preceding centuries, with Germanic tribes such as the Angles, Frisians, Danes and Saxons.   Archaeological artifacts in Norfolk correlate best with some sites in Northern Germany, towards the border with Denmark.

This would have included Anglo-Saxon ancestors of my mother, that most likely rowed past the decommissioned Roman shore fort at Burgh, and perhaps moored at Reedham.  It may have included Danish ancestors of her that a few centuries later settled the district of Flegg in East Norfolk.  DNA shared on the Continent in places such as modern day Germany, Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Denmark reflects strongly in my ancestral DNA tests.  Much of it may have arrived during these early medieval immigration events.

My direct maternal (mtDNA line) would most likely be in East Anglia or nearby by now.

500 years ago.

Exchange between South East Britain and the European Continent didn't end.  It is possible that I had more ancestors arrive here from Normandy, Medieval France, and the Spanish Netherlands.  However by 500 years ago, It is possible that most of my ancestors now lived in Tudor England.  There would most likely still been a minority of later ancestors migrating from elsewhere, although I so far only see one great great great grandparent from Switzerland, in my genealogical record.  It is likely that my direct paternal (Y-DNA line) ancestor was living in Southern England, and that my direct maternal (mtDNA line) ancestor was living in East Anglia.   I trace his line back to the Oxfordshire / Berkshire border, and her line back 300 years ago to the village of Bunwell in Norfolk.

It is likely that the majority of my Tudor ancestors were living in East Anglia by now, particularly in the County of Norfolk.  Many of the men would be transitioning from medieval peasant status to that of free rural labourers or some into farmers or tradesmen.

300 years ago.

It is highly likely that by now, all of my ancestors (except the Swiss line at Generation 6, arriving 160 years ago), lived in South-East England.  The majority in Norfolk, East Anglia, perhaps as high as 77% East Anglian, also a cluster in the Thames Valley of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and a smaller cluster around Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

Their trades included agricultural labourerers, shepherds, horsemen, marshmen, smallhold farmers, watermen, carpenters, inn keepers, hawkers, etc. They were the English rural working classes of the 18th Century.

Their recorded surnames included:

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

50 years ago.

I was a small child in Norfolk.  Born English, to a local East Anglian family.  Yet look back at my ancestral timeline.  My ancestry is from all over Europe, and even from across Western Asia, and before that from Africa.  We are all cousins in one large global family.  Much of my family timeline, will also be your timeline.


That's time travelling through my own ancestry.

Ancient ancestry - K11 Ancients Common and rarer Alleles, and a fresh assessment

Emmanuel Benner - Prehistoric Man Hunting Bears

Above image by Emmanuel Benner the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The new K11 Ancients Common and Rarer Alleles tests are being run by Dilawer Khan, creator of the Gedrosia stable of admixture calculators available on GEDMatch.com, and of the EurasianDNA.com website.  This new test uses a new set of principles, based on using ADMIXTURE to produce more reliable ancient results.  I commissioned him to run my own 23andMe file through the tests, to produce the following results and PCA's/

PCA for Common Alleles (my position "Norfolk"):

PCA for Rarer Alleles (my position "Norfolk"):

The K11 Ancients common Alleles results should reflect the older ancestry most accurately.  In summary, that gave me:

  1. 48.6% Neolithic Farmer
  2. 26.5% Copper Age Steppe Pastoralist
  3. 24.9% Western Hunter-Gatherer

Thank you Dilawer.

How have other tests seen similar admixture?

I previously commissioned David Wesolowski (Eurogenes stable on GEDMatch and of Eurogenes Blog) to run my raw file through his K7 Basal-rich test.  He produced the following results:

  1. 57.1% Villabruna-related
  2. 28.8% Basal-rich
  3. 14% Ancient North Eurasian.

These are two very different tests, of admixture between different sets of population, of different time periods.  What I do find interesting is the 14% percentage of ANE (Ancient north Eurasian) relates quite favourably to what I understand it's admixture percentage is to Yamna or Steppe pastoralist.  Dilawer gives me 26.5% Steppe.   I have previously heard that the Yamna were circa 50% ANE, and the remainder of mixture of other Western Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer groups, including Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers.

The K11 Ancients test does suggest that I have a surprisingly high amount of ancestry from the Neolithic Farmers, that were in Europe previous to the arrival of the Steppe migrants around 4,900 years ago.  This is actually consistent with my other Ancient admixture test results.  The K7 Basal-rich test for example, had given me 28.8% Basal.  The Basal Eurasians are a hypo-theoretical "ghost" population that was among the founding admixture of the Neolithic Farmers, in a similar way that the ANE were among the founding admixture of the Steppe Pastoralists.  Again then, the two tests do tally reasonably well in determining where my personal percentages of ancient DNA  originate.

Why do I have so high percentages of Neolithic Farmer and Basal Eurasian I do not know.  My DNA flavour is a slight extreme, and atypical even for an English person, and more so for a Briton.  My recorded genealogy is all SE English, mainly East Anglian.  I would love to see the results of other East Anglians, as I suspect to them, that I am not such an extreme.  However, even if this was the case, it doesn't explain why modern East Anglians would have lower Steppe, and more Neolithic than either West British, Scandinavians, or even ancient DNA from Anglo-Saxons.  Higher percentages of Neolithic ancestry today are usually found to the South, peaking in Sardinia, then Iberia.  A favoured explanation is that the SE English could have had a lot of input from the South, via the French during Norman and Medieval periods.  I'm not totally convinced - yet.

A third new ancient admixture test that I might use here in the MDLP Project Modern K11.  On GEDMatch Oracle, it proposes a number of genetic distances to ancient DNA samples:

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

If I look at four population distances, then based on the samples available in the test, I'm looking pretty European Bell Beaker, with Corded Ware and Yamna appearing. My closest single population in the samples is a surprising British Celtic!  More samples from the European Neolithic might turn those results around.