Exploring Gedmatch Eurogenes

The above grave is of my great great grandparents Robert and Ann Smith at Attleborough, Norfolk.

L1b Y-DNA News

First of all, it's looking good on the Y-Front.  My Y111 sample kit has arrived from FTDNA.  I also sent my 23andme V4 raw data to the administrator of the FTDNA Y Haplogroup.  He replied the next day "the raw data confirms that you are positive for M317 and negative for downstream SNPs M349 and M274. A very rare result for a NW European. It will be interesting to see who are your closest matches at 67 and 111 markers.".

So it doesn't look as though my L1b has anything to do with the M349 Rhine-Danube cluster.  I wonder where it comes from, how and when it got into an English ancestry?  It's starting to dawn on me just how rare it is in NW Europe.  European Y-Haplogroup maps and tables simply don't display or list it, because Y-DNA Hg L is not even considered a European Haplogroup, nevermind on British Haplo-maps.  All of those R1b's and I2's.  Not an L in sight.  I can see that having an unusual haplogroup is a mixed blessing.  Sure it's interesting, but no one knows much about it, because there is so little data on it in Europe, and so little research.

I had my first case of disbelief of my L1b Y-DNA on an FTDNA surname project group.  I reported my Y haplogroup as reported by 23andme (using ISOGG 2009) as L2*  The administrator retorted "It is NOT the "L" haplogroup, instead, it is "I".  So I linked her  copy of my 23andMe Paternal line report.  This time she replied  "Goodness gracious Paul. I administer many, many projects and yours is the first "L" You see, it has problems.

Wouldn't it be just great if I found someone else descended from the Berkshire Brookers by their Y line, that had the same haplogroup?

Gedmatch Eurogene admixture results for an Englishman

GEDMATCH offers free tools for analysing the autosome DNA of your raw data, from 23andme or Ancestry.com.  One suite of tools that are useful for analysing population admixture, are the Eurogene.  As an English person, with strong paper English ancestry - including almost certainly early medieval admixture, I thought that I'd get a comparison out of the way.  See which "works" best for my known ancestry and likely heritage.  I'm trying oracles on my 23andMe V4 raw data, for 1. EU Test, 2. K13,and 3. V2 K15.
1. Eurogenes EU Test
Oracle

1 Cornish 4.6
2 English 5.01
3 NL 6.26
4 West_&_Central_German  6.92
5 Orcadian 7.02
6 IE 7.33
7 FR 7.51
8 Scottish 7.95
9 DK 9.39
10 NO 11.57

A bit strange that it sees me as first "Cornish".  I don't know where it got that reference from.  I have no known Cornish ancestry.  However, 2 and 3 are likely.  As a whole it's not a bad prediction, just that the ball landed a bit to the West.
What about mixed populations?  What are it's favourite admixtures between two populations for me?

1   83.7% English  +  16.3% French_Basque  @  3.11
2   79% English  +  21% ES  @  3.17
3   63.7% English  +  36.3% FR  @  3.18
4   80.2% English  +  19.8% PT  @  3.5
5   51.8% FR  +  48.2% Scottish  @  3.54

Okay, not bad - it's given up on the Cornish.  However, it seems to point to France, Spain, and Portugal as a secondary source.  That is eerie, because 23andme threw up a speculative 2.4% South European including 0.5% Iberian.  I do wonder if I actually do have some unrecorded South European ancestry, even Iberian.

2. Eurogenes K13
Oracle

1 South_Dutch 3.89
2 Southeast_English 4.35
3 West_German 5.22
4 Southwest_English 6.24
5 Orcadian 6.97
6 French 7.63
7 North_Dutch 7.76
8 Danish 7.95
9 North_German 8.17
10 Irish 8.22

I like K13.  The Dutch may be there in admixture, and I know that they do often share some common patterns with SE English.  So I can excuse it making it to position 1.  Then in second place, the ball scores a goal.  Yes, I am SE English.  Most of the other suggestions could represent ancient admixture.

How about two population proposals?

1   65.6% Southeast_English  +  34.4% French  @  2.03
2   84.9% Southeast_English  +  15.1% North_Italian  @  2.05
3   63.5% Norwegian  +  36.5% Spanish_Valencia  @  2.06
4   69.7% North_Dutch  +  30.3% Spanish_Valencia  @  2.08
5   87.5% Southeast_English  +  12.5% Tuscan  @  2.09

It's got the SE English spot on, but all of these Iberians again!  Is it trying to tell me something?

3. Eurogenes EU Test V2 K15
Oracle

1 Southwest_English 2.7
2 South_Dutch 3.98
3 Southeast_English 4.33
4 Irish 6.23
5 West_German 6.25
6 North_Dutch 6.79
7 West_Scottish 6.84
8 French 6.85
9 North_German 6.89
10 Danish 7.26

Very good, except again, a bit skewed to SW England.  However, to be fair, I do have some slightly westward ancestors in the Oxfordshire area.  The rest is spot on.
What does it offer as a hybrid?

1   73.9% Southwest_English  +  26.1% French  @  1.27
2   71.8% North_Dutch  +  28.2% Spanish_Cantabria  @  1.3
3   89.7% Southwest_English  +  10.3% North_Italian  @  1.35
4   91.6% Southwest_English  +  8.4% Tuscan  @  1.4
5   86.4% Southwest_English  +  13.6% Spanish_Galicia  @  1.43

Those Spanish again!  Goes for SW English over SE English as the primary ancestral population.

Out of these predictions, my gut feeling is that they are all good for single population match.  On two population mix, they all suggest Iberian minorities.  Either I have an undiscovered South European ancestor, or something else is going on.  Do other English get this?  I can't really pick a winner.


Our missing great grandparent

The above photograph is of my great grandfather, John Henry Brooker, with his partner Mabel Tanner.  Taken at Sheerness, Kent, in 1933.

The previous article was pretty much about this guy's ancestry, but I had to scan and post this photograph of him, to complete the story.  His father Henry Brooker, age 17, was still living with his father and two sisters in the village of Harpsden, Oxfordshire, in 1881.  By 1883 though, he had moved into Victorian London, and then married Elizabeth Shawers in Fulham.  I guess that London served as a magnet to young people born into the villages nearby.  Henry exchanged his skills of working with horses on the land, with those of working with horses in the streets.  He became a carter or carman.  Perhaps the docks offered work to Henry.  He moved first towards Deptford in SE London.  It was there, that Elizabeth gave birth to my great grandfather John Henry Brooker in 1884.

After 1891, they moved out further east along the Thames.  They settled in Lewisham.  John Henry Brooker went to school in Lewisham.  He appears to have exhibited some sort of educational skills, because at age 16 in Lewisham, he was recorded as a pupil-teacher.

Maybe it was because the Woolwich Barracks were located so close, that young John was drawn to it.  

Sometime also around this time, our great grandmother, Faith Eliza Baxter, moved from rural Norfolk, down to London, to work in service - following her older sister Polly.

Faith and John met. Young soldier meets young house maid, house maid falls pregnant.  They married, back at Faith's home of East Dereham in Norfolk, in February 1906.  John H was recorded as a "gunner in the 65th battery, RFA".  Their daughter, Gladys Evelyn Brooker was born at Dereham, Norfolk in early 1906.  I interviewed my great aunt Gladys by telephone many years ago.  She told me that John was posted to Ireland.  I've since found that his battery were posted to the army barracks at Ballinrobe.  Gladys told me that Faith accompanied him with a young Gladys.  The story that she was told was that John turned violent.  Then one night, Faith struck her soldier husband while he slept, and fled back to her parents in Norfolk.  My grandfather, Reginald John Brooker was born at Dereham, Norfolk, in 1908.  

In 1911, Faith was living at Northall Green Farm near to Dereham in Norfolk - where her parents lived, but in another house on the farm, headed by a single 27 year old farm labourer called Robert Hayes!  He states his place of birth as being Lancashire.  Faith is listed on the census as age 26, and married.  Young Gladys, age 5, and her little brother, Reginald, are in the same house.  So is their baby sister Winifred Hayes Brooker.

Gladys told me that Faith left Reginald to be reared by his maternal grandparents, William and Harriet Baxter, at Northall Green Farm, Dereham, while she was brought up by her single mother Faith, who later moved to Norwich. 

Several years later, the Great War exploded across Europe. A medal card at the National Archives, confirms that John was dispatched in the first wave:

Above photograph of a WW 1 6 inch Howitzer gun.  By Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence (WW1 Department of Militia)/Library and Archives Canada/ [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gladys told me that he remained in the Army, until the end of the War.  Here is the thing.  I'm presently making more efforts to trace more service records.  There is the possibility that they were among many records that were destroyed years later, by bombing during World War II.  Gladys did tell me that there was at least one attempt at a marriage conciliation between John and Faith, after John's mother encouraged him to make an approach - but it never worked out.  John and Faith went on to lived separate lives.  I don't believe though, that they ever legally divorced.

Above photograph of Faith Brooker, nee Baxter.

John then disappears from our family history.  On the back of the top photograph, Someone has written "Us & family at Sheerness July 1933".  I understand that the lady in the photograph was his partner Mabel, who he lived with for many years.

On the 1939 Register, on the outbreak of WW II, John was living at 50 Corbylands Road, Chrislehurst & Sidcup, Kent.  He was working as a clerk, at H.M Civil Service (Post Office Engineering Department).  John was recorded as married.  Mabel is there with him.  She is recorded as Mabel Brooker but also as single, and her occupatuion was "unpaid domestic duties".

Then in Dereham, sometime during the late 1940's, my father, just a boy, sees a motor car pull up in the street outside the family home.  Few people that he knew could afford a car.  An old man left the car, and walked up to the front door.  My father ran to the door in order to greet the stranger.  My father, all of his life recounted it.  He opened the door, looked up at the old stranger, and instinctively asked "are you my grandfather" without ever seeing him before.

Following this visit, my late Aunt Margaret actually got to stay with john, at his home in Kent.  She told me that she met Mabel.  When people came to the house, she was asked not to mention that she was John's granddaughter.  It appears that they never married, and I expect that was because John never received a divorce from Faith.  However, they lived as a married couple, and wished to remain that way.

The last record that I have of John was 1966.  John died late 1966, at Christchurch, Hampshire.  Perhaps they moved to the south coast for their retirement.  His will left his worldly goods to Mabel Tanner, commonly known as Mabel Brooker.

Our exotic Y Haplogroup L1b

A Y haplogroup is a genetic marker that is passed down on a paternal line.  From great grandfather, to grandfather, to father, to son, and so on it goes.  The mt-DNA haplogroup on the other hand, is a genetic marker on the maternal line.  Together, they represent only two lines of descent.  The below illustration demonstrates these two markers on our own family pedigree fan chart over recent generations:


What is exciting about these two human haplogroups, is that by recording their mutations, and plotting them both against both the geographical distributions of present-day populations, and of archaeological human remains, we can start to paint a picture of past movements and origins in population genetics across thousands of years.  We can start to see how some of our ancestors moved across the World during prehistory.  Haplogroups offer a personal touch.

My recent 23andme test reported that I have inherited an mt-DNA haplogroup H6a1 from my mother, and a Y haplogroup L2* from my father.  

My brother, sisters, and my sister's children should also share the mt-DNA haplogroup H6a1.  This mt-DNA haplogroup has recently been recognised as originating in Eurasia.  It mutated from earlier haplogroups from Central Asia.  Current thought based on recent evidence (2015) suggests that it was carried into Western Europe during the early Bronze Age, circa 5,000 to 3,500 years ago, by pastoralists that spread out of the Eurasian Steppes north of the Black Sea in the Ukraine and South Russia area.  These Steppe pastoralists have been associated with an archaeological culture known as Yamnaya, and H6a1 has been detected in female human remains there.  Archaeologists suggest that their success was in domesticating strains of horses, that they could ride, in order to manage larger herds and flocks of grazing livestock.  Another success may have been their development of wheeled carts, that could be horse drawn.  Whatever the factors were, they appear to have been so successful, that their descendants spilled out from the Steppes, dominating Bronze Age Europe.  Therefore based on current evidence and thought, it might seem fair to imagine that we have direct maternal ancestors that 5,500 years ago were women in this Eurasian Steppe Culture.  That is the personal touch of the haplogroup.

But what about the Y haplogroup L2* that we inherited from our father, and our paternal line?  My brother and my son should share this Y haplogroup.  I'm making this post to better understand this heritage.

Y Haplogroup L


Distribution Haplogroup L Y-DNA

Distribution of Y haplogroup L today.  Above image by Crates (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

There were a number of surprises from my personal 23andMe DNA test results.  However, that my Y haplogroup is L2* was perhaps the biggest shock.  I take back all reservations that I had about DNA testing for ancestral purposes.

The 23andMe introduction that accompanied my reported Y haplogroup suggested "Haplogroup L is found primarily in India, Pakistan and the Middle East. The L1 branch is especially common in India, while L2 and L3 are more common further north.".  This is not an English haplogroup.  It is not even a European haplogroup.  It is regarded here as South Asian, spreading down from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, and across from Iran and into Eastern Turkey.  The above map illustrates the distribution of the Y Haplogroup L as we presently know it.  However, the Y haplogroup L has sub groups, that until recently were designated as L1, L2, and L3.  These subgroups were not distributed equally across the above geographic distribution.

"M76 (current L1a1, former L1) is the most common subgroup in India, while M76 and M357 (current L1a2, former L3) have approximately equal weight in Pakistan. M317 (current L1b, former L2) is rare in the Indian subcontinent. Iran seems to have all three major subgroups, while Turkey appears primarily M357. Other papers have found additional markers. For instance, L1b can be divided into two subgroups, M247 and M349. The people who do not belong to L1 have not been studied in academic papers, but only in personal genetic tests. Their ancestry is European, but it is possible that this group is present in the Middle East or Caucasus, where few people have tested". (Marco Cagetti).

My actual 23andme (ISOGG 2009) assigned L2* mutation should, using the latest designations, be referred to as L1b or, L-M317. I am seeing suggestions that L-M317 may have originated as recently as 10,000 years ago, between Levant and the Iranian plain. My haplogroup L-M317 appears to be strongest in clusters across Western Asia, between Iran and Turkey, with reports in Iraq, Armenia, Georgia, Anatolia, the Chechen Republic, and the Russian Federation.  It is not South Asian.  Marco Cagetti suggests that it is at very low frequency in Southern Europe, less than 1%.  However, this table might suggest that there are stronger pockets of Y Haplogroup L in pockets across Italy.  It has been observed in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and along the Mediterranean.  A sub-clade, L-M317 M349, is found in the Levant, but also clusters in in Central Europe including Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.  M349 is subsequently believed to have originated in the Levant.

What about in England?  L1b doesn't appear to have been well documented or researched here.  The FTDNA Y Haplogroup L Project has mapped only three L submissions in the UK - including one undisclosed, one M349, and a single L-M317 - this one in the Basingstoke area, not a hundred miles from my surname carriers in South Oxfordshire.

The chances are, that my L1b will pan out to belong to the L1b1a M349 sub-clade.  It could relate the Rhine-Danube cluster recorded in Central Europe at the FTDNA Y Haplogroup L project.

So how did it get here?  Where do the European L1b's come from?   Some researchers suggest that it could actually be in quite old in Europe.  It could have spread westwards out of the Levant with the Neolithic Revolution, carried by the first farmers.  If this is the case, then it may have been severely displaced by the arrival of new waves of haplogroups that arrived in Europe later, during the Early Bronze Age, leaving just a few clusters to survive.  My Y could be a remnant of earlier European farmers, that were largely displaced by the same wave of haplogroups from the Steppes that carried my mt-DNA into Europe.

Alternatively, it may have arrived here any time later - during the Later Neolithic, or as is a popular theory, it could have been spread into Europe from the Pontic Greek clusters around the Black Sea, or from elsewhere, via the Roman Empire.  It may have even spread into Europe during the medieval.  Some people suggest Byzantine movements in Southern Europe as one possible source.  Others claim links between their L1b and Ashkenazi Jews in their ancestry - either known, or suggested by autosome ancestry composition testing.

It has been suggested that I commission a BIG Y test, but I cannot justify that cost. I think that it is worthwhile commissioning a Y STR test, in order to examine and provenance it. Then should future research bring up any new understanding, I'll be able to best place our lineage within it.  I've ordered the FTDNA Y111 test next.

The 23andMe DNA results are in!

The results were uploaded to my 23andMe profile today.  I posted/registered the sample from the UK, nine weeks ago.  The sample traveled to the USA lab via a NL holding depot.  It took six weeks to process the sample and results, from the time of being marked as arriving at the USA lab.  I feel very fortunate, as many 23andMe customers are reporting a seasonal log-jam that is delaying the process.  My results though were comfortably within the proposed time frame.

There were a number of pleasant surprises.  The results were far from boring.  

Genetic Risk Factors

On the health side that we UK customers can presently still enjoy - there was only good news.  Although I have a family history of Alzheimer's that is strong on my father's side, there was no identification of any genes in my DNA, that have so far been associated with increased risk of the illness.  If my father did have these genes, I didn't receive them.  It does not mean that I will never be at risk to the illness, but it gives me some comfort.  Indeed, all of my 23andMe genetic risk factors were good.  There was no bad news.

Traits

An amusing little trait, that IS identified by the DNA analysis, is on Asparagus Metabolite Detection.  When I eat asparagus, my urine smells strongly.  It confirms for me - that the system works!  It also correctly identifies that I have a sweet tooth, that I have blue eyes, etc.

Now to the genetic genealogy goodies.

Ancestry

Y-DNA

The genetic marker that I inherit from my strictly paternal lineage - father's father, father, and so on, going back.  On paper, I've traced this back to a John Brooker, that lived in Oxfordshire, but was born outside of that county, perhaps in nearby Berkshire, circa 1785.  Of course, that is if no-one ever lied in forms over who the father was.

This one was a shocker.  A little background first.  Although my paper ancestry over the past 350 years is overwhelmingly localised in parts of the county of Norfolk, in East Anglia, my paternal-line surname carrier, that should be the donor of my Y chromosome marker, or Y-DNA, can be traced to Oxfordshire, in Wessex.  Out of my eight paper great grandparents, seven were Norfolk born and bred.  However, the exception was my paternal great grandfather.  Therefore I would not expect my Y-DNA to belong to any local Norfolk gene-pool.  It is the least representative lineage for my heritage.  This is why I feel that people can sometimes place too much value on their haplogroups.  I did however, expect it to belong to a common English or British haplogroup such as the Y-DNA R1b group.

I was in for a surprise.  It is exotic L2*.

From initial research including an Internet search, this haplogroup forms only a rare back scatter across Europe.  It appears more commonly across Western Asia and the Sub-Continent, from Turkey to Southern India.  It is most common in Pakistan, where it may originate, circa 30,000 years ago.  It is not a common European Y-DNA haplogroup.  I need to more carefully research this in the near future, but I'm in awe to find that I have an exotic Y-DNA.  It does conjure up images of one of my paternal ancestors being a Syrian archer, or Persian mercenary in the Roman Army, fathering a child, while stationed in Britannia, or perhaps elsewhere in Roman Europe.  But that might be too fanciful.  Anyway, I'm having pheasant curry for dinner tonight.

This genetic marker should be shared with my son, and my brother.  A few of my first cousins will also have it.

mt-DNA

The genetic marker that I inherit from my strictly maternal lineage - mother's mother, mother and so on back.  On paper, I've traced it back to a Mary Page, who was born in 1802, in Norfolk.  I like the maternal line, as it is actually the most biologically secure.  Few forms lie about who the mother is.  I'd expect my mt-DNA to be a haplogroup firmly established in East Anglia.

A nice one to have.  It is H6a1.

This haplogroup belongs to the Helena group.  However, it is not ancient European.  H6 is believed to have mutated from H around 30,000 years ago in Central Asia.

H6a1 has recently been associated with the Yamnaya migration into Western Europe, from the Eurasian Steppes to the north of the Black Sea, some 4,000 to 5,500 years ago.  In Europe itself, it could be associated with a number of Early Bronze Age cultures, the Corded Ware culture.  It has been linked with the R1b Y haplogroup, that dominates Western European countries such as Ireland, France, and the British Isles.  Recent studies have indeed suggested a significant displacement of people in Western Europe, that occurred in late prehistory, with the arrival of pastoralists from Eurasia.  This migration is also associated with the rise of the dominant Indo-European linguistic group of Europe.  If H6a1 does indeed prove to be linked to the Indo-European explosion of the early Bronze Age, I'd be very happy.  I like to imagine one of my maternal ancestors 5,500 years ago, accompanying a band of prehistoric pastoralists, that are heading westwards into Europe with their horses.

This genetic marker will be shared with my mother, my brother, my sisters, and their children.  A few cousins will also share it.

Ancestral Composition

This is an area that I've been trying to understand recently.  It uses computer analysis, to compare my autosome DNA to a number of others in reference populations from around the World, which then composes suggested ancestry in percentages.  This magic attempts to look not at a few genetic markers or haplogroups, but at all of the patterns in my autosomal DNA, to predict likely ancestry on any lineages that survive in my DNA.

Previous to receiving my results, I recently revised and bolstered up my paper genealogy based family tree,  I now have 172 direct ancestors listed, going back to Generation 14 during the 17th Century.  I noted that all, and everyone of my paper recorded ancestors were English.  All of them.  That includes all of my eight grandparents, all of my sixteen great great grandparents, and thirty of my thirty two great great great grandparents.  That is 100% English.

Now, I'm sure that you'd agree, I should be expecting my 23andMe ancestry composition to give 100% English, right? Well no.  They can't presently identify an ethnic group like the English.  Instead, I should expect my results to fall 100% into the British & Irish category.

100% British & Irish?  No, I'll give this one early.  it was 32% British & Irish on speculative mode.  More on this further down.

My paper research before I received my results also revealed just how concentrated, most of my ancestry has been over the past 350 years.  I compiled the below map of East Anglia.   The BLUE marking the places of ancestral events from my family tree on my father's side; and the RED marking the places of ancestral events on my mother's side.  The larger the marker, the more events recorded.

I also made a map based on East Norfolk during the 4th Century AD, before sea levels fell, and drainage changed the coastline.  I then marked out the area of my mother's ancestry on that.

 The point that I was trying to make was that I believe that my ancestry may have been more exposed to the North Sea Immigration waves of the 4th to 11th centuries AD.  More exposed than your average person of British & Irish heritage.  I also suggested that East Anglia, very much a part of the North Sea World, was particularly attractive to Early Medieval migrants from Frisia, Schleswig-Holsten / Angeln, North Saxony, and from Denmark.

On reviewing the 23andMe DNA Ancestry Composition of an admittedly small sample of other users with strong English heritage, I concluded that the average ethnic English person receives the results:

100% European

60% British & Irish

10% French & German

2% Scandinavian

25% unidentified broadly NW European

People of Irish heritage, or even Americans with either Irish or British ancestry, tend to score a higher percentage of British & Irish than do the present day ethnic English.  23andMe has a generous and growing reference population in it's British & Irish database.  However I hypothesised that 1) the 23andMe B&I reference is skewed to the Irish, and away from English.  It is also possible that it is distorted by a case of genetic drift by testing Americans of British origin.  2) that the British & Irish designation may actually be inadvertently looking at DNA that arrived in the British Isles largely previous to the early medieval North Sea migrations.  To the British and Irish genes that have been here since late prehistory.  On the other hand, the French & German, the Scandinavian, and perhaps some of the undesignated Broadly NW European percentages that are usually assigned to the ethnic English, may actually reflect early medieval migration from across the North Sea.  The computer analysis is simply unable to distinguish some of the DNA from that of present day French, Germans, or Scandinavians, because of ancient admixture.

I'm told that this would not be the case, that 23andMe ancestral composition could not detect such deep, ancient admixture.  However, what if I am correct about my own heritage - that I likely have enhanced levels of Anglo-Saxon and perhaps Norse heritage, because of the geographical location of so many of my ancestors?  Should I not expect even lower percentage of the 23andMe British & Irish category, and even higher percentages of other NW Europeans from across the North Sea?  So what was my 23andMe ancestry composition percentages (speculative mode)?

100% European.  Broken down into:

94% NW European.

3% South European.

I'll get to the South European later, but what about this North west European?  Let's break it down into 23andMe's sub categories:

32% British & Irish

27% French & German

7% Scandinavian

29% undistinguished broadly NW European

Oh my goodness.  It correctly fits my prediction.  I have more than double the average percentage of F&G and Scand for English people.  Despite having a paper researched genealogy that is 100% English, 23andMe's ancestry composition based on a generous reference sample size of 1251 sets, gives me 32% British & Irish.

So a predicted, but still incredibly exciting result.  I'm chuffed to bits.  It does in my eyes, blow 23andMe's British & Irish designation out of the water though.  Their reference samples do not appear to match the East English.  Instead, their software misreads some of the English DNA for French & German, or Scandinavian.  I'm suggesting that this is because of ancient admixture, during the 4th to 11th centuries AD, with North Sea immigration.  I invite others to knock my suggestion down.

One more surprise from my Ancestry Composition:  A South European 2.7%.  Broken down into 23andMe's sub categories:

0.5% Iberian

2.4% undistinguished broadly South European

This looks real.  It appears that I have a small percentage of South European heritage.  Most likely from Spain, Portugal, or Basque.  I probably have Iberian ancestry that I have not yet detected using paper genealogy.  Either that, or it's an anomaly, a incorrect interpretation.

Neanderthal Ancestry

Finally, how much Neanderthal DNA do I have?  How much of my DNA was shared by the archaic humans that lived across parts of Eurasia, between 350,000 to 30,000 years ago?  Evidence of early admixture events between Neanderthal and anatomically modern human populations?

An estimated 2.9%.

That's just slightly above the average of 2.7% for modern Europeans.  So I am not more Neanderthal than most others.  Sorry to disappoint.

All in all, very happy that I spent the money.

East Anglian Ancestry

http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

The above map has been modified from an original copied from © OpenStreetMap contributors

I have plotted my ancestral places that are tagged in my Gramps genealogical GEDCOM database.  These Places represent events -births, baptisms, marriages, or residence, etc.  These Places  belong to my direct ancestors, although they may also include siblings of ancestors.  Overall, I have modified this map in order to illustrate the distribution of my East Anglian (almost entirely of the County of Norfolk, with a few over the border in Suffolk) ancestors over the past 350 years - as so far revealed by paper genealogical research.

The BLUE markers represent the places of my father's recorded ancestors.  The RED markers represent the places of my mother's recorded ancestors.  The more events recorded for any place, the larger the marker.  You can click on the image in order to see a full resolution image.

The RED markers include pretty much all events for my mother's ancestors, as presently recorded in my family history database.  She has no recorded ancestry from outside of Norfolk, for the past 350 years.  She has an incredibly strong Norfolk ancestry.  Particularly in the East of Norfolk.

The BLUE markers do not cover all of my father's recorded ancestors, as I have also detected ancestry for him in Oxfordshire, London, and possibly Lincolnshire.  These ancestors lived outside of the mapped area.

When my mother and father initially met each other in 1956, they believed that they came from quite different parts of Norfolk, from opposite sides of the City of Norwich, with my father moving from East Dereham to my mother's neighbourhood in the Hassingham area.  Yet this map suggests that over the past 350 years, some of their ancestors have lived much closer.  The chances of them both sharing common ancestry during the Medieval, or even more recently are good.

This might support the findings of the POBI (People of the British Isles) 2015 study, that not only emphasised the homogeneous nature of the English, but also suggested that the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms could still be detected as localised gene pools to today.

I have previously created the below map, using red dappling to mark out the main zone of my mother's ancestry, onto a map of East Norfolk, as it would have appeared during the 5th Century AD, before sea levels fell, and drainage works created the more recent Norfolk coast:

My hypothesis is that my mother's ancestors clustered in an area of East Anglia, that would most likely have experienced an influx of North Sea immigration between the 4th and 11th centuries AD from Frisia, and perhaps Angeln and Denmark.

I also modified the below map from Wikimedia Commons.  Attribution is: By Nilfanion [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.  This map, as the legend states, illustrates the distribution of my recorded direct ancestors (bother on my father's and mother's sides are in RED) across the wider area of England at a single generation level, based between 1756 to 1810.  It suggests a combined ancestry, concentrated in Norfolk, East Anglia, but with a few lineages in Wessex / Mercia.



More Places with Family History

I recently had another little bash at Internet Genealogy, principally using the NORS online database at the Norfolk FHS website, and FamilySearch.org.  I think that the ancestors will soon dry up from these resources, but I clutched several new families, and a few new ancestral locations.

All of this new batch are on my mother's side of my Norfolk ancestry.  I'm pleased that some of my recent additions have centred on Moulton St Mary's.  It's my favourite church in that area.  I took the above photo of it years ago.  I discovered that one of my ancestors, Thomas Barker, was born there around 1801.  I've seen Moulton a few times recently.  During the same research, I discovered that two other ancestors - Robert Waters, and Elizabeth Ransby were also married at that church, in 1795.  Otherwise, the Waters appear to have been a Freethorpe family.  Both were born at Freethorpe around 1771.  Their children were all to be baptised at Freethorpe.  I think that a nice idea for a series of future posts, would to be to focus on one ancestral parish or location at a time.  Associate it with my ancestors that lived there or passed through, see what Internet local history and any photographs that I can dig up.

Blofield has cropped up a few times as well.  My ancestors Thomas Dingle and Mary Ginby for example, were married there in 1782.  Thomas Dingle was from "Bradiston", which I eventually ascertained was Brayderston, a hamlet on the Blofield side of Strumpshaw.  Mary Ginby on the other hand, came from a family of Gynby, in a new village for the tree.  Several miles to the north, from the village of Woodbastwick, close to Salhouse. 

Most of my mother's paper ancestors lived on the loam soils north of the River Yare in East Norfolk.  However, sometimes I find lineages that have crossed the river from the south.  I found that this was the case with my ancestor Mary Gorll.  It turns out that she was born during 1741 in the small town of Loddon.  Spellings of her family surname in Loddon, varied from Gorll to Gall, Gaull, and Gaul.  She went on to marry my ancestor Henry Rose, at Loddon in 1768, and later they crossed the river to settle in Strumpshaw.

Finally, I also got a bit lucky with my Merrison / Morrison ancestors.  Benjamin Merrison married my ancestor Lydia Norton at Lingwood in 1796.  They raised their children at Lingwood, including my ancestor Hopeful Barker (nee Morrison).  However, I didn't know where Benjamin Merrison originated from.  Without transcripts and online indexing, I'd have been very lucky to find stray ancestors like Benjamin - people that move from more than one or two parishes away.  It turns out that he was baptised as Benjamin Marison in 1759 at the hamlet of Repps-with-Bastwick, between Thurne and Bastwick, near to the River Thurne.

There you are.  New families on my mother's side - Gaul, Ransby, Morrison, Gynby.  New ancestral parishes in Norfolk - Loddon, Braydeston, Woodbastwick, and Repps-with-Bastwick

Software for Genealogy

My experience

I first took an interest in genealogy around 1989.  My interest grew, as did my very badly kept scraps of notes.  During the following decade, a number of computer databases designed for genealogy came onto the market, but I could only afford a used 8 bit Amstrad  computer, and merely had to do with typing it all up on Locoscript word processor.  In 1998, I finally moved onto a Windows 3.1 PC.  I soon came across an early version of Family Tree Maker - perhaps version 3 or 4.  I had to install it using a pile of floppy disks!

I then used FTM to compile my family tree, complete with scanned photos.  I could use it to print trees, albeit only on A4 sheets.  I do wish that I had been more careful to conserve and record all of my sources back then.  I wasn't a very methodical researcher.  The program also allowed me to produce a GEDCOM file, which I could use on other genealogical databases, or, it promised, to share online, as soon as I had the ability to connect to this new Internet thingy.

I indeed upgraded to a Windows 98SE PC, and even, with a 56k modem, connected to the Internet.  I think that I bought a newer CD-ROM version of FTM.  One of my first actions on the Internet was to upload my .ged (GEDCOM) file.  I'm not too sure to who, what server, or what they did with my data.  I wasn't too wise about the commercialisation of the information super highway at that time.  It may have ended up with Ancestry.com enterprise, who no doubt have sold and resold it on.

Eventually my interest in genealogy drifted away.  Quake 3 Arena was much more fun than typing in ancestors to a database.  I did at some point around 2006, upload my gedcom to a web server, so that it could be downloaded from my own ancestry pages.  I eventually gave up that subscription.  Life moved on.  I went through family break up.  Lost all of my old poorly kept notes, my hard drives, everything.

Then a few months ago, I randomly decided to take a DNA test with 23andme.  My interest in my roots rekindled by the prospect of genetic ancestral profiling, I dug up my old ancestry pages from a web archive service, and was surprised to find that they had also archived my gedcom file.  I downloaded it.  Now I needed some software in order to open it.  I always look first for Open Source software.  I found Gramps 4.2.

Gramps 4.2

Gramps is available free, and Open Source on both Windows and on Linux.  It may be available for other platforms as well, I don't know.  I've installed Gramps 4.2 onto my Windows 7 64 bit PC.  I've also installed Gramps 4.0 onto my Lubuntu 14.04 (Linux) netbook.  The screenshots that I've uploaded to this post, were taken on the Windows PC.  There are differences between my two versions on two platforms, and I won't go into all of those.  I'm mainly interested in updating and generating .ged GEDCOM files, bearing in mind, my past experiences in losing data over the years.  As long as I don't faff around too much on attributes carried by Gramps native features, that are not carried over by the GEDCOM format, the programs both run great.  I haven't yet played too much with images.  My understanding is, that you need to host the binary files in folders on your hard drive - then GRAMPS  merely points / looks at them.  That isn't something (as I presently understand) that is supported under GEDCOM.

Gramps is a database.  Like any database, it revolves around objects, attributes, and tags.  Some glossy family history software might dumb all of this down a bit.  They want to catch the mass market.  Gramps does not shy away though.  It's real magic is that it offers so many different ways of entering data, in ways that can be tracked to resources, citations, notes, places, even coordinates.  It's a piece of free software that the geek genealogist should love.  Typical of Open Source, it is more functional than pretty.  It's a piece of software that can be daunting at first.  However, if you are methodical, and reasonably pooter-literate, give it a little perseverance, and you soon start to love it.  It's features will encourage tidiness and well documented research.  Why spend out on EULA licensed software?

This week, I've been investigating the Places objects.   I've discovered that you can geo-tag your places - that can be referenced to events, such as baptisms, deaths, census records, etc.  I must have hundreds of places for my family database of 1,435 ancestors / relations.  None-the-less, I've been spending too much time on the pooter, tidying up my place data, and by referring to OpenStreetMap.org, copy and pasting longitudes and latitudes into all of them, along with place-type, alternative names, etc.  It's all about making a better GEDCOM, a better family history database.

So why bother?  Well for one  it's going to be a vastly improved record of my family.  A healthy database.  Not only that, but GRAMPS allows me to plot my ancestors locations - or rather, the locations of "events":

I can see at least one error there - in the sea off the Kent coast.  Some more tidying to do.  By the way - the mapped events include the paper ancestors on my kid's family tree, including those of my Ex.  Alternatively, I can browse the places, hit an option, and in a browser, up pops the location on OpenStreetMaps!

There are many more features to explore on Gramps.  I'll get to them in time.  I've uploaded several of the fancharts that it can generate already on this blog.  There are a range of other reports that it can produce, and web pages.  The generated website is incredibly functional.  It took a couple of minutes to generate pages for every one of my 1,435 family tree individuals.  All with trees galore.  All that I would need is a web host.

As for stability.  I've seen someone complain that it slows down.  Nonsense.  It's fine even with my extensive database.  My Windows version is very slow to launch though - not so the Linux version.  However, when it's up, even on Windows,, it is perfectly functional and very fast.

Some people are also confused on how to load a GEDCOM file at start.  I was.  It's simple.  You need to first create a blank family tree file from the manager.  Then you can import your GEDCOM into it.  You don't see the Import/Export functions until you have first loaded a family tree - just make it a new blank file.   Once you have created a family tree, and imported a GEDCOM - be careful to use that file next time, and not do as I did - import the GEDCOM again.  You'll end up with two of each individuals.  Always back up before and after making any edits.  I like to mail a backup to myself on webmail, so that the GEDCOM is also backed up on two webmail servers.

GEDexplorer

That geo data that I produced on Gramps, is carried over on GEDCOM to other databases and platforms.  I use the GEDexplorer v1.24 ap on my Android smartphone.  This app allows me to view my GEDCOM files on my phone!  It cost me a couple of quid from the Play Store, but it was money well spent. 

The above screenshot shows a view of one part of my tree - the ancestors of my great grandfather Sam.  It's a really nice feature of GEDCOM files and this software, that you can open up your database, look through trees, fan charts, or just the data itself, browsing through ancestors.  Handy if you just get a spare hour here or there to research with - but no lap top!  Easy quick reference of your entire database from a phone.

You see, it's all there.  The beauty of GEDCOM format has reached from my Windows 3.1 machine, to my Sony Z3 phone.  That's a rugged file format.

Now to the point of this entire post really.  Those hours that I've wasted away on giving geo-tag provenances to all of my ancestral places?  The GEDCOM picks up the latitude and longitudes, and GEDexplorer displays them.  Just click on any hyperlinked ancestral event place, such as my great grandmother's place of birth above, and ....

and I can hit the link and look at it in more detail using Google Maps.  Hell, I could even navigate to the actual place.