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.

The Beaker phenomenon and genetic transformation of Northwest Europe 2017. A layman's take.

They say that you cannot write prehistory, but here in Britain, prehistory is currently being rewritten, and it's thanks to DNA.  A new study , "The Beaker Phenomenon, And The Genomic Transformation Of Northwest Europe" has been published on BioRxyv.  A new study that recently analysed the DNA of 170 ancient human remains in Europe.

A little background...

1. British Archaeology and the Bell Beaker

British archaeologists have long been aware of a late prehistoric artifact culture found across the British Isles, and across large areas of Western Europe.  It bridged the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods around 4,400 to 3,800 years ago.  It was characterised by the use of fine bell-shaped beaker pots, usually red ceramic fabric, heavily decorated with simple motifs.  These motifs were characteristically impressed with a fine toothed comb or dentated spatula.  Many Bell beaker burial rituals have been excavated and studied.  The inhumed body would usually be crouched on the side, roughly on a north to south alignment.  A bell beaker would often be stood near to the body, at the feet, or near the head.  Other grave goods often included barbed and tanged flint arrowheads, flint flakes and blades, antler picks, sometimes one or two more beakers, amber beads, copper awls, and gold earrings / hair rings.  64% of British Beaker burials were flat graves, but sometimes a barrow or cist would be erected above it (Beaker Pottery of Great Britain & Ireland. DL Clarke.  CUP 1970).

Above, a flint barbed & tanged arrowhead of the Beaker Culture, that I found and recorded during a surface collection survey some years ago.

Archaeologists studying the artifact culture in Britain, compared the British finds to those on the Continent in order to try to find an origin for these people.  They suggested either Brittany in North West France, or the Lower Rhine Valley, in the Netherlands and Northern Germany.  Some alternatively promoted Iberia as the origin.

Then British Archaeology entered an intellectual phase where it became fashionable to dismiss migration or invasions of people, in favour of cultural exchange.  Pots not People.  Rather like today, we British wear denim, t-shirts, listen to R&B, and drink coke.  However, we have not been displaced by North Americans - we just absorbed the artifacts of another culture.  From the 1970s on, many late prehistoric migrations were dismissed by British archaeologists as cultural exchanges rather than representing population displacement.

2. The New Population Genetics and the Steppe Pastoralists.

A new field of study has been gathering pace with the arrival of the 21st Century, that uses genetic evidence, to explore past migrations, movements, admixtures, and origins of peoples.  The earliest pioneers used blood types, then mitochondrial DNA mutations, followed by STR of Y-DNA.  Some of the early conclusions supported the new orthodoxy of British Archaeology.  Stephen Oppenheimer's infamous publication "The Origins of the British" championed that there had been little change in British populations since the Ice Age.  They were to be proven wrong.  Early conclusions, based on little evidence, misunderstandings that were later corrected with more data, seriously damaged the reputation of population genetics in British prehistoric studies.

The most common Y-DNA haplogroup of Western Europe, particularly of Ireland and Britain was R1b.  Early mistakes gave this male haplogroup an Ice Age origin of the Basque Region in Southwest Europe.  As more data gathered, and debate developed, it became apparent that the origin was not the Basque region, but the Pontic and Caspian Steppes of Eurasia!  It became associated with an archaeological culture in Southern Russia called the Yamna.  The R1b and R1a haplogroups appeared to have spilled off the Steppes into Europe during the Copper Age during a significant migration event around 4,900 - 4,600 years ago.  In Eastern and Central Europe, this migration of pastoralists appears to be responsible for the fused artifact culture known as the Corded Ware (again, after a prehistoric pottery style).

A few lectures on Youtube to watch:

Havard lecture by David Reich 2015.

CARTA lecture by Johannes Krause 2016

That brings us up to date.  In summary, population geneticists have discovered a movement of people, not just pots, from the Steppes into Europe.  Modern Europeans descend from an admixture of three major founder populations: 1) the Western Eurasian hunter-gatherers, then a layer of 2) Early Neolithic farmers (that originated in Anatolia and the Middle East), and finally, 3) the Steppe Pastoralists.  The actual mix varies not only from person to person, but also regionally across Europe.

So how does the Bell Beaker Culture of Britain and Western Europe fit into all of this?  The strong assumption over the past couple of years was that the diffusion of R1b Y-DNA haplogroups occurred then, so therefore, it was a simple extension of this westward drift across Europe that originated on the Pontic and Caspian Steppes.  It first spawned the Corded Ware Culture in Central Europe, but then when it met Western Europe, spawned the Bell Beaker Culture.  However, until now, this hypothesis hadn't been tested.

The Beaker phenomenon and genetic transformation of Northwest Europe 2017

Has now examined some of these questions, through the examination of an unprecedented scale of ancient DNA sampling. The link to their published document (which is still awaiting peer review) is at the top of this post, and I'd invite others to read it for themselves.  An article covering the document can also be read on the Scientific American.  However, I personally with my layman head take five suggestions from the study.

  1. They found that the DNA of human remains on Continental Europe did not suggest one cohesive or homogeneous population.  There was in this case, evidence of cultural diffusion.  Different peoples were taking on the Bell Beaker artifact assemblage in Western Europe.  Pots rather more than people.  This was a great surprise, as we still know from the earlier study, that much of our DNA and Y-DNA in particular, originated around 400 years earlier from the Eurasian Steppes.  However, although the Central European Corded Ware Culture does still appear to have been a response to that great influx of new people from the Steppes, the picture with the Western European Bell Beaker is more complex.
  2. An exception was Britain.  Here, the remains associated with Bell Beaker Culture were all one population, and they were very different to the earlier Neolithic population of Britain.  It appears to have been a case of population displacement.  They suggest at least 90% displacement!  It means that very few or none of our Neolithic ancestors built the amazing monuments of Neolithic Britain.  They were built by earlier peoples, that our ancestors displaced.
  3. They confirm a Lower Rhine origin as most likely for the British Beaker People.  The ancient DNA that most closely matched British Beaker DNA, came from Beaker human remains in the Netherlands and Northern Germany.  This correlates nicely with the 1970 archaeological study mentioned above.
  4. It's confirmed.  Previous to their entry into the British Isles, there is no evidence of any Steppe ancestry, no Steppe autosomal DNA, no Steppe Y haplogroups such as R1b-L21 here.  (Nor any mtDNA haplogroup H6a1).  The Beaker people from the Lower Rhine, brought the initial layers of this DNA to Britain.  The founder population were admixed, but with significant percentages of Steppe ancestry, particularly on Y lines.
  5. The previous Neolithic Farmer population were mainly Y haplogroup I2, and appear to have descended mainly from populations in the South, from Iberia, rather than from the Danube, although before that from Anatolia.  The modern population that is closest to them today are Sardinians.

Also as a layman, I guess that this suggests that most, or even any "Neolithic Farmer" DNA suggested by our ancient ancestry calculators, was most likely picked up elsewhere than Britain, and brought here by later migrants (descended through that mixture of cultural diffusion and admixture), rather than directly from the British Neolithic population.

I also notice a correlation with an Irish study last year ("Neolithic and Bronze Age migration to Ireland and establishment of the insular Atlantic genome" Cassidy etal.  Queens University Belfast 2016), that again, suggested major displacement of earlier peoples in Ireland, at the end of the Neolithic, by a population with largely Steppes origins.

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
  • FT-DNA Family Finder kit. T444495
  • Living DNA kit (GEDmatch Genesis) DM3812420

The Paper Trail and Family History

I was born in Norfolk, to a local family.  My current gedcom database includes records of 2,490 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.

Below, birth locations of my ancestors for previous five generations:

  • Brown = East Anglia, England
  • Blue = South Central England
  • Orange = Lincolnshire, England
  • Purple = Switzerland

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.  What else can I add?  

The Genetics

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

First of all, 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.  First the Complete results:

Below are my Complete Mode results in regional:

Below are my Complete Mode results for sub-regional:

Now the Cautious results:

Below are my Cautious Mode results in regional:

Finally, 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










(P.s yes, I know my name is there, but thanks!).





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

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.

Distribution of BROOKER baptisms AD 1550 - AD 1600 by English County.  County boundaries modern, but East and East Surrey united for historical purposes.  Includes records of derivations of Brooker surname.

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

The Southern European DNA enigma. Option 3. Autosomal DNA Analysis does not work

Here I'm considering the third option to my enigma.  My known ancestry is 100% English.  However, autosomal DNA tests for Ancestry, by commercial companies, and by third party analysis, suggest that I have a mixture of European ancestries, including varying percentages of Southern European.  I'm trying to best explain this phenomena.  In previous posts, I considered 1) that my paper record is incomplete, or biologically incorrect.  2) that something ancient is picked up in analysis of present day English testers - that maybe reflect shared algorithms with ancient admixture, perhaps prehistoric, or Roman.

Now in this post, I consider the third option.  That commercial DNA companies exaggerate their claims to be able to differentiate to any successful degree, between different regions of Europe in my ancestry.  If this is indeed the case, it has significant repercussions for testers for example, in the USA, Canada, Australia, etc.  If they have a poor paper trail, and poorly known ancestry, maybe it's all too easy for them to regard such DNA tests for ancestry, as indisputable and accurate truths.

Commercial DNA companies for Ancestry, are under pressure to supply to market demands.  Their markets have been dominated particularly by USA customers.  Some of them seasoned genealogists with good quality paper trails.  Others, attracted by the easy option to know their ancestry before the, as 23andMe puts it, the Age of Migration before the past few centuries.  Instead of spending a lifetime chasing documents, they can simply send a DNA sample to a company, and know their roots.  People trust the science of DNA testing for ancestry.  That is the demand that commercial companies can cater for.

But what if their abilities to accurately detect ancestry from Autosomal DNA is exaggerated?

Lack of agreement between analysis.

As one evidence.  Test autosomal DNA with three different companies, and you will receive three different results.  That is well known in genetic genealogy circles.  Some apologists excuse it away by pointing to the different companies claims, to be focusing on different periods.  23andMe say that they zoom in on 500 years ago, by rejecting short chains.  Is it really, really possible yet, to be able to zoom in on one particular period?  I'm not convinced.  Is it even possible to securely locate all ancestry from the past 500 years?  I'd expect genetic recombination to wash away an awful lot of ancestral DNA long before that.  The truth is that beyond our great great grandparent's generation, there is less and less chance of us carrying any surviving DNA from any one particular ancestor! Especially from the autosomal DNA passed down on your father's side.  You might have a Balkan g.g.g.g grandfather, but chances are, there will be no evidence of their existence remaining in your autosomes.  His DNA, and all that belonged to his Balkan ancestry, will be lucky to survive the following 250 years, never mind 500 years.  My Y-DNA has strong evidence that I had an Asian ancestor on my paternal line, arrive in Southern England between 1,800 and 500 years ago.  However, nothing remains in my autosomal DNA analysis that suggests Asia.  Washed away.

Getting back to those three companies giving three different ancestries. My South European percentages have varied from 2% (with a hint at Iberia), to 19% (with a hint at Balkans), to FT-DNA's claim of 32%!  Eurogenes K13 hints at Iberia in it's admixture programs on GEDmatch.

Population References

One more thing.  Autosomal DNA tests for ancestry do not use ancient DNA references.  Not yet anyway.  They instead use present-day references, often from their own customer client bases, based on what ancestry they claim.  This is not necessarily the DNA that existed in past populations.  Populations and genes shuffle, genetic drift forms.  I recently read a report that FT-DNA Y data for NW Europe heavily biases to Irish ancestry.  Therefore, references from Americans of Irish and / or British descent, will bias to the West.  The quality of a reference is critical.

Is it all Bunk?

Am I saying that autosomal DNA testing for Ancestry is all a waste of time?  Actually no, not yet.  The tests DO find me to be pretty much 100% European.  That is a success.  Some tests even find me with a degree of confidence, to be NW European.  That is awesome.  However, beyond such regional level, should we be trusting such tests to be providing concrete results, infallible "truths" with a high degree of accuracy?  Shouldn't we be cautious, and regard such speculations as just that - speculations, to be assessed by other forms of evidence?  Some of my ancestors might have lived in Southern Europe.  Maybe Option 1 was correct - one of my Norfolk ancestors brought a Portuguese wife home from the Peninsular Wars.  Perhaps.  Maybe Option 2 was correct - the patterns that DNA companies pick up as Southern European, are ancient, related to Neolithic, Iron Age, or Roman admixture from the South, or sharing ancient ancestry with Southern Europeans.  Maybe.

I'm not at all disenchanted with DNA testing for ancestry though.  I've commissioned five so far this year, including three autosomal DNA tests.  This leads me to my most recent commission.  Perhaps this one will convince me more.  It's a very new test.  I'll post on that next.



Revisiting Southern European for Ancestry

This photo of A Capela dos Ossos (the bone chapel) in Évora, Portugal.  Taken by myself.

First, a recap

I'm English by ethnicity, birth, upbringing, known family history, and by record.  That record, I've researched on and off for more than 25 years, primarily in record offices, but in more recent years also online.  On my personal database I presently have 207 direct ancestors recorded.  All lived in Southern England, with the majority in East Anglia.  All appear to have English surnames.  All recorded religious denominations, English.  The majority were rural working class.  I have a typical English ethnicity and phenotype.  My recorded genealogy stretches back at the furthest to the 1680's.

I'd expect some admixture in there.  I know from my Y-DNA that I have Asian admixture from between 500 and 1,800 years ago on my paternal lineage.  Surely some Hugeonauts, Strangers, Romany, or others at some point.  However, a rare and single event on one line of ancestry doesn't hang around very long in autosomal DNA.  It can be washed out very quickly by genetic recombination - as my Asian, as detected by my Y-DNA, has been.  You should only really see significant traces of admixture, when it is either recent (within the past few hundred years at most), or entered on multiple lines of ancestry.

Therefore, I'd have expected a commercial Autosomal DNA test for ancestry to come fairly close to 100% for British, or even English.  But instead, so far, I've received:

From 23andMe Ancestry Composition in Speculative mode, before any phasing with mother alone:

32% British & Irish
27% French & German
7% Scandinavian
29% Broadly NW European
2% Broadly Southern European (including 0.5% Iberian)

and after phasing with one parent:

37% British & Irish  (23% from father, 14% from mother)
22% French & German  (12% from father, 10% from mother)
1% Scandinavian  (from mother alone)
36% Broadly NW European  (23% from father, 13% from mother)
2% Broadly Southern European (1% from father, 1% from mother)

From FTDNA Family Finder My Origins, I recently received:

36% British Isles
32% Southern European
26% Scandinavia
6% Eastern Europe

Wegene using my 23andMe raw data gives me:

81% French
19% British

DNA.land using my 23andMe raw data gives me:

77% Northwest European
19% South European broken into 13% Balkan and 6% Central/South European
2% Finnish
1% ambiguous West Eurasian.

GEDmatch Eurogenes K13 on Oracle using my FT-DNA raw data gives me as my nearest Genetic Distance:

Southeast English 3.75 GD

On Oracle 4 I get as my nearest single population Genetic Distance:

Southeast English 4.28 GD

Best three way on K13 Oracle 4 mix is:

50% Southeast_English +25% Spanish_Valencia +25% Swedish @ 1.86 GD

Eurogenes K13 does often suggest Iberian references for admixtures on my results further down the proposal list.  Still, thumbs up for Eurogenes K13!  It gets me as Southeast English correctly!

So... 23andMe claims that I have 2% Southern European and that it comes from both parents, although before phasing, it hinted at Iberian.  FT-DNA claims that I have a whopping 32% Southern European!  DNA.land claims that I'm 19% South European, but Balkan with some Italian, rather than Iberian!  Eurogenes K13 Oracle 4 suggests that if I do have admixture, that it most likely includes Iberian.  My family tree has no evidence of any Southern European people, names, or any Catholicism, etc.  Confusing or what?


Origins of the British, Irish, and English

Above photo taken by myself of the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

I've modified this from a post that I made on a DNA forum, in response to people discussing out-dated origin stories, in response to a thread looking at ancestral composition for the English.  There is so much misinformation out there, and few people actually try to look at the latest evidences.

It starts by looking at the key points of a recent Irish study.

Cassidy, Martiniano, Murphy etal Study of Neolithic and Bronze Age migration to Ireland

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/2/368.full.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/dec/28/origins-of-the-irish-down-to-mass-migration-ancient-dna-confirms

Key points.

  • Ancient DNA from earlier Neolithic farmers suggests an origin from the Near East.

  • Later DNA from Bronze Age suggests a new population had arrived and dominated, with origins from the Eurasian Steppes, including the present day predominance of Y haplogroup R1b, lactose tolerance, and blue eyes. This displacement event appears to have occurred throughout much of Western Europe. The founder population on the Steppes has been linked to the archaeological population known as the Yamna or Yamnaya.

A background to the Yamna hypothesis to help people understand what the above study supported:

The Yamnaya were a population that existed across the Pontic and Caspian Steppes from what is now Ukraine, to Kazakhistan. They themselves were an admixed population, with ancestry from various different groups of Eurasian hunter-gatherers, and from the ANE (Ancient North Eurasian). They carried a number of successful adaptations, including the use of the wheel, improved selective breeding of horses for both riding and haulage, lactose tolerance, use of horse drawn wheeled carts, and a very successful pastoral based economy revolving around the herding of a number of species of livestock.

They are strongly figured to have carried an Indo-European language into Europe and elsewhere (South and Western Asia). That Indo-European language being the ancestor of the vast majority of modern European languages today. They may have also carried many of the most common haplogroups of modern Europeans, including Y hg R1a, R1b, and some mt hg H types among others.

There is a hypothesis that the earlier peoples of Europe, the Early Neolithic farmers, who had largely descended from early farmers in the Levant / Anatolia, had been suppressed by a number of possible environmental and climatic events. This might have paved the way for such a successful displacement of European populations.

As the descendants of the Yamna swept westwards into Europe during the Copper Age, so they spawned a series of new archaeological cultures including the Corded Ware of Eastern and Central Europe, and the Bell Beaker culture of Western Europe.

The Bell Beaker culture spread from Central Europe to the Western Atlantic Seaboard, and from Portugal up to Scotland. Classic artifacts include archer burials in round barrows, the bell beaker ware pottery, round scrapers, and barbed and tanged arrowheads. It was the dominant culture of Early Bronze Age Europe.

One suggestion is that it spawned the later Iron Age Celtic cultures, including the classic Western Atlantic Seaboard Celtic Culture. This culture may have simply evolved locally and through trade links along that seaboard.

The Irish study above supports the Yamnaya hypothesis. It supports displacement during the Early Bronze Age, and that the present day, fairly homogeneous population of Ireland, largely descends from Copper Age Eurasian Steppe pastoralists.

Okay, so what if we apply that also to the late prehistoric British populations? Scottish and West British today appear to have a close genetic distance to the Irish. How about the lowland SE British? It might be the case, that they had fresh admixture, exchanged with the Continent, and particularly with the expanding Germanic cultures. These events could have occurred even during late prehistory.

Now People of the British Isles (POBI) Study 2015:

http://www.peopleofthebritishisles.org/nl6.pdf

This genetic study looked at the British Isles including Northern Ireland, but excluding the Republic of Ireland. It tested a large sample group of present day British with known local ancestry.

Key points.

  • Orkney had the most distinctive population, with a known high percentage of Norse ancestry.

  • The Welsh were distinct from the English. However, they were the most diverse group, with a clear division between the North Welsh and South Welsh. Cornwall was also distinctive from English.

  • Northern Ireland clusters with Scottish.

  • There was no homogeneous shared British “Celtic” population. The Scottish, North Welsh, South Welsh, and Cornish being quite distinct from each other.

  • The South-East British (most of the English) were surprisingly homogeneous, although the boundaries of the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms could still be distinguished.

  • The Continental Anglo-Saxon contributiion to present day English people appeared to be circa 10% to 40%. This contradicts Bede's claims of a genocide. The English descend more from earlier British populations than they do from Anglo-Saxon immigrants.

  • Although the Norwegian Viking contribution to Orkney was distinctive, the Danish contribution to Eastern England could not be detected. This may be because of the close genetic distance between Danish Viking and some earlier Anglo Saxon settlers makes it impossible to see.

  • Although there was no “Celtic Fringe”, the Welsh appear to be closest to the late prehistoric British population.

  • Any Iberian contribution appears to be tiny and insignificant.

  • There appeared to be a contribution in Southern Britain, particularly in Cornwall, from a population shared today by the North French. This contribution appears to have occurred during late prehistory and is historically unknown.

Okay, so that is suggesting a diversity across the British Isles that extends into Prehistory. A key finding to this thread is that it found the English to be an admixed population, with earlier British ancestry dominating Anglo Saxon ancestry from the Continent.

Finally, I think it is worthwhile bringing up another recent study:

Iron Age and Anglo Saxon Genomes from Eastern England. Schiffels, Haak, etal. 2015.

This qualitative study focused on ancient DNA from a number of Iron Age and Anglo Saxon cemeteries in the Cambridge area of SE England, referenced against modern populations.

Key points.

  • The East English derive 38% of their ancestry from Anglo-Saxon immigrants

  • The closest genetic distances on the Continent between the Anglo Saxon settlers and present day Europeans was to the Dutch and Danish.

  • They found evidence of admixture and intermarrying. Individuals with both Iron Age British, and Anglo Saxon ancestry.

  • People of Iron Age British ancestry were adopting and embracing Anglo-Saxon culture and grave goods.

  • The richest graves were of local Iron Age British ancestry (with Anglo Saxon cultural artifacts). The poorest graves were recent Anglo-Saxon arrivals.

My conclusion:

  • We have to be careful about who we regard as the Celts. A Celtic culture did exist, but it wasn’t necessarily brought to the British Isles and Ireland by an Iron Age people. It may have developed on the Western Atlantic Seaboard from earlier Bronze Age peoples.

  • Those Bronze Age peoples, predominantly descended, from Eurasian Steppe Pastoralists, that had swept across Europe, bringing innovations. They are the oldest peoples of Ireland and the British Isles, but they did not form a homogeneous Celtic Fringe. There must be more to it.

  • The Anglo-Saxon event in SE Britain was a major and significant migration. However, it was not the genocide of Bede's claims. Hengist and Horsa were clearly mythological origin characters akin to Romulus and Remus.

  • The modern day English are an admixed population. They have a foot both in earlier British ancestry, and in Anglo-Saxon / North Sea migration.

On the Trail of our Y Ancestor

Locator map Iran South Khorasan Province

Early examinations of the Chandler / Brooker Southern English L-M20 Y haplogroup samples, seem to be suggesting that they share a common ancestor quite recently, perhaps between 300 and 600 years ago.  That might mean that a Y ancestor carried the haplogroup into England, perhaps between the 13th and 17th centuries AD.

Where did that Y-DNA come from?  It could have been carried directly by one Y ancestor from a homeland, or it could have transported to England gradually over many generations, from a homeland in Western Asia.

An early match has been forwarded by Caspian, forum user at Anthropogenica.  It is a 111 STR marker, from Birjand / Southern Khorasan, in Eastern Iran.

Could this be the home of our Brooker family Y ancestors?  That is to say, if I was to trace my father, back to his father, to his father - and to continue along this route, might I eventually find my ancestors on this paternal line, in Eastern Iran?  It's an early possibility.  More data, more tests, might eventually give me a better answer.

The STR evidence linked on a Google Sheet.


Edit. 25th May 2016

Early analysis by Gareth Henson, informally suggests a tmrca (time since most recent common ancestor) between myself and the guy in Eastern Iran, of circa 3,000 years ago, or if you prefer, 1000 BC. That would mean that we shared a common lineage until around the time of the Later Bronze Age in British terms. Our common  Y ancestor most likely lived nearer to his home in Western Asia than to mine in North West Europe. 

That isn't long ago. It might suggest that our most recent common ancestor lived in Western Asia around about the time of a series of tensions and conflicts  between Greeks and Persians.  On the other hand, Anthropogenica user Anabasis, using the Clan McDonald TMRCA Calculator, suggests a more recent date, around 1,800 to 1,500 years ago.  That in his words puts it into a context of "In that times Roman - Sasanian wars happened along Eastern Anatolia. Greek- Persian wars were 1 millennium earlier.".  However, he warns, that STR data is not a trustworthy indicator of a TMRCA.

What I love though, is that it stirs the imagination.  Whether 1,500 years ago, or 3,000 years ago - I, an East Anglian, had a paternal ancestor somewhere most likely, between Eastern Anatolia, and Afghanistan.