My Ancestral Events Mapped

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

My Mother's Ancestral Events.

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

My Father's Ancestral Events

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

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

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

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

Comparing the ancestry results of two raw files from the same tester (myself) uploaded to

Paper trail and family history 100% SE English, mainly East Anglian. 249 direct ancestors named in documentary research.

23andMe result before phasing (spec mode):
100% European broken into
94% Northwestern Europe
3% Southern Europe
3% unassigned European

Broken down further to:
32% British & Irish
27% French & German
7% Scandinavian
29% Broadly NW European
0.5% Iberian
2.4% Broadly South European

23andMe result after phasing with one parent (spec mode):
100% European
96% Northwestern European
1.8% Southern European
2.2% Broadly European

Broken down further to:
37% British & Irish
22% French & German
1% Scandinavian
36% Broadly NW European
1.8% Broadly Southern European

FT-DNA Family Finder My Origins.
100% European

Broken down further to:
36% British Isles
32% Southern Europe
26% Scandinavia
6% Eastern Europe

Now I am comparing the two raw files for the same person, uploaded to, and analysed for ancestry, by

23andMe V4 raw file for myself on

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
100% West Eurasian
75% North West European
25% Balkan

Just for more information:

My mother's 23andMe raw file on on
100% West Eurasian
80% North West European
10% South European (broken into 7.7% South/Central Europe / 2.4% Balkan)
6.4% Finnish
2.3% Sardinian
1.5% Ambiguous 


Phasing on 23andme suggested that I inherit (in spec mode) nearly 1% Southern European from each parent. That each of my very East Anglian parents had a Southern European ancestor within the past 300 - 500 years is highly unlikely, considering 1) the paper trail, and 2) local history in this rural area. Therefore I feel that this reflects much older background ancestry for the local SE English population. Ancient DNA calculators also predict that I have higher than average levels of ENF/EEF than other local populations such as the Irish and Scottish, and lower levels of ANE. This appears associated with my Southern European flavour that some tests suggest as a minority percentage. FT-DNA suggested 32% Southern European! Some commentators have suggested that this might indicate significant French admixture to the SE English population, perhaps during the Norman and Medieval periods, carrying a southern signal higher into lowland Britain. Earlier admixture into Lowland Britain from the south, is also possible during late prehistory and the Roman period. has been noted for a bias to predicting both Balkan, and Finnish ancestry for testers, and my results are no exception. I feel that as with all current autosomal DNA test/analysis for ancestry, that has a way to go. As with the other predictors, it is very successful at recognising me as 100% European (although ironically my Y-DNA is Western Asian). It is fair at spotting me as NW European, but NOT as successful as 23andMe. Below that level, once again it falls down - but I feel that this is understandable, as most predictors fail down for anciently admixed populations such as the English. They are far more successful at spotting for example, Irish/Scottish. For the English, we tend to be ripped across different European populations. The Southern European element is a particular surprise - but all of the testers so far have been confused by this background signal. Dienekes has himself, suggested Southern European DNA coming into England with the Normans:

I'm starting to settle with this hypothesis, although I still have some interest in possible Southern European admixture earlier.

Finally... The two raw files for one person, have produced slightly different results. The FT-DNA raw file has I believe, more tested (but different?) SNPs than the 23andMe file. It would be interesting to know the differences., using the FT-DNA FF file, does not see Finnish, or South/Central European, but enhances the Balkan.

FT-DNA My Ancient Origins

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) have released a new, unexpected feature to their autosomal DNA Family Finder package.  It is clearly aimed at their customers (both new and existing), of mainly European heritage.  It uses ancient DNA references to plot our ancient ancestry.  It breaks European's ancient Eurasian ancestry down into four groups:

  • Hunter-Gatherer (Western Hunter-Gatherer)
  • Farmer (Early Neolithic Farmer)
  • Metal Age Invader (Yamnaya / Bronze Age Steppe immigration)
  • Non European (Other)

First of all, I welcome this new analysis.  Combined with the latest cutting edge research into the origin of the Eurasians, and with other open source calculators of ancient origin available via GedMatch - I feel that it can help us get personal with our ancient Eurasian roots.

However... unfortunately it has faults, as the online community quickly picked up.  In particular, with the Metal Age Invader component.  FT-DNA suggests that it represents the Yamnaya admixture event - where Copper or Early Bronze Age pasturalists, mounted on their horses, expanded from the Pontic and Caspian Steppes of Eurasia, into Europe around 5,000 years ago.  But 1) it doesn't include any ANE (Ancient North Eurasian) component from the Mal'ta-Buret reference, and 2) it of course cannot distinguish it's Western Hunter-Gatherer reference from that inherited directly within Europe or elsewhere.

All that the FT-DNA Metal Age Invader reference appears to represent, is the population known as Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer.  A minority component of Yamnaya DNA as we currently see it.

For the record, as the screendump above shows, my FT-DNA Ancient Origins are:

9% Metal Age Invader

47% Farmer

44% Hunter-Gatherer

0% Non European

Now that I've got that covered, I can move onto my next blog post, which I find more interesting - how I use My Ancient Origins to try to reconstruct my ancestry from 11,000 to 4,000 years ago.

Y Haplotype L1b2c

By Hellerick (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.  Modified by Paul Brooker.

I've created this distribution map of known Y haplogroup L, L1b2c or L-SK1414. This is my Y-DNA haplotype.  Not a lot of dots there are there?  This is how rare that this clade is.  L1a and L1b most likely (in my opinion) originated during the last Ice Age circa 18,000 years ago, south of the Caucasus, and west of the Caspian Sea in Western Asia.  In other words, in the area of present day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and North-west Iran.  Again, I emphasise, that is just my opinion, looking at present-time evidence.

Y haplogroup L itself may have diverged between L1 and L2, not so much earlier, or so far away from this region.  Again, just my present opinion.

My sub clade of L1b, is so rare, that it is impossible to say.  As can be seen from the map.  However, this is my blog, so I'm going to push out on this one.  My very best guess would be further to the East than it's parent.  I suspect South East of the Caspian Sea, in what is now Eastern Iran.  I could well be wrong.  We have so few tests from nearby Afghanistan for example.  So far, the SNP SK1414 has only been reported twice.  1) in Makran, SW Pakistan, in a Balochi speaking man.  Balochi is an Iranian language, closely related to North-West Iranian languages.  Researchers suggest that the Balochi people of Makran, largely migrated from south west of the Caspian.

The only other guy in the world so far confirmed is little old me, an Englishman.  I trace my surname (direct paternal) line back to the Thames Valley of Oxfordshire / Berkshire 270 years ago.  If my biological line follows that.  A number of STR testers of English descent appear connected to me by STR analysis.  They all descend from Thomas Chandler, who lived around the same time as my earliest recorded ancestor - only 32 miles away at Basingstoke.

From all of the evidence, I conclude that my Y ancestral line moved, probably in one generation, from Western Asia, perhaps from he edge of Persia, to Southern England conservatively between 2,000 and 400 years ago.  Although I would speculate between 1,600 and 600 years ago - during the Medieval or close by.

A new test - LivingDNA test for Ancestry

You might think that following my recent posts, that I've lost all faith in DNA testing for Ancestry.  Not at all.  I just object when people take the analysis results of autosomal DNA tests for ancestry, as infallible truths.  They are clearly not.

So far this year, I have commissioned two 23andMe tests, and three FT-DNA tests, a FullGenomes analysis, and a YFull analysis.  I have also used free analysis at WeGene and, and have run three raw files on GEDmatch calculators.  You'd might also think that I've done enough testing for one year!  I thought that as well.  Then a new service just entered the market.

Living DNA Ancestry attracted my commission on two particular points.  1) it has an incredible British reference, that promises to break ancestry composition into 30 British regions - in addition to global analysis.  If it works, then this is a must for people with significant British ancestry.  2) it uses the latest cutting edge test chip.  The latest Illumina chip based on Global Screen Array (GSA).  In addition, it uses a European based lab (Denmark), it tests Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomes.  It tests more SNPs on all three counts, than other current chips used by competitors offering autosomal plus tests.  Raw files for the test results will be available for download.

The British Reference

Living DNA will be using a British reference broken down into an incredible 30 regions, across England, Scotland, Wales, Orkney, and Northern Ireland.  The reference uses the much heralded POBI (Peopling of the British Isles 2015) data set.  This project collected 4,500 blood samples from people that could claim four grandparents in the same area, from across the regions of Britain.

A little about the POBI project below:

The British reference does not include the Republic of Ireland.  However, LivingDNA are confident that they have collected a good global reference, and I understand, that they are seeking a similar quality Irish data-set for the future.  

In comparison, other providers of DNA tests for ancestry, only reference to Britain, or the British Isles & Ireland, as a single reference point.  And as can be seen by my previous posts, with limited success.

They also hope to provide imports for formats of raw file from other test companies in the future.  LivingDNA do not themselves currently offer relative matching, or health information.  Their service is for now, primarily for ancestry.

The Chip

They will be using a custom version of the latest Illumina chip technology, the Global Screen Array (GSA).  It is encoded with:

650,000 autosomal DNA SNPs

20,000 Y-DNA SNPs

4,000 MT-DNA SNPs.

In comparison for example, the 23andMe V4 chip scans for:

577,000 atDNA SNPs

2,329 Y-DNA SNPs

3,100 MT-DNA SNPs.

I hope that LivingDNA will also use up-to-date haplogroup nomenclature and information.  23andMe with their V4 chip still use very dated 2009 nomenclature.

So, let's see if this new service is any improvement to my results, compared with the hit and miss of 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA (FT-DNA).  Will they be able to identify and locate my English roots successfully?  What will the improved chip make of my haplogroups?

The Southern European DNA enigma. Option 1. The DNA Analysis is true

My great grandfather Fred Smith, and my great Uncle Lenny.

Option 1.  The DNA Analysis for Ancestry is true

This option supports the commercial DNA for ancestry companies claim, that I have Southern European ancestry.  For this to be the case, my Southern European ancestors must have either a) been hidden in the gaps, the missing ancestors.  b) be NPE (non parental events - biological ancestors that are contrary to recorded ancestors.  Usually male). c) predate my genealogical record over the past 360 years or d) my recorded genealogy is faulty.  I have badly researched my ancestry and have made mistakes.

What gaps are there?  All of my generations are complete to and including my Generation 5.  I have all of the names of my 16 direct ancestors at that generation (great great grandparents).  All appear totally English, of English religious denominations.  Their surnames and location were: Brooker of London (previously Oxfordshire), Shawers of London, Baxter of Norfolk, Barber of Norfolk, Smith of Norfolk, Peach of Norfolk, Barber (again) of Norfolk, Ellis of Norfolk, Curtis of Norfolk, Rose of Norfolk, Key of Norfolk, Goffen of Norfolk, Tammas-Tovell of Norfolk, Lawn of Norfolk, Thacker of Norfolk, and Daynes of Norfolk.

I have photographs of three of them.

Everything looks utterly English - the majority East Anglian.

The gaps start to appear at Generation 6 (G.G.G Grandparents)  Three missing male ancestors - all missing fathers of illegitimate births.  29 out of 32 direct ancestors recorded though.  All appear English again:  

Brooker of Oxfordshire, Edney of Oxfordshire, Shawers of London, Durran of London (previously Oxfordshire), Baxter of Norfolk, Barber of Norfolk, Smith of Norfolk, Hewitt of Norfolk, Peach of Lincolnshire, Riches of Norfolk, Barber of Norfolk, Ellis of Norfolk, Goodram of Norfolk, Curtis of Norfolk, Larke of Norfolk, Rose of Norfolk, Barker of Norfolk, Key of Norfolk, Waters of Norfolk, Goffen of Norfolk, Nichols of Norfolk, Tovell of Norfolk, Tammas of Norfolk, Lawn of Norfolk, Springall of Norfolk, Thacker of Norfolk, Daynes of Norfolk, Quantrell of Norfolk.  Oh, and a "Mary Ann" of Norfolk.

Again, all English, English religious denominations.  Mainly rural working class East Anglian.  No sign of any foreigners.

The record does start to really fall away at Generation 8.  From then on, it's a minority of lines recorded, stretching back to the 1680's.  However, at no where on my record of 207 direct ancestors, do I see anything that looks remotely non-English, never mind Southern European.  No sign of any Catholicism anywhere.

Let's just consider percentages of DNA though.

Each grandparent gives me 25% on average.

Generation 3 (grandparent) 12.5%

Generation 4 (great grandparent) 6%

Generation 5 (great great grandparent) 3%

Generation 6 (G.G.G grandparent) 1.5%

Beyond then genetic recombination starts to really kick in, and you may have zero DNA from any particular ancestral lineage.  It get's washed out.  Only if it comes down from a number of lines is admixture highly likely to survive further back.

23andMe (V4 AC in spec after phasing with one parent) claims that both of my parents had 2% Southern European DNA.  That takes it back to around MY Generation 6 or 7.  Sure, I'm missing 9% of Generation 6, and 20% of Generation 7.  My Southern European ancestors could have admixed then.  But what are the chances of it happening on both sides?  Possible, yes.  I think unlikely though.  No Southern European names or religions passed down.  When was this? Around 1780 to 1820.  Okay, if I want to piece national history into it, how about The Peninsular Wars (1807-1814)?  The Royal Norfolk Regiment took an active part in that campaign.  Could I have (presumably male) ancestors through both of my parents, that brought back Portuguese wives?  It is a possibility.  I'll acknowledge that.  But am I weaving history in order to make it fit the DNA analysis?

FT-DNA (FF My Origins) claims that I have 32% "Southern European" ancestry.  No sign of it in family history or photography.  Too much likeness of recorded fathers.  Okay, maybe it goes further back, but on multiple lines?  I think that we are pushing this one.  What is the chance of so many Southern Europeans given my above recorded or known English ancestry.  It couldn't have happened. gives me 19% Southern European, including 13% Balkan.  The same problem as the FT-DNA analysis.  It just doesn't wash.  It cannot fit.

Therefore I conclude:

  1. FT-DNA and claims of my Southern European percentages cannot realistically be explained by gaps or missing ancestors.
  2. 23andMe claims of 2% Southern European could be explained by the missing gaps - just!  But would need quite a coincidence to be on both sides, just in those gaps.

That pretty much covers it for gaps, NPE's, etc.  If any Southern European on the other hand, predates my genealogical record, then it would need to be on multiple lines, and to have lost all sign of Southern European surnames, religions, and traditions.  I haven't seen any history of a mass Southern European migration to England 600 - 400 years ago.

Family Tree DNA Family Finder data V 23andMe raw data on GEDMATCH


I'm South-east English in known paper ancestry, ethnicity, and heritage - mainly Norfolk East Anglian, where I still live, close to many known ancestors. I have 207 recorded ancestors on my tree, over the past 380 years. The majority lived in Norfolk, but some were Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk, and Berkshire. All appear to be English, with English surnames, English religions and denominations, overwhelmingly East Anglian:

Generation 1 has 1 individual. (100.00%)

Generation 2 has 2 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 3 has 4 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 4 has 8 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 5 has 16 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 6 has 29 individuals. (90.62%)

Generation 7 has 51 individuals. (79.69%)

Generation 8 has 47 individuals. (36.72%)

Generation 9 has 36 individuals. (14.84%)

Generation 10 has 10 individuals. (2.34%)

Generation 11 has 4 individuals. (0.39%)

Total ancestors in generations 2 to 11 is 207

I have previously tested 23andMe, FTDNA Y111, and FTDNA Big Y. My Y line is unusual, because it does originate in Western Asia, within the past few thousand years (L1b2c). However, there is no evidence of anything but European in any autosomal tests so far, so other than the Y, it appears to be washed out.

My 23andMe AC in spec mode (after phasing with one parent) is:

100% European

96% NW European

2% South European

2% broadly European

37% British & Irish

22% French & German

1% Scandinavian

36% broadly NW European

2% broadly South European

FTDNA Family Finder - My Origins

36% British Isles

32% Southern European

26% Scandinavian

6% Eastern European

I thought that it would be interesting to compare how a few important GEDMATCH calculators, see my raw data from Family Tree DNA, in comparison to the raw data from 23andMe:


23andMe raw data V ftDNA raw data

Eugenes K13 Oracle

23andMe data

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent

1 North_Atlantic 47.58

2 Baltic 22.36

3 West_Med 15.65

4 East_Med 8.03

5 West_Asian 3.05

6 Red_Sea 1.42

7 Amerindian 0.74

8 South_Asian 0.71

9 Oceanian 0.46

Single population Sharing:

# Population (source) Distance

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

Family Tree DNA data

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent

1 North_Atlantic 47.89

2 Baltic 22.68

3 West_Med 15.45

4 East_Med 7.41

5 West_Asian 3.11

6 Red_Sea 1.38

7 South_Asian 0.84

8 Amerindian 0.72

9 Oceanian 0.52

Single Population Sharing:

# Population (source) Distance

1 Southeast_English 3.75

2 South_Dutch 4.03

3 West_German 5.42

4 Southwest_English 5.68

5 Orcadian 6.33

6 North_Dutch 7.15

7 Danish 7.36

8 Irish 7.59

9 West_Scottish 7.62

10 North_German 7.7

Euogenes EUtest V2 K15

23andMe data

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent

1 North_Sea 33.42

2 Atlantic 27.98

3 West_Med 12.24

4 Baltic 10.42

5 Eastern_Euro 7.04

6 West_Asian 3.52

7 East_Med 3.14

8 Red_Sea 1.48

9 Amerindian 0.39

10 Oceanian 0.19

11 South_Asian 0.18

Single Population Sharing:

# Population (source) Distance

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

Family Tree DNA data

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent

1 North_Sea 33.81

2 Atlantic 28.23

3 West_Med 12.04

4 Baltic 10.59

5 Eastern_Euro 6.84

6 West_Asian 3.66

7 East_Med 2.47

8 Red_Sea 1.46

9 Amerindian 0.35

10 South_Asian 0.31

11 Oceanian 0.25

Single Population Sharing:

# Population (source) Distance

1 Southwest_English 2.29

2 Southeast_English 4.02

3 South_Dutch 4.48

4 Irish 5.78

5 West_Scottish 6.41

6 North_Dutch 6.43

7 West_German 6.63

8 North_German 6.73

9 Danish 7.01

10 Orcadian 7.19

Gedrosia Eurasia K6 Oracle

23andMe data

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent

1 West_European_Hunter_Gartherer 39.18

2 Natufian 38.8

3 Ancestral_North_Eurasian 20.85

4 Ancestral_South_Eurasian 0.82

5 East_Asian 0.35

Family Tree DNA data

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent

1 West_European_Hunter_Gartherer 39.57

2 Natufian 38.66

3 Ancestral_North_Eurasian 20.75

4 East_Asian 0.86

5 Ancestral_South_Eurasian 0.16