Immigration into East Anglia

Hear a sentence like "immigrants in Eastern England", and many people might think of the recent immigration from countries such as Poland, Lithuania, and Romania.  However, I'm interested in the longer picture, and how that has impacted the genetic genealogy of East Anglians.

I have noticed, that my mother's 23andMe ancestral composition, is more similar to those of some Dutch testers, than most Irish, Scottish, or West British testers.  23andme has reported at least one small segment shared with a Dutch tester.  My mother on Ancestry Composition speculative mode, scored only 36% "British & Irish", followed by 13% "French & German", 4% "Scandinavian", 2% "South European", and 40% unassigned "Broadly NW European".

My first reaction was that the 23andme calculators and references were confused by relatively ancient admixture, specifically Early Medieval Immigration between the 5th and 11th centuries AD.  The Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods.

However, I'm beginning to review how I see the history of East Anglia.  I think that like many people, I've underplayed the contribution not only of earlier unrecorded immigration events, but also of ongoing later immigration from the European Continent, into East Anglia.

A shock historical suggestion, is that during the late 16th Century, almost a third of the population of the City of Norwich, belonged to an immigrant community of Dutch, Flemish, and Walloon protestants, that had recently settled there, as refugees from persecution on the Continent.  I don't know how many of these immigrants, into centres such as Norwich, Ipswich, kings Lynn, and Great Yarmouth, left descendants in East Anglia.  My parent's recorded Norfolk ancestry is very rural - outside of Norwich.  However, how much DNA did these more recent immigrants leave behind in Norfolk, and East Anglia as a whole?

The immigration events of the 5th to 11th centuries AD into East Anglia, were most likely the most significant.  However, I believe it is wrong to see them as the only immigration events.  The POBI Study found DNA evidence of an earlier, perhaps late prehistoric immigration from the Continent.  Caesar claimed that the people that he called the Belgae had recently immigrated to South East Britain, from the area that is now Belgium.

Neither were the Anglo-Saxon, Dane-Law, nor Norman immigration events the last to the region.  It continued as a background, with occasional known events, such as the Strangers from what is now Belgium and the Netherlands, to Norwich.  East Anglia has always had stronger connections to across the North Sea, than some other regions of Britain. Therefore it should be no suprise, that my mother, with her strong recorded East Norfolk ancestry, has an autosomal ancestry composition, that resembles the Dutch, more than the Welsh or Irish.

I visited the Bridewell Alley Museum today, for the first time for many years, and picked up a new book: Strangers.  A History of Norwich's Incomers by Frank Meeres 2012.  It's full of references to the history of immigration into Norwich.  I thought that it might be useful, to harvest some of the continental immigrant surnames mentioned in this book:

Medieval

  • Addurge (French)
  • Asger (Bruges, Belgium).
  • de Norwege (Norway)
  • Dutchman
  • Glasier (French)
  • Hensser  (Dutch)
  • Isborne 
  • Jevort (French)
  • Johnson (Dutch)
  • Kempe de Gaunt (Ghent)
  • Kenneton (French)
  • Mouner  (French)
  • Oreng (French)
  • Peterson (Dutch)
  • Petirson (Dutch)
  • Rijsel (Flemish)
  • Tiphany (French)

In 1343, a boat capsized at Cantley.  It had passengers from Latvia and Sweden.

The Strangers 1560 - 1600 AD

In 1571, a return of the Strangers, recorded that there were 4,013 Strangers in Norwich.  This included 868 Dutchmen, and 203 Walloon men.

  • Bateman
  • Clarebote (Winnezele)
  • Clapettia
  • Clercke (Dutch)
  • Baet
  • Bake (Ypres)
  • Bartingham (Dutch)
  • Coene (Ypres)
  • Dedecre (Dutch)
  • De Linne
  • De Mol
  • De Turk (Flanders)
  • Der Haghe
  • Des Passett
  • Faber (East Flanders)
  • Goddarte
  • Gruter (Antwerp)
  • Herjtes (Flemish)
  • Hodgeson (Dutch)
  • Johnson (Dutch)
  • Keerlinck (Ypres)
  • Lewalle (Walloon)
  • Moded (Antwerp)
  • Navegeer
  • Le Dente
  • Poultier (Dieppe)
  • Powells (Dutch)
  • Steene (Dutch)
  • Vamboute (St Jans-Kappel)
  • Van Brugen (Dutch)
  • Waells (Houtkerke)
  • Wervekin (Ypres)

These are just the surnames of some of the Norwich Strangers, mentioned in the above book.  Just how much did they, and others, contribute though, to the genealogy of Norfolk and East Anglia.  Most belonged to aspiring classes of artisans and merchants.  Weavers, printers, hat makers, etc.  How much of their DNA might have seeped into the surrounding countryside?

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.

The Chandler-Brooker Y haplogroup L1b (L-M317)

Link to STR data for Southern English L M20 (Brooker / Chandler)

My Family Tree DNA Y111 STR test results are in.  Only yesterday, I predicted that ftDNA kit number 29369 could be of particular interest.  That prediction has now been proven correct.  Here is what I have learned since yesterday.

The 12 marker STR kit belonged to a descendant of a Thomas Chandler, that lived 1728 to 1782 at Basingstoke, Hampshire.  Although only 12 markers - it proved a perfect match for my first 12.  100%.  Family Tree DNA rated it's genetic distance as zero.

Basingstoke, Hampshire by modern road is only 32 miles (51 km) from Long Wittenham, Berkshire (now Oxon), where my surname ancestor, John Brooker lived, at the same time.  Based on the limitation of a 12 marker comparison, FTDNA give 71% confidence to the testers sharing a common Y ancestor within 12 generations, and 91% confidence of us sharing a common Y ancestor within 24 generations.  I'd say that suggests that myself and the present day descendant of Thomas Chandler, shared a common Y ancestral lineage until between circa 1500 and 1700.

So most likely, between the 16th and 17th centuries inclusive, the Y chromosome moved between two surnames, what we call an NPE (non parental event).  Usually either illegitimacy, where the Y-DNA detached from the surname of the biological father, or simply, the biological father of an ancestor, was not the husband of their mother.  This event most probably occurred in England, somewhere in the Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire area.  Both my Brooker lineage record, and the Chandler record, merge somewhere in that area.

It gets better.  Searches on FT-DNA, ySearch, and an email trail, revealed more Chandler Y cousins with an L haplogroup. All together, I have today found two 12 marker STR tests, that match my first 12 markers perfectly, with a prediction of zero genetic distance.  I have found another 12 marker with  slight difference, and a genetic distance of 1.  I have found a 37 marker test with some differences, but that still gives a genetic distance of 3.  A comparison with the Y37 test result, predicts 78% confidence of sharing a most recent common ancestor with me within 12 generations, and a 99% confidence of us sharing common Y descent within 24 generations.  This correlates quite nicely with the two perfect 12 marker testers.  All four testers are descended on the paternal line from Chandlers in the Basingstoke area.

The Chandlers of Basingstoke

The FT-DNA Chandler Surname Project is very well managed through the Chandler Family Association.  The three Y12 test kits, that hail from a Basingstoke ancestor, and have proven to belong to the exclusive L M20 Y-DNA haplogroup, have been clustered together as Chandler Group 10.  If our surname was Chandler, rather than Brooker, my Y111 results would fit perfectly into this cluster.  This is because we shared a common paternal lineage, until between 500 and 320 years ago.

Origins of the Chandler-Brooker L1b Y haplogroup

That one has still to be answered.  I'll be consulting others, the Y haplogroup L project administrator, and looking forward to my Big Y test, which is scheduled to take place soon.  However, judging by how very few L-M317 Y haplogroup carriers have so far been recorded in the British Isles, or in North West Europe; I'd dare to propose that the common paternal ancestor of both lines, most likely had not been in England for very long.  Perhaps they could for have example, have carried the Y-DNA here as a 16th or 17th century protestant refugee?  Maybe not, they could have equally been a merchant, an artisan, a servant, a mercenary, or have arrived in another capacity - if indeed they did arrive here that recently.  There is no indication in neither the Brooker or Chandler surname of anything but a medieval English origin (unless originally Bruche, or Chandelier?).

If the common ancestor did arrive that late, where did he come from?  What modern population elsewhere most resembles his Y-DNA?  Hopefully, the Big Y test will help to answer that.  Meanwhile my untrained eyes see correlations within many of the STR markers of people that descend from the Pontic Greek community, that once lived in Eastern Anatolia, and around the Black Sea area of Western Asia.  Of course, the Y-DNA might not have been carried to Southern England from such a homeland within one generation.  It could have been?  There is no sign of any West Asian, Balkan, or Caucasus ancestry within my autosomal DNA.  However, even six to eight generations ago - that could be washed out through recombination - leaving only the Y-DNA to tell what would have otherwise remained a lost untold story.  However, it could have moved across via a number of generations.  It will be worth looking out for any evidence of this on results across the Continent.

See also my earlier posts:





Kit Number 26369

Family Tree DNA (ftDNA) is a commercial genetics genealogy company, with a reputation for cornering the market in Y-DNA testing, and in accumulating references for haplogroups.

That map above, that is the sum total of Y haplogroup L submissions on their database for the UK.  All four of them.  The two to the east are L2 and L2a.  The one in Oxfordshire represents my own pending results (expected L1b or L-M317).  Just to the south of that, the SW representative, is kit number 26369.

The cluster in Central Europe, is the "Rhine Danube Cluster", but that is L1a (L M349).

So you see, except for kit 26369, my Y haplogroup is way out here, like a distant satellite on it's own.  So what is Kit 26379?  Well, it is only a Y12 STR test result.  Predicted to M20, but it has been assigned to L-M317 un-clustered.  Up to now!  It's located only 32 miles south of my surname line during the 1740's.  Could it relate to our line?

STR:

11 23 15 10 11-17 11 12 12 14 14 31

Time will tell.  My Y111 test should take place within the next month.

A DNA Reference for East Anglian Ancestry

GEDmatch Kit M786040

 The above map of East Anglia, plots the ancestral events from my Gramps genealogical database, for my mother's ancestry alone.  All 100% of the events in her family history occur in East Anglia, with a significant concentration on the loam soils of East Norfolk, north of the River Yare, and shouldering up to the marshes of the Halvergate Triangle.  It includes events for the immediate families of 127 direct ancestors, stretching back to the 1680's in places.  Events include such things as births, baptisms, marriages, burials, deaths, census records, occupations, residence, etc.

Surnames include: Tovell, Tovil, Tammas, Tovell-Tammis, Lawn, Gorll, Gaul, Rowland, Dawes, Curtis, Key, Goffen, Goffin, Waters, Merrison, Morrison, Smith, Dove, Porter, Springall, Thacker, Daynes, Daines, Quantrill, Wymer, Rix, Hagon, Page, Nichols, Nicholes, Shepherd, Ransby, Briggs, Barker, Rose, Brooks, Larke, Dingle, Annison, Britiff, Symonds, Sales, Jacobs, Yallop, Moll, Hewitt, Osborne, Ginby, Ling, Briting, Hardyman, Hardiment, and Norton.  Surnames are all English or of Anglo-Danish origin.

Recorded religions are: Anglican Church of England, Baptist, Congregationalist (Presbyterian), Methodist, and Weslyan Methodist.  No Roman Catholicism, Islam, or Judaism.

The area has no significant immigration events in recent centuries, however, it has long held connections with the Dutch.  It is not near to the drained Fens (to the West of East Anglia), so would not have attracted any significant immigrant labour.  The City of Norwich has had communities of strangers, including medieval Jews, and more substantially, protestant refugees during the 16th century, from the Netherlands.   French Huguenots followed to Norwich.

The best known immigration to East Anglia, took place during the 4th to 11th centuries AD, from across the North Sea.  The elites of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom, claimed descent from the Angles, from Angeln  in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Northern Germany, that borders Denmark.  The area is rich in Anglo-Danish place-names.  East Anglia fell deep into the Dane-law.

Generation 2 has 2 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 3 has 4 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 4 has 8 individuals. (100.00%)

Generation 5 has 15 individuals. (93.75%)

Generation 6 has 30 individuals. (93.75%)

Generation 7 has 28 individuals. (43.75%)

Generation 8 has 26 individuals. (21.88%)

Generation 9 has 10 individuals. (4.69%)

Generation 10 has 4 individuals. (0.78%)

Total direct ancestors in generations 2 to 10 is 127.

The above photograph is of the wedding of my mother's parents, at Limpenhoe, Norfolk, in 1932.  It includes four of my great grandparents, and a great great grandmother.

I like to present my mother's heritage as a good reference for an area of particular interest.  An area that saw substantial early medieval immigration and admixture, from across the North Sea.  23andMe reports our haplogroup as H6a1.  Uploading the raw data to James Lick's mthap analyser, and to WeGene, both give a best match of H6a1a8.

That so much of her recorded ancestry, is so deeply rooted into East Anglia over the past 330 years, and particularly that one part of Norfolk, would suggest that she has strong East Anglian ancestry stretching back at least to the early medieval, and perhaps earlier.  I have recorded marriage between third, and second cousins, within her East Norfolk direct ancestry.  

        
Update 11th May 2016.

Her results are in.

23andMe AC (Ancestry Composition) standard mode:

European 100%  Broken into:

NW European 78%  Broken into:

  • British & Irish 9%
  • French & German 1%
  • The rest, broadly NW European 69%

Broadly European 22%

23andMe AC Speculative mode:

European 100%  Broken into:

NW European 93%  Broken into:

  • British & Irish 36%
  • French & German 13%
  • Scandinavian 4%
  • The rest, broadly NW European 40%

South European 2%

Sub Saharan African 0.1%

  • East African <0.1%

Eurogenes     K13

Oracle.  Closest single population:

  1. SE English   Distance 4.9
  2. South Dutch    Distance 5.19
  3. West German   Distance 6.23
  4. SW English   Distance 6.99
  5. Orcadian   Distance 7.19

Oracle-4 Closest two populations mixed:

  • 50% South_Dutch +50% Southeast_English @ 4.49

Oracle-4.  Closest three population mixed:

  • 50% Southeast_English +25% Southwest_Finnish +25% Spanish_Aragon @ 3.49

Oracle-4.  Closest four populations mixed:

  1. North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Valencia @ 2.92
  2. North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Murcia @ 3.10
  3. North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon @ 3.13
  4. North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Spanish_Aragon @ 3.25
  5. North_Swedish + Portuguese + Southeast_English + Southeast_English @ 3.28

Eurogenes EU Test V2 K15

Oracle Closest single population:

  1. South Dutch   Distance 4.02
  2. SW English   Distance 4.3
  3. SE English   Distance 5.04
  4. Irish   Distance 6.72
  5. North German   Distance 7.15

Oracle-4 Closest two populations mixed;

  • 50% South_Dutch +50% Southwest_English @ 3.45

Oracle-4 Closest three population mixed:

  • 50% Danish +25% Southwest_English +25% Southwest_French @ 1.57

Oracle-4 Closest four population mixed;

  1. French_Basque + North_Swedish + West_German + West_Scottish @ 1.22
  2. French_Basque + Irish + North_Swedish + West_German @ 1.26
  3. French_Basque + Norwegian + Norwegian + South_Dutch @ 1.39
  4. French_Basque + North_Swedish + Southeast_English + West_German @ 1.44
  5. Danish + French_Basque + Norwegian + South_Dutch @ 1.46

Eurogenes ANE K7

  1. Western/Unknown Hunter-gatherer 64%
  2. Early Neolithic Farmer 19%
  3. Ancient North Eurasian 14%
  4.  Ancestral South Eurasian 1.7%

Eurogenes Hunter Gatherer V Farmer

  1. Baltic Hunter Gatherer 54%
  2. Mediterranean Farmer 36%
  3. Anatolian Farmer 6.7%
  4. Middle Eastern Herder 1.3%

23andMe Neanderthal Ancestry

  • estimated 2.9%

DNA.land

West Eurasian 100%  Broken into:

North/Central European 80%

South European 10%:

  • Italian 8%
  • Balkan 2%

Finnish 6%

Sardinian 2%

WeGene

  • French 59%
  • Britons 32%
  • Finns 8%                                                                                                            

An Anglo-Saxon Bias Confirmed

We want to understand the past, our past, but how we interpret that past always depends on our own personal bias.  Our culture, our class, our political and religious stance.  Doing history is about writing a story, and you do it from a perspective, rarely as an objective.

My perspective is that of a 21st Century rural working class guy in his fifties.  My bias is that I am an atheist and a liberal that grew up in a Post Fordist society, during the Arms Race, followed by 911, and the War on Terror.  That sounds ridiculous, but the truth is that how we see the distant past, is tempered by our life time experiences.

During the early parts of the 20th Century, British antiquarians and archaeologists would proudly raise different shaped skulls, bronze axe heads, and pottery shards at conferences, announcing that they represented the "collared urn people", or the "pond barrow culture" the "La Tene" or what not.  These time travellers had grown up and experienced times of imperialism, colonisation, international upheaval, world war, and genocide.  They were as often as not, politically conservative, middle class, men, and yeah, if it matters, white.  They saw every trench level of artefact changes as evidence of population displacement, invasion, genocide.

Then following years of relative world peace, anti-war protests, and social reforms, the universities and colleges started to churn out a new breed of professional archaeologist - from a variety of backgrounds.  They argued that "pots were not people", they argued for "continuity, admixture, and cultural exchange".  As they saw it, a change in artefacts, cultures, even perhaps of languages, did not always prove displacement.  They grew up in a time of peace.  They saw peace.

That age recently ended.  The past six or seven years has seen a resurrection of ideas of invasion, displacement, Indo-European expansion, and maybe even of ancient genocides.  It is as though we have returned to those antiquarian conferences, only the actors are no longer middle class historians, but online enthusiasts, and it is no longer bronze weapons or pots that they hold up as their artefacts, but haplogroups, DNA, and PIE (proto Indo-European language).  A popular revolution with a conservative theme.  Pots might not always be people, but SNPs (snips) may well be, they jeer.

So in this post 911 World, here I am acknowledging my prejudice, my bias.  I am not opposed to the new popularist wave of displacement hypothesis.  Some of it does sound dangerously nationalist, even xenophobic.  A struggle for survival, as one Y chromosome replaces a less fit haplogroup, almost as if proposed by a perverted social take on Darwinism.  The online bulletin boards on the front line of this debate are full of posts by banned members.  I actually welcome the new ideas, the revival, the challenge of acceptance.  That so many online enthusiasts are involved, rather than the merely elitist professionalised academics has to be a good, more democratic thing.  However, I also tend to look for a concession.  I think yes, the revisionist archaeologists out of the post-war universities went too far.  But as do many of the new genetic warriors today.

With that in mind, I'm going to share my own prejudiced view of the origins of Anglo-Saxon England with this post.

The humble Dutch immigrant

People have been building boats and travelling out of sight of the coast, for a very long time.  More than 8,000 years ago, Neolithic farmers were doing it, to colonise places like Cyprus and Crete.  Britain had long been an island, when the first Neolithic farmers arrived here.

Britain has two main spheres of influence.  1) The West (or if you prefer "Celtic West", looks to the Irish and Atlantic seaboards that connect the West of Britain to Ireland, Brittany, the Highlands and perhaps even Northern Iberia.  2) The East (or if you prefer the English south-east), that is a part of the "the North Sea World", looks to the low countries, the north German coast, and even to Scandinavia for trade, influence, and exchange.  How far back do these two spheres go?  I'd say all of the way back.  People didn't simply wait until AD 410 to hop onto a boat, I cannot accept that.

My first confession of bias, is that I do not believe that Anglo-Saxon England was born in AD 410.  I think that it had a North Sea influence much earlier than that.  Perhaps that is what the POBI 2015 study (people of the British Isles) found when they assessed the English to be a very homogeneous population, but with a mystery shared ancestry with the French, that appeared to date back long before AD 410.  Perhaps we should take more notice of Caesar's assertion, that the British Isles had recently been colonised by the Belgae.  Perhaps we shouldn't dismiss all of the suggestions by Stephen Oppenheimer, that there was an ancient Saxon presence in south-east Britain, and that the Belgae were a part of their story.

That is my first confession.  I think that the English have been around Britain longer than from AD 410.

My second confession.  I don't see an Anglo Saxon invasion, simply followed a few centuries later by a Viking army.  I see instead, immigrant farmers from what is now Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Germany, and Denmark, arriving in South-east Britain in drips and waves between perhaps late prehistory, and the 12th century.  Immigrants more than invaders.  Fitting in where they could.  Grabbing what was available.  Perhaps they were fleeing fealties and bonds in their own countries.  Late Roman Britain suffered from uprisings, disputes, insecurity, and political weaknesses.  The economy collapsed, administration collapsed, society was in tatters.  It was easy to row past immigration control in the forms of the deserted Roman shore fort at Burgh, evade paying a tax, and to land at Reedham.

I can imagine that when they landed, they would have been met by others, already familiar with their dialects, eager to trade, and to sell services.  Guide them to the best cut of new land, or land that could be drained.  The economy was in collapse, local elites would have been ready to break with tradition, make deals with hard working immigrants.  Allocate land to work.  Who cares if it had bypassed the Imperial authorities, it was cheap and flexible.

So what I am suggesting is that the Anglo-Saxon invasion in places like the coastline and river valleys of East Anglia may not have been such a big hitter.  Instead of helmeted Angles and Saxons roaring up the beaches waving their swords, that the change could have been a little gentler, less confrontational.  Gildas and Bede, with their stories of Hengist and Horsa, could have been the outraged Daily Mail Editorial of their day "invading immigrants, raping our women, nicking our land!!".  Recent studies of cemeteries in the Cambridge area, have supported this hypothesis, with evidence that a) locals mimicked the culture of the immigrants, b) they inter-married, and c) the poorest were actually recent immigrants.  Source.

I'm not saying that it happened this way, it's just an alternative perspective.  Poor Dutch and German farmers looking for a better life in Britannia.  That might have been the scene in 5th Century East Anglia.  Of course, the good times couldn't roll forever.  New elites emerged, and started to exploit the fealties again.  Once again, the poor got poorer.  Feudalism established....

The trickle of immigrants probably continued.  The trade and contact across the North Sea didn't just go away.  Perhaps there was a secondary wave during the 9th Century AD, that which we associate with the Dane-Law.  Perhaps they were from the area of Denmark, but were they raging horned helmeted Vikings?  Sea levels had recently dropped ever so slightly, making new land at Flegg in Norfolk, actually of use, with just a little bit of drainage - as other new land would have been.  No wonder places like that are dotted with Anglo-Danish place-names.

Was this period though, just a continuation of what had preceded?  We could extend this in a way.  Norwich and Great Yarmouth became host to a number of Dutch protestants during the early 15th Century.  Later it was the Huguenots.  There always was a Dutch influence in East Norfolk.  During the early 20th Century, Anglo-Dutch sugar beet consortiums even carved up the landscape of the area.  Was this nothing new?

But I'm biased...

More posts like this one:

There was no British Genocide

There was no British Genocide II


Autosomal DNA Tests for Genealogy

First a disclaimer.  I'm very new to the whole world of genetic genealogy.  I'm not new however, to traditional genealogy, and I do have a pretty good amateur understanding of relative archaeological and anthropological discussions over the past fifty years.  The following is not meant as a critique of genetic genealogy, so much as a review, or my experience, of ancestry composition based on autosomal DNA analysis.

Let's start with my paper trail.

Traditional Genealogy

I am English by ethnicity, British by nationality, and a subject of Queen Elizabeth II (often now referred to as a UK Citizen).

My paper recorded ancestry consists of the genealogical records of:

  • 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 49 individuals. (76.56%)
  • Generation 8 has 35 individuals. (27.34%)
  • Generation 9 has 24 individuals. (10.16%)
  • Generation 10 has 10 individuals. (2.34%)
  • Generation 11 has 4 individuals. (0.39%)
  • Total ancestors in generations 2 to 11 is 181. (9.04%)

All 181 ancestors, reaching back to the 1690's, appear to be English born, of English ethnicity, with English surnames.  The majority of them (100% on my mother's side, and 81% on my father's side) were East Anglian, with the vast majority of that percentage being born in the county of Norfolk.  Religions recorded or indicated were CofE Anglican or non-conformist Christian.  No sign of any Catholicism, Islam, or Judaism.

Therefore it would look pretty likely, that I can claim English heritage, wouldn't you agree?

Genetic Genealogy and Ancestry Prediction

There are three aspects or avenues of inquiry, available for genetic genealogy.  First of all, the two sex haplogroups; the y-DNA, and the mt-DNA. These two "signals" are referred to as haplogroups.

  1. The y-DNA.  This follows the Y chromosome.  It is only carried by men.  It is passed along the paternal line, and only by that line, from grandfather, down to father, down to son, until the line is broken.  What a lot of people do often misunderstand, is that it does not represent 50% of your ancestry.  It does not represent all of your biological father's ancestry.  For example, his mother's father, and her brothers, although on your father's side, would most likely carry a different y-DNA haplogroup.  It only comes down an uninterrupted strictly paternal line.  Even at Generation 7 (g.g.g.g grandparents) above, it would have been carried by one out of my sixty four biological ancestors at that generation.  The other thirty one g.g.g.g grandfathers for that generation may have carried different Y haplogroups.
  2. The mt-DNA.  Although a very different type of DNA, this one works as the opposite sex haplogroup.  It is a signal that is passed down the strictly maternal line, from grandmother, to mother, to her children.  Yes, we men do inherit our mother's mt_DNA, but we can't pass it down.  Only our sisters can.
  3. The au-DNA, better known as Autosomal DNA.  Whereas the former two sex haplogroups are handy, because we can measure their mutations, and track their formation and movement across thousands of years, au-DNA really is the stuff that we are made of - all of the SNPs on our chromosomes that personalise us within the human genome.  We inherit our au-DNA from all of our recent ancestors.  Roughly 50% from our biological mother, and 50% from our biological father.  Equally, we could say on average, 25% from each grandparent, or 12.5% from each great grandparent.  However, it is messy.  At every reproduction (meiosis), it gets messed up by recombination.  Not only that, but go back much more than six generations, and it becomes more and more likely that you can lose entire lineages.  You can have no surviving trace of any DNA from for example, a particular g.g.g.g.g grandparent.

Autosomal DNA is what makes us individuals, gives us our hereditary traits.  It is passed down from many ancestors, via our parents.  However, the sex haplogroups are of interest because they can be traced across the globe, and the millennia.  As we gain more and more data - both from living populations, and ancient DNA from archaeological finds, so we will be able to track the STR and SNP mutation data more precisely.

However, what about poor old messed up autosomal DNA?  It represents our entire biological heritage over many generations. It is what we are. However, making sense of it is less easy, less precise.  Genetic genealogists are making progress, but it is far less of a precise science than either of the haplogroups.  They use calculators, that measure the segments of DNA cross the chromosomes, looking for patterns that they recognise from a number of known reference populations.  From that, these calculators predict an ancestry.  Exactly what and when that ancestry refers to, does seem to vary from one calculator to another.  There is an argument that the precision can be improved if you also test close known relatives including at least one parent.  The results can then be phased.  I'm actually waiting for the results for my mother, so that I can see my own au-DNA ancestry results phased and corrected.

So lets have a bit of fun, and see what some of the calculators suggest for my autosomal DNA, at least before any phasing with my mother's DNA.  What do they make of my 100% English paper ancestry?

23andMe.com Ancestry Composition Standard Mode

99.9% European.

Broken into:

83% NW European

17% Broadly (unassigned) European

I think that's pretty cool.  As I'm getting to know au-DNA predictions, so as I'm learning to appreciate it when they get the right continent, and the right corner of that continent.  That is more than they could do a decade or two ago.  The prediction is correct, I am a NW European.  I'm not a West African, a South Asian, or a East Siberian.

23andMe.com Ancestry Composition Speculative Mode

100% European

Broken into:

94% NW European

3% S European

3% Broadly (unassigned) European.

Whoa, where did that South European come from?  It could just be a stray incorrectly identified signal, or it could be telling me that one of my ancestors, maybe around Generation 6, were from down south!  Lets break down the prediction further.  First, the NW European:

32% British & Irish

27% French & German

7% Scandinavian

But surely I should be 100% British & Irish?  Not only 32%.  I have my own ideas about this.  I think that although 23andMe claims that Ancestry Composition only represents the ancestry of the past 300 to 500 years (the so-called migration period, as sold to USA customers), that it gets confused by earlier migrations across their reference populations, including those during the early medieval period, and perhaps even some of those during late prehistory.  I've noticed that across Ireland and Britain, the further to the east, the more diluted the 23andMe British & Irish assignment.  People of solid Irish ancestry get between 85% and 98% British & Irish.  My East Anglian results, mixed between British & Irish, French & German, and Scandinavian, are actually rather more like those received by Dutch customers of 23andMe.

As for that Southern European prediction, how does that break down?

0.5% Iberian

2.4% Broadly (unassigned) South European.

Which if taken seriously, might suggest that I have an unknown Spanish or Portuguese ancestor around Generation 6.  If I did take it seriously that is.  I wonder what my mother's test will reveal?

DNA.Land.com Ancestry Composition

This is a third party site, that you can upload your 23andMe V4 raw data to, and see what their calculators predict for your ancestry.  It has recently had it's ancestry composition revised.  What did that make of my 100% English au-DNA?

West Eurasian 100%.

I like that designation, the amateur anthropologist in me prefers that broad designation over "European".  Broken down:

77% North/Central European

19% South European

2.4% Finnish

1.3% unassigned.

What?  Why not 100% North/Central European?  Finnish?  Did some early medieval Scandinavian settlers of East Anglia bring it?  Or is it a false signal?  Misidentified au-DNA?

That darned South European kicked in again.  I'm here looking at a biological cuckoo NPE (non-parental event) at around Generation 5 or even more recent!  Did a great grandmother secretly have a South European lover?  But this South European breaks down further:

13% Balkan

6% Italian.

Oh my goodness, whereas 23andMe speculative mode suggested SW Europe - this one suggests SE Europe!  Do I have a secret Albanian great grandfather?  Or is it all nonsense?

WeGene.com

This is a cracking new third party DNA analyser.  It is based in China, and it's predictors appear to calculate mainly for a Chinese market.  It not only predicts your ancestry composition, but also your two sex haplogroups, and lots of traits and health predictions to compliment those of 23andMe.  It even tries to predict your genetic disposition to sexuality!

It will allow you to send your 23andMe V4 raw data direct to it's own calculators.  However, at the moment the website is almost entirely in Chinese (Mandarin?).  There are two options.  1) At the bottom of the webpages is a hyperlink to English, which gives, in English, a basic ancestry composition, and your haplogroups.  It does not include English versions of the health and trait results.  2) use an online translator, such as the one built into the Google Chrome browser.  It actually serves pretty well.

On sex haplogroups they give my Y-DNA as

L1.  Not bad, but they didn't make it to L1b or L-M317.

My mtDNA?

H6a1a8.  Very good.  Better than 23andMe's H6a1, and the same as the mthap program.

But this is about au-DNA, how did they do, what did they make of my 100% English ancestry?

81% French

19% English/Briton

Now, that sounds pretty awful, but on closer inspection, I'm impressed.  No South European great grandfather.  Okay, so most of my DNA has been placed on the wrong side of the Channel.  However, I know that French and English DNA is actually very close.  Recent surveys even suggest that the English have inherited a lot of common ancestry with the French during unknown migration late in prehistory.  So again - they very much got the right corner of the right Continent.  Well done WeGene.

GEDmatch.com Eurogenes K13

GEDmatch is a website that you can upload raw data not only from 23andMe, but from a range of testers, and from V3 chips as well as V4.  It hosts a number of tools and predictors - some Open Source.  Some of these predictors are for Admixture or ancestry composition.  They measure your ancestry in terms of distance from known reference populations.  The lower the number, the closer you are to their reference.  They use calculators known as oracles to predict ancestry, including mixed ancestry or admixture.

The oracles on the Eurogenes K13 and K15 calculator models have a good reputation at working with West Eurasian ancestry.  So how does K13 first, score my 100% English ancestry?

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

I think that's a cracking result.  Okay, it thinks that I'm closer to South Dutch, than I am to SE English, but so close - and my East Anglian ancestry most likely does include a lot of admixture from the Low Countries from the early medieval period.  I really like Eurogenes K13.

Okay, let's now use the Oracle 4 option, to suggest admixture.  First on three populations admixing to create my DNA, what comes closest?

50% Southeast_English +25% Spanish_Valencia +25% Swedish @ 2.087456

Well that's interesting!  The SE English hit the net.  The Swedish?  Could be ancient Scandinavian admixture - but the Iberian prediction has reemerged!

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

Oh my goodness.  K13 agrees with 23andMe AC, that I have an Iberian link.  I'm now really starting to wonder.

Let's finish off by trying K15 on my 100% English ancestry:

GEDmatch.com Eurogenes EU test V2 K15


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

Okay, I'm SE English, not SW English, but pretty impressive again.

Using the oracle 4 for three population admixture, what mix comes closest to my auDNA?

50% Southwest_English +25% Spanish_Castilla_Y_Leon +25% West_Norwegian @ 1.080952

That Iberian back again!

Top five mix ups of populations closest to me?

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

I can't help preferring the K13 results to the EU test V2 K15 - simply because it recognises me better as SE English, rather than to their SW English reference.

Conclusions

If anyone ever bothers reading this far too lengthy post, I hope that I have imparted the following lessons:

  • Don't expect DNA Ancestry tests to pin point an actual country of ancestry.  They're not no where near that good yet.  The populations of West Eurasia, and elsewhere, are actually all mixed up, or share a lot of recent admixture.  In addition, many European nation-states are quite recent inventions.  I've seen the borders of Europe change in my short lifetime.
  • Don't expect precision.  If for example, you are an American, and a 23andMe AC test suggests only 32% British & Irish, then you could actually have 100% English ancestry over the past 300 years!  We're so mixed up, that these tests are struggling to part and identify us by nationality.
  • If you are willing to share your raw data (there are privacy issues), then have fun trying out all of these third party calculators.  It's a lot of fun as you can see.  They rarely agree.  There are other tools on GEDmatch for example, where you can compare DNA along with .gedcom genealogical files with other users - and look for shared segments on the chromosomes.  You can also compare your DNA to that of ancient populations.
  • Treat au-DNA differently to haplogroup results.  au-DNA is very interesting, and represents so much of our ancestry, if we could just sort some of the mess out.  You can partially do this by phasing your results with those of close relatives.  It is worthwhile phasing with at least one biological parent, if you can.  However, haplogroup results, provide by their mutations incredible stories over much longer periods - thousands of years.  A different kind of genealogy.  As we gather more data, and reference it also to ancient-DNA, so it will tell us more and more about two lines of descent.  Perhaps even into historical times.