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From:
Subject: [DNA-R1B1C7] R1b1c7 in Scotland
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 20:17:14 +0000


Hi John, I am not a DNA expert or hardly even a novice but I am a trained genealogist and I have also done extensive studies of Irish and Scottish history.

Thus I agree with you that the Del Riadian event in 500 AD (long before the Ui Neills came to Ulster) could not be the source of the R1b1c7 occuring in Scotland, and I believe DNA evidence supports this claim.

However as Dick pointed out, it is only 12 miles across the Sheugh. You can see one side from the other. Only the most timid of young men would not want to find out what is over there -- in both directions.

However there is no reason to suppose that the Irish Masters would document a constant migration of young men. In fact, modern day scholars have also largely neglected the movement of people who crossed the ocean in the hundreds of thousands to the new worlds of America and Australia. Only recently have scholars in America began to attempt to determine who came and why. This apparently is because the people involved were not the types that historians find interesting, 1500 years ago or now. They were younger sons, criminals, adventurers -- people with no power. Nonetheless many American histories recount the stories of Lord Baltimore and William Penn, etc, but totally neglect the stories of the thousands of people who came to their colonies.

By the same token, in a world where travel across 12 miles of ocean was relatively easy and in fact, occured all the time, why would the Masters take note unless it was someone famous like Finn McCool (who apparently crossed and studied martial arts on a Scottish isle)?

It wasn't the princes and future kings of Ireland who crossed and stayed, or at least, left their mark in the form of DNA. It was the younger sons who had no firm future in Ireland who would have crossed over. A number of Scots clans do claim descent from Ui Neill sons, and I believe one, the McLays of Bute, are proven to be so.

Once these men settled, had children and grandchildren, etc, the later generations were part of the Scottish historical tapistry which involved the jettisoning of 'surnames' (the notion is very lowlander) for names that indicated the present political clan alliance. Thus the 'surname' is not going to get you far at all.

In additon there are mercinaries. We know that the Scots clans employed many of them. We believe there were such mercinaries fighting with William Wallace at Bannockburn. Once the Ui Neills arrived in Ulster, they could sail a boat to Scotland or hitch a ride on one as easy as any one else.

We've not done enough testing yet to understand the pattern of R1b1c7 in Scotland. Actually, we will never be able to do that because of the Clearances. Much of the DNA is now only in Canada and Australia. But we should see a pattern where the further east you go the less R1b1c7 there is, with minor clustering in areas where an Ui Neill founder had once settled. However as I said, this world was completely destroyed.

In any case the surnames will not tell you a whole lot because they are not the surnames born by ancestors a thousand years ago or even 500 years ago. Furthermore the historical accounts of major events will not either because few of these men figured in historical accounts.

The trip to Scotland was not one-way, to further complicate things. In the last two hundred years, Irishmen were assimilating into the Scots within three generations (so the surname had morphed into a proper Scottish surname from an Irish form). They then returned to Ireland. We can see this happening a little better recently because we have records.

I have researched a number of families who it is hard to say what they are. One family came to America in the late 1800s. In the census they maintained they were Scots. However there is no birth or marriage records in Scotland for any of them. We're talking a large family. However you can place the mother's parents in Ireland in the early 1800s (Tithe APplotments) in Down (her death record gave her place of birth --- County Down). They are gone from Griffiths though there is a death record of the man probably her father. The mother is in Scotland in 1851 (census), a widow, living with the unmarried daughter. We know its' the right people because the grandmother was born on Guernsey and so was this lady. In 1861 no sign of them. Where are they? They are in Ireland, I expect, where they remained for another 10 years. So why did they claim they were Scots in the US censuses? They were ethnic Scots and didn't think of themselves as Irish. All their sponsors for naturalization w!
ere fir
st generation Americans born in Ireland too. I suspect they often traveled to Scotland to visit family and were equally at home on either side of the Sheugh.

In another case I worked on the young couple were married in Scotland. The surnames indicated they were from Tyrone, as did the surname of the priest. The mother of the bride was in Scotland in their household at the time of the birth of her first grandchild. This was fairly common. Sometimes the mother returned to her parents' to have the first child. In any case, after that cameo appearance in the Scottish census, she disappeared. No death record. No censuses. She went back to Ireland after the birth of her grandchild.

Even in the 19th century poor people did go back and forth.

It's very incorrect to think of our ancestors, recent or remote, as being somehow glued in place. They constantly moved about, in response to a lot of factors, none of which the Irish Masters or Cambridge scholars were interested in.

It's difficult to find creditable information about this constant migration because the people writing history were never interested in the common man.

I would surmise that you'd find more R1b1c7 in the western highlands than in the lowlands because Ayrshire was supposedly well settled with Del Riatians, etc, were culturally different from the Gaelic speaking Irish. Also since Ayrshire did not experience the Clearances much of its population might be still about and not in Antigonish.

Maybe. I have heard of studies done in dull, stable England, which has very good parish records back into the 1600s. Those studies showed that surnames in parishes tended to almost entirely 'turn over' every one hundred years, indicating a degree of mobility that is astonishing. The 'big family' names remained (it's hard to move castles). The common man: the landless ag labs, the servants, even the yeoman farmers -- they are the ones who moved on.

Furthermore at times of high unrest in Ireland (early 1600s), there are many complaints of itinerating Irish in rural English parishes. If you stayed in these parishes for a year you had 'residency' and if you fell on hard times, the parish had to support you and your family. Hence terms of contract for ag workers was also slightly less than a year, forcing them to 'move on' less they become a burden to the parish. there was a large population constantly moving about.

In the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of some County Antrim parishes, the names of those who regularly went to Scotland to do farm work in the 1830s are given. Social historians say 10% of them remained in Scotland every year. Over 100 years -- that's 100%. Over a few hundred years -- that's a lot of Irish DNA in Scotland.

There is another group who did not interest historians too. These were Irish people who became Protestant in Ulster. I work on a family that by the late 1700s were definitely Protestant (religious censuses, early church records, etc). They were carpenters, not farmers. THey also moved to Scotland but to the lowlands, where they shifted their surname in vital records to a Scots form and moved on to Australia. We are currently testing a descendent of this family and I expect they are R1b1c7. Ie, you cannot assume someone in Ireland with R1b1c7 is Catholic or socially disadvantaged. I do not know about this particular family, but people with related surnames in America and Ireland ---who are R1b1c7 --- have an extremely strong family tradition that they are Scots.

Linda Merle


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