Elliott (And Border Reivers) DNA Project News (May 5, 2005)
Hello Elliotts, Border
Reivers & Other Friends,
last bulletin on February 5th, we have received:
- 1-12 marker results for 1
Cresswell, 1 Duckworth, 11 Elliotts, 1 Ellwood, 1 Gowland, 1 Hall, 1
Heron, 1 Hume, 1 Irwin, 2 Irvines, 1 Kerr, 1 Laidlaw, 1 Robson, 1
Shortridge and 1 Witherington - 26 new DNA profiles altogether.
- 13-25 marker results for 1
Armstrong, 1 Carruthers, 1 Cook, 18 Elliotts, 2 Ellwoods, 1
Erwin, 2 Halls, 1 Heron, 1 Irvine, 1 Kerr, 1 Laidlaw, 1 Neely, 1
Telford and 2 Witheringtons.
- 26-27 marker results for 1
Laidlaw, 1 Neely, 2 Elliotts and 1
- mtDNA results for 1 Laidlaw.
- SNP Test results for
1 Cook (P25 positive for R1b) and 1 Witherington (P19
positive for Haplogroup I).
(A copy of
our complete Y-
results is attached.)
We now have
123 official participants,
which puts the Elliott (And Border Reivers) DNA Project at Number 17 of the
more than 1,700 Family Tree DNA Surname and Geographical
Projects. Of these, 111
participants have so far returned their kits. Our most recent additions
- 1 Cresswell (a Border family
with roots in Renfrewshire)
- 1 Duckworth (a family from Lancashire)
- 8 Elliotts
- 1 Ellwood
- 1 Gowland (another Border
family with roots in Durham and Northumberland)
- 1 Irwin
- 1 Irvine
- 1 Heron
- 1 Johnston
- 1 Kerr
- 1 Milburn
- 1 Robson
- 1 Shortridge
- 1 Stewart
Results & Genealogy web pages
dedicated to the Hall
and the Irvine/Irving
clans. These web pages may be accessed from the "Border Reiver
By Surname" web page ( http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/dna_by_surname.htm ) by clicking on the
"Project" link for "Hall" or "
". The actual URLs
for these new pages are:
shortly create more web pages dedicated to other clans for which we have
results and genealogies - such as Carruthers, Rutherford, Kerr (or Carr), Witherington and Heron.
also added more families and DNA profiles to the overall Border Reiver DNA database, bringing the total number
of profiles to 1,016, and the total number of familes to 98. Our new
Border families include:
- Allison (a Lanarkshire
family descended from the MacAlisters of Loup, also
commonly found in Northern England since Border Reiver times,
frequently under the name Ellison)
- Ballantyne (also known as
Bannatyne, listed as a Border family at the leading Border
Reiver web site http://www.borderreivers.co.uk/index.html
- Crawford (a common surname in
southwestern Scotland and in Ulster)
- Cresswell (also listed as a
Border family at http://www.borderreivers.co.uk/index.html
- Gowland (based on Gow, which
has been listed as a Border family on various web sites)
- Harden (a Border Reiver clan,
listed in "The Steel Bonnets")
- MacLellan (premier family of
Kirkcudbright in Border Reiver times, of Gall-Gaedhil descent, involved in
the Border Wars, feuds with the Douglases, and the general mayhem of the
- McCulloch (another Gall-Gaedhil
family of Wigtownshire, whose members include "Cutler"
McCulloch, who raided the Isle of Man for booty circa 1500, and another
clansman who was executed for murdering a Gordon in a dispute over the
ownership of Cardoness Castle)
- Murray (a prominent Scottish
family, one of whose members was immortalized in a Border Ballad about the
- Orr (a common surname in
southern Scotland, with roots in Ayr and Renfrewshire, but also
appearing in Kirkcudbright and Selkirk. An Orr was "cursed"
by authorities during a famine in the 1500's for price-gouging in the
grain market - also common in Ulster, and the progenitors of the
great Bobby Orr)
- Rayburn (a reiver surname that
appears in James Hogg's Border Ballad "Lock The
Door Lariston", about Jock Elliot of Lariston. Progenitors of
Sam Rayburn, mentor to Lyndon Johnson)
- Stewart (the famous royal
family of Scotland, heavily involved in the Border
Wars - e.g., James IV dying alongside the Elliots at Flodden - as well as in
persecuting the reivers. It was James V who laid the trap to capture
Johnnie Armstrong. Please note, however, that we have selected
just a subset from the vast Stewart DNA sample, consisting only of
those who explicitly profess British origins.)
enhanced Border Reiver
By Surname web page may be found at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/dna_by_surname.htm
Border Reiver DNA database is now available to you as an Excel spreadsheet. You may
access this spreadsheet from the link labeled "Border Reiver DNA Results (Excel spreadsheet)" on the project home
page at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/elliott_border_reivers_dna.htm -
or you may access it directly at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/Border_Reiver_DNA_Results.xls .
also revised our Border Reiver "Deep Ancestry" web page at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/border_reiver_deep_ancestry.htm
- and have updated our information about DNA marker mutation rates at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/YHRD_mutation_rates.html
made the following interesting discoveries about our DNA profiles. If you need a
refresher, or even a first time orientation, in the subject of Y
chromosome DNA genealogy, please visit the Family Tree DNA web site and read some of the
explanatory web pages there ( http://www.familytreedna.com ):
- We have 53 Elliotts, Eliots and Ellwoods in our group,
47 of whom have returned their kits, and 44 of whom have gotten their DNA results. (Please send in
your kit if you still have it out, or contact us if you have had any
problems in getting your kit to us.)
- One pair of Elliott participants share Y-DNA results whose closest match in
the Family Tree Haplogroup database belongs to Haplogroup P,
which occurs primarily in Central and Southern Asia. The closest match in
the worldwide Y-DNA database YHRD falls in Iran. We suspect
that these two participants, who are an exact match on 25 markers,
may be descended from the Sarmatian troops who patroled Hadrian Wall
during the Roman Era.
- Another pair of Elliott participants have
Y-DNA results whose closest match at
Family Tree is with Haplogroup C, which also occurs primarily in Central
- and was, in fact, the haplogroup to which Genghis Khan belonged.
These Elliotts may also be descended from Sarmatian troops. They are
also most likely related to one another, even though their DNA results are not exactly the
same. One of these participants has volunteered to take a SNP test
to validate or disprove membership in Haplogroup C, and the results are
- We have one Elliott each who belongs to Haplogroups
I1a, I1c and R1a. These Elliotts are not patrilineally related to
our other Elliotts, or to each other, but each of them may be descended
from Normans or Norse Vikings.
- 37 out of the 44 Elliotts posted so far belong to
haplogroup R1b, which is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe.
- We have three Elliotts who share the same relatively
uncommon 25 marker Y-DNA results (in haplogroup R1b). Two of
them are ancestrally from Enniskillen, Fermanagh, while the third
lists his ancestry only as "Scotland". The two
Elliotts from Fermanagh are clearly related along the paternal
line. But, by a remarkable coincidence, these two participants have
already established that they are also descended, on their father's
sides, from two Elliott sisters, both from Fermanagh. One
of these participants has told me that these sisters may actually have
married brothers who were also named Elliott, and that's where the shared
paternal ancestry may have arisen.
- 17 of the 44 Elliott DNA results posted are perfect
Western Atlantic Modal Haplotypes, and at least 4 others are only 1 step
away from also being WAMH. The Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype,
which belongs to haplogroup R1b, is the most common Y-DNA signature in Western Europe. It is especially common
among the Basques, the Welsh and the people of Western Ireland. The fact that so
many of the Elliotts have this signature suggests that the mainstream of
the Elliott family may be of British Celtic origin.
- The Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype group includes two
individuals descended from an 18th century British Elliott rumored to have
been a man of means, one descended from a well-to-do family in Durham,
another Elliott who, according to family legend, is descended from Martin
Elliot of Braidley, a Canadian Elliott who is a 4th cousin of Pierre
Elliott Trudeau, and many other Elliotts of Scottish, English and
- Within the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype group, we
have identified two 25 marker DNA signatures that are shared by
five Elliotts apiece. 15 of the WAMH Elliotts have tested to at
least 25 markers, and virtually all of them are within 3 steps of matching
one of these two signatures. These signatures are 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-17-9-9-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17
and is 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-18-9-9-11-11-25-15-19-29-15-15-17-17.
The family with the largest number of close matches in
the Ysearch database to either of these haplotypes - besides the
Elliotts and the Ellwoods - are the Glendennings. Since the
Glendennings (and the Clendennins and other variants) also originated
in the Scottish Borders, we suspect a possible ancestral relationship
between the two families.
- Of our three Ellwood participants, two - one a
Briton with Cumbrian roots, and the other a Scots-Irish American - have 25
marker signatures identical to the most common WAMH signatures among the
Elliotts. This very strongly suggests that the Ellwoods and Elliotts
are essentially branches of the same family - both descended from the
Elewald or Elwald family that appeared in Cumberland in the 13th
century. Those Elwalds are also most likely the
ancestors of Robert Elwald, acknowledged by many to be the first
chief of the Elliott Clan.
- There are other clusters of Elliott results
that also belong to haplogroup R1b. Some of these may or may not be
related to the Elliott mainstream, but those in each of these clusters are
probably related to one another. For instance, there is one group of
three or four that share the same DYS393 value of 14, which is
rare. Two of these participants have Pennsylvania roots, and are likely to be
related. Another two from southwestern Donegal share a rare
combination of marker values, including the rare DYS393 value of 12, and these
are also most likely related.
- To review our Elliott/Eliot/Ellwood DNA Results, please visit this
- We have identified an Armstrong in the FTDNA customer
database whose 12 marker haplotype exactly matches one of our Eliot
participants. This Armstrong is not in Ysearch, so he is new to us,
and we are attempting to contact him to obtain his genealogical info.
- The latest Armstrong to be tested by the Border Reiver DNA Project appears to belong to
the J2 haplogroup. Whit Athey's Y Haplogroup Predictor has given the
highest probability to haplogroup J2 for this Armstrong's full 25 marker
results, and his closest match in Ysearch is also a J2.
Hence, we have changed his tentative haplogroup estimate to J2.
- We have identified the Armstrong Modal Haplotype.
On a 12 marker level, it is - like the Elliott Modal Haplotype
- identical to the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype. Half
of all Armstrongs gathered so far share that 12 marker haplotype. At
25 markers, the Armstrong Modal Haplotype clearly diverges from the
typical Elliott results. Nonetheless, it does appear that the
Elliotts and the Armstrongs come from the same stock, and are probably
both descended from British Celts.
- The Armstrong Modal Haplotype at 25 markers is 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29-19-10-10-11-11-23-15-19-32-15-15-17-17.
Almost all of the 25 marker haplotypes in the Ysearch database that come
within 3 steps of this haplotype belong to Armstrongs. Included
among this group is a British Armstrong who can cite sources claiming his
descent from Johnnie Armstrong of Gilnockie.
- To review our Armstrong DNA Results, please visit this
The Irvines & Irvings
- All but one of the Irvines, Irwins, Erwins, Ervins
and Irvings recruited so far belong to the most common European
- About two-thirds of these haplotypes fall within 1 step
of the 12 marker Irvine Modal Haplotype, which is 13-24-14-11-11-15-12-12-12-13-13-29.
This haplotype is 1 step removed from the Western Atlantic Modal
Haplotype, which typifies both the Armstrongs and the Elliotts. The
Irvines and Irvings could easily be of British Celtic origin, but the
geographical distribution for the Irvine/Irving haplotypes has a slightly
more Nordic or "Frisian" tinge than the Western Atlantic Modal
Haplotype. This suggests that an Anglo-Saxon or Danish origin is
- The 25 marker Irvine or Irving Modal Haplotype is 13-24-14-11-11-15-12-12-12-13-13-29-17-9-10-11-11-25-15-20-30-15-16-17-17.
Nearly all of the 25 marker haplotypes in Ysearch that
come within 1 step of this one belong to an Irvine, an Ervin, an Irwin or an Irving. This strongly suggests
that the different variations of the clan name do not necessarily signify
different families, and that all variations most likely share a common
- We have identified a new Irwin in the FTDNA customer
database whose 12 marker haplotype exactly matches at least one of
our Irvine participants. This
haplotype is apparently not in Ysearch, but we have the individual's
e-mail address and will attempt to contact him soon.
- We have added two Irvine haplotypes, one from the
Shetland Isles project and the other an Orkney Islander recruited by
Kent Irvine, to our database. These haplotypes are both R1b, and are
not at all dissimilar. They are also close enough to the
Irving/Irving group of Scots-Irish and Borders stock to suggest a shared
origin, however distant.
- We have recently posted Border Reiver DNA Project notices on the Erwin,
Ervin, Irwin and Irvine Message Boards at Genforum (we had previously
posted one only on the Irving Message Board), and eagerly await new
- We only have about 10 Halls of probable Anglo-Scottish
Border stock so far, some of them official participants, and some of them
drawn from Ysearch.
- One of our official Hall participants has a very rare DNA signature which most likely
belongs to a subclade of the superhaplogroup E. The closest matches
in FTDNA and YHRD, respectively, are with a French Ashkenazi and a
Sicilian, which is consistent the E3b haplogroup,
common in the Mediterranean. This haplotype may have come to Britain with Mediterranean traders or
Roman troops and settlers.
- We also have a Hall who apparently belongs to
haplogroup J2, which could suggest a Roman origin as well.
- 70 percent of the British Hall haplotypes are R1b,
which is most likely the modal haplogroup for the family. The
actual haplotypes are as yet too various for us to suggest a modal
signature, but the geographical distributions of these haplotypes are
consistent with either a Celtic, Anglo-Saxon or
even a Nordic or Norman origin.
- We have recently posted a Border Reiver DNA Project notice on the Hall
Message Board at Genforum, and look forward to receiving inquiries.
- We have three Witherington or Wetherington
participants. Two of them are exact matches on 25 markers, and the
third is a 22/25 match with the other two.
- We have identified another Witherington in the FTDNA
customer database whose 25 marker haplotype exactly matches two
of our Witherington participants. This haplotype is apparently
not yet in Ysearch, but we have the individual's e-mail address and will
attempt to contact him soon.
- The Witherington DNA signature is remarkably
consistent. 3 out of 4 exhibit the same 25 marker haplotype, which
This haplotype belongs to haplogroup I1a, and suggests Anglo-Saxon
descent. That is entirely consistent with the English origin of the
family, and with the derivation of the family name.
- We have four Carruthers participants, and are currently
negotiating to get a fifth to join us.
- We have also acquired DNA profiles from Ysearch for a
Scottish/Scots-Irish family called Crothers, which is a variation of
- The Crothers all belong to haplogroup I1a, and resemble
a single Irvine haplotype which is also I1a,
but not any of our Carruthers.
- Most of our Carruthers participants are R1b, but one is
an I1b, and all the haplotypes are pretty different. We need more
info to determine what the genetic mainstream of the family is.
- We also have four Rutherfords, all of which are R1b, but
each quite different from the rest.
- The co-administrator of our project, David B. Strong,
has detected an affinity between the Carruthers and the Rutherfords, based
on the similarity of their names and on their shared identity as septs of
Clan Bruce. He has grouped their data together on this web page,
with various additional links pertaining to Carruthers and Rutherford clan history: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~donegalstrongs/clanbruce.htm
- Our Carr and Kerr DNA profiles are all R1b so far,
but are as yet strongly various.
- We are still awaiting kits from Donal Carr and Harold
Kerr, and we hope you gentlemen will send them in soon. We need your
DNA profiles to make sense of the
- We have been working closely with a former Border
Reiver participant, John Carr, who has taken over a previously existing
Carr project and is working on his own to identify other DNA profiles of the Carr clan.
If we have
not mentioned your family specifically, please don't feel slighted. We
are working to identify matches for all of you, and to recruit new members from
We are also
considering these other families for imminent inclusion in the Border Reiver DNA database:
- Burrell (a Border family that
had altercations with the Reivers)
- Eure (a noble family active in
Border Reiver times)
- Hamilton (another very
prominent Southern Scottish family)
- Lisle (another Border Reiver
family active in the 16th century, Sir William Lisle in particular)
- Wilkinson (a Border Reiver
family listed by George Macdonald Fraser in "The Steel Bonnets")
for fun, I thought I would send you all the link to
some web pages about a
TV show that ran from 1968 to 1970, and was called
"The Borderers". The plot summaries are quite amusing. Many mentions of the brave, upstanding Kerrs of Cessford,
attempting to control the unruly "outlaws of Liddesdale" (AKA
Elliotts and Armstrongs). I had never heard of it, but it seems to
have been the British equivalent of an American "Wild West" episodic
drama, like "Bonanza" or "Gunsmoke", wherein various
characters learn the value of wisdom and the wages of sin in parlous
times. (If any of the Britons in our group have ever seen this show, and
remember it, please let me know what it was like to watch. It couldn't
have been that bad, as it had Michael Gambon - of "Singing Detective"
" fame - in the role of a young
The URL for
this amusing Blast From The Past is: http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/ShowMainServlet/showid-25382/
the main link for our own web site is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/elliott_border_reivers_dna.htm
don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about any of
the foregoing material.
(And Border Reivers) DNA Project