Hello Elliotts, Border Reivers & Other Rapscallions,
Since our last bulletin on May 4th, we have received:
- 1-12 marker results for 2 Armstrongs, 1 Bell, 1 Carr, 1 Cruthirds, 1 Crawford, 1 Davis, 19 Elliotts, 1 Ellwood, 1 Erwin, 3 Gilchrists, 1 Graham, 3 Halls, 3 Hendersons, 1 Irwin, 3 Johnsons, 1 Johnston, 1 Kerr, 1 Milburn, 1 Noble, 1 Reade, 1 Robson, 2 Simpsons, 1 Tait, 1 Taylor, 1 Wetherington and 1 Wilson - 54 new
profiles altogether. Some of these joined us from the Genographic Project, and others double-joined our group along with their own surname project when they received their results.
- 13-25 marker results for 1 Carr, 1 Crawford, 1 Cruthirds, 1 Davis, 1 Duckworth, 11 Elliotts, 1 Ervin, 1 Hall, 2 Hendersons, 1 Irvine, 1 Irwin, 1 Johnston, 1 Kerr, 1 Noble, 1 Reade, 1 Robson, 1 Rutherford, 1 Shortridge, 1 Tait and 1 Wetherington.
- 26-37 marker results for 1 Armstrong, 1 Cruthirds, 1 Davis, 7 Elliotts, 1 Hall, 1 Henderson, 1 Irvine, 1 Irwin, 1 Johnston, 1 Robson and 1 Rutherford.
- mtDNA results for 1 Davis, 1 Dixon, 4 Elliotts, 1 Henderson, 1 Irwin, 1 Shortridge and 1 Simpson.
- Positive P25 (or R1b) SNP results for 1 Carr, 1 Duckworth, 3 Elliotts, 1 Hall, 1 Irwin and 1 Penick (variation of Fenwick), and positive P19 (or I) SNP results for 1 Cruthirds, 1 Davis, 1 Elliott, 1 Henderson, 1 Johnston and 1 Wetherington.
We now have 185 official participants, which puts the Elliott (And Border Reivers)
Project at Number 10 of the more than 2,300 Family Tree
Surname and Geographical Projects. Of these, 170 participants have so far returned their kits. Our most recent additions include:
- 2 Armstrongs
- 1 Barraford (Border family, same as Beresford)
- 2 Carothers and 1 Cruthirds (both variations of Carruthers)
- 1 Crawford
(variant of Davison or Davidson)
- 12 Elliotts
- 1 Ellwood
- 4 Gilchrists (Scottish surname of Norse origin, new to the Border Reiver group, all double-joins from the Gilchrist Surname Project)
- 1 Graham
- 3 Halls
(Scottish surname, can be either Celtic or Norse in origin, new to the Border Reiver group)
- 1 Heron
- 4 Irvin/Irving/Irwin/Erwin participants (plus 1 individual of adopted parentage who is very close to the Irvines on 37 markers)
- 5 Johnsons (similar to
, new to our group as official participants)
- 1 Little
- 1 Lowther (Border Reiver family, new to our group)
- 2 Nixons (rode with Armstrongs and Elliotts, new to our group as official participants)
- 1 Noble (new to our group)
- 1 Penick (this name, when English, is a variation of Fenwick)
- 1 Reade
- 1 Robson
- 1 Simpson
- 1 Taitson (variant of Tait, in this case a Brazilian of British origin)
We have added a
Results & Genealogy web page dedicated to the Carruthers clan. This web page 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 "Carruthers". The actual URL for this new page is:
We have also added more families and
profiles to the overall Border Reiver
database, bringing the total number of profiles to 1,208, and the total number of familes to 108. Our newest Border Reiver families include:
(or Charlton or Carleton, mentioned in "The Steel Bonnets", mostly Northumberland, but some in Tynedale)
- Fenwick (
, bitter foes of the Elliotts, according to "The Steel Bonnets")
The entire Border Reiver
database is still available as an Excel spreadsheet. You may access it from the link labeled "Border Reiver
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 .
We have created a new web page that lists the most common Y-
haplotypes in the Border Reiver
database in these four categories: 6 marker, 9 marker, 12 marker and 25 marker. This page may be access at: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/Top_Haplotypes.htm
We have again revised our Border Reiver "Deep Ancestry" web page at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/border_reiver_deep_ancestry.htm as well as our Mutation Rates web page at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/YHRD_mutation_rates.html
Here is the latest news about our
profiles. If you need a refresher, or even a first time orientation, in the subject of Y chromosome
genealogy, please visit the Family Tree
web site and read some of the explanatory web pages there ( http://www.familytreedna.com ):
- We have recently had another R1a (or "Viking
") Elliott join us from the Genographic Project. His name is Gary Elliott and he is a close match on 12 markers with our original R1a kinsman, Jerry Elliott. Both gentlemen are Americans of Scots-Irish descent.
- We have four Elliotts, all Americans of Scots-Irish descent, who share the same (or nearly the same)
results belonging to Haplogroup I1c. The geographical match pattern for their shared signature suggests a possible Scandinavian ancestry. Of the four, two have roots in
, one in
, and the other in
. They are very likely all related, and have been exchanging genealogical info. Curiously, one of the four signed up with Family Tree
without even knowing about the Elliott (And Border Reivers)
Project, and has yet to join us officially.
- We also now have two Elliotts who belong to Haplogroup I1a, sharing a
signature whose top 15 match frequencies in the YHRD international database fall in
. More "Viking" Elliotts perhaps. One has traced his roots to an Adam Elliott, born in Newcastleton in 1720, while the other's forebears are from Jedburgh, by way of
- I ordered a SNP test several months ago for one of two American Elliotts who have been estimated as belonging to the Asiatic Haplogroup P - but no results have yet been released. For a SNP test not to yield timely results suggests that the subject does not belong to the haplogroup for which he was initially tested, and the lab is trying other SNP tests to see where he does belong.
- Two of us Elliotts have R1b signatures with
393 values of 12, a type of signature that is more common in the circum-Black Sea region than anywhere else in
. One of Robert Lorne Elliott's closest matches in YHRD falls in
, and his FTDNA Haplogroup database matches fall mostly in
. I myself have such a signature, and my closest YHRD matches fall in the
. My closest matches in the FTDNA Haplogroup database (outside of a few SNP-tested Anglo-Scottish FTDNA customers) fall in
. A few months ago, I corresponded with an Oxford Ancestors customer whose signature was almost the same as my own - and he turned out to be a Macedonian. "But I'm Scottish," I say. "What gives?" Initially, I thought my patrilineal ancestors might have been Sarmatian cavalrymen serving at
. But no Sarmatians were permanently posted at the Wall, and their own background was probably more Central Asian than Balkan or Anatolian. Lately, I have been researching the Dacians and the Thracians. 1,000 Dacians were stationed at the fort at Birdoswald starting in the 3rd century A.D., and Thracians joined them later on. The Dacians and Thracians were similar peoples of Balkan origin whose pre-Roman empires ranged across areas like
- precisely where I have my highest frequency matches. Like the Sarmatians, the Dacians and the Thracians were defeated by the Roman war machine, and many of their troops were recruited as Roman auxiliaries. Unlike the Sarmatians, they were permanently stationed at the wall - in an area just 25 miles or so south of Liddesdale. Moreover, according to recent work done by the British archaelogist Tony Wilmott, there is evidence that the troops at Birdoswald were not withdrawn at the close of the
, but actually stayed there well into the 5th century - and possibly beyond. Wilmott theorizes that these troops and their descendants clung to the fort as a power base, organizing themselves into war bands, rounding up cattle and game, and offering protection to the local populace from marauding Picts and Angles for a price. In short, not only did these Roman auxiliaries stay at the Wall, they transformed themselves into groups very similar to what the Border Reiver families became centuries later. They may even have been the models or precursors of such families. One of my correspondents, John Eckersley of
, once informed me that one of the many derivations of the name "Elliott" was a name that meant "Old Gete". Curiously, one of the alternate names for the Dacians was Getae or, in English, "Getes". If I am not a Norse Elliott or a Celtic Elliott, like most of you guys, I may be an "Old Gete" of Dacian descent - at least from way back when...
- At least 53 out of 65 known Elliott haplotypes belong to Haplogroup R1b.
- One of the two most common 25 marker Elliott haplotypes is, in fact, only 1 step away from the most common 25 marker R1b haplotype in the
. See the "Super Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype" at http://worldfamilies.net/Super%20Western%20Atlantic%20Modal%20Haplotype.htm. (Please note that the commonness of this haplotype does not necessarily preclude its value as an indicator of shared ancestry among persons with the same surname.)
- 23 Elliott and Ellwood
results acquired so far are perfect Western Atlantic Modal Haplotypes, and at least a dozen others are only a step or two away from also being WAMH. This continues to be the most common Elliott variation so far - and the most widespread, appearing among Elliotts with verifiable roots in Canada, Australia, the United States, Ireland, England and Scotland.
- To review our Elliott/Eliot/Ellwood
Results, please visit this URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_elliotts.htm
- We now have 19 Armstrong
results, one brand new set yet to be posted.
Modal Haplotype - i.e., 13-24-14-11-11-14-12-12-12-13-13-29 - remains the most common variation among the Armstrongs, accounting about half of the total data set.
- We have 4 Armstrongs belonging to Haplogroup I1a, strongly suggesting that - like the Elliotts - the Armstrong Clan has a substantial genetic minority of probable Scandinavian origin.
- We now have an Armstrong belonging to Haplogroup K2, possibly of Mediterranean ancestral origin. This is the only
so far in the Border Reiver
- To review our Armstrong
Results, please visit this URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_armstrongs.htm
The Irvines & Irvings
- We have 20 results of this clan currently posted, and two additional sets of results that we will post shortly.
or Irving Clan remains one of the most genetically consistent of all our Border Reiver data sets so far, with the vast majority still matching or approximating the R1b haplotypes 13-24-14-11-11-15-12-12-12-13-13-29 or 13-24-14-10-11-15-12-12-12-13-13-29.
- This genetic consistency persists across surname variations, appearing among Irvines, Irvings, Irwins, Ervins and Erwins alike.
- To review our Irvine/Irving
Results, please visit this URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_irvings.htm
The Witheringtons & Wetheringtons
- We have recently been contacted by a Witherington and a Wetherington. The Witherington matches our four Witherington/Wetherington participants closely if not identically on 25 markers. I believe I had invited this individual to participate some months ago, and finally got a response. I have also received word from a Barry Wetherington that he had recently ordered a test from Family Tree
. I have invited both persons to join us officially, and am keeping my fingers crossed that they will accept my invitation.
- On our new Carruthers
Results web page, we have 10 sets of results, belonging to the surname variants Crothers, Carothers and Cruthirds as well as Carruthers..
- At least 3 other Carruthers participants have just joined us or are awaiting their test results.
- 3 sets of Crothers
results, and 1 set each of Cruthirds and Carothers
results, share virtually the same haplotype belonging to Haplogroup I1a. This haplotype is very possibly of Scandinavian ancestral origin, and its appearance among these individuals indicate that Crothers, Cruthirds and Carothers are indeed branches of the same family.
- To review our Carruthers
Results, please visit this URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_carruthers.htm
- Robert Gilchrist has double-joined his Gilchrist data set with our Border Reiver
group, and all his results are now posted in our Border Reiver
- The Gilchrist surname is reputedly of Norse origin, and this is borne out in their
, which thus far belongs largely to Haplogroup R1a.
- One of our participants, Ed Robson, has scored a match on 33 out of 37 markers with an Armstrong. Both are by far each other's closest match in the Ysearch database. The nearest SNP-tested match for each is a J2 of Italian origin, and their shared haplotype was judged most likely to be a J2 by Whit Athey's Haplogroup Predictor. Both individuals have apparently flunked the Haplogroup I (P19) SNP test, further bolstering our suspicion that they belong instead to J2. The geographical match pattern for their haplotype exhibits its highest frequencies in the
- Not very long ago, a Brazilian lady enrolled her father in our Border Reiver project. His name is Wilson Campos Taitson, and he is reputedly of British descent.
- We were not able to verify that Mr. Taitson is related to the Taits, as there are only two in Ysearch, and both exhibit a distinctive R1b signature while Mr. Taitson belongs to I1a.
- We were able to ascertain, however, that Mr.Taitson is a perfect 25 marker match with several members of the Douglas and Gordon clans, both originally aristocratic families of Galwegian origin with an interconnected history.
- We will shortly build additional web pages dedicated to particular Anglo-Scottish clans or families - probably starting with the Hendersons or the Witheringtons.
- We will build a reference page that provides links to other "Border Reiver" web sites - and perhaps additional reference pages with multiple links to Y-
genetics papers and articles, and various topics in ancient British history, such as Hadrian's Wall, Vikings in Britain, etc.
- We will create another reference page with links to the various YHRD geographical match tables that we use to speculate on the ancestral origins of individual Border Reiver haplotypes. We have created many such pages by now, and will soon make them available on demand from one source.
- We will - eventually - create a "Scottish travelogue" with photos, descriptions, historical narrative and other musings from my 2004 trip to Scotland - featuring Hermitage Castle, Edinburgh, Hadrian's Wall, the Highlands, Jedburgh Abbey and other locales.
Raw Data From The Elliott & Border Reivers Surname Project
I know from experience what it is like to receive enormous (and entirely unsolicited) attachments out of the blue from an infrequent correspondent - so I will not e-mail you any
data files. Instead, I've put them on the web for anyone who wishes to download them. These include:
Miscellaneous News & Curiosities
- I will be at the Family Tree
Surname Administrators Conference in Washington on November 4th and 5th. Several prominent population geneticists will be lecturing, such as Michael "Cohen Modal Haplotype" Hammer and Spencer "Journey of Man" Wells. I will also be conferring busily with other Surname Administrators, and perhaps with some FTDNA personnel. If any of you wishes to convey a question or suggestion to these folks, just let me know - and I will be your messenger. Or at least make an attempt...
- A "public intellectual" named Carl Elliott got his Y-DNA test done at Family Tree DNA some years ago, before I even joined. I read an article in The Wilson Quarterly about his experience entitled "Adventures In The Gene Pool" (at http://www.tc.umn.edu/~ellio023/documents/Adventures_in_the_Gene_Pool.pdf ). It appears that he, like most of the Elliotts tested so far, is an "Atlantic Modal Haplotype". He is also originally from
, his Elliott ancestors having emigrated from
during the colonial period. He was one of the original Elliotts in the FTDNA database when I started my project. I presume that FTDNA asked him if he wanted to join the group, but he either declined or ignored the invitation. Too bad. He would have fit right in, and he might even have given us some press. He has some other endearingly familiar Elliott traits, like broad shoulders (to judge from his photograph) and a self-confessed tendency to get angry. Ironically for us though, his attitude toward genetic testing is at best ambivalent. In another article he has written about genetic testing, he decried the naive tendency of some DNA genealogy enthusiasts to identify with the "deep ancestry" suggested by their Y-DNA results. In fact, he says, the Y chromosome represents only one possible line out of countless thousands and has very little bearing on one's overall ethnic ancestry. "Well, duh..." is my reply. The real value of one's own Y-DNA results lies in their usefulness in disproving or supporting shared paternal ancestry among persons with the same surname. The "deep ancestry" stuff is really just for fun. In fact, the only accurate picture we are likely to draw of our "deep ancestry" is not the "deep ancestry" of those who share our surnames, but the collective "deep ancestry" of all the Border Reiver families. If you are 25 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent Scots-Irish, Northern English or Border Scot, you are most likely descended from almost all of these families - the Kerrs, the Liddells, the Dixons, the Grahams, the Maxwells, the Johnstons and everyone else. Whomever they are descended from - be they Romans, Angles, Normans, Celts or Vikings - you are descended from them, too. The Border Reiver DNA database is intended as an illustration and a celebration of that diversity - even if the good Professor Elliott does view such research as "politically incorrect". Curiously, I was myself inspired to get tested by reading his article. Growing up as a Protestant with a Scottish surname in a city (Boston) full of Irish Catholics, I suffered from a major case of "Celt envy". As soon as I discovered that one Scots-Irish Elliott was an "Atlantic Modal Haplotype", I thought that I might turn out to be an "Atlantic Modal Haplotype" too, and my "Celt envy" would be forever assuaged. Instead, I ended up with an oddball R1b whose nature still confounds me.
- I have recently read a book that I highly recommend. It is called The Mountain Of Names by Alex Shoumatoff. It ranges widely over a series of related topics - the Mormon genealogical database, surname frequencies, the aristocratic pedigrees of old Europe, tribal kinship patterns, how people connect to others in modern society, and much else. It is compulsively readable to anyone interested in genealogy.
- About a month ago I was approached by the representative of a British TV network in London (I believe it may have been ITV). He wanted to know if I could give him anecdotes about the Border Reivers for a British version of the History Channel show "History's Mysteries". I referred him to "The Steel Bonnets" and other books. I also told him about the Border Reiver
Project. His boss took an interest, and he got back to me, asking for the names and contact info of British natives engaged in researching their own Borders ancestry using
. I referred him to some of the Britons among you. I don't know what will come of it, but it was heady fun to be queried by a minion of British TV.
For those of you who have not yet sent in your kits, please do so. If you are financially strapped and cannot afford to send your kit in for testing, please contact us and we may be able to help you out. For those of you who have already been tested, but are willing and able to help others get tested too, the Elliott & Border Reivers Surname Project has a General Fund to which you can contribute. The instructions for making such contributions can be found at this web site:
That is enough for now. I hope I haven't taken up too much of your time - and don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions, concerns, remarks or even complaints. Just don't place a curse on me like the Archbishop of Glasgow...
James V. Elliott
Elliott (And Border Reivers)