Hello Border Reivers & Other Rapscallions,
First of all, I wish to apologize for such a long hiatus since my last communication. In my work life, I have exchanged my role as a "mercenary" (i.e., IT consultant) for one as a "captain" of sorts (i.e., software development manager) and have had my hands full keeping my unruly minions in line. The Border Reivers DNA Project has remained active nonetheless, and we are still actively recruiting participants and posting results.
A Report On Recent DNA Results
Results have been so numerous in the last year that it would be prohibitively tedious to summarize them here. I am instead attaching the complete Y- DNA and mtDNA results of all participants. Altogether we have at least 466 Y- DNA haplotypes ranging from 12 to 67 markers, and 87 mtDNA results. In the attached Y- DNA spreadsheet, SNP -tested haplogroups are highlighted in Green while merely estimated haplogroups are highlighted in Brown. Both spreadsheets are also available online at the URLs cited below:
The complete Y- DNA results for all official participants may be found at this URL:
The complete mtDNA results for all official participants may be found at this URL:
A Count Of Official Participants By Surname
We now have 490 official participants. Of these, 472 have so far returned their kits. The total includes:
We have more than 30 new Elliotts, but we have seen the highest percentage of increases for clans that have their own surname projects, but who have heard of our project and are joining (or double-joining) on a regular basis. These include Bells, Scotts, Beatties, Halls and - especially - Johnsons and Johnstons. The administrator of the Beattie project has joined us. So has an official of Clan Young. We also welcome participants representing Border clans we have never had among us before - e.g., our first Salkeld, Charlton, Collingwood, Redpath and Dalgliesh. Our membership continues to grow worldwide, as we bring in new blood from The Old World (i.e., the
Those who have not sent in your kits should try to get them in. We would welcome your participation. Those of you who have lost their kits can have new ones sent out at no extra cost, and should contact me for details. The delinquent reivers that I would most like to bring into the fold are a Lowther and a Crozier. Mr. Lowther, we have two persons with surnames that are not Lowther but who claim Lowther descent and wish to compare themselves with the real deal. Mr. Crozier, I know your clan and the Elliotts were sworn enemies in the past, but now in the 21st century you would be welcome among us (even if we outnumber you).
I have even managed to recruit a relative whose connection to me I can actually trace. Not an Elliott alas, but a Hildreth - a G2 of ancient
Border Reivers Web Site
The Border Reivers DNA web site retains its old format, although I have updated it several times in the last year and we now have 1,881 results posted. The haplogroup percentages have remained roughly the same as before.
Latest Developments By Clan
Here is a partial report on the results of our analysis and research on selected Border Reiver families. I have focused on clans that have the largest number of official participants, because most of you belong to these. Don't feel slighted if your clan has not been mentioned. If you have any questions about our analysis of your haplotype and our investigations into your genetic heritage, please email me directly - and I will respond.
The number of haplotypes posted has grown to 40. At least three-quarters belong to haplogroup R1b, and about at least a third exhibit the same variant of WAMH, with the tell-tale DYS 448/ DYS 449 combination of 19/32. Another cluster exhibits a variant of WAMH most often found among the Irvines, with a DYS 385b value of 15, a DYS 448/ DYS 449 combination of 20/30, and other genetic earmarks of that clan. This cluster shares an origin in
The URL for the Armstrong web page is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_armstrongs.htm
The number of haplotypes posted has grown to 18. Clearly, the predominant signature is an Ultra-Norse variant of I1a. This signature is obviously been native to the clan for a very long time, as it predominates across the different versions of the surname - e.g., Carruthers, Carothers, Crothers and Cruthirds. We suspect the founders of the Carruthers clan were of Viking or Norse-Gaelic descent.
The link for the Carruthers web page is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_carruthers.htm
The number of haplotypes posted has grown to 39. There is no one prevailing haplotype or cluster of similar haplotypes. There are, in fact, several different clusters - one I1a, another I1c, and several R1b clusters, such as 13-14-24-10-14-12-12-11-13-13-29/30, 13-14-25-10-14-13-12-13-12-13-28 and WAMH. As with the Elliotts, there appear to be multiple subgroups that have different origins and may be entirely unrelated. We must remember that
The URL for the
The number of haplotypes posted has grown to 40, but there are other haplotypes available in Ysearch and elsewhere that I have not yet had time to incorporate into my sample. There are various clusters of correspondence in the Hall sample. For instance, two Halls share a rare E haplotype, several others - of apparently Scots-Irish orgin - share a J1 signature, and occasional pairs of R1b haplotypes are close enough to suggest a fairly recent shared patrilineal relationship. Perhaps because of the commonness of the name Hall, its wide dispersion across the
One of our participants, David Hall, a Clan Hall officer and longtime editor of the Clan Hall newsletter, The Border Reiver, has shown exceptional initiative in recruiting other Halls, and many of our Hall participants came to us through his efforts. If you know of any Halls who might interested in this project, David would be a great person to contact for more details. Please contact me if you wish to get in touch with him.
The URL for the Hall web page is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_halls.htm.
The number of haplotypes posted has grown to 10. All belong to haplogroup R1b, and all but one represent a variation of the Northwest Irish or Ui Niall haplotype (i.e., R1b1c7). The Northwest Irish modal haplotype is 13-14-25-11-11-13-12-12-12-13-14-29, but with this clan it may vary by a DYS 385b value of 12, for instance, and/or a DYS391 value of 12. The obvious resemblance among the different variations signifies a common ancestor long in the past. This impression is bolstered by the fact that these haplotypes persist across different versions of the surname such as Herron, Herrin, Herring, Harron and Heron. Although this is ancestrally a Northwest Irish haplotype, it has been found among Heron descendants who are natives of
The URL for the Heron web page is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_herons.htm.
The number of haplotypes posted has grown to 55. All but two of them belong to R1b, and a large portion of them share the same basic signature. This signature is a variation of WAMH characterized by a DYS 385b value of 15, a DYS 448/ DYS 449 combination of 20/30, YCAIIa,b values of 19,24, and DYS 464a,b,c,d values of 15,16,16,17. Like the Carruthers clan, the
The URL for the Irvine/Irving web page is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/haplo_irvings.htm.
One of our longtime Robson participants, Edward Robson, founded his own Robson Surname Project within the last year. Ed has also been in contact with the
The Trimbles, Trumbles & Turnbulls
We have about 9 Trimbles, Trumbles and Turnbulls posted on the Border Reiver DNA web pages, a few of whom are official participants of this project. Although it is way too early to generalize, I did notice when a Trimble participant's results were posted by FTDNA that one of his few 25 marker exact matches was named "Turnbull". This is tantalizing evidence that Trimble and Trumble truly are variations of the Turnbull surname, and that some individuals who bear these different surname versions are, in fact, genetically related - just as Elliotts and Ellwoods, or Irwins and Irvings, have proven to be genetically related on more than a few occasions. However, we have too little data to confirm this as anything other than a coincidence. One of my wife's former colleagues is named Trimble, and one of her best friends from her college days is named Turnbull. Although both are theatre professors, Mr. Trimble is a very slight dark-haired man and Ms. Turnbull is a large-boned blonde woman nearly six feet tall. Here is a case of a Trimble and a Turnbull who clearly do not seem to be related - although even here who really knows?
The Wetheringtons & Witheringtons
The descendants of this English Border family are perhaps the most genetically cohesive surname group of all, as at least seven members have joined and their haplotypes are virtually identical - all I1a of possible Anglo-Saxon origin. I ache to create a special web page for these guys, but I don't know what to use as the background - as they are English and I can't use a family tartan. Nor have I found a suitable image of their coat of arms.
A Personal Note - Meeting The Elliotts Of Screen Townland, Donegal
My wife and I visited Ireland this past August, and for a week we stayed in a stone cottage attached to a B&B in Laghey village, about 5 kilometers from Donegal Town. My Elliotts were from Screen townland, which was just another 4 or 5 kilometers to the east. I knew there were Elliotts left in Screen because our hostess told me, when I first reserved the cottage via email back in January, that a man named Andrew Elliott from Screen drove her school bus when she was a kid. I had also read an article in the online version of the Donegal Times about the Donegal Mart, some sort of business enterprise or farmers' cooperative that a man named McElhiney had started with two farmers from Screen named William and Tommie Elliott.
I have an annotated copy of the 1901 Laghey Parish census, which lists two Elliott families living in Screen. One was my grandfather's family, headed by Isabella Graham Elliott, widow of James Elliott. Among her children, John Elliott - my grandfather - is listed, with a notation that he had left for the
Graveyard at the
The Seven Arches Pub is just 100 yards from where my wife and I were staying, and right across the street from the old
Tommie and Andy Elliott's cottage, built circa 1800
I showed Tommie the 1901 census, and he confirmed that Thomas Elliott and Fanny Stewart were his grandparents, that their son William was his father, and that Andrew - who emigrated before he was born - was his uncle. If Andrew Elliott was indeed my grandfather's first cousin, that would make Tommie my father's second cousin and my second cousin once removed. Tommie was 85, but he had my father's ears and my grandfather's nose. He also had a conservative world view and a strong interest in politics. He and my father, who was a political science professor and a Republican since Nixon (another Border Reiver), would have gotten along very well.
Tommie Elliott and my wife, Toni, with the Elliott border collies, Tobey, Sam and Bruno
Andy was not home to meet us, but we made arrangements to stop by two days later. The next time we drove up, we met Andy - a diminutive man with an impish sense of humor, but the one who basically ran the farm as he was 10 years younger than Tommie and still very hardy at 75. The two brothers were graziers, with a few cattle and numerous head of sheep. Before I even mentioned the Border Reivers project, Andy confided that his father had told him their Elliotts had been "deported" from
Andy Elliott herding his sheep, some of which he facetiously claimed were "rustled"...
This fall my wife and I gathered up some
Tommie and Andy are definitely related to me - second or third cousins once removed, or thereabouts. My great-uncles Robert and James Elliott are listed on the same tombstone (not just in the same plot) as their grandfather (who lived till 93) and several of their aunts and uncles. When the last of my great-uncles died, my father was approached to inherit their farm, but he declined and it was passed on to other relatives. Tommie and Andy and their brother William were the ones who got it. Their mother had helped Robert and James in their old age, so their family were the natural inheritors much more than my father was, despite his somewhat closer kinship connection.
We have never been in contact with the descendants of Andrew Elliott of
Andy Elliott, during a rare quiet moment, after showing my wife how the peat stove worked...
As always, the main web page for the Border Reivers DNA Project may be accessed at:
If you wish to consult previous newsletters, click on the link labeled "Project News" and the page will navigate to a submenu with links to each.
James V. Elliott
Border Reivers DNA Project
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