History of the Isles Scottish Haplotype
However, the entire Scottish haplotype is both very young,
dating only to 300 AD, with not a large amount of genetic variation, and
apparently concentrated in southwestern Scotland. Therefore finding TheophilusMcKinstry’s
closest matches in that part of Scotland
doesn’t as strongly support thinking that a thousand years ago his people were
in Galloway, as one might otherwise
It does look very likely that a thousand years ago TheophilusMcKinstry’s
ancestors lived in the western border region of Scotland. This includes Dumfries.
While it looks like the Isles – Scottish haplotype is
concentrated in southwestern Scotland
and has been so atleast since the Anglo-Saxons settled in southeastern Scotland, it is less clear how the
Isles-Scottish haplotype got to southwestern Scotland. The parent L126/ L137 clade (I2b1a1), is
numerically strongly dominated by the Isles-Scottish haplotype. However, in both England
it has twice as much genetic variation as does the Isles-Scottish
haplotype. The L126/L137 clade does not
seem to be innate to Ireland,
as it is found mostly in the part of Ireland where it would have been
carried by the Scotch-Irish migration.
The parent M284 clade, on the other hand, which is much older, is found
throughout Ireland. Usually a clade originated, not where it is
most common today, but where it has the greatest genetic variation today. I2b1a1 probably came to Scotland from England.
Before drawing too firm conclusions it is necessary to
realize that it looks as though both M284 and its L126/ L137 subclade could
have come to England from
continental Europe. More on this later. It was previously thought that M284
developed in England,
because it was never or rarely found outside of England. Knowledge of where SNP’s are found depends
on people spending the extra money to test for SNP’s, or else scientists
raising money to do research, which supplies a very small amount of data on Y
DNA and its clades. Until recently not
many people tested. As more people are
testing, both M284 and L126/L137 are being found more often in Europe. Part of
this may be explained by people from England migrating to the continent,
which has happened repeatedly throughout history and sometimes involved large
numbers of people. They did not however
migrate in significant numbers to Spain, which together with its
former colonies seems to be something of a M284 hotspot. What is more, both M284 and L126/ L137 have
slightly but significantly more genetic variation in continental Europe than in
England, which suggests that
both may have come to England
from the continent soon after they evolved.
I2b1 is strongly concentrated in the German Rhineland, modern Belgium and the modern Netherlands, and that region had enough ancient
intereraction with Spain
to potentially explain how these clades got there.
Someone in the I2b1 project thinks that it may actually have
been Romans bringing soldiers from the German Rhineland who brought L126/ L137
to Scotland, even though the
clade was already present in England.
In terms of pure probability, since L126/l137 was present
and not rare in England,
it probably crossed over the Scottish border.
The Isles-Scottish haplotype is
a western border region phenomenon; it is not at all common north of Glasgow, and it probably got to Glasgow by migration. It is also important to realize that the
sheer numbers of the Isles-Scottish STR cluster in Scotland requires that there was a
founder effect. The founder of this
entire cluster must have lived in a place with low population where his
immediate descendants were isolated for a time, and his Y DNA had a chance to
become common. Any place where Roman
soldiers settled would have been densely populated. The people who carried this Y DNA cluster
began to multiply around 300 AD. Romans
were definitely there at the time. The
Isles-Scottish STR cluster would have had its best chance in a place like
isolated rural backwater Galloway, which the
Romans almost completely left alone.
Their strategy dealt with Galloway by isolating it from the more
powerful nearby Celtic tribes who the tribe that lived in Galloway
tended to support. The Romans marched
through Southern Scotland in two lines, which went right by Galloway on their
way north, and their nearest forts in Dumfries isolated Galloway
more than anything else. Late in time,
I now of Romans and “Picts” (local Britons) battling Gaels from Ireland, in Galloway near the Cree River
near where McKinstry’s lived in 1500, but this sort of thing had to have been
rare. As far as I know, Galloway is the
only part of southern Scotland
that the Romans left alone to this degree.
The Romans securely held all of southern Scotland for three or four hundred
This all points to the conclusion that probably, the
ancestors of Isles-Scottish had been in England for some time. Formerly it was thought that they must have
been there atleast since M284 originated in England around 2000 BCE – or maybe
significantly earlier. L126/ L137 has
probably been in England
for almost twice as long as the Scottish haplotype is old, to judge from its
genetic variability. It could have come
more than once. What this means is that
when the Romans came to Britain,
the I2b1a1 people would have been “Britons” – or “Celts”. Later I discuss in more detail when and how
the ancestors of M284 and L126/ L137 may have gotten to Britain. If the L126/ L137 people did come from the
continent, they got to Britain
significantly later than the Urnfield/ Proto-Celtic people of the middle Bronze
Age, who spread across Ireland
and may account for its branch of the Celtic language family. M284 spread across Ireland, but
L126/ L137 did not. (The Urnfielders
were the latest of a number of great waves of migrants to Britain from the German Rhineland and Belgium.)
The distribution of the Scottish haplotype has things to
tell us about where the McKinstry’s originated. The Scottish haplotype of M284, M284 itself,
and all of I2b1, are strongly concentrated within Scotland,
in southwestern Scotland. The following map shows the distribution of
the people in the I2b1 Y DNA project, with the Scottish haplotype, who have tested
positive for L126. (L126 and L137 so
far always occur together, and many people tested for one or the other.) Within the group defined by the L126 and
L137 mutations, the majority of people share the Scottish haplotype.
The first screenshot of a section of map from Google Earth,
shows the entire McKinstry sphere of influence.
Look at how localized it is. From 1499 through the 16th century,
they lived in Minnigaff and Penninghame parishes on the Cree
River, in Galloway. Over the next three centuries they gradually
spread across Galloway and Dumfries, migrated to Glasgow,
and rowed across the narrow strait to County
Antrim in Ireland. Carrickfergus, where Theophilus’s ancestor William
was born around 1722, is almost the first land someone rowing from Galloway would encounter. Over time they did spread to other parts of northern Ireland, especially Down and Armagh. They
don’t seem to have been a feature of Londonderry
where the greatest concentration of the Scotch Irish settled.
Notice the spread to northern Ireland by the
Scotch-Irish migration. This screenshot
did not include all of Scotland;
just the southern portion of it. There was no L126 from the I2b1 project found
in northern Scotland. Scottish L126 is found in eastern Scotland, but
is much less common there. The point of
origin of most people named McKinstry, in Scotland,
is the Cree River; that southwestern point of land, second river
inlet, near the second datapoint from the coast. Most McKinstry’s went just across the narrow
strait to that point of land in northeastern Ireland. This is exactly what Theophilus’s ancestors did;
William McKinstry who married Mary Morse was born in Carrickfergus, county Antrim.
Map showing McKinstry origins in Minigaff and near Newton
Stewart, eventually spreading through Galloway. Carrickfergus, label somewhat obscured,is on
the coast of northern
Distribution of L126,
from I2b1 DNA project
L126/ L137, M284, and I2b1, are all strongly concentrated in
Unfortunately it isn’t clear whether this haplotype is
actually concentrated in southwestern Scotland or it merely looks that
way. Notice another strange feature;
that L126 looks considerably more common in Ireland
than in Scotland,
though it did not originate there! It probably
also isn’t more common there. This is probably
an illusion created by a bias in the data.
Most people in the databases are Scotch-Irish, and more of the Scotch
Irish know specific places where their ancestors lived in Ireland than know where they lived in Scotland. William McKinstry’s descendants are typical;
they believe that he was of Scottish descent but know for a fact that he was
born in Carrickfergus, Ireland about 1722.
On the other hand, there is some reason to expect
haplogroups and clades that predate the Saxon arrival in the British Isles to
be concentrated in the west of Scotland. M284 and its daughter clade both predate the
arrival of Anglo-Saxon people in Scotland. Anglo-Saxon people include people who are
I2b1. They did not include much if any
people who were M284+. The Anglo-Saxon
people established a large, powerful kingdom on the coast of southeastern Scotland and northern England,
called Northumbria. The native Scottish peoples were pushed
Other haplogroups that came with the Anglo-Saxons or are
common and widespread enough for the population rearrangement not to matter,
should show less effect of people moved westward. However, if the data is biased by the fact
that much of it is Scotch Irish, any clade I look at should show the most
people in southwestern Scotland. I went to the I1 and R1b1b2 projects and
mapped them for Scotland. R1b1b2 shows some westward concentration, but
both are much more evenly spread out.
Anglo-Saxon generic I1 is evenly distributed across southern Scotland. The thing about Anglo Saxon generic I1 is
that it probably should be concentrated in southeastern Scotland, so if
the spread is even there is probably a westward bias of the data.
It looks as if M284 really is atleast somewhat concentrated
in southwestern Scotland.
Two experts in Scottish genealogy who I talked with, at the University of Edinburgh
and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow,
had an interesting take on the situation.
Both insisted that the Isles/Scottish clade is your basic “Pictish”
clade and should therefore be concentrated in, of all places, southeastern Scotland. Both complained vehemently that the
Scotch-Irish bias to the data falsely makes it appear otherwise.
I learned on the I2b1
forums that these two people have an agenda.
One of them is associated with the Oxford
anthropological DNA outfit. The pair of them just published a book
together, on the genetic history of Scotland. Unfortunately Orson Welles with the
Genographic Project, a major anthropological genetics project organized by
National Geographic and IBM, is as weird.
His thing is proving that all of us are “Phoenicians”. He is putting huge amounts of project
resources into testing people around the Mediterranean
to “prove” that. Phoenicia was a tiny place where Lebanon is now, in northern Palestine. It had a large empire in northern Africa and
was conquered by Rome. However, the people throughout the Middle
East and North Africa are genetically Middle
Eastern, and have been since the Neolithic.
It’s probably a good idea to discuss the Picts, since a
current movie, the Ninth Eagle or something of the sort, presents another
outlandish and improbable theory of their origins. Even the Wikipedia article is full of
nonsense. The Picts were not a
prehistoric tribe who in Roman times lived in the far north of Scotland and
hunted seals. They are not mentioned by
anybody before the Roman conquest of Britain. They were not a tribe, nor an ethnic group. My careful research at the UT graduate
library finds that the Romans mentioned them for the first time in 297 AD, when
they attacked Hadrian’s Wall, in central Scotland. A hundred years previously, the Romans had
so badly decimated the people of northern Scotland that it took them over a
century to recover. The Picts were what
a militarily unified entity in northern Scotland that resisted the Romans,
called themselves. They consisted
ethnically and culturally of the people who lived in the land they ruled. Their
outdated fighting customs – naked and covered with blue paint – have the look
of a fundamentalist resistance movement.
I wonder if their runic writing on rocks had something to do with
extensive exposure to the Norse.
This map makes more sense; the text explains that the Picts
lived in the low lying areas of “Eastern” Scotland, while the Gaels (Scots)
and Britons occupied the southwest. But
the map simply shows the Picts as the people of northern Scotland. Notice that the northeast is occupied by Northumbria –
the kingdom, or pair thereof, of the Angles.
The lines and squares are a rough, and not strictly accurate,
representation of the military lines of the Romans. The later map shows the Britons and Scots (kingdom of Dalriada)
in the southwest and Picts in the east, north of Northumbria. Galloway, in
the far southwest, was Briton territory, secondarily Norse on the coast, and
eventually politically dominated by the Gaels.
Unsurprisingly, the Angles had a major monastery and missionary center
or two, and other cultural sharing, in Galloway.
By the 8th century, the Picts also occupied
central southern Scotland. At that time they allied with the Gaels, who
had a powerful kingdom in Strathclyde in western Scotland, to fight against the
Vikings. In time the Gaelic and Pictish
royal families united by marriage, and this gave rise to the medieval kingdom of Scotland.
The Picts never were located, let alone centered, in
southeastern Scotland. Moreover, noone who previously lived in
continued to live there once the Angles moved into that area. The Picts also did not occupy nor hold power
That area was successfully a Briton or Celtic kingdom, then within the
sphere of the Gaelic kingdom, though most of its occupants probably continued
to be Britons. Penninghame and
Minnigaff parishes do show extensive signs, particularly in place and personal
names, of Norse occupation.
Pertinent to the name McKinstry is the fact that the
language of Galloway was largely Scots Gaelic
until the 18th or 19th century. Surnames came into use there late as well,
and McKinstry is a patronymic. The name
abruptly showed up in the land and probate records toward the end of the 15th
century, and the first McKinstry could have had a father with a very different
name. An expert on Gaelic entymology wrote a
standard reference on Scots Gaelic names and their English equivalents, and he
decided that McKinstry was Mac An Astrigh, with a longer actual Gaelic spelling,
and meant Son of a Wanderer or Son of a Traveller. Scots Gaelic names are so similar and were
so frequently intermingled that that might be true or might not. One thing that is true of the name
McKinstry, however, is that with the exception of versions that left off the
final ee sound or the initial Mc, the name McKinstry has always been spelled in
ways that were phonetically consistent.
The most important mangling that has occurred is that it often got
rendered as McKinster, which is apparently a different surname. MacKinstray is another common
variation. At one village to the north
of Galloway it changed to “Kingstree”. The name has never sounded, for example,
like McKenzie or McKinsey. The family
were farmers who held several fields at a time (which was typical of farming
practices of the time), and at times they were minor manor officials.
one or two families with this name were exceedingly prosperous. In Armagh there was a family of minor gentry
by this name, and they claim descent from Roger McKinstry, the father of Rev.
John McKinstry, who allegedly lived in Edinburgh, who studied at Edinburgh University
and came to New England. Maybe he was born near Carrickfergus, or
maybe “Brode” was in County
Armagh. His alleged descendants aren’t too sure. ;) However,
McKinstry families that came to the U.S.
and Canada have tended to
claim descent from both Roger McKinstry and the wealthy Armagh
family. These links are so far unproven.