GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2006-01 > 1137528078
From: "Todd A. Farmerie" <>
Subject: Re: Niall of the Nine Hostages DNA
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:01:18 -0700
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <43cc35c6@news.ColoState.EDU> <email@example.com>
> Todd A. Farmerie wrote:
>> As with the 'Somerled haplotype', they are overinterpreting the data
>> to suggest that everyone with the haplotype descends from Niall.
>> Were you to accept that this is his lineage, it would only show a
> descent from
>> his male kin-group. Given what happens in tribal societies, this may,
>> even in his own time, have represented a significant portion of his
> Whatever you might think about marking everyone in the world with this
> haplotype as a 'descendant of Niall' the marked localisation of the
> haplotype in the northwest of Ireland among males of certain families
> with documentary male line genealogies showing common ancestry in Niall
> is very significant. Doesn't Occam's Razor suggest that we should not
> assume the common ancestry is other than that which is documented?
Occam's Razor is a tool, not a rule, but to answer your question, no.
Given the general nature of genealogies written in the 10th century
purporting to trace to the 5th, I don't think you can automatically give
them the benefit of the doubt. Further, the same genealogies show
descents from Niall's brother, and he too would have the same haplotype.
What is to say that any particular person with the DNA markers
descends from Niall and not his brother, uncle or
third-cousin-twice-removed? Depending on the original social structure
the entire 'tribe' Niall led could have represented the descendants of a
warband made up of a group of brothers, nephews, and cousins along with
their wives and children, and hence many members of the 'tribe' at
Niall's time could have had the same Y haplotype, and equally be
candidates as potential male-line ancestors (and not coincidentally,
they would have been from the same geographic locality as Niall). After
the fact, who is a 10th century family derived from this group likely to
choose to trace their descent from? Niall, the tribal hero, or the
Lest someone misinterpret this: individual pedigrees must be evaluated
on their own, and if they prove a descent from Niall, the DNA is
superfluous. At least one (really two from different sons) such
pedigree must be upheld in order to conclude that the potential ancestor
in question even belonged to the haplogroup being studied. If the
pedigree does not stand up to critical scrutiny, the DNA cannot serve as
a proxy to 'prove' that they have such a descent, because it only
identifies the agnatic kinship group to which one belongs, not specific
>> Of couse, the Irish genealogies show all of the rulers of all of the
>> dynasties to be descended from the same male line . . . .
> The complete body of Irish medieval genealogies trace back to many early
> historical progenitors.
But some of the lines traced to 'early historic progenitors' were done
That these were subsequently given common
> ancestry to integrate them into the Christian idea of history with
> ultimate descent from Adam is neither here nor there.
It was not just to trace to Adam that they were linked, but to show
common descent from a unified Irish foundation legend and hence their
rights to rule as representatives of the original foundation. These
founders were then traced to Adam to fit in with the Christian ideal.
It is a similar pattern to that seen elsewhere. The Anglo-Saxon rulers
are all forged back to Woden. Then Woden is forged back to Geat (the
'ancestor' of all of the Germanic Goths), then Geat is forged back to
Adam. These are sequential steps in the process, and the pedigree did
not yet lead to Adam at the time the shared links to Woden were created.
I don't expect the Irish to have been any different.
|Re: Niall of the Nine Hostages DNA by "Todd A. Farmerie" <>|