GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-06 > 1119212904
From: "Peter A. Kincaid" <>
Subject: RE: [DNA] Strathclyde British haplotype
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 17:28:24 -0300
At 03:35 AM 19/06/2005, you wrote:
>The second and main component in the name MacWhirter is Brythonic not Gaelic
>(though this does not necessarily mean the family was). The name was
>originally MacChruter, MacChruiter or M'Churteer etc. Black writes: "The
>chruit (W. crwth) was an old Welsh strignged instrument, four of its six
>strings played with a bow, two twitched by the thumb."
A key point that is also being missed is that this is a
surname based on an occupation (ie. as you note son
of the harper). Thus, you treat it differently from that of
a place name. This surname could have mutliple origins
at different points in time depending on the locale as there
were harpers in various cultures. In the case of Scotland
the sources seem to state that it first appears in records in
Carrick in the 1300s. By that time the Gaelic language
and Gaelic/English people was spread throughout that area.
Carrick by all accounts was lost by the British back
in the 700s. Thus, we appear to have an individual,
of unknow origin (likely other than Strathclyde British).
To say that MacWhirters are Strathclyde British seems
a huge stretch. One would have to have an unbroken
pedigree back to the Strathclyde British in the 11th century
to come close. Even then there is no proof that this
person was Strathclyde British as harpers and all other
minstrels were a travelling lot selling their talent to the
highest bidder. The person could have come from Ireland,
Wales, as well as other parts of Scotland (perhaps even
I am no expert on surname origins nor on the McWhirters
origins. All I am pointing out is that, DNA wise, the McWhirter
surname is of very little use for an analysis of the Strathclyde
British. This is simply because you have a surname with at
least one obvious Gaelic element, from a dominantly Gaelic area,
and of an occupation origin common to all of the British Isles.
I personally doubt it if they were Strathclyde British.