Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268877970

From: Steven Bird <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] English genealogy
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 22:06:10 -0400
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

I think that some of your questions can or could be answered. Many must await better coverage in the Y data (which is coming, I hope).

> If a significant number of male descendants can be found in a region of
> Northern England who seem to have common Balkan roots based on advanced
> Y-DNA SNP testing, the questions I have for the geneticists are:

> 1. Is there a chance that the time back to the immigrant ancestor can be
> established?

Probably not, because the population may be significantly older than Roman period. The way that the Romans selected soldiers, random from a genetic perspective, I would expect the coalescence might be very similar to the corresponding Balkan populations from which they came. A more recent founding effect coalescence date would indicate a far more recent immigration to Britain.

> 2. If not the immigrant ancestor, then can the time back to the
> bottlenecking of genetic types, even as long as a thousand years ago be established?

Sure. I would expect the bottleneck to exist in the Bronze Age, judging from the expansion of world populations at that time.

> 3. Can the location of this original ancestry in the Balkans be estimated
> based on a modal type?

Perhaps. Much more data is needed. It would require some really good, detailed haplotypes in the Balkans AND in Britain to have a chance of confirming origins. Not out of the question, but not likely in my opinion.

> 4. If there is a clear paper trail of a particular surname and similar
> haplotype (but with several mutational differences) back 500 years, is that
> enough to rule out more recent Balkan immigration?

I'm not aware of any migration from the Balkans to Britain in the past 1000 years, excepting perhaps since WWII.

> 5. Aren't there phylogeographical methods that employ specific markers and
> statistics to establish migration patterns?

Yes, there is a program called Map Viewer 7 that allows this sort of comparison. It is expensive and takes a good while to learn to use well. It is published by Golden Software, in Colorado.

> 6. If a very specific Eastern European subhaplogroup did not enter the
> British Isles during Roman times, but the modal progenitor entered there, say,
> before the time of surnames, then what else would be the most likely
> explanation of this entry into the local population?

This is a situation where I would expect to see a well-defined founder haplotype with a coalescent date between 400 A.D. and 1100 A.D. (when surnames came along in Britain).

> It would seem that DNA evidence would trump historical reporting, though
> one would like to see an agreement between the two when connecting the dots.

DNA evidence is essentially objective, much as a pot sherd is objective. The interpretation of the evidence is the key to understanding, however, and that by nature is NOT objective.



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