GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268919858
Subject: [DNA] English genealogy--Waste in Yorkshire
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 09:44:18 EDT
The following study (results due this year) implies there were survivors
of William's punitive expedition, at least in North Yorkshire:
Seeking Viking descendants in the north of England
Volunteers sought for genetics study
The arrival of the Vikings in Britain around a thousand years ago was a
dramatic event that has left a lasting legacy on our language, landscape and
place-names. But did the Vikings leave their genes behind as well?
Scientists at the world-famous Department of Genetics at the University of
Leicester, home of DNA fingerprinting, are beginning a new study to map the extent
of Viking ancestry in men who live in the north of England.
The study will focus on the Y chromosome, part of our DNA that is passed
down from fathers to sons. Previous work from the group, led by Prof Mark
Jobling, has shown a high degree of Viking ancestry among men from the Wirral
and West Lancashire, and now the aim is to extend the work further afield.
One question to be addressed is the relative distribution of Norse Vikings,
focused in the west, and Danish Vikings in the east.
The researchers want to recruit male volunteers whose father’s father was
born in Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Yorkshire, Durham or
Northumberland. “As well as analysing the Y chromosomes, we are also interested in
the surnames, because they are passed down the generations in the same way,”
said researcher Dr Turi King. “Surnames help us to make deeper links into
the past, and tease out the signal of past Viking presence.”
Sampling is done by post, and involves simply brushing the inside of the
cheek. In return for participating, volunteers will receive a description of
their own Y-chromosome type when the work is completed. Men interested in
taking part are asked to email Turi King at
(mailto:) , or telephone 07512 586 493.
The project forms part of a recently awarded grant from the Wellcome
Trust, ‘What’s in a name? Applying patrilineal surnames to forensics, population
history, and genetic epidemiology’.
If the East and West Ridings were completely devastated, wouldn't most of
the repopulation have occurred from nearby counties like Lancashire or
I'm interested in the answers to these questions because the closest DNA
match to my Britton family appears to be the Childers family which lived in
Leeds in the 16th century. If that family was not living in Yorkshire
when surnames were adopted, where are they most likely to have been? Could
there, for example, have been significant repopulation from as far away as
East Anglia, where the Briton name appears to have been more common in the
I have for some time been puzzled by the fact that there were more
Brittons in Yorkshire in the 18th century than in other counties, which I am
inclined to attribute to its greater size since I haven't found many records
for Brittons in Yorkshire in the mediaeval period, although there were
certainly some in the vicinity of West Bretton.
Moreover, in 1871, surname density was highest around Bristol and
Colchester. Medieval records show that there were Brittons in Colchester from
the earliest times, and several Britos were tenants in Chief in the
southwestern counties in 1086.
Guppy's study of the surnames of farm families points to Northamptonshire
and Essex as homes of the name Britton, but Guppy would have discounted
the many Britton families living near Bristol who weren't engaged in
I'd be grateful for any insights anyone can add.
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