Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1269096437

From: "Gary M. Lee" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] English gnealogy-- Waste in Yorkshire
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 07:49:16 -0700
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Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2010 6:18 AM
Subject: Re: [DNA] English gnealogy-- Waste in Yorkshire

> "English and French: ethnic name for a Breton, from Old French bret. The
> Bretons were Celtic-speakers driven from southwestern England to
> northwestern France in the 6th century ad by Anglo-Saxon invaders; some
> of
> them reinvaded England in the 11th century as part of the army of William
> the Conqueror. In France and among Normans, Bretons had a reputation for
> stupidity, and in some cases this name and its variants and cognate may
> have
> originated as derogatory nicknames. The English surname is most common in
> East Anglia, where many Bretons settled after the Conquest. In Scotland
> it
> may also have denoted a member of one of the Celtic-speaking peoples of
> Strathclyde, who were known as Bryttas or Brettas well into the 13th
> century."
> ***********************
> I have a brief discussion of the meaning and history of the name Britton
> at
> my project's website, including its possible use as a derogatory nickname.
> I do wonder about the latter, however, since many Bretons were powerful
> men who were richly rewarded for supporting William. Count Alan the Red
> is
> reckoned to have been the richest man in British history. I suspect most
> Brittons were so named either because they were of Breton stock or
> because
> they were followers of Breton lords. Six Britos are listed as tenants in
> chief at Domesday and most of them held lands in the southwest where the
> name
> Britton is later concentrated. Southwestern England also has the highest
> concentration of R1b.
> My family and three others are Haplogroup I1 and two are R1a and therefore
> were not of Breton origin unless they were Normans living in Brittany.
> Some Brittons in the North may have taken their name from Monk Bretton
> in
> Yorkshire: Joseph Smith Fletcher in A Picturesque History of Yorkshire,(
> p. 268) refers to its sister village West Bretton as "an old Celtic
> settlement." Although the name may have been a contraction of Brettatum,
> meaning a
> settlement of Brettons (Hanks & Hodge, Oxford Dictionary of Surnames, p.
> 74), it seems more likely to be derived from brec (broken or
> newly-cultivated) and tun (enclosure or settlement, p. 74). In fact,
> "occasional
> spellings with ct suggest that [Breton] is not OE Bretta-tum 'the
> Britons' tun, but
> OE Brec-tun." (Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, p. 63
> Some Britton families in East Anglia may have derived their name from
> Layer
> Breton in Essex (named for a early and prominent Breton family) or the
> River Brett/Bretton in Suffolk.
> *************************
> I would certainly not suggest to entertain or establish ANY genetic
> presumption for your paternal line based on a family name adopted untold
> generations ago..
> but from a linguistics standpoint I assume comfortably that the surname
> itself is most likely to be considered a Norman / (post) Norman surname,
> that likely would not have been in place prior to the norman conquest at
> least in the North.
> I also doubt that any substanial genetic difference exists between large
> portions of arriving normans and those they usurped at least at the Y Hg
> level.. but that is entirely a presumption
> *******************
> I doubt it, too. Because our subgroup has a coalescence age of 1200,
> however, I have always thought it more likely we were Dane or Norman (ie
> not
> part of the first wave of Anglo-Saxon invasions) , and the evidence of
> the
> surname would tip the balance in favour of Norman--assuming of course,
> that
> we have used the name Britton since the mediaeval period, that there have
> been no NPE's in the line, and that we didn't take the name because of
> association with a place or family named Britton or Breton.
> Lindsey
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