SCT-SHETLAND-L ArchivesArchiver > SCT-SHETLAND > 2004-03 > 1079897901
From: David Faux <>
Subject: [SHETLAND] Sinclair DNA
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 11:38:21 -0800 (PST)
Since it seems that many of us have a Sinclair or two in our Shetland pedigree, I thought you might be interested in the results of a Y chromosome DNA test of a Sinclair from Houss.
First, it is well established that the name was St. Clair from the place in Normandy called St. Clair sur L'Elle. The name became established at the highest levels (Earls) in Caithness, and then by the 1300s was firmly ensconced in Orkney, and by the 1500s was widespread in Shetland. The question that is of interest here is whether all Shetland Sinclairs descend from the Earls of Orkney. It has been recorded that many tenants of the Laird woud take his name as a surname which, if the practice applied to Shetland or Orkney, would mean multiple Y chromosome signatures.
At present my hypothesis is that all Shetland Sinclairs (barring a "non-paternal event" or two) have an ancestor in common and so would be close matches (e.g., 23 / 25) on the DNA testing.
My first Sinclair participant (the results of a second are expected any day) has a very rare signature. Since the overall grouping is R1b I cannot say immediately if the signature is Celtic or Norse (only R1a and I signatures have this clear interpretation), however looking at his matches in a world - wide database is instructive. He has only one match 12 / 12 - from Poland. At the 11 / 12 level his greatest number of matches are "Siberian Native". It is too early to say anything definitive, but perhaps we are seeing where the Sinclairs were prior to arriving in Scotland - or that a group with the same ancestors as the Sinclairs moved into Russia during Viking times. Since there were matches from Denmark, and since most of the Vikings who invaded Normandy were Danish Vikings, the signature of this Sinclair participant is consistent with a Danish - Norman background. However, what if a sailor from the Hanseatic League was shipwrecked in Houss in say the 1600s - that wou!
be consistent with the signature of the present Sinclair participant.
The only way we can hope to tease fact from fiction is to test Sinclairs from different locations in Shetland - and compare their signatures to those from Orkney and Caithness. We shall have our answer in due course.
Dr. David K. Faux, P.O. Box 192, Seal Beach, CA, 90740, USA