23, The North Sea and Me

Well I got my results from 23 and me and it makes me feel better about the path my research took. I’m R1b – U106 or S21 or M405. 23 and me says I’m R1b1b21a1a1* which follows the 2010 ISOGG tree for nomenclature. Recently FTDNA and ISOGG have changed the tree nomenclature so the haplogroup is now R1b1a2a1a1a 23 and me now lists me with a * to signify that they think I have further snps but they don’t know what they are.

I had a hunch that we were R1b-U198 or S29 or M467, but it turns out I am ancestral for that so. I had a no call for L48 which means they couldn’t get a result so I may be that, but I’d have to have more testing to find out and I’m not sure how much narrower this group can get.

23 and me says this group is centered in the now submerged area between the mainland and britain called Doggerland. Estimates of the MRCA for R1b-U106 are given as 3000 to 4000 years at many sites. It’s hard to say though and on an interactive map of europe I saw that Doggerland was pretty well and Island by 5000 years ago so it makes me think that scenario needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The other theory on this is that the Germanic migrations brought R1b-U106 to England, Scotland and Ireland.

Screen shot 2011-05-27 at 10.41.56 AM

On the left is U106 my clade. On the right is S116 or P312 the large branch that eventually leads to L21 and then to M222 which is a major Irish clade. Although no culture can really be assigned to P312 it’s often seen as Celtic where U106 is often seen as Germanic and labeled Frisian because of it’s concentration in old Frisia. For fun here is a distribution of I1 another “Germanic” group.


So obviously even haplogroups seperated by 10s of thousands of years can inhabit the same area, and there is considerable overlap among these groups. Although Haplogroup I1 is considered Norse because of it’s concentration you could obviously be French or German and and have Haplogroup I1.

So they say my group of people can be found hugging the north sea and to an extent the Baltic sea as well. It would seem that they were pinched between the R1b-S116 people to the south and the I1 people to the north.

To me this explains all the German, English and Danish/Swedish matches on my Y chromosome and may explain why I struggle so hard to find Y matches. There are only 6 Thompsons listed in my clade at FTDNA. It may be because of lack of testing, but still it’s pretty daunting. So I feel good about my research and my hunches. I figured it out and then verified my findings.

When people wax poetic they say we are sea people. Water people who lived anywhere a longship would go. I’ve always pictured myself as more of a forest person and I’ve never been particularly drawn to the sea…but then your Y chromosome is only a small part of the multitude of people who make you up.


  1. It turns out I'm also not L48..I'm ancestral for that. So that removes many further SNPs from the official list. Some of the people who match my STR pattern are part of a new SNP outside of L48 which is labeled Z18. At some time in the future I may test to see if I fall into that group. It's very small and may give me insight into my Thompson roots.

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