Wandering Thoughts on Ancient DNA and the Migration Period

leaving behind the Anglo-Saxon study and branching out into the wider world of Y DNA studies, I want to continue adding context for myself to the R-Z18 and R-U106 results discovered in Ancient DNA. I’m using the U106 group spreadsheet for ancient DNA as a guide to other studies where related people might appear. I’m also making heavy use of family tree DNA’s discover more tools to get their numbers, locations, and ancient DNA information.

Again, when I list modern testers, it is good to be aware of the bias in testing toward the United Kingdom and people who believe they are from the U.K. There is a steep bias toward people from the U.S. who may not have good family trees.

I’ve been working on this posting for a while because I’ve found it difficult as a layperson to get the level of depth I want in Y DNA results, and I’ve struggled to find the data in easy-to-consume bulk formats, like a spreadsheet or CSV. For instance, I may get a list of Y results that is very shallow in a spreadsheet format from a study, but the in-depth information on those results is kind of spread around various channels. Sometimes, even when in-depth analysis has been done, there isn’t more clarity to be had. The samples themselves are degraded.

Early Medieval Bavaria

google map showing straubing germany and Altenerding close to the border of Czechia and Austria

This study: “Population genomic analysis of elongated skulls reveals extensive female-biased immigration in Early Medieval Bavaria” produced two R-Z18 results from Straubing Germany and Two other R-U106 results from Altenerding about 115km away (also in Germany). The samples were roughly buried between 450 CE and 550 CE, so a good migration-era sampling like our Anglo-Saxon buddies. The study conclusions are interesting and show female migration from southeastern Europe and elsewhere within populations with what they thought of as relatively stable males.

Dude. I tried.

The study is pretty obviously geared towards female migration (although males were included in the 41 graves that were processed). I couldn’t find a Y DNA haplogroup table in the supplementary information. There was MTDNA info to be had, which plays into the study findings. These Y results were probably sussed out of the BAM files by people with the knowledge to do that. Since my source is the U106 group and they are biased towards U106 like I’m biased towards R-Z18 and R-CTS12023, all I have are the U106 results to look at in any coherent way. Looking through the forum threads at anthrogenica for this burst of citizen science research, yielded some posts with other results, but this is in no way inclusive of all the data. It’s just all the data I could parse out of the forum.

I’m betting that I am missing some R-P312 results. From what I was able to gather, Haplogroup I and Haplogroup R are neck and neck in this study, with 4 results each.

Haplogroup G

  • G-L497 – 1 result, formed in 5300 BCE, 1737 modern descendants and is most common in England and Germany.

Haplogroup I

  • I-M253 – 3 results, formed in 2550 BCE, 24,933 modern testers from England, Sweden and Germany.
  • I-M423 – 1 result, formed in 16000 BCE, 2,784 modern testers from Ireland, Poland and Russia.

Haplogroup R

All of these fall under R-U106

  • R-U106 – 1 result, this is the major parent group for the rest of these results. R-U106 formed around 2950 BCE.
  • R-Z156 – 1 result, formed around 2500 BCE, 3,487 modern testers mainly from England and Germany.
  • R-Z17 – 1 result, a major group under R-Z18 formed around 1950 BCE, with 1,193 modern testers from Sweden, England and Scotland. This result is under R-Z18.
  • R-ZP136 – 1 result, formed around 650 BCE. 21 modern testers from Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. This result is under R-Z18. There may be a dispute about this result as it is also listed as possibly identified as R-L48 which is a different branch of the R-U106 tree.

Collegno and Szolad in the 6th Century

map from the 6th century barbarian study showing szolad hungary and collegno italy.

The study these migration era samples come from is “Understanding 6th-century barbarian social organization and migration through paleogenomics“. I’ve written about one of the men in this study before. The sample form SZ4 in Szolad Hungary is from Scandinavia and migrates down to Hungary among the Longobards (Lombards). It’s an example of how far people were moving in the migration period. Most of the R-U106 samples and the R-Z18 came from Szolad with two samples from Collegno.

I was able to grab the supplemental material, which did have Y DNA results, but at a pretty base level. The R-U106 group has a better breakdown of the R-U106 results. DNAExplained has a really nice breakdown with more information and better haplogroup designations than the study itself. So I’ll lean on the U106 group for R-U106 and lean on DNAExplained for the enhanced haplogroups for others.

Haplogroup E

  • E-BY3880 – 2200 BCE, 2,347 modern testers. Most common in England and Germany.
  • E-BY6865 – 4400 BCE, 27 modern testers. Most common in Iraq, Kuwait, and Italy.

Haplogroup G

  • G-FGC693 – 5800 BCE, 189 modern testers. Most common in Russia, Georgia, and Turkey.

Haplogroup I (11 samples)

  • I-FT104588 – 500 BCE, 10 modern testers. Most common in Germany, Slovenia, and France.
  • I-FGC21819 – 1 BCE, 4 modern testers, most popular in England, France, and Germany.
  • I-S8104 – 3 samples. 250 BCE, 57 modern testers. Most popular in Norway, Sweden, and England.
  • I-CTS616 – 9900 BCE, 5,210 modern testers. Most popular in England and Ireland.
  • I-ZS3 – 1650 BCE, 230 modern testers. Most popular in England and Sweden.
  • I-BY138 – 1700 BCE, 32 modern testers. Most popular in England, Ireland, and Germany.
  • I-BY3605 – 550 BCE, 21 modern testers. Most popular in Germany, Netherlands, and Norway.
  • I-Y6876 – 1150 BCE, 108 modern testers. Most common in Sweden, Norway, and Germany.

Haplogroup R (26 samples)

Going into some depth here because R is a monster in Europe. It is unfair depth, though because I’m giving preference to larger groups (or larger amounts of samples) and older designations, highlighting the differences between the big boys in P312 and U106.


  • R-YP986 – 50 BCE, 52 modern testers. Most common in Scotland and England.
  • R-Z2123 – 2150 BCE, 616 modern testers. Most common in Russia.


  • R-FGC24138 – 2250 BCE, 66 most common in Scotland and Germany.
  • R-L754 – 15000 BCE, 85,767 modern testers, most common in Ireland and England.
  • R-BY48364 – 1000 BCE, 4 modern testers, found in Germany, Poland, South Africa and Switzerland.
  • R-A8472 – 1650 BCE, 68 modern testers, found in England and France.
  • R-BY3194 – 350 CE, 33 modern testers found in Ireland, Northern Ireland and France.
  • R-BY70163 – 750 BCE, 9 testers, Bahrain, Italy, and Kuwait.


  • R-S22519 – 3 samples. 250 BCE, 2 modern testers, unknown origins.


  • R-FGC4166 – 2050 BCE, 165 modern testers mainly from England and Ireland.
  • R-P312 – 3 samples. Enormous base group of R1b. It’s most likely that the samples were degraded and couldn’t be pushed farther downstream.
  • R-BY3194 – 350 CE, 33 modern testers. Found mainly in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and France.
  • R-DF99 – 2400 BCE, 301 descendants. Mainly from England and Germany.


  • R-BY176786 – This one has no age estimate and is found in only one person in the U.K.
  • R-BY138397 – This one has no age estimate and is found in only one person in Italy.
  • R-Z381 – 2 samples. 2650 BCE. This is the largest branch of R-U106. It’s likely the samples couldn’t give a more specific result.
  • R-S10271 – 1000 BCE, 13 testers from Germany, Scotland, and Switzerland.
  • R-U198 – 1500 BCE, 1,471 modern testers. Most popular in England and the U.K.
  • R-S15627 – 1300 BCE, 590 modern testers. Most popular in England and Scotland.
  • R-Y98441 – 1150 BCE, 4 testers. Found in Germany and Sweden. This is a descendant line of R-Z18. This is our Scandinavian who moved to Hungary (one of two Scandinavians in Szolad, I believe) and lived with a family group of unrelated Germans if I remember the story right.

Haplogroup T

  • T-BY45363 – 2050 BCE, 8 modern testers from England, Iraq and Lebanon.
  • T-Y15712 – 5800 BCE, 28 modern testers from Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Niederstotzingen 6th and 7th Century Alemanni

Map of Niederstotzingen, Germany

This group has no R-Z18 results, but there are R-U106 results that can provide some context. This is a single graveyard genomic study: “Ancient genome-wide analyses infer kinship structure in an Early Medieval Alemannic graveyard.”

Haplogroup G

  • G-M406 – 9700 BCE, 690 modern testers. Most popular in Italy, Germany, and England.

Haplogroup R

These are all base groups in R and R1b. They are ancient and enormous groups. The samples were likely too degraded to provide a better result or the testing too limited.


  • R-FGC23143 – 6 samples. This SNP has no age estimate and has only been found in 1 modern tester from Belgium.
  • R-Z319 – 1050 BCE, 375 modern testers from Germany and England.
  • R-Y182993 – This one is on the struggle bus at FTDNA. Yfull has it at 550 BCE with one tester from the U.S.


These datasets could be classified as Continental Central Europeans or people who became continental central Europeans.

Below is a walking map of the places with Medieval R-U106 DNA in my transect of results.

Map showing, Niederstotzingen, Strauben, Altenerding, Collegno and Szolad.

R-Z18 is a subset of these results. The map below represents the two locations and three results for R-Z18.

map with Straubing and Szolad. The two locations where R-Z18 was found.

My Sampling

In my transect of the U106 migration period studies, R-Z18 actually makes a pretty good showing. It’s no surprise that Haplogroup R makes its presence felt with the bulk of the results. Although I suspect I’m missing some R-P312 results from the first study in my list, they also make a good show.

My purpose is to show the R-U106 and R-Z18 world in context with other Y haplogroups. Because I’m looking at R-U106 groups, it is not surprising to be floating around in the “Germanic” world. R-U106 is often described as Germanic R1b.

What I’ve gathered is that R-U106 leans towards the Germanic language groups in the migration period, but people living in those communities don’t necessarily all lean towards R-U106. Non-U106 Haplogroup R Y DNA branches are constant companions with similar numbers of results. R-P312 descendants are also major players in these communities. Haplogroup I is formidable. It seems to be almost everywhere that U106 is in abundance. Haplogroups E, G, J, and T crop up in smaller numbers but in a diversity of locations.

All human Y DNA Haplogroups have an origin person who lived in a place who was probably related to similar people from a region and spoke a language, but once they leave that place and spread out in space and time, it seems like all bets are off. As if people don’t just line themselves up by Y DNA as a defining feature.

There is an obvious skew in my perspective because I’m the center of the universe in my online diary. I’m only looking at migration-era studies that contain known R-U106 samples, and I’ve been selective, trying to pick studies that were more recent and had more results to offer.

I wouldn’t have expected R-Z18 to have a decent presence in Southern Germany or Hungary, but there they were. Finding R-Z18 results among Lombards and Ostrogoths (?) makes me hopeful that we’ll be picked up in further genetic studies in central Europe. That brings me to the next conclusion.

Migration and Community vs Origin vs Geography vs Culture

As I wrote in a previous posting the Z18 result (SZ4) in Szolad is from Scandinavia. That’s his personal origin based on isotope analysis. In the study, he’s buried with other group members who are from Germany and also more local people who are in the group but separated by status. So whatever or whoever this guy was in Scandinavia, he was with the Lombards (Langobards) and headed south for maybe 1000 km or 700-ish miles.

By Castagna – Own elaboration from Image:Europe satellite orthographic.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5154047

Like the Anglo-Saxons, the Langobards believe they come from southern Scandinavia, so…maybe we’re talking about Sweden as the map above portrays. Maybe that’s where SZ4 is from, and there is a cultural affinity at play in his decision to be a Langobard.

Bardowick is apparently the hometown of the Langobards (before they calved off a group that went south). Bardowick (Bewick) is in the same general area attributed to the Heathobards, who may have been related to the Langobards. There is a lot of beard-related naming going on here and geographic overlap, so it is easy to lump all the “beards” together in continental northern Europe.

map showing bardowick south of Hamburg

Our SZ4 R-Z18 guy is a Longbeard, whether he was born one or not. Culturally, he’s with them. Although I want to ascribe family ties to that move, it could be a conscious decision that has nothing to do with geographic origins or genetic affinity. Maybe he was always a part of their extended group, or maybe he just liked them after running into them some other way. Maybe he was a slave that became higher ranking?

Within a few generations in Hungary/Italy the Langobards are going to admix with local people. They become the locals geographically and genetically. That becomes the community they are in.

map showing walking path from Bardowick south to Szolad Hungary

The journey from Scandinavia for this one person SZ4, is lost in the next generation. Isotope analysis was for him alone. His children and grandchildren will be Central Europeans, Southern Europeans, or Eastern Europeans. Their language and customs will change along with their autosomal genetic makeup.

His descendants will likely have no idea about this migration in their past until one of them bumps into Y and MT DNA, and they get a glimpse of the arch of time and the generations of ancestors on individual journeys that led to their birth.

I don’t have this migration information for our Z18 cousins in Bavaria. In that study, they are the locals, and an influx of women from the east is the focus. The two R-Z18 samples are classified as Northern/Central Europeans. They may be a branch of the Goths or Ostrogoths or part of the Alemanni. The study itself doesn’t really try to determine any of that spaghetti mess. One of them is listed as most closely related tp the FRE population and another to the NOW. For the life of me, I could not find a reference to what those populations are. GER and UK were kind of obvious. ROM was less so..does it mean Romanian or Roman? FRE makes me think French? NOW is a complete mystery.

As you might have guessed, this study was really frustrating for me to try to put together. I’m sure the study itself does a great job of what it’s doing with elongated skulls and female eastern European immigration into Bavaria; it’s just hard for me to decipher as an amateur genetic genealogist.

These R-Z18 men are Bavarians by the time we catch up with them. Whatever paths brought them there, I do not know. It is interesting that one of their haplogroups (R-ZP136) is often found in modern testers from the Czech Republic and Germany. Did this haplogroup form in Central Europe or Eastern Europe? I don’t know.

In the back of my mind, though, is that all these places are inhabited by people moving in a timeline. In the migration period, today’s locals were yesterday’s immigrants or invaders. Each person represents a point, unknowingly carrying around a chromosome that has passed through many other places and people over thousands of years.

And…just like that

Normally, at this point, I would lament that we don’t have any ancient R-CTS12023 DNA to look at from this period in Central and Eastern Europe, but Family Tree DNA seems to have just dropped a hint at an R-CTS12023 result in Hungary from around this time period.

So I’ll spend some time with those results and see what I can see about Tiszapüspöki 18184 and his community.

More Wandering Thoughts on Ancient DNA

Leaving behind Anglo-Saxon England, there are currently no R-CTS12023/R-DF95 ancient DNA results to look at and compare. It’s as if we popped up in England even though the results of the recent Anglo-Saxon DNA study clearly show an affinity for the continental North Sea and Baltic world. From here on out, we are back to chasing shadows. We know we’re in there…just not so sure where.

map of beowulfs world
borrowed from https://www.ugdsb.ca/ccvi/wp-content/uploads/sites/63/2019/03/Beowulf-Content-Questions.docx.pdf

Rough Contemporaries from the European Continent

These are men from 200 CE to nearly 1100 CE that were included in the results and comparisons for the Anglo-Saxon migration study. I think we could call it Medieval DNA. 200 CE is roughly when Family Tree DNA expects R-ZP121 to have originated (Before the Fall of Rome). For this set, I attempted to remove all the English Y DNA results. That leaves us with Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Sweden is conspicuously absent.

For these comparisons, I’m using a copy of this spreadsheet that was shared on Anthrogenica, where the community was working on and discussing the ancient DNA results. This spreadsheet appeared to inform some corrections of early results listed in the U106 ancient DNA spreadsheet. Here again, I benefit from the labor and ingenuity of others.

Right off the bat, then, there are some things to be aware of.

These results are from this particular study but don’t constitute all the results used in the study. They also used DNA from many more locations and other studies for comparison. What that means is this is a subset of the data they used for comparisons.

Because we’re pulling Y DNA results out of a regional Autosomal DNA study, at least half the population is missing, and some locations where only females were sampled are entirely gone from my results list.

Lower Saxony and the Netherlands

google map showing Inden, Germany
Liebenau, Germany
Drantum, Germany
Anderten, Hanover, Germany
Hiddestorf, Germany
Schortens, Germany
Groningen, Netherlands
Dunum, Germany
Zetel, Germany
Issendorf, Germany

This is an arbitrary breakout of the results from Lower Saxony, with Groningen thrown in because of proximity. Because I’m ignorant of geographical and cultural significance, I wouldn’t put too much weight behind this grouping. There are 72 Y DNA results from these locations:

  • Inden, Germany (16 results)
  • Liebenau, Germany (5)
  • Drantum, Germany (5)
  • Anderten, Hanover, Germany (11)
  • Hiddestorf, Germany (4)
  • Schortens, Germany (4)
  • Groningen, Netherlands (12)
  • Dunum, Germany (13)
  • Zetel, Germany (1)
  • Issendorf, Germany (1)

There is an inequity in results. Coverage is not evenly distributed. Some of the male Y DNA just couldn’t be read, and some of it couldn’t be read to a meaningful conclusion. It’s also true, like my last post, that these results may be nested with one person stopping higher up the Y tree than we would like and another getting a more meaningful call at a lower branch. When I’m listing countries for these, there are often many, but I’m only listing the top few from FTDNA, and I’m leaving out the U.S.

Haplogroup E

There is one sample in E-BY152493; there are 12 modern testers from England, Germany, Italy and Belarus.

Haplogroup G

There are three G samples from G-P303 (3582 modern testers, mainly from England and Germany), G-U1 (701 testers mainly from Russia, Germany, and England), and G-S23438 (97 testers, mainly from England and Germany).

Haplogroup J

There are four haplogroup J samples. Two are from J-Z1043 (418 modern from Germany, Russia, and England), and two are from J-Y12007 (65 modern, Russia, and England).

Haplogroup I

There are 15 total Haplogroup I samples. Described as Europe’s native son, it’s no slouch in these results.

  • I-P222 – 10,000 BCE, 5323 modern testers from England and Ireland.
  • I-Y37834 – 1350 BCE, 49 testers from England, Ireland and Scotland.
  • I-BY200839 – 550 CE, 3 testers from Germany and England.
  • I-FGC6800 – 1000 BCE, 45 testers from Poland and England.
  • I-S21825 15000 BCE, 561 testers from England and Scotland.
  • I-Y4197 150 BCE, 350 testers from England and Scotland.
  • I-A6181 – This one seems to have had issues. 2000 CE, 2 testers from Finland. This is a family level SNP currently so it would be really interesting if it was also found in 600 CE in Inden Germany.
  • I-CTS10028 – (2 samples) 2100 BCE, 5372 testers from Finland, Sweden, and England.
  • I-Y13121 – 1400 BCE, 39 testers from England and Russia.
  • I-BY70642 – 950 CE, 3 testers from Sweden.
  • I-Y5834 – 250 BCE, 39 testers from Norway, England and Sweden.
  • I-FT258257 – this one is also a bit suspect, estimated at 1850 CE with 2 testers. The sample is from issendorf circa 400 CE.
  • I-Z141 – 1950 BCE, 2373 testers from England and Germany.
  • I-Z63 – 2300 BCE, 1598 testers from England and Germany.

A couple of observations:

Age estimates are only estimated so some of those suspect calls for recent haplogroups could be bad calls or they could be estimates with too little information to go on. If two people related in the 1800s are the only ones on a branch with a thousand years worth of SNPs it would be hard to guess where any one SNP fell in the timeline without Ancient DNA like this.

Some of these haplogroup I branches have 90 plus countries under them so some of my listings that say something like “England and Russia” for 2000 testers is a gross understatement of how widespread that group is.

field with a creek running through it. Liebenau, Germany.
Borrowed from Dirk Steinbach

Haplogroup R

Haplogroup R for the win again here. Just as with modern testing in Western Europe, R is popular. I’m going to break it down into some component parts. Also since R is my haplogroup I’m biased, and it will show.


  • R-YP1051 – 800 BCE, 23 testers from Germany, Switzerland and the U.K. Sample was from Alt-Inden, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-M417 – 3400 BCE, 13266 testers from Poland, Russia and Germany. Sample was from Schortens, Lower Saxony, Germany 800 CE.
  • R-YP1258 – 550 BCE, 84 testers from Norway, England and Scotland. Sample was from Drantum, Lower Saxony, Germany 831 CE.


At these base R1b levels with 70 or 80 thousand testers, the country lists here can’t be taken seriously. For example, R-L151 is in 124 countries. The countries for haplogroups with several hundred testers are much more informative.

  • R-M269 – 4350 BCE, 85,215 testers from Ireland and England This is the big base group for R1b. The sample was taken from Zetel, Lower Saxony, Germany 735 CE.
  • R-CTS9219 – 2250 BCE, 712 testers from Germany, Czech Republic and Ireland. Sample from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-FGC48821 – 2850 BCE, 205 testers from Germany and Scotland. Sample taken from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 875 CE.
  • R-L151 – 3000 BCE, 74,779 testers from Ireland and England. Sample taken from Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany 938 CE.
  • R-S6849 – 700 BCE, 13 testers from Norway and England. Sample from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.


R-P312 is a very large branch of R1b. There are 15 R-P312+ results in the set, but 4 of them were left at just the major branch R-P312. Like being left are R-M269 this will skew the results of any country count or amount of testers.

  • R-P312 – 2800 BCE, 53,057 modern testers from Ireland, England and Scotland. These samples were from Alt-Inden, Westphalia, and Dunum, Lower Saxony from 600 to 829 CE.
  • R-Z39292 – 1400 BCE, 6 modern testers from Italy, Norway, and the U.K. Sample was from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-DF88 – 2100 BCE, 824 testers from Germany, Scotland and England. Sample from Hiddestorf, Lower Saxony, Germany 400 CE.
  • R-S4281 – 1600 BCE, 708 testers from Germany and England. Sample from Hiddestorf, Lower Saxony, Germany 400 CE.
  • R-DF13 – 2450 BCE, 26,412 testers from Ireland and Scotland. Sample from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-S5488 – 2100 BCE, 629 testers from Ireland and Scotland. Sample from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-FT185253 – 450 BCE, 2 modern testers from France and Sweden. Sample from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, 1070 CE.
  • R-BY41129 – 700 BCE, 6 testers from France, Scotland, Ireland and U.K. Sample from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 1040 CE.
  • R-Z258 – 2400 BCE, 1,285 testers from England and France. Sample from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-BY13147 – 1200 BCE, 25 testers from Belarus, Lithuania and Germany. Sample from Alt-Inden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 600 CE.
  • R-FGC22963 – 2100 BCE, 83 testers from England and Northern Ireland. Sample from Hannover-Anderten, Lower Saxony, Germany 750 CE.
  • R-Z258 – 2400 BCE, 1,285 testers from England and France. Sample from Hannover-Anderten, Lower Saxony, Germany 750 CE.


There are 18 samples from R-U106 of those 8 are under R-L48 a major group of R-U106 and 2 are under R-Z18.

  • R-S19552 – 560 BCE, 14 testers from England, Ireland and Germany. Sample was from Hiddestorf, Lower Saxony, Germany 479 CE.
  • R-BY116631 – 800 BCE, 2 testers from unknown countries. Sample was from Hiddestorf, Lower Saxony, Germany 480 CE.
  • R-S1855* – 1800 BCE, 84 testers from England and France. Sample from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 908 CE.
  • R-Z381 – 2650 BCE, 14,657 testers from England and Germany. A major parent group in U106. Sample was from Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany 800 CE.
  • R-Z304 (2 samples) – 2150 BCE, 2,061 testers from England and Germany. Samples from Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany 800 CE, and Schortens, Lower Saxony, Germany 792 CE.
  • R-Z159 – 1700 BCE, 1,064 testers from England and Germany. Sample was from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 730 CE.
  • R-S21607 – 200 CE, 60 testers from Finland, Scotland, and England. Sample was from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 883 CE.
  • R-BY18737 – 600 BCE, 22 testers from Ireland, England, and Northern Ireland. Sample from Schortens, Lower Saxony, Germany 781 CE.
  • R-S23955 – 950 BCE, 252 testers from Germany and England. Sample from Hannover-Anderten, Lower Saxony, Germany 750 CE.
  • R-S15823 – 200 BCE, 12 testers from England, Norway, and Germany. Sample from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 1100 CE.
  • R-CTS10893 – 800 BCE, 587 testers from England and Scotland. Sample from Hannover-Anderten, Lower Saxony, Germany 750 CE.
  • R-Z8 (2 samples) – 950 BCE, 2,669 testers from England and the U.K. Samples from Drantum, Lower Saxony, Germany, and Hannover-Anderten, Lower Saxony, Germany 750 CE.
  • R-Z153 – 1050 BCE, 110 testers from Ireland and England. Sample from Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany 800 CE.
  • R-S16361 – 250 BCE, 57 testers from Scotland, England, and the Netherlands. Sample from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 1013 CE.
  • R-S17721 – 200 CE, 29 testers from England, the Netherlands and Scotland. Sample from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands 1008 CE.
  • R-S11880 – 750 CE, 4 testers from Sweden. Sample from Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany 723 CE. Interesting because the group is so small, and the estimated age is so close to the age of the sample.

There are some really small haplogroups in here, which is really interesting, and a broad range of estimated ages. The last two in the list are the R-Z18 samples. The R-L48 samples overpower all the others, but L-48 breaks down into some pretty small groups of modern testers as well.

Canal in Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany
borrowed from Fred Poßner

Northern Germany and Denmark

map with Haven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany,
Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, Sct. Clements, Copenhagen, Zealand, Denmark

Again an arbitrary breakout of results from Denmark and Northern Germany. There are 25 results, three of them could not be read well, and so I’m leaving them out.

Results from:

  • Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany (9)
  • Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (13)
  • Sct. Clements, Copenhagen, Zealand, Denmark (3)

Haplogroup G

One sample in G-Z727 which formed around 2450 BCE and has 1,451 modern testers from Germany and England.

Haplogroup I

8 Results from I. All these results are from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany from 300 CE to 1140 CE.

  • I-FT352054 – 1750 CE, 2 modern testers from Finland and Latvia.
  • I-M253 – 2550 BCE, 24,922 modern testers from England, Sweden and Germany.
  • I-Y15300 – 1650 CE, 55 modern testers, most from the U.S. with 1 Belgium and on England. This sample was found in 300 CE. The parent haplogroup for this one is estimated at 500 CE so I would expect these estimates to shift with this result.
  • I-CTS9889 – 500 CE, 13 testers, England, Ireland, and Scotland.
  • I-BY244 – 800 CE, 9 testers from Sweden and Poland.
  • I-Y5384 – 250 BCE, 93 testers from Sweden and Denmark.
  • I-FT111982 – 1900 CE, 2 testers from Denmark. This sample is from 1140 CE in Schleswig-Holstein. Again probably a lot of SNPs in a straight line here down to 2 testers so I expect this age estimate to adjust.
  • I-Y21381 – 350 CE, 12 testers from England, Ireland and U.K.
historic village in Schleswig Holstein, cobbled street with houses.
borrowed from Rainer Nagel

Haplogroup R

There are 13 results from Haplogroup R.


  • R-CTS4179 – 500 BCE, 1,037 modern testers from Scotland, Norway and Sweden. Sample from Sct. Clements, Copenhagen, Zealand, Denmark 1150 CE.


These results near the base of R-M269 will be almost non-sensical for country data.

  • R-L51 – 4000 BCE, 75,328 testers mainly from Ireland and England. Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1105 CE.
  • R-P311 – 3300 BCE, 74,817 testers, from Ireland and England. Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1105 CE.
  • R-L151 – 3000 BCE, 74,779 testers from Ireland and England. Sample from Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany 300 CE.


  • R-FT271169 – 1250 BCE, 2 testers from France and Scotland. Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1140 CE.
  • R-FT202151 – 550 BCE, 7 testers from England and the Netherlands. Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1105 CE.


There are 3 R-L48 results, and the last 2 are R-Z18.

  • R-U106 – 2950 BCE, 18,876 from England and Germany. Sample from Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany 300 CE.
  • R-S15627 – 1300 BCE, 588 testers from England and Scotland. Sample from Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany 300 CE
  • R-FGC17304 – 200 BCE, 53 testers from Poland and England. Sample from Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany 300 CE
  • R-BY41837 – Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1105 CE
  • R-Z8175 – 650 CE, 2 testers from Estonia. Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1175 CE
  • R-BY18896 – 1350 BCE, 4 testers from the Czech Republic, Denmark and the U.K. Sample from Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany 300 CE
  • R-S17721 – 200 CE, 29 testers from England, the Netherlands, and Scotland. Sample from Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany 1140 CE

I’m going to admit that I’m surprised to see the R-U106 samples outnumber the R-P312 testers in these two arbitrary regions I’ve listed out. These are small amounts of samples, but still, I expected a better showing from R-P312, which is a legitimate monster in the R1b world.

The Irish

in these samples are also tests from 950 CE Kilteasheen, The Bishop’s Seat, Roscommon, Ireland, meant to be a genetic foil, I believe, to the Anglo-Saxons buried in England. They represent the WBI in the study. In that group, there was 1 haplogroup I result (which kind of surprised me, I expected more) and then 27 R-P312 results…which is not surprising. Most were under R-L21, which is a major group of R-P312 and really common in the Isles. I looked for R-U106 results, and there were none.


What I find satisfying about these results is that they are ancient results. Most of the time we have had to make guesses about ancient movements based on the locations of modern testers. We have had to speculate without having all the information. Here we have some concrete ancient DNA to work with. Even if the outcome is what we expected based on the locations of modern testers and their genealogical connections, the ancient DNA serves as an anchor point for those expectations.

Looking at Continental Northern Europeans

Haplogroup I has 41,069 modern testers. Haplogroup R has 105,925, more than twice as many testers. Haplogroup I in this study (from Continental Northern Europe) has 23 samples. Haplogroup R has 55 samples. Again, more than twice as many. It seems like these results are what you would broadly expect in Europe. Most of the I results were down the I-M253 branch. It appears that Haplogroup I beat Haplogroup R to Europe by thousands of years.

map showing Haplogroup I entering Europe and I-P222 and I-M253 branching in Northern Europe.
taken from SNP Tracker http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html

Haplogroup G has 9,515 modern testers. Haplogroup R has 11 times as many. Haplogroup G in this study has 4 results to Haplogroup R’s 55. R is roughly 14 times larger. I would guess by the results that Haplogroup G’s center of influence is farther away and the map from SNP tracker seems to back that up. Of Note, Otzi the Iceman is a member of Haplogroup G. He was found in the Alps between Austria and Italy. By 3350 BCE there were haplogroup G men in the Alps.

map showing the migration of Haplogroup G-L140 to the black sea
taken from SNP Tracker http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html

Haplogroup J has 34,542 modern testers. R is about 3 times as large. In this study, there are 4 haplogroup J results. R is roughly 14 times larger than J here. I’d suspect Haplogroup J results have an interesting migration story, although it seems like their route was more straight forward than R. Haplogroup J men are found in Croatia circa 2000 BCE.

map showing haplogroup J migrating to central Europe.
taken from SNP Tracker http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html

Haplogroup E has 20,154 modern testers; there are roughly 5 times as many R results in the world. Haplogroup E in this study has only 1 result. R is 55 times larger. Haplogroup E seems pretty strikingly rare in Medieval northern Germany. Haplogroup E was found in ancient remains from Spain circa 2400 BCE.

map showing haplogroup E migrating to south central Europe.
taken from SNP Tracker http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html

Haplogroup R is the invader from the east, moving into Europe and becoming the largest haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching something like 90% in Ireland. We came the long way around, and we clumped up there when we hit the British Isles.

R1a represented by R-M198 branch (in Eastern Europe) in the map below has 5 results among these samples, but 16,599 modern testers. It’s about 16% of modern R, but 9% of R in this study.

R-P312 is roughly 50% of modern R. In this study they have 17 results, about 31%. This is a significant decrease that seems to have been taken up by R-U106.

R-U106 is roughly 18% of modern Haplogroup R (in Central Europe on the map below). In this continental northern European study it has 25 out of 55 R results. Very nearly 50% of Haplogroup R and slightly larger than Haplogroup I. R-U106 outnumbers R-P312 (in Western Europe in the map below) in these ancient results (once we exclude the Irish results). This is a good turnout for R-U106.

taken from SNP Tracker http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html

Treating subgroups of R like major haplogroup breaks and focusing on my own home groups: R-U106 has 25 results out of 97. About a quarter of this…uneven…population transect. More than I and J etc, but a quarter of the whole, and that is a good turnout for R-U106. I believe the U106 population declines the further south and east you go. That plays out in the locational data. R-U106 doesn’t appear in the graves for Inden, Germany, the southernmost location. R-P312 is the king there.

If I remove the places where R-U106 doesn’t exist the map looks like this:

U106 map showing schleswig, haven, groningen, dunum, drantum, hiddestorf and anderten

In order of the number of samples with U106:

  • Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands (6 of 12)
  • Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany (5 of 9)
  • Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany (4 of 13)
  • Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (4 of 13)
  • Hannover-Anderten, Lower Saxony, Germany (3 of 11)
  • Hiddestorf, Lower Saxony, Germany (2 of 4)
  • Schortens, Lower Saxony, Germany (2 of 4)
  • Drantum, Lower Saxony, Germany (1 of 5)

R-U106 -> R-Z18

This is about as close as we’re going to get to R-CTS12023/DF95. Our major branch is R-Z18 before you have to hop back to meet others in R-U106. The R-Z18 results above would be related to us around 2200 BCE. All the results on the continent were down a larger R-Z18 branch, R-Z17.

Of the 97 results from the continent, 4 of them were R-Z18. In this transect of probable Anglo-Saxon origins, R-Z18 makes up about 4% of the available population. Since R-Z18 is about 1% of the modern testers from haplogroups represented here (E, G, I, J, and R), that is interesting. It would seem reasonable that you’re more likely to find R-Z18 in this zone.

R-Z18 is about 12% of R-U106 and 16% of R-U106 in this study. Just ever so slightly higher.

For comparison, R-L48 is about 47% of R-U106. In this study, it’s sitting at about 44% of U106 results. Just ever so slightly lower..but still the king.

R-Z18 has one each in Groningen, Häven, Dunum and Schleswig. Probably not surprising to see it in areas where there are more R-U106 to be found and maybe hugging the coast a bit tighter than others in U106.

Here’s a map of the continental R-Z18 world as defined by this study.

CTS12023 is 6.7% of R-Z18 and 0.07% of the modern testers from Haplogroups represented in the study. The likelihood of finding us here does seem better than some of the groups that only have 2 modern testers! The odds get less likely for R-ZP121 downstream from CTS12023, I would think, but still better than the micro-groups. We appear to be more likely to be found in medieval coastal northern Europe.

The oldest R-Z18 sample in this study was from 300 CE in Häven.


There are 97 Results, excluding the Irish. There are 3 Y DNA results from Denmark. 12 Y DNA results from the Netherlands and 82 from Germany.

A question I’m left with is If this study, with its better genetic coverage, had branched out into northern Denmark, Norway, and Sweden or further down into the Netherlands and Belgium, would they have struck some CTS12023 results as they did in Anglo-Saxon England? Are we resting somewhere between these cemeteries? Are there more medieval cemetery digs in the vicinity that could be mined for DNA?

Wandering Thoughts on Ancient DNA

A fellow ZP121 person recently asked how many ZP121 men I thought might exist in the world. It’s a tricky question because there are about 57 men known now. Each might represent a family with tens or hundreds of living men.

Y DNA testing is kind of a rich man’s game and a niche pursuit. Coverage isn’t even across populations. It favors Europe, particularly the British Isles and the U.S. The isles are dominated today by haplogroup R, which gives that group an outsized footprint I think. The massive amount of R testers skews things. In the scope of haplogroup R, we’re tiny, but a lot of groups seem tiny when you compare them to R results. It all depends on where you want to start comparing.

All of that got me thinking about attempting to put our one known R-ZP121 ancient DNA result in context with other ancient DNA results from CTS12023/R-DF95, R-Z18, R-U106, and other Y haplogroups. Since this is the first time we’ve appeared in ancient DNA, I’ll start with the Anglo-Saxon study results and do a loose survey of ancient haplogroups and modern testers.

When I’m listing results, it’s good to keep in mind that there may be overlap. For instance, we may have one man left at R-Z18. He really falls well below that, but his DNA is degraded enough that you can’t go any further down the branches. R-Z18 has 2221 testers today. That number contains 149 CTS12023/DF95 testers, but I’ll be listing them separately. The CTS12023 listing contains R-ZP121 to the tune of 57 testers. This will be the same for all the haplogroups. There is some nesting because not all the results could reach a meaningful terminal point in the Y DNA tree. The numbers and locations of modern testers are meant to give an idea of the size of various groups and some major locations where they are found.

Hatherdene Close

map of ancient graves at Hatherdene close
lovingly borrowed from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05247-2

Starting with the community for our ZP121 guy HAD005 there are ten men in the anglo-saxon cemetery study in Hatherdene Close. Not a huge sample. In that group, there is one other R-Z18 man down the larger R-Z17->R-Z372 branch of R-Z18. He is HAD006 reported as R-S4031. Family Tree DNA says that branch formed around 1250 BCE. Today there are 332 men under R-S4031. Most are from Sweden, followed by Norway and then Finland. HAD006 is not listed as Continental Northern European (CNE) like HAD005. HAD006 is listed as Western Britain and Ireland (WBI) with 82% WBI DNA and 17% CNE DNA. HAD006 shows no NOR DNA (Scandinavian) but does register some Continental Western European (CWE) DNA. HAD006 is given an older date than HAD005. HAD006 has no grave goods.

Only one Z18 man in Hatherdene is entirely CNE.

Hatherdene has four U106 men total including HAD005 and HAD006. HAD009 is R-FGC53757 (formed around 150 CE) with 32 downstream modern testers. Most of them are from England. HAD009 is listed as CNE with no NOR or appreciable CWE or WBI, much like HAD005. HAD011 is R-FT83328 (formed around 550 BCE) with 17 modern testers, mainly from Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland. HAD011 is all CNE. These two have grave goods.

Less than half the men are U106.

HAD017 is R-S1205 well down a brother branch to U106 formed around 550 BCE. There are only four modern testers in this branch from England and the Czech Republic. HAD017 is roughly a 60/40 split of CNE and WBI. He is not listed as CNE though because he falls below 70 some-odd percent. He has grave goods.

HAD001 and HAD018 are both down the P312 brother branch to U106 in R-FGC33840 formed around 1500 BCE. Although R-P312 as a whole is much larger than R-U106, this branch only has 3 modern testers from Denmark, Ireland, and Norway. It looks like HAD001 and HAD018 may be identical twins…or the same person. Both are a 30/70 split of CNE and WBI with some amount of CWE DNA as well. HAD001 has grave goods. That wraps up Haplogroup R.

The final three men are under Haplogroup I. HAD003 is I-M253 formed around 2250 BCE. This is a major branch of I with nearly 25000 testers (by comparison U106 has 19000 testers), in large numbers from England, Sweden and Germany. HAD003 has some CWE ancestry. HAD003 is almost completely WBI and has grave goods.

HAD015 and HAD016 are both I-A12775 well down from I-M253 on a branch formed around 50 CE. there are only 12 modern testers from Germany, England, and Russia. Both HAD015 and HAD016 are completely CNE with no CWE ancestry and have grave goods.

Ok. we have ten men. Five are CNE (Continental Northern Europeans). Two of those are Haplogroup I and three are from U106. Of the R-U106 CNE men, the major branch winner is R-L48 with two men to our one R-Z18->ZP121 man. Five men are WBI (Western Britain and Ireland). One of them is from Haplogroup I. Two from R-P312. One is down a brother branch to R-U106 and R-P312, and one is U106->Z18.

In Hatherdene, Haplogroup R is the clear winner. R-U106 has a slim majority of CNE men over I-M253 branches with R-P312 a plurality in the WBI camp if the two people are actually twins and not the same person.

Haplogroup I and R-U106 dominate the CNE group but also occur in the WBI group.

My Bias

I’m biased toward thinking the single R-Z18 WBI member in Hatherdene is descended from an earlier CNE man. When looking at other 50/50 or 60/40 splits with CNE/WBI DNA it’s easy to imagine a WBI father and CNE mother or in the case of HAD006 a CNE father and WBI mother. Just one more generation of WBI ancestry would change the ratio to 20-someodd %. So it seems plausible that HAD006 could be the grandson of a CNE man and a WBI woman and the son of a 40/60% CNE/WBI father and WBI mother.

That seems possible, but I also have to acknowledge that I’m biased to think that R-Z18 favors the Baltic and Scandinavia before the migration period and that there are other possibilities.

Zooming out to Cambridgeshire

Map of the Fens including Cambridge

Including Ely, Hatherdene, Oakington, and Linton.

There are 24 men (including the Hatherdene men above. 11 men are in haplogroup I. 13 are in Haplogroup R. In Haplogroup R, 9 men are R-U106. Three of the men are R-P312, and one is R-S1196. In R-U106, 5 men are R-L48, 2 men are R-Z18 (both listed above), 1 man is R-S1688 (also listed above). There are two WBI men, one in Haplogroup I and one in R-Z18 (mentioned above).

In Haplogroup I, there are 8 CNE men under I-M253, I-BY1330, I-A12775, I-S27836, and I-FGC69701. There are 3 admixed men left at the major branch I-M253, and 1 I-FGC69701.

I was curious about I-FGC69701 which appears in CNE men and in an admixed man, and I found that OAI008, who is not listed as CNE, is nearly completely CNE with a small amount of WBI DNA and some Norse DNA. Kind of light admixture.

In Haplogroup R, there are also 8 CNE men all under R-U106. 5 of those are under R-L48 (R-S19342, R-S21607, R-Z330, R-BY3730, R-FT83328) and then 3 under other U106 branches (R-FT183222, R-FGC53757, R-ZP121).

Admixed men have 3 under R-P312 and 1 under R-Z18 (HAD006 above) and 1 under R-S1205. All of the P312 tests fall under R-L21 which is a major group in R-P312 with roughly 30,000 modern testers.

R-L48 is a major haplogroup under R-U106 with almost 9000 modern testers. Three of these R-L48 men fall under R-Z9 with about 6000 modern testers. Again a pretty large and old group that is thought to have formed around 2150 BCE. Two of the R-L48 men fall under R-S23189 which only has 343 modern testers, but still formed a long time ago in 1950 BCE.

Again, Haplogroup R for the narrow win, and R-U106 is popular among CNE individuals. R-Z18 is trailing in U106 with one CNE and one WBI.

Haplogroup I and R-U106 are on top of these Cambridgeshire burials for CNE with R-P312 men popular in the Admixed group.

My Bias

Because R-P312 is often compared to U106 as Celtic world vs. Germanic world it’s easy to put the Admixed CNE/WBI R-P312 men in this category as WBI men paired with CNE women, which may be the case. It doesn’t have to be the case though. R-P312 has more Big Y testers from Germany than R-U106 does. It’s not that R-U106 dominates the Germanic world; it’s that the Germanic world dominates R-U106. R-P312 is bigger and has more German people, they’re just outnumbered by British and Irish testers in R-P312. In that way, four percent of R-P312 is actually bigger than eleven percent of R-U106. Those R-P312 admixed men could have had CNE male ancestors for all I know.

The Haplogroup I-FGC69701 person listed as OAI008 who is nearly all CNE with other CNE men falling into the same haplogroup, makes me think his paternal line is CNE with light admixture from a WBI grandparent. I really don’t know that much about Haplogroup I other than Family Tree DNA once called it Europe’s native son and that it appears to be a dominant haplogroup in older European burials. I’m not surprised to see it in both CNE and WBI people, and I’m not familiar with whether one branch leans more continental while another leans more towards Britain. So I’m biased here by the other CNE results in the same haplogroup.

Anglo Saxon England

Map of Britain circa 600 AD with labels for anglo saxon kingdoms

Whew. Alright, after some shuffling and sorting I think I’ve got Anglo-Saxon study results without vikings, iron age samples, bronze age samples, samples from the continent etc. This should include more cemeteries with some WBI results.

The Outliers

Haplogroup E: Two samples. One is E-P177 (admixture unknown). The second is E-CTS5856 and He’s CNE and he’s from Eastry.

Haplogroup G: One sample G-P303 (admixture unknown), location unknown.

Haplogroup J: One sample J-CTS5789 from West Heslerton. This one is CNE with some Norway DNA.

The Big Two

Haplogroup I:

There are 52 samples. Four of those samples are WBI. Three samples are 50/50 or 60/40 CNE/WBI. Two of them are 80 or 90% CNE. One is unknown. The other 43 are Continental Northern Europeans. The Majority were I-M253. Of those most fell into I-M253 > DF29 > Z58 and below. That group has roughly 7000 modern testers mainly from England and Sweden. A decent chunk fell under I-P222 > CTS616 > CTS10057 > Z161 > CTS4348 > L801 which has about 3000 modern testers mainly from England and Germany. Smaller amounts of men fell under I-S2488 (60 modern testers from England and Ireland) and I-L38 (830 modern testers from England and Germany).

Haplogroup R:

There were 81 Haplogroup R samples. fifteen samples were WBI. Twenty-one samples were admixed CNE and WBI with some people in the high 80’s and 90’s as a percentage of either CNE or WBI. Two samples were unknown admixtures. The other 43 men were Continental Northern Europeans. Which is kind of ironic that it matches the CNE mix from haplogroup I.


Under R-U106 only one man was WBI (our Z18->Z17->R-S4031 friend mentioned in Hatherdene). The rest of the U106 results were either Admixed CNE (7 men) or CNE (32 men). There were 19 R-L48 men. There were 8 R-Z18 men. Four of those were R-DF95/CTS12023 which is pretty wild because we’re 7% of modern R-Z18 testers, but 50% of the R-Z18 results in Anglo-Saxon England. One man was R-S19726, from Buckland cemetery in Kent. Admixed nearly 50/50. You may recognize R-S19726 from this old post about DF95’s hidden brother in the R-Z18 tree.

For admixed U106 men, we have R-FGC23205 (popular in France, England, and Germany), R-S19726 (mentioned above. popular in England and Sweden), R-Z381 (a major group of U106 with 14000 plus testers, popular in England and Germany), R-BY3326 (popular in Germany and England), and R-BY20443 (popular in England, Germany, and the Netherlands).

For CNE U106 men, we have quite a list. I’m leaving the U.S. out because it’s a given that many modern testers are from the U.S.:

  • R-S18632 (England and Netherlands) 95 testers.
  • R-Z381 (mentioned above the major group under U106 14000 plus testers)
  • R-A6707 (England and Germany) 7 testers
  • R-S19342 (England and Germany) 105 testers
  • R-S21607 (Finland, Scotland, England) 60 testers
  • R-Z9 (England and Germany) 5765 testers
  • R-Z330 (Germany and England) 1309 testers
  • R-BY3730 (Scotland and Germany) 30 testers
  • R-PF740 (England and Germany) 58 testers
  • R-Z345 (England and Scotland) 4002 testers
  • R-Z2 (England and Scotland) 3975 testers
  • R-CTS10893 (England and Scotland) 582 testers
  • R-FT83328 (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland) 17 testers
  • R-FTB13672 (Germany and Ireland) 16 testers
  • R-FT183222 (Netherlands and Ireland) 6 testers
  • R-DF94 (England) 262 testers
  • R-FGC53757 (England) 35 testers
  • R-Z18 (England and Sweden another major branch of U106) 2221 testers
  • R-PH1163 (Denmark and Norway) 2 testers
  • R-CTS12023 (England and Germany) 149 testers
  • R-ZP121 (England and Germany) 57 testers
  • R-BY13800 (Sweden, Finland, Germany) 16 testers
  • R-BY50725 (England, Ireland, Germany) 21 testers
  • R-BY62920 (England) 5 testers
  • R-Z154 (England and Ireland) 85 modern testers.


Two WBI men were R-P312. The majority of WBI men were left back at R-P310 or R-M269, basically undetermined.

Roughly 14 R-P312 men were either CNE (8 men) or admixed CNE (6 men). Among WBI P312 men we have R-DF41 (most popular in Scotland and Ireland) and R-Z253 (most popular in Ireland and England).

For Admixed P312 we have R-FGC33840 (mentioned above), R-FT130235 (most popular in England and Scotland), R-BY35104 (most popular in England), R-CTS11567 (most popular in England and France), and R-BY61198 (found in England).

For P312 CNE men we have R-CTS11567 (most popular in England and France), R-Y31393 (most popular in Portugal, England and Mexico), R-Z274 (most popular in England and Spain), and R-BY31939 most popular in England.


There were about 17 R-M269 men left above the P312/U106 groups. They mostly belonged to WBI and admixed men, but some were also CNE. These samples are probably degraded and can’t be driven any further down the tree.


There were 3 R-M198 men (R1a to our R1b), one each of Admixed CNE/WBI, WBI and CNE. R-M198 appears to be most popular in Poland, Russia, and Germany.

My Biases

Big vs. Small

u106 visual tree
borrowed from http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/~mcdonald/genetics.html

I’m in haplogroup R with 105,530 testers. By comparison, Haplogroup I has nearly 41000 testers. More specifically, I’m part of R1b (R-M343), which may still be the most common Y Haplogroup in Europe. There are almost 88000 testers in R1b. Haplogroup I-M253 has about 25000 testers. My perspectives are skewed by being part of these massive Y groups. What I consider large or small groups are based on comparisons to other R haplogroups. My small groups may be absolutely massive.

That skewed perspective comes into play when I say I’m in a smaller R1b group; R-U106 (18,810), because I’m comparing it to R-P312 (52,789). Further, when I compare the size of my group R-Z18 (2221) in my head, I’m comparing it to R-Z381 (14,603). R-Z18 is “smaller,” but there are other groups on the same level that are much smaller than that. R-A10122, a sibling of R-Z18 only shows 7 testers at FTDNA.

When I say my group under R-Z18, R-CTS12023 (149) is small, it’s because I’m comparing it in my head to R-Z17 (1,187). The truth is there are several smaller and rarer groups under R-Z18 now. We’re “smaller” than the bigger branches of course, but not the smallest.

That is why it doesn’t surprise me that there are 27 R-Z381 results in the Anglo-Saxon study. That group is larger today so it seems likely there would be more of them. If R-Z18 has roughly 15% of the number of modern men that R-Z381 has, then I’d expect there to be about 4 R-Z18 results. Since there are 8 R-Z18 men, double my expected amount, that is interesting. Then thinking about CTS12023 sitting at about 7% of modern R-Z18, but 50% of the Anglo-Saxon study R-Z18 men is pretty amazing to me by comparison.

YDNA and Autosomal DNA

One of the reasons Y DNA works so well for tracing long lines of ancestors is because it is relatively stable. It might be passed on in exactly the same form for multiple generations before a mutation pops up. Autosomal DNA changes pretty dramatically every generation, and half the input is female. Moms matter. A Y DNA origin doesn’t have to line up with autosomal DNA…really in any way after a few generations. When I see CNE men turning up R-Z18 that fits my bias, but when I saw a WBI man turning up R-Z18 it conflicted with my bias, and I constructed a way to explain it that didn’t include an Isles origin. That person’s life may have been completely defined by being British, no matter what I think about his Y DNA and a small percentage of CNE ancestry. When I’m interpreting results, I’m also playing to my own expectations.

ancestry.com map showing U.S. groups in my autosomal DNA

As an example; Although I can trace my Y DNA to England and then the European continent and at some point the steppe and back to Africa, these DNA communities defined by Ancestry.com are more informative about my Autosomal DNA and who is most likely to match me as a whole person, not just on one chromosome. It’s likely that I share cultural bonds, life experiences, and language along with DNA with these groups in the last few hundred years.

The Only Ancient R-CTS12023/R-DF95 DNA So Far

Right now, this is it for ancient CTS12023, and the results are in some ways, misleading. What I get from the study is that people from Belgium up through the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and touching on the Baltic seem to define the Anglo-Saxons buried in England and R-CTS12023 in that era. I think that matches our modern test base in a lot of ways too although we’ve obviously moved a lot farther afield.

It is important to note that this map of Continental Northern European sources currently fits all of the CNE people, in every haplogroup, with every Y DNA and mtDNA branch attributed to CNE people in the study. This map is based on autosomal DNA. Our closer Y DNA cousins are a small part of that larger group.

continental sources for Anglo Saxon DNA showing sites in the low countries, northern germany, denmark and sweden.
lovingly borrowed from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05247-2

Our CTS12023 cousins have an outsized contribution to the Anglo-Saxons in this particular study that you don’t see in the ratios of modern testers. We’re not a “large” group in the study, but larger maybe than we ordinarily would be and that is mainly because of samples in Anglo-Saxon Kent.

Getting back to the original question about ZP121, so far, there is only one lone Angle from Cambridgeshire out of something like 145 men, in what you could now consider our target demographic.

Looking at the results, I think we see R-ZP121 because this study was so specifically targeted to this group at this time, and better more granular testing was available.

I think it’s time to zoom out again and look at that wider ancient world that we haven’t yet appeared in.

R-ZP121 Schmidt and Ammerman

I’m labeling this Schmidt family as R-ZP121 because there is another Schmidt family that is down a different branch of R-DF95/CTS12023. As an owner of a common name (Thompson) I get the common name conundrum presented by being a Smith or Schmidt.

I’m one of the Y-DNA STR outliers in the Elmer family. I’m one of two members of the group that have a higher number of mutations away from “Normal Elmer”. There are two of us who kind of bookend the results for the descendants of Ed Elmer. Because of my particular mutations, I have always picked up a larger number of German matches at higher testing levels than my Elmer and Elmore cousins. I’m not sure which STR causes that (or why I would particularly pick up German testers), but it offers me an opportunity to contact an important (and I think under-represented) group of testers.

British and particularly British Isles American testers dominate Y DNA. Currently, R-ZP121 has four German families represented by testers and 18 British (and colonies) testers. We’re clearly missing Big Y testers from the continent, not only German testers but certainly other countries as well. Roughly half our testers under R-DF95/CTS12023 report unknown origins. There are hidden treasures there too.

The Schmidt/Ammerman branch (defined by R-FT233425) illustrates the promise of Big Y testing.

Big Y testing can be a leap of faith. There is no telling what you will learn. If you’re the first person down a line to test, it can be exceedingly lonely. You may sit with dozens of SNPs all to yourself for years, but if you don’t fish in that pond, you’ll never catch anything.

Many people, do what I do; they try to find Y STR matches and see if they will test Big Y to help figure out how closely we are all related. Your Y STRs suggest the closeness of a relationship and then Big Y proves it. There are sometimes surprising results where families who do not have Y STR patterns that are close prove to be closely related.

Each test has value, and I think there is something to be learned from all of them. It’s hard to write anything off as a given.

Ammerman and Schmidt R-FT233425

Our Ammerman tester is one of the hidden treasures, his test lists unknown origin, but we’re lucky enough to know the family is from Northern Germany. the Ammerman family blazed a trail with Big Y that initially left them at R-ZP121. Well down the R-DF95 tree but still far away from the genealogical timeframe and the common use of surnames. We’re talking about the pre-Anglo-Saxon invasion timeframe.

As luck would have it, the Schmidt family walked down that path and helped define 19 new SNPs before the Schmidt and Ammerman lines split. FTDNA estimates that the two families shared a common ancestor around 1760 CE, which is within a genealogical timeframe. With these two tests, they’ve spanned roughly 1500 years of shared ancestors in a direct line from the estimated formation of R-ZP121 around 230 CE. One leap from the Roman empire to 1700s Germany.

FTDNA Time Tree showing ZP121 and R-FT233425.

That’s a lot of time, and I would bet there are more families tucked in there that are yet to be discovered.

Landing in a Genealogical Timeframe

If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll note that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to wrap my brain around the connections between the Lunsfords, Knowltons and Elmers. Part of the mystery is because our families split during the middle ages (we suspect in Britain).

I think one joy of the Ammerman/Schmidt family is that we’re in a time period when it may be possible to trace families (depending on the records available). Some of that genealogical work has been done by the Schmidt family, and they’re looking at a likely common location of Otterndorf Germany.

map showing Otterndorf in context with Schleswig Holstein to the north.
Otterndorf Germany

Obviously, given all my recent posts about the Anglo-Saxon DNA study, I noted that Otterndorf is right there in the genetic heritage zone for our Anglo-Saxon cousins. With 1500 years to play with there can be a lot of movement. With more testers from the continent and hopefully more ancient DNA, we can add branches and more pins to our map. Each Y DNA branch and pin also represents connected families and the story of our journey.

We’re slowly sussing out the times, places, and events that shaped our families.

Navel-Gazing About the R-DF95 Jutes Part Two

In my previous post I swung back around to Dover, Kent, and the Jutes and tried to find evidence for their existence along with some explanation that would get them from the top of Jutland to the bottom of Brittain without seeming like they were lost.

We established through myths and later writings of oral traditions that the Danes and Jutes had a presence in Frisia, down the north-western coast of the continent, and that there seemed to be a common underlying culture even if people had differentiated themselves into tribes.

The Jutes seem to be a known group within the culture, but not much outside of it. Since the migration-period Germanic tribes were illiterate, that intra-cultural knowledge gets stored in the attic and hinted at.

Maybe in 500CE everyone around the continental north sea and baltic knew what a Jute was; they just had no way to communicate that to the future in a way we would understand.

map of beowulfs world

The Franks

Along with Jutes in Jutland, Danish Jutes, Anglian Jutes, and Frisian Jutes there is an idea that the Jutes were under the rule of the Franks…possibly. You can see the Franks on the map above as “Francan” down below Frisians.

King Theudebert (500 CE – 547 CE) sends a letter to Emperor Justinian in Rome claiming both the Saxons and the Eucii who may also be the Yutes…or Jutes as his subjects. My source is Letter 20 found at this site: http://austrasia.org/letters/letter20.html

“To our Distinguished Lord, Most Excellent Master and Father, Emperor Justinian, from King Theudebert.

The anticipated arrival of Theodore transpired with that of Solomon who brought letters which we accepted with complete regard and allegiance of spirit which rejoices in the mercy of your dominion. Your charge assists us in extending the loving friendship of God to many races and in some provinces but now our enemies with the help of God have submitted to our authority. By the wish of the Lord, the Thuringians were controlled and their territories acquired, then in time their kings were abolished; next the North Sueves were subjugated, the Visigoths declared subdued and, by the grace of God, now Gaul is safe. As well, in the north region of Italy and then Pannonia the Saxons and Eucii delivered themselves to us by particular choice. Our rule extends from the Danube and the limits of Pannonia to the shores of the ocean through the protection of God. As confirmed by your letter, your August Highness, we are certain of the progress of the Catholics and rejoice in complete delight of spirit. For this reason, God granting your desires, longing in eager spirit we enjoin by plain proposition that your fame will endure and the friendship of former emperors is seen often in your assurance of kindness, therefore, let us join together for the common good.”

The speculation then is that the Eucii are Jutes and that there are Jutes among the Franks right across from Kent. Basically, the possibility that they’ve hopped down the coast and parked in Flanders or Northern France long enough to be considered under the control of the Franks (by the Franks).

map of western europe featuring Franks in modern Belgium and northwest France.
borrowed from https://www.historyfiles.co.uk/FeaturesEurope/FranceMapAD481.htm

This assessment of the Anglo-Saxon invasions talks about the Saxons moving into Frisian mound villages that were later abandoned maybe the Jutes were among them and then moved farther south before heading for Britain: https://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kroch/courses/lx310/Assessing_the_Anglo-Saxon_Invasions.html

The paper has this to say about Bede’s assessment of the groups involved and complexity seen on the ground:

“Bede stated that the invaders came from the Continental Angles, Saxons and Jutes [43]. It is likely that Bede was reducing a very complex situation to simple terms. Bede placed the Angles north of the Thames, the Saxons south of the Thames and in Wessex, and the Jutes in Kent and on the Isle of Wight. For Bede, the Angles came from Angulus, modern Schleswig which still has a district called Angeln. The Saxons came from the coast between the Elbe and the Weser valleys and the Jutes resided north of the Angles in Danish Juteland or in Holstein [44].

Other literary sources indicate the possible presence of Franks among the immigrants. Archaeology also indicates that Swaefe, Alemanni, Swedes, and Danes were present. This is not surprising if we assume that the Volkwandering caused a high degree of cultural mixing between the Elbe and the Ems where most of the settlers in Britain originated [45].”

The Franks are literate, so their perspective is at least available, and they offer the possibility of getting the Jutes from Jutland to Anglia to Frisia to Francia as a secondary tribe to the Danes, Angles, Frisians, and Saxons.

That sort of migration makes sense logistically and archaeologically (as pointed out by Assessing the Anglo Saxon Invasions, but the text of the letter is confusing.

“In the north region of Italy and then Pannonia the Saxons and Eucii delivered themselves to us by particular choice.”

Pannonia is east of Northern Italy and northwest of Greece (dark red in the map below).

map of the roman empire including pannonia east of northern italy, northwest of greece.
Pannonia. (2022, September 28). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia

Ending up in Frankish territory seems reasonable, but I’m not sure how to interpret that letter to Justinian other than that Saxons were among many Germanic tribes on the move in all directions and some had gone south and east? Maybe there was an incursion in Pannonia? I’m just not sure how it would be related to the Northern coast of Francia. Most references I can find for Eucii just end up with the Jutes. Trying to follow this trail gets pretty circular very quickly. The mention from Theudebert is interesting and seemingly supported by modern evidence, but locationally challenged.

Everywhere and Nowhere

The Jutes seem to lurk around every corner, always there but not really out front. Even in Kent, they’re not in East Jutia, they call themselves men of Kent. Unlike the Saxons with their sexs and Angles with their anglia, the Jutes seem to fade into the woodwork, always being part of some other group. Even after invading Britain, they identify themselves with the British Cantii (Kentings). Bede seems to care to keep them separate, but they seem happy enough to blend in. Hidden in plain sight. Maybe instead of Jutes on both sides, we end up with a theory of Jutes on all sides. Mercenary settlers.

In the migration period, in a single lifetime, people moved from Scandinavia down to Hungary with the Lombards (that has been proven with isotope analysis, an R-Z18 man made that trip with a group of non-Scandinavians). In light of that, Jutes moving from Jutland to Anglia, to Frisia to what would become Belgium or France doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Possibly picking up some Frankish DNA along the way seems reasonable in that interconnected world where everyone is moving.

map of barbarian routes showing various non-roman tribal movements in the Roman world.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/barbarian-invasions The spaghetti mess trying to track the tribal movements

In the Anglo-Saxon study, the CNE people in the south of England had the most diversity. They had mixed communities with British (WBI) men holding high status along with Continental Northern Europeans who intermarried creating mixed families within a generation or so. Why not mix it up with the Franks too?

Back to the Anglo-Saxon DNA Study

In the article from Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05247-2 they try to assess whether the Anglo-Saxons in Jutish areas have more Scandinavian DNA than those from Saxony, but at the end of the study they conclude that the Jutes don’t contain any more Scandinavian DNA as a percentage than other groups.

“We therefore conclude that there is no association between geographic location and fraction of ancestry from the Scandinavian Peninsula. If Saxons, Angles, and Jutes were meaningful biological categories that remained valid after the migration to England, then they were not correlated with varying degrees of ancestry from the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Not that there wasn’t Scandinavian DNA in varying levels among individuals, but that as an entire population it wasn’t meaningfully different between Jutes and Angles or Saxons…or Frisians.

“The majority of early medieval samples from England cluster in PCA closely together with present-day Danes, Northern Germans, and Northern Dutch. However, in the North Sea PCA as well as in the Northwestern European PCA some individuals tend to be shifted northwards across PC1 in the direction of modern Swedish and Norwegians.” It seems like some individuals trended to Scandinavia, but again the group was otherwise pretty homogenous.

This map shows the most likely source region (along with individual locations) for the continental northern europeans in the study. It shows a swath from the northern netherlands, northern germany denmark and southern sweden.
This map shows the most likely source region (along with individual locations) for the continental northern europeans in the study

Meanwhile, people in Buckland in Dover (like our DF95 families) have CWE (iron age France) DNA admixed in. They are mainly CNE (Continental Northern Europeans) but contain a percentage of DNA from Continental Western Europe instead of more Scandinavian DNA.

“PCA implies that several sites, especially from southern England (namely Apple Down, Buckland, Eastry, and Rookery Hill) exhibit remarkable diversity in terms of their ancestry. Besides England, Iron Age, and early medieval Lower Saxony-like ancestries, we also find individuals that cluster with present-day southern and western Europeans, especially with Belgians and French.

As indicated by PCA, supervised ADMIXTURE identifies sizable proportions of modern French/Belgian-like ancestry in our ancient samples, reaching as much as 100% in some individuals (Supp. Fig. 5.6a, Supp. Table 5.5). Calculating the average for each site, we find, congruently with our qpAdm approach, the highest proportions of French/Belgian-like ancestry in Lincoln (59.9%), Rookery Hill (43.3%), Apple Down (27.8%), Eastry (25.6%), and Dover Buckland (22.5%) (Supp. Fig. 5.6b). In the remaining sites, French/Belgian-like ancestry accounts for less than 10% of the total ancestry. In summary, additional western and/or southern European related ancestry appears to be the main cause for the remarkable genetic diversity observed especially in southern English early medieval sites”

A new article from The-Past.com has a nice breakdown of what they discovered and the methods they used in the study: https://the-past.com/feature/transformations-in-early-medieval-england/

When talking about the Continental Northern European ancestry that dominates in the newcomers to England, you can almost see the Beowulf map above reflected in the genetic map of likely origins in the study. The genetics were pan-regional even if the names and groupings were divided.

“We found that the greatest similarity is seen in a region spanning Friesland (present-day Netherlands), Niedersachsen and Schleswig-Holstein (present-day Germany), and modern Denmark up to the southern tip of Sweden. Strikingly, all of these areas had a remarkably homogeneous genetic profile during the period that we are studying, making all three probable source regions for the migration process into early medieval England.”

Later they discuss the differences between the migrants to Northern and Southern England:

“Most early medieval people who have been studied in central and northern England show exclusively CNE ancestry, which implies that the ancestors of those individuals originated directly from the above-identified areas and did not admix with other populations on their way across the North Sea. In contrast, in southern England, especially Kent, many individuals exhibit additional French-related ancestry. We cannot rule out that this admixture between CNE and French-related ancestry occurred already on the Continent, potentially in a contact zone between both ancestries, for example in what is now the southern Netherlands, Belgium, western Germany, or northern France.”

They present this map showing two probable migration routes one direct to northern anglo-saxon locations and one indirect to southern anglo-saxon locations for CNE people based on their differing genetics:

map of possible northern and southern routes of migration, directly from CNE or passing through Frankish regions on the way south
borrowed from the-past.com https://the-past.com/feature/transformations-in-early-medieval-england/

The Tangled Web We Weave

The DNA study seems to conclude that the Anglo-Saxon invasion may not have been without conflict, but given admixing (possibly on the continent) and admixing with native Britons once in England, it may not have been as contentious as described. In different areas of England people seem to be getting along as part of a community and as integrated families. Our R-DF95 Jutes in the south seem to be intermingled pretty well.

The DNA evidence, family groups and continued high status of Britons make it seem like less of an invasion and more of a migration over time. The idea that the Germanic migrants were welcomed from the writings of Gildas seems to be true enough; whether they really turned on the Britons and destroyed them seems suspect.

I found an interesting video that explores some non-conquest reasons that we might see this level of admixing and still end up with a Germanic society in eastern Britain.

What is ironic to me today is that the Y DNA evidence from these ancient remains is kind of flipped from the autosomal DNA when taken in the context of modern testers for R-DF95.

If we look at that map and consider our R-DF95 cousins in Buckland Cemetery in Dover, Kent, particularly BUK009 who is in haplogroup R-DF95->R-PH1163. He has 11% CWE ancestry (green on the map there) but no appreciable Scandinavian DNA. His Y haplogroup has only been found recently in Denmark and Norway. Very rare, just two living people, neither one from Belgium or the Netherlands.

My own R-DF95->ZP121 branch is more common; our representative in the study is HAD005, his family has no CWE French/Belgian component, and he’s with the Angles on that direct route straight out of the red zone in the map above. His relative in the study does show some appreciable Scandinavian DNA. Yet R-ZP121 has very clearly been found in Belgium and the Netherlands in modern testers.

Modern Y DNA would support a Jutes straight out of Jutland scenario, but the ancient autosomal DNA begs to differ.

Going back to our two locations, HAD005 is an Angle (based on location in Cambridge). Our men in Kent are Jutes (based on location in Kent), but there isn’t much in the DNA study that would separate them except that the people in Kent seem to be mixed with people from across the Channel. I think it’s possible to get a band of Jutes from Denmark down the coast ready to cross over to Kent given the few historical and semi-mythical sources we have. I think you could make an argument for Tolkein’s “Jutes on both sides” or even a “Jutes on all sides” theory of a Jutish diaspora that takes place well before the invasion of England. Jutes may have been a culturally significant division at some point, but not a biological one by the time they start settling Thanet.

At the end of the day, how do I know HAD005 is not a Jute living with Angles? How would I know BUK009 isn’t an Angle? Maybe they’re all Frisians or Saxons? Bede may be splitting hairs that the migrants themselves didn’t.

I don’t think the DNA study can tell us. The oldest R-DF95 people found to date have already migrated from whatever homeland they were personally from as part of a regional movement among like people with a shared language, culture, and genetic heritage.

Navel-Gazing About The R-DF95 Jutes

Three of the R-DF95/CTS12023 men from the Anglo-Saxon migration study show up in Kent. One of those men is on a Y male line that is currently very rare (R-PH1163), with only two modern testers. One tester is from Norway, and one is from Denmark.

First, I want to make another note that R-DF95 is relatively rare among R1b men. We’re a line that fairly recently, nearly went extinct. There are 142 of us tested with Big Y today. There are some people who are untested with Big Y that match our Y STR pattern or have limited SNP testing not counted in that number, but it’s still a small group.

As an example, one of our most generic Y STR testers has only 164 Y matches at the 25 STR level, but my cousin in a different haplogroup under R1b has over 5000 matches with other men at that level.

Family Tree DNA gives us (R-DF95) a most recent common ancestor estimate of 722 BCE.

The parent for our group R-Z18 (according to FTDNA) is back at 2190 BCE. So what we have currently is a roughly 1500-year gap with no branches in our male line family tree. We have 26 SNPs in a straight line. Keeping in mind that we’ve shown SNP branches popping up every few generations in modern testers, there are a lot of generations of men that are missing there.

R-Z18 has 2180 testers, we’re not the smallest group under R-Z18, but we pale in comparison to one of the larger groups R-Z17 which has 1164 testers with multiple surviving branches right from the root.

What I’m leading up to is that R-DF95 currently makes up about 7% of R-Z18 men, but in this study of Anglo-Saxons, we’re fully a third of the R-Z18 men represented. We’re over-represented because of the results in Kent. So it seems like it would be good to pay attention to the Jutes.

In a previous posting, I asked how I would know if our guys were Jutes or Franks? Well, I’m still not really sure how you would know from grave goods, so I’m moving forward with two assumptions. Our guys are “Jutes” because of their Continental Northern European designation in the study and because “Jutes” settled in Kent.

Those assumptions beg the question, where do the Jutes come from…really? Everyone pretty much says the Angles came from Angeln or Anglia on the east side of the Jutland peninsula and that the Saxons come from Saxony in northwest Germany, south, and west of the Jutland peninsula. Some sources put the Saxons in Holstein, which would be right there with the Angles. When it comes to the Jutes there is less agreement.

Who are the Jutes?

What I have read several times searching around the internet is a narrative that the Jutes come from Northern Jutland and are kind of the top piece of bread in a sandwich that has the Angles in the middle of Jutland and the Saxons to the south. All of these people are Ingvaeones or Ingaevones and speak a type of Low German along with the Frisians and other North Sea Germanic tribes (as opposed to old Norse). At some point the Danes move into Jutland from the Islands to the east, putting pressure on the Jutes and they either move, or are absorbed…or both.

I found a great podcast on the formation of the English language and in Episode 28 Kevin Stroud kind of walks through some of the confusion around the Jutes.

TLDR, there is some discussion about whether the Jutes came straight out of Jutland or if they spent some time with the Frisians or settled in what would become Frankish territory on the continental coast before moving to Kent.

The Germanic tribes were largely illiterate. There are very few sources at the time. So we’re left with sources a few hundred years later or sources from the time that are not accurate and sources that are confusing or contradictory.

Written Sources

Isle of Thanet. (2022, August 23). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Thanet
Isle of Thanet. (2022, August 23). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Thanet

Everyone references Gildas. Gildas was apparently not writing a history of the Anglo-Saxon invasion from a British perspective but rebuking the Britons and basically saying the Saxon pagans were a punishment for the bad behavior of British kings. So he was writing, not for a future audience, but for an audience that knew exactly what happened because they just lived through it. Because of that, it is vague. The key idea is that the Saxons (and to the British everyone from the Germanic tribes was a Saxon) were invited by a “Proud Tyrant” and settled in the east of the Island. At some point, the deal with the Saxons breaks down, and they call in more forces from the continent and take over Kent. It’s sort of a deal with the devil, but really not unlike deals the Romans had with Germanic tribes. Gildas is a semi-contemporary source, writing just after the events took place. Since all Germanic tribes were saxons, Gildas lists no Jutes.

Here are some excerpts from Gildas: https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/gildas-concerning-the-ruin-of-britain

Procopius a Byzantine historian (also semi-contemporary to Gildas and the invasion) says that Brittia was inhabited by Angles, Frisians, and Britons (whom the island was named for). He also says that Brittania is ruled by the Franks. Procopius is talking about two regions Brittia (an island) and Brittania (not listed as an island). E. A. Thompson (no relation) shows support for the theory that Brittia is the island of Britain (populated by Angles, Frisians, and Britons) and Britannia is Armorica/Brittany based on geographic clues and what we know about Britain and Brittany. Although Procopius attributes the movement to Brittany to overpopulation on the Island, not an exodus to escape the Frisians. His sources are Franks who want to control Brittany…but apparently don’t.

Of note, Procopius doesn’t list any Jutes. Just Angles and Frisians on the island of Brittia and that seems to be a perspective of the Franks.

In the mid-500s then it was basically a done deal the Germanic tribes had territory in Brittain, and the Britons had been migrating to Brittany.

Then we have Bede (late 600s early 700s) who is more careful because he’s writing about his own people hundreds of years after the incidents. He references Gildas, but in his narrative, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes were the righteous scourge of the British as intended by the Lord, and of course, they are no longer pagan.

Here is an excerpt from Bede: https://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bede/hist017.htm

Bede is the one who places the Jutes north of the Angles and Saxons. He lists Hengist and Horsa, the mythical or semi-mythical founders who eventually took over Kent. He is referencing Gildas, and so the invaders are butchering people in heaps as intended by God. He does mention the Britons fleeing over the seas which I believe is a reference to Brittany. Of note, he doesn’t list Frisians like Procopius.

Nennius comes to us from the 800s. He’s writing from the perspective of the British. I believe he’s Welsh. He has more of a story to tell concerning Hengist and Vortigern and the ill actions of the British king. He also begins the legend of Arthur (or begins the modern understanding of it). He places the Saxons on the Isle of Thanet, which was given to them (it’s no longer an island). It looks like he references Bede and Gildas and adds to it with a more Britano-Celtic overtone. He writes about the wrath of God, but is more inclined to the wonders of the Britons and adding a hero for the Britons.

In the sections of his writing that I’ve seen, he does not mention Jutes or Angles: https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/nennius-history-of-the-britons

Minus Bede, the Jutes seem pretty incognito…or at least overlooked. Where are all the Jutes?

The Finnsburh fragment and Beowulf

The finnsburg or Finnsburh or finnesburg fragment is the remaining part of a document about the fight at Finnsburh in Frisia. Although Beowulf is a fictional story it contains within it a telling of another story about the battle of finnsburg. Where the Finnsburg fragment leaves off, Beowulf helps fill gaps (albeit from the perspective of the Danes). One of the reasons this becomes important is that the Finnsburg episode happens around the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion and it contains a central character named Hengest. One theory is that this Hengest is the Hengist of Hengist and Horsa who begins the Anglo-Saxon invasion by leading the Jutes to Kent.

map of the world of Beowulf geats in southern sweden. Heorot in zealand the jutes, danes and frisians.
borrowed from https://www.ugdsb.ca/ccvi/wp-content/uploads/sites/63/2019/03/Beowulf-Content-Questions.docx.pdf

Here is a link to the fragment: https://heorot.dk/finnsburh-en.html and the notes from the fragment: https://heorot.dk/finn-notes.html#en17 in the notes you can see Hengest listed this way: “Hengist apparently the leader of the ‘Half-Danes’ after the slaying of Hnaef, though various critics have identified Hengest as a Jute, Frisian or Angle. This Hengest is perhaps identical to the (semi-)historical Hengest who conquered Kent”.

The battle of Finnsburg picks up after some events have taken place, so in Beowulf, there is no explanation of why the Finnsburg battle takes place because the audience is supposed to be familiar with it. I’m going to include a nice video link that goes through the story of the battle and some theories surrounding the source of the conflict and the role of the Jutes.

The Jutes, enigmatic as ever, are mentioned in the battle of Finnsburg on the side of the Danes, but there is some debate about them also being listed on the side of the Frisians. Like bands of displaced mercenaries, there are scholars who believe the Jutes are fighting on both sides of the conflict. That was a theory put forward by Tolkein (who wrote fantasy, but whose day job was as a professor of Anglo-Saxon studies). The debate comes down to spelling and pronunciation and also errors in transcription.

The reason pronunciation and errors in transcription/alternate spellings come into play is because the J in Jute is a Y in these north sea germanic languages. They’re Yutes or Eotas. That pronunciation is really close to the word for Giants or Eoten as a form of generic monster.

One theory supposes that the Jutes are the untold cause of the incident because the Finnsburg story is about the truce between the Frisians and the Danes. Finn makes the truce and the argument is that the Danes would not have negotiated with Finn (a king of Frisia and husband to the Danish princess) if he had killed a Danish prince. They would negotiate with him if he were “responsible” for the killing of a Danish prince because his Jutes (retained by the Frisians) got out of hand and started a scuffle with the Danes…who also had Jutes in tow. Maybe an inter-Jutish dispute caused the Frisians to attack the Danes who were guests of Finn.

I think it is accepted that Hengest has Jutes with him who are on the side of the Danes and some scholars (like Tolkien) believe the Frisians have their own Jutes, but that is disputed. It’s also not certain that the two Hengists (Finnsburg and Kent) are the same, but highly suspected to be the case because they’re alive at the same time in the same areas, have leadership roles, and are involved with Jutes.

In the story, Hengest becomes the leader of the “half Danes” at Finnsburg when their prince is killed by the Frisians (and maybe some Jutes). Some sources say Hengist is an Angle, some a Jute…maybe a Dane. Mixed in here in my online searches is an idea that the Jutes are sort of vassals to the Angles. So Hengist being an Angle leading Jutes would be in character. TLDR Hengist eventually breaks his oath to king Finn of Frisia, after being Finn’s guest through the winter, and kills him in retribution for the Danish prince, then takes Finn’s wife back to the Danes.

Finn’s wife is a tragic character, her son dies along with her brother (the Prince of the Danes) then her husband Finn is killed and she is returned to the Danes like cargo.

One central idea is that Hengest has to make a choice between breaking an oath to Finn to abide by their agreement after accepting hospitality or settling a blood feud and restoring the honor of the Danes by killing Finn who could be an “innocent” man.

The fight at Finnsburg is important because it leads up to and could explain Hengest taking a band of mercenary Jutes to Kent looking for work and land. It’s possible he could not return to Frisia/Saxony/Denmark because of what he did, or that this episode gave him the resources to gather up the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons and start an eventual invasion by breaking his oath to protect the Britons. Hengist being put into the position of having to break his oaths for some greater purpose may be the back story within the story…within another story.

Ah, there goes Hengest again…breaking the agreements.

This video was a great help in figuring out what was going on with Finnsburg and Beowulf:

Along with the above video I also read through a few papers on the Jutes and Finnsburg/Beowulf to try to get a handle on the different theories surrounding them.

Here is a paper on the “Half Danes” which talks about the critical idea that they were half danes not because they were part Jutish, but because their honor needed to be restored by avenging the death of their prince: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3194139

Here is a paper on the role of the Jutes in the Finnsburg episode that explains how the Jutes may have been the hidden cause of the conflict and the internal struggles of the key players: https://www.proquest.com/openview/dae81ae3fa544d9fc07e55e010829428/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=41062

Those two require granted access, but this thoughtful review of work done by Tolkien and others is freely available. The post talks about the conflict of Hengist, the theory that the half-danes are also half-jutes, the Jutes on both sides theory, and the possibility that Hengist racked up enough enemies that it was best to seek his fortune with the Britons: https://astrofella.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/finn-and-hengest-the-fragment-and-the-episode-jrr-tolkien/

Jutes Up and Down the Coast

Even if we don’t subscribe to Tolkien’s theory of Jutes on both sides we have a decent reference to Hengist/Hengest and the Danes and Jutes having a presence in Frisia. Although it seems like there ARE Jutes, maybe they don’t have the importance in the world the Bede places on them. The Jutes seem pretty flexible with their identity. Happy enough to be Danes and maybe Frisians. The Jutes seem like the strong silent type.

Finnsburg is a tragedy, but it’s a North Sea tragedy featuring related North Sea People with a common culture. People from other cultures may not see the Jutes as separate from Angles, Saxons, or Frisians and so they get forgotten.

Tucked away in the mythology and monsters are some shared memories that get Hengist and Horsa and the Jutes a little closer to Kent than the tippy top of the Jutland Peninsula.

I can do a lot of navel-gazing

This one ran long to me, so I broke it up into two parts. I think there is more that is important to look at when considering our kin in Dover and their genetic makeup.

T2A1A in the Early Middle Ages in England

Another follow-up on the Article on Anglo-Saxon migration and the formation of the early English gene pool. See my previous posts for more information on R-DF95 Y DNA and Continental Northern European migration to Britain part 1 and part 2.

There are many T2a1a results in the supplemental data for the study. Some from Viking age samples, others from Amesbury Downs. I think I may have already gathered many of them in previous posts here about T2a1a in Ancient DNA, I struggled to line up the results with my previous postings. There were results from this particular study though, that seemed new to me.

As I pointed out in a previous post, the real story here is told by autosomal DNA; our particular Y or MTDNA is just along for the ride for the most part.

Our relative from Buckland Cemetery in Dover

BUK074 is T2a1a6 listed as ENG_EMA_CNE (basically mostly a continental European) She is listed as 79% Continental Northern European (CNE) with 21% Continental Western European (CWE). She’s Also listed as 76% CNE 24% Welsh, British, Irish (WBI). She’s in grave 427a (you can see her on the map above in a grave marked red) and was buried between 400 and 800 CE with beads, Roman coins, a pin, rings, buckles, knife. She was 30 to 35 years old. She’s admixed with local WBI DNA so I would guess at least one generation after the migration from the continent. In the study, women with CNE ancestry were more likely to have grave goods, while men of any ancestry were just as likely to have grave goods.

Our Relatives in Worth Matravers, Dorset

From the paper, it appears that Worth Matravers was used as a comparison site to get a handle on Early Middle Ages British people who were not part of the Anglo-Saxon migration and the arrival of Continental Northern Europeans.

“…the post-Roman cemetery of Worth Matravers at the southern coast of Dorset, whose individuals have nearly no CNE ancestry (less than 6% on average), and thus may serve as a more temporally close proxy for post-Roman Britain before the arrival of CNEs.”

worth-matravers dorset map
Worth Matravers Dorset

So these relatives would have been established Britons from the time period. They’re not in an anglo-saxon cemetery and so there is less information about them in the supplemental data.

I11569 is listed as 21% CWE and 72% WBI. She’s also listed as 99% WBI. She is T2a1a. She’s buried between 500-700 CE in grave 1649. She’s part of family A (2 members) (I11569 and I11580 are 1st degree relatives). A first-degree relative is a parent, sister, or child (given the shared T2a1a with Male I11580 it’s unlikely she is a child).

I11580 100% WBI. He’s T2a1a (like his relative I11569). His YDNA haplogroup is R-CTS241. He is buried between 500-700 CE in grave 1715. He’s a first-degree relative of I11569, given the shared T2a1a it’s likely he’s a brother or child.

I11582 is100% WBI. His Y DNA is R-P297. He’s buried in grave 1778 between 500-700 CE.

As a point of interest, the Continental Western European (CWE) DNA is more prevalent in Southern England and is most closely associated with French Iron Age DNA found in Belgium and France…attributed to the Franks or later migration from a similar gene pool.

“When used as a source in our model, we found that the estimates of France IA-related ancestry in present-day England changed by less than 3% on average across the regions (Fig. 5b), suggesting that France IA-related ancestry entered England to a substantial amount after the Roman period.

We note that a model involving southern or western European-like ancestry in England has been previously proposed on the basis of present-day samples, but we can now go further and delineate this third component more clearly against the CNE-like immigrant gene pool making up the majority of the early medieval individuals from England that we studied.

Our three-way population model for present-day England supports a view of post-Roman English genetic history as punctuated by gene flow processes from at least two major sources: first, the attested arrival of CNE ancestry during the Early Middle Ages from northern Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, and second, the arrival of ancestry related to France IA.”

It seems reasonable that there would be some Frankish gene flow, along with trade in Southeastern England. I don’t know if the study is hinting at another later migration of French and Belgian DNA that would add to the modern English gene pool or if they believe there is an ongoing influx of Frankish relatives in the early middle ages subsequent to the Anglo-Saxon migration or if this French Iron Age component is brought over with the Anglo Saxon migration to Kent as part of an earlier admixture. The geographic closeness of the Franks to Kent makes it seem like it’s probably a long-term admixture with trading partners. You can see the Saxons in Kent in England on the map below just across from the Franci (Franks).

central europe 5th century CE showing Franci (the Franks) Saxoni (in southern England and Angli in Eastern England

It’s My Swamp – Anglo-Saxon DF95 Follow Up

I didn’t have to wait long to follow up on my previous post. The paper on The Anglo-Saxon migration and the formation of the early English gene pool is published along with supplementary data. The DF95/CTS12023 men in the samples were identified by the study itself. The work by citizen scientists has identified other SNPs found in the samples and set up a google sheet. The U106 group, with the work of Ray Wing, has a U106 breakdown in their online sheet.

It should be noted that there are other R-Z18 haplogroups represented in these results (at least 12 R-Z18 men total) and many other R-U106 haplogroups (at least 66 men out of 464 tested). This is just the first time I’ve seen any R-DF95/CTS12023 men in ancient DNA so I’m most excited to see some closer relatives.

Our Relatives in the Fens

Map of the fens in England including Skegness, Lincoln, Boston, Spalding, Peterborough, Ely, King's Lynn and Cambridge
By Rcsprinter123 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=117908854

HAD005 is in Hatherdene Close in Cambridge. He’s 26-44 years old. He’s part of the South Gyrwas, allied to East Anglia. His grave is SK 640 (also listed as ECB4258) to the North in the image below, colored red. The study identifies him as R-DF95 on the Y. Citizen scientists place him in R-ZP121. His MTDNA is T2b13. Buried between 400 and 600 CE.

He’s listed as ENG_EMA_CNE (England, Early Middle Ages, Continental Northern European). Basically, autosomal DNA shows he’s Continental Northern European, likely either a migrant from the continent or 1st generation with no admixture with local WBI (Welsh, British and Irish). He’s part of family A. He has a 2nd or 3rd degree genetic relative; HAD014 in grave SK1116 also continental European, grave colored red in the map below. She is 5-12 years old. Her MTDNA haplogroup is K1a4a1a2b.

HAD005 has these grave goods: spear head, sheild boss, knife, 5 arrowheads, buckle. HAD014 has these grave goods: Two Roman coins, two small long brooches, buckle, knife, beads.

Because I had to look it up: A second-degree relative is an aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew, or half-sibling of an individual. A third-degree relative is a first cousin, great-grandparent, great-aunt, great-uncle, great-niece, great-nephew, great-grandchild, half-aunt, or half-uncle of an individual.

site plan of Hatherdene close Grave SK640 belonging to HAD005 highlighted in the north of the site. SK1116 belonging to HAD014  highlighted to the south.
map taken from the notes from the paper https://static-content.springer.com/esm/art%3A10.1038%2Fs41586-022-05247-2/MediaObjects/41586_2022_5247_MOESM1_ESM.docx

The notes from the paper are really informative. I recommend reading them. I’ve got some excerpts here that are particular to Hatherdene close. From the notes:

Local populations have a variety of lineages. The paper shows that local men are just as likely to have grave goods and status symbols as CNE men, generally. Although there is generally a mix, different sites show different percentages of populations:

“…we observe a much higher presence of local lineages at Oakington (50% Loc. vs 31% Cont. – 19% Un.) and Sedgeford (41% Loc. vs 29% Cont. – 29% Un.)….. Hatherdene Close on the other hand shows a completely opposite pattern, with a higher presence of non-local lineages (24% Loc. vs 47% Cont. – 29% Un.).”

The paper makes a differentiation between Continental Northern Europeans and Peninsular Scandinavians. CNE includes portions of Southern Sweden, Denmark, Lower Saxony, and Netherlands as a continuum of related people. Different sites show different levels of Scandinavian ancestry Levels are higher than in earlier grave sites from the Iron age, but the levels are lower than later viking age samples.

“We then averaged the computed components and calculated the mean Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry per site (Supp. Fig. 6.2b). Excluding the low-coverage individual from Folkestone, Kent, we find that Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry does not exceed 16% in early medieval England (15.8% in Bude and 12.5% in Lincoln) and is absent in Wolverton, Linton, Hartlepool, and Rookery Hill, and low in Eastry (0.6%) and Worth Matravers (0.1%). Higher proportions between 5% and 10% were found in Ely, West Heslerton, Hatherdene Close, and Dover Buckland. Overall, the Anglo-Saxon Period population of England harbours 5.4% Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry. In contrast, for the preceding Iron Age, we estimate only 0.4% Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry.”

Based on the data set, it looks like HAD014 is one of the people who had a bit of Scandinavian Peninsula ancestry.

Overall, grave goods were bestowed on men equally and seemed to be bestowed on women unequally. The paper generally shows that ancestry wasn’t a factor in male standing, but that women with CNE ancestry had more grave goods. From the notes it seems like Hatherdene close may have been a slight exception to the rule.

“At Hatherdene Close, graves with grave goods have more CNE ancestry than graves without grave goods.”

“At Hatherdene Close, female graves with grave goods have more CNE ancestry than female graves without grave goods.”

Our Relatives in Buckland Cemetery, Dover

By Hel-hama – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20372945

Buckland has the most DF95 samples. Two of them are fairly closely related…but maybe not in the way you’d think.

BUK009 grave goods: Buckle. Male age 30-40. Grave 252. Buried between 400 and 800 CE. YDNA identified by the study as DF95, citizen scientists found evidence for R-PH1163. R-PH1163 modern testers are from Denmark and Norway. His MTDNA is J1b1a1b. BUK009 is listed as ENG_EMA_CNE, again basically a continental northern European. BUK009 shows about 11% Continental Western European ancestry (CWE). More on that later.

graves in buckland cemetery showing genetic affinity and grave goods.

BUK042 is in grave 346 buried between 400 and 800 CE. Male age 40 plus. He is identified as R-DF95 by the study. Citizen scientists haven’t pushed that any farther. MTDNA is H5a1c1a. He is listed as ENG_EMA_CNE and has a very small amount of CWE ancestry. He is buried with a spear, sword, knife, rod, axehead, and buckle. BUK042 is a member of a family group. No one in the family group appears to be closely related to BUK009. It would be interesting if there were a couple of branches of DF95 in Dover. BUK042 is a father in this family group.

BUK014 is a mother in this family group. She is in grave 266. Her MTDNA is T2b. She’s listed as England_EMA. She has 85% Continental Northern European ancestry and about 15% Continental Western European ancestry. BUK014 is age 30-35. She’s buried with a rod, buckle, ring, knife, and radiate-headed brooches. According to the Ashmolean museum, this style of brooch originated with the Franks.

BUK043 is the daughter in this family group. She’s in grave 347. Her MTDNA is T2b (as expected from mom above). She’s listed as England_EMA, but apparently didn’t inherit any CWE DNA from her parents. She’s aged 14-16 and was buried with beads.

Here is a family chart to help with the next bit.

Buckland family group showing father BUK042, mother BUK014, daughter BUK043 and two 2nd degree relatives BUK044 and BUK048
men are squares, women circles, father mother and daughter on the left. 2nd degree relatives on the right.

BUK044 is a 2nd degree relative of BUK014. So aunt, grandparent, grandchild, niece, or half-sibling of BUK014. So she’s related to mom. She’s in grave 349 between 400 and 800 CE. MTDNA haplogroup T2b. She’s listed as England_EMA_CNE so again, basically a Continental Northern European. She’s at 76% CNE and 24% CWE, which is the highest CWE in the family group so far. She is 50+ years old and is buried with beads, a ring, and tweezers.

BUK048 is the other identified R-DF95 man. He is a 2nd degree relative of BUK043. So he’s related to the daughter. He’s an uncle, grandparent, grandchild, nephew, or half-sibling of BUK043. Of interest he’s not listed as a child or parent of BUK042 or BUK014 or shown to have any relation to them. Just BUK043, which makes me wonder about the relationship. BUK043 is pretty young when she dies. His burial date is different and much more specific. He’s buried in grave 375 in 540-615 CE. His MTDNA is H1a5. Different than the women in the family group. He’s ENG_EMA_CNE. He has a small amount of CWE DNA, 5%. He shows about 10% WBI (Welsh, British and Irish) ancestry. He’s 25-30 years old and buried with a spear, shield, sword, and buckle.

From the notes on Buckland Dover:

Many of the southern sites show some heritage from Iron Age France. These people matched favorably with modern genomes from France and Belgium.

“PCA implies that several sites, especially from southern England (namely Apple Down, Buckland, Eastry, and Rookery Hill) exhibit remarkable diversity in terms of their ancestry. Besides England Iron Age and early medieval Lower Saxony-like ancestries, we also find individuals that cluster with present-day southern and western Europeans, especially with Belgians and French.”

“As indicated by PCA, supervised ADMIXTURE identifies sizable proportions of modern French/Belgian-like ancestry in our ancient samples, reaching as much as 100% in some individuals (Supp. Fig. 5.6a, Supp. Table 5.5). Calculating the average for each site, we find, congruently with our qpAdm approach, the highest proportions of French/Belgian-like ancestry in Lincoln (59.9%), Rookery Hill (43.3%), Apple Down (27.8%), Eastry (25.6%), and Dover Buckland (22.5%) (Supp. Fig. 5.6b). In the remaining sites, French/Belgian-like ancestry accounts for less than 10% of the total ancestry. In summary, additional western and/or southern European related ancestry appears to be the main cause for the remarkable genetic diversity observed especially in southern English early medieval sites.”

map showing angles, jutes, saxons frisians and franks, along with english angles, english jutes and english saxons.

I mean, the Franks are right there across the channel from Dover. It seems reasonable to have Frankish grave goods and genetic influence.

Here is a summary from the notes:

“We therefore suggest that early medieval admixture patterns were heterogeneous across Britain, with ancestry from Lower Saxony being dominant in central and northern England (e.g. Oakington, Hatherdene, Lakenheath, and West Heslerton), while ancestry from western and southern Europe is observed in southern England, especially Sussex and Kent (Eastry, Rookery Hill, and Apple Down).”

Where Did They Come From?

The study took a look at probable origins for the migration. I think the general idea is that there is a broad CNE ancestry group that may have had different tribal names within it, but were fairly closely related to each other. They identified lower Saxony as the most likely common ground for most of the burials based on the autosomal DNA of samples there. The anglo-saxons in the study matched particularly well with samples from people between the Weser and Elbe (the little blue Saxons bit on the map up there between Frisia and the Angles above. A cluster of triangles below). The map they generated of probable origins is pretty broad though leaving plenty of room for variation among like people. The little triangles are the predicted locations for the genomes. The red dashed line marks the 95% similar boundary.

This image taken from the study shows continental sites that are indistinguishable from the english CNE. It's a swath running from the Northern Netherlands up through denmark and into southern sweden.
Shown are (1) continental sites that are genetically indistinguishable from the more than 95% CNE EMA English (England EMA CNE) population using qpWave and provide fitting P values as source in a two-way qpAdm model of England EMA, as well as (2) the predicted locations for 72 England EMA CNE genomes using LOCATOR52. The red dashed line marks where 95% of the qpAdm and qpWave data are located.

Today’s conclusion

Please do pick up the actual paper. It’s not very long and contains a lot of good information. I’m not an unbiased source, so my writing is going to be slanted.

The autosomal analysis is really where all the information is at and our Y and MTDNA is along for the ride.

The data shows definite settlement patterns and an influx of CNE DNA in the early middle ages. That influx of people changes the genetic makeup of what would later become England.

The data also show that the movement really happened…which has been questioned. It really happened from these places (which has also been questioned), and it really happened in this timeframe. It was a big shift. CNE ancestry, which was negligible in bronze and iron age Britain, became the majority in Anglo-Saxon England.

From the paper: “Previous hypotheses about the social mechanisms in this migration have included partial social segregation62, elite migration18,61, substantial population replacement34 or no migration at all1,22. Our combined genetic and archaeological analysis point to a complex, regionally contingent migration with partial integration that was probably dependent on the fortunes of specific families and their individual members.”

You can see the population shift in the graphic below.

bronze age, iron age and early middle ages CNE vs WBI ancestry in burials.

Another take-away that I mentioned earlier, we may be making too much of the various tribes because analysis of continental DNA from the early middle ages shows a continuity of relatedness.

“However, we also note the strong genetic homogeneity among most analysed sites in the northern Netherlands, northern Germany and Denmark (Supplementary Note 4), implying that, during the Early Middle Ages, the continental North Sea and adjacent western Baltic Sea area was a genetic continuum spanning most of the western North European plain without major geographical substructure”

For R-DF95, we can put a pin…or a regional blob on the map for a period of time. Around 400 CE CTS12023 was somewhere in that swath from the Netherlands to southern Sweden and the Baltic and had made its way to Britain.

It’s My Swamp – DF95 in Anglo-Saxon England

Checking in on U106

I visited the U106 haplogroup tree and noticed something exciting in the Ancient DNA tab: The appearance of several R-CTS12023 (AKA R-DF95) samples…and one of them, to my complete shock, is a ZP121 (AKA Y15995) sample.

Mind blown. We’re such a small group of men in Y DNA terms that I didn’t expect us to show up in many samples (if any), but CTS12023/DF95 shows up in four samples in Anglo Saxon cemeteries in Cambridgeshire (in the Fens) and in Kent (in Dover) with burials between 400 CE and 800 CE.

ZP121 (Y15995) in the Fens

Mr. ZP121 is my direct ancestor (I’m over there in BY41998 in the picture above), along with every man who has tested positive for that ZP121 SNP. Descendants of ZP121 are from England (and various colonies), Wales, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Belgium and possibly Sweden (based on a Swedish surname). Age estimates from the U106 group placed Mr. ZP121 around 300 CE. Family Tree DNA estimates that he was born around 250 CE, which is pretty close to the original estimates from the U106 group.

The ZP121 person buried in Hatherdene Close, Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire (listed as HAD005 in the U106 spreadsheet) is likely not Mr. ZP121 but a descendant a few hundred years down the line. Burials in the cemetery are from the 5th and 6th centuries so between 400 CE and 600 CE. The results I saw from this post on anthrogenica only say that the sample was negative for one SNP. That SNP is under BY41998 on the ZP125 side of the family. They say the sample was negative for Y15996. But there is nothing about any other SNPs under BY41998 or any of the other branches under ZP121. For all I know, the sample could be positive for BY41998 or Y15999 in that block under R-ZP125 or he could be positive for ZP124 or none of them and down a different branch.

A relative of every man under ZP121 was in the Fens between 400 and 600 CE. According to this article: “There is little indication of items post-dating c. AD 560 with a minority having a potential 7th century date. Although generally typical of Cambridgeshire, some items are more commonly found in Kent or the continent and point to links further afield, possibly suggestive of a mixed population with possible recent migrants.” He’s an Angle, one of the South Gyrwas (from south Gyrwe) which is a group tucked between the East Angles and the Middle Angles/Mercia. Gyrwas apparently describes a person who lives in a fen as “Gyr” is a bog.

map showing east angles, the wash, north and south gyrwe and other tribes.
lovingly borrowed from medieval.eu

Above you can see the Gyrwe (north and south) and below the location of the burial.

location of the burial

According to this article from Country Life, Ely, just to the north, was described this way: “Traveller Celia Fiennes, arriving in Ely in 1698 after heavy rains, called it ‘ye diryest place I ever saw… a perfect quagmire ye whole Citty’”.

Notes and Queries Vol 105 describes the Gyrwas this way: “The East Angles occupied Norfolk and Suffolk and their allies or subjects, the Gyrwas, spread themselves over the Fen and its margin. It appears from Bede that the south Gyrwas were the dominant people among Fenmen. He mentions them by name, and their chief was of rank to marry a daughter of the East Anglian king.”

They go on to say that the Gyrwas are further related to the East Angles as evidenced by their conversion to Christianity and church appointments.

The Angles

By mbartelsm – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86531831

Here’s the migration map (or one interpretation of the migration map) of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Somehow the Jutes end up way down in Kent. I’m glad the map also includes the Frisians and Franks. Modern Frisian is the most like old English I believe, and both languages are considered “low German”.

CTS12023 in Kent

Also listed in the U106 spreadsheet are several finds at the Buckland Cemetery in Dover, Kent buried between 475 CE and 750 CE.

Buckland Cemetery Dover Kent

There in the kingdom of Kent we have BUK009 listed as CTS12023 -> PH1163. BUK042 and BUK048 listed as CTS12023.

R-PH1163 modern testers are from Denmark and Norway. For reference, ZP121 is under R-ZP85 over on the left, and R-PH1163 is currently at the same level as ZP85. We’re all related to Mr. CTS12023/R-DF95

BUK042 and BUK048 at CTS12023 are in the major group we all fall under (you can just see ZP86 from that major group at the top of the image). Without further testing, it’s hard to know if they fall under a branch or would be on a brand-new one.

The paper associated with the finds says the early graves show possessions that suggest a lot of continental influence. A mix of Danes or Jutes, Franks, and maybe an Angle and a Saxon. The paper references burial practices and goods from Jutland several times.

Going back up to the map above of the Anglo-Saxon migration to Britain, this is where you would expect to find Jutes and Franks I would think, given the odd sea voyage of the Jutes and the proximity of the Franks. I found a nice website that has images from the burials there.

R-PH1163 doesn’t have an estimated age from FTDNA yet. I don’t know if it existed when the U106 group was putting out estimates. I’ll have to wait to see if there are further developments for the Buckland cemetery men.


R-Z18 generally skews Scandinavian. It has been said that it skews enough to give all of U106 more Scandinavian representation than you would expect. Ancient Z18 remains under chemical analysis from burials farther south in Europe with the Longobards show Scandinavian origins in their lifetime. R-Z18 shows up in late neolithic burials (1800 – 1400 BC) in Zealand, Denmark, and ancient finds in Britain for Z18 show up in East Anglia, the Danelaw (including a Viking mass grave), and in other known Norse settlements.

CTS12023 similarly has many modern testers from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Ancient CTS12023 people were on the move. There are fewer of us, so it seems like we would be less likely to be found in ancient remains, but this focus on more advanced testing for archaeological remains seems to have hit the jackpot for us. We’re clearly recovering and expanding in the 400s CE.

I’ve proposed a lot of theories for migrations to Britain, and now I’m even more biased about CTS12023 being another Scandinavian Z18 group that pushed down into the continent, over to Britain, and took part in multiple migrations beyond that.

What Could Go Wrong?

  • Well, first, these results are from an upcoming paper on Anglo Saxons so the base written work and analysis are still in the making. It’s early early stuff.
  • I don’t (yet) know how to attribute the DNA results from the spreadsheet to the actual graves in the associated papers. Do my peeps belong to the 400 CE crowd or the 700 CE crowd? Do the grave goods identify them as Franks or as Jutes?
  • If you look at the spreadsheet, it appears that the initial analysis was repeated with radically different results (or that the numbering system is random and that results were cross-assigned). So it seems possible that my ZP121 man could get walked back at some point as it appears other samples have been.

Basically, all of this needs to be reviewed and verified.

Ed Elmer from Northamptonshire?

After an email introduction to another descendant of Ed Elmer in conversation with other members of our small research group, one of the crew provided a document that put Ed Elmer in a line of Elmers from Quinton, near Northampton.

I’m still a poor reader, so I jumped over all the information on the page. I went down to the location at the bottom and started looking at maps and searching for Elmer records at various sites for those people. 

Here is the text on that page:

The father of Edward Elmer the immigrant resided at the village of quinton near northamption england. His will dated Aug. 29, 1612 mentions children John, Alexander, Thomas, Edward, Elizabeth Berill, Maria Hodskin, Vudgles Olcott, Jane Harris, Agnes Bailey adn Elinour.

2022 Searches

I looked for Puritan influence around Northampton and found a blog referencing a book written in 1979 that makes Northampton seem to be an active place for Puritans. https://edintone.com/centre-for-the-nations/puritan-influence-in-northants/

In the searches I have available, there are Elmers living around Quinton (and Northampton) in Ed’s time. At Freereg.org.uk I found Elmers from 1500 to 1630 in surrounding towns like Piddington and Great Doddington and Broughton and Denton. I also found them in a Northamptonshire search at ancestry. 



Looking at secondary names from the document, I found that there were Berrils in Denton and a Mary Elmer who married a Hopkins (instead of Hodskin…maybe Hodgkins?) in Piddington…and possibly a record for an Ellinour Elmer in Piddington. Here are some indexes I copied:

Thomas HOPKINS    Marriage    25 Jun 1604    Northamptonshire    Piddington : St John the Baptist : Parish Register

Ellin ELLINER    Baptism    24 Apr 1597    Northamptonshire    Piddington : St John the Baptist : Parish Register

Then I looked for Vudgles Olcott and found an interesting correspondence between two genealogists with differing trees for Ed Elmer. The excerpt I’m attaching is from a man named Phillips who is giving the research he paid for (in the 50’s) for records of the family of Ed Elmer. I believe his argument is with the person who name is attached to the archive of documents (Margaret Bready). Margaret is proposing a connection to Bishop John Aylmer and Mr. Phillips is disputing that with his sources for Quinton Northamptonshire.

Here is the URL for those documents: https://archive.org/details/margaretbreadygebrea_10

Mr. Phillips says that Vudgles is actually Douglas and married an Olcott. I could not find Olcotts in my Northampton search, but they could also be Alcotts, Wolcotts…etc. There were Olcotts in Hartford Connecticut listed along with Ed Elmer so I may just be searching in the wrong area or for the wrong name. Some information on Thomas Olcott from Hartford also lists the name as Alcock. There are many records for Alcocks in towns near Quinton.

Here is the bit on Douglas Olcott:

describing Vudgles or Douglas Olcott. The Northamptonshire record society verified that Vudgles was Douglas, but was female and was mentioned in the will of Edward Elmer from Quinton.

I’ll attach page 205 to 217 of the pdf which lists various attempts of Mr. Phillips to copy down what he has for Ed from his hired researcher.  

I did poke around quite a bit searching for Elmers. I found an Edward Elmer that I thought was compelling, baptized in Broughton in 1593, but I think he was buried in 1594. I can verify that several of the Elmers I found had a father named Edward, but I think he lined up best with one of the older Edwards in Mr. Phillips list. 

Northampton records office records of Edward Elmer of Quinton:


Settlement on the marriage of Richard Stanton
23rd Sept 1653
(son of Richard Stanton and Patience his wife of Duston) and Isabel Elmer (daughter of Edward Elmer of Quinton). Seven lands of arable dispersed in the open fields of Duston. (A few details).

I’m going to put a note here that Isabel is not a name listed in the lineage document above that kicked off this particular search.

I didn’t find a lot of Quinton records in my free searches. There are apparently Quinton parish records available digitally at FamilySearch centers. The irony to me is that I found an Edward from Quinton in 2017 and socked notes away on him.

Previous Research into Ed Elmer and Elmers in Northamptonshire in 2017



Jeremy Stephens, clerk v. Robt. Meeres, D.D., and his wife Elizabeth, John Dolbin, Edward Elmer.: Rectory and parsonage of Quinton, in the county of Northampton. Tithes.: Northampton.

Date: 15 Chas 1

I had previous poor luck ordering records from the national archives, but I could try again with this single record for Edward Elmer in Quinton. I’m guessing that this record is for 1640 if it’s in the 15th year of the reign of Charles 1. Our Edward would have been in North America at this point, but I’m not sure exactly what is in the document. A Tithe was a payment of crops..etc to support the church.



Will of William Ellmer or Elmer, Chandler of Peterborough, Northamptonshire.

Date: 12 August 1630

I purchased William’s will. There were no Edward Elmers listed.

Great Doddington:


Will of John Ellmer, Yeoman of Great Doddington, Northamptonshire

Date: 1653

No Edwards listed.