Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: The Genomes of the Celts.

Here is an excellent piece by Fiona Macrae for the Daily Mail, 19 Mar 2015, but still retains some pertinence.

Our own research has shown that the indigenous population of our ancestral homelands, the Selgovae, spoke the Cumbric which was a Brythonic dialect, akin to ancient and to a degree, in some respect, modern Welsh.

In fact, as we all know our own name comes from the area in Annandale in South West, Scotland and is taken from the ancient Cumbric word for fort and the name of the individual whose fort it was.

As such, Caer Rydderch and the lands associated with it was born, eventually becoming a parish in its own right.

Rydderch pronounced Ruthers in Welsh conjoined with Caer, progressed to be the name of our family Car-ruthers, which was only used as such by the landowners of that area. In the 1100’s, when surnames began to be used in Scotland, Carruthers was recorded for the first time.

Further, and this always makes us smile, our history definitely does not include the celtic warlord Caratacus, who some very wrongly claim was a Carruthers chief. This of course could not be more wrong, whether using y-DNA or Genealogy. See here

Also as an aside, historical linquists suggest that the Scottish borders never really embraced Gaelic as a language, see here.

So does this mean our paternal line is Celtic, no but as the male appearing in 900 AD from Sweden bred with the indiginous population, as progenitor of the Chiefly line. However, it is fair to suggest we will have strong ancestral and maternal links to the local population of the area.

As such the following article is of some interest for us as a family

Are the WELSH the truest Brits? English genomes share German and French DNA – while Romans and Vikings left no trace.

  • Scientists found that Britain can be divided into 17 distinct genetic ‘clans’
  • The Welsh have the most DNA from the original settlers of the British Isles
  • English genomes are a quarter German and 45 per cent French in origin
  • French DNA dates from before the Norman conquests of Britain in 1066 
  • Despite their reputation for raping the Vikings left little trace of their DNA
  • The ancient Romans also left little of their DNA behind after their conquest
  • People in Cornwall and Devon form two distinct groups that rarely mixed

We like to think of ourselves as being different from our European neighbours.

But the English owe a lot to the French and a fair amount to the Germans – at least as far as our genes are concerned.

For a study has mapped the genetic make-up of Britain. Researchers analysed the genetic code of 2,000 white Britons and compared the results to data on more than 6,000 people from ten European countries.

They found that many of us have DNA that is 45 per cent French in origin while many white Britons are a quarter German. Surprisingly, given that they invaded and occupied large parts of the British Isles for four centuries, there is little genetic trace of the Romans. 

Similarly, the Vikings may have a reputation for rape and pillage but the genetic evidence shows they did not have enough children with the locals for their Danish DNA to be present today.

The Anglo-Saxons, in contrast, did leave a genetic legacy, with about 20 per cent of the DNA of many English people coming from the invaders who arrived 1,600 years ago. Further DNA comes from earlier migrants from what is now Germany. The French contribution to our genes did not come from the conquering Normans but from much earlier.

The Welsh

The Welsh are what is left of the true pure Britons, according to the research that has produced the first genetic map of the UK. Scientists were able to trace their DNA back to the first tribes that settled in the British Isles following the last ice age around 10,000 years ago.

Due to its westerly location and mountainous landscape, few invaders like the Anglo-Saxons, Romans and Vikings ventured into the Welsh lands. This means the DNA of people living there has not experienced the influx of ‘foreign’ genes like other parts of Britain. 

The research found that there is no single ‘Celtic’ genetic group. The Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish and Cornish were found to be the most different from the rest of the country. The Cornish are much more genetically similar to other English groups than they are to the Welsh or the Scots. 

Some is from the earliest modern Britons who arrived after the last Ice Age and more came from a mystery set of migrants who settled before the Romans invaded. Other countries to contribute genes to English DNA include Belgium, Denmark and Spain.

The Oxford University study, which examined people whose grandparents had all been born near each other and were white European in origin, revealed that Caucasian Britons can be separated into 17 distinct genetic groups.

Remarkably, many of these modern-day ‘clans’ are found in the same parts of the country as the tribes and kingdoms of the 6th century – suggesting little changed in Britain for almost 1,500 years.

The people of Orkney are the most distinct, a result of 600 years of Norwegian rule. The Welsh are the next most distinct. They have so much DNA from the first modern settlers, that they could claim to be the truest of Britons.  But even within Wales there are two distinct tribes, with those in the north and south of the principality less similar genetically than the Scots are to the inhabitants of Kent.

Clear differences can be seen between the inhabitants of Cornwall and Devon, while West Yorkshire and Cumbria also have their own genetic heritage.

They see themselves as rivals rather than neighbours – and the genetic map explains why. For it has revealed that the inhabitants of Cornwall and Devon are two distinct groups. Remarkably, the divide in their DNA is an almost exact match for the modern geographical boundary – those with Cornish genes tend to live on one side of the Tamar, while those with Devonian DNA are on the other. The Cornish have fewer genes in common with the rest of the UK. Dr Magdalena Skipper, of the journal Nature, described the match as ‘truly stunning’.

Oxford University researcher Sir Walter Bodmer said the difference could probably be explained by the Anglo-Saxons taking longer to reach the isolated peninsula of Cornwall – and so contributing less DNA to the gene pool there than in Devon.

Oxford University geneticist Professor Peter Donnelly said: ‘One might have expected those groups to be quite similar genetically because they were Celtic. But while see distinct groups in those regions they are amongst the most different.’

Archaeologist Professor Mark Robinson said: ‘I had assumed that there was going to be this uniform Celtic fringe extending from Cornwall through to Wales into Scotland. And this has very definitely not been the case.’

Britain today is much more genetically diverse than 125 years ago, when the grandparents of those who took part in the study were around, but the same technique could be used to read someone’s DNA and work out which parts of the UK their ancestors came from.

The research, published in the journal Nature, did not find any obvious genetic footprint from the Romans or Danish Vikings. However, this is not down to a lack of virility – merely that they were not here in large enough numbers to have had enough children for their genes to live on today.

Study co-leader Sir Walter Bodmer said: ‘You get a relatively small group of people who can dominate a country that they come into and there are not enough of them, however much they intermarry, to have enough of an influence that we can detect them in the genetics that we do. ‘At that time, the population of Britain could have been as much as one million, so an awful lot of people would need to arrive in order for there to be an impact.’  ‘The fact we don’t get a signal is probably about numbers rather than the relative allure or lack thereof of Scandinavians to English women.’

Others said that the Danes may actually have been more attractive to local women because their habit of washing weekly meant they were seen as cleaner. They may be neighbours but they have never been close. Now, genetics could explain why.

The genetic map of the British Isles has revealed that the inhabitants of Cornwall and Devon are two distinct groups. And, remarkably, the divide in their DNA is an almost exact match for the modern geographical boundary between the two countries.

In other words, people with Cornish genes tend to live on one side of the river Tamar, while those with Devon DNA are on the other. The study also showed that the Cornish have fewer genes in common with the rest of the UK than the people of Devon.

It includes contributions from some of the earliest modern Britons who arrived after the last Ice Age and mystery set of migrants who came here after these first settlers but before the Romans. 

Britain today is much more genetically diverse that 125 years ago but the same technique could be used to read someone’s DNA and work out which parts of the UK their ancestors came from.

The study took into account the fact that Roman soldiers came from many different countries and not just Italy. 

Sir Walter said: ‘At that time, the population of Britain could have been as much as one million, so an awful lot of people would need to arrive in order for there to be an impact. ‘You can have a huge impact culturally from relatively few people. ‘There is no evidence of a Roman genetic signature but there is evidence of what the Roman’s achieved.’

Dr Michael Dunn, of the Wellcome Trust, which funded the study, said: ‘These researchers have been able to use modern genetic techniques to provide answers to the centuries’ old question – where we come from. ‘Beyond the fascinating insights into our history, this information could prove very useful from a health perspective.’Building a picture of population genetics at this scale may in future help us to design better genetic studies to investigate disease.’  

Vikings pillaged but appeared not to have done much Raping

The Vikings may have a ferocious reputation for raping and pillaging their way across the British Isles, but it appears they may not have been as sex mad as was believed. Analysis of thousands of DNA samples from the UK, continental Europe and Scandinavia revealed a surprising lack of Viking genes in England, despite the Norsemen once occupying much of the country. Even in Orkney, which was a part of Norway from 875 to 1472, the Vikings contributed only about 25 per cent of the current gene pool. It suggests that the Vikings mixed very little with the indigenous population they initially terrorised and then conquered. 

The international team led by scientists from Oxford University and the Wellcome Trust wrote in the journal Nature: ‘While many of the historical migration events leave signals in our data, they have had a smaller effect on the genetic composition of UK populations than has sometimes been argued.

‘In particular, we see no clear genetic evidence of the Danish Viking occupation and control of a large part of England suggesting a relatively limited input of DNA from the Danish Vikings and subsequent mixing with nearby regions, and clear evidence for only a minority Norse contribution (about 25 per cent) to the current Orkney population.’

The Vikings, from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, carried out extensive raids and occupations across wide areas of northern and central Europe between the eighth and late 11th centuries. Danish Vikings in particular took over large parts of England, eventually settling in an a region stretching from Essex to County Durham which was ruled by ‘Danelaw’.

The findings support previous research from the University of Oslo suggesting that Viking men were family-orientated and not particularly bothered about the British women they conquered. Rather than Viking raiding parties consisting wholly of testosterone-charged men, researchers found that significant numbers of women, and possibly whole families, travelled on the longboats. DNA extracted from 45 Viking skeletons showed that women played an integral part in establishing settlements in the UK.

Sir Walter Bodmer, from Oxford University, said the lack of Viking DNA may have largely been to do with numbers. He said: ‘It’s important to emphasise that when you get that mixture it’s very much a question of the ratio of the people who come in and the indigenous population. ‘However active the incoming males may be if there are not that many of them, they can’t actually penetrate a large number of the local women.’

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