The question that is commonly sent to us and we paraphrase as it comes in many forms is: ‘having read ‘somewhere’ on the internet, what Scottish Royalty is part of the Carruthers ancestry‘.
We will try and answer this question based on the latest research we have in the hope of directly linking us as a family to past or present members of Scottish/English royalty.
To do this we have first to decide: ‘what actually is a Carruthers line‘.
Well sensibly the most robust line would be one directly off the male ancestor going forwards ie a Carruthers. The second way would be off a daughter of that direct male line. After that it becomes, over many generations a mire of inter-relationships with other families and as such can no longer be truly classed as ‘Carruthers’ ancestry.
However, whatever the outcome of our research, the good news is that all of us of European descent will be linked to royalty in some shape or form, but then again so is everyone else and it is therefore not specific to our family.
What we really wish to know is i.e. what is our hypothesis :
‘Are we as ‘Carruthers’ directly descended from Royalty?
So how do we check this?
Turning the first page
The claims of our clan’s Royal links and ancestry are out in the public domain through the medium of Social Media, but although very exciting, are they actually true or is the public being flooded with inaccurate information?
Therefore to check this, we look at the most common claims of late, although they are not isolated. We have chosen four, regarding our ancestry and the claim of a direct link to such individuals as Rydderch Hael, Kenneth MacAlpin, Caratacus and William the Lion.
One has to admit that these claims are exceptionally exciting and uplifting, but does the current research support them?
As a society we have been given the task to ensure that the history and culture of our Clan and Family are accurately portrayed and therefore the information offered has to be based on current evidence. What we offer are the facts on who and what we are as a Scottish Border riding family.
Sadly we do not have access to ‘special information‘, ‘obscure publications‘ nor ‘secret scientific processes‘, which cannot be explained, examined nor in fact shared with other researchers whether inside or outside of the university research sectors. But we do have access to ancestral genealogy, historical documentation and genetic research available to all other respectable researchers.
In our own team we have tenacious and highly qualified researchers in the fields of history, genealogy and genetics. They spend hours utilising proven documentation in both qualitative and quantitative research augmented by state of the art yDNA testing. This is in order to accurately map out our family tree for future generations of Carruthers.
This process is ongoing and is constantly expanding our family knowledge base, but how do we do it.
We often get asked how we gather, analyse and filter any evidence before publication. This is done in order to ensure that what we offer our clan and family, is as accurate and as current as possible.
Below is our simplified Methodology Chart which we hope helps you understand the work that goes on behind the scenes.
So what does the evidence actually tell us?
As a society we use the best of yDNA testing and genealogical documentation, to map out our genetic lines and although both expensive and time consuming, it is the most efficient manner by which to gather information. This again is crossed referenced with many other lines and but remains Carruthers specific.
To date, we can find NO yDNA evidence of our links with the Picts, in fact it is more than likely the Picts are in the “R” Haplogroup, while we are “I” Haplogroup. What this means is that we have absolutely NO relationship within a 25,000 year period. This is also true regarding William the Lion again, who according to current information/research, is also strongly presumed to be “R” Haplotype.
The research on Kenneth Mac Alpin, which is one of the biggest claims, has also NO confirmed yDNA samples.
The closest research to Kenneth Mac Alpin indicates CTS11722 > L1965 which again is in the “R” Haplogroup. Those making claims of ancestry offer only very vague information, but again no real evidence. The perpetrators of this information simply state “CTS” as a marker when in fact CTS precedes many SNP Markers in many different Haplogroups. It is therefore generic and most certainly not specific to any Carruthers line.
Again and currently there is no DNA information on Rydderch Hael, so please see the links above.
The information regarding royal links is therefore very mis-leading and allows the creation by the unaware, of some seriously tall tales.
Outside of Scotland, there is also no robust evidence that Caratacus, was/is in anyway related genetically nor genealogically to the family of Carruthers, please see the link above. The simple reason for this is that Carruthers yDNA carries the Swedish male DNA from 900 CE/AD, which neither Caratacus nor his descendants would have.
Further, and we feel this is definitely important as it totally turns our heritage on its head; if Caratacus was the first Chief of Carruthers as some unwittingly claim, this would make Carruthers, its origins both topographically and historically – English not Scottish, which is both offensive to many and grossly incorrect.
Explaining yDNA: Haplogroup I / Haplogroup R
Map above by https://brilliantmaps.com/europe-dna-borders/
Haplogroup R : is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, which is both numerous and widespread amongst modern populations. Possibly Europe, Central Asia, Siberia. Some descendant subclades have been found since pre-history in Europe, Central Asia and South Asia. The dominant haplogroup in the British Isles is R1b England 67% Scotland 72.5% Wales 74% and All Ireland 81%. Its neighbour R1a, which is often Viking, is England 4.5, Scotland 8.5, Wales 1, Ireland 2.5.
Haplogroup I : is a clear European haplogroup; it is one of the most frequent haplogroups among north-western European populations. It is generally agreed that haplogroup J was dispersed by the westward movement of people from the Middle East to North Africa, Europe, Central Asia, Pakistan, and India. It is most common in north-western Europe and the British Isles.
Haplogroup I1 is the most common type of haplogroup I in northern Europe. It is found mostly in Sweden and Finland, where it typically represent over 35% of the Y chromosomes. Associated with the Norse ethnicity, I1 is found in all places invaded by and colonised by ancient Germanic tribes ie Angle, Saxons, Jutes and the Vikings.
Interestingly from University studies and based on our own research and ancestry of the indigenous population of Annandale, the Welsh are the true pure Britons. This is 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. The name Carruthers (caer rydderch -> caer ruthers) is from the Cumbric dialect of the old Brythonic language, used in what is now Annandale, which is reflected in modern and ancient Welsh.
Therefore based on the information above process, there is a common phrase used in scientific research which is ‘bad/weak research leads to bad/weak outcomes‘. This sadly, is more than applicable here in relation to Carruthers having direct Royal ancestry.
Unfortunately we do not, at least not any more than any other person of European descent.
DNA: proving Fact or Fiction (or how to make a Scotsman smile)
The combination of evidenced based history, genealogy and genetics leads to a solid outcomes. However, yDNA on its own can show traits and interconnecting threads going back many thousands of years.
It is important that we accept that we literally come from the same genetic pool, but as Carruthers, based on our own dna snp, cannot realistically claim the same ancestry as everyone else on the planet, uless all we are doing is joining the dots rathger than lookiong at our family specifically.
For instance an elephant and a tiger are both mammals but are of different species. An oak tree and a palm tree are both trees so would we confuse one with the other? This is the same as the claims being made when that Carruthers ancestry has direct descendancy from a Royal line.
It seems, based on the strong evidence to the contrary, that DNA has been inaccurately used by some to claim a direct connection with Scottish (and in one case non-Scottish) royalty into our family line. Sadly when analysed, it does not hold water.
However, Carruthers are definitely not alone!
The amount of people claiming direct ancestry to King Robert the Bruce as their ‘n’ x GG grandfather, must be in their hundreds of thousands. Yet current research by the University of Strathclyde, shows clearly that documented history was correct. Robert’s direct line died out with his son David II, who had no children therefore no descendants. However, the family of Bruce continues through a cousin, just not Robert’s direct line.
The other favourite of course is William Wallace, where there is absolutely no evidence who his parents were although there is some theories, and that he had children. If no children he certainly has no descendants. His remains, quartered as they were, have never actually been found, and as such accurate DNA testing would be impossible.
According to our Carruthers yDNA research project, our closest non Scottish male ancestors are Swedish and definitely not Irish. The evidence shows that in and around 900 CE/AD a Swedish male interbred with one of the local inhabitants of Annandale to begin the Chiefly line of Carruthers. Although definitively Swedish, there is no indication that he was from Gutland.
However, the evidence suggests that the maternal line were members of the indigenous population of that area going back through time and the ancestors of that joining were the ancestors of William, first to be recorded using the name Carruthers, in the early 1100’s.
This shows that when looking a Royal lines through generational links, the only sensible method to ensure a direct and robust link to ‘Carruthers’ would be through the male line. The female line and their descendants become diluted through the influence of other male lines by marriage down the years, as such they cannot be truly considered a Carruthers direct line, unless the maternal line was recent of the main male line.
So what does that mean, it means ancestry is a spider web of interconnections, which with imagination can list all sorts of famous people as ‘Carruthers’ when, other than we are all inter-related, simply are not Carruthers.
The facts show, that we as Carruthers have no proven direct ancestral lines to any of the Scottish nor English Royalty mentioned, nor in fact any Irish royalty nor any Irish/Gaelic connection, as some would wrongly suggest. To the contrary, the evidence is very strongly against it.
However we are and always will be Carruthers, and that is most certainly something to be very proud of.