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Thread: Scottish and Manx DNA

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    Scottish and Manx DNA

    The recent study which included Scottish and Manx DNA references brought up some questions I am hoping to discuss.

    Here's what the supplementary info had to say about the island's history:

    "The earliest posited language was Manx Brythonic, from the Iron Age, but later Irish influence formed the modern Manx Gaelic language. Subsequently the island experienced Viking rule (indeed many place-names are of Norse derivation, interestingly these vary across the isle39), until sporadic English rule in the modern period. The genetic ancestry within Isle of Man is about half English, with just over a quarter Irish ancestry, reflecting the Gaelic and English histories. Indeed, four individuals with ancestry from the Isle of Man are instead grouped in the England cluster, supporting recent English ancestry within the Isle of Man. The Norse genetic influence on the isle is much smaller than that observed within the other regions formerly under the rule of the Kingdom of the Isles (the Hebrides) or the Jarldom of Orkney (Orkney, Shetland, Caithness, and Sutherland). This suggests that the Norse influence either was diluted by subsequent migrations and conquests, or the genetic impact was minimal as for example with an elite dominance model of rule, whereby numerically inferior newcomers exert control over the people, their customs and language, but have little demographic effect. A larger Manx sample in the future may help to better understand the impact of this complex history."

    If we look at the Isle of Man cluster's admixture percentages (the model using Norway, England, and Wales) they have 42% English, which is way more than I would have thought this would be:

    EWN Percentages scotpaper.png

    The pattern we've seen so far is that the "Celtic" or the peoples who were native to the Isles held out in a genetic sense much more strongly than previously thought, but in the case of Man it looks like there was a large migration from England. Did the English immigrate to the Isle of Man in such numbers to alter the genetic situation this greatly? Could this be representative of something else? I think the population of Man that spoke Manx Gaelic was still fairly significant up until the end of the 19th century which I thought would have indicated a stronger hold out on the genetic situation as well, but I do not know much about the island's history.
    Last edited by sktibo; 09-05-2019 at 04:31 AM.
    Paper trail ancestry to the best of my knowledge:
    English (possibly containing some Welsh ancestry) 31.25%, Eastern European and Eastern German (Galicia, Poland) 25%, Scottish 17.96%, Scotch-Irish 12.5%, French 8.2%, Native American 1.95%, and Colonial American, 3.125%, which cannot be determined with complete certainty: there is Dutch (at least 1.36%) and some English. The rest could include Spanish, Norwegian, German, and French, but these percentages would be minuscule.

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    Hi Sktibo, I’m not familiar with this new study, but thinking back to the POBI study and Fine Scale where the populations of the Isles started to split to clusters, Is this not the best way to look at the Manx also? It could be they most resemble Cumbrians? Or Lancastrians?, maybe they were always like that from the original founders? Then with a topping of Gaels, and then Norse?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sktibo View Post
    The recent study which included Scottish and Manx DNA references brought up some questions I am hoping to discuss.

    Here's what the supplementary info had to say about the island's history:

    "The earliest posited language was Manx Brythonic, from the Iron Age, but later Irish influence formed the modern Manx Gaelic language. Subsequently the island experienced Viking rule (indeed many place-names are of Norse derivation, interestingly these vary across the isle39), until sporadic English rule in the modern period. The genetic ancestry within Isle of Man is about half English, with just over a quarter Irish ancestry, reflecting the Gaelic and English histories. Indeed, four individuals with ancestry from the Isle of Man are instead grouped in the England cluster, supporting recent English ancestry within the Isle of Man. The Norse genetic influence on the isle is much smaller than that observed within the other regions formerly under the rule of the Kingdom of the Isles (the Hebrides) or the Jarldom of Orkney (Orkney, Shetland, Caithness, and Sutherland). This suggests that the Norse influence either was diluted by subsequent migrations and conquests, or the genetic impact was minimal as for example with an elite dominance model of rule, whereby numerically inferior newcomers exert control over the people, their customs and language, but have little demographic effect. A larger Manx sample in the future may help to better understand the impact of this complex history."

    If we look at the Isle of Man cluster's admixture percentages (the model using Norway, England, and Wales) they have 42% English, which is way more than I would have thought this would be:

    EWN Percentages scotpaper.png

    The pattern we've seen so far is that the "Celtic" or the peoples who were native to the Isles held out in a genetic sense much more strongly than previously thought, but in the case of Man it looks like there was a large migration from England. Did the English immigrate to the Isle of Man in such numbers to alter the genetic situation this greatly? Could this be representative of something else? I think the population of Man that spoke Manx Gaelic was still fairly significant up until the end of the 19th century which I thought would have indicated a stronger hold out on the genetic situation as well, but I do not know much about the island's history.
    I think it could be a combination of a few factors? I mean we know the Isle of Man had Brythonic settlement, followed by Gaelic, Norse and eventual English. Could it be that the common Brythonic and Norse (Danelaw + Norse settlement in NW England) ancestries of England are skewing (or over inflating) the "English-like" ancestry component for Man?

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Hi Sktibo, I’m not familiar with this new study, but thinking back to the POBI study and Fine Scale where the populations of the Isles started to split to clusters, Is this not the best way to look at the Manx also? It could be they most resemble Cumbrians? Or Lancastrians?, maybe they were always like that from the original founders? Then with a topping of Gaels, and then Norse?
    Perhaps, here is the link to the study: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2...wj8dI3N1YpQRDM

    I find it a bit odd because the "Celtic" source population is Welsh in the three population admixture analysis.

    Quote Originally Posted by spruithean View Post
    I think it could be a combination of a few factors? I mean we know the Isle of Man had Brythonic settlement, followed by Gaelic, Norse and eventual English. Could it be that the common Brythonic and Norse (Danelaw + Norse settlement in NW England) ancestries of England are skewing (or over inflating) the "English-like" ancestry component for Man?
    Good point, perhaps the mixture of the original layer (So the Isle of Man was originally Brythonic speaking?) plus the Norse could resemble an English admixture is what you are saying?
    Last edited by sktibo; 09-05-2019 at 05:25 PM.
    Paper trail ancestry to the best of my knowledge:
    English (possibly containing some Welsh ancestry) 31.25%, Eastern European and Eastern German (Galicia, Poland) 25%, Scottish 17.96%, Scotch-Irish 12.5%, French 8.2%, Native American 1.95%, and Colonial American, 3.125%, which cannot be determined with complete certainty: there is Dutch (at least 1.36%) and some English. The rest could include Spanish, Norwegian, German, and French, but these percentages would be minuscule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sktibo View Post
    Perhaps, here is the link to the study: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2...wj8dI3N1YpQRDM

    I find it a bit odd because the "Celtic" source population is Welsh in the three population admixture analysis.



    Good point, perhaps the mixture of the original layer (So the Isle of Man was originally Brythonic speaking?) plus the Norse could resemble an English admixture is what you are saying?
    Yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking. Especially given the geographic positioning and settlement activity in the regions.

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    I'm most interested in the data we now have from Perthshire, which of all the regions analyzed in the English-Welsh-Norse analysis received the highest percentage of English admixture. This is particularly surprising because much of Perthshire, including areas which were sampled, were Gaelic speaking relatively recently. IIRC the study collected data from people with four grandparents born in the area instead of eight, which I believe should take us back into the genetic situation of the 1800s? There is a paper which has a lot of data on Gaelic in Perthshire called "A Geography of Language: Gaelic-Speaking in Perthshire, 1698-1879."

    InkedScotland Gen Map_LI.jpg

    Parish Map of Perthshire.png The parish map of Perthshire

    1873 and 1879 Gaelic Perthshire Boundaries.png The Gaelic and English speaking boundaries of Perthshire in 1873 and in 1879

    Table Three English Speaking in the Parishes.png A chart with the percentages of English speakers in the parishes of Perthshire from 1755-56. Note at this time the parishes with the highest percentages of English speakers are still recorded to be below 50%.

    On top of this, Gaelic in Perthshire may not have died out as early as previously thought as a native Gaelic speaker of the Perthshire dialect was recently discovered in Strath Tummel. I believe this area would be covered by the northern samples collected in the region called "Tayside" in the study.

    So the study did collect samples from people who fall within the formerly Gaelic speaking areas of Perthshire, yet they do not differ genetically from those in lowland Perthshire or even those in Fife. I'm completely surprised that an area with relatively recent Gaelic speaking roots (For mainland Scotland) received the highest percentage of English-like ancestry in the three population analysis, and I'm hoping others will suggest some ideas as to why this may be. It seems to me that the fact that Gaelic survived for so long in these areas indicates that the English did not mass migrate into these parts of Perthshire.
    I suppose that as we saw with the original POBI study which suggested that the English are not primarily Anglo Saxon genetically, again the linguistic situation does not reflect the genetic situation: the gaels of Perthshire must have been of different stock than the gaels of the west.
    Last edited by sktibo; 09-05-2019 at 06:17 PM.
    Paper trail ancestry to the best of my knowledge:
    English (possibly containing some Welsh ancestry) 31.25%, Eastern European and Eastern German (Galicia, Poland) 25%, Scottish 17.96%, Scotch-Irish 12.5%, French 8.2%, Native American 1.95%, and Colonial American, 3.125%, which cannot be determined with complete certainty: there is Dutch (at least 1.36%) and some English. The rest could include Spanish, Norwegian, German, and French, but these percentages would be minuscule.

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    Hmm interesting question, again I think it's probably something to do with the general similarities between the population of England prior to the Anglo-Saxons, being perhaps somewhat similar to the Pictish population, but also that this region of Scotland (including Tayside-Fife and IIRC Aberdeen) experienced some Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman (including Flemish) settlement in the time of king David. The People of Medieval Scotland project website has a fair number of important individuals from various transactions and deeds in the Perthshire, Tayside-Fife, Aberdeen areas who appear to have origins either in Southern Scotland, England or directly from Normandy (they have Anglo-Saxon or Norman names, or sometimes have mixed Gaelic-Germanic names).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sktibo View Post
    I'm most interested in the data we now have from Perthshire, which of all the regions analyzed in the English-Welsh-Norse analysis received the highest percentage of English admixture. This is particularly surprising because much of Perthshire, including areas which were sampled, were Gaelic speaking relatively recently. IIRC the study collected data from people with four grandparents born in the area instead of eight, which I believe should take us back into the genetic situation of the 1800s? There is a paper which has a lot of data on Gaelic in Perthshire called "A Geography of Language: Gaelic-Speaking in Perthshire, 1698-1879."

    InkedScotland Gen Map_LI.jpg

    Parish Map of Perthshire.png The parish map of Perthshire

    1873 and 1879 Gaelic Perthshire Boundaries.png The Gaelic and English speaking boundaries of Perthshire in 1873 and in 1879

    Table Three English Speaking in the Parishes.png A chart with the percentages of English speakers in the parishes of Perthshire from 1755-56. Note at this time the parishes with the highest percentages of English speakers are still recorded to be below 50%.

    On top of this, Gaelic in Perthshire may not have died out as early as previously thought as a native Gaelic speaker of the Perthshire dialect was recently discovered in Strath Tummel. I believe this area would be covered by the northern samples collected in the region called "Tayside" in the study.

    So the study did collect samples from people who fall within the formerly Gaelic speaking areas of Perthshire, yet they do not differ genetically from those in lowland Perthshire or even those in Fife. I'm completely surprised that an area with relatively recent Gaelic speaking roots (For mainland Scotland) received the highest percentage of English-like ancestry in the three population analysis, and I'm hoping others will suggest some ideas as to why this may be. It seems to me that the fact that Gaelic survived for so long in these areas indicates that the English did not mass migrate into these parts of Perthshire.
    I suppose that as we saw with the original POBI study which suggested that the English are not primarily Anglo Saxon genetically, again the linguistic situation does not reflect the genetic situation: the gaels of Perthshire must have been of different stock than the gaels of the west.
    The more I think of this study the more I'm baffled why they used English, Welsh and Norse to study the admixture. I don't think it's accurate that so many of these populations have such high English admixture. The problem is that while Welsh are Celts like the Irish and Scots it doesn't mean that a Welsh population will stand in for ancient Gaels. If you look at the Traveller study Scots and Irish are closer to the English than they are to the Welsh and the Welsh are closer to the English than they are to Irish and Scots. So it might be more likely that in admixture Scots and Irish would end up looking more English than Welsh. I don't think it is good to use other populations of Britain and Ireland to look at the admixture question. The Irish DNA Atlas also used French as a proxy for Celts which is not correct either. The problem is that Bretons have a lot of British/Irish admixture so that similarity is due to migrations from Britain to Brittany. Anyway I really don't think you can assess ancient admixture by using modern populations.

    English, Welsh, Scots and Irish are all similar populations so I don't understand why they use them working out admixture. They are all going to swamp each other's results. Too much over fitting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spruithean View Post
    Hmm interesting question, again I think it's probably something to do with the general similarities between the population of England prior to the Anglo-Saxons, being perhaps somewhat similar to the Pictish population, but also that this region of Scotland (including Tayside-Fife and IIRC Aberdeen) experienced some Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman (including Flemish) settlement in the time of king David. The People of Medieval Scotland project website has a fair number of important individuals from various transactions and deeds in the Perthshire, Tayside-Fife, Aberdeen areas who appear to have origins either in Southern Scotland, England or directly from Normandy (they have Anglo-Saxon or Norman names, or sometimes have mixed Gaelic-Germanic names).
    So the early Burgh system might have something to do with this.. good suggestion. My ancestors from Stirling / Perthshire (Who can mostly be traced to Perthshire but some have brick walls in Stirling) do have a lot of surnames which do not appear to be of Gaelic origin, such as Brown and Christie, even in the highland areas of Perthshire (in my case Killin.) I noticed when I was there in Perthshire, searching through graveyards, that names like these were quite common.

    Returning to the conversation about the Isle of Man, I checked out the Manx Y-DNA webpage which estimates that 15% of the Manx population's Y-DNA belongs to I1, which I think suggests a higher Scandinavian genetic influence than the 5% estimate given in the recent study. I think this can be considered evidence for your suggestion as to the large English percentage in the Manx population.
    Paper trail ancestry to the best of my knowledge:
    English (possibly containing some Welsh ancestry) 31.25%, Eastern European and Eastern German (Galicia, Poland) 25%, Scottish 17.96%, Scotch-Irish 12.5%, French 8.2%, Native American 1.95%, and Colonial American, 3.125%, which cannot be determined with complete certainty: there is Dutch (at least 1.36%) and some English. The rest could include Spanish, Norwegian, German, and French, but these percentages would be minuscule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessie View Post
    The more I think of this study the more I'm baffled why they used English, Welsh and Norse to study the admixture. I don't think it's accurate that so many of these populations have such high English admixture. The problem is that while Welsh are Celts like the Irish and Scots it doesn't mean that a Welsh population will stand in for ancient Gaels. If you look at the Traveller study Scots and Irish are closer to the English than they are to the Welsh and the Welsh are closer to the English than they are to Irish and Scots. So it might be more likely that in admixture Scots and Irish would end up looking more English than Welsh. I don't think it is good to use other populations of Britain and Ireland to look at the admixture question. The Irish DNA Atlas also used French as a proxy for Celts which is not correct either. The problem is that Bretons have a lot of British/Irish admixture so that similarity is due to migrations from Britain to Brittany. Anyway I really don't think you can assess ancient admixture by using modern populations.

    English, Welsh, Scots and Irish are all similar populations so I don't understand why they use them working out admixture. They are all going to swamp each other's results. Too much over fitting.
    I think that the admixture charts using England Wales Scotland Denmark Sweden and Norway (B ) and the one which uses some Scottish, English, Welsh, and Norwegian samples as admixture sources (C) were poor choices and I agree with you on that. You make a lot of good points, and I don't think the Welsh will stand in perfectly for the Gaels - but - I think it's an improvement over trying to model these populations using the French as a source for the "Celts." Ultimately I think you are absolutely correct when you say that we cannot assess ancient admixture with modern populations. While I get carried away by these admixture charts, I suppose at the end of the day the spanning trees are a better way to look at these things. I really hope we will get more Iron Age or Early Medieval samples, but I thought it was very cool that it seems they do have some ancient Gaels from Iceland which were included. What were your thoughts on the assessment they did with that?
    Paper trail ancestry to the best of my knowledge:
    English (possibly containing some Welsh ancestry) 31.25%, Eastern European and Eastern German (Galicia, Poland) 25%, Scottish 17.96%, Scotch-Irish 12.5%, French 8.2%, Native American 1.95%, and Colonial American, 3.125%, which cannot be determined with complete certainty: there is Dutch (at least 1.36%) and some English. The rest could include Spanish, Norwegian, German, and French, but these percentages would be minuscule.

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