Sunday, February 10, 2013

The "Holy Grail" of DNA?

A study of People of Medieval Scotland and several other medieval records bring up a cast of characters you might wish were in your SNP name matches. In this case, there is one SNP group that has a very interesting set of names matching them.

On the U106 group, there's a cluster called - Z18> Z14> Z372> L257+

    (I should point out, no Sinclair family members currently in the DNA study share an ancestor with this group for over 2,000 years)

Among the 27 total names listed on the Family Tree DNA public study (as of today), are:
Mandeville (armorial bearings at right)
Ridale (Ridel)

There's another group dedicated to Z18+ L257+ people. This group uses the four alleles of DYS464x to divide the group even further, and this separates these names. Some of the TMRCA's they're arriving at are as recent as 327 years ago. For my area of interest, that's too recent. (Never thought I'd say that about DNA :)

If I'm reading correctly, the TMRCA for L257+ is 2,298 years ago. (source)
They also have:

This is like a Who's Who of families in medieval England and Scotland. 

The reason I got so interested is, after looking up the Ridel surname in Keats-Rohan's Prosopography, I found that Ridel and Basset were different surnames among brothers. They were directly of the same father. Specifically, (Keats, p. 1107) Gaufrid Ridel was the son of Richard Basset of Great Weldon, Northamptonshire.

Another Ridel / Basset connection - In c. 1120, Matildis Ridel married Richard Basset.(Keats, p. 1108)

The Basset family became very important in Scotland. They're interesting because they witnessed a land exchange of Roslin and Catcune. "Alexander, king of Scots, gives notice that, since Henry of Roslin, tenant of his lands of Roslin (MLO) and Catcune (nr Borthwick, MLO), has resigned and quitclaimed these lands to him by rod and staff, he has given to William Sinclair, knight, said lands of Roslin and Catcune, doing service of half a knight." (Source)

The Fraser family also witnessed that grant from Alexander III.

The Mandeville family got me very interested because Hamo St. Clair (who received the creation of the baronies of Eaton Socon and Walkern) was closely alligned with de Mandeville. (Vincent, p. 243) 

The contributions of the Dunbar and Cockburn families to early Scottish history under Alexander III are well known.

The Roche family is interesting to me based on their history in England.

In a previous blog post, I mentioned G.W.S. Barrow and a paper "Companions of the Atheling." Barrow credits Malcolm Ceannmor as welcoming a group who opposed William the Conqueror. His list:
Maxol (Maxwell)
and many others unspecified.

I think we should keep an eye on this L257+ SNP.  With more Saint Clair participation in England, we could someday see a match with this group.

Printed Sources - 

Barrow, G.W.S., "Companions of the Atheling" a paper presented to Anglo-Norman Studies, Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2002, Volume 25," edited by John Gillingham, The Boydell Press, 2003 ISBN 0 85115 941 9

Vincent, Nicholas, "Warin and Henry Fitz Gerald, The King's Chamberlains" The Origins of the Fitzgeralds Revisited. Presented to "Anglo-Norman Studies 21: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1998," edited by Christopher Harper-Bill, Boydell & Brewer, 1999

Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166 II: Pipe Rolls to `Cartae Baronum' (Vol 2) (Hardcover), Boydell Press (April 15, 2002) ISBN-10: 0851158633, ISBN-13: 978-0851158631


  1. I've recently had my DNA tested and does my haplogroup R1b1b2a1a have any connection to the Sinclair St Clair DNA study? I'm trying to learn more about who I am?

  2. Hi Ron,
    R1b1b2a1a is quite an old SNP. More on that here -

    I recommend testing out to 67-markers and even considering Family Tree DNA's Big Y test. It's likely the last DNA test you'll ever need to take.

    Any connection you'd have based on your current haplotype would be many thousands of years ago. Deeper testing is like watching a hi-definition TV. Same picture but lots more clarity.
    Thanks for checking out my blog,