By George Solly
This article was originally published in the December 2013 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Following my article on Viking Sollys (Soul Search, December 2012) I thought I’d report back on the DNA report I have recently commissioned. My original article traced a link back to Scandinavia via Denmark, Norway and Finland to King Fornjptor of Kvenland who was born in about 160 AD.
My DNA report had results for both the YDNA (fatherline) and mtDNA (motherline).
Your YDNA marker is SAXON and your ancestors were amongst the Germanic peoples who invaded England from the 5th century onwards. With the Angles and others, the Saxons profoundly altered the ethnic, cultural and linguistic balance of Britain. Your marker also arrived in Britain in prehistory; and by a remarkable route, one very different from the ships launched by your more recent Saxon ancestors.
Your Y chromosome group, which tracks your paternal lineage, is I-S24 and it concentrates in the area of modern Germany now known as Niedersachsen, Lower Saxony. More than 10% of all modern Saxons carry your marker and their homeland encompasses the valleys of the rivers Elbe and Weser, one of the most fertile parts of the great Northern European Plain. Outlying examples of I-S24 have been found as far west as Russia and as far south as Spain, but beyond Northern Germany, it is most common in Britain.
Coincidentally, my mother, Ingeborg Dora Minna Anna Augusta Oberheide was born in the pied piper town of Hameln/Weser in Lower Saxony! However, the above quote concerns my fatherline, not motherline. Her (mtDNA) is even more interesting:
George Solly, your mitochondrial DNA marker is that of THE CRO-MAGNONS, and it is very old indeed, maybe 50,000 years old. In fact, you belong to the oldest mtDNA group yet found in Europe. It is rare with a frequency of 0.2% but in the Near East it is more common and is found in up to 2% of the population of Iran. In Europe it is found in the Basque country in 1.1% of people, in France in 1.4% and in Estonia in 1.7%. But on a Greek island in the Aegean the frequency rises to 3% in one small sample. This is known as a founder effect and it happens in relatively closed communities when people rarely look beyond them for marriage partners. Certainly hundreds, probably thousands of years ago, one woman settled in the Aegean and she became the ancestor of a small group of descendants who live in the same places now.
Your mtDNA group, what tracks your maternal lineage, is U8 and it originated in the Near East. People carrying your marker moved from their homelands both east and west. U8 probably arrived in Europe via Turkey and the short crossing of the Bosphorus, and from there moved up the great river valleys of the Danube and the Rhine. Or it took a seaward route. In a process known as enclave colonisation, communities moved along coastlines to settle in new territories. It was probably as part of this wave of movement across Europe that your lineage reached Britain where it remains very rare at 0.3%.
But before it came to these shores, your mtDNA had first to make a long and hazardous journey in what the historians and archaeologists call 'deep time'. Long before they settled in Britain they made a journey, from Africa across the Red Sea into the Near East. From there people fanned out east into Asia and Australasia, and eventually west into Europe.
Only two mother-lines walked out of Africa with the pioneers. Also known as super-clusters, and labelled as M and N, they were the foundation of all mtDNA markers outside of Africa. Your marker, U8, evolved out of the N super-cluster.
The migration of your ancestors out of Africa halted on the shores of the Persian Gulf for some unknown reason. Perhaps there were deserts too difficult to cross, perhaps the climate needed to improve, or perhaps life was good. Out of the N super-cluster, the U group arose c52,000 BC and began to spread. Some of your ancestors moved to the Near East, one group to South Asia. The K group of mtDNA lineages is a descendant of your marker, U8.
My wife will affirm that I am pretty unusual, and the above proves it! So from a slightly tenuous ancestor probably born 160 AD in Scandinavia, this particular Solly can now add another 1667 generations to his family tree!
Article is based on an abridged version of Britains DNA report submitted 2013 based on saliva samples provided.