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Thread: Y DNA and surnames

  1. #1
    Regular Member Chris's Avatar
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    Y DNA and surnames

    Hi Maciamo

    Your views (plus others) would be welcome:

    I recently did a 'deep subclade' Y DNA test (Family Tree DNA), which came out as R1b1b2a1a4 and I got the best information on the web from your site in regards to geographical concentrations, etc.


    My surname is Maude, and the 'origin myth' on the web says the name comes from Eustace de Monte Alto - an Italian mercenary who came over to England with with William the Conqueror. Most Maudes are congregated around the Leeds/Bradford area of Yorkshire and have been for centuries, which puts them in Danelaw territory during Anglo Saxon times.

    The DNA (Saxon/Frisian) is contradictory to the Italian mercenary theory, hence the confusion about DNA evidence versus origins of surnames, although DNA is fact, whereas surname origin myths are sometimes true, sometimes not.

    What is the most likely probability of my line being Anglo Saxon, versus Norman given the information above? Your views as to how all this makes sense would be welcome, as I'm sure there are other folk out there with similar contradictions.

    Thanks, Chris
    Last edited by Chris; 06-06-09 at 08:58.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Hi Maciamo

    Your views (plus others) would be welcome:

    I recently did a 'deep subclade' Y DNA test (Family Tree DNA), which came out as R1b1b2a1a4 and I got the best information on the web from your site in regards to geographical concentrations, etc.


    My surname is Maude, and the 'origin myth' on the web says the name comes from Eustace de Monte Alto - an Italian mercenary who came over to England with with William the Conqueror. Most Maudes are congregated around the Leeds/Bradford area of Yorkshire and have been for centuries, which puts them in Danelaw territory during Anglo Saxon times.

    The DNA (Saxon/Frisian) is contradictory to the Italian mercenary theory, hence the confusion about DNA evidence versus origins of surnames, although DNA is fact, whereas surname origin myths are sometimes true, sometimes not.

    What is the most likely probability given the information above? Your views as to how all this makes sense would be welcome, as I'm sure there are other folk out there with similar contradictions.

    Thanks, Chris
    I believe that in general a surname should follow the y-chromosome but you have to take into account illegitimacy and adoption.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Marianne's Avatar
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    Surnames are just names that can be changed over time. You cannot believe how many people in Greece for example changed their surnames after major wars (WW1 WW2) or due to political belief during the civil war (50 years ago). Not to mention that in the past people in certain areas weren't even using surnames, they were distinguishing each other by using their fathers' names "son of ...".
    When after WW2 people in Greece had to present a surname to get registered as Greek civilians they choose random surnames or surnames that indicated their profession.

    So the fact that you share the same name with some people doesn't mean you are really related to them. Also as JackMack said there is always the chance of adoption.

  4. #4
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    My surname is Maude, and the 'origin myth' on the web says the name comes from Eustace de Monte Alto - an Italian mercenary who came over to England with with William the Conqueror. Most Maudes are congregated around the Leeds/Bradford area of Yorkshire and have been for centuries, which puts them in Danelaw territory during Anglo Saxon times.

    The DNA (Saxon/Frisian) is contradictory to the Italian mercenary theory, hence the confusion about DNA evidence versus origins of surnames, although DNA is fact, whereas surname origin myths are sometimes true, sometimes not.
    First of all, I wouldn't put too much confidence in the etymology of your surname. Maude is also a French given name of Germanic origin. There could be many other origins if the spelling was corrupted over time (which is fairly common).

    Even if the etymology you found is correct, it is possible for Italian people to be R1b1b2a1a4 (aka R1b-S21 or R1b-U106). This haplogroup is more common in northern Italy (a few percent of the population, but varies widely from one place to another). It was probably introduced by the Lombards or other Germanic tribes who settled in Italy (Goths, Franks).

    Unfortunately it is not yet possible to know if a R1b-S21 found in England came directly through the Anglo-Saxon, or if it was Lombard/Frankish and migrated to England later in history. What can be reasonably deduced is that your paternal line is of Germanic origin, and your patrilineal ancestors came from the region of the modern Netherlands, Lower Saxony or Denmark in ancient times.
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  5. #5
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    Chris, I'm R1b1b2a1a4c and my surname is Scottish Borders, so, I'm leaning toward a Roman Legionnaire 'Y' for myself.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elly View Post
    Chris, I'm R1b1b2a1a4c and my surname is Scottish Borders, so, I'm leaning toward a Roman Legionnaire 'Y' for myself.
    That's interesting - that seems to be R1b-L2 according to Maciamo's subclades chart, and that would make sense.

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