"No Longer Separated by Oceans and Centuries"
Y-Chromosome DNA Tests
--10 May 05--
By James W. Liddell
with the Assistance of James V. Elliott,
the Staff of FamilyTreeDNA.Com
Procedures and General Information:
1. All Team Liddell et al data interpretations are conservative in nature, based on the idea that it is better to leave even a mildly questionable point unstated than to strain the data. Also, since the science of genealogy genetics is still very new, it is likely that further laboratory developments will refine and reshape modern conclusions over the next five to ten years. We believe, therefore, in providing here conclusions that will stand the test of time and could later become modified through expansion of interpretations in the future instead of being overturned. There are other current sources that are willing to go somewhat beyond what we provide there and all Study participants are welcome to explore these alternatives. The Team will assist as far as it can in these endeavors. But, basically, the Team's interpretation go only slightly beyond those provided by http://www.familytree.com/ and in doing this, only most frequently by applying specialized history to the specific areas where our ancestors are known to have lived, or we substantially suspect them to have lived.
2. In 2004, and after a two year study of alternatives, Team Liddell et al selected http://www.familytree.com/ to be its sole testing service for both Y-DNA from the male sexual chromosome and mtDNA, the female "X-chromosome". Tests from other services are not accepted into our Study, nor will we attempt to discuss them, in whole or in part. Within the territory of the United States of America, we accept only the 37-marker Y-DNA test and the mtDNAPlus test. Sometimes, when a "new" family line is being benchmarked by two or more male third-cousins, an additional special 12-marker "refinement" test is requested of at least two of the relatives if FTDNA can provide only "predicted" haplogroups for them in the results of the 37-marker test. The Team Liddell et al site Study address at the FTDNA site is: http://www.familytreedna.com/surname_join.asp?code=P66316&special=true
Abroad in non-USA lands, the 12-marker Y-DNA and basic mtDNA tests can be accepted into the Team's allied Liddesdale Study at FTDNA if an individual's personal budget forces the selection of these lower-performing tests. However, these latter, more limited tests provide nothing more than indications of general kinships and common ancient relationships of a very broad nature. While these findings are still useful to the Team's and the individual's test purposes, the use of the higher-quality tests is greatly preferred, since these allow the calculations of the likely times that "close' common ancestors lived. These lower priced tests are generally about half the cost of the senior-level ones. This arrangement was approved during early May 2005 by the then-current test participants as a gesture of friendship to their likely relatives abroad whose incomes have been determined in retirement to be lower than those of the Americans, and represents a radical shift in attitude by the Team. The Liddesdale site address is: www.familytreedna.com/public/Liddesdale/
(In early 2005, FTDNA was designated by National Geographic magazine as its sole testing service for the five-year "Origins of Mankind" Study to be conducted worldwide starting in the latter part of 2005. The Team plans to provide its own test results (with kit numbers only) to that Study as part of the "modern sector" database required to complete that study's full scope of research. Information on this new study is available at: http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/faqs.html)
3. Since the Team and Liddesdale studies are classified by FTDNA as groups, we enjoy a bulk or wholesale kit rate on all kits. Many of these prices are available at the Team and Liddesdale sites. Ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org about current prices before ordering a kit since FTDNA sometimes offers limited-time special prices.
4. The personal data of all test participants are closely guarded by both FTDNA and the Team. Under no circumstances will either release any information whatsoever about an individual testee without that person's written permission. Additionally, the Team questions the intent of any member of the general public before contacting a specific test participant of interest if that public member first approaches the Team at any of its contact points instead of using the voluntary Y-DNA and mtDNA "matching sites" provided by FTDNA. The Team considers a genetic record to be the ultimate personal information and treats each with great respect. For this and other reasons, only kit numbers are displayed in our test-results reporting charts at this and other sites.
5. Genealogy Genetics is a new science and came into being only during early 2000 when scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany completed a several-year study of 10,000 father-son pairs in an effort to determine the mutation rates of the various markers on the male Y-chromosome. The first 12 markers were the original research target and are now almost thoroughly understood. The 13-25 markers are substantially understood and all work on them is nearly completed. The 26-37 markers are currently useable but additional work is required and they will come on line in full usefulness during the next five to ten years. FTDNA is pledged to update all test results as the knowledge of 26-37 develops. (According to current reports, the 38-45 markers are considered by most scientists to have no genealogy value.) GG entered the marketplace only in 2003 and a number of fly-by-night early companies have folded during those 36 months but left a trail of mis-delivered test reports and sloppy lab work behind, thus the Team's acceptance of only FTDNA results. The Team was gratified to learn that its selection of FTDNA dovetailed with the decision of National Geographic because of the selection of markers used by FTDNA in its array and because of the professionalism of its staff and lab work.
(See the Team's essays elsewhere in this website for additional information of key points raised above.)
General Information about the Team's Study:
Team Liddell et al launched its DNA/mtDNA Study on 15Oct04 and within weeks had six enrollments, both male and female. Because of a number of odd results, several males ordered the 12-marker refinement test for haplogroups and one male has purchased the Whole Ancestry male and female test. Our test participants are most likely among the most tested on several planes of all of the FTDNA groups. Because of FTDNA's rapidly growing business and the need for additional testing by Team males, this second interpretation was not released in February as originally scheduled but delayed until now.
As it is, one additional male refinement test (Kit 26788) is still in the lab because of its recent ordering, and a third-cousin to 26788 only entered the FTDNA labs two weeks ago. (It now takes the full two months for FTDNA to report out all three of a male's Y-DNA marker array test results. Females also are taking the same amount of time.)
There are several objectives among the Team's Study goals. Several study objectives have already been achieved and are listed in the next section. Today, with these particular goals accomplished, we now are looking at the next tier of goals. These include: A. providing research guidance for family genealogists when the records have run out ) time wise and geographical), B. Quick identification of related family lines, C. Determination of most-ancient ancestry (ethnicity and before current ethnic groups existed), D. Calculations of the time periods for the most likely time of living for a Most Recent Common Ancestor for two presently separate family lines (when one existed, that is), and E. Discoveries of previously unknown adoptions and infidelities (Both are very unlikely in all lines! Scientists estimate that "unk As and Is" occur only about 1.5 to 2.5 percent of the time in any given generation.)
Completed Research Objectives:
Several major research questions have already been answered in just the first six months from the Study launch date on 15Oct04.
--First, all Liddells are not kin. Additionally, the other variant surnames also indicate non-kinship among themselves although this is only an indication at this time in the data-gathering because of the current smallish number of participants. Our first six males, with a record due in six weeks on a seventh one known to be related to one of the six, have produced three distinct and unrelated lines. Thus, it now can be authoritatively stated that all Liddell’s are not related and that at least one line each of (Liddle?)/Liddells and Lyddle/Lidell/Liddle/Liddells are not related.
--Additionally, it is now quite clear thatt Liddesdale is a witch's brew of genetic-tribal memberships, and appears to be a land over which these "tribes" swept and seized in periodic waves and then moved on in large numbers every few hundred years, leaving behind only traces of themselves in isolated clusters hidden away in this very small area that is about half the size of a typical American county. This perspective is greatly supported by the Reivers Study, headed by James V. Elliott.
As suspected prior to the study, the various nationalities making up the Roman Army on Hadrian's Wall on the ancient border of Scotland and England for 400 years left their genetic records in the natives of the area and which are represented in the Team. Virtually the entirety of the Roman Empire's recognizable peoples are represented in the people who can be identified as present or past residents of Liddesdale. Most of this finding is provided by the Reivers Study but it also has a definite presence already identified in the Team's own Study. One individual in the Reivers Study with a proven Liddesdale origin history has undergone a additional number of Y-DNA-37 associated tests both by FTDNA and others that he trusts and has found, in his own person, genetic evidence of ancestors from Turkey/Greece (Eastern Mediterranean) and the Middle-East. He knows of two other Scot-originating men with the same indications even though they are not related to him.
Specific Findings for Team Liddell Lines:
(Haplogroup: An unscientific definition but a useable one is that a haplogroup is a "tribe" of genetically-related individuals--in this essay, males. These individuals belong to a group with great antiquity, reaching back at times almost certainly to the end of the last major Ice Age. Luckily, for the Team's purposes, Europe was far less a land of ancient conquest than the broad plains of Asia and elsewhere on the globe. Populations tended to drift into the continent in slow waves, when they came at all--Europe not being the most hospitable of the continents and often filled with cold, fogs and rains, and ever-changing climates. Thus, nearly all of Europe's known haplogroups are relatively few in number and nearly all Middle-Eastern in origin. There are two haplogroups represented among the Team's Study participants: Rlb and J. There are two distinct R1b family lines that are not related and one J family line.)
(Rapidly Mutating Y-DNA Markers: The male sex chromosome mutates far more rapidly that the female's mtDNA. The supposition for this is that the more rapid male mutation insured a periodically refreshed gene pool for small tribes back when there were few humans on earth. It is now known that the markers mutate at different rates--this is the basis for genealogy genetics, by the way. The most rapidly mutating markers among the "top 12" are: DYS439, DYS389ii and DYS385b. Please see the article about "The More Rapidly Mutating Y-Chromosome Markers". Additional information on the entire "speed-o" set is available at: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gallgaedhil/YHRD_mutation_rates.html. [This address is not hyper-linked, so you will have to copy-and-paste the address into your browser window and then click "Go" or whatever your search engine uses.] Also, when you print out a FTDNA spreadsheet of your Y-DNA Results, the more rapidly mutating 13-25 markers will be color-coded, Elliott says.)
(The Exceptionally Rare DYS464e marker: One person has turned up with a 464e value. This is extraordinarily rare but can be safely ignored in the present study other than to account for it in an extra column in the Y-DNA chart in this website. Additional study is required to see of a 464e can be inherited, that is, does its appearance in one but not the other within three generations mean a diverging or separating of lines in this family, or if it is just a "pop-up" sort of event. The Team will look into this result.)
(Where do these old connections come from, huh?: The question had to come up and it finally did. Just how do you get the DNA of people who died off 4,000 years ago? How can you tell someone that their Roman Empire ancestor came from Greece? How do you get DNA from AD 300? The answer is very simple. You don't. What FTDNA does is survey each test-taker as to the foreign land they are confident their ancestors came from. Well, certainly, some people are going to guess, or lie or make mistakes but it averages out, you see over the tens of thousands of tests FTDNA is running. So, as in the case of one family in the Team's study, this leads to surprises of a most profound nature. They thought they were pureblooded Scots--likely Celtic if that could be proved somehow--and they ended up being children of the Legion. What? Ah, yeah! Their ancestors are most likely among a company of Syrian archers brought by the Roman Army to Hadrian's Wall in AD250 and stationed there for perhaps half a decade. Well, those Scot winters get cold and there was a little bundling with the local women and the Lion of Syria was established anew in the ridges of Liddesdale.
How can FTDNA know about 2000 year old Syrian DNA? That's the same question as before, but just recast anew!
Answer! Modern Syrians who have taken the FTDNA tests in the United States where most of the DNA testing is still being done have told FTDNA that they come from Syria and that's how FTDNA can guess about the nature of Syrian DNA 2000 years ago. Pretty cute strategy and surely a surprise to those no-longer-Celt-or-Gaelic Liddell’s who may now be signing up for Koran study!)
--Concerning the Celts--
Until very recently (within the life of Team Liddell et al), R1b was regarded as principally western Europian, (and, therefore, likely the trace of surviving Celts), but now R1b is known to be a common European haplogroup represented all across the continent, but sometimes thinly and sometimes in" clumps".
R1b is NOT uniquely Celtic. In fact, there is no haplogroup uniquely identified as Celt, just as no other haplogroup is uniquely identified with a specific ethnic group. (James V. Elliott of the Reivers Study says that the modern belief is that Celt was anciently a language and culture group rather than a "blood-people" [volk]. He also says that the two R1b Liddells with very low 385b values (Kits 27373 and 26664, who are third-cousins) possibly originate in the Balkans [Albania and Greece] where this low reading is much more common than elsewhere in Europe. This, however, is only an indication and not a thing to be taken to the bank, as these two Liddell third-cousins could simply be native Britons who accidentally mutated to that value over 1000s of years. Elliott noted, however, that this low value is both "rare and distinctive".)
Kits 27373 and 26664
R1b. Definitely related men of one family line. Their line is now benchmarked so others can look to them for genealogy material feeds and mutual research projects. (Their in-hand documents show them to be third-cousins.)
This line is believed to have entered North America via eastern Canada and then the northern tier of American states around Vermont. An earlier indication in England for them uses the "Lyddle" form in 1809 for a family that then moved to Hemmingford Canada East about 1845 where a Lidell surname form began being used, which later evolved into Liddle and then Liddell as their ancestors moved deeper into the United States. One of this Liddell pair reports a family belief that they are in some way related to Robert the Bruce who, himself, had a tie early in his life to the Liddedale region.
This same individual also believed long before the test results were reported out by the FTDNA lab that his line would prove to have indications of an ancestor in the Roman Army, and thus, a yet-undocumented tie to the Liddesdale border region near Hadrian's Wall. The test results proved him to be correct about his suspicions as far as there being Roman Army ancestor indications. Both Liddells have genetic indications that their most remote ancestors came from either south Spain or Greece. Couple this regional indication from FTDNA to Elliott's suggestion that the low-value 385b reading and the result doubly "nails" them to northwest Greece or southern Albania and that's getting things really tightened down for good indications.
This family's legend of being related to Robert the Bruce may soon be testable. There is a movement afoot to take a sliver for DNA testing from Robert's heart, which was only buried in the 1800s in some Scottish church after centuries of residing in a cone-shaped metal container that went on one of the Crusades as a talisman of luck for some Scot knight.
Several genetic "matches" have been found for the two, including one in Switzerland, which could just be a coincidence as sometimes, happens in genealogy genetics.
Both men have curious closenesses to common ancestors with three different Littles. Both men, with slight variations, have as closest "common ancestor matches" (and only 26664's matches are reported for brevity here): a Chambers at 50%/300 yrs ago; and three Little's at roughly 58 %/200 yrs ago. One of the pair has that exact match in Switzerland, which is remarked on earlier and is most likely a mere coincidence.
Before anyone starts leaping up and claiming that Liddells come from Littles, it must be remembered that the surname change can just as easily go the other way and is, the Team believes, actually the more likely case since Liddell in any of its variations is derived from a place name whereas Little is most likely a result of a physical description and could pop up anywhere. In short, Liddell is most likely "specific" and Little is most likely "general", and since specific takes more effort to come into being, a place-name is more likely to the origin of a surname for a group of people.
Kit (s) 26788 (and 34446)
R1b. One brave Liddell in this separate line is besieged at the fort all by himself at present, but the cavalry is galloping to the rescue. The man behind Kit 26788 is the most tested member in the Study, having had the "Whole Ancestry" (Y-DNA and mtDNA) test during the 37-marker segment and also the 12-marker refinement test (which is still in the lab), which is a lot for one body to carry.
But a third-cousin (well-documented relationship for the two men) is represented by Kit 34446, which just went to the FTDNA labs for analysis and will be reported out in about six weeks following the date of this report. When reported out, this will benchmark this line and make it useful for matching and genealogy-material matching.
The family believes that it entered the United States via New York harbor post-American Revolutionary War and had one branch to move into Mississippi shortly after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit when the northern half of that state was opened to White settlement in the early 1830s. Many of the other portions of this family have turned up in the Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia area where they are prominent in industry. In the South, they tend toward education and the professions. These two men represent each of these two main groups.
If any R1b had a chance to be Celt under the old definition, it was this family. FTDNA suggests that their ancestors come from Ireland, the traditional seat of Celt-ness for gosh sakes, and the next closest points of origin for their ancestors are: Iceland, England and, again, Ireland, but also the Lombardy region of Italy (extreme north-central)--all traditional Celtic lands. The man could safely disregard the indications of Polynesian relationships except that these are mixed-ancestry indications according to FTDNA. More distant ancient origins include Austria, which is where archaeologists have discovered the first Celt artifacts. This is what's so maddening about some aspects of genealogy genetics. Scientists now say that Celt is a culture and language rather than a Volk, yet here is a person with all the now-past indications of Celt-ness according to his origins. Go figure!
Finally, the Littles figure into this line as well. Elliott of the Reivers Study says that the first man to be tested in this line is the closest match he has to two Littles who have documented their lines into Liddesdale during the period 1300-1600, the era of the Reivers.
According to FTDNA, Kit 26788 has "common-ancestor" matching with a Baisden at 58%/300 yrs ago, and a Carr and a Basden at 53%/300 yrs ago.
Kits 26788, 26819 and 27059
J. The odd men out in the series. These three Liddells are not kin to another man in the entire DNA-testing world of more than 50,000 tests except to each other, even though they belong to the J haplogroup, one of the most ancient of the large number of haplogroups present in the world today. And even then, with their dependency on each other for their only genetics relationships, they do a little snake dance back and forth, as to who is more kin to one of the other two at a particular level than at another. Two are perfect matches as the 12-marker level--these are the sixth-cousins once removed while the fourth-cousin once removed of one them is one marker-step different, which is a very minor change considering that these three have what is certainly the broadest and likely to be one of the oldest documented lines of Liddells in the world--slightly less than 300 years solidly recorded straight back.
These Liddell males trace their documented family origins to Roxburghshire in southeast Scotland, a former political subdivision that was folded into the modern Borders shire of Scotland during a 1974 rationalization of the United Kingdom's political units. Their family came to the North American colonies in the 1700s initially in what was then considered West Jersey at the very top of the Bay and then moved into western South Carolina prior to the American Revolutionary War. From there, the various old-line Southern Liddell lines branched out, principally into Georgia, Tennessee, northeast Mississippi and the Natchez Mississippi area. A later major influx settled near Meridian Mississippi, with all of these lines producing descendants who have reached as far west as California and as far north as Kansas.
The men are aware of their vast documentation distinction and all three deliberately ordered the 12-marker "refinement" test from FTDNA to insure that their Y-DNA genealogy records are as complete as possible. In each instance, the refinement test redefined their haplogroup from a one-step removed J/J2 prediction to a firm J--a considerable improvement in haplogroup assignment.
One thing is certain for the three. Their genes are incredibly stable. All three sets of markers have changed only very slightly in 300 years and this even shows physically with two of them having the same odd little depression in the center of their brows, and who could easily wear each other's clothes. The third also strong physical similarities to these two.
FTDNA suggests that their J ancestors come from the highlands rimming the upper Mesopotamian Valley, namely Syrian, northwest Iran or, at a lower level, perhaps Saudi Arabia (Arab), even a bit of Greece, or even as members of the Jewish tribes of Cohen or Levy. The last suggestion is pooh-poohed by FTDNA's own president, Bennett Greenspan, who is reputed to be the world's expert on the J and J2 haplogroups to which nearly all Jews belong. He wrote a member of the J Liddell’s recently and said that it was highly unlikely that Jews would have made it into the Scot borderland as traders during the Roman era because the Second Temple had been torn down too recently for them to dispense that far, and, secondly, it was very unlikely that a Jew would have had relationships during the Middle Ages as a trader with the result of leaving a half-Jewish son behind in Liddesdale. While he thinks little of the Syrian archers business, Elliott of the Reivers Study believes that it is the most likely answer for this really very puzzling genetic group of men.
Elliott bases a considerable amount of his opinion on a published academic paper that Greenspan didn't take into consideration. This is the 2003 Capelli paper and which is another curious indication that ties the J Liddells to the Scot border region of Liddesdale. The Capelli academic paper, "A Y-Chromosome Census of the British Isles", is a major work that involved eight universities.
One of the prime findings in the paper is that the J haplogroup is disproportionately higher in the general area of the border than anywhere else in the British Isles, a solidly preserved trace of the Roman Army since nearly half of its manpower in the Isles was always concentrated on or near Hadrian's Wall. (The Capelli paper is on file in the DNA/mtDNA folder at Liddesdale and was supplied by James V. Elliott of the Reivers Study. Table 1 and Figure 3 are the keys to the paper, which is a very dense read that requires more than a passing knowledge of statistics.)
But here's why Team Liddell et al use of specialized history comes into play in enriching the FTDNA interpretation. Whereas FTDNA has to cover the water front in its rather generalized statements, the Team can get very specific by using reliable history sources, and the Team has learned that the Roman Army assigned a company of Syrian archers to Hadrian's Wall in AD250 and left them there for about five years.
After considerable internal discussion, the related J Liddell families have decided to accept this explanation as the most likely for their ultimate knowable origins.
Yet, one more very incredible and remote possibility exists, however. And that is that these three men are living fossils--among the last remnants of Picts who somehow survived in the outbacks of the outback known as Liddesdale. Is it possible that they are living fossils of the Picts who originally entered Europe from the Middle East shortly after the end of the last major Ice Age when present day ethnic groups did not yet exist?
--Who knows? It's just another possibility that can be raised in the new way of doing genealogy--genealogy genetics.
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