Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Scots: A Genetic Journey - The 6th and Final Episode

The Scots: A Genetic Journey

The final episode of The Scots: a Genetic Journey asks "who are we now?" and examines more modern populations in Scotland, if post-1000 can be considered modern. A key component of each segment is surnames and Y-DNA as the two are co-inherited. The rarer your surname is the more likely to be related to another with the same surname. The opposite is also true, if your surname is common you are unlikely to be related to those who share your surname.

Alastair Moffat's first site visit is the Kelso and Roxburgh where he discusses King David with the archaeologist Colin Martin. This medieval king brought with him Normans and invited merchants from Flanders and Italy to help spur the Scottish economy. Moffat then joins Jim Wilson who tells him that the Normans were more French than Norse. Wilson determined this by analyzing the DNA of Scots with Norman surnames like Chisholm, Bruce, Sinclair, and Stuart.

Next up is a discussion of the Highland Clans. As clan comes from the Gaelic for "children of," one might think that there would be a genetic relationship between people of the same clan name. Wilson explains that this is true for the McGregors, McDonalds and McLouds; but not for clans like the Campbells. It turns out the McAuleys, from MacOlaf , have a DNA marker that clearly links them with southwest Ireland, suggesting they were perhaps brought to northern Scotland as slaves by the Vikings.

The show closes with discussions of migration in and out of Scotland. First up is Native American DNA being brought home by descendants of Orkney men who had gone to work for the Hudson's Bay Company.  DNA was also coming into Scotland along Dere Street (roughly the A68).  Archaeologist David Connolly explains that this Roman Road was built the first century of the common era.

The episode is available on BBC iPlayer for a few more days.  Read the blog here. The Scots: A Genetic Journey is available from Amazon in the US from April 4th.

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