04 September 2005

Where are we now? Update #6

Background to the Update

This update has been done as the number of participants in the Clan Gregor DNA Project approaches 150. We have benefited form a change in Family Tree DNA’s group structuring arrangements whereby some members of the separate Gregory, Grier, and Stirling Projects have decided to have their results also shown on the Clan Gregor Project pages. We welcome these individuals and some of their earliest ancestry statements will appear in this report and in due course.

As a result of the larger numbers involved in the project now, I have decided to try to make sense of the various groupings which seem to be developing, and to, at least confront some of the anomalies which seem to be emerging.

This update uses the arrangement of results presented in Table 1 below. It is suggested that the easiest way to follow this is to actually print out Table 1 (in colour if possible) and refer to it directly when reading the following discussion.

The Table has been colour coded. The colours in themselves have no significance but they are used to separate different family groups – sometimes these are quite small, single surname groups, or for larger grouping of different surnames which have some elements in common. Participants’ results are uniformly referred to by their kit number.

Table 1 - Marker Comparison (click to enlarge)

Haplogroup Q

At the beginning of the chart, we have one Bennett (15716). This DNA signature is normally associated with Native Americans (originating in East Asia) but a comment from Dr David Faux of Ethnoancestry is significant here. He says: 'I was given access to the skeleton findings of a Shetland database a while back and was astounded to learn that 8% of the sample were typed at haplogroup Q - the same percentage as haplogroup I. My first "Q" emerged recently in a participant with a patronymic surname...Clearly the distribution pattern points to a Norwegian source dating back to Viking times.'

Eastern European Connection

McGregor (5356) and the two brothers (7422 and 9338) belong to a DNA haplotype J2 that is found in Britain, but rarely. It is most common in Eastern European countries, leading to speculation that it is either from gypsy background or, possibly, from Eastern European soldiers stationed in Britain during the Roman occupation in the first three centuries AD. These two (or rather three) MacGregor results are more than likely too distant from each other to be from the same individual within the historic period. MacGregor (Horn (19304) is probably also part of this group but the DNA profile could also be I1b (which is possibly Scandinavian in origin). Only a haplogroup test would confirm this. Bennett N6998 is also almost certainly in the J haplogroup since the DNA signature is like kits 7422 and 9338 who have confirmed their haplogroup as J2.

The Irish/Scottish Viking Group

The group Magee (208290) to Nevins (2314) are quite closely related and are all from haplogroup I, the Viking haplogroup, specifically Norwegian (from the occurrence of the specific numbers). It is possible that these are descendants of the Viking kin group which settled in the Northwest Scotland/Isle of Man/East Ireland after the Viking invasions of the 9th century AD. Although the common ancestor of these individuals may be some time back, possibly two millennia – there is no question that the kin group was a very tight one – being all descended from a single individual and probably aware of their connections.

The Grier/Greer subgroup (shaded in green) almost certainly represent descent from one individual of that name, with the possible exception of Greer 17630 who probably has too many DNA mutations (21 out of 25) to make him related directly to this group within the time of the adoption of surnames. To be definite about this, it would be necessary to see 37 marker results from this whole group. However, it is striking that an individual can have so many mutations more than others yet still be part of the surname group, derived from the common Viking ancestor. As we will see later with the Stirlings, this cannot easily be explained, except possibly through geographic proximity at the time of adoption of surnames.

All those who have tested hereafter up to (but not including) Orr in Table 1 are from the haplogroup R1b – perhaps THE most frequently found male haplogroup in Europe. It is common across Spain, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Britain, and Ireland and, as I have written before, represents spread out after the last Ice Age but all having a common ancestor who lived 20 to 30 thousand years ago.

Other MacGregor Lines: Back to Those Named MacGregor

Kits 24470 and 11773 could well be related. Kit 17790 might belong to this group.
These 3 are in yellow.

Kits 20123 and 1774 are related: this is almost certainly the Glengyle family. Denoted by blue.

Kits 13429 to 22187 might well be related to each other more recently (by which I mean from 1603 to 1850). This is hard to prove without a better paper trail. This group is in green.

Kit 4714 seems to be currently an isolated result and therefore connected more distantly in time (in the 15th century for example). This entry is white.

Kits 3346 to 10454 seem to be very closely related, sharing the same DNA sequences for the most part with the Chief’s line. If these individual are not just examples of very ‘stable’ DNA then they must be related more closely to the Chief’s line and to each other. This group is given in light yellow.

Kit 13165 may go with the above group or the ‘original’ Stirling group.

Kits 12511 and 24029 may be related more directly to each other or they may be separate family groups. These two are in darker yellow.

Kits 12596 to 26174 (in orange) appear to share common characteristics which may indicate family connections.

Kits 12436 and 17711 (given in puce) are not directly related to each other but seem to be a wider and more ancient connection to the MacGregor group as discussed in the update before this one.

This brings me on to those individuals in group R1b who are not immediately connected to the ‘original’ MacGregor line.

Part-takers/Those with Similar DNA

The Turks (kits 11655 and 21757) are related to each other and have a resemblance to the MacGregor line. They are traditionally called after Brig o’ Turk in Perthshire where there has been a strong MacGregor presence for many centuries and where the Glengyle family had land at one time. The DNA suggests that the family origin story may indeed be accurate.

The Greers 10589 and 35624 are related to each other almost certainly but not to the earlier Greer group. These could be descendants of Grierson of Lag in Dumfriesshire as suggested by the family genealogies.

The MacGregor/McGregor group from 2726 to 27811 have many general DNA matches with other surnames, but, are almost certainly from the same family. From paper evidence this would be a family using the surname Grigor and living in the vicinity of Perth in the 17th and 18th centuries. This group are coloured dark blue. Two of this group are known cousins.

The next group of MacGregors/Greig/Gregg/McGhee are not related to each other and represent single families who have either adopted the name MacGregor or use the version now found. They share a common ancestor with the MacGregor line but before the development of surnames though there is still the possibility that the connection goes back only as far as the time of Kenneth MacAlpine.

Of the remaining results in this section McAdams 3133 and 9567 appear to be related; Gregorys 25690 and 36102 likewise; McGregor 29834 and 36394 are potentially related, and 7783 may be part of this group.

The next group – from Grierson 7874 to Gregg 20673 have very close genetic similarities, which, from the paper trails, suggest a possible recent Irish origin and descent from a common ancestor pre surnames. The two Griersons 7874 and 33323 are almost certainly directly related post surname adoption. The same is true for Mc/MacGregors 4715, 2944, 17929 – a suggestion here of a second, smaller and more recent MacGregor surname origin which could bring in the Griersons too may give at least one reason for the persistent story of connection between Grierson and MacGregor.

The fours McAdams 16568 to 11256 are likewise probably similarly related to each other in recent time

MacGregor 36727 and Gregg 20673 seem to be separate families though tied into the overall high level of connectedness pre surnames.

Finally in the R1b sections there is the Foxtons who are not related to anyone else but ARE related to each other. These are given in yellow.

A new grouping, coloured in green, is the Orr family. I have mentioned these before in previous updates. Their haplogroup is not R1b but R1a , they are all related and have identified an Irish origin for the extended family. By the way, Orr 16713 is not of this family group unless there was an adoption or illegitimacy in that family.

Next we come to the two McAdams 3714 and 5223. These have identified a common ancestor but their actual DNA origin is from the comparatively rare haplogroup E3b suggesting an Eastern European or middle eastern origin. These families could descend from Roman auxiliaries or Neolithic farmers who had come into Britain.

Older Viking
The final group from Mitchell 36808 to MacGregor 31436 are not related to the main MacGregor lines or indeed any of the others so far mentioned, expect that they have an ‘older’ form of the DNA sequence associated with Haplotype I – the Viking group – but suggestive of a different settlement pattern than that of the Irish/NW Scotland group. Possibly the ancestors of these came into Eastern England/Scotland from different Norwegian origins than the earlier group.

Chart A - DNA linkages (click to enlarge)

Chart A above shows DNA linkages based on distance from each other. It is interesting to see which names group together. The bunching of Stirling is particularly significant showing a common time depth for origins. For the main line MacGregor, only the chiefly line (2124) is given.

[McGre(g) is short for MacGregor, Stir for Stirling and Dougal for MacDougall of the Isles, McPet for McPeters, Grego for Gregory]

Earliest known ancestor detail for the new Stirling Group

13635 - Feltus Barrow Stirling, Jr., earliest known ancestor Andrew Skirling, b. Kinnettles, ca 1714, married Jean Nevay ca 1735, d. Nov. 1780, interred Kirkton of Kinnettles. Descended through Andrew's son Alexander Stirling (bapt. 07 Jul 1751, Kinnettles), who emigrated prior to the American Revolution and eventually settled at West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.

16710 - Wayne L. Stirling, earliest known ancestor John Skirling, b. ca 1730, probably in Barry, Scotland, died aft. 1784, Barry or Panbride, Scotland. Descended through John Skirling's grandson, James (bapt. 17 Jul 1792, Panbride) who emigrated in to Upper Canada 1840 with his wife, Elizabeth Lawrence, and their children, Three of his brothers (George, Alexander and William), their wives and children emigrated at the same time.

13678 - John Anderson Stirling, earliest known ancestor David Skirling, b. ca 1745, married Janet Wallace 01 Aug 1773, Dunnichen, d. 15 Mar 1798, Dunnichen. Family still living in Scotland, though branches did emigrate to New Zealand and the United States.

23501 - William Stewart Stirling, earliest known ancestor James Stirling (or Skirling), b. ca 1740, married 26 Dec. 1773, Kinnettles, Margaret Whyte of Kinnettles, he was from Inverarity, d. before 1858. Family still living in Scotland, with some branches in the United States.

A Brief Discussion of the New Charts

Note: The 25 marker charts (1 through 3) have all the results to date for writing (early August 2005). However some recently reported 37 upgrades have not yet been included in the 37 marker charts. These will appear in the 37 diagrams for the next update. It is necessary to fix a cut off point for updates or else they would never get done with the constant influx of results coming in.

Table 2 lists all the 25 marker results I have in my hands to date except that where there are individuals sharing results (either exactly, or with very few mutations) I have grouped these all together into one ‘super result’ (for example 29MacG2124 – is 29 MacGregor results together within kit 2124 with mutations discounted).

Table 2 -25 Marker Results (click to enlarge)

This is to allow participants who do not fit into these ‘super groups’ to see where they lie. Thus Charts 1 and 2 are not specifically intended for members of the ‘supergroups’ but for the others. Most of these ‘supergroups’ have 37 marker results and therefore appear in the later charts (3, 4, and 5).

Chart 2 fits onto the bottom of Chart 1. Chart 1 is the diagrammatic representation of the haplogroup R1b for members of the project. Most project members belong to this haplogroup. Note also the haplogroup E3b. This is a quite separate haplogroup distant from R1b – on the chart the connecting line from R1b has been foreshortened for space purposes making it look as if there is a shorter time distance between them.

Note: In Charts 1 and 2, kits are identified by 3 letters of the surname and last three letters of the kit. The program only allows 6 letter identifiers. Usually, I will use the whole kit number.

Chart 1 - Haplogroup R1b (click to enlarge)

Chart 2 shows members of the haplogroup R1a (always Orr) and haplogroup I – there are two branches of this haplogroup. The branch leading to Nevin, etc., is the ‘younger’ branch in Britain – supposed to be associated with the Viking invaders of the 9th century (to Ireland and the Western Isles).

Chart 2 - Haplogroups R1a and I (click to enlarge)

Chart 3 shows all the 37 marker results from the MacGregor project excluding those who match the bloodline and are called MacGregor. All these are ‘within’ the red star labelled 2124. What is remarkable is how dense the next layer out is called Stirling. Although Stirling was a known alias, I cannot currently explain the DNA similarity with the MacGregor line in so many cases.

Chart 3 - 37 Marker Results: Excluding MacGregors (click to enlarge)

Chart 4, also 37 markers, is the full set of 37 results (but note that the computer programme only shows kit 2124 where the DNA match is exact - thus 2909, for example, matches 2124 exactly, so 2909 does not appear independently). The clustering effect of the MacGregor bloodline results (in a star-like pattern) is normal for strongly related results. The lower kits are named because they did not fit, for the most part, into Chart 3. The Gregory (?) is my indication that I am not sure why the program chose to place these results with effectively the Viking Group when the results themselves suggest membership of the R1b haplogroup.

Chart 4 - 37 Markers: Full Set (click to enlarge)

Chart 5 gives a labelled version of, primarily, the MacGregor main group. Again, exact matches are taken into the red circle for 2124. The circles SCO can be ignored . They refer to the process of contracting the connections between different results to avoid large numbers of lines on the page.

Chart 5 - MacGregor Main Group (click to enlarge)

03 February 2005

Submitted Genealogies

Below are the known genealogies of the 37 marker participants. There are some interesting PLACE tie ups which currently do not correspond with DNA, but of course a place can have different branches of the 'family' in it - as we showed in the 1787 children list for Balquhidder parish, printed in the CGS Newsletter 50. Further comment appreciated!

Brief notes on the earliest known ancestry of DNA participants: if there is no information listed, then I have not been given it at this point.

The order follows the updating chart which is the Family Tree DNA public web site for the MacGregor project. Unless otherwise stated, all places referred to specifically in the text are in Scotland.

Kit No:

5356 descends from Alexander McGregor born 1818 Pennsylvania

19304 from Daniel McGregor born 1819, married Elizabeth MacLachlan and connected to Kilmun parish, Argyllshire (family emigrated to the US).

12189 is believed to descend from William Lowrie whose supposed son William married Isobel Craig in 1680 in Banff parish, (Scotland).

24029 descends John McGregor, born 1766, died Nov 1847; and his wife Anne Lang, born 6 May 1766, died 22 Jan 1840. Their youngest son Alexander, born 9 April 1805 was my immigrant ancestor who came first to Ontario in 1842, later to USA. The earliest information about John McGregor came from a letter written by his grand daughter Eliza McGregor McKenzie in 1931 and later published in American Clan Gregor Society’s 1932 Yearbook: ‘My grandfather on my father’s side was John MacGregor, who was born in Scotland in 1766. On June 1, 1788, he married Anne Lang. Eight children were born to them: John bo. 1790 James. bo. 1792, Robert bo. 1794 (died when a baby), Robert 2nd bo. 1796, Mary bo. 1798, Jessie bo1800, Annie bo1802, Alexander bo. April 9, 1805, at Renton, Scotland

7587 and 7183 descend from James MacGregor who married Maria Scott (possibly in 1853 at Wakefield) and emigrated to the US, and believed to descend from John (Mc)Gregor and Ann Dunn in Bankfoot Auchtergaven (son James who married Grizal or Grace Davidson).

15199 descends from Gregor MacGregor born c1770 at Auchmore in Fortingall parish. The family emigrated to Canada and the US.

1961 descends from Richard Gregory about 1580 from London8100 descends from James Gregory born c1700 in Scotland Note these two individuals are almost certainly related – both families are now in the US.

8339 descends from Alexander Greer bo. 1780 North Carolina (and may descend from James Grier bo. 1708 Co Antrim Northern Ireland).

10897 descends from Alexander MacGregor who married Margaret MacFarlane in 1847 in the Gorbals, Glasgow. Members of this family are now in France. This is almost certainly a Glencarnoch family (i.e. of the Chief’s line).

10454 descends from Donald Roy MacGregor (married to Margaret MacGregor) who lived in Rannoch in the early nineteenth century. This family is now in the US.

22187 is believed to descend from Patrick McGregor or Stirling born c1700, married Janet Fergusone: variously in Balquhidder/Callander/Kilmadock parishes. This family is now in England.

12511 descends from John MacGregor born 1827 in Scotland, emigrated in 1852 to the US (New York).

25633 descends from William McGregor who was a weaver/tailor in Glasgow, known as William The Weaver bo1791 in Perthshire, Scotland and d. 1871 in Peterboro, Ontario, Canada. Married 3 August, 1817 in Campsie, Stirling, Scotland Margaret Elizabeth [?] Taylor bo. 24 May, 1790 in Campsie, Stirling, Scotland d. 1892 in Peterboro, Ontario, Canada. They had four [4] sons and one [1] daughter. The sons were all apprenticed to a brother in Glasgow to serve as coopers. In the late 1800's the family emigrated to Peterboro, Ontario, Canada. William continued as a weaver/tailor but the sons all became farmers and emigrated from Canada to the United States.

16858 descends from Malcolm McGregor born c1812 in Fortingall, he married Catherine Kennedy in Clunie parish and the family emigrated to the US.

1774 is descended from the MacGregors of Glengyle (not Rob Roy’s branch). This family is now in the US.

18760 is descended from Peter McGregor from Fowlis Wester (born c 1800) who married Elizabeth Muller or Miller and the family subsequently emigrated to the US.

20123 descends from Angus MacGregor born c1850 in Fort William. This family subsequently emigrated to the US.

24470 descends from James MacGregor bo. about 1760 in Muthill parish m. Katherine McNabb of Callander Parish July 2nd 1793 Children 1) Margaret bo. about 1795 m. Capt Donald Fraser - 1816 in Montreal, Canada; 2) Edward bo. ? in war of 1812 - 14. battle of Lundys Lane death ??; 3) Duncan b. 1800 d. 1884 at Fournier, Ontario. The family emigrated to Canada in 1800 to the Toronto area and owned 400 acres at Markham. They moved in 1823 to Glengarry area, reason unknown. Duncan m. Catherine Fraser from Glengarry cty, of Glen Roy.

2124 is descended from the MacGregors of Glencarnoch (Chief’s line).

2909 is descended from possibly Peter/Patrick (son Hugh Evan) who were from the late nineteenth century resident in Jamaica.

3346 descends from James born 1760 in Weem parish and married at Jean Stewart in 1782 at Dull parish. This family still lives in Scotland.

4714 this family is believed to descend from Duncan McGregor in Fortingall parish married to Chirsty Cameron in the late 18th century. This family now lives in England.

9290 this MacGregor family using the alias Stirling descends from Robert Stirling born 1668 at Gateside of Glassingall, Dunblane parish to William Stirling (?d1688). Robert died in 1747. The family now lives in New Zealnd with branches still in Scotland.

13429 descends from John McGregor 1828-1895 born Balnaguard, Dull parish. The family still lives in Scotland.

2125 is believed to descend from Patrick Malloch or MacGregor who had a son John in Kenmore parish in 1729. This family is now in the US.

12596 is descended from John McGregor born 1807 in Paisley, Renfrewshire (to parents John McGregor and Ann Watson), died 1871. This family is still in Scotland.

17990 descends from Alexander McGregor who married Janet McGregor. They came from Lochearnside and moved in the early 18th century to Drummond Moss in central Scotland which was being drained at the time. This family is now in North America.

16798 is descended from John McGregor who married Ann Stobie in Monzie in (1826). (John was the son of John Row? McGregor and Mary McDonald). This family is now in Australia.

13621 a Stirling MacGregor shares the same ancestor as 38027 and 9290 above. Some of this family are in Scotland, others branches in Australia.

Further notes on the Stirlings:
This McGregor family using the alias Stirling descends from Robert Stirling in Gateside of Glassingall parish of Dunblane. Robert's occupation bet 1693-1647 was as farmer in Gateside of Glassingall. He Died 22 May 1747 at Gateside of Glassingall, buried 24 May 1747 Dunblane Cathedral Churchyard in the Stirling lairs which are now under grass.

Robert was an Elder and Treasurer of Dunblane Kirk, his son John was also Treasurer of the same Kirk.

Kits 13621, 38027, and 9290 have the same ancestor; 13621 and 38027 descend from James, where as kit 9290 descends from Henry last child of Robert.

Miltary Service. Robert's son James fought on the Jacobite side at Sheriffmuir the ancestor of 13621, 38027. James was in the Duke of Perth's men who failed to charged, so he charged with Alexander Drummond of Balhaldie (MacGregor} his relative, with the MacGregors, James was also at the battle of Prestopans in the 1745s.

10589 descends from Nathaniel Hunt Greer born 1802 d1855 (?descended from Thomas Grier d. Pennsylvania 1790).

2726 is descended from Alexander MacGregor who fought in the Revolutionary Wars in the US.

27811 descends from James Grigor born in 1771: his parents may have been John Grigor and Janet Duff of Monidie, but it is difficult to connect, with certainty, from one generation to the next in the old parish registers. In 1804 James married Rebecca Richardson in the neighbouring parish of Redgorton. They had 5 children: John (1805), Isabell or Bell (1807), Jannet (1811), Gregor (1814) and Joseph (1818) all baptised in Monidie. James died in 1818 before the birth of Joseph. In 1839 Gregor married Jane Young in Auchtergaven. For most of his life, Gregor McGregor was gamekeeper at Dunkeld for the Duke and Duchess of Athol. At first the family lived in Dunkeld in a cottage called Tully Mully.

[Comment: the DNA correspondence between 27811 and 2726 suggests that they share a common ancestor, presumably the father of Alexander MacGregor ancestor of 2726 or one of his immediate ancestors].

28296's earliest known ancestor is William McGregor, who married Catherine McLaren in 1782 in Callander parish, and lived in Duncraggan. His great grandson, Duncan, immigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1887. It is believed that William was born William McComas in 1755 in Duncraggan, the son of Donald McComas and Janet Ferguson, who were married in Callander parish in 1744. Donald may possibly be the son of Thomas McComas and Marion McNie, born in 1719 in Duncraggan.

9690 descends from Thomas Greig 1753-1833 Aberdeenshire (Rathen parish). This family is now in the US.

17711 is descended from John MacGregor (bo. 1825) at Milnathort, Kinross and he married Johanna Susan Healey from near Dublin Ireland - all his biological children were from her. His second wife was Susanna Nauffts of Halifax, Nova Scotia John was son of Mary MacGregor (and ?Duncan, a carter). This family is now mainly in Canada.

2363 and 4151 descend from John Callum married 1735 to Christian Harriwood in Keith Banffshire. The family (re)adopted the name McGregor in1778. This family now lives in England.

19870 descends from William McGhee 1839-1916 Philadelphia County US.

20630 descends from David Alexander Macgregor, born in Scotland in 1852 from Edinburgh via Carlisle with his father, James Ross Macgregor in 1854 The father, an engraver and experienced book binder, tried to expand his business in the US by engraving Christmas cards. James' father, David, was an Edinburgh artist whose paintings of ships hang in several museums including the art museum in Edinburgh. David's (James' father) wife was apparently a Mackenzie, the neice of Captain Donald Mackenzie, the celebrated soldier from the Crimean War and the Sepoy Rebellion.

14973 descends from George Gregg 1740-c1786 Scotland. This family is now in the US.

6376 descends from William Dowie born 1776 in Newburgh Fife (married Mary Smith). This family lives in England.

3133, 9567, and 12683 are probably descended from the same individual. It is said that 3 brothers went to America about 1740 and lost track of each other. Tradition says they were military members of the Scottish ‘Black Watch’ regiment sent to the Orangethroup Colony in Georgia, or they came to the US from Ireland. Earliest known ancestor of 9567 and 12683 was Thomas McAdam born c1735 and lived in Washington Co. Tennessee, US and earliest known ancestor of 3133 is James McAdam born 1748 in Virginia, USA, but this family went there from Washington County. Member 23214 of the McAdams project is probably of this family.

7874 is descended from John Grier born Parton Dumfries 1714. This family currently lives in Australia.

7783 descends from Andrew McGregor (c1840 Fossoway-1903, married to Helen Taylor in 1861) the son of John McGregor (a cellarman) and Mary Whyte. This family now lives in England. NB this is not believed to be the same family as kit 17711, although the similarity of name and place is striking.

6979 is descended from Thomas Gregg c1805-1871 Co Tipperary, Ireland. This family is now in the US.

13403 descends from John McGregor born 1759 in the Highlands -c1823 (and married to Mary McMillan) who became a soldier and went to Canada where the family still lives.

8857 is descended from a McAdams ancestor who emigrated to Texas from Armagh Ireland c1779. This individual and members 20224 and 21318 of the McAdams project appear to come from the same family group.

5276 is descended from John McAdams born c1735 and married Sarah Sloss in 1754 in Pennsylvania, US.

4715 is descended from Patrick McGregor born 1768/69 in Ireland, died 1841at Mains Dundee (through son Francis). This family has remained in Scotland.

11255 and 11256 are descended from Robert McAdams who went to the US in 1774 – the documentation suggests that the family descend from the Craigengillan McAdams family of S.W. Scotland. 16568 is probably related to this family through another branch who came to Orange Co. from Lunenburg Co. (in the U.S.) in the 1770s. Also related to this family group are 20244, 20245 and 20225 in the McAdams project.

3714 and 5223 descend from Thomas McAdams born before 1737 (d..c1766) in County Down, Ireland – the family emigrated first to Charleston, US in 1767.

All the Orrs so far tested, with one in Ireland, appear to originate from the family of that name in Co. Donegal, Ireland.

23729 descends from John Orr (b.1805 Donaghadee, County Down, N Ireland) and Eliza Nevin. John Orr and Eliza Nevin are likely descendants of Ulster Plantation settlers. The earliest reference found of Orrs living in County Down, N Ireland, was 1626. Almost all of the early settlers were from Ayrshire, Scotland.

Where are we now? Update #5

This update concentrates exclusively on the 37 marker test results. The purpose is to show what we think we have learned so far about the genealogical connections which have been suggested by the results. The problem with mutations, as I have said elsewhere, is that they are, by and large, random but seem to stay constant within families. So if individuals with the same surname compare results it should be possible to observe groupings, particularly if the surname group comes from a small geographical area. The table of all the 37 results is given below.

Table 1 - 37 Marker Comparison (click to enlarge)

In this order, as given by Family Tree DNA in the table of results (at www.familytreedna.com/MacGregor/public), those who are closest to each other in genetic terms are grouped together – most of the time. However, if there is a more unusual mutation, such as on the second marker where 24 for example becomes 23, then that person will appear to be quite distant from the larger group, since the 23 conditions position in the table. This is what has happened to kit 24029 in the MacGregor group and also 17041 in the Orr group. Both these individuals are clearly attached to their main surname groups as will be seen in the next charts and diagrams.

In this update I have included, for the first time, an indication of the earliest known ancestor for each of the group members and this will be found at the end of this report. I am satisfied that this does not compromise anyone’s privacy since it is not possible to work out who each testee is unless he (or she) chooses to make him/herself known.

The next table (Table 2) has been generated by an excellent online program created by Dean McGee with whom I have had correspondence, because there is a supposed link between McGehee and MacGregor (as yet unproved by DNA). This program uses the data provided by Family Tree DNA on mutation rates and calculates the time, in years, to the common ancestor. In this table I have only included DNA results which might be directly related by common MacGregor ancestor. The line in bold (on kit 2124) is the Glencarnoch MacGregor line (as of the present chiefs). I have used a 75% probability of relationship based on a generation length of 33 years. These are rather larger figures than other groups use but I have based it on known timeframes. So for example we know that the Stirlings [kit 9290] could have split off from the main line no later than 1680, and the Glengyle branch must be before c1500 [kit 1774].

Table 2 - McGehee/MacGregor Relationship (click to enlarge)

These figures should not be taken as implying definite dates since, as I have said often, mutations happen unpredictably and possibly according to changes in circumstances in ways we don’t fully understand yet. It has been suggested for example that the DNA of emigrant families is likely to show more mutations than those who remained in the home country. I have no idea if there is any scientific basis to this statement at all but if it IS correct, then the time frame to nearest common ancestor would be shorter.

These charts were constructed using the computer program created by Fluxus Engineering. As I often say we must remember that is just one interpretation of the data by a computer program so, as always, the results can be interpreted in different ways. To counteract this I also give some other similar charts which suggest some slightly different interpretations of some of the data. By the way, the 'mv' points mentioned in the following discussion are essentially points where the DNA divides to go different ways. They can be thought of as points where two brothers diverged, although this is not strictly accurate (but possible).

Chart 1 is 'rooted' in the ancestral DNA sequence associated with the hunter gatherers moving north and west to the Atlantic fringes, following the retreating ice – Spain, Basque country, Brittany, Ireland and Great Britain. This is called the Atlantic Modal Haplotype and is the most common DNA grouping in those countries. In the chart it is called ATLANT. Over time, two markers in the MacGregor group changed from having 11 repeats in the DNA sequence to having 10. These were marker 391 and 385a. On Chart 1 below, this point is labelled ‘Point of Common 10 10 Ancestor’. Individuals to the left of this are almost certainly descended from John Cam d..1390, son of Gregor, name father of the clan, or from his children.

Chart 1 - Atlantic Modal Haplotype (click to enlarge)

The grouping of the entries on the chart suggests that there was a split of ancestral lines at the point labelled mv41. Since we know that kit 2124 is the line which includes Glencarnoch, and kit 1774 is Glengyle, this is consistent with a very early ancestral split, as the genealogies suggest. We can be fairly confident that kit 20123 is a Glengyle. The earliest known ancestor of 20123 lived in Kilmallie parish, Argyllshire, where there is now the intriguing possibility that the story of a grandson of Rob Roy being settled there is therefore correct, if this is the same family.
The next split occurs with kit 2125 and the testee here believes, but cannot prove, Roro family descent. IF this tree is correct and if 2125 is Roro then it would follow that all others after this would also be Roro. This is a very attractive idea but as I will show depends on 2125 being where it is, and this might not be correct.

There may be a problem with the position of kit 4714 if their family belief in Roro descent is true. However since neither 2125 nor 4714 know for sure we need a testee to come forward who has definite documentary evidence for Roro connection in order to help verify this.

There can be no doubt that kits 2909, 10897, and 16858 are either related to the Glencarnoch line directly ,or, share a more recent common ancestor with that line. Again a direct connection between kit 3346 and Glencarnoch is suggested by this chart. However, as you will see, other charts make this a slightly more distant relationship. Nevertheless a connection between the Macgregor line found in Weem parish in the late 18th century and the Stirlings who found their way to Dunblane by at least the 1670s, appears possible.

An intriguing possibility is suggested at mv11 - that there was an earlier Gregor split which gave some Macgregors and some Greigs their connection, perhaps in the the 11th or 12th centuries. Then the split at mv5 could be where various clans have their joint kingly origins. This is very much speculation, BUT, the genetics does indicate common ancestries between clans - but the linking dates are not clear.

Chart 2 - Atlantic Modal Haplotype: Another View (click to enlarge)

So much for Chart 1. Chart 2 looks a little different. The Glengyle branch is omitted as well as all more distant MacGregor lines. The joining of tree lines in this chart suggests that there might have been an older split before that of Glencarnoch, and that the oldest MacGregor line here is preserved in the DNA of kit 4714 , with another older split at mv2 leading to kits 10897, 3346, the Stirlings (9290 + 13621), and 24029. As I said earlier, it's not possible yet to say for sure which interpretation is correct.

Another significant difference in Chart 2 lies with 2125 which here comes out as a branch line, not a main trunk. Nevertheless if 2125 is Roro then so must all others after mv10 be also, except for possibly 13429 and 18760. It then follows from this chart, that Glengyle is a Roro offshoot. Clan historians think this is rather unlikely. Charts 1 and 2 imply that BOTH 2125 AND 4714 cannot be Roro as the genetic distance is too great.

Charts 1 and 2 were prepared by Neil McGregor a project member in Australia. Chart 3 has been prepared by me. I have included a number of other 37 results for comparison.
Chart 3 is an 'unrooted' (see note) chart containing only group results. Again notice the nearness of the supposed Roro 2125 to Glengyle 1774.

Chart 3 - Unrooted Group Results (click to enlarge)

An intriguing link, which is probably a 'red herring,' is the line connecting Glengyle, whose patronymic was McCoulkeir, that is 'son of Dougal ciar' and our Macdougall testee 21971. Apart from this the same basic groups are maintained as in Neil's charts. The earlier Macgregor split - above 4714 - is doubled in size (that is, includes twice as many people, but time distances, roughly represented by length of line, are rather longer.

With the results currently available we can probably group together the following results: 3346 with the Stirling results - these lines may connect with Glencarnoch but we cannot be certain yet; 1774 and 20123 are almost certainly Glengyle; 2124, 2909, and 10897 appear to be Glencarnock - either that or 2909 and 10897 have very stable DNA! Roro is hardest to explain. If 2125 IS Roro then so should 18760, 22187, 16798, 12596, and 22187 be, BUT if 4714 is Roro then 3346, the Stirlings, and 24029 are this group.

A possibility which can also be considered is that one of the proposed Roro groups is in fact a descendant group from the once numerous Gregor MacIan group - hereditary keepers of Kilchurn Castle under the Campbells in the 16th century.

As I said, we need more testees with a knowledge of their MacGregor branch connection.
Note for Charts 2 and 3: a rooted chart is connected to a known external set of results, whereas unrooted uses ONLY members of a project group.

Chart 4 - Genetic Distance (click to enlarge)

The final chart (Chart 4), which looks very much like a traditional tree, shows the distance ONLY between individuals on the basis of the number of DNA mutations which separate them. It therefore shouldn't be read exactly as a 'family tree'.

What it shows is how near individuals are to each other in genetic time. Note that it suggests a closeness between 4151, 20630, and 5276 which is not correct. Otherwise it is fine except 2125 and 22185 are not quite as genetically close as it suggests. Compare the groupings with Charts 2 and 3 and there are similarities.