MacGregor DNA Project annual update 2013
Welcome to this update of the MacGregor DNA project for 2012 which is being posted in January 2013. The project continues to expand with about 100 new participants registering every year (including some people who join both this and other projects).
Please note that all references on this blog to ancestral origins are dependant on the accuracy of the information provided by participants. The charts are generated using Dean McGee’s program using 30 years per generation, 50% probability and Doug McDonald’s mutation rate average. The website for Dean’s program is:
http://www.mymcgee.com/tools/yutility.html. The charts are generated using the program Splitstree which is available at www.splits tree.org using the Closest Tree filter. The citation for this program is as follows:
D. H. Huson and D. Bryant, , Mol. Biol. Evol., 23(2):254-267, 2006.
This year I am focusing on 5 main groups and attempting to include as many of the new participants as possible from the groups which are not the main Ian Cam MacGregor bloodline. I am therefore concentrating on what I have called the Viking groups, Sept and Irish [taken together], Gregg and Gregory [taken together], MacGregor Distant, and M(a)cAdams from the results website which can be found at www.familytreedna.com/public/macgregor. I need to explain why I have adopted these labels and I will do that for each group as I discuss them.
First of all the two ‘Viking’ groups. These are known as haplogroups I1 and I2 and while they have a common origin many thousands of years ago their recent development is quite separate. I1, as far as British/Irish genetic ancestry is concerned, probably reflects the influence of the Norse – particularly Norwegian (and to a lesser extent Danish) invasions in the later centuries of the 1st Millennium AD. I2 on the other hand probably reflects more the Danish and northern European (Belgic etc.) invasion or settlement in Britain (remembering that the countries as they now stand are more recent creations and there was a lot of movement through and across Europe in both prehistoric and historic times).
Viking Group I1
Chart 1a - Viking Group 1 (I1)
The I1 group which is shown in Chart 1 has more individuals in it, possibly reflecting greater Norwegian influence in Scotland and Ireland. Although all are related to a common ancestor (labelled modal) most others spring from common source individuals (most recent ancestor) who probably lived long before surnames were adopted, and probably not in Scotland or Ireland.
Without going into detail, the shorter the line between two individuals the closer related they are. Thus in this chart the Greggs 38216, U2361 and 9243 are definitely related to each other and probably quite recently with a split having happened in the family leading to 38216 on the one hand and U2361 and 9243 splitting much more recently. 38216 goes back to a John in Antrim Ireland born c 1690 – this may be the common ancestor (but see the group of Gregg and Gregory for a possible problem here). Similarly the Gregorys 168837 and 146665 are closely related and share a recent common ancestor who may be the Richard Gregory born 1763 in Pennsylvania. The Skinners 101344 and 235447 are closely related, possibly to a John alive in the 15th century. No one else on this chart is closely related.
I have added into this version of Chart 1 all the ‘viking’ Grier/Greers and it will be seen that with one exception they all group together (bottom right of chart). Interestingly this group includes a Frazier who seems to be a genetic cousin of the Griers and may represent an adoption or non-paternity event in historic time. All these individuals are closely related (this group has been explored in greater depth in previous updates)
Viking Group I2
Chart 2 - ‘Viking Group 2’ [I2]
In Chart 2 which is the I2 haplogroup, the two Kings 22659 and 178417 are closely related – since these two individuals trace back to the 1750s in Ireland and Scotland separately then the common ancestor must be earlier than 1750 but it is not possible to say whether the ancestor lived in Scotland or Ireland. What is particularly interesting in this chart is the three individuals who have different names – 177355 McClister, NS1448 McGregor, and 45658 McLean – this must surely indicate the likelihood a ?Danish Viking ancestor on the west coast of Scotland (one post on the internet suggests that the McClisters were arrowmakers to the MacGregors).
Other names on this chart are Malo(ch), McF(arland), Whit(e), Smit(h), Dia(z), Kin(g), Dea(n). Mac(Liver), Stir(ling)
Further information on the haplogroups I1 and I2 will be found at these websites:
Septs and Irish
Chart 3 - Septs and Irish
In this chart what I have done is to put two groups together to show in particular how different descriptive surnames (White, Black, Brown) can have different origins. It also indicates how close together the Irish group is despite different surnames and how difficult it can be within the Irish group to decide whether this represents a common surname origin or a common ancestor pre surnames.
Note that the line that goes off the page to the bottom right leads to 3 participants who do not belong to haplogroup R1b which all those shown do, and therefore their genetic ancestry is rather different from those shown. The kit numbers are 151731 White, 108644 Black, and 226547 White. The line which leaves the chart to the top right hand corner goes to 139352 Black. In the chart the following are the names Gre(er), Gree(r), Grie(r), Gri(er), Blac(k), Bla(ck), Bl(ack), Doc(herty), Whi(te), Whit(e), Kin(g), Lak(ie), McG(regor), McGre(gor), MacGr(egor), Brow(n), Why(te), Lac(kie), Leck(ie)
All those lines which lie below the modal line have the characteristic Irish signature. It will be seen that most of the Greers (however spelt) fall within this group (but remembering that there is also a group, not shown here who have a non Irish signature, and equally another group who have the ‘viking’ signature). Although these are all related to a common ancestor there does appear to be several family group as shown by the different lines. 173150 is Grierson as is 33323. For discussion of these families see previous versions of this blog and the public website for the project, address given above, for the earliest ancestors of this group. The McGregors, Blacks and Whites in this part of the chart might be distantly related to each other – and this could be after the adoption of surnames.
The rest of the sept names show a wide divergence from each other and from the main MacGregor bloodline shown as 2124 in this chart (with Brown being the nearest genetically). Not all the sept names have been included here in order to make sure that the chart was readable. Among those not included are: the McGees (however spelt) most of whom are related to each other – and there is a separate DNA project for this name; the Turks (all related to each other); the Dougalls etc. If any member of this sept group would like me to run a separate chart with them included please contact me directly at the email address given at the bottom of the page.
(McGee website http://www.familytreedna.com/public/mcgee)
- King 74820 and 179850 are closely related (they both claim descent from David King 1765 Edinburgh).
- Some more distant connections are suggested, such as 1) 250257 McGregor and 81303 Black; 2) 133351 Black, 136778 Black, 139352 Black, and 256286 Whyte; 3) 229554 White, 32205 White and 114313 Lackie
Greig, Gregg, Gragg and Gregory
Chart 4 - Greig, Gregg, Gragg and Gregory
Next is the chart for Gregg, Gragg, Greig (and various other spellings) and Gregory. In order to make a comparison with the MacGregor Ian Cam line I have included kit 2124 which is the main reference line for the Ian Cam group. The individual names can be identified by the kit number and the first letters (Gra = Gragg, Gre = Gregg or Greig, and Gry = Gregory).
The most important story here is that there are multiple origins for the Gregg and Gregory names shown in this chart but that some participants ARE related to each other. Starting at the left side:
- Gregories 179191 and 24223 are very close: this looks like it might be an Aberdeen connection – could this be the famous Gregory family of Aberdeen?
- Graggs 81282, 259416 and 158127 – are all related (with the possibility of an earlier split indicated by Griggs 212668). Note though that 81282 projects an ancestor John born in Antrim in 1690 – this cannot genetically be the same as 38216 who also claims the same ancestor but from the Viking Group. If both genealogies are right then one may contain a non-paternity event.
- Kit 239588 and 239449 are Norwegian Greig descendants of the composer Edvard Greig – of particular interest here is the earlier split which led to 195430 who claims decent from Captain James Gregg of Dundonald (Ayrshire or Fifeshire?) - Edvard Greig’s ancestors are supposed to have come from the north east of Scotland.
The following other relationships are shown by the DNA:
- Gregg and Gragg, kits 141020, 214992 and 7489 - suggested ancestry Kilkenny Ireland and South Carolina
- Gregory 200827 and 36169 Gregory - Tennessee and England
- Greig and Gregg 64662 and 45360 - Pathhead Scotland
These might share a common distant ancestor with Gregory 253062 [Lincolnshire]
- Gregory 81123 and 23361 - Virginia
- Gregg 130191 and 6979 – Tipperary and possibly also Gregory 168499 – Cork, Ireland
- Gregg 137236, 76121 and 110496 – no locations given
- Possibly (but not definitely) Griggs 233084 and NS2932 Gregory [no locations given]. These might share a distant connection with the following
- Gregory N74931, 201682, 67166, 179683, 1961, 43234, 58711, 30977, 8100 all Virginia, and North Carolina, Northampton and Scotland (kit 8100)
- Finally Gregory 36006, [1390 England??], 9690 Grieg [Rathen, Aberdeenshire], 131056 Grigor [? North east Scotland], 73052 Gregory [Scotland] and 2124 MacGregor [Argyllshire] seem to have a connection which goes back in north Scotland to before 1350. If the split between these individuals in this group could be dated more accurately it would give a better understanding of the origin of the Gregor/Grigor/Greig/MacGregor connections. This might well soon be possible if SNP testing (which I discuss at the end of this update) continues to develop.
Please note that there is a Gregory and a Gregg/Grigg DNA project which both have more members than represented in the MacGregor project. Please see:
I have discussed this group in a previous update so I will confine comments to some general comments about those groups of McGregors who are clearly related. Where the lines are longer it is not clear if the individuals connected are related within the time of surnames but again if anyone would like me to help them make contact with an individual who might not otherwise show on the DNA matches then please write to me at the email address below.
Starting from the left, 218135, 155381, 164124, 158870, 186233, 99676 and possibly 20630 are closely related to each other and the earliest ancestries known go back to the Rosshire area of Scotland.
- 122079 and 121543 should be closely related but no ancestral location is available other than Scotland.
- 17621 (McKinley), 28296 McGregor (or McComas) (from Brig o Turk, Perthshire) have a strong genetic connection, probably pre surname to the MacGregor bloodline 2124.
- 7183, 2726, 138445, N49861 161907 and 27811, all appear to belong to a group of (Mc)Gregors who lived in the vicinity of Perth. 94589, 158917 and 129009 are closely related – there may be a connection with Clackmannanshire in Scotland.
- 153297, 198351 and 4151 descend from Thomas Callum alias McGregor who lived in Keith and Grantown on Spey 1738-181(5).
- 29834, 200914, 101298, 84081, 137093, 251882, 126138, and 173181 are all connected, and at least some of these descend from Rev William McGregor (see the public website for further genealogical information).
- 196030, 153532 and 164088 are all related though the ancestral information only goes back to Virginia,
The McAdam chart is hard to interpret and reference should be made to the McAdam DNA project at www.familytreedna.com/public/mcadams. As a result of the length of time which is suggested by the chart joining individuals together (such as the split which occurs on the left hand side of the chart) it is hard to say if these individuals all share a common surname origin or whether they demonstrate multiple adoptions of the name. The following participants are definitely related:
- Kits 82874 and 83205, [PEI Canada and Armagh Ireland]
- Kits 8857 and 54141 [no location given and County Down]
- Kits 3714 and 48842 [County Down, Ireland – but the DNA says this cannot be the same line as 54141 unless it is a different family with the same christian name used or there has been a non paternity event in one of the lines]. 48842 goes back to Prince William Va]
- Kits 233804 and 12683 may be related [no locations given - ?Scotland]
- Kits 144894 [North Carolina], 197837 [North Carolina], 16568 [Scotland], 76324 [County Down] and 165907 [ Waterhead] Kits 5237 [South Carolina], 71022 [Belfast] and 183682 [no location] may be part of this group also.
Note that 71022, 76324, 104330, 16568, 144894, 197837, 183682, 11255, 5237, 11256, 133229, 230681, and 165907 all share the characteristic signature which is primarily associated with Ireland originally, and they will all have the typical SNP (see final section) M222. They therefore share a common ancestor in more recent time and in the last update I suggested, through the creation of some grids, what the possible timeframe for this ancestor might be.
SNPs and the future of genetic genealogy
As hinted at several points above, the importance of SNP testing will become more and more important for the defining of family groups in the future. SNPs will be used to date splits occurring within family groups. At the moment these splits are being discovered for the period which used to be called BC, and in British terms the time the time between the retreat of the ice and the beginning of the first Millennium AD. I have already mentioned that M222 defines an Irish group and within the last few months the discovery of L1335 has identified what is now being called the Scots Modal. For those of you who have tested SNPs already you might have been confused by the constant changes of labelling which have taken place over the past years. The problem has been created by the constant discovery of new SNPs which define branches of populations. So M222 participants were called R1b1c7 in 2007 and that has changed every year since:
2008 = R1b1b2a1b6b
2009 = R1b1b2a1a2f2
2010 = R1b1b2a1a2f2
2011 = R1b1a2a1a1b4b
2012 = R1b1a2a1a1b3a1a1
2010 = R1b1b2a1a2f2
2011 = R1b1a2a1a1b4b
2012 = R1b1a2a1a1b3a1a1
So it is likely that from now on individuals will be classified according to the last SNP they have had tested which is positive. So the Irish group will be R-M222 and the Scots Modal R-L1335 (the MacGregor bloodline lies in this group). As newer SNPs are discovered the labels will change too depending on what tests are positive for each individual. Once these SNP tests become available and enough people do the tests it should be possible to say within a period of maybe decades when parts of a family split. For those who cannot find a way to locate ancestry back in Britain this could be very important and may possibly even help with finding an ancestral geographical location. According to the blog from which I quoted above there is a suggestion that M222 will be broken down even further – a new test offered by National Geographic Geno 2.0 will, according to the blogger ‘reportedly, will define at least three new subclades beneath M222, but I hear it may be more’. The future for genetic genealogy is likely get very interesting for those who want to know more about their origins as more testing firms start to offer these tests.
If you want to discuss this further please contact me at richardmcgregor1ATyahoo.co.uk replacing AT with the sign,