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How Celtic or Germanic are the English?

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  • How Celtic or Germanic are the English?

    I have been studying the European roots in my family recently. Autosomal DNA shows a combination of Western Mediterranean, Norse and Celtic. Typical results for Welsh, English, French, German, Scots, Irish and Orkney Island Scottish Viking Norse

    One thing that has always interested me is are the English mostly Saxon or Celtic. I have been to England, and the English do not look like the Welsh. Sykes believes the majority of the English to be "Celtic", but are there DNA the same or very close to Normandy or Belgians? Taking DNA samples were compared with those populations, there just seems to be a very big divide between Eastern English and Western English and the Welsh/Cornish.

    Also, was the Viking invasions more of a DNA contribution than the Saxon?

  • #2
    examples

    It looks to me like Princes Di would represent the east of England, and (a young) Elizabeth Taylor would represent western England.

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    • #3
      Here are a few things to consider:

      1. the Welsh seem to have received a DNA infusion from Iberia during the Roma period.

      2. there should be a fair amount of Viking DNA in places like Yorkshire, but in most places, it should be only a small fraction of total DNA.

      3. the Belgae (a Celtic tribe from Belgium with affinities to the Helvetii of Switzerland) settled in southern England (eg, Wiltshire)

      4. the Saxons probably brought most of the R1b U106+ to England.

      5. the Angles were more Scandinavian & probably brought over more R1a.

      6. I am inclined to conclude that any Englishman who is either R1b P312* or R1b L21* is probably descended from early Celtic inhabitants.

      Timothy Peterman

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      • #4
        That makes total sense in my family history, because I matched Spain very high with Basque I have no Spanish, but I do have several Welsh lines mixed with a combination of European and some NDN ancestry. It all showed up on the DNATribes test, including Switzerland, French. I could not figure out the Norway, Denmark and Dutch matches until I found some Wallon ancestry for the Dutch and also a family from Orkney Islands who were obvious Nordic with blond hair and blue eyes, Scottish Vikings invaded those islands But the Welsh trumped all that and I had Welsh in every family line mixed with a combination of Swiss German, French German, Scots, Irish, Cornish, Orkney Islands, Dutch and English. The English in the West look much more "Celtic" and are much more older genetic wise than those in the East, so I think Sykes was correct in some things, but wrong in others, because R1B could easily be Saxon or Viking in the Eastern England. And Liz trumps Di anyday, ha ha

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        • #5
          I am wondering if there is a L2* cluster in Wiltshire. My Hall ancestors were U152+, L2*, and L20-. As best as I can tell, they originated in a village called Goatacre in Wiltshire. Then, I saw where the Belgae made a settlement there in the first century or so BC.

          I suspect that in places like Kent, Wessex, Essex, Susses, & Middlesex, one would find that R U106+ is the largest of the R1b haplogroups. This would indicate a heavy Saxon presence.

          Timothy Peterman

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          • #6
            It makes sense in DNA once you start looking at the history of settlements, even the autosomal. I got quite a bit of Vinnie Jones looking people in the family, makes total sense to match Iberians and Basque.

            Why did Sykes fail to look at the R1b Saxon and Viking and just called all R1b "Celtic"?

            Of course England is related to the Welsh, Irish, Scots but not enough to lump all of the UK "Celtic".

            That is just wrong

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BlackWolf View Post
              Why did Sykes fail to look at the R1b Saxon and Viking and just called all R1b "Celtic"?

              Of course England is related to the Welsh, Irish, Scots but not enough to lump all of the UK "Celtic".

              That is just wrong
              My view is that Sykes writes popular science books, with heavy emphasis on "popular." This means that he doesn't have to get very scientific and general labels are enough to impress people.

              Of course, then people think they know something, but they have gotten a distorted picture. I think Stephen Oppenheimer's books fall in the same category as those of Sykes.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                My view is that Sykes writes popular science books, with heavy emphasis on "popular." This means that he doesn't have to get very scientific and general labels are enough to impress people.

                Of course, then people think they know something, but they have gotten a distorted picture. I think Stephen Oppenheimer's books fall in the same category as those of Sykes.
                If you are a genetic Scientist then let us hear your views on the origins of the people of Western Europe.

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                • #9
                  He has a point though

                  Sykes said that the Saxon DNA contribution was 20%
                  in southern England.

                  Well if the R1B of Saxons was 50% then add on another 40% to the Saxon population of Southern England?

                  It takes 30% of autosomal DNA to change physical "looks"

                  That would be more than enough to separate the English and Welsh, even with "Celtic" in Southern English at 60%

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 1798 View Post
                    If you are a genetic Scientist then let us hear your views on the origins of the people of Western Europe.
                    I and others have presented those views, which are well-founded, and you've consistently rejected them. So I don't think repeating them will change your mind.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T E Peterman View Post
                      Here are a few things to consider:

                      1. the Welsh seem to have received a DNA infusion from Iberia during the Roma period.

                      2. there should be a fair amount of Viking DNA in places like Yorkshire, but in most places, it should be only a small fraction of total DNA.

                      3. the Belgae (a Celtic tribe from Belgium with affinities to the Helvetii of Switzerland) settled in southern England (eg, Wiltshire)

                      4. the Saxons probably brought most of the R1b U106+ to England.

                      5. the Angles were more Scandinavian & probably brought over more R1a.

                      6. I am inclined to conclude that any Englishman who is either R1b P312* or R1b L21* is probably descended from early Celtic inhabitants.

                      Timothy Peterman
                      Not sure I'd agree with item no. 2 in the list. Iberian contact with Britain and consequent infusion goes back at least to the Bronze Age.

                      Arch

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BlackWolf View Post
                        It makes sense in DNA once you start looking at the history of settlements, even the autosomal. I got quite a bit of Vinnie Jones looking people in the family, makes total sense to match Iberians and Basque.

                        Why did Sykes fail to look at the R1b Saxon and Viking and just called all R1b "Celtic"?

                        Of course England is related to the Welsh, Irish, Scots but not enough to lump all of the UK "Celtic".

                        That is just wrong
                        It's too easy to label sublcades within a specific linguistic or tribal group. There are too many variables and not every subclade can be pigeonholed so neatly. I remember how the Romans mention the Convenae as being Aquitani and yet the name of their oppida is called Convenae Lugudunum indicating a Brythonic Celtic connection. The Garonne was essentially a sort of divide but only tribal political demarcation in a sense, but not always genetically. So a Celt can really be a person of origin in China, but relocated to one of the tribes of the Celtae and lived there for many years speaking their language, learning their culture, and adopting the "Celtic" way of life. Should this make him a Celt or not? It's too easy to get locked into the concept that subclades belong to specific tribes, when in fact a large variety could come afar.

                        Look at the Amesbury Archer for an example, the older gentleman is from around the Swiss Alps but the younger one is from Wales or thereabouts. Apparently they held some important position during their time. Can we call them Celtic and assign them a tribe? I highly doubt it. Whatever the case, they were both instrumental in the culture of the megalithic building and if there was ability to navigate between the Swiss Alps and Britain during the Bronze Age, the possibility of many of the persons around Stonehenge during the lifespan of the Amesbury Archers could come from great distances not even considered in the sphere of Celtic influence by modern interpretation.

                        Arch

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BlackWolf View Post
                          I have been studying the European roots in my family recently. Autosomal DNA shows a combination of Western Mediterranean, Norse and Celtic. Typical results for Welsh, English, French, German, Scots, Irish and Orkney Island Scottish Viking Norse

                          One thing that has always interested me is are the English mostly Saxon or Celtic. I have been to England, and the English do not look like the Welsh. Sykes believes the majority of the English to be "Celtic", but are there DNA the same or very close to Normandy or Belgians? Taking DNA samples were compared with those populations, there just seems to be a very big divide between Eastern English and Western English and the Welsh/Cornish.

                          Also, was the Viking invasions more of a DNA contribution than the Saxon?
                          I think this school of thought about England or any other place for that matter being more Germanic or Celtic is pretty much outdated. I find it frustrating that it lacks content of Bronze Age, Neolithic or even older Mesolithic genetic input. Mesolithic having the largest time span would produce the greatest numbers in many areas and should be widespread.

                          The concept of Germanic versus Celtic seems pointless to me. What defines Celtic in the first place? If we go that route, then Celtiberia is the most Celtic region since its the region with the oldest attested Celtic language. Unless Dr Koch proves Tartessian is the oldest Celtic which will really change the way we see the Celtic world as Iberia being more Celtic than Ireland. But we need to be careful with Atlantocentric views about Celts like any other centric views and the dividing lines between Germanic, Latin, Ligurian, Iberian, Aquitani, Berber, etc. because it's just not that neat. It's messy as heck.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by A Yeomans View Post
                            . . . It's messy as heck.

                            Arch
                            I agree with that.

                            I do think, however, that it is possible to generalize and come close to the truth. Ethnic designations like Celtic and Germanic only make sense as broad categories anyway. While it is true that a person born in China and otherwise broadly "Chinese", if raised in a Celtic community in, say, Brittany, would be culturally and linguistically a Celt, he or she would still differ from most of the rest of the Celtic population genetically and in physical appearance.

                            In time, if that Sino-Celt married and reproduced with a more typical Celt, his or her descendants would become more and more like the rest of the broader Celtic community genetically and, as a consequence, in physical appearance, as well. Only the Sino-Celt's y-dna line (in the case of a male) or mtDNA line (if our Sino-Celt was female), if it survived, would remain as mute testimony to the anomaly of a Chinese-born Celt. The fact that we could spot that anomaly means that the genetic and cultural traits of the majority define "Celticity" and "Chinicity". Our Sino-Celt had all the Celtic cultural traits - language, religion, food, clothing, etc. - but lacked the majority genetic traits.

                            Anyway, for the sake of argument, let's just say that in terms of R1b1b2, P312+ clades are broadly Celtic and U106+ clades are broadly Germanic. I think it is relatively safe to generalize in this way based on the distribution of those groups, P312 clades generally occurring most frequently in the old homelands of the Celts and U106 clades occurring most frequently in the old homelands of the Germans.

                            Does that mean there were no exceptions and no blurring and blending across ethnolinguistic boundaries? Of course not! Undoubtedly there were U106+ Celts aplenty and P312+ Germans aplenty. But, broadly and generally, it is possible to say that P312 is relatively Celtic compared with U106, and U106 is relatively Germanic compared with P312.

                            I know someone will pop up and point to a specific case and use it to show that thus-and-so is P312+ and very unlikely to have Celtic ancestry, therefore it is impossible to say that P312 is Celtic and U106 is Germanic. But I think that misses the point. We should expect exceptions. What we are trying to do is to arrive at an approximation of the real picture, since that is the best we can hope for. The "real picture" is so complex in its minute and individual details that we can't hope to bring it into sharp focus.

                            So, yes, I know there are exceptions. There were obviously non-Celtic Iberians and Basques who were mostly P312, and non-Germanic Slavs and others who were U106. But, broadly speaking, the old stomping grounds of the Celts appear to be mostly P312+ today, and the old stomping grounds of the Germans appear to be mostly U106+ today.

                            If these generalizations are correct, and I think they are, they show that Celts and Germans were genetically very closely related indeed, since both P312 and U106 are the immediate offspring of P310. They were also very much alike culturally, as well, but that is another story.

                            (I am speaking in terms of R1b1b2, because that is where my main interest is. I know there were Celts and Germans who belonged to other y haplogroups and that all of them also belonged to various mtDNA haplogroups.)
                            Last edited by Stevo; 12 July 2010, 07:53 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I have also noticed the following genetic shift across the populations of Indo European speakers:

                              1. Lots of R1b; little or no R1a -the population is inclined to speak a Celtic or Italic language.

                              2. Lots of R1b; a lower but significant percentage of R1a -the population is more inclined to speak Germanic language.

                              3. Lots of R1a; a lower but significant percentage of R1b -the population is more inclined tp speak a Slavic language.

                              4. Lots of R1a; little or no R1b -the population is more inclined to speak an Indic language.

                              I know know if this observation really has any linguistic or genetic significance, but it seems to be generally true, so I thought I would point it out.

                              Timothy Peterman

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