After twenty odd years of genealogical researching I had produced several detailed family trees dating back into the earlier 1600's in Scotland & England. My line of ancestors goes way back, long before the use of surnames, but then the paper records dried up and the trail grew cold in what is referred to as hitting the 'ol Brick Wall. The quest for my family's distant past remained.
Who were my Ancient Ancestors and where did they come from? The more I thought about it the more intrigued I became. Problem is, just how back in time should I go. Evolution has been on the go since the beginning of time some four plus billion years ago. Around 60 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, earth was home to a diverse array of life, including early mammals that coexisted with the formidable dinosaurs. These early mammals were relatively small in size compared to their dinosaur counterparts and occupied ecological niches that allowed them to navigate the challenges posed by the dominant reptilian inhabitants. Ranging from tiny shrew-like creatures to more specialized forms, these mammals displayed a remarkable diversity in their adaptations.
Early mammals played crucial roles in the ecosystems of the time, serving as both prey and predators. Despite the dominance of dinosaurs, these early mammals demonstrated resilience and versatility, laying the groundwork for their evolutionary success. Around 66 million years ago an asteroid struck the earth, triggering a mass extinction. Mammals survived and took over leading to a rapid evolution.
It was a fascinating period in earth's past, but I think I should begin my research in a much more achievable time frame, such as the evolution of human beings.
Scientists are sure we as Homo sapiens first evolved in Africa. They tell us that every person alive today can trace their genetic ancestry back to Africa. In order to breach the Brick Wall without the aid of written records will require a whole new approach, DNA. I soon realized that by tracing my Y-DNA line back into the far distant past I may discover some of my Ancient Ancestors. It didn't take much time for me to realize my search would be long and difficult as I searched for a starting point.
No one knows for absolute certainly when emergence of the human race began. The human evolutionary tree is complex and the relationship between the species is part of a larger puzzle with most of the pieces missing. The Chimpanzee-Human Common Ancestor was a time period when our ancient ancestors descended from the trees and diverged from the apes. Estimates of the divergence range from thirteen to five million years ago. Since that time there have been many distinct species that have come and gone. According to the Savannah Hypothesis, early tree-dwelling huminids may have been pushed out of their homes as environments changed causing the forest regions to shrink and the size of the savannah to expand. These changes may have caused them to adapt to living on the ground and walking upright instead of climbing.
Ancient humans species over the centuries. [Left to right].
For all the ingenuity of earlier human species, none seem to have been able to compete with the technological and artistic sophistication of our species. At a physical level, our species might not have looked very different from the ancient human species like the Neanderthal, dispite some interbreeding. Some believe emotional and intellectual differences may have gone a long way to explain why all the other ancient human species that survived to see our modern humans went extinct within a few thousand years of first contact. By about 40,000 years ago, our's was the last human species surviving on earth today. Most of those that lived have been lost.
Some of the earliest humans, or hominins, that diverged from apes as far back as 7 million years ago are described below:
The species Sahelanthropus tchadensis is one of the oldest known species in the human family tree. This species lived during the Miocene age, sometime between 7 and 6 million years ago in Chad, West-Central Africa (what is today the Sahara Desert).
The first fossils of Sahelanthropus were uncovered in 2001 by French paleontologist Michael Brunet in Chad. Early humans in Africa had only been found in the Great Rift Valley in East Africa and sites in South Africa showing that the earliest humans were more widely distributed than previously thought.
Sahelanthropus lived close to the time of the split from the apes. They may have led to Orrorin tugenensis that lived about a million years later.
Studies so far show this species had a combination of ape-like and human-like features. Studies of their fossils indicate they probably walked on two legs. Walking upright may have helped this species survive in diverse habitats, including forests and grasslands. Based on its environment and other early human species, it's believed that it ate a mainly plant-based diet.
There is great ongoing debate casting doubt on the species position as a human ancestor.
Orrorin was at the base of the human family tree, and has more ape-like features than human-like ones except that it walked upright on two legs. A research team led by French paleontologist Brigitte Senut and French geologist Martin Pickford discovered this species in the Tugen Hills region of central Kenya. They found more than a dozen early human fossils dating between about 6.2 million and 6.0 million years old.
Because of its novel combination of ape and human traits, the researchers gave a new genus and species name to these fossils, Orrorin tugenensis, which in the local language means original man in the Tugen region. So far, Orrorin Tugenensis is the only species in the genus Orrorin.
Nicknamed Millennium Man, Individuals climbed trees but also probably walked upright with two legs on the ground. They were one of the oldest early humans.
The most important fossil of this species is an upper femur, showing evidence of bone buildup typical of a biped that walked upright.
Individuals of this species were approximately the size of a chimpanzee. From Orrorin's low, rounded molars and small canine teeth, paleoanthropologists can infer that this species ate mainly a plant-based diet.
Australopithecus is an extinct hominid species that lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago. This species exhibited a mix of ape-like and human-like characteristics. They had a small brain size, projecting faces, and large canine teeth similar to apes, but they also had bipedal adaptations in their lower limbs, indicating that they walked upright on two legs. It is believed that they lived in social groups, and their bipedalism may have influenced their ability to navigate and live in diverse environments. Fossil evidence indicates that Australopithecus afarensis lived in East Africa, including regions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.
They were a key species in the evolutionary lineage leading to modern humans. While not a direct ancestor, they represent an important branch in the hominid family tree, contributing to our understanding of the gradual changes that led to the emergence of the Homo genus as they developed over millions of years.
One very significant discovery during this time frame was that of the infamous "Lucy". She is one of the most famous and significant hominin fossils ever discovered. She was found in 1974 in the Afar region of Ethiopia by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and his team. She lived approximately 3.2 million years ago during the Pliocene epoch. The fossil is estimated to be around 40% complete and includes a remarkably preserved partial skeleton. This fossil provided crucial insights into human evolution and our understanding of early hominin anatomy and bipedal locomotion.
|Lucy's skeleton shows a combination of human-like and ape-like features. Her small skull with a sloping face, along with her limb proportions and pelvic structure, provided evidence of bipedalism - the ability to walk on two legs - making her an important transitional fossil in the human evolutionary lineage. Lucy's discovery revolutionized our understanding of human origins and continues to be an iconic symbol in the field of paleoanthropology.
This was an early species within the genus Homo and is considered an important transitional form in human evolution. It lived approximately 2.1 to 1.5 million years ago during the Pleistocene epoch. and its presence overlaps with other hominin species, including Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Homo habilis is often associated with the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and other sites in East Africa.
Homo habilis is thought to have had an omnivorous diet, including plant foods and meat. It represents a step towards the evolution of larger-brained hominins, allowing it the ability to manufacture and use tools would have expanded the range of available food resources. It lived in a changing environment, with evidence suggesting a mix of woodlands and open grasslands.
While Homo habilis is considered a potential ancestor of later Homo species, including Homo erectus, the precise evolutionary relationship is still debated. Some researchers suggest that Homo habilis may have given rise to Homo erectus. Homo erectus appears later, around 1.9 million years ago, and is associated with more advanced technological and behavioral adaptations. Homo habilis is an important species in the evolutionary history of hominins, representing a key step in the transition from earlier, more apelike forms to the later Homo species, including Homo erectus and eventually Homo sapiens.
This new species is commonly known as Upright Man throughout the research community. It's earliest occurrence is believed to have been about 2 million years ago. Until Homo Erectus emerged all earlier were scavengers, now they were hunters. A better diet led to a bigger brain. They quickly learned to work together.
There is evidence of regional variation and distinct populations of Homo erectus across different parts of the world, such as in Africa, Asia, and Indonesia. These regional populations might have experienced different evolutionary pressures and adapted in unique ways. Homo erectus is often considered a widespread and long-lived species that existed for over a million years.
Several human species, such as Homo heidelbgensis and Homo antecessorappear to have evolved from Homo erectus and possibly Homo luzonensis that were discovered in Luzon in the Philippines. Neanderthals and Denisovans, while now extinct, are considered to have evolved from Homo heidelbergensis. Homo erectus and Homo sapiens share a common ancestor, possibly Homo habilis. Infact our Homo sapiens lineage is believed to have evolved from Homo erectus. However, it's important to note that the transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens was not a simple linear progression but likely involved complex interactions, regional variations, and possibly the co-existence of different hominin species.
Homo sapiens, appear in the history of life which began some 4 billion years ago down to recent evolution within Homo sapiens during and since the Last Glacial Period. They are the first modern humans, evolved from their early hominid predecessors between 200,00 and 300,000 years ago. They are the species to which all modern human beings belong and are a complex and highly debated topic in anthropology. Homo erectus is considered the ancestor of Homo sapiens as they share a common evolutionary lineage and share a common ancestor, possibly a species like Homo habilis.
Homo sapiens are characterized by a number of unique anatomical and behavioral traits, including a high forehead, rounded skull, reduced brow ridges, and a prominent chin. These features distinguish them from earlier hominin species. Genetic studies, particularly analyzing mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal DNA, provide additional insights into the evolutionary history and migration patterns of Homo sapiens.
The prevailing hypothesis regarding the spread of Homo sapiens is the Out of Africa theory. According to this model, Homo sapiens, originated in Africa and then dispersed to other parts of the world starting around 60,000 years ago, eventually replacing or assimilating with other hominin populations. These dispersals led to the colonization of various regions, including Asia, Europe, and eventually the Americas and Oceania.
TYPES OF DNA TESTS
Y-DNA refers to the DNA found on the Y-Chromosome, one of the Sex Chromosomes. The other one is the X-Chromosome. Men typically receive one "Y" and one "X" Chromosome. Biological females receive two "X" Chromosomes. The mother contributes the "X" Chromosome, and the father contributes the "Y" Chromosome. My "Y" Chromosome was received from my father who received it from his father who received it from his father and so on. Because Y-DNA is absolutely unique it can be traced back in time to the beginning of man. Only men have the Y Chromosome.
Mitochondrial DNA is the circular chromosome found inside the cellular organelles called Mitochondrial. Located in the cytoplasm, mitochondrial are the sight of the cell's energy production and other metabolic functions. Mitochondrial DNAis passed down from mother to child, down the line. Men may be tested for mtDNA as they receive it from their mothers, however they can not pass it on. mtDNA is good for tracing my mother's lineage way, way back a few hundreds years.
Autosomal DNA, also known as mtDNA, pertains to the genes or genetic markers in any of the 1 to 22 chromosome lines. An individual receives 50% of their Autosomal DNA from their father and 50% from the mother. The parents had inherited theirs from both their parents, who got it from their parents, and so on. The amount is random so siblings will be slightly different. The main function of Autosomal DNA is to pass on physical characteristics such as hair or eye colour, height, weight and medical traits. It may also be used to prove paternity. It was Autosomal DNA from Ancestry DNA that I used for most of my early research. The test results provide a wealth of information on all chromosome lines. Chromosome line 23 is the sex chromosome and determines gender as shown in Y-DNA above.
In the fall of 2019 I spit in a special vial and mailed the sample off to AncestryDNA for an analysis of my Autosomal DNA. Late February 2020 I received a report with maps showing my possible ethnicity and the names of 1st to 5th & 6th cousins from around the world, four hundred and sixty of them, none of whom were on my Christmas Card list. The report, while interesting, was not what I was expecting.
The results showed the following Ethnicity Estimates: Bearing in mind Ethnicity is from both Maternal & Paternal lines. My mother's line is all 100% Scottish, while my father's ancestry is northern England on his paternal line and German on his maternal side.
SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism. It is a variation at a single position in a DNA sequence among individuals. In simpler terms, it is a change in a single building block of DNA (a nucleotide) that occurs at a specific location in the genome. SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people, and they can be used as markers to identify different genetic traits or predispositions to certain conditions.
A new SNP is formed when a man fathers a son with a mutation that changes the son's genetic makeup. A SNP(Marker) is assigned. That son will eventually have sons of his own who will be included in the new SNP. They in turn will have sons and the descendant generations, and there could be many, will continue to grow until a son is born with a mutation and a new SNP is formed. Throughout my research I refer to SNP and Marker as one in the same.
Haplogroups, on the other hand, are groups of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor. A haplotype is a set of genetic variations on a chromosome that are inherited together. Haplogroups are often used in the context of human genetics and the study of human ancestry, especially in the field of Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA analysis. The major Haplogroups are represented by a letter from A to T. As further mutations occur down the line, the Haplogroup gets divided into sub-groups, called Sub-clades. The sub-clades are identified by adding further letters and numbers to the main letter. Every sub-clade is defined by a specific SNP that is unique to that Haplogroup. To find out exactly which sub-clade of a particular Haplogroup one belongs to requires advanced Y-DNA testing for more Markers.
In the case of Y-chromosome haplogroups, the variations are typically identified by analyzing specific SNPs on the Y chromosome. This analysis can be used to trace paternal lineages and study the migratory patterns of human populations over time.
From information gleaned from online forums I had joined, I learned I could download Raw Data from Ancestry's website that contained DNA results that Ancestry failed to mention. It was Greek to me at the time but I created a large spreadsheet on my Excel program. I designed the sheet to display the contents of the Y Chromosome line 24 which contained SNP, rsID Numbers, Chromosome & Base Pair position.
AncestryDNA does not predict a Haplogroup, so as a starting point I looked to a potential male Sandercock cousin in Cornwall, England. This cousin was identified in my paper Family Tree. He had tested through LivingDNA and they predicted he was Haplogroup I or I-M223. To start with I checked to see if all the SNPs from the cousin's test were in my Raw DNA Data; three were missing. So I then referred to the online I-FullTree and recorded the following SNPs starting with M170 as the oldest: M170 > M438 > L460 > M436 > M223 > P222 > CTS616 > CTS10057 > Z161 > L801 > CTS6433 >. When I checked them against my database I found a few SNPs were not in my database! This proved concerning to me as according to the online I-Fulltree the missing SNPs should be in my database!
Plowing ahead I used a trick from the creators of Jurassic Park and inserted a bit of frog DNA to complete the SNP String. Then I fed the string into the online Morley's Marker Predictor to confirm the Haplogroup and those Subclades listed above. I then entered my new Marker names into the online SNP Tracker Website to produce an impressive map of the migration my ancestors appear to have traveled on their way to England.
|I decided to have a serious look at all the Cousin Matches provided by Ancestry, hundreds of them. My idea was to sort them 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and above cousins. Then record whether they fall into my mother's paternal & maternal lines or my father's paternal and maternal lines. This proved far more difficult than I envisioned but I did manage to whittle the list down a little. The greater majority of names fell under my mother's Scottish lines and to my father's maternal lines back into Germanic Europe. What proved surprising was that none of those matching cousins belonged to my father's paternal line beyond my paternal grandfather Wellington Robinson Sandercott and his sibling and their descendants. Something was wrong!!
I couldn't shake the feeling something wasn't quite right so I made the decision to test my Y-DNA using a different company, one that predicts the Haplogroup. In that way I could verify that I have been using the correct Haplogroup and SNPs. I chose the Y-37 test by Family Tree DNA out of Texas. On 26 September 2020 I received my results with their predictions. Instead of the confirmation I was expecting they predicted my Haplogroup as R1b-M269!! If their prediction was correct then all the work I had done with the I-M223 Haplogroup was wrong! It raises the interesting question, is the cousin whose DNA data I used really my cousin? My Y-DNA says "NO"!
My research project suddenly took on a whole new scope, as did my learning curve. Haplogroup R-M269 represents a direct ancestor, a man who is currently estimated to have been born around 4350 years ago, plus or minus 500 years. He is believed to have been born somewhere north east of the Black Sea. Unfortunately, my Ancient Ancestor's migration stops there with several thousand mile left to go.
Part of my learning curve was finding out if a SNP is Positive or Negative. Turns out the SNP's I derived from my Ancestry DNA test were the ones they searched for, but they did not indicate if they were Positive or Negative.
Refer to the chart below. When a mutation takes place between a father and one son it results in a new SNP. Each position on the chromosome contains an Allele #1 and an Allele #2. On my database I created four columns labeled: A1, A2, A4 & D5.
Information for A4 & D5 taken from the Genetic Homeland Database. On the chart below I've identified Positive SNPs with a '+' sign.
The AGE of a SNP or YBP(Years before present) used in my database and throughout this document are taken from the Generic Homeland Database Website or the SNP Tracker Website and are formulae calculated and little better than good guesses.
|**Interestingly: now that I've learned how to test a SNP as Positive or Negative, I ran the Haplogroup "I" SNPs from my earlier research through the same procedure and those SNPs all came back Negative, so that confirms I do not belong to Haplogroup "I".
|I next decided to look and see if I had any matches in my new Y-DNA Matches list. I did but they were next to useless as our Common Ancestor would be back at SNP M269, thousands of years ago. Once again it became apparent, I needed to upgrade my DNA testing to the a higher level. I quickly found out what I needed was called Big Y-DNA. It was available from the same company. They still had my saliva sample on hand so all I had to do was come up with the money, and it was a touch pricey.
Finally on 29 July 2021 my test results began to appear when my Confirmed Haplogroup was upgraded to R-BY97541+.
A beta program produced by FTDNA provides age estimations (below). It changes regularly. Haplogroup R-BY97541 represents a direct ancestor of mine, a man who is estimated to have been born around 625 years ago, plus or minus. That corresponds to about 1400 AD with a 95% probability he was born between 1080 and 1600 AD. R-BY97541+'s paternal lineage branched off from R-BY66752+ about 200 years earlier (1200 AD), plus or minus. R-BY97541 is the most recent paternal line ancestor of all members of this group. This was the beginning age for the use of surnames. There are 4 DNA test-confirmed descendants, including myself, that have specified that their direct paternal origins are from Scotland and two from the United States.
The results provided me with my confirmed new terminal SNP. See numbers 30 thru 36 on the chart below. The estimated ages on the chart change almost weekly with continuing research.
The column labeled AGE YBP above is what I have used. The formation dates have been calculated by me from R-A6454 down. I started with how long ago my R-BY97541 formed using my FTDNA Y Block Tree and the formula (my 5 private variants plus my terminal SNP = 6) * 83 = 498 years ago (1524 AD) give or take a hundred years. As a check, a brother SNP (FGC62430) is 475 years old according to Y-Full Tree, (see Phylogenetic Tree below).
The far right column labeled TMRCA is generated by FTDNA's new Discover (Beta) program.
Next I edited my Excel spreadsheet to reflect the new SNPs as shown in the above chart. I utilized Y-DNAHaplotree software to verify that all SNPs on the chart above and my spreadsheet were positive for me. I now had an approximate age for each of the SNPs leading up to my location on the World Family Tree. Using the online SNP Tracker Website I produced the chart above that illustrates just how far back my Ancient Ancestors go.
Below is a Phylogenetic Chart that plots all the applicable SNPs from R1b-M269 down the current bottom of my DNA Line.
|Okay, I believe I now have all the information I need to begin following my Ancient Ancestors.
Homo sapiens BEGINNINGS
The story of my ancient Homo sapiens ancestors is a fascinating journey that spans thousands of years. My plan is to explore the broader context leading up to Haplogroup BT-M142 where I start my detailed tracking. Once again I enlisted the help of AI(ChatGPT) to assist in my research.
The Out of Africa Migration (started 200,000 to 100,000 years ago). Homo sapiens, our species, is believed to have originated in north east Africa. The earliest Homo sapiens gradually migrated out of Africa, spreading across the continents. These early humans coexisted with other hominin species like Neanderthals and Denisovans.
As Homo sapiens dispersed, different populations started to diverge genetically about 70,000 to 60,000 years ago due to geographic isolation and adaptation to local environments. This genetic divergence is reflected in Haplogroups, which are groups of related patrilineal lineages that share a common ancestor.
|The A-PR2921 line is believed to have formed approximately 230,000 years ago, give or take thousands of years. He was the ancestor of at least two lineages. He is sometimes referred to as "Y-Adam". He was born in the age of Early Homo sapiens. The second lineage descendant headed south towards the Sudan area where many markers formed over thousands of years and many of those descendants are still living there to this day.
|Heading southeast, my next ancestor marker (SNP) was A-L1090 and formed approximately 150,000 years ago give or take a few thousand. He lived during the Early Homo sapiens / Stone Age. He was the ancestor of at least two lineages, the second of which promptly headed northwest up into the Sahara region.
|The man identified as A-V168 came next in my line. He was born during the Stone Age about 126,000 years ago and is often referred to as "African Adam". Their direction of travel appears to be southeast Sudan. He was the ancestor of several other lineages including Haplogroups "C" & "D". Haplogroup C is found primarily in East Asia and indigenous populations in the Americas. Haplogroup D is also found in Asia and especially in Tibet & Japan. Another lineage was A-M31 who was born way west in what is the area of today's Ghana. Some of his downstream descendant markers appear in central and northern Europe roughly 10,000 years ago.
|My next ancestor, identified as A-V221, lived during the Stone Age about 122,000 years ago give or take a bunch. The location appears close to the border of Sudan & Ethiopia. Like those before him he was the ancestor of at least two lineages, the second of which was born A-L419- close to the same location, after which his descendant lineages can be seen down in the Congo area as well as up near the top of the Red Sea.
Following in the footsteps of my ancestors, my next marker was BT-M42+ (see migration maps below). That man was born about 87,000 years ago during the Stone Age, in what appears to be the area of southern
. He was the ancestor of at least two lineages, the second of which was B-M181- whose descendant lines branch up into the area of southern Turkey along the Mediterranean Sea before heading back down along the eastern shores of the Red Sea.
The discovery of a single finger bone from a Homo sapiens dating to 88,000 years ago proves modern humans migrated through the area.
What were living conditions like for my ancient ancestors and other early Homo sapiens in Ethiopia at that time?
It's important to note that researcher's understanding of this time period is based on fragmentary evidence, and that knowledge is continually evolving as new discoveries are made and technologies improve. Archaeological sites, such as those found in the Omo Valley and other regions of Ethiopia, provide valuable insights into the lives of my ancient ancestors and their interactions with their environment.
Next in line was CT-M168+ who was born approximately 65,000 years ago near the south-western side of the Red Sea, still during the Stone Age. As it turns out, CT-M168+ is the Common Progenitor of all human male lines established outside of Africa. He too was the ancestor of at least two lineages, the second line being DE-M145-. He and a few of his descending lineages worked their way north along the western edges of the Red Sea.
My CT-M168+ ancestor appear to have crossed the Red Sea at which is where my mother's ancient ancestors crossed around 60,000 years ago. This was, and is, the outlet from the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean. At that time, the earth was in the midst of an Ice Age (Last Glacial Maximum), so the ocean's water levels were very low allowing a person to wade or swim across. My CT-M168+ line were among the first Modern humans (Homo sapiens) involved in what is believed to be the "Out of Africa Migrations".
Next for the migrating families was the crossing of Southern Arabia. Thanks to the current Ice Age at that time the climate was considerably cooler and damper. There were extensive grasslands and savannahs that would have provided ample new grazing for the animals the migrants needed for food. Once across the Arabian Peninsula a new marker or SNP CF-P143+
formed about 66,000 years ago near the western edge of the Persian Gulf. He was the ancestor of at least two lineages. Some of the migrants, possibly including brothers or uncles of my ancestor, crossed over the Persian Gulf at the
and up onto the Iranian Plateau to form
while others branched northwest up into the area of northern Iran.
My ancestor did not cross but traveled north-west up to the end of the Persian Gulf.
|About 48,000 years ago, still within the Stone Age, a new ancestral group of mine known as F-M89 formed along the north west end of the Persian Gulf. That man was the ancestor of at least two lineages. The second lineage followed by several downstream markers made their way down into the Indonesian area.
|As for my ancestral line, roughly a thousand years later, still in the area north of the Persian Gulf, GHIJK-F1329+ formed while still within the Stone Age. He was also the ancestor of at least two lineages besides mine. The other was G-M201- born about 27,000 years ago off to the north. He, and multiple downstream descendancy lines, worked their way to areas around the Black Sea. My line continued on east.
|One of my ancestors, known as HIJK-PF3494+, followed about a thousand years later about 47,000 years ago. He too was responsible for at least two descendant lineages of note. There wasn't too much movement distance wise throughout this period except for the other lineage named H-L901- that struck off in a north western direction towards the Black Sea.
|Then about 46,000 years ago an important Haplogroup of mine labeled IJK-L15+ formed in the same general area of Iraq or western Iran. Descendants of IJK-L15+ split into two new branches: IJ-P124- about 41,000 years ago that went on to eventually start Haplogroup "I" with the formation of about 36,000 years ago in southern Turkey near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The other branch of the split was my K-M9+.
|All during this time period the Neanderthal were inhabiting central Europe and surrounding areas. My ancestors undoubtedly came into contact with them for a period of at least 10,000 years as both competed for food and resources during their migrations west of Lake Baikal in Western Mongolia. According to fossil records the Neanderthal disappeared between 30,000 to 20,000 years ago in the area of Gibraltar in Southern Spain.
|About a thousand years later, still trudging along, they drifted east into Iran, I find my next marker. K-M9+ formed about 45,000 years ago back in the Stone Age. Like others he had at least two known ancestral lines including mine. LT-L298- formed about 42,000 years ago in the same area. A few of his downstream lines seem to stay in the same general area.
|Then another thousand years pass following my ancestor and K-M526+, also known as K2+ is born about 44,000 years ago south east of the Persian Gulf, definitely moving east. He too had at least two descending lineages. The other one besides mine was known as K-M2308- which formed about 44,000 years ago. Some of his downstream descendant lines headed up into north east India.
|Another group my ancient ancestors may have rubbed elbows with was Cro-Magnon Man. This early Homo sapiens group from the Upper Paleolithic Period from about 40,000 to 10,000 years ago ranged through central Europe down into Spain. They were a more settled people unlike my nomadic ancestors. It's not known for sure what became of the Cro-Magnon but a lot of them were gradually absorbed into later migrant groups such as my ancestors.
|A little farther east and my next ancestor along the line was K-YSC0000186+. He was born during the Stone Age around 44,000 years ago. The SNP was negative at first but later confirmed positive. He's the ancestor of several descendant lineages. Besides mine, another was MS-Z31109 which splits and branches to Haplogroups M, P & S, most of those downstream lineages appear throughout Indonesia.
|Less than a thousand years later an ancestor of mine identified as P-PF5850 formed at about 43,000 years ago, give or take. By then they were in the area of eastern Iran. Of the current two ancestral lines attributed to him, other than mine, little is known as yet although six people have been tested and they show Malaysia & Thailand.
|My next ancestor, designated P-P295+, was born about 43,000 years ago in the area of Afghanistan, still heading northeast. Hunting must have been good. He had at least three known descendant lineages including mine. For the most part his next few descendant lines seemed to stick close to the pack. Perhaps the migrant groups were growing in size with multiple families. Strength in numbers.
|After some considerable distance marker P-M45 (P-P337) formed around 36,000 years ago in an area west of Lake Baikal in Western Mongolia. This appears to be the end of their eastern migration. See map below. One of his descendant lines ended up way over in west central Russia. That man was P-FT344716-, born about 35,000 years ago.
|My ancestor's footprints lead to a turning point in the road where a new marker appeared known as P-P284+ born during the Stone Age about 36,000 years ago. He's known to have at least two descendant lineages. There's considerable evidence migrant groups continued on north, east and south from this point, while my P-P284+ slowed considerably and turned northwest.
|About 5,000 years later the next ancestor in my line P-P226+ appeared in the region. He's the ancestor of several descendant lineages. Most of his descendants proceeded to veer to the west while others, one in particular, for what ever reason, moved further north to where a lineal descendant of P-P226 sired a son identified as Q-M242. He was born about 30,000 years ago around the Altai Mountains.
is a Y-chromosome DNA Haplogroup that is found primarily among indigenous populations in the Americas and Central Asia. It has two major subclades, Q1a-M120 and Q1b-M25, with distinct geographic distributions and migration patterns likely involving multiple waves of human movement.
Haplogroup Q1 (L232/S432), which includes numerous subclades that have been sampled and identified in males among modern populations. Q-M242 is the predominant Y-DNA Haplogroup among Native Americans and several peoples of Central Asia, Northern Siberia, the Akha tribe in northern Thailand and the Dayak people of Indonesia.
Several branches of Haplogroup Q-M242 have predominant pre-Columbian male lineages in indigenous peoples of the Americas. Most of them are descendants of the major founding groups who migrated from Asia into the Americas by crossing the Bering Strait via the . These small migrating groups would have included men from the multiple subclades of Q-M242. Several have been discovered in North America. Some may not have been from the Beringia Crossings but instead came from later immigrants who traveled along the shoreline of Far East Asia and then the Americas using boats. Regardless, Q-M242 came to dominate the paternal lineages in the Americas.
In North America's indigenous people, Q-M242 is found in Na-Dene speakers at an average rate of 68% and about 80% in North American Eskimo (Inuit, Yupik) - Aleut populations.
Recent investigations have discovered nomadic peoples living in Northern Siberia with DNA results showing they had been to North America and since returned.
|Meanwhile my ancestors continued their trek west. Roughly 33,000 years ago was the beginning of the Last Glacial Maximum that was covering the northern portions of Europe & Asia. It appears obvious that my ancestors skirted the ice fields. These people were still Hunter-Gatherers following the large herds of animals that provided their main food source.
|The Hunter Gatherers used stone, wood, bone and antlers for their weapons and implements. People wore clothing made from animal skins, which they sewed together using intricately-crafted bone needles. Their weaponry included spears, bows and arrows, and harpoons. They lived in small mobile groups, normally of about ten or twelve adults plus children. They were regularly on the move, searching for nuts, berries and other plants and following the wild animals which the men hunted for meat. The groups made use of caves for shelter or areas of high ground giving them a good all-round vision of the countryside. While the men hunted, the women foraged for wild plants and other edibles. Depending on regions they passed through, wildlife consisted of giant elk, wooly mammoths, wooly rhinoceros, lena horse, bison, ibex and wild boar. They sometimes focused on trapping small game or on fishing. The survival of their family groups depended on their skills.
|Still on the trail of my ancestors I discovered marker R-M207+ that formed around 28,000 years ago along the southern part of Russia heading towards Europe. SNP R-M207+ marks the beginning of the 'R' Haplogroup. There appears to be at least two descending lineages. Besides mine the other was R-M479- born about 15,000 years ago. His lineages flows south into Iran over the next 7,000 odd years. For the longest time it seemed to parallel R1b-M343.
Then about one-third way between R-M207+ and the Caspian Sea another of my inline markers appear; R-M173+ was formed about 22,000 years ago inside Russia. Then R-M173+ splits into two branches and some migrants headed northwest in the direction of northern Europe and Scandinavia and formed
. Downstream from that line is R1a-YP1058- that formed about 2,500 years ago in the Germany / France area.
My ancestors continued their migration southwest to where they reached the Caspian Sea some 3,000 years later. The designation R1b is used in naming my SNPs (markers) from that point on.
Around 19,000 years ago another of my ancestors was born and identified as R1b-M343+. The location appears to be near Aral'Skoye More, a large freshwater lake east of the Caspian Sea. At least two descendant lineages can be attributed to this man. Besides mine there was R1b-BY14355- born around 16,000 years ago in the direction of the Caspian Sea. Some of his descendant lines continued on west, others turned south into south east Iran.
There is a current debate taking place as a result of DNA from some of the 5000 year-old Tarim Basin Mummies from a cemetery in southern Xinjiang province in China testing R1b. This new discovery is casting doubt as to where and when the Haplogroup R1b branch originated. More to come on that as it develops.
|Anyway, my next inline marker appears to have followed the lower edges of the Caspian Sea, crossing into what is now northern Iran, and around to the southwest side where R1b-L754+ formed about 19,000 years ago. There was one other downstream branch besides mine. I'm not sure where it went?
|In January 2023 news broke of a split at R1b-L754+ and the formation of R1b-L761+ (presumed positive) about 17,000 years ago. It's located between R1b-L754+ and before R1b-L389+ and formed about 17,000 years ago. One of the lineages that streamed from the new R1b-L761 was R1b-PF6323- that formed about 17,000 years ago. Some of his descendants formed a group known as that headed west into Iraq- and northern Saudi Arabia, while others down streamed towards Egypt (see insert in map above). The balance of my R1b-L761+ line moved northwest along the shores of the Caspian Sea.
|Next in my line came R1b-L389 about 16,500 years ago still clinging to the shores of the Caspian Sea. His descendant lineage, other than mine, was R1b-V1636- who was born around 7,050 years ago and migrated well north of the Caspian Sea. Most of his future descendants seem to have drifted back down into the Middle East. My ancestors, however, continued their trek to the north west along the Caspian.
Farther up the western shores of the Caspian Sea a new marker of mine formed known as R1b-P297+ about 14,000 years ago. His trail was leading to the Steppes of east Europe, Russia and the Ukraine. He too left at least a couple descendant lineages, one of which headed deep into Russia and formed R1b-M73-> along the way about 12,000 years ago. My ancestor line swung to the west towards the Black Sea.
This is the southern edge of the massive , an area of almost 385 million square miles. Comprised mostly of grasslands it made excellent grazing, not only for the wild game that they relied on for food, but also horses.
My ancestors continued heading northwest across the Volga River and into Russia north of the Black Sea to where marker R1b-M269+ formed around 6,350 years ago plus or minus a few hundred years.
R1b-M269+ was predicted as my Haplogroup by my Family Tree DNA Y-37 test.
|The Upper Paleolithic was on its way out and the incoming Mesolithic Periods resulted in changes in cultures and technologies. They had already domesticated one species of animal, the dog (probably around 15,000 years ago), which they used for hunting. With the coming of the Mesolithic Period came an end to the Ice Ages and a beginning of a more temperate climate. More sedentary colonies and race differences began to appear. R-M269+ descendants would eventually dominate west and central Europe.
The next marker of mine that came along was R1b-L23+ that formed about 6,250 years following a north western route into mid Russia. Some of his descendant lines headed south into areas south of the Black Sea ending in several different new markers. One of the decendency lines flowing downstream from R1b-L23+ is one known as
which formed around western Romania about 3,600 years ago. According to 23 & Me, this is the current Terminal SNP of a once believed to be cousin from Cornwall, England.
Distances traveled vs time began to increase. A lot had to do with the domestication of the horse. Until that time the migrants had seen the horse as a source of food. By 5,000 years ago they had adjusted to drinking horse milk as well as using the horses as transportation both by riding as well as pulling carts.
My next marker was ancestor R1b-L51+ who was born around 6,000 years ago at the western end of the Black Sea. Multiple waves of modern humans had passed through that area several thousand years earlier. In the
in Bulgaria evidence has been found of modern humans dating back 47,000 to 43,000 years ago.
DNA testing of the modern human remains were found to have high levels of Neanderthal Ancestry.
|Migration by my ancestors slowed considerably during the Neolithic Period due to its technological changes in areas such as farming and fishing. During their migration west my ancestors lived through a period of the Yamnaya Culture that existed from 3,300 to 2,600 BC through the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. Its name derives from their burial traditions. Approximately 40% of Western European men who are Haplogroup R1b descend from the Yamnaya.
|My ancestral migrants continued and about 5,300 years ago marker R1b-P310+ formed north of the Alps in the region of today's Austria/Czechoslovakia. There was at least four descendant lineage followed.
|Next along my Y-DNA trail came marker R1b-L151+ also known as R1b-L11+ around 5,000 years ago in central Europe. From there a new SNP branched off to the north about 4,950 years ago known as . That marker tested negative in my database. R1b-U106- was a major migration path into the British Isles using a more northerly route including Scandinavia. R1b-U106- had at least two descendant lineage lines, both of which appear to cross into southern England.
Following my ancestors farther west I find R1b-P312+ that formed towards the end of the Stone Age around 4,950 years ago. This marker was confirmed positive by Family Tree DNA following a requested SNP Test and confirmed to be my Terminal SNP at that point. R1b-P312+ was responsible for at least nine descendant lineages. Most ended up in England while one went north to Scandinavia.
My ancestor decided to head south.
|Flowing in a southerly direction from R1b-P312 in my line is a lately discovered marker R-Z46516+ dated to approximately 4,750 years ago about the area of south west Switzerland. Four ancestral lines spread from this point.
|Following a prolonged period of relative isolation during the Neolithic and having survived the Yamnaya Culture (3,300 - 2,600 BC) through the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, my ancestors continued their migration to Western Europe where people took advantage of transport by sea and rivers, creating a cultural spread extending from Ireland to the Carpathian Basin and south along the Atlantic coast. Along the way they experienced various other cultures such as the Corded Ware Culture (3,000 - 2,350 BC), the Bell Beaker Culture (2,900 - 1,800 BC). Starting around 2300 years ago a new Bronze Age Culture began around the Swiss Alps. Then came the Urnfield Culture (1,300 - 750 BC), the Hallstatt Culture (1,200 - 450 BC) and then the La Tene Culture (450 - 50 BC). They left no written records, all theories regarding the languages they spoke remain conjectural.
|It appears my ancestral line reached the French Coast where a man was born about identified as R-ZZ11 which formed about 4,700 years ago. Three descent lineages flowed from this location. My ancestor was R1b-U152+ (Below). Another line was R1b-DF27- which eventually appeared near the coast of Brittany. Yet another moved directly to lower England, being born there about 4,350 years ago.
|My next ancestral marker was R1b-U152+. He was born about 4,550 years ago in what appears to be central France. There were many splits as his descendants moved in all directions forming over fourteen new markers. Still in the Stone Age.
Following from R1b-U152+ the next in my Y-DNA line was R1b-L2+. That man is estimated to have been born about 4,550 years ago in the area of eastern France or Switzerland. This time frame was still within the Stone Age/Metal Age. As well as my line, he is the ancestor of at least thirty other known descendant SNP lineages. R1b-L2+ was a third major route into the British Isles.
This was the last SNP I was able to glean from the Raw Data I downloaded from AncestryDNA. So before I could go farther I needed to undergo a more in depth test of my DNA. That I undertook on the 28 April 2021 by upgrading to FamilyTreeDNA's Big Y700 test. I may yet have to take out a paper route to pay for it.
The first of my new DNA results was R1b-A6454+ who was born during the Metal Ages about 4,050 years ago or about 2050 BC along coastal Europe. It's still not clear which side of the English Channel he was born on. He was the ancestor of at least two descendant lineages. See Phylogenetic Tree below for a better understanding.
One interesting descendant of R1b-A6454+ was a man known as Tesarske Mlynany 2210 who, according to DNA testing of archaeological remains found in an area known as Tesarske Mlynany in Slovakia, is believed to have lived between 200 - 600 AD during the Roman Age. According to FTDNA this is a Rare connection of only 1 in 2,400. Apparently I am one of only 108 of their customers to have this connection.
|Following my line, R-BY771+ is next and was born during the Metal Ages about 2,950 years ago or 950 BC. The SNP Tracker estimates R-BY771+ may have been born was far north as present day Scotland. However, it's still not clear which side of the English Channel the SNP was formed. At least two descendant lines flowed from him other than mine. One is yet unnamed and the other was R1b-BY95113- born about 2,400 years ago or 400 BC somewhere in Europe which seems strange?
Scotland has been inhabited for a long time; as far back as 10,000 years ago when
roamed the new lands. My ancestors obviously crossed from Europe by boat of some sort. It would have been a daunting experience but non-the-less doable. There are records of farmers who reached Britain as early as 6,000 years ago on boats or rafts that had to accommodate cattle and sheep as well as people. Discoveries of Bronze Age shipwrecks by archaeologists reveal that traders were voyaging routinely across the wider parts of the English Channel as far as Ireland more than 3,000 years ago.
The land bridge had long since slipped beneath the waves of the North Sea thanks to the melting of the Last Glacial Ice Sheets. So no matter how they traveled it was over-water to the English Mainland.
Thousands of years of western migration finally led my ancient ancestors to the coast of western Europe. Current estimates suggest that ancestor was the start of Haplogroup R1b-BY771 dated to about 978 BC. Roughly 350 years later R1b-BY1797 appears to have formed in the area of south west Scotland, or perhaps northern Ayrshire. Their rate of migration had greatly increased due to the use of horse & cart as a primary mode of travel.
It appears my ancestors were in Scotland all through the Roman Invasions into Scotland during the first to third centuries. The Romans claimed success but never succeeded in bringing the Caledonian Lands under their direct rule. The building of plus another wall further north by the Roman Leaders demonstrate the ferocity and tenacity of the Picts / Caledonians in defending their lands to the north.
|Next comes R1b-BY1797+ who was born during the Metal Age about 2,650 years ago or 628 BC in the area of south west Scotland, perhaps northern Ayrshire, Scotland. This was 'Pict Territory' (see below). R1b-BY1797+ was the ancestor of at least one other descendant lineage identified as born about 450 years ago or 1450 AD. For what ever reason that descendant line took a sharp turn south into central England where he was born about 1740 AD.
They were first referred to as "Picts" by a Roman writer by the name of Eumenius in 297 BC who referred to the Tribes of Northern Britain as Picts (A name coined by the Romans referring to the Painted Ones) because of their habit of painting their bodies with blue dye. Others reported the Picts as Enemies of Rome, Blood thirsty savages who were covered in tattoos, Barbarians of the North. They were a Brittonic (Celtic) speaking people consisting of indigenous Caledonian tribes augmented by fugitive Brythonic resistance fighters fleeing from Britannia. The Picts, like many Celtic tribes in Britain, were Hillfort Builders and Farmers who defeated and were defeated by the Romans on several occasions. It was common for the Tribes to band together as a confederation to fend against common enemies such as the Romans and the Angles from Northumbria in the south.
Anyone have a Modern English -Brittonic Languages Translation booklet?? If my calculations are anywhere near correct and my Haplogroup R1b-BY1797 who was born about 628 BC in the area of south west Scotland, perhaps northern Ayrshire, then descendants of my ancestor R1b-BY1797 leading up to R1b-BY806 were living on Pict lands. There could have been as many as thirty-six generations between R1b-BY1797 and R1b-BY806 which was about 1200 years. (1200 years / 33 = 36 generations); that's a lot of people! Plus there was another possible ten generations before R1b-BY31090 was born.
In 122 AD the Roman Emperor Hadrian built the 73 mile from coast to coast to hold back raids by the Picts. It didn't work. Later in 142 AD the Romans built the further north, approximately between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but it too had little effect. When the Roman Legions left Britain the Picts were still living north of the walls as they always had and the Barbarian Wilderness to the north was fully under Pict control. Around this time period my R1b-BY806 ancestors appear to have been north of both walls in the area of the Firth of Forth.
Around 400 AD Christianity started to appear with missionaries such as St. Ninian, and later St. Columba who arrived from Ireland in 563 AD, spreading the word. Up until then the Picts had practiced a sort of Tribal Paganism. Seems where the Roman Empire failed to conquer the Picts, the Christian Church succeeded. But the conversion by no means went smoothly.
The Picts experienced constant pressure from the Anglican Kingdom of Northumbria to the south. Pictish kings banded together the various Tribal Chiefs to help fend off the invaders time and time again.
The Northumbrian Angles were a Germanic People that crossed over from the Germanic Coast lands of north western Europe and settled the area of what would become Northumbria following the withdrawal of the Roman Legions. When the Angles poured into Britain in 440 AD, my R-BY1797 ancestor had already been in Scotland for approximately 1000 years. That rules out the chances of my ancestors having been Angles.
On 20 May 685 AD a force of Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith faced King Bridei's Picts at the Battle of Dunnichen. Had the Picts lost that battle, Scotland may never have existed. For the Angles of Northumbria the battle was a disaster and their army was annihilated - ending their would-be domination of the Pictish Lands to the north.
Following the death of the last recognized King of the Picts in the later part of the ninth century, reference to the Picts as a single entity fades from history. The Tribal peoples of Pictish and Scottish origin combined to form the new country of Alba or as it is known today; Scotland.
It's obvious those were turbulent & dangerous times but, fortunately, my single line of ancestors survived and I'm here to thank them for the opportunity to record their endeavours.
|My ancestor's then moved north east to where R1b-BY806+ was born during the Middle Ages about 1400 years ago or 600 AD in the area of in north east Scotland. He appears to have had at least one other line besides mine; R1b-FT366860- who was born 250 years ago or about 1750 AD in central England.
Following next in line I find the birth of R1b-BY31090+ born during the Middle Ages about 1050 years ago or 950 AD in the same general area of
, northeast of Edinburgh, Scotland.
This time frame was the beginning age of surnames. Aside from my R1b-BY66752+, one of the two descend lines from the above is R1b-BY820-, which is negative in my database. This SNP has up to eight descendant branches that appear in the Phylogenetic Tree below for clarity. One line is who was born in Ireland about 350 years ago or about 1650 AD.
|Then comes the marker known as R1b-BY66752+. This guy was born about 823 years ago or 1200 AD. Besides my Haplogroup of R1b-BY97541, there is another yet unnamed descendant lineage. Four men, three of which are unidentified, have DNA test results from FTDNA showing them as descendants of R1b_BY66752+. They report their origins as US & Scotland.
And finally, still in the Kincardineshire area, is the next SNP in my line which is R1b-BY97541+ which is my terminal SNP. This gentleman was born about 623 years ago or 1400 AD give or take a few hundred years. At the time there were two other men (both Robertsons) that tested positive for Haplogroup R1b-BY97541+. Turns out R1b-BY97541 is our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).
Recent upgrade testing has led to R1b-FT137183-, a new downstream SNP, see below. It appears possible there may now be three more SNPs yet to be discovered. They would be a huge help in closing the gap to my paper Family Tree.
|In August 2023 an expected Robertson tester upgraded to Big Y-700. As expected his test results caused a breakup of R1b-BY97541+. About 300 years ago or 1700 AD., three descendant lines were created ; R1b-FT137183- and two unnamed lines. As a result the new Haplogroup contains two Robertsons. One other Robertson man and myself remain unchanged in R1b-BY97541+. There is no indication at this time as to the location of R1b-FT137183-, but I'm reasoning it was also in the Kincardineshire area of Scotland.
|Scaledinnovation's website Britain and Ireland SNP and Surname Mapper software speculates my R-BY97541 Haplogroup formed in the Kincardineshire area of Scotland some 700 years ago approximately 1322 AD, give or take a hundred or so years.
|One of the two lines downstream of R1b-BY31090, other than R1_BY66752+ which leads to my own, was R1b-BY820-. He was born about 673 years ago or 1350 AD. The SNP Tracker plots the birth to the west of R1b-BY31090+. He is the ancestor of at least eight lineages, 4 named and 4 unnamed.
|One of the four descendant lineages flowing from R1b-BY820- was R1b-BY138993- which is negative to me. That man was born about 573 years ago or 1450 AD, give or take. SNP Tracker plots the birth in central Scotland. There are no downstream lineages at this time.
Another of the R1b-BY820 branches was R1b-Y190145- which is negative to my Haplogroup. According to FTDNA's Meta Discovery software he was born about 523 years ago or 1500 AD, give or take. SNP Tracker suggests the birth was to northeast Scotland. He had two descendant lineages:
|Another of the R1b-BY820- branches was R1b-FT201649- which is also negative to my Haplogroup. According to FTDNA's Meta Discovery software he was born about 373 years ago or 1650 AD, give or take. SNP Tracker suggests the birth was way off in Ireland. There are no downstream lineages at this time.
Yet another of the branches from R1b-BY820- was R1b-BY3507- born about 373 years ago or 1650 AD. The tracker places the SNP at roughly the Isle of Man. He had four downstream lineages, 3 of which are still unnamed:
Information Sources -
- Illustration of a dinosaur and mammal (Credit: Daniel Eskridge/Shutterstock)
- Many thanks to Stefan Milo (Milosavljevich) for his many YouTube videos.
- A lot of the photos used are from Google Images.
- Many specific questions made to Google Search.
- Many specific questions made of Chat(GPT) 3.4 Open AI
- Online websites such as Britannica, Wikipedia and YouTube
- Memberships such as Family Tree DNA and Ancestry DNA, etc.