IRISH BRONZE AGE RELATIVE ON RATHLIN ISLAND
GUTHRIE FAMILY GROUP 2A’S DNA MATCHES RATHLIN ISLAND MAN
Do you remember hearing about cases where scientists recover prehistoric DNA from the skeletal remains in an ancient burial site only to discover living descendants? It’s us! (Along with a few million other people, but who’s counting?) We’re here to focus on the ancestral origins of Guthrie Family Group 2A and the revelations found within its Y-DNA.
Our earliest known ancestor lived on Rathlin Island, the most northern point of Northern Ireland off the coast of County Antrim….4,000 years ago! This island is also only 11 miles away from the coast of the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, so it is quite easy to see that our ancestors might have migrated in one direction or the other. Those who study migration patterns of early human populations say that our origins can be found in the Pontic Steppe on the shores of the Black Sea. These people made their way across Northern Europe eventually settling in ancient Ireland, and are now considered to be the precursors to the Celtic people.
At a time long before surnames came into common use, this man is technically not a Guthrie by name, but our direct paternal line DNA is a genetic match, so we do share ancestry.
Three male skeletons were recovered from a burial cist (pronounced ‘kist’), a stone-built grave discovered behind McCuaig’s Bar in Church Bay. The bones were dated to approximately 2026-1534 B.C. Exactly when and why these men arrived on Rathlin Island, or how long they lived there will remain a mystery.
High quality genome testing was performed. Y-DNA is inherited directly from father to son on the male chromosome, while Mitochondrial DNA is inherited directly from the mother and is found in both male and female descendants.
Geneticists determine our origins by examining genetic markers and studying migration patterns. Haplogroups are the designations given to the various human population, which are broken down into related subgroups that continue to branch into smaller subsections that eventually form our modern family trees. The presence or absence of specific markers (SNPs) within the results determines inclusion within a subgroup.
Rathlin1 / RM127
Rathlin2 / RSK1
Rathlin3 / RSK2
Not only does the Guthrie sample 24607 from GFG2A match Haplogroup R-L21, but more specific testing shows matching to its subgroup R-DF21. This is the same for Rathlin1 and Rathlin2. The Big Tree, a phylogenetic tree for the R-P312 YDNA Haplogroup created by Alex Williamson lists our Guthrie kit’s official placement under the section for P312>Z290>L21>DF13>DF21 that includes Rathlin1 and Rathlin2.
Rathlin1 Haplotree Results: Z30233+ and FGC3903-
GFG2A Kit#24607 Results: Z30233+ and FGC3903-
The primary Haplogroup listed for most of GFG2A is Haplogroup R-M269. This is one of the most common in Europe, but it is also just the broadest category on our part of the human Haplotree. Half of established Guthrie Family Groups originate from R-M269. Consider that back in the early caveman days, we were all related, but over time our groups migrated to new locations becoming distinct from one another and carrying unique genetic markers and traits that were passed on only to their descendants.
Additional subclass testing is required to confirm a specific haplogroup by discovering whether an individual’s DNA is positive or negative for various SNPs. Take a look at our Y-DNA Colorized Results Chart to see how our Haplogroup is listed. Most have R-M269 in RED (Unconfirmed Haplogroup based on the raw Y-DNA results). Results in GREEN are confirmed at different levels of SNP testing. R-L21 and R-DF21 are confirmed ‘downstream’ findings. The next level is R-Z30233 with our current listing as R-BY57462.
When Rathlin1’s results were compared to other data collected by researchers studying other Irish groups, it was found that it was positive for Z30233, but negative for FGC3903, unlike previous discoveries. Our participant is the first in the R-DF21 and Subclades Project with identical results. This means that all men in GFG2A can also infer their relationship to Rathlin1. He may or may not be a direct paternal ancestor, but these results appear to indicate that we definitely share one.
Rathlin1 “probably had a light hair shade (61.4%) and brown eyes (64.3%). However, each Rathlin genome possessed indication of at least one copy of a haplotype associated with blue eye color.” Also interesting to note is that Rathlin1 was a genetic carrier of hemochromatosis, known as the ‘Celtic’ disease. It is an inheritable recessive genetic disorder that causes excessive retention of dietary iron. The markers for this disease are found commonly (11%) in the modern Irish population. As it happens, RWG (Kit#24607) has also had testing done at 23andMe to include genetic health data, which showed that a marker for hemochromatosis was present.
Guthrie kit 24607 is specifically listed in a small sub-grouping containing Rathlin2 and one other kit.
Men from GFG2A in our Y-DNA project are encouraged to upgrade their kits to include Big-Y tests or the SNP Packs for R1b-DF21/R1b-L21. Join the R-DF21 and Subclades Project when your results are in. It would be great to provide more genetic proof of our connection to Rathlin1 and Rathlin2.
GFG2A’s PREHISTORIC FAMILY TREE
(Y-DNA / PATERNAL)
Source information from Alex Williamson’s Big Tree and Peter Biggins.
Haplogroup R1b: R-P25 (aka R-M343)
The most frequently occurring paternal lineage in Western Europe, as well as some parts of Russia and Central Africa. Everyone in the Haplogroup R1b descends from this prehistoric man.
4120 BC to 3880 BC
Men with the P312 mutation lived around 5,880-6,120 years ago (about 196-204 generations). This mutation is the most common SNP across much of Western Europe.
3880 BC to 3040 BC
Men with the L21 mutation lived about 5,040-5,880 years ago (about 168-196 generations).
L21 is sometimes referred to as the “Atlantic Celtic” SNP. In their book The Scots, A Genetic Journey, Allstair Moffat and James F. Wilson say L21 “could be said to be the most emphatic signal of the Celtic language speakers of the British Isles. It is found in England, Wales, and Scotland, and it is almost certainly characteristic of those farming communities who may have spoken early forms of Celtic languages in the centuries around 2,000 BC.”
3040 BC to 2800 BC
Western Europe|Men with the DF13 mutation lived around 4,800-5,040 years ago (about 160-168 generations).
2800 BC to 2680 BC
Men with the DF21 mutation lived around 4,680-4,800 years ago (about 156-160 generations).
Known descendant branches from DF21 Man include:
– S971 (includes the Three Collas)
– Z30233 (includes Rathlin1 Man, Seven Septs of Laois, Isle of Man, and a NE Irish Scottish Cluster)
– FGC3213 (includes S5456 Galway Bay Cluster, S190 Little Scottish Cluster, and P314)
– S5488, which includes the Ely O Carroll Cluster
2025 BC – 1885 BC
Rathlin1 Man was Z30233+, but S971- and FGC3213-, and a likely predecessor to those men in the Galway Bay and Little Scottish Clusters and the Three Collas. He lived on Rathlin Island during the early Bronze Age
FAMILY TREE DNA – R-DF21 and Subclades Project Admin: Rory Cain
[READ REPORT] Cassidy, Laura M. “Neolithic and Bronze Age Migration to ireland and establishment of the insular Atlantic genome.” PNAS, vol. 113 no.2, dos:10.1073/pnas.1518445113
This one has nothing to do with Rathlin1, but it does have to do with Robert the Bruce and Rathlin Island. [ARTICLE]