"We are all Africans"
An interesting development in genealogical research has been the use of DNA analysis. This is a means of examining our genetic heritage to determine where we originally come from, as well as providing incontrovertible proof of particular relationships.
I do not claim to be a genetic biologist (in fact I trained as a mining geologist) nor do I claim any expertise in this area so if I make any mistakes in the following paragraphs I hope that I can be forgiven. I last studied biology when I was doing my A-levels in the late 1980's.
For family history purposes the Y-DNA test, which follows the male line, is more useful than the far more general picture provided by the mitochondrial (mDNA) test, which follows the female line. Having said that, as I am a bit of a family history geek, I had them both done!
I sent off, via Ancestry.co.uk for a Y-DNA testing kit, followed the instructions and duly sent it back. A couple of weeks later I had the results which showed that my paternal (ie: Kingshott - my father's, father's, father etc.) genetic roots were essentially Scandinavian. I am what is now described as Haplogroup I1, a sub-group of Haplogroup I. I also had my DNA tested with website 23andme which gave a more specialised identity for my Y-DNA as Haplogroup I-M253. I also had my DNA tested through Living DNA - though I'm not sure why! - and this also confirmed the Haplogroup identified through Ancestry DNA.
Y-DNA haplogroup I is a European haplogroup that represents nearly one-fifth of the current European population. It is almost non-existent outside of Europe, suggesting that it arose within Europe itself. Estimates of the age of Haplogroup I suggest that it arose prior to the last Ice Age. There are two main subgroups (I1 and I2) that are likely to have divided approximately 28,000 years ago.
Haplogroup I1, what might be termed the Kingshott haplogroup, has its highest frequency in Scandinavia, Iceland, and northwest Europe, especially Denmark. In Britain, haplogroup I1 is often used as a marker for "invaders", be they Viking, Jutes, Angles, Saxons or earlier inhabitants that arrived via the Europe-England land-bridge that was called Doggerland, and which is now under the English Channel/North Sea.
The top map shows the migration patterns of my band of merry neolithic wanderers. The move to southern Europe coincided with the Ice Sheet which covered Scandinavia at the time. This forced "my people" south to what was then the tundra of Southern Europe. These are the chaps that made flint tools that you can often see in museums and formed part of a group known as the Gravettians.
The second map shows the distribution of the I1 haplogroup in Europe, illustrating the most concentrated areas, and therefore the likely origin centres of this group.
The Grevettian people introduced new stone tool technology, as well as novel art forms typified by the distinctive fertility symbols known as "Venus" figurines (see below). My ancestors clearly liked the larger lady, and to be honest, who can blame them! They were also experts in the making of flint tools, especially the distinctive arrowheads known as Gravette Points.
Although there are several theories, the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of "my" haplogroup I1 is said to have lived from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago somewhere in the far northern part of Europe, probably Denmark. His descendants are primarily found among the Germanic populations of northern Europe and the bordering Uralic and Celtic populations, although even in traditionally German demographics I1 is overshadowed by the more prevalent Haplogroup R.
This is certainly very interesting in itself, though I didn’t think it would assist my modern day research. However, I was also contacted by a fellow genealogist with a similar, though differently spelt name, who had also had his DNA tested on the same website. We had been in contact for some time, and believed that we knew where our link was. The question was therefore whther the DNA analysis could assist by providing evidence of our proposed relationship?
Our DNA was a complete match! So we were certainly related, and the analysis also showed that there was over a 95% chance that we were related within 6 generations. This tied in exactly with my research. Of course, when I say that our DNA was a complete match, I actually mean that the portions of DNA that were tested matched in all areas. Obviously we wouldn't have a complete DNA match, otherwise we would be twins and our parents would have a bit of explaining to do!
So genetically, the Kingshotts seem to hail from southern Scandinavia. I am not sure what this tells us, but it is quite interesting nonetheless.
The picture below is how I imagine that my ancestors looked when they arrived in the UK. This is pretty similar to how we all are today. For me, as you will no doubt agree by comparing my photo on the About Me page, it is like looking in a mirror!
I mentioned previously that the Y-DNA test is no longer available from Ancestry. These days, the test that you take is a combined test for Y-DNA and mDNA (the female line, mother's, mother's, mother etc.) into what is now an ethnicity estimate. So what does this show for me?
My complete Ancestry Ethnicity Estimate shows that my DNA is potentially:-
20% Western Europe
12% Great Britain
4% Eastern Europe
3% Iberian Penninsula
Now we need to remember that this is a combination of the DNA inherited from my Kingshott side, and my maternal side. I also got my parents to do the DNA test too, which allows me to check the results on the Ancestry website, to see if I am related to people via my paternal, or maternal, lines. Dad's DNA Ethnicity Estimate is as follows:-
38% Great Britain
18% Western Europe
4% Eastern Europe
On their own, these results are simply interesting. I need more Kingshott's and relatives to take these tests. There are success stories. Through DNA, I have been able to confirm the work that I did on paper on the Kenchatt family of Kent. A DNA match with a Kenchatt family member confirmed that the proposed relationship that I had found was likely to be correct. I want more of these! I particularly want to get someone of the Dutch van Kinschot family tested, to see if we are related.
If you are considering taking a DNA test I would strongly recommend the test offered by Ancestry.com as this will enable us to directly compare results. It is not exactly cheap, but is well worth it from a genealogical point of view. Well I think so anyway!
The migration map above shows us the journey that our ancient ancestors could have taken as they spread out and moved across the globe and allows us to see how we fit in to the human family tree. We start at the blue, in modern-day Ethiopia, and migrate, through the Arabian peninsula into Europe.
The start of the journey is taken from a point in time when it is theorised we all shared the same YDNA and each colour change in the lines represents a change in that YDNA, giving rise to a new Paternal Haplogroup or branch of the Human family tree.
We share an ancient (10s of thousands of years ago) ancestor with everyone who shares our Haplogroup. As our understanding develops the exact routes taken may change and the stopping point may or may not reach your present location. They offer a great indication of your ancestry but should also be understood with this limitation.