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Author Topic: To claim someone has 'Viking ancestors' is no better than astrology  (Read 893 times)
Bren123
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« on: May 21, 2013, 10:14:28 AM »

I would like to know the forums opinion on this article?

From the article:
Quote
For some time it has been possible to compare DNA sections among individuals; and in a broad sense greater genetic similarity means greater relatedness. But you have inherited different sections of your DNA from different ancestors, and as we look back through time the number of ancestors you have almost doubles with each generation (it would double exactly were it not for the fact that we are all somewhat inbred).

This means that you don't have to look very far back before you have more ancestors than sections of DNA, and that means you have ancestors from whom you have inherited no DNA. Added to this, humans have an undeniable fondness for moving and mating – in spite of ethnic, religious or national boundaries – so looking back through time your many ancestors will be spread out over an increasingly wide area. This means we don't have to look back much more than around 3,500 years before somebody lived who is the common ancestor of everybody alive today
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2013/feb/25/viking-ancestors-astrology
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 10:15:05 AM by Bren123 » Logged

LDJ
rms2
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 07:46:25 PM »

It depends on what one means.

Y-dna is special in that it enables one to trace a single line back pretty far and to link oneself to a y haplogroup that has geographic and thus ethnic and historical connections. Yeah, it's only one line. Yeah, that's not much in the grand crowd of one's ancestors.

But for most of us it has meaning because at least it gives us something we can learn about and identify with. After all, it's the line of one's father . . . and his father . . . and his father . . . and his father, and on and on. Tell me that doesn't mean something. If it is meaningless to you, you're a lump.

For me, my y-dna line is extremely important and meaningful. I don't think it included any Vikings, but that's not something I care about.

Now, as far as "Viking ancestors" go, I think it is within reason to connect one's y-dna line up in a general sort of way with the likelihood (not the certainty) that at one point one's y-dna line included some Vikings. I won't bother with the details of how that can be done; I think they are fairly obvious.

The same goes for any kind of famous tribe or group of people.

It is also possible, by networking with one's relatives, to find out what some of the other y-dna and mtDNA lines in your family tree are, beyond one's own y-dna and mtDNA lines. So you are not limited to just two lines, although those are the most biologically definite. For example, I know that one of my 3rd great grandfathers was I1 (I-M253) and that one of my 2nd great grandfathers was E1b1b. I got that info from communicating with relatives who have also done y-dna testing with FTDNA. I hope to get more of that kind of info as time goes on (and if I live long enough).

I've cared about my ancestry as long as I can remember. I was asking my grandmother about it when I was a little boy.
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Webb
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 08:32:31 PM »

Pay close attention to your secondary matches as well.  My 37 marker step 1 through 3 matches become my 67 marker step 4 through 6 matches.  They all have the last name wilder and that gets me back to around 1600 in England.  My 37 marker step 4 matches are Vanderhoof's from the Netherlands.  I lose the Vanderhoof's as matches at 67 markers.  What makes them important is that though they are outside the genealogical time frame, they are still distantly related.  I had a expert figure out the distance and we share a common ancestor around 1060, give or take 500 years.  This means that my ancestor diverged from the Dutch ancestors as early as the Anglo-Saxon invasions, or as recently as 1500.  This timeframe encompasses the Viking invasions as well as the Norman invasions.  Though they are distant relations, they give clues on your ancestors pasts.
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William B. Webb
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Bren123
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 06:51:33 AM »

I think he should be taken seriously because he is certainly no layperson, Mark Thomas is professor of evolutionary genetics at University College Londons!
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rms2
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 07:16:07 PM »

I think he should be taken seriously because he is certainly no layperson, Mark Thomas is professor of evolutionary genetics at University College Londons!

Sure, he should be taken seriously, and, really, he was addressing some excesses in the claims made by a representative of a certain dna testing company in Britain.

But I think Thomas' sweeping indictment of genetic genealogy is unfortunate and just wrong, for the reasons I already cited.
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rms2
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 03:59:57 AM »

What I find kind of ironic are the people who get worked up over a claim of Viking or Roman ancestry but then don't even blink when someone tells them they are a certain percentage "Neanderthal".

Chuckle.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 04:00:15 AM by rms2 » Logged

Peter M
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 07:43:45 AM »

Y-dna is special in that it enables one to trace a single line back pretty far and to link oneself to a y haplogroup that has geographic and thus ethnic and historical connections. Yeah, it's only one line. Yeah, that's not much in the grand crowd of one's ancestors.

But for most of us it has meaning because at least it gives us something we can learn about and identify with. After all, it's the line of one's father . . . and his father . . . and his father . . . and his father, and on and on. Tell me that doesn't mean something. If it is meaningless to you, you're a lump.

.....

Now, as far as "Viking ancestors" go, I think it is within reason to connect one's y-dna line up in a general sort of way with the likelihood (not the certainty) that at one point one's y-dna line included some Vikings. I won't bother with the details of how that can be done; I think they are fairly obvious.
.....


included SOME Vikings ? Don't you agree that for every person living on the British Isles today, or who migrated from there in the past, it would conceptually be possible to say that his paternal ancestry is either (a) Vinking or (b) Anglo-Saxon; or (c) other (e.g., say, Briton) for the reasons you stated yourself ?

Y-DNA only combines with itself, as far as I'm aware.
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rms2
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 08:21:32 PM »

Right. And most probably have some Viking ancestry somewhere in their family tree.

I think the issue is with extravagant claims that this or that y haplogroup or clade automatically guarantees Viking ancestry.

My own y-dna line assumes a place of special prominence in my own thinking, but I accord it that prominence knowing full well it is just a single line of many in my ancestry.
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Bren123
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 09:43:32 AM »

What I find kind of ironic are the people who get worked up over a claim of Viking or Roman ancestry but then don't even blink when someone tells them they are a certain percentage "Neanderthal".

Chuckle.



Completely agree!
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LDJ
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