About 75% of the confirmed or predicted Y-DNA Haplogroups for project members are R1b1a2 and its subclades with R-L193 and R-M222 being the most common. Member results are grouped by terminal SNP where this has been confirmed which has allowed us to group individuals with a recent common ancestor. For example, SNP L193 is believed to have emerged within the last 1200 years or so. Results during the past year from Big Y testing and skilled interpretation by haplogroup projects is providing a steady stream of downstream SNPs which is allowing us to identify clusters of members sharing ever more recent common ancestors.
Not only did the MacLean and MacLaine clans play an important part in the history of Scotland and the rest of the world but they are an ancient clan with recorded chiefly lines back to the 13th (and probably 12th century). This presents us with a great opportunity to review genealogical records and DNA evidence within the same historical context. This has to be one of the project’s long-term aims.
mtDNA ResultsJust as the Y chromosome follows the paternal line, mitochondrial DNA testing follows the maternal line. This hits an immediate problem in surname projects such as ours because a woman’s surname usually changes on marriage and her daughters will normally take their father’s surname and not their mother’s. Accordingly, we would expect to see a much wider variation in DNA origins when looking at mitochondrial results for one particular surname (see mtDNA Results on project pages)
Relevant Research in Other Projects
The MacLean/MacLaine project covers the narrow field of one specific surname but the Scottish DNA project http://www.familytreedna.com/groups/Scottishdna/ has a wider brief covering all individuals with unbroken paternal or maternal Scottish lineage.
Our project accepts anyone with our surname irrespective of their DNA profile but many of the registered FTDNA projects take the opposite view, ie membership is open to those with a similar DNA profile irrespective of surname. One such project whose work is relevant to ours is the R1b-L513 haplogroup project http://www.familytreedna.com/groups/R-L513/ into which many MacLeans etc fall from which very valuable and groundbreaking research is emerging.
Researcher Ann Stansbarger published a paper (July 2012) where she investigated a cluster of similar results within the 11-13 Combo Project, the single largest group comprising 23 MacLean/MacLaines. (Members of this group are R1b and SNP of L21 but are specifically defined by marker values 406S1=11 and 617=13.) The aim of her paper was to calculate the Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) and her conclusions confirmed that the TMRCA of the cluster calculated from DNA mutation rates was consistent with the 12th to 13th century recorded ancestors of the MacLean/MacLaine chiefly line.
Further Planned Research
1 Make use of the new discoveries coming out of Next Generation Testing such as Big Y to allow us to increase the granularity of the subgrouping of our Y-DNA results, bringing them ever closer to the period covered by traditional genealogy.
2 If possible, investigate the chiefly lines of the clans which provide an unbroken male ancestry back to 13th century Scotland.
3 Study surname distributions in Scotland and Ireland to form a basis for linking social history with genealogical research.
Distribution of Surname