Greer/Grier/Grierson

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ANALYSIS OF RESULTS


My intention is to attempt an analysis of all results posted in this project. The major limitations on any analysis are firstly the lack of SNP testing (that is, we don't know for sure the Haplogroup), and secondly the limited level of testing undertaken by many participants. The fact is that few people will achieve their aim of identifying relatives unless they undergo testing at the level of 67 or 111 markers. This is particularly true of the various groups assessed by FTDNA as R1b1a2, many of whom I guess to be R1b1a2a1a1b4, at this time also known as L21. But the absence of the SNP test severely limits my capacity to analyse their result. It should be understood that there are now many known sub-clades to L21, and knowledge of where a person fits among these sub-clades would be of great assistance to their progress.

Group One

Of those tested, a major group is those identified as R1b1a2a1a1b4b, alternatively known as M222, which is the SNP that identifies their Haplogroup. There are, as at March 2015, many known sub-clades of M222. It is believed that an identifying SNP for the Grier(son)/Greer family will be found to exist, and as soon as that happens there will be opportunities for further testing. There are several significant aspects to the various Haplotypes seen in Group One. Firstly, all of these people are, with almost no chance of error, carriers of the M222 SNP, even though not all are tested for it. This is because all carry (so far as the respective tests go) a majority of the particular markers that differentiate M222 from its ancestral L21. These markers are: (DYS)390=25, 385b=13, 392=14, 448=18, 449=30, 464b=16, YCAllb=23, 607=16, 413a=21, 534=16, 481=25, 710=35, 714=24, 549=12, and 513=13. No other Haplogroup carries this combination.

The second aspect is that all clearly descend from one man. This is clear because all carry (the odd mutation excepted) a set of markers that are exceptional within the M222 Haplogroup but are uniform throughout this group. That is to say, the probability that all, or indeed any, of these men (or their ancestors) could independently simultaneously develop this combination of mutations is minuscule, and can be ignored for our purposes. The set of markers that identify the descendants of that man are: (DYS)458=18, 464=15-16-17-17, 576=18 (but see later), 570=18 (see later), 444=13, 533=12, Y-GATA-A10=14, 712=22, and 715=23. The latter four results are limited by the small number of test results, but are uniform in those tested at 111 markers. That man (the founder) is estimated, using conventional as well as DNA genealogy, to have lived about 650 years ago. He is the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) for this group. He is most likely the ancestor of the Griersons of Lag, and all who descend from them. He is thought to have been a close relative to the ancestors of the Milligan/Millikin (however spelt) family who were also resident in the Nith Valley, and from whom the property of Lag was acquired.

The third matter is the distinct difference in M222 between what I identify as the Scots cluster and the Irish cluster, which is sometimes known as the Niall cluster. These Group One results  are not only dissimilar to the Irish cluster, but have certain similarities with other SW Scots families, to the extent that I have identified them as the Nith cluster. However, DYS444=13 is quite rare in M222, and doesn't appear in related families in Scotland, such that in this cluster I regard 444=13 as a Grierson identifier.

A number of participants have now done advanced SNP testing, and there is evidence that newly discovered SNPs FGC4132, FGC4133 and FGC4134 (which are shared with some Milligans) are the beginnings of our understanding of defining SNPs. At least two of us have "private" SNPs below these, but they will not become available for individual testing for some time. As of March 2015, the following is known or deduced: FGC4133 is a parent to FGC4134, which in turn is parent to FGC4125, which exists at position 14638922. This analysis (by Susan Milligan) comes from the discovery that of nine Milligans tested, seven are positive for both FGC4133 and FGC4134, but negative for FGC4125.  One is FGC4133+ but FGC4134- and FGC4125-.  The ninth is FGC4125+.  She thinks that the order of SNPs is FGC4133, followed by FGC4134.  Then we have what now looks like three parallel SNPs below FGC4134: FGC4125, A2303 and a deletion at 24481701 that is the parent of A2424 and A744. Three Griersons are tested as FGC4134+, and two are FGC4125+ and FGC4126+. Susan is now arranging for some Milligans to be tested at FGC4126 to find out where it lies in the scheme of things.

Because the two Griersons tested at the Full Genome level that I think represent the earlier lines (due to having more mutations) carry all of the above mentioned SNPs down to FGC4125/6 (as well as some further "private" ones), I anticipate that all of the Greer/Grierson and related names shown in Group One will also carry them. To the best of my knowledge as at January 2016, FGC4125 together with STR444=13 will identify the member as a descendant of the founder of the Grierson family.

I have broken Group One into sub-groups so as to illustrate the relationships:

 Group 01 A represent the oldest strain among the descendants of the founder, and is also the group that seems to have sustainable but relatively recent Scottish records. As the oldest, it also exhibits, as would be expected, the greatest diversity. The representative of an ancestor for Groups One C and One D may ultimately be found within this group. It is also within this group that a non-DNA genealogical connection to the Lag family is found. Member 333215 (Grear) is possibly a representative of a very early division in the founder's line.

 Group 01 AA has been identified as an early branch from the Grierson/Milligan ancestry, branching at FGC4125, see: http://www.ytree.net/DisplayTree.php?blockID=8
There is a likelihood that this branch occurred after the name Grierson was established.

Group 01 B
is a branch, not in the line of descent, but carries the DYS389i=14 mutation seen among the further groups. However, it is identifiable by the additional pair of mutations 391=10 and 570=19 which do not carry forward. It is likely that Group One B members are recently related.

 Group 01 C has a MRCA within nearer times. They are united by 389i=14 and 576=19, as well as an indication that CDY is stabilising at 37-41. CDY is regarded as unstable, so a group carrying close results cannot be far apart in time. Member 199344 has two significant mutations at DYS 385 and 464, suggesting a branching over 200 years ago. 209737 has a RecLOH at DYS 425; this null return can be researched at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RecLOH, and the member can join another project if he wishes (subject to conditions), see http://www.familytreedna.com/public/null425/. 57611 has had insufficient testing to be sure of the proper location in the chart. This group may represent the branch that migrated from Scotland to Ireland about 400 years ago.

 Group 01 D shows the probability of  perhaps three family descents, with a much nearer MRCA probably among the Group One C cohort. It is united by 389i=14 (indicating a probable descent from Group One C), 576=20, and CDY almost completely stabilised at 37-41. I feel that this group could be the American strand, and would look for the MRCA to be near the time of the migration from Ireland.

October 2016

For those M222 members, whether tested or estimated, who may still have doubts about their ancestral source, I recommend you take the FGC 4134 SNP test option ($39 unless there is a sale on). In all cases except that of member 72557, I am convinced that you will be positive. If that is the case, you are most likely Griersons ancestrally, no matter what name you may carry now. The only valid alternative, which I think is unlikely, is that you have a recent (recent in terms of the split between the Griersons and Milligans) Milligan ancestor. I have requested FT to make FGC 4125 available, as it appears to be in the most recent BigY test.

Group Four

Group Four is the so-called Viking group, because it is believed that in Scotland and Ireland the majority of Haplogroup I1 derives from the Viking incursions to those countries in the period 800-1100AD. That is, by virtue of, perhaps, rape and pillage, some "native" women were taken as wives or concubines by the invaders, children of those unions became part of the local clan, and in the fullness of time their descendants lost the knowledge of that period. They just lived as members of their family/clan, and in due course took the surname that local families also adopted, perhaps hundreds of years later. There are other possibilities, for example, the earlier period in England when a considerable part of the country was ruled by Denmark (Danelaw).

Professor Ken Nordtvedt, an acknowledged expert researcher in the I Haplogroup, has this to say about Group Four:
"They could have come over from Denmark or from one of the post-Roman Germanic populations. Or, of course, they could have come over later with Danes or Norwegians, etc.  Or they could be a form started after being in the British Isles."

In my opinion, the number of mutations is low enough to suggest that these men are related more closely than the earlier invasions would allow. I favour the Viking raids of about 1000 years ago as being the Scandinavian source for this group. However, there are two clear groups here, differentiated by the DYS389i mutation from 12 to 13. Remember that 389 has special qualities, and the change from 12-28 to 13-29 reflects just the one mutation. But that may well have happened after the original incursion, and so a member of Group 04 A might be ancestral to Group 04 B. However, I've shown them separately as they could also represent two different visits from related Vikings.

December 2014

Nobody to date in the Viking Group has decided to test for sub-sections within that Group. All it needs is one or two enthusiasts to begin the search, others will surely follow. One way to help this process, at no cost, is to join the I-M253 research project. This project is known as the I1 project, because that was the generic name of the group before the detail established during the recent two years was available. To join, go to My Projects, then JOIN on your home page at FT, scroll down until you see YDNA Haplogroup Projects, and under I (17) you will find the second one down, I1 Haplogroup. Go to that page and you will find a JOIN button. The advantage of joining is that your list of STRs will be added to other matching people, and (I hope) you will be given advice about what testing should be taken in order to figure out which particular group within the R-M253 cohort you are part of. Recent thinking about the Viking incursions into Britain is that there were three primary groups, Danish, Norwegian, and Anglo-Saxon.

March 2015

In Group 04B, new member 362242 Grierson has come in identical to 173042 Greer despite having different versions of the name, and apparently different countries of origin. I would suggest that they are related within about four generations.

November 2015

Groups 3 to 5 are assumed to be Haplogroup R-I1, and FT has assumed R-M253 (in most cases) to be the common SNP. To progress your search, I suggest you join the I1 yDNA Haplogroup project, where you will be placed in a group derived from your STR values, and where you should be able to get expert advice as to which SNP you should test for.

Group Six

Although very likely L21, this group is relatively remote from any seen in the L21 project. A deep clade test by one member would have significant value in determining ancestry.

Group Seven

The 345404 member of Group 7 was the best candidate we had for being a MacGregor connection, his tested SNP of L1065 being on the same path as the MacGregor descent. However, further testing has put him on a different path, and we see him at Z16329.

Group Eight

We see a very rare combination here with 23 at DYS 290 combined with 9-10 at DYS 459. The only way to advance now is to take a deep clade test. FTDNA has assigned U106 to several members of this Group. If that is found to be the case, they will not be a part of L21, having diverged at an ancestral stage. SNP testing will resolve this matter.

L21
R1b1a2 SNP untested


Unless results for an individual are predicted or proven to be L21+ by FTDNA, a person cannot join the L21 project. But, I believe that to gain any value from YDNA test results, the person should be in the most advanced project dealing with their haplogroup. The bottom line, therefore, is to find out what your haplogroup is, and then (in my opinion) join the L21+ project.

Group Nine

Member 57019 has a very similar haplotype to a tested R1b1a2a1a1b4g member of the L21 Plus project. This haplogroup is that of the L193 SNP, which is downstream of the L513 SNP (both very recently discovered). I would suggest a test for L193 and L513 as a short cut to identifying the member's haplogroup. The L21 Plus member has a 230 year old Northern Irish heritage, identifying Fermanagh as a location. Member N97315 has been provisionally added to Group 9 subject to further testing.

Group Ten

These members have similarities to several members of the L21 project who carry the L513 SNP. 345404 has now SNP tested to L1065+. This newly discovered SNP perhaps indicates a completely different family.

Group Eleven

These members have similarities to several members of the L21 project who carry the L193 SNP.

Group Twelve

I am unable to identify any near relations in L21 and therefore recommend a deep clade test.

J David Grierson