Keig / Skaggs / Oates / Cain(e)/ Cormode / Cretney / Curphey

Possible descendants of Manx Viking King, Godred Crovan
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About us

The purpose of this DNA project is to research the origins of six Manx families of Norwegian Viking descent that originated in the Isle of Man, namely the, Keig, Skaggs, Cain(e), Cormode, Curphey & Cretney families. The project was originally established to research the Keig family. The surname Keig is of Manx origin which means it comes from the Isle of Man, a small country in the middle of the Irish Sea. Through Y chromosome testing & genealogical research, I've determined there are two distinct Keig families originating in the Isle of Man. I refer to the two families as 'Keigs of the North' & 'Keigs of the South'. The Keigs of the North are of Scandinavian origin & through genetic testing, it has been determined that the haplogroup is R-M198 and the terminal SNP is R-BY30722. The Keigs of the North also genetically match a family known as Skaggs. Through genetic testing, it has been confirmed these two families are related to each other and share a common male ancestor in the 1300s. I have determined the surname of these two families was one Skeig. The Skaggs ancestor left the Isle of Man when the surname was still Skeig, they must have left before 1418 as the name had lost the S by then in the Isle of Man. The surname then changed from Skeig to Skegg to Skagg to Skaggs or something along those lines. For the Skeigs who remained in the Isle of Man, they lost the S prefix and the name became Keig. The surname Skeig comes from a farm called Ballaskeig in the parish of Maughold in the north of the island. The first Skeig took his name most likely after the name of the farm he owned & live on. The Skeig family shares a common ancestor with the Oates family, a little further back in time. Oates is a Manx surname & the meaning is unclear. Interestingly the Oates name only appeared in the Manx records in the 1580s. This is peculiar as most Manx names are found in either records from the early 1400s or at the latest early 1500s. Using advanced genetic testing I have ruled out the possibility of the Oates being a cadet branch of the Keigs. There are two possibilities for the Oates not appearing till 1580: 1) The Oates didn't own any land till 1580 to be included in the records which seems unlikely but not improbable considering there are circa 135 Manx names; 2) The Oates left the Isle of Man for Ireland before returning to the Isle of Man in the late 1500s. The terminal SNP of the Oates family is 1 step up from that of the Skeig family and is R-BY30721. The Skeigs & Oates share a common male ancestor with the Caines a little further back in time. All three families share a very rare STR value that only occurs at a rate of 0.317% within our haplogroup. The Caine family can be traced back mainly to the parishes of Ballaugh & Michael. I believe that the Caines may have received their name from the farm/treen of Ballacaine in Ballaugh parish, similar to how the Keig & Skaggs ultimately received their name from Ballaskeig in Maughold. I refer to the Keig, Skaggs, Oates & Caines as the group name of M1. The second group of Manx families that share a common male ancestor with M1 are the Cormodes, Curpheys & Cretneys who I refer to as M2. This was determined based on an analysis of a Big Y test of the closest matching person outside of the Isle of Man to M1. This tester has the surname of MacNaughton and is of Scottish origin. Mr MacNaughton shares a common clade with M1 called R-BY30271. When I compared the DNA of M2 to Mr MacNaughton it became apparent that M2 is genetically closer to M1 than Mr MacNaughton is. When we combine this with both groups having Manx surnames it becomes more likely than not the common ancestor for all six families was within the Isle of Man rather than outside. This is significant as out of the 135 Manx families about 30 are of direct Viking descent based on DNA. For 6 out of 30 families to come from a single man is very significant. When we look at other populations where there is a larger than average number of people descending from one man it usually indicates the common male ancestor is someone very powerful, typically a ruler or a King. Based on 20% of the Manx families of Viking descent coming from a single man I believe there is a strong possibility that the Keigs, Skaggs, Caines, Cormodes, Cretneys & Curpheys all descend from the Manx Kings. When we look at the historical record we can see that Godred Crovan took control of the Isle of Man in 1079 when he became King, his great-great grandson was the last Manx King, dying in 1265. Godred's youngest son, Olaf, was King for 39 years & as the Chronicles of Mann tell us "he had many wives & concubines'. It's clear how the Manx Kings after such as long period of control could have so many families that descend from them. I'm looking for more men from these families to join the DNA project so we can reconstruct the genetic profiles of the different ancestors of the groups. This will allow us to more accurately date the time to most recent common ancestor but will also be useful should I be successfully in establishing a project with Manx National Heritage, to test the remains of the Manx Kings. Last but not least, the Keigs of the South are of Celtic origin, specifically, the line of Ui Neill & have the DNA haplogroup R-M269. These Keigs appear to go back to the parish of Arbory, specifically the treen of Colby but more research & DNA is required at this stage.