Tuesday, 28 December 2010

THE PARADOX OF MEDIEVAL SCOTLAND 1093-1286 - Social Relationships and Identities before the Wars of Independence

A major new data-base has been launched for those interested in medieval Scottish history. It is freely available at http://www.poms.ac.uk/ although this morning when I attempted a search it still seemed to be on holiday! Hopefully this IT issue will be resolved soon.

The team from Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and King's College London have drawn information from over 6000 contemporary charters to provide a unique data-base of biographical information about all known people in Scotland between 1093 and 1286.

The period between 1093 and 1286 laid the foundations for modern Scotland. At its start, the king of Scots ruled no more than a small east coast realm between Lothian and Moray. At its end, his authority extended over the whole area of modern Scotland apart from the Northern Isles. During the same period, Scotland's society and culture was transformed by the king implanting a new nobility of Anglo-Norman origin and establishing English influenced structures of law and government. Rees Davies observed of Scotland that 'paradoxically, the most extensively English-settled and Anglicised part of the British Isles was the country which retained its political independence' (The First English Empire, 170).
The paradox could go deeper. Is it a coincidence that it was only in the thirteenth century, when Anglicisation became dominant in the lowlands, that the kingdom of the Scots ceased to be regarded by its inhabitants as a realm of many regions and began to be thought of as a single country and people? In one sense the kingdom was becoming more self-consciously Scottish; and yet its history in this period is typically seen in terms of native distinctiveness being eroded by the influx of English immigration, social institutions and culture. But, should this be seen primarily in British terms? How does this transformation relate to wider patterns of social and cultural homogenisation that have been identified in this period, embracing French-speaking elites, Flemish as well as English traders, and the religious life and institutions of Latin Christendom?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Mid Argyll Kinship Group

Barry R McCain, admin of the Ulster Heritage DNA Project has been in touch to highlight his research into a group of families who share the same paternal line of descent from Argyllshire. The families originate in the parishes of Kilmartin and Kilmichael Glassary, the area from Loch Awe south to Dunadd near Lochgilphead.

View north from Dunadd
Barry has been using both DNA results and primary sources such as the family papers of the Campbell’s of Argyll to unravel the origins of these native Argyllshire families.

The main surnames in the group are Mac Eanruig (Henry), Mac an Leagha (MacLea), Mac Ailpín (Mac Alpin), Mac Donnchadh (Duncan), Mac Eáin (McKean), and Mac Dónaill(MacDonald). These surnames are not 'clan' surnames, but rather simple Gaelic patronymic surnames taken circa mid 1400s and the 1500s. Research suggests that they are all from the Mac Lochlainn (MacLachlan) of Dunadd line.

According to Barry, the Mid Argyll Kinship Group's paternal DNA results show no genetic links to a paternal line in Northern Ireland or any northern Irish Gaelic family that migrated there circa 400 AD to 1200 AD, nor to the celebrated Niall of the Nine Hostages haplogroup. On the contrary, the base paternal DNA of the group shows them to be indigenous to Argyll and no links outside of the locality have yet appeared. The McCains (McKeans) in this group can be found in group one at the McCain DNA Project. It includes Barry's family and those of the family of Senator John McCain.

Recently Barry has been researching the Argyll Redshank settlement in east Donegal circa 1570s to late 1590s finding key corroborative primary evidence in the Calendar of State Papers for Ireland.

Barry is being interviewed by Dr William Roulston on the BBC Radio Ulster programme Kist o’ Wurds to be broadcast on Sunday 7 November at 4pm. You can listen online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vlqvk and if you miss the show, listen again on BBC iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007d4s0/episodes/upcoming

You can read more and keep updated on developments with the Mid Argyll Kinship Group at Barry’s blog and at the Ulster Heritage Magazine.

For further information on the ancient history of this part of Argyll visit the Kilmartin House Museum

Monday, 25 October 2010

Welcome to the Scottish DNA Project Blog

In our first posting we would like to briefly highlight some recent administrative changes, explain the aim of this blog and look to the future.

The project was started by John Hansen in October 2001 as the Scottish Clans and has grown steadily as family historians have utilized genetic genealogy as a tool to advance their research.  In the spring of 2010 John handed over administration of the project to the genealogical studies team at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Also stepping back after many years committed service to the project is Martha Smith who regularly updated results in the master database. The current project team would like to express sincere thanks to both John and Martha for all their hard work over many years.  Lauren Boyd continues as admin of the RootsWeb Scot-DNA mailing list and Charlotte Broun as overseer of the My Family Scottish DNA community website. For further details of these community resources see http://www.scottishdna.net/community.html

You will probably have noticed that the name of the project has been changed from the Scottish Clans to the Scottish DNA Project. The new name was thought more appropriate and better reflects the revised project goals especially as many lineages with Scottish origins have never belonged or been known to belong to any traditional family grouping or clan.

This blog is primarily a platform to keep participants and individuals informed of project news and general developments in the field of genetic genealogy with particular emphasis on Scottish DNA Studies. As a national project we recognise the very important and pioneering work undertaken by many independently run projects whether they be clan, family, surname or haplogroup.  We aim to support, promote and encourage the best possible participation of these projects.

If you are the administrator of a Scottish orientated DNA project and would like the opportunity to have it highlighted in this blog to recruit members, please drop us an email at scottishdna@strath.ac.uk

We have a number of ideas for the Scottish DNA Project in the months ahead so do please sign up to follow the blog and keep informed.  We appreciate constructive feedback from interested parties.