J-BY38004 Pre-Roman Migration to Scotland

This file has been provided by the British Library from its digital collections.Catalogue entry: Add MS 28330- Online viewer (Info), CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31451383

There are two lineages of J-M241>Z1043 descending from a man who lived 600 BC (YFull estimate) with mutation BY38004 that are now found living in Scotland and elsewhere in the British Isles.

One of these men went on to sire S18238 around 13 generations ago, estimated from GD 5/67. This could be anywhere from 300-700 years ago.

Many S18328 are living in Scotland and one is from East Lothia. His surname became established in Lanarkshire, Scotland in the 13th Century but may have originated in Northumberland or Leicester. In the Iron Age East Lothia was home to the earliest known capital of the Votadini, described as a Brythonic Celtic culture (meaning coming from Britain as opposed to Ireland).

Another S18328 traces to an ancestor born in County Down, Ireland in 1790. His surname is of medieval Scottish origin and derived from northern Old English for "roe deer". His closest matches with the same surname are from Scotland and his most recent common ancestor with the East Lothian lived approximately 9 generations ago, calculated from GD 3/67. This could be from 200-400 years ago.

So the simplest explanation is that S18328 is of Scottish origin and the presence of one descendant in Ireland by 1790 could have been the result of the Plantations of Ireland.

All living BY38004(xS18328) of the British Isles may descend from one man who lived about 31 generations ago, computed from GD 13/67. This could be about 800-1200 years ago.

Most of this group have not provided me their genealogical origins to the Old World. They are organized into two sublineages.

The first group is comprised of three men whose ancestor lived about 19 generations ago, computed from GD 7/67. This could be 400-800 years ago. One is from England and has a surname that is an anglicization of the Gaelic word for "dark". Another has a surname found frequently in Ayrshire that is an anglicization of Scottish Gaelic for "son of the harpist or fiddler". A third has an Old English surname pertaining to bridges.

The second group is comprised of men whose ancestor lived 23 generations ago, computed from GD 9/67. This could have been 600-1000 years ago. One of the men coincidentally has the same surname as the East Lothian. The other has an occupational name that cannot easily be traced.

So it seems that S18328 and the British BY38004(xS18328) both appear to originate in Scotland or England.

So far the only other BY38004 is a man tracing his origin to Omoljica, Serbia with a surname indicating Swiss origin.

By Malus36 - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Malus36&action=edit&redlink=1

By far the simplest explanation for the presence of two child lineages in the British Isles is that BY38004 himself migrated there during his lifetime around 600 BC and sired the two lineages which later diversified.

It is known from archaeology that there were extensive trade links across the English Channel during the Iron Age, which facilitated the diffusion of Hallstatt and La Tene culture. Perhaps BY38004 represents a vector of this migration.

Another possibility is that two child lineages of the BY38004 man migrated to Scotland together at the same time as allies.

While it cannot be ruled out that both lineages independently migrated to Scotland sometime after 600 BC, this is not the simplest explanation. To me we would be going out on a limb to assume that hundreds of years after being descended from an ancestor on the continent, the two lineages happen to both independently move to Scotland and are not found anywhere else.

These posts are the opinion of Hunter Provyn, a haplogroup researcher in J-M241 and J-M102.

6 thoughts on “J-BY38004 Pre-Roman Migration to Scotland”

  1. Just curious about the markings on the skin. Is there a historical reference for these tattoo-like markings or is this merely artistic license?

    1. Hi Jan,

      It’s just an image I found on Wikipedia that I thought looked nice. I don’t know about its historicity. Though people have been tattooing at least since Oetzi the Iceman.

  2. The gr granddaughter of the Serbian took a DNA test and she shows 2% Irish Scottish and 1% English. Don’t know where that comes from. Might these low %’s prove somehow a connection to rest of the BY38004?

    1. Hi Mark,
      Most likely not, since the estimated common ancestor of BY38004 lived 600 BC. If this Irish/Scottish DNA is actually indicative of the male line origin being in Scotland, then there must have been a migration from Scotland to Serbia in the last 100-200 years for it to show up as 2-3% in a living descendant. So it’s still possible but would have had to have been a very recent migration – perhaps one that could be found or even ruled out with thorough genealogical evidence.

  3. I was googling J-BY38004 as I am assisting the Serb ‘exception’ noted herein; and found this post; very interesting. I can say we have not had much luck with tracing his paternal geneology further than his gr grandfather with the ‘Swiss’ surname. On FAMILYTREEDNA in the MYORIGINS tab he is showing as 12% Irish which, of course, does not align at all with the the family anecdotes of being Donauschwaben in Serbia for 200 years. Granted the supporting geneology aligns with 4th cousin dna Donauschwaben matches, but amount of Irish is quite puzzling. Is the Swiss gr grandfather really of Irish descent? Maybe one day it will be revealed; just have to keep investigating. Thanks for the article.

    1. Hi Mark,

      You are welcome. I wrote that post 2.5 years ago when I thought J-Z631 may have originated north of the Alps in the Iron Age. Now there have been some ancient samples found in Italy and the Balkans and I think the deeper origin is western Balkans or further upstream the Danube to Austria.

      Now we know that the there are also this Donauschwaben descent man from Serbia and a Danish man who are positive for Iron Age J-BY38004. The two exclusively British Isles lineages of J-BY38004 are each much younger, with J-S18238 being older of the two, and I assume it’s TMRCA may be around the time of Rome. Though unfortunately the men who are J-BY194349 didn’t do YFull analysis so we don’t have a TMRCA available for public viewing that will be updated every month.

      Unless you test a lot of this man’s other relatives, you won’t know from which ancestors he derived his 12% Irish from. Also keep in mind that autosomal ethnic estimates aren’t always exactly right (there is some fuzziness involved) and I think AncestryDNA and 23andMe are probably much more accurate than FTDNA in this regard.

      So now, I and I think the other researchers in J2b-L283 would rather view Mark’s geography as less of an exception to the other men because his lineage may have a deeper history living in the western Balkans or further upstream along the Danube. The British Isles is rather the geographic outlier. While we have a lot of men in various branches living in the British Isles today, we have no evidence for a pre-Roman presence there for any J2b-L283 line. That doesn’t mean no J2b-L283 ever made it to the British Isles before the Romans, just that we don’t yet have circumstantial evidence showing that they did.

      We do know from history and from Y-DNA connections in other lineages (ours and others) that the Romans did cause a large number of male lineages to migrate to the British Isles.


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