Do You Have Viking or Norman Genes In You?
Are you descended from the Vikings either directly or through Norman blood? Well, depending on your surname and where your family live, there is a possibility you may well be…..
Thanks to the initiative of Mayor Jim Allen, a cross‐disciplinary network of academics consisting of geneticists, historians, linguists, bone specialists and archaeologists led by Dr Catherine Swift of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and Dr Turi King of the Department of Genetics, University of Leicester are coming to Wexford to study the origins of the medieval families of the town. Using both modern scientific techniques and the traditional tools of the historian and archaeologists, they hope to identify what percentage of the Irish population are descended from Vikings. They are also hoping to examine the extent to which the Vikings in different parts of the country intermarried with the native Irish. To do this, the group, together with the expert assistance of Dr Conchobhar Ó Crualaoich (Conor Crowley) of the Placenames Branch in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, have identified specific surnames which are found in the medieval records and townland names of Wexford city and county. Volunteers with these surnames will be tested at Westgate Heritage Centre on Saturday 20th October at 8pm
Most people get their surnames from their father and men also inherit specific genetic material (DNA) from their father too. This is the Y chromosome which is responsible for making males. We know that a Y chromosome type can relate to a particular surname and we also know that most surnames are linked to particular regions. By sampling men with specific surnames and with ancestry in the Wexford area, we will be able to identify the particular characteristics of the mixed population of local natives and incoming adventurers who populated Limerick in the past. From the time the Vikings first attacked Beggerin Island in 821, Wexford is known to have attracted adventurers and settlers from throughout the Viking and Norman worlds. One of the aims of this project is to pinpoint the origins of these daring men and women more precisely. As this study is also being replicated in Limerick and Galway, we will also be able to discover new and exciting information on medieval patterns of migration and family movements between the major towns of Ireland.
• What does taking part involve?
Because we are primarily interested in Y chromosomes, we will only collect samples from men. You take a swab of cheek cells, and we prepare DNA from this. Various tests will be done on your Y chromosome DNA, and in some cases other parts of your DNA, to look at patterns of variation. We will only look at normal variation and no targeted tests of any medical relevance will be carried out. This is not a screening programme, but purely a research study. The DNA will not be altered or used for other purposes.
• Will information obtained in the study be confidential?
The information you give us will be strictly confidential. If information we gain about your DNA is ever published in scientific papers, it will be completely anonymous. Information connecting you with the DNA samples made from your donated samples will be kept secure, and available only to the principal investigators.
• Will I be contacted again about the results?
At the end of the study we will return your individual Y-chromosome results to you and provide a detailed description of our findings on our website. You can also obtain this information from us by email (preferred), or post .
For materials on the Viking artefacts and cultures in Ireland which can be used by students at primary and secondary level, see http://www.vikingage.mic.ul.ie. The Wexford surnames currently being investigated are as follows:
Allen, Bardon/Bardin, Barnes, Barron, Bolger, Boggan, Bowe, Blake, Brazil, Breen, Brennan, Browne, Bryan/Brian, Busher, Butler, Canavan, Cleary, Codd, Cogley, Connick, Conway, Cousins, Cullen Darcy, Duggan, Doran, Doyle, Edwards, Fardy, Farrell, Fisher, Fitzharris/Harris, Foley, Fortune, Furlong, Harpur/Harper, Harvey, Hay/Hayes/Hey, Hore, Howlin, John/Johns, Jordan, Kavanagh, Kelly, Kenny, Kennedy, lacy, Lambert, Larkin, Lewis, Loughlin/O’Loughlin, Mernagh, Morris, Murphy, Owens, O’Brien/O’Breen, O’Connor, Petit/Pettit, Pierce, Redmond, Rickard/Rackard, Roche, Roe/Rowe, Ronan, Rositer, Rowe, Scallan, Scurlock, Siggins/Shiggins, Shannon, Shortall, Somers, Stephens, Sutton, Turner, Wadding/Wadden, Waddock/Waddick, Welsh/Walsh, Whelan, Whitty