Tag Archives: Y-DNA

Clan Campbell-isms – Early Arms, History & Branches

Gracing the top of the page today are renditions I made of three of the oldest arms from some men of the early history and branches of Clan Campbell.

Top left are the arms of none other than Cailean Mór Cambel himself–Colin, as it’s rendered in English–the man considered the projenitor of the majority of Campbells, including the line that came to be senior, thus the line which gives the clan its chief. In 1280 CE King of Scots Alexander III knighted Cailean, and the next reigning king appointed him chief (Baile) of Loch Awe, the highland area Cailean’s dad or grandad had first established themselves in around 1220. And as every good pupil of Campbell-ania knows, in the First War for Scottish Independence he sided with the Bruce (Robert, Earl of Carrick) in Robert’s ultimately successful push to be King of Scots. And though he died 10 or so years before it all worked out for Robert, Cailean’s son Nial (Neil)  maintained the support his father had spearheaded, and these combined efforts certainly helped secure this branch of the family’s fortunes. Neil was the first to bear the patronymic, “Son of Great Colin”, or Mac Cailean Mór, the title borne down to the present day by the eldest male line descendant, Chief of Clan Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll. It was these original arms of Colin’s that later got “differenced” into the form most Campbells & those who love us recognize, and which is seen as part of the arms that appear above, top right.CRAIGNISH LINE1

These are the arms of one of the Lords of Craignish, and strictly speaking–as it’s seen there–it wasn’t contemporaneous with the other two. More on that later, but the reason it’s up there is because it’s the oldest branch of the clan, or “cadet”. A certain Dougal was the younger son of an early Gillespic; Dougal’s older brother was Duncan, father of the man who gained the nickname which named the family. On this page further below you’ll find a map putting Craignish in context (hint: it’s west of Loch Awe, sort of nestled in the ragged western coast of Argyll).

The middle shield up top holds particular intrigue and unknowns. The man who bore these arms was Sir Arthur Cambel, Captain of Dunstaffnage Castleminic. He was 1st cousin to Sir Colin who bore–at the same time–the arms up top left. The 1st cousin from Colin’s older uncle. Sir Arthur and his line enjoyed the seniority accorded these days to Colin’s male-line descendants, the House of Argyll. Arthur’s line does survive today, though. How the junior line came to be in the position of dominance doesn’t seem to be known too well, or discernble from the extant documents or other evidence. But from what can be gathered from the fantastic, exhaustive and very well-written, witty and enjoyable History of the Clan Campbell, by Alistair Campbell of Airds, it seems like it could have been more situational and emergent than the result of devious acts, or ruthless glory hunting and ambition.


A New Chart of Early Campbells

Immediately below this paragraph is a chart I’ve done of these earliest attested fellows who came to be called Cambels…and later Campbells. (That first link in the last sentence, by the way, goes to a page that has a hi-res image and transcription of the actual first record of a Campbell: father of the above-mentioned Colin, it is Gillascoppe Cambell in 1263). On the chart below I’ve put maps I made in Google Earth for some of the people showing their stomping grounds, and some of these are highlighted separately below the charts. And as always, remember to click the chart and then click it again in the new tab so as to see it large in all its glory.

(If you’d like this one or any of them printed, please contact me for info; you’ll get free shipping on most.)


2. A more typical or traditionally style chart, with boxes around each person.


2a. What the above chart would look like in a fancy old frame, printed on parchment colored paper. (Available, btw, as any of the charts here can be; frame not inlcuded; if you’re interested in getting one the charts, contact me.)


“Out of the mists…”










arms of colin mor cambel, cailean mor, clan campbell loch awe lord


Earliest arms for Loch Awe

Sir Colin’s arms








Early arms for Strachur

Arms of Sir Arthur, whose line became known as “of Strachur”; the senior line, acknowledged as such in ~1290, but whose fortunes …changed.







Early arms for Craignish


And the arms of the Campbell Lords of Craignish, the 1st cadet branch of Clan Campbell to sprout, back in the 1200s.

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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Brothers Pt. 3 – Y-DNA Haplogroup Trees

AFRICA L2R copy 2

Welcome to the third part of this little spree of posts on Y-DNA and the worldwide lines of descent, wherein you’ll find haplogroup trees of the world’s men. Those men have been the agents and embodiments of its (Y-DNA’s) dispersal. Here are links to Part 1 & Part 2.

In this post I’m sharing more detailed charts I’ve made showing these descents, first of which is a slight revision of the first one I posted showing the African “trunk” of what I’m calling the world’s brothers. The main difference is simply that it’s oriented left to right instead of top down; I’ve also added some brief explanatory notes on it. Again, all the charts I post should be clicked on and then opened again at their max size.

YDNA African haplogroup tree, haplogroup A, haplogroup B, haplogroup A00

And next is the branch that came from “CT Little Brother” in the chart above. CT is the working designation of the Y-DNA haplogroup of the men who first left the garden-like cradle of Africa about 72,000 years ago, and from whom 90% of the world’s men descend.

YDNA tree haplogroup CT, haplogroup DE, halpogroup E, haplogroup F

Next we have “The Rest” of us, the Brothers. It’s worth noting that almost all of the migrations demonstrated in these charts were back in the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic period).

YDNA haplogroup tree, haplogroup IJ, haplogroup R, haplogroup O

And last for today is this amazingly elegant & simplified version of the big picture from a great site called The Genetic Atlas:


Thanks for visiting! And as always, if you share any of these Y-DNA haplogroup trees, just link back here or attribute them otherwise.


Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Brothers Pt.2

ydna basx.png

I made this chart to just show the basics of what’s up with Y-DNA to give context for anyone who wants or needs it to yesterday’s post.

And the map below puts it in a geographic context. Always click on images like this map or charts so you can see them larger, more easily and in detail. Cuz it turns out that the degree to which we humans are just such a mix is truly astounding. This migration route maps only begins to hint at that.

More later today! Watch this National Geographic documentary if you haven’t seen it.


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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Of Richard III and the Once and Future Plantagenet Y-DNA


If you’ve clicked here from my Richard III Y-DNA article on Global Family Reunion’s blog, you’re welcome to skip ahead, just a little further down the page to where you see a picture of an artistic model of DNA on the left and a photo of an actual chromosome on the right.

If you’ve arriving from anywhere else: hey there! Thanks for clicking in. The following briefly explains what you’ll find.

This post is serving as a means to share additional details about the amazing discovery of the remains of England’s King Richard III (1452-1485) and the scientific study from the University of Leicester in the UK that announced this item of historical as well as genealogical interest to many around the world. I wrote an article about it which is living happily ever after on the blog of the Global Family Reunion, linked through the previous words.

The Global Family Reunion, if you haven’t yet heard about it, and didn’t just click on the link in the previous paragraph, is an event scheduled in Queens, New York City the 1st week of June this year (2015), aimed at drawing the attention of as many people as possible to the incontrovertible fact that all 7 billion of us human beings are literally related to each other. As such, it’s really the 1st GFRpop-media event intentionally aimed at trying to impart to people exactly what the value-adds of genealogy ted1and family history are. It’s the effort, not of some nutty genealogy freak who’s been in the archives so long and just wants to waggle a finger at people showing off his own status, or pedigree, or anything like that. Nor is it some stuffy historian who wants to “teach the world” something. And that’s probably what makes it potentially actually appealing to lots and lots of people. GFR is the effort of humorous intellectual pop-writer A.J. Jacobs. Click here to read my rundown on how he got this idea. And do click on their site, too, to find out what’s going down at the event (Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of the PBS family tree show “Finding Your Roots” will be a speaker; so will former US President Geo H.W. Bush; and the founder of FamilyTreeDNA…games for the kids…etc.) In addition, if this is your 1st time at this site, Roots2Now, you can browse or search around as there are lots of posts on my own family tree (Ireland, Italy, Campbells, Bilderbacks, new Swedes & older Swedes) as it merges with other people’s and historical convergences etc. Well-tracked & thus widely shared ancestors get more attention than others since they literally do represent the places where our paths connect with those of strangers…and sometimes people much closer!


The Skipping-to PlaceMEEKSLUCKY2

Actual-X-and-Y-chromosomes-side-by-sideSo since the basic rundown is living happily at the GFR blog, I figured I’d use my page to share some of the more detailed aspects and charts that I hope help maintain clarity or bring some where it seems to get muddy.

For all this potential interest to historians and dynastic genealogists the findings on the Y-DNA might be engendering, that part of the skeleton’s genetics was not going to be able to help determine if the skeleton was Richard III or not. Another equally unique and highly y-and-mitospecific bit of the skeleton’s genome got the spotlight in contributing some very solid data by which it can be reasonably concluded thaty-and-mit2 indeed skeleton=Richard III. And that bit–publicized a year ago–was the mT-DNA, or mitochondrial DNA, which, opposite from the Y-DNA, we all get from our mothers, and only mothers pass it to their  kids. Thus, it enables a view to people’s’ female-line ancestry. Like Y-DNA there are around 20-something kinds that anyone’s will fall into.

The goal, as with the Y-DNA, was to find relevant living relatives.

Anne_of_York_and_Sir_Thomas_St._LegerNeville,CecilyIn this case, since Richard III had the mT-DNA of his mother, Cecily Neville (1415-1495), the idea was to follow the line of her daughter’s descendants, ie, of Richard’s big sister, Anne, Duchess of York (1439-1476), though, to be more specific, it would have to be only a line of continuous female to female descent to the present day, and if no such line existed, then they would have to investigate if Cecily had sisters who had daughters, or if her mother had sisters who had daughters, etc. I take the time to mention this because Anne (pictured to the left) in fact died giving birth to her only child who would live, which happened to be a girl. But that girl, Anne St. Leger (1476-1526, & pictured lower left) had lots of kids, including daughters-plural. One of them, Katherine Manners (1511-1550) also had a ton of babies, and yes, more than one girl who grew up to in turn then do more or less or the same.


M IBSENAnd sure enough they traced down the lines and managed to track down two living people descended in the female line from Richard’s big sis Anne. It’s extremely worth pointing out, btw, that these two people–see to the right–are regular people, ie, not royalty, recently-aristrocratically-inclined or even at the “old money” part of the cycle by which most of royalty’s descendants end up not the least “royal”. I’m also descended from Anne of York through her daughter Anne and granddaughter Katherine Manners, but my DNA is totally irrelevant, since I’m descended from one of W DULDIGher sons, not to mention multiple generations of male to female and back descents. But I digress!

Richard III’s mT-DNA and that of the living relatives DID match. The “uber”-grandma was a woman named Katherine de Roet Swynford (1350-1403). The details are culled from the study.


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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Such Stuff as Kings Were Made of…ReDux 2



Yes, the news is finally here* on the Y-DNA of England’s King Richard III.

Last week (Dec 2) the team at the University of Leicester in the UK released its findings and details of the study it undertook on the skeletal remains found there two years ago under a parking lot of a man who’d died in the Middle Ages and had been, allegedly, when he walked the earth none other than Richard III, last king of the Plantagenet dynasty; a man infamous thanks to his portrayal by Shakespeare in the play of the same name. [King, T. E. et al. Identification of the remains of King Richard III. Nat. Commun. 5:5631 doi: 10.1038/ncomms6631 (2014).]

The richly sourced and detailed study concludes with about as much certainty as is possible that they are the remains of England’s King Richard III (1452-1485). His whole genome has been examined, and among other interesting things about that, some doubt has been cast–perhaps–on some of the historical royal succession.

Chart showing the ruling descendants of Edward III and the lines to Richard III and the living DNA donors.


John of Gaunt

Ostensible ancestor of living male-line descendants whose DNA was compared to Richard III’s.



His ostensible son, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset.


Click here TUES DEC 23 to find the scoop on the Global Family Reunion’s blog.


the 4 living guys: R1b-U152

Richard III: G2a-P278

*(Yes, many of us out here were actually waiting with baited breath for this news item that to many must sound like it’s among the most esoteric, most meaningless bits of irrelevant trivia ever. But it’s not. If human life is defined by, or at least given shape by the fact that as pattern-recognizers we make meaning through narratives, personal & cultural, then this news serves to elucidate a key tangle of plot point in the narrative of how the world got to be the way it is just now.)


Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


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In Other Trees…


Time for …

Ye Olde Update on Other Families’ Trees

As I’ve mentioned before and as many of us into FamTracking are wont to do, I spend some of my research time working on the trees of friends and family. Some of these people have gotten the bug themselves, which is awesome. And as if any proof were needed that everyone’s story is interesting, that we are all so much more closely connected than we would regularly think, here are things I’ve uncovered  recently in other people’s family trees.

    1)    (Technically, the first one is old news, but it does properly belong here in this summary.) Having Map-US-Counties-YoungMigrationpreviously discovered (and reported, here) that a friend in Oakland is ~5th cousins with one of my mom’s and our family’s closest friend (in Scottsdale!) through the Warren family of North Carolina, I’ve managed to since find out that the particular Warren line in question is party a truly Hot plantagenet-coat-of-armsTopic in genealogy circles. Namely the historically correct inherited bloodline of the Plantagenet kings of England. Details in a previous posts, here and here.


   2)    A friend here in Oakland (whose line I previously reported progress on, here) who is from the Southwest.

His paternal grandfather’s family was from suburban Philly, Irish having arrived in the early famine period (1830s). It was somewhat interesting to find that his mother’s paternal line, also Irish, also arriving in the US in PHILLYMAP1the early famine period, had settled and remained about 50 miles away in suburban Wilmington, Delaware. What was interesting about that is that his mom and dad didn’t meet back East, but in Texas.


But what was much more wildly interesting was this. My buddy has a child with a woman also from the Southwest whose line I’ve also begun work on. Her mother’s M-P CHESTER MAPfrom Mexican stock. But her dad is the grandson of an Eastern European immigrant, early 20th century. And itturns out her grandpa and my friend’s grampa grew up and lived about half a mile from each other in suburban Philly.


2a)    Meanwhile, another line of my friend’s was living on the northern reaches of Manhattan in the 1940s, about half a mile from the mother and grandmother of yet another friend (also here in Oakland), whose mother was carried as a youngster from Puerto Rico and happened to be aboard the boat pictured here that broadcast the first radio signal from a ship. Being friends exclusively here in Cali, it came as a bit of a surprise to them both.



    3)    I saved the best for last. This one’s incredible to me. In a way I believe it certainly is at least somewhat of a Holy Grail in genealogy circles. I’ve previously reported on a friend whose paternal line was part of the French aristocracy, and whose ancestor as governor of Canada/Quebec in the 1600s unintentionally started a war that led to the capture by Indians (allied with the French) of one of my ancestors leading to a statue being erected to her that was the 1st statue to the deeds of a woman in America.

This new discovery’s on his mom’s side. She was born in the late 40s/early 50s in the St. Louis, Missouri area, adopted at birth by a lovely couple originally from Texas. Nothing’s known about her birth parents yet, so I’ve been working on the trees of the parents that mattered most in this case, the ones whom she knew and who did MEEKSLUCKY2the work of raising her. (Since we all now know that who and what we are as much the result of environment as it is the luck of the gene draw, then it almost goes without saying that adoptive parents’ stories, ie, their family trees [ie, the collection of causes that led to them] are as important for a full family history as the genetic parents.)

Thus I’ve begun working and made incredible headway on their tree. You also should understand, these people EXIF_JPEG_T422were understood in every meaningful way to be her parents. These were people my friend knew and felt and understood to be his grandparents. These are people who I knew from the time I was 6 years old, people I even called by their grandparental nicknames of endearment. I spent 20+ xmases with these folks. In other words, if it’s not bleedingly clear, these people were family.k3 001_2

And so I come to find out, tracing the tree back through the tangles of the Antebellum South that, lo and behold…D073866001

…the guy was 5th cousins with author Alex Haley!

For me it was a true and heavy WOW moment. One of the heaviest. Amazing to me. I immediately sent a text message to my friend’s mom (who’s practically a second mom to me) and she was of course utterly delighted.

Details on this line to come in next post. (And also righteous is the fact that I’m employed by someone who once worked with the eminent Mr. Haley! 🙂

PS: Detractors of Haley and his accomplishments in the novel Roots can go to hell; I’m working on a point by point rebuttal to the all-too-oft-wielded criticisms leveled against him and his work.

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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Into the Warren…

I’m posting two trees, here, as follow-up to my last post (about the recently discovered body of Richard III, last Plantagenet king of England and the search for his male-line, or Y-chromosome DNA).

One is the line as I’ve researched it from Geoffrey Plantagenet through the well-known Warrens of Poynton to the Warrens of Ripple and Dover, Kent then to the immigrant ancestor of my family friends, Thomas Warren, Sr., who settled in Surry County, Virginia in the 1640s. Click on it to see it much larger and in detail.

The second tree (below the lengthy one) is the chart showing these same friends’ relatives, focusing on their male cousins, who I hope to contact and encourage to get their DNA tested to compare to the Warrens at large AND to the Plantagenet Y-DNA, once it’s announced to the world.


geoffrey1113 - 1151

1113 – 1151


Up here at the tippy top is good ole Geoffrey the Fifth, Count of Anjou, father to King Henry II of England and to Hamelin, Count of Anjou, whose son inherited the title “Earl of Warenne” from the woman he married….



Isabel de Warenne1137 - 1203

Isabel de Warenne
1137 – 1203


…the extremely wealthy and land-rich Isabel de Warenne. —->


Among genealogical and history of royalty circles online, there’s a bit of an argument over which American Warrens are descended from the Plantagenet Warrens. Aside from simply verifying or refuting lines of descent for people, knowing the answer will help sort out some tangled threads of information regarding the early colonial settlement of America, as well as the manner in which members of the ever-less-landed gentry dealt with their decreasing holdings in the 15th & 16th centuries. And this answer will come in the form of what ever Y-DNA haplogroup Richard III (and by extension, the Plantagenets) turns out to be, and how that matches up or doesn’t with various pods of contemporary Warrens.

So in terms of my friends, well I’m also descended from Geoffrey Plantagenet. Several dozen times over. But I’m not descended from him in the male line, so my Y-DNA is irrelevant to this. Thus the big big question — and I invite other researchers to please chime in on this — is the the veracity of the connection between the Warrens of Poynton, specifically Sir Lawrence Warren (see the two boxes to the left that are oulined in red) who lived and died in Poynton, England, and is known to be a descendant of the Warren men who were the Earls of Surrey, and the William Warren who died in Dover in about 1506. Sir Lawrence is england-mapsknown to have had a son named William. But was it the same William who shows up in Dover, progenitor of a line of Warren men that were mayors there for a few generations in a row? It’s been noted that their sort of arriving on the scene and getting to be mayor (as well as chief of customs) certainly has the ring of people who have big deal connections (such as any kids of Sir Lawrence or other Warrens of Poynton would have).

A smaller question that also requires verification is the connection later between John and William Warren, (William who appears to have been the father of the immigrant Thomas: see orange-oulined boxes in the long chart to the left).


Aaaaand, finally, here are the uncles and cousins…


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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Uncategorized


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