Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Exploring Rollo's Roots: DNA Leads the Way


   It’s been nearly a year since I wrote about William the Conqueror’s DNA.  Based on a study of men with surnames historically associated with William and their corresponding Y-DNA, I concluded that I identified the genetic signature of the first Norman King of England.  Now it’s time to get back to William and more specifically his 3rd great grandfather, Rollo.  To be honest, the 37 marker Y-DNA haplotype that I published is really connected to Richard the Fearless, William’s great grandfather.  Genealogically, the surnames in the study trace back to Richard.  As long as there was no hanky-panky, William the Conqueror has the same Y-DNA as Richard.  What that also means is that Richard has the same Y-DNA as his grandfather, Rollo.

   Based on the work done in my previous paper, the following haplotype is that of William the Conqueror (and Richard the Fearless)-


DYS393
DYS390
DYS19
DYS391
DYS385a
DYS385b
DYS426
DYS388
DYS439
DYS389i
DYS392
DYS389ii
13
24
14
11
11
14
12
12
12
13
13
29

DYS458
DYS459a
DYS459b
DYS455
DYS454
DYS447
DYS437
DYS448
DYS449
DYS464a
DYS464b
DYS464c
DYS464d
17
9
10
11
11
25
15
19
29
15
15
17
17

DYS460
Y-GATA-H4
YCAIIa
YCAIIb
DYS456
DYS607
DYS576
DYS570
CDYa
CDYb
DYS442
DYS438
11
11
19
23
15
15
17
17
36
37
12
12


   There is an assumption, inherent in genetic genealogy, that there weren’t any non-paternal events between the generations that separate Rollo and William and that this haplotype is that of Rollo as well.  One of the goals for this Rollo study is to get more accurate with his haplotype by narrowing the dataset to only those records with 67 markers.  The second goal is to determine Rollo’s haplogroup R SNP.  The best I was able to determine for William was R-P312, which is a fairly high level SNP.  My third goal is to determine Rollo’s origin using my TribeMapper analysis.  Whether Rollo is Danish or Norwegian has been disputed for hundreds of years.

   I picked up where I left off with William.  There were 152 Y-DNA records that made it into the William the Conqueror Modal Haplotype (WCMH).  For each of these records a 67 marker test result and SNP testing result were added to the analysis, where the data was available.  I threw out any record that didn’t have enough data and retained the ones that grouped into a single SNP of R-DF13 (just downstream of R-L21).  Based on these final 25 records, I have identified the 67 marker Rollo Norman Modal Haplotype (RNMH) as follows:

DYS393
DYS390
DYS19
DYS391
DYS385a
DYS385b
DYS426
DYS388
DYS439
DYS389i
DYS392
DYS389ii
13
24
14
11
11
14
12
12
12
13
13
29

DYS458
DYS459a
DYS459b
DYS455
DYS454
DYS447
DYS437
DYS448
DYS449
DYS464a
DYS464b
DYS464c
DYS464d
17
9
10
11
11
25
15
19
29
15
15
17
17

DYS460
Y-GATA-H4
YCAIIa
YCAIIb
DYS456
DYS607
DYS576
DYS570
CDYa
CDYb
DYS442
DYS438
11
11
19
23
15
15
17
17
36
37
12
12

DYS531
DYS578
DYF395S1a
DYF395S1b
DYS590
DYS537
DYS641
DYS472
DYF406S1
DYS511
DYS425
DYS413a
DYS413b
11
9
15
16
8
10
10
8
10
10
12
23
23

DYS557
DYS594
DYS436
DYS490
DYS534
DYS450
DYS444
DYS481
DYS520
DYS446
DYS617
DYS568
16
10
12
12
16
8
12
22
20
13
12
11

DYS487
DYS572
DYS640
DYS492
DYS565
13
11
11
12
12

Based on this modal haplotype and the associated SNP, a broader collection of genetic cousin records were identified to be used with my new TribeMapper analysis (Biogeographical Multilateration).




   This map shows the geographic distribution of Rollo’s cousins.  The large number of points along the coast of Normandy is a good sign.  If the majority of points were in Eastern Europe, I would have to revisit my whole hypothesis about William the Conqueror.  It is best not to try to interpret any relationships until we look at them through the lens of a phylogenetic tree.



   The TribeMapper analysis takes into consideration the mapped location, the tree node connections and the time between common ancestors.  The time is converted to distance based on the demic diffusion migration rate.  The distance is plotted to ‘triangulate’ the geographic location of each common ancestor.  This is a process called multilateration.

   The earliest documented origins for Rollo come from Dudo of Saint-Quentin in 1015 and William of Jumièges in 1060.  Both ‘histories’ were commissioned by the House of Normandy and attribute a Danish origin to Rollo.  Commissioned biographies can border on mythology.   The Norwegian Orkneyinga Saga, from the 13th century, gives Rollo a Norwegian origin. 

   I’ve run the analysis with Rollo’s record as an unknown location.  TribeMapper allows us to back into the location for any unknown point.  What we get is a highly constrained location for Rollo’s ancestor, in the middle of Denmark.  The data then shows that Rollo may have lived within 226 km of that paternal ancestor.  The red circle illustrates the range for Rollo.  This covers the majority of Denmark.  The data also shows that Rollo’s ancestors, going back at least 12 generations were also in Denmark.



   We can give the Norwegians some credit also.  The ancestors of Rollo’s ancestors were Nowegian, with an origin on the west coast of Norway.  Rollo’s ancestors were responsible for multiple branches of migration into Europe.  This includes a back migration into Norway that then went on to invade Scotland.



   This was accomplished with small sample of 65 records for simplification.  Much larger data sets could determine the genetic flow in a greater geographic and chronologic view.  Additional records within the same SNP grouping could result in a more accurate origin for Rollo.  Records that are genetically upstream from the SNP and STR group used, may identify the nomadic migrations prior to the Western Norway settlement.


   I’ve run this simulation multiple times, getting the same results.  I’m comfortable calling Rollo – “The Dane”.

Reference:

Maglio, MR (2014) Biogeographical Origins and Y-chromosome Signature for the House of Normandy  (Link)

24 comments:

  1. There are lots of "Rolo" and previously "Rollo" in central western part of Portugal. Would these surnames be also related to the persons on your study?

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    Replies
    1. Hi,

      This study is specifically about Rollo 'the Dane', first Duke of Normandy and 3rd great grandfather of William the Conqueror.

      Thanks

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    2. Hello Mr Maglio;
      I would like to present to you my well documented family tree:
      ME... :-)
      my mom: D.E. Whateley,
      her dad: S.T. Whateley,
      his mom: J. Sanders,
      her mom: M. Smith,
      her mom: L. Harding,
      her dad: Thomas B. Harding V,
      his dad: Thomas Harding IV,
      his dad: Thomas Harding III,
      his mom: Mary Hayward,
      her dad: Edward Hayward II,
      his dad: Edward Hayward I,
      his dad: John William Hayward
      his mom: Margery Thayer,
      her dad: John Thayer III,
      his mom: Constance de Holbrook,
      her mom: Edith E. Saunders,
      her dad: John Saunders III,
      his mom: Joan Carew,
      her dad: Thomas II Carew,
      his dad: Nicholas Carew V,
      his mom: Isabel Willoughby,
      her mom: Joan de Grey,
      her dad: John de Grey II,
      his dad: John de Grey I,
      his mom: Joan de Valognes,
      her dad: Thomas de Valognes,
      his mom: Isabel de Creke,
      her mom: Agnes de Glanville,
      her mom: Gundred de Warenne,
      her mom: Adelia de Ponthieu,
      her mom: Helene de Bourgogne,
      her mom: Sibylla de Bourgogne,
      her dad: William de Bourgogne I,
      his mom: Alice de Normandy,
      her dad: Richard de Normandy II,
      his dad: Richard de Normandy I,
      his dad: William de Normandy I,
      his dad: ROLLO RAGNVALDSSON,
      his dad: ROGNVALD EYSTEINSSON,
      his mom: A. ROGNVALDSDATTER,
      her mom: Thora SIGURDSDATTER,
      her dad: SIGURD RAGNARRSON
      ("snake in the eye" ;
      his mom was Aslaug)

      his dad:

      RAGNAR LODBROK SIGURDSSON
      (750-845)

      his dad: Sigurd H. Randvarsson
      his dad: Randvar Rathbarthsson


      A side note: Ragnars mom was:
      Alfhild Gandolfsdottir

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    3. Your family tree interestingly indicates a Norwegian origin of Rollo as Walking Rolf Ragnvaldsson. His father, also found in your family tree, Ragnvald Eysteinson was earl of Møre in Norway (where I live). His grand father was called Eystein Glumra Ivarsson. We have very little historical valid information of Eystein or his forfathers. However I believe that it is not likely that he was married to the daughter of a danish Princess. Rollo, like any good viking with aspirations, would probably lie trough his teets about his origin. The dates does not add up:
      Rollo (and Walking Rolf Ragnvaldsson) was born in year 860. We know that King Ælla of Northumbia was killed by Sigurd Ragnarsson and his brothers in 867 as a revenge for the killing of his father Ragnar Lodbrok. This would mean that Rollo was born when his great, great, great grand father was still alive, which of course is impossible.
      However, if Rollo is actually identical to Walking Rolf Ragnvaldsson, you could add the whole family dynasty after Eystein Ivarson to your family tree. This includes the first Norwegian queen, Svanhild Eysteinson. His descendents ruled Scotland and northern parts of Ireland with base in the Orkeny Islands for centuries. This also includes most of the clans in Scottland.
      /Øyvind Eliassen

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  2. Hi Michael
    I find this all really interesting. My family originates in Fife Scotland very close to the clan lands in Perthshire.and I was alw\ays lead to believe that this branch of the family were decendants from William and his anscestors. Looks like i should be flying a Danish flag rather than a Norweigan Flag for my anscestors.

    Eric Rollo

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  3. Hi Michael,

    This is fascinating. When I saw the STRs, I was intrigued because the first 12 are a perfect match for my branch of Norwoods. We have not been able to connect to anyone apart from proven descendants of our earliest American ancestor, so any clues as to where he might have come from are welcome. By 25 markers, the distance is 3 ; by 37 markers, 8; and in the final markers to 67, there are three more differences for a total of 11. Not descendants of Rollo, but not too distantly related either in DNA terms. Our ancestry is labeled Orcadian by FTDNA, which fits with a North Sea origin. The haplogroup is R-DF27*. Thank you for sharing your work.

    Richard Norwood

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  4. Hi: Fascinating reading and I can see various surnames found in Percy history. I am either a Y descendant of William de Percy a cousin of WTC via Rollo or of Josceline de Louvaine a Y descendant of Charlemagne who married a Percy heiress C1150 which may be helpful. I am R1B-U152 tested at Leicester University by Dr Trudi King. I have not yet compared my markers with those herewith but will do so soon. Percy recorded history can start with Rollo and/or Charlemagne

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  5. The earliest Rollo ancestor I can trace is William Rollo who died in Kershaw County, SC in 1812. The first documentation we have for him is a land grant in the Georgetown District of SC in 1792. In 1783-1784, he received pay for military service in the Revolutionary War from the Wilmington district in NC. So we know that he was here during (at least) part of the Revolutionary War. But we don't know if he came from Scotland, Italy, England, France, etc. Is there anything you can suggest about the first Rollo in America and his origins?

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  6. Hi Michael,

    I am a living descendant of Rollo and his lineage through King John, Bogislav VIII,
    and Erik XIV, the Swedish king. I know that Rollo was born in Scania and his father and grandfather and grandgrandfather was kings in Scania. During this period was Scania and Denmark separate areas with their own kings.The flags of Scania and Normandie with the golden cross is the kingdom of Scania´s regale.
    Rollos father was brother with the danish and scanian king Holger Danske. 886 fight the danish king Sigfred, scanian king Holger Danske and Rollo against Euedes Count of Paris and Gozlin the bishop of Paris in a battle which started november 885 and ended in the end of 886. Rollo stay in Normandie and built up a base camp in Rouen after this battle. King Siegfred died when he and king Holger Danske return to theirs countries. Holger Danske united Scania, Jutland and the danish icelands and become King of Scania and Denmark from 886-894. He died 894.

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    Replies
    1. Benny; I am a direct descendant of Rollo. Rollo was Ragar Lodbrok Sigurdssons great grandson.

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    2. I am sorry but Rollos grandfather Osfred from Scania also named “Walking Rolf from Sire”and Ragnar Lodbrok was cousins. Rollos great grandfather Godfred and Ragnar Lodbroks father Sigurd Ring was brothers. Ragnar Lodbrok and Rollos father Askettil Osfredsson also named “Asger” occupied Paris Easter 845. During a period from 841 to 886 can we find the Scanian royal family who are building up a community with a base around Rouen in Normandie.

      Delete
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  8. Hi, Rollo is my 31st great grandfather. I have 2 lines through WTC and a few that bypass WTC but get to Rollo as well. I have had my DNA scanned by Ancestry.com and am wondering how I can combine the 2 to make sure everything is correct? Can anyone help with that? I am also concerned with the fact vs. saga parts of history that come when going past Rollo. A few of my lines (including through Rollo) lead to Ragnar Lodbrok, who may or may not have been a real person. How do others deal with the lack of hard data in this area? On my tree I show Ragnar with SAGA or Myth by his name. Any ideas?

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  9. Rollo “the Norwegian Viking”?

    From the excellent report - “Biogeographical Origins and Y-chromosome Signature for the House of Normandy” by Michael R. Maglio, - it seems evident that Rollo, in fact, was not identical to the legendary Norwegian Viking “Walking Rolf” Ragnvaldsson. Rollo had Danish genes in the DNA of the male Y-chromosome.

    However, a back immigration from Denmark to the west coast of Norway, leading to the invasion of Scotland, was genetically documented. Could this in fact be Walking Rolfs relatives?

    Walking Rolfs uncle, Sigurd Eysteinson, was the first Norse earl of the Orkny Islands, north of Scotland, after Harald Hairfair and Ragnvald Eysteinsson, Walking Rolfs father, had raided the country together. The relatives of Walking Rolf continued ruling Scotland and Ireland for centuries, with base in the Orkney Islands.

    The Norwegian TribeMapper markings of Rollos cousins in Maglios report, could also match the relatives of Walking Rolf:
    The upper north marker is north of where Walking Rolfs grandfather Eystein Glumra Ivarsson lived, in Nord-Trøndelag. This is also where Walking Rolf was born.
    At the second marker, in the northern parts of Møre, his father Ragnvald was appointed earl by King Harald. Later he also became earl of south Møre.
    The third marker is close to Sogn, where Harald Fairhair was earl prior to becoming the first Norwegian King. Harald was married to Walking Rolfs aunt, Svanhild Eysteinsdatter.
    Both Sogn and Møre is in the west coast of Norway.
    The last marker is near Oslo. We know that Walking Rolf made an unauthorized raid against Viken in the Oslo fjord. For this he was expelled from Norway by King Harald. Viken was also King Haralds birthplace.

    There is no valid documentation in Norwegian history of Eysteins Ivarssons forfathers. This was maybe because they were actually not living in Norway, thus making Eystein an immigrant.

    The Orkney saga, providing information of Walking Rolfs ancestors, was written when his relatives still were earls there. It is reasonable to assume that they would know their own family history back to Norway. Orkney was after all Norwegian territory.
    But any older information back to Denmark would naturally soon be forgotten. References of mythical Danish Kings like Halfdan the Old, Sveide Sea King and Gor, is most certainly added just to “boost up” the family story and gain social credibility. In Norwegian folklore they are earls of Oppland, which is actually high up in the interior mountain region of Norway. That is definitely no place for a Sea King. All they probably knew was that Eystein Ivarsson was from Denmark.

    The Y-chromosome is only inherited from father to son. Walking Rolfs Y-chromosome would therefore be Danish, as the DNA findings for Rollo stated.

    Both the Orkney saga identifying Rollo as Walking Rolf, and Dudo, claiming Rollo to be of Danish descendance, would then be true.
    After being expelled from Norway, Walking Rolf was hiding out in the northern regions of Scotland. Dudos description of an island protected by high alps would certainly match the island Hirta in the outer Hebrides better than Denmark, - Hirtir meaning “stags” in Norse.

    In France, the saying that he was walking because no horse could carry him, is unknown. Here Rollo was known as a good horseman. But the old Norwegian horses, the still existing Nordlands horses, are relatively small. In mid Europe the horses were bigger.
    Rollo was baptised when settling in Normandy. It was not unusual then to take a new name. Maybe he chose the name Rollo after his older half brother Rollaug?

    Thus making Rollo “the Norwegian Viking” with Danish blood.

    /
    Øyvind Eliassen

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  11. From yDNA STR marker testing I have patrilineal matches at 25@2 STR markers from the Rhineland area of Germany and also from the Breton Marches. While both areas are marked on your charts. I also match three separate Pitt(s) patrilines at 67@6 STR markers. While some Pitt(s) surnames originate from the Norman 'Gervais de la Puette'. While my own patriline is English as far back as I can be sure. So it's quite strange to have such close patrilineal genetic matches from the Rhineland and Loire areas. This information I found out from genetic genealogy research on my Y chromosome I found very surprising. The kits I mentioned all share the following SNP designation with me L21>DF13>Z16500>Z17901>A7309+ while in the Z17901+ SNP group above we have a Norton plus a Bean and Bayne from the Norman family "de Bayeux". Whether or not I could be a yDNA descendent of the House of Normandy. I suppose would be cool bragging rights. Although of little other value. I don't seem to match any other Holt's for yDNA in FTDNA's database. Although I do have genetic proof that my grandfather Holt was my biological grandfather and shared at least one biological parent with his sister. I personally match your STR estimation for Rollo at 67@16 Although I suppose unless they start opening the crypts of male members of the House of Normandy. Then no one will ever really know for sure.

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  13. Michael, I have been tested with FTDNA to 111 markers. At 67, I have 50 exact and 14 within +/- 1. (38 to 67 = 27 of 30 with 3 markers +/-1).
    My paternal grandfather was born in Copenhagen and I found records that his great gf came from Nörre Thiße in Jutland. We are R1b1a2a1a2c1f2c, Z253, Z2534, Z2185/S893, CTS4314/S884. Only 3 others are in this group to date. One is a man who traces back to France. The other two are from the UK and one, an Englishman, has texted me previously that he has traced back to Norman roots.
    Could you please give your thoughts on this matter.
    Thank you, William Christiansen

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  15. I am part of a dna project of people that say they originated in Normandy. One of them carries the R1b that you came up with for William the Conqueror. It's pretty close, very close. It's only off on a a few places by one step. There are three men in the project with three different haplogroups with same last name. One has a different last name and is from Italy, but seems to match one of the men in the other English/ Norman group. The R1b man says that his DNA is showing an origin of Tromso Norway. That's way NORTH! I haven't looked at why he is saying that, but it's still very interesting. The Italian in the group seems to have followed a path from Normandy, to the Basque Region of Spain to Southern Italy. He maybe associated with la Mota tower. That's where I believe King Alfonso launched the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Some of the Norman knights were there.

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    Replies
    1. Walking Rolf Ragnvaldson, who according to the Orkney saga and other sources became Rollo of Normandy was presumably born at Mære by Steinkjær, where his grandfather Eystein Glumra lived. This is up north but still quite a distance from Tromsø. Maybe some of his relatives moved further north?

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  16. I am a living descendant of Rollo and his lineage through King John. My hablogroup is I1. My family is born in Scania in Sweden. Rollo was also born in Scania in the county Rönne. The name Rouen is the same as Roenne. Rollo was the grandson of the Scanian king Osfred Hrollefr Godfredsson. This family was the owner of the regale and banner which was used by the Scanian royal family.The royal banner was the red flag with the golden cross.

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  17. It's clear that some of the individuals who have left messages on this page do not understand the significance of yDNA. It is inherited PATRILINEALLY only. If you descend from a daughter of an agnate of Rollo, you will not match the yDNA of Rollo. Rollo was R1b1a2, also known as R-M269. The first twelve markers for the specific line of William the Conqueror are [13 24 15 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 28]. I know this to be a fact.

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  18. "In January, French officials granted a Norwegian application to open the tomb of Rollo’s grandson and great-grandson, Richard I of Normandy (also known as Richard the Fearless) and Richard II, also called Richard the Good."

    http://www.thelocal.no/20160302/was-viking-ruler-rollo-danish-or-norwegian

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