Sinclair DNA - R1 - Early Path Through Time

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After leaving Khazakstan, we slowly moved westward until the LGM, at which point we all moved south ahead of the ice. The R1a's overwintered near present day Romania, the R1b's went to Spain. 

A Broad Look at the R1 Path Through Time - 30,000 BCE to 2,000 BC

When our R1 group began to split up about 30,000 years ago, the R1a group was the first to develop a mutation that would follow them to completely different geography. There is debate on the origins of this mutation. Stephen Oppenheimer has come to the conclusion through his genetic findings that "South Asia is logically the ultimate origin of M17 and his ancestors", and that "one estimate for the age of this line in India is as much as 36,000 years old."  116

The Definitive Event - LGM

As you read in Path Through Time, the ice age was one of the most definitive events in determining our paths and who we became. During the total period between the encroachment of the ice, about 22,000 BCE, and its eventual retreat, about 8,000 BCE, our groups were forced into areas where they mutated into what you see at the bottom of the map above. 

Ice Retreat, Spread North

Evidence of human habitation indicates the retreat of the LGM was complete by about 8,000 BCE. While it seems some of our family stayed in southern Europe, the I1 Haplogroup and perhaps the S21 group all moved north, some as far as Scandinavia. Of course, this was not a wholesale “pack up the kids and rush to a new land,” kind of move, some of our ancestors did indeed make the move rather quickly. Faux has said that these were the reindeer hunters  -

“The Magdalenian culture of circa 17,000 to 8,000 years BC includes the well-known
Lescaux (France) and Altamira (Spain) cave art. The earliest dated sites are in France.
These people were the classic “reindeer hunters”, although roe deer and horse among
other animals were also hunted.”  Click here to read the full report (PDF)  148

The Great Mixing Bowl

In all the reading I’ve been doing, it’s quite clear that some (likely most) of our ancestors were in northern and Western Europe as long ago as 15,000 years ago. And there they stayed. A tribal area, the Romans later referred to these peoples on their northern frontiers as Barbarians.

Our DNA results and, in particular, the name matching project show that some of our lineages connect to particular family name/geographies and some do not. For instance, Stan and I show tons of Flemish connections which have been traced back my many historians to Eustace II and on back to Charlemagne. We also show certain Merovingian names such as Payen (Payne), Molay (Molineux), de Barr and others. We show certain Plantegenet names matching ours.

This Flemish connection is very interesting in terms of it’s proximity to Norway. Steve, Stan and our Lineage are among the few showing strong name connections to families with Norse naming conventions of “_son”  “_berg”   “_quist”   “_land”  “_sen”   the Losna family, and others. The project does have scattered incidents of this occurrence, but few other members have such a preponderance of Norse matches. Niven shows the Siegwarth and Hood families and some names with “_son”… Given Niven’s relative lack of family matches outside our family, these matches could be significant.

Dr. David Faux has become one of the experts on the geographic locations of Subclades in DNA. He has run a very successful study of the DNA of the Shetland Islands and he also works with Dr. Jim Wilson for EthnoAncestry. A recent post of Dr. Faux’s warmed my heart with its frank assessment of the quandary we find ourselves in as members of the R1b1c Haplogroup. It summarized my feelings of where we are in our project and heartened me that we’re taking the right approach. Parts of his posting are worth repeating here in great length –

“A very typical reaction after testing negative for all R1b1c subclade SNPs (R1b1c1 to R1b1c10), and being assigned to the "asterisk" category, is to expect testing companies or experts on this list to interpret the meaning of this result… Many who have the time and ability to persevere through times of frustration (inevitable when working in genetic genealogy), can take their knowledge of being R1b1c* and use this as a crucial piece of information to construct a likely scenario relating to Y - origins back to the Iron or even Bronze Age.  No one said it would be easy, or that there will be one and only one crystal clear interpretation available….

'Some will be fortunate and fit into a haplotype pattern that is very robust and geographically rooted such as "Southwest Irish" even though they are R1b1c* and no corresponding SNP has yet been found for their clade.  Ken Nordtvedt lists the modal haplotypes of 17 clades which he or others had identified via mining the YHRD, Ysearch, and Sorenson databases, and which are found within R1b1c*.  This data can be found at .  Information on some of these can be found in various locations on .  It strikes me that Kevin Campbell's new study on the "Geographic Patterns of Haplogroup R1b in the British Isles" (see ) can offer some possible hints about subclade distribution for this location.  Eventually the unknown quantity of R1b1c6, 7, 9 and 10 could be teased out of this and other studies to provide a somewhat clearer picture of R1b1c*…

"Although speaking about archaeological evidence, the words of Barry Cunliffe (actually Sir Barrington Cunliffe) of the University of Oxford may ring true for genetic evidence concerning R1b1c*.  Since I anticipate criticism of what I am about to say I would like to quote his words.  He said that in attempting to "construct a European protohistory", "we will inevitably be drawn into simplification and generalization, laying ourselves open to criticism from the purists, but better the attempt to create a whole, however imperfect, than to be satisfied with the minute examination of only a part" ("The Ancient Celts", 1997, Preface).  The "whole" in this case would be R1b1c*.  In other words setting out reasonable hypotheses is infinitely better than throwing up one's hands in despair due to scattered and incomplete evidence….

"The goal as I see it is to clarify and demystify haplogroup R1b1c* at the macro and micro levels - something quite attainable by tapping into the many resources that are often available without ever having to leave the comfort of one's home…

"I get the sense that many would ultimately hope to identify a geographic area and even tribal affiliation for their (SNP tested) haplotype.  In some cases it will be possible, with some care and critical thinking, to do this using a knowledge of SNP (e.g., 28+) status, plus surname, plus geographic residence of ancestors in the Middle Ages, to trace the perambulations of a particular Y-chromosome back to the Bronze Age.  What is needed is a multidisciplinary study using, not only genetic, but archaeological, historical, and linguistic evidence to "tell the story".  It took me months of weighing two 4-inch ringbinders full of printed (largely primary source) material to construct the story relating to my paternal lineage.  I hope to inspire others to do what I did (being somewhat obsessive compulsive helps) since, when the evidence all converges, you know that you will be writing something that will not only pertain to your immediate family, but also those who share your Y - heritage.  Ultimately the history of Europe can be assembled from these efforts.” (28, quoted in full with the author's permission)

Lothair I (795-855) Frankish emperor from 843 From "Evangeleaire de Lothaire" 9th century manuscript.

2,000 BC – 200 BC

J. B. Bury’s remarkable book, The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians, (36) written well before some of the more modern books on the subject (also referenced in this report), goes into a beautifully written history of the Barbarians from about 2,000 BC to the period of the Lombards. No other book I’ve seen wraps up the period before the Romans so eloquently. For that reason, it’s worth going into some depth on what he says.

Bury states that in 2,000 BC, the Germanic peoples were in southern Scandinavia, in Denmark , and in the adjacent lands between the Elbe and the Oder (eastern Germany).

Sometime after about 1,000 BC, there was a double expansion. The first was those Germanic peoples east of the Elbe moving westward and displacing the Celts. By about 200 BC, the eastern line of the Celts had been pushed westward to a point near the Rhine River and southwards to the Main River.

Charles "The Hammer" Martel (ca. 688 – 22 October 741) was proclaimed Mayor of the Palace and ruled the Franks in the name of a titular King. He later proclaimed himself Duke of the Franks and became the de facto ruler of the Frankish Realms.

After about 100 BC, these tribes occupied southern Germany and were gaining lands in Gaul. This effort was stopped by Julius Caesar. These Germanic tribes who moved from east of the Elbe into western Germany, Bury calls the West Germans.

Beginning after the migration of the West Germans, the Scandinavian tribes crossed the Baltic Sea into the area between the Oder River and the Vistula River (southwest Poland) and eventually east of the Vistula. An expert referenced in Bury’s book, Gustaf Kossinna, says they began their move between 600 and 300 BC.

Bury also references a third group of Scandinavians who moved into northern Germany but gives no further interest to this tribe.

His clear distinction is very important as these two tribes were completely different in many ways. The West Germans lived on land well suited to feeding flocks of animals and settled down. The East Germans became more migratory. This was mostly the result of the differences in the land each group inhabited. The settled West Germans had a population growth that over a period of several centuries caused a scarcity of land and, thus, the need to steal more. The chief victim was the Celts until they got to the borders of the Roman Empire. This penned them in and eventually their raising of livestock turned to farming their lands which gave them a much more productive use of smaller tracks of land.

Caesar, during his lifetime, had described the Germans as mainly a pastoral people. By the time Tacitus came along, he described them as practicing agriculture. This period of change from one to the other came about after their growth westward into the lands of France was stopped by Rome. (36 – p. 7)

The Roman descriptions of the Barbarians all are of the West Germans. They knew of the East Germans but had almost no contact with them. The East Germans were not hemmed in by their neighbors to the east and south, the Slavs and others. So the East Germans never gave up their pastoral life as they were free to migrate with their herds. This difference would play a serious role in their future. Everything from the tribes’ burial practices to their dress, to their needs for land was affected by their situation in respect to the land they inhabited.

Our AMH ancestors were almost certainly the West Germans. I can’t yet fully rule out the other tribes, as we have one participant with clear connections to Germany via the DYS390 study and we certainly have some participant with connections to the Norse via the Name Match study.

Bury then makes a bold claim. By the 5th century, the Roman Empire had been occupied from Britain to North Africa, not by the West Germans who the Romans knew well, but by the East Germans – the Goths, the Vandals, the Gepids, the Burgundians, and the Lombards as well as other tribes. If his claim is right, there is reason to believe this explains our connections to the Norse via the tribe that originally moved across the Baltic sea and became the East Germans. But I don’t believe this was the case.

The really difficult part of this is that nearly all the descendants of that original period of migration after 1,000 BC likely were mixed in the soup that became R1b1c. The Name Match study and other parts of our project like the DYS390 study are absolutely critical to beginning to figure out where exactly we were during these many years in Western Europe.

The Franks 250-450AD

The story of the Franks must originate with the tribes of what is now known as Germany.

From all accounts, Germany was a densely forested, foreboding place. Homer located his Kingdom of the Dead in Germany. Eight hundred years later, the Roman Poseidonius described the land just a bleakly. Covered with a high, dense canopy of leaves, except in the winding river valleys and along the sandy dunes, Germany was considered impenetrable. Conditions were most suitable for the development of culture in the west and south. It is not surprising, therefore, that the first towns in Germany were built by the Romans precisely in the valleys of the Rhine, Isar, Neckar, Inn, and Danube. (33)

The tribes that eventually became the Franks came out of Germany. They were most likely the Bructeri, Ampsivarii, Chamivi, Chattuari, Chauki and Frisians. (27 – p. 192) The early years of the Franks are hard to define using archaeology, art, graves, etc. as there appears to be very little to define them distinctly from other tribes. After the mid-third century, they became a military power invading Gaul. Their strongest invasion was in 274 when they invaded all of Gaul, They were pushed back in 284 under Diocletian’s rule. (27)

Patrick Geary makes a compelling argument in his ‘Before France & Germany’ that the early Franks, the Barbarians, slowly worked their way into the Roman Empire rather than fully invading it. The Romans depended on the Barbarians for particular staples such as venison and hides. The Barbarians depended on the Romans for all their civilization could offer. Namely, jobs. They were slowly coming to appreciate the virtues of the Roman civilization.

The Marcomannian War (a Roman term) was one of the formative events that led to the firming up of the tribes along the Rhine River that became the Franks (32) The Marcoman Quadi tribes were on the frontier of Rome and traded peacefully for many years. There were at least eleven tribes positioned against Rome. In the 2nd century AD, the Marcomanni tribe entered into a confederation with tribes like the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians, against the Roman Empire. (25)

There are two ancient versions of the origins of the Franks. One was written in the late 6th century by Gregory of Tours. The other was written in the 7th century by the Frankish chronicler Fredegar. Both are false and both are clearly attempting to create a glorious history where none existed. The first account connects the Franks with the Pannonian plain, the home of Martin of Tours, the religious patron of the Franks. The second attributes the homeland of the Franks to Rome. Of the two, the first may have some slight truth as it’s the general area of the Goths, who were in Eastern Europe, from whence we came out of Kazakhstan.

Geary uses the burial practices of the Franks to explain when their earliest interactions with the Romans may have begun. There was a fundamental shift in the way many tribes in the Rhine-Weser Germanic communities buried their dead in about the 3rd century. The graves of this period, across the divide of the Roman frontier, began to contain the articles of importance to a Roman soldier. This gives further credence to the idea that some of the so called Barbarians were proudly serving in the Roman military. There is apparently a Roman funerary inscription that reads “I am a Frank by nationality, but a Roman soldier under arms.” (32 – p. 79)

Clovis I (c. 466 – 27 November 511) 
The first King of the Franks to unite
all the Frankish tribes. He succeeded
his father Chideric I in 481. 

Service to the Romans had big rewards. Eventually, the tribe known as the Salian Franks were able to spread out into the more Romanized areas of what is today Belgium, northern France and the lower Rhine.

The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living north of the limes (Roman frontier borders) in the coastal area above the Rhine in the northern Netherlands, where today there still is a region called Salland. From the 3rd century on the Salian Franks appear in the historical records as warlike Germanic people and pirates, and as "Laeti" (allies of the Romans). They were the first Germanic tribe from beyond the limes that settled permanently on Roman land.(25)

The Salians fully adopted the Frankish identity and ceased to appear by their original name from the 5th century onward, when they evolved into the Franks. I believe they had extensive contact with the Norse, and that this confirms a theory that I heard from Beryl Platts that at least part of Scandinavia was settled early on from Flanders.

In the 5th century, the Salians came to dominate the ‘tribal swarm’ of Franks under the leadership of Chlodio, Merovech and Childeric. These were the ‘long haired kings,’ the Merovingians.

Our Consolidation in Western Europe

There are many stories, legends, even myths about our family in Western Europe.

           Blood Lines
           Intermarriage with Royal Lines

As a very important part of our path through time, you’ll read how DNA is beginning to give credence to certain of these legends.

At a certain point in the timeline we’re tracing, surnames came into use. So too, began the better keeping of written records. With that, suddenly, it’s as though people simply appeared in place. Suddenly, we know who they are, how they relate to other peoples and we begin to get some inkling of how they got there, but that’s all. This hole in history has provided a rich feeding ground for a new type of historian which I call ‘provisional historians’ because their theories tend to be more difficult to prove. That certainly doesn’t make them incorrect. It just points out to the reader the need for a bit of caution and a lot of reading on their own. Most of these provisional historians will readily admit they can get specific name-based genealogies no further back in Northern Europe than about the year 600 AD. DNA can point the way with much more certainty.

Most genealogists and provisional historians writing about events that concern the Sinclairs seem to be looking for one clear blood line in our family. They seek one unbroken father-to-son chain of males, stretching through time back to the time of Jesus. And they’ve written books stating that they know what it is!! Our DNA project has indicated that we have at least five clear lineages (and I point out why I think we’ll have even more) some of which may not relate to one another until possibly before the time of Christ. If provisional historians are guilty of one thing, it’s the desire to ‘sell’ their point of view, be it in a book or on a user group. DNA has nothing to sell. It’s simply fact. Among our lineages is likely one or two or possibly more that do go back in an unbroken chain stretching back to the time of Jesus. We can’t yet prove which one.

The Merovingians

Chlodio was a king of the Salian Franks from the Merovingian dynasty. He was known as a Long-Haired King and lived at a place on the Thuringian border called Dispargum. From there he invaded the Roman Empire in 428 and settled in Northern Gaul, where already other groups of Salians were settled. Although he was attacked by Romans he was able to maintain his position and 3 years later in 431 he extended his kingdom down south to the Somme River. In 448, 20 years after his reign began Chlodio was defeated at an unidentified place called Vicus Helena by Flavius Aëtius, the commander of the Roman Army in Gaul.

Like all Merovingian kings Chlodio had long hair as a ritual custom. His successor may have been Merovech, after whom the dynasty was named 'Merovingian'. One legend has it that his father was Pharamond. The sources on Chlodio's history are Gregory of Tours and Sidonius Apollinaris. (25) (34)

Merovech (or Merovius) was King of the Salian Franks from whom Frankish tradition held the Merovingian dynasty to have taken its name. He was the father of Childeric I (d. 481/482) and grandfather of Clovis I (c. 466–511).

Nothing definite is known of Merovech’s life, but an early myth made him the son of a sea god. He is mentioned in Gregory of Tours’s Histories and, according to later sources, fought against Attila the Hun at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. I have read that Merovech was the son of King Chilperic of Soissons by one of his first wives. His father ordered him to march on Poitiers, but he instead went to Tours, took the city, and married Brunhild, the widow of his late uncle King Sigebert of Metz. Chilperic.

For purposes of our DNA project, the more well-documented sons of Merovech are the most interesting. His son Childeric I, King of Franks. Childeric was politically astute as he married his sister to the Visigothic king. The Visigoths were the most powerful group in the West at the time. The weapons, jewelry and coins found in 1653 in his tomb in Tournai make it abundantly clear that  Childeric was an important figure in the Roman military. We know that he fought under the commander Paul at Angers in 469. (32) 

Clovis I, (c. 466 – 27 November 511) the son of Childeric, was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler.(25)  Clovis’ absorption of the kingdom of Soissons was to be very important for all members of our family. While Childeric chose to be buried in Tournai, Clovis chose Paris. Could this have led to the eventual ties between his descendants in Flanders and the Normans who later conquered northern France?

On Christmas day in about 498, Clovis converted to Christianity at Reims. (35, others)

More to come… I want to get through the Merovingians and perhaps begin on the Carolingians. Then I have to explain DYS390 and Niven’s progress through southern Europe and up.

R1b  |  E1b1  |  I1  |  R1a  |  S21

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