LATEST ANALYSIS UPDATE

CONTENTS
1.  Study Participants
2.  Genetic Families and Clan Irwin Haplotree
3.  Comments on individual gentic families, including Border Irwin L555 haplotree



LATEST UPDATE OF ANALYSIS OF TEST RESULTS  (No. 21, November 2016)   
The following analysis is of the Latest Main Results Table as of end October 2016.  This analysis will be next updated in May 2017.
 

1.  STUDY PARTICIPANTS
Our Study includes participants from the Erwin, Genographic and Irish Heritage projects, and participants with other surnames who appear to be close genetic matches. It also includes a few participants with yDNA test results obtained from companies other than FTDNA. 
 
As of end Octoberl 2016 we have 424 participants with yDNA test results.  This total is less than that advertised by FTDNA as the latter figure includes kits that have not been returned, kits undergoing initial analysis, and participants who have taken atDNA or mtDNA tests but no yDNA test!
 
Details of participants’ year of joining and country of residence are:

Year

No.

Residence

 %

2002-4

 14

USA

77

2005

 14

England or Wales

  6

2006

 52

Canada

  5

2007

 35

Scotland

  5

2008

 45

Australia

  4

2009

 28

New Zealand

  1

2010
2011                
 30
 39
Ireland
France                     
  1
  0.5
2012
2013
2014 
2015
2016 to date  
 41
 31
 41
 25
 22


 
To place these figures in context, our participants represent about 0.14% of all Irwins alive today (or about 0.3% of all Irwin men); and while 87% of our participants reside in the New world, only 82% of the total population of Irwins etc. live there (see section 2 and Appendices A and B of the accompanying Supplementary Paper No.1 ("Towards Improvement ...."), and Supplementary Paper No.2 ("Surname Statistics").

 

Participants have volunteered the name, date of birth and place of origin of their earliest confirmed paternal ancestor:

Spelling

%

Date of birth

%

Origin

%

Arwin/e

  1

1900s

  3

Scotland

20

Ervin/Earvine

  9

1800s

34

Ireland

41

Erwin

12

1700s

41

England/Wales

  5

Irvin

  7

1600s

  4

UK

  1

Irvine

16

1500s

  2

Germany/Neth/France

  1

Irving

  8

1400s

  1

USA E coast

15

Irwin

32

1300s

  0

USA elsewhere

  5

Urwin

  1

1200s

  1

Canada

  1

Other

13

Unknown

14

Unknown

11

The “Other” spellings are participants with surnames unlike Irwin but whose DNA indicates their ancestors were genetically related to an Irwin genetic family (see below).

 

Some participants have given more specific details about their earliest confirmed paternal ancestor, or where their ancestors first settled after migrating, from which the following is derived: 

Scotland/England  

No.

Ireland

 No.

Easterm America

No.

Shetland

  4

Ulster: Antrim

18

Canada

10

Orkney

  9

           Armagh

  3

New Hampshire

  1

Aberdeenshire

  7

           Cavan

  1

Massachusetts

  5

Forfarshire

  1

           Derry

10

New York

  5

Perthshire

  2

           Donegal

  2

New Jersey

11

Ayrshire

  1

           Down

  2

Philadelphia

16

Dumfriesshire

14

           Fermanagh

14

Ohio

  6

Cumberland

  4

           Tyrone         

15

Maryland

  5 

Northumberland/Durham

  7

Monaghan

Connaught   

Leinster

Munster              

  1

  3

  5

  5

Virginia

North Carolina

South Carolina

Georgia

Elsewhere in USA                             

16

11

  2

  8

15

These distributions can be interpreted as representative of a general trend of migration from the Scottish Borders to Ulster in the 17th century and migration from Ulster to Eastern America in the 18th century.


No. of STR markers tested:

No. of markers

12

25

37

67

111

% participants

  4

  2

54

24

  16

i.e. 94% of participants have tested to 37 markers or more.
Analysis to 37 markers has proved the most popular and cost effective.  Lower resolution tests, i.e. with less than 37 markers, have been found to be inadequate for most participants.  The 67-marker tests have yielded little additional benefits, although the initial indications of the 111-marker tests suggest these may become more interesting. 
 
Upgrading to 37 markers is recommended for all participants with less than 37 markers. Upgrading to 67 or 111 markers is not recommended without prior consultation with the Study Administrator.  For members of our Borders genetic family (see below) who have not taken a BigY test, the new L555 SNP Pack test would be a much better investment.

27 (6%) have BigY test results, with 2 tests being processed.  51 have SNP panel test results, with 3 tests being processed.

 

 

2.  GENETIC FAMILIES USING THE IRWIN SURNAME (or similar)

At end October 2016, of 424 parcipants, 92% were haplogroup R1b, 5% were haplogroup I, 2% were haplogroup J, 0.5% were haplogroup G, 0.5% were haplogroup R1a, and 0.2% were haplogroup E.  However of more significance it has been possible to identify 36 genetic families using our surname that are apparently unrelated to each other during the surname era (i.e. roughly the last millennium):
 

Genetic family                                      Code   Origin

No.

        %

Haplogroup                            SNPs*

Scotland

B      Borders, incl. Bonshaw

277

65

R1b1                                       L555

         

DA   Aberdeenshire, incl. Drum

F      Forfar                                        

    4

    1

  1

  0.2

R1b1                                       M269+, L21-

R1b1                                       ?

         

O1   Orkney 1

    4

  1

R1b1                                      SRY2627

         

          "

O2   Orkney 2

SF   Shetland (Fair Isle)

    5

    2

  1

  0.5

R1b1                                      M405

R1b1                                      P312

           "

PF   Perthshire

    4

  1

R1b1                                      M222

         

U     Unknown (6 families)

  14

  3

R1a; R1b1; J2                        ) var.

         

N     NPE (17 families:  
           Bell, Beattie, Carruthers,   
           Dodd, Elliot (2), Fleming,

  51

12

I1; J1; R1b1                           )

 

          Graham, Johnston, Kerr, Kincaid, 
           Little, MacFarland, Napier, Nixon, 
           Rutledge, Todd)

 

 

 

Ireland

IL    ?Leinster

     9

  2

I2b                                          M223  

          "

IM1  Munster 1

    3

  1  

R1b1                                       C4466, A89

         


Germany/Netherlands

IM2  Munster 2

IM3 Munster 3

    3

    1

    7

  1

  0

  1.5 

R1b1                                       C4466, A89

R1b1                                  C4466, A2427
R1b1                                  L23

Africa                                                       AF

    1

  0.2

E1b1a

Unassigned

s      Singletons

  38

  9

E, G, I1, I2, R1b1


   

   

Total

 

 424

100

 

 
*:  SNPs are introduced in "Interpreting yDNA Test Results", section 3.

Although these genetic families are unrelated during the surname era, all men are descended from a "genetic Adam", and the enormous haplotree of all his descendants, still being developed, can be simplified to show only how these Clan Irwin genetic families are related to one another thus:

 

The "codes" shown in this figure represent the gentic families indicated in the table immediately above.  The dates and the surname/pre-surname threshold on the right only relate to the L555 ancestral line and are only indicative (experts disagree on many of them).  The purpose of this figure is not an exercise in "deep ancestry", but simply to show that these genetic families are not related to one another within the surname era. 
 
3.  COMMENTS ON INDIVIDUAL GENETIC FAMILIES
  • 3.1   Borders genetic family.  This is one of the largest such families in all the DNA surname studies. It includes about two thirds of all our participants, and nearly three-quarters of those participants who can be assigned to a genetic family. Participants in this family evidently share a single paternal ancestor who lived in the Scottish Borders, probably Dumfriesshire, in the 14th century.  Many of these participants who live in USA were previously unsure of their distant paternal ancestry and are gratified this has now been established. Most of these participants are probably “Scots-Irish”, i.e. had an ancestor who migrated from the Borders to Ulster, typically in the 17th century, and a later ancestor who migrated from Ireland to USA, typically the eatern seaboard states from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas, and typically in the 18th century.  Both these migrations were typically for religious or economic reasons. 

    Several participants using surnames unlike Irwin are included in this genetic family as they evidently share this common ancestry and so are NPE's.  Armstrong, Elliot, Johnston and Kincaid are common Borders surnames, while Byers was a common name in Annan. Errand is probably not a name change but a different surname.  The Cahill, Hamblen and Hutchinson participants know their relevant recent ancestry included such events.  However all such NPE's should take a L555 test (single or Pack Test) to confirm they are NPE's rather than False Positives - see sections 2.6 and 2.7 of Interpreting yDNA Test Results

    In early 2011 a tentative classification of most of the participants in the Borders genetic family into 14 sub-groups was attempted using cladograms and the TiP tool.  The modal DNA signatures of these sub-group were denoted thus BA (modal), BB (Bonshaw), BD (Dumfries), BE (Eskdale), B9, B10, B15, B16, B17, B23, B29 and BX (for the "left overs").  For background to these sub-divisions see the accompanying Supplementary Paper No.3 ("Identifying Sub-groups ...."). 

    This breaking down of our large Borders genetic family into sub-groups represented a significant development at the time and served well for five years even though it placed some known cousins in different sub-groups.  With the arrival of BigY tests in 2015 we initially got one such test for each sub-group and this development did not it itself confirm or disprove the reliability of these sub-groupings.  But with the advent of the cheaper SNP Pack tests in spring 2016 it became apparent that most of the sub-groupings were incompatible with the new SNP test results.  As the sub-groupings are based on single STR results, and STRs mutate much more frequently than SNPs, the new SNP groupings must be considered to be the more reliable. 

  • The test results for the Border Irwins in the Main results table are thus now split into two categories: B(1), for those Border Irwins who can now be placed on the L555 haplotree, and B(2), for those who have still to take the L555 SNP Pack test.  Both categories still include the old sub-grouping codes.

    Thanks to the investments of an increasing number of L555 participants in BigY tests and Pack tests, the L555 section of the Clan Irwin haplotree above can now be expanded downstream thus:


  • Parts of this haplotree can be further developed and integrated into a more conventional genealogy thus: 


  • Please note that details in these haplotrees are evolving rapidly, and are liable to change.  However already many interesting and important points emerge that relate to the Border Irwins:

    1. The new L555 Pack tests are clearly good value for money for those L555 Border Irwin individual participants who are (understandably) reluctant to pay for a BigY test.  For these individuals the tests show from which branch of the Border Irwins they are descended more reliably than the sub-groups that have been tentatively identified hitherto using STR data.  This means they can now seek genealogical relationships within their new SNP sub-groups with more confidence than they could with our old STR based sub-groups.

    2. In addition, after combining these L555 Pack test results with L555 BigY test results and previously known genealogical data, our Study’s understanding of the origins and evolution of the Border Irwins has been improved considerably.   

    3. It is significant that all the L555 Pack tests which had not previously tested for L555 (either through a BigY test or a specific L555 SNP test) have proved to be L555+.  We have thus not had a single participant who has been predicted to be a Border Irwin on the basis of his STR test results turn out to be L555-. This is as expected, but reassuring none the less.

    4. Although SNP Pack tests cannot identify “new” (i.e. unknown) SNPs, they have the unexpected bonus of their negative results indicating the existence of such SNPs.  These “new” but unidentified SNPs are indicated by a stand-alone “?” in my haplotrees. 

    5. It now appears that L555 has at least six “sons”:  FGC34569, FGC19539, BY3661, BY3690, BY3712, plus at least one unknown.  The first five were detected earlier from BigY tests;  the sixth is “new”, detected from negative results in the Pack tests of kits 32599 and five others.  Similarly FGC34569, FGC19539 and BY3690 each have more than one son, each of which are thus “grandsons” to L555.  And through FGC34569 and BY3686 we can see that L555 has a great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandson, even if at the present time we cannot yet tell the sequence of the mutations that gave rise to these SNPs!  More such subdivisions will emerge as more L555 test results become available.

    6. A mixed picture emerges from comparing the new SNPs under L555 with the tentative sub-divisions introduced in 2011 on the basis of single STR data, designated as BA, BB, BD, BE, Bel, Ber, B9, B10, B14 ,B15, B16, B17, B23 and B29, with the residuals designated as BX.

    7. As most of the STR DYS617=11 sub-grouping (identified as “BB”) are consistent with the SNP groups BY3699, BY3656, BY3987 and (probably) the “?” of participant 397497, it appears that our use of DYS617 = 11 is a pretty reliable indicator of the Bonshaw branch.  It is on this basis that I have felt entitled to introduce this mutation into our haplotrees. 

    8. In contrast our tentative BA, B10 and predictably BX sub-groupings based on STRs appear to be quite inconsistent with the new SNP groupings (see haplotree 1).  As SNPs mutate much less frequently then STRs it follows that these STR groupings, which I have always considered tentative, must now be considered unreliable.  In particular, participants 209535, 249774 and 181966, three first cousins who I tentatively sub-grouped back in 2011 as BA, B10 and B29 respectively, are now all clearly in sub-group BY3665.   The reason for some STR-based groupings being misleading is due to back mutations, i.e. although the counts for two participants of a particular marker may be the same today, they were not necessarily the same 15 generations ago.

    9. The reliability or otherwise of our other Border Irwin STR sub-groupings (Bel, Ber, B9, B14, B15, B16, B17, B23, and B29), should become more clear as more L555 SNP Pack tests are taken.  Some, like BBmay be relatively reliable, , some relatively misleading, like BA, BD and B10.

    10. The Pack Tests have confirmed that the Castle Irvine branch is descended from Bonshaw, but that the Dumfries and Eskdale branches are not. 

    11. The Pack Tests have also enabled the identification of a hitherto unrecognised branch of L555 which is FGC34569+ and BY3665+.  This branch is evidently not a son of Bonshaw, but probably migrated to Co.Fermanagh in the 17th century and from there in the 18th century to Augusta County in Virginia.  It thus seems appropriate to name this branch the Augusta branch, and for its members, presently six, to redouble their efforts to determine their likely genealogical relationships.  However as the ancestor of 432871 appears to have migrated separately it is likley that the BY3665 mutation occurred in Irelandm and possibly in Scotland. 

    12. As more L555 Pack tests are completed it seems likely that these will enable further American branches to be identified and defined by their SNP characteristics, thus providing a reliable basis for interpreting the genealogical records of early American Irwins.

    13. In the main L555 haplotree above I continued my earlier attempts to calculate the TMRCA (Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor) of L555.  For each BigY testees I have counted the number of SNPs and divided the total number by 16 to give an average.  For testees who have SNPs of questionable reliability, identified by a ? prefix, I have included these in the total count but then counted the lesser number of probable SNPs and taken the mean.  Thus the average total number of SNPs 5.5, the average number of probable SNPs is 4.9, so the mean is 5.2.  This mean average can be multiplied the average mutation rate for BigY tests of about 120 years per SNP, giving a TMRCA of 920 years which taken from AD1950, the typical birth date of our BigY testees, gives a TMRCA for L555 of AD1330 =/- 30 years.

    14. Kent Irvin has developed some very plausible correlations between these Bonshaw line SNPs and individuals on the Bonshaw pedigree, which incidentally suggest that the L555 TMRCA may be significantly more recent than I suggest above, but I am refraining from “publishing” these until we have a lot more L555 Pack tests completed.   He and I have also developed pedigrees for the Irvings of Gretna, Hoddam, Luce, Pennersax and Trailtrow, all apparent early contemporaries fo Bonshaw, but alas we cannot link these pedigrees to Irvings living today, whether members of our Study or otherwise.

    15. Alas determining the identity of “?” SNPs will involve at least one participant in each of these new groups taking a BigY test (possibly with the costs shared amongst other particpants within the group), and then the other participants in this group taking a new single SNP test.  At present such action is only justifiable for participants who have tested FGC34569+ but negative for all the known sons of FGC34569, and for the descendants of the large "?" son(s) of FGC34569.  I am pleased to be able to report that two such BigY tests are being ordered.

    16. The immediate priority is for those Border Irwin participants who have not yet taken a BigY or L555 Pack test to undertake the latter.  It is now clear that Pack test offers better value for money than upgrading from 37 markers to 67, and from upgrading from 67 to 111 (although one day these upgrades may well prove useful again).  Each Pack test will help enable the individual to determine which son of L555 he is descended from and help him find other genealogically related participants as well as improve our overall understanding of the origin and evolution of the Border Irwins.

    17. Given the significane of these developments I have changed the presentation of our main results table for end October 2016 by splitting the Border Irwin participants into two: first "B(1)"  for those participants who we can now place on the L555 haplotree, and second "B(2)" for those participants who have yet to take the L555 Pack test.  For all I have retained the "old" tentative subdivision indicators such as BA, B10, BX etc.








  • All the other gentic families in the Study are much smaller than the Borders genetic family, the largest only containing only 9 participants:

    3.2  Aberdeenshire participants are members of the senior line of Drum.  One of the prime objectives of this Study has been to test the tradition recorded by Dr.Christopher Irvin in c.1680 that William de Irwyn, to whom Robert the Bruce gave the forest of Drum in 1323, was a son of Bonshaw. At face value these DNA results now imply the present senior male representatives of the Bonshaw and Drum lines do not share a common male ancestor. Expressed another way, these results mean that either:
    (A) The 14th century ancestors of the Bonshaw and Drum lines did share a common ancestor, but 
    there has subsequently been a Non-Paternal Event (see above) in one of the two lines, when the name passed through a female line; or
    (B) Contrary to tradition, the 14th century ancestors of the Bonshaw and Drum lines did not share a common ancestor.
    For further details on this issue see the accompanying Supplementary Paper No.4 ("Interpreting Drum ....") where it is shown that scenario (A) is most unlikely
    .
    3.3  Nine participants claiming descent from ‘Orkney’ ancestors apparently represent two genetic families having different paternal ancestries and, contrary to tradition, both are clearly unrelated to either Bonshaw or Drum.  A possible relationship between these two lines is shown in slide 36 of Supplementary Paper No. 9. 

    3.4  Two participants from 'Shetland (Fair Isle), apparently genealogically unrelated to one another, have DNA that shows them to be members of the same genetic family.

    3.5  Four participants whose DNA signatures confirm they are distant cousins from a ‘Perthshire’ genetic family.  It is still unclear whether this family is an NPE or adopted their name from a laird, perhaps the laird of Drum. 

    3.6  One participant whose ancestors came from 'Forfarshire'. As with the Perthshire name, the origins of this family are unclear.

    3.7  NPEsAlthough participants in the small 'NPE - Beattie, Bell, Carruthers, Dodd, Elliot (2), Fleming, Graham, Johnston, Kerr, Kincaid, Little, MacFarland, Napier, Nixon, Rutledge, Todd' genetic families today all use the surname Ervin/Irvin/Irvine/Irving/Irwin, their DNA tests show they share a common ancestor with many in the Borders clans of these surnames, implying a NPE in their ancestral lines, probably in the 13th-17th centuries.  To quote the Borders Reivers website:
    “The intermingling of peoples along the Anglo-Scottish border produced a tough, hybrid culture claiming many lines of descent.  It is unlikely that all the members of any Border family were descended from the same ancestor.  The pervasive social upheaval increased the chances that men sired by members of one clan might be born or raised under the surname of another.  So did the matrimonial customs of Border families, which encouraged trial marriages and allowed wives to keep their maiden names.  Moreover, the clans themselves were political entities as much as families, and many men adopted the surnames of other clans to obtain their protection and a franchise on their power.  There is [also] particular uncertainty in the case of the Scotch-Irish, as much of their genealogy was lost or scrambled when they were forced to resettle in Ulster.”  

    3.8  Six other small genetic families have been identified (UD, UN, U3, U4, U5 UJ), but their origins are still Unknown; most are probably Scots or Scots-Irish;  some may be recent NPEs. 

    3.9  The small 'Ireland - ?Leinster' genetic family share a common ancestor whose haplogroup 'I1a' is quite different to other participants.  The origin of this group may be the gaelic family O'Hirewen from Leinster in Ireland, that was later anglicised to Irwin, but further evidence is needed to substantiate this possibility. 

    3.10  Three small ‘Ireland - Munster’ genetic families share a common ancestors who evidently lived Munster.  One came from Co. Limerick and whose gaelic surname O’Ciarmhachain was anglicised to Irwin.  It is clear these families never had Scottish connections. Members of these genetic families are recommended to also join the Munster Irish DNA Project (http://www.familytreedna.com/public/MunsterIrish/ )

    3.11  The small ‘Germany/Netherlands’ genetic family share a common ancestor who evidently had the surname Arwine or Arnwine and migrated from Germany or the Netherlands (see  www.jowest.net/Genealogy/John/Arnwine/Arnwine.htm).  Subsequently, perhaps in the 18th century in New Jersey or SE Pennsylvania, it seems the name became confused with unrelated neighbours named Erwin.  It seems likely none of these participants ever had Scottish connections. 

    3.12  An 'Africa' gentic family is represented by an African-american whose ancestors were slaves, and probably took their surname from their slave-master.  

    3.13  About 9% of the participants are classified as Singletons until a closely matching participant joins the study.  Some of these Singletons may turn out to be recent NPEs.
    NB  Not included in these statistics are the many individuals, known as False Positives, participants whose surname does not sound like Irwin but who have a TiP Score with an Irwin of between 60% and 95% and who have tested, or are expected to be, L555-.  Such “matches” can probably be attributed to "convergence" of random mutations, and are unlikely to have a genealogical relationship with any Irwin etc.

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