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Other Y DNA lines tested… a shared story in “Yr Hen Ogledd”

Sticking to that thought I brought up in the last post… that “history doesn’t exist in a vacuum”… then too, Y DNA studies should likewise be considered. It just so happens that this philosophy works well for me as I have been involved in the analysis of Y DNA tests beyond just my Moore line. Specifically, I’ve made it a point to test other family lines. For example, at a minimum, I wanted to find out about all four of the lines from my grandparents… Moore, Emerson, Hilliard, and Mayes. I’ve yet to test an Emerson (which is believed to have originated in or near Newcastle Upon Tyne), but hoping to do so this year. Additionally, there’s an interesting story to the Hilliard Y DNA test, which proved that line to be Nolan/Noland… and part of the Dalcassians… who may also have had history tied to Dumnonia (as I’ve mentioned, possibly a link to the Dumnonii of SW Scotland… given etymology at the root of that interpretation) via the Fir Domnann (yet again, more stories for more blog posts). I’ve also been able to tested lines further out… for example, my great-grandmother’s paternal line… the Nicholsons.

What’s particularly interesting about the Nicholson line is that it reaches into the story of the story of the extended Kingdom of Strathclyde (as it extends into Cumbria… the Nicholsons being from that portion of NW England). This was also the area in which either the Iron Age Carvetti or the Brigantes lived (it’s an area which could go either way, but the Brigantes had a much greater area than the Carvetti). So, I find it interesting that I’m able to narrow down to another Britonic tribe.

The Carvetti can be seen in the upper left, while the large area of the Brigantes is a bit more obvious

It’s also interesting that this line of Nicholsons (testing to Haplogroup BY109515) falls under BY13692 (BY13692 > BY109515), from which three different test takers (a Berryman, Mathews, and Williams) trace to ancestors from Cornwall. The thing about sharing a link in the haplotree at BY13692, however, is that that haplogroup likely emerged between 690 BC and 560 AD. Since my Nicholsons are likely from the area near Whitehaven, in Cumberland… and Nicholson lines are definitely found in the history of Cumbria as far back as the 1400s (at least, the name appears that far back in what I’ve seen so far. As I dig, perhaps I’ll find an even deeper trace), there was plenty of time for some Celtic Britons from BY13692 to make their way up the west side of the Isle to what became Cumbria… while others clearly remained behind.

So, at the time (latter 900s AD) in which the Kingdom of Strathclyde may have stretched from above Dumbarton Rock to around St. Bees (south of Whitehaven)… my Muirs (before surnames) were up near the extreme north of the kingdom, while the forebears of the future Nicholsons were in the extreme south (there’s some interesting academic work within the last decade which discusses this further, and I plan on sharing part of that in future posts).

St Bees Head, from Wikipedia

There’s, of course, a lot more history to this span of territory, ranging from the story of Rheged and, well… a lot of other things, all for another day. The point, I suppose, is that there was a lot to be shared between these two areas, and at the root of it, it appears both also shared the fact that both were part of the Yr Hen Ogledd (the Old North), and shared a root dialect… Cumbric Brythonic.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Of course, all of this also complicates the next time I visit the UK, as I’ve got more territory to cover than I will have time. 🙂 In the meantime, however, I will enjoy a shared… deep… history between the two lines… Muir and Nicholson. In the absence of detailed history of the area, it’s great that there are at least bardic tales of Yr Hen Ogledd, in Y Gododdin, the Llyfr Taliesin (Book of Taliesin), and Trioedd Ynys Prydein (Triads of the Island of Britain).

I figured I’d close the post with one of Taliesin’s works, focused on Urien Yrechwydd. Though a debated topic, Urien, lord of Yrechwydd/Erechwydd, may have been in the Kingdom of Rhedged. More specifically, Yrechwydd may be one of the territories associated with Urien Rheged… perhaps North Yorkshire. It is mentioned in two of the Taliesin poems dedicated to him and Urien is described as udd ‘lord’ of Yrechwydd in both. It is also mentioned in the later Llywarch Hen, a poem about Urien… and in the Armes Prydein. “Echwydd” is believed to mean “region against the fresh water”, and has been seen as a synonym for Catraeth (meaning “waterfall”… and, there was a Battle of Catraeth, around 600 AD), though it could equally refer to any area with a significant river or lake – perhaps the Eden Valley or the Lake District.

But, before I go down that rabbit hole too far, here’s an exceptional reading of Urien Erechwydd by Jimi the Piper… in a dialect that would be far more familiar to those who lived in a much earlier time…


Published by Robert Moore

Historian, writer, hypertext & Web literacy theorist

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