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Rarity of the Z36 Haplogroup in Devon

by Philip Shaddock

There is additional evidence for a migration of a single family into Devon from our ancestral grounds. It comes from the analysis of the Devon DNA Project results at FTDNA (the testing company Family Tree DNA). The Devon DNA project is focused on surnames of people who have ancestors who lived in the county of Devon, England. There are 515 members of the Devon DNA project. 

The Y-DNA results of 499 members of the project into haplogroups. Haplogroups is the scientific name for "branches" of the human family, so it is a useful way of categorizing people according to their DNA results. People who belong to the same subclade are closely related in a relative basis.

A large number of the testers, 380, have been autosomal tested, so we cannot count them. Of the remaining, 102 testers have not done testing to the level where we know what subclade they belong to.  That leaves us with 110 people who we can compare ourselves to.

P312 is a subclade (branch of) M269. (See on the map.) We belong to this subclade. Only 53 of the 110 Devon testers have ancestors who belong to this subclade. 

Now let's come forward in time again and follow our ancestors to the next location. U152 is a subclade of P312 that migrated to roughly the German and Swiss Alps and down into Italy. It was formed about 4500 years ago. We are a member of this branch. Only 5 of the 110 members of the Devon DNA group are assigned to this subclade. Wow. This is pretty significant. 

Of course the final migration was to the German and Swiss Alps and the founding of the La Tène culture about 4500 years. This is the Z36 subclade. There are two members of this subclade in the Devon project. The Z36 subclade in extremely rare among people who trace their most distant ancestors to Devon. 

I am one of those two members. The second, kit # 600768, traces his most distant ancestor back to Philip Holmes Or Adames, b. 1601 d. 1677, Bickleigh Devon. He belongs to a subclade of Z36 called A7970. This subclade shares a common ancestor with our subclade ca. 4700 years ago or 2700 B.C. 

What does this mean? I think it adds evidence to a theory that says Shattockes, Parrishs and Byars were not part of a mass migration of La Tène descendants to England. There must have been a single individual or single family that arrived in England. Unless plagues and families had a particularly devastating effect on our ancestors, it is quite possible our common ancestor was a relatively recent immigrant to England from continental Europe, in the late 15th century. Of course, it is also possible the migrant came from north or south of Devon. But the etymological study of the name suggests a recent German origin.  

Does this analysis of the DNA data at the Devon DNA project prove that Shattockes, Parrishs and Byas's were immigrants to England about this time period? No, but it does provide some evidence to support that theory. If Shattockes and our genetic cousins were part of a large migration or invasion, or part of a steady trickle of migrants, we would expect a lot more U152 or Z36 DNA results to show up among the large sample (100+) of Devon descendants. But so far, I am the single individual who shows up as a Z36 Celtic immigrant to Devon among all Devon testers.

Was there an invasion of a large number of La Tène celts into England? Kees Recourt, who studies Z36 celts has produced a map that shows where modern descendants of La Tène celts now live. The heaviest cluster is around Switzerland. Then around northern Italy and north around Mannheim in Germany (which also happens to have a large concentration of modern Schadocks!). You don't see any dots in France, but the state has made it illegal "to preserve the peace in families." The dots on the land mass of England appear to be fairly evenly scattered. What this shows is that there are no heavy concentrations of Z36 celts in England. Of course we need a larger sample to be more definitive, but add this to the list of reasons why I think the 14th century common ancestor we Shattockes are all descended from was an invasion of a single immigrant into England. He was carrying a green card, not a sword or axe.