Dr Jobling Traces Viking DNA

Viking warriorsProfessor Mark Jobling of Leicester University, who now seems to be the ultimate authority on Viking bloodlines in northern England within the national project to create a genetic map of the UK, has launched a new exciting study. Men whose fathers’ fathers were born in Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Yorkshire, Durham or Northumberland are wanted to take part in it.

Special attention is paid to people with such local surnames as Borrowdale, Branthwaite, Haygarth, Oldcorn, Satterthwaite and Thornthwaite. However, all eligible volunteers will be sent DNA sample kits in order to determine if they have Viking heritage. Professor Jobling formulated the aim of the study as follows: “What we want to end up with is a map of the north of Britain showing where the Vikings were concentrated and distinguishing between the Norse Vikings who landed in the west and the Danish Vikings to the east.” The research associate Dr Turi King comments: “The East Midlands is a particularly important area as it formed the heartlands of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and large parts also fell within the area of the Danelaw, an area dominated Danish Vikings during the 9th and 10th centuries.”

How Vikings affected this area is evident in such placenames as Flimby, Birkby, Crosby, Allerby and Dovenby, but the effect on genetics thus far has been less clear. The initiative is part of The People of the British Isles project headed by Professor Sir Walter Bodmer at the University of Oxford. The recently launched research on Viking DNA in Northern England is funded by the Wellcome Trust and forms part of the grant “What’s in a name? Applying patrilineal surnames to forensics, population history, and genetic epidemiology.” It will help to discover the genetic impact of the Angles, Saxons and Vikings on present day Britain.

It is important that some of such genetic variation contributes to inherited differences in susceptibility to cancer and heart disease. The study will continue until late 2010, after which the results will be published.

Photo courtesy jriro2000. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence.

47 comments… add one
  • David Cook-Billings

    Cooke line that came from Angln and migrated to Brittan, East Saxon Ingvaeonic speaking Anglo-Saxon. I am a decendant of Sir Thomas Cooke of Essex, of Gidea Hall. My mother side are Billings from Scandinavia that migrated to Brittan, Northrumbia. There is decendants of Woden in the Essex Cooke family.

  • John

    Hi I would like to know if my Surname
    Excell is an origin of the Viking name or not

  • Peta

    Hi, my name is Peta & I live on the Gold Coast, Australia. I have a neighbour born in Hungary now living in Australia. He believes he has Viking blood because he has a problem with his hands. He showed it to me & the inside of his hand is distorted. I know this not very enlightening descriptive, but he’s gone away on holidays so I can’t find out the name of it. I think it has something to do with the tendons. Do you know anything about this & how cold he confirm his Viking heritage. I know the Vikings crossed Europe inland to get to Turkey & they probably went through Hungary. Do you know anything about this. I’m so glad I found your site. Peta

    • Kenth Magnusson

      Hi Peta
      This is very interesting, there are several disorders genetic from acient north..
      i can´t recall the name of the thumb, because it is the thumb :) he might look further in this

  • Daniel

    Hello, I have a question and that is…
    How can you trace your bloodline to a certain family or group of Viking?
    I am 50% Norse and 50% French Canadian. My last name I dont think is Viking but I could be wrong, I cant find anyone I dont know with the same last name and that is Mathnay.

  • Jim Saunders

    I have had my DNA tested via ScotlandsDNA project and the results are in. My Fatherline is Norse Viking. I live in Central Scotland, the Family Tree with ancestors in South Ayrshire.

  • larry

    Others may claim 35x relation to rollo of normandy…but ill tell you this i am direct line and make no mistake….no other can make such a claim without dna to back it up and pedigree..i being a ballenger-belanger-berengar-berenger-bäranger-beringer i am from a split side of rollo thru poppa of bayuex thus thru william longspeil ..aka the conqueror and the raider duke of sussex berengar bear spear the slayer of the roman wolves and the english dragons all fell before him..the founder of the saxons themselves…dane swede,norman,saxon,norwegian,finn,russ,vargarian,bulgar,you name it x70 generations down the line each and all vik to the bone and out in flame not a one dieing of old age..if anyone and anyone alone can make a claim to rollo the walker it is i and i alone who can do so other may claim 2-3-4 th place but never first for my line has spread far and wide and their and no others who can ever make such a claim.. hail allfather..til ragnarok!

  • Ginny Ayotte-Prunty Nielsen

    It is so interesting reading all of your comments. My grandmother was born in Roren, Sem, Norway. As far as I have found so far, they are all from Norway. Nielsen, Hansen, and such. My grandfather (her husband), was born in Sheffield England but his parents were both Irish from Northern Ireland. Prunty, Gallagher, O’Connell and such. Since I am on my own on my paternal side, I wonder how to research this more completely. I don’t know if I have any Viking ancestors?? My dad told me that I did. Perhaps a DNA test would be best. My maternal line is almost totally Spaniard although I am extremely fair skinned, red hair and brown eyes?

    • Kenth Magnusson

      There is some that might makes your roots stronger, for example the family names wich ends with sen in sweden son .. it means son of in your case son of Niels and son of Hans, very common name in scandinavia. that was the name of the simple people whom come from the roots. they have for sure 1000% Norweigan blood or as in Sweden they name would be Nilsson or Hansson Son of Nils or son of Hans ,, and btw my name is Magnusson , Son of Magnus and in Norway Magnusen

  • Jaume

    I suspect catalans have our origins in the goths. They came to the hispania peninsula after sacking rome, and established there -among other places-. Then the muslim invasion came, and the goths began the re-conquest, one of their first settlements was Catalonia. In catalan language it is ‘Catalunya’. And it’s very similar to the scandinavian ‘gotholaunia’, and almost with the same pronunciation.
    the name was given mostly by the rest of hispanic peninsula settlers, who saw catalonia as ‘the land of the goths’.
    during the reconquest many new kingdoms emerged, catalonia was one among others.
    what you call modern-day spain, is in reality the old kingdom os castilla, imposing its politics and language to the others. but catalonia resisted it and that’s why there was war, and conflict until today. barcelona fell in 1714 after a large and hard siege against castilla’s army, helped by the french army -the biggest in europe-. we consider ourselves an occupied country, and not see ourselves as ‘spaniards’. and they bitterly hate us, their press and politicians are always trash-talking about us. One famous spanish saying, by general espartero in the 19th century, after bombing barcelona twice with artillery, was: ‘if we want spain to run smoothly, we must bomb catalans every 50 years. Nowadays politicians keep saying the same. They always saw us as strangers, as europeans embedded in their country. That’s why, among many other reasons, catalans want independence.

    just remember that modern-day conflicts usually have their roots on the past.

  • Don

    Hello, My surname is Morse and so far i have spotty information at best. Sofar I
    hav found that my ancestor was given land in england by william the conqueror, started the city at moers germany. Is there a viking heritage here and where do i find out more information

  • 35th Generation

    The following comes from a book published regarding my families name and has the following comments regarding my greatX35 grandfather who
    –was descended from Rolf the Norseman , who , under Rollo , landed on the shore of Neustra France (Normandy) , with Rolf Ganger (Rolf the Walker) a prince of Norway, in the 9th century for the conquest of that province. Members of this family still are in leadership roles across the UK and North America. The Viking bloodline has passed down along with our family name for over 35 generations.

    • Viking Rune

      Thanks for sharing this. Such a bloodline is quite a responsibility, isn’t it?

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