What is agnatic ancestry?
Genetic information, from both living humans and ancient
skeletons, is rapidly solving mysteries of human prehistory.
Three distinct types of DNA are mitochondrial (passed mother to child),
Y-chromosome (passed father to son) and autosomal (passed
from both parents to their children).
With only limited time, I have focused on the Y-chromosome.
There are several reasons for my focus.
(A) Surnames usually follow the Y-chromosome; for this reason some
people can guess their Y-haplogroup without even getting a DNA test;
(B) Most societies are patrilocal: brides move to their husband's
village rather than vice versa;
(C) Clans or castes are often based on male inheritance.
The dominant caste will have a huge procreative advantage over their
subjects: Y-chromosome diagrams may show their success long after
their history is forgotten.
at the rapid fan-out of P312
in the lower-left of the diagram to see what I mean.
Click on the image for an expanded version.)
Below there is more discussion of point (C).
Patrilocality (B) means that Y-chromosome distributions
will appear much 'crisper' on geographic charts than mtDNA
haplogroups (uterine lines). Northeastern Siberia has
matrilocal societies and there the effect is reversed:
the mtDNA distributions are crisp, while Y-haplogroups are blurred.
(Reading that most societies are patrilocal surprised me
a little since I knew from my own experience that Thai society is
matrilocal. But when I Googled ... there was Thailand cited
as one of the few matrilocal societies.)
While reviewing Y-haplogroup information it is always important
to keep in mind the profound difference between ordinary ancestry and
You have two grandfathers, four different great-grandfathers,
eight 2-g grandfathers and so on.
You have over a thousand 9-g grandfathers, over a million
19-g grandfathers, a billion 29-g grandfathers, and over a
trillion 39-g grandfathers!
Ooops! That's impossible; the number of humans who've ever
lived is less than a trillion. You have a trillion 39-g grandfather
slots in your pedigree, but many of these slots will be filled
by the same people. Charlemagne might appear a billion times in your
And yet, among the thousand 9-g grandfathers, only one is
your agnatic 9-g grandfather, your father's father's father's father's
father's father's father's father's father's father's father.
Among the trillion 39-g grandfathers, only one is
your agnatic 39-g grandfather.
Among the googols of 340-g grandfather slots, only one is
the agnatic slot, the ancestor from whom your father
inherited his Y-chromosome.
Indfhine and other Gaelic inheritance rules
In order to determine eligibility and settle claims
(e.g. blood money for murdered kinfolk or ascent to a lordship)
the earliest Irish and Scots people memorized agnatic genealogies,
and we can infer that
their bards and Druids memorized these lineages long before
there were written records!
There seem to be traces of similar systems in ancient Hindu
The agnatic lineage is important in some cultures.
And, while male invaders were often happy to mate with indigenous women,
the genetic evidence shows that indigenous males often had
little or no procreative success after they were conquered by invaders.
Ancient Agnatic Lineages
Here's a (very ancient!) genealogical lineage you may be familiar with.
- G11: Adam, husband of Eve & 11-gt grandfather of Eber
- G10: Seth
- G9: Enos, 9-gt grandfather of Eber
- G8: Cainan
- G7: Mahalaleel
- G6: Jared, 6-gt grandfather of Eber
- G5: Enoch
- G4: Methusaleh, 4-gt grandfather of Eber
- G3: Laamech
- G2: Noah NOAH:
→ Japheth, Ham
- G1: Shem NOAH:
→ Aram, Asshur, Elam, Lud
- G0: Arphaxad, grandfather of Eber
- G-1: Salah
- G-2: Eber the Prophet EBER:
- G-3: Peleg
We ignore mother connections in the genealogies on this page,
so twenty generations get condensed into a very short list.
Adam had multiple sons, but the agnatic lines of all but Seth
eventually went extinct. Similarly, all surviving human males
have the Y-chromosome of Enos, and of Cainan, and indeed of all the
males in the list until we get to Noah.
Eber had sons other than Joktam and Peleg,
by the way, but as far as can be found in
Biblical genealogies, the agnatic lines of the other sons soon went extinct.
If we accept Biblical myth, then Adam is the agnatic ancestor of
ALL living humans, as are Seth, Enos, etc. all the way to Noah.
No other Y-chromosomes have survived. We're all descended from
Noah's uncle Eliakim also, of course -- he was the father-in-law
of Noah's sons, but Eliakim's agnatic line went extinct in
Noah had three sons each with living agnates. Men that have three
or more sons with agnates living today are of special interest;
we will label them NOAH,
in acknowledgemnt of the first such (legendary) man.
For each NOAH, all but one of the sons with living agnates apppears
to his right in red (as Japheth and Ham do), while the son whose line
we follow (Shem) appears below the NOAH.
Noah's son Shem also fits the requirement for
We will also speak of "EBER"s,
who have two sons with living agnates,
again named after a famous Biblical progenitor.
The Y-chromosome of King James I (and VI)
But we're not interested in the legendary ancestry of the legendary
Prophets of Genesis.
Instead we will focus on a particular Stuart family.
And yet we will see that, like the line to the Prophet Eber, there are many
ancestors along the way whose Y-chromosome survives in only a single son.
Stewart is a common surname in the British Isles and America.
There are various different Stewart families, but many are descended
from the ancient Lord High Stewards of Scotland -- it is that line we
We will root the tree at James Stuart (King James I of England).
He has many living agnates (although many developed surnames like FitzRoy).
The lineage has a clear character, albeit one which might be viewed in
"racist" terms: We see the a single line of males "walking point", almost
acting as "the tip of a spear."
By the way, 30 years is a good estimate, at least in historic times,
of the generation gap between father and son. (24 years is a good
estimate for mother-to-daughter gaps.)
Following is the lineage of interest.
(Of course we don't know the names of most of these men, so we assign them
"names" like 'G20000.')
- G20000: b. 598k BC, 20000-gt grandfather of King James
- G19200: b. 573,000 BC EBER
→ ancestor of Neanderthal (and Denisovan) Man
- G10000: b. 298k BC, 10000-gt grandfather of King James
G10000 was the agnatic ancestor of ALL of us.
Even if Homo sapiens existed this early, there's no guarantee
G10000 was of that species. He might have been some other strain
of Homo heidelbergensis
(the common ancestor of Neanderthal man and us),
with his descendants eventually breeding with Homo sapiens
- G8853: b. 264,000 BC Mrca of A00-T EBER
→ A00-AF6 (Bangwa & Mbo)
G8853 had two sons,
each with agnates living today. Almost all living humans
are agnates of one son (G8852, aka A0-T) but the very rare Y-chromosome
of a second son has shown up, especially among certain
tribes of Cameroon (and neighboring Berbers).
And did G8853 live in Northwest Africa? That's where most of
his agnates live today and Google finds websites that assume he
lived in Northwest Africa, but a lot of migration can take
place in 260,000 years!
The figures we show (King James' 8853-g grandfather, born
about 264,000 BC was the 'EBER' with two sons who left
agnates) is just an estimate.
Yfull.Com (2017), which we use for other estimates, shows the
A00 branching at 234,000 BC.
- G6650: b. 198k BC, 6650-gt grandfather of King James
We know that 99% of living males share the Y-chromosome of G6650,
while the chromosome of A00-AF6 barely survives.
But what were the sizes of these clans 200,000 years ago?
The A00 clan might have been dominant
then; we just don't know. Eventually the DNA in some very old skeletons
may be sequenced and we will know more.
- G5550: b. 165k BC, 5550-gt grandfather of King James
- G5360: b. 159,300 BC Mrca of A0-T EBER
→ A0-P305 (Bakola Pygmies)
- G4430: b. 131,400 BC Mrca of A1 EBER
- G4340: b. 128,700 BC Mrca of A1b EBER
→ A1b1-A6 (Bushman etc.)
- G3550: b. 105k BC, 3550-gt grandfather of King James
- G3050: b. 90k BC, 3050-gt grandfather of King James
- G2917: b. 86,000 BC Mrca of BT EBER
→ B-M60 (Pygmy & Hadzabe etc.)
- G2650: b. 78k BC, 2650-gt grandfather of King James
Mutations facilitating language probably emerged about this time
and soon spread to all human populations.
- G2455: b. 72k BC, approx. date of Toba super-eruption
- G2350: b. 69k BC, 2350-gt grandfather of King James
The next several lines are conjectured, and dates guessed.
- G2345: led a clan of hunters near the Great Rift.
- G2300: b. 67,500 BC, 2300-gt grandfather of King James
- G2300: led a clan of shellfish seekers near Yemen
- G2267: b. 66,500 BC Mrca of CT EBER
G2267 probably lived near Yemen or Ethiopia.
D (to East Asia) & E (back to Africa) soon split.
D is now rarish, found especially in Tibet and among Ainu.
E dominates Africa; especially important are two clades of E,
which we will call E-Berber and E-Bantu, dominant in North Africa
and Sub-saharan Africa respectively.
A few DE* are found in Ethiopia and Tibet.
(There are some E's in the Middle East, and Southern and Southeast Europe
as a result of Neolithic and post-Neolithic migrations. E's are also found
among the Paleolithic skeletons from Europe.)
- G2250: b. 66k BC, 2250-gt grandfather of King James
- G2180: b. 63,900 BC Mrca of CF EBER
C become dominant in Asia. Today, clades are found in Japan,
Eastern and Northern India, New Guinea and its neighbors,
aboriginal Australia. Another clade is dominant among the
Mongols (and other Asian tribes) and among American tribes like the Apaches.
The C Y-chromosome may have been dominant among the Cro-Magnon (Aurignacian)
of Europe but is very rare in today's Europe.
About this time the bow and arrow may have appeared in Africa.
(Bone sewing needles to stitch animal hides together may have first
appeared about this time, but weren't well represented until
the Aurignacian era, 30,000 years later. The bow-and-arrow
may not have left Africa until even later.)
- G2050: b. 60k BC, 2050-gt grandfather of King James
- G1997: b. 58,400 BC, led a band of hunters near the Great Rift.
(He and his next few successors are fanciful.)
- G1995: Usurped the band leadership from his older brother.
- G1993: Born a bastard, he fled from his half-brothers who wanted to kill him.
- G1992: Servant in band 200 miles from Great Rift; cuckolded band leader.
- G1990: Became band chief.
- G1988: Took over second band, then third.
- G1985: Co-leader of largish clan.
- G1983: Dominated growing clan.
- G1981: Continued to expand clan power.
- G1976: Principle leader of largish tribe.
- G1974: b, 57,700 BC, younger brother of clan chief,
left to start his own band.
- G1973: Et cetera.
- G1750: b. 51k BC, 1750-gt grandfather of King James
- G1617: b. 47,000 BC Mrca of FT EBER
Somewhere near Pakistan a huge population expansion began.
- G1614: b. 46,900 BC EBER
- G1604: b. 46,600 BC Mrca of GHIJK EBER
→ G (widely dispersed)
- G1602: b. 46,500 BC Mrca of HIJK EBER
→ H (India)
F1, G, H are common among ancient European skeletons, but today
H is almost confined to India (and Romani "gypsies"); G has high levels
only near the Caucasus.
- G1558: b. 45,200 BC Mrca of IJK EBER
After many thousands of years, IJ splits
into I (Europe's Solutrean culture) and J (Near East).
- G1550: b. 45k BC, 1550-gt grandfather of King James
The lineage moves Eastward.
- G1499: b. 43,450 BC Mrca of K EBER
Perhaps centered near Central India,
another break-out occurs.
After 15 or 20,000 years LT separates into L (India) and T (dispersed).
- G1498: b. 43,420 BC Mrca of K2 NOAH
→ NO, K2c, K2d
The O haplogroup is dominant in today's East Asia;
N remained single-line until 20,000 BC but is now found throughout
Northern Eurasia, from tribes like Eskimos and Evenks in the East
and Finns and Saami in the West.
- G1497: b. 43,400 BC Mrca of K2b EBER
M and S are found in New Guinea and neighboring islands.
The ancestor of P began moving back toward Pakistan, and eventually
northward to the Eurasian steppes.
- G1350: b. 39k BC, 1350-gt grandfather of King James
- G1150: b. 33k BC, 1150-gt grandfather of King James
- G1050: b. 30k BC, 1050-gt grandfather of King James
By this time the Aurignacian (Cro-Magnon) revolution was underway.
But those humans weren't in P haplogroup.
The ancestor of Q and R at this time was just a single man,
somewhere near central Eurasia.
And the Cro-Magnon people weren't in haplogroup I either;
like P, today's I haplogroup was probably represented at this time by
just a single man, whose ancestor had migrated from the Near East
to southern Europe.
- G1037: b. 29,600 BC Mrca of P EBER
Q is rare and scattered over Northeast Asia and India. One branch of Q
bridged across Beringia and eventually populated the Americas.
There are two major groups of Q's in Europe (primarily in Scandinavia);
one might descend from Central Asians (perhaps the Huns), another
group is a distant clade, cousin to the North Americans to Europe.
- G950: b. 27k BC, 950-gt grandfather of King James
- G927: b. 26,300 BC Mrca of R EBER
With the Aurignacian well underway in Europe, with C, F*/G/K*
haplogroups; and the I haplogroup just beginning to expand,
a line of R develops in Central Asia.
- G924: b. 26,200 BC Mrca of R-Y482 EBER
→ R2 (India)
- G750: b. 21k BC, 750-gt grandfather of King James
- G743: b. 20,800 BC Mrca of R1-P238 EBER
- G663: b. 18,400 BC Mrca of R1b-M343 EBER
- G625: It was during his time that there was a split between the
Q strain that took the Americas, and a strain found today in Scandinavia.
- G613: b. 16,900 BC Mrca of R1b-L278 EBER
- G553: b. 15,100 BC Mrca of R1b-L754 EBER
V88 is an important clade, traveling via Europe to West Africa where it
is associated with the Chadic language family.
It is still found in Europe, though rarish compared with other R1b strains.
It is found in North Central Africa, with highest concentration in the
north of Cameroon.
- G550: b. 15k BC, 550-gt grandfather of King James
- G543: b. 14,800 BC Mrca of R1b-L389 EBER
- G450: b. 12k BC, 450-gt grandfather of King James
- G427: b. 11,300 BC Mrca of R1b-P297 EBER
→ M478 (found among Tocharian skeletons and Bashkir)
- G350: b. 9000 BC, 350-gt grandfather of King James
- G250: b. 6000 BC, 250-gt grandfather of King James
R1b-P297 is found in the Early Samara culture near the Volga River.
- G200: b. 4500 BC, 200-gt grandfather of King James
R1b, R1a and Q are all found in the Pontic-Caspian steppes.
Central and Western Europe, however, are dominated by haplogroups
G, I, T, F*, in approximately that order, with ever-dwindling presence
of C, H, J, but increasing presence of E.
- G195: b. 4300 BC Mrca of R1b-M269 EBER
The important Kurgan cultures of Eastern Europe are becoming
prominent. King James' agnatic ancestor was probably a "royal prince"
of Samara, but the royal family of Khvalnysk was R1a.
As these cultures evolve into Yamnaya, an R1a royal caste becomes
dominant in the East (near the Volga River), while R1b becomes
dominant in the West (near the Dnieper River).
- G192: b. 4200 BC Mrca of R1b-L23 EBER
- G180: b. 3900 BC Mrca of R1b-L51 NOAH
→ L51*, Z2118
Does the "tip of the spear" move westward, with Z2118 especially
associated with the Globular Amphora culture?
Probably not. Instead, the royal caste of Western Yamnaya
remained centered in East Europe for several centuries,
and then some "princes" moved west.
- G160: b. 3300 BC . By this time, wagon-building skill was
diffusing widely, but not widely enough to stop the Yamnaya
people and their kin who continually raid into the Hungarian
basin, between the lower Danube and the Carpathian mountains.
From there, men from the steppes can turn toward Greece or
northern Italy, can continue up the Danube, westward to France
or northward into the German Plain.
We'll guess G160 still lived to the North of the Black Sea.
- G155: b. 3150 BC . Prince in Carpathian Basin.
- G147: b. 2900 BC . Prince in Carpathian Basin.
We can't be sure where Princes G155 and G147 lived.
We can be sure this clan soon moved West and North to become
the dominant Y-chromosome of Corded Ware.
They had a cousin who may have stayed behind in Hungary,
but a few centuries later had descendant (P312) who moved West all
the way to France.
These "Yamnaya Princes had knowledge, charisma,
strength and horse-riding skills.
- G144: b. 2800 BC Mrca of R1b-L151 NOAH
→ U106, S1200, L151*, A8039, A8051
Rapid expansion begins. U106 is especially common among Germanic
people, and is particularly associated with
Corded Ware (and includes Jamie's own agnatic ancestor).
But here we follow U106's brother, the ancestor of P312.
- G138: Moves from Hungary up the Danube, or with the
Stelae people -- a Yamnaya folk who moved west about this
- G134: b. 2500 BC NOAH
- G133: b. 2470 BC Mrca of R1b-P312 NOAH
→ P312*, Z40481 (incl. U152, DF27, DF99), DF19, L238, PH2278, Y18209
An extremely rapid expansion associated with the "Bell Beaker phenomenon."
P312 was a great "King" with many sons and grandsons who began a rapid
conquest of Western Europe.
"U152" was a Prince ancestral to the Urnfield Bronze Age.
"DF27" was U152's brother; he and his sons conquered Spain (their descendants
later invaded Ireland).
"DF99" was an uncle of U152 and DF27 whose descendants headed for Denmark,
and so on.
We just follow the line to King James.
- G131: b. 2410 BC Mrca of R1b-S461 EBER
- G130: b. 2380 BC Mrca of R1b-L21 NOAH
→ L21*, CTS300, A5846, BY2899
This Bell Beaker Prince remained initially near P312's homeland
in Bavaria. Some of his descendants moved to England.
- G129: The Amesbury Archer, whose famous tomb is near Stonehenge,
might be the 129-gt agnatic grandfather of King James I.
- G128: b. 2330 BC NOAH
- G127: b. 2300 BC Mrca of R1b-DF13 NOAH
→ DF13*, Z253, L195, S219, DF21, FGC11134, DF1, Y5305, Y9097, Y16233, Y15071, Y14049, Y9090, L679, CTS2457.2, Y28571, Z251, etc.
- G125: b. 2250 BC NOAH
- G123: b. 2200 BC Mrca of R1b-Z39589 NOAH
→ DF49, L1335, Z251, L371, CTS1751, S1051, S1026, etc.
- G120: b. 2100 BC NOAH
- G118: b. 2030 BC Mrca of R1b-DF41 NOAH
→ Y8426, CTS6581*, MC21, FGC14692, FGC13017, Z18021, V1246, Y22326, Y3515, etc.
- G117: b. 2000 BC Mrca of R1b-S775 EBER
- G100: b. 1500 BC, 100-gt grandfather of King James
The L744/L745 mutation occurred sometime after the branching to A600
but before the branching to Y4954.
- G50: b. 1 AD, 50-gt grandfather of King James
- G40: b. 300 AD, 40-gt grandfather of King James
- G32: In response to the Anglo-Saxon invasions of England,
some Britons fled across the Channel to Armorica, which therefore
became known as Brittany. King James' ancestor was probably one of these.
Several centuries later, the line followed William Conqueror
back to Britain.
- G30: b. 600 AD, 30-gt grandfather of King James
- G20: b. 900 AD, 20-gt grandfather of King James
('circa' assumed on all dates before here)
- G16: b. ca 1000 Alan (Dapifer/Seneschal/Steward) of Dol
- G15: b. ca 1035 Flaald Seneschal of Dol
- G14: b. ca 1080? Alan FitzFlaald (Baron of Oswestry,
Sheriff of Shropshire) EBER
→ William FitzAlan (R1b-Y4954?, R1b-Y14197?)
- G13: b. 1106 Walter FitzAlan, 1st Lord High Steward of Scotland
- G12: b. ca 1135 Alan FitzWalter, 2nd Lord High Steward
- G11: b. 1178 Walter FitzAlan, 3rd Lord High Steward
- G10: b. 1214 Alexander le Steward, 4th LHS EBER
→ Walter (grandfather of King Robert II)
- G9: b. ca 1246 John of Bonkyll (2nd in command under Wm. Wallace at at Battle of Falkirk) NOAH
→ James of Pierston (ancestor of Earls of Atholl etc.), Alexander (ancestor of Earls of Angus), etc.
The S781 mutation is known to have occurred in John of Bonkyll specifically.
- G8: b. ca 1280 Alan of Darnley, Crookston and Dreghorn (killed at Battle of Halidon Hill)
- G7: b. ca 1315 Alexander of Darnley EBER
→ William of Castlemilk
- G6: b. ca 1345 Alexander (II) of Darnley
- G5: b. ca 1375 John (of Darnley) d'Aubigny (killed
at Siege of Orleans in time of Jeanne d'Arc)
- G4: b. ca 1407 Alan (of Darnley) d'Aubigny (killed in feud)
- G3: b. ca 1430? John Stewart, 10th Earl of Lennox
- G2: b. ca 1472 Matthew Stuart, 11th Earl of Lennox (killed at Battle of Flodden)
- G1: b. ca 1495 John Stuart, 12th Earl of Lennox EBER
→ Jean d'Aubigny
- G0: b. ca 1516 Matthew Stuart, 13th Earl of Lennox & Regent of Scotland (married grand-daughter of Henry VII Tudor)
- G-1: b. 1545 Henry Lord Darnley (3rd husband of Marie Queen of France and Scots; murdered when he attempted to usurp throne)
- G-2: b. 1566 King James I (VI of Scots)
- G-3: b. 1600 King Charles I EBER
→ King James II (VII of Scots)
- G-4: b. 1630 King Charles II NOAH
Quoted from Nichol (Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland during the Middle Ages):
One of the most important phenomena in a clan-based society is that of
expansion from the top downwards. The seventeenth-century Irish scholar and
genealogist Dualtagh Mac Firbisigh remarked that 'as the sons and families of
the rulers multiplied, so their subjects and followers were squeezed out and
withered away; and this phenomenon, the expansion of the ruling or dominant
stocks at the expense of the remainder, is a normal feature in societies of this
type. It has been observed of the modern Basotho of South Africa that 'there is
a constant displacement of commoners by royals [i.e. members of the royal clan]
and of collateral royals by the direct descendants of the ruling prince;, and
this could have been said without adaptation , of any important Gaelic or
Gaelicized lordship of late medieval Ireland.
In Fermanagh, for example the kingship of the Maguires began only with the
accession of Donn Mór in 1282 and the ramification of the family - with the
exception of one or two small and territorially unimportant septs - began with
the sons of the same man. The spread of his descendants can be seen by the
genealogical tract called Geinelaighe Fhearmanach; by 1607 they must have been
in the possesion of at least three-quarters of the total soil of Fermanagh,
having displaced or reduced the clans which had previously held it. The rate
which an Irish clan could itself must not be underestimated. Turlough an fhíona
O'Donnell, lord of Tirconnell (d. 1423) had eighteen sons (by ten different
women) and fifty-nine grandsons in the male line. Mulmora O'Reilly, the lord of
East Brefny, who died in 1566, had at least fifty-eight O'Reilly grandsons.
Philip Maguire, lord of Fermanagh (d. 1395) had twenty sons by eight mothers,
and we know of at least fifty grandsons. Oliver Burke of Tirawley (two of whose
became Lower Mac William although he himself had never held that position) left
at least thirty-eight grandsons in the male line.
Irish law drew no distinction in matters of inheritance between the
legitimate and the illegitimate and permitted the affiliation of children by
their mother's declaration (see Chapter 4), and the general sexual
permissiveness of medieval Irish society must have allowed a rate of
multiplication approaching that which is permitted by the polygyny
practised in, for instance, the clan societies of southern Africa already cited.