In recent years the science of genetic genealogy has made it possible for people to find out who they are by establishing where they probably came from and who they are or might be related to. This month there is a particularly strong interest in Scotland with the publication of Alistair Moffat’s new book The Scots – a Genetic Journey – with accompanying Scotsman serial (Part 4 does Vikings and Isles) and Radio Scotland programmes.
The Clan Morrison Society of North America is sponsoring a project to allow people of Morrison ancestry to use this new tool, and the findings may be of significance to other old Lewis families.
The project is based on the premise that the Y-chromosome, and thus its DNA, passes through the generations from father to son to grandson to great-grandson and so on. For this reason the project is looking for male Morrisons (or those with a related surname in the direct male line). The team would like very much to have a male descendant from the family of the Brieves at Habost come forward, which may reveal something about the Morrison history in the Western Isles.
By becoming a participant an individual may have his YDNA compared to other Morrisons who are participants in the project. This can make family connections to other Morrisons, which can help solve puzzles posed by “paper genealogy” and gaps in family histories.
There is a particular interest for island Smiths descended from “Gille Padruig” and his sons John and Farquhar, of Earshader. This family is the origin of many of the Smith groups in Lewis – including those at Valtos and Lochs – and a DNA sample from a Brieve descendant could help to establish whether our Smiths are in fact Morrisons, as DNA matches are so far suggesting is a possibility.
Family Tree DNA is the company providing the comparisons and general information is available on their website. For more information about the project, including published results to date, visit the project website at Genetic Cousins or contact Edwin Holcombe, Project Administrator.
DNA is a new area for us (me) but our (my) interest is piqued now. If you’ve done a DNA test and have any findings regarding Uig or Lewis families, we’d be interested in hearing from you, either below or by email.