M H D Larmuseau et al.
Patrilineal heritable surnames are widely used to select autochthonous participants for studies on small-scale population genetic patterns owing to the unique link between the surname and a genetic marker, the Y-chromosome (Y-chr). Today, the question arises as to whether the surname origin will be informative on top of in-depth genealogical pedigrees. Admixture events that happened in the period after giving heritable surnames but before the start of genealogical records may be informative about the additional value of the surname origin. In this context, an interesting historical event is the demic migration from French-speaking regions in Northern France to the depopulated and Dutch-speaking region Flanders at the end of the sixteenth century. Y-chr subhaplogroups of individuals with a French/Roman surname that could be associated with this migration event were compared with those of a group with autochthonous Flemish surnames. Although these groups could not be differentiated based on in-depth genealogical data, they were significantly genetically different from each other. Moreover, the observed genetic divergence was related to the differences in the distributions of main Y-subhaplogroups between contemporary populations from Northern France and Flanders. Therefore, these results indicate that the surname origin can be an important feature on top of in-depth genealogical results to select autochthonous participants for a regional population genetic study based on Y-chromosomes.
Keywords: admixture; genetic genealogy; historical gene flow; human population structure; Y-chromosome