Published on Apr 27, 2015
There is limited knowledge on the biological relatedness between citizens and on the demographic dynamics within villages, towns and cities in pre-17th-century Western Europe. By combining Y-chromosomal genotypes, in-depth genealogies and surname data in a strict genetic genealogical approach, it has been possible to gain insights into the genetic diversity and the relatedness among indigenous paternal lineages within six Flemish communities at the time of surname adoption between 14th-15th century. Since these communities have been selected based on differences in geography and historical development, the genetic results provide relevant information in historical sciences, demography, forensic genetics and genealogy.
Dr. Maarten Larmuseau, evolutionary geneticist, University of Leuven - Dr. Maarten Larmuseau is a senior postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium). He is an evolutionary geneticist interested in the interaction between genetics, evolution and history in humans and animals. Currently he is making use of genetic genealogical tools within forensic, historical and human sociobiological research. His research in e.g. historical cuckoldry rates, the false identification of relics attributed to French kings, and the detection of forgotten historical migration events in the 16th century is well known by both academics and the broad public.
There is limited knowledge on the biological relatedness between citizens and on the demographical dynamics within villages, towns and cities in pre-17th century Western Europe. By combining Y-chromosomal genotypes, in-depth genealogies and surname data in a strict genetic genealogical approach, it is possible to provide insights into the genetic diversity and the relatedness between indigenous paternal lineages within a particular community at the time of the surname adoption. To obtain these insights, six Flemish communities were selected in this study based on the differences in geography and historical development. After rigorous selection of appropriate DNA donors, low relatedness between Y chromosomes of different surnames was found within each community, although there is co-occurrence of these surnames in each community since the start of the surname adoption between the 14th and 15th century. Next, the high communal diversity in Y-chromosomal lineages was comparable with the regional diversity across Flanders at that time. Moreover, clinal distributions of particular Y-chromosomal lineages between the communities were observed according to the clinal distributions earlier observed across the Flemish regions and Western Europe. No significant indication for genetic differences between communities with distinct historical development was found in the analysis. These genetic results provide relevant information for studies in historical sciences, archaeology, forensic genetics and genealogy.