Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Harrison Y DNA Haplogroups in the Egton/Glaisdale/Lyth area of North Yorkshire

So far three distinct Y DNA haplogroups have been discovered in the Catholic Harrison lines of the Egton/Glaisdale/Lyth area of North Yorkshire.

The William Harrison (d. 1778) and Ann line of Glaisdaleside in Egton is haplogroup R-M269.  This is the most common haplogroup in Europe and has more than 100 million people in it. 

The Joseph Harrison (d. 1780) and Jane Hodgson line of Whinns is haplogroup I-M223 (I2b).  Haplogroup I is found almost exclusively in Europe, where about 20% of men have Y-chromosomes belonging to the haplogroup. It began spreading about 30,000 to 45,000 years ago among some of the first Homo sapiens to inhabit Europe.

The haplogroup's two main branches, I1 and I2, divided about 28,000 years ago. My Harrisons are I2b.  Archaeological evidence indicates it was a time of rapid change in Europe, as a new culture known as the Gravettian moved westward across the continent. The Grevettian people introduced new stone tool technology, as well as novel art forms typified by the distinctive fertility symbols known as "Venus" figurines.

Not long after haplogroup I arrived in Europe, the advancing Ice Age limited most of the continent's inhabitants to its southern fringes. Only Iberia, the Italian peninsula and the Balkans were mild enough to support substantial numbers of humans. As a result, the distribution of the haplogroup's branches today reflects the migrations that took place as the glaciers began retreating about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Having two distinct Y DNA haplogroups in this area raises the question of which line is truly descended from Henry Harrison (d. 1727) and Dorothy Rudd?  

Further testing of other lines might give some indication. However the naming of the children of Henry's children may provide some clue.   It has not gone unnoticed that there are no children named Henry or Dorothy in the William Harrison line of Glaisdaleside in Egton while the names repeat through the generations of the Joseph Harrison and Jane Hodgson line of Tranmire.  Testing the Y DNA of direct male descendants of Henry Harrison's other three sons - Francis of Shorefoot, John of Greenhouses and Henry of Shorefoot would certainly provide added weight to one line versus the other.  Now, if I could only find a living direct male descendant of these lines to test.  They are proving elusive.

Finally, there is the line of Catholic Henry Harrison and his wife Frances Cornforth who show up in the 1780 recusant list from Skelton a bit to the north.  His line is haplogroup J-M172.  Descendants of this Henry Harrison later moved to Greenhouses in Glaisdale which of course led to confusion between the family lines.