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Manx DNA Project

From ISOGG Wiki

Manx DNA Project
John A Creer
Additional Project Information
DNA type(s) used Y-DNA
Founded August 2010
Project size 170+
Surname variations A selection of ca 120 indigenous Manx surnames
Geographic areas Worldwide
Predominant haplogroup I1+I2, R1a and R1b

The “Manx DNA Project” was established in 2010 to try and establish the level of genetic connections between the males of the main indigenous Manx families, and to establish the scope and depth of their earlier connections with their neighbours in Ireland and Scotland and visiting Scandinavians.


The history of the Isle of Man would suggest that the bulk of the population is of old Celtic genetic origin, with traces of Scandinavian genes, either from the time of the Norse rule of the Island or from intermingling with neighbouring Scots and Irish A study was carried out in 2003 (Capelli et al.) to investigate the genetic make up of the whole of the British Isles which included testing 62 Manx men resident on the Isle of Man and possessing traditional Manx family names (Associated with the BBC series “Blood of the Vikings”). Amongst other findings, this study confirmed the existence in the male population of the British Isles of genetic traces of people of Scandinavian origin in places where Vikings were known to have settled, including the IOM. The broad inference drawn from these results was that approximately 39% of Manx males showed a possible Scandinavian genetic origin (Haplogroups R1a + I) and the remaining 61% (Haplogroup R1b) a Celtic origin. The precision of these particular tests and analyses by today’s standards however is relatively crude and imprecise, as DNA testing and interpretation has progressed dramatically since 2003.

Real progress is now being made with the study with some 70% of the indigenous Manx population tested either fully or in part. Fascinating new insights are now being gained. Please see the three year preliminary report (link at the bottom of this page).

Project Objectives

  • To provide a broad review of the Y-DNA profiles, by haplogroup and haplotype grouping, of members of the main Manx families
  • Wherever possible, to identify genetic linkages between these individual Manx families and other families/tribes/clans outside the Isle of Man and the possible timeframes for such connections.
  • To identify if there are any inter-relationships between the male lines of different Manx families, if they exist.
  • In the long term the results of this study may help to throw further light on the early origins of some traditional Manx family names.


The study is restricted to men bearing a family name belonging to the range of Manx families as usually defined. It is intended to collect and collate the Y-DNA results of tests already taken by Manx men, from around the world, as the basis to start the project database. Additionally it will be necessary to recruit and persuade new individuals to participate who ideally should be prepared to pay for the cost of their own tests

Y-DNA data will be used as the principal indicator of Manx DNA but, if appropriate, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA data may also be brought into consideration.

Data Collection

An ongoing process of data collection has already commenced to collate the Y-DNA results of Manx men around the world, who have already taken a test. So far (January 2013) the results of some 130 men from 57 traditional Manx families (out of a total of approximately 115) have been obtained, representing some 63% of the indigenous population.

Members of families not yet covered will be targeted to seek their involvement in testing. At least 2 members of each Manx family grouping will be required to be tested in order to validate their results and exclude non-paternal events.

This means that a minimum of 250 men will need to be tested. In view of the sheer logistics of enrolling such participants and the financial resources required it is not expected that this process will be complete before mid 2015. Prioritisation of recruitment will be aimed at the larger families first.

Also it will be necessary to identify and document possible comparator haplotypes from Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia.


The analysis and interpretation of the database will be a continuous process which will be refined over time as more and more data become available, not just from within the study, but also from other developments and analysis of the larger public Y-DNA databases worldwide.

  • Review of family name coverage and identification of major gaps
  • Micro-analysis of individual name STR data by family
  • Early clustering and TMRCA analysis by family
  • Further data collection as appropriate
  • Macro-analysis across families
  • Identification of any cross connections between families
  • Matching of Manx family DNA signatures against those in neighbouring Ireland, Scotland and England to try and identify earlier origins and connections.

External links