My Viking Results
2 of 7 in a Series
To cut to the chase, my highest match is with Om. His popup window (below) explains that he is male and his skeletal remains in Iceland were carbon dated to 1065 CE (in common with many others in this test). It tells me also that his “mitochondrial haplogroup was determined to be U5a1h and his Y-DNA haplogroup was determined to be R1a1a1b1a3.” This means his mother’s lineage, or “daughter of Eve,” was one quite common in Europe before the spread of agriculture, U, nicknamed Ursula, now carried by about 10% of Europeans. His Y chromosomal type, R1a, is a well known male lineage considered part of the “Viking thumbprint.”
For more detailed genetic histories, one can visit either the recommended page on the Ancient DNA Hub, “The Icelandic Vikings,” or Eupedia. At the later megasite (which I prefer to Wikipedia’s equivalent pages), I can read and research to my heart’s content about the Nordic Bronze Age, Corded Ware people, Bell Beaker culture and Yamnaya migrations. Eupedia is more accurate, up to date and thorough than the wikis found elsewhere, at least for European genetic genealogy. If something is uncertain or not settled, Eupedia will make this clear. Wikipedia often presents information as though it were etched in stone.
Om is the name given to the skeletal remains of an ancient male. It is a Scandinavian male first name. In the Ancient DNA Hub, Om is among the skeletons found in the Icelandic Vikings story. Om is one of the individuals in DNA Consultants’ Primeval DNA Test for Vikings in Medieval Iceland. The man’s skeleton was excavated at Öndverðarnes near Hofsjӧkull Glacier in Iceland, located at 64.03N -22.67E, earth.google.com and carbon-dated to 1065 CE. His mitochondrial haplogroup was determined to be U5a1h and his Y-DNA haplogroup was determined to be R1a1a1b1a3.
As with all the Primeval DNA tests, there is a dedicated page on the website. In this case, here is the page (https://dnaconsultants.com/product/primeval-dna-test/vikings-in-medieval-iceland/)
Vikings in Medieval Iceland | Northern Europe | Iceland | 870 – 1050 CE
The popular image of Vikings as wild barbarians who raped and pillaged their way across the pages of history disguises their true character and complexity. The Vikings came from what is now Norway, Sweden and Denmark and had their origins in small agricultural chiefdoms. They incorporated many distant foreign ethnic elements, trading with the Khazars, Byzantines and Arabs. They did not wear horns, except figuratively. Christianity was adopted around 1000 CE.
Starting with raids in Anglo-Saxon Lindisfarne in 793, the Vikings expanded both east and west. The Viking age of exploration and conquest did not begin to wane until the 11th century. By that time, they had founded the nascent state that became Russia in Europe and colonized Newfoundland with the settlement of L’Anse Aux Meadows in the Americas. Their influence was long felt in Danelaw, the northeast half of England they ruled for centuries, as well as in the Normans who came as conquerors in 1066 and were of mixed Viking origins.
The English language preserves many Viking words. The verb ‘get’, one of the most used in English, was actually borrowed from Old Norse.
Data for Vikings in Medieval Iceland were compiled from several archeological sites of the late first millennium (870 CE – 1070 CE). DNA analyses of skeletons show predominantly Norse but also some Gaelic origins. These results confirm historical records of migration from both Scandinavia and the British Isles. Icelandic demographics shows a high degree of genetic drift and inbreeding.
Mitochondrial haplogroups (matrilines) of medieval Icelanders are dominated by H, K, and J lineages. T and U are also reported. H and K are common in Europe today and are thought to have arrived in Europe with the appearance of agriculture some 9,000 years ago, having Middle Eastern origins. The mitochondrial J haplogroup is also represented in Europe today and is thought to be of Caucasus origins, having moved into Europe with horse-riding nomads at the start of the Bronze Age. The vast majority of ancient Icelandic males belonged to the Y chromosome haplogroups R1b or R1a, while a few belonged to haplogroup I. All these Y chromosome lineages are common among Europeans today and are associated with the spread of Caucasus peoples during the Bronze Age.
The Viking founder of Stockholm, Sweden, Birger Jarl, belonged to Y Haplogroup I-M253. A woman buried with the 9th century Oseberg Ship from Norway is believed to have carried mtDNA haplogroup U7.
The average United Kingdom resident today probably has about 10% Viking (as distinct from Irish/Celtic and Anglo-Saxon) DNA. The strongest imprint of the Vikings was in the Orkney and Shetland Islands, which were ruled by the Norwegians in the Middle Ages. Americans have more Viking ancestry on average than the English do, because they claim more Irish descent (a combination of Celtic, pre-Celtic and Viking).
Number of ancient genomes contributing to test: 15 (Om, Arvid, Troy, Grim, Njal, Thranduil, Gandalf, Den, Kari, Calder, Randi, Dag, Bergljot, Eindride, Ragnarok)
Ancient DNA Hub Reference: The Icelandic Vikings
Story ID: 20001
You may also be interested in this Primeval DNA test:
Ancient Britons in Roman Britain
Notice the main information page contains genetic and historical information as well as the names of all the individuals in the sample (hyperlinked to popups), plus relevant links to other tests as well as modern populations. After taking this test, users may want to compare their results for Norway, Iceland and Ancient Britons in Roman Britain.
Next comes the colored wheel displaying my match (percentage of genetic likeness) to each of the 15 Vikings.
In this case, I bear about the same degree of similarity in my genomic material to Om as to all the others. This suggests to me that there is not a lot of age or other diversity in the sample, and we know this to be true. All samples came from the same place and time.
Tip: Double click on the individual’s colored section in the circle graph to get their “business card” and information to stay visible.
Another observation one can make is that you can expect your genetic similarity to be higher the younger the skeletons are (provided you have a good similarity to begin with, as I do, being part Scandinavian and Irish).
My mitochondrial type is U, like many of the Viking skeletons. Did that boost my matches to Vikings with U lineage like Om (others were K, H or I)? Perhaps. Certainly, if it had been O, a distinctly non-Viking type, the scores would have been lower.
The final part of the results is to see if my genetic likeness to Vikings is high, low, medium or off the scale compared to the genetic likeness of other populations. This is accomplished by ticking off the populations of interest in the long alphabetical list at the bottom of the results page. As you add a population, its genetic likeness to Vikings will instantly appear in the bar chart next to “Me.” Nothing appears until you choose at least one population. If you choose too many and the chart gets too crowded, uncheck some.
For comparisons, I chose countries like Belarus and Russia, where I knew Vikings were historically present, as well as a series of English populations, plus Iceland itself. I also threw in Papua New Guinea as a “control.” Even though Vikings seem to have spread their genes far and wide, they evidently did not get to Papua New Guinea, as shown by the low 2.29% genetic similarity on the chart above. All the other populations are above 12%. (Hovering over the bar with your mouse in the interactive page gives you the exact percentage.)
So what can I conclude about my own genetic similarity to Vikings? I am medium high, but still below most other Europeans and Americans. This is probably because I have other ancestries in my mixture of origins—American Indian, Mediterranean European, Jewish, and the like.
In this exercise, we’ve looked at one of the most important contributors to the genetic mix of the British Isles. The Vikings themselves were highly mixed. But to judge from the Icelandic sample examined here, they were a distinctive mix, one of the “brand names” of world history. Their signature can be traced today in many English, Scottish, Irish, American and Canadian genealogies. It remains preeminent in Iceland and other countries in northern Europe, as well as parts of Russia.