Joanne Cameron, Co-administrator Clan Cameron YDNA Project www.familytreedna.com/
Our Clan is a rich tapestry of people, history and traditions. From our Chief Lochiel, the cadets which are represented in our Clan crest to the various septs which are also associated with the Clan, we are a confederation of people with huge pride in who we are and where we come from. This is well reflected in the Y DNA results to date.
The aim of our project is to explore the origins of the surname Cameron. In doing so we are finding that our Clan is made up of many different paternal lines and Haplogroups who are united alongside our main paternal Cameron line. The Cameron Clan is not necessarily defined by who is and who isn’t related to the main Paternal Cameron lineage.
When surnames were adopted in Scotland, around the 12th century for the upper echelons of Scottish society and the 18th for ordinary people, not every man who pledged allegiance to a Clan Chief would have been a descendant of the same patrilineal ancestor.
There can be a misconception that anyone bearing a clan surname is automatically descended from a clan chief, but this isn’t always the case. They instead could have been related through adoption, marriage or even by proximity.
The ability of a clan to defend its territory from other clans depended greatly on attracting as many followers as possible. Being a member of a large and powerful clan became a distinct advantage in the lawless Highlands, and followers might adopt the clan name to curry favour with the Laird, to show solidarity, for basic protection, or maybe because their lands were taken by a more powerful neighbour and they had little option!
We currently have sitting in our Group A, men who descend from our paternal Cameron SNP R-A6138, 21 testers who break off into 5 different branches. Two branches are identified by family research to be MacGillonie and Clunes. By far the largest sub-clade off of R-A6138 is a branch yet to be identified. There is much potential for R-A6138 to have many different branches or as we call them sub-clades beneath it.
There are about 50 YSTR testers who would most likely turn out to be in our Group A if they upgraded to the Big Y 700 test.
The vast majority, over 100 YSTR Cameron surname testers in the Project, are not descended from R-A6138. They come from mainly the haplogroup R1b but a good number are from the I1 haplogroup with some also from haplogroup R1a, J and E.
We also have 31 Cameron men who have only tested 12 YSTR markers which is insufficient to determine where they sit in our Project. A bare minimum test of 37 YSTR’s are needed for placement in the Project.
There are two new Big Y 700 tests currently in progress and six new upgrades to the new Big Y 700 from the Big Y 500. The SNP above R-A6138, or as we call it the Grandfather of A6138, is the SNP R-A7298 which at current estimates indicate was born about the year 1042AD. A7298 is the common shared ancestor of Clans Cameron, Macnab and McPhee.
In my next article I hope to bring news of the McMartin Camerons which may make us look at their history a bit closer!