The Waugh Family
An historical and photographic perspective
Genetic Genealogy / Y-DNA
"The Icelandic sample bridges the gap
from southern Scandinavia to the British Isles during the Viking Age"

Last Update on Nov 9, 2021

Our Waugh Family from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, (male line) is positive for the following Single Nuclotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) from the broad I1 level to our terminal SNP: I-M253, I-DF29, I-L22, I-P109, I-S10891, I-FGC21732, I-FT2561, I-FGC21733, I-FGC21765 and I-FGC21763. This page will focus on recent developments (and any historical connections) concerning I-FGC21765. YFull estimates that I-FGC21765 was formed an estimated 2300 ybp (years before present) with a TMRCA (Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor) of 700 ybp (or about 1340 AD). The first recorded spelling of our family name is shown to be that of Robert Walgh, which was dated 1296, Documents Relating to Scotland, Public Records Office, during the reign of John Balliol, King of Scotland, 1292 - 1296.

There are currently only twelve people who have tested with the FTDNA BigY that are positive for I-FGC21765 and their surnames are Waugh (5), Wharff, Walkup, Lee, Steptoe, Wellwood and Jackson (2) as well as one ancient sample from Dalvik (Brimnes), Iceland (DAV-A9) dated to 900-1000 CE (A.D.). Our closest matches in Scandinavia are in southern Sweden and Denmark and are positive for I-FGC21732 (with a TMRCA of 2800 ybp). The Icelandic sample provides evidence for a "line of inquiry" and bridges the gap from southern Scandinavia to the British Isles during the Viking Age.

"I found something interesting when I looked for the etymology of the name ôWharffö: Wharff. From Where Does The Surname Originate? meaning and history: Not from Wharf or Wharfe, the Yorkshire river; but the same as Waugh (sometimes pronounced Wharf), a Scottish orthography of wall. It appears that the Waughs held lands at Heip co. Roxburgh from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century.Ś Ludus Patronymicus (1868) by Richard Stephen Charnock" - from Elizabeth Jones, Dec 29, 2020. Jeff Waugh has a Y-37 DNA match with her cousin Conray Wharff and based on the Y-37 STR markers it appears as though he may be positive for I-FGC21765... Update: The FTDNA BigY 700 confirms that Conray is positive for I-FGC21765!

"Brimnes was an estate in the Upsastrond area. Nowadays its property and others belong to the municipality of Town Dalvik. According to the Svarfdaela Saga, Karl the Red and several other men were killed at River Brimnesa. He was buried in his boat. Just north of the river one of the most interesting burial grounds of the country were inspected in 1910 by Knut Bruun and Finnur Jonsson. They discovered 13 graves, thereof one boat mound. Since then more graves and relics have been unearthened, such as another boat mound about 300 m outside the burial ground. Old sources suggest, that the boat landing Hyltinganaust was at the mouth of the river." - Nordic Adventure Travel

The Dysnes Archaeological dig
Photo courtesy Iceland Magazine

The question is: what is the connection between Waugh in Dumfriesshire (Waugh is an ancient ethnic name meaning 'foreigner' derived from the Old English pre 7th Century Anglian word 'walh') and the ancient sample in Iceland besides I-FGC21765?

Archaeologists in N. Iceland discover Viking age chief with his sword and dog

"Yesterday archaeologists, who are working at a large burial site in Eyjafj÷r­ur fjord in north Iceland, announced that they had discovered the remains of a ship burial dating back to the Viking age. A wealthy chieftain seems to have been buried in one of his boats along with some of his worldly possessions, including a sword and his dog. More unexplored burial sites are believed to be located at the site.

- from Archaeologists in N. Iceland discover Viking age chief with his sword and dog
See also:
Second Viking Age ship burial found at site in N. Iceland
Archaeologists think they might have found a third boat burial at site

Sample: DAV-A9
Location: DalvÝk (Brimnes), North, Iceland
Study Information: One of the largest and most studied pre-Christian burial sites in Iceland. Thirteen human skeletal remains, six horse skeletons, and the remains of three dogs were found at the site. In one of the graves, the deceased individual had been placed in a sitting position at the rear of a boat
Age: Pre-Christian 900-1000 CE
Y-DNA: I-FGC21765
FTDNA Comment: Likely splits this branch
mtDNA: H1

Read more:
- Ancient Icelandic Settlers Expand the Y DNA Tree
- Ancient genomes from Iceland reveal the making of a human population
- Sailing to the Afterlife - Boat Burials in Iceland and Scotland
- Viking Burial and belief video


The area where the ship burial was found is known as Dysnes, a name which points to Viking age graves, as dys is an old word for burial mound. The word Dysnes could be translated to "Burial ness". The precise location of the boat grave is then known as Kumlateigur, kuml being another old word for burial, and Kumlateigur translating as "Burial stretch". Both place names are ancient and point to more than one grave... - from Archaeologists in N. Iceland discover Viking age chief with his sword and dog

From Ancient genomes from Iceland reveal the making of a human population

"DAV-A8 and DAV-A9 were Norse, and SSG-A4 was Gaelic"

"For 20 of the 24 pre-Christian Icelanders, strontium isotopes 86 and 87 were measured from dental enamel (11), revealing whether they spent their first 6 years in Iceland (nonmigrants) or elsewhere (migrants). Three are deemed migrants on the basis of high 87Sr/86Sr ratios (>0.710). These likely first-generation settlers were unmixed; DAV-A8 and DAV-A9 (from the same site) were Norse, and SSG-A4 was Gaelic (Table 1 and Fig. 2C). SSG-A2 and SSG-A3 (from the same site as SSG-A4) have lower 87Sr/86Sr ratios, albeit too high for a childhood solely in Iceland. Notably, SSG-A3 is estimated to be an equal mix of Norse and Gaelic, indicating that some admixture occurred before arrival in Iceland, perhaps in Viking settlements in Scotland or Ireland." - from Ancient genomes from Iceland reveal the making of a human population

Settlement in Iceland

Travels of the first Scandinavians in Iceland during the ninth century
Travels of the first Scandinavians in Iceland during the ninth century

"Gar­arr Svavarsson is described as a Swedish Viking
married to a woman from the Hebrides"

Gar­arr Svavarsson (modern Icelandic: Gar­ar Svavarsson, modern Swedish: Gardar Svavarsson) was a Norseman who briefly resided in Iceland, according to the Sagas. He is said to be the second Scandinavian to reach the island of Iceland after Naddod. He and his family appear in the Icelandic Sagas with the principal source from Haukr Erlendsson's edition of Landnßmabˇk. [1][2] Svavarsson is described as a Swedish Viking who owned land in Zealand (in modern Denmark). He was married to a woman from the Hebrides. During the 860s, he needed to claim his inheritance from his father-in-law. During a voyage to these isles, he sailed into a storm at Pentland Firth. This storm pushed his ship far to the north until he reached the eastern coast of Iceland. He circumnavigated the island, becoming the first known person to do so and thus establishing that the landmass was an island. He went ashore at Skjßlfandi where he built himself a house and stayed for the winter. Since then, the place located in North Eastern Iceland has been called H˙savÝk.[3]

Map showing location of Dysnes (green square) and Husavik (anchor) in North Eastern Iceland
From Norse Sites and Viking Hoards in the Irish Sea & Western Britain

Having returned, he praised the new land and called it after his own name Gar­arshˇlmi (see names of Iceland). Nothing is known of his fate thereafter, but his son, Uni danski (Uni the Dane), later emigrated to Iceland. He made a feeble attempt to win it for the Norwegian king with himself as earl. He had discussed this with the king but when the local farmers knew his intent, they would help him in no way and soon he was killed.

Uni danski had a son, Hrˇar Tungugo­i, who inherited the entire estate. In the Sagas of Icelanders, Hrˇar quarreled with other men and was twice challenged to a hill battle and won both times. He killed his opponents but was eventually murdered but then avenged by his son. Hrˇar's wife was Arngunnur, sister of Gunnar Hßmundarson, who is one of the main characters in Njßls saga, the longest and generally considered the greatest of the Icelandic Sagas.[4] [5]

- Wikipedia

On the first settlers [landnßmsmenn] and the establishment of the law [lagasetning]

Hrollaugr, the son of Jarl R÷gnvalr of M°re, lived to the east at SÝ­a, from which come the people of SÝ­u [SÝ­umenn]. Ketilbj÷rn Ketilsson, a Norwegian, lived to the south as Mosfell inn efri, from which come the people of Mosfell [Mosfellingar]. Au­r, daughter of the Norwegian chieftain Ketill flatnef [flat-nose], lived to the west in Brei­afj÷r­r, from which come the people of Brei­afj÷r­r [Brei­fir­ingar]. Helgi inn magri [the lean], a Norwegian, the son of Eyvindr austma­r [Easterner], lived to the north in Eyjafj÷r­r, from which come the people of Eyjafj÷r­r [Eyfir­ingar]. And when Iceland had become extensively settled, a Norwegian [austrŠnn] called ┌lfljˇtr brought the first laws here from NorwayŚas Teitr told usŚand they were called the ┌lfljˇtsl÷g [laws of ┌lfljˇtr]. ┌lfljˇtr was the father of Gunnarr, from whom the people of Dj˙pdalr [Dj˙pdŠlir] in Eyjafj÷r­r are descended. But those laws were mostly arranged in the same way as the Gula■ingsl÷g [laws of the Gula■ing] or the counsel of Ůorleifr inn spaki [the wise] H÷r­a-Kßrason, where something had to be expanded or learned or arranged in another way. ┌lfljˇtr was in the east in Lˇn. But it is said that GrÝmr geitsk÷r [goat-hair], who on his advice explored the whole of Iceland before the al■ingi [All-Thing] was established, was his foster-brother

- ═slendingabˇk (12th century) by Ari Ůorgilsson, translated from Icelandic by Wikisource

The Landnamabok names the homes of 1003 of these immigrants

In 870 A.D. Ingolf Arnarsson first settled in Iceland, and a period of intensive colonization followed which lasted from 874 A.D. to 930 A.D. The high nobles, including kings, jarls, and peers of lesser rank, brought with them their entire households, consisting of wives, concubines, housecarls, and slaves. Four hundred such chiefs are mentioned in the Landnamabok, the unique document describing in detail the settlement of Iceland and the partitionment of its land. Various estimates reckon the population at the year 950 A.D. between the figures of 20,000 and 50,000. The lower figure is probably more nearly correct than the higher. At any rate, the chances are that the servants and other undistinguished persons made up the majority, and that although the proportion of noblemen was high, it was not high enough to predominate in a numerical sense.

The Landnamabok names the homes of 1003 of these immigrants. Of them 846 came from Norway, 30 from Sweden, 1 from the Faroes, and 126 from the British Isles. Of those coming directly from Norway, the homes of 461 are known, as follows: Nordland, 51; Tr°ndelag and M°re, 95; Sogn og Fjordane, 128; Hordaland, 77; Rogaland 10 (3 from Jaeren); Agder, Telemark, Vestfold, 67; the eastern valleys, 33. Of 113 known homes in the British Isles, the list is: Ireland, 52, Scotland, 31, Hebrides, 26, and Orkneys, 4. Thus the Norsemen who came from Norway came mostly from the coastal regions, and especially from Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and points northward. Few were from the eastern valley region and fewer from the brachycephalic nucleus in Rogaland. Those from the British Isles were presumably Norse who had not occupied their new homes long enough to lose their Norwegian identity.

- from Iceland

Scandinavian settlement in Dumfriesshire

"Scandinavian settlement of these coasts had begun, according to Sellar, around AD 800. He pictures a rapid and easy absorbtion of the newcomers, and their conversion to Christianity. Already, then, by the mid-ninth century the term Gall-Gaidhil, with the meaning Scandinavian-Scot, would have been applicable, and since the life of the coasts was essentially sea-going, very likely 'Viking-Scot' as well. By the early eleventh century, the time of Suibne, Kintyre and Knapdale were part of this culture, based on mixed Scandinavian-Scottish settlement and maritime adventure. By the last quarter of the century Godfrey Crovan of Man had established power over Kintyre and the Isles. Later, the Norse lords of the Isles, owing allegiance to Norway, established Scandinavian power and cultural influence. To this extent, the inhabitants became, in Skene's phrase, 'Gael under foreign rule'." - from Gall-Gaidhil and Galloway, Daphne Brooke, 1991

From Dßl Riata to the Innse Gall

If the Vikings had a great impact on Pictland and in Ireland, in Dßl Riata, as in Northumbria, they appear to have entirely replaced the existing kingdom with a new entity. In the case of Dßl Riata, this was to be known as the kingdom of the Sudreys, traditionally founded by Ketil Flatnose (Caitill Find in Gaelic) in the middle of the 9th century. The Frankish Annales Bertiniani may record the conquest of the Inner Hebrides, the seaward part of Dßl Riata, by Vikings in 847.[60]

Alex Woolf has suggested that there occurred a formal division of Dßl Riata between the Norse-Gaelic UÝ ═mair and the natives, like those divisions that took place elsewhere in Ireland and Britain, with the Norse controlling most of the islands, and the Gaels controlling the Scottish coast and the more southerly islands. In turn, Woolf suggests that this gave rise to the terms Airer Gaedel and Innse Gall, respectively "the coast of the Gaels" and the "Islands of the foreigners".[61]...

The UÝ (h)═mair [iː ˈiːvˠaɾʲ] or Dynasty of Ivar, was a royal Norse-Gael dynasty which ruled much of the Irish Sea region, the Kingdom of Dublin, the western coast of Scotland, including the Hebrides and some part of Northern England, from the mid 9th century.

- Wikipedia


"Conventionally, the Gaelic-Scandinavian colonization along the Solway coast is dated to the early tenth century. There is, however, evidence of ninth-century Viking activity in the area. This includes the hoard deposited at Talnotrie in Kirkcudbrightshire around 875, whose contents include two fragments of Kufic coins and a fragment of a Frankish denier that had probably passed through Viking hands. A cremation burial of uncertain date, including of a silver arm-ring and an amber bead, was discovered in Blackerne cairn in Crossmichael parish in the eighteenth century. Two warrior burials of ninth- or tenth-century date have also been recovered: one from St. Cuthbert's churchyard at Kirkcudbright, including a sword, ring-pin and bead; and another from Carronbridge burial is of northern British style. It may be that elite groups of Gallgoidil from the Firth of Clyde or Ayrshire spearheaded the conquest of territories north of the Solway and established the name of Galloway prior to the arrival of contingents from Dublin. - from The break up of Dßl Riata and the rise of GallgoÝdil by Clare Downham

From Scandinavians in Dumfriesshire and Galloway, by Gillian Fellows Jensen, 1991

See more at Gall-Gaedhil (Foreign Gaels)

Dumfriesshire and Galloway in Scandinavian Britain

"A sister colony can be traced on the north shore of the Solway, occupying the district between the Esk and the Dee, with centre at Tinwald (Thingvellir) near Dumfries, but extending into Kirkcudbrightshire on the one hand, into Peeblesshire on the other, and reaching inland as far as the main watershed between east and west ; Liddesdale, Liddelĺs-dale, was the Hlid-dalr of the settlers, but the outlying parts of this area no doubt owe their names in -beck, -gill, -rig, -fell, -by and -thwaite to secondary settlement later than the tenth century. It has been thought that the original colony was planted in 876 by Halfdan, which is possible; but as the whole was afterwards within the kingdom of the Strathclyde Cymru, and open to the same influences as Cumberland, no sharp distinction can be drawn between the two districts; Danish origins must have been overlaid by subsequent Norse immigration. We find Cumberland names repeated in Brydekirk, Lowther-hill and -ton, Newbigging, Croglin, Dalton, Rockcliffe, Eskdale, Eaglesfield, Whinfell, Aiket, Canonbie, etc.; and similar forms in Criffell, Arkland (compare Arklid), Kelton, Stanhope, Rutnwell (Raud-vellir), Lockerbie, Smallholm (smali, small cattle, sheep and goats, compare Smallthwaite), Tundergarth, Middlebie, Middleton, Burnswark (borrans-virki, from the Gaelic loan-word boireand), Closeburn (Kil-Osbj÷rn), Langholm, Broomholm, etc.

- from Dumfriesshire and Galloway in Scandinavian Britain, William Gershom Collingwood

Tinwald (Thing V÷llr) 'field of the meeting' - a short way N.E. of Dumfries (on the Roman Road from Lochmaben) seems to have been, as its name suggests, the centre of local Norse control

"In 840 Alcluyd (the Pict and Scots kingdom) fell after a siege of four months by Danes and Norse. Five years later Halfden with his Danes traversed the country into Northumbria and is recorded to have wasted the Strathclyde Welsh, or Strathclydians, or as in a third place, and for the Cumbri. This was an enterprise of Danes from Ireland and does not seem to have been more than a foray of exceptional destructiveness... Permanent settlement was the work of the Norse-bearing elements of Irish culture. Tinwald (Thing V÷llr) 'field of the meeting' - a short way N.E. of Dumfries (on the Roman Road from Lochmaben) seems to have been, as its name suggests, the centre of local Norse control - the first serious settlement would be in Cumberland ..."

- from "The Royal Commission of Ancient Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland," Edinburgh, 1920, Historical Introduction XVIII, Early History II, Page XX, see back page XXIII (as per David Jardine).

A similar site (to Tynwald on the Isle of Man) in terms of its past functionality, which has been totally forgotten, is the so-called Mote Hill at the village of Tinwald, a few miles northeast of Dumfries. Not nearly as glorious in its reverence as a site of former political importance nor for its current appearance, nevertheless, this former meeting place for the Norse and / or Galghaidhil living in what is now southwest Scotland must have been as important to local folk in the 10th-12th centuries, as was its counterpart on Man. Lying along the old Roman road between Carlisle and the River Nith and situated near the glacial moraine where the Nith could be safely crossed above the riverĺs periodic tidal flows (and just above the navigable portion of the Nith, which allowed easy access from the Solway), this site was extremely well situated for kindred people to come meet to trade and to presumably discuss matters of regional importance: Galghaidhil coming along the Roman road from the west and / or by sea-going vessels gliding up the Nith, or Norse and Danish settlers coming from the eastern parts of what used to be Dumfriesshire. An extensive survey and focused excavation at Tinwald would be fascinating and would likely yield a great deal of valuable information about the former importance of this small village. I worked on several Galghaidhil sites in the uplands northwest of Moniaive in the early 1970s (astride the medieval road running towards Ayr) and did an extensive analysis of the placenames of Southwest Scotland, to determine the settlement patterns of the diverse groups living in the region over time (part of an unpublished dissertation on ôThe Norse Viking Settlement of Southwest Scotlandö).

- from Craig Mayer, Jan 17, 2017

Norse sites in Galloway & Dumfriesshire

Norse sites in Galloway & Dumfriesshire
 Historical distribution of Waugh surname (blue dots)
From Norse Sites and Viking Hoards in the Irish Sea & Western Britain



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