Scotland and the Flemish People Conference, 16-17 June

The purpose of this blog posting is to share with readers the draft programme for the  conference that will take place in St. Andrews on 16 and 17 June 2016.  There may still be some changes to the programme but it is now substantially in place. The goal of the conference is to bring the results of recent research on issues surrounding Scotland and the Flemish People into the public arena for comment and discussion.We are opening up a range of new topics that have not hitherto been discussed in the blog or other fora.  There are a wide range of such topics and so there should be sessions that will be of interest to those attending the conference whether they be family historians, genetic genealogists, academics or local historians. The Gateway venue is ideal for networking with others interested in the theme. 

Registration for the conference is via our website:  

You can also contact us at


Conference Programme

Thursday 16 June

09.00-09.45       Registration

09.45-10.00       Welcome

10.00-11.00       Plenary I: Prof Jan Dumolyn (University of Ghent)                         

‘Flemish immigration to Scotland and to Britain during the Middle Ages’ 

11.00-11.30       Coffee

11.30-13.00       Parallel sessions I

  1. When and how the Flemish came to Scotland

A panel discussion chaired by Dr Alex Fleming (project co-sponsor and researcher) will address a number of issues surrounding the migration of Flemish people to Scotland at various times. Dr David Dobson (Universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh) will provide an overview of the factors at work influencing the Flemish migration.  Mr. Charles Rigg (Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum and independent researcher) will explore why some Flemings moved up from the south of Britain to Biggar in the Scottish borders.  Mr George English (genealogist and independent researcher) will focus on religious persecution in Flanders and the implications this may have had for migration to Scotland.

  1. Material culture in Flanders and the influence of the Low Countries on Scottish Church Architecture.

In the first part of this session Professor Wim De Clercq  (University of Ghent) will give a talk titled: “Home is where the heart is” – Domestic worlds and material culture in late-Medieval Flanders.   He will assess the material worlds and landscapes in Flanders in the medieval period that the migrants to Scotland would have left behind.

In the second part of the session Professor Richard Fawcett (University of St. Andrews) will discuss The architectural relationships of Scotland’s late medieval Church with the Low Countries.

13.00-14.00       Lunch

14.00-15.30       Parallel sessions II

  1. What is DNA telling us about our Flemish origins?

Dr Alasdair MacDonald (University of Strathclyde) and Dr Maarten Larmuseau (University of Leuven) are leading experts on the use of DNA in genealogical research. Their session will explore the challenges of comparing Scottish DNA with that from Flanders drawing on the results of the study being undertaken as part of the Scotland and the Flemish People Project.  Representatives of some of the main Scottish families, thought to have Flemish roots, will also talk briefly about the results of their family DNA analyses to date.

  1. Flemish settlement in Scotland: Prosopography and Networks

Dr Matthew Hammond (University of Glasgow) has worked extensively on migration, settlement and social networks in 12th and 13th century Scotland. His talk will explore the movement of Flemings to Scotland during this period and the extent and nature of the networks that bound them together as a distinct group in the Scottish kingdom. Prof Dauvit Broun (University of Glasgow) will chair the session and offer a response to Dr Hammond’s findings.

15.30-16.00       Coffee

16.00-17.00       Plenary II: Prof Richard Oram (University of Stirling)

‘Enterprise and Environment: Flemish Colonisation, Economic Development and Environmental Change in Medieval Scotland’

18.30                   Wine reception

19.30                   Conference dinner


Friday 17 June 

09.30-10.30       Plenary III: Prof David Ditchburn (Trinity College Dublin)

‘Scotland and the Low Countries in the Later Middle Ages: Doing Diplomacy and its Consequences’

10.30-11.00       Coffee

11.00-12.30       Parallel sessions III

  1. Hints from the hinterland: place-name evidence for the nature of the Flemish presence

Chaired by Dr Alex Woolf (University of St. Andrews), this session will feature presentations from Dr Simon Taylor (University of Glasgow) and Dr Peadar Morgan (formerly University of St. Andrews), two of the leading experts on place names in Scotland, on what these reveal about the nature and extent of Flemish settlement.

  1. Politics, diplomacy, war and commerce

This session will feature three papers on aspects of the commercial and political links between Scotland and Flanders in the middle ages.

Dr Alexander Stevenson (independent researcher), ‘Philip d’Alsace, Count of Flanders and the first Franco-Scottish Alliance’

Ms Amy Eberlin (University of St. Andrews), ‘The Flemish Dimension of Fifteenth Century Scottish Politics’

Drs Lauran Toorians (independent researcher), ‘Jan Moffet and Scottish traders in Bergen op Zoom in the early sixteenth century’

12.30-13.30       Lunch

13.30-15.00       Parallel sessions IV

  1. Leisure, Pleasure and Recreation

The three talks in this session will examine another aspect of the linkage between Scotland and Flanders, specifically the cultural and recreational links that materialised in the medieval and early modern periods.

Dr Christine McGladdery  (University of St Andrews)

‘”The sport of diplomacy”: the Scoto-Burgundian tournament of 1449’

Ms Morvern French (University of St Andrews)

‘”Ostentatious by Nature”: Flemish Material Culture, Conspicuous Consumption and Anglo-Scottish relations at the Court of James IV’

Mr Robin Bargmann (Independent researcher).

“Has there been a Flemish influence on early games in Scotland?”

  1. The Flemings of Biggar and Cumbernauld

The Fleming family was a significant player in the history of medieval Scotland.  From their original lordship of Biggar, the family acquired property in many other parts of Scotland, most notably in Cumbernauld where their main castle was located.  Professor Michel Brown and Dr. Bess Rhodes (both University of St. Andrews) will explore the family’s history and changes in fortune in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

15.00 -15.30      Coffee                                                

15.30-16.30       Plenary IV: Dr Katie Stevenson (University of St Andrews)

‘Cultural Kindred: Sharing Tastes and Talents in Early Renaissance Scotland and Flanders’

16.30                   Closing remarks



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leisure, pleasure and recreation

This posting is the fifth in the series on themes that will be addressed at a conference held in St. Andrews on June 16 and 17 this year. While much of the historical analysis of the relationship between Flanders and Scotland focuses on the more traditional commercial and political aspects there is another dimension – that of leisure, pleasure and recreation – that merits review.

Dr. Christine McGladdery examines a unique jousting tournament that took place in Scotland in 1449 with a Burgundian champion participating.  Continuing with the sporting theme Robin Bargmann looks at the case for a Flemish influence on early games in Scotland with a special emphasis on golf and curling. Finally Morvern French discusses the pleasure and standing that James IV derived from his importation of Flemish luxury goods. 


Session overview 

‘The sport of diplomacy’: the Scoto-Burgundian tournament of 1449

Dr Christine McGladdery

This paper will consider the tournament held in the presence of James II at Stirling in February 1449 from a number of perspectives. The detailed accounts that survive offer intriguing insights into perceptions of a chivalric encounter that appears to have been intended to showcase the skills of the Scottish challenger, James, Master of Douglas (brother and heir presumptive of William 8th earl of Douglas) against the great Burgundian champion of the period, Jacques de Lalain, but consideration will be given also to the extent to which such occasions could serve a diplomatic as well as sporting agenda.

Has there been a Flemish influence on early games in Scotland?

Robin Bargmann

The origins of golf and curling are two of the most hotly debated issues in the history of Scottish sport.  This paper will review the evidence for a Flemish influence on the development of these two games.  Regarding golf – or colf as the early version of the game was called – the establishment of the game in Fife and Lanarkshire in the medieval period, coinciding with the migration of Flemish craftsmen to Eastern Scotland, provides compelling circumstantial evidence for a Flemish influence.  There is similar evidence pointing to a possible Flemish origin for the game of curling.  The paper also touches on the origins of tennis especially in the light of the fact that the court at Falkland Palace is the oldest surviving tennis court in the world.  The game was originally known as caets spel in the Low Countries and caichpulle in Scotland (etymologically connected to caets spel).

‘Ostentatious by nature’: Flemish Material Culture, Conspicuous Consumption, and Anglo-Scottish Relations at the Court of James IV

Morvern French

This paper will look how James IV (1488-1513) employed material resources to convey his splendour, power, and lineage at his 1503 marriage to Margaret Tudor. Anglo-Scottish relations had, prior to the signing of the marriage treaty, been characterised by hostility and mistrust, with James supporting the pretender Perkin Warbeck in 1496-7. 1503 signalled a renewal of friendly relations, but it also prompted James to display his standing as a powerful European ruler through the use of material culture.

For this he looked primarily to Flanders, Scotland’s principal trading partner and the home of the Northern Renaissance, where luxury objects representative of the top level of design and quality were produced. The gold and silver plate, chairs of estate, tapestries, textiles, and a lavishly illuminated book of hours, imported from Flanders for the wedding, were a statement of James’s ability to command the finest material resources and of his equal standing with the king of England. As the pinnacle of late medieval luxury, Flemish material culture was used by James IV to assert his position as a Renaissance prince on an international stage.


Session participants 

Dr Christine McGladdery is a senior teaching fellow in Mediaeval Scottish History at the University of St Andrews, and has published the recently fully revised monograph, James II (Edinburgh, 2015). 

Robin Bargmann, a graduate of the University of Leiden, has an interest in the history of the early game of golf in the Low Countries and Scotland. He is the author of the book Serendipity of Early Golf and of numerous other articles and essays. He is member of the British Golf Collectors Society and the European Association of Golf Historians and Collectors. 

Morvern French is a third year PhD student at the University of St Andrews and a contributor to the Scotland and the Flemish People project.







Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Politics, diplomacy and commerce

This posting is the fourth in the series on themes that will be addressed at a conference held in St. Andrews on June 16 and 17 this year.   The relationship between Scotland and Flanders in the medieval period had many dimensions: political, diplomatic and commercial. One important figure who helped shape this relationship was Philip d’Alsace. He was Count of Flanders in the second half of the 12th century and is the subject of a paper prepared by Alexander Stevenson.  The relationship was not always harmonious, however, as evidenced by Amy Eberlin’s account of shifts in Scotland’s staple port  between Bruges (in Flanders)  and Middelburg (in Zeeland) in the 15th century.  The role that individuals played in oiling the trading relationship between Scotland and Flanders is highlighted in Lauran Toorian’s research on Jan Moffet who was appointed Conservator of the Scottish Privileges— the Scottish government’s representative in the Netherlands—and who lived for part of his career in Bergen op Zoom near Antwerp.   

 Session overview 

Philip d’Alsace, Count of Flanders and the first Franco-Scottish Alliance

Count Philip d’Alsace, who ruled from 1157 to 1191, was the most powerful and influential ruler of Flanders before the county was absorbed by the Valois dukes of Burgundy in the late fourteenth century. His rule extended from across most of what is now the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands to within 25 miles of Paris. His policies transformed the county and greatly increased Flemish trade. He was also renowned for his martial prowess and diplomacy: admired and trusted by King Louis VII of France, King Henry II of England and his sons, and by Thomas Becket, all of whom turned to him at different times for support. Though almost unremarked by modern historians, his fame and influence were such that he was a driving force possibly the driving force behind a war in France and England that nearly dethroned King Henry II. Scotland was drawn into the war, with momentous consequences for all.  Alexander Stevenson. 

The Flemish dimension of fifteenth century Scottish politics

The 1347 general council act that expelled Flemings from Scotland gave an overly simplistic reason for its creation: a similar expulsion of Scots from Flanders. The true reasons for the implementation of an act exiling the merchants of a major trading partner were far more nuanced. The political context of 1346, particularly the English defeat of the French at the battle of Crécy and the Scots at the battle of Neville’s Cross, and capture of David II on the battlefield, was a significant factor in the creation of this economic protectionist policy. In 1425, James I instituted a similar economic policy, transferring the Scottish staple to Middelburg (in Zeeland) and threatening the forfeiture of any Scottish merchant who passed through Flanders. This paper will argue that James I made these economic moves as a result of the political environment of early fifteenth century Scotland and the precedent of the 1347 expulsion of Flemings from Scotland. In looking at a solely economic picture of these events, we underestimate the importance of politics, domestic and international, on the trade relationship between Scotland and Flanders in the fifteenth century. Amy Eberlin.

 Jan Moffet and Scottish traders in Bergen op Zoom in the early sixteenth century

Between 1365 and 1565 the city of Bergen op Zoom, north of Antwerp on the Scheldt River, had two large fairs every year, one around Easter and the other early in November. Traders from far and wide came to these fairs and among them were traders from Scotland as well. From the decades around 1500 the city archives allow a closer look at this group. A number of Scotsmen possessed houses just outside the city wall (and moat) and there also was an altar for St Trinian (or Ninian) in the parish church. In the mid-1530’s this group was led by Jan (or John) Moffet who for a while also acted as ‘conservator of the privileges of the nation of the realme [in Scotland] in Flanders’. This fact, that the conservator was once actually living in Bergen op Zoom, was until recently not well known. It highlights the role Bergen op Zoom played in the struggle between Flanders, Zeeland and Brabant to get the Scottish staple for the Low Countries. The better-known and slightly earlier conservator and trader Andrew Halyburton traded with Bergen op Zoom as well.

That Jan Moffet had Scottish roots is not certain, but we can guess his name refers to Moffat in Annandale (Dumfriesshire). Moffet himself was born in Abbeville at the mouth of the river Somme in Northern France. Since 1509 he was a burgher (with formal citizenship) of Bergen op Zoom and may have died around 1552. He held the office of conservator from 1528 onwards. Moffet had a house within the city walls and thus did not live with the other Scottish traders in the Scottish quarter just outside the walls. All this is intriguing because in this period the Scottish staple was in Veere (Campvere) and in the literature about the Scottish trade with the Low Countries Bergen op Zoom hardly plays a role.  During and after the Dutch Revolt (‘Eighty Years War’) the Scottish presence in Bergen op Zoom continued with Scottish regiments manning the garrison of the now fully fortified city. Lauran Toorians.

Session participants 

Alexander Stevenson is a retired senior civil servant. He is a historian by training and has a special interest in the Low Countries.  In 1982 he completed a PhD thesis on medieval Scottish links with the Low Countries, primarily Flanders, which he is currently reworking for publication.

Amy Eberlin is a final year PhD student at the University of St Andrews, Institute of Scottish Historical Research and is a member of Scotland and the Flemish People Project. Her research primarily focuses upon the Scots involved in trade and diplomacy between Scotland and Flanders in the late medieval period. 

Lauran Toorians studied medieval history and comparative linguistics at Leiden University, the latter with a heavy accent on the Celtic languages. He is currently an independent scholar, working in part as a journalist in the field of the arts and culture while simultaneously undertaking research in medieval history as well as Celtic languages and literature. He has a special interest in the historical relations between the Low Countries and the Celtic-speaking world.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Flemings of Biggar and Cumbernauld

This posting is the third in the series on themes that will be addressed at a conference held in St. Andrews on June 16 and 17 this year.  The Fleming family of Biggar and Cumbernauld became an important baronial family in late Medieval and Early Modern Scotland.  This session will revisit the Flemings in the light of recently discovered collection of their papers from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries which reveal the, sometimes dubious, actions and wide connections of this noble house.

Session Overview

The Fleming family was a significant player in the history of medieval Scotland as a number of blog postings over the past two years illustrate (see references below).  From their original lordship of Biggar, the family acquired property in many other parts of Scotland, most notably at Cumbernauld where their main castle was located.  Using a newly discovered collection of documents, this session will explore the family’s history and changes in fortune in the fourteenth and fifteenth century.

This collection of hitherto unknown charters was gifted to the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2014.  These have recently been made available to researchers at the University of St. Andrews and are helping to shed new light on the family and its relationships in medieval Scotland.  The parties to the charters vary widely. Almost all of the charters have, as one of the principal parties, a member of the Fleming family. The other parties are wide-ranging but include royalty such as David II, Robert III, James III, James IV, Charles II, and Mary, Queen of Scots. 

Session Participants

 Professor Michael Brown is professor of Medieval Scottish History at the University of St Andrews. His books include James I (Edinburgh, 1994), The Black Douglases (East Linton, 1998), The Wars of Scotland, 1214-1371 (Edinburgh, 2004) and Disunited Kingdoms: Peoples and Politics in the British Isles, 1280-1460 (Harlow, 2013). 

Dr. Bess Rhodes is a researcher at St. Andrews University who is focusing at present on “calendaring” the Fleming charters with a view to gaining a better understanding of the role played by the Fleming family in 14th and 15th century Scotland.


Blog postings on the Fleming family 

Baldwin and the 12th Century Incomers to Upper Clydesdale Revisited

The Flemings of Cumbernauld Castle

Mary Fleming and Mary Queen of Scots

John, 5th Lord Fleming

The Fleming Family Charter Collection

The Fleming Family Charter Collection and the Dark Side of Fifteenth-Century Family Life


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When and How the Flemish came to Scotland

This posting is the second in the blog series on themes that will be addressed at the June 2016 conference in St. Andrews.  One session, described below, will examine the movement to Scotland of the Flemish—the aristocratic Flemings as well as artisans and religiously persecuted—who arrived in the medieval and early modern periods 


This session will examine when and how various groups of Flemish people came to Scotland in the medieval and early modern periods.  It will provide an overview of the factors that led to the migration at various times.

One of the major issues surrounding the arrival of the aristocratic Flemish in Scotland in the 12th century is what brought them north and where they (or their ancestors) were before that.  It is possible that the Fleming family, for instance, may have been previously in Wales where there were people with names identical to those later found in Upper Clydesdale.  Then there are questions as to the movement to Scotland of some other major Scottish families with possible Flemish origins—for instance the Murrays, Sutherlands, and Lindsays.

There are also issues surrounding the later Flemish migrants.  These include the question of when the Flemish weavers and other artisans arrived, where they came from (England or directly from Flanders) and where they settled.

Finally, there is a question surrounding the religiously persecuted Flemish who may have come to Scotland in the mid 16th to early 17th centuries.  At issue here is why and when these migrations to Britain took place, how many of them likely came to Scotland, and what routings they may have taken. 

Main Participants 

Dr. Alex Fleming will chair the session and is a co-sponsor of, and researcher in the Scotland and the Flemish People Project.  He is also editor of the blog attached to the project. Now retired, he is an international economist by training.

Charles Rigg is a Trustee and member of the Interpretive Design Team of Biggar and Upper Clydesale Museum. A centrepiece of the new museum, which opened in 2015, is the impact of the ancient Fleming family on the local area.  Before retiring Charles was a secondary school history teacher.

Dr. David Dobson is currently a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Research Fellow with the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews.  His research interests are focused mainly on the Scottish Diaspora as well as Scottish history in the Early Modern Period.

George English is a Director of the family history service Research Through People. He has undertaken extensive genealogical and historical research and published work in United Kingdom, United States and Europe. He has a special interest in the issue of religious persecution in the Low Countries.



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When and How the Flemish came to Scotland

What is DNA telling us about our Flemish origins?

This posting is part of the blog series on themes that will be addressed at the June 2016 conference in St. Andrews. This posting looks at the content of the DNA session.


Genetic genealogical analysis has developed rapidly in recent years with new techniques being applied to an ever-increasing volume of data from samples of DNA taken from individuals, much of it pertaining to Y-DNA passed down through the male line. This session reports on the first results of the DNA component of The Scotland and the Flemish People Project that has been ongoing over the past three years. The goal of this work has been to help confirm through DNA analysis whether certain Scottish families have a Flemish ancestral root. A range of issues that have arisen in the course of the analysis will be broached during the session.

In comparing the DNA of Scottish families with that of a control group in Flanders a number of issues arise, not least the question of whether it is possible to define a Flanders DNA profile. This is the topic of the second part of the session.

The session ends with a panel session where representatives of some of the main Scottish families, thought to have Flemish roots, will talk briefly about the results of their family DNA analyses to date.

Biographical Information

Alasdair Macdonald is from the University of Strathclyde (Department of Genealogical Studies). He is a leading authority in Scotland on DNA issues.

Dr Maarten Larmuseau is a researcher at the Laboratory of Forensic Genetics and Molecular Archaeology at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What is DNA telling us about our Flemish origins?

Scotland and the Flemish People Conference, 16 and 17 June

Dear readers,

Over the coming weeks we will be using this blog to update you on the conference on Scotland and the Flemish People that will take place in St Andrews on 16th and 17th of June. 

If you wish to register for the conference please do so on our website.

If you have any questions or comments please contact Dr Claire Hawes at:


The project team

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Scotland and the Flemish People Conference, 16 and 17 June

Scottish Families with Possible Flemish Origins – A Summary

Over the past two years this blog has played host to a number of postings that have sought to provide evidence of a Flemish root for some specific Scottish families. This blog posting summarises the state of play so far. It also highlights a new addition to the list — the Wyles family — that some believe to have Flemish origins. As noted in previous blog postings, it is difficult in most cases to be definitive about assigning a Flemish root to a family. In due course it may be possible to draw on DNA analysis to provide supportive evidence of a Flemish origin for a family.

Families with Possible Flemish Roots

The list of names below has been developed over the last two years from various books pertaining to the Flemish in Scotland, from submissions by various families who believe their origins to be in Flanders, and from genealogists and other family history researchers.

Abernethy, Adie, Anstruther, Armstrong, Air(e), Ayres,
Bailey, Baird, Balliol, Bart, Barty, Beal, Beale, Beaton, Bell, Bels, Bennie, Beveridge, Binnie, Binning, Bishop, Blaw (or Blow), Bonar, Boswell, Bremner, Brodie, Browning, Bruce,
Cameron, Campbell, Cant, Clemmet, Clink, Clow, Comyn, Cornelius, Cousin, Cox, Crawfurd,
Danks, De War, Deurs, Dewar, Douglas, Dowie,
Emery (or Imrie), Enzell Erskine,
Flamang, Flamank, Flament, Flammang, Flanderensis, Flanders, Fleeming, Flement, Fleming, Flemish, Flemming, Flemyng, Flockhart, Flucker,
Frame, Frisken, Frizall, Furlong,
Gentleman, Graham, Grote,
Hally, Hamilton, Harrower, Hazeel, Hazel, Hazell, Henman, Holm, Houbron, Innes,
Junker, Justice, Kemp, Kessen, Kettle,
le Bel, Leith, Leslie, Lindsay, Lochore, Luke, Marriott, Montgomerie, Morran, Morrens, Mortimer, Murray, Mustard, Mutch,
Oliphant, Peacock, Petrie, Plender, Plenderleith, Prain, Prayne, Pren and Prenn, Preynne, Pundler,
Roche, Roy, Rutherford,
Seton, Smout, Spalding, Stein, Stewart, Stirling, Sturman, Sutherland, Swankie,
Vermont, Waddell, Weddell, Wingate, Woodall, Wyles, Younger

The most recent name to be added to the list of possible Flemish origin families is Wyles. This family is the subject of the box below.

The Wyles Family

There are varied opinions as to the ancient origins of the surname of Wyles. Some believe it to be Flemish but the name has also been associated with possible Germanic, Saxon, Pict, and Viking origins. The name may be both locational or occupational for a catcher, trapper, or hunter, derived from the word for a snare: the “Wyle” may be in reference to the willow wood used in the traps. Wyles may be from the characteristic of a person who is “being wiley” as in cunning. It was also used as a baptismal name for a son of a “William”. Lastly, the name may also mean someone who lived near a pagan temple.[1] There are also a variety of spellings for the name including Willas, Wiles, Willes, Wills, Willys, Williss, Wileson, and Wyles.

The first occurrence of the Wyles surname was Adam Wylis, who appeared in the Poll Tax records of Yorkshire in 1379. Subsequently, census data for the second half of the 19th century show that there were a good number of people with the name Wyles to be found in the south of England (especially Kent). Scotland also had a significant number, especially in Fife, Lanarkshire, and Roxburghshire. More detailed census information and pertinent statistics can be located at and the Forebears web sites.[2]

A branch of Wyles of Duddington, Northamptonshire are of Haplogroup E, which would not be a common Haplogroup in the Flemish community.[3] A Wyles DNA Project provides more detail.[4] As this is only one branch of the Wyles family, the unusual Haplogroup may be due to various reasons including a recent or remote “non-paternity event”. This event could have happened even before surnames were introduced.

In conclusion, many more DNA samples for the Wyles surname will be required to reveal additional information about the ancient origins of this surname. Multiple surname testing will, importantly, reveal if Haplogroup E is predominate or common to all others of the surname Wyles. 

Discovering the genetic origins of surnames is an ongoing process. If you are male and bear the surname Wyles or a variant of it — or indeed any other surname that might have a Flemish root —please consider taking a DNA test and joining the DNA component of the Scotland and the Flemish People project. See the following link:

Source Material on Surnames

The links below provide a good starting point for a study of surnames in general or Flemish origin surnames in particular.
The People of Medieval Scotland, 1093-1314
England’s Immigrants, 1330-1550 
The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming, edited by Carole Hough
Flemings in the Fens
Flemish Influence In Britain, CD book, J. Arnold Fleming (sample pages)
Searching for Flemish (Belgian) Ancestors
Online Etymonline Dictionary (search for Flemish, Fleming or Flanders, Vlaanders, etc.)
What’s in a Surname (scanned pages for Fleming Chap 3 The March)

Behind The Name – Flemish‬

Flemish Diversity, 2008 DNA study by Guido Deboeck

Flemish DNA & Ancestry by Guido Deboeck

Heraldry & Surname info. for Scotland

Janet Flandrensis and Alex Fleming
March 2016

Janet Flandrensis’ interest in genealogy dates back to 1980. She has been an administrator of a DNA Fleming project at and more recently at FTDNA. Her email address is
Alex Fleming is a co-sponsor of, and researcher in, the Scotland and the Flemish People project. He also edits this weekly blog. His email address is:



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Scottish Families with Possible Flemish Origins – A Summary

The Murray, Sutherland and Douglas families: were they related and were they Flemish?

Genetic genealogical analysis has developed rapidly in recent years with new techniques being applied to an ever increasing volume of data from samples of DNA taken from individuals, much of it pertaining to Y-DNA passed down through the male line. This posting reports on innovative work being undertaken by Alexandrina Murray on the Murray family and two other families – Douglas and Sutherland – that are believed to be closely related to it.

As discussed in an earlier blog posting: ([1]) heraldic, documentary and conveyancing land record evidence held within Scottish archives point to a familial relationship during the medieval period in Scotland between certain members of the Murray; Sutherland & Douglas families.([2]) This descent was assumed to be via a common descent from a Flemish warrior knight: Fresechinus ([3]), residing near Wiston in Pembroke Wales in the year 1130. ([4]) This progenitor was referred to later as Freskin or Freskyn of Moray- or de Moravia, son of Ollec. See the extract from the Great Roll of the Exchequer below .

Walt filius Witson & Freskin ‘son of’ |Ollec |resident in Pembroke 1130 ([5])([6])

Murray Blog 1

Murray Blog 2

Whether this shared genetic relationship was via paternal vs maternal lines is a matter for further research. Heraldic evidence alone is generally not deemed sufficient to establish a basis for arguing direct paternal line relationships between members of families granted the same or similar heraldic ordinaries. Historically, armorial bearings and titles were sometimes evidenced to have been granted within non paternally  descending land owning families.([7])  (ie: land that was not passed down from father to son).

It is thought that Freskin was resident in Pembroke, Wales in 1130 ([8])([9])at the time Saint David’s Cathedral Pembroke (see below) was built and consecrated.

Murray Blog 3

Saint David’s Cathedral Pembroke. Consecrated 1130c ([10])

The Douglas & Sutherland relationship.

In order to test whether the Douglas and Sutherland families had a common ancestor, a potential genetic link between Morton Earls Douglas ([11] & [12])  & Sutherland of Moray Firth ([13]) members within their respective Y-DNA surname projects at Family Tree DNA were investigated by this writer during May of 2013. In facilitating this investigation, respective Y-DNA Allele STR marker values were organized on spread-sheets then sorted according to similarity of their values within apparently similar haplotype groupings. At that stage not many of these men had undertaken advanced SNP nor Big Y testing.([14]) (Those that have now done so have been included in the analysis below.) These results were further sorted into modal values and compared to each other.

The analysis of the data pointed to an apparently close genetic relationship between all of the Moray Firth Sutherland men & the Douglas Earls of Morton membership cohort. These findings were reported to the respective Project group administrators Messrs Mark Sutherland-Fisher of Ross Shire & his Douglas Project colleagues- Francis Douglas QC and Belinda Dettman.([15]) The general consensus was that this group of Douglas and Sutherland members ‘may’  represent the Y-DNA profile of the potentially Flemish Ollec and his son Freskin Moray (or: de Moravia ([16]) progenitors of the Douglas, Sutherland and Murray Clans.

The Murray relationship with Sutherland & Douglas

As at February 2016 , almost 3 years after initial analysis, no substantial genetic link has been found between relevant groups of Murray project members and the Sutherland-Douglas matching Haplotype: sub group SNP = DF27 R- FGC23066]. ([17]) There is however finally, one sole Murray member of our project whose lineage has tested positive for the same relatively common([18]) upstream sub-clade of R1b-DF27 and is tightly related via STR ([19]) analysis to the Sutherland-Douglas men. Further advanced SNP ([20]) testing should determine if this inter-relatedness will remain common through to the time-frame under discussion: approx 1200c.

This individual Murray member’s STR values though, do definitely result in a very promising genetic distance of approx 2 mutations over 67 markers = 67/2  to the  Sutherland-Douglas modal, which in general terms would usually indicate a very close familial relationship.

One would expect to find many more STR mutations than this over an 820+ year time-frame relating to their common ancestor. The Murray member will examine his family tree to determine whether it contains previously unknown connections with the Douglas or Sutherland families in recent times (this would distort the findings). The Sutherland-Douglas group also correlate extremely closely to each other and again we see surprisingly few mutations within the modal which would generally be considered unusual if the shared common ancestor were living around the year 1200. On rare occasions, the genetic distance between some father and son participants, and first cousins within Y-DNA projects, has been from 1 to 5 STR mutations over 37 or 67 markers. (

GENETIC Y-DNA MUTATION RATES – Father-Son Transmission.

For evidence pertaining to potential mutation rates between some Father/Son pairs please see Kit Numbers 214235 (son) & 289366 (father) members of Murray Project located within Group 1:01 (Teal Blue Header) Y-DNA RESULTS PAGE

ŸGenetic Distance of 2 over 37 markers between father and son within the Falahill – Cockpool Murray ; Morrow ; Waldron related group 1:01 of the Murray Clan DNA Research Project at Family Tree DNA. ([22])

ŸNote: Genetic distances of 4 or even 5 over 67 STR Markers have been reported on occasion between fathers & sons. This is very rare however. The usual pattern is zero mutations between father-son pairs over 12 ; 25; 37; 67 and 111 STR markers.

ŸSee FTDNA Forum. ([23]) (Links in end-notes below)

After a decade of Y-DNA testing analysis; if this Murray match to Sutherland Douglas is an outlier then possibly one lineage within these three families of Douglas, Murray and Sutherland, was related through intermarriage rather than via direct patrilineal descent, and research into this possibility is ongoing. On the other hand we have not yet knowingly analysed any Y-DNA results from our senior Murray line of Tullibardine.

However, the Y-DNA evidence to date is relatively clear. The Sutherland and Douglas members referred to previously are certainly descended from the same progenitor and the question is whether or not this progenitor was common to both groups  approx-imately 820 years ago, versus during a later time-frame.  To date though, as previously mentioned, only the one Murray member has also tested as DF27 positive and has a similar Y-DNA profile to the above Douglas-Sutherland men.

This is important because the Murray Clan DNA Research Project ([24]) is now entering the 10th year since inception, whereby a small group of Murray families initially tested the waters of the then unique Y-DNA Test offerings by Family Tree DNA  facilitated by scientists from the University of Arizona. Since that exploratory time our project has blossomed into one of the larger surname projects at FTDNA, with approximately 600 members plus another 200 within the Morrow surname project. ([25]) These members represent many thousands of Murray- Morrow – MacMurray & related lineages today.

The Murray & Morrow surname conundrum.

Although some Morrows are descended from men named Murray, not all are, hence the dual Y-DNA projects, and some of these Murray-Morrows are members of both projects at Family Tree DNA accordingly.

There are many derivations of surnames that have been shown after Y-DNA analysis to have been written incorrectly after mispronunciation or clerical misunderstandings, and these newly acquired surnames have just ‘stuck’ with the families concerned.  In other cases, avoidance of usage of the original surname was deliberately adopted in order to differentiate the family from others using the same name whilst  residing within close locational proximity.

Morrow is written as pronounced, especially in the ‘Border Lowlands’ whereby Murray often sounded more like Moroh-and was often then written as Morrow accordingly.([26])

The Irish Murray & Morrow families

Murray is generally speaking, a surname acquired by residents originally dwelling within the northerly lands of Morayshire. However there is a very large cohort of related Irish Murrays and Morrows within the DNA project that appear to descend from the Uí Néill  (Nine Hostage fame) lineage ([27]) ([28])  The ancestors of the members of this cohort resided in Ireland and not Scotland. By far the greatest number of individual Murray lineages within our surname project to date belong to their Haplogroup, designated as M222 and are accordingly of earlier Irish descent with shared progenitor dating back to the year 378 and arguably not of more recent Flemish-Scottish descent.

As this Irish cohort may not have decended from the Flemish immigrants to Scotland, they may not be relevant to the current topic under discussion here. It is interesting however that the arms of the O’Neil bear three mullets in chief ([29]) which coincides in part with those of Murray, Sutherland & Douglas who use three stars. ([30])



These linguistic splits in the written form of the surname then appear to divide the related families of later generations, whereby those living in close proximity often considered their individual families to be non related. The same can be said for the surname MacMurray in all of the written forms, as this Mac prefix (son of) has also been shown via Y-DNA evidence to often derive from Murray (Moray), as has Morrey, Morah and a variety of other similar sounding surnames.([31]) To date there are a large number of totally unrelated family groups of Murrays & Morrows within our surname project, giving credence to the locational provenance of the Murray surname.

Was Freskin Flemish?

Freskin, as noted above, was resident in Pembroke prior to the David I incursions into Moray. He appears to have been an adult paying an exchequer debt by 1130, so possibly born in Pembroke to Ollec by 1100 circa.([32]) Arguably his grand-father may have arrived with Ollec as a teenager in 1066 with the Norman invasion.

Who are the descendants of Freskin of Moray then? ; he died before 1166, (some argue 1171 c), [33]) and was granted large tracts of land by David I. These lands were subsequently bequethed to William de Moravia and Hugo of Sutherland .([34]) Another issue is whether Y-DNA studies today can shed any light on the genetic background of these men during the middle ages.  Although this is possible, it is also important to understand that such studies have limitations. To date there is no solid proof that Ollec and Freskin were actually Flemish, merely circumstantial evidence.([35]) Then there is the difficult question of which DNA Haplogroup/s designate Flemish Y-DNA.

Arguably, he should be referred to as Freskin of Pembroc rather than Freskin of Moray as he was resident there, perhaps since childhood, if not born there. The debt referred to above was a 20 shilling amount Fresechinus owed to the Exchequer which was– “Et Quietus est”–and fully paid by September 1130. Freskin was resident in Pembroke with other notable Flemish families and their descendants previously removed to the unruly Southern Welsh plantations by Henry I during the 1100-1104 period.

Only a handful of men appeared to have had dealings with the Exchequer at that time in Pembroke and all were seemingly Flemish. Witso ([36]) has been referred to as Flemish in the literature and conveyancing documents support this designation.

By further researching the same Exchequer Roll, this time for London, Witso (Wyzo) son of Leuestani was found residing there in 1130.([37])Afterwhich more in depth specific research pertaining to the descendants of Leuestani (Leofstan) resulted in determining his occupation as being a goldsmith (aurifaber): Witso was also a craftsman goldsmith. He, along with possible father Leuestani, son Walter, and also Fresechin(us), are not referred to as being Flemish at all within the 1129-1130 Exchequer pipe rolls. This may indicate that they were all born locally and were perhaps sons and/or grandsons of the original Flemish immigrants 1066 or a short while later.

Murray Blog 4
Murray Blog 5

Great Roll of the Exchequer: 1129-30. r.Henry I- London.([38])

Both Witso (referred to also as Wizo and Withsonis & Withsone)([39]) along with goldsmith father Leuestani (Leuestanus) ([40]) were members of the Cnihtengild (Guild of Knights) in London in 1125 ([41]) This Guild held extensive lands around Aldgate, ([42]) indicating they were men of some importance there during that era.([43]) Freskin (or his son William) was, as some commentators believe, rewarded with Scottish lands for Knights’ service. If therefore, Freskin accompanied David I to Scotland to quell Morayshire disturbances during the same era recorded in the Pipe Roll (1129-1130), this must have been immediately prior or subsequent to Michaelmas in September 1130 when these Rolls had been completed.([44]) Both Witso and his father were referred to as goldsmith, and that would have been a comparatively lucrative profession during this era. This profession may certainly be in keeping with those of other Flemish Knight-Craftsmen in England during the period under discussion.  Based upon the above analysis of his residence in Pembroke, along with other Flemish in close proximity, (notably Wiston Castle)—it would appear that Freskin was of Flemish stock, albeit born in Wales or England around the year 1100c.

Murrays descending from Flemish stock

There are many potential candidates in our Y-DNA project whose Haplotypes concur with those known to arise in Flanders and surrounding regions. In fact most, (excluding the Irish Uí Néill group previously discussed, and perhaps some R1a1 and other members) would fall into this category . Genealogical charts and family trees of YDNA project member participants are helpful, however the question needs to be asked- are their submitted trees genuine?([45]) Even if lineages are precise, accurate and detailed that is no guarantee that the male contributing his YDNA to a project is definitely lineally descended from his listed progenitor .

He might be related in other ways, for instance maternally descended from a Murray female whose son adopted the surname of Murray in order to acquire lands and/or titles. A husband having adopted the surname of Murray in order to continue family traditions and acquire inheritances after a line has ‘daughtered out’ has been proven in quite a number of Murray lineages, even some very elite ones.([46]) This circuitous route to acquiring ones’ surname, including that of Murray has come to light within many a lineage, even very noble ones, ([47])([48]) ([49]) underlying the vitally important need to test living descendants of these lineages prior to making assumptions based upon heraldry, the peerage, rumour, online ancestral services, or the paper trail alone.([50])

Flemish -Possibly?

Group 7 in our Project are Haplogoup I2a3 (I-L233) West and Western Isles Group.Germanic-Saxon Dutch-Flemish? ([51])

Group 2:D  Murray lineages belonging to Haplogroup R-U106 >Z381 which they share with the Royal Houses of Bourbon & Wettin. ([52] ) ([53]) ([54])

Group 1:01 descend from Archibald de Moravia alive 1290, who signed the Ragman roll and was the progenitor of the Falahill Murrays along with William de Moravia alive during the same era who was the progenitor of the Murrays of Cockpool. Both of these men were believed to have been Flemish. ([55])

Other factors may interrupt the genetic lineage of a surname apart from formal or informal adoption of the Murray surname: For instance orphan children, stepchildren, natural children, adopted or fostered children all have the potential to descend from a progenitor who was not of any Murray paternal lineage. These issues can occur no matter how elite or famous the lineage under consideration might appear. ([56]) This is another obstacle to identifying the chief line of Ollec and Freskin.

Finally, there can be distortions to the typical father to son or grandson inheritance pattern. In some cases the Latin term ‘filius’ (son of) is used in documentation, other times not , yet sons of ones’ daughter/s may also be argued to be entitled to use the same locational surname —of Moray—if they were also resident in that area, in this case the area around Duffus Morayshire. Lands could easily have been conveyed in this way during earlier periods with latter day antiquarians none the wiser unless historical records to the contrary remained extant.

Do Murray, Douglas & Sutherland men all descend from Freskin?

The Bothwell Murray line, and the Earls’ Sutherland line descended from the same family are both now extinct in the senior lines. So why is there such a strong genetic link between the Earls’ Morton Douglas lineage and Moray Firth Sutherland lineage? And why, in juxtaposition, is there not the same strong evidence regarding a matching Murray lineage to date if these three families do all arise from the same progenitor around 1200? Is there evidence that the Douglas & Sutherland Earls descend from Freskin de Moravia while Murrays of Morayshire do not? Or is it the other way around?

Do the Murrays descend from Freskin, and the Douglas Sutherland members from a daughter line? Perhaps none of the members descend from the elusive Freskin because the direct male lines of all three lineages ceased to exist! Arguably, it is more likely however that Scottish and/or other immigrant Murray males from this noble lineage have not yet undertaken DNA testing for genetic purposes.([57]) If the Y-DNA Moray Firth Sutherland group descend from Freskin paternally then of course so do their Earl of Morton Douglas Y-DNA cousins according to the DNA evidence to date. The Earls of Queensberry Douglas lineage on the other hand, is not a Y-DNA match to the above mentioned Douglas or Sutherland cohort.([58]) This finding needs further thorough investigation.

The one Murray member matching the Morton Earls of Douglas/ Moray Firth Sutherland lineage is undertaking further testing during February 2016. If his deeper haplogroup sub clade result continues to match the Sutherland & Douglas lines under discussion then we will be one step closer to possibly proving a more recently shared paternal descent. Moreover, without results from a larger lineally diverse but related cohort of Murrays along this member’s deeper lineage, it could be argued that one Murray lineage match alone will not provide researchers with enough solid evidence yet, to point to a strong, indisputable genetic link between these three chief lineages.

Given that two of these families — Earls’ Sutherland and Bothwell Murray—were believed to have become potentially extinct in the male chief lines, genetic evidence relies upon Y-DNA from their probable descendants. These comprise unrecorded sons of earlier Earls Sutherland within Moray Firth Sutherland cohort, and well documented Earls of Morton Douglas lineages. If any Murray member with a proven lineal provenance to noble Murray lineages were to match the Douglas-Sutherland cohort and their singular Murray match, this would be quite an historic finding.

Murray Blog 6

Douglas Castle 1900 circa- demolished 1938. ([59] )

Although the Bothwell Murray chief line led to extinction along the male line according to existing documentation, other probable descendants of this line are believed to be represented within the Murray of Tullibardine ranks. These ranks include the Dukes of Atholl and Earls of Dunmore, along with Viscounts Stormont (Earls’ Mansfield) and other elite Murray lineages. In order to ascertain if our Y-DNA Sutherland-Douglas cohort are in fact descended from the same paternal lineage as the potential Murray of Bothwell line of Atholl ( Dunmore, Stormont et al and cadets, Touchadam-Polmaise along with Abercairney Murrays),various Murray men known to be descended from the senior lines have been approached to undertake Y- DNA paternal line testing, but without success. Some members of this family are however within our Family Finder autosomal DNA project.

The Abercairney Murrays’ in our Murray Y-DNA project descend paternally from Home-Drummond relatively recently and as such are senior clan maternal line descendants of Freskin, not paternal.


The Murray Clan worldwide encompasses all of those bearing the surname Murray and derivatives and Septs, as well as their descendants. Our Murray DNA Project has proven a genetic link between many surname holders including Morrow, who did not realise previously that they were descended from a common Murray ancestor within their specific lines. However only one lineage can be directly patrilinially descended from Freskin if his paternal line did not become extinct.

To date due to lack of access to proven in depth lineage analysis of members and sparsity of members from proven Tullibardine Murray lineages it is not possible ascertain if that line relates in any way to the matching Douglas-Sutherland Y-DNA project members discussed above.

Fresechinus of Wiston (Whitson) in Pembroke and later of Duffus Moray with extensive lands conveyed to son William de Moravia, certainly appears to have descended from Flemish ancestral lines. However so have other founding ancestors within our project not known to be descended from him : Murrays of Cockpool and Murrays of Falahill & Blackbarony and cadets are merely three such Y-DNA cousin lines which have been argued to be descended from Flemish progenitors. These Murrays do not relate paternally to the Douglas Sutherland men under discussion, nor were they ever believed to descend in any way from Murray of Tullibardine.([60]) ([61])

If we were to recruit a number of Murray men descended from proven Tullibardine Touchadam -Polmaise and cadet Murray progenitors then, and only then would we be able to potentially answer the question as to whether a Murray-Sutherland-Douglas shared genetic Y-DNA paternal line inheritance from Freskin de Moravia is feasible. Until then though, this question remains moot.


Murray Blog 7

Nearby to Freskin’s abode in 1130.

For a PDF version of this blog post, see the following link: Blog Final PDF

Alexandrina Murray
February 2016

Alexandrina Murray is an Australian & British citizen. Her parentsboth Scottish, met during WW2 after they both volunteered for service within the Royal Australian Airforce. She is the Administrator for the Murray Clan DNA research Project at Family Tree DNA, and also the Administrator for the Noble Surname DNA Project. Her qualifications are B.A. & M.A., in Modern History. Alexandrina is retired as Manager; Distance Education Student Services at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia. Married to Paul Starling from a Stirling of Stirling family; they have one daughter -Alexandra.

References and Notes

[1]     M. Sutherland Fisher., J.B. Sutherland : See Blog Posting November 2014 Refer to discussion The Flemish in Scotland: Exploring the Relationships Between Some Key Flemish Families University of St Andrews.  Viewed November 2014.
[2] Ibid.
[3] G. W. S. Barrow., The Kingdom of the Scots Government, church and society from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. (London, 1973) p.p. 52-53 . Barrow determines that Freskin’s extensive lands were granted  in recognition of Knight service.
[4] Great Roll of the Exchequer., 1129-1130 E 372/1 31 Hen I. 1129 Mich-1130 Mich (printed by Rec Comm, 1833; reprinted by PRS, 1929) p.136. See Barrow- . Image courtesy of National Archives Kew, per Dr J. Nelson to James Brown Sutherland of Council: Clan Sutherland Society. 18 Sept 2014- via email. (Hereafter: Pipe Rolls Exchequer) Online version available:[5] Pipe Rolls Exchequer., Ibid.
[6] Note the presence of Walter son of Witz-Witson (Flandrensis) in the entry directly above Fresechin -Freskin yr 1130, Pembroke. as discussed by Sutherland & Fisher, (2014) op. cit., lending weight to their discussion regarding Witzo’s Flemish community comradeships and conveyancing trends later in Scotland. Identification of Witzo  as Witson (Wiston) with son Walt(s) is central to linking Freskin with  Wizo, the leader of the Flemish community in Pembrokeshire. Wizo Flandrensis de Castellum Witz. Walterus filius Witz was in possession of his father’s lands and ‘Castle Wiston-Witz in 1130, and Freskin (Fresechin) is listed directly under this entry seemingly living within the Flemish community at this time. This Castle passed from Walter Fitz Wizo to William Fitz Gerald in 1147. Walter & Freskin arguably of the same generation, possibly related with fathers’ also of the same generation. A Wizo  of Wiston was also prominent in Clydesdale and Kelso during the reign of Malcolm iv. Wizo in circa 1112 Wizo held the lordship of Daugleddau in Pembroke, which appears to be a name similar phoenetically to Douglas Dale.
[7] Earls of Annandale line is just one such example whereby the Crichton inheritor assumed the surname Murray. See: W.M. Morison., Ed: Decisions of the Court of Session, Vol. 6. Forum Competins Sir Robert Murray vs Murray of Bruchton (Broughton, ed. ) Feb 12th 1679 p.4803.
[8] Pipe Rolls Exchequer 1129-1130 Pembroke Wales. Op. Cit.,
[9] Also see: Lauran Toorians ., Revue belge de philologie de histoire, Annee (1996) Vol 74 No.3. pp.659-   693 Flemish Settlements in Twelfth-Century Scotland. p.663. PDF
[10] St David’s Cathedral was under construction and consecrated 1130c when Freskyn was in residence at Pembroke. Photographer Nigel Swales: Wiki Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
[11] Douglas Surname DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. Accessed 27 Jan 2017  at :
[12] Ibid.,  Members state progenitor is Willem  de Douglas 1174c.
[13] Sutherland  DNA Research Project at Family Tree Dna. Accessed 27 Jan 2016  at:
[14] Advanced Single Nucleotide Polymorphism analysis via Family Tree DNA, Houston Texas USA.
[15] Alexandrina Murray : to Mark Sutherland Fisher., Belinda Dettman., Francis Douglas., by Email 18 May 2013. DOUGLAS MATCHES SUTHERLAND GROUP 0.3
[16] Also de Murreff.
[17] There is however one Murray project member who appears to belong to the same upstream clade of DF27 . Further SNP testing to be undertaken February-March should provide verification that his terminal sub clade will match that of the Douglas Sutherland group under discussion.
[18] Within European populations, however uncommon within the Murray Clan DNA Research Project.
[19] STR: Short Tandem Repeat DYS analysis.
[20] Single Neucleotide Polymorphism analysis.
[21] FTDNA Forum: Customer :Prarielad. Differs 4 mutations to 1st cousin.  67/4 reported 18 Sept 2015.  Customer: Chills reports differs 2 markers from his father. 67/2 Reported: 6 Feb 2015.  Customer Stevo: reports 2 mutations to his son. 67/2  reported 13/8/2014.
Murray DNA Project Group 1:01 Cockpool Murray Philiphaugh Murray group report father son 2 mutations over 37 markers: 37/2 . See Family Tree DNA Father-Son-Brother Project.
Results here. Ignore 1st group AAA.
[22] Murray Clan DNA Research Project  at Family Tree DNA: Accessed 27 Jan 2016 at :
[23] FTDNA Forum: Op. Cit.,
[24] Murray DNA FTDNA Op. Cit
[25] Morrow DNA Project at Family Tree DNA . Accessed 27 Jan 2016 at:
[26] William Murray of Murraythwaite.,  cited in Scots Lore, Proceedings of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 166. . 1856.
[27] Matching Niall of the Nine Hostages Project at Family Tree DNA. Accessed  27 Jan 2017 at:
[28] Michael Maglio., Identifying Y-Chromosome Dynastic Haplotypes: The High Kings of Ireland Revisited (2015) LINK  PDF
[30] Mullets are pierced however stars are not.
[31] Murraythwaite, Op. Cit., In many parts of Scotland — in Roxburghshire, in Perthshire, and else- where — Morow is still the local pronunciation for Murray or Moray. Many ways of spelling the name are preserved in old documents. It appears as Mwrray, Murrai, Murra, Murry, Mwry, Murrave, Murref, Muref, MurreflF, Murrefe, Morye,* Mowrrey,’ or Murrafe
[32] Arguably it was Father of Ollec who arrived with William the Conqueror in 1066 and Freskin was not referred to as ‘Flandrensis’ because he was actually native born 1100 circa. Flemish residents in Welsh areas and Pembroke by 1127 are discussed in depth  in: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and.Monmouthshire: VII – County of Pembroke.(1925) . See online version: By Royal Warrant.
[33] Sir James Paul., (1909). The Scots Peerage 2. Edinburgh: David Douglas. p. 121.
[34] A.A.M. Duncan (1975 ) Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom. p.189.
[35] Ibid., See Note 6 above.
[36] This unusual fore-name may have been unique to this Flemish family.
[37] Pipe Roll Exchequer , Op. Cit., p145.
[38] Ibid.,
[39] All forms  of this name have may have been unique to this Flemish family in both Scotland and Wales.
[40] Round., The Antiquary. See in depth discussion  pp.109-111. Op. Cit.,
[41] Ibid.,
[42] C, Nugent; L, Brooke; G, Keir: London, 800-1216 : The Shaping of a City. pp. 98-99
[43] Round, Op. Cit., The Antiquary argues that there were at least 4 men with the forename Leuestani (Leofstan) in London during this era and warns readers not to confuse these four families.
[44] Michaelmas: Feast of Saint Michael. 29 September.
[45] In consideration of the proliferation of ancestry dot com trees whereby some member there attach their ancestors to those of others via “shaky green leaf hints” without due diligence and research. This has disseminated enormous numbers of false ancestral trees worldwide. I argue, perhaps hundreds of thousands.
[46] Murray of Abercairney is merely one elite line of Murray (Moray) with solid descent from Freskin who are recently descended as Moray from their maternal Moray line , after Son In Law- male Home-Drummond descendant assumption of the surname of Moray  to become Home-Drummond Moray. See Charles Stirling- Home- Drummond born 1814 married Christian Moray 18th of Abercairney. Charles then assumed the surname of Moray. See: The Peerage online
[47] An example of this is currently found within the Pringill of Stitchill Baronetcy succession dispute . Whereby the Queen has intervened in order to determine if Y-DNA test results should be provided to a judicial enquiry as evidence in this case after FTDNA Pringle project members of the Stitchill family did not match re: Y-DNA STR results. See: Accessed February 2016.
[48] Identification of the Remains of King Richard III (2014) in Nature Communications . PDF Viewed Jan 2016.
[49] Also see evidence regarding skeletal remains of King Richard  III whose Y-DNA does not match his apparent paternal descendant line relations of the Dukes of Beaufort-|Somerset lineage. Leicester University: Viewed January 2016.
[50] J.J. Cassiman (Prof) 2013. New research robs French King Henry IV of his head. At Viewed February 2016.
[51] See Group 7. Murray Clan DNA Results Family Tree DNA Op. Cit.,[52] Ibid.,  Maarten H.D. Larmuseau et al., 2013 House of Bourbon belonged to Y-haplogroup R1b1b2a1a1b* (R-Z381*). European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 9 October 2013; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.211 Viewed at Dienekes BlogSpot:
[53] Genetics. Viewed at : . Accessed 28 Jan 2016. See: for Haplo-Map
[54] See Group 2:D. Murray Clan DNA Results Family Tree DNA Op. Cit.,
[55] See Group 1:01. Murray Clan DNA Results Family Tree DNA Op. Cit.,
[56] Ibid., All three projects: Murray: Douglas and Sutherland have enlisted members whose paper trail and published lineages place them as members within senior or well known clan lineages, yet who do not match any other members Y-DNA from within those projects. Relationship to their ancestral progenitor cannot be discounted however based solely on DNA Project membership numbers alone. Dozens of members of one family line may in fact be the outliers, having joined the project en-mass, and the lone member who does not match the others could theoretically be the genuine paternal line descendant.
[57] If they have done so, and are not aware of their distant provenance and the relationship to Tullibardine Murray, they are NOT be matching the Douglas-Sutherland group.
[58] Douglas Earls Queensberry belong to Haplogroup R1a1 see: Surname DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. Op.Cit.,[59] Douglas Castle from Old Postcard. 1900 circa. Demolished 1938. Photo in public domain.
[60] Sir Walter Scott , a descendant of the Murrays of Falahill argued that his Murray of Philiphaugh relative and neighbour, was adamant that their line was unique and not related to any other Murrays. He especially referred to Murray of Atholl. This does not determine though that they did not also descend from the Bothwell-Tullibardine lineage during the medieval period.
[61] Group 1:01 within the Murray DNA Project are to date: the only group apart from the Sutherland-Douglas men, to have a well defined line to medieval ancestors. The related Murrays of Falahill & Murrays of Cockpool and cadets are believed to have descended from Archibald & William de Moravia. Recently, a member related to Sir James Augustus Henry Murray , (Lexicographer of Oxford dictionary fame) and believed to descend from Murray of Blackbarony, matched the Falahill & Cockpool Murray group. Their haplogroup is U152> L20. La Tene Celt. Other members of various groups unrelated to each other believe they are descended from the Tullibardine line. Most of these members descend from immigrants to U.S.A & Canada. These include men in Groups: 1:03:A; / 1:A5:2  /& 1:A5:3 ; / 1:A8:1 ;/ 2:D ; /4:0 & 7:0  /. See:
[62] Wiston Castle ruin Pembrokeshire Wales. Est date of initial construction 1110 circa. Situated in the vicinity of a dwelling inhabited by Fresechin (Freskin) during 1130, afterwards of Moray Scotland. Photo copyright by Deborah Tilley  November 2015. Available for publication under Creative Commons Licence :© Copyright:    Deborah Tilley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Murray, Sutherland and Douglas families: were they related and were they Flemish?

Additional Scottish Families with Possible Flemish Roots

Two weeks ago a blog posting examined a number of families that may, with varying degrees of probability, have Flemish roots. This blog posting examines a further two families – Bishop and Spalding – that may have had their origins in Flanders.

The Bishop Family

The Bishop family has a long and distinguished history in the British Isles.[1] Family records indicate a presence in England from the time of the Norman Conquest and in Scotland from the arrival of David I.

The Scottish Bishop line is believed by some family historians to have come from Flanders. The Bishops were clearly of aristocratic stock and over time members of this family were recorded as being sheriffs and burgesses in the royal burghs in the Lothians and on the east coast. Some were also merchants.

Family research to date suggests that there were strong connections in the medieval period between the Bishop family and many of the Norman-Flemish families of the day, for instance Stirling, Ramsay, Stuart, Bruce, and Sinclair. The armorial bearings of Sir William Bischop, the elder sheriff and burgess of Edinburgh displayed two rampant lions that appear to connect them to other Norman-Flemish families. Moreover, William de Bishop, Count of Rokesburgh (Roxburgh), signed the Ragman Roll in 1296 in the company of a number of other men who were believed to be of Flemish origin.[2]

If you are interested in making contact with the Bishop family, please send an email to William Bishop at

The Spalding Family

The Spalding family probably took its name from the town of Spalding in Lincolnshire, England. It is not clear whether the towns name was Anglo-Saxon in origin or brought over by Flemish settlers.

The family name Spalding has remained largely unchanged over time, with the main variant being Spaulding, found in the USA. The name was probably introduced quite early in the medieval period and was used extensively in England and Scotland. It is not known whether the Spaldings descended from one common ancestor as at least three different Spalding surname Y chromosome lines have been identified.

The Spaldings appear from time to time in historical accounts of Scotland. For instance, there was a Spalding who was a burgess in the fortified town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Being on the border between Scotland and England it often changed hands over the course of history.

According to Haile’s Annals of Scotland, “one Spalding, a citizen of Berwick, having been harshly treated by the governor (probably Robert Horsely), resolved to revenge himself. He wrote to a Scottish lord (probably Patrick, earl of March) whose relation he had married, and offered, on a certain night, to betray the post where he kept guard.”[3]

This intelligence was communicated to the king (Robert Bruce) who wished to take the town back from the English. “Troops were assembled under Randolph and Douglas, cautiously marched to Berwick, and assisted by Spalding, scaled the walls and in a few hours were masters of the town”.

Spalding was rewarded with a grant of lands in Angus, and later the family acquired lands in Ashintully, Glenshee in Perthshire, Scotland. Glenshee itself is an area where there was evidence of other Flemish settlement in a later period.[4]

If you are interested in making contact with a representative of the Scottish Spalding family in America, please send an email to Timothy Spaulding at

Alex Fleming
February 2016

Alex Fleming is a co-sponsor of, and researcher in, the Scotland and the Flemish People project. He also edits this weekly blog. His email address is:


[1] There are a number of variants on the name Bishop, including Bisshop, Byshop, and Bischop.

[2] Annette Hardie-Stoffelen, ‘The rise of the Flemish families in Scotland’, in The Flemish Scottish Connections, pp. 21-2.

[3] Haile’s Annals of Scotland, vol. II, p. 97.

[4] and

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment