What is DNA telling us about our Flemish origins?

Claire Hawes
Friday 25 March 2016

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.

Share this story