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Matt Rosenberg

Geneticists: English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Are Same People

By March 7, 2007

Follow me on:

According to an article in the New York Times, the DNA of individuals throughout the United Kingdom is so strikingly similar that the people of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales may all be descended from the same majority population that has existed on the islands for thousands of years and may not be descended from different peoples at all. Will we be able to put to rest the idea that England, Scotland, and Wales are separate independent countries?


March 7, 2007 at 11:54 pm
(1) Wayne says:

However, what about the possibilities of integration between these people? The English conquered Wales, Scotland, and Ireland a couple hundred years ago(about 1200s to 1600s?) What about the possibility that the English intermarried into the other groups?

March 8, 2007 at 11:01 am
(2) anonymous says:

One of my family members (many from Britain), married one of those pesky French people way back when. I can’t EVEN discuss him! Then another married a Native American. I wonder how many Native Americans are around that may not realize it?

March 9, 2007 at 5:55 pm
(3) Mimi says:

England, Wales and Scotland may have more of a genetic connection because of the intermingling through wars, religion and geography, but I find it hard to believe there is much dilution of the Irish blood, given the hatred of the oppressing English and the conservative religious backgrounds of Protestant and Catholics. Going back to the origin of the Celtic peoples (Scots-Irish) there COULD be a source for all those peoples, decended from the Celts.

March 10, 2007 at 8:50 pm
(4) Robert says:

There is a an argument that the “Anglo-Saxons” never existed. Apparently the so-called Saxon invasions derive from limited historical sources (one ? – the Venerable Bede), and archaeological evidence suggests continuity of architectural style and farming methods, and no evidence of violent invasion.
I have always pondered why Celtic words are virtually absent from English. That suggests no intermingling or inter-marriage. But I’d doubt if the so-called Anglo-Saxons utterly slaughtered the Celts or enslaved them or ignored their language(s) and customs. Were they pushed back to the periphery en masse ?
It’s been suggested that Roman references to the “Saxon Shore” was not some kind of defensive wall, but merely an observation that Saxon-speakers were already (peacefully) settled.
Perhaps “Anglo-Saxon” was just a trade language ? a lingua franca ?
Why did the (allegedly) Celtic peoples of present-day ‘England’ remain uninfluenced by Roman occupation – after 400 years of occupation ? Even the elites had shrugged off Roman culture within a generation.

All very confusing.

March 11, 2007 at 9:40 am
(5) Marianne Shanahan says:

That conclusion pretty well ignores the strong influence of the Vikings on the northern shores of Ireland and Scotland. Dublin and many other place names are of Viking origin, and who can ignore the physical characteristics of the Highland Scots and the red-headed Irish?

May 9, 2007 at 8:59 am
(6) G. Parnell says:

Sigh! Don’t any of you people ever read up on things before you write about them? Haven’t you heard through DNA tests done in the U.K. that “English and Welsh are races apart”? What is more, the Scottish and Irish also have the same Germanic DNA as the English.

May 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm
(7) michael barrentine says:

too robert. you say celtic words are virtually absent from english, what about gaelic? my last name barrentine has two gaelic words in it. Barr = top, or head and tine = fire or firearms. some say my last name is irish and some say english. i believe that the irish and english are the same people.

January 11, 2009 at 9:22 am
(8) Padraig says:

And what do you reckon that 90% of these comments about the English and Irish being distinct are from in-bred Americans? Why don’t you so-called “Irish-Americans” just concentrate on the mess of your own country before coming over to Ireland with your racist shit – no one wants it here, whatever you might think!

March 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm
(9) George Stewart Muir says:

Read Steven Oppenheimer’s Origins of the British.
This blog is ill informed and misleading.

April 22, 2009 at 12:57 am
(10) sean campbell says:

there is no need to group all Americans into one group of “in-bred”‘s…were aren’t all ignorant

May 15, 2009 at 9:28 pm
(11) Danyon Adams-Newey says:

I disergre becase the welsh are the decendents of the eraly celtic peoples who ocupied the reageon long before the angelo-saxens came and there is no prof that the modern engelish are the decendents of celtic peoples.

May 15, 2009 at 9:34 pm
(12) Danyon Adams-Newey says:

Althogh it is posible that since thay all speak engelish their may be a conection betwen the 4 lands

November 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(13) scot descendent says:


For Pete’s sake – they speak English now, but did not alway speak the same language. Welch is spoken today in Wales, as well as Irish Gaelic and Scot Gaelic in other parts of the British isles. Do your homework.

January 17, 2010 at 12:45 am
(14) dan says:

Is there any evidence of the Roman empire mixing with the Irish\Scottish ancestry?

If the Romans occupied the lands there should have been some intermixing going on…

It would be interesting to find out that I had roman ancestry..

January 29, 2010 at 7:39 pm
(15) Steve says:

In The Origins of the British, researcher Stephen Oppenheimer argues that a high proportion of the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh populations are genetically related, springing from an Ice Age refuge located in what is now northwestern Spain.

He also claims that close to 70% of the British population is genetically related to the modern-day Basques of Spain. He goes on further to state that Britain is really two countries in the sense that the Anglo-Saxon tribes tended to inhabit the east side of the country, while the Celts held sway over the west.

The allegation that the Anglo-Saxons ‘wiped out’, or supplanted the native British tribes is not supported by the large amount of genetic, archaeological and other evidence Oppenheimer has been able to bring forward.

If anything, it’s probably likely that the Celts admired the advanced technology and culture of the Anglo-Saxons and adopted their ways, thus beginning on the long downward slope that led to the demise of much of the indigenous Celtic culture.

Although the Scots are predominantly Celtic, they also have a substantial Germanic, Scandinavian and Roman genetic heritage – as do the English.

Southern Scotland is commonly believed to be almost exclusively Anglo-Saxon in make-up, but the fact that a variant of Gaelic was widely spoken there up until the end of the 11th century suggests a more Celtic nature.

The Irish have a similar genetic make-up, with some Spanish influences resulting from the invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Given the large numbers of people migrating into Britain and Ireland over the last several thousand years, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh are derived from a single ancestral base.

I personally would argue instead for a high degree of genetic interlinkage and commonalities.

May 20, 2010 at 5:57 am
(16) Jaxxmac says:

Don’t know if you’ve noticed but generally celtic people have dark hair and light eyes (me…brown hair and blue eyes) or light hair and dark eyes. This is neither germanic or nordic!

September 25, 2010 at 1:34 am
(17) Jon Renzulli says:

im an american with irish and scottish ancestry, among other groups like german and italian. im proud. anyway who cares, we’re all white!

October 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm
(18) Bill says:

Ahh! Padraig, the Americans may seperate by race but you Irish kill each other by religon alone.

April 6, 2011 at 8:11 am
(19) Teri says:

You do realize that Americans are all races,from many different Nations.I happen to be Scotts/Irish and American Indian.But who cares.I did a search about the scotts because Ive noticed they have (myself included) large foreheads.And I was curious and wanted to know why.Now ive done many searches about many things and the 1 thing ive noticed is that people will argue over the dumbest things,alot of times just to argue.Like now I just have to add my own 2 cents.We are all humans and thats all that matters.

June 16, 2012 at 2:07 am
(20) Rheanna says:

I find it very amusing to have my ancestors argued about on this thread.

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