Thursday, February 9, 2017

Y-DNA: R1b-U106-S6989 Skanke Family Project


If you have Y-DNA tracing back to R1b->U106->S6989->CTS2158 then we are related somewhere in the past along the purely male line. A current ongoing project by a team that I am on is attempting to get FamilyTreeDna Big-Y tests on as many male descendants of this "Nordic branch of R1b-U106" as possible to link the family together.

This blog is primarily a connection to an online database I have been creating as well as a summary of what is currently known about the genealogy of the Skanke family.

My online database includes as many of the direct male descendants of Nicolaus (Nils) Hallsteinsson Schanke-Mjelle (1300-1355) as I can trace as well as his purely paternal ancestry all the way to legendary and mythological origins. At present I suspect that all males with the S6989 marker will tie into this line somewhere in the past couple of thousand years. It is also a certainty that not all direct descendants of S6989 are in this database. It is estimated that there are about 110 million currently living males directly descended from S6989. It has been confirmed that the Skanke family (and almost certainly the Barfod) family have this marker.

A couple of points to remember. Just because you do not have the Skanke or Barfot surname does not mean you don't tie into this line. And the reverse is also true, just because you have the Skanke or Barfot surname does not mean your male ancestry does tie into this line. I have seen a few instances (in the past few hundred years) where a man married into the Skanke family and took his wife's surname, which continues on down through the generations.

I am open to any corrections and additions. This is an ongoing project for now. I also have not included my own short paternal line or some other genealogy on people I know who also tie into this line, because I don't know how they link into this line, but they are known from Y-DNA testing to belong to S6989. My paternal ancestry certainly ties into this line somewhere but it may be that a paper trail will never validate the exact location. But we'll soon see where the Big-Y DNA tests take me...

If you know you are in the S6989 group I would be interested in your paternal genealogy. One day we may find connections. I plan to include and update data over time - and all connections even my own when they are made - and perhaps even add other genealogy from S6989 even if we cannot yet make the connection. Send me an email:

The sources for all names in the database are documented in the online database. Main Sources for the online database:
  • Skanke Family:
  • Barfot Family:
  • Nils Hallsteinsen ancestry from my own database collected over many years. The Kings of Man are well documented in the book by Mike Ashley, Mammoth Book of British Kings & Queens. (Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. New York: 1999). p 420, 427.

Access my online R1b-U601-S989 Genealogy Database (click on a link below):

Database Statisitics

  • Total Count of individuals in the database (includes wives): 793
  • Total Direct Male descendants of Nicolaus (Nils) Hallsteinsson Schanke-Mjelle (1300-1355):  416
  • Total Direct Male ancestors of Nicolaus (Nils) Hallsteinsson Schanke-Mjelle (1300-1355): 90 generations

Commentary on the Male Genealogy of R1-U106-S6989

All commentary refers to the large ancestry chart at the end of the blog.

1. DNA Prehistory

I have written previously about DNA studies. The most pertinent posts are referenced below.

2. Biblical Genealogy

The genealogy shown from Adam down to Japeth (the son of Noah) come from the Christian Bible. The connection of Japeth to the Kings of the Dardanians and Troy comes from The O'Clery Book of Genealogies, written in the 17th century. We certainly cannot accept the historical accuracy of most of these genealogies. Perhaps these myths are based on actual historical people at some distant point in the past, but certainly the genealogies and dating cannot be accurate. As can be see in the timeline on the first chart below, the R Haplogroup was already in Europe before the Biblical Adam would have existed.

I will point our here the book, Eden in the East, by Stephen Openheimer, a British paediatrician, geneticist, and writer, who has explored the possibility that the early Biblical stories originated on the submersed continent of Sundaland, the flooding of which would have given rise to various flood myths such as that of Noah in the Book of Genesis. If so this would have occurred about 6-10 thousand years ago after the last ice age, rather than the Biblical chronological date of abt 2400 BCE.

In addition to my blog post links on DNA above also see:  Genealogy from the Beginning

3. Ancient Troy

According to Greek Mythology, Dardanus (Dardano), the King of the Dardanians was the son of Zeus and Electra. He and his descendants ruled around the area of today's Dardanelles's Strait (Turkey), between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, not far from where Heinrich Schliemann excavated the ancient city of Troy. According to archaeology, Troy seems to have been occupied on and off between 3000 and 500 BCE, which covers the period when Tros, Ilus, Laomedeon and his son Priam (brother to Tithonus) were Kings (approx 1300-1100 BCE). There is likely some historical basis to the Greek stories about the Trojan War, although some details are too fantastic to be believed.

But it is hard to know what to make of the genealogy from Tithonus (~1230 BCE) down to Odin (~200 CE). Most of this genealogy is given in old Icelandic sources. The dating would almost seem to be within reason for dating based on DNA, but location is not! Between the time of Troy and the time of Odin these "ancestors" were said to have lived around the Black Sea. However, Y-DNA studies indicate that the R1b Haplogroups is already in Europe during this entire time.

See Prior Blog post:  Priam, King of Troy

4. Odin and the Yngling Clan

The story of Odin and Njord traveling from the area to the east of the Black Sea to settle Scandinavia does not align with the fact that R1b is already in Europe and probably in Scandinavia by the time of his supposed migration which I have seen variously reported anywhere from 200 BCE to 200 CE. My own dating of intervening generations suggests closer to the 200 CE time frame.

If there is any truth to this migration story by Snorri Sturluson then there is very likely disconnects in the genealogy - missing and wrong generations. It is known that rulers will often create fictional genealogy to tie themselves back to prominent founders. It is quite unlikely that the Skanke male ancestry actually ties into this  line if they were in the Black Sea area rather than Europe, for the simple fact that we know R1b was already  in Europe.

According to Snorri Sturluson, Skjold, the son of Odin was the one who settled Denmark and his descendants ruled from the old capital at Lejre (Hleiðr or Hleiðargarðr) on the island of Sjæland (Zealand). He is the supposed ancestor of our Skanke/Barfot clan.

See Prior Blog Post:  Legendary Kings of Scandinavia

5. The Age of the Vikings

It is hard to know where to draw a line and finally say that the genealogy at this point forward is accurate. Ivar the Boneless is considered historical. There is some question about his father Ragnar Lodbrok, the legendary viking hero of the Icelandic saga Ragnars saga Loðbrókar. Ragnar lived during the beginning of what is known as the Viking Age (late 8th century).

As can be seen in the large chart at the end, his descendants were early vikings in Dublin (Ireland) and York (England). Much could be written about their stories (and perhaps I might at some later date). There are two possible genealogical connections from Sitric II Caech "Squint-Eye" down to Godred I Crovan "White Hands", King Man & Dublin as shown in the diagram below. My genealogy chart at the end of this posts follows the left side, although most online genealogy I have seen traces the right side. Both possibilities are in my online database.

Also See Prior Blog Post:  Early Kings of Denmark and Sweden

6. The Kings of Man

Godred Crovan seized control of the Isle of Man from a kinsman and set up a dynasty in Man that lasted for two centuries. The genealogy from Godred down to the Skanke family is probably pretty solid, although the wikipedia page for the Skanke family says that the connection to the Isle of Man is perhaps not totally certain. I have not seen any genealogy for the Skanke family that claims any other ancestry than that shown here. Here is how a prince from the Isle of Man came to Jämtland, Sweden:
"Hallstein Torleivsson Schanke-Egge was a knight and member of the State Council (riksråd) in Norway. He was governor in Jemtland (Sweden) from 1326. Hallstein was a prince from the Isle of Man, but did not inherit it, when King Magnus VI Håkonsson by the treaty of Perth in Scotland in 1266 was forced to cede Hebrides (Isle of Man and Hebride Islands) to Scotland. A (bavaret?) seal from 1303 shows that he had the Isle of Man's coat of arms (kongevåpen), three severed legs. This may have came from his mother's family. (His maternal grandfather was also a King of Man, descended from Godred Crovan.)" [Markhus, Bjørn. Markhus Genealogy Computer Database. (Norway: 2000).]
Wikipedia: Skanke (noble family)
Wikipedia: History of the Isle of Man

7. The descendants of Nicolaus Hallsteinsson Schanke-Mjelle

In Scandinavia most surnames were derived from patronymics or farm names. (See my earlier blog: Scandinavian Naming Patterns). A surname like Skanke or Barfot that was passed down for hundreds of years is neither of these. This type of enduring surname would likely have only been typical of royalty and nobility. The ancestry and descendants of Nicolaus (Nils) Hallstensson confirm this. "Skanke" must have had a powerful connotation for many people over the centuries, as several times I have seen a man marrying into the Skanke family take his wife's surname in order to perpetuate the Skanke family name.

Most of Nicolaus Hallsteinsson's sons kept the Skanke (Schanke) surname and passed it down through the generations, most living in Sweden. Although most descendants stayed in Sweden, many around the area of Häckås, Jämtland, Sweden, some moved around. Several descendants seem to have soon moved to the Trondheim area in Norway. But descendants are sure to be found all over Scandinavia - and eventually migrations to elsewhere in the world, such as America.

One of Nicolaus' sons, Mikkel took on the surname Barfot, moved to Denmark and most of his descendants are found in Denmark. Again, not all descendants stayed there and just as with the Skanke family they are sure to be found elsewhere.

It is interesting to compare the symbols on the coat of arms from the Isle of Man, the Skanke family and the Barfot family. The Isle of Man coat of arms contains three armored legs. The Skanke family shows a single severed armored leg, and the Barfot (meaning "Bare foot") crest shows a single bare leg. It is supposed that the Skanke and Barfot symbols were derived from those of the Isle of Man.

Cumberland Family Software:

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