Category Archives: Y-DNA Surname Study

The Y-DNA Study Needs Your Help

There are many known spellings of the name Leask (Leisk, Liesk, Lisk, Lesk, Lesh, Laesk, Lask, Leysk, Laysk, and Lusk). So far we only have participants in the study who spell their name Leask, Leisk (a Shetland spelling), Lisk and Lusk (Irish). Leasks of all spellings are eligible to join the Y-DNA study.  We need to increase the numbers of participants to make the results more meaningful and the study needs to include some members of the Clan Chief’s line.  Your help is needed!

Current status of Leask Y-DNA Surname Study:

Surnames tested in the Leask Surname Y-DNA Study so far are: Leask, Lisk, Leisk, Lusk. Three distinct lines have been discovered up to this point for Clan Leask. Two of them though different are more closely related (both having the L48 SNP) and are likely to have a similar geographic origin and a common ancestor. The third line (group #3) does not have the L48 SNP and appears to have a different geographic origin. Lusk was tested at their request because oral family history for some, not all of the Lusks claimed Lusk was an Irish spelling of Leask.  Leask Group #1 and Leask Group #2 are both U106+. This haplogroup is also known as R1b-S21 (a.k.a U-106) on Eupedia. Leask Group #3 is not U-106 but is U-152. Group #3’s haplogroup is known as R1b-S28 (U152) on Eupedia.

Leask Group #1 STRs test R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48 using FTDNA terminology.  Nat Geno 2.0 tests report this group has Z28 as its terminal SNP and it is classed a Z9*.  Leask Group #2’s STRs test R1b1a2a1a1a4a; also tests R-L48 using the FTDNA terminology.  However, Nat Geno 2.0 tests report this group also has the downstream L47 SNP and has as its terminal SNP Z159.  The STR Tests can be used to measure the genetic distance between the two groups.  STR Tests of Y-DNA show significant genetic distance between groups #1 & #2.  Leask Group #3 Tests R1b1a2a1a1b4 and exhibits an even more significant genetic distance from Leask Group #1 and Leask Group #2

 The articles found on Eupedia.com are interesting.  Groups #1 & #2 are likely from Friesland or Central Jutland according to the experts on Eupedia. (See http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml#S21-U106).  According to Eupedia its presence in other parts of Europe can be attributed to the 5th- and 6th-century Germanic migrations. The Frisians and Saxons spread this haplogroup: to the British Isles, to the Franks and France, to Belgium, and through the Lombards to Austria and Northern Italy.  W. F. Skene pointed to evidence of Frisian settlements in Scotland in his article “On the Early Frisian Settlements in Scotland.”  He speculated that the Frisians left their name on the parish in Aberdeenshire known as Foveran. Because the third group is R1b1a2a1a1b4 and is R-L21+ and is not R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48 like groups #1 & #2; I conclude they are of a different geographic  origin.  Group #3 is thought to have come north from Iberia to England and Ireland (http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml#L21).

 

Summary of the Study so far:

To summarize: In the Leask Surname Study there are three distinct lines discovered so far.  Two of the lines of Clan Leask are R1b1a2a1a1a4.  They are L48+ and both are U106+.  Though Groups #1 and Groups #2 are both L48, they have different terminal SNPs.  STR Tests can be used to measure the genetic distance between the two groups. The STR Tests of Y-DNA show significant genetic distance between groups #1 & #2. Leask Group #3 exhibits even more significant genetic distance from Leask Group #1 and Leask Group number 2. ISOGG currently classifies Group #3 as R1b1a2a1a1b.

Detailed Results:

  1. Group #1 tests: R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48 using FTDNA terminology;  Nat Geno 2.0 tests report this group has Z28 as its terminal SNP and it is classed a Z9*. ISOGG currently classifies Z9 as R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48; SNPS Test: L1-, L2-, L20-, L21-, L23+, L4-, L48+, L49+, M126-, M153-, M160-, M173+, M18-, M207+, M222-, M269+, M343+, M37-, M65-, M73-, P107-, P25+, P310+, P311+, P312-, P66-, SRY2627-, U106+, U152-, U198-. I am part of this branch and I therefore expect my expanded tests to continue to agree with his. So far my FTDNA tests show: R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48; and based on Nat Geno 2.0 and FTDNA tests my Terminal SNP is Z28 (R1b>U106>L48>Z9>Z28>Z348 and I am classed as Z9*. Group #1 members consist of the surnames: Leask, Lisk, Leisk, Lusk
  2. Group#2 also tests: R1b1a2a1a1a4; R-L48; using FTDNA terminology.  Nat Geno 2.0 tests report this group has the downstream SNP: L47 and its terminal SNP is Z159. ISOGG currently classifies Z159 as R1b1a2a1a1c2b1b. The most tested member of that group tests:  R1b1a2a1a1a4a; R-L47; SNPS; L1-, L48+, M126-, M153-, M160-, M173+, M18-, M207+, M222-, M269+, M343+, M37-, M65-, M73-, P107-, P25+, P310+, P311+, P312-, P66-, SRY2627-, U106+, U152-, U198-, Z8-. One of its members who tested with Nat Geno 2.0 had a terminal SNP L48>L47>Z159 and is classed as Z159 Group #2 members consist of the surnames: Leask, Lisk, Lusk
  3. Group #3 appears to be of a different origin. The most tested member of that group tests: R1b1a2a1a1b4 using FTDNA terminology; R-L21; SNPS Test: L144-, L159.2-, L176.2-, L193-, L21+, L226-, L23+, L96-, M222-, M37-, P312+, P314.2-, P66-, U106-, U152-, U198-. Group #3 consists of the surname: Lusk only.  Leask Group #3 is not R-L48 like groups #1 & #2; I conclude they are of a different geographic origin. ISOGG currently classifies Group #3 as R1b1a2a1a2b PF6570/S28/U152 Group #3 is thought by many experts to have come north from Iberia to England and Ireland1.

 

 2009 Report of Dr. David Faux:

Dr. David Faux concluded in 2009 that there were two distinct Leask lineages found in both the mainland of Scotland and in Shetland and Orkney. Subsequent testing has not challenged the conclusions of Dr. Faux. He concluded the following after reviewing the Y-DNA Testing:

  • Group #1: Leasks from Group #1 include 2 members who have been classified as R1b1c9 and classified as S21 positive (+); S28 negative (-). This finding supports the likelihood that this branch of Leasks is of Scandinavian origin from central Jutland or Anglo-Saxon if from Friesland. Two Shetland Leasks are part of Leask Group 1 which includes members from Shetland and the Mainland who spell their name Leask, Leisk or Lisk.
  • Group #2: This second, distinctly different strain of Y-DNA (“Group 2”) has emerged among those who spell their name Leask, Lisk or Lusk. The participants in the study who fall in this group have been classified R1b by Dr. Faulk. On his Shetland Y-DNA Study website((www.davidkfaux.org/shetlandislandsYdataKtoM.html)) Dr. Faulk states the Y-DNA of Leask Group 2 is an extremely rare R1b haplotype. Whereas there are many people with Y-DNA similar to the Leask Group 1, Dr David Faulk states Leask Group 2 has: “An extremely rare haplotype…..No Exact matches anywhere…..Few and very scattered 11/12 matches in Recent Ethnic Origins Database; It appears that there are two entirely unrelated Leask lineages, found both on the Scottish Mainland and in Shetland.”

In evaluating the 2006 test of two Shetland Leasks, Dr. Faulk wrote in an email dated June 14, 2006: “S21 is Scandinavian or North German. Due to migrations, however, after the fall of the Roman Empire this marker can be found wherever North Germans (those residing close to the North Sea) and Scandinavians (e.g. Ostrogoths) settled and that includes Italy. In Britain they are likely to be Anglo-Saxon . In Lowland Scotland and England. Over ¾ are from Friesland (A model of ancient Anglo-Saxon) are S21+, the rest do not have this marker. It could also be Danish Viking if the family was originally from Danelaw in England (the east coast) or from Denmark directly. Furthermore some Normans would be S21+ such as the Sinclairs of Orkney (Earls of Orkney) – as we have seen with specific testing in this family. In Norway S21 makes up about 2/3 of the R1b population – In other words it predominates here.”

Dr. Faulk concluded the discussion by saying: “S21 predominates in both Norway and Friesland so the probability is Anglo-Saxon, Norwegian or Danish. This is where knowing place of origin is important since if lowland Scot then likely Anglo-Saxon. If from Caithness, then likely Norwegian.”

These comments from Dr. Faulk demonstrate why better documented knowledge of Leask Family and Clan history is so important to the study. For the sake of Clan historians and to encourage further study and testing of Leask history and documents, all available historical documents and information should be published on a website like this one.

 

The Y-DNA Study Needs Your Help:

Because it is impossible at this time to distinguish between Danish Vikings and Anglo-Saxons from Northern Germany it becomes important to comb through Leask known history to determine if there is hard evidence of Norwegian, Danish, Anglo-Saxon, or even Norman origin. Any hard evidence would be very helpful in distinguishing between the Scandinavian or North German origin of the Group 1 Leasks.

In her booklet, The Leasks, Madam Leask of Leask stated on page 1:“Eric Laesk in Orkney was by repute Crown Chamberlain to his kinsman, the King of Denmark, when Orkney belonged to that country.” Laesk (found in Denmark is a spelling of Leask. Madam Leask pointed out this connection required more research.

Sir Brian Chalmers Leask of Australia, in his book LEASK’S Genealogical Guide to some AUSTRALIAN Families their Antecedents and GENEALOGIES, on page 332 wrote: “The earliest evidences of the name are in Papa Westray, in the Orkney Islands, c.1084 and in the Slains district of Buchan, Co. Aberdeen, 1290, the lands at Leskgaronne were granted in 1341 and the charter signed by King David II in 1370, and in 1391 Thomas de Laysk witnessed at Kirkwall, Orkney Is., a charter by Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney, from then on the names are too numerous to mention with the exception that from 1460 – 1470 William de Lask acts as Crown Chamberlain for the King of Denmark in Papa Westray and is stated as a descendant of the Danish Royal line.”

Based on what we have learned we believe Sir Brian Chalmers Leask appears to have been wrong in concluding that the Leasks were in Papa Westray, in the Orkney Islands around 1084. The document he cites was written much later than he assumed. To date we have found no evidence that supports this claim.

To date we have found no support for claims that the Leasks were kinsmen of the Kings of Denmark. It is important that any Leask who has information substantiating these claims or who lives where they can do research on these claims should forward what they know or find out to Mac Leask at Mac@LeaskBV.Com.

So far we only have participants in the study who spell their name Leask, Leisk (a Shetland spelling), Lisk and Lusk (Irish). There are no participants from those Leasks closely related to the Leask Clan Chief’s family. More participants are certainly needed before we can come to any definitive conclusions. With more participants we may even find a third Leask Group. This would by no means be unusual. Certainly we need more participants from different branches of the Leasks and of those with any of the many spellings of the name Leask. To be successful we especially need the participation of Leasks related to the Clan-Chief’s family to determine which group is the main Leask line.

If you wish to join the study go to FamilyTreeDNA.com and under groups go to the Leask Study, join and select the tests you wish to take or contact Mac Leask at Mac@LeaskBV.Com.


  1. http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_R1b_Y-DNA.shtml#L21