How Europeans Are One Big Family

Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail (London), May 8, 2013

After centuries of almost endless conflict, it would be hard to claim Europe is one big family–but that’s just what we are, say scientists.

Those of European descent still living on the continent are related to each other through a common ancestry dating back just 1,000 years, they claim.

Even people geographically separated by thousands of miles, such as a Briton and a Turk, are distantly related.

University of California researcher Graham Coop said: ‘What is remarkable is how closely everyone is related to each other.

‘On a genealogical level, everyone in Europe traces back to nearly the same set of ancestors only a thousand years ago.’

Professor Coop made the claim after checking the DNA of more than 2,000 Europeans for common segments that have been passed down the generations.

As these chunks of DNA get shorter from generation to generation, it is possible to work out how far back they date–and so when we shared ancestors.

It might seem incredible that everyone who was alive in Europe in 1013 and had children is an ancestor of everyone on the continent today, the researchers say that simple maths backs them up.

This is because the number of ancestors a person has doubles with each generation–you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and so on.

The number grows so quickly that just 1,000 years back, or 30 generations, you have roughly one billion ancestors.

This is far more than the population of the world, far less Europe, back then.

As a result anyone from 1,000 years ago who left any descendants is related to every European alive today.

The DNA analysis showed that the number of ancestors shared by two people falls the further apart the pair live.

So someone from the UK is on average more related to another Briton than a German.

However, they have more DNA in common with the German than with a Greek.

However, there are some blips.

For instance, people in Britain have more distant cousins in Ireland than they do here.

This, the journal PLoS Biology reports, is likely to be a result of migration from the smaller population of  Ireland to the larger one of the UK.

David Balding, professor of statistical genetics at University College London, said that it only takes a small amount of movement for new genes to gain a foothold in a population.

He said: ‘You don’t need a lot of migration, you just need some and that is pretty much what we see all through history, mainly through wars but also through trade and people looking for new pastures.’

Geneticists have previously estimated they only have to go back 3,500 years ago for everyone in the world to be related.

In other words, many of us can trace our roots back to the same colourful characters.

The charity Sense about Science has warned this devalues expensive mail order tests that claim to trace a person’s ancestry from a sample of their DNA.

It also means that claims that someone is related to a famous figure such as Cleopatra or has Viking blood–are often as likely to be true for the person having the test as their boss or next-door neighbour.

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • It also means that claims that someone is related to a famous figure
    such as Cleopatra or has Viking blood–are often as likely to be true for
    the person having the test as their boss or next-door neighbour.

    It is estimated that 80% of white Britons are direct descendants of Edward III. Everyone is a direct descendant of someone famous or important.

    • The__Bobster

      And also hundreds of people who amounted to nothing.

      • Katherine McChesney

        I read on a blog a few days that blacks are highly interbred. Take one community. They live in that community all their lives. They have many children who live in that community all their lives. Multiple generations. And so on and so on.

        “Nuff said”. That explains their insanity. Interbreeding.

        • Cecilia Sims

          My son observed that it seems that all the blacks around here know each other. And my daughter overheard 2 blacks at school; “How he be ur cuzzin?” With so many black males making babies all over the community, the young blacks I observed don’t seem to know or understand family relationships!

          • til I ѕаw tհ℮ bаոκ drаft fοr   $8120, I асс℮pt tհаt my brοtհ℮rѕ  fri℮ոd wаѕ liκ℮ асtuаli℮ ℮аrոiոg  mοո℮y iո tհ℮r℮ ѕpаr℮ tim℮ οո  tհ℮ir lаptοp.. tհ℮r℮ uոсl℮ѕ сοuѕiո հаѕ dοո℮ tհiѕ fοr οոly аbοut  ոiո℮t℮℮ո mοոtհѕ аոd аt pr℮ѕ℮ոt  tοοκ саr℮ οf tհ℮ mοrgаg℮ οո  tհ℮ir villа аոd bοugհt а gr℮аt сitrοëո Dѕ. tհiѕ iѕ wհ℮r℮ I  w℮ոt, ..Lux14.com

        • I am sure it is even higher today than it was 50 years ago when the US Government became the “father” of record for the average black fambily.
          .
          With so many of them not knowing who their “true” father is, there have to be multitudes of half siblings and half first cousins have sex with each other and producing offspring.
          .
          This will probably result in a rise of dormant inherited genetic diseases as the recessive traits introduced to offspring.

          • NYB

            When DNA testing became simplified, it became a tool for testing immigrants who were being sponsored from Africa.

            In many cases, it also exposed to many African siblings who thought they had the same paternity that they were actually fathered by different men.

            Mothers in Africa may have been increasing their genetic survival chances by taking seed from various sources.

          • Erasmus

            Why do you think they always call each other brother?

      • Mr Potato

        True Bob, but that’s also good. The hard-working folk of my past from the British Isles did a hellovalotta hard work which lead up to me being the well-heeled, highly educated, yet strangely under-qualified individual that I am today.
        Oh, by the way, beware of these try-hards that claim ‘royal ancestry’, their most notable ancestor is probably a chimney-sweeper or a char-woman from the East-end.

    • me

      Edward the Third was a randy fellow, but that statistic is still very hard to believe….

    • ageofknowledge

      “Everyone is a direct descendant of someone famous or important.”

      ^ I am certain that I am. *smile*.

    • Intrepid

      I seriously doubt that statistic. If it’s true, then an even greater percentage of Asian men would be direct descendants of Ghengis Khan (millions of men carry his Y chromosome).

  • RebelliousTreecko

    I saw this yesterday on Yahoo!.
    Some people were making inbreeding jokes.

    • The__Bobster

      I can guess the type.

      • The type of yahoos on Yahoo making inbreeding jokes about this story are people about whom the following snarky pun applies:

        “Nothin’ says lovin’ like when both your parents are first cousins.”

        • Can make fun of us hillbillies, but:

          Cousin marriage legal:
          Alaska
          California
          Colorado
          Connecticut
          District of Columbia
          Florida
          Georgia
          Hawaii
          Maryland
          Massachusetts
          New Jersey
          New Mexico
          New York
          North Carolina
          Rhode Island
          South Carolina
          Tennessee
          Vermont
          Virginia
          .
          Seems like the Northeasterners are just as into it as some of the Southern states.

          • NYB

            Iceland is a very small population. Detailed records are kept to prevent inbreeding.

            In a study of the islanders, it was revealed that optimum marriage compatibility can be found around the distance of fourth cousin.

            Scandinavians are a beautiful race, because they lived in harmony with nature’s laws.

          • Mr Potato

            The early history of Iceland is fascinating. The society that was set up in isolation by the settlers sounds like a place that I’d love to live in.

          • mrcan

            Scandinavians are 1/2 Celtic, mostly Irish. This is based on Icelandic history and DNA studies

          • mrcan

            that is Icelanders!

          • MBlanc46

            Hillbilly joke: How do you know when someone is a hillbilly? When he goes to a family reunion to find a date.

          • Sherman_McCoy

            I thought that joke was about Pakis.

          • me

            Marxist joke:

            How many Marxists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

            None. They get the White man to do it, at the butt of a gun…

          • me

            Quit with the ‘Hillbilly’ jokes, ‘MBlanc46’. White-bashing is NOT ‘cool’. Or, I’ll start with the un-p.c. ___ jokes. Turnabout IS fair play….

          • MBlanc46

            Have at it. Knock yourself out.

          • Pan Europa

            Apart from jokes, I find that when I visit distant relatives in W. Va. I`m always surprised at the resourcefulness, cleanliness, and the community altrusim there. I didn`t see this in Columbus, OH. while visiting. The Scotch that settled in those hills are a part of my ancestry dating back before the civil war —fighting to only end up in New Mexico they did.

          • me

            The Scotch-Irish of the South are some of the best people around! We fought on the wrong side in the “Civil” War…

          • Kblankenship7

            Biblical law permitted marriage to one’s first cousin. Many US states simply adopted the common law marriage rules which derived from Biblical law.

    • me

      Of course they were! Southern Whites are all ‘inbred, redneck idiots’, don’t you know? (sarcasm) Meanwhile, the ‘Royal’ family in Great Britain are technically mentally retarded by all of the inbreeding they’ve done– which explains the Queen’s love of her new ‘diverse subjects’, Prince Charles, and their membership in the sinking quagmire known as the “EU”.

  • IstvanIN

    While I have no doubt a vast majority of the European population, real Europeans, that is, are distantly related, I find it hard to believe that we need only go back 1,000 years to find a common ancestor. And only 3,500 years ago we are related to the Bantu? Even harder to believe. Sounds like someone is up to no good with this.

    • The__Bobster

      Yes, they’re trying to create the illusion that we are all the same.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      I believe the former.

    • me

      I, myself, am biased towards the idea of Viking blood running through the veins of everyone…..Skald! LOL!

  • Andy

    Geneticists have previously estimated they only have to go back 3,500 years ago for everyone in the world to be related.

    _______________________

    That casts doubt on this whole article. 3,500 years ago, there was no contact between Eurasian/African peoples and Australians/Amerinds. At all. And hadn’t been for at least ten thousand years. There is no way that an unmixed Aborigine and an unmixed Englishman could have shared an ancestor that lived in 1500 BC. Not only that, but their “simple math” doesn’t check out. Just because there were fewer living people than you had ancestors 3500 years ago doesn’t mean that everyone alive was an ancestor. Obviously some of them have to be related to you more than one way, and if you’re English the ones from England are probably related to you many ways, those from Greece a few ways, and those from China not at all.

    • brengunn

      That’s what I thought. If it was just about the maths, surely someone would have came out with this theory already. I think what they’ve done wrong is giving the least possible time, 3500 years for us all to be related, as the actual time. As you say, we know this is not the case.

      This really is some awful science. School boy errors.

    • zanegray

      I saw a tv programme which had an English husband/West African wife.

      They shared a comman ancestor c 70,000 years ago.

      An English husband/ Indian wife had a common ancestor c7000 years ago.

    • Homo_Occidentalis

      Yup. I guess “the world” excludes half of the globe. Not to mention the dozens of uncontacted tribes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncontacted_peoples) that remain today. I guess according to this article there were weed-smoking Polynesians espousing “free love” and interracial breeding back in Mycenaean Greece.

  • rebelcelt

    David Balding, professor of statistical genetics at University College London, said that it only takes a small amount of movement for new genes to gain a foothold in a population.

    That is the concern of amren people. Science vindicates us

    • me

      AmRen people? Not going to happen, with the exceptions of Engelman, Kaldian, and other weeabos….

  • smells_just_like

    This “White racial unity through common language” will back fire on us.

    Soon, they will include Africanism dialects that are obviously unrelated, but you’ll be accused of “seeing language with racist eyes and hearing it with racist ears” for not embracing the universal oneness of all language, the “out of Africa of all humanity,” and especially how African dialects directly created the White German language, which was corrupted from its original purity and good-heartedness with European racism and anti semitism.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      I don’t see how ooking and eeking evolved into English, but devolution has created the reverse.

  • dd121

    This doesn’t pass the smell test, but we’re not supposed to question science, are we?

    • John Eigen

      You’re not criticizing “science”; you’re criticizing the experiment or the study.

    • Eagle_Eyed

      While after 30 generations we no doubt have a billion ancestors, obviously many of our deep ancestors are multiply counted. Your mom and dad, for instance might share a 10 great-grandparent in their lineage thus this grandparent is your ancestor by both family lines.

      • dd121

        If you look at the modern map of Europe or today, those boundaries were in place well before the last 1000 years. There may have been a lot of intermingling within their borders but not that much from outside. Therefore the mail assertion of this article (that we have equally mixed kinship across Europe) is obvious bullshit.

    • Defoe

      With the way science has become politicized, I say question it, and then question it again.

      Question everything.

  • APaige

    If Europeans are ‘more related’ to each other then once thought, does that mean we are farther apart from other groups?

  • bigone4u

    Similarly, I’ve read that all US presidents except one are related, which provides a great deal of ammo for conspiracy theorists to claim the Illuminati are behind the curtain pulling the strings. Obama is not the exception that I can recall, even though he looks nothing like any previous US president.

  • brengunn

    Maybe this is why people having their visions about reincarnation and past lives always end up being pharaohs and Kings!

    • me

      Delusional thinking doesn’t pass for science–and that’s what this ‘Professor’ Coop is doing….

  • brengunn

    As they say, go back far enough and there simply isn’t enough people to be your ancestors. That means there is a lot of, for want of a better word – duplication, which means populations are more local than he would have us believe. That is, if I’ve understood it correctly.

  • Athling

    I do believe that those whose ancestors come from northwestern Europe (and that includes nearly all of us) are in fact very closely related genetically. The ethnic differences between English, German, and say Norwegians, amount to very little, genetically speaking.

    • Kathy M

      You mean nearly all White Americans are closely related. That’s kinda cool in a way.

      • Pan Europa

        Kai Murros thinks we should be one, pan-european people; but, that will come after this great nationalist revolution.

  • Guest

    “Even people geographically separated by thousands of miles, such as a Briton and a Turk, are distantly related”

    I think this should bury the debate once and for all on whether the Boston bombers are of European descent. Many here tried to claim that they were non-white citing the closeness of Chechnians and Turks.

    • Persona Non Grovel

      I always stated they were White. But when they adopted to the incompatible ways of Islam they are no longer friends of Western civilization, and White interests. They are very dusky Whites, to the farthest edges of European civilization extends before Asia/Middle East. But they are Caucasian. Maybe Eurasian.

      • They are caucasian without being white.

      • rightrightright

        Their features are not European, but a mix of SE Asian and Turkic. Their hair colour (very dark) and profuse growth are not European.

        • Vaclaw

          Maybe they are farther related to other Europeans than other Europeans are to each other. But their home-country lies on the right side of the Caucasus, so they are Europeans.

    • Triarius

      Being modern (not ancient) Gerogian/Caucasian is closer to being Fars/Arabian/Syrian than being Russian (which is closer geographically).

      Look it up. “Caucasians” are not “Europeans”, especially if they are Muslim, an ideology incompatible with the West.

      • Vaclaw

        “Look it up. “Caucasians” are not “Europeans”, especially if they are Muslim, an ideology incompatible with the West.”

        Religion does not equal ethnicity.

        • Morris LeChat

          yes, it can equal it. Ethnicity is not just defined by genetics. If Bosnian muslims, whose ancestors were the same as the serbs and Croats, can be considered a different ethnic group, then religion can equal ethnicity. Ethnicity is NOT race, and it CAN be defined by many things, religion being one of them.

  • NYB

    Whites have a unique set of genetics, which gets less protection than an endangered small-eared shrew.

    The demise of white genetics is even celebrated, which never happens for any other race, plant or animal.

    There is truly some psychological sickness at work behind the white hating which exists in our world today.

    • Defoe

      That “psychological sickness” is called ENVY. And they want our women the most beautiful women in the world, by far.

      • me

        Luckily, most White women of any merit feel the same way…..

        • me

          About White men, I mean….LOL! Not about themselves….

  • Brutal Defiance14

    To my fellow European-Americans here and especially our racially aware sisters here, I sincerely want to apologize for my hateful and hurtful comments about our women in the now-closed white man asian female article. The interracial issue is a painful one for me and I let my emotions get the best of me. Believe me, I truly want to see white women and men come together and secure the 14 words!

  • LHathaway

    “On a genealogical level, everyone in Europe traces back to nearly the same set of ancestors only a thousand years ago”

    This is junk science, as is nearly everything making the papers today. It used to be just sociology and anthropology that was fabricated with an eye toward the effect it would have on the reading public. Are they saying the population of Europe consisted of 2 people in 1013? It would seem more likely everyone in Europe is interrelated because there’s been some movement and intermarriage. It’s not just for nobles anymore. Than again, that’s just my theory.

  • ATBOTL

    There is a lot of wrong information here. Everyone is most definitely not related 3,500 years ago, for one. That’s a ludicrous assertion along the lines of creationism. How would indigenous Australians and Bantu peoples in Africa have common ancestors from around the time Homer was writing?

  • frederickdixon

    I find this article hard to believe. Most people didn’t move around much in the past, not until the coming of the railway and the bicycle. So is it really likely that every Englishman alive today is descended from every Greek and Spaniard alive in the reign of Ethelred the Unready? No, it is not – if it were the case, there would be no difference in appearance between these peoples, and there clearly is. Statistical probability, which is all that this theory is, has nothing to do with actual human behaviour and mating patterns.

    • me

      More Marxist drivel, propaganda, and lies being passed off as the ‘truth’….

    • MikeofAges

      There would be a difference because the proportions would be different. But the same ancestors still would be present somewhere in the family tree. Twelve generations is, give or take, a thousand people in the the family tree. Twenty four generations, a million people, Forty eight generations, a trillion people in the family tree. Never been that many people alive, so, obviously, there has to be a lot of duplication there. Just that for some people, Hans and Hilda show up over and over again. Akbar and Fatima only once or twice. For others, it’s the opposite. Nothing about this mathematical concept negates the phyletic or cultural significance of anyone’s heritage.

      Best to just stay out of statistics. My brother passed the qualifying exam for a Ph.D. in mathematics. He once told me that statistics is an area where even someone highly trained in another branch of mathematics can make very serious mistakes. I don’t know anything about it and don’t pretend to, but the population of the family tree is a simple geometric expansion.

  • June

    I can certainly believe this. I’ve worked on genealogy in my family for many years and although we are one of the oldest Southern families and have English roots we have MANY other ancestors of various European background. One of my grandmother’s was German, a twelfth generation grandmother was a Sephardic Jew from Portugal, a gg-grandfather was Irish and so forth. Go back 10 generations (a little over 200 years) and you have 1024 ancestors. Go back a 1000 years and you potentially have millions.

    • Morris LeChat

      YEs, one’s “ethnic” identity becomes confused when one goes back many generations. My English ancestors were both Norman and Anglo Saxon, the Normans came to England from France in 1066. Does that make them French? They came to France from Norway centuries before that, so are they still French? One of my Anglo Saxon Ancestors was Danish. Some of the Ancestors in My Norman tree are actually Spanish and Polish and Italian.All of that is from only one of my grandparents. The other three branches have not been traced too far back. So my English ancestry can be said to be Anglo Saxon, Danish, Norman ( which is most likely a mix of Viking and Celtic Gaul), Polish, Italian, Spanish.

  • NM156

    You mean race is not just a social construct anymore? Hooray!

  • I read an article the other day talking about how Barroso says the EU will be a federal state in a matter of years…..they have been trying to break down ethnic/cultural/national divides in Europe for years in order to pursue this goal. This is just another piece of thinly-veiled propaganda, especially considering it’s trying to push the whole “Turks are European too” idea.

    • Bossman

      Turks appear to be mixture of Arabs and Mongolians.

  • Bobby

    Wow!!! Isn’t it tragic what this one big family has been doing to each other, for thousands of years–the American Civil War, WW’s 1 and 11 being the most horrible examples.

  • IKantunderstand

    Just another way to claim we are all alike. Go back one thousand years, thirty five hundred years, we are all descended from the same “colorful characters”. So, really, it doesn’t matter that Whites created, explored, invented everything! Oh, hell no! We are all related to the same “colorful characters”. Is anyone going to define “colorful”? Geez oh pete, we already have a new branch of history, that is trying their damnest to include every race in the world into White accomplishments and achievements. Enough, is enough. What totally kills me is that all these dumb a$$ Asians and Blacks, have totally bought into the idea that their lack of achievement was because of their own (extremely valid way) of looking at the physical world. Which, of course was suggested to them by Whites!They are too stupid to think of the outlandish theories that Whites come up with to explain the abysmal record of the rest of the races on this planet.

    • LHathaway

      I gave yer comment a positive vote. . but come on. . while you go an about great things that whites, and only whites could have done in the past, people of color are busy taking over the present. For them, when they take over, history will go back about 100 years, or more likely, History will record that evil whites benefited while keeping everyone down at the feet of whites and poor for all of recorded history, and now that their evil ways have been curbed, the world has arrived at it’s natural balance – with them in charge – and educated enough about the stereotyping ways of whites to make sure that evil never returns. Heck, that’s what ‘history’ says now. No one cares that whites brought farming, trains, telegraphs, medicine, schools and roads to africa and elsewhere, all they teach is that whites impoverished, stunted and destroyed those places. And no one considers this outlook unfair ‘insensitive’ or inaccurate. And if there is challenge to this dogma it is going to be that the ‘true story’ is not being told enough.

      • me

        No, they won’t. We won’t let this happen. Marxist bullshit will be denounced for what it is–and the tide is already turning….

  • euro supreme

    Make that white caucasoid race Europeans to be specific since we know how Jefferson screwed up by ignorantly lacking the foresight to be more specific and this is giving him the benefit of the doubt. What a moron. That includes the Madison idiot too.

  • William Allingham

    experience has thought me that the fact that some article-writer or a prominent scientist (in the pollitically correct ambit) claims something or yealds results from an study backed up by “evidence” doesnt mean that its true.

    far from that, many times their claims are just alike to the kid that says ti himself “my mother told me not to eat chocolates but she said nothing about chocolate-cake”

  • king

    “Even people geographically separated by thousands of miles, such as a Briton and a Turk, are distantly related.”

    well by this logic every one is related then! you can take this further all the way to borders of china and North Africa. I had no idea southern Italians who are mixed with Arabs, Greeks, and blacks have same genetic make up as some one in Finland !

    • Romulus

      Very often people tend to confuse and conflate cultural identity and race. A white Arab is a white Arab. Period! It doesn’t make a darn but of difference whether you call them Jews,greeks,southern Italians,spaniards, some French,Turks,Romanians,and/or or Russians. Haji is haji. White is a color NOT a race.

    • Romulus

      All homo sapiens share 98.9% of their genes with chimps, yet we are NOT CHIMPS.EVEN THE SLIGHTEST CHANGE IN THE DOUBLE HELIX MAKES US DIFFERENT.

    • Bossman

      Some Turks look Chinese. I’ve met one myself.

      • Jefferson

        I have seen some Turks who phenotype wise look right at home in Bolivia. Meaning they can pass for a Hispanic with heavy Amerindian admixture.

  • Mrfinoni

    since the beginnings of the renaissance which inspired the enlightenment which inspired the industrial revolution, the age of reason the age of science…spanning the ages of discovery, colonisation, the age of empires…etc..etc..etc…. Europeans conquered and controlled the globe. They humbled the Chinese and if Europeans were slightly more collegial they would be unassailable. it would be disastrous for the liberals if Europeans in general truly embraced our common genetic heritage. Why? deep down they are afraid of ‘an age of empires 2’
    they are truly afraid that Europeans might truly unite. Because virtually every single discovery or innovation worth inventing in the last 600 years has been invented by Europeans…. unified they would undoubtedly easily dominate the entire globe.

    liberalism is based on a fear of white supremacy, meaning that deep down white liberals believe whites are superior, as do visible minorities.
    DNA is hurting the liberal cause.

  • This story helps to repudiate the Left Wing slur that ‘Britain is a Nation of immigrants’. a ‘mongrel Nation’. Rubbish and nonsnse! I have always maintained that Europeans are of common stock.We are all Caicasian and immigration into Britain before the Norman conquest was from Western Europe. So how would that make us a ‘mongrel Nation’ ? It would not.Now the academics are supporting my argument I am pleased to hear. Think for yourselves people. Never believe Left Wing propaganda as it is so ridiculous one would need to have a mind so feeble to believe the Left Wing.