March 12, 2013
Please read my complementary toponym post first for context.
Current studies by name and DNA run into questions about the Barton name as a possible variant of Britton/Brittain, and also regarding DNA clustering potential to illuminate historical questions by gene flow.
The Bristol vicinity exhibits a unique concentration of Britton/Brittain names. Currently, it's assumed that the Norman invasion brought Brythonic returnees back to their ancient home land, whence they were displaced to Armorica/Brittany by Saxon pressure during the Dark Ages. In principle, a possibility exists to correlate name identified DNA from greater Bristol, along with that from Brittany and known deep genealogies linked to Brittany, with historical population movements. That also touches research on TMCRA estimation. Related, of course, is the question whether the concentration at Bristol/Bristow/Caer Brito is returnees or indigenous "Brits".
If the Barton name similarly functions as a marker for Brythonic heritage within the northern Strathclyde area, then there are similar possibilities for gene flow and DNA studies. Is there a credible route Brythonic>Goidelic from Brython or Britton to Barton? Do Barton names appear in the Scottish Lowlands/Strathclyde, and if so when?
Presently, Bartons are not considered a variant of Britton at GOONS, nor do present DNA comparisons support that, but databases are still small and we are only beginning to explore the DNA possibilities opened up by the new BGA chips. (The Celtic R1b heritage has been too diverse to be tractable to analysis by STR, but the wealth of new SNPs is a game changer.) The question whether there were ever two Caer Brittons is relevant. p-Celtic historians may well have translated an original name of Dun Barton, as may the Romans. What was the Goidelic collective name for the Pretani (~=Brythons)? If that morphs to Barton, then the root for Britton/Brittain differs from that for Barton and the latter may be the senior. Any comment or observations on this?
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