Some years ago I sent a sample of my saliva to one of those labs that looks into your DNA and tells you where your ancestors might have come from. They need a clear marker to be specific and I had one on my Y chromosome. That is the chromosome you inherit down the male line.
My male ancestry was Norwegian and that was not entirely unexpected. My father’s family came from Cumbria which, together with Strathclyde, is one of the last parts of Britain to be settled by the Vikings. They came from Norway and made the trip via Dublin, which was a Viking settlement.
They also settled Iceland. Some went directly from Norway but many were Dublin Vikings. We can be fairly certain of that because a high proportion of Icelandic males carry the distinctive Norwegian gene and many Icelandic women have a gene associated with Ireland’s Gaelic population.
The Dublin Vikings also went south. They joined fellow Norwegians invading northern France. There weren’t many Scandinavian women with them but they were not short of female companionship.
Like the Jihadi brides of today, girls flocked to their sides. They came from the local French population and far outnumbered the men. Individual Vikings sired dozens of children and a new nation was born.
The Viking concept of marriage was different from that of the church, and children born out of wedlock were honoured just like the rest. The term “bastard” was not one of abuse. It was tagged on to personal names to indicate paternity.
The women did well out of the relationship. They and their children joined the ruling class and their language (northern French) became the language of the proud Norman people.
The Normans went from strength to strength. One lot headed south and conquered Sicily. Another, under the leadership of Duke William (surnamed The Bastard) sailed north and conquered England.
I’m proud of my Viking ancestry.