According to a study in Molecular Biology and Evolution, the Vikings never left Northwest England - up to 50 percent of the DNA they found in men had Scandinavian ancestry.
The 100 men in the study were primarily from the Wirral in Merseyside and West Lancashire and their surnames were in existence as far back as medieval times. Results revealed that 50 percent of their DNA have Norse origins.
Stephen Harding, Professor of Physical Biochemistry at the University of Nottingham said, “DNA on the male Y-chromosome is passed along the paternal line from generation to generation with very little change, providing a powerful probe into ancestry. So a man’s Y-chromosome type is a marker to his paternal past. The method is most powerful when populations rather than individuals are compared with each other. We can also take advantage of the fact that surnames are also passed along the paternal generations. Using tax and other records the team selected volunteers who possess a surname present in the region prior to 1600. This gets round the problems of large population movements that have occurred since the Industrial revolution in places like Merseyside.”
After their expulsion from Dublin in 902AD the Wirral Vikings, initially led by the Norwegian Viking INGIMUND, landed in their boats along the north Wirral coastline. Place names still reflect the North West’s Viking past. Aigburth, Formby, Crosby, Toxteth, Croxteth are all Viking names — even the football team Tranmere is Viking. Thingwall is the name of a Viking parliament or assembly (Thingvellir in Iceland) and the only two in England are both in the North West — one in Wirral and one in Liverpool.
The paper can be viewed at http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/25/2/301
The collaborative study, by The University of Nottingham, the University of Leicester and University College London, was funded by the Wellcome Trust and a prestigious Watson-Crick DNA anniversary award from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and led by the University of Nottingham’s Professor Stephen Harding and Professor Judith Jesch and the University of Leicester’s Professor Mark Jobling.