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From the Rift Valley to North America

A guided tour by Y-DNA

Hello, in 2012 I had my Y- (male) DNA tested and this page will show you the results of that test along with a little background information on DNA, human migration and Pre-Historic European Culture while having a bit of fun while we learn. If you trace your ancestry to Captain John Grout who came to America around 1637 as I do, this DNA information also applies to you.

This is a work in progress so check back for new updates. And as always, please feel free to Email me at

Last updated: 25 June, 2013

Our Founder, known as `Y-Chromosomal Adam`, born about 59,000 years ago

Adam, also known just as `A`, grew up in the Rift Valley region of Northern Africa. Adam was always a little different than his playmates who were real animals.
Adam was smarter than the other kids and so they teased him. But when the other kids were eaten by lions Adam had the last laugh.

The descendants of Capt. John Grout are part of a DNA family known as `Haplogroup I2b2-L38`. Think of a Haplogroup as a `Tribe` or branch of the Human family Tree, originating with a single male. A more complete descriptor for the purposes of understanding DNA science might be: A-F-I2b2-L38. Each of the first 6 letters / numbers represents a single individual male who lived long ago. `A` is the oldest, F next, etc. Each individual has been identified by a `Marker` on his DNA which was then passed from father to son. A Marker is basically a genetic mutation, something like being born with blue eyes instead of brown. Markers may come tens of thousands of years apart, especially in the male Y chromosome. The man known as `A`, above, is thought by some to be the common ancestor of all Homo sapiens.

Determining when an individual was born is more of an art than science. DNA researchers can guess at the age of the Marker based on several factors including `distribution` maps showing where modern humans with the same Marker are concentrated. They then look at the archaeological evidence in the area and the carbon dating of it. Piecing all this together gives us a `migration` map showing where our ancestors traveled and lived and the societies they were a part of.

Was Our Founder a single individual? DNA Researchers aren`t sure. Some think Homo Sapiens come from several founding individuals. Some think we may all be descended from a single woman who lived much earlier, perhaps 160,000 years ago. Some think we`re descended from Aliens. It may seem sexist to some but I`ll stick with Adam here since I am tracing my paternal line.

The man known only as `F`, born about 50,000 years ago

`F` was born around north Africa but had restless feet. He and his descendants traveled north through Egypt and found a lovely spot with a view along the Tigress River. Known as the `Fertile Crescent` it was certainly fertile for F. 90% of every Human alive today can trace their ancestry to F.

Haplogroup F are the ancestors of virtually all humans worldwide that did not stay in Africa. This map shows the distribution of F`s descendants. Yes that`s right; we`re all just kissin` cousins.

`I`, born 28,000 years ago, place: uncertain

It`s not clear where `I` was born and went a-wandering. Some think he and his descendants traveled out of the Fertile Crescent through the Caucuses into the Ukraine then spread west across virtually all Europe (see map below). Others think he headed west from Iraq toward Croatia.

Another theory is that Haplogroup `I` moved north through the Caucuses but during the last glacial advance some 18,000 to 11,000 years ago they retreated south to the Balkans. An ice sheet 2 miles thick erased all their camp sites. Either way `I` was headed north to hunt the Woolly Mammoth.

Map of the possible migration of F and his descendant `I`

I2, born 17,000 years ago

I2 was probably born in the Balkans where his family may have spent the winter of 17,000 to 11,000 BC

We know Haplogroup I2 headed north 11,000 years ago following the retreating ice sheet at the end of the last Ice Age. I2 can still be found well concentrated in the Balkans but also centered in northern Germany and Denmark

I2 was part of the Gravettian toolmaking culture as pictured above. I guess that`s where our family gets it`s love of camping?

I2b, born 10,000 BC

I2b didn`t mind the cold so much, in fact he seems to have liked it. As soon as the last of the Ice Age melted he and his kin moved north, and kept going north to Sweden and Norway.

I2b2 was born about 3,000 BC. He was a descendant of I2b traveling with the family northward. But one day in the Upper Rhine Valley he decided to stop. While the other`s continued toward Denmark, I2b2 put down roots for the next 3,000 years in northern Germany.

Descendant of I2b2 and family, born about 800 BC

This photo from the Lichtenstein Museum is of figures modeled from the remains of I2b2 decedents buried at the Lichtenstein Cave about 800 BC. 40 individuals were found buried, apparently several generations of the same family. 13 of the men were descendants of I2b2-L38. Descendants of I2b2 are sometimes called `Lichtensteiners` and are thought to be the oldest confirmed DNA family tree known. This is due to the unique way the skeletons were preserved in the cave that enabled researchers to extract complete DNA samples.

The Lichtensteiners were part of the `Urnfield Culture` (1200 to 700 BC). The name comes from the practice of cremating the deceased and burying their ashes in Urns in fields (obviously the Lichtenstein clan did not follow this practice, we had to be a little different).

The Urnfield Culture is characterized by the objects they left behind, such as the daily implements above.

After the Urnfield Culture came the Hallstatt Culture from 750 to 450 BC characterized by their Hill Forts and much lighter wagons which led to greater mobility and trade.

This map shows the distribution of I2b2 in Europe today. The birthplace of I2b2 is inferred from the area of highest concentration, near Lichtenstein.
People living today in the area have been identified as direct descendants of those buried in the cave.

The Grouts of America may not be directly descended from the Lichtensteiners found in the cave as they had moved east from the Upper Rhine and our ancestors seem to have headed west. However, relatively close cousins they are.

From here it gets a little sketchy tracing the family path using DNA. This is due to the group being broadly scattered across Europe and the current lack of a large pool of DNA samples. However, there are other historical clues we can look at.

The I2b2-L38 clan seems to have been closely associated with the `Celtic La Tene` culture (450 to 50 BC). The tribe`s migrations can be closely linked to the spread of La Tene artifacts from 450 BC to the Roman invasion in 53 AD. Though broadly spread across northern Europe there is a strong connection between La Tene culture and the area around Belgium.

An artists rendering of an early Grout family reunion during the La Tene period, circa 100 BC

To trace the family across the channel to England and our written history beginning in the late 1500`s currently relies on speculation and inference. From DNA we know our ancestors could not have arrived in England earlier than about 2000 BC and more likely arrived after 100 BC. There have been many documented migrations / invasions of England from all parts of continental Europe so it`s hard to say when they arrived. What`s clear is that we did not walk to England 10,000 years ago and help build Stonehenge but sailed there much later. While Capt. John surely thought of himself as English our DNA tells us we are more German.

(Note that while our ancestors didn't help build Stonehenge they could well have helped build the Goseck Circle, known as ``The German Stonehenge``. The site is near Goseck Germany and almost dead center of the highest concentration of I2b2 in Europe today.)

To complete the link to written history there is also Abner Morse who wrote the Grout family history in 1857. Rev. Morse traced the derivations of the name Grout and concluded it originated in Germany and spread to Belgium and then to England, perhaps about 1200 AD with a migration of Flemish weavers. He may well prove to be right! There is a noticeable concentration of I2b2-L38 in Belgium! Furthermore, Capt. John was very close to several people from the Belgic stronghold of Norwich England including his Father-in-Law, Nicholas Busby, a weaver himself!

Finally we have World Family Names, a website which generates a modern distribution map of any Surname. Below is the current distribution map for Grout (note the concentration around Norwich England)

Current distribution map of Grout in Europe

This map would seem to indicate we`re from France (Normandy) however from DNA we know that`s not the case. (It`s worth noting here that Morse asserted that Sir Richard Groutte `Normanized` the name in 1587 upon Knighthood) After trying many derivations of Grout suggested by Morse on the World Family Names website I ruled out many names and came up with the map below.

This is the current distribution map for Grote. Centered in the Rhine region it matches closest to what we know from DNA.
Compare this map with the distribution map for I2b above.

This suggests the root name of Grout is from the German Surname Grote.

Unfortunately I2b2-L38 is today broadly scattered across England so using DNA to locate where in England Captain John Grout`s family came from is currently not possible. Further refinement may be possible in the future but that`s very expensive!

This web site is provided free, however, DNA testing is expensive. If you found this web site helpful, consider making a small donation.
Thank You.

All photos here are publicly sourced.

Note that DNA science is so new and evolving that researchers have had to change the name of some of the groups. You may find sites list I2b2 as I-L38 or I-S154

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