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May 16, 2013

Did the Vikings Bring Native American Women Back With Them?

Did the Vikings Bring Native American Women Back With Them?

"Centuries before Columbus, a Viking-Indian child may have been born in Iceland" [National Geographic]

Through DNA tests, scientists have found 80 living Icelanders with a genetic variation similar to one found mostly in Native Americans. 

Experts believe that the DNA mutation entered the Icelandic population around A.D. 1000 with one Viking-Native American baby being born. 

It is known that Vikings reached Greenland before that year and Newfoundland on the East coast of Canada where they formed a small settlement. That settlement lasted about 10 years.

the study team concluded that the Icelanders who carry the Native American variation are all from four specific lineages, descended from four women born in the early 1700s.

Those four lineages, in turn, likely descended from a single woman with Native American DNA who must have been born no later than 1700, according to study co-author Ebenesersdóttir.

All in all it's a fascinating glimpse into Viking history and a new (although not surprising) concept which had not been proven before the DNA testing. 

DNA tests are a wonderful new tool for genealogists as well as archeologists and historians. I've had my autosomal and mtDNA tested at two labs - Family Tree DNA and I highly recommend it for all genealogists. You can read various blog posts about the process and the results of my testing at DNA Journey


Sonja Hunter said...

That's really cool! I just finished listening to a course about the Vikings this week. Oh the things DNA can tell us.

Jana Last said...

I want you to know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Mariann Regan said...

Fascinating. Four lineages descended from a single Native American woman. In hearing about the Vikings, I never thought about DNA lines, but of course that must be a major phenomenon in Europe and the British Isles. Thanks for these insights.

Anonymous said...

My future granddaughter in law is of the Iceland/Native American heritage along with the Blackfoot.
It is all through her mother etc.

Anonymous said...

My father is 104.5 yrs old and I just recently ran his DNA through 23&and me. We had a surprise on his ethnicity. I suspected it would mainly be European which it mainly was, but there was a surprising 1.8% listed at Eastern Asia/ Native American. Now, I'm wondering if he might have a distant Viking somewhere along the way hiding in his tree? Interesting idea that might help solve the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

What an exciting find!