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This project is for people who have tested and been assigned the paternal haplogroup R1b1a2a1a2c (L21) and also for people who are believed to have been this paternal haplogroup based on tests done on descendants.


  • R1b1b2a1a2f (ISOGG 2009, 2010)
  • R1b1a2a1a1b4 (ISOGG 2011)
  • R1b1a2a1a1b3 (ISOGG 2012)

Defining Mutations

  • L21/M529


The Atlantic Celtic branch (L21)
The Proto-Italo-Celto-Germanic R1b people had reached in what is now Germany by 2500 BC. By 2300 BC they had arrived in large numbers and founded the Unetice culture. Judging from the propagation of bronze working to Western Europe, those first Indo-Europeans reached France and the Low Countries by 2200 BC, Britain by 2100 BC and Ireland by 2000 BC, and Iberia by 1800 BC. This first wave of R1b presumably carried R1b-L21 lineages in great number (perhaps because of a founder effect), as these are found everywhere in western, northern and Central Europe. Cassidy et al. (2015) confirmed the presence of R1b-L21 (DF13 and DF21 subclades) in Ireland around 2000 BC. Those genomes closely resembled those of the Unetice culture autosomally, but differed greatly from the earlier Neolithic Irish samples. This confirms that a direct migration of R1b-L21 from Central Europe was responsible for the introduction of the Bronze Age to Ireland.

The early split of L21 from the main Proto-Celtic branch around Germany would explain why the Q-Celtic languages (Goidelic and Hispano-Celtic) diverged so much from the P-Celtic branch (La Tène, Gaulish, Brythonic), which appears to have expanded from the later Urnfield and Hallstatt cultures.

Some L21 lineages from the Netherlands and northern Germany later entered Scandinavia (from 1700 BC) with the dominant subclade of the region, R1b-S21/U106 (see below). The stronger presence of L21 in Norway and Iceland can be attributed to the Norwegian Vikings, who had colonised parts of Scotland and Ireland. Nowadays about 20% of all Icelandic male lineages are R1b-L21 of Scottish or Irish origin.

In France, R1b-L21 is mainly present in historical Brittany (including Mayenne and Vendée) and in Lower Normandy. This region was repopulated by massive immigration of insular Britons in the 5th century due to pressure from the invading Anglo-Saxons. However, it is possible that L21 was present in Armorica since the Bronze age or the Iron age given that the tribes of the Armorican Confederation of ancient Gaul already had a distinct identity from the other Gauls and had maintained close ties with the British Isles at least since the Atlantic Bronze Age.


Myres et al. report this group is most common in England and Ireland (25-50% of the whole male population).

Subclades of R

Famous Members

1) According to the Stewart Stuart DNA Project House of Stuart, who ruled Scotland from 1371, then also England and Ireland from 1603 until 1707, belongs to the S781 branch of R1b-L21, downstream of DF13 and L744.

2) The Buchanan DNA Project confirmed that the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan (1791-1868) was a descendant of the Scottish Clan Buchanan, and as such belonged to the CTS11722 subclade of R1b-L21, downstream of L1335.

3) William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), a British Liberal politician who served a record four times as Prime Minister under Queen Victoria, belonged to R1b-L21 based on a comparison of his genealogy with the results from Gladstone DNA Project.

4) The analysis of his descendants's Y-chromosomal DNA confirmed that Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement, belonged to haplogroup R1b-M222.

5) The forensic analysis of the skeletal remains of Che Guevara (1928-1967), the Argentine Marxist revolutionary and major figure of the Cuban Revolution, revealed that he belonged to haplogroup R1b-L21.

How to Participate

To participate in this project, join or follow the project, then 'add your oldest known ancestor who belonged to this haplogroup. The profile must be set to public in order to add it.