Well, I’ve finally done it. Spat into a little tube and sent it off to be analysed.
There are two main branches of Emm, one living in London from at least the early 19th century and the other in Wiltshire – and we have been unable to find a link between the two. My father and a direct descendant from the London branch had their DNA analysed some years ago. The result? A common ancestor about 10 generations away (ie circa 1750). No surprise there. We all look exactly the same; we just required corroboration.
The most exciting result of the DNA test was the haplogroup element. Scandinavian I1. We are Vikings! How can this be? My direct family comes from Wiltshire, an inland county with no seaside. Danelaw (the part of east England assigned to the Danes to keep peace) wasn’t anywhere near either.
And then I watched a Michael Wood programme about King Alfred of ‘he who burned the cakes’ fame. Led by Guthrum, Oscytel and Anund, a Danish army invaded England in AD 875 determined to conquer Wessex (the ancient kingdom of the West Saxons covering Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire). Alfred led the Wessex army. After a year of fighting it was left at stalemate so the Vikings basically stayed in the area until the huge battle at Ethandun/Edington. Alfred won. Modern historians believe this battle was at Bratton, Wiltshire, where a large contingent of Emm(s) originate.
So now I know. But do I have the Scandinavian haplogroup gene? It would explain why I look like Swedes, Norwegians (I’m shorter than the modern day Scandinavian) and Geordies (Vikings kept invading the Northumbrian coast). Also, am I descended from a primeval princess like an Emm cousin of mine who had her DNA tested some years ago? Watch this space for the result.