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McCulloch Iazyges Origins?

If you are beginning your McCulloch family search and hope to discover your Scottish roots, you may be surprised at what you find.

Although there are multiple McCulloch and McCullough haplogroups, one McCulloch line shares the rare haplogroup R1a (R-BY32010). This haplogroup seems to trace back to the Sarmatians of the Central Eurasian Steppes. More particularly, this line might trace its arrival in Great Britain to the Iazyges Sarmatian soldiers who served as auxiliaries in the Roman occupation of Great Britain under Marcus Aurelius Sarmaticus. In 175 AD, the Romans defeated the Iazyges in the Marcomannic Wars. The terms of the peace treaty required the Iazyges to surrender 8,000 soldiers to the Romans. 5,500 of these men were sent to Great Britain to pacify the unruly population. It is said that even after 20 years of service, these men were not allowed to return home. Inevitably, their descendants would eventually go local.

The Y DNA evidence would seem to indicate that some of these Iazyges soldiers were ancestors of what would later become Clan McCulloch. This intriguing origin story invites further analysis and study. But this story would also comport with the idea that the McCullochs were an “ancient” family in Southwest Scotland. If these ancestors arrived some time shortly after 175 AD, their descendants would have lived through the post-Roman Britonic Kingdom of Strathclyde (a Cumbric kingdom of the “Old North”), would have been settled in Galloway before Kenneth MacAlpin united the Kingdoms of Dal Riada and the Picts to form the Kingdom of Alba, before the arrival of the Norse-Gaels around 870, and well earlier than the arrival of the Normans after the conquest of Great Britain in 1066.