Your Link to Riehle Family History & Networking…

Sons of the Legions? ~ DRAFT ~

Do some or most Riehle male lineages, and other identified lineages with surnames Siegle and Mettler, descend from a Roman legionnaire recruited from the Balkans in or about the Second Century CE? Are you a descendant of that legionnaire?

Our Ancestor?

This Article has Four Objectives:

  • To introduce the hypothesis that men from the Balkans, recruited as mercenaries into the Roman Legions in or around the second century CE, carried the DNA of their regionally dominant E-V13 Y-DNA to various garrison areas within the empire.
  • To consider specific genetic evidence suggesting that certain men of an E-V13 Haplogroup sub-clad, not closely related to each other but with ancestral and probably regional ties within an unspecified area of the Balkans, may have been recruited into the legions from the Balkans during this timeframe and dispatched to various such garrison areas.
  • To consider related genetic evidence suggesting such a recruit was dispatched to the Swabian region and/or other nearby areas within the modern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg or northern Switzerland, that a descendant of this recruit originated a further identified mutation which defined a new sub-clad, and that several subsequent descendants in this new sub-clad included men who took on certain identified surnames, including perhaps each of the following:
    • Riehle, Riehl, Rhule or similar (Single surname lineage with varied spelling)
    • Siegle, Siegel, Siegler, Ziegler, Siglin, Sigle or similar
    • Mettler, Mitler, or similar
  • To encourage additional men with Riehle, Siegle, or Mettler surnames, or derivatives of these surnames, to do Y-DNA genetic testing. We know that the three sponsors of this webpage share a common ancestor. Testing by additional men with these names will determine if such men are also descendants of this ancestor. Moreover, such testing will help determine the extent to which a significant number of men with these surnames carry the mutation in question. And in cases where testing does not provide a match to the mutation in question, it will identify other mutations and haplogroups which are nonetheless found among these various surnames and will thus provide a basis for new genetic genealogical documentation and enquiry.

Summary of Relevant Genetic Science and Testing

It is beyond the scope of this article to provide even a moderately good explanation of the human Y-chromosome and the varied haplogroups that characterize these chromosomes across the species. Nonetheless we present here some introductory remarks concerning the concepts which are relevant to the balance of this article:

  • All males living today descend from a single man (“Adam”) who lived in Africa between 237,000 and 581,000 years ago. (Adam is placed in Haplogroup A – see full haplotree that branches from there.)
  • New mutations continue to occur over centuries with each new mutation defining a smaller subset of the species. The more recent the mutation (relative to its predecessor mutations), the fewer men are in the resulting “haplogroup“.
  • As more men have their Y-DNA analyzed, more are matched to any given haplogroup. However each individual has “private” variants, not associated with any currently-defined haplogroups. With still more tests, the identification of private variants in multiple testers leads to a private variant, or groups of variants, being labeled and placed on the haplotree.
  • As a result, the most granular levels of haplogroup identification continues to change as additional granularity is identified and labeled.
  • The more granular one’s haplogroup identification (variant profile) the fewer men will match that profile and the more recent your shared common ancestor with such men will be.
  • See More, more, and much more. If that isn’t enough, Google can find more!

Y-DNA test results managed by the three individuals responsible for this webpage are within one or two such defining mutations and this group communicates with all five identified FamilyTree Y-DNA members within these haplogroups. These five tested men are out of the universe of ~60,000 Y-DNA test subjects at FamilyTree DNA at the time this webpage is being prepared.

Internet Review of Investigations into the Spread of the E-V13 Haplogroup from the Balkans via the Roman Military Expansion and Recruiting

While we have not exhausted our review of literature related to E-V13 migration from the Balkans to Western Europe via Roman military expansion, we were introduced to the topic via the following:

Specific Genetic Evidence of a Relative Small Sub-clad of E-V13, Likely Originating in the Balkans, Being Spread to Multiple Regions of the Western Roman Empire During our Relevant Timeframe – E-V13 Sub-clad: E-BY4793

All modern members of the E-V13 Haplogroup are believed to descend from a common male ancestor who lived approximately 5,500 years ago, almost certainly in the Balkans. Several sub-clads further out on the haplotree we find E-BY4793, with about 4.5% of E-V13 participants within the test group.

(We need to point out here that this test group, which is the Family-Tree Y-DNA testing population, is not necessarily representative of the total E-V13 population or more broadly, of the male population in general, being skewed to whatever extent by test participants more likely to be North American or Western European, as well as relatively well educated and at relatively high income levels.)

E-BY4793 split off from its parent E-FGC11450 approximately 2900 years ago (+/- 550) so comfortably prior to the early CE era when the Roman military became increasingly staffed by mercenaries from around the empire.

That parent haplogroup, E-FGC11450, originated not long before E-BY4793 and shows similar dispersion among its other sub-clads so while we could look at other such sub-clads using a similar analysis, we will focus on E-BY4793, given that it is from that sub-clad that our further sub-clads of interest was derived.

(Note: Please click on Link to visualize the timeline for the origination of sub-clads and recent ancestry of test-subjects)

Subsequent to the new E-BY4793 mutation there would have been at least several hundred years before the Romans began significant recruitment in the Balkans, so the mutation would have had enough time to spread. Men with the E-BY4793 mutation would have been unlikely to recognition many of their fellows as relatives but there would likely be somewhat of a regional concentration of such men. If we are correct that the Romans recruited from this pool, this regional proximity might have made it more likely that a greater number of such men were recruited and for similar purposes.

Given the disproportionate Western Europeans participation within the study group it is hardly surprising that sub-clads of E-BY4793 show test-subjects with roots traced through Western Europe, but there are also branches (sub-clads) showing test-subjects primarily in eastern Europe and in the Balkans. The sub-clads of E-BY4793, which originated after the second century CE, tend to show test subjects from dispersed locations but wherever the location, within each such sub-clad the ancestral origin of the test-subjects are similar or historically related. Note that techniques for determining “genealogical origins” might provide insights for a few hundred years but not thousands, so while the ancestors to which such test-subject trace their Y-DNA origins lived hundreds of years ago this was quite recently in the context of the genetic mutations.

The following lists E-BY4793 sub-clads and the test-subjects genealogical origins:

(Note: click on links to visualize the origination of sub-clads and recent ancestry of test-subjects)

  • Sub-clad E-FT342418 reflects a mutation in a man who lived around 1000 CE. Nearly all of his tested descendants have male ancestry out of Switzerland, suggesting that sometime between 1 CE and 1000 CE a male ancestor might have migrated from the Balkans to Switzerland. Our hypothesis is that this individual may have been associated with the Roman Legions.
  • E-FT242083 originated within the past 1000 years with test-subjects tracing their male lineage to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Although our theorized Balkan recruit, along with most Roman military personnel in Britain, would likely have been stationed in what is now England, the Saxon invasion pressured many Celtic and Roman descendants into Wales and Scotland. Moreover some English descendants that survived the Saxons might have migrated to Wales, Scotland or Ireland as the English administration came to dominate those regions.
  • E-FT70140, originating in or around the 15th century shows only English, Scottish and American test subjects.
  • E-Z38485 most likely split off from E-BY4793 after the third century, with two further sub-clads, one showing testers with roots in Scotland and the other showing roots in Sweden. The sub-clad tied to the testers with only Swedish ancestry originated after the era when Vikings had gathered slaves from throughout Britain.
  • E-BY4891 also originated post-Vikings and shows tester descendants only from Norway, where the mutation likely originated.
  • E-PH345 originated about 500 CE with the only identified ancestral link in Albania, suggesting that a relatively recent ancestor of the test-subject was still located in the Balkans. This of course suggests that despite the disproportionate representation of Western Europeans, the ancestors of some E-BY4793 sub-clad test-subjects remained in the Balkans throughout the middle ages.
  • E-BY165986 shows descendants in the historic area of Swabia. This haplogroup and its further sub-clads are the primary focus of our discussion and are addressed in more detail below.

As anyone following the haplogroup links in the above section will recognize, the information related to each sub-clad represents a small sample with incomplete data. Certainly nothing is proven in this review. With that said, we do see a pattern in which the test-subjects within a number of sub-clads of E-BY4793 are showing concentrations of their ancestors connecting nicely to individual garrison areas within the Roman Empire. The exception to this, which also fits the hypothesis, is one sub-clad apparently remaining primarily in the Balkans. So while far from proven, our hypothesis that the Roman Legions recruited men with E-V13 Y-DNA from the Balkans and garrisoned them around the empire is not inconsistent with these data.

Evidence of the Apparent Migration of an Individual of the E-BY4793 Sub-clad, Subsequent to which a Subordinate Sub-clad Originated in the Swabian Region – E-BY4793 Sub-clad: E-BY165986

Click to view Enlargement Online
at FamilyTreeDNA

As touched upon above, E-BY165986, a sub-clad of E-BY4793, is just one of the many such sub-clads that can be tied to areas garrisoned by the Roman military. We are theorizing that this E-BY165986 sub-clad may have originated in Swabia. We use the term Swabia or Swabian to represent the area of Southwestern Germany contained within the modern German State of Baden-Wuttemberg and bordering on northern Switzerland. While the sub-clad may have originated south of Lake Constance (in modern-day Switzerland) we will simplify the discussion by characterizing the area as Swabia.

While through much of its history Roman forces remained on the west side of the Rhine River, in the period approximated by the Second Century CE the area east of the Rhine (Latin: Rhenus) was subjugated by the Imperial Military (See Map).

E-BY165986 originated with a mutation in a man living between 100 and 1100 CE (95% confidence level with roughly 84% confidence he was born after 350 CE). Two of the five test subjects tied to this sub-clad identify their earliest paternal line ancestor as born in American during colonial times but with a name of German or Swiss-German origin. The other three test subjects trace their male ancestry to one of the old German principalities of Baden or Wurttemberg.

The name of German or Swiss-German origin is Mettler. The two test-subjects with this name have a know relationship, descending from Philip Metler who was born in Colonial New Jersey on Aug 19, 1765. No information is known about this individual’s old world ancestry other than the likely origins of the name. The tested individuals are in the E-BY165986 haplogroup but in no further sub-clads so we will refer to this as the E-BY165986* haplogroup. Note that as shown in the linked timeline, one of these test-subjects shows the uncertain ancestry of his early American ancestor as German. More information is available on request. [Mary, please review this carefully and amend and/or extend this section as appropriate]

Another of the tested individuals with the surname Riehle is in a sub-clad of E-BY165986 identified as E-FTB1593 (or E-FTB1593*). This haplogroup is statistically determined to have originated during a period similar to the origination of E-BY165986 but clearly sometime after the preceding mutation. The test-subject’s male ancestors descend through the town of Wagshurst near the Rhine River in the old principality of Baden. The Wagshurst ancestors of this individual are shown here. The individual has coordinated testing via 23andMe with a male 6th cousin, once removed (common ancestor born 1697) to confirm the cousin’s Y-DNA as E-V13 with no further haplogroup granularity. We believe this provides good if not perfect confidence that this branch of the Riehle family descends from Baden along its male lineage, sharing the E-FTB1593 haplogroup.

The final two tested individuals have the surname Siegle and are in a sub-clad of E-FTB1593 identified as E-FTB885. They have reliable male ancestral information tracing back to the 16th century in the old principality of Wurttemberg. More information is available on request. [Justin, please review this carefully and amend and/or extend this section as appropriate]

Members of the Metler, Riehle and Siegle families are cooperating in the publication and maintenance of this webpage. We welcome comments and feedback below and we ask you to read through the following section and consider Y-DNA testing as appropriate.

Appeal for Assistance to Ascertain the Extent of our Balkan Lineage in Association with the Identified Surname: Mettler

Mary Mettler to please provide discussion of her Y-DNA testing priorities. (see Riehle below but take whatever approach is appropriate)

Appeal for Assistance to Ascertain the Extent of our Balkan Lineage in Association with the Identified Surname: Riehle

Aside for the Wagshurst lineage, we have several known Riehle lineages out of Baden and Wurttemberg. For each of these lineages we have either no available Y-DNA Haplogroup information or only uncertain or contradictory information. We are aware of no Y-DNA or genealogical evidence to connect any of these lineages to the Wagshurst Riehle’s, for whom the E-V13 sub-clad E-FTB1593 is known to dominate. As a result, we are looking for test participants from family segments with the following Baden-based ancestry:

We have no Y-DNA data for the first several Family Segments listed above. There is information on the Bartholomew line that suggests inconsistent haplogroup results. We would like to get additional haplogroup data, especially for all male-to-male lineage descendants (Riehle surname) of Bartholomew Riehle’s sons as follows:

  • George Riehle – 1822–1858 – and sons:
    • William A. Riehle (1854–1940)
    • Anzell Riehle (1856–1938)
    • John Riehle (1858–1942)
  • Henry (Heinrich) Riehle – 1846–1933 – and sons:
    • Joseph Bartholomew Riehle (1872–1955) 
    • George Lawrence Riehle (1884–1963)

We are also looking for Riehle’s from the following Wurttemberg lineages with at least some members of the Mähringen Riehle family indicating haplogroup R-M405 (we would like conformation or information about additional haplogroups out of this region):

Not withstanding the above list, we are interested in anyone with the Riehle, Riehl, Rhule, of similar surnames to participate. Please contact us with a comment below, which will only be made public as appropriate and only with your permission.

Appeal for Assistance to Ascertain the Extent of our Balkan Lineage in Association with the Identified Surname: Siegle

Justin Seigler to provide discussion of his Y-DNA testing priorities (see Riehle above but take whatever approach is appropriate)

Testing Program

This investigation is not affiliated with any funding source. Any costs for this webpage or our various testing initiatives come out of the pockets of the several hobbyist involved. Accordingly we would hope that those interested in participating might fund their own testing. To the extent that this might represent a burden however, we are willing, even anxious, to consider assisting with the costs.

We anticipate two steps in this process, as follows:

The first step might be to do a less-thorough testing (<$100) to determine the individual’s high-level haplogroup. This testing would yield Y-haplogroup information for the individual but would also provide additional information for the participant based on the specific testing program, such as, for example, 23andMe. Note that not all testing programs provide Haplogroup data and specifically, Ancestry.com does NOT provide such data.

If you already know you are E-V13 or if you are keenly interested in more detailed Y-Haplogroup information the participant may wish to skip this first step.

The second step for those with confirmed high-level haplogroup information would be to take the Big-Y 700 test from FamilyTree DNA. This will place the participant into a specific sub-clad of E-V13 and either confirm a close relationship with one of the three identified surname lineages or otherwise help determine the timing (within centuries) of common male ancestry with the relevant haplogroup.

It is indisputable that the study coordinators have a common ancestor born about 600 CE, with near certainty of his birth between 100 and 1000 CE. This common ancestor could be a descendant of the proposed Legionary recruit, if indeed such a recruit existed, but none of this proves the theory that our common male ancestor was indeed a recruit into the Roman Legions coming out of the Balkans. We will however continue to explore this theory with others in the genetic genealogy community and will update this webpage as appropriate.

Regardless, your participation may provide information on how the descendants of our common ancestor dispersed geographically. Of even more interest, it will expand the understanding of genetic links among dispersed family segments sharing any of the three identified surnames. We are confident that over time we will have increasing clarity about such intra-surname links and we invite you to participate in the research that will help build this understanding.

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