17 October 2014

To the 200th anniversary of M.Y. Lermontov

Scientists have not proved the presence of Scottish roots in Lermontov

Portrait in oil (B. V. Shcherbakov, 1949).

Maria Tabak, RIA NovostiBritish scientists could not prove the genetic connection of Mikhail Lermontov [October 3 (15), 1814 – July 15 (27), 1841] with British Lermontov, but still consider it likely that the Russian poet has Scottish roots.

The Lermontovs and the Lermontovs assumed the existence of kinship ties with each other, but there is no documentary evidence directly confirming this. Surprisingly, the coats of arms of the two families resemble each other in many ways.

According to a popular version, the Lermontovs are descended from Georg Lermont, a native of Scotland, who was captured during the siege of the Belaya Fortress and then settled in Russia. The surname Lermont is one of the oldest Scottish surnames, the first mention of which dates back to the 13th century.

In 2007, the British company Oxford Ancestors, which compiles pedigrees using DNA analysis, informed RIA Novosti of its intention to prove that the ancestors of the famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov were originally from Scotland.

"I was invited to take part in this interesting project by a group that wanted to test the hypothesis that Mikhail Lermontov was descended from a Scottish military man who served in Russia, as far as I remember, at the beginning of the 17th century. The theory was that Lermontov was a member of the influential Lermontov family from Scotland, " said Brian Sykes, professor of genetics, founder of Oxford Ancestors, in an interview with RIA Novosti.

"I checked the Y chromosomes of about a dozen Lermontovs from the UK and one descendant of Mikhail Lermontov. In short, I found that the British Lermontovs have two genetically different branches, each of which has its own recognizable Y chromosome, but none of them coincided with the chromosome of Mikhail Lermontov's descendant on his father's side," Sykes noted.

Nevertheless, the professor does not exclude that Lermontov really had Scottish roots.

"The characteristics of the Y-chromosome of Mikhail Lermontov's descendant are typically Celtic, not Russian. So, although I cannot prove a connection between Mikhail Lermontov and the living British Lermontov, the general characteristics of his Y chromosome are quite consistent with Scottish origin," Sykes noted.

Mikhail Lermontov himself was very interested in the origin of the family. So, in particular, his poem "Desire" is dedicated specifically to distant Scottish ancestors. In his youth, Lermontov was also very keen on the legend of another Lermont – the mysterious Scottish poet sung by Sir Walter Scott, who received a prophetic gift from the fairies.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru17.10.2014

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