PROSSORS IN OZ
Anthony Prossor of Cashel, Portsea and Southampton.
Prossor and Prosser DNA
Allen Prosser of California is making an in-depth study of Prosser DNA. There is a problem, however: in England, surnames passed from father to son; in Wales, prior to the 16th century, the son took the father's given name, then his son took his father's given name, and so on. It is what is known as a patronymic naming system.
In Welsh, "ap" and "ab" mean son of – as do Mac and Mc in Scotland and Ireland. Wales has given us names like Pugh (ap Hugh), Bowen (ab Owen) and Preece (ap Reece).
To take Allen's example: if Hugh had a son John, then John’s name would be John ap Hugh; If John in turn had a son Rosser (Welsh for Roger), then Rosser’s name would be Rosser ap John. And again, if Rosser had a son Owen, then Owen’s name would be Owen ap Rosser. Surnames in the English sense of family names became common many centuries after they did so in England.
The consequence of this is that there were lots of sons of Roger called ap Rosser who were not in any way related. Allen's Prosser DNA project now includes 35 Prosser individuals divided into ten distinct groups, each unrelated to the others. All groups but one have their origins in England and Wales. The exception is the group that has its origin in eastern Europe.
Allen's own DNA indicates that he is haplogroup R1b1b2a1b5... which links him to Ireland and Wales and indicates that he is descended from the Irish Déisi Mumhan tribe (remember this is Allen's Prosser DNA: even if your name is Prosser, it may not apply to your DNA).
Allen says: "In the latter days of the Roman Empire through to the early post-Roman period, the Déisi peoples, a name which originates in Irish as déis meaning "vassal" or "subject", migrated to the Dyfed region of Wales between 350CE and 400CE.
"Their migration may have been with the support of Magnus Maximus, who contracted with them to become vassals and seafaring defenders of Britain from Wales to Cornwall, following standard Roman policies. Today, we see the influence of the Irish Gaelic language on the Welsh language, as evidenced by 20 stones in the Dyfed region of Wales, dated to the 4th century CE, with Irish ogham inscriptions... as well as many Gaelic words that have been introduced into the Welsh language."
The Déisi are said to have lived on the plains of the River Boyne. An ancient genealogy has the Ua Fáeláin of Déisi being descended from Fiacha Suidhe, a brother of Conn Ceadchathach (of the hundred battles). They were later centred on the area of County Waterford and southern County Tipperary.
Allen's specific yDNA suggests that his Prosser line may be descended from the Whalen line of Ireland, as his modal haplotype values match the Whalen R1b Group 01 Modal Haplotype values on 63 markers out of 67. He says that this makes it likely that the Ua Fáeláin (i.e., O'Faolain, O'Phelan, Phelan, Whelan, etc.), when absorbed into the Welsh patronymic naming system, evolved into Prosser.
Allen is intrigued by the fact that some Irish people settled in Dyfed, Wales, in the 4th century, and his DNA profile suggests he is of Irish descent. He says that the fact Prosser DNA modal values are nearly identical to Whalen values is no coincidence, and needs to be investigated further.
If you are interested in the DNA technicalities, you can begin further investigation here.
Revised: August 27, 2010