Is there any basis for the belief that the Fairweathers have Viking connections?
For me, one sure way was to have a DNA test that would once and for all try and settle the question. It turns out that my YDNA marker is GERMANIC, and descended from the peoples of the Rhineland and the Low Countries. But there could still be a Viking connection.
It turns out that my Y chromosome group is R1b-M269 and is one of the most frequently found markers in Europe with outliers turning up as far east as China, India and Russia. I have to say I found that a disappointing outcome and, in actual fact, not very helpful. There has always been a romance about the Vikings and finding a connection would have confirmed long-held beliefs. But a basic study of the Vikings reveals that they were a bad lot, creating havoc and destruction and taking slaves, women mainly, back to Norway and Denmark. Whether we are pleased or relieved about a connection, there is no strong DNA evidence to confirm a genealogical link with the Vikings, although that is not to say there is not one. (As an aside, my mtDNA shows that my mother’s line goes back very clearly to the Cave Painters of the Pyrenees. Intriguing!)
The word “Germanic” has a Latin root and was used by the Romans to describe groups of related and/or kindred peoples to the north of their Empire. Germanic seems to have been a term used by the Romans to describe groups of people who were allies of the Celts – as an adjective, germani is simply the plural of the adjective germanus (from germen, “seed” or “offshoot”), which has the sense of “related” or “kindred” or “authentic”.
More here – http://www.imperialteutonicorder.com/id43.html
“Germanic” is rather like saying today that they were “Europeans” without distinguishing between the distinct peoples of Europe, the French, Spanish, Italian, etc. Norsemen was another general term going back to the Iron Age and used by French and English monks to describe raiders from Norway and Denmark. In 793 they burst onto the scene by attacking the monastery at Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumbria. These migrating peoples from present-day Scandinavia, the original home of the Vandals and Goths, came to be known as Vikings. The word “viking” is not a name for the people; it is a verb that describes an activity. To “go viking” described the act “to go plundering” or “pirating”. Interestingly a version of The Lord’s Prayer dating from the 9th century, rather than “Deliver us from evil” says, “Deliver us from the Norsemen” In general terms, during the 8th and 9th centuries, these adventurers from Norway spread through the western islands of Scotland as far south as the Isle of Man. The Danes are first mentioned in the accounts of the barbarian raids on Rome in the 5th Century. By the 10th Century they were feared across Europe. It was Danish “Vikings” who settled in Eastern England and perhaps the East Coast of Scotland as well.
See this map of the spread of the Vikings – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Viking_Expansion.svg
But I digress. One of my key Fairweather markers is found among the peoples of Scandinavia and does seem to have made its way to Britain during the 8th and 9th centuries. It also came to southern Britain perhaps via the Norman invasion of 1066. Not surprising if we recall that the word “Norman” is a contraction of “Norsemen”. So the Fairweathers may well have travelled alongside other groups of migrating peoples; as Vikings themselves or as families who followed later on. Speculation on my part, but credible.