Russian poet Lermontov had Scottish roots
British company Oxford Ancestors, a service compiling family trees with the help of DNA analysis, intends to prove that the famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov was of Scottish origin.
The company invites those who bear the surname of Learmonth, a Scottish name first mentioned in the 13th century, and Lermontov to take part in the DNA research in an effort to demonstrate that the two families have a common progenitor.
According to a widespread version, the Lermontovs descend from Georg Learmonth, a Scottish military man who was captured by the Russian Army in February-March 1634 and settled in Russia.
Mikhail Lermontov was interested in his origins, and in 1831 devoted the poem Zhelanie (Wish) to his Scottish ancestors. In his youth, Lermontov was enchanted with a legend of another Lermont, a mysterious Scottish minstrel mentioned by Sir Walter Scott.
The Scottish surname Learmonth (with multiple spelling variations) was first mentioned in the 13th century, in Berwickshire, where the family probably settled before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066.
The two families are suspected of sharing a common ancestry, as their family crests are very much alike, but no documentary evidence has been produced so far.
Bryan Sykes, a founder of Oxford Ancestors, said the research was vital for studying Russia-U.K. relations.