William Malet — Companion of the Conqueror

William Malet is an historical figure accepted by most scholars as being one of the few individuals who can be proven to have been at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 fighting alongside William of Normandy ("William the Conqueror").  He was one of the first known bearers of the Malet surname.

One of the goals of this Surname DNA study was to determine if all Mallets are descended from this William Malet.  We now know that this is not possible, because the study shows that there are several Mallet families that have obviously arisen from separate sources. Any one of those could be descended from William Malet — or none of them.

Let's consider for a moment the possibility that one of the two main groups (I and R) is descended from William Malet.

From the FTDNA website:

"The I, I1, and I1a lineages are nearly completely restricted to northwestern Europe. These would most likely have been common within Viking populations. One lineage of this group extends down into central Europe."
"Haplogroup R1b is the most common haplogroup in European populations. It is believed to have expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago. This lineage is also the haplogroup containing the Atlantic modal haplotype."

The I and the R1b haplogroups are separated from one another by upwards of 10,000 years, so there is no possibility that the 2 groups both descend from William Malet; but, if any group of participants might claim descent from him based purely on the DNA evidence, it is perhaps the I group. As stated above, the I haplogroup is associated with Viking populations, the Normans were originally Vikings, and William Malet was a Norman.

However, we don't know what William Malet's haplogroup was. R1b is common throughout Europe, including Scandinavia, and at the time of the Norman invasion of England, the Normans had lived in France for several generations, so William Malet could have had an "R1b" father — either Scandinavian or French.

The Malets of Enmore, St Audries, and Mallets of Ash, part of the R1b West Country group here, have always claimed descent from William Malet, but a definitive link has never been proved beyond doubt. 

The bottom line? We don't know who is descended from William Malet, if anyone.