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Some current genetic research supports the idea that people living in the British Isles are likely mainly descended from the indigenous European Paleolithic (Old Stone Age hunter gatherers) population (about 80%), with a smaller Neolithic (New Stone Age farmers) input (about 20%).
Paleolithic Europeans seem to have been a homogeneous population, possibly due to a population bottleneck (or near-extinction event) on the Iberian peninsula, where a small human population is thought to have survived the glaciation, and expanded into Europe during the Mesolithic.
Others hold that the close similarity between the Goidelic and Brythonic branches, and their sharing of Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age terminology with their continental relatives, point to a more recent introduction of Indo-European languages (or close communication), with Proto-Celtic itself unlikely to have existed before the end of the 2nd millennium BC at the earliest.
In two recently published books, Blood of the Isles, by Brian Sykes and The Origins of the British, by Stephen Oppenheimer, both authors state that according to genetic evidence, most Welsh people, like most Britons, descend from the Iberian Peninsula in Southwest Europe, as a result of different migrations that took place during the Mesolithic and the Neolithic eras, and which laid the foundations for the present-day populations in the British Isles, indicating an ancient relationship among the populations of Atlantic Europe.
According to Stephen Oppenheimer 96% of lineages in Llangefni in north Wales derive from Iberia.
The names "Wales" and "Welsh" are traced to the Proto-Germanic word "Walhaz" meaning "foreigner", "stranger", "Roman", "Romance-speaker", or "Celtic-speaker" which was used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former Roman Empire, who were largely romanised and spoke Latin or Celtic languages.
The same etymological origin is shared by the names of various other Celtic or Latin peoples such as the Walloons and the Vlachs, as well as of the Swiss canton of Valais.
The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the post-Roman Era relationship of the Welsh with the Brythonic-speaking peoples of northern England and southern Scotland, the peoples of "Yr Hen Ogledd" (English: In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples (including the Welsh) and was the more common literary term until c. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland.