The Lermontov Family Mikhail Lermontov is credited with inventing the modern Russian romantic novel with the publication in 1840 of A Hero for Our Time. A devoted admirer of the poet Pushkin, Lermontov became Russia’s most celebrated literary figure in the early 19th century. He had long been rumoured to be descended from a Scottish mercenary who came to Russia in the service of Peter the Great. The Lermontov society asked Oxford Ancestors to investigate this claim and we collected DNA from a proven descendant and from two branches of the prominent Scottish family Learmonth. Neither branch matched the DNA from the Russian Lermontov. However the DNA shared characteristics with Scottish Celts suggesting that the original Lermontov could well have been from Scotland.