While I was sick with Covid-19, FamilyTreeDNA sent my autosomal and ethnicity results. Now that I’m getting better, I can review it. Let’s start with the ethnicity results —
Between FamilyTreeDNA, Ancestry and 23andme, all have shown a substantial amount in the central European region, i.e., Germany, Netherlands, France, which makes sense because I am very Dutch and German on paper. FamilyTreeDNA is interesting because it shows a much higher percentage from England, Wales and Scotland, and a little higher Scandinavian. The West Slavic/Eastern Europe would be my Polish side. All of them are around the same as to geographical areas where I am from, except Ancestry shows no eastern European. The most interesting thing about this test is Magyar, which I had never heard of (and there’s hardly anything there anyway). Magyar is Hungarian. The only time I’ve seen Hungary come up is through Gedmatch, when it showed what my ancient origins (supposedly) are. My Gedmatch results are from the raw data from 23andme. Gedmatch goes deeper than five generations back.
As for my cousin matches, FamilyTreeDNA is interesting because I notice a lot, lot, lot of Swedish names. For instance, there are a lot of Johannson surnames, Anderson surnames, and when I do a search for Larsdotter, there are about 14 connections to that name. So hopefully it will help me to explore my Swedish side. There were no interesting aha moments with the matches.
The next thing is interesting — my ancient origins. I carry DNA from three ancient European groups: 8% Metal Age Invader; 38% Farmer; and 54% Hunter-Gatherer.
The Metal Age is the Bronze Age (prehistoric); the Farmer is from the Neolithic era (about 12000 years ago)); and the Hunter-Gatherer is from the Mesolithic and Neolitic era (up to 9000 BC). Very interesting!
I have taken two autosomal DNA tests, through Ancestry and 23andme. There are three kinds of tests: (1) autosomal tests look at chromosomes 1-22 and X. The autosomes (chrom 1-22) are inherited from both parents and all recent ancestors. (2) Y-DNA tests look at only the Y-chromosome, which is inherited father to son, and can only be taken by males to explore their direct paternal line. (3) MtDNA tests look at the mitochondria, which is inherited from mother to child and can be used to explore the direct maternal line.
On a whim in early January, I decided to take an mtDNA test through FamilyTreeDNA. This focuses on the line of my mother, and her mother, and her mother’s mother, and so forth, up the maternal line. Sons can inherit that DNA as well, but cannot pass it, only daughters can pass it. The farthest on my mother’s direct line I have gotten on paper is five generations to Anna Isbrandt. I know about her and her husband and where their children were born, baptized and married, but not where Anna and her husband were born, birth dates, their families, nothing at all.
My results came in last week, and I have two “exact” matches with 0 genetic distance. A “0” genetic distance means that I have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5 generations (about 125 years). I have a 90% chance that the common maternal ancestor is within 22 generations (!!!). So I knew the test may not be super helpful. My two matches with the 0 genetic distance have listed their earliest known ancestor about five generations back and I’ve never heard of them but will contact them anyway and see what we can work on.
So of course I decided to do more testing, the autosomal test from FamilyTreeDNA, because it will detect relatives out to third and maybe fourth cousins. Unfortunately it will not be isolated to just my mother’s line, the matches will be both maternal and paternal so it will be more work. I haven’t really been putting enough time into DNA genealogy lately, but part of it is my lack of complete understanding on the subject. However! I just started my Monday night zoom classes on genetic genealogy using the book Genetic Genealogy in Practice, and have a great instructor who is walking us through step by step, so I’m counting on him to help me. Separate chapters and practice problems are devoted to each type of DNA test, so I’m really looking forward to it.
A couple of other matches are not exact but I recognized a name in their earliest common ancestor – Larsdotter, a very Swedish name meaning the daughter of Lars. I have a ton of cousin matches in my Ancestry DNA that have this name in their trees as well but haven’t found the connection, but maybe my Swedish DNA comes from my mother’s direct line. For matches that are not exact like this and who have a genetic distance of 2, there is a 50% probability the common ancestor will be in the last 18 generations, a 75% probability in the last 26 generations, and a 90% probability in the last 35 generations. You can see how difficult it is. Yikes!
It is not the type of test that is really recommended unless someone is a very serious researcher and wants to try to answer a specific question. The autosomal tests are really the best for most.
The mtDNA results did show a clearer picture of my mother’s haplogroup. Haplogroups are individual branches, or closely related groups of branches, on the genetic family tree of all humans. 23andme detected that mine is H, which stems from HV, and it is a very common and diverse mitochondrial lineage among populations in Europe, the Near East and the Caucasus region. The lineage is likely to have evolved around 25,000 years ago in West Asia, before being transported into Europe.
My mtDNA test results actually show more and that the exact haplogroup is H49b, a subclade of H. H49 is found essentially in Germanic countries, and also in Azerbaijan. It goes many centuries back but it is very interesting to learn the migration pattern!
Yes, I started my blog one year ago today. Even though I don’t have alot of readers, I appreciate those I have and will keep blogging as long as I have things to blog about. Genealogy is really a never-ending hobby, so we’ll see how long this goes!
What do I see in the next year for my blog? Probably more posts on DNA as I am working more and more in the DNA realm. I also plan on posting more photos of family, probably photos from a trip or two to cemeteries, and other goodies.
Speaking of DNA (again), I was trying to figure out a puzzle over the weekend in my DNA results from 23andme. For every match, you can click on the ‘relatives in common’ feature and it will show relatives in common with that match and you. Since my father recently took a DNA test through 23andme, it segregates if my matches are from his side or my mother’s side, I love that feature. Anyway, lately, I have been finding some cousin matches to both my father and my mother.
For example, I was looking at the profile of a third cousin of mine on my father’s side. The strange thing I first noticed is he has a variation of my mother’s haplogroup. I’ll have to dive into that at some point, but I clicked on the relatives in common feature. The matches come up in order of closeness, so the first two were my father and daughter, that makes sense. The third match was a first cousin on my father’s side, that also makes sense. That’s when it got really weird, the fourth and fifth matches were a first cousin once removed and a second cousin on my MOTHER’s side, who are also fourth and fifth cousins to Jim. This also happened to three other matches.
So this most likely means there are multiple ways we are related. It’s possible it could be the result (without doing extensive research) of the two Ton brothers I mentioned in a long ago post. Two brothers married into the two lines of my family: Jacob married into my mother’s side of the family, and his brother, Cornelis, married into my father’s side of the family. I won’t know until I figure it out. I started to work on it but I think I may need a big whiteboard or something to plot this out and make sense of it!
A huge happy birthday to my mother! Happy Birthday Mom!!!
During the New Year’s Day weekend with three glorious days off, I spent some time doing what I call “nerd work”. Working on my genealogy of course, and entering information into a new database I found some information on, Genome Mate Pro.
I’m in a couple of genealogy groups on Facebook and someone suggested this database, sometimes those genealogists are very clever and have great ideas! Since I am waiting for DNA results from a third company (but this time mtdna, not autosomal), I was trying to think of a way to keep track of all of my DNA cousin matches in one place. I’m really horrible at spreadsheets so that kicks out Excel, plus I want to not have to do all of the work and wanted to have a way to import those matches from each company into something. Hence, Genome Mate Pro. This data management program stores information on relatives and their associated autosomal DNA data. I was a little overwhelmed when I first started looking at it, because the learning curve is very steep, but the creator (Becky Mason Walker thank you!) of the database recorded short 5-6 minute videos so I was able to basically muddle my way through it that way and import all of the DNA matches I have so far. The only thing now that I have to do is to identify who everyone is and where they go, i.e., paternal or maternal side, which ancestor, etc. That is a huge amount of work but alot less than I wanted so that’s good.
I’m still trying to master the DNA thing, and have a great book for it, but am having trouble just mastering the book:
Fortunately, there is a very nice person in one of the FB groups that has volunteered at low cost to give ten weekly zoom “lessons” starting in February to a bunch of us. It’s really perfect timing for me since about that time I should be getting my mtdna results back from FamilyTreeDNA. I definitely need as much help with it as I can to completely understand genetic genealogy.
Happy New Year!! Peace to all and that we may have a better 2021!!
I was on the Roseland Facebook thread last week, researching connections to cousins with the surname Hoekstra. I have to work more on that, but our Ooms connection to the other Ooms grocer in Roseland popped up again. In June, I wrote a blog post about two Ooms Roseland grocers and their connection: Adam Ooms, grocer, who is my great-grandfather, and Richard Ooms, another grocer.
To refresh, back some years family said the two were not related. My blog post was about how my paper trail showed different and they are related through a common ancestor couple, Jan (Cornelis) Ooms and Neeltje Baas, who are my fourth great grandparents on my father’s side. To make it easier to visualize, here is the schematic I posted then showing their cousin connection:
The reason I’m bringing this up again is to show the power of DNA and how “genetic genealogy” is really the future of genealogy.
A paper trail is excellent but to answer any doubt or question that ever comes up about it, I wanted to find DNA matches to back up my paper trail. To help me, I had my paper family tree and a paper family tree from my “cousin” friend who has been helping me on that side.
So I started looking at Ancestry and found someone who is a DNA match to me at the fifth cousin level. That match is the only one on Ancestry that is from the Richard Ooms side, but is a person who was adopted out of the family as an infant. Well, I decided to let that be and to go look at 23andme to see if I could find any DNA matches there. And sure enough, I was able to find a cousin DNA match to me at the same level, who is listed on the other paper family tree and is a great-grandson of Richard Ooms. All of the information he lists on his 23andme account corroborates with the information on the Richard Ooms paper family tree, and he has quite a few relatives in common, so I can explore that line further.
DNA doesn’t lie, and solidly answers the question (again) that yes, the two sides are in fact connected and Adam Ooms, grocer, is related to Richard Ooms, grocer.
I worked on my father’s lines for awhile last week, in the search for Scandinavian ancestors. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are part of Scandinavia. From my father I have inherited 4.9% (he has 12.5%) and from my mother, 2.8% of Scandinavian DNA. The reason I worked on my father’s lines is because most of my paper family tree on his side is complete going back a couple of hundred years, so I thought it would be easier to confirm or rule out.
One of the things that 23andme does is assign a time frame for DNA. It states that my Scandinavian ancestor is most likely my great-grandparent, second great-grandparent, or third great-grandparent who was 100% Scandinavian and born between 1810 and 1870. My father’s report says the same thing but from 1820 to 1870.
I did make a lot of headway in finding some additional ancestors and was able to complete my father’s entire family going back to my fifth great-grandparent level, yay!!!! When I say complete, I mean names, I just still have to record a lot of the important dates into my software program for a lot of the fifth great-grandparents. But yay!!!!
Anyway, my father is mostly Dutch (Germanic French as it is called). As I’ve mentioned before, the Netherlands has excellent records going back centuries, so it is very easy to confirm/verify where an ancestor was born, married and died in the Netherlands. I was able to confirm that every single ancestor of my father’s in that time frame was born in the Netherlands (32 ancestors). There is absolutely no one from a Scandinavian country during that time frame. It’s possible there is one full Scandinavian ancestor in previous generations but it may be difficult to confirm that the further I go. I still have to go through those 64 ancestors, but I already know a lot were born in the Netherlands.
So I started reading more about Scandinavian DNA/DNA testing, wondering if any DNA in the Netherlands could be coming up as Scandinavian DNA.
As a reminder, DNA ancestry tests work by comparing the subject’s DNA with the DNA of individuals who are assumed to be able to stand in for reference populations. When long segments match, they can be assumed to be IBD (identical by descent). It doesn’t really tell you where the segment originates. Since the primary customer base of the commercial testing sites (Ancestry, 23andMe, etc.) are Americans of mixed ancestry, heavily concentrated with European ancestors, the companies are content to use large geographic areas as their reference populations: Britain and Ireland, France and Germany, South Asia, etc.).
I read that Scandinavian DNA is most commonly found in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, of course, but, interestingly, it is also found in Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Baltic States, and Finland. Specific to the Netherlands, between the 9th and 11th centuries, the Vikings raided and settled in that area. Around the year 879, Friesland, which is part of the Netherlands, fell quickly under the control of the Vikings. The heavy Norse presence is evidenced in the high percentage of Scandinavian DNA in the northern area of the Netherlands there, as well as Zeeland and the province of Holland. This came from the MyHeritage website, citing Britannica’s “History of the Low Countries”.
Friesland is in the very northern area of the Netherlands. The Verkruissen line, my father’s mother’s family, are all from Friesland, going back to the 1700s, beginning with my great-grandmother, Jacoba Verkruissen. I have read that if the Scandinavian DNA is over 20%, that large of an amount probably would indicate a more recent ancestor. However, being a smaller amount, it is probably an inheritance of small amounts from different ancestors.
So perhaps the Scandinavian DNA comes from that line because of the location, and maybe it is an inheritance from the great-grandparents and great-great grandparents?
Of course, we have to always remember that it’s all an estimate, and the ancestry companies interpret this information from comparing the subject’s DNA with the DNA of individuals who are assumed to be able to stand in for reference populations. So we can’t really completely rely on it unfortunately. But as the testing companies become more advanced at it, it will become more exact. I’m not sure when that will be but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Believe it or not, I’m not nearly done with DNA testing although I’ve tested at two different companies. This time I’m not doing autosomal testing, which is what most do, but mtdna testing, testing specifically the matrilineal line, my mother’s line. Every woman passes down her mitochondrial DNA to her children, but only females continue to pass that down. It’s like y-dna for males. More about that in a future post!
I haven’t been doing much research lately and I tend to gravitate toward genetic research these days if I do. DNA reports are interesting and my father’s report is very interesting since though he is majority Dutch (well classified as French/German), he shares a common ancestor with some Irish guy named Niall of the Nine Hostages.
I really thought the Irish came more from my mother, but interestingly, according to 23andme, it comes more from my father. So my father’s haplogroup starts with haplogroup A, where all of everyone’s paternal lines can be traced to one man, the common ancestor of haplogroup A. Other male-line descendants lineages died out except the one guy, and his lineage gives rise to all other haplogroups today.
Then his paternal line stems from a branch called R-M269, a very prolific paternal lineage across Eurasia. These farmers pushed east into Central Asia and into the Caucasus Mountains. Some reaches the steppes above the Black and Caspian Seas. Eventually, a new steppe culture called the Yamnaya was born and they spilled into Siberia and into Central Asia, to the west they pushed into the Balkans and central Europe. Their descendants spread from central Europe to the Atlantic coast. The spread of my father’s haplogroup in northern Ireland and Scotland was probably aided by men like Niall of the Nine Hostages.
One website says Niall may be the big daddy of Ireland. His actual name in Irish was Niall Naoi Noigiallach and the myth is that he was descended by an unknown number of generations from Conn Ceadcathlach aka Conn of the Hundred Battles, who may have lived in the middle of the second century and was the first high kind of Ireland. Research has revealed that as many as three million men living today may carry his y-DNA signature. y-DNA is only traceable through men, women do not have y-DNA. Niall got his name by taking nine key hostages, including Saint Patrick, in raids on his opponent chieftains in Ireland, Britain and France to cement his power. He is said to have twelve sons.
You never know what you’ll find when you check out your DNA!
My father finally got his DNA tested! It’s really interesting to see someone’s DNA versus paper genealogy results and people make alot of assumptions and some are very disappointed when they get their results.
Looking at the paper genealogy for my father, one would think all of his DNA would be French and German (the tests do not categorize Dutch yet), and he does have 77.3% of that DNA in him, but I was even surprised with a couple of the things.
What’s interesting is how specific his British and Irish DNA is, as it is very specific as to the location of the DNA. The Ashkenazi Jewish is surprising, and the amount of Scandinavian DNA. The biggest surprise of all is Cypriot, which is Greek.
The reason it surprises me is that I basically know his family history on paper going back five/six generations and everyone is from the Netherlands. The Netherlands has an excellent registration system, which goes back through the 1800s. There are a couple of little blanks on the family tree, so I can’t say I know all of his ancestors, and most likely some of that surprising DNA is going to be from just one or two people. But so far I haven’t found any names other than Dutch names. Another puzzle to work on!
Another exciting feature in 23andme is when it has one parent’s DNA, it can show the inheritance from both parents, here is mine:
My father’s DNA is on the left side and mother’s estimation is on the right side. I already know from my paper genealogy that alot of my mother’s family is from the Netherlands and Germany. I also know there is British and Irish on her side, but am surprised by the low amount. I’m not at all surprised by the Eastern European DNA, that 8.6% would be the Polish ancestry from my grandmother’s side. I have no idea where the Scandinavian will come from, it may be tied into the Irish side.
Now one of the things about these DNA tests is they are not 100%. DNA testing like this in it’s infancy stage, and as it evolves and the testing companies get better at it, they change it all. For example, I had a very small amount of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA in me but recently they removed it; and they completely changed my daughter’s DNA results. And you can get different results from the different testing companies. My DNA results from Ancestry is very similar to 23andme’s results when it comes to French and German, British, and Scandinavian DNA, but they recently changed the Irish to Scottish. Go figure.
Recently I was thinking that instead of jumping around back and forth from family to family, I may concentrate on one family line for two weeks and then work on another family line for the next two weeks, and so on and so on. It seems like I kind of started that already with my Dorwart research and then last week’s posts about genetic genealogy. I’m going to continue on today with another genetic genealogy post about comparing my DNA to ancient DNA.
Scientists have gathered ancient DNA from individual remains who lived thousands and thousands of years ago. I’ve mentioned Gedmatch before and how it focuses a lot on this deep ancestry. Since I downloaded my DNA’s raw data to Gedmatch, I can use its Archaic DNA Matches tool to compare my DNA with the ancient DNA that has been collected and sequenced on Gedmatch. I am so obsessed with this tool!
Using the tool, I put in a segment size of 1-2 cM, choosing this size increases the likelihood that a match has been passed down. The sum of the genetic length of DNA segments that a person shares with a match is reported as the total number of centimorgans (cMs) shared. There is no rule about how many segments a person should share with someone, and a person cannot come to a definitive conclusion about how s/he is related to someone based simply on the number of shared segments. What it then takes is research to confirm or verify that match. Matches also are not matches to direct ancestors. Generally, they are matches to a common ancestor, so it would be like cousins, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of generations back. Another kind of segment is known as population match and means a person’s common ancestor came from a common population with the other person, back in time, but you just cannot find the common ancestor.
This may be difficult to see but I ran the tool and there are a few matching segments in orange. They are LBK Stuttgart, BR2 Hungary, Ust’-Ishim Siberia, and NE1 Hungary. From here on, I can use another tool to compare these to my own DNA.
Using the One-to-One comparison tool, I compared my DNA kit, dropping the values until I obtained a match of some sort. Generally when looking for matches in genetic genealogy, default matching thresholds are set high. But when looking for deep ancestral connections, the thresholds should be lowered.
Again, as a cautionary note, the matches don’t prove heritage and it’s possible there may be no verifiable matches. It’s also possible the matches on small segments could be from a common population in a certain area long ago, it’s an unknown but a possibility. For example, in a common population match, a match to let’s say, the Anzick child from 12,500 years ago that has Native American heritage doesn’t prove anything, except that a person matches Anzick. Anyway, it would take more research and work to confirm connections, if there are any. Still pretty neat though!
Remembering now that I am completely of European origin, let’s begin looking at the matches.
LBK Stuttgart, 7ky
This is DNA from an individual’s remains discovered in Stuttgart, Germany. This individual has been identified as a female, probably between 22-30 years old, who probably died about 7,500 years ago, and who was a member of a Neolithic farming community. The LBK culture has been identified as one of the first farming cultures in Europe.
Since a big part of my maternal ancestors are from Germany, I was extremely curious about this sample. It turns out I do have shared matches on a number of chromosomes with this individual as you can see in the above photo, six shared segments on multiple chromosomes with a total of 19.8 cM. It’s very possible that my German ancestors lived there a much longer time than I realize.
BR2 Hungary, 3.2ky
This is an ancient sample from remains from 1110-1270 BC from the Ludas-Varju-dulo site in Hungary. I have read that the Great Hungarian Plain was a crossroads of cultural transformations that shaped European history and that this may have been from a migration into Europe from the east. Anyway, a transect of human genomes was analyzed and sampled from bones from thirteen Hungarian Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age burials.
There are 36 shared segments on multiple chromosomes with this sample, with a total of 139.4 cM.
Ust’-Isham Siberia, 45ky
This DNA is from a 45,000 modern human male from Siberia and probably belonged to the first wave of humans to migrate out of Africa and into Asia and Europe, before or at the time of the East-West Eurasian split. The individual carries a similar amount of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians.
I share many segments with this individual, 20 shared segments on multiple chromosomes, with a total of 79.9 cM with the largest segment being 6.0 cM.
NE1 Hungary, 7.2ky
Like the Hungarian DNA above, this is a 5,000 transect of human genomes that was analyzed and sampled from bones from 13 Hungarian, Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age burials.
I share multiple segments to this DNA sample. The largest segment is 6.8 cM, there are 31 shared segments, and the total is 127.0 cM.
Other interesting potential shared matches that came up are from remains from Sweden, Luxembourg and many small segments to remains from Russia.
In the end, this information won’t really help me build my family/genetic tree but helps to see how I may possibly share DNA segments with ancient inhabitants of the continent where my ancestors lived. Some say that we all will share DNA with all of these people, but it’s a fun tool to play with anyway!
Earlier this week, I posted about my Neanderthal DNA, today’s post is going to be about my maternal line DNA and haplogroup.
What is a haplogroup? Haplogroups relate to our deep ancestry, this is again looking at very ancient roots (i.e., Neanderthal DNA) from tens of thousands of years ago. Haplogroups show us where we fit into the genetic tree and groups us into ancient family clans, they are generally associated with particular geographic regions and can tell us about our ancestor’s migration routes out of Africa.
All living people share a common female ancestor who lived in Africa, oh about 200,000 years ago. Males have a paternal and a maternal haplogroup. Their paternal haplogroup is inherited along a direct paternal line, i.e., your father, your father’s father, and so on. The maternal haplogroup is inherited from your direct maternal line. Females only have a maternal haplogroup. I currently only know what my maternal haplogroup (or clan) is, classified as haplogroup H. Would love to know my paternal line if my father and brother would only get tested!
Haplogroup H is the most common all over Europe, probably about 40% of the population. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. Scientifically, studies suggest that this group arrived in Europe from the near east area prior to the last glacial maximum, which was the most recent time during the last glacial period, and survived in southwest Europe before undergoing an expansion after the glacial period. It still remains unclear how it became the dominant haplogroup in Europe.
This map, courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA, shows what part of the world these groups are associated with. See where H is concentrated in the European area? This all makes sense compared to my paper genealogy research.
The reference to the origination in Asia makes sense as well when looking at my DNA. Although the DNA tests I have taken through 23andme or Ancestry do not show Asian DNA, when I submitted my raw data from 23andme to Gedmatch (which is an online website service that focuses more on a person’s deep ancestry), and used the admixture calculator, it came up that I have 2.50% South Asian DNA and 2.93% West Asian DNA.
I have read somewhere that supposedly the common ancestor of my haplogroup is a woman who lived in the Caucasus/SW Asia area between 33,000 and 26,000 years ago. I have also read that H is a daughter group to N, which branched off maybe 75,000 years ago, which is a daughter group to L, which goes back 200,000 years to Africa. If this is correct, it would make sense then why my admixture test also shows that I have a very very tiny bit of DNA from that area.
One book I have on my reading list is The Seven Daughters of Eve, by Brian Sykes. The book goes into detail about how researchers have identified seven ancestral matriarchal groups from which all Europeans are descended from.
What does all of this mean? It means basically that I am of European descent, like many other women of European descent. It’s not really that useful but I find it just fascinating!