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Do You Know Your European Origins?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Do You Know Your European Origins by Country?

Review of European DNA Testing

By Donald N. Yates

Most people who buy a DNA test want to know what countries in Europe their ancestors came from. But the favored approaches of major companies like 23andMe have so far not yielded entirely satisfactory results, at least to judge from consumer feedback. This review article explores the reasons for this failing and proposes that DNA Consultants’ EURO DNA database based on forensic population data may be a more accurate measure of nationalities in our background than complicated and expensive microarray genotyping.

Since the beginnings until 1960, over 50 million immigrants settled in what is now the U.S., most of them from Europe. Before 1881, about 86% of the total arrived from northwest Europe, principally England, Wales, ScotlandIreland, Germany, the Low Countries and Scandinavia. Under the New Immigration that followed between 1894 and 1914 immigrants from southern, central and eastern Europe accounted for 69% of the total. Many of those were Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Romanian and Galician Jews.

Despite their strong European roots, most Americans know little about what nationalities contributed to their family tree. Many families single out one country of origin and ignore others. In the 2013 American Community SurveyGerman Americans (14.6%), Irish Americans (10.5%), English Americans(7.7%) and Italian Americans (5.4%) were the four largest self-reported European ancestry groups in the United States, forming 38.2% of the total population.

And then there are those who report just being “American." Often of English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish and/or Welsh ancestry that they cannot trace, given its predominance in the upper South (such as Kentucky and Tennessee), they amounted to nearly 10% in the 2010 Census, with this trend growing rapidly. Also, according to a Wikipedia article, two-thirds of white Americans have two or more different European nationalities, often four or more, and many "American" respondents may be cases where the person does not think any one ancestry is dominant enough to identify with.


Present-day European countries and major cities (Wikivoyage). Russia east to the Urals and five-percent of Turkey’s landmass fall in Europe. The broadly linguistic regions were similar as early as the sixteenth century and have been reaffirmed by DNA studies: British Isles (lilac), Scandinavia (blue-green), Russia (blue), Baltic (light green), Central Europe (green), Balkans (light blue), Greece and Turkey (purple), Caucasus (violet), Italy (orange), Low Countries (yellow), France (brown) and Iberia (rose).

An important article published last year by geneticists at Harvard and 23andMe drew back the veil on Americans’ European ancestry. It was titled “The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States” and appeared in the prestigious American Journal of Human Genetics. The authors found a higher degree of genetic mixing among all groups than previously suspected. “This study sheds light on the fine-scale differences in ancestry within and across the United States and informs our understanding of the relationship between racial and ethnic identities and genetic ancestry,” according to the authors Katarzyna Bryc et al.

According to the 23andMe study, African Americans had about one-quarter European genes (Y chromosome studies had put the figure as high as 30%), and some had significant amounts of American Indian ancestry (Oklahoma blacks led the country). Latinos carry an average of 18% Native American ancestry, 65% European ancestry (mostly from the Iberian Peninsula) and 6% African ancestry (compared to 3.5% for European Americans).  

Such fine-scale genetic analysis was made possible by affordable microchip technology involving more than 800,000 SNPs tracked longitudinally through cohort groups. But the analysis did not distinguish between different European ancestries, certainly not on a country-specific scale, and 23andMe’s European results—just as much as Ancestry.com’s or those of other companies using the “genetic strand” approach—have not exactly received a conqueror’s welcome in the ancestry market.

Chronology of European DNA Tests
Foundational to emerging European DNA studies was a 2008 article by Oscar Lao of the Department of Forensic Medicine in Rotterdam and co-authors: “Correlation between Genetic and Geographic Structure in Europe.” Current Biology 18/16:  1241-48. This study found that valid and meaningful genetic populations in Europe were defined by linguistic boundaries, which were largely in turn coincidental with modern national borders. This thesis makes sense:  people throughout history have usually married someone nearby who spoke the same language. The work of the late Martin Lucas of DNA Tribes underscored this bedrock population structure, at least on a regional basis, if not a country-specific one.  A burst of studies over the past five years have begun to paint in the genetic histories of various countries, such as England, Ireland and Belgium. Most of these ask for participants with four grandparents of the same local ancestry.

Previous European analyses had been content to match your Y chromosome or mitochondrial type to countries of origin reported by customers. The advantages of autosomal DNA are apparent if one considers that sex-linked tests target only two of your lines (your father’s male line and mother’s female line), whereas if you go back even five generations you have 16 male ancestors and 16 female ancestors (your 3rd great-grandparents). According to uniparental schemes of ancestry I should be 100% English. The diversity and surprising variety come in only if you dig beneath the surface and sift back through the generations.

It is suspected that the results even of “autosomal” (non-sex-linked) testing have not been entirely rid of skewed results and sample biases. The fact that samples often come from medical studies and the purpose of genetic research is largely aimed at medical studies, not ancestry, introduces an unavoidable bias, not to mention the suspicious preponderance of countries like England, German and the U.S. to the detriment of the nations of Eastern and Southern Europe. What about a truly autosomal method that completely ignores the gender of the tested person?  What about a database of European countries that is equal, comprehensive and unequivocal? What about a method that compares you only to Europeans, not European Americans? In short, what about a good European DNA test plain and simple that gives genealogy enthusiasts what they want?

Just such a product is available for under a hundred dollars with the EURO DNA Ancestry Test from DNA Consultants. It forms part of the company’s atDNA autosomal ancestry database, now in version 7.0, released in late June (N = 9,983). Since 2009, we have worked with Professor Wendell Paulson at Arizona State University, Mathematics Department, to develop a 10-loci STR frequency database for European countries/populations, forming part of our DNA Fingerprint Test. The 10-loci are: D81179, D21S11, D3S1358, THO1, D16S539, D21338, D19S433, VWA, D18S51 and FGA. On this basis, we have incorporated data for the following 39 populations from publications or online sources:


Albania/Kosovo (n = 136)

Austria (n = 222)

Belarus (n = 176)

Belgian - Flemish (n = 231)

Belgium  (n = 206)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (n = 171)

Croatia (n = 200)

Czech Republic (n = 200)

Denmark (n = 200)

England/Wales (n = 437)

Estonia (n = 150)

Finland (n = 230)

France (n = 208)

France – North (Lille) (n = 200)

France – South (Toulouse) (n = 335)

Germany (n = 662)

Greece (n = 208)

Hungary (n = 224)

Ireland (n = 304)

Italy (n = 209) (Replaced Italy n = 103)

Lithuania (n = 300)

Macedonia (n = 100)

Montenegro (n = 200)

Netherlands (n = 231)

Northern Ireland (n = 207)

Norway (n = 202)

Poland (n = 206)

Portugal (n = 150)

Romania (n = 243)

Russia (n = 184)

Scotland - Highlands (Dundee) (n = 228)

Scotland – Lowlands (Glasgow) (n = 494)

Serbia (n = 100)

Slovakia (n = 247)

Slovenia (n = 207)

Spain (n = 449)

Sweden (n = 424)

Switzerland (n = 402)

Turkey (n = 500)

This covers all European countries of significance in genealogy with the exception of the Ukraine and Latvia. The former appears in the World Matches part of reports, and while we are unaware of strictly Latvian data commensurate with the European standard, the neighboring countries of Estonia and Lithuania are represented in our current list. Minor countries like Iceland and Malta are not included, though data were available for them. The 39-country basis replaces the earlier 22-country basis limited to ENFSI (mostly European Union members) and goes beyond the partially updated Strbase 2.0.

How good is the EURO DNA Test? One customer, Jonah Womack, wrote to us in 2012: 

I just wanted to compliment everyone at DNA consultants. My father had always said our ancestors were from Czechloslovakia, and I was curious enough to put it to the test. Within one week of mailing my sample, I had the answers I was looking for. I was so happy to share the news with my father; the top 3 matches were all from eastern Slovakia. That objective evidence led to him sharing family stories I would have likely never known. All I can say is thank you, and this was money well spent.

With the new version of atDNA 7.0, I naturally raced to input my own DNA profile and check my EURO results. An early analysis with ENFSI (available online since 2004) gave me the following Top Ten results:





















The mystery of Finland and Estonia may be explained by the large Native American admixture in my genes:  recent research has suggested that Finno-Ugric peoples and Native Americans share a wide degree of deep ancestry in the so-called “ghost populations” of Stone Age northeast Europe or Ancient North Eurasians (ANE).[1]

But I was unaware of any Swiss, Swedish or Danish ancestors and felt dissatisfied with the list.

After improvements and additions, my new EURO results look like this:


Scotland - Highlands (n = 228)


England/Wales (n = 437)


Netherlands  (n = 231)


Finland (n = 230)


Estonia (n = 150)


Belgium - Flemish (n = 231)


Scotland - Lowlands (n = 494)


Romania (n=243)


Northern Ireland (n = 207)


Portugal (n = 150)

The listing continues with Italy, Czech Republic and Germany. The median falls between #30 France and # 31 Denmark. This “most on a par with each other with a few extreme outliers” picture seems to suggest that my European origins are a lot more diverse than the Top Ten would indicate. The countries below average frequency were Denmark (n = 200), Croatia (n = 200), Russia (n = 184), Belgium (n = 206), Belarus (n = 176), Austria (n = 222), Bosnia and Herzegovina (n = 171), Macedonia (n = 100), Lithuania (n = 300). On the face of it, I was less likely to have ancestry in any of these countries, and sure enough, I was not aware of any from my genealogical research. Statistically, I am ten times more likely to have Scottish, English or Dutch ancestry than Macedonian, Bosnian/Herzegovinian or Lithuanian.

DNA Analysis Checked by Surname
I next wanted to see how the top countries tallied with a surname count. Both parents had English surnames (Cooper and Yates), and this seemed to be reflected in the prominent position of England/Wales, while a Scottish grandmother (McDonald) and Dutch grandmother (Goble) seemed to justify Highlands Scotland and the Netherlands. We have already explained Finland. But what about the other countries?

Looking at the surname origins of my thirty-two 3rd-great-grandparents, I obtained the following statistics:

34% Scottish (Mitchell, McDonald, Johnson, Kitchens, Mason, Forester, Pickard, Proctor, Lackey)

25% English/Welsh (Barnes, Yates, Thomas, Goodson, Kimbrell, Cooper, Blevins, Wooten)

13% Dutch (Hooten, Goble, Shankles)

9% Irish (Ellard, Denney)

6% German (Graben, Redwine)

6% Portuguese/Jewish (Storer, Bondurant)

3% Hungarian (Sizemore)

An effective 3% percent, my 3rd-great grandmother Yates, who was a Creek Indian, had no surname. So that accounts for all strains and fits well with the new EURO results. The top three ancestries both in terms of autosomal DNA frequency and my Ahnentafel were Highlands Scottish, English/Welsh and Dutch. These were the most familiar ethnic origins mentioned in family stories and traditions.

Autosomal Population Analysis versus Genetic Strands
Let us compare these EURO results to 23andMe’s tabulation, expressed as percentages instead of a country breakdown ranked by likelihood. First of all, 23andMe has me as 99.2% European, with only 0.4% East Asian and Native American, in contradiction to the 8-25% Native American found in other tests from companies employing a percentage score. Of the 99.2% European, 46.7% is British and Irish—in agreement with my highest-ranked countries according to atDNA (nos. 1 and 7 Scotland, 2 England/Wales, and 9 and 16 Northern Ireland and Ireland).  40.1% is “broadly Northern European. Minor amounts are “broadly Southern European” (0.3%) and “broadly European” (2.8%), while <0.1% is “unassigned.” Of the Northern European, there is 5.3% French and German and 4.0% Scandinavian.

There is an air of scientific certitude about 23andMe’s EURO analysis. The listing of ancestry composition appears comprehensive and exhaustive. It adds up. But it is important to point out that the categories are regional, not country-specific. The only countries mentioned are France and Germany, which are not distinguished but lumped together—a choice that would create consternation in most Frenchmen and Germans. There are obvious flaws and limitations in their data and its interpretation.

One limitation is the special inclusion of “Ashkenazi” (of which I am said to have 0.0%) without a mention of “Sephardic,” historically the more numerous branch of Judaism. The DNA Fingerprint has discrete data for four Jewish populations in the World Populations (Israeli Sephardim, Hungarian Ashkenazi Jews, Chuetas, Majorca), as well as four ethnic markers, one of which is strong in Ashkenazi Jews and the other in Sephardic Jews.

The 23andMe approach could be called the omnium-and-gatherum method, with numerous blind spots. It is not, strictly speaking, evenly valid or consistent. It leaves a good deal lacking in reliability, too. Throughout history, Jews have converted or hidden their ancestry. We cannot expect them to come pouring out in the 21st century to self-identify for DNA surveys even if they retain knowledge of their Jewish past. Yes, perhaps some Ashkenazi Jews will sign up for the program and so identify, but one wonders about a medical motive and bias.

Unsurprisingly, Ancestry.com produced similar results for me—99% European, 0% Native American, with 61% coming from “Great Britain,” 15% Ireland and 0% “European Jewish” (equivalent to 23andMe’s Ashkenazi apparently). Presumably, Ireland comprehends only the country by that name, Northern Ireland being a part of Great Britain, although I have no knowledge of that much Irish in my family tree and Ireland ranks only 16th in my DNA Consultants results. Both Ancestry and 23andMe use high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) from Illumina, involving as many as 800,000 SNPs.

The Illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChip platform is also used in Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder autosomal DNA testing service (which I have not taken). A good description of the microarray process for genotyping technology can be found on a page at 23andMe, with a link to further information on the Illumina website.

In sum, next-generation genotyping technology seems to be accurate enough in assessing the broad picture of your European ancestry, but it is incapable of giving you a country breakdown. Only DNA Consultants’ EURO test, part of its DNA Fingerprint Plus ($279) and available separately for as little as $99, can list and rank the countries of Europe where your ancestors likely originated. It does this not on the basis of genome-wide assessment of hundreds of thousands of SNPs but by comparing your DNA profile to the scores of 10,000 Europeans identified according to 37 actual country names, from Albania to Turkey.

My EURO results matched amazingly well with what I knew from extensive genealogy research about my European forebears, beginning with all the English and Scottish lines right down to minor lines from Portugal and Hungary. With its “false Finnish” match it also indirectly confirmed the Native American ancestry that was evident in abundance in my world matches. Now if I could only find the elusive Romanians (no. 8) in my tree . . . .

[1] Lazaridis, I. et al., “Ancient Human Genomes Suggest Three Ancestral Populations for the Present-day Europeans." Nature 513/7518{2014):409-13 (known as the Reich article after David Reich of the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School); A. Seguin-Orlando et al., “Genomic Structure in Europeans Dating Back at Least 36,200 years,” Science 346/6213 (2014):1113-1118 (known as the Willerslev study after Eske Willerslev of Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen).


Curious commented on 25-Jul-2015 09:28 PM

I finally took the yDNA and mtDNA tests and a lot of the questions raised by my autosomal tests were answered. I'm R-M269 and H11a, both common European haplogroups. I'm a little more confident about where my ancestors originated; the autosomal test told me where they wandered around, but the haplogroups narrow down their origins some.

I'd punch my numbers into the ENFSI calculator and get some results that're pretty far removed from European origins. But from surfing around the Web I find that R1b really's spread about the globe. That's interesting in itself. I guess people with the I haplogroup would get closest (or closer) full-European results from that calculator. I've gotten a lot of information from Eupedia's site. I imagine that's fairly reliable.

I've sunk some money into all this now; I even took my Neanderthal Index. I'm not indigenous Native American, which I was beginning to believe from my autosomal test. I'm also not haplogroup I, which is said to be closest to true European (right? Wrong?). So this is fun and I'm happy I've gotten to take both the mt and yDNA tests along with the autosomal. One without the other could cause more confusion than the person started out with.

And can't leave out the Neanderthal Index, can we?

Robert Bury commented on 24-Sep-2015 11:03 PM

In my Family Finder DNA about 10% of my 800 matches are from people who have identified themselves as Jewish, Levite, or have Jewish names. All of theses people have at least 5 cM. segments on the 16th chromosome at the far right side. Is this a common segment for Jewish DNA?

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More Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee - Part Four

Friday, October 10, 2014

Part Four is the conclusion to our series of reports on the "anomalous Cherokees." Depicted left is author Donald Yates in Rome.

Read the full paper
More Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee

J, a Major Jewish Haplogroup

Haplogroup J, termed Jasmine in the scheme of Oxford Ancestors, is believed to have originated in the Old Near East and to have moved north and west into Europe, especially after the spread of agriculture beginning 5000-3000 BCE. It is found throughout Europe with particularly high concentrations around the eastern Baltic Sea and Russia, as well as in Bedouins and Yemeni, where it reaches frequencies of 25% or higher. J is a major Jewish female lineage (Thomas 2002), being a strong maternal contributor to Jewish, Arab, Greek and Italian populations. J is also the apparent carrier of congenital longevity and a host of “Jewish” diseases that are just beginning to be understood by medical science.

There were 6 J's in Phase II (nos. 3, 8, 32, 35, 41 and 63, composing 9%), 4 in Phase I and 17 in the CBC data, making for an aggregate of 10.7%, somewhat less than the level for the Middle East and Europe (12%).

There were multiple matches between participants. An example is James Richard Stritzel (8), whose form of J1b1 matched No. 63  on HVS1 with several mismatches on HVS2. Stritzel's grandmother, Eunice Mable, was adopted out of the Mohawk tribe and given the last name Ahern abt. 1900. His rare haplotype is similar to five J's reported in Phase I. Of these, Nadine Rosebush's type is not matched anywhere in the world. In other words, these J types seem to be specific to the micro-population in which they are found today and are not widespread. One might make an argument of inferred ancestry as follows, although other interpretations are also possible. The germ line and enclosing population may have originated in classical antiquity. Instances survived to the present in North America only because they were part of the discrete and continuous existence of a "people." This "people" had spread intact by discontinuous, long-distance migration from its point of origin, where in the course of centuries its presence became extinct.

Rarest of the Rare:  I, N, V and W

Turning now to the four haplogroups that first cropped up in Phase II, we have one or two individuals each with I (54 Swinney, 48 Francisco), N (2 Kellam), V (39 Ponder) and W (30 Carpenter, 31 Sponenburgh). Percentages, phylogeny and phylogeographic patterns are probably not meaningful. Let us note, however, that one of the I's (54) had no matches anywhere, while the other (48) matched Dicie Gray, born 1828 in North Carolina. For haplogroup N, the sole example Norma Kellam (no. 2, N1A) traces her mitochondrial line to Roanoke, Virginia. She had several unique SNPs and matched only a handful of other people. In medieval times, N gave birth to one of the four major Ashkenazi Jewish founder lineages, probably in the Rhine Basin.

Fig. 14. James Stritzel (8) was told by previous labs that in “no way” could his DNA be Native American. His mother’s line, however, was confirmed as Cherokee (or Mohawk) despite being an unusual type. Here the Manchester, Wash. resident carves a Deer Pipe after spending part of last summer training under a sixth-generation Lakota Nation Pipe Maker. 

Fig. 15. Norma Kellam (2) of Westminster, Calif. has maternal line ancestry in Virginia and matched only five Mitosearch users, two of whom also traced to Virginia. The other three pointed to Tennessee, Mississippi and unknown origins. Her maternal grandmother was Daisy Brooks (b. 1894, m. Cronk) and great-grandmother, Nancy Ann Tingery (m. John Sellars Brooks).

African L Haplotypes

Surprisingly, there were 6 L haplotypes in Phase II (9.0%). In Phase I, there were 3 (5.8%), and the CBC data include 7 (5.2%), bringing the total across all datasets to 16, or 6.3%. The most common haplogroup was L3, the oldest African lineage, associated with and most common today in East Africa. If the African DNA were the simple effect of gene flow into the Cherokee from historical-era slaves and freemen, one would expect West African centered L2 to dominate the results, as this is far and away the most prevalent type carried by African Americans (as much as 50%). L3, on the other hand, is characterized by a relatively greater presence in circum-Mediterranean and European populations. According to one authority, "L3 is more related to Eurasian haplogroups than to the most divergent African clusters L1 and L2" (Maca-Meyer et al. 2001). Sub-Saharan African L lineages account for 10% of the population in Saudi Arabia, and L3 occupies a prominent position (72% of them; Abu-Amero et al. 2008). It has also been observed in Slavic or East European populations, especially among Ukrainian Jews, possibly vestigial admixture from ancient slaves in the Roman Empire and Islam. L3 accounts for only one-third of L lineages within Africa.

We will highlight three L3's. Shelia Maria Wilson (52), who lives in New Mexico, has 20 mutations on mitochondrial control regions 1 and 2, the highest number we have ever studied. Generally, the more mutations, the more ancient the type. There was, however, not even a remote match in databases, making hers a unique type reported only in North America. Wilson knows her genealogy only as far back as her great-grandmother, Mrs. Julia Adams. The surname came from the Georgia slave master of her father Harry Adams. Harry, who called himself "Mali blasta," was kidnapped in Mali as a pre-teen shortly before the Civil War. Shelia's mother Willie Mae Adams, born in 1927, remembered seeing the whelps on her grandfather's back where he was whipped. "I had been informed by some relatives," writes Wilson, "that my great-grandmother was at least part Native American and White."  Another L3 (47, Lovancia Francisco) matched a historical Native woman, A Te Anu, Muscogee.


Fig. 16. Willie Mae Adams was born June 2, 1904 in Butler County, Ga. She was the youngest girl of seven children. Her mother was a mix of black, Caucasian and Native American.

Fig. 17. Shelia Maria Wilson (participant 52) carries an old and rare form of L3 that apparently left no descendants except for her and her family.


Gregory Damon Haynes (no. 16) has another unique and otherwise unreported L3 haplotype, with a SNP found in no other person (16163G). His father had a rare American Indian Q haplotype with relatives on two Indian census rolls. His maternal grandmother was Lily Marie Benjamin (Blythe), born October 15, 1922 in North Carolina. Could his maternal line have been Cherokee? The question remains open, as it is extremely difficult to investigate the lines of ex-slaves.


Fig. 10. Haplogroup Distribution versus Europe and Other Populations, Based on Richards et al. 2000.

































































If we are to accept our sample as valid for its purposes, several salient parameters of the study population labeled "Anomalous Cherokees" seem to leap out from the table of haplogroup frequency comparisons (Fig. 10).

1) The first striking feature is the high amount of T lineages evident in Cherokee descendants. T is the leading haplogroup (23.1%), with a frequency on a par with modern-day Egyptians (23.4%) and Arabs (24.4%). That is elevated by a factor of 4 over the East Mediterranean levels, three times that of Europe and the United States and twice that of the Middle East. T is thus a defining mark of Cherokee ancestry. Where did it come from? We can safely rule out recent European admixture.  As we have discussed again and again, there was no available source for a huge, sudden influx of female-mediated Middle Eastern DNA on the American frontier.  Even Sephardic Jews (11-14%), many of whom were also Indian traders, could hardly have accounted for such admixture. Moreover, had it occurred in the colonial period or more recently the diversity, age and unique characteristics of the T haplotypes would not have yielded the patterns noticed in this paper. Most T's would have matched people in the Old World and we would simply be looking at an effect of migration. Instead, we have a North American branch of T with peculiar SNPs which is evidently a cross-section of a very old population originating in the Old World. The thesis of Donald Yates' study of Cherokee history is that an expedition of Ptolemaic Egyptians and others in the 3rd century BCE served as the nucleus of settlers that became the Eshelokee (Cherokee). If this historical model is correct, there was a severe bottleneck of DNA accompanying the establishment of the Cherokee, with many founder effects—something suggested by the frequent cross-matches, high degree of interrelatedness and clustering of types in our data.

2) The second glaring figure is the relatively low amount of H (12%), which is the leading haplogroup in Europeans (~50%). If the admixture were attributable to European women in the colonial period we would expect it to be much higher.  

3) The third observation we can make is the similarity of haplogroups strongly associated with Jews (J, K at 14.5%) to European levels (15.3%). At whatever time period admixture occurred, whether in ancient or modern times, Jewish women likely formed part of it.  Men cannot pass mitochondrial DNA. Like other contributions to the gene pool, J and K came from a feeder population or sub-population that had families on board. In other words, JK haplotypes could not have been the result of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors, Arab or Jewish merchants, soldiers or any of the other suspects often trotted forth. Judging also from the uniqueness of JK types and their diversity, we are looking at a Jewish signal deeply embedded in the structure of Cherokee populations.

4) L haplogroup frequency (7.7%) is about half that of Egypt (15.6%). East African-centered L3 predominates, not West and Central African-oriented L1 and L2 haplogroups, which are twice as abundant, and which define the majority of slaves and their descendants in the New World. We are unsure how to read this. It may be that in the nature of things, African American lines were under-sampled. Federal regulations and the controversy embroiling the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in their on-again-off-again rejection of freedmen as citizens might have served as a disincentive to blacks' testing their DNA. Blacks are also hampered in tracing genealogies, unlike whites or Hispanics, or indeed Native Americans. 

Certainly, however, our data suggests there has always been a constant African component in Cherokee DNA, one that resembles North and East African populations rather than West and Central Africans. Beginning around the start of the Common Era, the Bantu expansion swamped all Africa with L1 and L2 genes. A high proportion of L3 could mean that admixture with the Cherokee predates that event. We have records of Phoenician colonization efforts as massive as the "30,000  desert-dwelling Moors from the hinterland of Carthage" in about 500 BCE (Yates 2012, p. 32). Mining operations then and now used a large number of women slaves, who were prized for their agility in negotiating small openings as well as their becoming inured to cruel conditions (this is still the norm in Egypt, India and Bolivia, though the workers are no longer legally considered slaves; see Del Mar 1902). The clan that specifically included black-skinned people among the Cherokee was called the Blue Paint or Panther (Ani-Sahoni; see Panther-Yates 2013, pp. 30-31). It was related to the original (Red) Paint Clan, named for the Paint People, or Phoenicians (Ani-Wodi).

5) Finally, we might remark on the minor (I, N, V, W), unknown (I 33, 36, 37, 40; II 33) and missing haplogroups (G, HV, pre-HV, M and other Asian types).  I, N, V and W are minimally adduced in Egyptian, Palestinian, Arab and Turkish populations.  They round out our picture of the original genetic inputs to the Cherokee, showing that the source of "admixture" was deep seated and diverse. The Cherokee population structure seems to be rather an effect of long-distance travel and conquest than of gradually developing encroachment, migration or genetic drift.     

Admixture, just like the word "anomalous," is a relative term. Its use depends on one's perspective. Geneticists, as we have seen, tend to privilege a rather narrow body of recent U.S. and European scientific literature. It is time to de-colonize the human past and open our eyes to the diversity of American Indian peoples. The personal genealogies of over one hundred Cherokee descendants contradict popular and professional received wisdom about Indian nations.


Addendum:  Begging the Question

For science to be separated from pseudoscience, its findings must obey the rule of falsifiability. This term has often been misunderstood, but what it means according to philosophers of science is that empirical statements such as "All swans are white" must be "such that to verify them and to falsify them must both be logically possible" (Popper 2005). Otherwise, as Wolfgang Pauli famously remarked, an argument "is not only not right, it is not even wrong."

In plain language, we could say that so far from barking up the wrong tree, that dog don't hunt.

"All swans are white" is a falsifiable statement. It can be tested by observation and shown to be generally true (though false in cases of black swans). But such statements as "All American Indians descend from haplogroups A-D and sometimes X" is not falsifiable. Neither this generalization nor its converse is testable in any experiential way. No amount of corollaries, exceptions to the rule or qualification will fix it.

"A woman of haplogroup A (or B, or X, or T, or W) founded a Cherokee matriline," on the other hand, is falsifiable. It is scientifically true in certain individual cases and datasets, as claimed in the present study ("experiment"), just as it is scientifically false in other instances.

Much of the surmises of science about the peopling of the Americas can be said to be on the wrong track. It can neither be proved true nor decided false that ancestors of American Indians crossed a hypothetical Bering land bridge at some time in the unknown past. Let us hope that the growing demand for truth from amateur roots-seekers and test takers will force professionals to predicate their research agendas and phrase their findings more carefully in the future. If they do not, they will be failing the public trust. There is also a need for science reporters and writers to frame their stories more responsibly. We have always said, "There are Indians and Indians."


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Achilli, A. et al. (2004). “The Molecular Dissection of mtDNA Haplogroup H Confirms That the Franco-Cantabrian Glacial Refuge Was a Major Source for the European Gene Pool.” American Journal of Human Genetics 75(5):910-8.

Achilli, A. et al. (2008). "The Phylogeny of the Four Pan-American mtDNA Haplogroups:  Implications for Evolutionary and Disease Studies." PLoS ONE 3(3).  

Anderson, S et al. (1981). “Sequence and Organization of the Human Mitochondrial Genomes.” Nature 290:457-65.

Andrews, R. M. et al. (1999). “Reanalysis and Revision of the Cambridge Reference Sequence for Human Mitochondrial DNA.” Nature Genetics 23:147.

Bailliet, G et al. (1994) "Founder Mitochondrial Haplotypes in Amerindian Populations. "Am J Hum Genet. 55(1):27-33.

Bedford, Felice L. (2012). "Sephardic Signature in Haplogroup T Mitochondrial DNA." Eur J Hum Genet 20(4):441-48.

Bolnick, D. A. and D. G. Smith (2003). “Unexpected Patterns of Mitochondrial DNA Variation among Native Americans from the Southeastern United States.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 122(4):336-54.

Cann, R.L.(1994) "mtDNA and Native Americans: a Southern Perspective." Am J Hum Genet. 55(1):7-11.

Caramelli D et al. (2008). “A 28,000 Years Old Cro-Magnon mtDNA Sequence Differs from All Potentially Contaminating Modern Sequences.” PLoS ONE 3(7): e2700. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002700.

Comas, D. et al. (1996). “Geographic Variation in Human Mitochondrial DNA Control Region Sequence: The Population History of Turkey and Its Relationship to the European Populations. Molecular Biology and Evolution 13:1067-1077

Decker, Geoffrey (2011). "Hispanics Identifying Themselves as Indians." The New York Times, July 4, 2011:  N.Y./Region section.  

Del Mar, Alexander (1902). A History of the Precious Metals. New York:  Burt Franklin.

Green, L.D. et al. (2000). “MtDNA Affinities of the Peoples of North-Central Mexico.” American Journal of Human Genetics 66:989-98.

Horai,  S. et al. (1993) "Peopling of the Americas, Founded by Four Major Lineages of Mitochondrial DNA." Mol Biol Evol. 10(1):23-47.

Kemp, Brian M. and Theodore G. Schurr (2010). "Ancient and Modern Genetic Variation in the Americas." In:  Human Variation in the Americas:  The Integration of Archaeology and Biological Anthropology, ed. Benjamin M. Auerbach, 12-50. Carbondale:  Southern Illinois UP.

Krings, M. et al. (1999). "mtDNA Analysis of Nile River Valley Populations: A Genetic Corridor or a Barrier to Migration?" Am J Hum Genet 64:1166–1176.

Lazaridis, I. et al. (2014). "Ancient Human Genomes Suggest Three Ancestral Populations for the Present-day Europeans." Nature 513(7518):409-13.

Logan, J. (2008). “The Subclades of mtDNA Haplogroup J and Proposed Motifs for Assigning Control-Region Sequences into These Clades. Journal of Genetic Genealogy 4:12-26.

Maca-Meyer, N. et al. (2001). "Major genomic mitochondrial lineages delineate early human expansions". BMC Genetics 2:13.

Macaulay, V. et al. (1999). “The Emerging Tree of West Eurasian mtDNAs:  A Synthesis of Control-            Region Sequences and RFLPs.” American Journal of Human Genetics 64:232-49.

Malyarchuk, B. et al. (2010). The Peopling of Europe from the Mitochondrial Haplogroup U5 Perspective. PLoS One 5(4):e10285.

Martin, Joel W. (1996). "'My Grandmother Was a Cherokee Princess': Representations of Indians in Southern History." In:  Dressing in Feathers:  The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture, ed. S. Elizabeth Bird, pp. 130-41. Boulder:  Westview.

Merriwether, D. A., F. Rothhammer and R. E. Ferrell (1995). "Distribution of the Four Founding Lineage Haplotypes in Native Americans Suggests a Single Wave of Migration for the New World." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 98(4):411-430.

Miller, K. W. P. and J. L. Dawson. The Concordance of Nucleotide Substitutions in the Human mtDNA Control Region. Online database made available by the Department of Biological Anthropology of the University of Cambridge. URL: http://www.bioanth.cam.ac.uk/mtDNA/toc.html.

Mitosearch. Online database made available by Family Tree DNA, Houston. URL: http://mitosearch.org./

Monson, K. et al. (2002). “The mtDNA Population Database:  An Integrated Software and Database Resource for Forensic Comparison.” Forensic Science Communications 4/2.  

Mulligan, C. J., K. Hunley, S. Cole and J. C. Long (2004). "Population Genetics, History, and Health Patterns in Native Americans." Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 5(1):295-315.

Panther-Yates, Donald N. (2013). Cherokee Clans:  An Informal History. Cherokee Chapbooks 4. Phoenix:  Panther's Lodge.

Perego, Ugo A. et al. (2009). "Distinctive Paleo-Indian Migration Routes from Beringia Marked by Two Rare mtDNA Haplogroups." Current Biology  19(1):1-8.

Pike, D. A. et al. (2010). "mtDNA Haplogroup T Philogeny Based on Full  Mitochondrial Sequences." J Genet Geneal. 6(1):1-24.

Popper, Karl (2005). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York:  Routledge.

Pynes, Patrick (2003). "Cherokee Traditions among the Talleys, Gentrys and Associated Families of Texas and Arkansas:  A Genealogical and Historical Exploration." Journal of Gentry Genealogy 3(6).

Richards, Martin et al. (2000). “Tracing European Founder Lineages in the Near Eastern mtDNA Pool.” American Journal of Human Genetics 67:1251-76. Supplementary Data. URL:  http://www.stats.gla.ac.uk/~vincent/founder2000/index.html.

Raghavan, M. et al. (2014). "Upper Palaeolithic Siberian Genome Reveals Dual Ancestry of Native Americans." Nature 2/505(7481):87-91.

Richards, Martin and Vincent Macaulay (2000). “The Mitochondrial Gene Tree Comes of Age.” American Journal of Human Genetics 68:1315-20.

Roth, Wendy D. (2012). Race Migrations. Latinos and the Cultural Transformation of Race. Stanford:  Stanford UP.

Schurr, Theodore G. (2000). “Mitochondrial DNA and the Peopling of the New World,” American Scientist 88:246-53.

Stone, A.C. and M. Stoneking (1993). "Ancient DNA from a Pre-Columbian Amerindian Population." Am J Phys Anthropol. 1993 Dec;92(4):463-71.

Swaminathan, Nikhil (2014). "America, in the Beginning." Archaeology 67/5:22-29.

Sykes, Brian (2001). The Seven Daughters of Eve. The Science that Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry. New York: Norton.

Torroni, A. et al. (1996). “Classification of European mtDNAs from an Analysis of Three European Populations.” Genetics 144: 1835-50.

Torroni, A. et al (1993). "Asian Affinities and Continental Radiation of the Four Founding Native American mtDNAs." Am J Hum Genet. Sep 1993; 53(3): 563–590.

Torroni, A. et al. (2006). "Harvesting the Fruit of the Human mtDNA Tree." Trends Genet 22(6);339-45.

Torroni, A. and D. C. Wallace (1995). "Mitochondrial Haplogroups in Native Americans." Am J Hum Genet. May 1995; 56(5): 1234–1238.

Van Oven, Mannis and Manfred Kayser (2008)."Updated Comprehensive Phylogenetic Tree of Global Human Mitochondrial DNA Variation." Human Mutation 30(2): E386-E394. 

Wilson, Joseph Andrew Park (2011). Material Cultural Correlates of the Athapaskan Expansion:  A Cross-Disciplinary Approach. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida.  

Yates, Donald N. (2012). Old World Roots of the Cherokee:  How DNA, Ancient Alphabets and Religion Explain the Origins of America's Largest Indian Nation. Jefferson:  McFarland.

Project data available upon request from dpy@dnaconsultants.com.

Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee (Phase I)



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Destination Europe

Monday, August 18, 2014

European Populations in the DNA Fingerprint Ancestry Test

In the days before standardization of railway gauges, passengers were sometimes obliged to get out of the railcar when the tracks reached a border and climb aboard a waiting train on the next set of rails, which were broader or narrower in design.

An analogy is being able to fly to certain destinations only with a connecting flight. Unfortunately, because the U.S. and Europe follow different standards for reporting DNA profiles, the same situation applies in ancestry testing.

All DNA Consultants' results are based on published studies. The two main forensic conventions are those of the FBI (CoDIS) and Europe (ENFSI). The two standards are as different as electricity at 120 volts (U.S.) and 220 (Europe).  No one converter will plug in at your hotel room in Boston and Brussels.

When we have data that conforms exclusively to one standard or another, we cannot make up the missing values or "fudge" comparisons. There are no direct flights from Phoenix to Rome.

Introduced in May of 2013, DNA Consultants' new method for giving customers matches to countries of Europe where they may have ancestry underwent some enhancements to overcome these problems as of August 15 of 2014.

All full DNA Fingerprint reports now specify European results in several different ways, while the $99 EURO report will only give one result (no. 3, ENFSI).



Possible Matches


Top 50 world populations out of 450 all together

9 Core CoDIS Markers

181 European populations, e.g. Russia - Pskov (n=62)


Top 20 extended EURO populations without other world populations

10 ENFSI standard markers derived from all published sources

71 populations, e.g., Romania - Dobruja (n = 569)


Top 10 core European countries belonging to European Union*

10 ENFSI standard markers actually reported by ENFSI

24 populations, e.g. England/Wales (n = 437)


Top 10 Megapopulations out of 22

9 Core CoDIS Markers

10 European megapopulations, e.g. Mediterranean European


Map of World Ancestry

9 Core CoDIS Markers

Intensity of green shows strength of match, as before


Certificate of Testing

Combined methods

Your ENFSI matches appear in right column, your megapops in left


Ancestry Certificate

Your Personalized Report

Any population, megapopulation or ethnic marker can be displayed

As for special certificates ordered after you get your report, the match you specify must appear in the top world, European or ethnic panel results in your personal ancestry analysis. If it does, it will be reproduced exactly according to the nomenclature adopted from the original study, e.g. Italian, Filipino, Sub-Saharan African, East Asian. Customers may choose between American Indian or Native American, whichever they prefer. Only one population match per certificate! Available in hard copy exclusively.

(*) Note:  Nineteen of the European Union's 27 countries are included in official ENFSI data:




Czech Republic+










North Ireland











Those countries marked with a + are also included in our world data on a different basis (CoDIS).

Omitted from official ENFSI calculations either because they have not been sampled by ENFSI itself or are not in the European Union are:


















Almost all of these countries are covered in our world data (using the CoDIS standard). For instance, Greek - Northern (n = 318) or Lithuania - Vilnius (n=140).

Included with ENFSI populations are two countries that are not members of the European Union:



Between one dataset or another, a customer can find at least one match for any country on the modern map of Europe they might have exotic ancestry in, even Cyprus, Malta, Iceland and Turkey, which are often grouped with Europe. Bulgaria and Ukraine, for which no data at all are available, are estimated by neighboring populations across their borders.

Remember, multiple matches do not mean multiple ancestry! For instance, if you get 10 matches to Spanish/Portuguese, that does not necessarily mean you have 10 times the amount of that ancestry than if you received only one match.

The converse is also true. Many Americans are looking for confirmation of Irish ancestry, but there are only two sets of data for Ireland:  Ireland (n=300) and Northern Ireland (n=207). Setting aside neighboring populations like Scotland/Glasgow (n=494) and England/Wales (n=437), your Irishman or Irishwoman thus only gets two "lottery tickets" to enter in the Irish Sweepstakes. If Ireland or Northern Ireland comes up, its significance is not diminished by its sole appearance since there are only two possibilities available.

We wish you didn't have to carry an electrical adapter kit for European travel, but as stated above, we can't change the conventions any more than we can change the time zones. 


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Rare Genes from History Revisited

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Check Out DNA Fingerprint Plus $300 

It's been a year and a half since DNA Consultants introduced Rare Genes from History. We republish here the original press release from October 2012 as a means of familiarizing new and old customers with this unique autosomal marker test, exclusive to our company. Purchase now for only $149 ($134.10 with your customer discount).

For descriptions of all 26 Rare Genes from History, visit the product page

If you have received your Rare Genes from History results, we encourage you to discuss them with others in the free forums at DNA Communities. How many did you get? Were they European, Native American, African or Asian? Do you think you got a given rare gene from your mother or father? From both?


Rare Genes from History:  DNA Consultants’ Next-Generation Ancestry Markers

PHOENIX -- (Oct. 1, 2012) -- DNA typing has gone from successes in the criminal justice system and paternity testing to new heights in mapping genetic diseases and tracing human history. John Butler in the conclusion to his textbook Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing raised an important question about these trends. How might genetic genealogy information intersect with forensic DNA testing in the future?

"At DNA Consultants, that new chapter in DNA testing arrived several years ago," said Donald Yates, chief research officer and founder. "As we approach our tenth anniversary, examining human population diversity continues to be the whole thrust of our research, and it just gets more and more exciting."

The company's DNA database atDNA 4.0 captures and puts to use every single published academic study on forensic STR markers, the standard CoDIS markers used in DNA profiles for paternity and personal identification. In 2009, the company introduced the first broad-scale ethnicity markers and created the DNA Fingerprint Plus.

But its innovations didn’t stop there. In October 2012, the company announced the launch of its Rare Genes from History Panel.

Why CoDIS Markers?

“Theoretically,” noted Butler in 2009, “all of the alleles (variations) that exist today for a particular STR locus have resulted from only a few ‘founder’ individuals by slowly changing over tens of thousands of years.”

How true! Hospital studies have determined that the most stable loci (marker addresses on your chromosomes) have values that mutate at a rate of only 0.01%. That means the chance of the value at that location changing from parent to progeny is once every 10,000 generations.

So the autosomal clock of human history ticks at an even slower quantum rate than mitochondrial DNA. Like “mitochondrial Eve,” its patterns were set down in Africa over 100,000 years ago when anatomically modern humans first appeared on the stage of time.

Though the face value of the cards in the deck of human diversity never changed—and all alleles can be traced back to an African origin—as humans left Africa and eventually spread throughout the world, alleles were shuffled and reshuffled. Humanity went through bottlenecks and expansions that emphasized certain alleles over others. Genetic pooling, drift and selection of mates produced regional and country-specific contours much like a geographic map. 

"These rare but robust signals of deep history can act as powerful ancestral probes into the tangled past of the human race as well as unique touchstones for the surprising stories of individuals."

By the twentieth century, when scientists began to assemble the first genetic snapshots of people, it was found that nearly all populations were mixed, some more than others. The geneticist Luigi-Luca Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University proved that there is almost always more diversity within a population than between populations.

So if there is no such thing as a “pure” population—a control or standard—how are we to make sense of any single individual’s ancestral lines? Statistical analysis provides the answer. And rare genes are easier to trace in the genetic record than common ones. Their distinctive signature stands out.

Back Story:  It All Began with the Melungeons

About the same time as DNA Consultants' scientists were cracking the mystery of the Melungeons, a tri-racial isolate in the Appalachians, they became aware of certain very rare alleles carried by this unusual population in relatively large doses. The Starnes family, for instance, in Harriman, Tennessee, was observed to have a certain rare score repeated on one location in the profiles of members through three generations. The staff dubbed it “the Starnes gene.”

Soon, company research had characterized 26 rare autosomal ancestry markers—tiny, distinctive threads of inheritance that reflected an origin in Africa and expansion and travels through world history. Genes in this new generation of discoveries were named after some distinctive feature associated with the pattern they created in human genetic history--for instance, the Kilimanjaro Gene after its source in Central East Africa. The Thuya, Akhenaten and King Tut genes were named for the royal family of Egypt whose mummies were investigated by Zahi Hawass’ team in 2010.

The Starnes Gene” became the Helen Gene. Because of its apparent center in Troy in ancient Asia Minor and predilection for settling in island populations, it was named for "the face that launched a thousand ships," in the famous phrase by Christopher Marlowe.  

All 26 of DNA Consultants' new markers are rare. Not everyone is going to have one. But that’s what makes them interesting, according to Dr. Yates.

Coming from all sections of human diversity—African, Indian, Asian and Native American—they are like tiny gold filaments in a huge, outspread multi-colored tapestry, explains Phyllis Starnes, assistant principal investigator and wife of the namesake of the first discovery. But does that mean that her husband has a connection to Helen of Troy? The markers don’t work on such a literal level, but it does imply that Billy Starnes shares a part of his ancestral heritage with an ancient Greek/Turkish population prominent on the page of history.

Over the past two decades, geneticists have worked out the macro-history and chronology of human migrations in amazing detail and agreement. The Rare Genes from History Panel is another reminder--in the words of an American Indian ceremonial greeting--that “We Are All Related.”

These rare but robust signals of deep history can act as powerful ancestral probes into the tangled past of the human race as well as unique touchstones for the surprising stories of individuals.

For more information about the science of autosomal DNA ancestry testing, visit DNA Consultants or check out its Twitter or Facebook page. 

#  #  #  

Distribution map of the Egyptian Gene shows its African origin, partial presence in Coptic populations today (green dots in Egypt) and scattered incidence around the world. 


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Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker

Real People's DNA Stories

Bible Studies, DNA Tests, Mother's Nursing-Home Confessions Lead to New Life

NOVEMBER 16, 2013 — Until he took an autosomal ancestry test, James T. Shoemaker had little concept of his heritage. He assumed he was just an average white European American like his Appalachian neighbors.

Although raised in a Pentecostal Church, Shoemaker always felt a strong pull toward Jewish culture. So last year he went to his doctor and asked for a DNA test. "I wanted to see if there were any Jewish lines in my ancestry," he said.

He ended up taking a DNA Fingerprint Plus, a complete analysis of one's genetic ancestry that includes ethnic markers and megapopulation admixture matches.

Fast forward from that first eye-opener and today the 53-year-old Waynesboro, Pa. resident is halfway through a conversion process to Judaism at B'nai Abraham, a Reform congregation in Hagerstown, Md., where he is being mentored by youngish Rabbi Ari Plost.

"I got all three ancestral markers for Jewish I, II and III," Shoemaker recalls, “so I went to see my mother, Jacqueline Rose, at the nursing home in Hagerstown, and she admitted, ‘Well, yeah, my parents, uh, they were both Jewish."

It was the first he had heard of it. “Mom never said a word about having Jewish ancestors. It turned my life around.”

The fact that he got a "double dose" of Jewish alleles in his marker results confirmed the truth of his mother's admission that both she and his father came from Jewish families.

Shoemaker next took a Premium Male DNA Ancestry Test to determine whether his father's Y chromosome line was perhaps Jewish. The results were delivered to him in mid-November.

His particular haplotype did indeed match several other Jewish men, including those with the surnames Brown, Hendrix, Shepard, Getz, Phillips, Lewetag and Sequeira. "The subject’s specific male haplotype (surname line) probably came from Southwest Germany or the Low Lands, to judge from the modal matches and patterns of distribution," according to the report.

As for the surname itself, the Surname History section (included in every Premium Male report, cost $325.00), had some valuable clues for Shoemaker's genealogy.

"Shoemaker is probably a translation of the Dutch or German equivalent Schuhmacher or Shumacher meaning "shoemaker." It is noted as a Jewish family name in Southwest Germany and the Saarland in France, including Lörrach in Baden (Lars Menk, A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames, Bergenfield: Avotaynu, 2005, pp. 673-74). It could also come from Schuster, a more common Jewish German surname (p. 675)."

A Mason since 1990, and flirting at one time with Messianic Judaism, Shoemaker feels as though his earlier attempts to connect with his Jewish heritage were blind and unguided without the hard testimony of DNA. "All these things I've been interested in with my studies and religious life now fall into place," he said. "I'm finding out why."

What lies in the future? This Pesach, Shoemaker will have an official bar mitzvah, complete with ritual bath and reading from the Torah. He then plans to attend Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. "What I am really looking forward to," he says, "is making aliyah to the Land of Israel."


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Native Americans Have Deep Ancestry in Europe: Yes, It's Official

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shocking, Long Overdue Revision to American Indian Genetics

By Donald N. Yates

The ecstatic waters . . .

Through their ancestral patterns dance.

—William Butler Yeats, "News for the Delphic Oracle"

We've been saying it all along but it looks as though geneticists may be forced by new findings in ancient DNA to admit that early Siberian people and present-day Native Americans both have strong roots in Europe, only secondarily in Asia. The nuclear genetic bomb was dropped by Danish geneticist Eske Willerslev at a conference on "First Americans Archeology," held October 16-19, 2013, at Santa Fe, N.M. The city that gave birth to the original atom bomb hosted a glittering roster of speakers in a venue better known for its turquoise jewelry, fry bread and avante garde art, including big draws Achilli, Adovasio, Dillehay, Gonzalez and Schurr.

The paradigm-shifting conference program will be commemorated with a book Paleoamerican Odyssey ($56) to be published by Texas A&M Press later this year.

Leaked reports in the news media focused on Willerslev's paper, "Genetics as a Means for Understanding Early Peopling of the Americas," which concerned the genetic sequencing of two ancient Siberians' bones discovered in the 1920s and now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Analysis of a bone in one of the arms of a boy found near the village of Mal'ta close to Lake Baikal yielded the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date.

Of the 24,000 year-old skeleton that was Exhibit A, Willerslev was quoted in The Siberian Times, as saying, "His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia." He added, "The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to 'western Eurasia.'"

The 4-year-old boy, who died 24,000 years ago in a homeland previously assumed to account for all the Indians who crossed a theoretical Bering land-bridge and founded the First Americans, had a male Y-chromosomal haplogroup of R1b, the most common lineage in modern Europe, and a female mitochondrial lineage of U, the dominant prototype in pre-historic Europe. As it happens, I am the same combination, R1b for male and U for female, as are innumerable others in our in-house study on Cherokee DNA, published, lo, some five years ago.

Whereas previous "peopling of the Americas" stuff has clung to and recycled haplogroup studies (sex-lines), the new shock research relies on autosomal DNA, total genomic contributions from all ancestral lines, not just male-only, not just female-only descent. The title of a blog from Eurogenes rightly emphasizes this:  "Surprising aDNA [autosomal] results from Paleolithic Siberia (including Y DNA R)."  

When we introduced the 18-Marker Ethnic Panel as an enhancement for our main autosomal product, DNA Fingerprint Plus, lo, again, these five years now and counting, we presented a map of prehistoric human migrations showing without any equivocation that "Native Americans," even as Cavalli-Sforza demonstrated two decades ago, were closer in genetic distance to Europeans than Asians. In fact, we claimed, on the basis of autosomal DNA, that having Native American I or Native American II was a result discrete and separate from East Asian, since Native Americans obtained frequencies of its occurrence as high as 80% and Asians were on the polar opposite of the scale, at the bottom for carrying it. Other methods frequently confused Native American and East Asian to the point of invalidity, particularly those products claiming to arrive at racial or ethnic percentages.

The moral is that autosomal DNA trumps Y chromosome and mitochondrial evidence, and only ancient autosomal DNA can truly explain modern DNA. Even one of the most antipathetic students of American Indian DNA, Theodore G. Schurr, seems to rethinking the rigid definitions that have built careers and won tenure for geneticists and anthropologists for decades. For the fanatics who have been toeing the party line on haplogroup Q, as set down by Schurr's company, Family Tree DNA, and its followers, we note the following statement of recantation or at least qualification, taken from the Santa Fe program:

"Tracing Human Movements across Siberia and into the Americas: New

Insights from Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Data."

In this paper, I present genetic data from native Siberian and indigenous

populations of North America that help to address questions

about the process and timing of the peopling of the Americas. These

new genetic data indicate that Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking

populations are genetically distinct from one another, as well as each

to Amerindian groups, and that the formation of these circumarctic

populations was the result of two population expansions that occurred

after the initial expansion of settlement of the Americas. Our high-resolution

analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has also reshaped the

organization of this lineage, making connections between New World

and Old World populations more apparent and demonstrating that

southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor.

The data also make clear that Y-chromosomal diversity among the

first Native Americans was greater than previously recognized. Overall,

these results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of

Siberia and the Americas from both mtDNA and Y-chromosome


"Genetic genealogy" has become a fashionable buzzword, but to my knowledge few research studies or blogs and hardly any commercial tests authentically combine the two concepts. According to genealogy, I myself am about one-quarter Choctaw-Cherokee and three-quarters European. But genetics says my mitochondrial line (U2e) is Eurasian, even though I have traced it to a Cherokee woman who married the Indian trader Enoch Jordan about 1790 in north Georgia.  Estimates from other "genetic genealogy" companies for my Native American ancestry, and I've taken them all, range from 0% (23&me) to 8% (Family Tree DNA, AncestryByDNA). 

DNA Consultants, the company I founded in 2003, does not give percentages of ancestry by policy, but half my top matches in our autosomal analysis are Native American, and North Asian/Siberian is No. 1 in my megapopulation result, followed by Central Asian and Native American (and only distantly by Northern European). On an autosomal approach, if not haplogroup basis, my genes are Native American, which is how I self-identify. If I were to be pulled over for being a brown person in the state of Arizona, where I currently reside, and Sheriff Joe ran my DNA profile numbers through the system he would find that I am 15 times more likely to be North Asian than Northern European, and twice as likely to be American Indian than East Asian, European American or Iberian American (Hispanic).

Read the whole analysis of my personal genetics, with actual reports from various companies, in the Cherokee Results pages on the DNA Consultants website. You may also find an extended study showing what autosomal DNA can do at:

Reconstructing Your Ancestry and Parentage (blog post, March 14, 2012)

If and when geneticists get serious about identifying the European sources of the American Indian gene pool, and hopefully they will round up not just one suspect (Denmark?), I would like for those who get paid and promoted to study us to please consider the following points:

—First New Cherokee Data Published in More Than Ten Years (announcement, August 1, 2012) - in-house study described numerous instances of U, findings published in Donald Yates' Old World Roots of the Cherokee.

—Stephen C. Jett, who taught geography at The Ohio State University 1963-1964 and then at the University of California, Davis, serving thrice as Geography chair and becoming emeritus in 2000, current editor of Pre-Columbiana, has frequently pointed out that just because Native American haplogroups match Siberian haplogroups doesn't mean the population of either Native America or Siberia was the same in remote history as today. He considered this a big fallacy of Big Science.

—Constantine Rafinesque, whose History of the American Indians was the first and most comprehensive treatment of the subject, believed all the early settlers of the Americas came "through the Atlantic," and only beginning about 1000 BCE did the Iztacans and Oguzians (Central Asian Turkic peoples) arrive. See our blog:  American Indian and Turkic People Share Deep Ancestry (June 6, 2012).

—Canadian environmentalist Farley Mowat, the author of thirty-seven books, has constantly challenged the conventional knowledge that Vikings were the first Europeans to reach North America. In The Farfarers he describes the Alban people of Old Europe as visitors and colonists from the time when walrus hunters discovered the sea routes to the West before the Bronze Age. America's original name of the White (or Beautiful) Land is mentioned by Rafinesque and in Hindu, Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Arabic, Algonquian Indian, Irish, Norse and Chinese accounts.  See "An Interview with Farley Mowat" on YouTube.

—Cyclone Covey of Wake Forest University, among other historians, has noted that Clovis Culture appears fully formed without any antecedents in America, with the most perfect examples of Clovis points traced in a cline of occurence in archeological sites to the Atlantic Coast.

—The earliest Americans clearly practiced the same Mother Goddess religion elaborately documented in the east Mediterranean and Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas. Their ideas of matriarchy or gylany (in Riana Eisler's coinage) did not come from Asia. See Archeologist of the Goddess (webpage) and "Syncretism, Not Animism" (PPT), a presentation given at the Sandy, Utah conference, March 29, 2011.

—When customers of DNA Consultants with various degrees of Native American admixture have their European population matches analyzed, a frequent top result is Finland or Finno-Ugric or Uralic. This "false match" could be explained by shared ancestry between the present-day Finns (where U is the modal haplogroup) and ancestors of Native Americans coming from Europe. Consider taking the EURO DNA test ($99).

—John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johannessen in World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492 (2009) document several plants that originated in the Eastern Hemisphere (not Asia) and traveled early by human hand to the Americas. For instance, Cannabis sativa (marijuana) moved from Western Asia or Europe to Peru by 100 CE, and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) was brought to Mexico from across the Atlantic Ocean by 1500 BCE. Both grow in profusion in Europe and temperate parts of Central Asia. Goosefoot (an important Ohio Valley Moundbuilder staple), cotton, coconuts, bananas, turmeric and North American myrtle likely took the same route. In the opposite direction, Mexican agave spread to the Mediterranean world by 300 BCE.

Archeologists described the recent news from Santa Fe as jaw-dropping. We expect that when the definitive report on the Siberian boy's 24,000 year-old genome appears in the journal Nature, where it is at press, their hair may fall out. At any rate, the European origins of Indians is going to be a game changer not only in genetics, but anthropology, archeology, government and, perhaps most significantly, in the self-awareness of millions of Americans who count Native Americans among their ancestors.


Our standard world migration map had the story right years ago.


Don Danielson commented on 30-Oct-2013 05:36 PM

I can add no data, only my applause. There are, truly, more similarities among people than differences.

James Stritzel commented on 11-Nov-2013 03:03 PM

CONGRATULATIONS!! For vindication of what you and DNA Consultants have been in the forefront of for years. Still will be fierce resistance but the light of your leadership is starting to shine and grow in the ‘Official Establishment’.

I remember and still have a book from the early 1990’s “Giving Voice to Bear” by David Rockwell. In it he wrote of the similarity of how Bear is depicted/revered/hunted around the sub-Arctic. Briefly wrote about a circumpolar subarctic culture. That has stuck with me 20+ years.

Here with Eske Willerley’s “….genetic bombshell….” is validation of what must have been pre-Columbian peopling of Americas other than the orthodox version.

Thanks so much for your dedication, determination and achievements in the DNA Field.

Jim Stritzel

Anonymous commented on 14-Nov-2013 09:18 PM

I have a lot of Siberian DNA as well as a lot of Greek and Iranian DNA, but come from Black Sea area/Georgia. But look European. MtDNA is H1b. Mom's dad's Y chromo is R1b. We were supposed to have come from the Caucasus in ancestral times. Lots of redheads in the family. Curious.

Bill Hucks commented on 20-Nov-2013 05:15 PM

This is one of many articles I've read on the Siberian boy. You mention that his Ydna is R1b, however it is not mentioned in any other articles. I'm very curious to know if R1b has indeed, been confirmed. --That was reported in the full version of the scientific paper.

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Back to Africa

Friday, September 06, 2013

Africa’s Circulatory Migration Route

By Teresa A. Panther-Yates

While it is probably true that we all came out of Africa some 200,000 years ago, some of these first ancestors of ours also returned before Europeans were Europeans. The migration path went both ways. This is a resounding discovery. Erika Chek Hayden in her recent Nature article, “African Genes Tracked Back” says this “reversal” or two-step migration meant that these ancestors reimported “…genes from the rest of the world [which] were carried back to southern Africa, long before European colonizers arrived.”

The findings come from a flurry of research made possible by better tools for surveying African genomes. They suggest that scientists previously underestimated the rich diversity of African genetics. Hayden quotes Luca Pagani, a geneticist at the Wellcome trust Saenger Institute near Cambridge, U.K who says, “Until now, we have been applying tools designed specifically for non-African people to African people.” Hayden also quotes Carina Schelbusch a geneticist at Uppsala University in Sweden, as saying, “It’s a really exciting time for African genetics.”

The new research also explains a mystery. It means that some African groups previously thought to be genetically isolated actually “…carry 1-5% of non- African DNA” according to population geneticists at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., who examined the individual genetic variations of some 1,000 individuals (Hayden). This picture of admixture explains why some Africans carry non-African genes. In fact, some carry a lot of them.

For instance, the male Y-DNA haplotype R1 b1 which is the most common haplotype among Western Europeans is also found among some Africans. Miguel Gonzalez et al in his 2012 article, “The Genetic Landscape of Equatorial Guinea,” in the European Journal of Human Genetics says that the human Y- DNA chromosomes R1b1 though “very common in Europe are usually a rare occurrence in Africa,” but there have been some “…recently published studies that have reported high frequencies of this haplogroup” in parts of Africa. One wondered why until now. Hayden isn’t the first to propose the idea of an ancient journey out of Africa and then back again. There have been genetic clues before this. Gonzalez extrapolates from his R1b1 data “that this represents a ‘back-to-Africa’ migration during prehistoric times.” And Hammer et al in the article, “Out of Africa and Back In,” in the Oxford Journal of Evolution postulates that there was more than one African migration path.

Now that we have determined the migratory paths were more multifaceted than previously thought, what else can we extrapolate from this? Could people have (gasp!) also had boats and ships earlier than we allow them in our myopic hegemony of ideas? Certainly, discontinuous gene flow by sea could explain pockets of genetics that otherwise do not fit with the standard view of a welter of footsore people aimlessly trooping around the world and solely driven by survival.

Naw. We predict such an explanation will only be dismissed with ridicule. Human evolution has no motives according to the experts. It is completely random and unplanned. It obeys only the rules we make up for it.


Raymond commented on 16-Nov-2013 08:33 AM

It is interesting how much discussion occurs regarding "back migration" and a lack of discussion regarding the "Arab Slave Trade" which brough millions of Europeans to N. Africa as slaves and concubines. (Collusion?) Also, there were many Greek, Roman, Circassian, and other Mamlukes (arabic for slave) in N. Africa that contributed to the genetic make-up. Their descendants at still found in Berber tribes such as the Kabyle, Rif, etc. Some of these same groups even ruled Egypt for some time, erecting statues of themselves that are mistaken for ancient Egyptian artwork.

Most are familiar with the Zanj (African slaves) but are unfamiliar with the rest of those same documents mentioning the "European" women that were slaves in the harems. This provides a better explanation of European mtDNA in N. Africa than "back migration" from thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, we are only considering works from people during a time of immense racial predujice as valid references leading to useless debates, conjecture, and falsification of history.

DNA doesn't lie. People's rendering of history only confuses the DNA results. For example, how is it that Native American DNA is found in Africa and Europe? Could it be that Native Americans were taken as slaves to those places, or taken there centuries later in military campaigns? Are Native Americans descended from East Indians who migrated over a "land bridge" (NA's deny this) or did some East Indians intermarry with them when they were brought over as slaves in the 1600's (documented) or came with the Hessian Army (self admissions by the same in the 1800's; documented) and married into some of the tribes? DNA only proves the relation, not the "how" they are related.

Me commented on 07-Jun-2014 11:23 PM

"How is it that some Native American DNA is found in North Africa, is because we are all the same people just with different names. To support the theory that maybe our early ancestors had boats is more like common sense than something to be ridiculed. We have boats now, what will they say about us in another 200,000 years? Our early African ancestors travelled. Had boats. Some having civilizations along side Asians in the Americas called Olmec. Olmec being leading way to the Maya Aztec Zapotecs which are Native Americans or Indians or Amerindians. Being the same people or same mixture of African and Asian blood which was present in Egypt. If a white woman and black man have children in America what is it to say isn't the same as if an African or European had children in another location. It creates the same type of people.

African, Asian, and Europeans have mixed have been mixing and will continue to mix, we have all the answers to our biggest questions using common sense but because some don't want to except it we will keep doing all this research in hopes of finding another truth that settles better on our stomachs.

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Where Do I Come From: Donald Yates

Monday, July 29, 2013

Where Do I Come From

Real People's DNA Stories 

Sizemore Indians and British Jews

By Donald N. Yates

As soon as EURO DNA was released last month I quickly studied my new list of European nationalities where I have significant ancestral lines according to DNA Consultants' new autosomal population analysis. I had come to know and accept, of course, the usual suspects, compiled from the 24 populations available from ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). But the new list represented 71 populations and far surpassed ENFSI or any other database in commercial use. It had, for instance, the first European comparisons for countries like Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and Iceland. So how would my familiar matches—Scotland, Ireland, England, Belgium and the rest—shake out in the new oracle?

Some of the top matches—above British Isles or Northern European ancestry—were Central European. Here were the top 20:

Rank European Population Matches
1 Slovakia – Saris (n=848)
2 Finland (n = 469)
3 Slovakia – Zemplin (n=558)
4 Netherlands  (n = 231)
5 Slovakia – Spis (n=296)
6 Romanian - Transylvanian - Szekler (n = 257)
7 Romanian - Transylvanian - Csango (n = 220)
8 Scotland/Dundee (n = 228)
9 Switzerland (n = 200)
10 England/Wales (n = 437)
11 Ireland (n = 300)
12 Italy (n =103)
13 Denmark  (n = 156)
14 Romanian (n=243)
15 Swedish (n = 311)
16 Serbian - Serbia / Vojvodina / Montenegro (n = 100)
17 Icelandic (n=151)
18 Estonia (n = 150)
19 Romanian - Transylvania/Banat (n = 219)
20 Norwegian (n=1000)

Slovakia? Romania? To be sure, I had always had a fascination with both countries. In my salad days I studied in Europe and traveled to Bratislava, where I fell in love at first sight with the chiseled blonde visage of a friend of my university classmate. And I had also been to Romania in the days of its Communist regime, when my long-haired travel companion and I were welcomed like long lost relatives or conquering pop heroes. 

Admittedly, the results of an autosomal ancestry test are cumulative and combinatory. While they do reflect all your ancestry, as no other test can, you are cautioned not to use the matches to try to pinpoint lines in your family genealogy. There is always a temptation to over-interpret. 

My European admixture results from AncestryByDNA had yielded a confirmatory result:  20% Southeast Europe. That struck me at the time as odd. Yet Hungarian was now one of my top metapopulation results, too. (Remember, Hungarian data did not figure into ENFSI because Hungary is not in the European Union.)

The Scottish (my grandmother was a McDonald) made sense, as did all the other matches from what I knew through years of paper genealogy research. But I was unaware of any strong Central European lines.

Sizemore Research:  Pitfalls of Genetic Genealogy
Then I recalled the Sizemores. My great-great-grandmother was a Sizemore, and they were multiply connected with my Coopers, my mother's maiden name. Could the Central European effect in my EURO result be from the Sizemores?

Much ink—or at least many keystrokes—has been expended on the Sizemore controversy. There are pitched battles on genealogy forums and edit wars in cyberspace. One armed camp has them down as Melungeons and admixed Cherokees with crypto-Jewish strains. Another holds it as an article of faith that the Sizemores were a lily-white old Virginia British family and the surname comes from something like Sigismund (think Goetterdaemmerung). Y chromosome DNA shows ambiguous conclusions:  you can visit the advertisement page sponsored by Family Tree DNA. 

Alan Lerwick, a Salt Lake City genealogist, upset the apple cart some years ago by linking America's Sizemores to Michael Sismore, buried in the Flemish cemetery of the Collegiate Church of St Katherine by the Tower in London in 1684. That was the same parish as my Coopers lived in. Then and now, it is the most Jewish section of London.

Sizemore is not a British surname before the sixteenth century. It was clear to me long ago that neither my Sizemores nor my Coopers were Mama Bear, Papa Bear families. Spurred by my EURO DNA test results, I dug into my subscription at Ancestry.com and learned that Michael Sismore was recorded as being born as Michael Seasmer in Ashwell, an important village in north Hertfordshire, November 1, 1620. His parents were Edward Seasmer and Betterissa (a form of Beatrice). New information! Alert the list moderators and surname project guardians!

Seasmer is undoubtedly the same as Zizmer, an old Central European Jewish surname adduced in multiple families in Israel, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria, Russia, Moldavia and the United States. Edward and Michael are favored first-names in the U.S. branches. The Hebrew letters, which can be viewed on numerous burials in Israel, are  (in reverse order, right to left) RMZZ. Cooper is a similar Jewish surname, common in Russia and Lithuania and Israel as well as the British Isles and the U.S. In fact, my father's surname, Yates, is a Hebrew anagram common in the same countries, meaning "Righteous Convert."

Hertfordshire was an important center for British Jewry, mentioned in the works of Hyamson, Jacobs and others (see map above). A good hypothesis to explain the transformation of Michael's name from Seasmer to Sismore and thence to Sizemore is this. His grandfather, a Zizmer, came to England in the time of Elizabeth, perhaps via the Low Lands, possibly as a soldier or cloth merchant. This could account for Michael Sizemore's burial in the Flemish cemetery of St Katharine's by the Tower, usually reserved for foreigners. It also explains the predilection in descendants for such names as Ephraim, Michael, Edward, William, John, Richard, James, George, Hiram, Isaac, Samuel, Solomon and Henry. And why girls were named Lillie, Lydia, Louisa, Naomi, Pharaba, Rebecca, Sarah and Vitula. The last name (also found in my wife's grandmother's name) was a Jewish amulet name. It meant "old woman" in Latin and was given to a child to augur a long life. 

Zismer took the form of Cismar, Cismarik, Zhesmer, Zizmor, Ziesmer, Zausmer, Cismaru and Tzismaro—all amply attested in the records of European Jewry, including Jewish Gen's Holocaust Database, with the records of over two million victims and survivors of the Nazi genocide of World War II. I am proud of my Jewish heritage through my great-grandmother and through my half-blood Cherokee Indian mother Bessie Cooper Yates. 

Thank you for indulging me in this genealogical excursion into a family mystery. Like the restaurateur, I would be to blame if I didn't eat in my own establishment. I can confidently say that DNA Consultants' new EURO DNA is a smorgasbord of genetic delights for those jaded by the old-fashioned sex-linked testing. I thank our R&D team, in particular Professor Wendell Paulson, our head statistics consultant, along with all those who helped vet its amazing power, and I encourage you to try it today!


Zoltan commented on 13-Sep-2013 03:48 PM

About Seizmore. If it really relates to Zizmer, Cismar etc. then it is a pure Hungarian surename: Csizmár, with the meaning of boot maker (Csizma=boot from the old turkish word of cizme)
Please note that the refferred areas of Slovakia and Transylvania are former Hungarian territories, so the connection is clear and matches with your DNA.

I do not know when you wrote the article but Hungary is in the EU since 2005.

I hope I could help.

cristina commented on 09-Nov-2014 02:27 AM

In Romanian also, until today, the name for boot maker is Cizmar, and also the name Cizmar, Cizmaru is a common one - from old turkish word of cizma = boot. Many names cover the describing occupation of the village / little towns inhabitants. In the same time, many jews from Hungaria, Romania (and so on in Central Europe) was workers - occupation: 'cizmari' - who took these names gived by the community.
Anyway, great job here, congrats !

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Where Do I Come From: Shawn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where Do I Come from:  Shawn

Real People's DNA Stories

Ethnicity Beyond European Migration

By Shawn

My journey into DNA testing began with my desire to expand on my known heritage, while clarifying debated Jewish ancestry.  What I have found in return is that my ancestral paper trail only uncovers a small portion of the blood that runs through my veins.  My DNA Consultants results, for the most part were quite surprising.  My European matches were fairly consistent with my country origins on paper and surrounding areas.  The major surprise, however, was that my number one European match was Romani/Gypsy and my number 10 match was Czech Republic.... 

Things became much more interesting with my World Population Matches.  My scores (in order) were Romani/Gypsy, Middle Eastern, African, Iberian, Central European, African-American, Jewish, Mediterranean European, European American and Eastern European.  I also came up with Native American admixture to top it off.  These results are causing me to believe that there may be a line or more of family lineages that I have yet to tap into. 

Looking back on things now, I have received comments from others concerning my phenotype such as "I'm not sure what you are,” "You don't look Irish" and "You must have some Black ancestry."  Some have even just assumed I was Hispanic or Caucasian.  Interestingly enough, almost all acknowledge that they see my Italian/Spanish phenotype, while a few also see slight Native American.   

While my results provided insight into how diverse my blood really is, they also put an end to an age-old family debate as to our Jewish ethnicity.  One of my relatives from a few generations past would passionately defend her position that our family line was indeed Jewish, while another family member would vigorously put forth his position that we were not Jewish.  He would try to prove our non-Jewishness any time he could.  I also had another family member along that same family line say that he almost did not get hired for a job because the hirer thought he was Jewish.  I always believed these accounts, especially since as young as I can remember I have found this side of my family (Italian and German) to phenotypically look Italian and/or Jewish.  

So where does all this leave me now?  My results show my blood is much more than simply Italian, French, Irish and German.  They confirm family testimony of Spanish/Portuguese/Iberian and Jewish ancestry.  Perhaps more interestingly, my results leave me re-assessing my ethnicity or multi-ethnic heritage, end years of family verbal passages or debates and leave me with intriguing new ancestries that are waiting to be discovered. 


Maria OConnor commented on 23-Jul-2013 12:42 AM

Shawn: Countries frontiers are artificial. For example, there are people of celtic heritage in northern Spain, northern Portugal, all over Ireland, all over England, all over Scotland, all over Wales, Southern Germany, northern France, Northern Italy, etc. All of them, even considering the come from different places have the same celtic DNA. So, if you have an ancestor from Spain or Portugal, could be of celtic origen, or mediterranean origen.
If a person has jewish sefardi dna, it could be originated from Southern Spain, Southern Portugal, North Africa, Middle East, etc.
Also, in South America there are great numbers of people of European ancestry, including non hispanic non portugue ancestry, like Irish, German, Italians, etc.
Is quite complicated, due to ancient and new migrations.

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Cutting Edge Research If You Can Get It

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Europe in the Year 3000 BCE

The archeogenetics of Europe and transition from hunter-gatherers to Neolithic agricultural societies made a quantum leap forward with the publication of an article investigating haplogroup H, the type carried by about half of Europeans today. But you may have trouble accessing the research in the new journal Nature Communications. I haven't found one ordinary mortal who has actually read the article, because few libraries and hardly any individuals can afford the crushingly expensive subscription to Nature Communications. 

So here is an abstract. 

Neolithic mitochondrial haplogroup H genomes and the genetic origins of Europeans

Nature Communications
Article number:


Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA variability (>40%), yet was less common (~19%) among Early Neolithic farmers (~5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Here we investigate this major component of the maternal population history of modern Europeans and sequence 39 complete haplogroup H mitochondrial genomes from ancient human remains. We then compare this ‘real-time’ genetic data with cultural changes taking place between the Early Neolithic (~5450 BC) and Bronze Age (~2200 BC) in Central Europe. Our results reveal that the current diversity and distribution of haplogroup H were largely established by the Mid Neolithic (~4000 BC), but with substantial genetic contributions from subsequent pan-European cultures such as the Bell Beakers expanding out of Iberia in the Late Neolithic (~2800 BC). Dated haplogroup H genomes allow us to reconstruct the recent evolutionary history of haplogroup H and reveal a mutation rate 45% higher than current estimates for human mitochondria.



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