My DNA Test:
I received a DNA test kit for Christmas and decided to take the plunge into genealogy-related DNA research. I submitted my DNA sample to the 23andMe Company and received my results two weeks ago. The results confirm some of my genealogy research but I am having difficulty interpreting the haplogroup information and comparing it to the genealogical documents that I found. Right now I am disappointed with the amount of information available from 23andMe to help me explain these results. I will continue to search the 23andMe website for a better explanation.
Below are my results and my understanding at this point of their meaning is based on DNA articles that I have found so far from other sources on the internet and not 23andMe.
My Ancestry Composition:
The results gave my Ancestry Composition as:
European – 99.9%
Northern European – 45.9%
- 3.0% British and Irish
- 2.7% French and German
- 1.4% Scandinavian
- 38.8% Nonspecific Northern European
Eastern European – 23.0%
Southern European – 2.0%
- 1.8% Balkan
- 0.2% Nonspecific Southern European
Nonspecific European – 29.1%
Unassigned – 0.1%
The composition shown above seems to confirm my 50% Polish ancestry which I inherited from my mother. The above results may also seem to show my Hungarian ancestry which I calculate at 25% and I think contains both Magyar and Germanic ancestors.
I am confused when looking for Middle Eastern origins which should represent my Jewish and Gypsy roots. Both segments which I expected are missing from the Ancestry Composition shown above.
I was given two haplogroups – maternal DNA and paternal Y-DNA haplogroups. The maternal haplogroup code definitely identifies my Polish roots and the paternal haplogroup code identifies by Jewish roots. However neither group helps confirm my suspected Gypsy ancestry.
My maternal haplogroup was identified as H16 and is the main indicator for my European ancestry composition. Haplogroup H is the most common maternal haplogroup in Europe and is found in about half of European population. H16 is a sub-group of the overall H haplogroup. It was only identified recently and I have not found any articles explaining its details and distribution.
Note that maternal DNA or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is inherited from your mother and has contributions from all of your direct female ancestors. Therefore my maternal DNA was received from my Polish mother and not from my Hungarian side. The Gypsy markers that I was looking for would be found in female descendants in another branch of my family. My suspected gypsy great-grandmother was my dad’s grandmother and I think it would be difficult for me to inherit her DNA markers. If my understanding is correct, the gypsy markers would be found in the female descendants of the daughters of my suspected gypsy great-grandmother. There are nine female descendants in this group.
Gypsies are thought to have originated in the Indus Valley which is now part of Pakistan and DNA testing results would show a small percentage of ancestry composition originating in the Indus Valley.
Our Y chromosomes are past down only through male descendants and as expected the paternal haplogroup identified in my DNA does identify Jewish heritage. My results showed the Q1a3* haplogroup which has been identified in a very small group of Ashkenazi Jewish men. This result confirms what I found in the rabbinic records and census records for my great-grandfather. The Q1a3* haplogroup should also be the paternal haplogroup for any direct male descendants of the two sons of my great-grandfather. This group includes myself and ten other living descendants. Note that my great-grandfather was born of Jewish parents in Hungary; he married a Roman Catholic and changed his name.
Note that the haplogroup Q is widespread at low frequencies throughout the Middle East, Asia and Siberia. Also the haplogroup Q is found at high frequencies in the Americas in the native Indian populations. The Q1a3a haplogroup is only found with native American Indians and although the markers may be close to my paternal haplogroup, the Q1a3* did not migrate through Siberia and Alaska to the Americas with Q1a3a. The Q1a3* group found its way to America only when Jewish men with this DNA immigrated to America.
Y-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews
The term “Ashkenazi Jew” refers to Jews living or whose “paternal” ancestors lived in the following parts of central and Eastern Europe: the Rhine Valley, France, Germany, Holland, Austria, Hungary, former Czechoslovakia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.