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(CNN)   Scientists use 1,500 DNA samples to create a genetic map showing which societies have intermingled. It's the biggest database of hooking up since Match.com   ( cnn.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, DNA, historical events, genetic maps, technical term, sub-Saharan Africans, Ancient DNA, genome sequencing  
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4840 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Feb 2014 at 10:21 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-02-15 12:20:18 PM  
2 votes:
I know where my ancestors came from pretty well. My family tree is over 51,000 individuals and while many are redundancies or a few lines I've added on spec and hope to link up some day, that's enough to complete 14 generations and part of the 15th. The average number of people per family is three because most of the tree is bare-bones although I have most or all of the children for many families.

1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024, 2,048, 4,096, 8,192, 16,384, 32,768, 65,536 ...

The sum of this series is the last number times two minus 1:  (x*2) - 1

My ancestors were Canadian, American, French, English, Danish, Scottish, Dutch, Welsh, Irish, German, Austrian, Belgian, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian, by nationality. I have cousins in every State and Province of the US and Canada. In addition to these recent nationalities, I am descended from the Prophet Mohammed and Byzantine Emperors and no doubt many of my royal or aristocratic ancestors married in Eastern European families and Turkish families due to strict laws preventing marriage with cousins up to the 10th degree during the Middle Ages. Princes really did have to go wife-hunting, just like in the fairy tales, although match makers and marriage scouts were likely sent out to collect genealogies of prospective matches along with paintings and character analysis.

However, things get more complicated if you look at the detail and at genes.

My paternal ancestor in the completely male line almost certainly had a haplogroup which originated in Africa 26,000 years ago although he was born in France around 1587 or 1589. My female ancestor, the first in the completely female line, has not been proven by mitochondrial DNA so I would have to play the odds and guess which group she belonged to, but her name was Catherine Underwood and she was born in 1582 in Buckinghamshire, to the North West of London.

The thing is that this Y chromosome originated in Ethiopia and is the dominant Y chromosome almost all of Africa. It is common among both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews because the Jewish population picked it up and carried it to Europe by two routes, through North Africa and through Central Asia and probably Turkey.

I probably have it because rates of adoption and adultery were low in French Canada and I don't know of any instances in my line.

This means that my Y chromosome is common among the Tuaregs and Berbers of North Africa and among Spanish and Portuguese men, including many North American Hispanics.

This is not surprising because Paris and the region of Normandy where my male line ancestor lived were settled by refugees from the Iberian Peninsula and Jews from the Rhine valley. But the Y chromosome is also found in concentrations in Eastern and Northern Europe so I can't assume it came via North Africa and Spain slash Portugal.  I could have come via the Norse men who gave Normandy it's name.

My family tree has surprised me many times.

I was surprised to learn my family was Protestant (in Roman Catholic Quebec) but that made sense because the rural area was evangelized by Presbyterians and Methodists, while the French colonists came from areas that had considerable Protestant populations bfore the Edict of Nantes.

I was also surprised that many of the names I assumed were English were Irish or Scottish or Welsh, bu that made sense because of heavy Protestant Irish emigration from Ulster and Belfast.

I was surprised to learn how many Baptists I had where I expected Methodists, Presbyterians and Church of England or of Scotland, but that makes since because the Baptists have long been big evangelizers of the back woods farmers and other people too poor to interest the Established clergy.

I was surprised by the number of Quakers but it made since when I realized that these people fled to what was then Nova Scotia before, during and after the American Revolution. Their religion prevented them from fighting and killing their friends, neighbors and families.

In short, I was surprised to find that history is recorded in my family tree more accurately than in the history books. Well, that is not so surprising. Genes don't lie, although they confuse and mislead a little.

It is likely that my ancestors included many crypto-Jews, crypto-Muslims and crypto-Protestants in times of widespread war and religious persecution, not to mention ethnic cleansing.

My male chromosome haplotype was last out of Africa and one of the first into the Americas.

I probably have Neanderthal genes, as most non-Africans do. My ultra-fair skin is most likely a legacy, and so are some of my health problems of the first European hominids.

Names don't tell you nearly as much as genes do. This is true of family names (some of which have dozens of different origins in many countries, like Smith-Smythe-Schmidt, which is the name of a score of trades and occupations). And the names we give to countries and nations and races are even less reliable.

Among the surprises that genes have given us in less than a century is the discovery that the various conquests and immigrations have produced both less and more change and mixing than expected or acknowledged by nationalists, xenophobes, racists and official history. The British are way more British than thought with most people having early ancestors, even before the Celts. There are a lot of races and nationalities papered over with family traditions and family name changes.

And the concept of race should be statistical, not political. We all have the same ancestors if you go back far enough. And we are all descended from the winners in the game of love and war (and very often the losers who survived have lost the war but won the battle in the form of the revenge of the cradle, as my French ancestors and French Canadian cousins call it).

A lot of strange things happen in the dark of night. Verily, I have seen princes walk and beggars ride.

The person who wrote that maxim may very well be the ancestor of us all. Look it up. It's in the Holy Bible.
2014-02-15 02:46:49 PM  
1 vote:
My wife wanted to take the DNA test thing advertised in National Geographic but we didn't due to expense.  Her family is Italian and mine is Irish/English.  Probably we would discover that I am a relatively boring gumbo of northwest Europe, while she might have some interesting Mediterranean stuff going on (maybe- her family is northern Italian) but it would be interesting to find out for sure some day.
2014-02-15 02:02:06 PM  
1 vote:
The downloadable programs I'm most familiar with are Dodecad and Promethease, but honestly the best thing (IMO) is to just register at gedmatch.com and upload your data from whichever company you tested with (which they have instructions for). It takes a bit to process, but once it's done, you can use any of the Dodecad, Eurogenes, Harappa, etc., admixture utilities with associated options (oracle). Gedmatch also has a few nifty things like homozygosity analysis (if your parents were, er, related), and you can also run your results against everyone else who uses it, which works like FTDNA's Family Finder or 23andme's Relative Finder, save that (obviously) you aren't limited to hits from the one company you tested with.

It's all free, just takes a bit of time to process your results at first when you upload them (a few days, in my case).
2014-02-15 11:27:24 AM  
1 vote:
An FYI for anyone that's tested with Ancestry.com, FTDNA or 23andme: there are programs you can either download or run online (if you upload your data to gedmatch) that parse genetic admixture. Which ones are best for your particular data depends on your general ancestry; most are useful for Europeans and European Americans, but there are several that use source populations from Africa, Asia and the Americas as well.

As an example, my results from the latest Eurogenes K15 are:

# Population Percent
1 North_Sea 32.75
2 Atlantic 28.01
3 Baltic 13.14
4 West_Med 10.40
5 Eastern_Euro 8.73
6 West_Asian 3.65
7 East_Med 3.31

If you use a utility that incorporates what they call the "Oracle" population matching, it will also give you your approximate genetic distance to national population groups in their database; the lower the number, the lower your relative distance to the population group in question. Again, with myself as the example, using the same K15:

1 German @ 3.430
2 Southwest_English @ 4.784
3 Southeast_English @ 5.090
4 Dutch @ 5.806
5 Irish @ 6.462
6 Danish @ 6.611
7 West_Scottish @ 7.374
8 Orcadian @ 9.279
9 French @ 10.085
10 Norwegian @ 10.156

The K12 through K15 series are good for most Europeans ("K" representing source population groups), but if you want to get really wacky, there's the K36, which includes such groups as Pygmies, Oceanic Polynesians, Caucasian, Siberian, etc. There's also at least one utility that's designed to do the same thing, save with the inclusion of Ashkenazim (for Europeans with non-Sephardic Jewish ancestry.

Running several of these for comparison is a bit better than (for example) 23andme's Ancestry Composition, as that's based on user-submitted information rather than national data.
2014-02-15 10:39:24 AM  
1 vote:
I did the DNA test sold by Ancestry.com and have been waiting for the results.  I'm expecting English and German all the way back to Adam.

We discovered two possible Jewish surnames in my maternal grandfather's line, but nothing close enough to let me be a citizen of Israel. (I think you qualify under the Right of Return if Hitler would have had you killed: 1 grandparent.) But they are also German surnames: Stern and Wolf. I've found Irish surnames, and one whole line came from Switzerland, but the Swiss will show up as ethnically German, and I doubt that the DNA tests are fine grained enough to differentiate between English and Irish.

The most surprising is the possibility that one of my great grandfathers family came from Belgium. Yes. That's the kind of slam-bang life I lead. I linked surprise and Belgium.
2014-02-15 08:45:30 AM  
1 vote:
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