This past summer, I put a quarter in the genealogical slot and eagerly awaited a result. The difference here being something was bound to come out. What I got was not what I expected at all. I found out that I descend from Haplogroups G (Y-chromosome) and H (mitochondrial DNA). So what does all this mean?
In short, it means my patriarchy traces through the eastern Mediterranean regions and across familiar names: Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Georgia (~30%). Most surprising was the tracing through North Ossetia—virtually unheard of until Russia invaded Georgia earlier this year. (This is NOT where Scott was!) The group is notably absent from most of Europe.
On the Mitochondrial side of the DNA map, the results show that this line came through Europe, settling into southern France and northern Spain. It represents 40-50% of Europeans and 20-30% of the population across the eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus Mountains (like Georgia), and parts of western Russia.
All together, H and G represent West Eurasian and East Eurasian respectively.
What I found most surprising, especially as I shake more and more branches of my family tree, is that Haplogroups A, B, L, or T—predominantly African groups—are not there! (Wikipedia gives a good breakout of groups: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup).
Does any of this mean anything relevant to me today? Not really. The DNA tracings reportedly look back thousands of years and therefore overlook the obvious information we can so easily find today, without helping to fill in the blanks of more recent information lost over time. For instance, I know that my paternal line runs back through African Americans in New Jersey to a man named Thomas Dunn, who was likely born in the very late 1700’s. But when? I don’t know. Parents? Again, I do not know.
So while knowing my haplogroups is interesting and makes me part of a worldwide effort to map genetics by geography, the answers closer to home elude me. When science and history combine to give us those answers, or to at least point us in the right direction, then it will have provided something useful.
For now, I continue to seek answers through on-line sources, court houses, libraries, and cemeteries. The answers are out there—I hope.