Thursday, September 1, 2016

My DNA Ancestry

There are basically three things you can discover from having your DNA tested for genealogy:
  1. Paternal Lineage: The Y Chromosome is found only in males and is passed only from father to son. Thus this test can trace the DNA structure of ones purely paternal lineage. My Y-DNA test shows that I am from Haplogroup R1b1a2 (also known as R-Z14).
  2. Maternal Lineage: Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down to both males and females from their mother. Thus this test will only trace a purely maternal lineage from mother to mother’s mother, etc.  My mtDNA is Haplogroup U4b1a2.
  3. DNA Mixture can provide an analysis of your ethnic percentages from autosomal DNA (inherited from both parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc.). It can indicate approximate closeness of relatives descended from any of your ancestral lines from approximately the most recent five to six generations.

My DNA tests (www.familytreedna.com) indicate that all my ancestry comes from Europe. This is not surprising, since my paternal genealogy is from Denmark, England and Wales; and my maternal ancestry is from Norway. Thus I would expect a heavy Nordic ancestry as three-quarters of my ancestors are from Scandinavia.

Initially my results indicated that my DNA is 100% compatible with the Orcadian reference population. From what I know of my own genealogy, where I am descended from some Orcadians (from the Orkney Islands) during the Middle Ages. These islands, as well as all northern Scotland, were heavily involved in the Viking raids and settlements of the Middle Ages so the Orcadians are a mixture of Celtic and Nordic peoples.  So I think this makes perfect sense. I am a mixture of both the Celtic and Nordic peoples.

Just within the past few years things have changed as the science of genetic genealogy has progressed. Even FamilytreeDNA.com has revamped how they display the results of my DNA test. The naming of my Y-DNA Haplogroup has also been changed. Things are just being refined further as the science progresses.

Thus my paternal Y-DNA, which used to be called Haplogroup R1b1a2, is now called R-Z14. What Family Tree DNA used to give me as my reference population (noted above) as Orcadian, no longer shows on their web site (2015). Instead I get the map below showing my “Ethnic Makeup”. It is very interesting to compare this map with my known ancestry which  is as follows:
  • Scandinavian: 75%  (50% Norwegian, 25% Danish)
  • English: 12.5%
  • Welsh: 12.5%

Actually this could be modified slightly due to the fact that we really do not know the father of my paternal great-grandfather, nor the father of his mother:
  • Scandinavian: 65.5%  (50% Norwegian, 15.5% Danish)
  • English: 12.5%
  • Welsh: 12.5%
  • Unknown: 9.5%
Now compare those values with the map below from my DNA tests.


A couple of questions pop out immediately, which I will speculate to answer.  I am only speculating and one day all this could be proven wrong.

Q. 1. Why does my DNA show so much more Scandinavian ancestry than what I already know? (85% instead of 75%)

A. 1. Since there was so much Scandinavian influence throughout the Middle Ages from Viking raids throughout England, perhaps a significant portion of my English and Welsh blood has Scandinavian Viking traces still there. One also needs to realize that the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who came into England when Rome left in the 5th Century were from Scandinavia. Also the Normans who conquered England in 1066 were only a few generation descendants of Vikings from Norway. See my genealogy for the ancestry of William the Conqueror from Rollo, the Viking. “Norman” means “Northmen”. So there must be plenty of Scandinavian blood in the British Isles.

Q. 2. Where does the Southern Europe DNA come from, which is strangely even higher than the British DNA?

A. 2. Again, perhaps this is also due to the roving Vikings of the Middle Ages. The Vikings were, after all, all over the Mediterranean. King Roger II of Sicily  (near Italy) was a Viking from Normandy. Or perhaps it is due to my genetically unknown 9.5%. Perhaps the ancestors of my great-grandfather Lund from Denmark were roving sailors from southern Europe?

As explained in the next section, there is actually a rather high relationship among all Europeans anyway. So the answers to those questions may also be due to the extent of DNA tests, which may become more refined as more people are tested over the coming decades.



For more information on ancient DNA ancestry see the recommended books and links at the bottom of my prior blog post.

There are several locations where you can obtain your DNA ancestry testing. I went with Family Tree DNA www.familytreedna.com


Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

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