Friday, January 28, 2011

DNA and me

Well the results are in (or at least beginning to come in).  I found I was unable to resist the year-end promotions at 23andMe and ordered test kits for myself, my father and my husband. One of us was more prompt than the others (I'll leave you to guess) and I am now poring over information.

What is immediately clear is that I have a lot to learn. My reading to date has been along the lines of Genetic DNA for Dummies - and I haven't fully absorbed that. Time to up my intake levels.

I've been given some good pointers for places to explore. My weekend reading is starting with Blaine Bettinger's ebook "I Have the Results of Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?" which can be downloaded from his The Genetic Genalogist website. I have joined the DNA forums at Genetic Genealogy Digest and posted my first query. Joan Miller pointed me to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy website. 23andMe has forums and information, though I have found it difficult to navigate so far.  Several of us have banded together on Facebook for moral support with a 23andMe Newbie group. Please join us if you wish.

Lots to absorb. I am, however, truly interested in the results so far. I have little expectation of actually connecting with relatives on my father's side, but there are some potential matches that I have started communicating with. What has most interested me is my paternal Carpatho-Rusyn grandmother's haplogroup result - H2a5. My admittedly novice reading of the results suggests that this group is restricted to the Basque region of Spain - definitely NOT what I expected.
H2a5 and the Basques
One branch of H2 is much more localized. In fact, H2a5 is found only among one group of people: the Basques of northern Spain. The Basques are an isolated ethnic group that mostly reside in the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Spain from France. They speak a language that is distinct from every other on Earth, and many scientists have speculated that their linguistic uniqueness may mirror an equally unusual genetic history. In fact, some have argued that the Basque represent the descendants of some of the earliest human inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula. Although Haplogroup H2 is found among many Europeans, H2a5 is found only among the Basque, at levels of about 6%. H2a5 likely arose about 15,000 years ago, just after the glaciers began to recede from Europe after the Last Ice Age. People carrying H2a5 expanded into the Pyrenees, where their descendants still reside today. (From 23andMe's website)
There are other non-Basques with the same haplogroup, though most seem to be Norwegian. Curious and curiouser.


  1. Good post N'chucky! I am so behind. Spit going in the mail Monday!

  2. I'll follow everything you and others write, since I also have 23andMe, and don't understand a whole lot. Too bad we don't have the same Haplogroup.

  3. Loved the post! I had mine done and I fall in the haplogroup I2a2. My paternal line comes from Tiszavasvári in Hungary. The highest frequencies are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Sardinia and some Basques people. Pretty interesting!

  4. Great post, can't wait to see what else turns up for you. My daughter's school is doing a DNA/geography project and she's peppering me with questions I can't answer. Thanks for listing those DNA for Dummies sources -- I really need to read up.

  5. Thanks for yet another resource on interpreting DNA test results.

    We have gone that route with my Dad (to try and connect with other Burris descendants) and his sister (which finally confirmed our Indian ancestry).

    It can be very tedious to navigate this stuff. Good luck with any connections you find.

  6. Can't wait until YOU decipher it and let me know:)

  7. Great post! I've been thinking about doing this as well, but I'm just not sure. I don't have any male relatives to work with for my dad's side of the family. Not sure if I understand what I'd get well enough - mother's mother's mother and all that. Just not sure if it's worth it, but then, I could fill a thimble with what I know/understand about the DNA testing.

  8. Hi, I did the test to and it says that my maternal DNA is H2a5. My mom is 100% Serbian, with no known ties to the Bask. Hmmm...


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