Friday, September 5, 2014

The Old Genealogical Curve Ball

In an effort to get a complete ancestral picture for my kids, I am attempting to do my Hubs genealogy as well as my own.
After all, half of their DNA came from him, right?

So in order to get a full panoramic view, my son let me have his Y DNA tested.
My Hubs wasn't interested in letting me test his, so by testing my son's we still get the Y DNA information for my Hubs paternal line.

My Hubs comes from a Italian American family from New Jersey.
He takes great pride in his Sicilian heritage.
Hub's father was one of the two youngest siblings born in America while the older siblings were all born in Sicily.
So Hubs is second generation American on his father's side.
As far as Hubs knows, or anyone still alive in his father's family knows, his father's family is born and bred Sicilian, ethnic Italians, as long as people have lived in that place.

Or so we thought.....

When the Y DNA test came back I assumed it would tell us Hubs paternal line was M172 or one of the other haplogroups that are predominantly found in the population of Sicily.

To my surprise his DNA came back as R-M269.  This is the predominant DNA subclade for those of Northern European/British Isles descent....not swarthy Mediterranean types.
(Most of the early Founding Fathers of America were white Englishmen with M269 Y DNA.)
R-M269 is my paternal Y DNA as well.

His admixture(mix of races you have in your genetic background)came back as 91% European, 7% Middle Eastern and 1% Central/South Asian.

Of that 91% number, 55% of that was specifically European Coastal Islands(United Kingdom/Netherlands/France/Belgium) so Northern European.
The rest of his 91% Eeuropean admixture was equally split between Northland countries like Norway/Sweden/Denmark and the North Mediterranean Basin countries of Spain/Portugal/Italy/Greece.

What this tells us is that Hubs Italian ancestry does not go way back to the earliest humans in Italy as he had thought.

If you consider human migration in regard to the history of this region of Europe Hubs' male line may have it's origins in Northern Europeans who migrated into the Southern environs of Europe many, many centuries ago.

History tells us that the Romans(ethnic Italians) invaded Britain, Austria, Corsica, Crete, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Switzerland, Syria and Turkey.
Perhaps Hub's ancestor was an Anglo-Saxon, a Pict or a Celt who was conquered in the British Isles and brought back to Rome? 

As a blogger friend mentioned, and I had forgotten, perhaps Hub's ancestor was a Northern European/Englishman who invaded/migrated to Sicily in the 11th and 12th centuries.  Sicily was ruled by the Normans(French) until the 14th century and then the Kings of Spain in the 15th century.  Even before that Sicily was taken by the Vandals(a Germanic tribe)in about 400 AD.

Sicily seems to have spent it's entire history as the prize/possession of whatever tribe/empire was in power.  It passed through many hands and from country to country into the 20th century.
It was one of those places in the history of civilization that was a meeting and trading place for many cultures and peoples--a melting pot of humankind.

The bottom line is if we were to trace Hub's paternal Y DNA from New Jersey, USA back to Sicily via any paper trail that remains intact, it would ultimately lead us from Italian soil back to northern Europe and into the British Isles.

Needless to say Hubs didn't take this revelation too well and refuses to accept it.
Ever since we met we have thought that we were genetically VERY different.
But this discovery put that thought to bed and we are, in fact, very close together in our DNA origins, at least on our respective paternal lines.

The Old Genealogical Curve Ball strikes again!




  1. Amazing information. No one seems to know where my mother's family came from (Ohio.) I should have that done some day.

    1. I highly recommend having an autosomal dna test done, but only if you plan on doing a paper research of your family tree too. Otherwise you'll just wind up with a bunch of people who you are genetically related to and no way to find out how they are related.

      I can do a short lookie loo for your mom's family if you like on ancestry's records....just email me.

  2. I just read an article that said love had little to do with choosing mates, that we choose people whose DNA matched ours.

    My daughter's Italian husband is mostly Irish. And, my swarthy family on father's side who are supposed to be from Germany and Ukraine are mostly Irish. Those Irish got around!

  3. This makes me curious as to the genealogy of your mail man...

    1. You are evil......and I like it! lolz

  4. Although I have benn involved with genealogy for many years, some in a semi-professional way, I have not learned much about DNA testing. It is something I have thought about on and off over the years but thought that it might be rather expensive. Is that the case? I have "full" membership over at Ancestry, could I do it via them?

    The only thing that DH aka 'Im-in-doors and I do know for certain is that a medical condition known as Dupuytren's contracture, where the fingers curl in toward the palm of the hand, was/is used as a DNA marker. Apparently it only shows up in folk with Northern European/Scandinavian roots. 'Im-in-doors has had surgery for the condition on both of his hands. The surgeon said Ah a true Viking! not surprising as his family originated, came to the UK in the late 1700s, from Northern Germany.

    I found your post very interesting as I have often wondered what proportion of UK folk have Roman blood running through their viens and if the concentration of such folk is higher in areas where there were large Roman Garissons.

    1. Yes, Ancestry dotcom now has DNA testing. They've been advertising on the US site here for testing for $100....but I don't know what that includes. Depending on what it includes it could be a good price.

      Ancestry was late to the game so I don't know much about theirs or how large the data base over there is. You want to go with a company with a large user base if all over concerns are the same.

      The prices have come down at most of the companies offering genealogical testing over the last 3 years.....that being said, I'd suggest you wait until the company you want to go with offers a sale on their testing packages.

      My admixture(all the races that make you up)came back as 96% or something with a 14% margin for basically I am the whitest person on the planet. lolz
      They classified me as Orcadian(as in Orkney Islands of Scotland)as I am a mix of Irish, Scotch, Welsh, English, with some Scandinavian and French thrown in, or a Western European mutt as I like to call myself. ;-)

      Like Sicily the Orkneys were a hot bed of trade and culture mixing(as well as genetic mixing it seems). Any seafaring culture made great inroads interbreeding with other less mobile cultures.

      They have changed their admixture for me since I was tested and I am now 100%(no margin for error lol)European-western/northern/central.
      I am probably on some level genetically related to your Norse spouse but dodged that medical condition but I do have trouble with my thumb these days.

      This dna stuff is interesting there's no doubt and can be a help with your paper trail.....though be prepared for tons of people to email saying their dna is related to yours and want YOU to find the actual relation connection, even though they've done little paper trail work. ugh

  5. Sluggy, Which company did you use to do the DNA testing? I did the ancestry one but I am now thinking of doing the more precise autosomal or mitochondrial. Did you do both? One for you and one for your son? I am thinking if I want to do my paternal line I only have one remaining uncle to ask if he would take the test. I hope I am understanding all this correctly.

    1. I used Family Tree DNA(just add dotcom to that to find them).
      I had mitochondrial and autosomal testing done on myself, Y-DNA and autosomal on my son(b/c his autosomal would also give us hub's other than y-dna)and my brother had Y DNA and autosomal(because the autosomal was free that time with the Y, didn't need his autosomal but it might help if his autosomal picks up autosomal genetic material that mine my tested part of the chains didn't pick up).
      Since both Y tests on 12 markers(the lowest one they do)came out M269(and this doesn't narrow down the gene pool enough)we now need to do further Y testing on additional markers(37, 60 something or 111). The more markers tested the more precise your classification. But I will wait for a sale or for the prices to go down before I do anymore testing. This shit gets expensive! lol

      Yes, to get YOUR Y-DNA you need your father, paternal grandfather, father's brother, paternal uncle or other living male in the generation before you. Your son has your husband's/his father's Y dna, not the Y DNA you came from. Likewise on the mtDNA, you can be tested, your mother, your mother' s mother, your mother's sisters or your daughter....they will all carry the same X chromosome material.

  6. Oh my goodness I LOVE this post. I feel quite terrible for your husband but what a story. That makes me wonder so much about me and my hubby. I consider us for very different backgrounds as I am all Irish, Scottish, British and he is German, Dutch but who that's only so many generations back. Neat stuff!!!


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