I asked my father if I could take his DNA earlier this year. I got the results back. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge of what it all signifies means that I am not as prepared to decipher the results as I thought.
What I can tell you that there are three other DNA samples with FamilyTreeDNA that are the most like my fathers. We share the same Haplogroup (R-M269 aka R1b1b2). A haplogroup is a genetic population of people. It is like a clan (Vikings, etc). This Haplogroup is the dominant lineage in all of Western Europe. It is said that R-M269, is the most common European Y-chromosomal lineage. If you look at the map below, it shows where our Haplogroup (clade) was in 2010. (Source: Hammer M269 Diversity in Europe)
Some people have asked why the test results cannot give a percentage of different ancestral groups. The reason is that my father got his DNA from his father, who got it from his father. So, in my case, Dad got his from Fred Whitehead, who got his from Walter Whitehead, who got his from George Whitehead, who got his from Joel, to Samuel, to Samuel, to UNKNOWN. I have only confirmed my father’s paternal side back to my 5th great-grandfather. So I still have some research to do.
The map below shows which regions where my Haplogroup appears. Notice the red arrows. Please don’t ask me what all the pie charts mean, I am still working on that.
Source: Family Tree DNA
If you think of these haplogroups as branches on a tree, we can state that R-M269 is the dominant branch on the Western European Tree. It also seems that this clade (a grouping of organisms (i.e. humans) traced to a common ancestor) is also the largest, so the test that I did, was not sufficient to narrow down a subclade, I had my father take the 37 marker test. It now looks like the 111 marker test will be necessary. I will save my money!
My father’s Haplogroup R1b, can trace their roots back to the Saxons, Vikings and Celts.
This lineage is the most common haplogroup in European populations. It is found in about 90% of Basques, 80% of Irish and Welsh, 70% of Scots, 60% of English, 50% of French, 50% of Germans, but only 25% of Norwegians and 1% of Syrians. It is believed to represent the main pre-Ice Age population of western Europe, which expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last Ice Age 10-12,000 years ago (Hauridna, 2016).
So, what has this really taught us? First, don’t always believe the hype. Yes, it is true that I believe this DNA test will be fruitful in the long run, in the short one; it did not produce a smoking gun. Second, I am a member of a DNA Whitehead Family Group with 81 members and growing. My goal in 2016 is to start working on these angles to see if I can break down my brick wall. Third, although it didn’t give me the result I wanted, I got to spend a wonderful 30 minutes on the couch with my father discussing it. To me, that is priceless!
Until later, I will be exploring backwards.
Family Tree DNA
Hammer, Michael, University of Arizona, Family Tree DNA, 9th Annual Conference
Hauridna, Hauri yDNA Project, retrieved on 1/18/16 at http://www.hauridna.com/haplogroups/haplogroup-r.