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  #1  
Old 16th October 2017, 02:33 PM
Elena Caban Elena Caban is offline
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Shocking / Contradictory mtDNA Results

Hello,

I just got my mtDNA results, and they are shocking, to say the least. My mother is an immigrant from Cuba, and my great-grandmother was born in Spain, near Madrid. However, my ancestral origins are given as mostly Irish. There's also some English in there. All of the people I match are Irish, English, or report such heritage.

Now, needless to say, Irish was the last thing I ever expected. Honestly, I thought I'd get Spanish, or MAYBE Sephardic Jewish. But Irish? Granted, I have green eyes, and don't look "stereotypically" Hispanic, but I have NEVER heard of an Irish ancestor. Ever.

Here's my question: what do people think about weird and contradictory (in terms of family history) results? Was the test a fluke, or is somebody in my family really, really confused?

The percentage for Irish wasn't particularly high, either (21 matches, 0.2%). I'm still floored, either way.

My haplogroup was I2, with a rare mutation (apparently).
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  #2  
Old 16th October 2017, 03:05 PM
KATM KATM is offline
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Haplogroups, both Y and mitochondrial, go back thousands of years, so your recent known genealogy may not be indicative of your long-ago matrilineal ancestress. The same goes for your matches, who self-reported the Irish locations for their matrilineal Most Distant Known Ancestor showing in your Ancestral Origins.

If you check Eupedia's page for Haplogroups N1a & I (mtDNA), it says that mtDNA Haplogroup I is fairly rare. It also says (my bolding):
Quote:
Haplogroup I2 is found in most of northern Europe, but also in the Caucasus, in Siberia and among the Pasiegos of Cantabria in northern Spain, who has possess other typically Indo-European maternal lineages like H6, J1b1a, T1a1a, U2e, U4 and U5a1a and surprisingly high levels of Y-haplogroup R1a (see Maca-Meyer et al. 2003)
and
Quote:
I2: found in northern and central Europe, Anatolia, the North Caucasus and Azerbaijan
(subclades of I2 are found in different places in Europe)
and
Quote:
Haplogroup I has not been found in Neolithic remains from Europe to date. It first shows up in Chalcolithic Catalonia (c. 3500-3000 BCE) as I1c1. Interestingly, it was accompanied by haplogroups U4 and W1, two typically East European lineages, which hint that the Catalan site may represent an early migration of Steppe people in western Europe.
Which test did you take? The mtDNAplus, or mtDNAFullSequence? If you took the mtDNAPlus test, you may not have your final subclade (such as I2a, I2b, etc.). You may want to join the I Haplogroup mtDNA Project; perhaps they can provide some advice and insights.

Have you taken the Family Finder test? That will give you an ethnic breakdown with myOrigins 2.0, which many have complained about. But, you could also download your raw file from Family Finder, register at GEDmatch.com and upload it there. GEDmatch has tools that you can use to get ethnicity estimates, if you are not happy with myOrigins 2.0.

Last edited by KATM; 16th October 2017 at 03:09 PM.
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  #3  
Old 16th October 2017, 03:17 PM
KATM KATM is offline
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I should add that since you mentioned you have an apparent rare mutation, that may be helpful if you use your mtDNA results for finding a relative. Someone with the same rare mutation (and at a close Genetic Distance, such as 0 or 1) is a good candidate to be related more closely to you.

I also realized that, since you have your mutations shown, you must have taken the FMS (mtDNAFullSequence) test. So I2 is your final haplogroup.
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  #4  
Old 16th October 2017, 06:14 PM
dna dna is online now
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As written by KATM, nothing unusual in your results.

Please remember that you are looking at DNA and, for example, the fact that for a moment your family resided in Cuba is entirely irrelevant.
  1. Your "great-grandmother was born in Spain, near Madrid", but her mother could have been Irish. Why not?
  2. Or the other way around, i.e. a woman from Iberia could have travelled to Ireland hundreds of years ago. Why not?

An individual could have travelled a long distance. Even a very long time ago, even a female. A well known example is
Moreover, it is safe to assume that this teenage girl travelled with female companions and servants, and not only male guards.

Populations seldom moved, and thus haplogroups (both mtDNA and Y-DNA) are assumed to be clustered with populations before 1492. On the other hand, if you look at the map in

you will realize that only Middle Ages (let's say 476/496-1492) were a period of relatively few large scale migrations.


However, there could be another factor. Please read about evolutionary convergence (often convergence for short) https://isogg.org/wiki/Convergence . If it were to be your case, yours and your matches MRCA could have lived more than ten thousands years ago. The article describes Y DNA scenarios, but the term (definition) itself applies to mtDNA convergence too.


Regardless of your scenario, there is nothing unusual about it. On the other hand, uniqueness of your results (=rare mutation) in Iberian population is very good for your research. Since if you find a match from someone in Spain, they are likely to come from your line!


Good luck - Mr. W

P.S.
About 1. and 2. The Roman Empire did not extend to Ireland. However, during over three hundred years they were in Britain, they had already been very well established in Iberia. Your mtDNA line could have been local to anywhere in the Roman Empire (say England, France or Iberia) and spread from there. There were many Roman ordinary and higher-ranking officials moved around. I've Been Moved, was probably invented back then...
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Old 16th October 2017, 06:57 PM
Armando Armando is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elena Caban View Post
Hello,

I just got my mtDNA results, and they are shocking, to say the least. My mother is an immigrant from Cuba, and my great-grandmother was born in Spain, near Madrid. However, my ancestral origins are given as mostly Irish. There's also some English in there. All of the people I match are Irish, English, or report such heritage.

Now, needless to say, Irish was the last thing I ever expected. Honestly, I thought I'd get Spanish, or MAYBE Sephardic Jewish. But Irish? Granted, I have green eyes, and don't look "stereotypically" Hispanic, but I have NEVER heard of an Irish ancestor. Ever.

Here's my question: what do people think about weird and contradictory (in terms of family history) results? Was the test a fluke, or is somebody in my family really, really confused?

The percentage for Irish wasn't particularly high, either (21 matches, 0.2%). I'm still floored, either way.

My haplogroup was I2, with a rare mutation (apparently).
First of all very few people with ancestry from Spain in the direct maternal line get a an mtDNA test with FTDNA and there is a very large number of people with ancestry from Ireland that do get an mtDNA test. Eupedia shows mtDNA I to be 3% in Ireland and the population of Ireland is 4.73 million and mtDNA I in Spain to be 1.1% which has a population of 46.56 million. So you should see a lot more I2 in Spain than in Ireland just based on differences of population. So what you are seeing is a result of popularity of mtDNA testing among Irish descendants compared to the popularity of mtDNA testing among Spanish descendants.

In Behar at al. 2012 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3322232/ there is a table that shows that I2 is about 6,386 years old. So that is how far back is it estimated that you share a common ancestor with your matches.

DNA testing needs to become popular in Spain and with FTDNA, instead of 23andme, before you start seeing matches from Spain.

Last edited by Armando; 16th October 2017 at 07:01 PM.
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  #6  
Old 16th October 2017, 08:33 PM
Elena Caban Elena Caban is offline
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Posts: 2
Thanks for all of your help!

I do realize now that it would be possible for me to have an Irish ancestor somewhere. You are right in that my great grandmother's mother could have been Irish. Sadly, any and all relevant documents regarding her are long lost in Cuba. That's definitely one country you don't want to lose documents (or yourself) in.

Ireland is just a place I never thought of, so I was surprised.

I also thank you guys for pointing out the lack of Spanish test-takers. That is definitely a possibility! Maybe, eventually, more Spanish matches might appear?

KATM: I did the full mtDNA test. I also joined the I Group, and shared my information. They wrote me back, saying I have a rare mutation which probably constitutes its own as-of-yet unidentified subclade. Everyone else (about 12 people) who has that mutation reported British/Irish ancestors.

Your information about the I haplogroup in Spain is very interesting. I guess we'll just have to wait for more Spanish test-takers =/

Edit: I should also mention that I did AncestryDNA a while back. Those results were exactly what you'd expect from someone like me: roughly 45% Iberian, 30% Italian/Greek, and 10% indigenous American.

Last edited by Elena Caban; 16th October 2017 at 08:43 PM.
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  #7  
Old 17th October 2017, 08:21 AM
KATM KATM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elena Caban View Post
KATM: I did the full mtDNA test. I also joined the I Group, and shared my information. They wrote me back, saying I have a rare mutation which probably constitutes its own as-of-yet unidentified subclade. Everyone else (about 12 people) who has that mutation reported British/Irish ancestors.
Since the project admin told you that, I wonder if he or she suggested that you consider submitting your mtDNA FASTA file to Genbank. Ian Logan has some information at his website about the submission process. That is how the unidentified subclades get identified; if you submit, and then one other with the rare mutation does, voilą, a new subclade!
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