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Adoptee - Haplogroup A - Progress

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  • Adoptee - Haplogroup A - Progress

    I had mtDNA analysis through Genographics. I found out just last year that I was adopted. My adoptive mother had especially not wanted me to know. A couple of stories surround my adoption. One was that my father brought my birth mother back from the Philippines after his service in WWII. The family speculates that he is my father, but I can't be positive about that. My brothers insist that my birth mother was a "full-blooded" Indian (North American). They met her. My adoptive mother's mother kept "unwed mothers" as her business. My birth mother lived with that grandmother while pregnant. My brothers would have been 8 and 9 at the time and would have seen her frequently. All that one would tell me indirectly through his wife was that my mother had beautiful long black hair.

    My haplogroup came back as A. I found a couple of papers that show I am A2, if I interpreted them correctly. This would largely eliminate the "story" about a Philippino mother, since A2 emerged after the Asian to Native American transition.

    I had considered adding on the HVR2 analysis, but I'm not sure it would add much more. From one paper I saw, it would mainly confirm the N to A transition which I already know and confirm the A2 status which I already know. The other mutations were termed private (that might not be the exact word), but I took it to mean, random, not associated with any new grouping.

    This was my result:
    16094C, 16111T, 16223T, 16290T, 16319A, 16325C, 16362C, 16519C

    There were 8 matches at mitosearch with all but the 16094C mutation.

    All had most distant maternal locations in Canada, Minnesota, New York or Michigan. I live in Texas, so it may be difficult to distinguish if my background is North American Indian or more hispanic, although by demographics hispanic is more likely.

    I'm considering autosomal testing perhaps through DNA tribes. I think I could get lucky and have some markers highly associated with a particular tribe. I don't have any of the Eskimo specific markers or NaDene specific markers.

    I've really just started researching this, but would be interested in any thoughts on the significance of the 16094C, just a random change? Also are there any publications I should look at? I found a paper in PLos that just came out in March 2008, but am not familiar with some of the terminology. I'll read it more carefully this weekend.

    I'm thrilled to at least be able to rule out the Philippine origin, but would like to learn more if possible.

    A little more background is that both parents and all grandparents are dead, but I did find a court of adoption, so can at least confirm that there was an adoption. I had asked a paternity testing site and was told that three of my father's siblings would be required to confirm he was my father. I found out I was adopted at my aunt's funeral, which left only two of his siblings living, both male.

    A few more facts, in case you wonder why I don't just test a couple of relatives to fill in my story. I also found out that one "brother" is not related by blood at all. He was my adoptive mother's child by another man. Possibly a deal was struck, mother and father had a child by another person, they agreed to raise as their own. I have one possible half brother who moved away and did not give me his address after my adoptive mother died. He probably never recognized me as part of the family. My father died when I was 11, so I have a new appreciation for my adoptive mother who was left to raise me as her own. I must have been a constant reminder of my father's infidelity. I will try to have someone that would carry my father's Y chromosome to have testing done just to learn about the family that raised me. My being female and having only potential relatives that are male makes it difficult to verify on the paternal side. I'd like to know about my adoptive mother as well since she and her family raised me. She only had one sister who was killed in a train wreck in her early teens, so that will be difficult to track as well.

    Also, should I post on another forum? I posted here because I do consider this at least a partial success.

    Cheryl in Texas

  • #2
    Hi Cheryl,

    My situation is similar to your's, I am Native C1 and the son of a mother who was adopted. My maternal grandparents have proven impossible to locate in the records so I have been mining family DNA since 2005. It's a journey.

    I would urge you to hold-off on a test of HVR 2 and save your money for the full genomic sequences, FGS, as mitochondrial phylogeny is now based on coding region results. And if you chose to do FGS I hope you will post your results to GenBank where they are available to researchers. It is free, easy, and annonymous, and, as evidenced by your use of published studies, the more the geneticists know the more we can know.

    I have done DNATribes and AncestrybyDNA and you can find several ongoing threads on DNA and Genealogy forum on this site to learn what others have learned through such tests.

    And I recently read on another DNA site that Mexico was administrator of the Philippines during Spanish rule and sent Native Americans to the islands. Hence your mother might have been both Native American and Filippina. But haplogroup A is less frequent in the southwest and Mexico than in the north and northeast of North America.

    Hope this helps, Tom


    • #3
      I just checked the 2007 Tamm and Kivisild paper 'Beringian Standstill' (that is available as a pdf download from FTDNA library) and, by their reckoning you are A2 altho you could be A2a but that can only be confirmed by coding region results (FGS).


      • #4
        Adoptee - Haplogroup A - Progress

        Thanks for the suggestions. I think you are referring to the full mitochondrial genome, but could you confirm. I was considering next to do the DNA Tribes analysis which would pick up info that would probably be more recent and give me some hints about my father's lineage.

        The story of a Filipina mother came from the more reliable members of the family, but they can only repeat what they have been told. I was hoping that while adoption records are sealed I might get some info from military records if my mother was brought through the war brides act. It was modified to allow a fiancee to be brought in. Of course, a fire destroyed the military records for my father. After my adoptive mother died, we found a marriage certificate for around the time of my adoption. Somewhere between the time that my brothers were born and I was born there was a divorce that we had not known about. I thought I had finally solved the puzzle, that my parents had to adopt me to get my father's name on the birth certificate, so I was adopted by my real parents. My adoptive mother had quite a temper, so it would not be out of character for her to divorce my father so that his name would not be on my birth certificate. He had always wanted a daughter.

        I actually met Tilly (my birth mother) at a young age. I don't remember anything about her. She had a toddler son that caught my attention more. He had my complexion. Of course, I wonder if he could be my brother or at least half brother.

        I have yet to register with the adoption registry. If they are looking for me, we could be introduced.

        I'm looking for hints with the name Tilly, but it is probably a nickname. I guessed it could be short for Matilda, which might be a Spanish name reflecting the Spanish influence in the Philippines. My father was in WWII and I was born in 1954, so the timing is a little off. However, I am certain my father had a long term relationship with Tilly. She lived in Houston where he visited frequently on business. We visited her as a family. I speculate they either wanted to let her see me or possibly were even considering adopting the little boy I saw. It was the only trip we ever took, so it is in my memory, unfortunately I remember nothing about her.

        I would definitely submit my information. I suppose it is still useful even if I don't have an accurate history to go along with it.


        • #5

          Yes I was referring to the mito FGS.

          And there is a law that requires that Native American children not be deprived of knowledge of their ancestry by adoption. So if one can prove Native ancestry the adoption records must be opened.

          Proving Native ancestry is a bit of a Catch 22 situation, but why not apply based on your mito?

          (BTW my mother's adoption was 'informal' she got picked from the pile of toddlers like a puppy from the pound!).

          DNATribes and the other autosomal test, AncestrybyDNA, can be a bit of a gamble because autosomal markers are subject to recombination and it is just luck of the draw as to what one gets. Neither test is quite good enough. That's why I took both!

          AbDNA is sometimes used by law enforcement so it might stand-up better in court. The marker set employed by Tribes is also used by forensics but I do not know if their algorithm has been vetted. Suppose you could ask Tribes.

          Would INS have records of immigration and/or naturalization?
          Last edited by tomcat; 10 April 2008, 02:33 PM.


          • #6
            Thanks for that information. I'll definitely try that strategy to get my adoption records opened. Until now, I only knew that a health problem could be the basis for opening them. I really have no health concern that could justify opening the documents.

            I imagine I will eventually do all of the testing available and expect that the prices will come down. I had already been looking into it, even before confirming the adoption. I had always been told that we had "Indian" blood on both sides of the family, that it just showed up a little more in me. I was frequently asked what are you, as a child and through college. Living in Texas though, there was significant discrimination toward Mexicans, so the Indian background would have been more socially acceptable to my family. I really can't think of an ancestry that I would be disappointed to find out was mine, but I would like to know.

            I've also wondered if I should spend my DNA testing dollars on tests that would determine disease susceptibility, but probably if I had an increased risk of something major it would have shown up by now. I'm 53. The mitochondrial genome testing would probably include some info related to disease risk or metabolism, so that might actually be a good thing for me to do, but it's a little pricy for me right now. I need to look into joining or starting a project to see what the discounts are. I didn't see any discount for the HVR1 data I already have either.


            • #7
              My adoption could also be hard to track since it wasn't through a large adoption agency. My grandmother kept a few girls and worked with a lawyer to arrange private adoptions. My cousin, Brenda, who informed me of my adoption was adopted herself, but in her case we always knew she was adopted. Brenda's mother lived with another lady that was friends with my Grandmother. Apparently my mother would take both of our birth mothers shopping. Brenda did find her parents, but her mother passed away several years ago, otherwise she could tell me more about Tilly. It's really difficult to know that I have been so close to information several times.


              • #8

                I am 61 and take the same attitude toward potential deleterious mutations - figure if I had a grave health problem I would already know it, and there is not much that can be done about misbehaving genes. I did FGS, didn't find any bad actors.

                The new thing for those with an interest in genes and health are the whole genome scans (, in which hundreds of thousands of SNP's are sampled. These concerns also do some ancestry analysis but it is still rudimentary and they don't yet have Native American data integrated in their admixture analysis.


                • #9
                  Yes, I'm thinking it's a blessing that I didn't find out until now, it has spared me years of anxiety, but I do think differently about my health now. I had thought that since there was just no cancer in my family, I wouldn't have to worry about that one. But then, the recent report that heterozygosity is almost protective against cancer, makes me less worried about that one. I do believe I am a mix with caucasian.

                  And I have those two companies on my radar as well. At one time I was working in molecular biology and could probably have sequenced myself, but I don't have that option now.

                  For sure I have several hobbies now, tracing my DNA, doing geneaology on my adoptive family, and studying up on the history of native americans and the Philippines. The Philippines will always be of interest to me anyway since my father served there. I was the ultimate daddy's little girl, even if he wasn't my biological father. There really is enough of a family resemblance there that I can be pretty sure about him though.

                  I really appreciate your help. I'll try to find some of your threads to look at your story. My cousin told me not to give up. She has an adopted friend around our age who was told that both his parents were killed in a car accident. That turned out to be a story cooked up to prevent him from looking for them. He has recently found both of his biological parents.


                  • #10
                    And I have those two companies on my radar as well. At one time I was working in molecular biology and could probably have sequenced myself, but I don't have that option now.
                    ... [QUOTE]

                    With a science background you might be of some use to this community.


                    • #11
                      I always want to know if a testing company is going to give me the sequence data or exact SNP, not just a summary report, that I am a certain % Asian or at a higher risk for heart disease. With the raw data, I can search for more specific information that is already out there and that will become available. I have to say I was surprised that Genographics only gave me the general information that I am Haplotype A. It was fairly easy to get to the A2 information. It will be interesting to see how long before my report is updated at Genographics to reflect that detail.

                      I found some references on the internet that indicate the 16094C mutation that I have is a frequent error or artifact, so of course I'm wondering about that one, especially since noone matches me there. Sequencing technology has rapidly changed though, so I would guess that those types of errors are less frequent now and surely Genographics is aware of those and would check that data very carefully.


                      • #12
                        I think both DeCodeMe and 23andMe provide raw data files on their SNP's. AbDNA has published a study giving the SNP's they use but individual reports do not identify individual results for those SNP's. Tribes does provide a table of one's actual allele values for all 21 loci.


                        • #13
                          I'm most likely to do the tribes testing next. Their reports are geared more toward my question of is the Native American more hispanic or Plains Indian. With some luck I could be identifiable to a particular tribe. I'd also like to know more about the particular European background that I carry on my Father's side.


                          • #14

                            Don't mean to be discouraging, but it is rather unlikely your Tribes results will link you to a particular tribe. Reason #1 most American Aboriginals, although quite different from all other peoples of the world, are more alike than not, #2 North American tribes are officially opposed to this entire area of endeavor and so have refused collective testing and/or tested individuals keep individual results private, #3 admixture/recombination can create false positives and false negatives.

                            So, although one is not wrong to hope for the best, the best is not available. Nevertheless, you could expect a Tribes test to confirm, to a degree, your Native ancestry, but you have to accept that confirmation will come through matches to Hispanic Diaspora population of the Americas in which the Native component is the denominator rather than the Hispanic.

                            I think your best shot at a tribal connection is via Mt DNA - but there are no guarantees - the Native Mt database is far from complete (by dint of #2 above) and so cannot be be trusted for authoritativeness (#1 above). Thankfully, recombination (#3) is not a problem with Mt.

                            Keep the faith.
                            Last edited by tomcat; 11 April 2008, 03:45 PM.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CherylH
                              I'm considering autosomal testing perhaps through DNA tribes. I think I could get lucky and have some markers highly associated with a particular tribe. I don't have any of the Eskimo specific markers or NaDene specific markers.
                              Cheryl, I recommend not to use DNATribes, for an admixted individual its highly inaccurate. If you have time to wait or money to spend now I would consider the new autosomal/x-chromosomal tests that has arrived in the marked lately.