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Determining a migration pattern from DNA

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  • Determining a migration pattern from DNA

    Determining a migration pattern from DNA

    In looking at the matches on the DNA report would these matches [1 or 2 markers off] indicate a possible migration pattern? Can I state with confidence from this report that they may have started in lets say the mid east - to Russia - then to England - then to America. That is what it appears to be, but I am not sure I understand - if I am reading this correctly.

    Judy Slocum

  • #2

    Well, I'll get brave and answer what I can of your question. I assume that you are referring to Y-DNA when you mention "DNA report." I don't believe that you can determine a migration pattern from the Y-DNA markers, per se. You can, of course, determine a haplogroup or where your ancestors may have had roots, by observing certain numbers and combinations at DYS426 and DYS392. The classifications were recently changed or updated, but I won't get into that. You can read about that at this website, i.e., Haplogroups.
    Probably an mtDNA test is more suited for tracing migration patterns, since the mutation rates are slower and ideally more suited for that purpose. There are other reasons, of course, that make this type test more informative owing to the fact that females being more mobile moving with family and husband from point to point, etc. and that men were always out hunting and being hunted and in battles and getting killed.
    So, I believe that when the the results are "1 or 2 markers off" in a Y-DNA test that it is probably giving information about the relatedness to another person and how far back in time he is related or if the two share a common ancestor (MRCA).
    Probably, a Y-DNA test is best suited for establishing relationships and helps to determine time in distance to the MRCA. Once we have information such as this from a Y-DNA test, then it would take the conventional genealogical research to establish migration patterns.

    I hope this may help a little bit. As someone said, we are all learning!

    Jim Hull


    • #3
      Migration Patterns

      Jim, You are right in everything you stated, I have been studying this in comparison to what I know about the Slocombe name and I think as this continues with more and more people taking part, we will unearth a new way of tracking history and our families. [This is my husbands Y- DNA and I am co-chair for this project]

      I can take the family back to 1308 in Dunster, England, British history tells me the name itself goes back to the 10th century. They were of the Saxon Race. My next step is to find out everything I can about the Saxon people and there movements, but how good is the written history on this group of people from that long ago???

      Now, if I compare my husbands Y-DNA ethnic group results to what I know, I think it is telling me or giving me an idea of migration of this group of people. For instance: EXACT MATCH - 3 people in Russia , 1 - Belarus [Ashkenazi [Jewish], ONE MARKER OFF - 1 - Belarus [Ashkenazi-Levite], 4 -Poland, 19 - Russia [Native Siberian] 2 MARKERS OFF - 28 - Poland, 11 Russia [Native Siberian]- 5 - Romania.
      There are more of course, but these stand out as far as a group of people.
      I think my next step is to find out what I can about the Saxon People and their movements and make comparisons.

      You wrote: a Y-DNA test is best suited for establishing relationships and helps to determine time in distance to the MRCA. Once we have information such as this from a Y-DNA test, then it would take the conventional genealogical research to establish migration patterns. [Could Y-DNA also tell us about the movements of a group of people, such as the Saxons?]
      What do you think?

      Judy Slocum


      • #4
        Hi Judy,

        Yes, I suppose that it is possible to trace a Saxon migration. But, isn’t one of the hurdles that there we have is that there was such an in- and out-migration of Saxon activity that it was so extremely widespread, that it is hard to separate all of the various specific migrations? I guess I am thinking on a much smaller level, i.e., particular surname migration pattern.
        A Y-STR database may have matches to your husbands particular Y-DNA, but these may not be of interest, but may be clues. It’s the DNA pattern associated with a particular surname that makes it possible to trace your families migration path, isn’t it?
        I think trying to determine if your family was part of a great migration or little migration would be like trying to say that all the surnames in the IGI migrated to here and there so this must be what my family did also? You look up a surname in the IGI from many surnames and then start looking for the given name and you have 150,000 John’s attached to the surname and living in every conceivable place in the world.
        It is giving clues (like a DNA pattern) as to where all of the people lived but the one you want has to have other information to make it meaningful to you (a specific DNA haplotype). A telephone directory might provide a better breakdown once you determine the location of where the John (from a documented paper trail) that you are looking for did resided.
        Yes, I think it is possible that you can learn about movements of groups of people from an anthropological study. But, that’s too general subject in my way of thinking. This would be many people and many haplotypes and many given surname (if they existed). Haplogroup designations are much broader and more generalized than Y-DNA haplotypes.
        So, in my opinion, a study of Saxon migration would be too generalized to provide any information to determine if your family was a part of such a migration, without paper trails. It may tell you that everybody that matches the DNA haplotype or your pattern lived in a particular area, but that probably isn’t what you want, is it?
        My opinion would be that the only assurances that you have are back as far as you can document a lineage of each generation for your surname. You mentioned comparing your husband’s matches to others in a database. Wouldn’t that sort of be like playing the lottery? Aren’t these people possibly other surnames who share the same set of numbers? I think the DNA signature associated with your surname and the documented proof is how you would want to trace the migration pattern.
        I think it would be interesting to make a map of the United States or possibly Europe, if you have documented ancestry across the pond, and to pinpoint each of the known places of residence.
        So, generally by testing more known persons with your surname and finding matches and then getting the proof of relatedness, you could begin to build a migration map for your family. But, you could also throw that match into a “big database” and see where anybody with those same matches lived and you could pinpoint that just for fun. I say that because it is not really going to tell you anything about your specific family migration. Also, you could pinpoint all the people with you surname who live in particular states, counties, etc.

        Now that I have gone around the block, Yes, I suppose that Y-DNA could tell you something about the migration of the Saxons, if that is what you are wanting to know. I think, as previously mentioned, certain patterns of mass migrations are being established with the haplogroup classifications, but I'll leave that to the anthoplogists. I'm just happy to learn of another Y-DNA match for my surname.



        • #5

          My tuppence worth. I agree with Jim that it would be hard tracing the Saxon race as a whole, but if you actually could pinpoint which village (tribe) your lot came from and were to attempt to track that group as a whole it might give you some idea of migration. Also, if the group was really closenit you may find that they intermarried a lot. In this case the mtDNA might be the way to look at it too.



          • #6
            Migration in history


            I agree that it is impossible to trace the whole Saxon race; however I do think that DNA does give us and indication of such migration. If you know the history of your family back far enough and using history as your tool for support – I think it would give you a good indication of the migration - proving it is another story. I think the future will be interesting as DNA becomes more a part of our world. Keeping an open mind and tracking it will eventually give you some indication and applying what we do know about history of the lost tribes and their migration patterns you can or will be able to give an over all pattern of family history and their movements across the world. I know the name Slocombe began in England – the name itself goes back to the 11th century, they were of the Saxon race and we have a basic migration pattern of different groups of the Saxon people and their migration across Europe – we can not prove this by written history, but DNA patterns who match your own DNA and where they came from would certainly suggest a starting point for further research. It is obvious we can not pin point this sort of thing, but we can get some idea through the use of DNA. I can already trace with proof the family migration back to the 1400 century and the name itself back to the 11th century – so what is to say that DNA will get us back even farther. The future is ours to discover.

            Judy Slocum
            Rockford, Illinois
            Slocombe family History


            • #7
              Forgive me if I seem to be splitting hairs, but what is the Saxon "race"? It is my understanding that there has been so much mixing among peoples that the concept of even a single unique race has been discredited, and that certainly such relatively small groups as Saxons (or Angles, Danes, Jews or whatever) simply cannot be described as "races". Secondly, is it even possible to demonstrate migrations within the relatively short time frames of a few centuries? Especially, is it possible if the groups that migrated and the groups into which they migrated are of the same Haplogroup?