This past summer, for my birthday, my parents bought me a DNA kit from National Geographic. At first I thought they may be trying to tell me something….just kidding! Anyway, my kit came in the mail, I did my cheek swabs and sent it back to NG, and waited for the results. When I got them, I learned that I was from Haplogroup T2.
First let me start off by saying that I had my mitochondrial DNA tested. This DNA is passed down through the maternal line and changes very little over time. So my daughter’s mtDNA and my sister’s mtDNA both match mine, and we all match my 2nd great-grandmother’s mtDNA, which is as far back on that line as I’ve been able to trace. According to NG, Haplogroup T first appeared about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, and then moved northwest in to Europe and east as far as modern Pakistan and India.
According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy,
The mitochondrial Haplogroup T is best characterized as a European lineage. With an origin in the Near East greater than 45,000 years ago, the major sub-lineages of Haplogroup T entered Europe around the time of the Neolithic 10,000 years ago. Once in Europe, these sub-lineages underwent a dramatic expansion associated with the arrival of agriculture in Europe. Today, we find Haplogroup T*, the root Haplogroup for Haplogroup T, widely distributed in Europe.
About subclade T1 they write: “The origin of Haplogroup T1 dates to at least 6,000 years ago, and today, we find Haplogroup T1 distributed in populations living in southeast, central, and northwestern Europe.”
Regarding subclade T2: “Haplogroup T2 is one of the older sub-lineages and may have been present in Europe as early as the Late Upper Palaeolithic.”
Wikipedia adds, “Haplogroup T is currently found with high concentrations around the eastern Baltic Sea.” That makes sense: I already know I am Polish on that side of the family. Maria Pawloska, my earliest known ancestress on that line who’s mtDNA I share came from Ostruza, Poland. Her earliest known child was born in 1872. It was Maria’s daughter Kazimiera Gut who immigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1902 and settled in Philadelphia, PA., where she married my great-grandfather, Andrzej Watracz.
Through NG, I was able to upload my results for free (my favorite price) to Family Tree DNA. I did this and then promptly forgot about it. I’m a busy girl you know! So when I got an email this morning saying I had matches for my mtDNA at Family Tree DNA, I had to check it out.
I logged on with the ID and password they gave me and went to the link that said “matches”. There are 59 matches filed with FTDNA from all over the world, only one of which is from Poland. Many of the matches have some annotations to them — specifically, “Sephardic”, “Mizrahi”, and “Ashkenazi”. I didn’t recognize the first two terms, but I knew Ashkenazi was a term related with Jewish. When I looked them up online, I learned that Sephardic are Jewish people from the area of Spain, and Mizrahi are Jewish people from the Arabic region. Ashkenazi Jewish are from Germany. 24 of my matches are people who can trace their earliest ancestor to Iraq. Now, that’s pretty interesting, as I have no (known) Arabic blood at all. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, is anyone in my recent family history Jewish.
I played around some and was able to produce a map of my matches’ earliest known ancestors.
I sent the link and the log in information to my sister. She found that one of our matches said they were descended from Charlemagne. Could that even be possible? I learned from Wikipedia that the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II, was from Haplogroup T2, and that would include all of his mother’s line as well.
But how far back does one go before the blood is no longer there? Going back just six generations gives us only 1/64th of each ancestor’s DNA. I am only 1/32nd of Maria Pawloska Gut. I am curious to see how many other of my matches will appear — and will we be able to make a match on our family trees?
The bottom line is, somewhere within the last 10,000 years, I, and everyone else in Hapologroup T2, shared a common female ancestor. I can only trace my matrilinear line back about 200 years. That’s a lot of distant relatives I may have out there.
But clues are there. Where did my Polish ancestors come from? Were they Ashkenazic Jews? And how much of our genes make up who we are?
All good points to ponder!
By the way, if you’re in Haplogroup T2, drop me a note.