Week 15 – DNA

I am very grateful to my brother for agreeing to have his DNA tested and in particular his Y-DNA. We have learnt that he belongs to haplogroup Q-M242

Q-M242 migration map

Y-DNA is the male sex chromosome and X-DNA is the female. Only males have the Y chromosome from their fathers whereas they also have their mother’s X chromosome. When an egg is fertilised the resulting child will become female if it gets the father’s X or male if it gets the Y. All the other chromosomes are changed regularly as they are passed from parent to child, but the Y chromosome rarely changes. Therefore the Y chromosome my brother has is likely to be the same as our grandfather had many generations ago.

The testing company estimates the haplogroup to be about 24,000 years old. It is found in North and Central Asia, Native American population, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. (Perhaps that is why in the past I was often accused of having ‘slanting eyes’ :)).

Q-M242 has been subdivided and my brother’s subgroup is Q-Y16137. This is where it starts to become really interesting. Q-Y16137 is very rare. So far only 11 people have been found and of those only two match my brother. One from France where the oldest known ancestor was born in 1654 and the other from Norway and here the oldest known ancestor was born in 1720.

Our oldest known Y ancestor is Fifth Great-Grandfather Anders Hansen born 1683 and my work last week was to break down the brick wall that stopped me going back further in my father’s father’s father line. I didn’t succeed. I found someone who could be the next father in line, but I found nothing to prove it. I also found two possible brothers to Anders, but I cannot prove that relationship either.

My quest is to find current living direct male descendants of Anders and his one confirmed brother Jørgen and the two possible brothers Ole and Lars. So far, there don’t appear to be any other Y descendants from Anders than my brother. Over the generations, either the boys died young, never married or they fathered daughters.

Firstly, the Y-DNA test would prove/disprove my paper trail. Secondly, the data would be very important on a scientific level. We may be able to find where the common ancestor to the French, Norwegian and Danish matches came from. The more men who are tested the more accurate the findings will be.

I am hoping one day to find one or more male descendants of Jørgen, Ole or Lars who would be a candidate for a Y-DNA test, but it is going to take a long time. However, I am still working on it.

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