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Domov

y-DNA Project documenting Germanic migration to southeastern Europe and into Slovenia

Tony Popish

y-DNA testing provides a means to extend one’s paternal ancestry indefinitely back in time. During the period since surnames came into use, y-DNA generally follows the descendancy of a surname, so that researchers may make connections with others in a genealogical time frame.

The present project makes use of y-DNA testing to view a time frame generally beginning about 2000 years ago and leading up to the present. This is an extension of an earlier project - The Papez surname project gathered data from a dozen or so participants in the United States, Slovenia, and Slovakia. It was discovered that the Papez surname was adopted independently in a number of places, both inside Slovenia and in other Slavic countries. Participants belong to a number of diverse haplogroups, which are distantly related tens of thousands of years in the past. The results were almost as if one took a random sample of different surnames – the diversity of haplotypes in such a small country is amazing. The author’s Papez family, from Suha Krajina in Dolenjska, was found to be recently related only to those other Papez families in that part of Slovenia. These associated families belong to Haplogroup I1 (M253), which forms a relatively small fraction of all Slovenian Haplogroups. It was further discovered that the Papez haplotype belongs to a small group or “clade” identified by researcher Ken Nordtvedt as I1-AS13. The ‘AS’ in this name identify the putative source region as the Anglo-Saxon homelands in northwestern Germany.

The author became interested in earlier (pre-surname) history to explain the presence of I1-AS13 in Slovenia, and undertook a project to identify other surnames with similar haplotypes belonging to this clade. Over the past 7 years, I have collected from various public databases (Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, ysearch, smgf) a set of haplotypes matching the I1-AS13 modalities in STR values (see http://knordtvedt.home.bresnan.net/, file ‘The I1modalities.xls’). Further, based on extension of haplotypes to 111 STR markers, it was discovered that there are actually two “sister clades” – AS13 and AS13se. AS13 has membership largely in the British Isles and southwestern Germany into Switzerland (historic Swabia). AS13se (‘se’ for southeastern Europe) has the best representation leading southeasterly from NW Germany. There are presently 12 members of AS13se: Greve (Schleswig, Germany), Fischer (Cannstadt, Germany), Vavrek (Komarov, Slovakia), Germanov (Dositeevo, Bulgaria), Tassis (Ioannina, Greece), Popish/Papez (Gradenc, Slovenia), Strutz/Struc (Ribnica na Pohorju, Slovenia), Glaz(i)er (Pohorje region), Debevec (Begunje pri Cerknici, Slovenia), Zele (Pivka, Slovenia). Thatcher (Berkshire, England), and Gossland (England) are the two non-continental members. The present project focuses on the I1-AS13se clade in continental Europe. What is quite notable is that 5 of the clade’s 12 members have ancestry in Slovenia.

Given the distribution of this clade, it was hypothesized that the movement generally followed the Elbe River southeastward to its headwaters, then along the Danube. See Google map at: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=214699460406651829687.0004be8186482050963cd&msa=0&ll=49.724479,11.99707&spn=18.552497,43.330078. The “footprints” left by the movement represent the ancestral origins for the above surnames. A comparison of haplotypes resulted in a matrix of Times to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA). These are derived by using McGee’s estimator here: http://www.mymcgee.com/tools/yutility111.html

 

Popish

Glazier

Strutz

Debevec

Zele

Vavrek

Germanov

Fischer

Tassis

Greve

Gossland

Glazier

780

                   

Strutz

900

1080

                 

Debevec

1080

1200

1410

               

Zele

960

780

1530

1350

             

Vavrek

960

1410

840

1020

1740

           

Germanov

1410

1470

1470

1410

1950

1080

         

Fischer

1470

1740

1530

1410

2400

1410

1530

       

Tassis

1440

1440

1440

1800

(insuff.)

1290

360

1620

     

Greve

1170

1170

1530

1530

960

1740

1740

2400

(insuff.)

   

Gossland

1530

1740

1350

2160

1530

1350

1170

2610

(insuff.)

1530

 

Thatcher

2400

2610

1950

3090

2610

2400

2160

2850

(insuff.)

2160

2400

This matrix shows the number of years in the past for which there’s a 50% chance that the common ancestor lived less than that number of years ago. (Note: insuff. means there were not enough markers to do a reasonable comparison.) For example, between Popish and Glazier, there’s a 50% chance that their common ancestor lived less than 780 years ago. Keeping in mind these are rough estimates, there is a pattern here showing that the Slovenian surnames are generally related more recently to each other than they are to non-Slovenian surnames. Note that many of the estimates fall in the range 1410 – 1530 years before present (ca. 470 – 590 AD). The clustering in this time frame suggests population growth, and could be tied to a period of migration to place with increased levels of resources.

In consideration of both the geographical distribution of clade members along with the estimated TMRCAs, it is hypothesized that this movement was part of the documented Langobard migration, which occurred during the 5th and 6th centuries AD. A map of this migration can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lombard_Migration.jpg. The Langobards entered Pannonia in the early 6th century, and subsequently migrated in mass to Italy in about 568 AD, via a route through Slovenia.

We have not yet discovered AS13se members in Italy, so it appears at present that this small part of the larger Langobard group ended their migration in present-day Slovenia, where their descendants are the living clues to the places they finally decided to call home. Notably, ancestors of two members (Germanov and Tassis) ended up far to the southeast in Bulgaria and Greece. This may have been due to Langobard – Bulgar interaction during the migration, or while the Langobards were in Pannonia. We can’t say what members of AS13se called themselves – it seems likely that they originated from Saxon tribes who took part in the migration alongside the neighboring Langobards from the lower Elbe region.

There are two efforts underway to gather evidence for support of the migration theory. The first involves additional Slovenian participants in y-DNA testing. During my recent trip to Slovenia, I brought along about 20 y-DNA kits (12 marker) that American member Jim Strutz and myself purchased. My cousin Maja Papez Iskra had contacted men of various surnames that we thought would provide a reasonable geographic sampling, based on the present-day distribution of those surnames. (The website http://worldnames.publicprofiler.org/Main.aspx is quite useful for this purpose.) Myself, along with my translator Simon Iskra, traveled across Slovenia over 3 ½ days to gather samples. We had good success in obtaining DNA from 16 gentlemen. These samples are presently being sequenced by Family Tree DNA. The results will be basic, at 12 markers, but will allow us to identify possible members of AS13se for further analysis. Hopefully, we will discover one or more new clade member, whose location will help us determine where our common ancestor lived following the settlement in Slovenia ca. 6th century AD.

A second simultaneous effort is to work with archaeologists and specialists to extract DNA from ancient Langobard remains from cemeteries in Slovenia. If a y-DNA haplotype match can be discovered between a skeleton associated with the Langobard migration and a modern AS13se member, then we have strong evidence for proof of our theory. Recently-developed next generation sequencing permits the detailed analysis of degraded DNA contained in ancient bones.

Based on the results from our 16 recently gathered samples, we will likely identify areas in Slovenia that could benefit from additional DNA testing. The falling price of basic 12-marker testing makes this approach possible.

Comments and questions about the project are welcome:

Tony Popish
6113 S Cherry Ct
Centennial, Colorado  USA

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