The Mennonite DNA Project

A Brief Guide to the Y-DNA Table

Glenn Penner and Tim Janzen

The table presented on this web site show the Y-DNA results available so far for participants in the Low-German Mennonite DNA project. The table may be download as an Excel file:

Table

To view the file, right click on the link above and save the Excel file.

This introduction provides a background for interpreting the information found in the table. In order to see if your results are in the table, you will need to know your kit number from FTDNA or your SMGF contributor number. These are shown in the first two columns. If you do not know your kit number you can email or .

The columns in the expanded version include the following information:

1. The first column shows the contributor number for those people who have been tested by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. These numbers have been arbitrarily assigned by the Mennonite DNA Project in approximate order to when people sent in their samples.

2. The second column shows the Family Tree DNA kit number for those people who have been tested by FTDNA or the Genographic Project. This cell is highlighted in green for new people who have been added since the previous update.

3. The third column shows the family names (surnames) of the men who were tested.

4. The fourth column shows the haplogroup of the person who was tested. Haplogroups are a very broad grouping of the Y-DNA results. The majority of men of European background belong to the R, I, E, J or G haplogroups, in approximate decreasing order of occurrence in northwestern Europe. The haplogroups for those people who have been tested by the SMGF are simply predicted based on the marker value results using Jim Cullen's haplogroup predictor program or Whit Athey's program. Some of the people who have been tested by FTDNA have had additional testing to confirm which haplogroup they belong to.

5. The fifth column contains a list of subclades (or varieties) based on DNA expert Ken Nordtvedt's modal varieties that he has developed for haplogroups I and R1b. The results for the men who have been tested were compared with Ken Nordtvedt’s modal varieties and the variety that most closely matches with that man’s DNA results has been determined. For more information about these modal varieties and additional discussion of this topic see the document called Geographic Areas of Origin for Mennonite Surnames as Suggested by Genetic Data by Tim Janzen.

6. The sixth column shows the relationship of the person tested to his most closely related paternal ancestor who appears in the SMGF online pedigree chart for those people who have been tested by the SMGF. Some abbreviations appear in this column: "s." stands for "son", "g." stands for "great", "gs." stands for "grandson", and "b." stands for "born".

7. The seventh column indicates who the earliest reliably known ancestor is for the man who was tested. Birth and/or death years are given together with the ancestor’s GRANDMA Database number (version 5.04), if available. Lavender highlighting is used where the earliest known ancestors were brothers.

8. The eighth column shows the subgroups into which we can divide the men of a given family name, based on the DNA results. No number is shown in this column if we believe that all men who have been tested who have that surname belong to the same subgroup. In other words the results suggest that they all descend from the same progenitor (common ancestor or Stammvater). We believe that all families within a specific subgroup share a common progenitor who had that same surname who lived within the past 400-600 years.

In some cases there is obviously more than one progenitor for a given family name. For example, so far we have DNA results from five different Schroeder families that we can’t connect to a common ancestor at this time based on the available genealogical records. The DNA results indicate that Wilhelm Schroeder (1761-1829) #275130 and Simon Schroeder (1751-1808) #788737 descend from the same Schroeder progenitor. Thus they are placed in subgroup 1. However, the DNA results for Isaac Schroeder (1738-1789) #222095 and Peter Schroeder (1718-1802) #694669 suggest that they don’t descend from the same Schroeder progenitor that the Schroeders in subgroup 1 descend from. Isaac Schroeder #222095 and Peter Schroeder #694669 have thus been placed in subgroups 2 and 3 respectively. Each of the subgroups is separated by thick lines to help better depict them.

9. The next 93 columns contain the actual Y-DNA marker values. There are locations on the Y chromosome called short tandem repeats (STRs) where short segments are repeated as many as 30 or more times. These locations are generally referred to as markers. For example, the first column of these results is for the marker named DYS 393. At this location on the chromosome the pattern of base pairs repeats itself anywhere from 10 to 17 times. For example, one can see that this pattern repeats itself 14 times for all of the Neufeld men but only 13 times for the Penners. This alone is not very useful, but if we look at 30 or more locations on the Y chromosome we can begin to see that men with different family names have rather different sets of marker values. In many cases men with the same family name have very similar marker values. However in some cases men with the same family name have very different sets of marker values.

A detailed discussion of the DNA results for each family name (surname) may be found in the document entitled Mennonite DNA Project Y Chromosome Data Discussion. In this document the results for each surname are arranged alphabetically. One could also see if men with similar family names have similar sets of numbers (such as Kroeker and Kroeger, or Bergen and Berg). This is also discussed in a document entitled Y-DNA Analysis and the Connection between Similar Low-German Mennonite Family Names.

Certain blocks (or cells) in the table are color highlighted. Yellow highlighting indicates where the marker value for a specific man differs from the values for the corresponding marker in the majority of the men in that subgroup. Two cells are highlighted in pale green due to the fact that the results for those two marker values don't agree between the two labs that tested that those people's DNA (FTDNA and SMGF).

The interpretation of Y-DNA results can be somewhat complicated, but some general principles apply. As a general rule, two men who have 8 or more markers that don’t match out of 37 markers tested almost certainly do not descend from a common ancestor who lived within the past 600 years (within the time period when surnames first came into common use). Men who have the same surname who have between 4 and 7 markers that don’t match out of 37 markers tested may descend a common ancestor who lived within the past 600 years but we can’t be certain about that based on the DNA results alone. Men with the same surname who have 3 or fewer markers that don’t match out of 37 markers tested almost certainly descend from a common ancestor who lived within the past 600 years. For additional background about the Y chromosome see the document entitled Background information on testing of the Y chromosome by Tim Janzen.

10. The 102nd column entitled "Genetic Distance from modal for surname" shows the genetic distance from the modal marker values for the Penners only.

11. The 103rd column entitled "Closest match in the SMGF Y chromosome database" provides information about the closest match in the SMGF Y chromosome database at www.smgf.org for the person of Mennonite ancestry who was tested.

12. The 104th column entitled "Closest match in Y search" provides information about the closest match in the Ysearch database at www.ysearch.org for the person of Mennonite ancestry who was tested.

13. The 105th column entitled "Comments" provides additional ancestral information of interest, particularly information about name changes, adoptions, or illegitimate births.

Page updated 20 January 2017; html by Richard D. Thiessen

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