Discover Your Ancestral Path

If you’ve had a Y-DNA test, you may have needed clarification on the many haplogroup names in the results and needed help to grasp how they link. It might be challenging to keep up with the growth of the Y-DNA Tree of Humanity, which now has over 60,000 branches and is adding roughly 1,000 per month. We’re pleased to share that we’ve recently made a new tool available to assist with that!

History of Y-DNA Haplogroup Naming

Old names like “R1b1c” (R-M269 in 2006) and “R1b1c7” were common (R-M222 in 2006). Because it was clear that R-M222 was a subclade and a descendent haplogroup of R-M269, these longhand names were relatively easy to memorise and were user-friendly. The Y-DNA tree, however, soon expanded, and R-M222 is now referred to as “R1b1a1b1a1a2c1a1a1a1.” 

Already 20 years ago, the Y Chromosome Consortium recommended a new nomenclature scheme for haplogroup names in response to the constantly changing and difficult-to-remember lengthy haplogroup names. This method has now been the norm. For this reason, we refer to haplogroups by designations like R-M269 and E-M2. You may be familiar with other names for more specific haplogroups, such as R-BY56066 (Abraham Lincoln’s haplogroup) or E-FTA86622 (Desmond Tutu’s haplogroup) if you have done the Big Y-700 test. How do R-BY56066 and E-FTA86622 relate to each other and R-M269 and E-M2, respectively? Our brand-new Ancestral Path tool can help with that.

Ancestral Path: A Tool from DiscoverTM

The new feature is included in the Discover reports. After logging in, click the “Discover More” button on your dashboard to view your Discover reports if you’ve done a Y-DNA test with FamilyTreeDNA. The new report may be found in the Discover menu under “Ancestral Path.”

Dashboard for FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA Test

Your traditional route travels back in time one haplogroup step (or genetic ancestor) at a time, starting with your given Y-DNA haplogroup and can be checked by DNA test or face DNA app. This will be your most precise haplogroup if you have undergone a Big Y test. Based on the FamilyTreeDNA TMRCA method, the age of each step in the ancestral route has been estimated. The linked Archaeology Era approximately corresponds to the period in the world history of humanity during which the most recent common ancestor of this haplogroup lived.

Abraham Lincoln’s Family Tree

The most recent haplogroup ancestor of Abraham Lincoln was born in 1700 CE, only a few hundred years before he was, and maybe his great-grandfather in Colonial America. Abe’s family history reveals that his Lincoln ancestry originated in England.

The Ancestral Route study by ancestry DNA test shows that 2,050 years had gone from the preceding haplogroup ancestor in his ancestral path before 1700 CE in Colonial America. This transports us to Britain during the early Roman Iron Age. Celtic tribes were coming to Britain from continental Europe at this time. This lengthy “bottleneck” will break up when more Lincoln relatives upgrade to Big Y-700, adding additional branch events and genealogy ties to the route. (No pressure, Lincoln Project!)

Example of an Extended Ancestral Path

We immediately arrive at the Bronze Age, where branch events happen fast as we go down the traditional route and return in time. These are indications of a protracted, fast population increase that occurred only a few hundred years apart and with many direct descendants at each stage. History and ancient PLANO DNA testing research have shown that tribes from the Bronze Age, with advanced technology, were rapidly migrating from the Eurasian Steppes into Europe during this period. These guys are the forefathers of several modern Europeans.

Abraham Lincoln’s Historical Relationships

This is also when Abe’s most direct link to the past is revealed, linking him to a guy who lived in the Balkans during the Middle Ages. We locate the well-known ancestry haplogroup R-M269 nineteen steps before Abe. This haplogroup is among those indicated by Y-STR testing and is highly prevalent in males of European heritage.

Path of Ancient Connections

Migration routes are believed to have originated from the Y-DNA test haplogroup R-M269 (circled) about 4500 BCE. A symbol of a shovel indicates related ancient DNA samples from archaeological locations.

Examples of Ancestral Paths 2

You’ll see that the traditional route extends far back, more than 700,000 years, to times before humans existed. The final row indicates “A0000,” the progenitor of modern humans and Denisovans. The distinction between modern humans and Neanderthals, designated “A000-T,” may be seen in the row above. These highly remote patrilineal connections that connect us to the Denisovans and the Neanderthals are shared by all of us.

The most recent common direct paternal line ancestor of all contemporary humans who have done a Y-DNA test to date is A-PR2921, often known as “Y-Adam.” Additionally, we all have a distant ancestor that dates back over 230,000 years to an area of the African continent, likely close to Cameroon.

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