We’ve all wondered from time to time who our distant relatives are and where our origins trace back to. Parents are good for a few generations, but usually beyond their grandparents things get a little fuzzy. I wanted to know more and didn’t just want a list of names of people who married for the last few hundred years. I came across Genetree and noticed that they offer DNA tests that can really show you where your roots are.
The test was easy enough; I just mailed a saliva sample back in the kit I received in the mail. A few weeks later I logged into their site to see the results. The test shows details on the DNA passed on through the mt-DNA. The maternal DNA is classified in haplogroups. mtDNA can only be passed down from mother to daughter. I was motivated to do a little bit of research on haplogroups to better understand their distribution in populations over time. Every Haplogroup share common ancestors and It turns out that I am in Haplogroup H. This haplogroup is thought to be 10,000 years old and from the region of Northern Spain. This explains why over 50% of the Basque people are from Haplogroup H. Distribution of Haplogroup H after the ice age spread throughout Europe with the greatest concentration and to a lesser extent into North Africa, The Middle East and Western to Central Asia. I was interested to learn that notable Haplogroup H’ers include Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria, the Russia’s deposed Romonov family, Phillip the Good, Susan Sarandon, Brook Shields and more.
I know that looking at maps of haplogroup distribution or lessons in history is not for everyone. That might be why Genetree allows users to build individual profiles with the results of DNA tests, family trees and even pictures and videos. I was given the names of other people in the network with the same haplogroup in the hope that we might share some previously unknown relatives. In a sense this is the only social networking site that uncovers such ancient commonalities. It’s also probably not a site that you would want to use to use as a dating site since it seems somehow that we’re all looking pretty darn related.