Notes on R-Z18 in Steppe Ancestry Pre-print

These are my notes from the pre-print Steppe Ancestry in western Eurasia and the spread of the Germanic Languages. It hasn’t been peer-reviewed. This is, at it’s heart, an autosomal study, but it does contain some Y-DNA information. They’re trying to identify population movements (along with language movements). They’re using ancient DNA to focus on the spread of Germanic languages. Because of that focus there are quite a few R-U106 and R-Z18 results. Roughly counting in the spreadsheet of results, there were 87 R-U106 samples and 30 R-Z18 samples.

Below is the map of samples in this paper. Dark Green dots were newly generated in this study. Light blue-ish are from other studies.

map of europe where samples were found. From Scandinavia south to italy and spain, Ireland  east to Eastern Europe and the Steppe.

Y-DNA Depth

The study is attempting to form clusters of similar genetic samples and the Y-DNA depth they report speaks to that. The Y Haplogroups are relatively far up the tree, I assume because they want major groupings, not a bunch of individuals.

This study includes samples from other studies as well. For instance, it includes our Angle from the Wash. Hatherdene 5. We know that he is at least down to R-ZP121, many generations below R-Z19 under R-CTS12023, but this study lists him as R-Z19. I’m sure many of the samples from this study are actually well below R-Z19, but individual resolution in Y DNA is not this group’s aim. They’re looking for clusters of genetically similar people.

I’m using the supplemental spreadsheets from the study and the assigned haplogroups in the R-U106 ancient DNA spreadsheet for reference.

Genetic Clusters of Note

In the Bronze age section of the study, they identify 3 clusters. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“In order to identify whether migrations had occurred within Northern Europe, understanding the substructure within the Bronze Age populations of this region was necessary. We therefore reclustered all ancient samples older than 2800 BP, to remove the impact of later admixture between structured populations present in the Bronze Age (Supplementary Note 6.4.2, Supplementary Table x). Within Scandinavia, three clusters are apparent (Extended Data Figure 4): 1) an early Scandinavian cluster, including the oldest Swedish (Battle Axe Culture) and Danish samples and almost all Norwegians, 2) a later ‘Southern Scandinavian’ cluster restricted to Denmark and the southern tip of Sweden, and 3) a second later ‘Eastern Scandinavian’ cluster, spread across Sweden and overlapping with that of the Southern Scandinavia cluster. In all three instances, there is a very close correspondence between Y-haplogroups and the IBD clusters (Extended Data Figure 4A), largely driven by different frequencies of haplogroups I1a-DF29, R1a1a1b1a3a (R1a-Z284) and R1b1a1b1a1a1 (R1b-U106), which are all strongly associated with Scandinavian ancestry”

Y DNA haplogroups found in early scandinavian, southern scandinavian and eastern scandinavian populations.
(McColl et al. p 16-17.)

The dots are colored based on age, lighter being older. Everything is aged BP (before present) so 4500 is 2400 BCE. Early Scandinavians tend to be R1a, Southern Scandinavians tend to be R1b, Eastern Scandinavians tend to be I1.

There was a genetic group in the spreadsheets that I didn’t see referenced much in the paper: Nothern Scandinavians. Several results are listed as 0_1_6_NorthScan, but I didn’t see them used outside of a quick statement about the difference between language, culture, and genetics. There is a lot of material to go through, though, so there may be more in the supplementary notes.

All these listed results are not nicely formatted. They read like a stream of consciousness because I’m pulling them right out of a spreadsheet and dumping them here.


R-Z19 is grouped with R-Z18. It is sometimes listed as YSC0000054. Most people use R-Z18 to designate the group but this study doesn’t. Below is a screenshot of family tree DNA’s tree listing for R-Z18, Z19 and other SNPs that are clustered in a single block. So far everyone who has one, has them all:

R-Z18 block with R-Z19, Z14, Z16, Z368, Z369..etc.

I’m going to list all the base R-Z19 results with some location information and the major group this study placed them in. The formatting is pretty awful. I’ve labeled some of the results at R-CTS12023 and below. There are more results known to be further downstream from R-Z19, but I didn’t correct them all. Most of the CGG results are from the This paper, and I’ve taken them at face value (as portrayed in the U106 spreadsheet), except our man from Tjaerby Denmark, who is R-ZP121 according to Family Tree DNA. Non CGG results (NEO, HAD, BUK) are from other studies and are usually downstream of R-Z19.

Late Neolithic

  • CGG107465 Lillevasby Denmark_Islands Denmark_LateNeolithic 0_1_2_SouthScan 2194-2026 calBCE
  • CGG105923 Albäcksbacken Maglarp Southern Sweden_LateNeolithic 0_1_2_SouthScan 2200-1700 BCE

Bronze Age

  • CGG106744 Langelands Rørsløkke Mose (Tryggelev) Denmark_Islands Denmark_EarlyBronzeAge 0_1_2_SouthScan 1730-1542 calBCE
  • CGG100212 Kalvehavegaard Denmark_Islands Denmark_EarlyBronzeAge 0_1_2_SouthScan 1608-1430 calBCE
  • CGG106705 Zealand. Tune Karlstrup Denmark_Islands Denmark_Bronze Age 0_1_2_SouthScan 2126-1932 calBCE
  • CGG106708 Karlstrup Denmark_Islands Denmark_BronzeAge 0_1_2_SouthScan 2125-1947 calBCE
  • CGG106706 Karlstrup Denmark_Islands Denmark_Bronze Age 0_1_2_SouthScan 2250-1700 BCE
  • NEO752 Madses Denmark_Islands Denmark_BronzeAge 0_1_2_SouthScan 1814-1483 calBCE
  • NEO946 Hove Denmark_Islands Denmark_BronzeAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1322-967 calBCE

Iron Age, Migration Period, Angles Saxons and Jutes

  • CGG100144 Engeldrup Bro, Melby Denmark_Jutland Denmark_IronAge -0_1_2_SouthScan 500-1 BCE
  • CGG105930 Albäcksbacken Maglarp Sweden Sweden_IronAge – 0_1_3_EastScan 1-150 CE
  • CGG106720 Zealand/ Alsted Simonsborg Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG106722 Zealand/ Alsted Simonsborg Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG106730 Simonsborg Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG106810 Mellemholm Denmark_Jutland NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG107446 Bøgebjerg Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG107451 Landledgård Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG107494 Mosede Fort Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge – 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG106489 Sondrup Østergaard, Ulstrup sogn Denmark_Jutland NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 126-227 calCE
  • CGG107399 Denmark Zealand FraugdeCGG107384 Alsted Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 200-400 CE
  • CGG107423 Kirkebjerggaard Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 200-400 CE
  • CGG107013 Engholmen 2 Norway NorthernEurope Norway_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 600-700 CE
  • CGG107037 Enge, Sømna M Norway NorthernEurope Norway_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 550-800
  • BUK009 (R-PH1163) Dover Buckland_Kent England WesternEurope England_Medieval.1240k 0_1_2_SouthScan 475-750 CE
  • HAD005 (R-ZP121) Sk 640 Hatherdene Close_Cambridgeshire England WesternEurope England_Medieval.SG 0_1_2_SouthScan 400 – 600 CE.
  • BUK064 423 Dover Buckland_Kent England WesternEurope England_Medieval.1240k 0_1_2_SouthScan 475-750 CE
  • HVN004 Hven_Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Germany WesternEurope Germany_Medieval.1240k 0_1_2_SouthScan 200 – 400 CE
  • BUK025 Dover Buckland_Kent England WesternEurope England_Medieval.1240k 0_1_2_SouthScan c475-c750

Vikings, Various Medieval People.

  • CGG101864 Ahlgade_15-17,_Holbk Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_Medieval 0_1_2_SouthScan 1300-1350 CE
  • CGG107579 Kalmargården Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_LateVikingEarly Medieval 0_1_6_NorthScan 1040 CE
  • VK168 Oxford England WesternEurope Britain_VikingAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1002 CE
  • CGG100750 (R-ZP121) Tjrby,_Randers Denmark_Jutland NorthernEurope Denmark_Medieval 0_1_2_SouthScan 1000-1300 CE
  • GRO007 Groningen_Groningen Netherlands WesternEurope Netherlands_Medieval.1240k 0_1_2_SouthScan 985-1030 calCE

Of note, the study was missing Tiszapüspöki 18184, who was R-CTS12023 and from Hungary circa 600 CE.


I did find some of these results in the spreadsheet from the paper, but for the most part, I’m referencing the U106 spreadsheet for haplogroups and ages. They’ve done the hard work for me. I didn’t split them into as many groups as straight R-Z19 because there weren’t as many.

  • CGG105928 Albäcksbacken Maglarp Sweden NorthernEurope Sweden_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 196BCE-218calCE
  • CGG106728 Simonsborg Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG107495 Mosede Fort Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG107411 Varpelev Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 200-400 CE
  • CGG107015 Føre 1 Norway NorthernEurope Norway_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 300-400 CE
  • CGG107384 Alsted Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 400-550 CE
  • CGG107007 Skongeneshelleren Norway NorthernEurope Norway_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 400-550 CE
  • VK418 Nordland Norway NorthernEurope Norway_IronAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 500s CE
  • SZ4 Szld Hungary CentralEasternEurope Hungary_Langobard_o1 0_4_3_2_SCEEu 550 – 570 CE
  • HAD006 (S4031) Hatherdene Close_Cambridgeshire England WesternEurope England_Medieval.SG 0_1_2_SouthScan 415-537 calCE’
  • VK170 Balladoole IsleOfMan WesternEurope Britain_VikingAge 0_1_6_NorthScan c950 CE
  • VK449 Dorset England WesternEurope Britain_VikingAge 0_1_6_NorthScanVK259 Dorset England WesternEurope Britain_VikingAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 980-1009 CE


  • CGG019442 Sanddal Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-125 CE
  • CGG107489 Mosede Fort Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 1-200 CE
  • CGG019091 SOEL_964_Engbjerg Denmark_Islands NorthernEurope Denmark_IronAge_LateRomanIronAge 0_1_3_EastScan 200-375 CE
  • DUN011 352 Dunum_Lower Saxony Germany WesternEurope Germany_Medieval.1240k 0_1_2_SouthScan 672-773 calCE
  • VK204 Orkney_Newark Scotland WesternEurope Britain_VikingAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 1100s CE.
  • VK308 Skara Sweden NorthernEurope Sweden_VikingAge 0_1_6_NorthScan 900-1150

Some Conclusion on Migration

These are still major groupings of R-Z18. Where I’ve marked the known R-CTS12023+ samples in Bold, we have R-ZP121 found among ancient Anglo-Saxons and Ancient Medieval Denmark. R-ZP121 testers trend towards Northern Europe. We also have R-PH1163, found anciently in Anglo-Saxons, with modern Scandinavian testers. This study leaves them at R-Z19. Since there are original samples in the study left at a high level, we’ll have to wait for further analysis to get a better Y DNA resolution. Each CGG sample probably hides a closer relationship to modern testers.

Because of this part of a sentence in the paper: “R1b1a1b1a1a1 (R1b-U106), which are all strongly associated with Scandinavian ancestry (Supplementary Note 6.4.2)” I went looking for Note 6.4.2.

In the Genetics Supplementary Material (media-3.pdf):

“Downstream of R1b1a1b1a (R1b-L11), haplogroup R1b1a1b1a1a1 (R1b-U106) have been
previously argued to be related to the expansion of the Germanic languages, due to its high
frequency in places where those languages are spoken today (Figure S6). We found most of
the individuals of the dataset positive for R1b-U106 to belong to two different downstream
sublineages, which have starkly distinct distributions, particularly in the early Iron Age.
R1b1a1b1a1a1c (R1b-Z19) is found almost exclusively in Northern Europe (with the only
exception being a Langobard from Hungary), and likely represents a local variant of R1b-U106″

(McColl et al. supplemental media-3, p 61)

They conclude that R-Z18 is a local variant of U106 in Northern Europe. They go on to talk about R-Z381 (AKA R-S263 in the paper). I don’t know if they were just excited not to use R-Z18 and R-Z381 or what, but they didn’t. They also pretty consistently take a chromosome that only exists in males and give it female descriptors like “sister”.

“Instead, its sister lineage, R1b1a1b1a1a1b (R1b-S263), is absent in Scandinavia before the IronAge (Figure S8), where it spreads, likely through an Eastern North Sea source, and becomes
dominant in South Scandinavia during the Iron Age, before spreading through Northern Europe. This pattern strongly matches the one seen using autosomes, that detect gene flow back into Scandinavia related to the spread of Germanic languages. Another potential signal of this migration is the increase in frequency of R1b-U106 sister lineage, R1b1a1b1a1a2 (R1b-P312), that has a more continental distribution. and is almost absent in Scandinavia before 2,000 BP.”

(McColl et al. supplemental media-3, p 61)

They offer maps of R-U106 in the study, R-Z18 (Z19) and R-Z381 (S263). First, the R-U106 map is below. Darker red/brown (burnt umber?) is older, and darker blue is newer.

Below is their R-S263 (R-Z381) map. Again, darker red is older, and darker blue is newer. I looked for that dark red dot in Central Europe and couldn’t figure out which sample it was. They assert that there is a migration of R-Z381 into Scandinavia, which they see in autosomal DNA.

The map below portrays R-Z19 (R-Z18) as the local branch of R-U106, which had its oldest sources in Southern Scandinavia before the Iron Age.

I don’t know about their assertions about R-Z381, I don’t spend much time looking at the different clades under it and their migration paths. The oldest R-Z381 record I see in the R-U106 spreadsheet is from the Netherlands. I’m not sure about the dark red dot in their map.

The R-Z19 map seems to follow with other findings. The (now) oldest R-Z18 people are in Denmark and Sweden, but that’s not a big leap from the previous oldest R-Z18 person who was from Denmark. R-Z18 shows up in migration-era populations like the Langobards (and, you know…I think, maybe the Gepids with our CTS12023 man in Hungary) and the Anglo-Saxons. R-Z18 shows up in Weilbark culture. All groups that the ancient world, and often times the people themselves, believed spread out from Southern Scandinavia.

Random Thoughts

There are some things in this paper that seem like important omissions like samples from other studies that are not included. I’m sure they had to pick and choose.

Their Y DNA nomenclature seems outdated. Like they’re working from a really old Y tree (which means their looking for really old Y DNA groups).

Some of their placement seems old. R-Z18 and R-Z381 haven’t been sibling groups for a while. Things have gotten a lot more complex. If you change them from siblings to second cousins or cousins once removed, then is it less odd that they were born in different places? If they’re not looking for the groups in between R-Z18 and R-Z381 then their feelings about their conclusions could be skewed. The conclusions can be solid, but the light those conclusions are considered in can be skewed.

I also noticed some odd labeling. In the supplemental material, one group with an R1a long name (R1a1a1b1a3a) was labeled as an R1b group in the text on page 61 and on the map on page 66. It’s then that I have to remember this is not peer-reviewed and it is a pre-print. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt, and things could change on the road to publication.

What I think is great is that they included Y DNA in their study and thought about it as part of the whole. I also think it’s awesome that they ran a lot of new samples of ancient DNA. Hopefully, they will make their raw data available, and we’ll see a treasure trove of ancient results in the Family Tree DNA ancient connections site.

A Quick added note on the oldest R-Z18 samples that has some relevance to my Wielbark post.

The oldest R-Z18 sample after the McColl study, CGG107465 lived roughly from 2200 to 2000 BCE in Zealand Denmark, not too far from Kallerup. Here’s a link to the coordinates

The next oldest samples were further down the shore in Zealand, near Kalstrup. One there may be the oldest with more precise dating but they are in a similar range. All are listed as Nordic Bronze Age. One in a similar range but listed as Late Neolithic, comes from Albäcksbacken Maglarp, Skåne, Sweden.

Since McColl has only high level haplogroups, they’re left at R-Z18. These samples are right on top of the estimated date for the birth of R-Z18, 2200 BCE. So the study may be right that R-Z18 is a local branch of U106 in the area.

Here is a map with those locations:

map of copenhagen and sweden area with points for ancient R-Z18 DNA

Given the estimated start of CTS12023/RDF95 in 700 BCE there are about 17 CGG R-Z19 samples that could contain CTS12023 or downstream SNPs if there were greater resolution on the Y DNA. I suppose there is also the possibility of finding someone upstream and breaking up our long chain of SNPs that is currently listed as CTS12023.

R-Z18 in Wielbark DNA

What is Wielbark Culture?

The short answer is it’s the Goths and Gepids. It is a material culture from the 1st to 5th century in Northern Poland. In the 5th century, it was replaced by early Slavic culture. The story goes that the Goths moved southeast out of Scandza and set up shop for a few hundred years in what is now Northern Poland. As time went on, they moved further southeast from the Baltic coast, incorporating the Vandals into their culture. It is described as a rapid migration, putting pressure on other tribes in the area. The movement of the Goths is associated with the Marcomannic wars with Rome.

Here is a map from showing the archeological site that gives the culture its name:

wielbark cemetery map showing the cemetery outline and the position of the site near malbork
Łuczkiewicz, P., Kleemann, J., Jankowski, M., Noryśkiewicz, A. M., Sykuła, M., & Kuzioła, A. (2021). The Goths, the Wielbark Culture and over 100 years of research on the eponymous site. Antiquity95(380), e9. doi:10.15184/aqy.2021.14

Who are the Goths?

Based on the writings of Jordanes, the Goths at the time believed they were from an Island, and either the Island is called Scandza or it was part of that area, sometimes called Scandia. It’s all fuzzy and hearsay, with some games of telephone going on for multiple generations because Jordanes is writing in the 6th century, referencing lost historical works and maybe some tribal tradition. At a minimum, they believe they left Scandza for Northern Poland. Given the similarities in naming, people associate them with the Island of Gotland or the area in Southern Sweden called Gotaland. Here’s a map of Gotaland, including the Island of Gotland, lovingly borrowed from Wikipedia:

line drawing of southern sweden showing Gotaland as the southern portion including the Island of Gotland
Götaland. (2023, December 26). In Wikipedia.

You may recognize it as the home of the Geats in this map I borrowed of Beowulf’s world and you see Gotland and then southeast of that the Gifths near Wielbark and the Vistula river.

map of beowulfs world

We catch up the Goths in the context of the Roman Empire. The descriptions of them are from the perspective of the Roman world. That leads to a lot of good theories about their origins that are hard to substantiate. What we have going for us in the world of genetics is that they buried some of their dead so we can extract DNA from their bones and get an idea of familial relationships.

Some Baseline Readings

Family Tree DNA estimates that Mr. R-Z18 was born around 2250 BCE in an unknown location. The oldest ancient DNA sample for R-Z18 is Madesø 752 (AKA NEO752), who died between 1864 and 1533 BCE. Roughly 400 to 800 years away from the source. There is a lot of travel time in there.

Madesø 752’s dates span Scandinavia’s late Neolithic and early bronze age. FTDNA places him in the Neolithic cultural group. He was buried in what is now Madesø, Zealand, Denmark. Madesø is a lake, so the burial is probably near the lake.

The next oldest listed by the U106 group is NEO946. His dates are between 1322 and 967 BCE, a little more firmly in the Nordic Bronze Age. NEO946 is listed as buried in Hove Å, Zealand, Denmark. Hove Å is a stream, so the burial is probably near the stream.

Here is my google walking map of those two earliest R-Z18 locations:

walking map from Modeso Denmark to Hove A denmark. Roughly an 18 hour hike.

By the time we pick up NEO946, greater R-U106 had been settled in a broad swath of Northern Europe. Here are selected samples, PNL1 in Plotiště nad Labem, Chechia, is the current oldest U106 sample at roughly 2900 BCE. The second oldest is Rise98 in Lilla Beddinge, part of the same Neolithic culture as the earliest R-Z18 find near Madesø 752. At roughly 2200 BCE Rise98 is close to the suspected age of the birth of R-Z18, but is down a different branch of U106. Then on to the Netherlands and back to Chechia for I13788 in Chouč, Czechia, who would be close in timing to our second oldest R-Z18 man, NEO946.

walking tour from the earliest R-U106 find circa 2900 BCE in modern Chechia to the second oldest Lilla Beddinge Sweden, over to Nord and Zuid Holland and then back to Chechia.

Given the range of R-U106 there are lots of possibilities for an origin for R-Z18. It just happens that the earliest known R-Z18 sample is from Neolithic Denmark, not too far from Lilla Beddinge, Sweden, where there is evidence of R-U106 in a similar time period.

I’m connecting them here with a walking path to illustrate the proximity in space and time between two different branches of R-U106 in the context of that big patch of Northern Europe that R-U106 inhabited.

Lilla Beddinge Sweden to Modeso Denmark walking path.

R-Z18 has been in the neighborhood for roughly 1000 years before we picked it up again in Wielbark DNA studies. Two R-Z18 men and a third R-U106 man (down a different branch) are found in Wielbark graves in the Stolarek et al. 2023 study. Our two R-Z18 men are PCA0485, listed as Pruszcz Gdański 485 at FTDNA, and PCA0531, listed as Czarnówko 531 at FTDNA.

Here is a map of the Wielbark sites in Northern Poland that produced the R-Z18 and R-U106 samples circa 100 to 300 CE. These are the next earliest R-Z18 samples to those found in Denmark roughly 1600 to 1000 years earlier. It is a large gap of time.

Wielbark R-Z18 sites in Northern Poland.

Water is not a Barrier. It is a Road

I am not a sailor, or I would think this stuff would come easier to me. I’ve lived around lakes, rivers and water my whole life and never really picked up a fondness for boats. I wanted to take a look at the currents in the Baltic to get an idea of what would help or hinder a group leaving some Island and heading for the coast of modern Poland. I’m an overly simple person so I have a map that I could understand pretty well, that I have stolen from this publication. From the perspective of the water rather than from the land.

map of baltic currents showing surface currents circulating around the baltic.

The red lines are dominant surface movement currents, and the yellow lines are deep water movement. There is Gotland with a nice path down around southern Sweden and over to Denmark and surface currents that travel back North from the area of the Wielbark grave sites. It seems like Pruszcz Gdański might be a natural place to set up shop for continental trade.

Here is another version of the map that includes the North Sea. Dotted lines are the bottom current, and solid black lines are the surface current. I’ve stolen this map from this recent publication. I’m cherry-picking a less complex image because of my limited understanding, but you get the idea. To a layperson, it looks like nature could help you out. The route may not be straight, but it could be faster.

circulating currents in the baltic and north sea

It looks like Gotland is positioned to be a northern trade hub with a gyre down to the continent and back and easy access to the rest of Sweden and Denmark. You could make a decent loop. If you were tired of some other group being a middleman in Northern Poland, you could attempt to take over some territory in the Southern Baltic to give yourself easy ports..and maybe just keep working your way south and east. Bornholm is another well-positioned Island to take advantage of trade. Again, I’m taking the Goths at their word that they’re from some Scandinavian island. Islands also become overpopulated when they prosper. Another good reason to colonize new areas.

Relevant Studies

I found a couple of studies from Stolarek et al. when I was researching. One is a bit older and focused on matrilinear DNA, and the other is the source for the R-Z18 Y DNA. I want to spend some more time with them and make notes on their conclusions.

Burghgraeve Family Progress

It is always exciting when one of our Y DNA families puts the puzzle pieces together. The De Burghgraeve family has been working on their matches and paper trail and has hit some milestones for triangulating Y DNA ancestors and family lines over hundreds of years.

burghgraeve matches in a block to the left of other ZP187, ZP150 and ZP125 matches.

The image above is from the Family Tree DNA Big Y Block tree. You can see the Burghgraeve matches on the left from Flanders (in Belgium) under R-BY150294. As you pan over to the right, you go farther back in time to meet up with the Winne family (Netherlands) at R-ZP187 and the Stanuszek family (Poland) at R-ZP150 and then farther back to their split from the Wright family (England) in R-ZP125.

Here is what that looks like in the FTDNA time tree:

R-ZP125 time tree view showing the distance in time between the branches

The FTDNA estimate for R-BY150294 is 1367 CE. That’s the estimate. The family applies that SNP to an ancestor born around 1490 or so. The next SNP down R-BY67888 has been assigned to an ancestor born in 1562. The Big Y estimate is 1511. Not too shabby. The estimate from matching STRs was 1600. Also not too shabby. We would all be lucky to have good paper trails going back this far.

I think it’s best to reference our previous ZP125 conversations after I posted and attempted to correct some faulty age estimates, to get a good picture of the Burghgraeve family and possible connections to the other families under ZP125.

Each of these family connections should make estimates better. As we get more data inside a documented family, it’s easier to assess matches outside the documentation. In that way, Big Y tests for distantly related men help us decipher our connections to other families and the timeline for ancient DNA samples.

When one of us gets a win, we all gain a little more understanding of our shared history.

A Y DNA Cousin in Medieval Denmark

R-ZP121 in Tjærby Denmark Circa 1100-1300 CE.

First off, I want to acknowledge the cover photo I’ve stolen from Google Maps, which was taken by Niels Blumensaat. The location for this DNA find is a small town just outside of Randers, Denmark. The samples are from an abandoned medieval graveyard used in a bone growth study comparing rural people in Tjærby, Denmark, to urban people in Randers in the Middle Ages. I couldn’t find a lot of pictures of the place. There were pictures of Dronningborg a few kilometers away, so I have lovingly borrowed one of those.

Tjærby Denmark google map town level resolution

It took me a while to find the studies that our man from Tjærby is associated with. I ended up with two. The first one was the bone growth study I mentioned above, and the second was a study on Genetic risk for Multiple Sclerosis and Steppe Pastoralist populations. I believe it is the second study that FTDNA is citing. The supplementary material has our guy, Tjærby 750, also known as KHM899 A692/X173 or CGG100750 number 4. In the data KHM899 and CGG100750 seem to be more locational, a dig location on a site with multiple remains. A692/X173 seems like a more definitive identifier.

Tjærby Denmark in Jutland Denmark.

Without Family Tree DNA ancient connections, I probably would not have seen this guy and I would not have known that their Y DNA was tracked down to R-ZP121 under CTS12023. I have to give the M.S. study a bunch of credit for having the Y DNA down to R-Z18->CTS12023 figured out, though. It wasn’t that long ago that we would not have any resolution beyond R-U106.

Looking up Tjærby landed me on a Danish website with an English translation. I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but it translated into “Tar Town”. I know that some Viking age settlements in Britain have modern names ending in “by” so it seems plausible. Why it is Tar Town, I do not know.

The Family Time Tree

There are 74 of us (at the moment) under R-ZP121 with eight recognized branches (according to FTDNA). Our man from Tjærby could be down any of those or completely on their own branch. I’m spoiled to have this much resolution on Y DNA for our small group, but our common ancestor in R-ZP121 is estimated to have lived in 200 CE. That’s roughly a thousand years before our cousin in the Middle Ages. He’s certainly on a branch with that many generations under his belt.

What we have is…sort of, a set of bookends for R-ZP121 and the migration period/Viking age. We’re spoiled to have that as well at this point. Two ancient samples at this resolution are pretty amazing. It’s good to keep in mind that ZP121 is itself a collection of SNPs. A straight line of father-to-son relationships with no branches for at least 14 generations. There are a lot of unknowns there. Then, below that, we have eight known branches.

I’ll use my own tree as an example of when our cousin falls within the family.

ZP121 time tree including Tjaerby 750 and the branches down to my own home branch A2284.

Alright, borrowing FTDNA’s time tree you can see my branch of the Elmer/Elmore family down on the right in red. I’m down the R-A2284 branch, which we’ve triangulated to Edward Elmer 2, who was born in 1654. One step back is Ed Elmer, who was born around 1610 or so in A2276. The time tree has done a pretty good job of estimating those age ranges.

Then you jump back to ZP129 when our family splits from the Knowltons circa 900 CE give or take a few hundred years. Tjærby 750 is younger than that estimate, coming in around 1100 CE, but could be about the same time. He’s after the Norman invasion of England, though.

My next hop is ZP124 when our family splits from the Lunceford family. On the time tree, you can see that it roughly lines up with Hatherdene 5, our Angle from the Wash, who was born around 400 – 600 CE. He’s the other bookend for ZP121. He’s about 200 years from the source ancestor and likely on a branch below ZP121.

The next hop is BY41998. This one is a single SNP. One single ancestor, born around 250 CE, give or take a few hundred years. This is where my family split from the Wright, De Burchgraeve, Stanuczek, and Winne families. There is also a third line, but I’m unsure what family is at the end of it. They have one branch estimated to be around 1200 CE. We’re all definitely descended from Mr BY41998, and even though it is unlikely, any of us could be more directly related to Hatherdene 5.

One more hop back in time, and there are seven other branches under R-ZP121. Any of those branches could be more directly related to Hatherdene 5 or Tjærby 750.

Between our human bookends, Hatherdene 5 and Tjærby 750, is a big chunk of the migration period and the Viking age. I have gotten to the point where I think of it as a spaghetti mess of moving people that Hatherdene 5 was a part of and that Tjærby 750 might be a product of.

Bookends in Time but Maybe from the Same Space?

Branches that cover or form within this time frame, under ZP121, contain modern men from Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Ireland, Wales, Finland, and Sweden (with a chunk of men also in “unknown” or United States). That makes the location of these two ancient DNA samples interesting as well.

They’re both ZP121. They cover a large portion of the time when all of the migration period action occurs. They’re 800 years apart, but in theory, they’re both from the Jutland Peninsula. Hatherdene 5 was not admixed. He was a continental northern European. His autosomal DNA didn’t suggest any time spent among the Franks before heading for Britain. We could hypothesize that he left Angeln or his parents both did. In some theories, the Angles and Jutes migrated down the coast and to England because of the encroaching Danes from the east. Tjærby 750 lived and died on the Jutland Peninsula. Perhaps his family never left. Maybe they just became Danes.

There are biases in testing, limits on the depth of testing, and limits on the amount of material that CAN be tested. These limiting factors can converge to cloud the real paths we’ve taken. My bias towards southern Scandinavia and Jutland, particularly as a reservoir for CTS12023, is pretty obvious to anyone who has read my diary here.

It’s easy to fall into confirmation bias because I feel like I’ve been watching this pattern unfold for a decade or more.

With that in mind, this is what is actually being presented as evidence. I don’t have to do a lot of backbends, and yoga stretches to make this fit. Ancient ZP121 is found in the Jutland Peninsula and places and cultures associated with migration from the Jutland Peninsula. If we’re lucky, there will be more evidence in the future that fills in more locations and gaps in the timeline.

Elmer, Elmore, Ellmore, Aylmer Recruits Wanted

We’re also looking for Ellmers, Almers, Ailmers and other varieties we haven’t thought of. Are there Olmers? I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of ways to spell it.

We Want YOU to test your Y DNA

We’re trying to connect with our nearer and more distant relatives worldwide using Y DNA to jump the gaps in our historical records and reconnect with our cousins in the Elmer, Elmore, Aylmer diaspora.

Why Y?

Y DNA follows the male line and can be traced back through hundreds and thousands of years and generations, connecting you to your ancestors through your DNA. Y DNA can reach back through more generations than other tests like AncestryDNA.

Not a Man? Not to worry, just find a male line relative, father, grandfather, uncle, or male cousin and get them tested. Y DNA isn’t just for men, if you’re alive, you’re related to a man. Hunt them down and make them give up a little spit.

Discover Your DNA Journey at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA is a great place to test and match other male lines. Start with a basic Y37 or jump all the way in with a Big Y test and Join the Elmore Y DNA Group to be sorted into family groups. There are many independent Elmer, Elmore and Aylmer families whose stories are hidden in your DNA and just waiting to be told.

Puzzling on Y DNA and Relatedness

One of the things I haven’t been sure how to approach is the tangle of time, movement, location and relatedness presented in these genetic studies of ancient and modern people. As usual, conversations with my genetic cousins have helped me think about some of this complexity.

If you’ve read any of my other Y DNA posts, you’ll know that my perspective has been shaped quite a bit by being in a fairly small group of men within one of the largest groups in Europe. Roughly 150 men spread around the Americas and Europe. At the end of the day, many men will find themselves in small groups of more closely related men. Our group was small near the beginning of the day though. Our group is both old and relatively young. Family Tree DNA has us all splitting from an ancestor around 700 BCE with about 1500 years between our group and its parent R-Z18, whereas other groups may have a few hundred years between a parent and a child branch.

So in my mind, it is like having 150 pieces of a puzzle that should have 1000 pieces. Most of the picture is unknown. These 150 pieces are similar and form parts of a picture with clusters of pieces that obviously go together. We have some good chunks of our corner…but enough blank spots to be deceiving.

What I’ve been trying to describe is how similar we all are, but how we may not all fit together the way you’d think, given the clues at hand.

puzzle pieces in a corner on a table.

Location and Relatedness

If I go by FTDNA aging estimates, there is a big gap between our group and our parent where there is missing information, but there is an even bigger gap between our common ancestor and the testers today. Roughly 2600 years give or take a few hundred.

At first, you could look at a location map and see that there are men in our Y haplogroup who claim their origins in many different countries in Europe and you could suspect that the men in England, for instance, were probably more closely related to each other and the men from Germany were more closely related to each other and the men from Norway…etc. Then we identified that some of us had an STR DYS458.2 that seemed to split the tiny group.

All of a sudden, men with origins in close proximity, even in this small group, found themselves on either side of a divide. A man in England ends up more closely related to a man in Norway than to a man in the next county in England.

With big Y testing, the picture becomes even more complex, pairing men from multiple different countries into smaller sets more closely related. For example, We’re all in R-CTS12023, but my Elmer family, from southeast England, is more closely related to the Stanuszek family in Poland than to the Porter family in Essex, or the Old family in Dorset. You’d have to go all the way back to 700 BCE to meet up with the Pipkin family, also from England (possibly Bedfordshire). Before you get to them, there are closer relatives in Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, and Ireland,

I’ve thought for some time that “like” people end up in “like” places, but proximity and Y DNA don’t seem to go hand in hand every time.

On the macro level, yes definitely CTS12023 has been moving around Northern Europe but on the micro level a CTS12023 man in Germany may be more closely related to a man in Norway than to another CTS12023 man a few miles away in Germany.

Our physical locations can be deceptive.

Swinging back to the Anglo-Saxon study for a minute.

continental sources for Anglo Saxon DNA showing sites in the low countries, northern germany, denmark and sweden.

This map shows Continental Northern Europeans that were autosomally related to the Anglo-Saxons. The dotted lines give a geographic boundary to “like” people who ended up in England. These include people who were autosomally like our R-CTS12023 men found in the study.

The map below gave the researcher’s best estimates of migration groups, with one totally CNE group heading for The Wash in East Anglia and another group showing CNE with Southern admixture heading to Kent. CTS12023 men were part of both of these migration groups. Like people were in like places, but Y DNA was reasonably diverse.

Anglo Saxon source areas and migration routes based on DNA with full CNE in northern germany, denmark and Sweden and another group traveling south with mixed CNE and Frankish DNA.

As a point of interest, one of the CTS12023 men from Kent, BUK009, who may have been on the southern route and has a small amount of that green group admixture, is more closely related to modern testers from Norway and Denmark.

Meanwhile, the all-red Angle from the northern route, HAD005, is most closely related to modern continental testers from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Poland (not counting the many people from Britain).

I would have expected the reverse for these two men, given the geography of modern-day Y testers.

Although these men were both Continental Northern Europeans, they had different individual genetic journeys with their own groups of people. Although they were both CTS12023 men, they belong to seemingly different migrations, and their shared CTS12023 Y DNA only connects way back in 750 BCE. The ancestors of these men were brothers or close cousins in 750 BCE, but we have to recognize that it took them almost 1000 years to reach England by different paths, and they may have had different backgrounds, identities, and “people” when they got there.

It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t go further into the lineages of the other CTS12023 men; they are interesting unknowns with a Y haplogroup stuck in time at the founding of Rome. They could be any branch of CTS12023.

A More Contemporary Example

samuel stone statue hartford

Back to the Old family. Robert Old lived in Windsor, Hartford Connecticut in the same timeframe as Edward Elmer. They basically lived across the river from each other. Ed was a puritan, and Robert was likely a puritan, I’m guessing. One was from Dorset, the other likely Essex. Probably autosomally pretty similar. Both men were part of the small CTS12023 Y haplogroup, yet you’d have to go back to 650 BCE, over 2000 years to find their common Y male ancestor in this tiny group.

Maybe this one is more relatable to me as well because of my perspective as an American. My Y DNA line has only been on this continent since the 1630s. Immigration from Europe is one of the more recent stories for this entire hemisphere. The Old Y DNA line ended up in the same location in the 1660s. The Normans, Vikings, and Anglo-Saxons seem so old and far away, but the Y DNA common ancestor for these two families is older than all those migrations. Their proximity in Connecticut is more about community and culture in 1600s England, and Y DNA is along for the ride.

For all they had in common, their Y DNA may have taken very different routes, only to end up in the same place at the same time.

Sure, but Does it Work in Theory?

Let’s take Buckland 9, R-CTS12023->R-PH1163. He’s a Jute, from Kent, with about 11% Continental Western European DNA. They think he hopped over on the short route, maybe just across the channel from France, possibly overland picking up that small bit of CWE DNA, or maybe hopping down the coast. His modern testing counterparts are from Norway and Denmark. The common Y DNA ancestor is estimated to be 300 BCE about 700 years before BUK009 was born.

We can speculate that Jutes are from Jutland and that Denmark is somewhere on the journey for BUK009. BUK009 is a few hundred years earlier than the Viking invasions of England. Would it be impossible for a distant Y DNA relative to have hopped down from Denmark or Norway and left R-PH1163 descendants in Ireland and the Danelaw? You could end up with the same Y DNA haplogroup in England, a few hundred miles apart, arriving hundreds of years apart in different migration events.

What if they also settled in Norman France? You could end up with R-PH1163 in the same county in England coming from Denmark with the Jutes, Vikings, and Normans. What if they had settled in Flanders…they could show up in England as Flemish weavers hundreds of years after the Normans. Then you could find two R-PH1163 men on either side of a river in America, in Hartford, Connecticut in the mid-1600s one of them having arrived in England in 400 CE with the Jutes and the other arriving almost 1000 years later with Flemish weavers, now both English Puritans with the same language, customs, and religion, both also related to one man in Denmark 2000 years earlier.

HAD005 and R-ZP121

Looking at the time tree, we’ve got eight lines of descent from R-ZP121. Hatherdene 5 is stuck at R-ZP121, not necessarily because that is where his line stopped, but that is as far as they could get with the SNP coverage they had. He could be more closely related to any of those eight lines, or he could be down his own line that hasn’t been discovered yet.

He’s locationally significant to my family because the Elmers, Elmores, and Aylmers are prolific in East Anglia, particularly Norfolk. Mythologically, my family are Aylmers from the area of King’s Lynn. In the case of our mythical family, Aylmer was chosen in the 1500s as a throw-back spelling of Elmer, meant to recognize the family’s Anglian roots. It was during a revival of Anglo-Saxon naming as people wanted to identify with “Englishness” rather than carry on with any post-Norman, French association.

Map of the Fens including Cambridge
By Rcsprinter123 – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

There is no paper or genetic evidence we can find to show that we’re actually connected to that Aylmer family from King’s Lynn, but the proliferation of the surname Elmer in Norfolk gives us greater odds of being from some family in the area. It’s hard to Ignore the fact that the recent Anglo-Saxon study had the Wash identified as a probable entry point for a Continental Northern European migration and it’s hard for me to ignore Elmham there in Norfolk as one of many possible place names where a later “Elmer” might be from.

image of the Wash with anglo saxon settlements and monastaries including North Elmham.
By Amitchell125 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It is not impossible that my branch under R-ZP121 is directly related to that guy in Cambridge. I can’t say for certain that we’re not. His testing only goes to ZP121 which pre-dates him by several hundred years. Does his locational significance in 500 CE have relevance to my family in 1600 CE over a thousand years later? Maybe.

The Jutes

One of the Jutes was taken to R-PH1163, but not all of them. Two were left back at CTS12023. I can’t assume they are directly related on the Y to the R-PH1163 man. They weren’t identified as an autosomal family. They could be members of the same community and have Y DNA separated by 1000 years. Here in Dover we have multiple known CTS12023 men. CTS12023 has nine currently known lines of men. These two could be related to one of them, or none of them.

Our closest non-Elmer family, the Knowltons, are mythologically from Knowlton in Kent. About 9 miles from Dover. The Lunsfords (the next closest family) are likely named for a land holding in Sussex, about 40 miles from Dover. Not too far from Hastings.

kingdom of Kent

It’s not impossible that we three families are directly related to one of these two men. Our cluster of families is thought to have formed (currently) around 500 CE. These men show some Continental Western European heritage that the Anglo-Saxon study identifies as most like samples from Belgium and France. Although our small family cluster is all English, our closest brother branch under parent R-BY41998 sitting at around 250 CE (hundreds of years before this migration) contains both an English family and a Family from Belgium, and one from the Netherlands, and a family from Poland.

That timing, from the 500s CE to as far back as we can take our little cluster of families genealogically, gives us about 1000 years for the Lunsfords to make it 40 miles to Sussex, and roughly 600 years for the Knowltons to go 90 miles to Uxbridge and for the Elmers to make it 85 miles to Braintree Essex.

That scenario is not impossible, it might even be most likely depending on your perspective, but it’s also not the only possible explanation.

Like People Keep Moving to Like Places for Hundreds of Years

Assuming these estimates of time are getting better, the split for the Knowltons and Elmers is being knocked back to 900 CE (from roughly 1100 CE in earlier estimates), and the split with the Lunsfords is being knocked back to 500 CE (from roughly 700 CE). Within the time of these three Y DNA families, you have the history of Anglo-Saxon England, Viking England, Norman England an influx of Flemish, the Hanseatic League…etc. Plenty of time for basically the same Continental Northern Europeans from Norway to Belgium to continually wash over the British Isles. For all I know, the Lunsfords were deposited by the Jutes, the Knowltons by the Vikings, and the Elmers came over with the Flemish. All of them could be related to the same man from Jutland in 400 CE, and each family could take different routes at different times to end up on the same island.

The Irony

It’s amazing to have our small group make an appearance in ancient DNA. I feel lucky to have been alive to see it.

Ironically, the ancient DNA samples exhibit the same issues R-CTS12023 men deal with today. All of them, including the guy from Hungary, appear in the same time period. We don’t know how closely related they might be. With the knowns and unknowns of their haplogroups, each individual has to go back to 700 BCE to reach the other individuals. HAD005 and BUK009 are 1200 years apart in Y DNA, but they arrived around the same time in England and lived 120 miles apart on the map. I18184 is also 1200 years away from the others and about 1200 miles away on the map, but lived around the same time. Because people were making the journey from Scandinavia and Northern Europe to Hungary in a single generation (as proven by isotope analysis of the guys in Szolad), it’s possible I18184 is more closely related in Y DNA to one of the men from England than the men from England are to each other.

I don’t think it’s hopeless to try to figure it out. We keep getting closer and closer.


In the end, I think the thing we can use to exclude an origin story may be the age estimates for our different haplogroups. So, for instance, the Vikings are not relevant for R-A2284, because it has an age estimate in the 1700s. Give or take a few hundred years, we’ve still left the Vikings behind. It would be better to look at colonial-era migrations. That particular split is probably a colonial-era split.

As you go farther back and the gaps widen out between matches, I have to say that there is a lot of room in there for twists and surprises.

I should also say that we only know about R-ZP121 and R-PH1163 among the Anglo-Saxons in the study results above because men today ran through Big Y testing. Every test helps to complete our corner of the puzzle.

Wandering Thoughts on Ancient Y DNA Post Migration Period

There are different ideas about the beginning and end of the Migration Period. I’m not sure migration ever really ends. As one of my friends reminded me when I commented on his relation to indigenous Sami Y DNA, “Everyone is from somewhere else.” People didn’t pop out of the ground in Lapland.

In previous posts, and in this one, I’ve used the term “local.” I’m mindful that in my Carpathian Basin post, our local boy for R-CTS12023 (used as a foil in the study to differentiate the invading Avars) was most closely related to admixed Longobards. Those admixed Longobards looked to be, maybe, one generation in from being “Invaders” themselves. So yesterday’s foreigner is tomorrow’s native townie.

Because of my Y, I’m trying to split hairs among Germanic groups that moved all over the place. So I’ve tried to draw a line separating the migrations in earlier movements from the Vikings forward.

It’s arbitrary on my part because other migration concepts like the Ostsiedlung and the studies of Hungary I just worked through span these periods.

As in the past several posts, I will be using the U106 group’s excellent Ancient DNA spreadsheet because they’ve done the hard work for me deciphering U106. I’m also leaning heavily on the supplemental data I can get from the studies these samples come from and whatever I can gather from Family Tree DNA’s awesome new haplogroup tools. Since we’re talking about Vikings, I’m also going to run directly into all the good work done at DNA Explained to post ancient Viking DNA results.

Sigtuna – Viking Age Sweden

map of sigtuna sweden on the east side of Sweden just north of Stockholm.

A study of burials in Sigtuna Sweden around 1000 BCE turned up one FTDNA confirmed R-U106 YDNA result. That same sample was pushed to Z18>Z17>S17032 by the good people on the Anthrogenica Forums. The study “Genomic and Strontium Isotope Variation Reveal Immigration Patterns in a Viking Age Town” identified that the burials were made up of locals, regional people, and people who had traveled a significant distance with a penchant for being related to people from Lithuania. Quoting the study: “70% of the females and 44% of the males from Sigtuna were non-locals”.

“The observed patterns are best explained by a scenario where both males and females were mobile regionally but also migrated over larger distances to a similarly high degree. The long-distance migrants probably moved to Sigtuna from other centers in connection to their profession or goals. They most likely represent the whole network of the Viking world. We do not find a specific Scandinavian “Viking” population distinct from the rest of Europe; rather, the population was integrated in the northern European gene pool at the time.”

The haplogroups in the study are likely to be old. There are only 9 results, and they are pretty diverse. Where I could figure it out, I’ll mark the locals..etc.

Haplogroup G

  • G-L1259 formed around 16000 BCE. 4929 modern testers from England, Germany and Italy.

Haplogroup I

  • I-Z74 – local – formed in 1400 BCE, 2001 descendants mainly from Finland, Sweden and Norway.
  • I-M436, AKA I-P214 – formed in 16000 BCE and has 8083 descendants, mainly from England, Germany, and Ireland.

Haplogroup N

  • N-L392 AKA N-L1026 – Norway – formed in 3700 BCE most common in Finland, Russia and Sweden

Haplogroup R

  • R-P312 – a base haplogroup of R1b and the largest branch of R1b most common in the British Isles and also prevalent in Western Europe.
  • R-M173 AKA R1 – a base branch of Haplogroup R it contains all the descendants down R1a and R1. This group is enormous.
  • R-BY18986local – This is the R-Z18 result. Formed around 1100 BCE and has 4 modern testers from England, Norway and Russia.

Haplogroup BT

  • BCDEF – Norway – this is a base haplogroup, so it has been renamed several times. formed in 85000 BCE with 235,344 descendants. Most of them are well down into the branches.

Haplogroup A?

  • A2’3’4 – I absolutely don’t know how to parse this result…but here it is.

Population genomics of the Viking world

Roberta Estes and Family Tree DNA did an excellent job with results from this study. Much better I think, than I have been doing in my own transects. I’m going to link over to that much more complete content for the 442 results rather than try to recreate it in some slightly different way.

Here are some quick stats:

Haplogroup R: 151 results

  • R1a – 62 results
  • R1b – 84 results
    • R1b-M269 – 82 results.
    • R1b-P312 – 35 results
    • R1b-M405 (R-U106) – 29 results. These U106 results (and below) are also well documented in the R-U106 spreadsheet
      • R-FGC3861 – 1 results
      • R-Z381 – 18 results
      • R-Z18 – 7 results. Most are under R-Z372 which is a major group under R-Z18. Most popular in Sweden, Scotland and England. The exception is VK168 which FTDNA leaves at R-Z18.
        • VK168 UK_Oxford_#6
        • VK170 Isle-of-Man_Balladoole
        • VK204 Orkney_Newark for Brothwell
        • VK259 UK_Dorset-3734
        • VK308 Sweden_Skara 101
        • VK418 Norway_Nordland 1502
        • VK449 UK_Dorset-3746

Haplogroup I: 106 results

Haplogroup N: 17 results

Haplogroup G: 3 results

Haplogroup J: 3 results

Haplogroup E: 2 results

Haplogroup T: 2 results

Haplogroup L: 2 results

Haplogroup Q: 1 result

Back to The Anglo-Saxon migration and the formation of the early English gene pool

Back to the Anglo Saxon study, they did a lot of work on rough contemporary results they thought would line up with the Anglo Saxons. The results span from 200 CE to 1100 CE. I put together a page for these results so I don’t think I’ll go through them again.

If I start my selection at roughly the 8th century in those results, and peel away roughly 30 R-P312+ results from Ireland, this is the breakdown of haplogroups:

Haplogroup R: 45 Results

  • R1a: 5 results
  • R1b-M269: 40 results
    • R1b-P312: 12 results (would be the clear winner if I included the Irish results)
    • R1b-U106: 23 results all these results are well documented in the U106 spreadsheet.
      • R-FTT8 (the major group above R-Z381): 18 results
      • R-S12025: 1 result
      • R-Z18: 3 Results from Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, Schleswig Rathausmarkt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and Dunum, Lower Saxony, Germany. I believe all these results are under R-Z17 which is a major group under R-Z18.
post migration walking tour of R-Z18 results.
walking tour of R-Z18 results.

Haplogroup I: 22 Results

Haplogroup J: 4 Results

Haplogroup G: 1 Result

Ancient genomes from Iceland reveal the making of a human population

This study looks at 27 ancient DNA samples from Iceland: “…these ancient Icelanders are markedly more similar to their source populations in Scandinavia and the British-Irish Isles than to contemporary Icelanders, who have been shaped by 1100 years of extensive genetic drift.”

image of mounded hills and grasslands in Vatnsdalur iceland.
Vatnsdalur borrowed from Kelvin Leung

Haplgroup R: 17 results

  • R1a: 7 results
  • R1b: 10 results
    • R1b-P312: 6 results
    • R1b-M405 (U106): 2 results

Haplogroup I: 6 results

Haplogroup G: 1 result

Haplogroup C: 1 result

Haplogroup D: 1 result

And the Hits Keep Coming!

As I have been writing this, new studies have been released with results from more Swedish Pre Vikings, Vikings, and some results from a Swedish shipwreck in the 1600s. There are four R-U106 results, and one is R-Z18 (GAM872 a Viking-era person from Uppland, Sweden). I think this study was published just a few days ago, and already the results are appearing in the R-U106 spreadsheet and out at Family Tree DNA. It’s amazing. It seems like there is something new or something old that is re-evaluated every couple of weeks.

I’m glad to be around to see it and look forward to more results in the future.

Wrapping up My Viking and Vendel Era Tour

At this time last year, I would not have been surprised that R-CTS12023 didn’t appear in any ancient DNA samples. Testing coverage wasn’t that good (if it was done at all), and we’re a small enough group of modern testers that we could fade into the woodwork. Having us appear in Medieval Hungary and England has made me greedy for more ancient DNA and greedy for more modern Big Y testers.

It occurs to me that each of these results is important to someone (whether they know it or not). I focus on my groups, but it’s good to know that even the results I’ve glossed over as statistics are connected to living people in some way.

Having ancient DNA to look at along with modern people lets us see the journeys and the waypoints that we’ve only guessed at before.

I can’t say that I’m surprised there are no CTS12023 results among the R-Z18 men in these later studies, but maybe it is just a matter of time.

Side Note: Family Tree DNA Discover is Pretty Awesome

Family Tree DNA has been adding these results to their Discover Haplogroup Reports feature. You can find the ancient people you’re related to by putting in your own Haplogroup and clicking Ancient Connections. This is mine (currently): R-A2284.

screenshot of family tree dna discover haplogroup reporting showing ancient connections.

You can also see ancient connections by navigating through the Time Tree which shows the branches of your Y-DNA family tree with age estimates and these ancient genomes.

screenshot of family tree dna time tree with ancient samples and modern testers in the tree.

Ancient Y DNA and Medieval Hungary Part 2

Continuing with “Whole genome analysis sheds light on the genetic origin of Huns, Avars and conquering Hungarians.” which seems to overlap with this article that I’ve also been referencing: “The genetic origin of Huns, Avars, and conquering Hungarians.” I’m posting these results as a context for the R-CTS12023/R-DF95 (see It’s My Carpathian Basin), R-Z18, R-U106 and R1b results identified in ancient samples from Hungary.

Walking through all these results makes for some pretty long posts, so I’ve split Medieval Hungary into Part 1 and Part 2. Back to it, then.

Late Avar Period 8th to 9th Century

Haplogroup E

Walking map showing Late Avar Haplogroup E results in Szeged, Orosháza, Székkutas, Kiskundorozsma, Homokmégy, Alattyán, Pitvaros, and Tiszafüre

Locations: Szeged, Orosháza, Székkutas, Kiskundorozsma, Homokmégy, Alattyán, Pitvaros, and Tiszafüre

  • E-PRX51 200 BCE, only found in ancient DNA from Hungary.
  • E-BY4573 (2 samples) 250 CE, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro.
  • E-FGC11451 1000 BCE, England and Germany.
  • E-BY7536 3250 BCE, Poland, Ukraine, and Germany.
  • E-Y145455 1550 BCE, Ireland, Germany and Sweden.
  • E-BY193951 – (2 samples) 500 BCE, Sardinia, and Ireland.
  • E-BY6375 1350 BCE, France, Sweden, and Belgium.
  • E-BY5617 – 750 BCE, Albania and Germany.
  • E-FTD30148 – 400 BCE, Russia.
  • E-BY4523 – 500 BCE, France, Germany, and Sweden.
  • E-PRX43 100 BCE, only known from samples in Hungary.

Haplogroup R

walking map of haplogroup R results in Árkus, Orosháza, Székkutas, Jánoshida, and Szarvas

Locations: Árkus, Orosháza, Székkutas, Jánoshida, and Szarvas

  • R-Y20746 – 1900 BCE, Bashkortostan, Russia, Kuwait.
  • R-PRX15 (2 samples) 850 BCE, only found in ancient DNA from Hungary.
  • R-PRX19 (2 samples) 1150 BCE, only found in ancient DNA from Hungary.
  • R-FGC56440 – 50 CE, Russia, Kazakhstan, and France.
  • R-PRX18 – only found in ancient DNA from Hungary. The parent group formed around 50 CE.
  • R-Y2631 – 850 BCE, Russia, UK, and Armenia.
  • R-FT175739 – (under R1b) 1550 BCE, Germany, France, and Poland.

Haplogroups Q, N, I, C and J

walking map of results from haplogroups Q, N, I , C and J in locations Árkus, Kiskundorozsma, Csólyospálos, Tatárszentgyörgy, Tiszafüred, Homokmégy, Pitvaros, and Vörs

Haplogroup Q

Location: Árkus

  • Q-PRX40 – (5 samples) around 350 CE, only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • Q-BZ1000 – (2 samples) 300 CE, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Russia.

Haplogroup N

Locations: Kiskundorozsma, Csólyospálos, and Tatárszentgyörgy

  • N-PRX34 – (2 samples) only found in ancient Hungary.
  • N-PRX33 – only found in ancient Hungary.
  • N-Y16313 – 100 BCE. China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.

Haplogroup I

Locations: Tiszafüred, Homokmégy

  • I-PRX1 (2 samples) – 300 CE, only found in ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • I-FT239052 1 modern tester from Czech Republic.

Haplogroup C

Location: Pitvaros

  • C-PRX53 (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup J

Location: Vörs

  • J-YP181 an Avar Elite. 1300 BCE, Sardinia and Poland.

Hungarian Conqueror Period 10th to 11th Century

What is a conquering Hungarian and where to they come from? The Hungarians/Magyar probably come from the Steppe and move west under pressure from another group from the East, similar to the Avars. They invade the Carpathian basin, bringing in more Y haplogroups from the east. They raid all over Western Europe up to Saxony and then eventually became sedentary. Wikipedia has a very concise map image of various stages of the Magyar migration.

At some point between the end of the Avars and the Beginning of the Conquering Hungarians, the Eastern Franks pushed into what would become Hungary to the Danube, and the Avars pulled back across the Tisza, but I’m not sure how much of a genetic legacy that might have.

What is interesting to me is that there are a lot of R1b results in this period, and I believe the majority of R-U106 results in the study.

This is the largest group of results in the supplemental materials. I’ve mixed the commoners and elites. The only groups that didn’t appear in commoners and elites seemed to be Haplogroup N, Haplogroup C and Haplogroup D. They were all elite.

By Fakirbakir – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Haplogroup R

walking map of haplogroup R locations for hungarian conquerors including  Sárrétudvari, Nagykőrös, Karos, Szegvár, Homokmégy, Nagytarcsa, Püspökladány, Algyő, Ibrány, and Tiszanána

Haplogroup R has enough samples in this round that I will split it up into R1a and R1b groups. I’ll also grab a bit more information on our U106 and Z18 cousins.


Locations: Sárrétudvari, Nagykőrös, Karos, Szegvár, Homokmégy, Püspökladány, Algyő

  • R-BY30742 – 500 BCE, Russia and Sweden.
  • R-Y147340 – 1 tester from Russia.
  • R-PRX9 (2 samples) only known from ancient samples in Hungary. The parent group is from 1685 BCE.
  • R-BY32011 – 550 BCE, Scotland and Spain.
  • R-Z283 – 2800 BCE, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.
  • R-BY180648 1 modern tester from Russia. The parent group is from 550 BCE.
  • R-FGC56425 200 CE, Russia, France, and Czech Republic.
  • R-Y52 950 BCE, Germany, England, and Russia.
  • R-Y3219 1 BCE, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.


Locations: Nagytarcsa, Homokmégy, Szegvár, Sárrétudvari, Ibrány, Karos, Tiszanána, Püspökladány

  • R-KMS59 – 100 BCE, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovakia.
  • R-BY173857 – 3350 BCE, Turkey
  • R-FT186340 – 1000 BCE, Albania.
  • R-P312 – base group under R1b.
  • R-A7066 – 1600 BCE, England and France.
  • R-Y14515 – 2000 BCE, Scotland and Russia.
  • R-BY111101 – (2 samples) – 400 CE, Germany and Austria.
  • R-FT327611 – Only known from ancient samples in Hungary. The parent is 50 CE in England and Germany.
  • R-FTC689 – 1150 BCE, England.
  • R-FT153449 (under U106) commoner. 1 living tester with unknown origins. The parent group is 900 BCE, England and Ireland.
  • R-BY41605 (under R-U106) Magyar Elite. 500 BCE, Germany, Spain and England.
  • R-Y105242 (under R-U106->R-L48) Hungarian Elite. 550 CE, Finland, Sweden, Norway.
  • R-BY18748 (under R-U106->R-L48) commoner. 300 CE, England, Finland, and Germany.
  • R-FGC17304 – (under R-U106->R-L48->R-L47) commoner. 200 BCE, Poland, and England.
  • R-FT96427 – (under R-U106->R-Z18->R-L257) commoner. 1 living tester with unknown origins. The parent group is 750 BCE, Norway, Germany, and Lithuania. This person (Sárrétudvari 175 or shper175) is listed as eur-core3 in this study. eur-core3 clusters with “Langobards15 and Bronze Age samples from Hungary,18,19 the Czech Republic, and Germany”

Haplogroup I

walking map of haplogroup I results in Püspökladány, Homokmégy, Ibrány, Sárrétudvari, Magyarhomorog, Karos

Locations: Püspökladány, Homokmégy, Ibrány, Sárrétudvari, Magyarhomorog, Karos

  • I-PRX61 – (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary. Parent group is 100 CE with testers from Sweden and England.
  • I-S20602 – (2 samples) 400 BCE, Russia, Poland, and Ukraine.
  • I-FTC25695 – 500 CE, England.
  • I-A1328 – 200 CE, Russia, Bosnia, Poland.
  • I-Y3548 – 200 BCE, Poland, Russia, Ukraine.
  • I-FT108909 – 600 CE, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Romania.
  • I-M253 – 2550 BCE, England, Sweden, and Germany.
  • I-S20602 (3 samples) 400 BCE, Russia, Poland, and Ukraine.

Haplogroup N

walking map of haplogroup N results in Szakony, Algyő, Karos, Kiskundorozsma, Kenézlő, Sárrétudvari

Locations: Szakony, Algyő, Karos, Kiskundorozsma, Kenézlő, Sárrétudvari

  • N-CTS6967 – 3100 BCE, Finland, Russia, Sweden.
  • N-Y13852 – 1700 BCE, Russia, Hungary, and Greece.
  • N-PH1896 – (2 samples) 650 CE. Turkey and Lebanon.
  • N-L1026 – 3700 BCE, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
  • N-PRX36 – 1050 CE, Hungary.

Haplogroup J

walking map of haplogroup J results in Sárrétudvari, Püspökladány, Bugyi, Vörs

Locations: Sárrétudvari, Püspökladány, Bugyi, Vörs

  • J-Y3612 – 2100 BCE, Russia, Chechnya, and Ingushetia.
  • J-PH245 – 5750 BCE, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Turkey.
  • J-FT403133 – 4600 BCE, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan
  • J-Z30685 2600 BCE, Italy, England, and France.
  • J-Y23094 1550 BCE, Albania, France, and Italy.

Haplogroup E

walking map of haplogroup E results in Sárrétudvari, Püspökladány, Szegvár, Tiszanána, Sándorfalva

Locations: Sárrétudvari, Püspökladány, Szegvár, Tiszanána, Sándorfalva

Haplogroups G, Q, T, D, and C

walking map of G, Q, T, D, and C results from Homokmégy, Karos, Szeged, Vörs, Kenézlő, Sándorfalva, Ladánybene and Magyarhomorog

Haplogroup G

Locations: Homokmégy, Karos, Szeged

  • G-PRX54 – (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary
  • G-Y11076 1650 BCE, Switzerland, Norway, and Germany.
  • G-BY191127 1 modern tester from Turkey.

Haplogroup Q

Locations: Vörs, Kenézlő, Sándorfalva

  • Q-BZ93 1 modern tester from Russia.
  • Q-PH5117 – 3 modern testers from Bhutan and Brunei.
  • Q-BZ450 – 1400 BCE, Russia

Haplogroup C

Location: Ladánybene

  • C-FT88774 – 1 living tester with unknown origin. The parent group has 1 tester from Russia.

Haplogroup D

Location: Magyarhomorog

  • D-Y59460 – 1 living tester from Kazakhstan

Haplogroup T

Location: Vörs

  • T-BY45377 – 1800 BCE. England, Iraq and Lebanon.

Early Arpadian Commoners 11th Century

Locations: Püspökladány, Ibrány, and Magyarhomorog. These are all commoners under the Árpádian dynasty in Hungary. There are not very many of them, so I will list them together.

Early Arpad results from Püspökladány, Ibrány, and Magyarhomoro
  • I-FGC22129 – 100 CE. Sweden and England.
  • I-S6489 – 1150 BCE. Scotland and Ireland.
  • I-FT26533 -1 modern tester of unknown origin. Parent is 700 BCE. Russia, Germany and England.
  • N-Y24222 – 200 BCE. Russia and Hungary.
  • R-FGC17304 – 200 BCE. Poland and England.
  • R-PRX5 – (under R-L21, R-P312, R1b) is only known from ancient DNA. Parent group is 1700 BCE, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

Thoughts and Conclusions


walking map of ancient U106 results

In all of these results, in all these locations, covering 500 or so years and multiple invasions, there are about seven R-U106 boys (maybe 8, one of them is up in the air). Most of those appear in the conquering Hungarians group, and a couple were considered elite burials with nice grave goods. The R-Z18 man in this period was a commoner who appeared to be related to European genetic groups rather than Asian genetic groups.

Going back in time a hundred years or so from these studies, there were 5 R-U106 results, just in Langobard Szolad. Just that one place, and that one group. We’re out of our element among the Huns, Avars, and Hungarians. The papers I’ve been mulling through consider these people as allied Germanics or remnant populations of allied Germanics or native Europeans, depending on the time period.

The current oldest R-U106 sample in the U106 group spreadsheet is PNL1, Plotiště nad Labem 1, part of the corded ware culture, who lived around 2900 BCE in Plotiště nad Labem, Bohemia, Czech Republic. Not too awful far from these Hungarians. I say current oldest because the previous oldest R-U106 identified was RISE98, who was roughly 700 years younger and in Sweden as part of the battle axe or boat axe culture.

R-U106 is estimated to have formed in 2920 BCE, not too much before PNL1 there in Czechia. There is probably much more to be seen in central Europe.

Plotiště nad Labem Czechia


Family Tree DNA estimates that R-Z18 appeared in 2210 BCE. The oldest R-Z18 sample in the U106 spreadsheet is from 1800 to 1400 BCE in Madesø, Denmark, part of the Nordic Bronze Age. There is a sizeable gap there between the suspected origin and archaeogenetic evidence. The second oldest is in Hove Å, Denmark, roughly 1300 to 900 BCE. You don’t see ancient R-Z18 again for 1000 plus years, until 200 CE with HVN004 in Häven, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Again a large gap. There are more stories to be told in these gaps.

It would be cool to find older roots for R-Z18 and to see what locations they are in.

With what I have right now, I’m still leaning towards a migration path for R-Z18->CTS12023 from southern Scandinavia, northern Germany/Poland into central and eastern Europe with the Langobards, Goths, or Gepids setting up our man from 600 CE. I welcome being wrong, though. There is a lot of room here to be wrong.

For the later 10th to 11th century R-Z18, I think a remnant from those earlier populations could be possible, or someone moving in from Bavaria and the Eastern Frankish Empire. There is also the option of the Kievan Rus, who had interactions with the Magyar.


I have to admit a lot of ignorance regarding the distribution of R1a and its various groups. R1a is the king of the R group in these studies, while it seems rare in the west. I’m used to running in circles where R1b dominates the landscape. It’s refreshing to see the other side of the R coin. It reminds me of how old, large, and well-traveled Haplogroup R is.

Marching back in the time tree, I saw a lot of R1a-Z93, which some sources list as Central Asian R. That makes sense within the scope of these studies. In the context of so many Asian, Central, Near Eastern, and Southern European Y haplogroups, it is easy to see our own Y group (R-U106->R-Z18) as a remnant or an incursion (maybe both) in R1a territory.

Haplogroup R

For some perspective, it looks like all of R comes from the east. We’re all various steppe people who are pushed west at different times. We diverged from Haplogroup Q (which branched out into North America and South America as well as Asia and Europe). We appear to have done that the hard way, bottle-necking in Western Europe before crossing the Atlantic.

Map showing Mal'ta, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia.

The pin above is in Mal’ta, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. That’s Mal’ta boy, the oldest Haplogroup R sample to date. Roughly 22000 BCE. Much closer to the heat map centers for R1a than to the heat map centers for R1b. Family Tree DNA has a really nice migration map with ancient R Y-DNA sites. Mal’ta boy is the red circle below.

Wrapping Up Hungary…for Now

I’ve learned a lot. All my internet searches on Avars and Magyars have pushed central European content into my various media feeds. I’m a fish out of water looking up Huns, Alans, Avars, and Magyars.

The story of Hungary (maybe the story of every place) is a story of people moving for escape or opportunity. The Pannonian plain and basin end up being a crossroads between Asia and Europe, and the people in Hungary show that mixture in their Y and autosomal DNA over the ages.

It is interesting to think that our Haplogroup R ancestors inhabited this region, invading from the east and then, hundreds or thousands of years later, swung back to the area again, invading from the north and west. In one study, they’re invaders, and in others, they’re the locals.

Aren’t we all?

Ancient Y DNA and Medieval Hungary

By some definitions, the Migration Period in Europe ends when the Longobards destroy the Gepid Kingdom, leave Pannonia, and invade Italy in the late 500’s CE. For others it goes until roughly 800 CE butting up to the “Viking Age”. These samples from Hungary overlap that arbitrary boundary.

Huns, Sarmatians, Avars…Maybe Some Gepids?

Study: Ancient genomes reveal origin and rapid trans-Eurasian migration of 7th century Avar elites

This study is a transect of centuries and cemeteries through multiple cultural groups. Our R-CTS12023 man (Tiszapüspöki 18184) is used as a comparison to the invading Avar Elites and others with Steppe ancestry. So it seems like the best context for the study would be to try to break it into locations and periods as defined by the ruling culture.

Late Sarmatian and Hun Periods

I’ve also snuck a Roman-Sarmatian period person in here because there was only one. This time period covers roughly the 3rd century CE through the 5th Century CE in Kecskemét, Hajdúnánás, Derecske and Árpás. Some of these Y haplogroup assignments are base groups, I suspect many of these samples have been re-examined by Family Tree DNA, but I’m not sure where to find a search just for ancient remains outside the time tree. I’ll try to find as many as I can.

sarmatian period burial map showing the graves in east, west and central hungary

Haplogroup I

All of the Haplogroup I samples are from Kecskemét

  • I-Y3153 – 900 BCE, found in Germany and England.
  • I-Z141 – 1850 BCE, found in England and Germany
  • I-DF29 – 2400 BCE, found in Sweden and England.
  • I-FTA14546 (2 samples) 1 modern tester with unknown origins

Haplogroup R

R results showed up in Hajdúnánás and Árpás (our Hun period). R1a wins over R1b 3 to 1.

  • R-YP6411 1 modern tester in Germany.
  • R-FGC4547 (2 samples) 1600 BCE, found in Germany, England and Russia.
  • R-U152 (a base group in R1b under R-P312) 2500 BCE found in England and Germany.

Haplogroup G

Appeared in Hajdúnánás among R samples.

  • G-FGC1053 – 1750 BCE, England, Portugal and Russia.

Haplogroup E

A Roman Sarmatian period sample in Derecske

  • E-CTS5856 – 2400 BCE, Germany and England.

Early Avar Period

After the Lombards destroy the Gepid kingdom and the Avars have moved in from the east. Samples are from the late 6th century to the mid 7th century CE. The Avars have invaded and are the new ruling class. The Longobards have left for Italy. These samples are from Budapest, Kunbábony, Szarvas, Szalkszentmárton, Kunpeszér, Petőfiszállás, Kecskemét, Kölked, Derecske, Tiszapüspöki, and Kövegy.

map of early avar dig sites including Budapest, Kunbábony, Szarvas, Szalkszentmárton, Kunpeszér, Petőfiszállás, Kecskemét, Kölked, Derecske, Tiszapüspöki, and Kövegy

Haplogroup N

  • N-P89 (2 samples) formed around 500 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, and Uzbekistan
  • N-B219 (2 samples) formed around 300 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, and 6 other countries.
  • N-L708 formed around 5850 BCE, found in Finland, Russia, and Sweden.
  • N-PRX28 (2 samples) (only known from ancient samples from Hungary)
  • N-Y16313 formed around 100 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, and Uzbekistan
  • N-CTS3103 formed around 2700 BCE, found in Finland, Russia, and Sweden

Haplogroup Q

  • Q-BZ93 found in one modern person in Russia.
  • Q-YP789 (2 samples) formed around 150 CE found in Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Haplogroup R

R1a for the win, 3 to our 1.

  • R-Z92 formed around 2200 BCE found in Russia, Poland and Ukraine.
  • R-BY40337 formed around 1250 BCE found in Portugal.
  • R-S10885 formed around 400 BCE found in Russia, Kazakhstan, and France
  • R-CTS12023 formed around 650 BCE found in England and Germany. The only R1b in this period.

Haplogroup E

  • E-BY5438 – formed around 900 BCE found in England.

Middle and Late Avar Period

The middle of the 7th century to the 8th century CE. Samples from Kunszállás, Albertirsa, Berettyóújfalu, Alsónyek, and Visonta.

late avar map showing Kunszállás, Albertirsa, Berettyóújfalu, Alsónyek, and Visonta in Hungary.

Haplogroup N

  • N-P89 (6 samples) formed around 500 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, and Uzbekistan
  • N-B219 (2 samples) formed around 300 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, and 6 other countries.

Haplogroup R

  • R-CTS9219 (3 samples) formed around 2300 BCE, found in Germany, Czech Republic, and Ireland. A branch of R1b. Two from Visonta, one from Alsónyek.

Haplogroup E

  • E-FGC11444 formed around 700 BCE, found in Russia, Germany, and Scotland.

Another Treasure Trove of ancient Hungarian DNA

I found another study with Y DNA from January 2022: Whole genome analysis sheds light on the genetic origin of Huns, Avars and conquering Hungarians. There is a differentiation between Mongolian Steppe ancestry and “Native European” ancestry in the study. This one also features samples from the 4th through 11th centuries past the Avars to Conquering Hungarians..which I think would be the Magyar tribes. I’ll try to break them down by period again. I’m not sure if there will be a couple of repeats, but a quick glance left me thinking the bulk of these samples are different from the Avar study above.

I’m also referencing some of the text from this paper: “The genetic origin of Huns, Avars, and conquering Hungarians.”

Huns 4th and 5th centuries

One of these results is from Romania. Locations are Sándorfalva, Vezér utca, Csongrád, Kecskemét, Árpás, and Marosszentgyörgy

walking map of  Sándorfalva, Vezér utca, Csongrád, Kecskemét, Árpás, and Marosszentgyörgy in Hungary and Romania

Haplogroup R

All the Hun era people in this study are haplogroup R. Most are R1a, but there is an R1b and an R1b-U106 result among them. My own personal categories for these are outdated because each branch and each family are different, but generally, in the past, R1a was to be expected farther east and R1b farther west. It’s an oversimplification, but it makes me less surprised to see R1a dominant in eastern European Hun period people.

  • R-PRX20 (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • R-FGC56425 formed around 200 CE popular in Russia, France and the Czech Republic
  • R-S23201 formed around 1850 BCE popular in Russia, Kazakhstan and England.
  • R-FGC4547 formed around 1600 BCE popular in Germany, England and Russia.
  • R-Z326 (our R1b->R-U106->R-L48 cousin from Kecskemét) formed around 1300 BCE popular in Germany and England. Listed as Hunper2. Genetic testing came up with sliding scales of European and Xiongnu ancestry, with a lower portion of European ancestry (I’m going to guess on the father’s side).
  • R-FT218202 (an R1b man from Csongrád) only one living tester in the U.S. outside of this ancient sample.

Early Avars 7th century

The samples are so distributed around the country that I’m running out of destinations on my walking map, so I’m going to break them down by haplogroup. The Avars seem to come along with Haplogroup N in Y DNA. The study identified Asian core groups in their autosomal DNA but there is still a good amount of admixture in the samples.

Haplogroup N

walking map of haplogroup N sites: Madaras, Felgyő, Kunpeszér, Csólyospálos, Ároktő, Szegvár, Kiskőrös, and Csepel

Sites include Madaras, Felgyő, Kunpeszér, Csólyospálos, Ároktő, Szegvár, Kiskőrös, and Csepel.

  • N-PRX33 (3 samples) only known from ancient DNA.
  • N-PRX32 only known from ancient DNA.
  • N-P89 formed around 500 BCE popular in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China.
  • N-PRX28 (2 samples) only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • N-Y16313 formed around 100 BCE popular in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China.
  • N-Y335332 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup J

Sites include Alattyán, Kiskőrös, Felgyő, Szeged.

  • J-FT34868 100 BCE found in Ireland, Norway and Scotland.
  • J-PRX55 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • J-FT72594 2200 BCE found in England and Russia
  • J-PRX60 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup R

Sites include Kunpeszér, Mélykút and Dunavecse. R1a for the win again two to one. This early avar group is the one our R-CTS12023 person would fall into, if he had been included in this study.

  • R-PRX4 (Asian Core group) only known from ancient DNA in Mongolia and Hungary.
  • R-S10438 (Elite military leader) formed around 1 BCE, found in Russia, Kazakhstan, and France
  • R-ZZ12_1 (under R1b-P312) 2200 BCE, found in England and Ireland and 70 other countries.

Haplogroups E, Q and C

Sites include Szeged, Szegvár, Makó and Fajsz.

Haplogroup E

  • E-PRX51 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • E-PRX43 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.

Haplogroup Q

  • Q-YP789 (2 samples) 150 CE, found in Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Haplogroup C

  • C-Y11606 700 BCE, found in Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and Poland.

Middle Avar Period 7th to 8th Century

Haplogroup R

walking map of middle avar haplogroup R locations  Jánoshida, Mélykút, Tiszafüred, Alattyán, Szeged, Szarvas, and Madaras

Locations include Jánoshida, Mélykút, Tiszafüred, Alattyán, Szeged, Szarvas, and Madaras. R1a winning at least 4 to 3…possibly 4 to 2 if that last one is a bit suspect.

  • R-PRX19 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • R-FT71888 100 CE found in Italy and Albania.
  • R-FGC56440? (possibly listed as late Avar at FTDNA) 50 CE, found in Russia, Kazakhstan and France.
  • R-Y39490 700 BCE, found in Belarus.
  • R-PH2558 under R1b/R-M269. 1350 BCE, found in Germany and Italy.
  • R-ZZ12_1 under R1b ->R-P312. 2200 BCE, found in England and Ireland and 70 other countries.
  • R-FGC925 under R1b->R-U106->R-L48 found in Alattyán-Tulát marked as part of their European Core group 1. Family Tree DNA doesn’t list this ancient result in the time tree near R-FGC925 or under R-U106. Also they estimate that R-FGC925 formed around 1600 CE. Way too late in the game to be appearing in Avar period Hungary. It makes me wonder if the sample appears elsewhere entirely or if they think it was contaminated.

Haplogroup N

walking map of middle avar haplogroup N locations Csólyospálos, Kaba and Madaras

Locations include Csólyospálos, Kaba and Madaras

  • N-PRX33 (3 samples) only known from ancient DNA
  • N-M2019 1600 BCE, found in Russia and China.
  • N-PRX28 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary

Haplogroup E

wallking map of haplogroup E middle avar results in  Sükösd, Szeged, Alattyán

Locations include Sükösd, Szeged, and Alattyán. The study makes mention of Haplogroup E being common in the Balkans and southern Europe.

  • E-FTC25721 50 CE, found in England.
  • E-BY7536 3250 BCE, found in Poland, Ukraine and Germany
  • E-PRX51 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary
  • E-FT226363 found in 1 living person in Turkey.
  • E-BY72004 350 BCE, found in Greece and Poland.

Haplogroups I, J and G

walking map of results for haplogroup I, J and G in Sükösd, Pitvaros, Szeged, Kiskőrös, and Kiskundorozsma

Haplogroup I

Locations include Sükösd, Pitvaros, and Szeged.

  • I-Y93578 found in 1 living tester with an unknown origin.
  • I-FTB15723 found in 1 living tester from Russia.
  • I-A11380 550 BCE, found in Bosnia, Serbia, and Belarus.
  • I-FGC69694 900 BCE, found in England, Ireland, and 9 other countries.

Haplogroup J

Locations: Kiskőrös, Kiskundorozsma, Sükösd

  • J-PRX55 only known from ancient DNA in Hungary.
  • J-SK1382 5250 BCE, found in Turkey, Tunisia and Armenia.
  • J-FT148202 2000 BCE, two modern testers of unknown origin.

Haplogroup G

Location: Kiskundorozsma

  • G-Z17085 1600 BCE, found in Italy, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
  • G-Y91640 found in 1 living tester from England.


This post is getting long, so I think we’ll break at the Middle Avar period and pick up at the late Avar period in the next post.

R1b Far from Home

Considering these results so far and comparing them to the long hauls through contemporary Y DNA in studies of western Europe where R-U106 or R-Z18 or CTS12023 appear, it’s really clear that we’re a minority of Y DNA in Eastern and Southern Hungary in these periods. R1b, which is a monster in the west, is a kitten here where R1a is the king of Haplogroup R.

Just glancing again at the results from Szolad (Longobards in Hungary) R1b is the greater majority of all Y results in that cultural group just to the west in Hungary. Haplogroups R1a, N, E, and J are much bigger fish in these places at these times.

It makes finding someone from our little corner of R-Z18 even more wonderous. I know he was used as a “local” for comparison, but I don’t come away thinking he was all that local for all that long.

Y DNA Vs. Autosomal DNA Vs. Skull Shapes

I didn’t spend a lot of time on this, but Whole genome analysis sheds light on the genetic origin of Huns, Avars and conquering Hungarians supplemental data has a lot of references to skull shapes along with general categories and some autosomal DNA information about matching population groups.

Looking over them as I’ve gone through these results it’s clear that skull shapes like “europid” and “mongoloid” don’t necessarily match Autosomal DNA results the way you’d expect and have nothing to do with Y DNA (as you’d expect I suppose). Although DNA controls how we look, it seems like how these people looked may not have left you with clues to their Y DNA or their autosomal DNA makeup. There is an interesting admixture of people. You may find a man with western European Y DNA, Asian autosomal DNA, and maybe Iranian skull features. A man with Western European Y DNA, Sarmatian southern European Autosomal DNA, and Mongolian features. You can mix and match the components repeatedly, and people did.

Admixture appears to be the name of the game in Hungary.

Lower Diversity in Avar Y DNA

Assuming the Haplogroup N results are mainly Avar DNA sweeping in from the east at the end of the Rouran empire, It seems like Haplogroup N in these results is less diverse than, say..Haplogroup E in the area. In the time tree, I saw the same couple of branches over and over with lots of relevant results for individuals crowded around the same SNP nodes. It could be an artifact of testing and maybe samples were degraded, but it’s an observation. Maybe it shows a more tightly related group of Avars migrating in while the various southern Europeans have had more time on location to diverge from each other.

It’s My Carpathian Basin?

Family Tree DNA has recently identified R-CTS12023/R-DF95 among the 6th and 7th century Avars in Hungary. Tiszapüspöki I18184 lived between 565 CE and 635 CE and was buried in Tiszapüspöki, Hungary. This study, “Ancient genomes reveal origin and rapid trans-Eurasian migration of 7th century Avar elites,” lists him as an early Avar.

map showing  tiszapuspoki in Hungary in relation to other modern nations in europe. South of Slovakia, east of Austria, north of Serbia, west of Romania

This is the description of the burial: “I18184 – Feature 247/Str. 257 (Site 17/A)
Rectangular grave of an adult male (230cm x 95cm x 56cm). Orientation: NE–SW. The upper
body of the skeleton lies to the right, its arms bent under the skull. Legs straight from waist
down. Grave good: 1. D-shaped silver buckle.
This individual belonging to the Transtisza group shows a genomic profile that best matches a
preceding local Carpathian Basin group, Szolad_others_6c.”

Based on the supplementary data it looks like Szolad_others_6c was based on two admixed “Northern” and “Southern” Langobard samples from Szolad. These two individuals are SZ18, whose half-brother was on the Danish/Dutch branch in the study, and SZ27, who was a relative of the most northern-inclined people.

In this study, though, that means I18184 is local as compared to the Avars who have recently invaded. This study was meant to assess the genetic and geographic origins of the Avar elites and compare it to others in the Carpathian basin. Our R-CTS12023 man was average, according to the study notes, not an elite.

map showing the distance 233km between Szolad and Tiszapuspoki in Hungary.

The map above shows the distance between Szolad and Tiszapuspoki. Our R-Z18 cousin in Szolad, SZ4, was an immigrant who lived between 412 and 604 CE, but there were admixed people (both Northern and Southern inclined DNA and people with fully Southern genetic heritage buried in the same area.

The Avars

Here is what the Ancient Genomes study has on pre-Avar history in the Carpathian basin and the study goals:

“Before the Avars arrived, the Romans had occupied the western part of the Carpathian Basin and the Sarmatians the eastern part (c. 1–400 CE). The Romans were replaced by the short-lived empire of the Huns (400–455 CE), and by diverse Germanic-speaking groups: Goths and Longobards in Pannonia, Gepids along the Tisza (400 to c. 568). In 567/68, the Longobards destroyed the Gepid kingdom and moved to Italy, while the Avars conquered the Carpathian Basin and its local population (Pohl, 2018). This study focuses on this momentous change and its genetic impact.”

My rough readers’ digest version of this exciting history is that the Avars believe they are related to the Rouran from the Mongolian Steppe, and I think the study comes to a similar conclusion. There is a strong Northeast Asian genetic component in the Avar Elites that separates them from the locals. The Langobards/Longobards/Lombards sort of have some understanding with the Avars, like a coalition, and take out the Gepid Kingdom surrounding the Tisza that borders the Longobard Kingdom to the west. The Lombards and the Gepids have not been getting along for some time. They’ve had several wars and no love lost.

With the Gepids out of the way, the Avars move in, and some Gepids join their Longobard cousin/enemies in moving on to Italy while some move into Roman territories and others hang out under Avar rule. The Gepids don’t seem too cohesive.

The reason this is important is our guy Tiszapüspöki I18184 lived between 565 CE and 635 CE. He’s an early Avar grave, but given his status as a local in this study and genetic affinity for admixed Longobards in Szolad and average grave goods, I don’t think he’s an Avar. The Longobards and Avars conquered the area he is buried in, formerly under the rule of the Gepids, in 567. I speculate that he’s a citizen of the Avars but a product of either the Longobards or the Gepids.

The Gepids

The Gepids were part of the Hun Empire but helped to destroy the Huns from within to take over their spot in the Carpathian basin. This former affiliation with the Huns is interesting because another study of Y DNA in the same area hypothesized that the R-U106 samples from both Hun and post Avar, Magyar Conquerors came to the area with the Goths, Gepids, or other Germanic allies of the Huns (Y-chromosome haplogroups from Hun, Avar and conquering Hungarian period nomadic people of the Carpathian Basin).

R-U106 was found in a 435CE to 465CE Hun grave in Kecskemét, Hungary between Tiszapüspöki and Szolad. At this point in time, the result for our R-U106 Hun cousin Kecskemét-Mindszentidűlő/2785 is placed at R-Z326 by FTDNA. That is under R-L48 and would be very distantly related to Tiszapüspöki I18184 (like you have to go back to 2900 BCE for that common male line ancestor). It does show that by hook or by crook, our U106 cousins are in the area before the Hungarians conquer it around 900 CE (There are at least three Hungarian/Magyar U106 samples in the study). The Y chromosome haplogroups study proposes that the R-U106 Y DNA in the basin during the migration period is a leftover from the Goths, Gepids, and other Germanic tribes who lived in the region in the 3rd century.

map showing kecskemet hungary between Szolad and Tiszapuspoki

So what is a Gepid?

map of beowulfs world

A Gepid is a type of Goth; they’re related to the Goths but travel separately. They’re mentioned in Beowulf (along with the Danes and Swedes) as mercenaries that Hygelac was fortunate not to have to hire. The story is they come from Scandinavia, probably Sweden. In the first century, they leave “Scandza” and settle in modern Poland at the mouth of the Vistula. On the Beowulf map above, they’re to the north and east of the Wendle. They’re the Gifths. Gepidae apparently. The Gepids are also listed with the Wends in the Widsith (an old English poem). They became part of the Wielbark culture, which had some influence from Scandinavia. There is a theory that there wasn’t a single massive migration but a slow migration from “Gotland” maybe, over a couple of centuries, spanning the BCE/CE line.

The Gepids move south after the Goths, they get into wars with the Burgundians on the way down through Poland, they join the Suavians, they fight with the Goths and Visigoths, they settle in the Carpathian basin (Pannonian Basin) or Roman Dacia, they join the Huns to fight their own Goth cousins (again apparently), they turn on the Huns and destroy them in Transylvania after the death of Atilla, They make alliances with Justinian and war with the Lombards but thwart Justinian at the same time. Somewhere in there, they piss off the Ostrogoths. There’s a laundry list of conflicts.

What I gather from this paper on the Gepids in Beowulf is that they’re not well-loved and seem to fight on all sides under the banners of other groups. According to one historian quoted in the Wikipedia article on Gepids, they’re the most “shadowy” of all the major Germanic peoples in the migration period.

If you’re starting to get some vibes from the shadowy Jutes and the Jutes on all sides theory in the battle of Finnsburg…so am I.

The Gepids were already in Pannonia before the Anglos Saxons made their big push into Britain and were already established before the Langobards/Lombards made their way down. However, they were still a migration period people.

305CE Europe map showing Lombards, Swedes, Danes etc along with Gepids Goths and the Roman Empire.
By Richard Ishida – r12a@w3.orgThis is a retouched picture, which means that it has been digitally altered from its original version. Modifications made by One2. – Historical maps: Europe, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Langobards…Again

Map of the Kingdom of the Gepids surrounding the river Tisza bordered by the Langobards to the west and the Ostrogoths to the southwest and the Byzantine empire to the south.
Gepids. (2022, December 15). In Wikipedia.

On the map to the west of the Gepids and the Tisza River (where Tiszapüspöki I18184 was buried) is the territory of the Lombards. We absolutely know there was an R-Z18 man among the Lombards in Szolad, and we know that our guy I18184 is autosomally most closely related to admixed Lombards. Maybe he is a Lombard or associated Saxon of some sort whose family decided not to go to Italy?

map showing the Lombard route south from Scania (Sweden/Denmark) to Pannonia (Hungary) and Italy
By Castagna – Own elaboration from Image:Europe satellite orthographic.jpg, Public Domain,

The Lombards are not all Lombards; they also pick up tribes and gather people to their cause along the way south. Their move to Italy seems more final and all-encompassing because, unlike the Gepids, I haven’t read anything that said they continued to hang out in Pannonia and to be absorbed by the Avars. This person we’re considering is an individual, though, and the way I read it, people had choices about who they wanted to follow or fight. We could be looking at a remnant of the more recent Lombard migration rather than a longer-term Goth or Gepid. The origin for the Lombards is similar, Sweden to Saxony, and eventually points farther south. Would a Gepid with a few hundred years in the area appear more admixed than a Langobard? I don’t know. A Langobard seems like a viable alternative to a Gepid that would fit the autosomal data.

Conclusions and Questions

Goths, Gepids and Lombards

I borrowed a map from the Anglo-Saxon study and modified it a bit, adding my own new arrows for possible routes to Tiszapüspöki I18184 and his final resting place. This image from an article about the study showed the genetic affinity of the Anglo-Saxons who were designated as CNE (continental northern Europeans). Of note, it contains southern Sweden and Denmark but not Norway, where we have several CTS12023 modern testers. The red arrows for the Lombards to the west and the Goths/Gepids to the east represent earlier or contemporary migrations from the same gene pool. The origins are considered semi-mythological but seem genetically possible.

How far can we push ancient DNA?

Family Tree DNA has CTS12023 originating around 650 BCE. There are currently 152 of us at FTDNA that have tested for it, along with several more who haven’t tested for it…maybe the grand total is something like 200. Even though we come from about 15 different countries, our Y STRs are all very similar (if oddly different from other R1b, R-Z18, and R-U106 groups) because we’re all reasonably closely related.

CTS12023 is one of 26 SNPs shared by all the men who have tested positive for CTS12023 or R-DF95. There is a long straight line of generations and then a bunch of branches under that. CTS12023 is shown as the first in the list, but the truth is, currently, we don’t know where it falls. It may as well be R-DF95 or ZP84 at the top, every man who has tested today shares all of them. We’re all descended from the last man in that long line, but we have no idea which SNP represents that man.

All the migrating to different regions for modern testers has happened since he was alive. So if you look at my group, ZP85, the largest group. It has the same effective date as CTS12023 650 BCE. The date for CTS12023 is probably tied closely to the age estimate of my group because it’s the largest and has many branches and testers, but you can’t tell much about CTS12023 without us for comparison. It has to be at least as old as ZP85, but not much older since it’s the last man standing for a minimum of 26 generations. Mr. ZP85’s grandfather may represent those 1550 years of men in a straight line back to R-Z18.

Everyone else in there died out. Until we find someone who forms a branch, we’re kind of stuck.

Since I wrote about this long block nearly three years ago in 2020 further testing of descendants has added branches below it and at least two new SNPs to the long string.

That near extinction in the data brings me to a question. These ancient results are positive for CTS12023, but with the poor coverage in ancient DNA, even if FTDNA were evaluating each of the 26, it seems like it would be hard to know which of these SNPs a sample might be missing because of poor coverage or which might be missing because it represents a branch in that long chain.

For example, If an ancient sample had every SNP except S8387 how would we know if it was because of gaps in the DNA as opposed to being a branch that has some other SNP than S8387? To put it another way, will there be a future where ancient DNA has good calls for a negative up in that chain and we living testers find ourselves with a new sibling branch and a new parent branch defined?

650 BCE is a long time ago

When Hatherdene 5 showed up for the R-ZP121 (a branch below R-ZP85 above) and Buckland 9 from the Anglo-Saxon study showed up for R-PH1163 (R-PH1163 is in the graphic above, close to the center), the ancient results were within a few hundred years of the age estimates or approximations for the SNP groups.

CTS12023 sitting at 650 BCE, is 700 years before the Gepids and Goths begin migrating from Scandinavia and almost 1000 years before the Lombards make it to Pannonia. There is a lot of time there, where almost any movement or migration seems possible. Why not the Ostrogoths? Maybe R-CTS12023 in the Carpathian basin is the descendant of another group that got scooped up on the way down.

With only 152 of us known today, it is crazy amazing to have us pop up in these ancient DNA samples. So amazing that I have a hard time believing what I’m seeing. Are we making a good show now because of that 1550-year stretch, and CTS12023 is on the radar for paleo-genetics or is it because these re-examined genetic samples are all from the migration period, which is when we seem to have blossomed and expanded along with a lot of other R-U106 and R-Z18 groups?

Getting these ancient results has been a dream come true. I have to pinch myself. I’m excited to find out where we turn up next.