Y-DNA Haplogroups

Y-DNA Haplogroups are the groupings of mankind based on analysis of the y-chromosome, which has been passed from father to son since the beginning of mankind. 
These haplogroup branches characterize the early migrations of population groups.  As a result, haplogroups are usually associated with a geographic region and can tell us about our ancient ancestors and their migrations.
Haplogroups were assigned letters of the alphabet before the complete analysis was done which means that the specific letter assignment itself is meaningless. However, our learning over time has allowed us to correlate each haplogroup to man's migration as we populated the earth.  This learning, which is continuing, makes the Haplogroup designation very interesting - as it identifies which migration path our ancient ancestors took.  Those men with the same haplotype share a common geographic and ethnic history.
Only men with the same haplogroup can "match" each other, so we separate the results into haplogroups on the Results Page as an easier way to identify matches within a surname project.
Learning over time has allowed us to correlate each haplogroup to man's migration as we populated the earth, identifying which migration path our ancient ancestors took.
Family Tree DNA predicts your haplogroup based on the large database that FTDNA has for this purpose. On some occasions, when FTDNA feels that the haplogroup cannot be determined without a test, a SNP test will be offered.
Each haplogroup represents a branch of the "Family Tree of Man".
All of the haplotypes that belong to a particular haplogroup are leaves on the same branch. A haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor with a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation.
  • A SNP mutation identifies a group who share a common ancestor far back in time, since SNPs rarely mutate.
  • Each member of a particular haplogroup has the same SNP mutation.
  • Mutations can occur along a certain segment of molecules and these mutations remain fixed in place on the DNA.
  • A Y-DNA haplogroup is defined as all of the male descendants of the single person who first showed a particular SNP mutation.
  • FTDNA also offers Deep Clade tests to confirm your haplogroup assignment and determine where your lineage fits within that haplogroup’s tree.
    • Each of these major haplogroups, or clades, can have subgroups, or subclades.
    • Subgroups have a numeric name which follows the haplogroup name. For example, haplogroup E has two subgroups called E1 and E2. There is also a subgroup E* which belongs to haplogroup E but not either of the defined subgroups.
    • Subclades can also have subgroups, which are noted with lower-case characters, such as E1a or E1b.
  • The reporting of a Haplogroups with differing precision is often confusing, as each additional character in the Haplogroup indicates more detail.
    • For example, R1a and R1b are two branches of the R1 branch of the R Haplogroup. Men with the same (sub)haplogroup share the common ancestor who originated the mutation that defines that sub-haplogroup.
    • Two men who are both R1a will be more closely related to each other than to a man who is R1b.
    • Two men, one R1a and one R1b, are more closely related to each other than they are to an J2.  (but - it is still many 1000s of years to their common ancestor)
    • A man with a reported R1b1 and a man with a R1b1b2 are still considered to be the same haplogroup -as all portions reported are identical.  However, an R1b1b1 and an R1b1b2 are considered to be different (sub)haplogroups.
The Ancient Origins of Your Haplogroup
  • Here is a summary of the ancient origins of the various haplogroups, as provided by Family Tree DNA.   To read more at FTDNA, click here.
    Haplogroup E
    Haplogroup E is one of the two branches of the mega-haplogroup DE. It originated approximately 50,000 years ago. Scientists believe that it ether arose in Africa or represents a back migration. It has been linked to the Neolithic expansion of peoples into Southern Europe. Over sixty subclades of E have been discovered. (E3a: An African lineage. Currently hypothesized that this haplogroup dispersed south from northern Africa within the past 3000 years, by the Bantu agricultural expansion. The most common lineage among African Americans)
    Haplogroup G
    Haplogroup G is a branch of the mega-haplogroup F. G originated approximately 25,000 years ago in Eastern Africa. Its branches have spread into Eurasia. Some branches moved across Southern Asia and from there to India. Others moved across the Mediterranean and into Europe. 
    Haplogroup H
    Haplogroup H is a branch of the mega-haplogroup F. H originated approximately 30,000 years ago in Eastern Africa. It spread to the Indian subcontinent and is found at high frequencies in India and Sri Lanka. It is also found in the Roma populations of Europe.
    Haplogroup I
    Haplogroup I is a branch of the mega-haplogroup F and its subsequent mega-haplogroup IJ. I originated approximately 25,000 years ago among the people of Eastern Africa and Southern Europe. As the ice receded after the last glacial maximum, it spread into Northern Europe.
    Haplogroup J
    Haplogroup J is a branch of the mega-haplogroup F and its subsequent mega-haplogroup IJ. J originated approximately 25,000 years ago in the Eastern Africa Levant. It has two main branches, J1 and J2. Both are found in Eastern African populations. It has also spread into Europe and the Indian subcontinent during the Bronze Age. J1 is the parent haplogroup of the Cohen Model Haplotype, CMH. (J2:  Originated in the northern portion of the Fertile Crescent where it later spread throughout central Asia, the Mediterranean, and south into India. As with other populations with Mediterranean ancestry this lineage is found within Jewish populations.
    Research note: Many people new to Genetic Genealogy think the J2 haplogroup is synonymous with having male Jewish ancestry. One should note that having a J2 haplogroup assignment does not necessarily indicate Jewish ancestry. The J2 haplogroup is far more ancient than the Jewish religion and is found in many lines with Mediterranean region ancient ancestry. Another relatively more recent mode for J2's entry into some parts of Europe from the Mediterranean areas could have been the Roman Legions and Roman settlements)
    Haplogroup K
    An old lineage presently found only at low frequencies in Africa, Asia, and in the South Pacific. One descendant line of this lineage is restricted to aboriginal Australians, while another is found at low frequency in southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. .
    Haplogroup N
    Haplogroup N is a branch of the mega-haplogroup K. N originated approximately 10,000 years ago in Asia. Its branches have spread into East Asia and across Northern Europe.
    Haplogroup O
    Haplogroup O is a branch of the mega-haplogroup K. O originated approximately 35,000 years ago in Asia. Its branches have spread into Central and East Asia. O has about thirty known subclades.
    Haplogroup Q
    Haplogroup Q is one of two branches of the mega-haplogroup P. Q originated approximately 20,000 years ago in Central Asia. Its branches have migrated into both Europe and East Asia. Some of its branches took part in the settlement of the Americas. These branches make up the majority of pre-Columbian Amerindian populations. (Q3: The only lineage strictly associated with Native American populations. This haplogroup is defined by the presence of the M3 mutation (also known as SY103). This mutation occurred on the Q lineage 8-12 thousand years ago as the migration into the Americas was underway. There is some debate about which side of the Bering Strait this mutation occurred on, but it definitely happened in the ancestors of the Native American peoples)
    Haplogroup R
    Haplogroup R is one of the two branches of the mega-haplogroup P. R originated approximately 30,000 years ago in Central Asia. It has two main branches, R1 and R2. R1 spread from Central Asia into Europe. Meanwhile, R2 spread east into the Indian subcontinent. Population movements have brought small numbers of both southward into the Eastern African Levant. 
    R1a: Believed to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas. Believed to have originated in a population of the Kurgan culture, known for the domestication of the horse (approximately 3000 B.C.E.). Also believed to be the first speakers of the Indo-European language group. Currently found in central and western Asia, India, and in Slavic populations of Eastern Europe.
    R1b: The most common haplogroup in European populations. Believed to have expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago. Also the haplogroup containing the Atlantic modal haplotype
    Haplogroup C
    Found throughout mainland Asia, the south Pacific, and at low frequency in Native American populations. Haplogroup C originated in southern Asia and spread in all directions. Colonized New Guinea, Australia, and north Asia, and currently is found with its highest diversity in populations of India.