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yDNA Groupings


Note: Most pages under this heading are only available to registered members. Best way to join is to perform genetic genealogy testing and match other members. Otherwise, talk to the admins about starting a new branch if you are not matching others here but you have strong genealogical work already. See our How To Join page for more information.

The H600 Surname Project has DNA Groupings based upon matching Y chromosome (aka yDNA) results from multiple, preferably distantly related, descendants in the Family Branches. The DNA Grouping pages support a corresponding Patrilineal line (or family branch) with matching DNA to support existing genealogical work. Due to the stability of the Y chromosome, this form of testing stretches much farther back than genealogical records or Autosomal SNP testing. In some cases, we are finding surprise links between family branches where genealogical work is void. Thus giving a target and clue of where to search for a common ancestor.

Three STR test results that match can define an EKA Haplotype modal (that is, the likely STR values the EKA had). More people tested starts to define the minor variations in STR values down each branch and thus Haplotype signatures for our more recent ancestors. Matching SNP values define the Haplogroup and solidify the matching Haplotype result. At the stems (or recent, nearer term branches) in the patrilineal lines, Autosomal testing is used to link those that are not on the patrilineal line. Often this requires they have an ancestor in the patrilineal line within the last 200 years.

yDNA SNP testing and the Haplogroup it defines are required to verify that yDNA STR Haplotype results are really matching. As such, we group our DNA Groupings pages by their major haplogroup branches. This helps us pull together common material on major Haplogroup branches into a single page as well. You can think of the major Haplogroup branches as being the grouping for Family Branches from thousands of years ago. This is the realm of population studies and anthropology normally and so not covered or supported here. Instead, we work to bridge the gap that SNP testing defines in ancient lines to the genealogical time frame ancestors we study.

DNA Groupings are meant to shadow Family Branches. Each DNA Grouping page has a volunteer coordinator who promotes the gathering of more information about the lineage through further DNA tests and expanded traditional genealogical research. More often than not though, “the tail wags the dog”. Meaning, DNA Testing is showing disparate Family Branches should be in the same patrilineal line. So a next-level up Family Branches page is created to group existing, formerly disparate branches. We then begin to track the study of how the ancestral lines merge further back in time. The DNA Grouping page shadowing this new shell Family Branch page is then used to capture the matching DNA analysis and its exploratory work. Family Branch pages are labeled Bnn. Their corresponding DNA Groupings page is labeled BnnDNA.

In some cases, when just a single individual has yDNA tested but there exists several hundred years of solid genealogical research, we may create the Family Branches page in hopes of recruiting and attracting more family members. But we will usually await for there to be a DNA match before starting the corresponding DNA Groupings page here.

There are DNA testers listed in these groups that are not necessarily project members or current researchers in the Family Branches. Their results may be included without their active participation as they have been pulled from public sources or found with genealogical search methods. Often we have reached out and they have not responded. We include them if their genealogical study body of work is public and has potential to help other members. Sometimes, these are the first members in a Family Branches page as researchers push their one-name study further to transform into a surname-study effort.

To fully appreciate this section and its contents, you should be familiar with the Family Branches and Genetic Genealogy sections. The latter is where we cover our current work on genetic genealogy testing. DNA Groupings detail the more in-depth, DNA match specific analysis of SNP and STR values found in the yDNA that are more unique to Family Branch members. Genealogical implications of test results are folded back into the Family Branches page. The genetic information about a branch is covered in a page here.  But realize that DNA results, just as with any genealogical resource, gives us clues to build a body of evidence in support of a posited theory. On their own, they usually mean little.

Note that we are just expanding our DNA analysis from exclusively working the patrilineal line (yDNA) to now include near-term (Autosomal or atDNA) matching of non-patrilineal line relatives. xDNA is simply lumped in with atDNA by testing companies and so to here usually. There is some unique information that can be derived by analyzing xDNA results separately. Autosomal testing often involves working backwards from a present individual on all their ancestral lines. yDNA only involves the patrilineal (male) line. To incorporate nearer-term, Autosomal SNP testing work in this project, post-1800 sub-branches of the patrilineal line are identified and a sub-page of the branch’s DNA Grouping page is created to report the work of the Autosomal study. The combination of many Autosomal clusters attached to various branches of a patrilineal line that link back to a common early ancestor forms the basis of a DNA Grouping in a surname family branch. And is used to support the corresponding Family Branches page.

Access to the near term Autosomal DNA activity is limited to registered members of that particular subgroup; not just the patrilineal line group. This because it is dealing with living testers and their nearer living relatives. To be admitted as a registered member of an Autosomal group, you have to have a verified, matching DNA result to another member (or expected to have so and are recruited in by other members). The admin of each subgroup can assist you with verifying your match in order to facilitate your membership.

Matrilineal (mtDNA) testing is not normally very useful in a genealogical activity. But some value can be extracted to confirm matrilineal descendants as they both should share the mtDNA test result.

Phylogenetic Trees of Haplogroups

yDNA and mtDNA SNP testing has traditionally been used for the study and understanding of Haplogroups. The understanding of Haplogroups, or ancient populations, is in a constant flux. Especially since the introduction of genetic genealogy testing and citizen scientists getting into the fray. Historically, such studies were performed exclusively by University researchers (anthropologists and more recently population geneticists) with a focus on pushing back in time to early human groups. Citizen scientists have been more interested in nearer term connections and are beginning to close the time gap to within the genealogical time frame; thus beginning to help individuals understand their 1,000 to 500 years ago ancestry.

Haplogroups are identified by SNP value “signatures”. Researchers attempt to order the likely time frame that the SNP changes occurred during human evolution. This order is represented as a branching phylogenetic tree with the root given a biblical-name reference of “Adam” for the Y chromosome tree (and “Eve” for the matrilineal one given by mtDNA testing). Branches from the root are defined by ancient SNP changes.

The top level branching in the phylogenetic tree is historically identified by alphabetic letters. Originally, the branching below was then designated using alternating numbers and letters (i.e. the YCC long form). In a few cases, the second level branch (with a numeral and then sometimes a third character letter designation) is important enough that it is treated like a “top level” alphabetic branch. For example, most talk of I1 and R1b as “top level” branch points. Often, when using the newer YCC short form to identify a major branch point or terminal, the main SNP defining the branch / terminal is pre-pended by the “top-level” branch name from the older YCC long form. For example, R1b-P312 or even simply R-P312.

There are many phylogenetic trees available to compare and contrast these days. The ISOGG Tree has been the main tree used by non-academics for the last decade. ISOGG volunteers built their work from published, academic papers. But since the introduction of NGS testing, the analysis progress has been much faster than this activity can keep up with. So other sources are more current and heavily participated in. The ISOGG Tree uses the old style YCC long form which has been dropped by all others. The MTDNA Phylo Tree Authors have put out a simplified yDNA top-level)) phylogenetic tree with much of the major branching visible on separate, linked pages. They use the newer YCC short form in this tree. The tree starts with “Adam” as A and tends to use letters for the early, ancient branching. yFull also has a simple, [https://yfull.com/tree/ depicted.

Most group members have their yDNA SNP test done with FamilyTreeDNA, especially with their NGS BigY test. So many see their placement in the FamilyTreeDNA chart as a first step. But the FamilyTreeDNA chart is not open and available to all. It also only shows your path and not easily others. So many work with more open charts that are also accepting of participants results.

YFull is a newcomer that is based on NGS testing analysis; such as the BigY test from FamilyTreeDNA. It changes daily as users submit results for analysis. They are restructuring some of the more stable, upper parts of the tree that ISOGG and others have as yet to follow.. YFull also has a nice top level, single page tree like the MTDNA Phylo Tree Authors adopted.

A recent strong up-and-comer with a nice display is Alex Williamson’s ytree which has started merging older efforts by a number of the FamilyTreeDNA R1b research groups that had been helping develop the ISOGG Tree. ytree only provides information about R1b-P312 branch and below. Although deep in the traditional Haplogroup tree, most white European men fall below the R1b-P312 branch point and thus in this tree.

Haplogroup study and understanding is really outside the scope of our work here. Members are encouraged to read online references and build a sub-page to their DNA Grouping to document and follow the current thinking, if interested, for their branch. It is not a focus nor expected support area otherwise. We are a genetic genealogy based surname study, not a genetic anthropological one.

Major Ancient Haplogroups

There are a few top level, single letter designated haplogroups (or branch points in the phylogenetic tree) that are significant in their own right. Not just because they contain large portions of the existing population today. But because they are considered the defining branch point for important civilizations like the Vikings or first farmers of Europe. We do not wish to get into this anthropological definitions that exist for various groups today. But simply introduced them as they form the next level down in this Wiki structure for you to follow. Each branch is given in both YCC long form and short form (with path) below.

There is no longhand style path designation for these ancient haplogroups. They exist in the early, simple tree as placed single letters. Recent reworkings of the tree have brought in complexity from the early work in the 19980’s and 90’s. See the resources below for the simplified top-level tree. As a result, the paths given below are the fragments at each branch of the YCC long form (single letters) and the major SNP that branch is known by below. Often, these ancient haplogroups are the predicted haplogroup from STR results. Only those haplogroups that have representation in our project are given here. See the table of contents for lower level pages in the upper right for the next level pages that pertain to this project.

The root Adam is officially not defined but generally considered to be A. There is an A00 ancient branch from Adam and then all the rest of the tree as branch haplogroup A0-T. These pseudo branches were created / inserted. They generally have two haplogroups separated by a dash (-) to represent a range. So A0-T is everything from A0 through to the deepest on the top-level, simple tree of T. There are often tens to hundred or so SNPs at these early branches. Some have a historic, single SNP name. Others do not. We do what we can to capture the trees as represented by the different sites (ISOGG, yFull, etc). Sometimes the dash is dropped. This tree is in a constant state of flux. And like biology in general, attempts to place rules of classification are constantly broken with exceptions and nuances.

Haplogroup I

The YCC path designation, in top-level tree single-letter style, for I starting at A0-T and taken from the ISOGG and yFull trees on Jan 2018, shown along with the shorthand SNP notation for each branch point, is:
 A0-T    A1     A1b    BT     CT     CF     F    GHIJK   HIJK   IJK         IJ              I    : YCC "old", long, letter form
L1085 > P305 > P108 > L413 > M168 > P143 > M89 > F1329 > F929 > L15 > M429/P125-S22/P130 > M170 : YCC "new", short, SNP-name form
Each SNP in this “new”, short-style SNP-name path corresponds with a letter or number in the name / path of the old-style, longhand designation of the top-level tree.

Haplogroup R

The YCC path designation, in top-level tree single-letter style, for R starting at A0-T and taken from the ISOGG and yFull trees on Jan 2018, shown along with the shorthand SNP notation of each branch point, is:
 A0-T    A1     A1b    BT     CT     CF     F    GHIJK   HIJK   IJK   K     K2    K2b     P      R   : YCC "old", long, path form still used by ISOGG
L1085 > P305 > P108 > L413 > M168 > P143 > M89 > F1329 > F929 > L15 > M9 > M526 > L405 > P284 > M207 : YCC "new", short, SNP-name form
The above designation is a split of the 2015 and earlier, as well as the new post 2015 designation. We found it simpler to follow yFull for the old, long form here.
R is the same as for haplogroup I down until the IJK branch point. IJK splits into IJ and K. IJ splits to I whereas K splits into LT (for L-T).

What happened to Haplogroups L through T?

  yFull.com K
YFull K Jan2018
  ISOGG K&P
ISOGG K Jan2018
Restructuring / renaming underway since 2015 from K downwards in the phylogenetic tree has removed or created dual names for many of the traditional L through T haplogroups. Dual K sub branch names now for what was L through T exist. The old LT branch is now relabeled K1 with two sub-branches L and T (that is, renamed to K1a and K1b; respectively). The rest of LT (all except the defining bookends of L and T) are now part of branch K2. What used to be named M, N, O, P, Q, R and S are now called K2b1b, K2a1, K2a2, K2b2, K2b2a1, K2b2a2 and K2b1a; respectively. Note that the SNPs defining these branch points (that is,haplogroups) have not really changed. Just the ordering in the phylogenetic tree structure. Hence why switching to naming haplogroups by the YCC short form using SNPs is popular.

The best view to this that retains the old names as well as shows the new branching is given in the yFull K Branch Tree. We have shown a capture of this K branch tree as of Jan 2018 here as well as the ISOGG one of both K and P to depict their version. The main issue driving the changes was having branching below and interspersed with the single letters. Thus the need to insert some new branches among them. But then how to name the new branches? Simplifying them all to K and using the old, long form terminology resolved the issues and allowed the restructuring. Looking at the ISOGG trees from 2015 to 2017 as they were incrementally changed can help to understand this revamping. Beside having M through S depicted in a new K branch page, dual names and the K branch are on the top-level tree as well. With this change, the top level lettering has been reduced to simply A-K with L-T now being phased out.

None of this is really important for genetic genealogy. it is all ancient, pre-recorded history waiting for the anthropologists (and those with an interest there) to figure out. But it does affect us as to when R disappears completely because we will have to describe R as K2b2a2 instead and move our description page of R1b-P312 up to K2-P312 or something similar.

External Resources


  • yFull.com Phylogenetic Tree — a little easier to follow at the top; more experimental and current at the nested branches and leaves
  • Phylotree Authors Y tree — top level but different nomenclature in spots
  • ISOGG Y tree — top level buried in detail but the “official” source for citizen scientists in most cases