I finally got my mtDNA results back today and they came with another set of surprises, admixture estimates and matches. Of course, the main issue with all of these tests is that they are very US-centric – so comparisons and any “relative finders” for me are a little skewed and only have really distant relatives (generally 4th cousins and beyond with low level certainty). The only definite hits I’ve had, have been a 2nd cousin in Australia (my great aunt Annie sailed with her husband when one-way tickets were only £10 and our relationship is verified) and a 2nd or 3rd cousin in Finland. That one I’m still working on…
But, this is where my mtDNA comes in:
This is interesting to me for many reasons. Firstly, I expected to be a general “H” [H1, H3 or H5] – which is the broad category most common in Europe. Secondly, according to information I found, this is generally found in Scandinavia and Finland/Russia, more specifically in three general populations:
Karelian (north western) Russians
Generally, though, it is found in the highest concentrations among Saami (Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish). This of course, threw me for a loop. I had already matched Saami (under one or two of the admixture “oracles” on Gedmatch where there was a sample population to correlate with), but was assuming that it was picking up something else – maybe Karelian Russian or something and maybe it still is. Because this is my mtDNA, it’s on the maternal line (which I expected, because the Romany I know for sure is through my paternal line). I’m assuming, though, that any Saami ancestry is great-great grandparent level and that I am probably more generically Finnish than anything at this point (the estimator tool believes I have a fully German and French relative, which I haven’t even thought about and a fully Finnish relative or two.
My Finnish relative said that we have a shared familial connection with people born in Northern Finland, in a place called Enontekiö. Her great-great-grandmother (I think) was Appollonia Kätkäsuando Suontajärvi (not sure of her husband’s first name). I am not 100% sure of this and do not have a direct connection worked out (so if you know that’s impossible, please let me know and I’ll revise my search, as this would be our connection). I have had limited contact with my relative in Finland and though her English is good, it’s still confusing. It’s hard to do research from over here in the US (Ancestry charges a fortune for access to their “World” files… of course… and most of the files are in Finnish (and other genealogy research sites I’ve found are all in Finnish, too). She said that “they” (not sure who exactly that is…) left Finland and moved to Scotland (don’t know their journey… did they go through Sweden or Norway on their way or did they leave from a Finnish port? Did they stay long in the UK or did they continue on to the US? (or did other children leave, that could explain why I have a ton of potential 4th/5th cousins here). I’m also interested in whether Appollonia was Finnish Romani (Many Finnish Romani came from Scotland in the early 16th century because they were declared outlaws who could be hung without trial. At the time, they were only permitted to live in the north eastern areas of Sweden, corresponding to today’s Finland. Some were condemned to work in the mines of Karelia under extremely impoverished conditions and their children were often taken forcibly into care). This would also make sense if Appollonia’s family originally came through Scotland – especially as conditions for Romani and Travellers had marginally improved in Scotland in the 17-1800s and were certainly better than in Finland and Sweden, where women were often forcibly sterilized or had their children removed. So, it would make sense if they left the deplorable conditions in Finland to come back to the UK. I’m looking at trying to find immigration records either into or out of the UK… it’s hard though.
I also decided to download the raw data from this batch of tests (which is from a different testing service) and upload it to GEDmatch and several of the other sites I originally used. Interestingly, it provides completely different results. On GEDmatch, It ups the Siberian and South Asian components almost across the board, as well as Amerind in certain tests and changes the admixture makeup quite a bit. I’m not sure what this means, other than my DNA is probably not a good match with their reference populations as I’m a bit of an odd mixture.
What I can say at the moment:
I am paternally Romany (and possibly French/German)
I am maternally Finnish (with some Saami ancestry)
I ran my new raw DNA through the same wegene filters as before (I felt that was the most accurate), and it comes out with mostly the same results – French, Finnish/Russian, but instead of Hungarian it has me as Spanish (wondering if that’s misread Ashkenazi or something that it just can’t handle yet) and this one picks up my South Asian (Indian) DNA (of 6.49%).
I’m waiting for a couple of other sites to process my new data (I’ll update if they give me anything different or weird), but overall things look the same. I do want to learn Finnish so that I can at least dig into genealogy myself and find out exactly WHO I am related to! But, I won’t be claiming anything other than Finnish and Romany (my Ashkenazi and Saami ancestry is only based on these tests at the moment. Unless I can find concrete genealogical relationships, I won’t be taking things any further).