In my list of relative matches on 23andMe, I have a few cousins who share my paternal haplotype marker (T). This means that we share a paternal ancestor somewhere back in the family lineage. I looked through my initial list in terms of what towns and family names these cousins listed, and this is how I came to find what I believe is my village (Qurnayel) as well as my family name. Questions posed to my other relatives confirmed this to be most likely.
My maternal haplotype (H26) was more elusive. It wasn’t shared by anyone in my list, and I was not able to find much reference to it online. What I did find painted a very broad picture, as it has evolved to be rather common throughout Europe most notably. I started looking through the 23andMe discussion boards to see if there wasn’t any further information on the group.
I came across a link to a web site that gives a more finely tuned marker based on an upload of mitochondrial or mtDNA. I readily admit that I have the barest vague understanding of DNA science, but following the instructions I found, I downloaded from 23andMe only the mtDNA sequences (less than 100k, as opposed to the multiple MBs of the whole DNA sequence) and uploaded it to dna.jameslick.com/mthap which quickly returned a “most likely” marker: H26b.
As a side trip that I can recommend but which to my feeble understanding is otherwise useless, you can go to this page www.phylotree.org/tree/main.htm and then click on the major subcategory (in my case, H) which will bring up the full genome tree and its branching down to the particular branch you are looking for. On the right side are sample data references. Clicking on mine brings up something that I can barely understand, but I do see the word “Druze” in the title, and so another confirmation.
This page ianlogan.co.uk came up in one of the discussion boards; it is a breakdown of samples of mtDNA according to haplotype. When I click on mine (H26b) I can see the registered samples like the one above, which gives information as to the source community. It also provides a name that links to the study that provided the samples. Here we see mostly Druze, and…one Armenian*….
On this page www.phylotree.org/mtDNA_seqs.htm I can download the originating studies themselves. Honestly, I’m greatly disturbed by the Shlush study, since it is funded by the Israel Science Foundation as well as the rather shady- and dubious-sounding “Canadian and American Technion Societies”. Their aim one quickly gleans is to “prove” genetically the Zionist notion that the Ashkenazim source to Occupied Palestine, and that those with claims to the place do not: a theoretical occupation and ethnic cleansing.
Ironically, they end up proving the exact opposite, once the bias filter is in place. Nonetheless, you will notice that companies like 23andMe buy into this, and thus have a category of “Ashkenazim” that will show up in many of our test results, especially among the Druze and Shi‘a populations. This has become somewhat of a joke among the Lebanese who have this tiny green one-tenth of one percent marker in their profile.
I set out writing this as something helpful to other adoptees, but now I feel it is completely misleading. The bias of sample takers, the limited number of samples, and the “wishful thinking” of the adoptee all conspire to produce what are likely false turns and dead ends. Any further info from adoptees who have delved deeper or who understand better the DNA science is greatly appreciated.
* This is of interest because the article this is gleaned from is attempting to “distance” the Druze from Occupied Palestine by claiming that their “closest genetic neighbors” (whatever that means) “are the Iranians, Turks, Egyptians, and Armenians”. False markers? Altered samples?