Still very young, I started wondering about my ancestry. How far would I be able to go back in time? Whom would I meet? Who were my ancestors and where did they come from? And - very important when you're a little boy - would there be knights amongst them?
It's not just curiousness. It's something quite existential as well. An ongoing journey into the mists of time, full of suprises and occasional disappointments - but always that One Goal: understanding your existence, by trying to grasp the circumstances that brought about that unique DNA-cocktail that is You.
In the past ten years or so, I systematically researched my ancestry in archives. I am sharing some of the fruits right here. Not all of it. The sources, for instance, are a valuable asset to me. Please contact me when you'd like to know a particular source.
Interested in some 30 generations of my total pedigree (Yes, there's plenty of knights in it)? See right here:
My Paternal Lineage
Traditional pedigrees that include my direct male lineage stop at Claas Jelles. They still do. But by puzzling around about a bit I recently found his parents, Jelle and Haebel, and at least one brother. A nice litte family reunion! Yes, I had some renowned researchers verify my findings and sources. Without further ado: here are the persons responsible for passing on to me a unique code, the family Y-DNA, and ofcourse their beloved spouses. Check out my straight maternal lineage if you're interested in where I got my MtDNA.
2 Hoekstra, married Veenstra.
4 Hoekstra, married Leegsma
8 Wieger Ates Hoekstra, born on 18-09-1885 in Dantumadeel. The birth was registered on 19-09-1885. He died on 21-01-1968 in Veenwoudsterwal, aged 82. He was buried in Veenwouden. At the age of 31, he married Sytske van der Wal, aged 19, on 12-05-1917 in Dantumadeel. A church ceremony was celebrated on 12-05-1917 in Dantumadeel. She was born on 31-08-1897 in Tietjerksteradeel, daughter of Feye Willems van der Wal and Jeltje Stenekes. The birth was registered on 01-09-1897. She died on 08-04-1958 in Veenwoudsterwal, aged 60.
16 Ate Wiegers Hoekstra, born on 06-12-1861 in Dantumadeel. The birth was registered on 07-12-1861. He died on 28-10-1940 in Dantumadeel, aged 78. The decease was registered on 29-10-1940. At the age of 22, he married Antje Andries Hoekstra, aged 25, on 19-04-1884 in Tietjerksteradeel. She was born on 11-01-1859 in Dantumadeel, daughter of Andries Jippes Hoekstra and Seelie Martens Plantinga. The birth was registered on 11-01-1859. She died after 1940 in Dantumadeel, aged more than 81.
32 Wijger Ates Hoekstra, born on 29-06-1833 in Tietjerksteradeel. The birth was registered on 01-07-1833. He died on 23-10-1904 in Tietjerksteradeel, aged 71. The decease was registered on 25-10-1904. At the age of 23, he married Eelkje Berends de Jong, aged about 23, on 13-05-1857 in Tietjerksteradeel. She was born around 1834, daughter of Berend Folkerts de Jong and Aaltje Rommerts Boonstra. She died on 08-10-1912 in Tietjerksteradeel, aged about 78.
64 Ate Feijes Hoekstra, born on 27-01-1801 in Veenwouden. He was baptised on 08-03-1801 in Veenwouden. He died on 07-02-1872 in Dantumadeel, aged 71. The decease was registered on 08-02-1872. At the age of 24, he married Fokeltje Hayes Haisma, aged about 21, on 23-05-1825 in Dantumadeel. She was born around 1804, daughter of Haye Ebeles Haisma and Janke Wiegers Oegema. She died on 08-05-1861, aged about 57.
128 Feije Klazes Hoekstra, born on 25-07-1774 in Veenwouden. He was baptised on 04-09-1774 in Veenwouden. He died on 30-06-1842 in Hardegarijp, aged 67. At the age of 18, he married Froukje Franses Mellema, aged more than 26, on 16-12-1792 in Hardegarijp. A church ceremony was celebrated on 16-12-1792 in Hardegarijp. She was born before 14-12-1766 in Wanswerd c.a., daughter of Frans Thomas and Trijntje Willems. She was baptised on 14-12-1766 in Wanswerd c.a.. She died on 22-01-1847 in Tietjerksteradeel, aged more than 80.
256 Klaas Jelles Hoekstra, peatboss and farmer. He was baptised on 24-07-1740 in Veenwouden. He died on 01-09-1828 in Hardegarijp, aged 88. At the age of 19 or 20, he married Aatje Klazes, aged 18 or 19, in 1760 in Veenwouden, after their intention to marry had been registered in 1760. A church ceremony was celebrated in 1760 in Veenwouden. She is a daughter of Klaas Feijes and Antje Hendriks. She was baptised on 11-08-1741 in Veenwouden. She died on 23-06-1811 in Hardegarijp, aged 69.
512 Jelle Klazes, peatboss and farmer. He was baptised on 14-05-1713 in Rijperkerk, "enige weken oud", maar op 20 mei 1773 te Veenwouden nog eens op belijdenis. He died in 1805 in Veenwouden, aged 91 or 92. At the age of 25, he married Marijke Jelles, aged 34, on 08-02-1739 in Veenwouden. A church ceremony was celebrated on 08-02-1739 in Veenwouden. She is a daughter of Jelle Dids and Wopckjen Fockis. She was baptised on 20-05-1773. She died before 22-03-1796 in Veenwouden, aged less than 22. She was buried on 22-03-1796 in Veenwouden.
1024 Claas Jelles, peatboss and farmer. Born around 1689 in Wanswerd of Foudgum. He was baptised on 07-06-1720 in Akkerwoude. He died after 1747, possibly in Dokkum, aged more than 58.
(1) At about the age of 20, he married Jepke Tiercks, aged 24, on 25-05-1709 in Dokkum, after their intention to marry had been registered on 25-05-1709 in Dokkum. A church ceremony was celebrated on 25-05-1709 in Dokkum. She is a daughter of Tierck Jeppes and Et Hoytes. She was baptised on 26-10-1684 in Brantgum. She died after 1728 in Veenwouden, aged more than 44.
(2) At about the age of 40, he probably married Lijsbeth Folkerts, aged 26, on 26-06-1729 in Dokkum, after their intention to marry had been registered on 26-06-1729 in Raard. A church ceremony was celebrated on 26-06-1729 in Dokkum. She is a daughter of Folkert Pijters and Tietske Jelles. She was baptised on 18-02-1703 in Dokkum.
2048 Jelle Harmens, propably a farmer - because both his sons were farmers on farms of some importance in the region. Born around 1660. He died after 1688, probably in Wanswerd. He married Haebel Sipkes before 26-09-1686. She was born before 1666. She died after 1688 in, probably, Wanswerd.
4096 Harmen N.N., born around 1635.
Genealogy & DNA
My Maternal Lineage
Here are my mother's mother's mothers! It's a lineage of wifes, mothers and daughters of honest peat digging folk from the east of the Netherlands, the marshes around Giethoorn, in Overijssel.
3 Veenstra, married Hoekstra
7 Bos, married Veenstra
15 Hielkje Sloothaak, born on 09-10-1896 in Sintjohannesga. She died on 29-11-1965 in Heerenveen, aged 69. At the age of 24, she married Wieger Bos, aged 26, on 19-05-1921 in Schoterland. He was born on 05-12-1894 in Rotsterhaule, son of Geert Bos and Siebrigje Vermaning. He died on 22-02-1971 in Speers, aged 76.
31 Jantje Ykema, born on 19-08-1857 in Langezwaag. The birth was registered on 21-08-1857. She died on 22-05-1915 in Schoterland, aged 57. At the age of 36, she married Jan Sloothaak, aged 43, on 25-02-1894 in Schoterland. He was born on 23-01-1851 in Rotsterhaule, son of Lammert Alberts Sloothaak and Harmke Jans Smid. The birth was registered on 25-01-1851. He died on 22-02-1931 in Zuidlaren, aged 80.
63 Margjen Jacobs Cloo, born on 28-12-1818 in Haskerland. The birth was registered on 29-12-1818. She died on 04-05-1883 in Haskerland, aged 64. At the age of 24, she married Thee Thaes Ykema, aged about 26, on 21-05-1843 in Haskerland. He was born around 1817, son of Thee Klazes Ykema and Pieterdjen Feikes Oosting. He died on 02-05-1902 in Haskerland, aged about 85.
127 Hylkjen Gerrits Kelderhuis, born on 30-12-1791 in Oudehaske. She was baptised on 08-01-1792 in Haskerland. She died after 1820, aged more than 29. At the age of 21, she married Jacob Tymens Cloo, aged 24, on 15-04-1813 in Haskerland. A church ceremony was celebrated on 15-04-1813 in Haskerland. He was born on 10-03-1789 in Oudehaske, son of Tymen Jacobs Luiken (Ook: Cloo/Kloo en Kloot en zelfs Coets) and Claesjen Harmens Swier. He was baptised on 22-03-1789 in Haskerland. He died on 27-03-1872 in Haskerland, aged 83.
255 Geesje Jacobs Sming. She was baptised on 22-11-1761 in Wanneperveen. She died before 01-02-1844 in Oudehaske?, aged less than 82. At the age of 24, she married Gerrit Beerends Kelderhuys, aged 22, on 24-09-1786 in Oudehaske. A church ceremony was celebrated on 24-09-1786 in Oudehaske. He was born on 27-11-1763 in Giethoorn, son of Beerent Gerrits Kelderhuys and Trijntjen Frericks. He was baptised on 04-12-1763 in Giethoon. He died on 01-02-1844 in Schoterland, aged 80.
511 Margjen Peters Frantsen, born around 1731. She was baptised on 16-10-1740 in Wanneperveen. She married Jacob Alberts Snoeijer, after their intention to marry had been registered in Wanneperveen. He was born in 1728. He was baptised on 22-11-1761 in Wanneperveen.
1023 Aafjen Jacobs, born around 1710. She married Peter Jans Frantsen. He was born around 1710.
The Cocktail That Is Me
Please find more scores right here
I understand Eve just a bit better now. I just could not help zipping from it. After having seen documentaries, such as the ones about "Genetic Adam" and the Genographic Project, I knew I would not be able to resist the temptation of also putting The One Cup against my lips. Indeed, I had the Cocktail That Is Me investigated. I decided to start modestly with just my paternal and maternal lines. Because giving one's entire genome to some laboratory abroad one never set foot in just seems a bit awkward, with all these 3D-printers being around and not knowing what the next step wil be...
Ancestry and DNA
Your ancestry is pretty much like a triangle, balancing on its tip. The tip being you. When investigating your maternal and paternal lines, only two sides of the triangle are (partly) revealed. That's a very small part of the triangle. What about the surface of the triangle: everyone who is not a fathersfather or a mothersmother? I'm no big fan of numbers, but here we go. It helps to get an idea. Assume I assign myself number 1, because I am at the tip. Then my father is nr. 2 en my mother nr. 3. Accordingly my father's father is 4, his wife is 5, whilst my mother's father would be nr. 6 and his wife nr. 7. (This kind of numbering is quite commonly adapted in Western European pedigree's.) So, researching my father's direct male line effectively means researching pedigreenumbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 265, 512, 1024, 2048 and so on. Researching my mother's direct female line means targetting numbers 1, 3, 7, 15, 31, 63, 127, 264, 511, 1023 and 2047. Which means: when you arrive at generation 11 (arond 1700) you've found only 22 people that represent the recorded direct male and direct female line.But simple math tells you that theoretically in your 11th genearation, you've got 2047 (theoretically unique) individuals. These 2047 fathered and mothered all the people in the younger ten generations, all adding up to a stunning amount of about 5000 ancestors in only eleven generations who lived and died before you and who donated their genes to your specific DNA-cocktail.The exact genomes of all those people are lost to us now. Because every time a new human being is made, only the Y-chromosome and the X-chromosome remain virtually unchanged. The rest of the ancestral genome is sliced, mixed and scrambled into a nevertheless completely authentic genome. Again, except for the outlines: Mr. Y and Mrs. X. For instance, I've got twelve recorded Y-fathers and nine X-mothers, which equals a total of 21 people. The genomes of all my other 2045 ancestors living in 1700 are present in my DNA, though chopped up basically unrecognizably.
Okay. Now here is this cute little thingy that passed to me a unique code, the Hoekstra-DNA, so to speak. It contains a kind of How To Build a Son-kit: the Y-chromosome, only passed from father to son. I passed this very virile little organic machine on to my three sons, Gjalt, Doeke and Hidde, like Harmen passed it to his son Jelle in about 1660 - like many, many of his direct male ancestors, now unfortunately unknown, before him. The list of my direct male "Hoekstra"-ancestors can be found on the page My Paternal Lineage. History yields about 13 generations, as you can see. Not bad. But my Y-chromosome recorded a lot more. This tiny timecapsule allows me to go back in time along my direct male line of descent, all the way down to "Genetic Adam", who lived some time between 100.000 and 140.000 years ago. He is the direct paternal ancestor of all men alive today.
About the testing. I had some tests done by Family Tree DNA and took part of the well known Genographic Project. I proved to be a member of the Haplogroup R, which is in fact quite dominant in Europe. Nothing exotic or surprising there. R, or better R1b, originated probably in West Asia, some 20.000 year ago. This group is estimated to have come to Europe later on. More specifically I appear to be a member of the "clan" R-U106, a variation on the R-theme that must have originated in Europe, just some 4.000 or 14.000 years ago. In fact, according to information provided by the Genographic Project, this is the first R-subclade to have originated not in Africa, not in Asia - but in Europe.R-U106 (also referred to as R1b1a2a1a1a*) can be found in abundance around the shores of the North Sea. And why would that be? My guess would be: because some 11.000 years ago there was no North Sea. Sea levels were far much lower then and people lived, loved, hunted - and gót hunted in that area, that scientists now call Doggerland.Afther the end of the last great ice age, around some 8000 BP, the Ocean bursted into that furtile valley and the North Sea came into existence. Those who managed to save themself, seem to have settled along the shores of this new Sea. Perhaps even the cataclysmic event of the flooding of Doggersland may have influenced the mutation of genes?
Some scientists claim R-U106 appears to be extra present in Frisian genomes. Some even called it the Frisian haplogroup, partly based on 1) the invasion of Saxons, Jutes and Frisians of Britain during the 5th century and 2) the Frisian hegemony in seatrade during the 6th and 7th century, establishing many tradeposts and settlements in Britain and along the other North Sea shores. I'm not sure though. I think that these events indeed had their genetic impact on Britain's DNA-cocktail. But, the mutation that resulted in the rise of R-U106 is far older and to me it seems families were simply ripped apart by the flooding of what we now call the North Sea. This perhaps explains why my closest (participating) Y-relatives can be found in the coastal area's of England en Schotland.
OK. But where did the R-line come from? Of course the line ends some 140.000 years ago, with "Genetic Adam." But in between? Some 75.000 years ago a new genetic branch came into being in Affrica (M42), followed some 5000 year later already by yet another new branch (M168), perhaps in Asia even. This branch can still be traced in far off places like Australia and South America. 50.000 years ago, somewhere in Asia the new haplogroup M89 emerged, giving birth to group P128 no later than 5.000 years, somewhere in South Asia. From that point, small tribes and bands of people spread all over the planet, resulting in the mutation dubbed M45, that originated in either South or Central Asia some 35.000 years ago. In Central Asia M207 and, later, P231 came into existence, both around 30.000 years ago. Next branch: M343, Asia, some 20.000 years ago. This group would eventually venture into Europe, though some appear to have returned to South Asia or even Africa, perhaps due to the global cooling that shaped the great ice age. My Y-line would seem to have stayed in Central Asia and explore Europe during the retreating of the ice.
Mothers are much more generous towards their children then fathers are. Like fathers they pass on a specific chromosome, the X-chromosome, but they are less specific in choosing their heirs - both their sons and daughters receive the rich gift that is the X-chromosome. One significant detail though: sons don't pass that chromosome, only daughters do. So – as much as I may have wanted it, I couldn’t bestow upon my sons this ancient gem. Unfortunately, the X-chromosome is somewhat more difficult to 'read' than the X; it's substiantially bigger and sometimes, even today, it's not even clear which part of the chromosome came from which parent. For researching the maternal line, therefore, the so called mitochondral DNA is far more reliable.
Mitochondrial DNA is part of your DNA that realy tells the story of your direct female ancestry. It's not affected by male genome in any way in the process of creating new life. That way it's a very reliable source for lokking back into history for thousands and thousands of yeares.
You can check out my straight maternal lineage here. The maternal line of my sons, their Mt-line, is of course completely different to mine then. Theirs is their mother's, and of her mothers before her. However different my Mt-line may be to that of my sons, all mitochondral lines end up with a "Genetic Eve" as well. DNA-research revealed that Aafjen Jacobs, my oldest known maternal megagrandmother, descended from haplogroup U, which seems to have originated somewhere around 45.000 BP in Asia. In other words: in some 47.000 years ago, there was a woman in Asia from which all U-women today descend in an unbroken, direct female line. Some 30.000 years ago mutation to that lineage occured: U5. It colonized Europe around 15.000 years ago, roughly roughly the same time my Y-line arrived. It may very well be that this line of females were part of tribes or small bands of people that followed the retreating ice of Europe, towards the north, into "new" lands. U5 gave rise to a subclade U5a that is not yet very well understood, that is: the Genographic Project entertains broad estimates as to the origines of this mutation, that must have occured somewhere between some 22.000 and 5000 years ago.
From whom did the 47.000 year old Asian lady descend? She was descended, in an unbroken line, from the lady who started hapologroup R, some 55.000 years ago in West Asia, who in turn was a great-great-granddaughter of the woman who first carried the mutation that gave rise to haplogroup N, which originated some 60.000 years ago, in either East Africa or Asia. The source of all this: a single woman living in Africa in about 67.000 year ago, sometimes called "Mitochondral Eve". Why? Mitochondral DNA is the DNA-bit that passes on to you via your mother and in a sense this woman was some kind of genetic Eve; she is the female ancestor to all men and women alive today, all over the word, and all women alive today are descended from her with an unbroken, direct female line. Beware: she was not the first woman on this planet, nor was she the only woman in her time. She was "just" the first common ancestor to us all.
When following your direct paternal and maternal lines, you almost forget the fact that between those two extremities, a whole lot more of genetic information can be found. X and Y are just the two sex markers, what of the rest? As mentioned above, tiny bits of ancestral DNA are chopped op in what is called autosomal DNA and cannot be pinned on specific ancestors or ancestral lines. Not even to one of your parents, for that matter. What can be found is certain markers that help you compare your particular mix of DNA to other groups in the world. The Genographic project analysed and stated my recipe as follows: 45% Northern European, 36% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian. A fairly normal mixture for northern Europeans. Apart from that, I carry 2,4% Neanderthal DNA in me and 3,6% DNA of the newly discovered Asian hominid Denisovan. Both are normal percentages in northern European humans alive today. To me this is clear proof of the fact that, whilst my direct paternal and maternal ancestors came to Europa thousands of years after Neanderthals had become extinct, they intermingled with other homo sapiens, probably Cro-Magnon Man, that had entered Europe far earlier, around 45.000 years before present. They had lived alongside Neandertheals and even interbred with them. Blood tells joke nor lie.
So, what does it all add up to?
Both my paternal and maternal lines seem to have left Africa somewhere between 70.000 and 60.000 years ago, did whatever they did in different corners of Asia between 60.000 and 15.000 years ago and then came to Europe during and/or shortly after the great ice age. Is this surprising? In a sense it is, because there were earlier and later exodi from Africa, and there were many earlier and later migrations to Europe as well. Homo Eructus and Homo Heidelbergensis (believed to be the common ancestor to Homo Sapiens (us) and Neanderthals had, several hundred thousand years earlier, also left Africa for Europe. And a first migration into Europe of Homo Sapiens took place 125.00 years ago, so just 15.000 years after "Genetic Adam" and some 60.000 years before both my direct paternal and maternal ancestors would leave Africa. And of course there is Cro Magnon Man, who appears to still have been in Africa around 60.000 years ago, because some skeletons were found to belong to Haplogroup N, but reached Europe thousands of years earlier than my two lines did.They, my direct male and female lines, appear to be Second Wavers, following the retreating ice into a new world in which they firmly planted their fresh, genetic footprint.
I think one should always try to kwow the personsswimming in their blood. Nice to know them a little bit better now.
Want to know more about genetics in relation to history and / or genealogy? The above information is roughly based on what you can find here: Information provided by projects I'm participating in: | The National Geographic Genographic Project
Documentaries: The Incredible Human Journey | The Search for Adam
Wikipedia: Y-chromosomal Adam | X-Chromosomal Eve | Haplogroup | Doggerland | Anglo-Saxon MigrationWebsites other: