A man of Polish descent recently discovered he was J-L283. He joined our J-L283 Facebook group and posed the question of whether this haplogroup is rare in Poland.
I decided to answer him with some information about the various J-L283 lineages now living in Poland. I counted at least 11 separate lineages that likely migrated independently to Poland sometime between 2900 BC and recent times.
The earliest date that we can be reasonably sure* for a presence of any of these lineages in Poland is 370 AD for the lineage J-BY41400, itself a child of Z631>Z1043>Z8424>Z8429>CTS11760. This does not mean that this or any of the other lineages now found in Poland did not actually arrive earlier. In this case the lineage definitely did not enter Poland before 500 BC because the Poles are a single outlier child branch from lineage J-CTS11760, estimated to have lived 500 BC and which looks like Roman mediated migration from Italy / the Balkans. However other lineages which have less data, such as the J-Z615*, could actually represent migrations to Poland that may have taken place as far back as 2900 BC, though there is no circumstantial evidence from genetics to yet assume this is the case.
So take 370 AD in this case as the oldest known migration to Poland. This estimate was obtained from YFull analysis of an exclusively Polish/Slovak cluster of men. It's also possible that a group of distantly related men, descendants of their common ancestor who lived 370 AD, comigrated together to Poland from somewhere else and didn't leave anyone behind who tested. While many things are possible I try to use Occam's razor to focus on the simplest and hopefully most likely explanation.
*In this case reasonably sure means, absent an ancient sample which would be a smoking gun, the estimated date of the MRCA of an exclusively Polish subclade. This is a mean estimate and, like all YFull estimates, there is an error range associated with it. I leave it to the reader to look at the error ranges themselves if they wish. I were to include them it would make the article even harder to read than it already is.
Based on YFull per capita sampling rates, Poland is represented more than all its neighbors except for Lithuania which has about twice the sampling rate. Notably the sampling rate for Poland is about twice that of Germany and triple that of Ukraine. However Poland's sampling rate is dwarfed by her Scandinavian neighbors across the Baltic with Norway, Sweden and Finland sampled 6, 10 and 16 times greater.
- J-YP91>YP61* (STRs predicted)
- J-Z615* (STRs predicted)
- Z40052>Z4133>BY75735* (Big Y not on YFull)
- CTS6190>Y33795 (STRs predicted)
- Z40052>Z4133>BY75735* (Big Y not on YFull)
- * (STRs predicted)
- * (STRs predicted)
They trace descent to the Bialystok and Warmian-Masurian Voivodeships. The Ukrainian descends from near Vinnytsia. Both Russians are of as yet unknown descent. The two Russians form a subclade based on STR distance while the Poles are all about equally distant with each other and the Ukrainian. So the origin at this point looks likely to be Eastern Poland or possibly Ukraine.
Their next closest relatives, from a common ancestor who lived 1400 BC, are a Norwegian YP61* and the men of YP29 who trace descent to Sardinia and Albania. More distantly related at 2400 BC are a lineage of Biebers from Alsace.
A man tracing descent to Lesser Poland Voivodeship (he's not completely certain but assumed based on surname), whose ancestor later migrated through Braunschweig appears to be J-Z615 based on GD 8/67 match to a Pomeranian who is positive and on YFull. There is just one other man who is J-Z615* and he traces descent to Suffolk. These men occupy a lonely island in J-L283 with no relatives within 4900 years.
J-Z40052's diversity in the Balkans appear to be remnants descended from Balkan origin J-Z2507>Y15058. The evidence for this deeper Balkan origin is strengthened by the boy found in Croatia dating to 1600 BC who was positive for sibling lineage J-Z38240, not to mention deep Balkan diversity in J-Z2507>Z638.
We are still learning more about the J-Z4133 lineage. Given that it has not yet been found outside of NW Europe I think it's plausible that J-Z4133 may have formed in NW Europe, possibly Scandinavia, in 1400 BC.
We know that river trade linked NW Europe to Central Europe in the Bronze Age, for instance the ancient amber road connecting Central Europe to the Baltic and the tin trade from England, but if confirmed with ancient or more extensive modern samples, J-Z4133 would be the first confirmed lineage of J-L283 that was north of the Alps as far back as the Late Bronze Age.
One lineage of J-Z4133 appears, based on circumstantial evidence, to be associated with Viking mediated migration to the western islands of Scotland.
There is a Pole tracing descent to Szczytno who is J-BY75735 (not yet on YFull). Joining him are a man from Pas-de-Calais, a Fleming from Limburg province (single SNP test only), and men of English and Irish descent. They all descend from a man who lived 200 BC.
The most recent common ancestor of the men of Irish and English descent in subclade J-Y189978 lived around 70 AD. So the migration to England may have happened during the Roman Empire. Except for the Pole, this could be plausibly explained by Germanic tribes inhabiting the Lower Rhein who were recruited by the Romans for expeditions in Britannia.
Tacitus (De origine et situ Germanorum XXIX) described the Batavi as the bravest of the tribes of the area, hardened in the Germanic wars, with cohorts under their own commanders transferred to Britannia. - Batavi, Wikipedia
Later migrations cannot however be ruled out until we get more data.
If we ever find J-Z4133 diversity in Italy or the Balkans this will need to be rethought - Occam's razor may then imply that this lineage's distribution in NW Europe, like many others in J-L283, may have been due to Roman mediated migration of a Balkan lineage. Though for this to happen some additional testing would have to dispel the Scotland-Viking link in J-Z4133 that currently looks plausible.
As stated above, an ancient DNA sample is a smoking gun proving that J-Z38240 was living in the Western Balkans by 1700 BC, but based on modern distributions, his ancestors were likely already there by 2400 BC.
Our Pole in this group traces descent to Słopnice, Lesser Poland. On the basis of rare STRs, he may form a clade with a man from Cherniv Oblast, Ukraine, which lies east of the Dnieper.
PH1602 is widely distributed between England, Germany, the Balkans and Russia. Roman mediated migration seems plausible.
Interestingly there is also a subclade J-PH502 consisting of a Russian and his sibling, Serbo-Bulgarian J-Y40288. The Serbian and Bulgarian branch descend from a man who lived 500 AD and their most recent common ancestor with the Russian lived 800 BC, shortly after the formation of J-PH1602 itself. In this case we should look past the modern Slavic identities of these peoples and note that the Serbo-Bulgarians are likely to be remnants because this is close to where the ancient Croatian boy lived. One of the Russians's STR matches traces descent to near the border of Kursk and Oryol Oblasts in Russia. I have no explanation of how his ancestor got there but it was most likely after 800 BC.
I should note that there are a large number of Germans and English defining successive lineages of J-PH1602 in the Big Y haplotree (where it is known as J-PH1601) who did not do the YFull analysis, so we don't have age estimates for their lineages.
Instead of having an old, exclusively English or German clade, we see an Englishman with a German and Bosnian together in J-BY37790 (FTDNA haplotree).
Among YFull samples the Germans in PH1602 outnumber the Poles 2 to 1. These are very small sample numbers, but given the lower YFull sampling rate in Germany vs Poland, the heavy German and English presence could be indicative of Roman mediated migration to the Rhein frontiers and to Britannia. Note both German YFull codes are Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz.
This lineage has been found in an ancient context in Etruscan Italy dating to 600-700 BC. Since there appear to be no remnants of J-CTS6190 in the Balkans but high diversity in Italy it's plausible that the migration to Italy occurred sometime during the bottleneck from 1700-1100 BC.
It's important to note that there appear to be two fabricated ancestries to Jewish Portuguese on the YFull tree under J-CTS6190>Y36166 despite STR evidence that links these men to older non-Jewish lineages in England. Another sample who claims Jewish descent from Portugal has exclusively English and northern Italian matches, including the ancient Etruscan (see FTDNA Haplotree J-Y22038) - so the true origin is solidly Italy.
Of course it would also be an impossible coincidence that three child lineages of an ancient Italian man who lived 1800 BC all independently converted to Judaism or sired sons raised in the tradition two millennia later. Instead there is just one reliably known ancient Jewish lineage of the J-CTS6190 Bronze Age Italian man described below. The motive for the fabrication appears to have been in order to obtain Portuguese citizenship.
Our Pole is from a prolific lineage J-Y33795 whose male ancestor appears to have become Jewish by 200 AD at the latest, because this is when the most recent common ancestor of two Jewish lineages lived. Given the connection to ancient Rome and Etruria, it is plausible that this man may have lived in Italy.
For more information about Jewish migrations in general, see this article I wrote based on notes from researcher, Ted Kandell.
All men who are J-Z631 descend from a most recent common ancestor who lived 800 BC. Four lineages below J-Z631 whose ancestors parted ways 800 BC somehow found their way to Poland.
A man from Silesia and a man from Vlorë, Albania have most recent common ancestor lived 400 BC.
Roman mediated migration need not be the only explanation for a Balkan people to wind up in Poland.
When the Dacians were powerful they conquered the Celtic tribes to their north and west. The Puchov culture of North and Central Slovakia developed originally from the Lusation culture but was later influenced by Illyrians, Celts and Dacians. The Dacians Wikipedia article suggests that this culture spread to southern Poland.
Men descended from J-FGC55768 trace descent to England/France (via Montserrat), Germany, Poland, Czechia and Greece.
One man tracing descent to Konin, Poland, I have predicted to be a distant relative to the Greek J-FGC55768* on the basis of STRs.
This man traces descent to an ethnic German from Reszel (Rößel), Masuria. Because his nearest male line relatives from 520 AD are almost all Germans from the Baden-Wuerttemberg and surrounding areas, his ancestor likely migrated from this region. This would mean his male line may have migrated to Masuria sometime after it was conquered by German crusaders.
A Pole from Silesia's closest relatives are two lineages of Ukrainians. Their most recent common ancestor lived around 770 AD. Given that Ukraine is sampled at 1/3 the per capita rate than Poland yet there are three times the Ukrainians than Poles on YFull in this branch, we can perhaps assume the ancestor lived in Ukraine. Note there is a second Pole who is a STR match to these men but he looks equally distant to the Silesian Pole and the other Ukrainians.
Perhaps this estimate is off by a few hundred years and we are looking at a common ancestor who became integrated into Proto-Slavic peoples somewhere between Poland and Ukraine.
Their next closest relatives are Germans from Pfalz from 400 BC, followed immediately in 400 BC again by English, Azoreans and Mennonites from Switzerland. This wide distribution looks indicative of Roman mediated migration.
It should be noted this is the only major subclade of J-Z1043 remaining where we have found no Italian or Balkan sample. Though I think we'll eventually find one unless it has died out in its supposed homeland.
These men are from Zdiar and Matiasovce Slovakia and Maniowy, Poland. Only two have done NGS testing and their most recent common ancestor is estimated to have lived around 370 AD.
In a previous article, before the abundance of Italian and Balkan samples in J-Z631 and J-Z1043 had been found, I theorized that this lineage (and by implication, all J-Z631 and J-Z1043) were originally Celts.
Note that the YFull estimate did not establish a presence in Poland for this lineage - in this case 370 AD - predating the Romans. Also the Iberian lineage only reliably dates back to Iberia to 670 AD. Roman mediated migration cannot be excluded.
The supposed German ethnic link between three samples in J-Y53027 dated to 500 BC may be really just due to the fact that Germanic peoples later migrated to Rheinland-Pfalz, Austria and the Austrian order of Hungary - these places are in fact very distant from one another and all represent important places to guard along the Rhein-Danube borders of the empire.
More detailed theories regarding legion deployments to come.
Now we have found parent J-Z8429 in Flores, Albania but so far no Balkan J-CTS11760. Nonetheless, given the presence in Spain, England, Italy and Central Europe I expect we will some day.
This is a Jewish lineage that is now found all over Europe (now mostly in Eastern Europe) and in at least one Polish man. This is a fairly young subclade, all men descend from a man who lived in 870 AD. There are two people who are very distantly related to this man who could shed clues on where their ancestor lived during the Roman Era if we could ever find out who they are within FTDNA's data silo...
More information on this specific lineage can be found in this article.
For more information on Jewish lineage migrations in general, this article based on my notes from a discussion with Ted Kandell.