Eleven J-L283 Lineages of Poland

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.

YFull sampling per capita relative to world average, all haplogroups

Going by the YFull numbers we have 6 Polish samples in J-L283 out of 447 total Poles on YFull. This comes to 1.3% and can be taken as a very rough estimate. I cannot easily compute a statistic based on FTDNA STR customers because I don't know how many Poles are in other haplogroup projects in FTDNA.
Anyway, it's safe to say that J-L283 is rare in Poland. However it isn't rare for a J-L283 to be found in Poland given that we have at least 11 lineages there, none of which are more closely related to each other than from an ancestor that lived 500 BC (though most are much more distantly related to one another).
The eleven lineages, all on YFull unless otherwise noted:
  • J-YP91>YP61* (STRs predicted)
  • J-Z615* (STRs predicted)
  • J-Z2507>
    • Y15058>
      • Z40052>Z4133>BY75735* (Big Y not on YFull)
      • Z38240>
        • J-PH1602*
        • CTS6190>Y33795 (STRs predicted)
    • Z638>Z1297>Z1295>Z8421>Z631>
      • Y144394>
      • Z1043>
        • FGC55768
          • * (STRs predicted)
          • PH1553*
        • Y26712>Y29721>Y29718*
        • Z8424>Z8429>
          • CTS11760>BY41400
          • Z39660


J-YP91 and sibling J-Z600 are the first lineages of J-L283 to clearly have originated in Europe (though I do predict an Armenian to be positive for YP91 based on STRs). There are over a hundred men in J-Z600 on YFull not even counting any J-Z1043 compared to only 6 samples in J-YP91. Until recently this lineage was defined by just two samples - a man of unknown descent and a Sardinian from a study.
I predict on the basis of rare STRs and mutual genetic distance, even at just 37 markers, that a large cluster of several Polish, a Ukrainian and two Russian men are YP61. One Russian man from this cluster has recently joined the YFull tree but not yet marked his sample to reflect this origin.
So far none of these Poles have tested above 37 STRs nor tested SNPs but their intracluster distance is around 8/37 STRs which suggests an ancient presence in Poland, possibly dating to the Iron Age.

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.

Given the lack of samples and high resolution testing, we cannot theorize a specific migration for J-YP91 at this time. However, it seems plausible that a lineage of J-YP91>YP61 may have been living in Eastern Poland since before the time of the Roman Empire and possibly even dating back to the Iron Age.
Note: At 67 STRs a man of non-specific German descent who is almost certainly J-YP91 based on rare STRs has a rare marker match with one of these Russians, DYS413=21-22. However this German has more identical STRs (78% vs 69%) with a Silesian from Opole Voivodeship and a different rare STR match with him, so he could actually form a clade with this Silesian rather than these Poles/Ukrainians/Russians.


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.

J-CTS6190 from the FTDNA Haplotree, April 1 2020. Augmented by YFull TMRCA date estimates. Ancient Etruscan found to share private SNP with Virginian sample by Flor Veseli.

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-Z34472) - so the true ancient origin of this branch 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.

These posts are the opinion of Hunter Provyn, a haplogroup researcher in J-M241 and J-M102.

6 thoughts on “Eleven J-L283 Lineages of Poland”

  1. This is the sort of article I read for general historical and archaeological interest, but in this case I think there is a direct connection with my own Y-chromosome, which was recently tested by Family Tree DNA. As an indigenous Englishman I was surprised to learn that I belong to J2 and not to one of the common Western European haplogroups such as R1b or I1.
    FTDNA very cautiously assigned me only to J2-M172, but I have studied Y-chromosome data for a long time for its general historical interest, so I immediately started comparing my STR figures with other examples of J2. I generally look at the more stable STRs, which remain the same across a large group. I immediately noticed that I have DYS 454=12 (rather than the usual 11). For a short time, I thought I might belong to J2b1-M205, where 454=12 is normal, but I soon found that some of the other figures did not fit. For example, I have DYS 437=16, DYF 395 b=17 and DYS 640=13. These figures fit J2b2a1-L283 and I soon found that a few members of this group also have DYS 454=12. Therefore, I focussed my attention on these J-L283 with 454=12. I found that there are considerable differences between these haplotypes, which suggest that 454=12 has arisen independently several times in different branches of J-L283. On the basis of information found in the FTDNA project results and yfull, I have concluded that I probably belong to J-Y29721, one of the groups considered above. A few days ago I joined the FTDNA J2 Project and my results now appear there as Kit no. IN81675 Styan from England near the end of the results tables. Flor Veseli has written that my identification as Y29721 is probably correct. I have applied to be tested for Z1043 to at least partly confirm my identification. (FTDNA does not test separately for Y29721.) I think my haplotype is fairly close to the Hartman haplotypes (260737 and B6639), which I think must be the Germans from Pfalz mentioned above in the section >J-Z631>Z1043>Y26712>Y29721>Y29718*. Probably the most similar haplotype to mine is 47606 Daye from Ireland. It has only 25 STRs but 22 of them are the same as mine. Only DYS 390, 439 and 458 are different.
    I am a bit surprised that the group of Poles and Ukrainians belong to the same group. There are five of them in the FTDNA Project (505511, IN43340, 866065, 218426, 780129). They have DYS 454=12, but those with more than 37 STRs also have DYS 425=13 and 594=12, while the Germans and I have 425=12, 594=11. Yfull places the Poles and Ukrainians in their own sub-group with their own SNPs, while one of the Germans appears only J-Y29721*. From what I know of the subject, there are probably also SNPs specific to the Western members of the group.
    I am looking forward to learning more about this subject.

    1. Hi Martin,

      I’m happy you have found your way to our project, identified your likely closest relatives, contacted Flor and are testing Z1043.

      FTDNA doesn’t make so much money on SNP testing anymore because YSEQ is about 50% cheaper and offers more SNPs.

      Still a positive result for Z1043 would help guide us further.

      I didn’t see your sample id in J-M241 project. Please join this project, because the J2 project (like all FTDNA projects over 3000 people) is too big to effectively manage / find samples anymore. Grouping is no longer maintained in J2 and most other large projects on FTDNA.


      1. Hi Hunter
        Thanks for the reply. I just had another look at the J-M241 project results and found that my haplotype has already been grouped as 4. J-L283>…>Z597>…>Z631>Z1043>Y26712>Y29721? and placed between the German and Ukrainian members of the group. However, I am definitely English. I have an extensive and well documented family tree with most of my ancestors in Yorkshire and most of the rest in Northumberland. This is confirmed by my family finder matches, who include identifiable relations of all four of my grandparents and many more with ancestry in Yorkshire or elsewhere in Northern England and the Scottish border area. My surname is unusual but apparently Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse by etymology. My male line ancestry has been reliable traced to the village of Whixley about 10 miles west of York. The earliest definitely identified male line ancestor is James Styan, who had two children baptized at Whixley in the 1680s. I have not been able to definitely identify a record of his birth or his father’s name, but there were already Styans at Whixley from the beginning of the 17th century and at other villages in the district during the 16th century.
        Although I am very English by origin, I live in Bratislava, Slovakia and am very interested in the Caucasus. I went to Georgia last year and was thinking of going again before the coronavirus began to spread. Therefore, I am quite pleased to have remote ancestral connections with these regions.
        I have seen that YSEQ offers tests for Y29721 for 18 USD, but it would also be necessary for them to send a testing kit to Bratislava and for me to send it back at considerable time and expense.
        Martin Styan

    1. Yes some could possibly descend from Vlachs though I only know of a few men who joined the J-M241 project who are Vlach. I had one man lined up to do a WGS test that I was going to pay for with donations, ancestral surname Tsioungos from Metsovo, but in the end he didn’t want to test.

      Are you J2b-L283 and Vlach? If so, do you know which branch you are?

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