What do all these codes mean?

Don't freak out because of all the codes you see when you look at your position on the Y chromosome tree.

You do not need to learn what all of them mean. But you may be interested to learn the ones pertaining to your male line ancestors.

So please read a few more paragraphs for the sake of the legacy of your forefathers. And their potential contribution to haplogroup research.

The codes are the single letter names of haplogroups along with names of mutations.

These mutations must be named something. So a system of letters and numbers is used. The letter means who registered the mutation.

Of course you won't know what any of these codes are if you never saw them before. You can google them to see what you find.

Generally the higher up the tree you go (further back in time), the more likely you are to find research groups or documentation on origin theories. This is simply because the further back you go, the more common ancestors any branch has, and the likelier it is that there was at least one person (like me) theorizing about the origins of their lineage.

All men who are positive for some haplogroup descend from a common male line ancestor who lived some estimated number of years ago.

If you were using Clade Finder, click the  to get to your branch on the YFull tree. It will show this information along with the flags of countries where men of this lineage trace their male line descent.

Any child lineage with no red colored SNPs in the list is a child lineage that you could be positive for. Click a SNP with a ($) to order the test at YSEQ in Berlin.

Click the  to see your theoretical migration and relevant forums/groups in PhyloGeographer, a data-driven project that calculates approximate male line migrations from YFull and other ancient samples.

PhyloGeographer, a data-driven theoretical migration calculating system, backed by YFull samples and some ancient samples. If researchers from each haplogroup contribute their ancient samples using contribution forms I have created, the computed paths would be more accurate.

Why are there two naming systems - R1b1a2 and R-M269?

The original naming convention, and still used by ISOGG, is to alternate letters with numbers when new branches are found.

R1b1a2a2a4c for example.

The names eventually became too long for anyone to remember so most people use a new convention:

First letter(s) of haplogroup + name of one of the mutations defining the branch

You can think of it as defining a lineage by a chapter and page number.

The haplogroup prefix is the chapter of the book - in this case a major branch of "Adam".

The mutation name is then a page within this chapter - the particular child lineage of that branch

Why is this system useful?

In some cases it's necessary to define a branch by its haplogroup prefix and mutation because the same mutation may have occurred in multiple haplogroups. Though this is rare and usually indicative of an unstable SNP which should perhaps not be used for genealogy.

It is also useful to use the haplogroup prefix so that everyone instantly has some frame of reference for which major haplogroup the lineage belongs. Then they can decide if learning more about the lineage is worthwhile for their research.

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

29 thoughts on “What do all these codes mean?”

  1. Die deutsche Übersetzung eines Satzes in dem Text lautet:
    Erster Buchstabe(e) der Haplogruppe + Name einer der Mutationen, die den Zweig definieren.
    Ich denke, dass es in meiner Y-DNA mehr als eine Mutation gibt. Welche Mutation definiert dann den Zweit und weshalb dann ausgerechnet diese?

    1. FTDNA und YFull koennen entscheiden welche Mutation zu benutzen sowie die wollen. Ich weiss nicht wie sie entscheiden.

  2. Hello there thank you for this site.
    I’m rather puzzled by my results.G-m3317. my earlier male family members appear to have G-m201 they have all lived in the UK for hundreds of years. Your study seems to imply that there are just two others in England with the same G-m3317. That just seems so crazy rare or is that just me?

    1. Hi Aaron,
      There are several lineages I see of G-M3317 who have done NextGen Y-DNA tests and trace their male lines to the British Isles. There are ancient samples from Beirut and Rome dating to the Roman period.

      This lineage is very old, dating to the Neolithic, so it’s possible some of these lineages may have migrated to Europe from the eastern Mediterranean to become the Early European Farmers.

      Some of the lineages may have migrated to England much later, with the Romans for example. There is rock-solid evidence of Roman-mediated male line migration from the Levant to England in a line related to my own known as J2b-M205.

      If you tested WGS400 at YSEQ and did the YFull analysis you would get clearer information about both your male and female lines.


  3. Hey,

    I got my FamilyTreeDNA result for my Y-DNA 37 as Y-Haplogroup J-M172 and here at Cladefinder J-L70, can I now assume that I belong to the J-L70 ?

    1. Sorry for the late reply.
      If your autosomal file uploaded to Clade Finder says J-L70 then you are J-L70.
      It looks like your autosomal test gives you a higher resolution haplogroup than FTDNA is willing to tell you from your expensive STR test.
      They just want to charge you more money before giving you any result.

      Your next step is to use STR Match Finder to find relatives on the basis of your STRs. That can possibly narrow down your haplogroup to a specific branch of J-L70.

  4. Ciao,I’m Daniele and I came from Italy. I’m trying to learn something about this topic but it’s not easy, what can you tell me about R-Y32042?

    1. Hi Daniele,
      You can hire my services for $50 an hour. I only do research on my own line for free and occasional articles on major finds of other haplogroups.

  5. Hello, I’m hoping you can simplify what I’m looking at here. My family has Y-DNA haplogroup R-DF98 based on 23andme. This site recommends the R1b-U106 Panel, which makes sense since 23andme only goes so far. It also says that the haplogroup is R-DF98 and gives a bunch of other… I’m guessing possible downstream markers like “S18823($)” or “CTS7658(?)”. Does the (?) mean not enough information is known about it and does the ($) mean I would need further testing to confirm it?

    Also, it says “next best prediction 143/143 R-S264.” It seems like Z156/R-S264 are upstream of R-DF98, so what is it predicting?

    Apologies, I don’t know what I’m doing or what I’m really looking for honestly. Thank you for the help and free use of this site!

    1. R1b-U106 is the most specific panel to order if you are R1b-DF98.

      “?” means you have no call for this SNP. “$” means you have no call for this SNP but you can order an a la carte test for this single SNP by clicking the button.

      It’s more economic to order the panel, which tests you for all relevant SNPs necessary to determine your terminal subclade.

      In most cases you should just ignore next best prediction. It is worth checking if your test was very low coverage. In that case, if there is a tie in score, the algorithm cannot predict which of the two you really are.

  6. Hi there. Really having trouble drawing conclusions, even with the site’s explanations. I’ve tested into Haplogroup R-FCG3222 with 23andMe, and uploaded my raw data here in the hopes of getting a more recent SNP. This is what came up:

    “R-FGC3222: BY265/FGC3222+ FGC3225(?) FGC3227(?) FGC3228(?) FGC3230(?) FGC3233(?) FGC3234($) FGC3235(?) FGC3237(?) FGC3238(?) FGC3239(?) FGC3240(?) FGC3243($) FGC3244($) FGC3245($) FGC3247(?) FGC3249($) FGC3252($) FGC3253($) FGC3255(?) FGC3256(?) FGC3257(?) FGC3260(?) FGC3261(?) FGC3262(?) FGC3266(?) Z14282/FGC3219(?) Z17686(?) Z17688(?) Z17689(?) Z17690(?)”

    What, if anything, can I draw from this? Any clarity would be deeply appreciated!

    1. Check the YFull tree to see the age estimate of your line and where your closest relatives trace their male line descent.


      You and samples from America, United Kingdom and Sogn og Fjordane, Norway each descend from one man who lived about 1950 years ago. I don’t know who the America or United Kingdom marked samples are, but if you did a WGS or Big Y test and did YFull analysis, you could contact these men via the YFull messaging system.

      Interestingly you have no cousin lines until you go back to about 4100 years ago, and these men live in the British Isles for the most part, suggesting that is the deeper origin. Indeed, going up a few more branches in the YFull tree to R-DF13 I see an ancient sample I2445 dating to 4000 years ago found in England.

      You would need to do a WGS or Big Y test in order to learn which of the samples within R-FGC32222 is your closest relative and advance the research into your male line origin.

      I provide genetic genealogy consulting, if you are interested to further the research into your male line origin. One of the possibilities is to identify additional men who could be related through an analysis of the STR results.

  7. All of my previous work has lead me to L-48 your data show me to be P-P226 am I missing something here or are these two different systems telling me the same thing in different symbols?

  8. My haplogroup switched from G-L30 to G-Z1903 the Y heat map shows it present in some places but the only individual sample what matches me exactly is in Sicily but G-L30 was found in northern germany is my haplogroup Italian or German ? Or neither or both is it not that simple to label it as either ?

    1. Hi Joshua,

      Interesting distribution all across Europe…
      One thing to keep in mind is that your most ancient sample is from Palermo and dating to 1500 BCE, sample I3125 that I see on YFull.
      Check out the diversity map as well. I see a lot of diversity in the Iberian peninsula as well.
      Looking at some of the older ancient samples of your line from Turkey, and high diversity there dating to the Neolithic, I’d bet that yours was one of the First Farmers’ lines. However your specific line didn’t diversity at all during the Neolithic in Europe which could mean that it wasn’t yet in Europe at that time and/or was not flourishing or if it was, nearly died out.

      If you want more analysis you could consider hiring me as a consultant to further advance your male line research goals – if so, contact me by email to discuss.


  9. Hi,

    Im building my genealogy and tested my dad and brother in order to confirm my dad´s tale that his family came from Portugal.
    Their Y-DNA have mainly G haplogroup mutations (L1259/CTS4367/PF2970/M3308+), but an isolate I haplogroup mutation I-CTS616 (that dont seem to be a kind of signature mutation of that haplogroup). Should I ignore it and maybe consider it some kind of unexpected branch of G or does it qualify them as I? Is there some kind of hierarchy between the core mutations?

    1. Hi Mariana,

      It is always possible for a mutation defining one branch of one haplogroup to show up in another branch, just by chance.

      The Clade Finder algorithm uses smart logic to determine in this case, which haplogroup actually makes sense.


      In such cases, to determine whether a person should be considered one branch vs the other, the branch that results in no contradictions is the most likely. A contradiction for a G haplogroup branch would be if he was negative for some G mutations. A contradiction for an I haplogroup branch would be being negative for an I mutation.

      Good question, thanks for asking!


      1. I should add, if this happens it doesn’t mean that G and I are somehow more closely related to each other than the YFull YTree indicates. It just means that by chance, one mutation used to define one branch of one haplogroup by chance happened to occur in another, distantly related haplogroup.

  10. Hi Hunter, I used cladefinder with my Autosomal DNA and came back with the result I-Z59. My Paternal line is Swedish all the way back to the start of records.

    It also said “Next best prediction (scored 104 compared to 105) I-L121”

    So am I I-Z59 or I-L121? How do I know which one I am? Do I have to take a FtDNA test to find out? I find it all quite confusing.

    Is there anything you can tell me about this group I-Z59? or what to do next and how to do it?
    I’m really bad at reading the codes but I’m learning.

    1. You must be I-Z59 because this is downstream of I-L121. Technically you are I-L121 and I-Z59 because the latter is a more specific branch of the more general and older I-L121 line.
      You can click the links to see relative frequency maps computed by Y Heatmap to learn more about where this haplogroup is found.
      I can give you a more detailed, custom analysis for $100.

      However I would recommend you to order a test to find your exact line of I-Z59 because this is a 4300 year old lineage. While the ancestor 4300 years ago was living in one place, your particular line may have migrated away from that place to somewhere else. You can only get the circumstantial evidence of where your line may have been by determining which specific line is yours and taking into account where those men trace their male line ancestors to.

      Here you can see them all.


      I’d recommend a WGS test plus YFull analysis to advance the research the most.


      A cheaper alternative is the I1 Superclade Panel.


  11. Użyłem cladefindera aby szacunkowo określić haplogrupę dla mojego matczynego dziadka. Użyłem do tego autosomalnego testu dziadka brata syna czyli kuzyna mojej mamy. Otrzymałem wynik I2a-M423 ale są też wyszczególnione I-L621 oraz I-M423 (prawie to samo co pierwsze). Jak mam to czytać i rozumieć?

  12. Hello!
    According to 23andMe and also your website my haplogroup is “J-CTS5368” (z2215). However this haplogroup can be broken down into several others. So, I don’t know what I am? Also I did Another DNA-test by MyHeritage and uploaded the raw data on your website. It did NOT give me any specific haplogroup but gave me several green options. How come? the Raw Data from 23andMe functions but not the one from MyHeritage?

    1. Hi Ivan,

      The tests at 23andMe and MyHeritage give too poor coverage of the Y chromosome to go much beyond the root.

      Interesting that your result is only as specific as J1-Z2215 the J1 root. I don’t know if this is typical for J1 testers of those companies or if it could be an indicator of your being a rare lineage of J1.

      You can order the J1 panel at YSEQ to get your exact subclade.


      But to advance the research the most, to add your line to the tree and learn which exact men are your closest relatives, I recommend the YSEQ WGS test followed by analysis and addition of your sample to the YFull YTree.



  13. Hello again!
    My exact subclade according to FamilyTree is “J-Y244958″ which is a subclade of J-SZ6592”. Do you know anything of that specific type of J1? Is it from Central Asia? A rare mutated liniage of J1 from Central Asia, possibly related to BMAC culture.

    1. Hi Ivan,

      I see a sample from China and two from Kuwait on the YFull YTree in this branch.

      I recommend you have your sample analyzed on the YFull YTree and mark your exact country and regional code. Then your subclade will be more accessible to researchers and you can take advantage of the analytical capabilities of HRAS (Haplogroup Research Analytical Suite) will takes YFull YTree and MTree samples as its inputs.

      If you think there are enough samples in your subclade for it to be worth it, you can commission me to write a research article ($100) or email you a basic analysis of your haplogroup including some maps computed by HRAS ($50). Better to wait until your sample has been analyzed by YFull for that.


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