We had mtDNA testing done on my great-uncle (grandmother's brother) and my grandfather through FTDNA. The Geno 2.0 test gave further descriptions of the maternal haplogroup for my father, which is the same line as my great-uncle. And, at 23andme, maternal haplogroups were assigned to my grandfather, grandmother (and father, which is the same line).
There is a much greater variance in maternal haplogroups in Palestinian Christians, as compared to paternal haplogroups. We know that throughout history women moved around a lot more than men did- whether through marriage, slavery (wars), etc. I will also share the other maternal haplogroups of other Palestinian Christians for comparison. The ones that appear very native to the Levant are T1 and X2, among others. Interestingly, both my grandparents' maternal lines seem to come from Europe.
Results for my Grandfather (direct maternal line as far back as we know is Abuaita): J2b1
1. FTDNA Results for HVR1 & HVR2 mtDNA Test
- Matches- A total of 5 at the HVR2 level: 3 Italian, 1 Swiss, 1 Jordan.
- Haplogroup frequency map for J haplogroup - For Middle East J is 11.22%, for Europe it is 9.34%, Central Asia is 11.11%, North Asia is 8.85%. It is the 4th most frequent haplogroup in the Middle East (J as a whole, not J2b1 specifically). The map states here that J is most frequent in Western & Central European populations.
2. 23andme Results for Maternal Line Test
- Right now, we only have about 4 (including my grandfather) exact J2b1 haplogroup matches for people of Middle Eastern descent. It appears to be on the rare side among our matches.
3. Commentary and Feedback on these results
- I initially read this about J2b1: J2 seems to be coming from Phonecians. J1 is about 7% of MT in Jews. Latest resource includes Canaanites and Phonecians as J2. Both were assimilated into the Jewish Tribes during the entering of Canaan. 30% Jews have J2.
- I inquired to the J Maternal Haplogroup message boards and received the following responses: In general J2b is Near Eastern but J2b1 is mainly European. I checked the Lebanon-Syria-Palestine-Jordan Project (mainly Muslim) and the Assyrian (Christian) Heritage Project. Neither Project listed J2b1.
- They mentioned an article by Pala et al., 'Mitochondrial Signals Of Late Global Recolonization Of Europe From Near East Refugia', American Journal Of Human Genetics (2012). It is probably the best survey out there, but like any empirical study new findings can change the picture. According to Pala, J2a and J2a2 are Near Eastern but J2a1 is European. J2b and J2b2 are Near Eastern but J2b1 is European. J1d and its subclades are Near Eastern.
- The mention of J2b1 being in the Near East was in an old version of Wikipedia written before the Pala research. The article was outdated in another respect----it mentioned J1a which was reclassified as J2a a few years ago. The Wikipedia article was also written before the Arabian study by Abu Amero which found little J2 of any type although Arabia now has the highest concentration of J.
- The conclusion that the subclade is not found in Europe is taken directly from an early Master's thesis by Serk who only found J2b1 in Moroccans. Compared to the recent comprehensive research of Pala, Serk's sample was small and unrepresentative. Pala did conclude that there was a branch of J2b1 in the Near East although the subclade is more common in Europe. Behar found a significant percent of J2b1 among Caucasian Jews. The origin was attributed to the Diaspora from Israel rather than from the Caucasus where the rate is low (I found one J2b1 from Turkey in the Armenian Project)
- I only mentioned the Diaspora to explain J2b1 in Caucasian Jews. I favor Palas' explanation of a European origin. The old statement in Wikipedia (and many other sites) about J2b1 being non-European is incorrect. The subclade probably migrated from the Black Sea area along the European Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast and eventually to the British Isles. I don't think it was brought by Jews into Europe and happened thousands of years before the Jews. The presence of J2b1 in the Near East might be the result of back migration from Europe---this would not be unusual for Levantine Christians and could also explain ancient Israeli lines. (At the risk of causing more confusion there is the less likely possibility that J2b1 began in the Near East and spread to Europe long before there were Jews in that region) We simply need more research to clear up the picture.
- I did not mean to imply that J2b1 was an Ashkenazi line. Now I am sorry that I brought it up, but there are Jews in the Caucasus mountains who are J2b1 with probable origins in ancient Israel. The vast majority of European J2b1s are not of Jewish ancestry and there are Near Eastern J2b1 lines that are not Jewish.
- Final Thoughts on J2b1- Right now we don't really know for sure, but it does look likely that this line was Mediterranean or Southern European in origin and ended up in the Levant due to back migration. This is a unique haplogroup for Palestinian Christians, and I think it is an example of ancient diversity in the Middle East.
Results for my Grandmother/Great-Uncle (direct maternal line as far back as we know is Romman from Beit Jala): H1
- Matches- A total of 150 at the HVR2 Level: 21 England, 15 Germany, 12 Italy. By population % - highest is Croatia, Slovakia, Denmark. For those listed as H1 (proven haplogroup for my grandmother through 23andme test), they come from: England, Ireland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Spain, Ukraine.
- Haplogroup Frequency Map for H haplogroup-