Czech American DNA Study

Introduction

What do genealogists do after they’ve traced their ancestors as far as written records will take them? Well, recent and continuing advances in molecular genetics hold out some very interesting possibilities for further research. The information presented relative to this DNA study is the result of research performed by Leo Baca.

Background

Genetics research during the past ten years has shown that an incredible amount of information about our ancestry is encoded in our genetic material (DNA). We learned in school that we received half of our genetic material from each of our parents. What we didn’t learn was that there are two kinds of DNA that are passed down from each parent. This makes it possible to trace both our maternal and paternal lines since no mixing of DNA occurs for these kinds of DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Testing

The method for tracing your maternal line is called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from a mother to her children. While all children receive mtDNA from their mother, only females can pass on mtDNA. From these seemingly simple facts, an incredible amount of genetics research has resulted. The clearest expression of this research is in the book entitled The Seven Daughters of Eve by Dr. Bryan Sykes of Oxford University. Mitochondrial DNA research has led to the finding of a mitochondrial Eve and an assertion that 95% of all Europeans are descended from seven different women who lived 10,000-45,000 years ago. If you are interested in taking an mtDNA test, one good place to start is: Family Tree DNA, 1919 North Loop West, Suite 110, Houston, Texas 77008. The method for gathering a DNA sample does not involve any blood. You are sent a small brush to scrape some cells from inside your cheeks. You seal the brush in a small plastic vial and return it to Family Tree DNA. Test results should be received in about four weeks.

MtDNA Study Results

Since late 2001, Dr. Gary Kocurek (University of Texas) and Leo Baca have been collecting data from both Czech American Y chromosome and mtDNA test results. They are searching to see if specific patterns emerge from grouping this data. While they have not located a study of mtDNA from the Czech Republic, they were able to compare the test results of Czech Americans to Europeans in general. The following is a table showing the results of that comparison.

Haplogroup Dr. Sykes Czech American
H 47% 50%
U 11% 17%
X 6% 3%
J 17% 3%
T 9% 8%
K 6% 13%
V 3% 3%
Other(L2) 0% 3%
Total 100% 100%

The column entitled “Dr.Sykes” indicates that the data on the distribution of European data was taken from the book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Dr. Sykes. The term haplogroup is a basic division of mtDNA. There are seven European haplogroups, ie, H, U, X, J, T, K, and V. Ninety five (95)% of all Europeans can be grouped in these seven haplogroups. Each of these haplogroups began with mutations that can be traced to one specific woman. So 95% of all Europeans are descended from seven women. A look at this preliminary data shows that Czech Americans closely resemble the distribution of Europeans for haplogroups H, X, T, and V. There are significant differences in haplogroups U, J, and K. Since haplogroup J is a genetic echo of the Neolithic people who brought agriculture to Europe, this would seem to indicate that Czech Americans are nearly entirely descended (maternally) from the Paleolithic hunters/gatherers that originally settled Europe. One unanticipated result concerned haplogroup K. We have found that three Czech Texans have exactly the same mtDNA as the “Iceman”. This is the frozen mummy found on the border of Austria and Italy. He is estimated to have lived over 5000 years ago. We are not sure of the significance of this finding but it is a curiosity. One other curiosity is the detection of one example of sub-Saharan mtDNA (haplogroup L2).

Y Chromosome Testing

The method for tracing your paternal line is called Y chromosome testing. The Y chromosome is passed from father to son. Y chromosome research has lagged mtDNA research by a few years, but tremendous strides are being made. If you are interested in taking a Y chromosome test, a good place to start is at Family Tree DNA. Their mailing address is: Family Tree DNA, 1919 North Loop West, Suite 110, Houston, Texas 77008. The method for gathering a DNA sample is the same as described above for mtDNA. Some of the practical results of this DNA research are commercially available tests for Native American, Viking, and Jewish priest ancestry. There are also commercially available family reconstructions for individuals who want to determine if they have a common ancestor or for surname based family tree projects. As more data becomes available, then more tests for various ancestries will be possible.

Y Chromosome Study Test Results

Our collection of Y chromosome data has yielded the following data:

Haplogroup Cz. Rep Czech American
1(R1b) 19% 20%
2(I, I1b) 19% 20%
3(R1c) 37% 33%
9(G, J2, K) 11% 25%
12 6% 0%
16 0% 0%
21(E3b) 8% 2%
Total 100% 100%

Haplogroup designations are different for Y chromosome testing than they are for mtDNA. In fact the terminology for Y chromosome testing has changed. The haplogroup designations used to be given by numbers. The new haplogroup designations now begin with letters as do the mtDNA haplogroups, but there is no direct correlation between the mtDNA and Y chromosome haplogroup designations. A comparison between a relatively small Y chromosome study from the Czech Republic with our Czech American study shows some significant differences. Haplogroup R1b is an indicator of Celtic or proto-Celtic “deep ancestry”. Additionally our Czech American data indicates more than twice the percentage of Neolithic ancestry than what the data from the Czech Republic shows.

Czech Surnames
The following is a list of Czech surnames that have participated in this study:

Anhaiser, Baca, Balvin, Bartos, Baumruk, Benes, Beznoska, Bohemia, Brabec, Bravenec, Budig, Bultas, Chalupeczky, Charbula, Charvat, Chmelik, Czech, Darilek, Divin, Divitschek, Draxlir, Dvorak, Elmer, Ermis, Fojtasek, Frantik, Freschl, Fuksa, Fuxa, Gaas, Giessel, Goblirsch, Hahnl, Hajek, Halepska, Hartzel, Havel, Hersh, Hohnl, Hollas, Hrbek, Hrncir, Hrncirik, Hrouda, Hurta, Janca, Janis, Jansa, Jelen, Jelinek, Jez, Kalbac, Kaspar, Knopf, Kocur, Kocurek, Kolar, Kopecky, Kovar, Kovarik, Kracha, Kracke, Krenek, Krisko(Krska), Kriz, Krueger, Krupa, Krupicka, Kubicek, Kubin, Kucera, Kulhanek, Kunz, Lacina, Lederer, Lokay, Loss, Machaczek, Malek, Martinek, Maruna, Mastera, Michalke, Minar, Mizaur, Mlady, Moravia, Mucha, Nemec, Nemecek, Nesrsta, Novak, Opava, Pavek, Pavlish, Pecinovsky, Pehoushek, Pokorny, Prasek, Prokop, Pytr, Rochen, Roeder, Rosol, Rusnak, Rybar, Sassmann, Schiel, Schmidt, Schneider, Schritter, Sekanina, Shavlik, Smischny, Smisek, Soukup, Sprosty, Spulak, Stehlik, Suchy, Sugarek, Sulak, Sulc, Svec, Svehlak, Thugut, Toviah, Tusa, Uhlik, Urban, Vita, Vosoba, Wenzel, Wolf(e), Zahorik, Zajicek, Zatopek, Zima

The Y chromosome data associated with these surnames will let genealogists match branches of an extended family. If someone with a surname shown above has Y chromosome test results that match, then those two branches of an extended family share a common paternal ancestor. Purely by chance we had two participants from the Kocurek family of Hovezi, Moravia. One branch of the family immigrated to Texas in the 1850s while the other branch left in 1880s. The Y chromosome test results matched. Recently we’ve had a match between a central Texas Roeder line and a Roder line in eastern Moravia. As more Czech Americans participate in this study, the number of Czech surnames will grow and the database will become increasingly useful for genealogical purposes.

Suggested Readings

Steve Olson. “Mapping Human History-Discovering the Past Through Our Genes.” 2002.
Stephen Oppenheimer. “The Real Eve-Modern Man’s Journey Out of Africa.” 2003.
Chris Pomery. “DNA and Family History.” 2004.
John H. Relethford. “Reflections of Our Past-How Human History Is Revealed in Our Genes.” 2003.
Colin Renfrew & Katie Boyle. “Archaeogenetics: DNA and the Population Prehistory of Europe.” 2000.
Megan Smolenyak and AnnTurner. “Trace Your Roots with DNA.” 2004.
Bryan Sykes. “The Seven Daughters of Eve.” 2001.
Spencer Wells. “The Journey of Man-A Genetic Odyssey.” 2002.

Databases

Oxford Ancestors website
Family Tree DNA website
Ysearch
Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
Kerchner’s Mitochondria DNA

Technical Papers

National Academy of Sciences
American Journal of Human Genetics

Participate in the Study?

If you wish to participate in the “Czech DNA Study” please check the Family Tree DNA website at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Czech for additional details. Or if you wish, you may contact the two project co-administrators (Leo Baca at LBaca@tx.rr.com or Joan Hudson at joanh954@aol.com) by email.
The cost of a 37 marker Y chromosome test is $169+$4 shipping.
The cost of an mtDNA plus test is $159+$4 shipping.