Just kidding, it wasn’t that dramatic. My dad’s parents are Joe Conde and Amelia Juarez Rangel, although I didn’t really think about that until recently. I wasn’t very close to these grandparents because, when I was born to teenage parents who did the best they could (a damn good job if you ask me), these grandparents didn’t feel old enough to be grandma and grandpa. Amelia also tried to convince my dad I wasn’t his daughter. I thought of her when my dad’s DNA results came in and did a little jig, even though we never doubted I am my father’s daughter.
My last name was Rangel, as was my dad’s, so I always assumed that was my grandfather’s last name. Later I noticed some of my aunts and uncles were Conde. As I got into genealogy I neglected my dad’s side because I feel very distant from them. As time went on, I questioned my dad’s (and his dad’s) last name. First off, it’s weird that my father has his mom’s maiden name but I had him join the Rangel Project at Family Tree DNA just in case. I couldn’t find a Conde project. In any case my father’s Y-DNA at 12 markers has no matches. None!
My dad asked an older brother about all of this, and my uncle admitted to having asked my grandfather because he also had his suspicions. My uncle said that my grandfather admitted his last name was false and told him his real last name which my uncle did not remember although he said “it sounded very indigenous.”
I had dad tested with 23andMe because of their new pricing which I think is a pretty good deal for autosomal. His ancestry composition results aren’t in yet, but his maternal (mitochondrial) and paternal (Y-DNA) haplogoup information is. They don’t test for these haplogroups in quite the same way Family Tree DNA does.
This is part of what 23andMe had to say about mitochondrial haplogroup A2d1a:
“Haplogroup A was widespread in Siberia as recently as 7,000 years ago. One study of skeletal remains discovered near Siberia’s Lake Baikal estimated the haplogroup was present in 13-26% of the region’s population at the time. But the haplogroup is rare in the region today; it is found almost exclusively among the Chukchi and the Yupik, two small indigenous groups from northeastern Siberia.
A in the Americas
At the peak of the Ice Age, between about 20,000 and 15,000 years ago, massive glaciers covered much of North America and Eurasia. So much water was locked up in the ice sheets that global sea level dropped 300 feet, creating connections between land masses that are isolated by wide straits or passages today. One of those connections was the Bering land bridge, an ice-free but frigid corridor hundreds of miles wide that linked Siberia and Alaska. Mammoths, bison, caribou and other Ice Age mammals roamed back and forth between Siberia and Alaska during this period, as did a few hardy hunter-gatherers who could cope with the region’s extreme climate.
As the Ice Age ended, people began moving south from the Arctic into the heart of North America. Within a few thousand years, possibly even faster, the new arrivals had populated the Western Hemisphere down to the tip of South America.
Haplogroup A is especially common among members of the Haida, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Nuxálk (Bella Coola) and Chumash tribes of the Pacific coast. Humans had certainly reached what is now California by 10,000 years ago, as evidenced by the discovery of skeletal remains on islands off the state’s coast that have been radiocarbon dated to that age. Other skeletal remains from near present-day Monterey, California have yielded ancient DNA tracing to the A haplogroup.
Haplogroup A is found in Central America and northern South America, but not farther south. That suggests that however people carrying the haplogroup moved into the Americas, their advance was ultimately impeded by earlier arrivals to the southern continent.
Haplogroup A certainly would have been found among the subjects of the Inca empire, which ruled the northern Andes until the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in 1526. Mitochondrial DNA belonging to the haplogroup was extracted from the “Ice Maiden,” the mummified remains of a teenage Inca girl who died in a ritual sacrifice about 500 years ago.
Interior of North America
While the distribution of A is patchier in the interior of North America, it does appear at high frequencies in many populations, particularly in the American Southwest, northern plains, and the southeastern United States.
About 50-60% of individuals from the Navajo and Apache carry haplogroup A, while their neighbors rarely carry this haplogroup. Interestingly, the Navajo and Apache are both southern Athapaskan speakers that appear to have migrated from a homeland further north to the American Southwest only about 500 years ago. Athapaskan-speakers still reside in Alaska and Canada. Although they have adapted to the desert climate and the Pueblo lifestyle (at least the Navajo), their mitochondrial diversity still records their northern heritage.
Haplogroup A is also common in Algonquian-speaking populations from the Plains region of the United States and Canada, ranging from 30%-60%. Ojibwa/Chippewa, Cheyenne and Arapaho were all historically Algonquian-speaking populations from the Plains region and Great Lakes of United States and Canada.
Iroquioan-speaking groups such as the Mohawk also carry haplogroup group A at high frequencies (60%). It is not clear if this indicates that the Mohawk historically married women from other northern tribes or if the high frequency of A represents a recent bottleneck in the population. Iroquois from further south (e.g. Cherokee) have much lower frequencies of haplogroup A.
Haplogroup A is also quite common in Muskogean-speaking populations from the southeastern United States, reaching almost 75% in the Choctaw historically from Mississippi and 60% in the Seminoles of Florida. Genetic types in these southeastern populations are different from other haplogroup A individuals throughout North America. This indicates that haplogroup A in the southeastern populations is the result of ancient common ancestry with the other Native Americans, rather than recent gene flow. Southeastern populations also display relatively low genetic diversity, indicative that the population size may have crashed after contact with European explorers.
The Polar Route
A second migration of haplogroup A members into North America appears to have occurred more recently, as Eskimo-Aleut populations moved eastward from Siberia into Arctic Canada and Greenland about 5,000 to 6,500 years ago. That migration is marked by the wide distribution of A2 from the Haida on the Pacific coast of Canada to the Inuit in Greenland, where the subgroup accounts for 100% of the population.”
And about Q1a3a* :
Haplogroup Q arose about 18,000 years ago in north-central Asia, at the peak of the Ice Age. The first men who carried it pursued mammoths and other gigantic game over frigid steppe and tundra in climate conditions that are found today only in the far polar latitudes.
Today haplogroup Q remains relatively common in Siberia and north-central Asia. It is most common in the Kets and Selkups of Northeast Siberia, where it reaches levels of 93% and 66%, respectively.
Oddly, a few concentrations of Q can also be found in southwestern Asia, far from the haplogroup’s homeland. About 2% of men from India bear haplogroup Q, and the haplogroup has also been found occasionally in the Arabian Peninsula.
Coming to America
Yet haplogroup Q is most abundant on the other side of the world, in the Americas. About 15,000 years ago a relatively small number of men bearing the Q1a3a branch of the haplogroup crossed from Asia to North America via the Bering land bridge, a strip of land that connected Siberia and Alaska. The land bridge was a result of lower sea level caused by the increased amount of water that was frozen in the polar ice caps at the time.
The first Americans spread rapidly in the uninhabited continent. Some pursued migrating herds of mammoth, bison and other prey over the North American grasslands. Others made their way southward along the Pacific coast, likely traveling in small boats. Archaeological evidence suggests they reached the tip of South America by 13,000 years ago.
Men bearing haplogroup Q1a3a were almost certainly among those earliest South Americans. It is the only haplogroup present among South American Indians today.
The Y chromosomes of North American Indian men are far less uniform. Yet even here Q1a3a still dominates, reaching up to 40% in tribes like the Cherokee.”
“DNA studies on Hispanics show a higher European admixture. *Anthropologist Andrew Merriwether and colleagues conducted a study on Hispanics living in Colorado. Using classic genetic markers they estimated an admixture of 67% European and 33% Native-American.
He further tested their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is a test to find the origins of your great, great…grandmother, going back 10’s of thousands of years. This one ancestor which is your families “Eve” so to speak, showed up as Native-American 85% of the time and European in origin 15% of the time. Thus showing that the majority of unions in this admixture were of European males and Native-American females.”
Why does my maternal genetic history reflect a European female rather than a Native American female (The Mystery of Juana Ortega)? I’ll be honest, since skin color and appearance aren’t reliable indicators of genetic heritage I was really hoping for a strong Native American ancestry. I think many Americans desire that feeling of rootedness and since my family is Hispanic it wouldn’t be far-fetched at all to assume.
I haven’t researched my father’s side but that’s largely due to 1) not being close to or identifying with them and 2) not being able to get truth from them. For example, as I was preparing my family history for Case 2, I noticed my father’s birth certificate clearly states that my grandfather is white (ok, not uncommon, all of my ancestors are listed as white) and that he was born in Texas. My paternal grandfather is most definitely not white (I could be wrong since I’m going by phenotype) and he recently won his immigration case allowing him to stay in the US after some 50+ years of living here, paying taxes, and owning a business. I’m certain he was born in Puebla. I hope I don’t get my father or grandfather in trouble, but how does that happen? Let’s pretend my father’s name is John Peterson Jr. I would assume my grandfather’s name was John Peterson and my grandmother’s name was Woman Father’slastname Mother’slastname (Spanish naming custom). Well, my grandfather must have provided a false name on the birth certificate. According to the birth certificate my grandfather’s name was John Mother’slastname. He took my grandmother’s mother’s maiden name for the birth certificate and no one questioned it!
This would probably show up as the much desired Native American I was hoping for but since it’s on my father’s side it has the potential to fade over a handful of generations. I didn’t inherit something genetically lasting from him or my paternal grandmother. I’m still young enough to be able to say DH and I would like to have children in the future, so I must ask, what would they inherit from me? Let’s say we lost our immigration case, went back to Europe and started a family. After 5 generations would I be that darker-skinned, strong-cheekboned woman in old pictures my family thinks might have been a Real Native American? I guess that happens more often than not.
At this point in my research my maternal line is still in New Mexico.
*Interesting tidbit: My paternal grandmother A. JuarezRangel was born in 1941. I was able to find her parents on the 1940 census and her Texas credentials check out. I noted that the year before she was born, her family had some cousins staying with them that have the same last name (his real last name, not Rangel) as my paternal grandfather, her future husband. Hmmm.