DNA and Loewen Genealogy

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Genetic data is increasingly being used to determine approximate geographic area of origin, as well as for establishing relationships between family lines. Several years ago, the 'Mennonite DNA Project' was launched, with two principal researchers being Tim Janzen (Portland, Ore.) and Glenn Penner (Ontario). Both have had a long and avid interest in genealogy, and both bring a scientific/medical background to this research.

The project was limited to individuals of 'Low-German' Mennonite descent, and when the invitation to participate was extended, I was pleased to be included in the group of volunteers. Consequently, results from samples submitted have been processed by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, with the results made available to participants and in particular, to Janzen and Penner for analysis. Both men have published guides and analyses of the data, both of which have been very enlightening for me, personally, as I'm sure they will be for others.

Possibly the most interesting pieces of information for me, personally, have been the findings that all individuals with the 'Loewen' surname, share a common progenitor, dating to a period of time between 400 and 600 years ago, corresponding to the time period when surnames were first used; and secondly, that we fall into a 'Haplogroup' known as 'Frisian 2', originating from the regions in north-western Europe (present-day Netherlands). It should be noted that this information is inferred only, however, the researchers feel these results reflect a high degree of accuracy.

Of related interest to me, is the fact that a 'Loewen' individual dating back 400 years is the only one known at present, based on information in the GRANDMA database. This individual's name is Michael Loewen, and there exists interesting anecdotal information regarding his personal history. The fact that he is the only one known, coupled with the conclusion that all Loewens share a common progenitor dating back to a period of 400 to 600 years, begins to lend increasingly more credence to the long-held belief, based on oral/anecdotal history, that Michael Loewen (1601 - 1705) is our ancestor! Added to this is the fact that Michael was born in Elbing, Prussia, where my ancestors lived prior to emigrating to Russia in 1819. Lacking hard evidence, we will have to patiently wait for that link to be made.

DNA Project Links

Guide to Y-DNA Table

*In the table ("Comprehensive Version") accessed through the above link, my SMGF # is 534.

*The Guide has a number of links, among which the following will be of most interest to those interested in a particular "Mennonite" surname.a in 1819.ard evidence, we will have to patiently wait for that link to be made.

Mennonite DNA Project Y Chromosome Data Discussion

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