Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta


Janzen (J2a1k)

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In recent months I have particularly been looking at probable areas of origin of the Mennonite surnames based on the Y chromosome marker data available. Mennonites of Dutch ancestry frequently are of Haplogroup R1b or I. Only 3.7% of a small sample of Dutch males (27 males), were R1a.

I have wondered exactly where my original Janzen ancestor was from for a long time. The farthest that Glenn Penner and I have been able to trace my original Janzen lineage is back to a Jacob Janzen (b. ca 1730; GRANDMA #580914), whose father was a Franz Janzen and who was a member of the Orlofferfelde Mennonite Church in W. Prussia.

My Y chromosome haplogroup is J2a1k. Haplogroup J2 is relatively rare in the Netherlands, and none were found in a relatively small sample size of 34 males from the Netherlands [Semino, et al. (2004). "Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area," American Journal of Human Genetics, 74:1023-1034].

The closest match I have been able to find in the Sorenson at and in the Ysearch databases is a Mr. Alexandratos whose ancestors were from Greece, matching 34 of 39 markers with my haplotype. I wouldn't be surprised if my original Janzen progenitor never lived in the Netherlands and instead was from somewhere in central or southern Europe. Hopefully, better sampling of European males will help provide some additional clues as to exactly where my Janzen progenitor was from.

© 2007 Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta
Last Updated 25 Mar 2007

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