Merdzan Y DNA project
The only Y DNA analysed at this stage gives us a clue on the ancestry of at least one branch of the family.
The tested YDNA belongs to Haplogroup I1 (The former I1a, Marker M253) and is in the T2 glade. The I1-T2 glade is generally associated with Eastern Europe and has its origins with the Vikings in the Baltic regions of Sweden and northern Germany. In the west of Europe these people were known as Vikings and the Normans but in the East they were known as the Rus, Rhos, Rhous or Varangians. They commenced their raiding and trading along the rivers of Eastern Europe circa 850AD. Their activities took them as far south as Armenia and Constantinople, if not further. It is known that their initial raids on Constantinople circa 860AD were unsuccessful however due to their abilities many became bodyguards for the Byzantine Emperors circa 900AD and were known as the Varangian Guard. The activities of the Rus in Eastern Europe left a YDNA signature that can be viewed at http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Rootsi2004.pdf
In England and northern France they were known as the Normans. The French Normans were given land so they would keep the peace. They were knights and noblemen over their lands and joined the Norman invasions of southern Italy in about 1000AD and a number of the crusades.
Their last crusade was probably the Crusade to Nicopolis in 1396 where they were defeated by the Turks. Some 9000 knights and soldiers were taken captive and returned to Turkey. This crusade may explain the reason why there is a small I1 footprint in Turkey and the Balkans. The tested YDNA surname of Merdzan has the same meaning and pronunciation in Croatia as it has in Turkey, however in Turkey it is spelt Mercan. It is possible that this YDNA belongs to one of the captured Normans of Nicopolis and has returned to the Balkan region as a result of the Ottoman spread in the 1400's.