Algonquian Y-DNA Q-Y4294 Lineages Project

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About us

The project is restricted to *direct* line Amerindian male descendants whose yDNA places them in haplogroup Q-Y4294 and downstream subclades.
This project study is not Family Finder based (atDNA - recombinant DNA). The American Indian project accepts Family Finder results.
Nor does the study include Amerindian mtDNA (direct line female descendants). Amerindian mtDNA is found only in mtDNA haplogroups A2a, A2b, B2, C1b, C1c, C1d, C1d1 D1, D3, D4h3a, D4e1c, and X2a.

At the study’s outset the focus was on Algonquian and Haudenosaunee populations found in North America from the Great Lakes east to the Atlantic coast, and southward from the Maritime Provinces and the Gulf of Maine, to the Carolina’s.

The study has expanded in geography and time with definition of Q-Y4294 to include southeastern North America.

Q-Y4294 formed approximately 11,800 years before present (YBP) in the Paleo Period.

It is estimated that the population in New England 10,000 YBP was no more than 25,000.

Northeastern regional variant cultures first emerged across the Great Lakes and along the Northeast coast about 8,000 years ago in the early Archaic Period.There is strong evidence of cultural continuity over much of the Northeast. Human settlement was concentrated on rivers and coasts. Ancient populations in the Northeast were stable with the lands carrying capacity.
The Archaic is the second oldest Amerindian life-way across the North American continent. They were wandering hunter-gatherers. Their settlements were movable camps. Their possessions were few and portable. Ice-age flora and fauna were gone. These ancestors were surrounded by plants and animals that exist today.

500 Threshold
Modeling simulations show that human breeding populations below 500 are too unstable to survive. This means that Archaic bands with as few as a dozen people had to collectively have an aggregate collection of nearby bands as they filled the landscape. Sizes of local populations were determined by the carrying capacity of the environment.
It is foolish to assign cultural ties to yDNA haplogroup clades with so few data or perhaps ever.

We can say that to date all study participants belonging to the subclade of Q-Y4294 currently defined as Q-Y4300 descend from Algonquian speakers located on the Atlantic coast at the time of European contact.

The most recent common ancestor of Q-Y4300 is currently calculated to approximately 4,500 YBP. Eastern North America became an independent center of plant domestication in a span either side of this date.

The Eastern Woodland Period began about 4,000 YBP. For context this is about the time the Biblical era began. Proto-Algonquian language began about 3,000 YBP.
STRs found at DYS464 are diagnostic for potential members Q-Y4300. Y4300 appears at this time to represent a northerly group that diverged from the original population. Remnants of which remained in the SE.

Members of that population (Haudenoaunee) at a much later time migrated north.

Iroquois Intrusion

The origin of Northern Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) is controversial though linguists tell us that their closest relations are Cherokee of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Proto-Iroquois began migrating north by 650 CE. 

It is believed the Iroquois population rose from a population of perhaps 100 during the Medieval Maximum. The Medieval maximum was a long term warm spell lasting 300 years, from c. 950 to c. 1250 CE.

The Iroquois expanded and spread northward to central Pennsylvania, into New York west of the Hudson River, and eventually the full length of the St. Lawrence River Valley and around the eastern Great Lakes. 

This northerly expansion formed wedge dividing Algonquians into eastern and western populations.

Little Ice Age and Collapse 
The Little Ice Age (LIA)1300-1850 CE followed the Medieval Warm Period. By 1430 CE the cold was taking a toll on northern farmers. Northerners were able to survive in scattered bands across the northern forests. The LIA lasted until about 1850. It spanned the entire European colonial era in North America.

The LIA brought tribal competition, migratory shifts, and conflict resulting in the tribal confederacies of the 1500s.

In the years following contact Algonquian and Iroquoian societies collapsed as bands were displaced by European colonial expansion. Metacom’s War 1675-1678 was the last stand of New England Natives.

Descendants of Eastern Woodlands were largely lost to epidemics leaving a vast expanse of Eastern Woodland wilderness unpopulated. It only took a few decades to erase a people that existed in the region for many millennia.

Some estimates have the New England Native population at the time of contact at between 160,000 and 190,0000. Many southern New England groups were so devastated by seventeenth century epidemics survivors disappeared into the European immigrant communities. Some bands dwindled to extinction while others were absorbed into bands-tribes that remained. Others moved or were removed westward beyond the reach of European settlement.

Artifacts and scant ancient and modern DNA is all that remains beyond often corrupted and confused lore of our ancestors prior to European contact. We are living in a time where bits of the story is emerging with each year that passes.

Y DNA testing and study participation is a sure way to get our ancestors story told and a sure way to honor our ancestors.

We are grateful to those who have participated in the research.

This project is administered by yDNA haplogroup Q-M3>L341.2*>Y4276>Y4303>Y4294>Y4300 SNP positive men who are direct lineal descendants of Algonquian speaking nations, and the founder and primary administrator of the Q yDNA haplogroup study project.