DNA testing can be a valuable tool for people with different surnames in determining whether they are genetic cousins, particularly considering the destruction of many Armenian genealogical records and the fact Armenian surnames were often based on the father’s first name, his city of birth, his occupation, or a distinctive human characteristic.
By reaching thousands of years into the past, this project also aims to find genetic traces of both the ancient peoples whose descendants make up the current Armenian population (Armens, Colchians, Hattians, Hayasa, Hayk, Hittites, Hurrians, Kaskians, Luwians, Mitanni, Mushkis, Pala, Phrygians, Urartians, etc.) and the ancient invaders who conquered or passed through the Armenian lands (Assyrians, Gamrik-Gimirri-Cimmerians, Galatian Celts, Greeks, Parthians, Romans, Scythians, Macedonians, Medes, Persians, etc.)
This project is open to individuals with direct paternal ancestors (Y-DNA) or direct maternal ancestors (mtDNA) of Armenian ancestry.
This project is also open to islamicized Armenians living in Turkey, be they of full or partial Armenian ancestry. The Hemshin - Hamshen DNA Project to which we are linked is a case in point.
We have also created a category entitled "Non-Armenian but genetically, ethnically or geographically close" for people with affinity to Armenians but with no known Armenian ancestry.
You should only join the Armenian DNA Project if your father’s direct paternal line (father, grandfather, great-grandfather ...) and/or your mother’s direct maternal line (mother, grandmother, great-grandmother ...) is Armenian. Please do not join this group if you do not have direct Armenian ancestry in your family tree. Merely having a close match, especially at 12 markers, to a project member does not meet the requirements for joining the Armenian DNA project. If you do wish to enquire about a close match in the project, contact the administrators.
Men can test both their paternal DNA (Y-DNA) and maternal DNA (mtDNA or mitochondrial DNA). Since women do not inherit the Y-chromosome from their father, they need to recruit a male relative on their father’s side to analyse their paternal DNA line.
Here is a description of the most important DNA tests available at Family Tree DNA. Go here to place an order from the Armenian DNA Project or to find out the cost of these test. Be sure to check these links often as new tests get added all the time and the price of all tests keeps dropping because of competition from other DNA testing companies.
We recommend the Y-DNA37 and Y-DNA67 tests for men and the mtDNAPlus test for women (or men who want to investigate their maternal side). For men who want to investigate both the male paternal and the female maternal sides we recommend either Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus or Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.
Testing is very easy: How do I use the cheek swabs? Just follow these instructions.
Be sure to visit and join our facebook group for news and regular updates.
The ancestral towns and villages of project members can be viewed with Google maps on our Y-DNA Results page for paternal ancestors and our mtDNA Results page for maternal ancestors. Select "all group members" in the drop down menu, display on full screen... and then zoom in. By clicking on the colored pins you get access to additional information about project members. For reference, you might want to take a look at the old MAPS of Armenia on Robert Bedrosian's website and also the old MAPS in this link provided by Sedrak Mkrtchyan.
For those who know nothing about ancestry through DNA, the following simple and easy-to-understand animated tutorials are very useful (copyright © 2007 SMGF):
To learn more about DNA, visit the web site of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and read all of the sections under "Y-Chromosome DNA," and "Mitochondrial DNA." Last but not least, you can find answers to many of your questions on the following Family Tree DNA pages: "Types of Tests" / "Test Results - Y-DNA" / "Test Results - mtDNA" / "Family Finder" / "Population Finder" / "FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions" Another good resource: "ISOGG Wiki" .
Links of interest to professionals: Genome Browsers, Genbank.
Since DNA results take us back thousands and even tens of thousands of years into the past, you can view HERE a description of all the archaeological periods from the Middle Palaeolithic (30,000 years ago) to the Bronze Age (4,300 to 2,700 years ago).
When determining you relationship with close or distant relatives, you might might want to refer to this Genetic Relationship Chart. Do watch this very entertaining animated tutorial which explains what a 5th Cousin is (it was prepared by 23andMe).
MARK ARSLAN (Volunteer Administrator). Mark, age 57, is an amateur genealogist who has been pursuing this hobby for over 40 years. He is one-fourth Armenian, through his paternal grandfather, Dikran Arslanian, who came to the USA from Keghi, Erzeroum in 1906. Mark hosts 19 family genealogy sites on the Internet and administers 11 surname or geographical DNA projects. He compiled a database of 2,690 immigration entries for Armenians from Keghi entering the USA through Ellis Island (New York): link. Mark has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon, USA) and has been employed by IBM Corporation for over 30 years, where he is currently in technical sales. Mark and his wife, two sons, and a daughter live in North Carolina, USA.
PETER HRECHDAKIAN (Volunteer Administrator). Peter, age 56, wants to uncover the deep ancestry of the Armenian people through archaeogenetics. Born in Aleppo to a father from Urfa and a mother from Aintab, he grew up in Lebanon before emigrating to the USA in 1975. Peter wants to piece together information from genetics, history, anthropology, linguistics, archeology and genealogy to uncover the make-up of the ancestral populations of Anatolia, the Armenian plateau and the Caucasus from which the Armenian people arose. Using the latest genetic tools, he wants to understand how the diverse Armenian genetic pool was affected by broad historical processes such as invasions, migrations, wars, forced population transfers, natural catastrophes, etc. and also subtle historical processes such as admixture, conversion, micro-migration... Peter has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Philosophy from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) and a Masters in Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School (Boston, Massachussetts). He is the CEO of the Unifert group, a privately held international fertilizer trading & distribution company established in 1968. Peter has two daughters one of whom has a Master's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular-Cellular Biology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He lives in Brussels, Belgium.
HOVANN SIMONIAN (Volunteer Administrator). Hovann Simonian, age 47, is our expert in Armenian history, historical geography and culture. He believes DNA research can be a useful tool for confirming or subverting key historical narratives and for elucidating some of the mysteries and unresolved questions of Armenian history. Hovann is particularly interested in deep genealogy, the survival of Armenian nobility and the origins of various special Armenian communities (such as Hamshen Armenians or Hemshin, Dersim tribes, Hay-Roums, Levantinized Armenian Catholics of Smyrna, Arabicized Armenians of Syria and Lebanon, Turkified and Kurdified Armenians, etc.). Hovann was born in Beirut to Armenian parents of Sasuntsi and Aintabtsi heritage. He was raised in Switzerland where his family moved at the beginning of the Civil War in Lebanon in 1975. He holds a Licence en Sciences Economiques et Sociales from the school of Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) of the University of Lausanne (1988), an MA in International Relations from the Department of Political Science at the University of Southern California (1996), and another MA in Central Asian Studies from the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London (1997). Hovann is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at the University of Southern California. In addition to various articles and book chapters, he is the co-author of "" (London: I. B. Tauris, 2001/2003) and the editor of "" (London: Routledge, 2007). He is a member of the Executive Council of the Society for Armenian Studies, serving as treasurer of the Society. Hovann lives in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Click on this link to view a lecture by Peter Hrechdakian and Hovann Simonian entitled "DNA and the Origins of People: The Armenians." The lecture took place on 22 april 2014 at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., USA.
Click on this link to view a lecture in French by Peter Hrechdakian entitled "Armenian DNA Project: analyse ADN et histoire des peuples - le cas arménien." The lecture took place on 17 january 2014 at the Centre Culturel Arménien (Hay-Doun) in Brussels, Belgium. The lecture was followed by a question and answer session
Click on this link to view a lecture by Peter Hrechdakian entitled "Armenian DNA: Ancient, Unique(?) and Relevant." Organized by ARPA, the lecture took place on 21 july 2011 at the Merdinian School in Sherman Oaks, California.
Click on this link to view an interview of Peter Hrechdakian on the Armenian DNA Project given to Elina Chilingaryan of "Azatutyun Radiokayan" posted on YouTube on 23 august 2013. A transcript of the interview in Russian (cтенограмма интервью на русском) is also available.
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Group General Fund
The Group General Fund will be used at the discretion of the administrators either to order new kits for targeted individuals/projects or (with the consent of the members concerned) specific Y-DNA SNP tests, deep clade tests, upgrades from 37 to 67 markers, or Full Genomic Sequencing of mitochondrial DNA. The fund received an initial gift of $500 and then three donations of $25,000 each, all from anonymous donors with great interest in Armenian DNA studies. Additional small donations were also received. Most recently, $8.000 were donated as the fund was nearly depleted.
You can contribute to the Armenian DNA Project Fund through PayPal or by debiting a credit card. Family Tree DNA also accepts checks. See link below.