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Latest update: August 19th 2014
The Benelux Y-DNA Geographical Project supports all people with a background in the Benelux area with their investigation of their paternal ancestral lines. The Benelux is an association founded more than 50 years ago by three European countries: BElgium, NEtherlands and LUXembourg (BENELUX) and is as such one of the small-scale predecessors of the European Union. The area of these three countries is also informally referred to as (the) "Low Countries". Languages spoken in this area are Dutch (northern three-quarters) and French (southern quarter). Geneology is a popular hobby with lots of senior citizens and some younger people, both male and female, who often have family trees going back three hundred years or more. Not all of these people are fluent in English.
More specifically, the goal of the Benelux Project is to:
- Support people with a known or assumed origin in the Benelux finding out more about their ancestry;
- Support people currently living in the Benelux area making optimal use of (Y-) DNA testing for their genealogical research and getting a better understanding of the results of their Y-DNA test with FT-DNA or any other lab;
- Study the history of the Benelux area using results of DNA testing.
In general, we hope to bridge the gap between the English-speaking DNA testing community and the Dutch/French-speaking family genealogists in the Benelux area.
Benelux Genographic Map
To meet these goals, the Benelux Project has started an activity together with a Dutch Genographical Forum to develop a geographical map of all known Y-DNA testing results in the area of the Benelux. This is called the Benelux Genographical Map (or Benelux Map). A static picture of the current version of the map is shown below (if the image doesn't show up, this sometimes tends to happen for unknown reasons, please press F5 to reload the page).
The Benelux Map is a plot of all published haplotypes in the Benelux area on a Google Map of the Benelux. Each haplotype is represented by a pin, coloured according to the haplogoup (SNP) that was determined in the DNA-test. Our intention is to assemble all known DNA test results in the area. We will start with the results of the following three labs/projects and add other results if/when we encounter them.
- FT-DNA - as FT-DNA offers tests for the largest number of SNPs by far, and as SNPs are the core of the mapping, these results are the natural starting point;
- Zonen van Adam - (Sons of Adam in the Netherlands) a project of some five years ago by the University of Leiden in the Netherlands by which a few hundred samples where tested for a limited set of markers. From the haplotype, the haplogroup was determined (estimated). The results of the project are described in a Dutch book (current availability unknown);
- Brabant Project - a project of the Flanders Genealogical Association ("Familiekunde Vlaanderen") together with the Leuven University in Belgium, by which a little over 1,000 samples where tested for 37 markers and a very small number of elementary SNPs. (btw, Vlaanderen/Flanders is the north-western half of Belgium)
The picture above is a static preview of the map. The sole intention of this preview is to show what the map will look like, so that people can decide if they want to be involved. The working version of the map will be presented on a dedicated web site, as this gives us many more possibilities of making use of the latest web technologies. The display consists of two panes, the right shows the map and via the control pane on the left, the user can select the haplogroup and the time period (the year the Most Distant Ancestor (MDA) was born). The pins for the selected haplogroup will be shown in colour and all other pins will be white. This clearly shows which haplotypes occur in which part(s) of the Benelux area.
The example above shows the Haplogroup J2 as mainly being represented in the southern half of the Nederlands ("south of the big rivers" as the Dutch say). This southern emphasis of haplogroup J2 has been found before and is not a new discovery of this project. We do expect to make new discoveries when we've loaded more haplotypes on the map and especially as we start "drilling-down" to smaller branches of the tree (e.g. J2a and J2b in the preview), as this has not been done before on the scale we're planning to do. BTW, if you disagree with this statement, please send us a web link or other reference to your more detailed and publicly available map. It's clearly essential for these more detailed displays to have enough well-tested haplotypes and we intend to get as many of them together as we possibly can, so the Benelux Map will be the largest collection of Benelux haplotypes available. As a next step, we plan to supply facilities for studying groups of haplotypes togehter with the map, so as to support people searching for matches.
The results of this activity Benelux Map, (Matching) Haplotypes and Statistics will be made available to all members of the Benelux Project. So if you want to be posted on the progress and have access to all results, then join the Benelux Project. This is free of charge and/or of any other obligations, so there no real reason for not joining if you have a genealogical link to the Benelux. We will provide all news on the map (web link, status, etc.) via email, and that's only possible if we have your email address.
You can join this Y-DNA Geographic project if you have been tested by FamilyTreeDNA and have a known or assumed origin in this region. Existing FTDNA customers can conveniently join by: (1) logging in to your FT-DNA home page; (2) selecting "MyProjects" and then "Join" in the top menu; (3) selecting the letter B under "Y-DNA Geographical Projects"; (4) Choosing the Benelux Project and (5) clicking the orange "Join" button. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. We are sure, you'll appreciate, if you're an existing FT-DNA customer, we'll only spend any significant amount of time on your case, if you're a member of the project. Participants of other projects (see above) can inform us of their interest by sending an email to the address at the top of this page and we'll keep them informed as well.
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