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Thorbjorn
11-11-14, 20:03
First, I'd like to say hello, and am amazed at this site. I came across it by some searches on my name, and trying to discover my family and genetic history. One thing led to another and here I am.

My family has been trying to research our ancestry. My maternal grandparents came from southern Italy (Maddaloni in Caserta). My paternal grandparents came from Collesano in Sicily. Unfortunately, my family can't get any records on my paternal side before my grandparents; there isn't much on my maternal side either. However, my family and I have reason to suspect that we have Norse, or other northern European background. I am planning to do a DNA test, probably 23andme. I am only interested in finding out where we actually come from, not finding relatives. I already have too many. :laughing:

My suspicions are based on our physical appearance and our surname: Dispenza. I am aware of the Norman knight Robert le Dispenser, that it was an occupational title, and that the Normans were Norse. I know that our name is cognate with Spencer, though I can't swear to the truth of the Robert le Dispenser story. I know that Sicily was invaded and held by the Normans. I think somehow the name le Dispenser was transformed into an Italian version.

We tend to be short and stocky, I am barely 5'5", but rather muscular. I mention that because Scandinavians of the Viking Age were actually short and muscular, averaging 5'6". I know physical appearance is a poor indicator of origin. Among my grandparents and other relatives there were blue and brown eyes, auburn hair, red hair, blond hair (men and women). I had reddish brown hair as a boy; my two sisters have reddish brown and "dirty" blonde hair. My paternal grandfather had bright blue eyes, light complexion and hair. My father always said he had platinum blond hair as a boy.

I suppose we'll find the answer through the DNA test. I know this is a lot to ask you, but in your experiences, have you found that it would be highly (un)likely we are indeed of Norse, Norman, or other northern European decent? Of course it could be wishful thinking on my part that we are descended from an adventurous line such as the Vikings.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any insight you have. And against the possibility that I am indeed of Norse descent, I sign myself...

Thorbjorn (Old Norse, 'thunder bear').

richardjack67
05-12-14, 16:31
Good info...very useful

Maleth
05-12-14, 17:06
I would not like to disappoint you as you sound very enthusiastic :). In all truth one cannot tell dna just by looks. Remember that you do not inherit your father genes only but a product of much mixed dna (mother her mother, your fathers mother and your mothers father and so on) to give a region its characteristic look. All these could well be carrying different haplogroup. The Spencers are mostly R followed by E.

https://www.familytreedna.com/public/SPENCER/default.aspx?section=yresults

Another factor that not all Normans were Norse, When Rollo the Norse settled there they mixed with the People that were living there already. There some I's in Sicily of course but most are Balkanic and a smaller percentage Norse an in all not the most dominant Hapolgroup.

To get an idea this is the Sicily project

https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Sicily/default.aspx?section=yresults

Keep an open mind and when you know your results please share. I am sure you will get lots of help from forum members to explain your results. Its all very exciting ;)

Thorbjorn
19-05-15, 18:07
Finally after a year I had the 23andMe test done. My yDNA is T, my mtDNA is HV4. The T is not surprising given that my father's line is from Sicily, and my mother's line is from southern Italy. I was surprised to learn that HV4 originated in western Eurasia. Honestly I never gave it a thought where my maternal line came from. I suspected my paternal line was at least as far as the eastern Mediterranean, but not as far east and south as it is. As much as I suspected it, I was surprised to actually see northern European, especially the >30% northern and eastern European from the K15 analysis. It looks like I have an interesting mix of heritage and ancestry. :smile: It seems that GEDmatch has a finer breakdown than 23andMe. I think I know what this represents, but I'd be happy to hear any comments or further analysis on these results.

23andMe Ancestry Composition shows:

85.7% European
70.3% Italian
0.1% Balkan
10.8% Broadly Southern European

1.2% Broadly Northern European
0.1% Ashkenazi
3.2% Broadly European

12.9% Middle Eastern & North African
10.6% Middle Eastern
1.0% North African
1.2% Broadly Middle Eastern & North African
0.5% Sub-Saharan African
0.2% East African
0.2% West African
< 0.1% East Asian & Native American

East Asian
< 0.1% Broadly East Asian
0.8% Unassigned

I am presuming that the categories < 1% are DNA almost all humans have in common from very ancient times.

Eurogenes EUtest V2 K15 Admixture Proportions
North_Sea 9.33%
Atlantic 16.77%
Baltic 2.81%
Eastern_Euro 3.71%
West_Med 18.09%
West_Asian 12.72%
East_Med 29.52%
Red_Sea 4.64%
South_Asian -
Southeast_Asian -
Siberian -
Amerindian -
Oceanian -
Northeast_African 0.24%
Sub-Saharan 2.17%

Eurogenes K13 Admixture Proportions
North_Atlantic 20.52%
Baltic 6.74%
West_Med 21.62%
West_Asian 12.74%
East_Med 30.66%
Red_Sea 4.50%
South_Asian 0.53%
East_Asian -
Siberian -
Amerindian -
Oceanian -
Northeast_African 0.43%
Sub-Saharan 2.25%

Regio X
19-05-15, 18:22
Finally after a year I had the 23andMe test done. My yDNA is T, my mtDNA is HV4. The T is not surprising given that my father's line is from Sicily, and my mother's line is from southern Italy. I was surprised to learn that HV4 originated in western Eurasia. Honestly I never gave it a thought where my maternal line came from. I suspected my paternal line was at least as far as the eastern Mediterranean, but not as far east and south as it is. As much as I suspected it, I was surprised to actually see northern European, especially the >30% northern and eastern European from the K15 analysis. It looks like I have an interesting mix of heritage and ancestry. :smile: It seems that GEDmatch has a finer breakdown than 23andMe. I think I know what this represents, but I'd be happy to hear any comments or further analysis on these results.

23andMe Ancestry Composition shows:

85.7% European
70.3% Italian
0.1% Balkan
10.8% Broadly Southern European

1.2% Broadly Northern European
0.1% Ashkenazi
3.2% Broadly European

12.9% Middle Eastern & North African
10.6% Middle Eastern
1.0% North African
1.2% Broadly Middle Eastern & North African
0.5% Sub-Saharan African
0.2% East African
0.2% West African
< 0.1% East Asian & Native American

East Asian
< 0.1% Broadly East Asian
0.8% Unassigned

I am presuming that the categories < 1% are DNA almost all humans have in common from very ancient times.

Eurogenes EUtest V2 K15 Admixture Proportions
North_Sea 9.33%
Atlantic 16.77%
Baltic 2.81%
Eastern_Euro 3.71%
West_Med 18.09%
West_Asian 12.72%
East_Med 29.52%
Red_Sea 4.64%
South_Asian -
Southeast_Asian -
Siberian -
Amerindian -
Oceanian -
Northeast_African 0.24%
Sub-Saharan 2.17%

Eurogenes K13 Admixture Proportions
North_Atlantic 20.52%
Baltic 6.74%
West_Med 21.62%
West_Asian 12.74%
East_Med 30.66%
Red_Sea 4.50%
South_Asian 0.53%
East_Asian -
Siberian -
Amerindian -
Oceanian -
Northeast_African 0.43%
Sub-Saharan 2.25%

Eurogenes EUtest V2 K15 Admixture Proportions (South Italian averages)
North_Sea 8.45%
Atlantic 13.95%
Baltic 5.70%
Eastern_Euro 0.81%
West_Med 18.42%
West_Asian 15.36%
East_Med 29.86%
Red_Sea 5.32%
South_Asian 0.49%
Southeast_Asian 0.01%
Siberian 0.16%
Amerindian 0.32%
Oceanian 0.09%
Northeast_African 0.57%
Sub-Saharan 0.43%

Eurogenes K13 Admixture Proportions (South Italian averages)
North_Atlantic 16.71%
Baltic 5.91%
West_Med 22.17%
West_Asian 15.02%
East_Med 31.82%
Red_Sea 5.12%
South_Asian 0.66%
East_Asian 0.07%
Siberian 0.17%
Amerindian 0.52%
Oceanian 0.22%
Northeast_African 0.44%
Sub-Saharan 0.53%

Thorbjorn
19-05-15, 18:31
Thanks. So I'm pretty much in line with others. Though it looks like the first 4 categories of mine are a few % higher than the average. I don't know what that says, but it's interesting.