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Many of us who are U3b may or may not know that mtdna haplogroup U3b is often found in the Romany populations of Europe. 55% of Romany are U3b. The fact is, many of us with the U3b dna have origins in Eastern Europe. Don Locke, the administrator of the Romany DNA Project wants to remind us, however, that U3b is NOT South Asian in origin — it was introduced into the Romany population during their migration to Europe.

U3b, found in many Roma clans of Europe, is a good hint to a possible Romany connection in our family trees. There is a reason however, for much more admixture on the female side of the Romany family trees than on the Romany male side: the Romany are more willing to accept European females into the clan than they would be likely to accept European men. Typically, when a European male marries a Roma female, they are banished from the clan whereas when Romany males marry European females, the European females are typically more accepted. Most European men were not willing to conform to Romany customs and traditions so Romany women who married outside of the clan were usually banished whereas European women who married Romany men usually adapted to Romany customs and traditions. So….the U3b admixture found among the Romany typically comes from European females marrying into the Romany clans.

Autosomal testing could be an important factor in determining Romany roots. While U3b can be a good clue to a possible Roma connection in one’s family tree because it is found among multiple Roma populations, autosomal testing should point up some South Asian origins from the male lineage. Y-Haplogroup H is dominant in males among the populations of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan. Because of their South Asian roots, haplogroup H1a-M82 is a major lineage cluster in the Balkan Romani group, accounting for some 60% of the total males. Also, a variation of H1 is also reported in one-third of the males from traditional Romany populations living in Bulgaria, Spain, and Lithuania. This high prevalence of Asian-specific Y chromosome haplogroup H1 supports the theory of Indian origin in Romany clans and a hypothesis of a small number of founders diverging from a single ethnic group in India.

Don Locke presents this metaphor as an explanation of the relation of U3b to Romany populations:  “If we look at the Romany as a wheel, the hub of the wheel or the cog as it is known, is the Founder Romany population i.e. the direct Indian descendants. From that cog are spokes branching out for those who are related to that founder population which in turn forms the wheel or family tree of the Romany. There are direct Asian Indian Romany, and then there is everyone else who forms the spokes of the wheel. Everything revolves around the cog of the wheel, and everyone directly related to the cog form the many spokes which are Romany or part-Romany in origin.”

Although many U haplogroups are found in India, U3b is NOT. It is not South Asian in origin. The conclusion is that mtU3b is NOT part of the cog but instead a spoke of that wheel that appears to have been introduced during the migration of the Romany into Europe.

2 Responses to “Some Thoughts About U3b from the Romany DNA Project”

  1. Linda Boswell says:

    Hi All

    My paternal line is H1a Mt line U3b. Which you all know are Romany haplo groups.

    Having received my DNA results from 23& me I sent my raw data to Dr Mcdonald for him to analys. He confirmed that I have Asian genomes and that I have South Asian on my X chr. My sister tested with 23&me she also has South Asian on the Xchr in the same place where mine is.

    I wanted to know which grandmother this Asian was coming from paternal or maternal. so I decided to ask my maternal aunty to have her DNA tested with 23&me. She consented to have a test. When she received her DNA, I sent her raw data to Dr Mcdonald. I received her results a day later and she also shows on the Ancestry Painting on the Xchr South Asian in the same place has my sister and myself. I sent my aunty’s raw data to Harappa Ancestry Project here are her result.

    South Asian 10%
    Onge 3%
    East Asian 1%
    SW Asian 19%
    European 64%
    Siberian 1%
    Papuan 1%
    San/Pygmy 1%

    What do you all think about it. What I advise U3b to do is to have a Autosomal test. I think there is more to U3b than what meets the eye.

  2. Linda Boswell says:

    Up date U3b

    I was looking through my matches on Familytree DNA and came across a match which I thought the 52.34% was high. I contacted my match and asked her where her ancestors originated from. It appears that my match’s mother was from a community of Roma near Smolensk, Russia. She also said, that her father was a Polish Jew living in Warsaw who fled with the Nazi advance in September, 1939. His four siblings and parents died in the Warsaw Ghetto along with a large extended family. Whilst fleeing East, he was arrested by the Soviets and spent the war in a labour camp, where he met and married my match’s mother.

    The Roma in the Smolensk region appear to have been more “settled” than elsewhere as a matter of state policy. My match’s family had a farmhouse, and one uncle even became the local collective farm manager after the revolution. My match’s grandmother and several of her children were gassed in a van by the Nazis in their village outside of Smolensk sometime around 1942. The rest of the family appears to have evacuated to Moscow. My match’s mum moved to Poland after the war with her husband and died in the 1960s. My match emigrated to the US in the 1980s. Her Roma relatives (cousins) still reside in Moscow.

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