My first known ancestor goes by the name Katrine. She lived about 16,000 years ago in what is now northeastern Italy. The map above shows the route that her ancestors took over many generations, moving out of the Near East, across the Caucasus Mountains, and into what is now southern Russia and migrated to North America where I am now.

Katrine was the founding mother of mitochondrial DNA haplogroup K and is one of the so-called "Seven Daughters of Eve" identified in the 2001 book of that title by Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes. Each of these seven women were the first to be born with a distinctive mutant gene that they passed on to all of their female descendants and their sons, who carry mitochondrial DNA from their mothers as well as YDNA from their fathers.

Katrine’s oldest known K descendant was Oetzi the Iceman, whose frozen body was discovered in the Alps in 1991. Oetzi was born about 3300 BC during the Chalcolithic or Copper Age. He probably came from an area in the Tyrolian Mountains near the present village of Feldthurns (Velturno) north of Bolzano, Italy. He was about 45 when he died on the Schnalstal glacier in the Otztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. Based on examination of his remarkably well-preserved remains, researchers believe that his death was caused by a blow to the head due to a fall or, perhaps, from being struck by a rock wielded by another person.

Cousin Otzi and I are both members of haplogroup K, a classification that currently includes more than 3 million individuals. About 8 percent of the population with European ancestry including about 32 percent of all Ashkenazi Jews share the basic mutations for a K--16224C and 16311C.

wikipedia Iceman

Another one of Katrine’s descendants, and one of my somewhat more recent ancestors, is a woman who lived in the Rhine Valley during the 7th or 8th century. She established a subgroup, called a subclade, of haplogroup K identified as K1a1b1a. This subclade is largest one of four Ashkenazi lineages that arose sometime after a few families migrated into the Rhine Valley from northern Italy.

According to one source, it’s possible that the woman from whom most Ashkenazi Jews are descended may not have been Jewish herself. Jon Entine suggests that the Jews who first settled in the Rhine Valley were traders brought north by Christian nobility to help facilitate commerce in the region; in other cases they became moneylenders or tax collectors, functions barred to Christians by the Church. Some came with wives, but it’s believed that most came alone and married local women.

Entine says that while DNA evidence shows that 80% or more of Jewish males have direct Semitic ancestry, two major studies of Jewish female lineage suggest that only about 50% of females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East. The other 50% or so of Ashkenazic women today appear to be descended from gentiles. It’s possible, therefore, that wandering Jewish men, from Italy or elsewhere, took on gentile wives and raised their children as Jews. During the Middle Ages, some of these families moved eastward into Poland. Genetic databases show that a large proportion of the tested individuals who share my genetic characteristics trace their roots Russia, Romania, Poland, and the Ukraine confirming historical information about the migration of Hungarian Jews from these areas.


Doron Behar et. al., “mtDNA Evidence for a Genetic Bottleneck in the Early History of the Ashkenazi Jewish Population”, European Journal of Human Genetics, 2004


Vendell Helen Meyers my Grandmother is Halogroup K

A theory?--->Fact or Fiction?

17,000 years ago in northern Italy a woman was born with the set of otherwise unimportant mutations which are now identified as mitochondrial haplogroup K.

When the ice age retreated north of the Alps, my maternal ancestors went north. My maternal ancestors probably went no further than southern Germany.

Thousands of years later, in about the 12th century AD, one of my maternal ancestors, who was Christian, married a Jewish man. For the next 600 years, all the daughters married Jewish men. They developed the mutations now associated with one of the Ashkenazi (European Jewish) lines.

My maternal ancestors could have lived in any of the Jewish communities of central or eastern Europe, but they probably spoke Yiddish.

Then a maternal ancestor emigrated to New York. Possibly that was the mother of my grandmother Vendell Helen Meyers. I'd guess that her maiden name was Vendell ?.

Helen's mother gave up the practice of Judaism. She married Mr. Meyers, who may or may not have been Jewish,

Helen then never mentioned her Jewish ancestry because it was old history.

I never knew anything about my Grandmother, Vendell. I grew up believing that she was a Sioux Native American all my life. This is what my mother told me, that her mom told her. Mom said that she never knew her Grandparents, and her mother did not talk about her past life. I deceided to do a MTDNA on myself, as the MTDNA never changes from the beiginning of time.

When I got the test results back, I was very surprised to find out that there was not a drop of indian blood in me. Now I have been on a quest to try to find out more.

I do know that her father's name was David Meyers, and her mother Katherine. I have or cannot find anything on them. Only what she listed on the 1920 census. I can't even find a 1910 census on Vendell.

So this is my linage I know from when Katrine lived about 16,000 years ago. Perhaps the oldest known K descendant was Oetzi the Iceman whose frozen body was discovered in the Alps in 1991. Estimated at 5000 years old, the Iceman proved to have the basic mutations for a K: 16224C and 16311C. Every K is a cousin of Oetzi.



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