Helligkorsgade, Kølding, DK (built 1589; photo from WikiMediaCommons by User:Mahlum, 2006) Danish Demes
a Regional Genetic Genealogy Project for Danish Americans and Danes around the World
In biology, a "deme" is defined as "a group of related organisms living in a single location."
For this project, the organisms are human beings, the location is Denmark, and the purpose is genealogy!
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Borches gård, Kolding, DK (built 1595; photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Mahlum)
The Danish Demes project utilizes DNA testing as a tool for genealogists researching their Danish origins.  Anyone who has a known (or virtually certain) Danish ancestry on their patrilineal (direct male) line or matrilineal (direct female) line is welcome to participate, provided they are willing to share their test results and the lineage of their line.  (The sharing of results does not necessarily mean revealing one's identity — please see discussion of privacy as it relates to this project).

Danes were among the last in Europe to adopt surnames, and a great many of those adopted surnames were patronyms, the result of which has rendered joining a typical genealogical Y-DNA "surname project" rather meaningless for most male Danes.  [Please see this page for a discussion of patronyms and their ramifications for DNA studies.]  The Danish Demes project is intended to overcome this obstacle by providing a regional project where there would be a reasonable expectation of connecting to kin who, despite having different surnames, are genetically related, and where both males and females can participate.  Because the regional criterion for membership is strict, the project will also produce a database of confidently Danish haplotypes as a standard against which those who only suspect a Danish ancestry can compare themselves.

A larger project goal is to provide researchers of all kinds (e.g., geneticists, anthropologists, historians, etc.) with a reliable database of truly Danish individuals and haplotypes, with accompanying lineage information, that they can use in their research.  This goal also requires the project be strict about members having a known Danish origin.

The project is based at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), and it is presumed that our new members will elect to be tested at FTDNA where they will have the best opportunity to compare the most markers.  Individuals previously tested at other laboratories (or who have been tested at other laboratories in addition to being tested at FTDNA) are welcome to have those results added to the project.  If you are new to genetic testing for genealogical purposes, you are encouraged to read the "Introduction" and "Frequently Asked Questions" linked here:

—  Introduction to Genealogy and Genetics  —  FAQs  —  Understanding Y-DNA Test Results  —

As mentioned above, I am accepting results from individuals tested at other laboratories, but I do so with this caveat:  although the industry is making every effort to standardize, different labs may produce different results for the same marker.  How can this be?  There are several reasons, but the simplest of them to explain is that, for example, a DNA segment may only be partially repeated (or partially lost), and while one lab may round the count up, another may round it down, and another may report the result as a decimal fraction.  The important point is to not make too much over a difference in results between labs and to focus on comparisons made with people tested at the same lab, which is one reason most projects only admit members tested at the "home" lab where the project is based.  What I would hope is that those of you tested at other labs will opt to purchase a Conversion Kit to bring your results into line with FamilyTreeDNA marker panels and standards because most project members have been (and presumably will continue to be) tested at FamilyTreeDNA.  If you have not been tested, yet, and have any intention of joining Danish Demes, I strongly recommend being tested at FTDNA, so you won't end up having to be retested.  (Individuals transferring in from the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project do not need to be re-tested because FTDNA is the testing lab for the NGS project.)

View the Alternate Project Web Site at FamilyTreeDNA
This site includes distribution maps of member origins (for those members tested at FTNDA only).

Family Tree DNA FAQs
Answers to an exhaustive list of questions relating to DNA testing.

To join the project, please email the project Administrator.
Please do not request to join Danish Demes if you only suspect you have a Danish origin.
I give the reasons for the stricture in FAQ #1.
Also, please check FAQ #2 to be certain your Y-DNA or mtDNA test results would be eligible.
Y-DNA Test Results and Lineages
This part of the Danish Demes DNA project is based on STR (short tandem repeat) testing of the male Y-chromosome.  Test results consist of numbers which represent the counts of the number of times a "junk" (non-functional) DNA segment is duplicated at a given marker (location on the chromosome).  At FamilyTreeDNA, five levels of Y-chromosome STR testing are offered to group members: 12-, 25-, 37-, 67-, and 111-marker tests (every level of testing tells you something, but most project members will find themselves ultimately wanting to test at least 67 markers).  Collectively, the pattern of numbers resulting from STR testing is called a person's haplotype (sometimes called a "motif").  The Y-chromosome is possessed only by males and is passed on only from father to son, so only males can be tested for this part of the project.

STR testing measures relationship in a time frame of hundreds_of years, making the distance to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor) sufficiently close to be genealogically useful.  And "useful" is an understatement.  STR testing is a powerful tool for determing whether people can or cannot have shared a recent common ancestor.

There is another form of Y-chromosome DNA testing called SNP testing (the acronym stands for "single nucleotide polymorphism" and is pronounced as a single word, "snip").  Results of SNP testing are expressed as + or - (positive or negative) to indicate the presence or absence of a particular mutation.  Each suspected mutation requires a separate test, which is one reason SNP testing can become more expensive than STR testing.  Results of a basic, "backbone" SNP test determine a person's haplogroup ("Hg" is an abbreviation for haplogroup), and additional testing can identify subgroups, called "subclades." 

The haplogroup is a measure of deep ancestry.  The MRCA may be thousands or tens of thousands of years in the past, which places the individual's ancestry in a paleoanthropological time frame.  Haplogroup determination is of practical use for the project because it broadly defines and separates the most distinct family groups; that is, families with no prospect whatsoever of a connection in "genealogical time," making it a useful way to divide up the project.  For the individual, knowing one's SNP subclade greatly enhances one's appreciation of history because the literature on the genetic history of humanity, correlated with historic and pre-historic events, is growing rapidly.  Over the last decade, SNP testing has become increasingly refined as more SNPs are discovered, to the extent that it is reaching down into "genealogical time."  For this reason, I recommend members keep themselves deep SNP tested to the currently available extent, in anticipation of this refinement.  Having two different tools approaching the same question makes for very strong conclusions about your ancestry.

mtDNA Test Results and Lineages
This part of the Danish Demes DNA project is based on the test results of sequencing regions on one's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).  Mitochondria occur in the cells of all humans, regardless of gender, so both males and females can have their mtDNA tested.  The results of such a test can place someone in their "mtDNA haplogroup" (not to be confused with, for males only, their Y-DNA haplogroup).  Mitochondria are passed on by, and only by, one's mother, so mtDNA is useful only in characterizing your most distant ancestor on your matrilineal (direct female) line.

The mitochondria in our cells perform the critical function of metabolism, using oxygen to burn fuel to supply us with energy.  We would quickly die without them (e.g., cyanide acts by disabling them), so nature doesn't tinker much with these genes.  But there are two sections of the mtDNA strand that appear to have no function, so these sections are subject to retained mutations.  These sections are known as "hypervariable regions" and are named HVR1 and HVR2.  Without the two hypervariable regions, there wouldn't be enough mutation in the mtDNA molecule to be of much use in sleuthing out our ancestry.  As it is, even the hypervariable regions do not mutate frequently enough to be of use in short term (i.e., genealogical) time frames.  The mutations are extremely useful, however, in revealing our deep ancestry in a paleoanthropological time frame.

The first individual to have their mtDNA sequenced had it done experimentally in 1981, and their sequence has arbitrarily been made the standard against which all other mtDNA sequences are now compared.  This standard is called the "Cambridge Reference Sequence" (CRS); and, today, mtDNA test results are expressed as differences from the CRS.

Fortuitously, the CRS is also the most common mtDNA sequence in Europe (which, if you think about it, was statistically the most likely one to have been randomly chosen among the scientists in a laboratory in western Europe).  And while the CRS is the most common mtDNA sequence in western Europe, it is not the most ancestral one that has since been determined.  In a hierarchical (evolutionary) "tree" of mtDNA haplogroups, the CRS turns out to be Haplogroup H, popularly known as "Clan Helena."

FamilyTreeDNA offers two levels of basic mtDNA testing:  either just the hypervariable regions (HVR1+HVR2) or a FMS (Full Mitochondrial Sequence).  The FMS is, obviously, the more refined test.

Testing Subsidies

Anyone wishing to offer subsidies to encourage testing of specific lines may have their offer posted here (anonymously if you wish).  Each donor is offering to subsidize only one test, so the early bird gets the test!

•  Your project administrator is offering to fully subsidize a 67-marker test for a patrilineal line male descendant of Carsten Anderson MATHIESEN (1824-1904) of Visby, Tønder Amt, DK — free test!

•  If you would like to make a subsidy offer here, please contact the Webmaster.

For all subsidies, acceptance of the subject is at the discretion of the donor (i.e., upon the researcher's satisfaction that there is a valid paper connection between the test subject and the ancestor) and the test subject must agree to sign the Release to allow sharing of his test results.  Please note that sharing of results does not mean sharing of identity.  Only the project administrator, FamilyTreeDNA, and matching test subjects will necessarily know the identity of the test subject.
General Fund

In recognition of the fact that some individuals may find the cost of DNA testing prohibitive and that these individuals may be the only representatives of key lines in our genealogical research, Family Tree DNA has instituted "General Funds" to allow researchers to subsidize the testing of these key individuals.  The fund can also be used as a simple way to give someone a gift of DNA testing.  Please see this link at Family Tree DNA for more details.  And please consider a donation to the project as a way of bringing more lines into the project, especially to help some of our elder kin be tested who may not otherwise be able to afford it.  There is also a field on the donation form allowing you to make a donation in honor of a specific person.  The funds will be entirely collected and held by Family Tree DNA, but their dispursement is implemented by your project administrator.  You can inform your project adminstrator whose test you want subsidized with your donation or, if you wish, you can leave it up to the project administrator to decide where the funds can best be applied.  Please note that anonymous donations are not just anonymous to the public; they are also anonymous to the project admin.  If you want the admin to know you made the donation and/or have a special request for how it is to be spent, please notify the admin by email at the time you make the donation.

Every-Name Index to Family Group Sheets

Browse the Family Group Sheets
 
Under Construction Sign Genealogy Database of Project Members Under Construction Sign
This interactive Next Generation database will eventually replace the static family group sheets linked above.

Census Hub:  Native-Born Danes in the United States Censuses, 1850-1930
DANISH-DNA Mailing List at RootsWeb
Anyone interested is welcome to join the list, whether a member of the DNA project, or not.

Note that the above is a different list from these other Danish lists at RootsWeb
DENMARK-L DANISH-ROOTS-L DANISH-SURNAMES-L
which you are also encouraged to join, of course.

If you are seeking general information, I would recommend joining either or both of these lists:
DNA-NEWBIE at RootsWeb and/or DNA-NEWBIE at ISOGG
Don't let the list names fool you; there are real experts there.

And for the gateway to genealogy web links, specifically DNA links, see Cyndi's List - DNA.

Geographical Note:  As all records on this site are historical, the location names used here in the project are based on pre-1970  county (amt), district (herred), and parish (sogn) desginations, conforming wherever possible to the names supplied by these sources:  the Krabsens Stednavnebase and DIS-Danmark Amt-Herred-Sogn.  Countries are designated with a mixture of two-digit and three-digit ISO-codes (e.g., Denmark is either DK or DNK), so try both when searching.  States of the U.S.A. follow the U.S. Postal Codes, and English counties follow the Chapman Codes.
The project's Administrator is yours truly, Diana Gale MATTHIESEN.  I'm Danish through my paternal great-grandparents, Andreas MATHIESEN of Visby, Tønder Amt, DK, 1886 immigrant to Oakland, California, USA, and his wife, Christine Mommine Jessine SØRENSEN of Ribe, Ribe Amt, DK, 1889 immigrant to Oakland, California, USA.  My father and his half-brother are members of Danish Demes based on their patrilineal line, and they are Haplogroup R-1b1a-2a1a-1a4 (= R-L48).  Christine left no daughters to pass on her mtDNA.  I'm mtDNA Haplogroup T1a4 via my English matrilineal line, so I'm not actually a member of Danish Demes, myself.  I'm a retired zoologist/paleontologist, and genealogy is my hobby.  I'm a volunteer and receive no financial remuneration of any kind from Family Tree DNA.  The expense of creating and maintaining this web site is borne entirely by me.  I apologize for the advertising, but the site needs to cover the cost of keeping it online.
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Memorial stone for King Erik I (c1060-1103), a.k.a., 'Erik the Good' or Erik Ejegod; Borgvold, Viborg Amt, DK (photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Calvin, 2007).
Privacy Policy______
Viking burial ground (700-1150 CE), Lindholm Høje, Aalborg Amt, DK (photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Bunnyfrosch, 2007).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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