From The Mailbag … — #Genealogy, #Royalty, #Polish, #Szlachta

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

From the Post Office Department

From the Post Office Department

The minions in the Email-Room dropped off a missive at my virtual cubicle today. Today’s question is about Polish Royalty & DNA as it relates to genealogy …

Hi, I stumbled across your blog and thought you might could help me. We are searching for my father’s ancestry and think he is a Poniatowski. My grandfather Andrzej changed his name when he came to America in 1909. The story we always heard was that he was royal. So I have my father’s yDNA markers but cannot find a surname project online for the Poniatowskis or other Polish nobles. Do you know of any? Maybe you can give me some advice? I sure would appreciate it! Thanks in advance for sharing anything.
Sincerely,
Kristian Krawford
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Kristian,

Welcome to the blog. DNA plays a role in genealogy in some ways, but it is NOT for every genealogist. It is due the certainty factor (I favor >97% certainty) takes you back beyond the number of generations that most people tracing Slavic/Polish genealogy can do UNLESS they have royal blood. Your question gives me yet another reason to endorse limited use of DNA in genealogy. I am in favor of using DNA in your case because, you want to determine if you have royal blood or not and specifically whether or not you are related to Poniatowski szlactha (nobility).

Now to the crux of your question. You have your family DNA and want to compare it. Ancestry.com has some capacity, but perhaps because they have so little Polish emphasis in their data, their DNA may be lacking from Polish genealogists families. So…

You can Google:  

  Y-DNA project of Polish Nobility families 

That led me to:

http://www.familytreedna.com/public/polish/default.aspx?section=ysnp

This web page had a very extensive list of family names with their DNA markers. I hope you can find your markers in these that are available. Notice that is “Y-DNA”. The mt-DNA will not work for you as that is the maternal/mitochondrial DNA that is passed from Mother to all children (relatively unchanged, except by mutation) and the Y-DNA is the paternal DNA passed from father to sons (23rd chromosome). The rest of the DNA is called autosomal / atDNA (see  Genealogical DNA test). This link is a good link for introduction of DNA terms to the genealogist.

Good Luck!

Stanczyk

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