Genealogy > Mizikar Y-DNA Origins
Over the last couple years I have been completing DNA testing to help with genealogical research on the Mizikar family line. In the last year, I have completed a few rounds of Y-DNA testing to specifically research paternal origins. Unfortunately, the largest issue with DNA testing - and Y-DNA specifically - is false paternity. You - almost - always know who your mother is. You cannot say the same about your father - let alone your father's, father's, father's father.
Several descendants of Michal Mižigár and Anna Repaská have taken autosomal DNA tests, and while that type of test it is not specific enough for historical research, it does at least confirm our relationship within that paternal line. Any male individuals with the Mizikar/Mizigar surname, outside of that branch, that is interested in completing Y-DNA tests may contact me for information. Each additional test allows us to expand our connections to other families and refine our shared paternal history. Please note that until other family members complete such testing, I will use terminology that indicates DNA results as "my" probable origins - as opposed to "our" probable origins.
Basic Y-DNA test results conclude my paternal haplogroup is I-M438 and that the general branch is I-P37. Under the old style, using the 2016 ISOGG tree, these would be known as "I2" and "I2a1". The I-P37 branch is concentrated in east and southeast Europe and is strongly represented within all of the traditional Slavic groups.
Detailed SNP testing shows my refined subclade as I-Y3548 - which is also known as I-S17250. Under the old style, again based on the 2016 ISOGG tree, the label would be "I2a1b2a1a". It is not known at this time if this is my terminal SNP/subclade as additional mutations are frequently being identified and the tests for them are continually being developed.
My paternal line, starting with my great-grandfather, Andrej Mižigár
DNA testing, combined with historical and archeological research, allows for the development of the general parameters of migration based on probability. Sadly, unless direct-line ancestors are unearthed during an expedition somewhere, there is no means at this time to provide any absolute certainty. Therefore, it is possible that I had a rogue ancestor that traveled the globe in a manner that completely contradicts everything currently accepted as "historical truth".
Currently, many researchers assign the I-Y3548 subclade to the "White Croatian" Slavs and that the most recent common ancestor for this branch lived about 1800 to 2000 years ago. For those not aware, colors were historically used by various cultures to represent the cardinal directions. The primary European cartography assignments were "white" for west, "green" for east, "red" for south and "black" for north. Usually the terms represented a cardinal direction away from a groups suspected origins. Therefore, the term "White Croatians" simply means "Western Croatians" or "the Croats that moved to the west".
There are many competing theories on the origin and distribution of the White Croatians, especially concerning their possible prehistory in the Caucuses or Persia; but the generally accepted outline is this: 1) they were pushed out of an area around the Sea of Azov by the Huns around 400 AD; 2) they subsequently settled in central Europe along the Carpathian mountains; 3) between 500 AD and 700 AD, a significant number, if not the majority, migrated southward into the Balkans; and 4) those that remained in eastern Europe were gradually assimilated into the overlapping territory and cultures of Kievan Rus Ruthenia and Polish Galicia. Y-DNA STR testing shows that outside of Slovakia, my closest genetic cousins are clustered in those historical places - which are today located in western Ukraine and southeastern Poland.
Map showing the possible concentration of White Croats around 500 AD
The lands and people of Ruthenia and Galicia would progressively be incorporated into the Austo-Hungarian empire. A small portion of the traditional Kievan Rus territory, represented approximately by the present day Zakarpattia Oblast in Ukraine, may have been a part of the Kingdom of Hungary as early as 700 AD. The remainder, incorporated in stages, was completely absorbed by the end of the Three Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which occurred in 1772, 1793 and 1795.
If my ancestors were not already living in the area around Slovinky, they most likely migrated there sometime between 1700 and 1750 from Ruthenia or Galicia as part of an effort to repopulate the counties of "Upper Hungary". At that time, outside of a few Polish and German controlled towns, the area was largely uninhabited. This was due to various factors - including war, disease and even a few natural disasters. The Habsburg monarchy was concerned with the possibility of foreign influence and sought to populate the area through various incentive programs. This allowed them to fortify the frontier region against possible invasion while also providing additional cultivated land and tax revenue.
However, while the area was vacant of people, the land was still largely owned and operated as feudal estates. This meant that new arrivals were forced to satisfy three basic conditions to settle in an area: 1) they needed to find available housing; 2) they needed to find available employment that aligned with their skills; and 3) they needed to find a place that would be willing to accept them based on their culture and religion. That last component had the effect of creating pockets of Catholic, Orthodox and even Protestant settlers. The area around Slovinky would have been an accommodating destination for Orthodox migrants willing to work in the copper, and then later, coal mines.
There is one other path that my ancestors possibly took during the 1500s. Y-DNA STR tests show that I have distant genetic cousins in the present day countries of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, etc. The genetic distance for these relatives is high, which should reflect the theory of migration southward into the Balkans. However, it is possible that my ancestors were instead involved in a reverse migration - part of a group of people that moved northward to evade the Ottomans after the Battle of Mohács in 1528. While most of these refugees settled in the territory of "Royal Hungary" - in particular around Bratislava - it is possible that some may have eventually made their way to Slovinky.
There is another group with possible ties to our ancestors that was involved in a general redistribution across Hungary. This was the Roma, who had arrived in the area in the 1500s. The Habsburg monarchs gradually attempted to limit the Roma's traditional nomadic lifestyle in the 1700s - especially under the decrees issued by Maria Theresa starting around 1750. The decrees simultaneously granted new rights, such as the ability to build and own dwellings, while removing others - such as the ability to own and operate wheeled vehicles. Accordingly, during the second half of the 18th century, the majority of the Roma gradually settled and - for the most part - integrated into, or at least near, the general population.
There are a few families with the Mizigar surname that are labeled as "Zingar" - the Latin term for "Gypsy" - on historical documents. My Y-DNA test results indicate it is very unlikely that my paternal ancestoral line was ethnically Roma, which are largely represented by the various Indian/Asian branches beneath the H haplogroup - followed by haplogroups E, J and R. However, it is certainly possible - or even plausible - that some of our ancestors married into the Roma culture during this period of movement.
Entry in church records for baptism of Alžbeta Mižigárová in Žehra in 1740
[LDS Film #1791929 Item #6 - Krstiny 1646 - 1760]
There are two other possibilities for the appearance of the "Zingar" label. The first is that the term was used, although rarely, as slang or a general epithet for the traveling, wandering or vagrant class - especially for those viewed as "outsiders" for a particular location. The term, when it appears with the name, is almost always in Roman Catholic, western Slav locations. Our Orthodox, eastern Slav ancestors may have simply been lumped into the same general classification of "undesirables". The label does seem to have been applied to transient families, as it is usually attached to a single baptism record - with no subsequent records of baptisms for siblings or further general family records of marriages or deaths.
The other, and most unlikely explanation, is that there is no familial connection to those with the label. Many Roma have historically adopted local surnames, languages and customs when they settled in an area. However, the probability that several different families would select a distinct, non-traditional surname like "Mizigar" would seem very, very unlikely.