Has anyone used their haplogroups as a tag?

+10 votes
I've added both maternal and paternal haplogroups as tags, but see no one else has.  Is this not a thing yet?  Should it be?
in WikiTree Help by Andrew Woods G2G1 (1.4k points)
I haven't listed my yDNA haplogroup (too big) or subclade (too rare) as tags, mostly because as far as I can tell there are no other E-Z16663 users here on WikiTree. So, for a tag to tip me to them, a new user would have to actually ask a question about it on G2G.

I did, however, consider including my haplogroup & subclade as a category on my paternal line, but have not yet done so. If it became an accepted trend and was considered useful by the DNA research community here, I'd probably do it.

4 Answers

+10 votes
Since the number of tags allowed is limited I don’t see any point in usina any of them for haplogroups. Those tags are unlikely to pick up and return any useful information to you. People often struggle to tag their G2G questions with the correct type of DNA so I doubt if they will be using haplogroup tags any time soon.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (685k points)
I think that's what tags are for, to find others who are able to help you collaborate and learn from.  I'm still learning about it all myself, but it doesn't mean it's necessarily fruitless.  Plus if one could use polish, or Irish, which are huge groups, why not use your haplogroup?  Just my thoughts on it.
+12 votes

I have my Y and mtDNA haplogroups as tags https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Roberts-7085 

I’m interested to know what others in WikiTree have to say about my haplogroups.  Females only have one haplogroup and males only have two.

by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (727k points)
Hi Peter, Since the haplogroups tags are only an indication of my research interest, I think I can use my brother's yDNA haplogroup on my list of tags.  I don't think in this case that females can only have one haplogroup tag.

In fact, I have research interests in at least three different haplogroups, one mito and 2 yDNA.  I don't think a haplogroup research tag should be limited to only the DNA an individual carries.
Right, It's just like tagging a surname.
Sorry, I did not mean to suggest that females could only enter one haplogroup tag.  Just that they only belong to one haplogroup.
+8 votes

As Lynda said, probably the biggest reason we don't add our haplogroups as tags is because tags are so limited, only 20 allowed.

But there's actually a more important reason, and that is because (in my opinion) haplogroup terminology has become rather ambiguous, especially the word 'haplogroup', and to be a useful tag would require some standardization.  People often try to be more specific by adding the terms 'subclade', 'haplotype', and 'terminal SNP', but different people use them all differently.  The problem is that a 'haplogroup' is not just one thing, it's a trail of things, that together define a specific branch on the human tree.  As an example - if we think of haplogroups as locations, and we asked 4 different people for where they are from, we might get "I'm American", "I'm a Chicagoan", "I'm from Illinois", and "I'm from Oak Park".  They're all different!  And yet, are they?  They may actually all be exactly the same, just different in specificity.

And that's the problem with a stated yDNA haplogroup.  Four different brothers might be full siblings but give four different answers, depending on where they tested, and how far they tested.  If you were to test further, you too would change your haplogroup.

I prefer the term 'haplogroup trail', the list of SNP's that lead down to a person's current end branch.  With further testing and ongoing research, the end of the trail is going to keep changing for quite awhile, but most of the trail will remain the same, especially the notable SNP's (which I highlight below).

My FTDNA 'haplogroup trail' is 

  • R1b->M207->M173->M343->L754->L389->P297->M269->L23->L51->L151->U106->Z2265->Z18->Z17->Z372->S5695->L257->Z15->S23346

My Living DNA 'haplogroup trail' is (based on YFull)

  • R1b->M207->M173->M343->L754->L389->P297->M269->L23->L51->L151->U106->Z19->Z14->Z372->L257

 So I could name any one of those, from either tester, as my haplogroup.  I could say I'm R-M269 and match the majority of other testers.  I could say I'm a R-U106, and still match millions of people, but at least it's a subset.  I could say I'm R-S23346, but who would know what that is!  I could say I'm both R-Z18 and R-Z19, exactly equivalent SNP's because they are at the same level, but FTDNA named the level Z18, and YFull named the level Z19.  By now, you can see the confusion!  Not only would you have different haplogroups if you have tested to different levels, but you could have different haplogroups if you tested to the *same* level, but with different testers!

That's why I prefer using 'haplogroup trails', because you can see potential matches, even with different testing levels.  If we changed those example locations I mentioned earlier into 'trails',

  • America
  • America->Illinois
  • America->Illinois->Chicago metropolis
  • America->Illinois->Chicago metropolis->Oak Park
  • America->Illinois->Peoria

Now it's easier to see the potential matching, and the need for more specific info in the shorter trails, more 'testing'.  And you can see where they match at higher levels, but differ at a lower level.

Your I-M223 is much more specific than my R-M269, but is still very broad.  With more testing, it could change quite a bit, to a branch far downstream from M223.

by Rob Jacobson G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
edited by Rob Jacobson

It does narrow it down some, but not if the data isn't consistent as you say.   How do you feel is the best way to use your tags to find relatives?  How do you use a haplotrail, as you put it?
Haplotrail - great word!  Although some might prefer haplopath...  Defined as: the SNP trail from the ancients to your own little twig, as far as you can determine it.

I suggested recording the 'haplotrail' once before, instead of just the haplogroup, but nothing happened.  I'm hoping over time that more people will see the value in it, over the flaws in a single haplogroup label.  What is especially helpful is its educational value.  Once you have seen a few 'haplotrails', you understand yDNA haplogroups much better, and what they represent, and are far less likely to ask "if X and Y are both R-M269, are they a match?".

I think most of us just select our tags according to what is most of interest to us, what might link to the most helpful topics and posts.  (I've still got a few left, so temporarily I have 'Vulcan', to help me find my link to Spock!)

Andrew, I just checked on FTDNA, and I think your current 'haplotrail' is:

  • I -> P215 -> CTS2257 -> L460 -> P214 -> M223
Now all or most of those have numerous same-level SNP's, so conceivably could be called something very different by a different company.  The 'top level' haplogroup I has over 80 same level SNP's, M223 has about 26 same level SNP's, and P214 has even more.  Those are probably the most well known and notable ones though, so *should* be the same ones other companies use.
Also, there are other naming systems, and some have changed over the years.  Quoting FTDNA I-M223 group, "I-M223 is also known as I2-M223 or I2a1b1 by ISOGG as of 29th June 2018 and was previously known as I2a2a and before that as I2b1 and I1c."

And after reading this G2G thread, I just checked YFull to see what they would list for I-M223, and got this VERY different result:

  • I -> I2 -> L460 -> M436 -> M223

To check your own 'haplotrail' (the YFull version), try the following URL, substituting your desired haplogroup/SNP into it (the haplotrail SNP list can be read across the top of the page):

You can also see some of the downstream branches you may end up with, if you do further yDNA testing.
Thank you Rob,

I'll do some researching on yfull.com!  I appreciate all of the information.
+7 votes
Interesting discussion. I think the first tag I placed for myself on WikiTree was for my mtDNA haplogroup since it's supposedly one of the less common ones: Z1a. And, as expected, at least right now, across all of WT, I'm the only one with that tag!
by Susan Keil G2G6 Mach 6 (69.3k points)

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