The R-Z16357 Story

The Z16357 story is one that is mostly yet to be written. That is the objective of this project. We'd love to have your help in writing our story.

The Birth of R-Z16357

Analysis of SNP mutations found in descendants of ancient man have generated this very rough timeline from 'Adam' to when our R-Z16357 ancestor was born:

  • Adam
    • R (32,000 years ago)
      • R1b/M343 (22,000 years ago)
        • R-M269 (13,000 years ago - the most frequently occurring paternal lineage in Western Europe)
          • R-P312 (5,000 years ago)
            • L-21 (25–50% of English and Irish men)
              • R-DF13 (4,500 years ago)
                • R-L513/R-DF1
                  • R-S5668
                    • R-Z16357 (~3,000 years ago)

The R haplogroup likely originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum. This haplogroup has been identified in the remains of a 24,000 year-old boy from the Altai region in south-central Siberia - he likely hunted mammoths. The oldest forms of R1b are found dispersed from Western Europe to India, a vast region where these nomadic hunter-gatherers may have gone during the Ice Age. M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent.

Our M269 (13,000 years ago) through L21 (4,600 years ago) ancestors migrated from East to West across Europe. It's impossible to track their exact locations, but somewhere around L21 is when these men were found in the British Isles. This map shows the current distribution of L21 descendants in Europe:

The branches below L21 to R-Z16357 quickly developed and spread across the British Isles and elsewhere. We do not know the location where the R-Z16357 man was born, but it likely was in the British Isles as part of the Bell-Beaker culture.

The Sons of R-S5668

There are three 'sons' or sub-branches of the S5668 SNP (formed around 3,500 years ago) - A7, Z16340, and our Z16357 line. A7 is a large and prosperous branch with probably millions of people on it today. Known A7 ancestors are primarily found in Scotland. Z16340 is also a large branch, with ancestors primarily from Ireland. And then there is our Z16357 branch.

Z16357 - A Rare and Unique Bunch

You can view the S5668 tree at The top block is S5668. You can see the three branches below it - with our very small Z16357 branch at the far right. The other two branches are well defined with consistent surname groups. Ours is small with few common surnames.

We can surmise from the few people who have tested positive for R-Z16357, and the few sub-branches on our part of the tree, that it is relatively rare today. We're not sure (yet) where our Z16357 ancestors were for most of the last 3000 years, but we do know that they were not as prolific as other branches - especially for the first several millennia when they likely were fairly isolated with few surviving descendants.

Z16357 itself is a Bronze Age mutation. It predates the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and other primary ancient cultures of the British Isles, but comparisons to other similar haplogroups suggest that our ancestors likely had numerous influences from these various groups.

The Major Sub-branches of Z16357

As seen on the SNP Tree page, there are several known sub-branches of Z16357.

The Smith branch

Two Smith people form a distinct branch below Z16357. This long branch currently extends from a common ancestor that probably lived in the 1600s all the way back to Z16357 without any other branching. Additional testers on this "Smith" branch will likely create new, recent branches of interest.

The Z16343 block

The second major branch of Z16357 is R-Z16343. This is a very large block of at least 20 phyloequivalent SNPs (unique SNPs in a block for which everybody downstream of that block tests positive). The large number of SNPs in this block without sub-branching indicates that a line of ancestors was likely isolated for perhaps 1500 years. It's fascinating to think about where our ancestors were during this time.

The Hays/Hayes and Pillsbury block

Downstream from Z16343 is the Z16854 block of around 5 SNPs, which then branches into the Pillsbury block (BY13850 SNP) and the larger Hays block (ZS349 and several other SNPs). This branching likely occurred in the last 1000 years. The Hayes/Hays men have a known common ancestor (George Hayes, born 1655), so this line fully connects us from Z16357 to today. Hays (kit #N28178) is in his own BY13845 block. This SNP was formed in the last 300 years.

The Z17911 Block

The other branch below Z16343 is Z17911/Z17912. It contains the majority of the Z16357 people and has several sub-branches. Z17911 is likely around 800 years old. There is no strong common surname or ancestral location, but continued research is adding detail to these branches.

Learn more about the ancestors of those on the Z16357 tree.

The Rest of the Story

The purpose of this project is to fill the gaps between our ancient Z16357 ancestor and today. We do that by providing additional detail via additional Y-DNA testing on the SNP tree to identify new haplogroups and branches (moving from the past to present day), and by connecting our genealogies (moving from the present to the past). As we fill these gaps, we continually write the story of Z16357.