Wendish DNA

I have been tracing my family for some years, including the Roggenbucks. (Roggenburk is a variant adopted by those Roggenbucks who emigrated to the Cleveland area.)  My great grandfather Albert emigrated from Flötenstein, a small town three quarters of the way along a line from Berlin to Danzig, where many Roggenbucks lived.  Flötenstein was in West Prussia and today is called Koczala in Poland.  Other names in the Roggenbuck line I know of include Mischnick, Kanthak, Spors and Dorau.

I have been tracing my family for some years, including the Roggenbucks. (Roggenburk is a variant adopted by those Roggenbucks who emigrated to the Cleveland area.)  My great grandfather Albert emigrated from Flötenstein, a small town three quarters of the way along a line from Berlin to Danzig, where many Roggenbucks lived.  Flötenstein was in West Prussia and today is called Koczala in Poland.  Other names in the Roggenbuck line I know of include Mischnick, Kanthak, Spors and Dorau.

Roggenbucks were originally found in the 13th Century in the marshes east of Hamburg (Bütlingen), then in the Stralsund (Greifswald) area, but appeared to have moved slowly eastward, usually within 60 miles of the Baltic Sea.  There was never any doubt that I was German.

Recently, however, I took a DNA test which showed surprisingly few German genes —  inasmuch as my maternal grandmother was also German.  Another two of my Roggenburk second cousins — who have no relation to my maternal grandmother — showed no German genes! (My results: 48% Great Britain, 19% Ireland, 11% Eastern Europe, 10% Western Europe, 6% Scandinavia.)  My maternal grandmother’s surname was Wuthenow.

So here is a theory:  Perhaps the Roggenbucks are genetically Wendish and not German.  The area occupied by the Wends coincides with the area where Roggenbucks are found. The absorption of the Wendish culture by German culture must make it difficult to determine nowadays who is German and who is Wendish.  Also, I can’t explain why no German genes didn’t get into the pool.  It seems odd that some Roggenbucks did not marry ethnic Germans, but maybe living in Wendish villages favored marrying other Wends.

Ancestry.com has a Beta program to further isolate your origins.  My sister generated the genetic community Poles in Pomerania. This appears to reinforce the notion that perhaps the Roggenbucks are of Slavic origin, not German.

So my questions to you are:

1. Is it likely that my ancestors are really Wendish and not German?

2. If Germanization of the Roggenbucks occurred early on, would the Wend roots likely be unknown to recent generations, and

3. Among the historic documents you know, is there any evidence that some Wendish people adopted the name Roggenbuck in response to German pressure to do so?

I remain grateful for any response you can offer.

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Posted in The Wendish Research Project.

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