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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2 thoughts on “Wendish DNA”

  1. Hi, stumbled across your page researching the origin of my 3rd great grandparents Roggenbuck. They are from Hannover Prussia Germany. My dna reduces show I have 20% German dna. My only German line in my tree is this one.

    AH

  2. Weldon Mersiovsky

    Those are good questions. Here are some considerations. Keep on trying to extend your pedigree, not knowing where it will take you. Don’t take anyone’s word that your ancestry is one thing or another. Trust but verify. The further back in time one goes the more sparse primary records are. It is a multi-piece, multi-dimensional puzzle where everything does fit but we don’t have all the pieces. Don’t force any pieces. You get to write the book – keep it honest. As we develop our own micro-history learn the larger history and things will/may fall into place. The 30 years war from 1618-1648 scattered DNA all over Europe. There has been a migration of peoples for a variety of reasons – plagues, disease, wars. Tribes migrated from the east to the west, tribes from the west pushed to the east. The same holds true for the north to south and vice-versa. The further back you go you realized that the human race is an incredible mixing pot of flavors. When you put boys and girls into close proximity with each other – all bets are off. Hopefully, we/they stayed between the lines. It would make things easier for us researchers.

    So, to answer your questions:
    1. The are something, maybe neither Wendish or German. Isn’t this exciting and challenging?
    2. YES!! There is no such thing as a pure race. We all have a belly-button – none alike – and were born somewhere. The only thing I know absolutely for sure is that none of us had anything to do with it.
    3. I have no documentation about Roggenbucks at all but there are sources that can tell you where and how they think a name originated. Remember how surnames originated. Where are you from? What work do you do? What did you do? What do you look like? Who is your daddy? Who is your momma?

    Are we having fun yet?

    Weldon

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