Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Puerto Rican Look at: Y-DNA111 (Correa)

Like my Avilés/Magraner line, I tested my Correa Y-DNA line while I was in Puerto Rico, this time with my maternal grandfather. Though I originally tested this line at Y-DNA67, I have upgraded the line to Y-DNA111 on FTDNA and with the recent Thanksgiving sales I have finally upgraded the line to Big-Y 700. The results will take a while to upload, especially with what I can only imagine are a bunch of people taking advantage of the sale. So I figured I would write about what I know at this level and see what else comes from the upgrade.


Though I have posted about the Correa surname before (post here and here). I'd figure I cover this quickly again to tie it into the genetic understanding of this line. The Correa surname comes to me via my mother and her father, and from there runs via the paternal line up to the 1700s. This is what the paper trail has shown me at least, remember that there is always the possibility of a NPE (Non-Paternity Event) which are usually not traced on paper. Below you can see me, Luis, at the bottom and my line all the way until my 6th great-grandfather Juan Francisco Correa (I have blurred of people who are still alive).

9 Generations of Correa [Personal Photo]

In an ideal genealogical world, this would mean that my Correa cousins and any other male Correa tied to this line would all descend genetically via their Y-DNA from this same man. Matching other Correa men would help attest to this, but unfortunately so far there haven't been other men in my family or relatives that I know who have tested. Y-DNA testing (and rightfully so due to its cost) is something more serious geneticists/genealogists use to trace lines that either ran dry via paper-trail, experienced traumatic events such as slavery, the holocaust, wars that disconnected them from information, and/or was adopted and not sure of their origins. I personally have not tested all of my Y-DNA possible lines, especially since I would have to find distant males cousins to test for lines that have "daughtered out". So far, I have tested my own Rivera line (since I wanted to know more about it since it's a common surname), my maternal Avilés line (said to be tied to Mallorca via a NPE), the Charles line (arrived to Puerto Rico from Guadeloupe and was previously enslaved), and my Correa line (surname interest/since the paper trail ran out). 

When I mean surname interest, I have always been interested in this name for two reasons. 1) It's not that common of a surname in Puerto Rico, though there is always the mention of Capitán Antonio de los Reyes Correa it's not a surname I often hear when I meet other Puerto Ricans, and 2) I have always heard that the surname is tied to Sephardic Jewish origins in Spain. 

The surname for example appears in Amsterdam via Isabel (Rebecca) Correa, a famous Dutch Sephardic poetess who was born in Portugal.

Isabel (Rebecca) de Correa [Jewish Virtual Library]

It has also appeared amongst those tried for "judaizantes" ("Judaizers") during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. A quick search of Correa + Inquisición gave me various hits. 

Tribunal de la Inquisición en Llerena [PARES]

Tribunal de la Inquisición en Llerena [PARES]

Does this mean that my own Correa family were Jewish as well? Not necessarily but the genetic information is interesting to add. Let's see what my grandfather's genes say about this line!


When I got the autosomal and haplogroup results for grandfather on 23andme, I was very interested since it seems that his haplogroup isn't that common amongst men in their database/that have tested. So I wanted to see what it would be like in FTDNA.

FTDNA Landing Page [FTDNA/Personal Photo]

My grandfather's haplogroup is current listed as "J-Z18271", this name is expected to change once I get my Big-Y700 results - expected to arrive sometime in February. Below you can see where this specific SNP (Z18271) has been found in Europe. This specific branch can be found in various parts of the world, but it's interesting to note that it's mainly found amongst Eastern European countries. This is a very different result than expecting to find many "genetic cousins" scattered amongst the Iberian Peninsula and other parts of western Europe.

SNP MAP [FTDNA/Personal Photo]


The main haplogroup my grandfather belongs to is "J" which you can see how it got into Europe below. Further below is an image of my specific haplogroup for my grandfather as well, currently at Y-DNA111.

Migration Map [FTDNA]

Correa Haplogroup [FTDNA/Personal Photo]

This group has its origins mainly in the Middle East amongst the Arab and Jewish populations. This was interesting to me taking into consideration the Sephardic Jewish theory of this surname. Remember that genetics predate current religious, political, geographic divides. It is possible that somehow my Correa family was a part of the Arab/Morsico or Jewish/Sefardí population in Spanish which was later pushed out during the reconquista. It made it's way into Puerto Rico where it has been present for the last 300 years.

Some research places the haplogroup amongst the "Kohanim" or Cohen branch of Jews, which is the "priest" class. If this is the case for my family, this would obviously be very far back and probably not in recent times, though it would be very interesting nonetheless! My family has likely been Christian/Catholic for at least the last 300 years while in Puerto Rico. Since I haven't been able to trace them off the island yet, I am not sure what their history and religious practices were before arriving to Puerto Rico.

J-Z18271 Branch [GenoGenea]


Currently, I have one match from the entire database of FTDNA for my Correa Y-DNA111 test, and it's a genetic cousin who shares another line with me, so it was interesting seeing him match me on the Y-DNA level on another completely different line as well. As you can see the surname for his earliest ancestor is not "Correa", if not "Santiago". So somewhere along our lines there was a NPE, we're not sure who's line it comes from but we're thinking it might be his. Currently, this cousin is tested at Y-DNA37 so their haplogroup isn't as specific as mine. The genetic distance is 3 meaning that our relationship is further back in generations, but I'm not sure if this distance "closes" once they upgrade their Y-DNA test.

Y-DNA Match [FTDNA/Personal Photo]


I'm hoping that upgrading the test will give some more insight into whether it's more likely to be Arab or Jewish in origin. I have been in contact with some of the administrators of the FTDNA project I am a part of via my results in the J haplogroup. They are also interested to see what comes out of this result since I don't match many other people. This is very fascinating for me and definitely something I am learning along the way with. I'm not super well-versed in Y-DNA analysis so learning via my multiple accounts has been pretty helpful! Hoping my results come faster than I expect!




  1. Hey Luis. I've commented on your blog before. I want to say your research on your Puerto Rican family has taught me a a lot. I'm still a newbie to genealogy but i've learned soo much through your blog.

    I want to get your input on this, On 23andMe I match a female who is Puerto Rican on her mother's side on the 2nd and 16th chromosome here

    We both have Spanish & Portuguese on the beginning of the 16th chrome here on the same spot here

    and we also both have Native American on the 2nd chromosome in the spot here

    one person told me that the Native American segment is matching here

    I want ask you am I reading this right? does this mean we both have a spanish and native american ancestor in common? any help will be appreciated. - Cardell

  2. Hi Cardell, Based on the photos it would seem so, it's possible that it could be the same ancestor giving you Spanish and native DNA - if it's all matching the same family member for you. If you can compare it to someone else in your family or other cousins that share that spot in the DNA as well that would be helpful to confirm/triangulate that it's Spanish and native. DNAPainter is a good tool for that I've written about it on the blog before. Hope that helps!