The Mennonite DNA Project


The information provided on this page is dedicated to a group of Mennonites known as the Low-German Mennonites. This is part of a larger Mennonite DNA Project with includes all Anabaptist groups of Dutch, German or Swiss descent. These include Amish, Hutterites, Old Order Mennonites and others. Anyone who belongs to the other groups and is interested in the DNA project should visit the Family Tree DNA Mennonite/Amish Project page.

Note that you must demonstrate that you have Low-German Mennonite ancestry in order to participate in this project.

The first phase of this project involves testing Y chromosome DNA, which is the DNA that is passed down from father to son. This is particularly useful since family names are also passed down from father to son. The second phase will also include mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed down from mother to child.

For more information on the Mennonite DNA project contact or .

Purpose of the Project

1. Establish how many progenitors (common ancestors) there were for the present day Mennonite population.

2. Determine the number of progenitors there were for each present day Mennonite family name.

3. Use DNA results to aid in making genealogical connections within families.

4. Use DNA results to aid in making genealogical connections between families.

5. Look at the "deep ancestry" of the Low-German Mennonites.

How You Can Participate

There are two routes through which one can have DNA tests done as part of the Mennonite DNA project.

1. Commercially through Family Tree DNA.

There is a fee for testing and the company will keep you informed throughout the process and help you understand the results. Your results will come out about 2 months after they receive your sample. In order to get genealogically useful information from Y-DNA one must order either the 37, 67 or 111 marker test. For mitochondrial DNA testing we suggest that you order either the mtDNAPlus test or the mtFullSequence test. The mtFullSequence test is significantly better, if you can afford it, since it looks at the entire mitochondrial DNA sequence rather than only a portion of it as is the case with the mtDNAPlus test. Autosomal DNA testing is also available using the Family Finder test. This test provides information similar to the 23andMe test (see below). Additional discounts are available if you place your order through the Mennonite DNA project. To order a DNA test through the Mennonite DNA project, click here: Order a sample kit.

2. Commercially through 23andMe.

23andMe is a company that offers a SNP panel test that tests 577,382 autosomal SNPs, 2,329 Y chromosome SNPs, 19,487 X chromosome SNPs, and 3,154 mtDNA SNPs. The primary genealogical benefit of doing this test is that it allows one to see how closely any two people are related to each other on any line of descent through analysis of the autosomal SNP results. One of their features, DNA Relatives, has been quite popular among genetic genealogists since it was released in October 2009. Additional analysis of the data from people with Mennonite ancestry is being placed at It would be helpful if you would share your 23andMe results with Tim Janzen so that the results can be included in the analysis of the 23andMe data from other people of Mennonite ancestry. This test currently costs $99 for one kit. Additional kits may be purchased for $79 each. Tim Janzen periodically coordinates group orders so that participants can get a discount on the test. If interested in participating in a group order, contact Tim Janzen.

The Results (as of 1 January 2017)

There are currently Y-DNA results available for 865 men of Low-German Mennonite descent. Deviations (usually from the average) are highlighted in yellow. The data for some multi-copy markers such as DYS 459, DYS 464 and CDY are not included in the spreadsheet and the cells are highlighted in brown if there are more results available for that marker than the standard number of copies. That data may be found on the project's website at Family Tree DNA if you are interested in reviewing it. The results for those who are descended from brothers are grouped together and the names of the brothers are highlighted in purple.

Y DNA Results

mtDNA Results

Explanations, Analyses and Discussions of the Results

Explanation of Y DNA Results by Tim Janzen

Explanation of mtDNA Results by Tim Janzen

Some useful links

The Mennonite Genealogy page

For those who want to learn more about DNA testing for genealogical purposes:

  • DNA (frequently asked questions):
  • International Society of Genetic Genealogists wiki.
  • DNA 101:

    Genealogical DNA forums:


    Page updated 20 January 2017; html by Richard D. Thiessen