Ancient Family History

I subscribe to a Facebook group named “Haplogroup J2b and Subclades.” It’s for people interested in genetic genealogy, especially for those with the genetic designation ‘Haplogroup J2,’ its ‘subclade ‘J2b,’ and other subdivisions of each. My paternal genetic haplotype is J2b2. (Father’s father’s father, etc, ad infinitum).

One of the members posted an article with maps which took me on a journey, imagining the movements and locations of my paternal ancestors from 9000 tears ago until today. Allow me to take you along with me. (I cropped the original maps to show only areas where haplogroup J2 occurred, historically.)

J2 Ancient Tribe (Paternal side) 7000BC

Around 9,000 years ago

The Ice Age had ended and European hunter-gatherers had migrated from their warmer refuges to recolonize the continent. Note that the Black Sea did not then connect to the Mediterranean Sea, so there was an unbroken connection between what is now Asia Minor (Anatolia) and Europe. Peoples with Haplogroup J2 occupied, roughly, what is now the Southern Caucasus, Persia (Iran), Turkey, Greece, Crete, Cyprus, and a narrow band of land bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, including what is now the Sinai Peninsula.

J2 Ancient Tribe (Paternal side) 2000BC

Around 4,000 years ago

In the intervening millennia, agriculture had developed in the Levant and then spread through southern, central and eastern Europe by Neolithic farmers belonging mainly to Y-haplogroups such as J2.  In the Middle East and Anatolia advanced civilizations began to emerge.

The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in central Anatolia. The group was documented at least as early as the empire of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2300 BC), until it was gradually absorbed c. 2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites, who became identified with the “land of Hatti”. The oldest name for central Anatolia, “Land of the Hatti”, was found on Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets from the period of Sargon the Great of Akkad c. 2350–2150 BC. The Hattians were organised in city-states and small kingdoms or principalities. These cities were well organized and ruled as theocratic principalities. Hattian religion traces back to the Stone Age. It involved worship of the earth, which is personified as a mother goddess; the Hattians honored the mother goddess to ensure their crops and their own well-being. (Source).

Mother Goddess, figurine, ca. 5750 BC; Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara


Mother Goddess, figurine, ca. 5750 BC; Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

The Minoan civilization arose on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands and flourished from approximately 3650 to 1400 BCE. It belongs to a period of Greek history preceding both the Mycenaean civilization and Ancient Greece.

The term “Minoan” refers to the mythic King Minos who was associated in Greek myth with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, identified with Knossos, the ancient Cretan capital city. The poet Homer recorded a tradition that Crete once had 90 cities. As traders and artists, the Minoan cultural influence reached far beyond the island of Crete—throughout the Cyclades, to Egypt’s Old Kingdom, to copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coasts beyond, and to Anatolia. (Source).


J2 Ancient Tribe (Paternal side) 117AD

Around 2,000 years ago

This represents the Roman Empire as it reached its greatest territorial extent around the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 2000 years ago.  People with Haplogroup J2 populated parts of many Mediterranean lands and into the Middle East beyond Anatolia: Spain, Italy, (what is now) Tunisia, Sicily, Southern France, Greece, Thrace (Bulgaria), Romania, Crete, Cyprus, Assyria (geographically present-day Syria, but a separate ethnic group from Syrians), Persia.

J2 Ancient Tribe (Paternal side) 1227AD

Around 800 years ago

Medieval Europe was dominated by the Holy Roman Empire – a loose union of small kingdoms with Germany at its heart (and an attempt to resurrect the former glory of the Roman Empire in the west) – and the Byzantine Empire, the continuation of the Roman Empire in the east.

By this time people with Haplogroup J2 populated parts of (what are now) Corsica, Albania, Greece, Thrace, Crete, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Anatolia, Georgia—and eastward into the Southern Caucasus and beyond into Asia proper. Genetic studies have further refined the J2 haplogroup into sub-types, including J2b, which is that of my paternal great-grandfather, Konstantin Pavellas. J2b is found in Albania, the Peloponnesus of Greece, Thrace (Bulgaria) and Romania (along the Black Sea coast). There is reason to believe that Konstantin had Greek ancestors who migrated to Romania, adopted the Slavic name ‘Pavel’ and changed it to ‘Pavellas’ after at least one branch of the family returned to Greece, probably in the early 1800s, around the time that the Greeks threw off the yoke of the Ottoman Empire.

K Pavellas, Wife, Alex

Konstantinos Pavellas, a Greek Orthodox Priest, Theofonia Pavellas, née Smirtis, Alexander K. Pavellas, my grandfather—taken around 1880

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey.

Ronald Alexander Pavellas, Paternal Haplogroup J2b2.

About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate American living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles, memoirs, and creative writing.
This entry was posted in Demography, Geography, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ancient Family History

  1. Siya says:

    May I ask a question how many variations of haplogroup J2 are there the lemba people in Southern Africa have it as well as well


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