In August, I finally took the plunge and had my DNA tested. At the same time, I decided to volunteer to administer a Velten surname project on Family Tree DNA (FTDNA.com). What convinced me to try DNA testing was the increasing number of queries I was getting about possible relationships after my web site was published. Velten is a saint’s name, the Germanic form of Valentine, and occurs throughout Western Europe, in various phonetic spellings. There was migration around Europe and a lot of emigration to the United States and elsewhere. The Velten surname variants are not extremely common, but are not rare either. A search on just Castle Garden shows arrival records for 89 Velten, 5 Velton, 153 Felten, and 67 Felton immigrants (a total of 314). That’s a lot of people to keep track of.
I have done the paper trail for my own family (my ancestor, Michael, and nine of his cousins who immigrated to the US) and published it on my web site. I know of other Velten immigrants and, in some cases, their place of origin. But to sort out the rest, particularly the ones without a paper trail, a DNA approach seemed the best solution. Now I am trying to recruit and convince likely candidates to spend the money and join the project.
So far, the results are quite divergent. At the time of writing this, the project has haplogroups J2, R1b and R1a, which are not even closely related. My own R1b haplogroup is one of the most common haplogroups, equivalent to “Western Europe”. Duh! The J2 is interesting, being a Sephardic haplogroup that spread along the Mediterranean shore. R1a is Eastern Europe. Hopefully, as I recruit additional members, we will find some connections. Meanwhile I am having fun exploring the depths of my U106 subclades, which seems to suggest my ancestors may have come from Belgium or the Netherlands after the Thirty Years War.