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  • Request for new feature - Ethnicity Match Stats.

    Hi all

    I'd like to suggest a new feature for FTDNA that would be relatively easy to implement but quite useful. I call it Ethnicity Match Stats.

    This would be a feature that provides global ethnicity statistics on one's autosomnal family Finder matches. These would be overall statistics and would not identify particular matches. So for example if I show up as having 10% ashkenazi heritage on my autosomnal test and I have 10000 autosomnal matches in total of all kinds, I get some statistics about how many of my matches have some degree of ashkenazi heritage. This could also be done with other ethnicities. If it shows that 40% of my matches have some Jewish ethnicity then that suggests that my Ashkenazi result is more likely to be correct.

    The problem at present is that is people can opt out of showing their ethnicity to other people. And that is fine. But logically one way of confirming the likelyhood of having a particular ethnicity is to see how many of ones matches have the same ethnicity. FTDNA can still hide the individual's own ethnicity from someone looking at the person's details but providing overall statistics about a population of matches should not pose a privacy issue and would be of use to FTDNA subscribers.

    cheers Peter




  • #2
    I think the problem at present is not that people can opt out, but that ethnicity is a meaningless concept in terms of DNA. Here is an excerpt from my as-yet unreleased book, and I believe that it applies to "ethnicity" and autosomal DNA, although my application is to yDNA: "[DNA] cannot tell us certainly about the outward appearance of the sampler or ancestors, cultural practices, or the social milieu in which he functions or they functioned. [Any sampling] might result in a pattern associated statistically with, for example, a sampling of Native American samplers, or samplers found in Sub-Saharan Africa, without the sampler “knowing or showing.” On the other hand, [any sampler] might function within these cultural and/or social milieu without a trace of genetic evidence to statistical pools found there. [Genomic testing] might lend weight to such speculations or support a pre-sampling hypothesis based on outward appearance, but [DTC DNA ] by itself tells us nothing about any of those things" Dr. Mark G. Thomas has expressed his disdain for the interpretations of ethnicity predictions found among DTC DNA services, and I agree with him.

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    • #3
      Peter--You can get this type of information at MyHeritage, which accepts transfers. MH will tell you how many of your matches have a specific region in their estimate. MH also gives you a list of where your matches currently live, which is potentially more useful in my opinion. For example, I have more matches living in Norway and Sweden than in the US, so if I didn't have a clue where my ancestors came from, this information would definitely point me in the right direction.

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      • #4
        Thanks

        I already have a My Heritage account and have used that feature which is handy.

        However my problem is that I show up as 3% Sephardic Jewish in my results whilst My Heritage shows up none. Obviously they are using different population reference groups.

        If however I had the feature requested on FTDNA I could see what percentage of my matches had Sephardic ancestry and that might give me a clue as to whether my result was real or just noise.


        Thanks Peter

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        • #5
          Peter, we already discussed your MyOrigins and Family Finder match list in private messaging. I will remind you that with your documented British and Irish ancestries going back 5-8 generations and your fully Northern European autosomal profile according to MyHeritageDNA, it is highly unlikely that you have any genuine Sephardic Jewish DNA, as opposed to your having a small amount of Southern European-leaning DNA (probably mediated through Norman French and Roman people) that the MyOrigins calculator found superficially similar to Sephardic Jews, such that we should add your 3% Southern European together with your 3% "Sephardic" into the former classification.

          Some English people have learned about Sephardic and Ashkenazic ancestry they didn't know about but generally that relates to an assimilated great-grandparent at the furthest, and not from an intermarriage before the 20th century.

          Please don't spend more time looking for something that doesn't exist. You are talking too much about it, like an obsession. In your case, Sephardic is noise.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by khazaria View Post
            Peter, we already discussed your MyOrigins and Family Finder match list in private messaging. I will remind you that with your documented British and Irish ancestries going back 5-8 generations and your fully Northern European autosomal profile according to MyHeritageDNA, it is highly unlikely that you have any genuine Sephardic Jewish DNA, as opposed to your having a small amount of Southern European-leaning DNA (probably mediated through Norman French and Roman people) that the MyOrigins calculator found superficially similar to Sephardic Jews, such that we should add your 3% Southern European together with your 3% "Sephardic" into the former classification.

            Some English people have learned about Sephardic and Ashkenazic ancestry they didn't know about but generally that relates to an assimilated great-grandparent at the furthest, and not from an intermarriage before the 20th century.

            Please don't spend more time looking for something that doesn't exist. You are talking too much about it, like an obsession. In your case, Sephardic is noise.
            Thanks Khazaria

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