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Family Finder sample groups, confusing results!

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  • Family Finder sample groups, confusing results!

    I recently had a Family Finder test done via my father, with a low expectation for being able to find any matches in the database, based on having come up empty with a Y (67 Marker) test a couple of years ago. I knew my chances were quite slim, as 6 of 8 great grandparents are Koorie (Aboriginal Australian). These lines are all very well documented, almost right back to first contact with Europeans. My father's European ancestry however is an almost complete mystery.

    Despite the lack of results however, I was more disappointed with our population finder results, as it would seem that there is minimal data from which to compare us to, thus my dad doesn't even show as being of Aboriginal ancestry, instead being aligned with a random selection of regional possibilities including Melanesian, Indian and Mozabite.

    I've read that the Middle Eastern portion can potentially come about when a person who has a diverse ancestry appears to correlate to the sort of diversity seen in the Middle East, where many people are "tri-racial", being of Jewish, African and Arabic backgrounds combined.

    Another element that has me curious is the European result, which offers Russian and Finnish as a higher percentage than what I'd account for on two great grandparents of European ancestry. It also contrasts somewhat against my dad's Y-dna results that give the European fellow on his direct paternal line as being R-L159.2.

    To say that I'm frustrated and a bit baffled, as well as being hopeful for a greater depth of results in the future, sooner rather than later, is the short of it.

    Any suggestions, ideas or observations would be appreciated!

  • #2
    Did you run gedmatch admixture tools?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by blackrabbit View Post
      I recently had a Family Finder test done via my father, with a low expectation for being able to find any matches in the database, based on having come up empty with a Y (67 Marker) test a couple of years ago. I knew my chances were quite slim, as 6 of 8 great grandparents are Koorie (Aboriginal Australian). These lines are all very well documented, almost right back to first contact with Europeans. My father's European ancestry however is an almost complete mystery.

      Despite the lack of results however, I was more disappointed with our population finder results, as it would seem that there is minimal data from which to compare us to, thus my dad doesn't even show as being of Aboriginal ancestry, instead being aligned with a random selection of regional possibilities including Melanesian, Indian and Mozabite.

      I've read that the Middle Eastern portion can potentially come about when a person who has a diverse ancestry appears to correlate to the sort of diversity seen in the Middle East, where many people are "tri-racial", being of Jewish, African and Arabic backgrounds combined.

      Another element that has me curious is the European result, which offers Russian and Finnish as a higher percentage than what I'd account for on two great grandparents of European ancestry. It also contrasts somewhat against my dad's Y-dna results that give the European fellow on his direct paternal line as being R-L159.2.

      To say that I'm frustrated and a bit baffled, as well as being hopeful for a greater depth of results in the future, sooner rather than later, is the short of it.

      Any suggestions, ideas or observations would be appreciated!
      I just got my FF results in as well. Where did you read about the Middle East being correlated with 'tri-racial admixture?' Are you saying that if it says one has Middle Eastern ancestry that this actually means something else? I ask because Middle East also shows up on my on Population Finder results (although I wasn't really surprised at this result).
      Best Regards

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      • #4
        Originally posted by blackrabbit View Post
        I've read that the Middle Eastern portion can potentially come about when a person who has a diverse ancestry appears to correlate to the sort of diversity seen in the Middle East, where many people are "tri-racial", being of Jewish, African and Arabic backgrounds combined.

        Another element that has me curious is the European result, which offers Russian and Finnish as a higher percentage than what I'd account for on two great grandparents of European ancestry. It also contrasts somewhat against my dad's Y-dna results that give the European fellow on his direct paternal line as being R-L159.2.
        If you google Population Finder + Middle East, you will find that there are suggestions that "Middle East" can mean about anything, especially if your own genetic background is not among the reference populations. Some people with Native American ancestry have reported the same as you do, with "Middle Eastern" ancestry instead of Native American, or, in your case, Aboriginal Australian.

        Regarding the "Russian, Finnish" results, I have come to believe that it represents more an eastern Nordic mixture, than necessarily Finnish or Russian, even if there may be traces of it far back. Just as it seems that an "Orcadian" result is more an indication of western/western Nordic mixture, in my experience.

        There are plans of making a "new" Population Finder, with more reference populations. Hopefully it will be soon.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Svein View Post
          If you google Population Finder + Middle East, you will find that there are suggestions that "Middle East" can mean about anything, especially if your own genetic background is not among the reference populations. Some people with Native American ancestry have reported the same as you do, with "Middle Eastern" ancestry instead of Native American, or, in your case, Aboriginal Australian.

          Regarding the "Russian, Finnish" results, I have come to believe that it represents more an eastern Nordic mixture, than necessarily Finnish or Russian, even if there may be traces of it far back. Just as it seems that an "Orcadian" result is more an indication of western/western Nordic mixture, in my experience.

          There are plans of making a "new" Population Finder, with more reference populations. Hopefully it will be soon.
          Thanks for the clarification as I had some of the same questions. I found an article that quoted Doug MacDonald, and that clarified some of the questions I had after reading the first post. He does say, however, that if one's percentage of Middle Eastern admixture approaches 15% or more, then one should consider the possibility of the Middle East component being "real and recent." He also states that it is an accurate characterization from a genetic standpoint, but that it is not as useful from a genealogical standpoint. I infer that he means that the Middle Eastern admixture is real, but that it occurred at some point in the too distant past to be relevant for genetic genealogists. This makes sense as there has historically been a lot of contact between the various peoples of Europe and those from the Middle East. He also seems to think it would be very unlikely that the program would confuse Middle East with say Native American. I found this article by using the search terms you suggested in your post. He concludes by stating:
          People often suggest that data on more populations will help with the “Mideast in Europe” problem. It would, but only for people who are of one, unadmixed, present-day European population. Otherwise it will just muddy the waters
          I conclude from this statement that the genetic categorization is based on a much broader time frame than that with which genetic genealogists ordinarily work and thus, is accurate in noting the Middle East admixture, but that such admixture is irrelevant in tracing this admixture to a recent ancestor.
          Last edited by ekc123; 1 January 2014, 05:40 PM. Reason: To add a quote

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ekc123 View Post
            I conclude from this statement that the genetic categorization is based on a much broader time frame than that with which genetic genealogists ordinarily work and thus, is accurate in noting the Middle East admixture, but that such admixture is irrelevant in tracing this admixture to a recent ancestor.
            I agree. See also question # 13 here: http://www.familytreedna.com/faq/ans...spx?id=22#1166

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