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  • Jewish Ancestry Help

    I have been told that my great, great grandmother (my moms, moms side) immigrated to the US from Germany when my great grandmother was a baby. After immigrating they changed their names, which I am finding is rather common. All my family are very confident that my great, great grandmother was "german jew" and because of that I would be considered Jewish by the religion. I did an ancestry DNA test and it showed no "european jewish" but after doing more research (I still am VERY new to DNA research) I found that the mtDNA test and family finder would be more helpful and I just sent back my test yesterday (so I have a long wait!). I am wondering if anyone can offer me any guidance on using the results I already have to find any more information or if anyone can tell me what exactly I would be looking for when my results from FTDNA come back??

    Thanks!

    I have also uploaded my raw DNA data to Promethease and GEDMatch but I am not really sure how to understand the results?

    Adding my ancestry results below and my GED Match kit # is A884352 if anyone has time to look!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Originally posted by ANEJI View Post
    I have been told that my great, great grandmother (my moms, moms side) immigrated to the US from Germany when my great grandmother was a baby. After immigrating they changed their names, which I am finding is rather common. All my family are very confident that my great, great grandmother was "german jew" and because of that I would be considered Jewish by the religion. I did an ancestry DNA test and it showed no "european jewish" but after doing more research (I still am VERY new to DNA research) I found that the mtDNA test and family finder would be more helpful and I just sent back my test yesterday (so I have a long wait!). I am wondering if anyone can offer me any guidance on using the results I already have to find any more information or if anyone can tell me what exactly I would be looking for when my results from FTDNA come back??

    Thanks!

    I have also uploaded my raw DNA data to Promethease and GEDMatch but I am not really sure how to understand the results?

    Adding my ancestry results below and my GED Match kit # is A884352 if anyone has time to look!
    Others who are knowledgeable about Jewish ancestry results in genetic genealogy (josh w or Khazaria) probably should comment, but I did run your GEDmatch data through the Eurogenes Jtest for admixture. This was supposedly designed to measure Ashkenazi ancestry, but tends to be misleading. Anyone with northern European ancestry will get 3-5% Ashkenazi in this test and those with Sicilian/southern Italian ancestry will get 5-10% Ashkenazi. However, this doesn't indicate any recent Ashkenazi ancestry, according to the person who developed the calculator. According to him, only those with 25% Ashkenazi in this test actually have significant Jewish ancestry.

    With that in mind, here are your results from Jtest, including the 4 population estimates:

    Jtest Oracle population reference data revised 06 Nov 2012.

    Admix Results (sorted):

    # Population Percent
    1 ATLANTIC 26.84
    2 NORTH-CENTRAL_EURO 26.42
    3 SOUTH_BALTIC 10.57
    4 WEST_MED 10.45
    5 EAST_EURO 9.30
    6 WEST_ASIAN 6.64
    7 ASHKENAZI 5.96
    8 EAST_MED 2.50
    9 SOUTH_ASIAN 1.32


    Finished reading population data. 78 populations found.
    14 components mode.

    --------------------------------

    Least-squares method.

    Using 1 population approximation:
    1 Cornish @ 5.660026
    2 English @ 5.842535
    3 Orcadian @ 6.404851
    4 NL @ 6.450021
    5 IE @ 6.719534
    6 West_&_Central_German @ 7.118438
    7 Scottish @ 7.656596
    8 DK @ 9.123025
    9 NO @ 11.249701
    10 FR @ 11.418868
    11 South_&_Central_Swedish @ 12.183915
    12 AT @ 14.041508
    13 North_Swedish @ 16.052652
    14 PT @ 19.242542
    15 ES @ 19.544552
    16 HU @ 20.066322
    17 Serbian @ 22.122608
    18 North_Italian @ 23.204779
    19 South_Finnish @ 24.969591
    20 RO @ 25.027924

    Using 2 populations approximation:
    1 50% Cornish +50% English @ 5.384826


    Using 3 populations approximation:
    1 50% English +25% FR +25% Scottish @ 5.052252


    Using 4 populations approximation:
    1 English + FR + IE + Orcadian @ 4.968740
    2 English + FR + IE + IE @ 4.987737
    3 English + FR + IE + Scottish @ 4.994597
    4 English + FR + Orcadian + Scottish @ 4.995115
    5 English + FR + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 4.998044
    6 FR + IE + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.045694
    7 English + English + FR + Scottish @ 5.052252
    8 FR + IE + NL + Scottish @ 5.065589
    9 FR + NL + Orcadian + Scottish @ 5.077241
    10 FR + Orcadian + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.082193
    11 English + English + FR + IE @ 5.083273
    12 FR + IE + IE + West_&_Central_German @ 5.088346
    13 English + FR + Scottish + Scottish @ 5.096066
    14 FR + Scottish + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.097277
    15 FR + IE + NL + Orcadian @ 5.097620
    16 FR + IE + IE + NL @ 5.104807
    17 FR + IE + Orcadian + West_&_Central_German @ 5.105615
    18 FR + Orcadian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 5.106703
    19 FR + NL + Scottish + Scottish @ 5.120231
    20 English + FR + NL + Scottish @ 5.124104

    Note that your Ashkenazi percentage is 5.96%, which is at the high end for those with northern European ancestry, but nowhere near a level that would give a good indication of Jewish ancestry. Also, more telling, your 3 and 4 population estimates are firmly (actually solely) northern European. (Does this correspond to your paper trail genealogy - probably British Isles and Germany?) In the 4 population estimates, not one of the top 20 estimates includes a Jewish category.

    From this, it looks to me like you don't have Jewish ancestry. However, when you get your results from FTDNA, look for any percentage in myOrigins for Jewish Diaspora. If there are none, then I think that makes it clear that you don't have Jewish ancestry, at least enough that's been inherited in your DNA to show up in your results.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
      Others who are knowledgeable about Jewish ancestry results in genetic genealogy (josh w or Khazaria) probably should comment, but I did run your GEDmatch data through the Eurogenes Jtest for admixture. This was supposedly designed to measure Ashkenazi ancestry, but tends to be misleading. Anyone with northern European ancestry will get 3-5% Ashkenazi in this test and those with Sicilian/southern Italian ancestry will get 5-10% Ashkenazi. However, this doesn't indicate any recent Ashkenazi ancestry, according to the person who developed the calculator. According to him, only those with 25% Ashkenazi in this test actually have significant Jewish ancestry.

      With that in mind, here are your results from Jtest, including the 4 population estimates:

      Jtest Oracle population reference data revised 06 Nov 2012.

      Admix Results (sorted):

      # Population Percent
      1 ATLANTIC 26.84
      2 NORTH-CENTRAL_EURO 26.42
      3 SOUTH_BALTIC 10.57
      4 WEST_MED 10.45
      5 EAST_EURO 9.30
      6 WEST_ASIAN 6.64
      7 ASHKENAZI 5.96
      8 EAST_MED 2.50
      9 SOUTH_ASIAN 1.32


      Finished reading population data. 78 populations found.
      14 components mode.

      --------------------------------

      Least-squares method.

      Using 1 population approximation:
      1 Cornish @ 5.660026
      2 English @ 5.842535
      3 Orcadian @ 6.404851
      4 NL @ 6.450021
      5 IE @ 6.719534
      6 West_&_Central_German @ 7.118438
      7 Scottish @ 7.656596
      8 DK @ 9.123025
      9 NO @ 11.249701
      10 FR @ 11.418868
      11 South_&_Central_Swedish @ 12.183915
      12 AT @ 14.041508
      13 North_Swedish @ 16.052652
      14 PT @ 19.242542
      15 ES @ 19.544552
      16 HU @ 20.066322
      17 Serbian @ 22.122608
      18 North_Italian @ 23.204779
      19 South_Finnish @ 24.969591
      20 RO @ 25.027924

      Using 2 populations approximation:
      1 50% Cornish +50% English @ 5.384826


      Using 3 populations approximation:
      1 50% English +25% FR +25% Scottish @ 5.052252


      Using 4 populations approximation:
      1 English + FR + IE + Orcadian @ 4.968740
      2 English + FR + IE + IE @ 4.987737
      3 English + FR + IE + Scottish @ 4.994597
      4 English + FR + Orcadian + Scottish @ 4.995115
      5 English + FR + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 4.998044
      6 FR + IE + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.045694
      7 English + English + FR + Scottish @ 5.052252
      8 FR + IE + NL + Scottish @ 5.065589
      9 FR + NL + Orcadian + Scottish @ 5.077241
      10 FR + Orcadian + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.082193
      11 English + English + FR + IE @ 5.083273
      12 FR + IE + IE + West_&_Central_German @ 5.088346
      13 English + FR + Scottish + Scottish @ 5.096066
      14 FR + Scottish + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.097277
      15 FR + IE + NL + Orcadian @ 5.097620
      16 FR + IE + IE + NL @ 5.104807
      17 FR + IE + Orcadian + West_&_Central_German @ 5.105615
      18 FR + Orcadian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 5.106703
      19 FR + NL + Scottish + Scottish @ 5.120231
      20 English + FR + NL + Scottish @ 5.124104

      Note that your Ashkenazi percentage is 5.96%, which is at the high end for those with northern European ancestry, but nowhere near a level that would give a good indication of Jewish ancestry. Also, more telling, your 3 and 4 population estimates are firmly (actually solely) northern European. (Does this correspond to your paper trail genealogy - probably British Isles and Germany?) In the 4 population estimates, not one of the top 20 estimates includes a Jewish category.

      From this, it looks to me like you don't have Jewish ancestry. However, when you get your results from FTDNA, look for any percentage in myOrigins for Jewish Diaspora. If there are none, then I think that makes it clear that you don't have Jewish ancestry, at least enough that's been inherited in your DNA to show up in your results.

      The situation is ambiguous. At 6% on the J test may well indicate non Jewish ancestry, but very distant Jewish ancestry cannot be ruled out. However, Jewish ancestry does not appear at Gedmatch Oracles, so your great grandmother was probably not Jewish----can't tell about further back. For you or your grandmother to be Jewish, your mother's would have to be of the Jewish faith (not just ancestry)
      Last edited by josh w.; 2 September 2016, 10:33 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
        Others who are knowledgeable about Jewish ancestry results in genetic genealogy (josh w or Khazaria) probably should comment, but I did run your GEDmatch data through the Eurogenes Jtest for admixture. This was supposedly designed to measure Ashkenazi ancestry, but tends to be misleading. Anyone with northern European ancestry will get 3-5% Ashkenazi in this test and those with Sicilian/southern Italian ancestry will get 5-10% Ashkenazi. However, this doesn't indicate any recent Ashkenazi ancestry, according to the person who developed the calculator. According to him, only those with 25% Ashkenazi in this test actually have significant Jewish ancestry.

        With that in mind, here are your results from Jtest, including the 4 population estimates:

        Jtest Oracle population reference data revised 06 Nov 2012.

        Admix Results (sorted):

        # Population Percent
        1 ATLANTIC 26.84
        2 NORTH-CENTRAL_EURO 26.42
        3 SOUTH_BALTIC 10.57
        4 WEST_MED 10.45
        5 EAST_EURO 9.30
        6 WEST_ASIAN 6.64
        7 ASHKENAZI 5.96
        8 EAST_MED 2.50
        9 SOUTH_ASIAN 1.32


        Finished reading population data. 78 populations found.
        14 components mode.

        --------------------------------

        Least-squares method.

        Using 1 population approximation:
        1 Cornish @ 5.660026
        2 English @ 5.842535
        3 Orcadian @ 6.404851
        4 NL @ 6.450021
        5 IE @ 6.719534
        6 West_&_Central_German @ 7.118438
        7 Scottish @ 7.656596
        8 DK @ 9.123025
        9 NO @ 11.249701
        10 FR @ 11.418868
        11 South_&_Central_Swedish @ 12.183915
        12 AT @ 14.041508
        13 North_Swedish @ 16.052652
        14 PT @ 19.242542
        15 ES @ 19.544552
        16 HU @ 20.066322
        17 Serbian @ 22.122608
        18 North_Italian @ 23.204779
        19 South_Finnish @ 24.969591
        20 RO @ 25.027924

        Using 2 populations approximation:
        1 50% Cornish +50% English @ 5.384826


        Using 3 populations approximation:
        1 50% English +25% FR +25% Scottish @ 5.052252


        Using 4 populations approximation:
        1 English + FR + IE + Orcadian @ 4.968740
        2 English + FR + IE + IE @ 4.987737
        3 English + FR + IE + Scottish @ 4.994597
        4 English + FR + Orcadian + Scottish @ 4.995115
        5 English + FR + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 4.998044
        6 FR + IE + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.045694
        7 English + English + FR + Scottish @ 5.052252
        8 FR + IE + NL + Scottish @ 5.065589
        9 FR + NL + Orcadian + Scottish @ 5.077241
        10 FR + Orcadian + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.082193
        11 English + English + FR + IE @ 5.083273
        12 FR + IE + IE + West_&_Central_German @ 5.088346
        13 English + FR + Scottish + Scottish @ 5.096066
        14 FR + Scottish + Scottish + West_&_Central_German @ 5.097277
        15 FR + IE + NL + Orcadian @ 5.097620
        16 FR + IE + IE + NL @ 5.104807
        17 FR + IE + Orcadian + West_&_Central_German @ 5.105615
        18 FR + Orcadian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 5.106703
        19 FR + NL + Scottish + Scottish @ 5.120231
        20 English + FR + NL + Scottish @ 5.124104

        Note that your Ashkenazi percentage is 5.96%, which is at the high end for those with northern European ancestry, but nowhere near a level that would give a good indication of Jewish ancestry. Also, more telling, your 3 and 4 population estimates are firmly (actually solely) northern European. (Does this correspond to your paper trail genealogy - probably British Isles and Germany?) In the 4 population estimates, not one of the top 20 estimates includes a Jewish category.

        From this, it looks to me like you don't have Jewish ancestry. However, when you get your results from FTDNA, look for any percentage in myOrigins for Jewish Diaspora. If there are none, then I think that makes it clear that you don't have Jewish ancestry, at least enough that's been inherited in your DNA to show up in your results.

        The situation is ambiguous. At 6% on the J test may well indicate non Jewish ancestry, but very distant Jewish ancestry cannot be ruled out. However, Jewish ancestry does not appear at Gedmatch Oracles, so your line was probably not Jewish, especially with the low East Med percentage. For you to be Jewish, your mother would have to be of the Jewish faith
        Last edited by josh w.; 2 September 2016, 10:39 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          We were told by an orthodox rabbi that if anywhere on my maternal line there is jewish ancestry I would be considered jewish and so would my children and wouldn't need to convert to Judaism? He said my mothers, mother, mother, mother etc

          Comment


          • #6
            Your 0 percent European Jewish affinity in AncestryDNA definitely rules out having a 2nd grandparent who was fully Ashkenazic by ethnicity since every full Ashkenazi scores in the 90th percentile for that element. But in history, and today, there have been small numbers of ethnic Germans of the Jewish faith.

            Comment


            • #7
              So would it be very unlikely for me to have a haplogroup that is common among jewish people?

              I've asked my grandmother several times and she is so confident that they were "german jew" if it was my great grandmother 3x out would that makes a difference? My great, great, great grandmother? My mothers great great grandmother?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ANEJI View Post
                So would it be very unlikely for me to have a haplogroup that is common among jewish people?

                I've asked my grandmother several times and she is so confident that they were "german jew" if it was my great grandmother 3x out would that makes a difference? My great, great, great grandmother? My mothers great great grandmother?
                An autosomal test would probably be more accurate in indicating what you're trying to find out than an mtDNA haplogroup. Although there are mtDNA haplogroups that occur at high frequencies among Jewish people, it may be that any Jewish ancestry in this ancestor's lineage is not in the strict maternal line and the mtDNA haplogroup wouldn't be one considered Jewish.

                Based on statistical averages, you received about 3% of your DNA from this ggg-grandmother and your mother received about 6%. These are only averages, so it's possible to receive more or less than those averages. It's possible that you didn't inherit much DNA from this ancestor through several generations of recombination and you have less than the average 3%, maybe below 1%. If that's the case, it's possible that she had Jewish ancestry, but you just didn't inherit enough of her Jewish DNA for a test to detect.

                Here are your choices:

                1. Test other relatives with AncestryDNA or Family Finder (or both tests). The best relatives to test would be from the oldest living generation of those who descend from your ggg-grandparent. If your mother or any of her siblings are alive and willing to test they would be better than any of your siblings or maternal side cousins. That's because those in your mother's generation theoretically have about twice as much DNA from your ggg-grandmother than relatives from your generation. Then you can see if any relatives who test get any detectable amount of Jewish ancestry.

                2. Order the mtDNA test for yourself. If your ggg-grandmother came from a Jewish maternal line, you may find that you have what's regarded as a mainly Jewish mtDNA haplogroup. Of course, if your maternal line has an mtDNA haplogroup that can be either Jewish or non-Jewish, that doesn't answer your question.

                3. Do both 1 and 2, although I think that 1 would offer the chance for a better indication (or not) of Jewish ancestry.

                The only other thing I would add is that it seems you're strongly committed to believing the family story. It may or may not be true and it's possible that DNA testing will not give a definitive answer to your questions about this ggg-grandmother. If you don't think you can disbelieve this family story, maybe just keep believing it and forget about spending money through DNA testing to prove it. Here's one of my favorite sayings about genetic genealogy, which may apply in your case: "If you may not like the answer to a question, then it's probably better to stop asking the question."

                Comment


                • #9
                  My mom ordered the mtDNA test too!

                  I'm truly not really invested in either scenario. I actually bought the original Ancestry test because my father passed away in June, he was adopted and I had no information about his birth parents and was looking into that.....it was after those results came back and I was talking to my grandmother about them that she mentioned the jewish ancestry....before that I had never heard anything about it.....although I am not super close to my grandmother (she's always lived in another state) and have never asked about anything.

                  A cousin of my grandmother did a lot of genealogy "research" and said there is definitely jewish ancestry on my grandmothers maternal line. I am not really sure what I'm doing so I was mainly wondering if I am just not understanding or if they are wrong (which could definitely be the case!).

                  I'm excited to get my results back either way! I've enjoyed looking into everything!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ANEJI View Post
                    My mom ordered the mtDNA test too!

                    I'm truly not really invested in either scenario. I actually bought the original Ancestry test because my father passed away in June, he was adopted and I had no information about his birth parents and was looking into that.....it was after those results came back and I was talking to my grandmother about them that she mentioned the jewish ancestry....before that I had never heard anything about it.....although I am not super close to my grandmother (she's always lived in another state) and have never asked about anything.

                    A cousin of my grandmother did a lot of genealogy "research" and said there is definitely jewish ancestry on my grandmothers maternal line. I am not really sure what I'm doing so I was mainly wondering if I am just not understanding or if they are wrong (which could definitely be the case!).

                    I'm excited to get my results back either way! I've enjoyed looking into everything!
                    If your maternal grandmother is still alive and is willing to test, she would be the one to test. Your gg-grandmother is her grandmother and roughly 25% of your grandmother's DNA came from her grandmother. An AncestryDNA or Family Finder test on your grandmother would be definitive in establishing if your gg-grandmother had Jewish ancestry. There's no way, if she did have Jewish ancestry, that your grandmother would have no Jewish ancestry show up in the ethnic/geographic estimates of the AncestryDNA or Family Finder test.

                    The only problem would be if your grandmother's results showed no Jewish ancestry. That would pretty much disprove a family story that she seems very attached to and would probably be very shocking and stressful to her. Of course, if you and your mother have an mtDNA haplogroup that's recognized as overwhelmingly indicating Ashkenazi ancestry, then you have your answer without your grandmother testing,

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I now realize that my math was wrong in an earlier post. I had written that the OP received about 3% of her DNA from the gg-grandmother in question and the OP's mother had received about 6% from that same ancestor.

                      That should be that the OP received about 6% of her DNA from her gg-grandmother and the OP's mother received about 12% from the same ancestor. So, now it seems less likely that, given the OP's results from AncestryDNA and GEDmatch, the OP's gg-grandmother had Jewish ancestry.

                      But she can still use more testing, as I discussed above, to see if my opinion is wrong.
                      Last edited by MMaddi; 2 September 2016, 04:36 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks so much for all the help! I'll keep you all posted on the test updates when I get them! I hope it doesn't take the full 8 weeks, I'm excited to see what they show

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ANEJI View Post
                          We were told by an orthodox rabbi that if anywhere on my maternal line there is jewish ancestry I would be considered jewish and so would my children and wouldn't need to convert to Judaism? He said my mothers, mother, mother, mother etc
                          I am not that informed, but I have heard statements contrary to the rabbi's view.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                            I am not that informed, but I have heard statements contrary to the rabbi's view.
                            Turns out that the issue is quite complicated. The original Mishnah was limited to mothers. Modern interpretation is divided. Some require a Jewish mother but others accept a Jewish maternal line. The old story about asking two Jews to resolve an issue and getting three opinions.
                            Last edited by josh w.; 3 September 2016, 11:36 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The best option to determine Jewish ancestry is looking through your match list. How many matches do you have? How many are Jewish? Do you match several Jewish people on a single Chromosome, or segment?

                              Comment

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