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Help with Sephardic ancestor hunt

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  • Help with Sephardic ancestor hunt

    Hi everyone

    I did an autosomal test with Familytreedna and my heritage came back as 57% British Isles, 37% Scandinavian, 3% Southest Europe and 3% Sephardic Jew.

    I have researched my family tree back from 5-8 generations in various directions and all of my relatives hail from Great Britain and Ireland I could find no Continental European connections.

    I am keen nonetheless to try and find out whether I really had a Sephardic Jewish ancestor. Could this be wrong or is 3% a fairly reliable indicator?

    No I calculate that If one of my parents was wholly from a particular population then I would on average get 50% of my dna from them. So presumably either my mother or father had 6% Sephardic dna and a grandparent 12%, great grandparent 24%, great great grandparent 48% and finally great great great grandparent around 100%. We each have 32 great great great grandparents and I have traced back to 28 out of the 32.

    One of these had the surname Barber but I have not been able to trace back any further. This Barber came from Deopham in Norfolk England. Interestingly one of the sons had the a middle name of Caleb.

    My questions is - what techniques can I use to find my Sephardic ancestor if he or she exists? I have no obvious Jewish ancestors from my research. I have looked at various matched relatives, the closest being a second cousin. One has some sephardic dna but her brother doesn't so I doubt that that our common ancestor was of Sephardic descent. There are only a handful of matched relatives with Sephardic blood and they are so distant that I have been unable to find any common ancestors.

    Any help on techniques I can use to find my Sephardic ancestor would be appreciated.

    Thanks Peter

    Last edited by ffhound; 13th October 2018, 03:49 AM.

  • #2
    Your matches do indicate Sephardic ancestry. A major problem is that there is no good West Med Sephardic sample---only Greece and Turkey. Try uploading to Gedmatch. and My Heritage. The brother-sister pattern is not dispositive since they only have 50% dna in common.


    • #3

      I have already uploaded to both of these.

      familytree dna gives the following:

      British Isles 57%
      Scandinavia 37%
      Southeast Europe 3%
      Sephardic 3%

      Myheritage gives

      Irish Scottish and Welsh 88.6%
      Scandinavian 10.3%
      Finnish 1.1%

      and Gedmatch gives (Eurogenes 13)

      North Atlantic 47.68%
      Baltic 22.34%
      West Med 13.60%
      West Asian 6.43
      East Med 5.85
      Red Sea 1.09
      South Asian 1.27
      Siberian 1.27
      Amerindian 0.47

      JTest comes up as

      South Baltic 12.19
      East Euro 9.95
      North Cen European 25.89.
      Atlantic 27.76
      West Med 10.52
      Ashkenazi 3.81
      East Med 7.10
      West Asian 2.77

      Is there any way to know which line to follow up in my family ie father, mother, material grandfather etc?

      cheers Peter


      • #4
        Your Jewish ancestry goes way back. It is unlikely but have you tried Ydna and Mtdna.


        • #5
          Thanks Josh

          I haven't tried either of these and obviously there is a significant cost in doing so.

          If one does a Ydna or Mtdna test what kind of results does it give you? Does it match you to people with the same dna?

          cheers Peter


          • #6
            Peter, it is the only strategy I can think of. Both dna lines go back further than family history and autosomal dna. Lists of matches are presented. Start with the least expensive tests.