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DNA Match, but no shared ethnicities

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  • DNA Match, but no shared ethnicities

    Hi everyone. Perhaps silly question, but I would like some thoughts here.

    I understand that ethnicity estimator just estimating ethnicity.

    However, I have many matches, who do not share any ethnicity with me. In all cases those matches are 80% - 100% Ashkenazi with some other ethnicities (if any).

    Those matches can be separated in 3-4 clusters by sharing the same segment on the DNA with me.

    My own results are East Europe 94% and Southeast Europe 4%, trace results (Northeast Asia and Siberia).

    What does this mean? And if this means something why my ethnicity estimator does not show Ashkenazi?

    Would appreciate any thoughts!

    Thank you

  • #2
    From the "myOrigins Walkthrough" page in the FTDNA Learning Center,
    The Shared Origins tab allows you to compare the origins you share with Family Finder matches.
    From Roberta Estes' blog post, "Nine Autosomal Tools at Family Tree DNA," regarding MyOrigins Matching,
    Your matches (who have authorized this type of matching) will be displayed, showing only if they match you on your major world categories. Only your matching categories will show.
    If you have no Ashkenazi showing in your myOrigins ethnicity estimate, something is off because many of your Shared Origins matches show Ashkenazi. It sounds like your ethnicity estimate is incorrect in that way.

    Further, on the "Population Clusters" page in the Learning Center, for the Ashkenazi cluster it says
    The Ashkenazi cluster, who represent the majority of the world’s Jewish population, derived from countries that were located within Central and Eastern Europe. This population is now scattered across the world with the largest concentrations in Israel and the United States and represents a unique mix of Middle Eastern and European genetic elements, which crystallized within the last 2,000 years.
    Since you do have matches with Ashkenazi ancestry, look at your Family Finder match list (not all your matches will show up in the Shared Origins tab). If many of your matches have Ashkenazi ancestry, then you have some Ashkenazi in your ancestry. The ancestry of your matches is a better indicator of your own ancestry than the ethnicity estimates. What do you know of your ancestors? If they were indeed Eastern European, it seems that some of them were Ashkenazi.

    As for why your ethnicity estimate doesn't show Ashkenazi, sometimes the algorithm FTDNA uses for myOrigins can mistake one ethnicity for another. This happens sometimes with people from the Mediterranean who get a percentage assigned as Ashkenazi, instead of that percentage being assigned as Southern Europe. It's probably the same with Eastern Europe; some of your 94% should have been Ashkenazi.

    I would say you should contact FTDNA by submitting a Customer Support request, using the link at the top right of these pages, to see if they can help. But, if you do, keep in mind that there may be a delay in response, due to the current virus situation. Normally you'd receive a confirmation email fairly quickly, within about 1-2 days, then a reply from a service representative later. Explain what your issue is as you did here. You might want to choose "Family Finder Questions" from the drop menu in the form.

    Otherwise, you can just be patient, because FTDNA is going to release a new version of myOrigins in the near future (myOrigins 3.0). The release has been delayed due to COVID-19. Your estimate may be refined at that time.
    Last edited by KATM; 15th May 2020, 07:11 PM.


    • #3
      To me, this observation is an example of the large uncertainty that the current "admixture" algorithms have. It might be interesting to export your raw data to, say, MyHeritage (can that still be done without paying a fee?), to see what results another vendor's algorithm will give you. There are many conceptual as well as methodological issues that make "ethnic origins" a very complicated and messy problem. I know of some cases where the results were so at variance with the paper trail that they provided a useful clue for further genealogical research (e.g., someone with supposed entirely Irish origins, but "ethnic origins" report said Italian, and that led to the discovery of an unexpected parentage). However, most of the time the results seem to be far less useful for genealogy.