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  • Father's, Father,s, Mother's, Mother

    Hello, I have a picture of my Great, Great grandmother on my father's side sitting with her husband during the Civil War. Family legend has always called her a "dark Jew" but she appear to be of African decent. Does anyone know what test I would use to help verify her origin, if any? My other grandparents can be traced back to the British Isles area--English, Irish, Scottish---oh and Norwegian thanks,

  • #2
    FamilyFinder is your best bet.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by QUARTET View Post
      Hello, I have a picture of my Great, Great grandmother on my father's side sitting with her husband during the Civil War. Family legend has always called her a "dark Jew" but she appear to be of African decent. Does anyone know what test I would use to help verify her origin, if any? My other grandparents can be traced back to the British Isles area--English, Irish, Scottish---oh and Norwegian thanks,
      You might want to switch this question to the next heading DNA and Genealogy to get some more eyes on your interesting question ... And, perhaps also state if there is an (accessible) direct female line existing back to that G G Grandmother .
      Last edited by Mudgeeclarke; 18 October 2011, 01:31 PM.

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      • #4
        The relation could be so distant and the amount of dna you share with this ancestor is so little that the relevant tests (Family finder etc) might not find anything. As others were saying, if you found a descendant along the purely maternal line, you might check his/her mtdna to see if it's African.

        cacio

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        • #5
          Maybe she could've been a Sephardic Jew, Ethiopian Jew, or from one of the Jewish communities in India. Since she's on your paternal grandfather's maternal line, did your grandfather have any sisters? And did they have any children? If so, their mtDNA would be the from the maternal line you're interested in.

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          • #6
            Maternal line

            Thanks for the replies. I do know of a female cousin of my father's that would be a perfect candidate--so it would be her mother's, mother's, mother. What test would I use for that? This "dark Jew" came from Prussia in about 1810 and I have a poor picture of her holding my great Grandmother--her features appear to be African but I don't think there were any Africans in Prussia at that time.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by QUARTET View Post
              Thanks for the replies. I do know of a female cousin of my father's that would be a perfect candidate--so it would be her mother's, mother's, mother. What test would I use for that? This "dark Jew" came from Prussia in about 1810 and I have a poor picture of her holding my great Grandmother--her features appear to be African but I don't think there were any Africans in Prussia at that time.
              If you are reasonably sure that you can get a test done of a direct-line maternal link to the person in question, then for a start, the mtDNA testing would be worthwhile I think, and then you could follow up with Family Finder testing which would add information (to both male and female lines). But as purely a way to find ancestral/cultural/geographical information, the full sequence of mtDNA should allow you to get a lot of 'deep' information. As a caution (because I have personal experience about this) if you only 'think' it is a direct line backwards - daughter/mother/Gmother/GGmother/GGGmother etc - you will be setting yourself up for disappointment/wrong information. Hopefully, you have a 'paper trail' that gives you a reasonable certainty.

              Others here may have different and better ideas. I am a newbie.

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              • #8
                Newbie or not, you're absolutely right.

                Check documents as much as possible first. It's not uncommon for there to be a blended family where the first wife dies and the husband remarries, often to a widow who also brings her children to the new family. Unless you are careful you may have autosomal matching to a line but only through one parent, and may be testing the wrong mtDNA. Good paper trail research will make it much easier to discover discrepancies when genetic testing reveals them.

                Originally posted by Mudgeeclarke View Post
                If you are reasonably sure that you can get a test done of a direct-line maternal link to the person in question, then for a start, the mtDNA testing would be worthwhile I think, and then you could follow up with Family Finder testing which would add information (to both male and female lines). But as purely a way to find ancestral/cultural/geographical information, the full sequence of mtDNA should allow you to get a lot of 'deep' information. As a caution (because I have personal experience about this) if you only 'think' it is a direct line backwards - daughter/mother/Gmother/GGmother/GGGmother etc - you will be setting yourself up for disappointment/wrong information. Hopefully, you have a 'paper trail' that gives you a reasonable certainty.

                Others here may have different and better ideas. I am a newbie.

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                • #9
                  I've been e-mailing my dads cousin and she is willing to do a test. That would be a direct maternal link to the woman in question (back 4 generations). Do you think the mtDNA test for her would be the correct test to figure out if my G,G,GM was black or jewish.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by QUARTET View Post
                    I've been e-mailing my dads cousin and she is willing to do a test. That would be a direct maternal link to the woman in question (back 4 generations). Do you think the mtDNA test for her would be the correct test to figure out if my G,G,GM was black or jewish.
                    It seems like you have some nice options, with a cousin agreeable who has a direct maternal link. 'Family Finder' (autosomal) testing, as you will read here at the FAQs, tests the broadest spectrum (Y, mt, and X) and will give you genetic/ethnic percentages from regions or continents. If you check out the FTDNA FF page "Results include" you will get the idea. FF is not exclusively designed to tick a box for ethnic origin, but will help you. (Again, you can only really prove 'tribe' by paper, although FF can lead you to 'cousins' who have the paper.)

                    mtDNA will provide matrilineal descent information - mtDNA Haplogroup, and clues to ancestral origins, migrations, maps etc. Because you have a direct descendant to test, you will have an excellent idea of the deeper ancestry, but not necessarily a tight fix on four generations back.

                    On the balance, if only trying one test, I think I'd go for FF - given that I think you will have more data available to use for extracting an answer for you. And you may come up with a cousin in the bigger tree who will communicate with you, and have your answer on paper as well.

                    Let's see what others think, though. I am absolutely a beginner. My 'two cents' is only worth about one cent.
                    Last edited by Mudgeeclarke; 20 October 2011, 10:30 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by QUARTET View Post
                      I've been e-mailing my dads cousin and she is willing to do a test. That would be a direct maternal link to the woman in question (back 4 generations). Do you think the mtDNA test for her would be the correct test to figure out if my G,G,GM was black or jewish.
                      The MTDNA test will tell you if that direct maternal ancestor's mother line originated out African, Middle Eastern, Western Europe, American Indian, Asian ect. This haplogroup is thousands of years old. It will not tell you if your ancestor was Jewish since that is a religion. One could turn up Middle Eastern on DNA and be practicing any religion, Jewish, Muslim, Christian ect.. I have found many Germans with Middle Eastern haplogroups that were Christian in the early colonial American settlers of the US.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yaffa View Post
                        ... I have found many Germans with Middle Eastern haplogroups that were Christian in the early colonial American settlers of the US.
                        Agreed. 'Ditto' for me, just inserting Australian in lieu of American.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mudgeeclarke View Post
                          Agreed. 'Ditto' for me, just inserting Australian in lieu of American.
                          I was surprised to find that many Germans in general with Middle Eastern Haplogroups of J and G on MT and Y DNA. Then again I think when they tested Hitlers family his family haplogroup was North African which fits in the general area of Middle Eastern/North Africa.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by QUARTET View Post
                            I've been e-mailing my dads cousin and she is willing to do a test. That would be a direct maternal link to the woman in question (back 4 generations). Do you think the mtDNA test for her would be the correct test to figure out if my G,G,GM was black or jewish.
                            Possibly. An mtDNA haplogroup of L would suggest she had African ancestry. There are also specific sub-clades of other haplogroups found predominantly among people with Jewish ancestry. But the results won't necessarily be that clear-cut, since mtDNA only follows the direct maternal line. Our phenotype (physical attributes) comes from all our ancestral lines. As others have suggested, the FF would give you more information on all the lines. Ideally, you'd have her oldest living descendant take the FF, as her DNA contribution essentially halves each generation.
                            Last edited by nathanm; 20 October 2011, 11:28 AM. Reason: speling

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                            • #15
                              A resonable option would be Family Finder and a basic mtDNA test (HVR1). This is nowhere near as conclusive as a full mtDNA genomic sequencing, but even a top-level haplogroup of L as opposed to H, K, or V would suggest African origins.

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