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Problems understanding my results

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  • Problems understanding my results

    I did the maternal lineages test, but I still have problems how to interpret the results.

    I want to find out more about my maternal side of the family, especially about the Jewish ancestry.

    Can anyone help me understand my results?

  • #2
    We can try, if you let us know a bit more.

    First: mtdna is not about the whole maternal side, only about the line of your mother's mother's ... mother's mother - and it can follow that line all the way back to the stone age, all the way to the first humans in Africa.

    Have you done mtdna-Full test or only mtdna-Plus?

    Which haplogroup?
    Some people know more about specific haplogroup, and some mtdna-branches have their own projects, and you can join the project that is best for you.

    You have probably heard that some mtdna lines are very common in Jewish population, and almost absent in other populations.
    • If you belong to one of those lines, you are probably a descendant of the original Jewish population a few thousands years ago.
    • If your line is something from a very different part of the world, a woman in that line must have joined Jewish community later. (I am assuming that your mother's side is Jewish, belonging to the community.)
    • Some lines exist in both Jewish and non-Jewish populations.
    With more info, other members of the forum will probably join this conversation, too.


    • #3
      Chayim, Roberta Estes has recently written a 4 part series of blog posts about mtDNA testing and how to use the results. They may help you. See:As Emona mentioned, posting your haplogroup may help others to provide more information.

      There are a number of pages in the FTDNA Learning Center on topics about Jewish ancestry.

      Your Jewish ancestry may be on your maternal side, but may possibly not go back through your direct maternal line, as Emona described. Perhaps your mother's father was Jewish, but not her mother, or some other break in the direct maternal path. In that case, you may want to do an autosomal test, if you haven't already. "Family Finder" is the autosomal test at Family Tree DNA. If someone on your maternal side (your mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins) also does the Family Finder test, and you put up a tree in your account, you can link that person to their place in your tree. Your match list will then be sorted into maternal matches. See the pages for the Family Tree Matching System and the Family Tree Matching Tool in the Learning Center.


      • #4
        Thank you both for replying!

        I'm sorry I took so long to write back.

        Yes I've done the mtDNA Full Sequence test. I have Ashkenazi matches and some Sephardic matches on my matrilineal line.

        I think I have Sephardic ancestry on the line of my maternal grandfather too.

        My Haplogroup is X2b10. I know that X2b is very high in Druze from Israel and Lebanon, but it happens to be common in different Jewish populations too from what I've seen and some studies.

        Also thanks for the great links!

        On 23andMe I did the autosomal test and uploaded the raw data here, so I have the Family Finder.
        I see that people on this forum often say how much German, Irish, Italian or Ashkenazi matches they have? How do they see this? I can't sort my matches by ethnicity, ancestry or countries or anything.

        I'm very used to 23andMe and I'm really confused by FTDNA. It's a great site and I love it, but the structure and layout confuses me a lot. I'm not sure how to work with my results. Or how to connect with relatives.

        Unfortunately I don't have a family tree of my matrilineal line.


        • #5
          I was interested in my family's Native history, and was basing my research on DNA as well as family history and anthropological papers concerning haplogroups of Native people.
          You might research haplogroups of Jewish people, then overlay that with what you know about your family; you might even be surprised if there's a contradiction. Some ethnic groups can be represented by more than one haplogroup, especially with a history of being dispersed and marginalized.


          • #6
            I appreciated reading that others are confused, as in my genealogy research quest, I’ve found FTDNA confusing. When I received my mtDNA results, I wondered about adjusting the settings (due to the sheer paucity of matches, a situation I had never before encountered).

            Customer service confirmed that they believed the site is functioning properly. Yet I only have three-four matches with my matrilineal DNA which also match my haplogroup. mtDNA was quite pricey, yet I have so many questions about that line.

            Specifically, when I check my mtDNA origins, a result comes up in tabular format. It includes the following details:

            Country: Italy
            Match Total: 1
            Country Total: 2270
            Percentage: <o.1%

            My mother’s mother’s line was from Italy. So this is correct, as well as my haplogroup which is consistent across all genealogy sites which test mtDNA. But please, how do I decipher the other results to arrive at the detailed information I was seeking.

            Could a settings adjustment resolve this?

            Thank you!
            Last edited by Syllivie; 15th December 2019, 11:26 AM.


            • #7
              The only setting that you might check is in your Account Settings > Privacy and Sharing. See if, under Matching Preferences, your setting for "mtDNA Match Levels" is set to "All Levels." If it's not, that might explain why you don't see many matches. Did you take the mtDNAPlus test, or the mtDNAFullSequence test (which tests the whole mitochondria: HVR1, HVR2, and Coding Regions)?

              What type of detailed information were you seeking? mtDNA results do not include a breakdown of ethnic origins for an individual, as Family Finder's myOrigins does (if that is what you were seeking). What is your haplogroup at FTDNA? Was it from the mtDNAFullSequence test?

              The mtDNA Ancestral Origins page is explained in the FTDNA Learning Center, and found under the myFTDNA User Guide menu item. There are explanations for the column headings, which includes for the "Country" column (my underlining):
              Country: this is the maternal country of origin as reported by the individual customer.
              For the "Percentage" column, it says
              This is the percentage from the country of origin compared to the total number from that country in the database, i.e., the Match Total column divided by the Country Total column.
              I would also recommend that you look in the Learning Center to see if there is information that can answer your questions, both in the above-mentioned myFTDNA User Guide (for mtDNA Pages), and the Experts Handbook (for mtDNA Testing). Also check the Beginner's Guide for mtDNA (Maternal Lineage) Tests.

              Roberta Estes has a 5 part series about mtDNA at her site (among others on the topic), which may be helpful:
              Mitochondrial DNA: Part 1 – Overview
              Mitochondrial DNA: Part 2 – What Do Those Numbers Mean?
              Mitochondrial DNA: Part 3 – Haplogroups Unraveled
              Mitochondrial DNA: Part 4 – Techniques for Doubling Your Useful Matches
              Your Mitochondrial DNA Journey – Free New Video at Family Tree DNA