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Matches in Geographic Region

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  • Matches in Geographic Region

    My husband's Y-DNA 25 marker test matched closely (1- and 2- step) with several people whose ancestors were from the Podolia region of the Ukraine. We know for sure that his grandfather was from the Ukraine, probably Odessa (about 300 miles south of the towns in Podolia where the matches originated from), but we do not know his surname, as he changed it when he emigrated. My husband had 7 one- and two- step matches who gave a town and country of origin; of those 7, 4 were from Podolia (all different surnames). Looking at only the one-step matches who gave a town and country of origin, 3 out of 4 were from Podolia. I should add that my husband and all the matches are Ashkenazic Jews. I don't know if the samples in the data base are uniform throughout Russian Pale of settlement, but I have no reason to believe that the data base is heavily biased toward the Podolia region of the Ukraine.

    I realize that the assumptions made when looking for the probability of TMRCA are not set up to answer this question when the surnames are different, but how likely is it from these data that my husband's ancestors in a genealogical time frame were from the Podolia region of the Ukraine?

  • #2
    Contrary to popular belief, the TMCA tables do not presume that there is a common surname, i.e. there is no statistical adjustment for common surname. Walsh who develeped the tables, considered a set of tables only appropriate if there were a common surname, but he decided to stick with the more general tables. A surname limited set of tables would have shown less time to TMCAs.
    Check with the Ftdna folks, they may have information on the demographic breakdown of the sample.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Judy
      My husband's Y-DNA 25 marker test matched closely (1- and 2- step) with several people whose ancestors were from the Podolia region of the Ukraine. We know for sure that his grandfather was from the Ukraine, probably Odessa (about 300 miles south of the towns in Podolia where the matches originated from), but we do not know his surname, as he changed it when he emigrated. My husband had 7 one- and two- step matches who gave a town and country of origin; of those 7, 4 were from Podolia (all different surnames). Looking at only the one-step matches who gave a town and country of origin, 3 out of 4 were from Podolia. I should add that my husband and all the matches are Ashkenazic Jews. I don't know if the samples in the data base are uniform throughout Russian Pale of settlement, but I have no reason to believe that the data base is heavily biased toward the Podolia region of the Ukraine.

      I realize that the assumptions made when looking for the probability of TMRCA are not set up to answer this question when the surnames are different, but how likely is it from these data that my husband's ancestors in a genealogical time frame were from the Podolia region of the Ukraine?
      Given that the near matches are in the same Geographic region (and assuming of course that you're talking about the same haplogroup), I would say that there is a high probability that your husband could share a common ancestor with some of those matching haplotypes in a genealogical timeframe, even if surnames don't match.

      The reason I think so is because in our surname project we have several participants (with the same surname) who can trace their genealogy to a common ancestor within a timeframe of 400 - 500 years, and we have among ourselves exact matches as well as near matches of -1, -2 and even -3 genetic distance steps.

      It is recommended that you try to explore deeper those possibilities.

      Regards.

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      • #4
        Josh and Victor, thank you for your responses. I am already looking for clues in the Podolia region; I just wanted to make sure I am not going out on a ridiculous limb, making assumptions with no basis. It would be helpful if there were more of a paper trail, but without knowing the surname, I can't even begin the paper trail in the Ukraine. I was hoping that DNA testing could lead us to the surname. So far it hasn't, but at least it has lead us to a small geographic region that I had not considered before. Perhaps my husband's grandfather's family came to Podolia as agricultural colony settlers and then moved south to Odessa. And yes, my husband and all his near matches are in the same haplogroup, E3b.

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        • #5
          The nonmatching of surnames may be almost meaningless in your case, as in mine, because the surnames themselves can be so recent.

          Podolia was actually within the boundaries of the Polish-Lithuanian(-Belarusian-Ukrainian) republic until 1772:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podolia
          ---
          ...the Poles retained Podolia until the partitions of their country in 1772 and 1793, when the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria and Imperial Russia annexed the western and eastern parts respectively.
          ---

          In the Polish-Lithuanian republic, Jews were generally self-governing and often chose to use only patronymics or matronymics, but when successive parts of the republic fell to the Austro-Hungarian Empire near the end of the 18th century, Jews had to register a surname, typically a German one:

          http://www.jewfaq.org/jnames.htm
          ---
          One reason for the frequency of German names among Jews is related to a misunderstanding of a 1787 Austro-Hungarian law. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, which controlled a substantial part of Europe, was the first country in Europe that required Jews to register a permanent family surname. At the same time, they required Jews to register a German given name. The decree was widely misinterpreted as requiring a German surname, so the overwhelming majority of Jewish surnames created for that registration were German ones.
          ---

          The bottom line is that the Jewish surnames from Podolia that you are seeing may be as little as two centuries old.

          I myself descend from Polish serfs, whose surnames only stabilized when the Austro-Hungarian Empire finally abolished serfdom in 1848.

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          • #6
            "The nonmatching of surnames may be almost meaningless in your case, as in mine, because the surnames themselves can be so recent."

            I realize that. I was sort of hoping the MRCA lived in the last 200 years so we could discover what my husband's grandfather's surname was. He has upgraded to a 37 marker test, and if the matches still hold, we will be a little closer; maybe the matches would agree to do a 59 marker test. At least we know where to concentrate our continuing search for a paper trail.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Judy
              I realize that. I was sort of hoping the MRCA lived in the last 200 years so we could discover what my husband's grandfather's surname was. He has upgraded to a 37 marker test, and if the matches still hold, we will be a little closer; maybe the matches would agree to do a 59 marker test. At least we know where to concentrate our continuing search for a paper trail.
              I think you are on the right track in your thinking. A 24 marker match (with a single one-step mismatch) suggests that the probability of a MRCA within 200 years is pretty low (less than 20%).

              But if I were in your shoes I would definately concentrate my research in the indictated region unless I had contradictory evidence. If you can isolate a couple of towns, and can then identify common surnames from those towns, your search of passenger manifests (for instance) might not be such a needle-in-a-haystack effort.

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