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  • Ashkenazim as FF matches / Question

    I am of Polish descent on my mother's side.
    Me and my mother got our autosomal DNA tested by FTDNA and we have some matches who are Ashkenazim. Most of them descend from places where our Polish ancestors lived. But as far as we know we don't have any Jewish root.

    Recently, I decided to purchase a FF test for my mother's 1st cousin twice removed (my great-grandfather's cousin). Surprisingly, almost half of her matches are Ashkenazim.

    We have an extended family tree going far back until 1690 and all our ancestors were Polish and Roman Catholic. The results don't give us any % as of Jewish Diaspora descent. Our Ashkenazi matches share with us longest blocks no more than 20cM and I don't know if this value is really significant since they are known as a very endogamous group. On 23andMe I have a similar situation. I show up as 0,1% Ashkenazi Jewish (which means nothing) but I do have a lot of Ashkenazi matches.

    So, according to what I've mentioned above I have two questions.

    1- Are they false matches?

    2- Some studies prove that in general most Ashkenazim have a very admixed background (Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Central, Southern, North and Eastern European etc). The studies also suggest that the endogamous marriages in the Ashkenazi population is what really distinguished them from other populations genetically. So, if it's true why they just show up as Jewish Diaspora? Why their other components aren't displayed? If it was possible to see what's behind the label "Jewish Diaspora" maybe we could understand why some Ashkenazi Jews have non-Jews matches and vice versa. In this kind of situation as mine, most of the people would tend to think that they had some European Jewish roots. But, they hardly ever think about the opposite, which is also very possible.

  • #2
    I think it's likely that you have a distant ancestor who was a convert. The 0.1% on 23andMe is not necessarily meaningless and could indicate the same, although at that low a percentage it could be noise. My Origins is not as reliable and can be all over the map – overestimating AJ percentage as it does in my case and underestimating it grossly in some others among my matches.

    If they're over 10 cM, it's unlikely that they're false matches, especially if you're getting similar results on 23andMe.

    Of course, it's possible that your Ashkenazi matches have some non-Jewish admixture, but if you have a significant number who are fully AJ, chances are that it's the other way around.

    Originally posted by Illumina View Post
    I am of Polish descent on my mother's side.
    Me and my mother got our autosomal DNA tested by FTDNA and we have some matches who are Ashkenazim. Most of them descend from places where our Polish ancestors lived. But as far as we know we don't have any Jewish root.

    Recently, I decided to purchase a FF test for my mother's 1st cousin twice removed (my great-grandfather's cousin). Surprisingly, almost half of her matches are Ashkenazim.

    We have an extended family tree going far back until 1690 and all our ancestors were Polish and Roman Catholic. The results don't give us any % as of Jewish Diaspora descent. Our Ashkenazi matches share with us longest blocks no more than 20cM and I don't know if this value is really significant since they are known as a very endogamous group. On 23andMe I have a similar situation. I show up as 0,1% Ashkenazi Jewish (which means nothing) but I do have a lot of Ashkenazi matches.

    So, according to what I've mentioned above I have two questions.

    1- Are they false matches?

    2- Some studies prove that in general most Ashkenazim have a very admixed background (Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Central, Southern, North and Eastern European etc). The studies also suggest that the endogamous marriages in the Ashkenazi population is what really distinguished them from other populations genetically. So, if it's true why they just show up as Jewish Diaspora? Why their other components aren't displayed? If it was possible to see what's behind the label "Jewish Diaspora" maybe we could understand why some Ashkenazi Jews have non-Jews matches and vice versa. In this kind of situation as mine, most of the people would tend to think that they had some European Jewish roots. But, they hardly ever think about the opposite, which is also very possible.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by NYMark View Post
      I think it's likely that you have a distant ancestor who was a convert. The 0.1% on 23andMe is not necessarily meaningless and could indicate the same, although at that low a percentage it could be noise. My Origins is not as reliable and can be all over the map – overestimating AJ percentage as it does in my case and underestimating it grossly in some others among my matches.
      Anything under 2% is possible noise. 0.1% has a very high probability of being from noise.


      Originally posted by NYMark View Post
      If they're over 10 cM, it's unlikely that they're false matches, especially if you're getting similar results on 23andMe.
      The results from the ancient specimens matching living people that Felix has been posting is putting a big question mark on the 10 cM rule. http://www.y-str.org/p/ancient-dna.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Regarding the percentages, number of AJ matches is a way of validating whether it's noise or not. From following MiTuCents's thread on 23andMe, the best way to confirm it is to look at matches as well as the calculator. But I agree at very low levels, it's pretty speculative.

        So the question is how many AJ matches?

        Regarding the 10 cM rule, I guess it depends on what you mean by "false". I haven't read through all of the material you referenced, but from what I have read (including Roberta Estes's post), I don't see it as negating the idea that the OP has a remote Ashkenazi ancestor. It seems to support it, since as I understand the material, a small founding population/endogamy are implicated in the persistence of these segments.

        Originally posted by Armando View Post
        Anything under 2% is possible noise. 0.1% has a very high probability of being from noise.



        The results from the ancient specimens matching living people that Felix has been posting is putting a big question mark on the 10 cM rule. http://www.y-str.org/p/ancient-dna.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by NYMark View Post
          Regarding the percentages, number of AJ matches is a way of validating whether it's noise or not. From following MiTuCents's thread on 23andMe, the best way to confirm it is to look at matches as well as the calculator. But I agree at very low levels, it's pretty speculative.

          So the question is how many AJ matches?
          It's not pretty speculative at 0.1%. It is extremely speculative. Having matches with people that could have significant European ancestry doesn't prove anything especially regarding an amount of 0.1%.

          Originally posted by NYMark View Post
          Regarding the 10 cM rule, I guess it depends on what you mean by "false". I haven't read through all of the material you referenced, but from what I have read (including Roberta Estes's post), I don't see it as negating the idea that the OP has a remote Ashkenazi ancestor. It seems to support it, since as I understand the material, a small founding population/endogamy are implicated in the persistence of these segments.
          The 10 cM could come from Eastern European ancestors that the Ashkenazi are unaware of.

          Comment


          • #6
            A lot depends on the number of matches . . . but I still maintain that a remote AJ ancestor is the much likelier scenario, unless it's the number of matches is very small.

            Originally posted by Armando View Post
            It's not pretty speculative at 0.1%. It is extremely speculative. Having matches with people that could have significant European ancestry doesn't prove anything especially regarding an amount of 0.1%.


            The 10 cM could come from Eastern European ancestors that the Ashkenazi are unaware of.

            Comment


            • #7
              I note that the OP said "a lot" of Ashkenazi matches. Of course, it's academic, as the ancestor is almost surely untraceable.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Illumina View Post
                I am of Polish descent on my mother's side.
                Me and my mother got our autosomal DNA tested by FTDNA and we have some matches who are Ashkenazim. Most of them descend from places where our Polish ancestors lived. But as far as we know we don't have any Jewish root.

                Recently, I decided to purchase a FF test for my mother's 1st cousin twice removed (my great-grandfather's cousin). Surprisingly, almost half of her matches are Ashkenazim.

                We have an extended family tree going far back until 1690 and all our ancestors were Polish and Roman Catholic. The results don't give us any % as of Jewish Diaspora descent. Our Ashkenazi matches share with us longest blocks no more than 20cM and I don't know if this value is really significant since they are known as a very endogamous group. On 23andMe I have a similar situation. I show up as 0,1% Ashkenazi Jewish (which means nothing) but I do have a lot of Ashkenazi matches.

                So, according to what I've mentioned above I have two questions.

                1- Are they false matches?

                2- Some studies prove that in general most Ashkenazim have a very admixed background (Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Central, Southern, North and Eastern European etc). The studies also suggest that the endogamous marriages in the Ashkenazi population is what really distinguished them from other populations genetically. So, if it's true why they just show up as Jewish Diaspora? Why their other components aren't displayed? If it was possible to see what's behind the label "Jewish Diaspora" maybe we could understand why some Ashkenazi Jews have non-Jews matches and vice versa. In this kind of situation as mine, most of the people would tend to think that they had some European Jewish roots. But, they hardly ever think about the opposite, which is also very possible.
                If a person shows up as Jewish Diaspora, it does not at all mean that their ancestry is 100% from the Near East. Ashkenazis show a combination of European and Middle Eastern roots. The combination is roughly 50-50 although there is some variation in the percentages. Ashkenazi Diaspora means that there is a unique combination of European and Middle Eastern roots that distinguishes Ashkenazis from other groups. Approximately 25-30% of the roots (SNPs) are Mediterranean and about 15% are from central and eastern Europe. It is often difficult to distinguish Ashkenazis from southern Italians.

                In some cases, Jews in central and eastern Europe converted to Christianity in response to anti-Semitism. Their first act would be to hide all traces of Jewish ancestry. I agree with NY Mark that a number of matches is of significance.
                Last edited by josh w.; 10 October 2014, 08:22 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  @Illumina,
                  I'm in a similar situation as you. I am Eastern European on my father's side of the family. No known Jewish. When I first tested I discovered many matches to Jewish people.

                  Over at 23andme do you get this message in your Ancestry Overview? "It looks like you have some Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. You share DNA with some 23andMe customers that have reported full Jewish ancestry."

                  I only have 0.9% Ashkenazi in all three modes over there, and that is in my overview. My daughter gets up to a whole 1% in Speculative. She has all the same Jewish matches as me. And the part of the chromosome where we share with them is painted Ashkenazi. Anyway your matches are not false, they are probably from pretty far back though. It might prove hard to find paper trail. I have had no success with this as of yet, but I have it narrowed down to my direct paternal line. Best wishes on your search.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                    If a person shows up as Jewish Diaspora, it does not at all mean that their ancestry is 100% from the Near East. Ashkenazis show a combination of European and Middle Eastern roots. The combination is roughly 50-50 although there is some variation in the percentages. Ashkenazi Diaspora means that there is a unique combination of European and Middle Eastern roots that distinguishes Ashkenazis from other groups. Approximately 25-30% of the roots (SNPs) are Mediterranean and about 15% are from central and eastern Europe. It is often difficult to distinguish Ashkenazis from southern Italians.

                    In some cases, Jews in central and eastern Europe converted to Christianity in response to anti-Semitism. Their first act would be to hide all traces of Jewish ancestry. I agree with NY Mark that a number of matches is of significance.
                    P.S. If an Ashkenazi persons file is at Gedmatch, their Ashkenazi background can be 'deconstructed'. For example, Oracle will show what non Jewish groups they most resemble. Of course, only that person can see their own 'deconstructed' results.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                      P.S. If an Ashkenazi persons file is at Gedmatch, their Ashkenazi background can be 'deconstructed'. For example, Oracle will show what non Jewish groups they most resemble. Of course, only that person can see their own 'deconstructed' results.
                      In the same way, a Christian individual can check Oracle to see if they resemble any Jewish groups. This resemblance does automatically mean they have Jewish roots since some SNPs are simply shared by Jews and non Jews. For example in ancient Rome some Romans converted to Judaism and their blood relatives did not. Sometimes Oracle and My Origins do not agree--I tend to trust Oracle.
                      Last edited by josh w.; 10 October 2014, 09:01 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                        In the same way, a Christian individual can check Oracle to see if they resemble any Jewish groups. This resemblance does automatically mean they have Jewish roots since some SNPs are simply shared by Jews and non Jews. For example in ancient Rome some Romans converted to Judaism and their blood relatives did not. Sometimes Oracle and My Origins do not agree--I tend to trust Oracle.
                        I should have noted that the Roman type of pattern was limited to ancient Europe before the acceptance of Christianity. Since that time Jews have rarely sought converts. Since that time conversion from Judaism has been much more common.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          @Illumina

                          Look at this the other way, Ashkenazim have matches in Poland and elsewhere. And some of them are thinking why.

                          Back to your original question. It would be really surprising, if you did not have any such matches!

                          If you look up history of Central Europe (from Austria to Lithuania, from Holland to Slovakia) and population history of Ashkenazim, you will realize that although they were endogamous, they were not hermetic. Especially in the 16th century Poland, which at that time was incomparable in the freedoms it offered. Consequently quite a number of people who for four hundred years were considered Germans, Lithuanians, Poles etc. have Jewish roots. And to lesser extent, some Germans, Lithuanians, Poles etc. contributed to the genetic makeup of Ashkenazim. Lookup Jewish projects at FTDNA and see the variety of mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups present.

                          Additionally, Ashkenazim (I can direct you to my other posts) are more into genetic genealogy, than other populations. So the FF results are not your admixture percentages, that would be given by myOrigins. I realized that immediately soon after the Family Finder launch, when suddenly our first kit tested was seeing multiple matches to a single family we never heard about, living in place we were certain we had no connection to in the past 300+ years. Upon a closer examination, it turned out that everybody in their family tested . Today I would not have noticed that (too many matches), but 4 years ago you could fit your matches on a single page...

                          P.S. I disagree with josh w. on the topic of conversions to Judaism before the 20th century. And that was one of the reasons I mentioned Holland, since in the 17th century converts to Judaism often went to Holland that at that time was accepting them.
                          Last edited by dna; 10 October 2014, 09:58 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dna View Post
                            Especially in the 16th century Poland, which at that time was incomparable in the freedoms it offered. Consequently quite a number of people who for four hundred years were considered Germans, Lithuanians, Poles etc. have Jewish roots. And to lesser extent, some Germans, Lithuanians, Poles etc. contributed to the genetic makeup of Ashkenazim. Lookup Jewish projects at FTDNA and see the variety of mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups present.
                            Quite true. To be more specific:

                            1) "Catholic Poland smiled on proselytes from the Jewish world. The Lithuanian Statue cleared the way for converts to enter the class of the nobility. In practice, in the [Polish] Crown a Jew who was baptized would acquire noble status."

                            2) "Jacob Frank, who had then arrived in Lwów, encouraged his followers to take the decisive step. The baptism of the [heretofore Jewish] Frankists was celebrated with great solemnity in the churches of Lwów, with members of the Polish szlachta (nobility) acting as god-parents. The neophytes adopted the names of their godfathers and godmothers, and ultimately joined their ranks. Frank himself was baptized in Lwów (September 17, 1759) and again in Warsaw the next day, with Augustus III as his godfather. Frank's baptismal name was "Joseph" (Józef). In the course of one year more than 500 individuals were converted to Christianity at Lwów, and nearly a thousand in the following year. By 1790, 26,000 Jews were recorded baptised in Poland."

                            3) [from the book Shattered Faith: A Holocaust Legacy by acclaimed Holocaust author Leon Wells] "Middle-class [Jewish] businessmen and professionals had a more conspicuous standard of living than even well-to-do [Catholic] farmers, who saved every penny to buy additional property. The credo that we repeated three times a day--that any day Messiah will come and take all of us Jews to Palestine (now Israel)--reminded us not to invest too much in lives here in Galuth (diaspora). The farmers, who, even considering their low living standards, couldn't support an entire family, sent their daughters to town to become servants in the Jewish households. I never knew a Jewish girl to be a servant in a Polish household, but the reverse was the norm. The Gentile maid was referred to in negative terms as the 'shiksa' (Hebrew for 'a vermin like a cockroach'). There was a repertoire of jokes about these girls. For example, there was the joke about how Jewish mothers made sure that the servants were 'clean,' because their sons' first sexual experience was usually with this girl."
                            Last edited by lgmayka; 11 October 2014, 12:18 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dna View Post
                              Look at this the other way, Ashkenazim have matches in Poland and elsewhere. And some of them are thinking why.

                              Back to your original question. It would be really surprising, if you did not have any such matches!

                              If you look up history of Central Europe (from Austria to Lithuania, from Holland to Slovakia) and population history of Ashkenazim, you will realize that although they were endogamous, they were not hermetic. Especially in the 16th century Poland, which at that time was incomparable in the freedoms it offered. Consequently quite a number of people who for four hundred years were considered Germans, Lithuanians, Poles etc. have Jewish roots. And to lesser extent, some Germans, Lithuanians, Poles etc. contributed to the genetic makeup of Ashkenazim. Lookup Jewish projects at FTDNA and see the variety of mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups present.

                              Additionally, Ashkenazim (I can direct you to my other posts) are more into genetic genealogy, than other populations. So the FF results are not your admixture percentages, that would be given by myOrigins. I realized that immediately soon after the Family Finder launch, when suddenly our first kit tested was seeing multiple matches to a single family we never heard about, living in place we were certain we had no connection to in the past 300+ years. Upon a closer examination, it turned out that everybody in their family tested . Today I would not have noticed that (too many matches), but 4 years ago you could fit your matches on a single page...

                              P.S. I disagree with josh w. on the topic of conversions to Judaism before the 20th century. And that was one of the reasons I mentioned Holland, since in the 17th century converts to Judaism often went to Holland that at that time was accepting them.
                              I am not sure on how we disagree. On other threads I have noted that there were conversions to Judaism. For example, some wealthy Jews had their servants converted and sometimes poor Christian women married Jewish males of higher income. However as some of lgmayka's examples illustrate, the bulk of the conversions were from Judaism to Christianity. Conversions to Judaism have had no observable impact on the size of the Jewish population. Moreover, the public conversions to Christianity probably do not reflect the magnitude of all conversions, many of which took place under the radar.

                              I agree that the number of Jewish matches that one has is a questionable indicator. However, the first post on this thread pointed to a cousin where close to half the matches were Jewish. I don't see how this can be dismissed.
                              Last edited by josh w.; 11 October 2014, 10:16 AM.

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