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  • josh w.
    replied
    Originally posted by CuriousAdoptee View Post
    It seems very difficult to do traditional genealogical research for Ashkenazi, so it makes sense so many turn to DNA to find their ancestry.

    I've been planning to go to LDS Genealogical Library in Salt Lake once I got all of my DNA matches back from the 3 companies and then try to cross-reference all of my 3rd and 4th cousins' family trees. I'll have limited time there, so I wanted to zero in on specific lines that might be related to my birthfather. Doing research on any Jewish lines seems difficult.

    But what I'm wondering is are those Jewish matches showing up because my birthdad has Jewish ancestry or because there are so many people of Jewish ancestry on Family Tree DNA and they have German ancestry?

    There are very concentrated genes for those of Ashkenazi, but in the US there were German Catholic communities that remained very insular. My maternal grandmother is 100% German Catholic. Her ancestors arrived in the US in the early to mid 1800s but her parents (my great-grandparents) spoke German at home. Their obituaries were in German language newspapers despite having been in the US for 2 generations.

    I compared in the chromosome browser a 5+ cousin who I can trace back to a common ancestor who was a German Catholic in the US in the early 1800s and that person shares similar exact genes in the chromosome browser with people who's ancestors in the early 1900s were Jewish rabbi in Europe. I wonder how much the FTDNA algorithm is accurate with the 4/5th cousins when you have small communities of concentrated genetics.

    I must have 1000s of 2nd cousins since there are so many large Catholic families on my mom's side, but none of them are doing DNA testing so my closest matches are almost all Ashkenazi.

    So are those matches very biased toward being Jewish because of the volume of those of Jewish decent being test and it's just matching us because of the common German genes and trying to track down Ashkenazi family trees is a waste of time?

    If my birthfather was also a German Catholic or a German/Polish Catholic (which is reasonable considering where I was born), then would it just look like he has Jewish ancestry because of common German and Polish dna? My MyOrigins report shows 100% European ancestry, which makes it sort of strange that my 2nd and 4th closest matches show 2% and 4% European ancestry. Are there so few people who not Jewish using DNA testing that it's only picking up those common European genes?
    It might be impossible to get a definitive answer. FTDNA clearly has an over-representation of Ashkenazi members. (It also has an over-representation of people from northwest Europe- Ireland and Great Britain). Have you tried Gedmatch with Oracle. My guess is that you probably have some Jewish ancestry but it is just a guess. Gedmatch should show if you have high ranked matches with Jewish groups. Actually among Ashkenazis central Europe makes significantly less of a contribution than the European Mediterranean. Some Ashkenazi autosomal studies did not even find a central-east European component.
    Last edited by josh w.; 17 October 2014, 07:29 PM.

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  • CuriousAdoptee
    replied
    Originally posted by josh w. View Post
    With only 4th cousin Jewish matches, your father was probably not Jewish but may have had Jewish ancestry. The pattern you describe was typical---Ashkenazis migrated from country to country. Surnames also varied---surnames changed as Jews migrated from country to country and eastern European Jews usually did not adopt surnames until after 1800. I know of many instances where siblings and first cousins had different surnames.
    It seems very difficult to do traditional genealogical research for Ashkenazi, so it makes sense so many turn to DNA to find their ancestry.

    I've been planning to go to LDS Genealogical Library in Salt Lake once I got all of my DNA matches back from the 3 companies and then try to cross-reference all of my 3rd and 4th cousins' family trees. I'll have limited time there, so I wanted to zero in on specific lines that might be related to my birthfather. Doing research on any Jewish lines seems difficult.

    But what I'm wondering is are those Jewish matches showing up because my birthdad has Jewish ancestry or because there are so many people of Jewish ancestry on Family Tree DNA and they have German ancestry?

    There are very concentrated genes for those of Ashkenazi, but in the US there were German Catholic communities that remained very insular. My maternal grandmother is 100% German Catholic. Her ancestors arrived in the US in the early to mid 1800s but her parents (my great-grandparents) spoke German at home. Their obituaries were in German language newspapers despite having been in the US for 2 generations.

    I compared in the chromosome browser a 5+ cousin who I can trace back to a common ancestor who was a German Catholic in the US in the early 1800s and that person shares similar exact genes in the chromosome browser with people who's ancestors in the early 1900s were Jewish rabbi in Europe. I wonder how much the FTDNA algorithm is accurate with the 4/5th cousins when you have small communities of concentrated genetics.

    I must have 1000s of 2nd cousins since there are so many large Catholic families on my mom's side, but none of them are doing DNA testing so my closest matches are almost all Ashkenazi.

    So are those matches very biased toward being Jewish because of the volume of those of Jewish decent being test and it's just matching us because of the common German genes and trying to track down Ashkenazi family trees is a waste of time?

    If my birthfather was also a German Catholic or a German/Polish Catholic (which is reasonable considering where I was born), then would it just look like he has Jewish ancestry because of common German and Polish dna? My MyOrigins report shows 100% European ancestry, which makes it sort of strange that my 2nd and 4th closest matches show 2% and 4% European ancestry. Are there so few people who not Jewish using DNA testing that it's only picking up those common European genes?
    Last edited by CuriousAdoptee; 17 October 2014, 12:07 PM.

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  • josh w.
    replied
    Originally posted by CuriousAdoptee View Post
    I'm new to all of this and in a similar situation. The majority of my matches are also Jewish. I'm trying to figure out if that means my birthfather is Ashkenazi or just has Eastern European and/or Germany ancestry (which is highly likely since he was living in a city with a large German and Polish Catholic population).

    I'm adopted, and I am reunited with my birthmom who is of German Catholic decent. I have most of her family tree back to the 1700s for the German side of her family with many Catholic birth records from eastern Bavaria.

    My Jewish matches are all 4th cousins or greater, but there are many with longest block of more than 10cM and some over 20 cM. For those matches, I've been trying to put together family trees to find common ancestors but they seem to be all over Eastern Europe and I can't find any similarities.

    I saw on the 23 and Me blog that "we estimate that any two randomly chosen individuals who identify as Ashkenazi are on average the genomic equivalent of 4th-5th cousins, because they share many recent common ancestors." (Read more at http://blog.23andme.com/news/announc...IRW7DtahL10.99) So perhaps that could account for all of the matches that seem very random with no common surnames or locations?

    What would the best way of figuring out whether my birth father could have recent Ashkenazi ancestors or if these are false positives from my maternal relatives from Bavaria (other than having my maternal birth relatives tested. I'm still trying to convince them to do it)?
    With only 4th cousin Jewish matches, your father was probably not Jewish but may have had Jewish ancestry. The pattern you describe was typical---Ashkenazis migrated from country to country. Surnames also varied---surnames changed as Jews migrated from country to country and eastern European Jews usually did not adopt surnames until after 1800. I know of many instances where siblings and first cousins had different surnames.

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  • josh w.
    replied
    Originally posted by Nijuurasen View Post
    Interesting update regarding Sephardic populations in My Origins. No timeline for an MO update, I suppose. It needs one.

    Do most Sephardic jews show some % of JD or NA in the MO breakdown?
    There have been complaints from individuals of probable Sephardic origin that they do not come up as Jewish on MO. This is surprising because Atzmon et al found no difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazi autosomal patterns. To complicate matters, once Jews fled Spain they went to different 'host' countries from Turkey and Greece to Anusim in the Americas. Their current MO may vary dependent on the 'host' country. Note that 23&me also has problems identifying Sephardis.
    Last edited by josh w.; 16 October 2014, 10:09 AM.

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  • Nijuurasen
    replied
    Interesting update regarding Sephardic populations in My Origins. No timeline for an MO update, I suppose. It needs one.

    Do most Sephardic jews show some % of JD or NA in the MO breakdown?

    Originally posted by dna View Post
    I do not know much about that area of Europe. However, a piece from yesterday Q&A during the FTDNA conference might clarify that you are not looking into Sephardim:
    CeCe mentioned that there could be a problem of missing Sephardic Jew in the myOrigins database. What happens? A: It comes back as Middle Eastern. Next week, Razib will work with a new dataset that contains that population.
    Quote is from http://www.ancestorcentral.com/decen...tic-genealogy/

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  • CuriousAdoptee
    replied
    Originally posted by dna View Post
    Can you ask your birthmom to participate in FamilyFinder (while at it, try full mtDNA too) ?
    She has refused to give me any information about my birthfather, so probably not. I may be able to get another maternal relative to do it.

    If I can't, is there any way I can try to separate maternal and paternal relatives?

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  • dna
    replied
    Originally posted by CuriousAdoptee View Post
    [----] I am reunited with my birthmom [----]

    What would the best way of figuring out whether my birth father could have recent Ashkenazi ancestors or if these are false positives from my maternal relatives from Bavaria (other than having my maternal birth relatives tested. I'm still trying to convince them to do it)?
    Can you ask your birthmom to participate in FamilyFinder (while at it, try full mtDNA too) ?

    P.S. A funny side-note, over last weekend I was asked for some help in going through hundreds of FF matches. The person asking was 100% European in myOrigin, however one of their grandparents had a family name essentially designating a Levite, but the Roman Catholic paper trail for that grandparent was ending in the 18th century. I clicked on every single matching profile and there was no one who claimed anything Jewish or Middle Eastern... Clearly an event from 16th or 17th century, beyond Family Finder horizon.
    Last edited by dna; 16 October 2014, 12:02 AM.

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  • CuriousAdoptee
    replied
    I'm new to all of this and in a similar situation. The majority of my matches are also Jewish. I'm trying to figure out if that means my birthfather is Ashkenazi or just has Eastern European and/or Germany ancestry (which is highly likely since he was living in a city with a large German and Polish Catholic population).

    I'm adopted, and I am reunited with my birthmom who is of German Catholic decent. I have most of her family tree back to the 1700s for the German side of her family with many Catholic birth records from eastern Bavaria.

    My Jewish matches are all 4th cousins or greater, but there are many with longest block of more than 10cM and some over 20 cM. For those matches, I've been trying to put together family trees to find common ancestors but they seem to be all over Eastern Europe and I can't find any similarities.

    I saw on the 23 and Me blog that "we estimate that any two randomly chosen individuals who identify as Ashkenazi are on average the genomic equivalent of 4th-5th cousins, because they share many recent common ancestors." (Read more at http://blog.23andme.com/news/announc...IRW7DtahL10.99) So perhaps that could account for all of the matches that seem very random with no common surnames or locations?

    What would the best way of figuring out whether my birth father could have recent Ashkenazi ancestors or if these are false positives from my maternal relatives from Bavaria (other than having my maternal birth relatives tested. I'm still trying to convince them to do it)?

    Leave a comment:


  • josh w.
    replied
    Originally posted by Illumina View Post
    @dna I forgot to mention that my paternal grandmother has not only Ashkenazim as matches but also some Jews from Morocco.
    The Ashkenazi matches may simply be a result of IBS. There has been general separation between Ashkenazis and Sephardis---I am personally familiar with the separation in my synagogue growing up. However, there have been clear instances of Sephardis moving to eastern Europe--- a few of my FF matches have this history. Some Ashkenazi surnames (including rabbinical family lines) reflect Sephardic history, e.g. Charlap, Porges and Wolpe.
    Last edited by josh w.; 13 October 2014, 10:08 AM.

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  • dna
    replied
    Originally posted by Illumina View Post
    @dna I forgot to mention that my paternal grandmother has not only Ashkenazim as matches but also some Jews from Morocco.
    I do not know much about that area of Europe. However, a piece from yesterday Q&A during the FTDNA conference might clarify that you are not looking into Sephardim:
    CeCe mentioned that there could be a problem of missing Sephardic Jew in the myOrigins database. What happens? A: It comes back as Middle Eastern. Next week, Razib will work with a new dataset that contains that population.
    Quote is from http://www.ancestorcentral.com/decen...tic-genealogy/

    Leave a comment:


  • Illumina
    replied
    @dna I forgot to mention that my paternal grandmother has not only Ashkenazim as matches but also some Jews from Morocco.

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  • dna
    replied
    @Illumina

    You may want to review your hypothesis on two counts.

    Ashkenazim and Sephardim tended to keep separate, at least in Poland. Possibly until recently elsewhere too.

    You need to account for DNA pool of Ashkenazim living in Central Europe showing up in Portugal. I think your paternal grandmother matches are either a random IBS magnified by relatively large proportion of Ashkenazim among the testers or she truly had a great-grandparent who was Ashkenazim, and you just did not discover him or her (I would look into her non-Portuguese ancestors).

    Interesting, Longest Block over 20 cM. Very nice research ahead of you

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  • Illumina
    replied
    The funny thing is that probably I may have Jewish ancestors from both paternal and maternal sides.

    My paternal grandmother who is most of Portuguese descent and in a smaller proportion Spanish has also a significant number of Ashkenazi Jews as matches. Most of them with the longest block bigger than 20cM. Maybe it helps to confirm the theory that many Sephardim fled to Central and Eastern Europe by the time of the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisition.

    Thank you all for your insights. This exchange of knowledge and information has been making me learn a lot.

    Leave a comment:


  • josh w.
    replied
    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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  • lgmayka
    replied
    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.

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