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MyOrigins and my own paperwork make sense but Family Finder matches are strange?

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  • MyOrigins and my own paperwork make sense but Family Finder matches are strange?

    Hi guys,

    I just got my kit back on April 10th.

    My myOrigins breakdown is as follows:

    European-78%
    Southern European 50%
    Scandinavia 20%
    Western and Central Europe 8%

    Middle Eastern-22%
    Eastern Middle East 12%
    Asia Minor 10%

    African
    West African 1%

    This breakdown matches pretty well with the paper trail I have for my mom's side. My mom's family are fairly recent immigrants from Italy and I have paperwork for them for a few hundred years, all from Southern Italy. From what I've read, it's common for Southern Italians to have Middle Eastern admixture, so the Southern European and Middle Eastern makes sense for her. Although the Southern European/Middle Eastern combination adds up to 72% suggesting some Southern European ancestry on my dad's side.

    I'm estranged from my dad so I don't know as much about his ancestry. I think his family has been in America for a long time, so they identify as American, but he has a very English last name and his mom's maiden name seems Irish or possibly German. My mom told me that he always said his ancestors were English and Scotch-Irish (Ulster Scots). I've heard many people from the British Isles have high percentages of Scandinavian admixture on myOrigins so that makes sense I guess, but the 0% British Isles or Ireland is pretty strange.

    Based on my own paper trail and the unexpectedly high Southern European/Middle Eastern myOrigins results, I would expect a high number of Italian or Southern European matches matches for my mom's side along with some British Isles/Ireland/Westen European matches for my dad's.

    Instead I have about 480 matches, about half which have almost comically English names (nothing wrong with English names but they seem like made up English names in American cartoons.) The other half are from and still living in Puerto Rico. A lot of the matches from Puerto Rico are my closest related matches and as far as I know no one on either side of my family has ever settled in Puerto Rico. It seems strange that I would have no knowledge of any Puerto Rican family considering that they are my closest matches (albeit only 2nd-4th cousins). I don't see any English or Italian surnames listed in their known surnames either. I also only have about 3 matches with some Italian ancestry and they're all under speculative relatives.

    The English names make sense I guess, but such a large number of matches from Puerto Rico is baffling to me. 3/480 speculative matches with Italian ancestry also seems unusually low considering my paperwork and especially my admixture results.

    Does anyone else have a similar experience? Does this just mean that no one in my mom's extended family has taken the test and that someone, somewhere down the line migrated to Puerto Rico?

  • #2
    Originally posted by NickDT View Post
    Hi guys,

    I just got my kit back on April 10th.

    My myOrigins breakdown is as follows:

    European-78%
    Southern European 50%
    Scandinavia 20%
    Western and Central Europe 8%

    Middle Eastern-22%
    Eastern Middle East 12%
    Asia Minor 10%

    African
    West African 1%

    This breakdown matches pretty well with the paper trail I have for my mom's side. My mom's family are fairly recent immigrants from Italy and I have paperwork for them for a few hundred years, all from Southern Italy. From what I've read, it's common for Southern Italians to have Middle Eastern admixture, so the Southern European and Middle Eastern makes sense for her. Although the Southern European/Middle Eastern combination adds up to 72% suggesting some Southern European ancestry on my dad's side.

    I'm estranged from my dad so I don't know as much about his ancestry. I think his family has been in America for a long time, so they identify as American, but he has a very English last name and his mom's maiden name seems Irish or possibly German. My mom told me that he always said his ancestors were English and Scotch-Irish (Ulster Scots). I've heard many people from the British Isles have high percentages of Scandinavian admixture on myOrigins so that makes sense I guess, but the 0% British Isles or Ireland is pretty strange.

    Based on my own paper trail and the unexpectedly high Southern European/Middle Eastern myOrigins results, I would expect a high number of Italian or Southern European matches matches for my mom's side along with some British Isles/Ireland/Westen European matches for my dad's.

    Instead I have about 480 matches, about half which have almost comically English names (nothing wrong with English names but they seem like made up English names in American cartoons.) The other half are from and still living in Puerto Rico. A lot of the matches from Puerto Rico are my closest related matches and as far as I know no one on either side of my family has ever settled in Puerto Rico. It seems strange that I would have no knowledge of any Puerto Rican family considering that they are my closest matches (albeit only 2nd-4th cousins). I don't see any English or Italian surnames listed in their known surnames either. I also only have about 3 matches with some Italian ancestry and they're all under speculative relatives.

    The English names make sense I guess, but such a large number of matches from Puerto Rico is baffling to me. 3/480 speculative matches with Italian ancestry also seems unusually low considering my paperwork and especially my admixture results.

    Does anyone else have a similar experience? Does this just mean that no one in my mom's extended family has taken the test and that someone, somewhere down the line migrated to Puerto Rico?
    Looks like you share common ancestry with the Puerto Rican matches.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rican_people#White

    Although most of the European settlers to Puerto Rico were Spaniards.

    Other sources of European populations are Corsicans, French, Italians, Portuguese (especially Azoreans), Greeks, Germans, Irish, Scots, Maltese, Dutch, English, Danes, and Jews.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by NickDT View Post
      I've heard many people from the British Isles have high percentages of Scandinavian admixture on myOrigins so that makes sense I guess, but the 0% British Isles or Ireland is pretty strange.
      It's not strange at all for FTDNA. I have many documented, confirmed British branches in my tree AND I have a 55% Great Britain DNA result with AncestryDNA - but ZERO British Isles results with FTDNA. My conclusion is that FTDNA's British Isles population cluster is heavily Celtic and not very Anglo-Saxon or Viking. That means the results are actually consistent with AncestryDNA results, which only give a tiny trace amount of <1% Ireland and AncestryDNA's category for Ireland is basically "Celtic". But yes, it is VERY misleading and when it come's to ethnicity, I don't really recommend FTDNA because of it. In my experience, 23andMe has the best ethnicity break downs.

      Based on my own paper trail and the unexpectedly high Southern European/Middle Eastern myOrigins results, I would expect a high number of Italian or Southern European matches matches for my mom's side along with some British Isles/Ireland/Westen European matches for my dad's.

      Instead I have about 480 matches, about half which have almost comically English names (nothing wrong with English names but they seem like made up English names in American cartoons.)
      You can't go by how the name sounds. Many immigrants Anglicized their names to sound less ethnic, more English.

      The other half are from and still living in Puerto Rico. A lot of the matches from Puerto Rico are my closest related matches and as far as I know no one on either side of my family has ever settled in Puerto Rico. It seems strange that I would have no knowledge of any Puerto Rican family considering that they are my closest matches (albeit only 2nd-4th cousins).
      That is certainly interesting but given that you don't know much about your dad's side, it's not hugely shocking.

      I don't see any English or Italian surnames listed in their known surnames either. I also only have about 3 matches with some Italian ancestry and they're all under speculative relatives.
      In general, the more recently an ancestor arrived in America, the fewer matches you will have with someone who is descended with that ancestor. While FTDNA does ship internationally, the majority of testers are American. The more recently an immigrant arrived here, the fewer descendants they will have and therefore the fewer will have tested - if at all.

      Does this just mean that no one in my mom's extended family has taken the test and that someone, somewhere down the line migrated to Puerto Rico?
      Probably.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NickDT View Post
        Hi guys,

        I just got my kit back on April 10th.

        My myOrigins breakdown is as follows:

        European-78%
        Southern European 50%
        Scandinavia 20%
        Western and Central Europe 8%

        Middle Eastern-22%
        Eastern Middle East 12%
        Asia Minor 10%

        African
        West African 1%

        This breakdown matches pretty well with the paper trail I have for my mom's side. My mom's family are fairly recent immigrants from Italy and I have paperwork for them for a few hundred years, all from Southern Italy. From what I've read, it's common for Southern Italians to have Middle Eastern admixture, so the Southern European and Middle Eastern makes sense for her. Although the Southern European/Middle Eastern combination adds up to 72% suggesting some Southern European ancestry on my dad's side.
        Yes, you're correct that, with 72% combined Southern European and Middle Eastern in MyOrigins and a mother who is totally southern Italian, it implies that your father has some Southern European ancestry too. It seems that your father is roughly half Southern European in ancestry.

        While admixture analysis is not an exact science, admixture programs like MyOrigins can easily tell the difference between Northern European and Southern European DNA. I think you need to seriously consider that your father is probably half Southern European of some sort.

        Originally posted by NickDT View Post
        Based on my own paper trail and the unexpectedly high Southern European/Middle Eastern myOrigins results, I would expect a high number of Italian or Southern European matches matches for my mom's side along with some British Isles/Ireland/Westen European matches for my dad's.

        Instead I have about 480 matches, about half which have almost comically English names (nothing wrong with English names but they seem like made up English names in American cartoons.) The other half are from and still living in Puerto Rico. A lot of the matches from Puerto Rico are my closest related matches and as far as I know no one on either side of my family has ever settled in Puerto Rico. It seems strange that I would have no knowledge of any Puerto Rican family considering that they are my closest matches (albeit only 2nd-4th cousins). I don't see any English or Italian surnames listed in their known surnames either. I also only have about 3 matches with some Italian ancestry and they're all under speculative relatives.
        Although you got half your DNA from your mother, she belongs to a relatively underrepresented ethnicity in genetic genealogy databases - Italian. Most Italian-Americans have recent immigrant ancestors, usually arriving in the U.S. after about 1890. So, they have not had anywhere near the same amount of time to "spread their DNA" throughout the American population as northern Europeans, especially British, have had. Colonial Americans of 300 or more years ago were British, with some German and French.

        So, although half your DNA is Italian, you should expect to have far less matches in the database from your mother's side. Just consider this. My ancestry is 100% Sicilian/southern Italian and the earliest arrival in the U.S. of any of my immigrant ancestors was 1890. I have a grand total of 51 Family Finder matches.


        Originally posted by NickDT View Post
        The English names make sense I guess, but such a large number of matches from Puerto Rico is baffling to me. 3/480 speculative matches with Italian ancestry also seems unusually low considering my paperwork and especially my admixture results.

        Does anyone else have a similar experience? Does this just mean that no one in my mom's extended family has taken the test and that someone, somewhere down the line migrated to Puerto Rico?
        I think it's more likely that the roughly half Southern European ancestry that MyOrigins seems to be saying your father has is Spanish. That would fit with getting all those Puerto Rican matches.

        Looking at your full MyOrigins percentages, you don't have any Native American or East Asian, which means it's unlikely that your father has any ancestors who lived in Puerto Rico. People from Puerto Rico get a combination of Southern European and Native American/East Asian because of the intermarriage of Spanish colonists with Native American women in Puerto Rico.

        So, it seems that your connection to these Puerto Rican matches is from Spain, since many or most of their ancestors were Spanish. I think it's also the case that island populations tend to be heavily intermarried. They preserve segments for a longer time, since cousins of one degree or another are marrying each other and share the same segments. So, your matches with Puerto Rican ancestry may be more distant than FTDNA is estimating since they've preserved the segments they share with you for longer than usual. The common ancestor could easily go back to Spain - one son went to the New World as a colonist and is the ancestor of your match and another son remained in Spain and is an ancestor of your father.

        I'm not sure this is what's happening with your matches with Puerto Rican ancestry, but what I've posted could explain it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for all the responses guys! I'm going to reply to everyone so you can scroll down to your name if you don't want to read the rest.

          Originally posted by AFH View Post
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rican_people#White

          Although most of the European settlers to Puerto Rico were Spaniards.

          Other sources of European populations are Corsicans, French, Italians, Portuguese (especially Azoreans), Greeks, Germans, Irish, Scots, Maltese, Dutch, English, Danes, and Jews.
          Thanks AFH! That's very interesting. I was aware that Puerto Ricans had lot of European ancestry, but I assumed that non-Spanish European immigration was pretty rare. I guess that means my Puerto Rican matches could be from either my mom's or dad's side.

          Originally posted by Germanica
          It's not strange at all for FTDNA. I have many documented, confirmed British branches in my tree AND I have a 55% Great Britain DNA result with AncestryDNA - but ZERO British Isles results with FTDNA. My conclusion is that FTDNA's British Isles population cluster is heavily Celtic and not very Anglo-Saxon or Viking. That means the results are actually consistent with AncestryDNA results, which only give a tiny trace amount of <1% Ireland and AncestryDNA's category for Ireland is basically "Celtic". But yes, it is VERY misleading and when it come's to ethnicity, I don't really recommend FTDNA because of it. In my experience, 23andMe has the best ethnicity break downs.
          Thanks Germanica! Yes, that's what I've heard about British Isles DNA. I don't know much about my dad's side, but his last name is certainly very English. My mom claims he told her he was of English or Scotch-Irish descent and his family that I have met have English-sounding last names, but then again I've been estranged from all of them for years so I don't know much. I assume that the Scandinavian admixture on my report is from him.

          Originally posted by Germanica
          You can't go by how the name sounds. Many immigrants Anglicized their names to sound less ethnic, more English.
          Haha, yeah. I've experienced similar spelling changes on my Italian side at least for first names. Though these English matches seem to definitely be either from England or have strongly documented English ancestry based on their profiles. It makes sense for my dad's side, but I guess I was surprised by the proportions of English matches (High percentage of English matches with a 50% Southern European and 22% Middle Eastern Admixture).

          Originally posted by Germanica
          That is certainly interesting but given that you don't know much about your dad's side, it's not hugely shocking.
          Yes, that's true. Is it probable that these matches are descendants of aunts/uncles/great aunts/uncles, possibly a few or more generations back? I know I don't know much about his family but from the little I do know, there do not seem to be any direct recent ancestors that would have made a life in Puerto Rico. All surnames/verbal family history I have ever heard seems to suggest British Isles origin and that they've been in the U.S. for a while.

          Originally posted by Germanica
          In general, the more recently an ancestor arrived in America, the fewer matches you will have with someone who is descended with that ancestor. While FTDNA does ship internationally, the majority of testers are American. The more recently an immigrant arrived here, the fewer descendants they will have and therefore the fewer will have tested - if at all.
          Originally posted by MMaddi
          Although you got half your DNA from your mother, she belongs to a relatively underrepresented ethnicity in genetic genealogy databases - Italian. Most Italian-Americans have recent immigrant ancestors, usually arriving in the U.S. after about 1890. So, they have not had anywhere near the same amount of time to "spread their DNA" throughout the American population as northern Europeans, especially British, have had. Colonial Americans of 300 or more years ago were British, with some German and French.

          So, although half your DNA is Italian, you should expect to have far less matches in the database from your mother's side. Just consider this. My ancestry is 100% Sicilian/southern Italian and the earliest arrival in the U.S. of any of my immigrant ancestors was 1890. I have a grand total of 51 Family Finder matches.
          Ah, ok. It makes a lot of sense that if FamilyTreeDNA is not widely distributed outside of the U.S. and if Italians are underrepresented that I would have a much smaller number of matches for her side.

          My mom's family is from Abruzzo on her dad's side and extreme southern Lazio on the border with Campania on her mom's side. Her family is enormous, but like you said, they've only come over relatively recently so they'd have far fewer descendants in America than a family who has been here longer.

          Originally posted by MMaddi
          Yes, you're correct that, with 72% combined Southern European and Middle Eastern in MyOrigins and a mother who is totally southern Italian, it implies that your father has some Southern European ancestry too. It seems that your father is roughly half Southern European in ancestry.

          While admixture analysis is not an exact science, admixture programs like MyOrigins can easily tell the difference between Northern European and Southern European DNA. I think you need to seriously consider that your father is probably half Southern European of some sort.
          Originally posted by Maddie
          I think it's more likely that the roughly half Southern European ancestry that MyOrigins seems to be saying your father has is Spanish. That would fit with getting all those Puerto Rican matches.

          Looking at your full MyOrigins percentages, you don't have any Native American or East Asian, which means it's unlikely that your father has any ancestors who lived in Puerto Rico. People from Puerto Rico get a combination of Southern European and Native American/East Asian because of the intermarriage of Spanish colonists with Native American women in Puerto Rico.

          So, it seems that your connection to these Puerto Rican matches is from Spain, since many or most of their ancestors were Spanish. I think it's also the case that island populations tend to be heavily intermarried. They preserve segments for a longer time, since cousins of one degree or another are marrying each other and share the same segments. So, your matches with Puerto Rican ancestry may be more distant than FTDNA is estimating since they've preserved the segments they share with you for longer than usual. The common ancestor could easily go back to Spain - one son went to the New World as a colonist and is the ancestor of your match and another son remained in Spain and is an ancestor of your father.

          I'm not sure this is what's happening with your matches with Puerto Rican ancestry, but what I've posted could explain it.
          Yes, I guess I do have to draw the conclusion that my dad must have Southern European ancestry. Spanish ancestry for my dad would seem the most likely explanation for the matches from Puerto Rico considering the combined Southern European/Middle Eastern ancestry of 72% and the more thorough documentation from my mom's side, but admittedly it seems very strange to me.

          As I said to Germanica, although I don't know a lot about his family, all of the surnames and verbal history I do know seem to suggest a British Isles/Scotch-Irish ancestry and a long history in the U.S. Phenotypically I would guess they were Northern European too, but I know it doesn't mean much scientifically. Lots of people from Spain have light skin, and there are light skinned freckled people all over Europe.

          It's all very strange to me but extremely interesting at the same time . I can't think of where the Southern European ancestry would come in for my dad, but I guess it would have to come in somewhere. Possibly it is very distant?

          Thanks again for the responses! And thanks for reading!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NickDT View Post

            ......

            It's all very strange to me but extremely interesting at the same time . I can't think of where the Southern European ancestry would come in for my dad, but I guess it would have to come in somewhere. Possibly it is very distant?

            Thanks again for the responses! And thanks for reading!
            This also has me wondering in regards to my mothers side. Her maternal side is English as far back as I can go (early 1700's) and her paternal side is Scandinavian (1/2 Swedish, 1/2 Norwegian)

            Her and her siblings show the following (all full siblings with 50% English)

            My Uncle
            Scandinavia 88%
            Southern Europe 7%
            Eastern Europe 5%

            My Aunt
            Scandinavia 85%
            British Isles 11%
            Asia Minor (Turkey)4%

            My Mother
            Scandinavia 69%
            British Isles 29%
            Eastern Europe 2%

            The southern percentages, I assume are the Roman influences on Britian, a more ancient genetic signature.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NickDT View Post
              Yes, that's true. Is it probable that these matches are descendants of aunts/uncles/great aunts/uncles, possibly a few or more generations back?
              With hundreds of matches, I would expect your shared common ancestor to be several generations back.

              I know I don't know much about his family but from the little I do know, there do not seem to be any direct recent ancestors that would have made a life in Puerto Rico. All surnames/verbal family history I have ever heard seems to suggest British Isles origin and that they've been in the U.S. for a while.
              Family stories can, and often are, wrong or incomplete. It's not impossible you have a direct ancestor from Puerto Rico, it doesn't necessarily mean it was a recent ancestor. As pointed out already, you probably have some Southern European heritage on your dad's side from the ethnicity results - that very well could be a representation of a Puerto Rican ancestor.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Germanica View Post
                Family stories can, and often are, wrong or incomplete. It's not impossible you have a direct ancestor from Puerto Rico, it doesn't necessarily mean it was a recent ancestor. As pointed out already, you probably have some Southern European heritage on your dad's side from the ethnicity results - that very well could be a representation of a Puerto Rican ancestor.
                I've bolded your point which I had addressed myself in my previous post.

                I pointed out that the OP's MyOrigins percentages have no Native American or East Asian at all. I think that those with actual Puerto Rican ancestors would have some percentage of Native American/East Asia, certainly a few percent.

                I base that on the population history of Puerto Rico and Latin America in general. Spanish colonists freely mixed with and married Native American women. That legacy is seen in the DNA admixture of their descendants today.

                Given the OP's lack of even 1% of Native American/East Asian, I don't think he has any direct ancestors who lived in Puerto Rico. However, his large number of matches with people with Puerto Rican ancestry probably means that their common ancestor with him was Spanish. One of this Spaniard's sons went to the New World and is the direct ancestor of the match and another of the Spanish common ancestor's sons remained in Spain and is the direct ancestor of the OP.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been following one of my maternal branch lines (Green/Norton) back into Medieval times (assuming that I'm even connected - ha ha). And I found, surprisingly, a Spanish connection: King Alfonso IX (Leon & Galicia) & his wife. He was born 1171. Does my Southern European DNA (My Origins) or Iberian Peninsula DNA (Ancestry) go back that far? In this case, A Count Brienne (from France) was on a religious pilgrimage to northern Spain, and ended up by marrying one of the Kings daughters. But does that show up in My Origins? Or is my Spanish DNA from more recent times. I have no Native American in my data.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've been following one of my maternal branch lines (Green/Norton)
                    Norton ? Do you know if it's the Conyers Nortons or the Norville Nortons ?
                    My grandmother was a Norton from the Horry, SC Nortons, which go back to the Conyers Nortons.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by robertalabama View Post
                      Norton ? Do you know if it's the Conyers Nortons or the Norville Nortons ?
                      My grandmother was a Norton from the Horry, SC Nortons, which go back to the Conyers Nortons.
                      Norville Nortons. This stems from the Green(e) line that includes the second colonial governor of Maryland, Thomas Greene. Along the way was a name change, influenced by an out-of-wedlock son. The father had a mistress (ha ha). From there on back it is the Norton line. I did not trace it back into France. But an early wife was from Maine or Poitou, etc. Her (grand)father was count of Brienne (Champagne-Ardenne).

                      Comment

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