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My Big Fat Southern European Result

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  • My Big Fat Southern European Result

    I'm new to FTDNA, but grateful for the clues I've picked up so far from my matches.

    Lots of people have surprising MyOrigins results, but in my case I have faith they mean something--even though I still have questions.

    Trace amounts of Finnish and Central Asian, so I'm tossing them out

    31% British Isles--not shocking
    31% Scandanavian--right, who doesn't have some of that?

    The shocker: 32% Southern European. . .Wha? No such surnames, family history, nada, zip, bupkes! My mother's line has a number of German-sounding names we can trace back to Pennsylvania, but nothing shows up in Western, Central or Eastern Europe on MyOrigins. I realize these maps reflect much earlier ancestry, but unless I'm mistaken, my results seem to indicate virtually no intermarriage with earlier German populations are evident in my DNA.

    In part, my Southern European results read as follows:

    "Many Jews were brought from the Middle East to Europe during
    the Roman conquest. More recently, in the 15th and 16th
    centuries, these Jews, who were forced into Catholicism during the Inquisition, ended up sailing with the Spanish and
    Portuguese and participated in the discovery and colonization
    of the Americas."

    Something about the story of Judaism was familiar. My mother's account--she is no longer living--of her maternal family included hints that her mother was thought to be of Jewish ancestry. Although she did not profess to be Jewish, she was well-educated in her day. She learned Hebrew and taught it at the graduate level to seminary students. I had studied Hebrew in turn, and have found the study rewarding.

    Thanks to an unusual surname on my mother's maternal line, my g-g-g-grandmother Uptigraff, I found a remote match to an FT DNA user who gave me more information about this line. They immigrated to Pennsylvania at the invitation of William Penn.
    They were fleeing persecution as Mennonites where they lived in the Netherlands. The family had changed its name after surviving a massacre--from Isaacks to Op Den Graeff, possibly translated as "by the grave." The Isaacks, some have it, (I am telling the story now as I have pieced to together from historic events) originally inhabited Spain, where they were persecuted as Jews and exiled during the Inquisition in 1492. They moved from there to Portugal, and there being forced to adopt Catholicism, moved once more to the Netherlands.

    In researching Mennonites, I found that many of their founders had originally been Jewish.

    Two questions:

    I wonder if anyone here is familiar with a Pennsylvania Dutch or Mennonite connection to the Southern European myOrigins result?

    My greatest question at this point is, how did my Southern European result show up so large? I imagine my Isaacks line would account for no more than 25%, all other things being equal.

    My father's line was pretty endogenous, as rural early settlers of Maine on his father's side. His mother's line would have been endogenous, too, as she was rural Irish from County Clare. They probably account for the high percentages of the British Isle and Scandanavian clusters.

    My mother's mother, of the Southern European line--were her results also magnified in my DNA results though endogamy? Did my maternal grandfather get pushed out of my autosomal DNA?

    Apart from error, which of course can explain anything, does anyone have a clue why my results are so skewed toward Southern Europe?

    Thank you in advance,

    Paminoh

  • #2
    Paminoh,

    Your 32% Southern European (SE) most likely reflects Sephardic Jewish ancestry and/or Southern Italian/Sicilian ancestry.

    Don't confuse these percentages with genealogical percentages, even though another company confuses them in their commercials. The 32% is that portion of your tested genome that is similar to people with SE ancestry, not that 32% of your genealogical ancestry is SE. If you were to test a sibling, s/he might not share the same percentage as you, but their genealogical ancestry is the same as yours as long as you share the same biological mother and father.

    Comment


    • #3
      To clarify, I say the 32% may reflect Sephardic ancestry because of what you know historically about your family. If you didn't have that information, then I would have told you to suspect unknown Southern Italian/Sicilian. There is no consensus yet on the automsomal signature of Sephardic Jews, but a bunch of us are working on that.

      Comment


      • #4
        You don't have to rely on MyOrigins or wait for the addition of the promised Sephardic reference population (which might incompletely capture the full range of genuine Sephardic DNA in the world). You need to look for Jewish matches and try to validate them: specifically, DNA segments that triangulate where the members include (in the best case scenario) a combination of Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazic Jews, and part-Sephardic Catholics (such as many Latin Americans). Inside Family Finder and GEDmatch there are some Tunisian Jews, Syrian Jews, Nuevo Leonese Mexicans, and other important populations for this quest.

        So far I've never found Mennonites matching on Sephardic segments. Anyway the claim by people like Tim Janzen was that at least some Mennonites are a little bit Ashkenazic, and I haven't been able to independently verify that either. I don't think Jewish ancestry is the answer. Keep in mind that MyOrigins is somewhat incapable of perfectly separating European populations from one another.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am descended from a family named van Zewitz that came to Pennsylvania from Germany in the 17th century. Zewitz (now Cewice in Polish) is a village in Pomerania near Danzig (Gdansk). They were Mennonites who may have relocated to Strasbourg, Alsace before coming to the New World. After settling in Pennsylvania the family split, with some members going to Canada and some to North Carolina (my ancestor came to NC). For some reason, probably marriage, my ancestor became Lutheran, but the majority of the family remained Mennonite or joined the Quakers. The surname spelling in Canada & the US is most often Zavitz; however, my ancestor in NC was recorded as Zewitz, Zavitz, Sewitz, Savich, and Savage.

          Oral history in my family claimed my van Zewitz ancestors were originally Jewish. They, along with other families claimed at be Jewish, were sometimes described as "Black Dutch" in NC resources. I have a copy of an oil painting of my van Zewitz ancestor and he was dark: black hair & eyes and an olive complexion. However, I do not appear to triangulate with Jewish individuals. (btw, I show a measly 5% Southern European-- I also have 6% Asia Minor and 1% North African).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by khazaria View Post
            You don't have to rely on MyOrigins or wait for the addition of the promised Sephardic reference population (which might incompletely capture the full range of genuine Sephardic DNA in the world). You need to look for Jewish matches and try to validate them: specifically, DNA segments that triangulate where the members include (in the best case scenario) a combination of Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazic Jews, and part-Sephardic Catholics (such as many Latin Americans). Inside Family Finder and GEDmatch there are some Tunisian Jews, Syrian Jews, Nuevo Leonese Mexicans, and other important populations for this quest.

            So far I've never found Mennonites matching on Sephardic segments. Anyway the claim by people like Tim Janzen was that at least some Mennonites are a little bit Ashkenazic, and I haven't been able to independently verify that either. I don't think Jewish ancestry is the answer. Keep in mind that MyOrigins is somewhat incapable of perfectly separating European populations from one another.
            Khazaria for those whose last New-Christian ancestors are documented in the early 1600's how large of a segment is significant? Is a segment of 3cM-5cM that can be triangulated significant? I have several matches in with the largest segment the 7cM to 8cM range(typically with total shared segments >1cM in the 20cM - 40cM range but they are IBS.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AFH View Post
              Khazaria for those whose last New-Christian ancestors are documented in the early 1600's how large of a segment is significant? Is a segment of 3cM-5cM that can be triangulated significant?
              I posted the message below to GEDmatch's forum 3 weeks ago about Sephardic Jewish segments:
              My mother, born in the 1940s, is related to some of the colonial settlers of northeastern Mexico of the 1500s-1600s. All connections between our communities ceased in the 1640s so there was a minimum of 3 centuries of isolation.

              Below are examples of centimorgan (cM) lengths she shares with some of them on valid individual segments that consistently triangulate and phase:
              13.7
              11.6
              8.2
              8.1
              7.7
              7.6
              7.5
              7.3
              6.7
              6.7
              6.3
              6.2
              5.6
              5.3
              5.2
              3.9
              3.5

              [Addenda: Some of the shorter segment lengths are part of longer segments, and many of the other one-to-one matchups have significantly higher cM lengths. Some of the matches inherited different portions of the segments and therefore don't overlap much with some people while they overlap better with others. For example, one of her matches to a Mexican, with only 3.9 cM and 681 SNPs, looks unpromising in isolation, but that is because she inherited that segment's portions from 21-26 million whereas that match inherited it from 24-31 million (the entire segment area ranges from 19-32 million) so he matches some of our other segment matches much better, for example 10.8 cM with 1,996 SNPs, 20.1 with 3,299, 9.8 with 1,805, 9.2 and 1,669, 9.9 with 1,822, 10.4 with 1,918... but there are also some valid matches on the earlier portion of the segment whom he doesn't overlap with at all.
              She is part of a different segment ranging from 123-129 million but inherited only the portions from 126-129 million so the same kinds of things happen on that, but some of the matches inherited the whole segment. Some of her matches to Mexicans on that segment are only 1.7, 4.7, and 5.1 cM, for example, while others match her with greater lengths including 7.4, 7.8, 8, and 8.1 cM...]

              Comment


              • #8
                Questions about GEDmatch

                Thanks for your helpful responses, Khazaria. My questions are below:

                You don't have to rely on MyOrigins or wait for the addition of the promised Sephardic reference population (which might incompletely capture the full range of genuine Sephardic DNA in the world). You need to look for Jewish matches and try to validate them: specifically, DNA segments that triangulate where the members include (in the best case scenario) a combination of Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazic Jews, and part-Sephardic Catholics (such as many Latin Americans). Inside Family Finder and GEDmatch there are some Tunisian Jews, Syrian Jews, Nuevo Leonese Mexicans, and other important populations for this quest.

                FF provides plenty of surnames, but so many surnames have been Anglicized over time, I don't know where to begin to locate the Jewish ones.

                Precisely where in GEDmatch would I find these Jewish matches? Surely I have plenty of matches, but I wonder how I could be certain whether they are Jewish? I'm still a novice on GEDmatch, and I find it a bit mysterious. Is there a section of Jewish test kit numbers for comparison that I'm missing?

                I tried Jtest, but had no idea what the results meant. Statistical analysis does not seem to come naturally to me: perhaps that's a clear indication I lack Jewish genes!

                Still, I'm interested in learning more.

                Thank you again for your help,

                Paminoh

                Comment


                • #9
                  Black Dutch

                  Dear Ncroots:

                  HTML Code:
                  Oral history in my family claimed my van Zewitz ancestors were originally Jewish. They, along with other families claimed at be Jewish, were sometimes described as "Black Dutch" in NC resources.
                  My mother used the same phrasing--"Black Dutch"--to describe her Mennonite line. Her female relatives in this line had darker complexions than I do. Some have pronounced periorbital hyperpigmentation (dark areas around the eyes). This trait evidently shows up with Southern European ancestry, as well as other ethnic groups with dark complexions. Of course, it does not clarify whether these women had Jewish ancestry or not.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My mother's results say 19% Southern Europe and she has no southern European ancestry, nothing further south than the area of Switzerland closest to France. Some of her ancestors were Swiss who settled in France after the 30 Years War. She has no Jewish ancestry. Soldiers from ancient Rome who settled in France perhaps??? Or maybe this ethnicity business is meaningless! MyOrigins also gives her 72% British Isles, when she shouldn't have more than 25% at the most, and they give her 0% Western Europe, when she should have at least 75%.

                    I prefer to rely on my research, although the significant amount of Irish other companies give her would be encouraging with regards to my brick wall theories if it could be trusted.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wondering about Ashkenazi result

                      @khazaria

                      My GEDmatch kit number is T688312: results on Jtest follow:
                      I wonder what the Ashkenazi result means, if anything?

                      SOUTH_BALTIC
                      13.31
                      EAST_EURO
                      7.61
                      NORTH-CENTRAL_EURO
                      29.36
                      ATLANTIC
                      27.17
                      WEST_MED
                      11.30
                      ASHKENAZI
                      3.51
                      EAST_MED
                      4.21
                      WEST_ASIAN
                      1.72
                      MIDDLE_EASTERN
                      -
                      SOUTH_ASIAN
                      1.15
                      EAST_AFRICAN
                      0.14
                      EAST_ASIAN
                      -
                      SIBERIAN
                      -
                      WEST_AFRICAN
                      0.53

                      I would be grateful to hear from anyone who understands how to interpret these results! Does this appear to be a viable small admixture of Ashkenazi ancestry?

                      I understand that Sephardic results are not well understood yet, but evidently my Southern European ancestry is borne out by these results. Agreed?

                      Are there any other GEDmatch tests that would offer more clarity--if so, which ones?

                      Thanks in advance for your time,

                      Paminoh
                      Last edited by Paminoh; 29 November 2016, 08:14 AM. Reason: Specified recipient

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Variables

                        @Moberly Drake,

                        I wonder how far back your pedigree for your mother goes? These MyOrigins maps, I understand, reflect the locations of some of your ancestors between 4 and 80 generations ago.

                        https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/...t-generations/

                        Seldom do we have written records that extend to 80 generations (2,000 years).

                        Another variable, I'm learning, is that your results don't represent all of your ancestors--only a random, select few are carried forward in your autosomal DNA. That seems to be the reason so many people have their whole family tested. They are casting a wider net, so to speak.

                        I trust someone will correct me if I'm mistaken.

                        Best wishes to you in your search,

                        Paminoh

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paminoh View Post
                          @khazaria

                          My GEDmatch kit number is T688312: results on Jtest follow:
                          I wonder what the Ashkenazi result means, if anything?

                          SOUTH_BALTIC
                          13.31
                          EAST_EURO
                          7.61
                          NORTH-CENTRAL_EURO
                          29.36
                          ATLANTIC
                          27.17
                          WEST_MED
                          11.30
                          ASHKENAZI
                          3.51
                          EAST_MED
                          4.21
                          WEST_ASIAN
                          1.72
                          MIDDLE_EASTERN
                          -
                          SOUTH_ASIAN
                          1.15
                          EAST_AFRICAN
                          0.14
                          EAST_ASIAN
                          -
                          SIBERIAN
                          -
                          WEST_AFRICAN
                          0.53

                          I would be grateful to hear from anyone who understands how to interpret these results! Does this appear to be a viable small admixture of Ashkenazi ancestry?
                          The Eurogenes jtest calculator is easily misleading for detecting Ashkenazi ancestry. Davidski, the blogger who developed the Eurogenes calculators (including jtest), has admitted that it's only at the level of a 25% Ashkenazi result in jtest that there's any real Ashkenazi ancestry is being measured. Northern Europeans with no known Jewish ancestry consistently get 3-5% Ashkenazi in jtest. Sicilians/southern Italians with no known Jewish ancestry consistently get 5-10% Ashkenazi in jtest. The test is not designed adequately to separate out Ashkenazi ancestry from DNA that's common to Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jewish Europeans.

                          There should be a disclaimer for jtest at GEDmatch stating something about this. Since there's not, there are numerous posts like yours on genetic genealogy forums, asking if a small percentage of Ashkenazi in jtest results means the person has some Jewish ancestry. The short answer is - no.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                            The Eurogenes jtest calculator is easily misleading for detecting Ashkenazi ancestry. Davidski, the blogger who developed the Eurogenes calculators (including jtest), has admitted that it's only at the level of a 25% Ashkenazi result in jtest that there's any real Ashkenazi ancestry is being measured. Northern Europeans with no known Jewish ancestry consistently get 3-5% Ashkenazi in jtest. Sicilians/southern Italians with no known Jewish ancestry consistently get 5-10% Ashkenazi in jtest. The test is not designed adequately to separate out Ashkenazi ancestry from DNA that's common to Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jewish Europeans.

                            There should be a disclaimer for jtest at GEDmatch stating something about this. Since there's not, there are numerous posts like yours on genetic genealogy forums, asking if a small percentage of Ashkenazi in jtest results means the person has some Jewish ancestry. The short answer is - no.
                            While I would agree that Jtest probably causes more confusion than it is worth, it might not be quite as bad as Davidski says. On paper my step-daughter is one eighth Ashkenazi (pretty solid), with a possibility that at least one other European line had converted away from the religion. She scores 19% Ashenazi on My Origins, and her Jtest score is 9.43.

                            Jack

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Swiss with at least 47% Southern Europe

                              FTDNA My Origins:

                              – 49% Southern Europe
                              – 24% Western and Central Europe
                              – 23% British Isles
                              – 2% Scandinavia
                              – 2% Asia Minor

                              “Geno 2.0 Next Generation” results which seem more accurate than the “FTDNA” results since I have not any known British origin in my family:

                              – 53% Western and Central Europe
                              – 47% Southern Europe

                              Reference Populations in Geno 2.0 Next Generation database which are most similar to me in terms of the genetic markers I carry:

                              – My First Reference Population: Tuscan (Italy)
                              – My Second Reference Population: French

                              Y-DNA Haplogroup: R-Z160 (subclade of R1b - R-U106 - L47)
                              mtDNA Haplogroup: J1c5c1 (autochthonous of the Basque population)

                              I am a French-speaking Swiss (as were my father and mother)

                              Comment

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