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  • Would like thoughts on a Sardinian/Italian match

    Hi all,

    I’m hoping to get some thoughts on a Sardinian/Italian DNA match, especially from those with knowledge in Italian and Balkan genetics.

    A few days ago, a 23andMe match replied to a message and share request I sent him two years ago. He’s listed as a 4th cousin and we share 16cM on chromosome 1. He has no known Balkan ancestors and I have no known Italian/Sardinian ancestors.

    On his Ancestry Composition, he has the following results of interest (he scores no Balkan):

    41.1% Sardinian (this stays in Conservative)
    30.1% Italian
    1.9% Iberian
    19.1% Broadly Southern European
    0.1% Ashkenazi Jewish (This stays in Conservative)

    I don’t score any Sardinian or Italian, but do have 1.7% Broadly Southern European, and 2% Ashkenazi Jewish (this is legitimate). I don't get any Southern European on myOrigins (I'm 25% Croatian on paper so not getting this doesn't concern me).

    As he isn’t on GEDMatch (yet), I had a look to see what populations I have between 117M and 152M on chromosome 1 to get an idea of what I have there. It’s mostly North Atlantic, East Med with a small amount of West Med.

    I have a fairly comprehensive Croatian tree, and between all my third great and fifth great grandfathers, there are no Italian or Sardinian sounding surnames. The closest Italian like surname I have in my whole tree is Bego. This line goes back to the early 1700s in Croatia.

    The questions I have with what I know so far are:

    1. Does he have a Balkan ancestor he doesn't know about, even though its not reflected in his autosomal results?

    2. Do I have an Sardinian/Italian ancestor and the tree is wrong somewhere? (unlikely, many cousins have built it on Geni)

    3. Are we, however unlikely, connected through distant Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry somehow, even though his is at noise levels?

  • #2
    Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
    Hi all,

    I’m hoping to get some thoughts on a Sardinian/Italian DNA match, especially from those with knowledge in Italian and Balkan genetics.

    A few days ago, a 23andMe match replied to a message and share request I sent him two years ago. He’s listed as a 4th cousin and we share 16cM on chromosome 1. He has no known Balkan ancestors and I have no known Italian/Sardinian ancestors.

    On his Ancestry Composition, he has the following results of interest (he scores no Balkan):

    41.1% Sardinian (this stays in Conservative)
    30.1% Italian
    1.9% Iberian
    19.1% Broadly Southern European
    0.1% Ashkenazi Jewish (This stays in Conservative)

    I don’t score any Sardinian or Italian, but do have 1.7% Broadly Southern European, and 2% Ashkenazi Jewish (this is legitimate). I don't get any Southern European on myOrigins (I'm 25% Croatian on paper so not getting this doesn't concern me).

    As he isn’t on GEDMatch (yet), I had a look to see what populations I have between 117M and 152M on chromosome 1 to get an idea of what I have there. It’s mostly North Atlantic, East Med with a small amount of West Med.

    I have a fairly comprehensive Croatian tree, and between all my third great and fifth great grandfathers, there are no Italian or Sardinian sounding surnames. The closest Italian like surname I have in my whole tree is Bego. This line goes back to the early 1700s in Croatia.

    The questions I have with what I know so far are:

    1. Does he have a Balkan ancestor he doesn't know about, even though its not reflected in his autosomal results?

    2. Do I have an Sardinian/Italian ancestor and the tree is wrong somewhere? (unlikely, many cousins have built it on Geni)

    3. Are we, however unlikely, connected through distant Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry somehow, even though his is at noise levels?
    Croatia is extremely close to Italy. Suggest options one or two. Autosomal tests tend to go back further in time than family genealogy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Almost the entire length of that segment area constitutes an Excess IBD Region. Many such matches are questionable.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
        1. Does he have a Balkan ancestor he doesn't know about, even though its not reflected in his autosomal results?
        It is impossible to tell it without more information. Any attempt to exploit this connection would be simple speculation.

        Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
        2. Do I have an Sardinian/Italian ancestor and the tree is wrong somewhere? (unlikely, many cousins have built it on Geni)
        Imagine the pre-history and a population of humans populating Europe, including the Balkans and Sardinia. Then image more people populating Europe, including the Balkans again, but leaving Sardinia alone. What do you have after successful waves of such migrations?

        Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
        3. Are we, however unlikely, connected through distant Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry somehow, even though his is at noise levels?
        It is impossible to tell it without more information. Any attempt to exploit this connection would be simple speculation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by josh w. View Post
          Croatia is extremely close to Italy. Suggest options one or two. Autosomal tests tend to go back further in time than family genealogy.
          Pure speculation, Italy may have had more influence on Croatia than vice versa. Ischia was once part of the Republic of Venice.

          Ashkenazi possibility is less likely. The percentage is quite small.. The Balkans and Italy have East Med components, but that need not imply Jewish ancestry.
          Last edited by josh w.; 13 March 2017, 12:53 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by khazaria View Post
            Almost the entire length of that segment area constitutes an Excess IBD Region. Many such matches are questionable.
            Thanks khazaria. I've been trying to think of the term for this so I can search for a table of them.
            https://isogg.org/w/images/1/13/Tabl..._positions.jpg

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for your replies, as mentioned I've been waiting 2 years for this guy to reply, and so far he hasn't responded to my questions, so I've had to try and figure out possible scenarios with limited information, which may be the case for awhile.

              If most of my ancestry was Western European/British I had a Sardinian 4th cousin show up, I'd probably dismiss it as nothing. The fact I have Balkan ancestry and he shows up intrigues me.

              Because he's in the Excess IBD Region, should I just ignore it as an unlikely match?

              Comment


              • #8
                It is possible that you are connected through an unknown Balkan ancestor in his tree if that ancestor had any connection to Albania/Kosovo. Following the Turkish conquest of that area 500 years ago, many Christians fled to Southern Italy and Sicily to avoid forced conversion to Islam, resulting in the small percentages of Balkan that commonly show up in those populations.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
                  Thanks for your replies, as mentioned I've been waiting 2 years for this guy to reply, and so far he hasn't responded to my questions, so I've had to try and figure out possible scenarios with limited information, which may be the case for awhile.

                  If most of my ancestry was Western European/British I had a Sardinian 4th cousin show up, I'd probably dismiss it as nothing. The fact I have Balkan ancestry and he shows up intrigues me.

                  Because he's in the Excess IBD Region, should I just ignore it as an unlikely match?


                  Not sure if you have heard of the Arbereshe. If not you should look them/it up. My family fled the Balkans around 500-600 years ago to avoid conversion to Islam (so the story goes) and fled across the Adriatic Sea to Abruzzi. Their name sounds somewhat Italian but is really Albanian or possibly Croatian. Many in Italy are unaware that their roots are really Balkan.

                  That could be your connection.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
                    Thanks for your replies, as mentioned I've been waiting 2 years for this guy to reply, and so far he hasn't responded to my questions, so I've had to try and figure out possible scenarios with limited information, which may be the case for awhile.

                    If most of my ancestry was Western European/British I had a Sardinian 4th cousin show up, I'd probably dismiss it as nothing. The fact I have Balkan ancestry and he shows up intrigues me.

                    Because he's in the Excess IBD Region, should I just ignore it as an unlikely match?
                    I don't think there is a definitive answer. Is there any other support for either choice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                      I don't think there is a definitive answer. Is there any other support for either choice.
                      Over the last 2 years I've tried to find answers in autosomal results and ancestral locations of other matches.

                      On the old Countries of Ancestry feature, Italy covered 1.6% of my genome on 4 grandparents @5cM (Croatia was 1.7%).

                      For most of those matches, their ancestral locations were listed in Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia.

                      I know 23andMe mentions this - "Some populations, like Sardinian, are just hard to tell apart from others. It's important to note that when Ancestry Composition fails to assign Sardinian DNA, this does not necessarily mean that it incorrectly assigns it to something else, like Italian. If it were, that would show up as poor precision for the Italian population. Instead, Ancestry Composition will label this Sardinian DNA "Broadly Southern European" or "Broadly European".

                      I get 1.7% Broadly Southern European.

                      I pick up S_Italian_Sicilian or variants in some calculators, likely from my Ashkenazi.

                      I don't think any of this can prove either way, just interesting observations.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
                        Over the last 2 years I've tried to find answers in autosomal results and ancestral locations of other matches.

                        On the old Countries of Ancestry feature, Italy covered 1.6% of my genome on 4 grandparents @5cM (Croatia was 1.7%).

                        For most of those matches, their ancestral locations were listed in Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia.

                        I know 23andMe mentions this - "Some populations, like Sardinian, are just hard to tell apart from others. It's important to note that when Ancestry Composition fails to assign Sardinian DNA, this does not necessarily mean that it incorrectly assigns it to something else, like Italian. If it were, that would show up as poor precision for the Italian population. Instead, Ancestry Composition will label this Sardinian DNA "Broadly Southern European" or "Broadly European".

                        I get 1.7% Broadly Southern European.

                        I pick up S_Italian_Sicilian or variants in some calculators, likely from my Ashkenazi.

                        I don't think any of this can prove either way, just interesting observations.
                        Have you tried Gedmatch (Dodecad, Eurogenes) with the four population Oracle option. Are you closer to Balkan or Italian reference samples.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                          Have you tried Gedmatch (Dodecad, Eurogenes) with the four population Oracle option. Are you closer to Balkan or Italian reference samples.
                          It probably varies actually, however the Italian reference samples show the most on the Dodecad K7b using FTDNA data. Tuscan is likely a middle reference point due to how the algorithm computes distance.

                          Eurogenes K13 FTDNA data

                          Using 4 populations approximation:
                          1 Danish + Southeast_English + Southwest_Finnish + Tuscan @ 2.725319
                          2 North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Swedish + Tuscan @ 2.805912
                          3 Greek_Thessaly + North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Southeast_English @ 2.812797
                          4 Danish + Danish + North_Swedish + Tuscan @ 2.837906
                          5 Danish + Greek_Thessaly + North_Swedish + Southeast_English @ 2.840524

                          Eurogenes K13 23andMe data

                          Using 4 populations approximation:
                          1 Bulgarian + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Swedish @ 2.041975
                          2 Hungarian + Southeast_English + West_German + West_German @ 2.136083
                          3 Danish + Serbian + Southeast_English + West_German @ 2.234594
                          4 North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Swedish + Tuscan @ 2.245362
                          5 Serbian + Southeast_English + Swedish + West_German @ 2.260112

                          Dodecad K7b 23andMe data

                          Using 4 populations approximation:
                          1 Ashkenazy_Jews + Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 1.284827
                          2 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + Sicilian @ 1.290056
                          3 Ashkenazi + Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 1.295971
                          4 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.301442
                          5 Argyll + Lithuanian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.318744

                          Dodecad K7b FTDNA data

                          Using 2 populations approximation:
                          1 50% Lithuanian +50% N_Italian @ 1.949568

                          Using 3 populations approximation:
                          1 50% British_Isles +25% Lithuanian +25% S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.164295

                          Using 4 populations approximation:
                          1 British_Isles + Lithuanian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.098230
                          2 British + Lithuanian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.142910
                          3 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + Sicilian @ 1.148125
                          4 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.157268
                          5 British_Isles + British_Isles + Lithuanian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.164295
                          Last edited by jtoml3; 14 March 2017, 09:11 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jtoml3 View Post
                            It probably varies actually, however the Italian reference samples show the most on the Dodecad K7b using FTDNA data. Tuscan is likely a middle reference point due to how the algorithm computes distance.

                            Eurogenes K13 FTDNA data

                            Using 4 populations approximation:
                            1 Danish + Southeast_English + Southwest_Finnish + Tuscan @ 2.725319
                            2 North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Swedish + Tuscan @ 2.805912
                            3 Greek_Thessaly + North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Southeast_English @ 2.812797
                            4 Danish + Danish + North_Swedish + Tuscan @ 2.837906
                            5 Danish + Greek_Thessaly + North_Swedish + Southeast_English @ 2.840524

                            Eurogenes K13 23andMe data

                            Using 4 populations approximation:
                            1 Bulgarian + Southeast_English + Southeast_English + Swedish @ 2.041975
                            2 Hungarian + Southeast_English + West_German + West_German @ 2.136083
                            3 Danish + Serbian + Southeast_English + West_German @ 2.234594
                            4 North_Swedish + Southeast_English + Swedish + Tuscan @ 2.245362
                            5 Serbian + Southeast_English + Swedish + West_German @ 2.260112

                            Dodecad K7b 23andMe data

                            Using 4 populations approximation:
                            1 Ashkenazy_Jews + Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 1.284827
                            2 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + Sicilian @ 1.290056
                            3 Ashkenazi + Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian @ 1.295971
                            4 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.301442
                            5 Argyll + Lithuanian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.318744

                            Dodecad K7b FTDNA data

                            Using 2 populations approximation:
                            1 50% Lithuanian +50% N_Italian @ 1.949568

                            Using 3 populations approximation:
                            1 50% British_Isles +25% Lithuanian +25% S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.164295

                            Using 4 populations approximation:
                            1 British_Isles + Lithuanian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.098230
                            2 British + Lithuanian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.142910
                            3 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + Sicilian @ 1.148125
                            4 Lithuanian + Orcadian + Orcadian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.157268
                            5 British_Isles + British_Isles + Lithuanian + S_Italian_Sicilian @ 1.164295


                            Too close to call since the results depend on how a particular program cuts the geographic pie. I would choose Eurogenes over Dodecad in regard to Ashkenazi ancestry ---Eurogenes is more precise re Ashkenazi ancestry.
                            Last edited by josh w.; 15 March 2017, 02:56 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by josh w. View Post
                              Too close to call since the results depend on how a particular program cuts the geographic pie. I would choose Eurogenes over Dodecad in regard to Ashkenazi ancestry ---Eurogenes is more precise re Ashkenazi ancestry.
                              Would you agree that Tuscan and Greek are simply a fill in for Croatian/Balkan?

                              Overall there are hints of Italian here and there using different sources. It's hard to prove without a paper trail, but it seems like a coincidence if I don't have any, but I have bits and pieces that might hint at it.

                              Comment

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