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  • myOrigins and French Ancestry

    I received my results and I'm very confused since they don't match my genealogy. My lines have already been traced back on both sides of my family, so the work has already been done. There are no mysteries within the last few generations. All of my 16 great grandparents were French, and their origins can be traced back to France. I was therefore expecting a large percentage of Western and Central Europe. Instead, I received:

    68% British Isles
    19% Southeast Europe
    7% Eastern Europe
    4% Middle East (Asia Minor)
    > 2% West Middle East.

    I could understand if most of my lines were from northern France, such as Brittany or Normandy, but this is not the case. I have several lines from Western France, the southwest and northeast France. These are not represented at all. At 23 and Me, my highest southern European percentage is Iberian. I also have 43% French and German, which is quite high. I understand that this test is reflecting a much more ancient time period, but it doesn't make sense to me. If someone could explain how these results reflect French ancestry, I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Oceane19; 29th September 2018, 11:49 PM.

  • #2
    The "My Origins" results are based on comparisons of your sample with a number of "reference groups" selected by FTDNA. The "reference groups" consist of samples from modern, likely still living individuals, with self-reported ancestry and with statistical analysis of some sort to eliminate outliers and to assure that each "reference group" is in some way homogeneous and distinct from other groups. However, there is currently no way to guarantee that any reference group actual contains the genetic variability of any historical population. It is certain, also, that France, and thus
    French ancestry in general, is seriously under-represented in the FTDNA autosomal DNA database, at least in part because of legal obstacles to DNA testing in France.

    One way to interpret the "My Origins" results is that they show the degree of affinity to the "reference groups" that FTDNA is currently using. "My Origins" can't show how well you match "reference groups" that don't yet exist, or how well you match historical populations whose genetic diversity is not adequately represented by today's "reference groups".

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    • #3
      Originally posted by John McCoy View Post
      It is certain, also, that France, and thus
      French ancestry in general, is seriously under-represented in the FTDNA autosomal DNA database, at least in part because of legal obstacles to DNA testing in France.
      Thank you very much for your response and for the explanation. Yes, I thought it might have something to do with the lack of French samples.

      Comment


      • #4
        It's also worth remembering that Western Europeans share a lot of history and ancestry. Celtic groups, Germanic groups, etc migrating to the Isles and to France, Germany, etc. What is more valuable than your ethnicity estimates are your matches to people, do you match people who have surnames you know to be in your family tree?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by spruithean View Post
          It's also worth remembering that Western Europeans share a lot of history and ancestry. Celtic groups, Germanic groups, etc migrating to the Isles and to France, Germany, etc. What is more valuable than your ethnicity estimates are your matches to people, do you match people who have surnames you know to be in your family tree?
          Yes, my matches have names that are found in my family tree. I know that my parents are my parents. They have both been tested at 23 and Me. It's just the ethnicity breakdown that is completely different. The southeast European is also very confusing. At 23 and Me I have 15% Iberian. That's not the same region at all.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Oceane19 View Post

            Yes, my matches have names that are found in my family tree. I know that my parents are my parents. They have both been tested at 23 and Me. It's just the ethnicity breakdown that is completely different. The southeast European is also very confusing. At 23 and Me I have 15% Iberian. That's not the same region at all.
            I meant do the matches who aren't your parents share any common names and common ancestors? Matches will outweigh ethnicity estimation. Ethnicity estimation is questionable and mostly strikes me as entertainment value. DNA does not respect borders all that well, and you will find large amounts of overlap within regions.

            Ethnicity estimations will vary between companies because they have different reference populations within their database.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes, these DNA testing facilities know absolutely nothing about the ethnic French, and it's only made worse by the severe disrespect of that sub-category of the Caucasian race. Everyone, from historians and genealogists to even some of the amateurs interested in these topics are so lazy and hung up on the basics of haplogroup I equals Scandinavian and Celts used to inhabit ALL of Europe (a statement which enrages French historian Jean-Louis Brunaux ) that they dismiss the ethnic French who inhabit most of France radiating from it's center outward as a mere mingling of Germans ( ignoring the fact that ''German'' is also a grossly broad term ), Celts ( yet again, Jean-Louis Brunaux's opinion, Celtic is a sweeping statement in and of itself as well ) and Romans who really never inhabited France but rather owned it so they would have someone else to de their work for them. Normally I blame it on the regions, and there are Basques in southeast France which could have an effect, not to mention a little Greek/Tuscan in Provence, but also remember that the French are hardly well represented by these companies. We could blame it on the supposed plethora of Germans ( VERY broad term ) in eastern France if they actually had a separation between French and German ( which they don't ) and you had German, but that's not the case and you don't even have the western European ''blob'' that they attribute to Germany and France...blah...these geneticists! I have compassion on them, though, I suppose it is difficult, especially when a nation outlaws DNA testing.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rhonda Hatton View Post
                Yes, these DNA testing facilities know absolutely nothing about the ethnic French, and it's only made worse by the severe disrespect of that sub-category of the Caucasian race. Everyone, from historians and genealogists to even some of the amateurs interested in these topics are so lazy and hung up on the basics of haplogroup I equals Scandinavian and Celts used to inhabit ALL of Europe (a statement which enrages French historian Jean-Louis Brunaux ) that they dismiss the ethnic French who inhabit most of France radiating from it's center outward as a mere mingling of Germans ( ignoring the fact that ''German'' is also a grossly broad term ), Celts ( yet again, Jean-Louis Brunaux's opinion, Celtic is a sweeping statement in and of itself as well ) and Romans who really never inhabited France but rather owned it so they would have someone else to de their work for them. Normally I blame it on the regions, and there are Basques in southeast France which could have an effect, not to mention a little Greek/Tuscan in Provence, but also remember that the French are hardly well represented by these companies. We could blame it on the supposed plethora of Germans ( VERY broad term ) in eastern France if they actually had a separation between French and German ( which they don't ) and you had German, but that's not the case and you don't even have the western European ''blob'' that they attribute to Germany and France...blah...these geneticists! I have compassion on them, though, I suppose it is difficult, especially when a nation outlaws DNA testing.
                You are aware that the majority of Roman Gaul was inhabited by Gauls and Roman aristocrats? Eventually Germanic foederati were settled in Gaul and among those foederati were the Franks, whose very name gave rise to the name of France.

                Please provide citations on these so called non-Celtic and non-Germanic origins of France. Yes the Basques and Aquitanians were present in France and everyone knows they are neither Celts or Germanics.

                It's not that these DNA testing companies "disrespect" the French by making them out to be a conglomeration of Germanics and Celts and whatever else, it's that France like the rest of Western Europe has had various stages of migrations take place that make the people so similar to their neighbours. Firstly we have the Celts who settled France, parts of Spain, Britain, Ireland and elsewhere, then we have Germanic movements during the Migration Period, during the Migration Period there was a back migration of Celtic Britons who settled in Brittany.

                No OP doesn't have the Western European blob, however he has the British Isles blob, a region which saw similar migration patterns as France. Not to mention the eventual conquering of England in 1066 by Normans with their Norman, French, Breton and Flemish soldiers and the eventual invasion of Ireland by the Anglo-Normans (many who still spoke French), even Scotland saw Norman settlement thanks to King David I of Scotland.

                To top it all off, Western Europeans and Europeans in general aren't necessarily so easily distinguishable at first glance by DNA testing. Because people move, people migrate. People you thought you knew in your family tree may not be who you think at all, they could be adopted, the result of NPEs or surname adoptions to hide original origins.

                Also in regards to Haplogroup I, you've grossly misinterpreted the information on that. Haplogroup I (I-M170) is not Scandinavian no, it's European. It's subclades of I2 and I1 are distributed in various ways, I2 can be found pretty much throughout Europe depending on the subclades of I2 and I1, specifically the branch DF29 is so overwhelmingly present in I1 Northern European lineages that it would be unreasonable to assume that DF29 didn't arise in Jutland or some area nearby.
                Last edited by spruithean; 4th October 2018, 09:02 AM.

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                • #9
                  This reminds men of, when years ago I tried to trace one of my hypothetical lines back to ancient Rome, ha ha. Anyway going back in time from Charlemagne, a former Consul of Africa retired in Lyon, France. He had a governing position, but was fired by Emperor Valentinian (which Valentinian I don't recall) for his gendarmes coming out second best with a confrontation with some intruding Germanic tribe or other (Burgundians, I think). Anyway he raised his family there in Lyon, at least one descending line of which led to England.
                  Last edited by PDHOTLEN; 5th October 2018, 01:55 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by spruithean View Post

                    You are aware that the majority of Roman Gaul was inhabited by Gauls and Roman aristocrats? Eventually Germanic foederati were settled in Gaul and among those foederati were the Franks, whose very name gave rise to the name of France.

                    Please provide citations on these so called non-Celtic and non-Germanic origins of France. Yes the Basques and Aquitanians were present in France and everyone knows they are neither Celts or Germanics.

                    It's not that these DNA testing companies "disrespect" the French by making them out to be a conglomeration of Germanics and Celts and whatever else, it's that France like the rest of Western Europe has had various stages of migrations take place that make the people so similar to their neighbours. Firstly we have the Celts who settled France, parts of Spain, Britain, Ireland and elsewhere, then we have Germanic movements during the Migration Period, during the Migration Period there was a back migration of Celtic Britons who settled in Brittany.

                    No OP doesn't have the Western European blob, however he has the British Isles blob, a region which saw similar migration patterns as France. Not to mention the eventual conquering of England in 1066 by Normans with their Norman, French, Breton and Flemish soldiers and the eventual invasion of Ireland by the Anglo-Normans (many who still spoke French), even Scotland saw Norman settlement thanks to King David I of Scotland.

                    To top it all off, Western Europeans and Europeans in general aren't necessarily so easily distinguishable at first glance by DNA testing. Because people move, people migrate. People you thought you knew in your family tree may not be who you think at all, they could be adopted, the result of NPEs or surname adoptions to hide original origins.

                    Also in regards to Haplogroup I, you've grossly misinterpreted the information on that. Haplogroup I (I-M170) is not Scandinavian no, it's European. It's subclades of I2 and I1 are distributed in various ways, I2 can be found pretty much throughout Europe depending on the subclades of I2 and I1, specifically the branch DF29 is so overwhelmingly present in I1 Northern European lineages that it would be unreasonable to assume that DF29 didn't arise in Jutland or some area nearby.


                    Give you citations for these ''so-called non Celtic and non Germanic origins of France? Then let it begin!

                    You see, it isn't that the French are not related ''at all'' to Germans and Celts, heaven forbid! After all, R1b is the most common Haplogroup in Western Europe in general, whether it's Germany, France or the British Isles: but that's Y-DNA, and Y-DNA is not the same as autosomal DNA. Several hundred years of living in their own territory and culture prior to the coming of the Romans sundered Gaulish DNA from that of their Germanic and Celtic counterparts: they aren't three entirely different races, but they are definitely two entirely different sub-categories of their race. The only reason we think that Basques and Aquitanians are not related to British Isles Celts is because the Romans said so, and Romans knew almost nothing at all about any race except their own. Recent genealogical testing has proven a heavy connection between the Irish and the Basques, humorous considering the Irish claimed that their Milesian invaders were of Spanish origin: maybe there's more to those Celtic myths than we think. ''Celt'' is a broad term, and I understand these peoples are related, but there is still variation across groups, and if FTDNA can differentiate Iberian from Irish even though they're sometimes related, how come they can't distinguish French from anything else? You're right that it isn't disrespect, it's actually just a misunderstanding; autosomal DNA testing has yet to improve.

                    As to haplogroup I, I've been under the impression that it did originate in Scandinavia, mainly because I hear that all the time at these forums and DNA databases. I also forget that Scandinavia doesn't encompass all of Northern Europe, so allow me to apologize and say Northern European haplogroup instead. It may be distributed throughout all of Europe, but a lot of etymologically French surnames in England were introduced with the Norman Conquest by the primarily Scandinavian ( or Northern European ) French region of Normandy, and aot of those surnames come hand in hand with haplogroup I.

                    I also find it highly debatable whether or not the Franks were genuinely Germanic, and whether or not they had that much genetic impact on the ethnic French. Remember, German is also a broad term, just like Celt.

                    As for the Romans, as much as they treated Gauls like inferior animals and spoke of them as a people totally different from their own as late as the time of Ammianus Marcellinus, who spoke of the Gauls thus, I seriously doubt they contributed as much to French genetics as they did to French architecture.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rhonda Hatton View Post



                      Give you citations for these ''so-called non Celtic and non Germanic origins of France? Then let it begin!

                      You see, it isn't that the French are not related ''at all'' to Germans and Celts, heaven forbid! After all, R1b is the most common Haplogroup in Western Europe in general, whether it's Germany, France or the British Isles: but that's Y-DNA, and Y-DNA is not the same as autosomal DNA. Several hundred years of living in their own territory and culture prior to the coming of the Romans sundered Gaulish DNA from that of their Germanic and Celtic counterparts: they aren't three entirely different races, but they are definitely two entirely different sub-categories of their race. The only reason we think that Basques and Aquitanians are not related to British Isles Celts is because the Romans said so, and Romans knew almost nothing at all about any race except their own. Recent genealogical testing has proven a heavy connection between the Irish and the Basques, humorous considering the Irish claimed that their Milesian invaders were of Spanish origin: maybe there's more to those Celtic myths than we think. ''Celt'' is a broad term, and I understand these peoples are related, but there is still variation across groups, and if FTDNA can differentiate Iberian from Irish even though they're sometimes related, how come they can't distinguish French from anything else? You're right that it isn't disrespect, it's actually just a misunderstanding; autosomal DNA testing has yet to improve.

                      As to haplogroup I, I've been under the impression that it did originate in Scandinavia, mainly because I hear that all the time at these forums and DNA databases. I also forget that Scandinavia doesn't encompass all of Northern Europe, so allow me to apologize and say Northern European haplogroup instead. It may be distributed throughout all of Europe, but a lot of etymologically French surnames in England were introduced with the Norman Conquest by the primarily Scandinavian ( or Northern European ) French region of Normandy, and aot of those surnames come hand in hand with haplogroup I.

                      I also find it highly debatable whether or not the Franks were genuinely Germanic, and whether or not they had that much genetic impact on the ethnic French. Remember, German is also a broad term, just like Celt.

                      As for the Romans, as much as they treated Gauls like inferior animals and spoke of them as a people totally different from their own as late as the time of Ammianus Marcellinus, who spoke of the Gauls thus, I seriously doubt they contributed as much to French genetics as they did to French architecture.
                      I'm fully aware that Y-DNA is not the same as auDNA. However, none of these ethno-linguistic groupings have their own specific auDNA profiles or whatever. The Gauls are a subset of the Celtic ethno-linguistic group, the Gauls spoke a Celtic language called "Gaulish". This has been proven to be the case time and time again. The fact that people of French descent, German descent, British descent, etc have been found to have FamilyFinder results showing high levels of "German" or whatever DNA is because all these Western European people share a common origin in the people who eventually gave rise to the Celtic and Germanic groups.

                      Just because they found similarities between the Irish and Basque does not mean that they shouldn't be able to find differences between the Iberians and Irish, there is genetic drift at play here also if I recall correctly the connection drawn between the Basques and Irish was initially determined by Y-DNA, however recent research into phylogeny thanks to NGS testing has shown that the Basques and Irish may not be as close as once thought.

                      The reason that it can be difficult to differentiate between the French and Germans in these tests is again due to the common origins of both nations. France saw settlement by Germanic peoples such as the Franks, Saxons, Visigoths, Burgundians, and others. Not to mention that the Kingdom of the Franks once included Germany! In my own testing experience there has been difficulty in distinguishing some degree of my Dutch ancestry from my British ancestry, why is this? Because of a shared history between both regions, that spans far more than the Roman era. The same can be said for France and Germany, the shared history there extends far beyond the Roman Era, before and after.

                      In terms of Haplogroup I, only certain branches of I2 appear to have Scandinavian/Northern European origins, while I1 (especially I1-DF29) have overwhelming Northern European population bias. From what I've seen a lot of the supposed Norman families in Britain and Ireland are showing to be members of R1b or R1a, with some belonging to whatever branch of I-M170.

                      The Franks were almost certainly Germanic, their language is Germanic (see its descendants such as Dutch) and their known mythology is Germanic. Whether they had some early incorporation of non-Germanic elements is unknown but almost certainly likely at some point.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by spruithean View Post

                        I'm fully aware that Y-DNA is not the same as auDNA. However, none of these ethno-linguistic groupings have their own specific auDNA profiles or whatever. The Gauls are a subset of the Celtic ethno-linguistic group, the Gauls spoke a Celtic language called "Gaulish". This has been proven to be the case time and time again. The fact that people of French descent, German descent, British descent, etc have been found to have FamilyFinder results showing high levels of "German" or whatever DNA is because all these Western European people share a common origin in the people who eventually gave rise to the Celtic and Germanic groups.

                        Just because they found similarities between the Irish and Basque does not mean that they shouldn't be able to find differences between the Iberians and Irish, there is genetic drift at play here also if I recall correctly the connection drawn between the Basques and Irish was initially determined by Y-DNA, however recent research into phylogeny thanks to NGS testing has shown that the Basques and Irish may not be as close as once thought.

                        The reason that it can be difficult to differentiate between the French and Germans in these tests is again due to the common origins of both nations. France saw settlement by Germanic peoples such as the Franks, Saxons, Visigoths, Burgundians, and others. Not to mention that the Kingdom of the Franks once included Germany! In my own testing experience there has been difficulty in distinguishing some degree of my Dutch ancestry from my British ancestry, why is this? Because of a shared history between both regions, that spans far more than the Roman era. The same can be said for France and Germany, the shared history there extends far beyond the Roman Era, before and after.

                        In terms of Haplogroup I, only certain branches of I2 appear to have Scandinavian/Northern European origins, while I1 (especially I1-DF29) have overwhelming Northern European population bias. From what I've seen a lot of the supposed Norman families in Britain and Ireland are showing to be members of R1b or R1a, with some belonging to whatever branch of I-M170.

                        The Franks were almost certainly Germanic, their language is Germanic (see its descendants such as Dutch) and their known mythology is Germanic. Whether they had some early incorporation of non-Germanic elements is unknown but almost certainly likely at some point.
                        I know that you know the difference between autosomal and YDNA, and I understand that the French are related to other Western Europeans, I just think that there is still some genetic drift between them and their neighbors, which I wish was visible on these tests. I'm not angry at you or trying to contradict you, I just can be a little impatient with DNA testing technology. I suppose that Wikipedia and numerous people who discuss genealogy accidentally misinformed me on the origins of haplogroup I; my information on Anglo-Norman surnames came from multiple Y-DNA charts at FTDNA's various groups.Sorry about the misinformation. Still, I think it's possible that one day they may find a profile for some of the more central French.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rhonda Hatton View Post

                          I know that you know the difference between autosomal and YDNA, and I understand that the French are related to other Western Europeans, I just think that there is still some genetic drift between them and their neighbors, which I wish was visible on these tests. I'm not angry at you or trying to contradict you, I just can be a little impatient with DNA testing technology. I suppose that Wikipedia and numerous people who discuss genealogy accidentally misinformed me on the origins of haplogroup I; my information on Anglo-Norman surnames came from multiple Y-DNA charts at FTDNA's various groups.Sorry about the misinformation. Still, I think it's possible that one day they may find a profile for some of the more central French.
                          DNA testing is an advancing science, just look how far it has come since its earliest days! Genetic Genealogy is yet again a rather rapidly advancing science, it will keep improving and as databases grow we will be better equipped to make better predictions in regards to "ethnicity estimates" and ancestry.

                          I'm not sure that the genetic drift would be all the large for two landlocked populations that have had a shared history for so long, a lot of movement between their borders would certainly lead to a lot of similarities between populations. Perhaps part of the problem is due to the lack of French DNA testing due to French laws on the matter. Haplogroup I is a peculiar one, with one branch (I2) having developed quite awhile back, while the second branch under I1 seemingly developed much (and I mean a lot) later and had a rather evident population bottleneck.

                          No worries, this is just merely discussion. I've found it to be frustrating that DNA companies do not at least tell their customers that estimations are simply that, estimations and they are not always accurate, it's why I may come across as fiery on the subject of "ethnicity estimation".

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