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non-European ancestry?

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  • non-European ancestry?


    I have had DNA testing performed by two companies and ethnic ancestry estimates by several companies. Of course, the ethnic ancestry estimates are only very roughly comparable, and I think I have a pretty good general idea of why ethnic ancestry estimates differ from company to company. (There are several reasons.)

    A lot of genealogy has been done on both sides of my family, and all of my known ancestors are derived from European sources.

    FTDNA estimates my ethnic ancestry to be 96% European, with the remainder being divided up between Eastern Middle East, Western Middle East, Central Asia, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

    Another company used the same data and estimated roughly similar amounts of European ancestry, with the remainder being primarily North Africa and a tiny bit of sub-saharan Africa.

    Another website does a principal component analysis, and the first principle component from my DNA clusters most closely with Middle East. provides an estimate that my ethnic ancestry 100% European.

    I am intrigued with the possibility of a little non-European ancestry. There were some vague rumors that we may have some Jewish ancestry in one branch of the family, but none of the paper documentation supports this theory going back many generations.

    I am not sure I have a well-formed question about all of these results, but I am interested in what people may have to say about it, especially among those who may have had similar results, and also general thoughts about significantly divergent results from different companies.

  • #2
    Still no replies. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?


    • #3
      I have a similar situation for one kit that I manage, but only here at FTDNA. The known ancestry for this person "H" is Mediterranean, but a percentage of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish shows up in the estimate. Other close family members for H (including a full sibling), who have tested here and elsewhere, do not show either of those Jewish populations. I have not found any record of Jewish ancestry for H. Unless I'm mistaken, it is a case of the algorithm used to determine ethnicities misidentifying the percentage that is shown as Jewish, when it is more likely to be from a similar reference population.

      Depending upon how small the percentage of Ashkenazi Jewish is, it could also be considered a trace amount which could be ignored, especially since there has been a lot of genealogy research done for your family, and no Jewish ancestor has been identified. The remaining possibility is that one of the ancestors actually had Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, but there had been a religious conversion in that line.

      You seem aware of the reasons why the ethnicity estimates differ among the companies (different reference populations, proprietary algorithms, etc.). Some companies' estimates are simply better than others for a lot of people. Ancestry used to predict more Scandinavian than most people actually had, but they eventually refined their estimates. So it is with all the companies, with various ethnicities.