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Origins variances from 23nMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA

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  • Origins variances from 23nMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA

    I wondered if the Origin variances from each of the services have to do with the DNA population and Analytics used? Just for this question, I'm going to only use our Jewish Origins as references; (We have other origins but I didn't note them all below)

    In 23nMe, my brother only shows Ashkenazi, and then in Myheritage, his is Ashkenazi, Anatolia, and Sephardi. My origins in Myheritage are Ashkenazi, North African, Iberian, and in FamilyTreeDNA, I am Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Anatolia, Armenia, & Mesopotamia, and Southern Levant.

    How do you paint a clear picture if all of them are slightly different? Do we assume that our family has Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, and Sephardi origins? (Should we assume sometime in the past we had a member of the family from these three groups?) I love history and along the way, I'm reading about each of the different origins as it is fascinating!
    Last edited by B738218; 21 June 2021, 04:23 PM.

  • #2
    The origins (or as they are also known, ethnicity estimates, biogeographical estimates, admixture, etc.), are actually the least accurate part of DNA testing for genealogy. Any of the companies has its own mix of reference populations, and its own algorithm for predicting results. The companies update these estimates every year or two, trying to be more accurate. Some of the reference populations are similar to each other, which can sometimes lead to misattributed ethnicities. Siblings do inherit a different mix of DNA from their parents, so one may have more percentage of a certain ethnicity than another. I would not assume that any particular origin given in an estimate is necessarily true, or that you actually had an ancestor from a population that appears in a small percentage in an estimate. You might, but if you've done traditional paper genealogy and know your ancestors' origins for several generations, and the estimate shows an unusual result, I would be wary.

    Note that your DNA matches, (called DNA Relatives, etc. at different companies) will reflect your ancestry better than the ethnicity estimates. If you see a lot of matches with Ashenazi origins, and some Mizrahi, for example, then you can have more faith in those percentages.

    All that being said, you might try uploading your raw data file (both siblings' files from the same company would be best) to GEDmatch.com, to try their admixture tools. You should read their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy first, to make sure you are comfortable in doing so. There is a Google spreadsheet in which you can review the different GEDmatch Admixture Population tools. The "Eurogenes JTest" and the separate sheet for "Jewish Populations in Oracle" in the Google spreadsheet may help give another estimate or more for you and your brother. This blog post from 2017 by the person who created the Google spreadsheet may help you to understand the different tests, and using the Oracle part. There is a link at the bottom of the blog post to parts 3 and 4.



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    • #3
      Thanks for responding yet again to one of my posts. You confirmed what I was thinking and I just wanted to make sure I was on the right train of thought. My cousins and I do look at the DNA cousins ("relatives") with regards to the Origins and we know 3 generations back our great grandparents were Ashkenazi (German) with we think maybe married to non-jewish converts based on our percentages. After that there is a mixture of German (Non-Jewish) and Irish/English marriages up to my parents. My mom is Italian. The Origins are pretty well match up to what we were told we were growing up. The other origins I was basing having them due to "Migration" of people or countries being "Conquered" by another country. :-)
      Last edited by B738218; 22 June 2021, 09:57 AM.

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