Re: DNA test #dna

Jill Whitehead

Most testing companies are optimistic in their assessment of cousinship, and they usually give a range e.g. 2nd to 5th cousin . In reality the 3rd cousin is likely a 4th or 5th cousin or more. You can can have very many 3rd, 4th and 5th cousins, and probably very few of them are close relations to you that could be traced.  As so many Jews are interrelated, this makes cousinships seems closer than they really are e.g. so many 1st cousin, uncle-niece etc relationships in closed communities over time - this is called endogamy. Most people of Jewish origin share at least one chromosome segment, but this could go way back into the depth of time to your deep ancestry, and will have no meaning for tracing recent relations.  

The 2019 issue of Shemot, the journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, is a DNA special that explains all these matters. Most of the companies also have information about these matters. Ancestry is the weakest, as it does not give the same full information as FTDNA, 23andMe and MyHeritage, which are all much better on Jewish genetics than Ancestry.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

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