Topics

Surprising DNA results from Ancestry


Zora Moore
 

I recently received my Ancestry DNA test back...51% Jewish.    My birth mom (African-American) died when I was 8 years old.   I was told my whole life that my bio- father was Mexican or Latin descent.  Turns out, through DNA that's not the case at all.   So I'm asking for suggestions for the next steps I should look into.  


Geoff Bradley-cox
 

I was told by a DNA relative that I have a Jewish female ancestor on my father's side. He was Irish and from a rural part of Ireland. How on earth did a Jewish woman come to marry somebody from the wilds of the west of Ireland? I found a likely candidate, but can't seem to take it any further as I cannot find any information about her name (it's very unusual).  Hoping to go to Ireland later in the year and talk to some of the relatives to see if anybody remembers anything like this.  Wish you well with your search - I think it's going to be very difficult!


Bob Silverstein
 

Zora, you are going to make a lot of people very curious and receive requests to unravel this mystery.  If you wish, please tell us more about your father and how much you want to learn about him.  You know one thing about him already.  Since you are 51% Jewish (presumably Ashkanzai), he was 100% himself.  Your relatives may know more than what they are saying.

As for steps to take, follow the DNA.  You can download your data from Ancestry and then upload it to FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and GEDmatch.  Although Ancestry has the most kits, FTDNA and MyHeritage may have relatively more Jewish ones.  These three commercial sites have limited tools for comparing DNA but you can search for free on these sites.  GEDmatch is like the big watering hole for genealogists.  It is free and has good tools for comparing DNA's.  It also has kits from all over since it is free.  Navigating GEDmatch can be hard for a beginner and since the online tutorials are not that good, try to find your own tutor to take you through it.

You will learn two other things.  We Jews have been an incestuous bunch.  Or as the genealogists say, endogamous.  This overestimates the number of true cousins.  Second, people do not answer emails.

Good luck on your search and please keep us posted.


Elise Cundiff
 

It is quite possible that he was indeed from Mexico, as there has long been a Jewish community there.  I have known Jewish immigrants from Mexico  to the USA who were Spanish speaking.   


Zora Moore
 

Bob, I know nothing of my father at all.   I was born in December of 1968 in Saginaw, MI.   Unfortunately, my mother was very secretive about my bio-father.  She never told anyone, according to my grandmother who passed away.   The person listed as my father was the man she was married to at the time, my two older sisters' father.  I was able to talk to him prior to him passing, he did not know who the man my mom was seeing, but knew definitely he was not my father as he was living in NY during the time I was conceived.    So, when I saw I was surprised by these results, so were my sisters and distant cousins.   Ancestry did link me to a first cousin, and I am talk to him, to see if we can figure it out, he suggested I also do the 23 and Me, which I did and I am just waiting for the results.   

Image


Karen Lukeman
 

Welcome, Zora!! Bob gave you some great advice. I've done the 23andme and FTDNA DNA tests, and uploaded my data to Gedmatch and MyHeritage. My sister Nadine did the Ancestry DNA test. 

As an FYI, a good number of Jews did immigrate to Mexico, Central America and South America. I have two Mexican aunts who married two of my mother's brothers (all are Syrian Jews). And I also found, via 23andme, a third cousin whose ancestors immigrated from Syria to Dallas TX to Mexico. 

All the best and looking forward to what you find.

Karen Calmon Lukeman


Sarah L Meyer
 

There is a lot of help on Facebook.  There are at least three Jewish genealogy groups, Tracing the Tribe, Jewish genealogy portal and Jews from Poland , a group called DNA Your Jewish journey.  In addition there are general groups for people who do not know one or more birth parents, DNA Detectives and Search Angels - also DNA for genealogy, and a Group with a very long name - Ancestry 23&me FTDNA Gedmatch MyHeritage DNA Genealogy (in some order although Ancestry is first).   I would definitely start with a DNA detectives group in addition to downloading your Ancestry results and uploading the zipped files to FTDNA, MyHeritage and Gedmatch.  Be sure to read the terms of service.  To use the chromosome browser tools - which are important, there are small one time fees at FTDNA and MyHeritage ($19 and $29 respectively I think).  Good luck to you.


Sue Frank
 

Jews from Mexico were more likely to have Sephardic origins than Ashkenazi. 

Sue Frank


On 3 Jan 2020, at 14:41, gandmbc via Groups.Jewishgen.Org <gandmbc=yahoo.co.uk@...> wrote:

I was told by a DNA relative that I have a Jewish female ancestor on my father's side. He was Irish and from a rural part of Ireland. How on earth did a Jewish woman come to marry somebody from the wilds of the west of Ireland? I found a likely candidate, but can't seem to take it any further as I cannot find any information about her name (it's very unusual).  Hoping to go to Ireland later in the year and talk to some of the relatives to see if anybody remembers anything like this.  Wish you well with your search - I think it's going to be very difficult!

--
Cambridgeshire, UK

Surnames: ROSENBERG, SKOWRONEK, CHENCINER, HERSZENKRUG from Warsaw


Robert Heuman
 

My Daughter in Law was born in Mexico City and so were her siblings and
several of her ancestors... and they are definitely Ashkenazi Jewish
from Germany, Poland and Russia when their ancestors are sought. There
is a sizable Jewish community in Mexico City...

RsH


On Fri, 03 Jan 2020 07:40:48 -0800, you wrote:

It is quite possible that he was indeed from Mexico, as there has long been a Jewish community there.  I have known Jewish immigrants from Mexico  to the USA who were Spanish speaking.

TorontoRSH
=======================================================
<torontorsh@...>
Copyright retained. My opinions - no one else's...
If this is illegal where you are, do not read it!
Canada's Fighting Internet & Wireless Spam Act applies.
Retention of this message in violation of Canadian
Privacy Laws will be prosecuted.


jbonline1111@...
 

My step-grandmother had many family members who had emigrated from Russia to Mexico when they were not allowed to enter the United States.  Elise may well be correct.


Ina Getzoff
 

Is there anyone in your family that is still alive and might be able to help you begin looking back?  Do you have any pictures or paperwork regarding your parents that might be of help? Lately, many stories have been coming out after DNA testing that the parents that "we" thought were our biological parents actually are not. You don't indicate how old you are or where you grew up or with whom since you were very young when your mother passed away or if you actually knew your father. Those are questions that need to be answered and might be answered by the family that you lived with. 
Please post more information so our group can try and help you.
Ina Getzoff
JGSPBCI Secretary
Delray Beach, Fla.


Dave Lichtenstein
 

Hello Bob.  I am not going to use a meaningless "like" with your post but rather comment on it.  You are right in that we Jews are endogamous.  Both my sisters did the right thing and married fellow Jews (sadly one of them later became divorced.)  I have taken a couple of major DNA tests and I must admit that I am sometimes a bit sceptical of the results.  In fact I am quite flattered by many of the results apparently being linked to many people with Anglo-Celtic names.  Having lived all my life in predominantly Anglo-Celtic communities, I have always felt the odd "man" out with my own surname which I have never changed.  However, to get back to the endogamous factor, I now find that I am supposed to be related through my DNA to many of my sisters-in-laws.

With best wishes
Dave Lichtenstein
Sydney, Australia


Alberto Guido Chester
 

I am surprised by the several answers to this post, most of them trying to explain this individual story of a certain man and a certain woman having a certain, unique child, by using collective generalizations.

Genealogy, in my understanding, is the history of individuals. Sometimes those histories match general migration trends.

Most times they do not match anything, just a series of coincidences produced a journey, a destiny and a fate.

This is true specially for Jewish people,  who have been subject to diasporas ( greek for dispersion) and numerous migrations.

I suggest the primitive poster to search for her own history, insisting on family lore ( which she says there is not, but maybe its hidden in family secrets) or DNA searches. 

Since in the XX th C ( when the poster was born, most certainly), Jews have been everywhere, looking for migration trends will not help her. Look for your own story !

Hope this helps

Alberto Guido Chester
Buenos Aires, Argentina



Bob Silverstein
 

Hi Dave, 

Thanks for your interesting post.  Being Jewish is just like everything else in life: complicated.  Names can mislead.  Family stories can mislead.  I know of mixed marriages where the non-Jewish partners, converted or not, have more respect for Judaism than some born Jewish.  We cannot all live in Israel or Crown Heights and insulate ourselves from the non-Jewish world so we make certain accommodations to our own realities.  Does that make us any less Jewish?

DNA.  The data are often pretty convincing.  Endogamy is when things get messy.  When you say you may be cousins of your sisters-in-law, coming up a third or more degree cousin probably means you can add a few more degrees to the relationship.  From a Halachic standpoint, you are probably safe.  Any way, they are sisters-in-law and not a wife.

In Zora's case, I would bet that the ethnicity estimate is right.  She came up 51% European Jewish.  That is possible when one parent is 100% the same.  Unless someone knows otherwise, not a lot of wiggle room there.  Let us all hope Zora finds the answers she is looking for.

I hope you stay safe from the fires.
Bob


Ina Getzoff
 

Alberto:
You are right in that genealogy is an individuals history but it is also the history of the family that they belong to-parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Also, you are right in that the Jews have been everywhere for thousands of years.  DNA is now the "new kid on the block" so to speak and it is helping many of us to learn about our family history and in some cases the medical family history. 

I don't know if you have done any family research since you don't indicate if you have or where you are living and writing from but as a genealogist that has both been researching both my family and my husband's family for almost thirty years documenting migration using passenger records, census records, and family stories if they are available is just a few of the things that eventually tell someone who they are and where they came from.

If you have any further comments or want to carry on this conversation I would be more than glad to do so.

Ina Getzoff
Delray Beach, Fla.

On Fri, Jan 3, 2020 at 10:41 PM Alberto Guido Chester <agchester@...> wrote:
I am surprised by the several answers to this post, most of them trying to explain this individual story of a certain man and a certain woman having a certain, unique child, by using collective generalizations.

Genealogy, in my understanding, is the history of individuals. Sometimes those histories match general migration trends.

Most times they do not match anything, just a series of coincidences produced a journey, a destiny and a fate.

This is true specially for Jewish people,  who have been subject to diasporas ( greek for dispersion) and numerous migrations.

I suggest the primitive poster to search for her own history, insisting on family lore ( which she says there is not, but maybe its hidden in family secrets) or DNA searches. 

Since in the XX th C ( when the poster was born, most certainly), Jews have been everywhere, looking for migration trends will not help her. Look for your own story !

Hope this helps

Alberto Guido Chester
Buenos Aires, Argentina



Lisa
 

Dear Zora,
From your ethnicity breakdown it is apparent your birth father was Jewish. Since your mother was African American, it should be easy for you to sort out your maternal and paternal dna matches. You’ll need to determine your highest paternal match and from there your research will begin.
Might I suggest that before you reach out and contact any of your matches, that you join the Facebook group called DNA Detectives.
All Best,
Lisa Brahin Weinblatt


dfowler1953@...
 

hi grandmbc, 
depending on when, in relation to say the potato famine, i suggest that your irish ancestor left ireland, met and married your jewish lady ancestor then returned to ireland? 
more likely than she going to wild west ireland independently. 

your irish and jewish ancestor might then have met in one of the england-irish ports liverpool, swansea etc

food for thought
dick fowler, 


joanmattson@...
 

Lots of interesting responses to your post.  I always learn so much from the helpful insight of Jewish Gen members.  My offering is more directed to my personal approach to brick walls.  I suggest creating a timeline for your mother on a general genealogy site like ancestry focusing on city directories and if appropriate the census about the time of your conception and looking for anyone else living at her address.  If her workplace is listed, google that with the year of your conception and see if you can find her there...if so look for other workers there when she was there.  Any other information about your mother from relatives from this time period should also be explored for a recurring male name, for example where she worked, who were her best friends, did she attend a particular church, any volunteer activities like the Red Cross, or social clubs....all focused around the time of your conception.  Try google to pursue any clues you may find.   Don’t discard recurring female connections that may appear; they may have had brothers or cousins that are important.  I know it sounds tedious but it can yield surprising clues about your mother if not your birth father.  Good luck!


Zora Moore
 

Thanks!  I did join that FB group. 

AskZora
HR * Legal/ID * Insurance
520-808-2283


From: Lisa <redball62@...>
Sent: Friday, January 3, 2020 9:14:21 PM
To: main@... <main@...>; Zora Moore <zora@...>
Subject: Re: Surprising DNA results from Ancestry
 
Dear Zora,
From your ethnicity breakdown it is apparent your birth father was Jewish. Since your mother was African American, it should be easy for you to sort out your maternal and paternal dna matches. You’ll need to determine your highest paternal match and from there your research will begin.
Might I suggest that before you reach out and contact any of your matches, that you join the Facebook group called DNA Detectives.
All Best,
Lisa Brahin Weinblatt



Zora Moore
 

There is no one living that can answer these questions.  I was born in Saginaw Mi, Dec 1968.  No one knows why my mother was living there.  I was raised by my mother's great aunt from the age of 5.  My mother died when I was 8 from what I found out later as an adult from a drug over dose. 

AskZora
HR * Legal/ID * Insurance
520-808-2283


From: Ina Getzoff <mysticat2011@...>
Sent: Friday, January 3, 2020 12:26:12 PM
To: main@... <main@...>; Zora Moore <zora@...>
Subject: Re: Surprising DNA results from Ancestry
 
Is there anyone in your family that is still alive and might be able to help you begin looking back?  Do you have any pictures or paperwork regarding your parents that might be of help? Lately, many stories have been coming out after DNA testing that the parents that "we" thought were our biological parents actually are not. You don't indicate how old you are or where you grew up or with whom since you were very young when your mother passed away or if you actually knew your father. Those are questions that need to be answered and might be answered by the family that you lived with. 
Please post more information so our group can try and help you.
Ina Getzoff
JGSPBCI Secretary
Delray Beach, Fla.