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Percentages of ancestry - my Ashkenazi father seems to be partly of Italian/Greek descent? #dna


swerner@...
 

I had my genes tested by FamilyTreeDNA.  I already knew I had two very different lines of ancestry.  My father's Ashkenazi Jewish (Belarus, Ukraine).  My mother's of Irish and German descent.  My results came back: Ashkenazi 38%, Ireland/British Isles 27%, West and Central Europe 23%, Southeast Europe 9%, East Europe < 3%.

The Southeast European bit was sort of a surprise.  On my mother's side I know back to my great-great-great-grandparents in all cases and further back than that in some cases.  (Of course, this assumes that everyone's father was the person their mother was married to.)  On my father's side I only know back to my great-grandparents plus, in three out of four cases, their parents as well.

Is it possible that some of my father's ancestors came from Southeast Europe and later immigrated to the Pale to escape persecution?  It's rather tantalizing that 38% + 9% + 3% adds up to 100%.  (Of course, it could also be that some of that 23% West and Central Europe is coming from my father's side as well as my mother's.  For example, my mother's Irish ancestry arises from three different women who immigrated from Ireland independently of each other, at different times and possibly from quite different parts of Ireland.)

I should also note that both my parents are now deceased.  Each of them had one sibling, also now deceased.  My father's sister had no children.  So asking him or her or them to get their DNA tested isn't possible.

Many thanks for any info!

SarahRose Werner
RABINOVICH: Chopovichi, Ukraine
GITELMAN: David-Gorodok, Belarus


swerner@...
 

Oh, duh, I meant to say it adds up to 50%, i.e., implying 100% for my father.


On Sat, May 23, 2020 at 10:52 AM, <swerner@...> wrote:
38% + 9% + 3% adds up to 100%


Jill Whitehead
 

Hi Sarah Rose,

The very small 3% for SE Europe probably relates to your deep ancestry from way back in time (it is too small to be reliable). It is very common in those of Jewish ancestry to have ancestry in SE Europe which includes Greece - a lot of Jewish lines travelled the Mediteranean with the ancient Greek empire . I also have a trace from SE Europe (11% on FTDNA).

However, not all the DNA websites agree and I have different interpretations of my results on FTDNA, 23andme, Ancestry and MyHeritage. Some do not give SE Europe at all, whereas others are more specific e.g. if you have a detailed K36 analysis (avialable on Gedmatch for free and on other sites for a small fee).

I suggest you get your maternal direct line (mtdna) tested and also a brother or father's direct male line (ydna) tested with FTDNA. This will give you further clues about ancient origins. This will give you the haplogroups (DNA tribes if you like) of your direct line ancestors, and where they originally came from. There are some very specific Jewish ones, some common but others rare.

FTDNA has a lot of info on its website about origins, and there are plenty of online guides, as well as papers and books on the subject.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK


GEORGE MASON
 

Hello SarahRose,
Another thing to consider is that, after the conquest of Jerusalem in 78 CE, Jews spread through the Roman World. Gradually, the largest concentration of Jews formed in what is now Spain and Portugal. In the 1490's, the Jews were expelled from Spain and had to find other countries that would take them in. Some went to Egypt and the Middle East, some when up through France and Germany and Hungary into the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania in the 1500's, and some went to Italy and Greece. So, perhaps you have a Sephardic Jewish ancestor in your family tree !
Good luck in your search.
George Mason
USA


adina@...
 

Some might say it implies some Sephardic heritage. I would be interested in matches to see if you have any that aren't Ashkenazi or connected to your mother's line. You can also upload to MyHeritage, and I would consider testing at Ancestry.


swerner@...
 

Many thanks, everyone!  Jill, you recommended getting my myDNA tested.  I have, it's V15a.  However, my furthest back known maternal line ancestress - my great-grandmother's great-grandmother - was from Ireland, probably from County Donegal to judge by her last name and her husband's last name.

I haven't been able to interest my brothers or nephews (the brothers' sons) in taking a Y-DNA test.  My furthest back known paternal line ancestor, who was presumably Ashkenazi, was my great-great-grandfather from (per family lore) David-Gorodok in the Minsk Gubernia.

SarahRose Werner
Saint John, New Brunswick 


Todd Warnick
 

Hi - There were known Sephardic families in Lithuania. In the shtetl of my grandparents, Kopishok (Kopiskis), there was even a small Sepahrdic synagogue, so the fact that you might have some Sephardi DNA is no surprise. 
Best regards, 
Todd Warnick
Jerusalem


Kenneth Ryesky
 

Following the Roman conquest of Judea, Jews were scattered throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and indeed, the world.  The Romans (and before them, the Greeks) took many Jews as slaves, and, as soldiers then as now often did, with varying combinations of force and consentuality, took "war brides" from the territories in which they served.  Jewish slave labor built many of the historical structures of Rome, including the Coliseum.

So it is not unusual for one of these DNA testing concerns to report Greek and/or Italian DNA in its Jewish clients.  Oftentimes it is not so much a case of Jews having Italian DNA so much as Italians having Jewish DNA.    {Remember that if a boy looks like his father it is heredity, but if he looks like the mailman then it is environment.}    -- KHR

Ken Ryesky, Petach Tikva,Israel  kenneth.ryesky@...


Dahn Cukier
 

Hello,

(I tried to use the links at the bottom to reply, but it opens
some email window that I am unfamiliar with.)

To everyone, please add dates to ggggrandparents, such as gggrandparent(b.1890),
otherwise there is no time reference for us to look at. Your gggrandparnet could
be my father's classmate.

Now to an answer. The DNA data does not give an absolute location but
a statistical probability location. When speaking of southeast Europe/N. Africa
and the Middle East, at the time between 1500-1900 the area was
mostly controlled by the Ottomans, and I expect many people,
especially military and political, traveled. Mistresses and one-night-stands are
not things invented in the last few years, but Thomas Jefferson and
DDE (to name just 2 POTUSs) were both well known to have mistresses.

Dani

When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Saturday, May 23, 2020, 05:53:45 PM GMT+3, <swerner@...> wrote:


I had my genes tested by FamilyTreeDNA.  I already knew I had two very different lines of ancestry.  My father's Ashkenazi Jewish (Belarus, Ukraine).  My mother's of Irish and German descent.  My results came back: Ashkenazi 38%, Ireland/British Isles 27%, West and Central Europe 23%, Southeast Europe 9%, East Europe < 3%.

The Southeast European bit was sort of a surprise.  On my mother's side I know back to my great-great-great-grandparents in all cases and further back than that in some cases.  (Of course, this assumes that everyone's father was the person their mother was married to.)  On my father's side I only know back to my great-grandparents plus, in three out of four cases, their parents as well.

Is it possible that some of my father's ancestors came from Southeast Europe and later immigrated to the Pale to escape persecution?  It's rather tantalizing that 38% + 9% + 3% adds up to 100%.  (Of course, it could also be that some of that 23% West and Central Europe is coming from my father's side as well as my mother's.  For example, my mother's Irish ancestry arises from three different women who immigrated from Ireland independently of each other, at different times and possibly from quite different parts of Ireland.)

I should also note that both my parents are now deceased.  Each of them had one sibling, also now deceased.  My father's sister had no children.  So asking him or her or them to get their DNA tested isn't possible.

Many thanks for any info!

SarahRose Werner
RABINOVICH: Chopovichi, Ukraine
GITELMAN: David-Gorodok, Belarus


Louis777@...
 

My DNA about three or four years ago also came back as 14 or 16% Italian/Greek, although as far as I knew I had no ancestors of those extractions (unless it was thousands of years ago!) on either maternal or paternal sides.
The rest of DNA was essentially East European or Ashkenazi Jewish.  Two years later I got an update telling me that my DNA had been re-done and it showed 100% Ashkenazi Jewish.
Likewise my wife's was totally different when redone two years after initially done.  No request on our part to re-do the samples.  Anyway, I lost any trust in any of the DNA promotions for genealogy.

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susiekrumholz@...
 

This is the tale of one side of my family....from Spain to Portugal to expulsion and migration eastward to locations that would allow them in.


Sarah L Meyer
 

First ethnicity percentages are estimates - not set in stone.  As more data arrives they get revised.  I do suggest that you upload your results (download the raw data from FTDNA, then upload the zipped files (do not unzip them) to MyHeritage, which has more Jewish categories, such as Sephardic and Mizrachi.  I do agree that very small percentages are to be ignored.   As far as Gedmatch is concerned - the J test is outdated, and the other tests do not have Jewish categories, but are interesting. You can also upload to living DNA, but be aware that they do not have ANY Jewish ethnicity categories-- but you will get new matches.  The most important results that you get from any of these services is not ethnicity, but the matches, which allow you to hopefully expand your family tree.   You can definitely do an mtDNA test, but that should only pick out her Irish ancestry.  In order to get a handle on your father's Y haplotype, you need to test male first or second cousins on your paternal side.  For the second cousins they need to be sons of sons - so that you are looking at the "surname" line.  In my case I ended up testing two male second cousins - two sons of two of my paternal grandfather's brothers. (My father had only one sister and she died at 14 months).  However his father had two brothers, I tested them both with Y tests at FTDNA and with family finder.   We were all related using Family Finder - the autosomal test.  However, the two "second" cousins had different Y haplotypes - and were actually a second cousin and a 1/2 second cousin.  If your budget only extends to one second cousin - choose the grandson of the brother closest in age to your grandfather.
--
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
ANK(I)ER, BIGOS, KARMELEK, PERLSTADT, STOKFISZ, SZPIL(T)BAUM, Poland
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania
https://www.sarahsgenies.com


Carolyn Lea
 

Ethnicity is used as a way to sell tests but not the most reliable part of testing - as Others have said. And if you are even 1/2 Jewish as I am your Jewish "cousins" may be much farther out than what the program says. FTDNA does adjust for this to a degree. For more info on ethnicity estimates see Judy Russell's most recent post on this topic.  https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/01/27/and-still-not-soup/

She has several others usually with something about soup - Like not soup yet - etc.
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2016/08/14/those-percentages-if-you-must/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2016/05/01/those-percentages-revisited/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2015/11/01/those-percentages/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2013/10/27/those-pesky-percentages/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2014/05/18/admixture-not-soup-yet/

And there are more!  

My newest estimate from FTDNA's last update erases all my German ancestry on my mother's side and Judy had this same issue at one time and still does. Now I am Scandinavian. Understanding immigration patterns and the movement of Germanic tribes can help explain part of this. 


Carolyn Lea
 

I apparently did something wrong because my message did not appear!  As others have said ethnicity is less important than matches as ethnicity is only an estimate and it changes when companies do an update. I recommend reading Judy Russell's blog on ethnicity estimates. 
Here are a few. 
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/01/27/and-still-not-soup/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2018/09/12/ancestrydna-ethnicity-estimates-updated/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2017/04/16/still-not-soup/
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2016/08/14/those-percentages-if-you-must/

And there are more! Also, because you are 1/2 Jewish your matches are more likely to be more distant than what is indicated (although FTDNA does adjust for this). In the latest incarnation on FTDNA my mother's German Ancestry became Scandinavian. Judy's was and she now has some German. her father was from Germany and his families lived in the same area for at least the last 200 yrs!

Hope this is helpful. 

Carolyn Lea (Schwarzbaum)


Adam Cherson
 

Dear Sarah Rose Werner,
I'm tying into this thread late, but would like to share an angle that might still be insightful to you. After years of intensive research on the origins of Jewish ethnicity, I have reached the conclusion that what we call Ashkenazi is a compilation of several ethnicities. Your typical ancestry report sees these components and reports them as SE Europe or E Europe or others, but there is more to it than that. I have developed a study method which goes deeper than usual to identify ancient cultures (not only Jewish) which are underneath the Ashkenazi surface. I can apply this method to a single individual or to a paternal/maternal pair. In either case, both sides of the deep ancestry are identifiable, although only in the latter can the results specify which branch donated what. In your instance, since you have a very different paternal/maternal ancestry, the parental attributions from a single-individual study will be almost as clear as if you had DNA from both parental lines. If you are interested I can send you an explanation of how this works.
Cordially,
Adam Cherson
NY, NY


Kenneth Ryesky
 

Following the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and the dispersion, many Jews were taken to Italy.  Jewish slave labor built the Coleseum and other Roman tourist trap monuments.
 
So it is not so much a matter of Jews having Italian DNA as it is Italians having Jewish DNA.
 
-- Ken Ryesky
Petach Tikva, ISRAEL
 

--
Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@...


MARC M COHEN
 

Dear Kenneth,
 
There is a ready-to-hand explanation for your Italian/Greek/Ashkenazy mix.  It applies to my family as well: Romitic Jews who lived for centuries in Greece.  
 
Romitic Jews migrated to Italy during the Roman Empire.  During the era of the crusades and other persecutions by the church, many of the Romitic Jews moved to Greece to seek shelter in the Turkish Empire, which was far more tolerant of diverse religious beliefs.
 
This part of my mother's family, the Chomitz/Hametz family lived in Ionnina (Jannina), a town on an island in a lake in NW Greece, or so I believe.  One of the Chomitz clan migrated to Kiev in the late 17th or early 18th century, I imagine.  
 
Hope this explanation helps,
 
Marc
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

--
Marc M. Cohen, Los Gatos, California, USA

BARAK/CANTORCZY: Khotin, Bessarabia; Strorozhinets, Bukovina, Ukraine
CHOMITZ/HAMETZ: Ionina (Janina), Greece; Ignatovka, Ukraine; Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine
COHEN: Dinovitsi (Dunayevtsy) Ukraine; Roman/Tirgu Frumos, Romania
KORNITZKY: Kiev Gubernia, Stepnitz/Stepantsy, Ukraine
RÎBNER: Storozhinetz, Costesti (Costyntsi), Drachinets, Cabesti, Bukovina, Ukraine
ROSENBERG: Tirgu Frumos, Roman, Romania; ISRAEL
WEININGER: Cabesti, Costesti, Drachinets, Czernowitz, Bukovina, Ukraine