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View Full Version : Mother's possible Sephardic ancestor? - GEDMATCH results + photos



Rufus191
10-14-2019, 06:51 PM
Comparing to some of my father's GEDMATCH admixture results, my mother seems to show an abnormal amount of SW Asian, East Med and Red Sea compared to my father with his results in brackets. Both parents are British.

This is my mother's grandmother

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her grandmother in center with the grandmother's 1st cousin on the far left, then her sister, then daughter 2nd to right, daughter of 1st cousin to right

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I think they all have either slight Sephardic or Greek look?? I haven't traced anything genealogically but it could be a NPE or possible anglicization of a name maybe c. late 18th century. Would appreciate opinions if these spikes could be indicative of distant Sephardic ancestry or if anyone has another explanation.


Eurogenes K9

South Asian-
Caucasus 4.99 Pct
Southwest Asian 2.51 Pct (0)
North Amerindian + Arctic 0.45 Pct
Siberian -
Mediterranean 25.79 Pct
East Asian -
West African -
North European 66.27 Pct

Eurogenes K13

North_Atlantic 49.26
Baltic 23.93
West_Med 13.30
West_Asian 4.71
East_Med 4.51
Red_Sea 2.82 (0)
South_Asian -
East_Asian -
Siberian -
Amerindian 0.85
Oceanian -
Northeast_African -
Sub-Saharan 0.62

Eurogenes EUTest V2 K15

North_Sea 36.29
Atlantic 26.13
Baltic 10.58
Eastern_Euro 9.56 (4.72)
West_Med 9.81
West_Asian 2.10
East_Med 2.31 (1.30)
Red_Sea 2.65 (0)
South_Asian -
Southeast_Asian -
Siberian -
Amerindian 0.22
Oceanian -
Northeast_African -
Sub-Saharan 0.36

Kellebel
10-14-2019, 07:02 PM
I'd say the first thing to look at would be Sephardic matches. Do you have matches with Portuguese/Spanish surnames or with substantial Mediterranean in their AC (SE/WANA)?

StillWater
10-14-2019, 07:07 PM
Why Sephardic and not Ashkenazi?

Pylsteen
10-14-2019, 07:19 PM
If she does have Jewish ancestry, she should have quite a lot of Jewish matches, so I think you should check that. If she does not, then maybe she has some other SW Asian ancestry or she just has elevated SW Asian for no particular reason.

Rufus191
10-14-2019, 07:19 PM
I'd say the first thing to look at would be Sephardic matches. Do you have matches with Portuguese/Spanish surnames or with substantial Mediterranean in their AC (SE/WANA)?
Close matches on GEDMATCH, no. But I have only really examined down to say 15 cM and so few matches have GEDCOMs. I searched for common Sephardic surnames on her ancestry matches and a few trees came up, but it could just be random. No matches that are like 100% Jewish ancestry that I have found yet, but obviously I have only gone through a fraction of the 40,000 matches.

Rufus191
10-14-2019, 07:21 PM
Why Sephardic and not Ashkenazi?
I assumed elevated Red Sea and SW Asian might be indicative more of Sephardic than Ashkenazi, although as you can see in Eurogenes K15, it gives her elevated East European, which she also gets on MyHeritage.

StillWater
10-14-2019, 07:33 PM
I assumed elevated Red Sea and SW Asian might be indicative more of Sephardic than Ashkenazi, although as you can see in Eurogenes K15, it gives her elevated East European, which she also gets on MyHeritage.

Using East European scores as a proxy for Ashkenazi admixture in another European is like gauging the presence of cherry tomatoes in ice cream by looking for elevated sugar content. Ashkenazi Jews are no different from Sephardim, in the sense that they both have "elevated" Red Sea and West Asian scores. And Ashkenazim score lower East Euro on most calculators than NW Europeans.

Rufus191
10-14-2019, 09:03 PM
Using East European scores as a proxy for Ashkenazi admixture in another European is like gauging the presence of cherry tomatoes in ice cream by looking for elevated sugar content. Ashkenazi Jews are no different from Sephardim, in the sense that they both have "elevated" Red Sea and West Asian scores. And Ashkenazim score lower East Euro on most calculators than NW Europeans.
Oh, I wasn't necessarily, I was just pointing it out since my mother has no documented East European ancestry. So if the Red Sea and SW Asian are a mystery, so is the East Europe spike. I have traced the ancestry of both my parents to around 1800 at least on all lines.

On Eurogenes K36, the main differences between my mother and my father are 6.43 East Euro (mother) vs 1.90 (father), 3.16 East Balkan (mother) vs 0 (father), North Caucasian 0.82 (mother) vs 0 (father).

On jtest, main differences between my mother and father, 11.14 East Euro (mother) vs 7.72 (father), East Med 4.72 (mother) vs 1.89 (father).

But her Ancestry DNA test shows no East European, Balkan or Levant ancestry at all.

StillWater
10-15-2019, 03:06 AM
Oh, I wasn't necessarily, I was just pointing it out since my mother has no documented East European ancestry. So if the Red Sea and SW Asian are a mystery, so is the East Europe spike. I have traced the ancestry of both my parents to around 1800 at least on all lines.

On Eurogenes K36, the main differences between my mother and my father are 6.43 East Euro (mother) vs 1.90 (father), 3.16 East Balkan (mother) vs 0 (father), North Caucasian 0.82 (mother) vs 0 (father).

On jtest, main differences between my mother and father, 11.14 East Euro (mother) vs 7.72 (father), East Med 4.72 (mother) vs 1.89 (father).

But her Ancestry DNA test shows no East European, Balkan or Levant ancestry at all.

The higher East European score most likely wouldn't have happened from Ashkenazi admixture. See the calculator averages for your ethnicities vs Ashkenazi. Ancestry DNA tends to pick up on western Jewish admixture, which is why Mexicans usually score some. Did your mom score anything non European or Italian?

Rufus191
10-15-2019, 06:45 PM
The higher East European score most likely wouldn't have happened from Ashkenazi admixture. See the calculator averages for your ethnicities vs Ashkenazi. Ancestry DNA tends to pick up on western Jewish admixture, which is why Mexicans usually score some. Did your mom score anything non European or Italian?
Thanks for your reply. No she is very boring on Ancestry, 100% NW Europe! But I am sceptical as to Ancestry's ability or desire to find (or highlight) trace ancestry. Looking at the 'Eastern Euro' group on Eurogenes K15 on the population average spreadsheet, its distribution is a little odd, and maybe points to ancient ancestry rather than a recent East European connection, as SE and SW England, SW Scotland Ireland are all around 8-9%, Norway and Sweden are around 11% whereas Ashkenazi is only 5%

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19c_bZjUV_RouKyGyLHmMDw57WwAVabXFJOaso_gcuRE/edit#gid=1872836177 K15 averages

So, maybe MyHeritage also has an issue with this so my mother's East European on there may be a false positive also. But in nearly all calculators, not including the commercial companies, I am getting some hint of raised Red Sea, SW Asian, or Arab i.e. on MDLP K27 my mother gets 2.31% Arabic. The average for a South East English person of Red Sea on Eurogenes K15 is 0.33 - my mother is 2.65, for K13 0.09, my mother is 2.82
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Oz6P5-SVEJciPX1TciGe-zoqA5JtOGIMG7nh-rCOj0c/edit#gid=804264822 K13 averages

For Ashkenazi, Red Sea on K15 8.07, K13 is 5.98
Sephardic, Red Sea on K15 9.68, K13 8.90
Italian Jewish, Red Sea on K15 8.25, K13 7.05
Kurdish Jewish, Red Sea on K15, 10.37, on K13 10.63

Non Jewish southern European - East Mediterranean populations

Bulgarian, Red Sea on K15, 2.18, on K13 1.95
Greek Thessaly, Red Sea on K15 4, K13 3.83
Romanian, Red Sea on K15, 2.5, on K13 2.14
South Italian, Red Sea on K15, 5.33, K13 5.12
Lebanese Christian, Red Sea on K15 12.34, K13 12.4

So given I think the connection is back at least 5 generations, it would seem the original ancestor was most likely either Jewish or a Levantine Christian.

Kurki
11-03-2019, 09:22 PM
For northern European ancestry I got added into matching groups of European Jews on two sites, and I think this ancestry pattern is possibly a few hundred years off. So you would likely have matches, even if distant, if you were Jewish. Matches have inconsistent results for me depending on company... one, because we aren't Jewish or recently Jewish, and two I do not know that Ashkenazi and Sephardic are not very different (I am not an expert at all so anyone can clear this up for me.. I also think I am matching both; but primarily Sephardic, and this would match history of region where we came from). I also have inconsistent DNA results, though not any listed results for Ashkenazi (I get either extra high Eastern European or a little mixed African.. one or the other disappears on different sites). My matches for this pattern are sometimes Eastern European but often Balkan and Italian with scores of 10-40% Moroccan or north African Jew.

I'm not sure the math works the way you describe, with Red Sea breaking down each generation... if I understand how you are thinking or imagining someone at least five generations ago must have been a very large % Red Sea background. By this same kind of math you might wonder how your west Asian % dwindled so low if anyone was Jewish. But I don't think it works like that. We have whole pieces of DNA that just lop off and disappear each generation and other segments that carry on, same length and unchanged. I see this in some of my matches.. how a segment did not change for a generation. If you are Finnish, you can get long sticky segments and what looks like overly close relationships with people you are related to from the 1600s. The segments just did not break down. So maybe I have Finnish level of West Asian, which isn't much. But a set of European Jewish matches from Latvia to Croatia and Portugal. These are probably connected by some segments that, at some point, just passed without changing too much either. Yet a cousin might take a DNA test and not get any of these unexpected project invites because they might not match any of these segments. So long story short, if you don't have matches or recorded or known history, I am not sure how you can know if this is Jewish (vs a couple Italians, some region of Spain, elsewhere..). There are too many possibilities. And that one little bit of Red Sea in your DNA just stays at a slightly higher than expected amount; it would be very hard to say.

Maybe a close family member has a set of matches that they cannot explain, or an unusual project invite. This might be something.

Rufus191
11-05-2019, 10:03 PM
For northern European ancestry I got added into matching groups of European Jews on two sites, and I think this ancestry pattern is possibly a few hundred years off. So you would likely have matches, even if distant, if you were Jewish. Matches have inconsistent results for me depending on company... one, because we aren't Jewish or recently Jewish, and two I do not know that Ashkenazi and Sephardic are not very different (I am not an expert at all so anyone can clear this up for me.. I also think I am matching both; but primarily Sephardic, and this would match history of region where we came from). I also have inconsistent DNA results, though not any listed results for Ashkenazi (I get either extra high Eastern European or a little mixed African.. one or the other disappears on different sites). My matches for this pattern are sometimes Eastern European but often Balkan and Italian with scores of 10-40% Moroccan or north African Jew.

I'm not sure the math works the way you describe, with Red Sea breaking down each generation... if I understand how you are thinking or imagining someone at least five generations ago must have been a very large % Red Sea background. By this same kind of math you might wonder how your west Asian % dwindled so low if anyone was Jewish. But I don't think it works like that. We have whole pieces of DNA that just lop off and disappear each generation and other segments that carry on, same length and unchanged. I see this in some of my matches.. how a segment did not change for a generation. If you are Finnish, you can get long sticky segments and what looks like overly close relationships with people you are related to from the 1600s. The segments just did not break down. So maybe I have Finnish level of West Asian, which isn't much. But a set of European Jewish matches from Latvia to Croatia and Portugal. These are probably connected by some segments that, at some point, just passed without changing too much either. Yet a cousin might take a DNA test and not get any of these unexpected project invites because they might not match any of these segments. So long story short, if you don't have matches or recorded or known history, I am not sure how you can know if this is Jewish (vs a couple Italians, some region of Spain, elsewhere..). There are too many possibilities. And that one little bit of Red Sea in your DNA just stays at a slightly higher than expected amount; it would be very hard to say.

Maybe a close family member has a set of matches that they cannot explain, or an unusual project invite. This might be something.
Thanks for your comments. When you say you got put into matching groups of Jews, do you mean you have shared matches who are all Jewish? At what level of centimorgans are we talking about? The problem with Ancestry is you cannot see shared matches under 20cM each way, so instantly it becomes much harder to detect, as, as far as I know there is no way to search Ancestry matches for people that show a certain level of ethnicity i.e. Ashkenazi, or north African, Italian, Iberian, Greek or Middle East that may point to Sephardic ancestry. Yes, I am aware segments do not just half each generation, but I also think it is unlikely these Red Sea segments would just stick, undivided over at least 5 generations. It seems it might be easier to get large sets of Ashkenazi shared matches as they were such an endogamous population, and it may seem to imply a much closer relationship than is actually the case. This is actually what the Ancestry Timber algorithm tries to filter out so might make Ancestry quite a bad tool to trace distant Ashkenazi ancestry. But also, with Sephardi being a much more heterogenous group, it might also be very hard to detect distant Sephardi ancestry, and distinguish it from Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greek, North African etc. I have searched my mother's matches for common Sephardi names that I can find reference to, and there are several matches with these names which match another relative who is descended from one side of my great grandmother's family, but the matches are so small it may be coincidental. Maybe GEDMATCH or MyHeritage might eventually be more useful.

Rufus191
11-15-2019, 07:46 PM
Thinking about this further, I think it is likely my mother's ancestor was a converso. Presumably for many generations, perhaps hundreds of years, conversos continued to marry within fellow converso families. So the Jewish admixture level was maintained, even if the Jewish faith was not. So whilst some of the conversos may eventually have became openly practicing Jews in the New World, in the Netherlands, Germany and Britain, a significant proportion probably never re adopted the faith and were absorbed into the local Christian populations. So if my mother's ancestor came from a family of conversos who had no close relatives who re-adopted the faith, it would be likely that I would find no significant number of practicing Jews in my mother's DNA matches. I have found another test that may indicate Jewish or Levant origins - the Eurogenes hunter gatherer vs farmer admixture test, my mother gets 2.26% Middle Eastern Herder, which all her close matches lack completely. Unfortunately I cannot find population averages, but full Ashkenazi cousins of my mother's cousin gets 20-25%.

StillWater
11-15-2019, 07:50 PM
Have you or your mother tested with AncestryDNA or 23andMe? which company?

Rufus191
11-15-2019, 07:54 PM
Have you or your mother tested with AncestryDNA or 23andMe? which company?
Ancestry.

StillWater
11-15-2019, 08:04 PM
Ancestry.

How much European Jewish did either of you score?

Rufus191
11-15-2019, 08:11 PM
How much European Jewish did either of you score?
As I stated earlier in the thread, Ancestry shows my mother as 100% England/Wales/NW European (now updated with 3% Germanic, 4% Scotland/Ireland), but I am sceptical of Ancestry's ability or desire to show trace percentages. I may get my mother a 23andme test at some point.

rober_tce
11-16-2019, 12:29 AM
Have you verified this with your DNA matches? Somebody Ashkenazi or Sephardic? You should check the complete list of coincidences and see if there are real Jewish matches, and that they triangulate in the same chromosome segment, I think it's the best way to verify it.

Rufus191
11-19-2019, 09:53 PM
Have you verified this with your DNA matches? Somebody Ashkenazi or Sephardic? You should check the complete list of coincidences and see if there are real Jewish matches, and that they triangulate in the same chromosome segment, I think it's the best way to verify it.
Unfortunately triangulation on Ancestry is not possible, which is a very big downside to study these smaller matches. I have now spent some time looking for Spanish and Portuguese surnames in my mother's match trees and I have found some intriguing matches, where they only have 1-2% NW European DNA or none whatsoever, with only Spanish, Portuguese, Native American, and in several cases, small amounts of European Jewish, North African and Middle East which may point to Sephardic ancestry.

andyouare
11-21-2019, 12:00 AM
Unfortunately triangulation on Ancestry is not possible, which is a very big downside to study these smaller matches. I have now spent some time looking for Spanish and Portuguese surnames in my mother's match trees and I have found some intriguing matches, where they only have 1-2% NW European DNA or none whatsoever, with only Spanish, Portuguese, Native American, and in several cases, small amounts of European Jewish, North African and Middle East which may point to Sephardic ancestry.

What about MyHeritage matches?

Rufus191
12-03-2019, 10:03 PM
What about MyHeritage matches?
I have now looked at these, and similarly, I find some small matches in Latin American countries which triangulate to other latin americans in the USA, most with no northern European ancestry, and they nearly all have the pattern of a small amount of north African, Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi Jewish % (as well as native American). So I think these could definitely be Converso segments that are being triangulated since my mother has no known Iberian ancestry.