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Thread: Interesting Pennsylvania Dutch (German) Ethnicity estimate. Why so British?

  1. #11
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    Strictly speaking, neither Ancestry nor 23andMe actually has a "German" category. Ancestry has "Europe West", and 23andMe has "French & German". Europe West is arguably the better name, since it's more inclusive.

    So, what does Ancestry actually say about this Europe West category? Well, first they tell us that this component is "primarily found in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein".

    However, something people often seem to miss is that Ancestry doesn't say that this component is only located in these places. They note that it's "also found in England, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic".

    Now, from my paper trail I know that I should have inherited about 1/4 Pennsylvania German and 1/4 Scots-Irish from my father, since he was pretty much half-and-half. From my mother, I should have inherited close to 1/4 British (more English); 1/8 Minorcan Spanish; 1/16 Alsatian; and varying small amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, and Native American.

    So what I actually have at Ancestry is 44% Europe West, 25% Great Britain, 9% Ireland, 9% Iberian Peninsula, and numerous "trace" or "low confidence" results.

    In Europe, these include: 3% Scandinavia (which is likely actually German or British, or both); 2% Italy/Greece (could be part of the Minorcan ancestry); less than 1% European Jewish; and less than 1% Finland/Northwest Russia.

    I also have trace or low confidence regions in Asia, America, and West Asia: 1% Asia Central and less than 1% Asia South; 1% Native American; and 3% Caucasus.

    Contrasting this with 23andMe, I have 90.7% Northwestern European -- 43.5% British & Irish; 22.4% French & German; 0.4% Finnish; and 24.4% "broadly" Northwestern European.

    I have only 5.1% Southern European, which seems somewhat lower than I think it should be. That's in the form of just 1.9% Iberian, 0.8% Italian, and 2.3% "broadly" Southern European.

    Then I have 2.0% East Asian & Native American, which is actually all just Native American.

    So, which do I think is more reasonable? Well, my British & Irish percentage at 23andMe probably isn't too far off. It's a bit higher than Ancestry's 25% British + 9% Irish = 34%. On the other hand, 23andMe's French & German seems quite low, and their Southern European component (especially the Iberian) also seems low.

    At the same time, though, I appreciate very much being able to see the location of the actual segments. It makes it much easier to compare to family members. Just getting a percentage is pretty much unverifiable, whereas I can actually trace a few of my segments at 23andMe to specific ancestors.

    For example, there's a segment on chromosome 15 that 23andMe identifies as Native American, and it's in the same location as a segment I share with another person at 23andMe. The segment is also identified as Native American for him, and we happen to have the same Native American ancestor: Magdalaine Pany Baudreau. Actually, Magdalaine's mother was Native American; her father was a French Canadian transplant to French Louisiana.

    This doesn't prove that the segment came from Magdalaine (or her mother), but it's certainly possible. I know that at Ancestry, I'm in more than one DNA Circle connected to granddaughters of Magdalaine. Most of the members of the circles show at least trace amounts of Native American ancestry, and some actually show more.

    (Most members of these circles have multiple paths back to Magdalaine. I only have two, that I know of.)

    EDIT: I might also mention that "Settlers of Colonial Pennsylvania" is one of my four Genetic Communities. My "membership confidence" is rated as "likely" (60%). Interestingly, most of the "names associated with this community" happen to be German.
    Last edited by geebee; 05-26-2017 at 07:06 AM.
    Besides British-German-Catalan, ancestry includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw & possibly Catawba. Avatar picture is: my father, his father, & his father's father; baby is my eldest brother.

    GB

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  3. #12
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    My father is largely of PA colonial ancestry lots of PA Dutch, but lots of intermarriage with colonial Irish/Scots/English. It muddies the water a bit that his only two more recent immigrant ancestors were from England and Germany.
    Ancestry Composition 23andMe.png
    Paternal Line: Rhineland Germany (J2-Z387) - Confirmed
    Maternal Grandfather - (Škofja Loka, Slovenia) - R1a1 - Y2613 - Confirmed
    Paternal G-Grandfather - Germany - R1b - U106 - Confirmed
    Maternal G-Grandfather - Briano, Caserta, Italy - Possible R1b - L51

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    The newish company LivingDNA is partnering with some German genealogical group to attempt a project there similar to the POBI database. It should eventually be helpful for those of us with a lot of German ancestry from colonial times. If ethnicity is the primary concern, Ancestry's autosomal database works better for more recent immigrants, from Germany or elsewhere.
    https://www.livingdna.com/en-gb/blog...ampaign=buffer

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  7. #14
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    Focusing just on my Y line, the first two generations seem to have married women who were exclusively of German ancestry. This includes the immigrant himself, Johan Buchhammer, who arrived at Philadelphia in 1749 and settled in what was to become Montgomery County.

    Johan's son Jacob migrated first to Berks County, where he married Anna Maria -- who was likewise exclusively of German origin. By 1830, Jacob and two or more sons were living in Bedford County. One of these sons, my 3rd great grandfather John Bookhamer, moved to Huntingdon County.

    John married Susannah Gregg, who was half Scots-Irish (her mother was of German origin). Their son George Washington Bookhammer was the first of several of that name in my family. George married Clarissa White, who was of Scots-Irish origin; and their first son -- also named George Washington -- married Alma Mogle.

    George and Alma were my father's paternal grandparents. While Alma carried a German surname, her mother was named Alfaretta Keith -- and was of Scottish or Scots-Irish origin. Their son Wilson -- my grandfather -- married a woman whose surname was Yingling, although she too had both German and Scots-Irish ancestry.

    It's this sort of thing that makes 23andMe very much mistaken in my ancestry timeline. On the basis of my 43.5% British & Irish component, they tell me that I

    ... most likely had a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was 100% British & Irish. This person was likely born between 1870 and 1930.

    As you can see, at least on my surname line there's been admixture in all of the generations they mention as possibly 100%. My father's other lines, as far as I've been able to tell, don't seem very different from this.

    Ironically, because my Iberian percentage is so low (less than 2%, with only a little additional Southern European), the closest they tell me my 100% Iberian ancestor could have been is a third great grandparent -- and possibly even a 4th, 5th, or 6th great grandparent.

    In fact, both of my maternal grandmother's grandfathers were immigrants from the Spanish island of Minorca. These were 2nd great grandfathers to me. And in both cases, I know their families lived in Minorca for many generations.

    I think part of the problem is that not even all persons who are genuinely "100%" of a certain ancestry are going to show that way. That's because these labels are typically applied to entire countries, and what's being labeled may actually just be a component found within that country. It may be typical for people who live there, but not necessarily exclusive.

    In fact, you can see this very well at Ancestry. My largest component there was Europe West, at 44%. This is the component that probably is most similar to 23andMe's French & German -- although 23andMe only gives me 22.4% of this.

    If you click on the label, Europe West, and then "see details", you'll see a page with a lot of explanatory material for the category. At the top of the page are two tabs, "Region History" and "Genetic Diversity". You'll be in the "Region History" tab already, so click on the "Genetic Diversity" tab.

    Once you do that, you'll see several graphics and explanatory material. The first graphic shows how you compare to a "typical native" of the region. For Europe West, I again see that I have 44% of this component -- which to me says I'm basically half. Only, I also see that the "typical native" of Europe West doesn't actually have much more than that: just 48%.

    In fact, out of their "416 DNA samples from individuals who are from the Europe West region and whose family history suggests they have a long history in the Europe West region", there were folks who actually scored 0 in the Europe West category.

    Now, this might lead a person to conclude that these folks aren't really part of Europe West. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the Europe West component doesn't fully encompass all ancestry of natives of the region, but only some of the ancestry. And, of course, for some it will be all of their ancestry, though for most it will be between "nothing" and "all".

    The last thing I'll mention is that all of these ancestral categories have been developed using folks living in the region today. They also consider whether the ancestors are from the same region, but I'm not sure they necessarily go back much further than grandparents.

    However, if you have colonial American ancestry, you're talking about people a lot further removed than just grandparents. So here's my question: for those of us with, say, "Pennsylvania Dutch" ancestry, do we really know how they would score in a component like Europe West, relative to modern inhabitants of the region?

    My guess is that they'd score about the same -- but that actually means they'd have different scores, and only some of them would wind up with "100%". Most would not, but would get something closer to the 48% "typical natives" score today. Some might get 0, which would not mean they weren't really from that region. It would simply mean they had little of whatever the main component is, of most persons from the region.

    Also remember, Ancestry is looking at the entire region. There might well be "pockets" within the region in which the ancestry is not typical for the region as a whole. That doesn't mean the folks living there are really from somewhere else; it just means they probably tended to intermarry within their local community, and did not blend much with others from the larger region.
    Besides British-German-Catalan, ancestry includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw & possibly Catawba. Avatar picture is: my father, his father, & his father's father; baby is my eldest brother.

    GB

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    Quote Originally Posted by geebee View Post
    I might also mention that "Settlers of Colonial Pennsylvania" is one of my four Genetic Communities. My "membership confidence" is rated as "likely" (60%). Interestingly, most of the "names associated with this community" happen to be German.
    I was a little surprised to see the overwhelmingly amount of German surnames too. William Penn really did a good job of recruiting farmers along the Rhein. I think Mennonites, like those in emmental’s family in Germantown were the first to immigrate. And then they poured in. Most of the immigration to PA (and Country) from other Countries came in the decades after the revolution. Pre Revolution PA was mostly filled with Palatines, and people from the British Isles, (a lot of them being Quakers, like Penn.) Some Dutch too, though smaller numbers from very early immigration when Pa was still west New Jersey.

    Quote Originally Posted by geebee View Post
    In fact, out of their "416 DNA samples from individuals who are from the Europe West region and whose family history suggests they have a long history in the Europe West region", there were folks who actually scored 0 in the Europe West category.

    Now, this might lead a person to conclude that these folks aren't really part of Europe West. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the Europe West component doesn't fully encompass all ancestry of natives of the region, but only some of the ancestry. And, of course, for some it will be all of their ancestry, though for most it will be between "nothing" and "all".

    The last thing I'll mention is that all of these ancestral categories have been developed using folks living in the region today. They also consider whether the ancestors are from the same region, but I'm not sure they necessarily go back much further than grandparents.

    However, if you have colonial American ancestry, you're talking about people a lot further removed than just grandparents. So here's my question: for those of us with, say, "Pennsylvania Dutch" ancestry, do we really know how they would score in a component like Europe West, relative to modern inhabitants of the region?


    My guess is that they'd score about the same -- but that actually means they'd have different scores, and only some of them would wind up with "100%". Most would not, but would get something closer to the 48% "typical natives" score today. Some might get 0, which would not mean they weren't really from that region. It would simply mean they had little of whatever the main component is, of most persons from the region.

    Also remember, Ancestry is looking at the entire region. There might well be "pockets" within the region in which the ancestry is not typical for the region as a whole. That doesn't mean the folks living there are really from somewhere else; it just means they probably tended to intermarry within their local community, and did not blend much with others from the larger region.
    These are very good points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward J View Post
    My father is largely of PA colonial ancestry lots of PA Dutch, but lots of intermarriage with colonial Irish/Scots/English. It muddies the water a bit that his only two more recent immigrant ancestors were from England and Germany.
    Ancestry Composition 23andMe.png
    Thanks for sharing your results!

    Quote Originally Posted by razyn View Post
    The newish company LivingDNA is partnering with some German genealogical group to attempt a project there similar to the POBI database. It should eventually be helpful for those of us with a lot of German ancestry from colonial times. If ethnicity is the primary concern, Ancestry's autosomal database works better for more recent immigrants, from Germany or elsewhere.
    That is really exciting to know.

    I am curious if there was an big or small impact from living along the Rhein, from the Roman Empire for example. Also how much an Impact the 30 years war had, since it is claimed many towns were completely replaced with foreigners. My Lawall ancestors (French Huguenots) moved from France to Erbes-Büdesheim for example.

    Erbes-Büdesheim:
    “In the time of the Thirty Years' War it was likely completely emptied of people. After this great war, many Reformed, but also some Catholic, foreigners were brought in from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Lower Rhine region under Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine’s population policies.” ~wikipedia
    I don’t know what will be able to be gleamed, really, but I will be very interested to see what they discover and to check out what sort of results people get back. Sure, I am interested in part because of family history, but I am also curious about the region in general. It will be nice to compare results to historical context.

  10. #16
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    It would be interesting to see if some of my Canadian cousins from southern Ontario have done any of the main tests, as they are a mixture of British/Irish plus Mennonites who were originally from Pennsylvania but moved to southern Ontario. I think they were originally Swiss rather than German, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen1986 View Post
    It would be interesting to see if some of my Canadian cousins from southern Ontario have done any of the main tests, as they are a mixture of British/Irish plus Mennonites who were originally from Pennsylvania but moved to southern Ontario. I think they were originally Swiss rather than German, though.
    Swiss ancestry is very common in the PA Dutch communities, so I wouldn't expect it to be wildly uncharacteristic. Not only just from our ancestors that came directly from Switzerland, but also because of the Thirty Year War (1618-1648), many of the people that immigrated from the Rhineland-Palatinate already had Swiss ancestry. At least to my understanding.
    Last edited by Hayden; 05-27-2017 at 12:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen1986 View Post
    It would be interesting to see if some of my Canadian cousins from southern Ontario have done any of the main tests, as they are a mixture of British/Irish plus Mennonites who were originally from Pennsylvania but moved to southern Ontario. I think they were originally Swiss rather than German, though.
    Do you know anything about ones who went from Lancaster Pa to Ft. Erie Ontario? I have a Christian Hershey in my tree who did that.

    Jack Wyatt

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    Quote Originally Posted by C J Wyatt III View Post
    Do you know anything about ones who went from Lancaster Pa to Ft. Erie Ontario? I have a Christian Hershey in my tree who did that.

    Jack Wyatt
    I don't, sorry, I only know of a few of the earlier Pennsylvania to Ontario individuals and they were all Mennonites as far as I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen1986 View Post
    I don't, sorry, I only know of a few of the earlier Pennsylvania to Ontario individuals and they were all Mennonites as far as I know.
    Christian Hershey was a Mennonite. Apparently he had a cousin, who was another Christian Hershey and that one is buried at Ft. Erie. I think mine went to Ft. Erie with his second wife and left a daughter there (my GG gm), but came back to Lancaster and died there.

    Jack

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