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Thread: Did some of my ancestors mix with Conversos?

  1. #1
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    Did some of my ancestors mix with Conversos?

    I have a few Sephardi matches of up to 20 cM (but mostly 12) that I don't know the origin of. I've recently stumbled upon a few family trees on Ancestry that I'm wondering if they might explain the link. I have some Christian roots on my paternal side that very likely originate elsewhere in the Levant (Syria/Lebanon).

    This is the what the family trees show: Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian Christians that immigrated to South America in the 19th century (I suppose fleeing the civil war or for economic reasons) and married into the local populace (El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Argentina). One particular match's family tree has two such Lebanese Christian men marrying into different lines in the 19th century. As for the surnames, here's some of them: Guzman, Valle, Perez, Fernandez, Hinojosa, Abreu, Murillo, Ortega, Pocasangre, Magana.

    Is my theory too far fetched? Are they just local Christians? What do you think?

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  3. #2
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    I don't see why you'd be related to those your cousins marry in South America. However, the probability that a given 20cM segment is not IBD is extremely low, from what I understand. If you were North African, one could maybe suggest that it's due to shared Berber ancestry. But in the Levant? No, I can't see any explanation but you having a Jewish ancestor.

    An important note: I'm not familiar with the intricacies of IBD detection. Of course, a given segment of 20cM is near certain to be IBD. However, since you have many segments, maybe the probability that at least one shared segment at ~20cM can be IBS isn't microscopically low. Or better yet, that such a segment exists among 1000 subjects may not be that low and you're that subject. Hopefully, others can comment on this.
    Last edited by StillWater; 09-30-2019 at 09:58 AM.
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

    Other potential and/or likely recent lineages: J-L816, J-PF5456, E-FGC56023

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    I don't see why you'd be related to those your cousins marry in South America. However, the probability that a given 20cM segment is not IBD is extremely low, from what I understand. If you were North African, one could maybe suggest that it's due to shared Berber ancestry. But in the Levant? No, I can't see any explanation but you having a Jewish ancestor.

    An important note: I'm not familiar with the intricacies of IBD detection. Of course, a given segment of 20cM is near certain to be IBD. However, since you have many segments, maybe the probability that at least one shared segment at ~20cM can be IBS isn't microscopically low. Or better yet, that such a segment exists among 1000 subject may not be that low and you're that subject. Hopefully, others can comment on this.
    I also have to mention that 20 cM is just the total length of the segments for a match. I don't have a match with a single segment that long. I do have a few with 12 cM segments though. Does the consistency at which I keep getting these matches over the past year since I initially got tested, across different dna sites and the chromosomes I match them on (triangulated segments) lower the chance of it not being IBD?

    As to why I should be related to those they marry in South America: I was more referring to their offspring. If an ancestor born decades ago moved to South America, wouldn't it be plausible for them to pass a segment down to their offspring that I also got from that ancestor's parents/grandparents?

    edit: perhaps worth mentioning, the matches with single segments that are 12 cM+ are not 100% Sephardic on MyHeritage. They either have some Ashkenazi or, in the case of one particular match, a mix of Sephardic and Yemenite Jewish (but we still have a common triangulated sephardi match with no yemenite jewish)
    Last edited by andyouare; 09-30-2019 at 09:03 AM.

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    What's the longest segment's length?
    מכורותיך ומולדותיך מארץ הכנעני אביך האמורי ואמך חתית
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    Palestinians and Jews share some relatively recent (~1000 years) ancestry, which could explain it, but more likely than not given the size of the matching segment it's a common Lebanese Christian ancestor.
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    Probably these matches are real. If you share ~10 cM with your matches, is a good signal. Even sometimes, matches with 8 cM also are real. The most important thing is you can triangulate these matches with you and between them for verifying this.

    In South America and Spain, there are some individuals that descends of converted of XIV and XV century. Is possible that your direct libanese/syrian ancestors mixed with local individuals with converted ancestry. Also, if your matches have spanish names, I think it's signal of shared jewish segment, and don't coming to recent genetic levantine.

    All your matches are in same chromosome position?
    Last edited by rober_tce; 09-30-2019 at 10:27 AM.

  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyouare View Post
    I also have to mention that 20 cM is just the total length of the segments for a match. I don't have a match with a single segment that long. I do have a few with 12 cM segments though. Does the consistency at which I keep getting these matches over the past year since I initially got tested, across different dna sites and the chromosomes I match them on (triangulated segments) lower the chance of it not being IBD?

    As to why I should be related to those they marry in South America: I was more referring to their offspring. If an ancestor born decades ago moved to South America, wouldn't it be plausible for them to pass a segment down to their offspring that I also got from that ancestor's parents/grandparents?

    edit: perhaps worth mentioning, the matches with single segments that are 12 cM+ are not 100% Sephardic on MyHeritage. They either have some Ashkenazi or, in the case of one particular match, a mix of Sephardic and Yemenite Jewish (but we still have a common triangulated sephardi match with no yemenite jewish)
    Yes, triangulation certainly increases the chance of it being IBD. As it sounds, it's pretty much a certainty, I'm just not an expert on this and hence would like others to weigh in.

    I still don't understand why you're bringing up the South American relatives. Sure, if you match a segment with them, it's probably from a common ancestor. However, since they're half Levantine, then that chances are it's not a Sephardic segment you share with them.

    As for your Jewish matches, don't pay too much attention to MyHeritage's ethnicity assignment. I'm Ashkenazi and I only get 89% Ashkenazi on it. I've yet to see a 100% Sephardic result on MyHeritage, even though many of its customers are fully Sephardic.
    The only thing worth checking is if they're Jewish. A lot of people can get a heavy amount of Jewish ancestry assigned to them on MyHeritage even though they have no recent Jewish ancestry. This is particularly true for those in the Levant and close to it. Their name + country should be enough to figure that out.
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

    Other potential and/or likely recent lineages: J-L816, J-PF5456, E-FGC56023

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  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mildlycurly View Post
    Palestinians and Jews share some relatively recent (~1000 years) ancestry, which could explain it, but more likely than not given the size of the matching segment it's a common Lebanese Christian ancestor.
    Wouldn't make sense with his fully Jewish matches.
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

    Other potential and/or likely recent lineages: J-L816, J-PF5456, E-FGC56023

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  16. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    As for your Jewish matches, don't pay too much attention to MyHeritage's ethnicity assignment. I'm Ashkenazi and I only get 89% Ashkenazi on it. I've yet to see a 100% Sephardic result on MyHeritage, even though many of its customers are fully Sephardic.
    The only thing worth checking is if they're Jewish. A lot of people can get a heavy amount of Jewish ancestry assigned to them on MyHeritage even though they have no recent Jewish ancestry. This is particularly true for those in the Levant and close to it. Their name + country should be enough to figure that out.
    For this reason I think "andyouare" should use GEDmatch for verifying this matter: making a list of jewish matches (total jews if is possible), and triangulate all of them. Now triangulation option cost 10$ per month (tier 1), but this tool is better than My Heritage tools. Painting chromosome tool is also a good option complementary to triangulation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    I still don't understand why you're bringing up the South American relatives. Sure, if you match a segment with them, it's probably from a common ancestor. However, since they're half Levantine, then that chances are it's not a Sephardic segment you share with them. .
    Right. I don't see the connection here either. Is it that these Latin American matches also triangulate with Sephardic matches from other regions? If so, then that's quite common and logical, and might confirm your Sephardic ancestry. But if your only Latin American matches are people who seem to have recent Levantine ancestors, that doesn't seem particularly relevant, even if part of their own ancestry is Sephardic for other reasons. Both things could be true - that you have partial Sephardic ancestry and that you have DNA cousins in Latin America - but it doesn't necessarily mean one thing correlates with the other.

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