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Thread: Trace Ancestry

  1. #1
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    Post Trace Ancestry

    When I first got my Ancestry Composition for 23andme, I had trace ancestry for 0.2% Broadly Sub-Saharan African. After I phased with one parent (not the one that gave me this trace ancestry), this 0.2% Broadly Sub-Saharan African became specified as 0.2% Ethiopian & Eritrean. I checked the precision and recall rates of this reference population and they same quite high, meaning that (correct me if I'm wrong) usually when 23andme assigns this ancestry, they are quite sure that it is "true". However, when I adjust my confidence slider, this 0.2% Ethiopian and Eritrean begins to fade into 0.2% Broadly SSA, and then it becomes non existent at higher confidence. This may be because of how small of a percentage this ancestry is, but other ancestries become swallowed up by broader categories and eventually cease to exist as well, even the ones that I know are true. I also went on GEDmatch and looked at the chromosome paintings for specific calculators to see if I would get a population similar to it in the same place & chromosome that the Ethiopian & Eritrean is. Sure enough, I did uncover similar populations in the same place with a couple calculators (not all, but they are all different). I am still working on testing family from that side to see if they also have the same trace ancestry. Let me know if you have any input on this, or share your trace ancestries as well!

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  3. #2
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    I saw in people trace ancestries being assigned differently by updates and in individuals having the same kind of ancestry. Like Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi Jewish in some Bavarian and Austrian people from the same marriage group.
    Whether its real or not is hard to tell, but its noteworthy that I got the almost exact same trace ancestry for a couple of people from this region, similarly low as yours (0,2 seems to be what's left after many generations...), which makes it more likely to be real than if it would have been if it popped up in just one individual.

    I have trace ancestry of Central & South Asian, Northern Indian and Pakistani. Did pop up after the latest update, didn't have it before and its not in most calculators I used. No idea whether "its real".

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    I'm not sure how common it is for someone with my ancestry to have Ethiopian or Eritrean mixed in, but here's my composition from 23andme:

    20% Scandinavian, 18.7% French & German, 2.9% British & Irish, 0.8% Finnish, 12.1% Broadly NWE, 28.8% Eastern European, 4.8% Ashkenazi Jew, 0.5% Spanish and Portuguese, Broadly SE 1.6%, 9% Broadly E.

    I also have some Italian that didn't show up in my report but rather my dad's, but I got the Ethiopian & Eritrean trace ancestry from my mother. Perhaps some of that Southern European is hidden Italian ancestry from my mother's side as well and that ancestor played a part in the Italian Ethiopia occupation? Let me know if you heard about anyone with ancestries like me having this trace, or have any ideas.

    Also have you done a paper tree far back enough to see if that trace ancestry could be legitimate? I feel that paper tree is the only real way to really know about true ancestry and that genetic tests just give you an outline or hints at deeper ancestry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
    I saw in people trace ancestries being assigned differently by updates and in individuals having the same kind of ancestry. Like Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi Jewish in some Bavarian and Austrian people from the same marriage group.
    Whether its real or not is hard to tell, but its noteworthy that I got the almost exact same trace ancestry for a couple of people from this region, similarly low as yours (0,2 seems to be what's left after many generations...), which makes it more likely to be real than if it would have been if it popped up in just one individual.

    I have trace ancestry of Central & South Asian, Northern Indian and Pakistani. Did pop up after the latest update, didn't have it before and its not in most calculators I used. No idea whether "its real".
    Try the chromosome painter on GEDmatch. If the segment on 23andme ethnically corresponds to the segment on GEDmatch, then it's likely real.
    Target: mildlycurly_scaled
    Distance: 1.3578% / 0.01357814
    57.0 Irish
    37.6 English
    2.6 Roma_Barcelona
    1.8 Ashkenazi_Germany
    1.0 Roma_Granada


    Current research interest(s): The Viscontis of Milan

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    Quote Originally Posted by btree View Post
    Also have you done a paper tree far back enough to see if that trace ancestry could be legitimate? I feel that paper tree is the only real way to really know about true ancestry and that genetic tests just give you an outline or hints at deeper ancestry.
    My paper trail can't prove it, but its not complete going back to 1600, so a lot is possible and such a small segment could be from even further back I'd say. Its a 50:50 chance it gets lost in every generation, but it can also survive, by chance, for many generations...

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    Quote Originally Posted by btree View Post
    I'm not sure how common it is for someone with my ancestry to have Ethiopian or Eritrean mixed in, but here's my composition from 23andme:

    20% Scandinavian, 18.7% French & German, 2.9% British & Irish, 0.8% Finnish, 12.1% Broadly NWE, 28.8% Eastern European, 4.8% Ashkenazi Jew, 0.5% Spanish and Portuguese, Broadly SE 1.6%, 9% Broadly E.

    I also have some Italian that didn't show up in my report but rather my dad's, but I got the Ethiopian & Eritrean trace ancestry from my mother. Perhaps some of that Southern European is hidden Italian ancestry from my mother's side as well and that ancestor played a part in the Italian Ethiopia occupation? Let me know if you heard about anyone with ancestries like me having this trace, or have any ideas.

    Also have you done a paper tree far back enough to see if that trace ancestry could be legitimate? I feel that paper tree is the only real way to really know about true ancestry and that genetic tests just give you an outline or hints at deeper ancestry.
    At 0.2% it is probably much further back than the Italian-Ethopian occupation. There were African slaves used as house slaves quite often in Italy, less often in more northern Europe states, but not unheard of. Say a African slave may have had a child with a white servant woman and then the child was brought up by her family, or abandoned to an orphanage. Or conversely a female African slave may have a child with the master of the household, or one of the sons. It was not unheard of for male slaves to impregnate the females of the household of course, but less common than the other scenarios. In Italy children of a slave and the master of the household could sometimes inherit the master's status.
    Last edited by Rufus191; 06-12-2020 at 10:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus191 View Post
    At 0.2% it is probably much further back than the Italian-Ethopian occupation. There were African slaves used as house slaves quite often in Italy, less often in more northern Europe states, but not unheard of. Say a African slave may have had a child with a white servant woman and then the child was brought up by her family, or abandoned to an orphanage. Or conversely a female African slave may have a child with the master of the household, or one of the sons. It was not unheard of for male slaves to impregnate the females of the household of course, but less common than the other scenarios. In Italy children of a slave and the master of the household could sometimes inherit the master's status.
    How far do you think it may possibly go back? If it is indeed real ancestry, then my mother could genetically have more than 0.4% since DNA inheritance is kind of random (for example my father is genetically 20% Ashkenazim but I am only 4.8%) so it could be somewhat more recent than really distant. I also am not sure what exact Southern European my mother's side has, I only know my father has Italian but he's not the one I inherited the trace ancestry from so my mother could be anything in that region until I trace back that as well. But that is a good point though, and definitely a possibility even if the ancestry comes from Northern Europe instead of Italian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by btree View Post
    How far do you think it may possibly go back? If it is indeed real ancestry, then my mother could genetically have more than 0.4% since DNA inheritance is kind of random (for example my father is genetically 20% Ashkenazim but I am only 4.8%) so it could be somewhat more recent than really distant. I also am not sure what exact Southern European my mother's side has, I only know my father has Italian but he's not the one I inherited the trace ancestry from so my mother could be anything in that region until I trace back that as well. But that is a good point though, and definitely a possibility even if the ancestry comes from Northern Europe instead of Italian.
    0.2% could be way back - 17th-18th century or before. Have you tried uploading to GEDMATCH to see what calculators there say, alternatively you could download Admixture Studio. Generally I think GEDMATCH calculators over estimate these trace regions but it will be interesting to see what they say for you.

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    You could try see if you have any DNA relatives on 23andme who match you on that section of the chromosome, then check your triangulated matches.

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    I have always had a segment of 0.6% Native American at 23andme. Sometimes it goes to 0.5% with Broadly East Asian. Anyway, it took years to get any matches at all on that segment. Then I finally did. And the ancestor turned out to be a ninth great grandmother born about 1630. First Nations ancestry. Probably Mi’kmaq. She and her husband and children lived with the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia. That segment is 0.2% for my brother. It is 0.6% for my daughter. And my son got none of that segment. So it does seem rather random. But it can go back quite a way. Since I know where to look, I’ve noticed many of my matches from that line have a small amount of Native American on tests. Even though I can’t see what segments they have, like at Ancestry for example. But that’s another way to try to figure out where it’s coming from. I also have a Congolese and Angolan segment at 0.6%. I probably have over a hundred triangulated matches who also have Sub Saharan ancestry on that segment. Some are majority European as I am, some are majority African ancestry. I still haven’t found that ancestor. But I have no reason to doubt they’re there. Somewhere. I’ve never tried finding a smaller segment. I also have/had traces of Broadly SSA, West Asia, South Asia, and Native American. Although these segments are smaller for my brother. Gedmatch thinks I’m Jewish. About the only population I never get on tests. Lol. I think that’s their version of the West Asia I get on tests. But Native American and African do show up in the components there. Just not the oracles. Good luck. Sometimes it just takes time.

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