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Thread: Jewish Genetic Communities in MyHeritage and AncestryDNA

  1. #1
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    Jewish Genetic Communities in MyHeritage and AncestryDNA

    I thought it might be interesting to create a space for people to post, compare and discuss the Jewish "genetic communities" from MyHeritage and AncestryDNA.

    For reference, I've listed the regions from each service that are specifically labelled as "Jewish". Of course, in the case of AncestryDNA, this is limited to "European Jewish" (read "Ashkenazi") groups.

    AncestryDNA

    Jews in Western & Central Europe:

    Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg

    Poland, Slovakia, Hungary & Moravia

    Western Ukraine, Moldova & Eastern Romania


    Jews in Central & Eastern Europe:

    Lithuania, Latvia & Belarus

    Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine & Western Russia

    Northeast Poland, Lithuania, Latvia & West Belarus

    AncestryDNA - Jews in Western and Central Europe.jpg AncestryDNA - Jews in Central and Eastern Europe.jpg


    MyHeritage


    Ashkenazi Genetic Groups:

     
    Eastern Europe, mostly Lithuania, Poland and Belarus

    Eastern Europe, mostly Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania

    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia

    Central Europe, mostly Czechia, Poland and Hungary

    Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Germany, Poland and Ukraine

    Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and England

    Eastern Europe, mostly Belarus, Poland, Romania and Ukraine

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Hungary

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Lithuania

    Eastern Europe, mostly Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland

    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Russia

    England and Poland

    Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Netherlands and England

    Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Germany, England and Ireland

    Germany, Poland and Hungary

    Lithuania, Germany, France and England

    Netherlands, Germany and England

    Netherlands, Germany, England and Ireland

    Poland, Germany, Austria and Ukraine

    Poland, Germany, England and Ireland

    Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria

    Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania


    Sephardic Genetic Groups:

     
    Algeria #2

    Algeria and Tunisia #2

    Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco

    Libya (Tripoli)

    Morocco (Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima) and Algeria (Oran)

    Morocco and Algeria #3

    Morocco and Algeria #4

    Syria (Aleppo) and Egypt

    Tunisia (Tunis)

    Turkey, Greece, Algeria, Morocco and France

    Western Morocco and Algeria


    Ethiopian Jewish Genetic Groups:

     
    Eritrea, Turkey (Şarkışla) and Ethiopia

    Ethiopia and Eritrea #1

    Ethiopia and Eritrea #2

    Sudan


    Mizrahi Genetic Groups:

     
    Iran #2

    Iran #3

    Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan

    Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan

    Iraq #2

    Iraq (Baghdad) #2

    Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan

    Syria (Damascus)


    Yemenite Jewish Genetic Groups:

     
    Israel, Turkey and Yemen

    Yemen #1

    Yemen #2

    Yemen (Aden) #1

    Yemen (Aden) #2

    Yemen (Sana)

    Yemen and Denmark

    Yemen, Egypt, Iran and Uzbekistan

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  3. #2
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    And here are my mom's genetic groups for MyHeritage:

    MH Genetic Groups - Mom.jpg

    One of these groups appears at high confidence: Lithuania, Poland and Belarus

    One only appears at low confidence: Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and England

    The other two appear at medium confidence.

    She hasn't tested with AncestryDNA, but my cousins from her side, who have, get all three regions from "Jews in Central & Eastern Europe", which appear to be identical to the regions she got at medium and high confidence from MH.

    She gets no Sephardic region, despite being 1/4 on paper and scoring 25.6% "Sephardic Jewish - North Africa" (not that the ethnicity breakdown and genetic communites are directly correlated).

    In general, one of the things I wonder about is what seems to be an excessive number of genetic communities on MH, particularly for Ashkenazim, and whether these groupings correspond to any truly meaningful trends in Ashkenazi migration patterns, past and present.

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    I haven't tested at Ancestry so I have nothing to compare to, but I hope you don't mind me throwing mine in here anyway.

    Myself:

    • Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia
    • Netherlands, Germany and England


    Sister:

    • Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia


    Mother:

    • Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia
    • Netherlands, Germany and England


    Grandfather:

    • Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia
    Ancestry on paper: English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Croatian, Ashkenazi, Polish and Māori.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BalkanKiwi View Post
    I haven't tested at Ancestry so I have nothing to compare to, but I hope you don't mind me throwing mine in here anyway.
    Feel free! I didn't mean for it to be exclusively for people who have tested with both, who are probably few and far between. In any case, the comparisons really only work for the Ashkenazi categories.

    Do your groups make any sense based on what you know from your paper trail?

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    Quote Originally Posted by passenger View Post
    Feel free! I didn't mean for it to be exclusively for people who have tested with both, who are probably few and far between. In any case, the comparisons really only work for the Ashkenazi categories.

    Do your groups make any sense based on what you know from your paper trail?
    Indeed they do, although these particular groups aren't overly insightful (not that I expect them to be). "Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia" is probably the stock standard group for most Ashkenazi, and "Netherlands, Germany and England" is possibly reflective of ancestor movement from Poland to England (and then eventually to Australia and then New Zealand). Somewhat interestingly for both genetic groups, there is a cluster in Adelaide, Australia, between the 1850-1900s, which is where my third great grandfather and his wife moved to from England. Maybe a coincidence, as I haven't read up in detail on the science behind the process, however its interesting both reflect this. There was likely a large Ashkenazi population within Adelaide during this time (no doubt evident from the family trees they used to build the database).
    Ancestry on paper: English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Croatian, Ashkenazi, Polish and Māori.

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    Quote Originally Posted by passenger View Post
    I thought it might be interesting to create a space for people to post, compare and discuss the Jewish "genetic communities" from MyHeritage and AncestryDNA.

    For reference, I've listed the regions from each service that are specifically labelled as "Jewish". Of course, in the case of AncestryDNA, this is limited to "European Jewish" (read "Ashkenazi") groups.

    AncestryDNA

    Jews in Western & Central Europe:

    Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg

    Poland, Slovakia, Hungary & Moravia

    Western Ukraine, Moldova & Eastern Romania


    Jews in Central & Eastern Europe:

    Lithuania, Latvia & Belarus

    Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine & Western Russia

    Northeast Poland, Lithuania, Latvia & West Belarus

    AncestryDNA - Jews in Western and Central Europe.jpg AncestryDNA - Jews in Central and Eastern Europe.jpg


    MyHeritage


    Ashkenazi Genetic Groups:

     
    Eastern Europe, mostly Lithuania, Poland and Belarus

    Eastern Europe, mostly Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania

    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia

    Central Europe, mostly Czechia, Poland and Hungary

    Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Germany, Poland and Ukraine

    Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and England

    Eastern Europe, mostly Belarus, Poland, Romania and Ukraine

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Hungary

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia

    Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Lithuania

    Eastern Europe, mostly Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland

    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Russia

    England and Poland

    Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Netherlands and England

    Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Germany, England and Ireland

    Germany, Poland and Hungary

    Lithuania, Germany, France and England

    Netherlands, Germany and England

    Netherlands, Germany, England and Ireland

    Poland, Germany, Austria and Ukraine

    Poland, Germany, England and Ireland

    Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria


    Sephardic Genetic Groups:

     
    Algeria #2

    Algeria and Tunisia #2

    Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco

    Libya (Tripoli)

    Morocco (Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima) and Algeria (Oran)

    Morocco and Algeria #3

    Morocco and Algeria #4

    Syria (Aleppo) and Egypt

    Tunisia (Tunis)

    Turkey, Greece, Algeria, Morocco and France

    Western Morocco and Algeria

    Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania


    Ethiopian Jewish Genetic Groups:

     
    Eritrea, Turkey (Şarkışla) and Ethiopia

    Ethiopia and Eritrea #1

    Ethiopia and Eritrea #2

    Sudan


    Mizrahi Genetic Groups:

     
    Iran #2

    Iran #3

    Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan

    Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan

    Iraq #2

    Iraq (Baghdad) #2

    Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan

    Syria (Damascus)


    Yemenite Jewish Genetic Groups:

     
    Israel, Turkey and Yemen

    Yemen #1

    Yemen #2

    Yemen (Aden) #1

    Yemen (Aden) #2

    Yemen (Sana)

    Yemen and Denmark

    Yemen, Egypt, Iran and Uzbekistan
    High Confidence: Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania (the only high confidence one for all 6 kits I have, seems to represent my central to SW Ukraine region best),
    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia (high confidence for 3 of my 6 kits)

    Medium Confidence: Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia (medium confidence for the other 3 of my 6 kits), Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria (for 3 out of 6 kits, particularly my mother and maternal grandparents but not me or my father's two kits, which doesn't seem to make much sense), Poland, Germany, Austria and Ukraine (medium confidence for 2 out of 6 kits, for one of my dad's kits and my mother's kit, seems to be no rhyme or reason to that either)

    Low Confidence: Poland, Germany, Austria and Ukraine (the other 4 out of 6 kits), Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria (the other 3 out of 6 kits), Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and England (2 kits, just my mother and grandmother, such a big region I'm not sure if it means anything), Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine (all 6 kits, all low confidence, not sure why, it makes more sense for my family than some of the other groups), Eastern Europe, mostly Lithuania, Poland and Belarus (just one of my dad's kits, seems to be Litvak-like in distribution? I know my dad's grandmother is from Nikolaev Oblast, but they lived in a shtetl distinct for its German Jewish migrants, across the Buh from a larger city that was specifically known for its community's Litvak origins, so my older relatives always insisted that side only had German Jewish and some local Ukrainian Jewish, no Litvak. Also only one of my dad's kits gets this community, the other one doesn't. Maybe if I can get my paternal grandmother tested I can find out more, or maybe it just doesn't mean anything.)
    23andMe 5.9:
    100% Ashkenazi Jewish

    Eurogenes K13:
    East_Med 44
    West_Med 19.15
    North_Atlantic 15.63
    West_Asian 8.15
    Baltic 4.47
    Red_Sea 4.12
    East_Asian 1.31
    Sub-Saharan 1.23
    South Asian 0.71
    Amerindian 0.59
    Northeast_African 0.37
    Oceanian 0.27

    Father 23andMe 5.9:
    100% Ashkenazi Jewish

    Mother 23andMe 5.9:
    98.4% Ashkenazi Jewish
    0.5% Iranian, Caucasian, Mesopotamian
    0.5% Levantine
    0.2% Coptic Egyptian
    0.2% Sudanese
    0.2% Ethiopian & Eritrean

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  13. #7
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    High confidence(the order does matter):

    Eastern Europe, mostly Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania
    Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania

    Medium(again, order matters):

    Eastern Europe, mostly Lithuania, Poland and Belarus
    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia

    Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania comes from my grandma, who gets it as her first region - her dad is from Southern Ukraine. There goes my hope of them being Litvak transplants.

    MyHeritage did a lot of overfitting, be it with group assignment, their listing of "Top Places' etc. For example, many AJ groups will get Ireland as a location for the 1600's, simply because many people have both Ashkenazi and Irish heritage. Here is how you can better understand each group and evade much of the overfit data: pick 1950-2000 for the group and see the locations. Look at the former Pale locations. For example, my first group gets:

    New York, NY, USA
    Moscow, Russia
    United States
    Russia
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Saint Petersburg, Russia
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Minsk, Belarus
    Belarus
    New Jersey, USA

    Notice how Belarus is the only former Pale location? This indicates that it's probably the mode of its members and what the group in fact "attempted" to pick up on. This is because we can reasonably rely on Soviet era Jews as being pure regional proxies much better than American Jews with vast trees. If most people in this group (nth generation New World Jews) also happened to have ancestors from Ukraine, then Ukraine will appear for older dates. Not suprisingly, since Ukraine is a common location to have Jewish ancestors in, it will appear in most Ashkenazi trees and thus will seem relevant to every group. However, as the date gets shallower, there is less room for such overfitting and thus we're left with the actual variable and not its correlates. Not suprisingly, the description on the group's page is: "Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe, mostly in Belarus and some in Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania and their descendants in the United States and some in England, Canada and Israel"

    Let's now try it with bane of my existance - Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania:

    New York, NY, USA
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    United States
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Montreal, Québec, Canada
    New Jersey, USA
    Miami, FL, USA
    Moscow, Russia

    Not surprisingly, it's a non-Litvak group, as indicated by Kiev and the absence of old Lite. "But Poland is listed first and it's not there!". Almost no Jews lived in Poland after 1950 - that's the limitation of this method. However, contrast it to the previous one, and this clearly demonstrates that it's a "southern group".

    Now, for "Eastern Europe, mostly Lithuania, Poland and Belarus":

    United States
    New York, NY, USA
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Boston, MA, USA
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    United Kingdom
    Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
    Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

    Miami, FL, USA

    While we don't have Lithuanian locations on the list thanks to the Holocaust, we have a firm proxy for mainland Litvaks - South Africa.

    Now, look at "Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia":

    New York, NY, USA
    United States
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    Florida, USA
    Miami, FL, USA
    Moscow, Russia
    England
    New Jersey, USA

    This implies that what this group represents is sufficiently western, that we don't get Pale locations, and so far we see that the first country in the list likely represents the largest common factor.

    Now, we do have this group - Eastern Europe, mostly Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland.

    Top places 1950 - 2000
    Hadera, Haifa District, Israel
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Safed, North District, Israel
    Poland
    Russia
    United States
    Ashland, WI, USA
    Bainbridge, GA, USA
    Birmingham, AL, USA
    Chicago, IL, USA

    "But you said Poland can't appear and it does". Yes, but look at the first locations in Israel and it becomes clear what this is. This is a Holocaust survivor group. Some surviving Jews remained in post-war Poland for 1-2 decades. Am I not then also over fitting - how can a group be this specific? Not when there are 24 Ashkenazi groups. When there are that many groups, one can end up being as specific as representing a subset of Holocaust survivors (technically, their descendants).
    Last edited by StillWater; 12-25-2020 at 02:39 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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  15. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkotl0327 View Post
    High Confidence: Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Romania (the only high confidence one for all 6 kits I have, seems to represent my central to SW Ukraine region best),
    Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia (high confidence for 3 of my 6 kits)

    Medium Confidence: Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia (medium confidence for the other 3 of my 6 kits), Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria (for 3 out of 6 kits, particularly my mother and maternal grandparents but not me or my father's two kits, which doesn't seem to make much sense), Poland, Germany, Austria and Ukraine (medium confidence for 2 out of 6 kits, for one of my dad's kits and my mother's kit, seems to be no rhyme or reason to that either)

    Low Confidence: Poland, Germany, Austria and Ukraine (the other 4 out of 6 kits), Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria (the other 3 out of 6 kits), Central and Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and England (2 kits, just my mother and grandmother, such a big region I'm not sure if it means anything), Eastern Europe, mostly Poland, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine (all 6 kits, all low confidence, not sure why, it makes more sense for my family than some of the other groups), Eastern Europe, mostly Lithuania, Poland and Belarus (just one of my dad's kits, seems to be Litvak-like in distribution? I know my dad's grandmother is from Nikolaev Oblast, but they lived in a shtetl distinct for its German Jewish migrants, across the Buh from a larger city that was specifically known for its community's Litvak origins, so my older relatives always insisted that side only had German Jewish and some local Ukrainian Jewish, no Litvak. Also only one of my dad's kits gets this community, the other one doesn't. Maybe if I can get my paternal grandmother tested I can find out more, or maybe it just doesn't mean anything.)
    Yeah, I'm not sure how meaningful some of these groups are. That's partly why I thought comparing the groups from MH and Ancestry might be useful, or at least interesting. Ancestry's broad strokes make some sense to me, and seem to reflect a North/South (more or less Litvak) axis from Lithuania to Ukraine, more or less within the Pale, on the one hand, and another East/West axis, maybe partially reflective of movement within and out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (though I'm sure it's not quite as simple or clear-cut as that). With MH I see some of that, but there are just too many groups to try and make sense out of it.

    From what I know of my tree, my mom's groups make sense, but I can't get far back enough to confirm. She had three grandparents whose families came from the Pale. Her paternal grandfather (born in Istanbul but partly raised in Odessa) had a mother who was born in Odessa and a father born in Slutsk (Belarus). Her maternal grandparents were both from Kremenchug (central Ukraine) and I don't know much about their parents, except that her maternal grandfather had some family from the Minsk area, and her grandmother's mother was listed on one document as being from Ekaterinoslav (Dnipro), but of course the family couldn't have been in that region for very long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StillWater View Post
    MyHeritage did a lot of overfitting, be it with group assignment, their listing of "Top Places' etc. For example, many AJ groups will get Ireland as a location for the 1600's, simply because many people have both Ashkenazi and Irish heritage. Here is how you can better understand each group and evade much of the overfit data: pick 1950-2000 for the group and see the locations. Look at the former Pale locations. For example, my first group gets...
    Thanks for adding some nuance! I'll have to go through and look at the locations more carefully. It would be nice if they added some sort of historical narrative or at least tried to make sense of the groups for their customers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by passenger View Post
    Thanks for adding some nuance! I'll have to go through and look at the locations more carefully. It would be nice if they added some sort of historical narrative or at least tried to make sense of the groups for their customers.
    Thankfully, it seems they deleted the group called "Southern Italy and Poland" - clear case of overfitting.
    הִנְנִי֩ מֵבִ֨יא אוֹתָ֜ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צָפ֗וֹן

    Jeremiah 31

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

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