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Purplelady
06-12-15, 09:56
Hello, my mother recently took an autosomal test that gave her an ancestry profile of 98% European and 2% Middle Eastern.

Does anyone one know what the significance of this, if any, might be? Is this a relatively common profile in the white British population or does it point to a non European ancestor? The curious thing is, there is a family story that may point to non British ancestor but it relates to a 3x gt grand parent, probably born around 1800, and so far I have not been able to find any genealogical evidence that any of this generation were anything but white British.

Many thanks.

Mars
06-12-15, 23:39
Hello, my mother recently took an autosomal test that gave her an ancestry profile of 98% European and 2% Middle Eastern.

Does anyone one know what the significance of this, if any, might be? Is this a relatively common profile in the white British population or does it point to a non European ancestor? The curious thing is, there is a family story that may point to non British ancestor but it relates to a 3x gt grand parent, probably born around 1800, and so far I have not been able to find any genealogical evidence that any of this generation were anything but white British.

Many thanks.

What test did she take? 23andme?

Purplelady
07-12-15, 11:04
What test did she take? 23andme?

Hi Mars, no she took the Familytreedna test. I have also uploaded her raw data to gedcom, but I am not sure how to use the admixture facility.

Mars
07-12-15, 12:32
Hi Mars, no she took the Familytreedna test. I have also uploaded her raw data to gedcom, but I am not sure how to use the admixture facility.
Good choice, FTDNA is far more reliable than 23andme, that is popular for its low price, but less accurate than Geno or FTDNA.
What type of middle eastern is it? In the MyOrigins panel, a map of world should appear, containing the localization of your mother's genetic components (European and Middle Eastern in this case).
Click on "Middle Eastern", it should open a tab, with a more accurate localization. Most europeans (me included) bear some Middle Eastern, usually labelled Asia Minor. It's a very old lineage, connected to many events of history, including the Neolithic farmers migrations to Europe. If it were something like "eastern Middle East", it would be more intriguing.
About GEDmatch. Many bloggers developed the so called "calculators" in the past, based on different studies from various scholars. The most reliable for people of european heritage are Dodecad and Eurogenes. They can be confusing, even misleading for a beginner, so consider them with a grain of salt.

Purplelady
07-12-15, 14:46
Good choice, FTDNA is far more reliable than 23andme, that is popular for its low price, but less accurate than Geno or FTDNA.
What type of middle eastern is it? In the MyOrigins panel, a map of world should appear, containing the localization of your mother's genetic components (European and Middle Eastern in this case).
Click on "Middle Eastern", it should open a tab, with a more accurate localization. Most europeans (me included) bear some Middle Eastern, usually labelled Asia Minor. It's a very old lineage, connected to many events of history, including the Neolithic farmers migrations to Europe. If it were something like "eastern Middle East", it would be more intriguing.
About GEDmatch. Many bloggers developed the so called "calculators" in the past, based on different studies from various scholars. The most reliable for people of european heritage are Dodecad and Eurogenes. They can be confusing, even misleading for a beginner, so consider them with a grain of salt.

Thank you Mars, I've just checked and the breakdown is "Eastern Middle East"! I wonder if this might then relate to a family story?

The story goes that my mother's gt aunt used to claim Jewish ancestry, describing herself as a Jewess. This used to wind up her son-in-law who was very uncomfortable with the Jewish 'label' (this was just after the 2nd world war). However, this aunt was described as 'quite eccentric' and when I failed to find any evidence for a Jewish ancestor on her line I suspected this might just have been a bit of game the gt aunt played with her son-in-law :-)

I haven't spoken to an expert on Jewish history, but the little information I have managed to find indicates that a Jewish ancestor of this period (early 1800's and earlier) would likely have been of non-Ashkenazi origin as the Eastern European Jews didn't immigrate till much later.

Is it possible the "Eastern Middle East" gene 'make up' might support the story of a non-Ashkenazi ancestor?

Thank you for the advice regarding the calculators on GEDmatch. I suspected you might have to know something about the study to understand the significance of the results!

Mars
08-12-15, 01:25
According to the FTDNA papers, Eastern middle East formed around the Gulf, it has to do with persians and people from the old Fertile Crescent. Diaspora jews have their own cluster in FTDNA. So you might have a persian or arabian ancestor...God knows...

Purplelady
08-12-15, 09:25
According to the FTDNA papers, Eastern middle East formed around the Gulf, it has to do with persians and people from the old Fertile Crescent. Diaspora jews have their own cluster in FTDNA. So you might have a persian or arabian ancestor...God knows...

That's very intriguing - so, if I have understood correctly - if we had a non-Ashkenazi ancestor this would appear in ftdna under a separate heading as the community have a distinct dna profile?

That is very interesting - there is a dark streak that runs through that side if the family, even down to my sister and cousin. I am wondering if there is a grain of truth to the family story, that this aunt simply miss-assigned a swarthy ancestor as Jewish. It would explain why there's seems to be a lack of evidence in the record, especially if this ancestor were Christian - they would integrate much more readily into the culture of the day.

Many thanks for insights Mars! I think I need to do a bit of research into the historical context now!

Mars
08-12-15, 16:09
That's very intriguing - so, if I have understood correctly - if we had a non-Ashkenazi ancestor this would appear in ftdna under a separate heading as the community have a distinct dna profile?

That is very interesting - there is a dark streak that runs through that side if the family, even down to my sister and cousin. I am wondering if there is a grain of truth to the family story, that this aunt simply miss-assigned a swarthy ancestor as Jewish. It would explain why there's seems to be a lack of evidence in the record, especially if this ancestor were Christian - they would integrate much more readily into the culture of the day.

Many thanks for insights Mars! I think I need to do a bit of research into the historical context now!
You're welcome :good_job: I found a link with all the genetic clusters explained. Here is the "eastern middle east", specifically:
Eastern Middle East
The peoples of Eastern Middle East ancestry are at the roots of civilization. They developed in the Persian Gulf north toward the Zagros Mountains. They gave rise to the Arabs and were essential to the emergence of Iran. Their reach extends toward Africa and Asia due to trade routes around the Indian Ocean. This is a cluster at the center of history and quite often, the driver of events.
Eastern Middle East has its beginnings in the cultural revolution caused by agriculture. Its second act came with the camel, which opened up the desolation of the desert to easier travel. This ease of travel allowed the message of Muhammad to spread, which sent a thousand tribes streaming in all directions. This cluster has seen the genetic influence of many groups, such as the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and finally the Persians. The connections between the nations around the Gulf remain despite divisions over language and religion. The shared ties are deep and extend out toward a diaspora that is the echo of historical events long forgotten. It is a sister to the Asia Minor group.
https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/ftdna/myorigins-population-clusters/
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As for the jewish cluster, it's called "ashkenazi diaspora" in FTDNA. The Genographic Project calls it "jewish diaspora" instead, they detected 2% jewish in my own autosomal. Some times these genetic things lead to unexpected results, I haven't any known jewish relative in my family tree, just a couple of weak suggestions (for example, my great-grandfather surname, Massa, which is pretty common among italian jews).

moore2moore
20-12-15, 23:31
Dear Purple Lady,

You are the latest in the long line of people who look for answers in autosomal "calculators" and find the answers lacking. Unfortunately, many people, like you, are trying to solve a family myth or legend. The genealogist who did my family tree (who has been doing it for decades) said that overwhelmingly, these family legends are not rooted in fact.

The problem is that the testing companies recognize this desire and don't do much to clear it up. The above posters are correct: the "Middle Eastern" to which FTDNA refers is for most, a pre-ethnic, pre-historic term. It does not refer to the Middle East in today's terms, or the populations that inhabit them. Instead, it may be thought of as akin to a "Early European Farmer" component (who shared common ancestry with today's Europeans and Middle Easterners).

In other words, I have seen individuals with 5-6 centuries of documented genealogy in one European region, come up with substantial "Middle East" percentages, especially on FTDNA, which provides far less accurate estimates than 23andme, IMO. This does not indicate recent ME origin in the overwhelming majority of cases. 2% is also within the realm of statistical noise.

I hope that makes sense to you. In the meantime, you probably ought to start with the primers:

"The Top 10 Myths of Genetic Genealogy" (http://http://snplogic.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-top-ten-myths-of-genetic-genealogy.html)

and this one, on ethnicity "calculators" generally (http://snplogic.blogspot.com/2015/10/what-is-best-and-most-accurate-ancestry.html).

Finally, as noted several other places on this board, calculators in general are far from scientific, and far from accurate, and which one works is far from accepted. On Gedmatch, you can use 20+ calculators for free. They all provide wildly different results.

If you used 20 thermometers, and got 20 different results, you would know that either 19 of them (or all 20) were wrong....