Thursday, February 2, 2017

Six Siblings - Part One: Origins

A week before he died last month, my brother gave me DNA. That gives us the whole set of six siblings. (A seventh was killed in an accident thirty years ago, but her identical twin is one of the six, so we count the set as complete.)

I would like to look at some aspects of our group results in a few blog posts and I'll start here with an easy one: origins. In general, I'll show the siblings in age order.

myOrigins on the far right, ancientOrigins at the bottom left
Now the truth is, I don't pay much attention to the whole ethnicity thing. It isn't really precise - how can it be, especially wiuth European Jews. And this new "ancientOrigins" thingee that FTDNA shows us - well until today I had never even looked at it.

So what do we have? Let's start with the new one and pretend that it is meaningful.

I don't need a statistician to tell me that the six of us are cut from the same cloth. Mostly farmer, some invader, a bit of hunter-gatherer. No one is far from the averages.

What about ethnicity, what FTDNA calls "myOrigins?"

The basic Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity is without question, ranging from my 90% to Dan's 99%, with the girls in between. That's who we are according to FTDNA's standards.I would not be surprised, though, if some of the Ashkenazim in their database contain significant Sephardic heritage that no one knows to classify properly.

The European, West African and Central Asian are all one-offs ranging from 1% to 3%. We can probably ignore them.

What FTDNA calls "Asia Minor"
The three Middle Eastern categories show at least two of us in each one. The 5% that Jean and Sarajoy show in Asia Minor (Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan on the FTDNA maps) is probably real, representing Jews who are probably Sephardic.

I don't know how different that is from the "Eastern Middle East" category that includes Judith (5%), Amy (1%) and me (8%). The map shows this to be Egyot, Jordan, Lebanon. My eight percent seems like a lot,
especially compared to all the others, but these things are not meant to be precise. Perhaps "entertainment value" is an appropriate term. I don't think much of any claims of precision in differentiating between Eastern Middle East and Asia Minor.

If this analysis is telling us anything, it's that our family is Ashkenazic, flavored with some Sephardic ancestors - more than likely people who left Spain or Portugal and settled in various Mediterranean locations. The North African elements are surely in that category as well.Tegular readers will recall that I discussed our possible (probable?) Y-DNA line here.

Part Two is here,.

Housekeeping Notes
Speaking at the JGSs in Detroit and Cleveland in the coming days, then off to RootsTech and California.

2 February 2017, 7 PM – JGS of Michigan, Farmington Community Library – Main Branch – Auditorium,32737 W. Twelve Mile Rd. Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Lessons in Jewish DNA: One Man’s Successes and What He Learned on the Journey

5 February 2017, 1:30 – JGS of Cleveland, Park Synagogue East, 27500 Shaker Blvd,  Pepper Pike
Lessons in Jewish DNA: One Man’s Successes and What He Learned on the Journey

1 comment:

  1. This spoke to me because I've been trying to understand the relevance of my own "my origins." Now I know that the East Asia part is probably irrelevant at 1% but that the British Isles (5%) and Eastern Europe (3%) may indeed be significant.

    I've been puzzling over the hunter gatherer and etc. stuff. What do you make of that?