Can DNA ancestry testing tell you if you’re background is Sephardi or Ashkenazi?

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  • #1600358

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Can a genetic test tell you if you’re Sephardic, Ashkenazi, etc?

    Recently, two people told me that they took a DNA ancestry test. The test told them that they are a percentage of this (e.g. Irish) and percentage that (e.g. Melanesian).

    BUT… even if a test tells you that your genetic ancestry is from Egypt, or Germany, you can still be an Ashkenazi Egyptian Jew a Sephardi German Jew.

    Also… the genetics cannot tell you whether the line is maternal or paternal (I think)… so my guess is that a genetic test cannot verify if you’re Sephardi or Ashkenazi.

    Wondering if anyone has gotten a DNA ancestry test. What’s your opinion on being tested and/or interpreting your results?

    Thank you 🙂

    #1600390

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Its a lot easier to ask your tatah or zeidah if they ate gebrokts on pesach growing up. You correctly note that “country of origin” will not definitively inform you whether your family follow a particular hashkafah.

    #1600394

    philosopher
    Participant

    I don’t think these tests are accurate. Besides for Africans, most people globally are descendents of immigrants and mixed races. How do they have markers to test these “races”? The Sephardi and Ashkenazi groups are only a few hundred years old, how can they test Ashkenazi and Sephardim ancestry (as opposed to Michzrachim that were a distinct group from hundreds of years longer)? Sephardim have lived in Europe, not only in the Middle East and Africa, since the Spanish Inquisition, so how can they tell apart people by their genes when they lived on the same continents and in the same countries? Are minhugim part of their genes?

    Identical twins and triplets who took these DNA tests often had completely different results from one another and regardless of all these “scientific” explanations, I’m not buying it. Siblings, especially if they are identical, should have the same, or very similar, genes makeup.

    #1600408

    Joseph
    Participant

    The DNA tests do tell you what purported percent your ancestry is Ashkenazic Jewish.

    #1600422

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Ashkenazi Egyptian Jew a Sephardi German Jew.”

    There isn’t really such a thing.

    #1600449

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Its a lot easier to ask your tatah or zeidah if they ate gebrokts on pesach growing up.

    That’s good and well if your tatah was Frum and/or your zeidah is alive

    Sad to say, I have neither

    #1600466

    yytz
    Participant

    23andme tells you what percentage you are Ashkenazi. It doesn’t say anything about Sephardi. However, if your results say 95% Ashkenazi and 5% Middle-Eastern/North African, or something like that, then it might be a safe assumption that you’re part Sephardi.

    #1600468

    akuperma
    Participant

    “Ashkenazi Egyptian Jew a Sephardi German Jew.” – is very common. People always moved back and forth, and routinely intermarried (as they continue to do so). While Jews only intermarried with other types of Jews (or with converts, whose genealogies we had to fake since converting to Judaism was a capital offense), goyim routinely travelled and mixed up genes. A test that says what percentage of ancestry is Ashkenazi is really saying that unlike other Europeans you are Middle Eastern, and that is probably an indicator of Jewish-ness (though remember the Romans recruited Middle Eastern troops for service in northern Europe and left them there when they were discharged.

    When some asks me about ancestry, I prefer to reply that I’m descended from Adam ha-Rishon, and ask what they are descended from?

    #1600484

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    It has a category for Ashkenaz, but not for Sphard. I’m not sure what it would tell someone if they were 100% Sphardi and they took it.

    Also, heads up, it always tells everyone that they’re like 2% African. I think it’s a political correctness thing.

    #1600573

    Bestsecret
    Participant

    I am from Germany and I did take an ancestry test, my results were mostly eastern European, southeastern European, British, a little Spanish, little bit middle eastern and Sephardic. If someone wants to take a look at my test results I don’t mind sending them to you. Almost all of my ancestors had black hair and they could pass for Spanish or Turkish. You can contact me, I don’t know if ancestry tests are correct but my sister took also an ancestry test from a different company and she got very similar results. Greetings

    #1600600

    Redleg
    Participant

    After some thought, i sent my DNA sample (test tube of saliva) to Ancestry.com for analysis. The initial result was: 85% European Jewish, 12% Middle Eastern, 3% undetermined. I received an update from them a couple of weeks ago. based on (they said) an expanded data base. The revision shows me to be 100% European Jewish with the epicenter of my genome in historic Lithuania (based on their map of likely origins).

    N.B. Ancestry’s category is “European” Jewish, Not “Ashkenazi”

    #1600602

    philosopher
    Participant

    23andme may not have a category for Sephard but other DNA testing labs do.

    #1600625

    The Shady Charedi
    Participant

    Hi Lightbrite,

    The answer to your questions is… yes.
    There have been very recent advancements in this field in the last few months. It’s not 100%, but it is with very very high accuracy, including if it’s via the mother or the father.

    I tried to post before with a link to a very recent, fascinating shiur by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz discussing your exact questions, but perhaps the moderators didn’t allow a post with a link. [Moderator?]

    So if you’re interested then DM me, or I can try to post again, or tell you what to Google to find the shiur.

    #1600627

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    LIghtbright; they can analyze the mitochondrial dna which only comes from the mother.

    #1600654

    philosopher
    Participant

    akuperma, it was not only the Middle Eastern soldiers they boughtt, he Romans themselves are descendents from the Hitites as well as other civilizations from the Levant. And of course, they assimilated with other races wherever they went.

    Generally, Europeans originated from the Middle East and Asia, even the Frech and Germans. That’s why the alphebets have Semitic roots.

    #1600916

    “Ashkenazi Egyptian Jew
    there were those also, in Alexandria

    Bestsecret,
    fascinating
    post more specific details perhaps?

    #1600910

    ubiquitin,
    Sephardi German Jew.
    sure there were

    #1600901

    philosopher
    Participant

    No! You cannot know if you are a descendent of Ashkenazim or Sephardim regardless if the lab doing the DNA testing has such categories. You “may” be able to be tested for Jewish European genes which are slightly different than native European genes. But the results are not definite. I’m not familiar if Mizrachim and Sephardim living in the Middle East are genetically different than the local populations.

    #1600997

    Joseph
    Participant

    Ashkenazic and Sephardic Kohanim share a DNA profile that non-Kohanim lack.

    #1601012

    philosopher
    Participant

    Ubiquitin, Sephardim have lived in Amsterdam, the US, France, and other European countries and cities since their ancestors fled the Inquisition from Spain, Portugal, etc, which are countries in EUROPE. There are numerous old Sephardic shuls in all over Europe. The beginning of the Sephardim is similar to Ashkenazim who immigrated to Europe from Greece and the Levant.

    Not as many Ashkenazim have emigrated to the Middle East over the centuries but there were pockets of communities and individual Ashkenazim who immigrated to the ME, most notably the Ashkenazim living in Israel over the past few centuries.

    #1601064

    Joseph
    Participant

    Many of the Sephardim who moved to the Ashkenazic countries of Europe following the Inquisition, their descendents became Ashkenazic in the centuries that followed. There’s a Chasidic dynasty whose Rebbes shtam from Sephardim. There’s also a famous Sephardi who lived in Poland and immigrated to the British colonies and financed the American revolution.

    #1601048

    philosopher
    Participant

    I meant Ashkenazim and Sephardim migrated to Europe from Greece and Rome, not from Greece and the Levant.

    #1601129

    philosopher
    Participant

    Joseph, are you referring to the Level Tahor “Chassidus”? …Just kidding, btw.

    #1602764

    cherrybim
    Participant

    It is probably better not to be tested; you may find out some info about your background that you would rather not know.

    #1602793

    Joseph
    Participant

    cherrybim: The vast majority of frum Jews who come from a frum yichus have nothing to worry.

    #1603050

    akuperma
    Participant

    Jews in the MIddle East and Europe have always been mobile. Indeed, so have the many of the goyim.

    One might suspect the firms offering for a fee to check your DNA and give you a fantastic story about your ancestry are being less the fully honest.

    #1603418

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Joseph, what you know about your yichus only goes back several doros.
    So if you have nothing to worry about, give it a shot.
    I wonder if the test can give you a clue concerning mamzeirus and other things?

    #1603441

    Joseph
    Participant

    cherrybim: My point exactly was that the vast majority of frum people who have a frum line of yichus have no such things to worry about. This is an aveira that is very far from Jews, in general.

    #1604515

    (Mamzeirus due to eishes ish would certainly not be detectable through genetics.)

    #1604542

    Joseph
    Participant

    Randomex: Actually it often will be since it will show close blood relatives with the biological father or his relatives who also took the ancestry test.

    #1604569

    akuperma
    Participant

    cherrybim: DNA testing can be used to determine paternity (if a given man and woman are the biological parents of a given child). However the laws determining mamzerus are more complicated than that.

    #1604718

    cherrybim
    Participant

    For instance, if your are an Ashkenazi Jew from Europe and your family came to the USA after 1945, yet your results come back with traces of South American ancestry, hmm…

    #1604690

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Hey dna can prove that Pocahontas has 1 Native American between 6 and 10 generations back

    #1604840

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    That is a very wrong nickname to use.

    #1604852

    akuperma
    Participant

    There are some genes that apparently are only found among certain groups, so if one has American (i.e. Indian, indigenous) ancestry it would be obvious. The trick is to be from a very isolated group (the Americans were almost totally cut off from the rest of humanity before the 16th century, the Australians before the 19th, and most Africans until the late 19th century). However in the bulk of Eurasia people moved around a great deal whether as conquerors or merchants, so genes are more mixed up, e.g. the “Middle Eastern” gene found in England could have come from a Jew, or perhaps a Cartheginian slave owned by a Roman, or from a Roman soldier recruited in the Middle East who stayed in England when discharged.

    #1604877

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    That is a very wrong nickname to use.

    Why? Because liberals said so?

    #1605214

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant
    #1605211

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Because Pocahontas/Rebecca Rolfe was not Cherokee or Delaware.

    #1605887

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I don’t think headlines should generally use derogatory nicknames of any kind.

    #1608294

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    I don’t think headlines should generally use derogatory nicknames of any kind

    Great! so start your own news website without derogatory nicknames

    Until then live with it

    #1608288

    You’re right, but I was thinking about possible evidence in the results of a single test,
    not about checking them against all other results of tests performed by the company.

    Would that not require the other party to have agreed to such disclosure?

    #1608298

    baishatalmuder
    Participant

    Extensive studies have found an uncomfortable truth about the difference between DNA of Sephardim and Ashkenazim. And that is that while they share close to identical DNA on the Y chromosome, which is on the paternal side, on the X chromosome which is the maternal side Ashkenazim have some European non Jewish ancestry. And we do not even need DNA to tell us this as Ashkenazim are the only Jews where blond hair and light colored eyes are quite common. These features are non existent among any other types of Jews. So the source of those features are clearly not from yidden, and DNA tests prove this. That during some era in their history they were megayer non Jewish women and took them for wives.

    #1608314

    akuperma
    Participant

    “uncomfortable truth ” — as if converts were a shameful scandal????

    There were many conversions in ancient times (i.e. before the rise of Christianity and Islam, which made conversion to Judaism a capital offense). And for obvious reasons, there were always more female than male converts (for men, conversion meant a radical loss of status, whereas most women did not have much in terms of rights to begin with, not to mention the complications of Bris Milah for an adult male). Remember also that for most the last 2000 years a Geir needed to come u p with a fake yichus (to avoid being executed), and it is easier to pass off woman than a man (since Jewish males had more contact with the goyim than the women did). One should note that most “Sefardim” were living in areas where the non-Jews were closely related to the Jews (Middle East) so from a genetic perspective, converts would be indistinguishable from Jews.

    I suspect that the lighter skin color and frequent blond hair among Ashkenazim is more the result of “natural selection” (Jews who could pass for goyim were more likely to survive pogroms). Remember also that many people for northern Europe ended up in the Middle East (e.g Viking mercenaries hired by the (Byzantine) Romans, Legionaries recruited in Northern Europe and assigned to the Middle East, not to mention slaves who in Roman times were likely to be Celts, Germans or Slavs), with their genes mixing with everyone else’s.

    #1608321

    Joseph
    Participant

    See the Wikipedia (among other articles) called “Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence.”

    #1608322

    Joseph
    Participant

    baishatal: You’re comment is factually incorrect. You could lead to the same faulty conclusion, in the opposite direction, by pointing out that non-Ashkenazim are the only Jews who have dark colored skin. That is meaningless and environmental, which alone can change physical attributes without any other reasons by living in a geographic area for many centuries; the same point of which applies to fair hair color. Your interpretation of DNA results is similarly faulty and incorrect.

    #1608615

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Coffee addict, right now I occasionally voice my opinion about things. You can start your own forum where users aren’t allowed to, but for now you have to live with it.

    #1608532

    philosopher
    Participant

    Bashalmuder, I’ve met many light-colored Sephardim in my life. I once went to a genuine Sephardishe shul in London and I was surprised that many people there were blond. From features you cannot see know whether one is Ashkenazi or Sephardi. Generally though, Middle Eastern people are darker. Even Ashkenazim living in Israel, living on kibbutzim and serving in the army, i.e. being out in the sun a lot, can make light people, and their descendents, darker.

    You make it sound as if geirim are something bad. Avraham Avinu was a geir, The imuos were geirim, Dovid Hamelech was a geir, etc. So all of klal Yisroel are descendents of geirim.

    These type of DNA tests, where one tests their ancestry, is totally inconclusive. Unlike testing against the blood of one’s close relative to see if they are related, ancestry testing is testing against whom? You obviously can’t compare your DNA with your ancestor’s DNA, so who are the markers that decide which group has which DNA? Immigrants, that’s who! If you study history you see that the world’s population has always migrated and mixed. DNA tests cannot prove one’s ancestry as a conclusive fact.

    #1609346

    philosopher
    Participant

    I meant to write that Dovid Hamelech was a descendent of a geyoress

    #1609347

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    I’m only piping up to correct some factual errors here:
    Baish’s interpretation of DNA inheritance: Males have X chromosomes as well – they get it from their mother, who has 2 X chromosomes- she got 1 from her father, 1 from her mother, and she can pass either to her son, so tracing the X does not trace maternal lineage. If however overall the genome shows mixing- X or any of the other chromosomes that could come from mother or father, yet the Y is identical indicating little mixing within the paternal line, the assumption would be that the mixing must have come from the maternal line. To prove maternal lineage, you would need to check mitochondrial DNA that comes from the mother.

    Philosopher- the Avos and Emahos were not geirim, since there was no concept of Am Yisroel yet- the machlokes is whether that starts with Matan Torah or the Shevatim. Dovid was definitely not a ger, but his ancestor Rus was. So although your point about the importance of geirim is true, you need to defend it with true facts.

    #1609419

    philosopher
    Participant

    Winnie the Pooh, I did correct my mistake regarding Dovid Hamelech. I usually write my posts in between work when I take a few seconds break and there are instances which I makes with spelling and fatcs which I correct later.

    It is true that Am Yisroel started at Har Sinia, however Avraham Avinu was considered the first ger as he practiced the Torah.

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