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Old 08-22-2017, 01:05 PM
 
254 posts, read 184,290 times
Reputation: 335

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My grandmother's 23andMe report came in. It was pretty much as expected.

Ashkenazi Jewish 46.6%
Eastern European 32.7%
Southern European 7.3%
Balkan 4.2%
Broadly Southern European 3.1%
Northwestern European 3.3%
Broadly Northwestern European 3.3%
Broadly European 10.1%

Some background: Her family history is sketchy. She always said that her father came from a long line of Russian rabbis (no offense meant if there's a better term for this - I was not raised Jewish!) and her mother was Georgian. They fled to Persia to escape the Bolsheviks, she ended up being essentially orphaned after her father died, she was raised on a kibbutz in Israel, she married an American, and moved to the US.

So what I'm confused about is all the family that 23andMe is saying she has in the US. Over 900! I'm shocked. Her only full sibling had an adopted child. But, my grandmother's mother remarried and moved to the US as well, probably in the 1950s. She likely had more children. We don't know this family at all. There are only 5 relatives in Israel and none in the countries of the former Soviet Union. I always had a fantasy of meeting long lost relatives in Russia, and now it seems like there might not be any! I'm flabbergasted that 70% of her DNA matches live in the US.

Also, her maternal Haplogroup is H1N. It seems like that's a common one. Does this actually mean anything? I've read the information and I don't think it tells me very much. I'm very new to this!
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:13 PM
 
Location: CA--> NEK VT--> Pitt Co, NC
379 posts, read 313,280 times
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Assuming that most of that 900 is in the 3rd cousins or greater range, they are likely the descendants of the people in her tree who eventually also moved to the US. Her grandparents likely had more than one child for example and those descendants eventually came to america.

Not surprising at all really. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,254 posts, read 14,290,922 times
Reputation: 12070
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggielina View Post
So what I'm confused about is all the family that 23andMe is saying she has in the US. Over 900! I'm shocked.
That's because most of the testers in their database are American. While 23andMe does ship to other countries, they are US based, and most of their customers are in the US. Just because your grandmother was the first generation to move to the US doesn't mean many of her distant cousins aren't descendants of other immigrant cousins. It's not uncommon, and actually to be expected to some degree.

Quote:
Also, her maternal Haplogroup is H1N. It seems like that's a common one. Does this actually mean anything? I've read the information and I don't think it tells me very much. I'm very new to this!
Not really. Haplogroups alone aren't particularly useful for recent genealogy - they only really show you ancient migration patterns.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:57 PM
 
2,933 posts, read 4,602,114 times
Reputation: 2815
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggielina View Post
My grandmother's 23andMe report came in. It was pretty much as expected.

Ashkenazi Jewish 46.6%
Eastern European 32.7%
Southern European 7.3%
Balkan 4.2%
Broadly Southern European 3.1%
Northwestern European 3.3%
Broadly Northwestern European 3.3%
Broadly European 10.1%

Some background: Her family history is sketchy. She always said that her father came from a long line of Russian rabbis (no offense meant if there's a better term for this - I was not raised Jewish!) and her mother was Georgian. They fled to Persia to escape the Bolsheviks, she ended up being essentially orphaned after her father died, she was raised on a kibbutz in Israel, she married an American, and moved to the US.

So what I'm confused about is all the family that 23andMe is saying she has in the US. Over 900! I'm shocked. Her only full sibling had an adopted child. But, my grandmother's mother remarried and moved to the US as well, probably in the 1950s. She likely had more children. We don't know this family at all. There are only 5 relatives in Israel and none in the countries of the former Soviet Union. I always had a fantasy of meeting long lost relatives in Russia, and now it seems like there might not be any! I'm flabbergasted that 70% of her DNA matches live in the US.

Also, her maternal Haplogroup is H1N. It seems like that's a common one. Does this actually mean anything? I've read the information and I don't think it tells me very much. I'm very new to this!
Keep in mind that her DNA is only being compared to others who have been tested with the company that she was tested with. That is a limited database.


For the people that do share some DNA with her the connection could be hundreds or more years ago.


Do you know the name of the town where she was born?


Try looking at www.jewishgen.org


Check out their databases. JewishGen Databases


Remember that "Russia" may be Lithuania, Latvia, etc. The borders in that area of the world have changed numerous times in history.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:44 PM
 
2,933 posts, read 4,602,114 times
Reputation: 2815
Try this database:
Jewish Religious Personnel in the Russian Empire, 1853-1854
(The search box is at the bottom of the page.)
Jewish Religious Personnel in the Russian Empire, 1853-1854


Keep in mind that when names are transliterated from a foreign language with a different alphabet that the name may be spelled differently than you might expect. Use the soundex (sounds like) search option.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:43 AM
 
254 posts, read 184,290 times
Reputation: 335
Quote:
Originally Posted by daliowa View Post
Keep in mind that her DNA is only being compared to others who have been tested with the company that she was tested with. That is a limited database.


For the people that do share some DNA with her the connection could be hundreds or more years ago.


Do you know the name of the town where she was born?


Try looking at www.jewishgen.org


Check out their databases. JewishGen Databases


Remember that "Russia" may be Lithuania, Latvia, etc. The borders in that area of the world have changed numerous times in history.
She was born in Tehran after her parents left Russia or Georgia or wherever it was they lived. Her father died when she was only 8 after they had moved to Israel (Haifa), and her mother never took her and her sister in, even though she knew they were in an orphanage. (Needless to say she has never spoken kindly of her mother, other than to say she was beautiful.) So her knowledge of her family isn't very good.

She said her father worked as a mechanic, but really that was just a cover because he actually worked smuggling goods from Russia to out of the country for the wealthy Russians who had fled the Bolsheviks. Who knows if this is true! It seems unlikely to me that someone who comes from a line of rabbis would be trained as a mechanic.

I guess it makes sense that if mostly Americans test their DNA then most of her matches would be here. I'm still shocked that there are so many. It said she has 5 close matches. I'm interested in contacting them but I'm afraid if they are half siblings through her mother that my grandmother won't want anything to do with them. That is how great her resentment of her mother is. I'm not sure if I want to open that can of worms while she is still living.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:55 PM
 
2,933 posts, read 4,602,114 times
Reputation: 2815
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggielina View Post
She was born in Tehran after her parents left Russia or Georgia or wherever it was they lived. Her father died when she was only 8 after they had moved to Israel (Haifa), and her mother never took her and her sister in, even though she knew they were in an orphanage. (Needless to say she has never spoken kindly of her mother, other than to say she was beautiful.) So her knowledge of her family isn't very good.

She said her father worked as a mechanic, but really that was just a cover because he actually worked smuggling goods from Russia to out of the country for the wealthy Russians who had fled the Bolsheviks. Who knows if this is true! It seems unlikely to me that someone who comes from a line of rabbis would be trained as a mechanic.

I guess it makes sense that if mostly Americans test their DNA then most of her matches would be here. I'm still shocked that there are so many. It said she has 5 close matches. I'm interested in contacting them but I'm afraid if they are half siblings through her mother that my grandmother won't want anything to do with them. That is how great her resentment of her mother is. I'm not sure if I want to open that can of worms while she is still living.


I understand your hesitancy of contacting family from her maternal side.


Does she remember her father and/or mother's full names?


Is the surname a common one?


DNA is a wonderful new tool, but nothing beats the old fashioned way of doing genealogy through document searches.


If her father passed on in Israel (Palestine at that time, I am assuming) you may find his death certificate. This may have his parents name, place of birth, or other helpful data.


You may find him listed in this database:
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry


His tombstone may contain his father's name.


You can search Israeli databases here: (including pre-statehood databases.)
Home - Israel Genealogy Research Association
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:00 PM
 
469 posts, read 215,019 times
Reputation: 387
All Ashkenazi Jews are relatively closely related. They receive a lot of noise matches in these genetic family searches. Both my parents are Ashkenazi and on ancestry, I have 9100 4th cousins or closer matches.

Historically, if a Jew married a non-Jew, the Jew was considered to be dead by the Jewish family. They would sit Shiva.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:02 PM
 
699 posts, read 444,138 times
Reputation: 913
I think that's normal OP. My uncle had over 1000 on ancestry and he's only 1/4 Ashkenazi & from what I can tell, one of my grandfather's grandparents must have been a convert. I had several hundred, "3rd," cousins as well.
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