Tag Archives: DNA

07 My Jewish mom? DNA?

DNA

AncestryDNA offers this disclaimer:

“Your DNA doesn’t change, but the science we use to analyze it does. Your results may change over time as the science improves.”

When I originally signed up for Ancestry some years ago, this was my DNA locator map with the customers that had submitted their DNA up to then:

ancestry dna gdb

Compare to the new map below. Note the Scandinavian-Nordic Regions and the Near and Middle Eastern regions above have disappeared, with other regions being somewhat redistricted and sub-divided, shrunk or enlarged in the more recent re-region-ing, with a massive southern Russia region. Re-region-ing is as constant as updates to the databases.

DNA revision

  • I can see the removal of the Scandinavian-Nordic regions, as those came in at less than 1%.
  • I gotta wonder about the removal of all that which is Middle-Eastern, as that clocked in between 4% to even 8%.

If you want to know what 8% means, see this incredible article: Ancestral DNA Percentages – How Much of Them is in You? by Roberta Estes. Hint: 8% is a lot.

I think what’s happening here is an across the board walkaway by Ancestry in its claims for autosomal testing, which is what they chose to do from the beginning. But as more is discovered about DNA testing, Autosomal isn’t great.

She a massive disclaimer here: Drawbacks section of the Wikipedia article on Genealogical DNA Test. That includes disclaimers of Ancestry autosomal testing. Apparently, the autosomal testing is good maybe only for present day 1st and perhaps second cousins. Period. If you’re any times removed, well, who knows. Direct lines may be good a few back… As time goes on… So, instead of the autosomal, there’s testing on just the Y or just the X, with those indicating even vastly different things, at least historically, if not today. For Ancestry to call themselves Ancestry seems a bit of a misnomer. It’s more like the original FaceBook, just connecting you with your actual classmates in College. That’s changed. Anywho, I haven’t done the Y-only or X-only tests. Any ideas on the best companies to do those with?

I once conjectured that I must have had a bit of Iranian Jewish in me. Conjectures, conjectures! Good for entertainment. But, if so, that 4% to 8% mentioned above would most likely be the enclave of Iranian Jews in the Caucasian Mountains, now in the Southern Russia region, that is, just north of Georgia and Azerbaijan, the southern most part of “Russia” mapped out most recently for my DNA profile by Ancestry.

Ancestry makes a big deal of groupings of indicators of DNA, but people move around. It can’t be used much for land disputes as it all becomes a game of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Having said that, some generalities of the status quo might be noticed. Thus, generally, people from remote tundras of Irkutsk will be different from those in the back mountains of Peru. At least until new-agers arrived relatively recently…

Cultural phenomena are even more difficult to trace out, things like religion. That’s not to be found in DNA. But religion can bring about behaviors regarding “mixed marriages,” for the Jews not to intermarry, for Islam to do so on purpose. Yet, for the Askenazi, the men seemed to take lots of Gentile women for brides. Let the arguments and controversies begin! I jest. But the debate really is intense.

Ancestry has ventured into this debate. I’m guessing they’re regretting it. That’s really unwise for autosomal testing, which they do. The legitimacy of religion by way of any kind of DNA testing has been raging in Israel for very many years now. I asked a rather ultra famous Rabbi about it a few years back and he outright dismissed DNA as having any relevance whatsoever. He spoke of the incisiveness of the controversy. This would, of course, involve lots of Jews, one way or the other, who died in large numbers in the Holocaust, who may be Askenazi or not, who may be part of the vast majority of Jews as far as DNA is concerned…. or not. Are those who are remote from Askenazi to be junked – thrown into the ovens all over again – because of various types of testing which at any rate does not, cannot point to religion? So, I don’t want to go anywhere near it. If you want to go near that hornets nest, Judy Siegel-Itzkovich published this article at the National Library of Medicine for the National Institutes of Health: Gene tests show that two fifths of Ashkenazi Jews are descended from four women. Those four women, just to say, lived merely 1000 years ago, when world Jewry was already world-wide. But that starts to become irrelevant to the discussion. For a broad overview – Yikes! – the Wikipedia article on Genetic Studies on Jews is stunning. Then, if you really want to mix things up and begin to see where this could start to become controversial, see the article on Jewish Ethnic Division (incorporating a discussion on DNA). Also stunning. That will introduce you to bibliography that will keep you busy for multiple lifetimes, as it were. And don’t forget the “ten lost tribes” of the dispersion. And don’t forget huge movements of populations in the Levant back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. There’s the descendants of Abraham, those of Isaac and those of his half-brother Ishmael. For that matter, Noah was the father of Shem (=Shemites=Semites), from whom eventually – nine generations later – comes Abraham. Sorry.

What’s the relevance of DNA? Well, DNA can bring you face to face with relatives, with Ancestry pointing out people – today – as having almost identical DNA. That at least indicates a family connection… today. I’ll go along with that.

Negatively, I can say that I don’t have much of anything African or Native American or Polynesian in me. There seems to be plenty from the Baltics, Germany, Eastern Europe, Russia (Southern Russia!), and then a smidge of something British (though I still carry my dad’s old English name coming from the border of Scotland and England), and a smidge of something French. But putting names on countries is also fraught with difficulty. There are wildly changing borders. Germany is… is… what exactly? Back in the day Germany spread into half of Poland. What of Prussia, smashing the boarders in the other direction? And so on. Something to investigate to say the least. It helps to know history and the history of wars and historical mapping and geography and historical demographics. Daunting.

But right now, let’s see about any real time family relationships going on with other participants of Ancestry right now, meaning any indications of almost identical DNA. Of all the regions of my profile, Ancestry “Very Likely Connections” today from only three areas at the moment (considering only present customers).

Here’s Lesser Poland with Lublin in the North and Krakow to the Southwest:

DNA lesser poland

And then there’s this almost entirely overlapping detail of another smaller “region”. This is Maolpolska and Swietokrzyskie, with Krakow in the middle to the West:

DNA Malopolska - Swietokryzyskie

Just above both of those DNA “regions”, this time in central Poland, we have the “region” of Mazovia and Łódź, with Warsaw-Mazovia in the middle and Łódź to the South and West:

DNA Mazovia - Łódź

“Very Likely Connections” means something not really further away than first or second cousins. That would be interesting to follow up on, discovering who and where they are. But that’s way in the future. It is interesting, however, that of all participants, the only ones to show up for a connection right now are from central and southern Poland.

Just as the Askenazim can’t claim to be the be-all and end-all of Jewish religion – so that it would be absurd to say that mom was Jewish or not just based on generalized DNA of Askenazim, this opens some doors to uncover more about mom. So, I’ll keep up the investigation.

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Fingerprints DNA Chips and Biometrics: “Who are you, anyway?”

donkey hoof

No one believes the passport. After hours with ID experts of whatever country, the frustrating question to me is always, simply, and only, if politely: “Who are you, anyway?” After some hours, they let me go, exasperated. It’s not that I do bad stuff. They’ll just call me up, demanding that I make an appearance at whatever embassy or consulate. So, how to identify me for sure? It’s a hassle.

Fingerprints

It’s not that my fingerprints are absolutely unusable. I think I have three that are still there in trace form, kinda, perhaps. But according to the most recent scanning, not even that, not really. She predicted they would be rejected by the SBI. Life is what it is and can be pretty rough on fingerprints. Fingerprints can also be lifted, manipulated, transferred.

Deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA

Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been giving DNA cheek swabs. I mean, was I at risk of being confused with someone else (ask I, tongue in cheek). The purpose way back in the day had everything to do with identification and nothing to do with genealogy. But this was always just an American thing as far as I know, and yet, once the signature is established, that can be uploaded in databases easy peasy and a new DNA test would confirm the match on the database. Oh wait! That wouldn’t work either. Hack that database (by way of an insider, because, you know…) and replace your DNA with a guy with a clean record. That’s re-uploaded to databases all around. A check to the database for ID shows nothing untoward and you’re good to go. Then, when your DNA is investigated, it comes up unregistered and it just looks like someone made a mistake. Of course, if you’re re-tested and there is other DNA, like blood, at a scene, you’re done in.

Chips!

Same problem as the DNA switcheroo. “They’re unhackable!” blah blah blah. That makes no difference. You can establish a code’s presence wherever by way of hacking. If you have the code, you can transfer that to your own chip and you’re good to go.

Biometrics…

I’ve got my Gold Star ID Driver License with the picture being taken with, you know, biometrics: twelve points on the head/face all interrelated with each other as far as distances and depths. Great. These are used everywhere for a long time for airport security and what-have-you. This seems to be the answer. Unless, oh, I forgot, for the really desperate cases of ID fraud, go cross eyed for the picture, and otherwise do a bit of nip and tuck and get well placed injections at the conveniently located NCPS adjacent to Liberty Crossing Campus.

Comment:

People are so anxious about who they are. What if it were to be said that Christ is the Head of the Body and we are the members of the Body and that in heaven – please God we make it there – we will rejoice in the good we see in others because that good will be our own good because that good will be God Himself. That kind of disarms all the flutter about ID and such doesn’t it?

People are so weird in this world. They will be quite surprised at just how much God’s ways are above our ways, that love and truth and goodness and kindness and integrity is not the same as political correctness and subterfuge and deceit and conceit and cynicism. God is love and in that love we can rejoice. We find our identity in Him, creatures with their Creator.

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My revised Ancestry DNA: Neanderthal

ape to man walk

I mentioned to Father Gordon the other day that I received a quite severely revised Ancestry DNA report according to a new merging of data bases. I said that I was much more Eastern European and Russian than was previously estimated. He said that he wasn’t surprised at all, and then flatly added:

“Everybody from eastern European descent has 2% Neanderthal DNA.”

And then, speaking directly to the readers of this blog again added even more flatly:

“This may explain Father George’s lack of subtlety.”

Meanwhile, while my dad’s Scots-Irish surname is holding on with the travel of that family through centuries in Germany, there is this:

img_20181112_091919372505239.jpg

There are a zillion connections in Mazovia Province and Łódź, and the same for Lesser Poland, Małopolskie and Świętokrzyskie. Southern Poland would make sense from her specialized Yiddish derived vocabulary, with the biggest curse she had being to say that someone surely came from “Lower Slobbovia,” Al Capp’s thought-to-be-made-up-country but which is surely Slovakia just to the South of Lesser Poland. Al Capp’s references about “Lower Slobbobia” were rife with Yiddish-isms.

Catastrophically, pretty much every Jew, to a man, to a woman, to a child, was killed off in the Baltic States by the Nazi regime.

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My Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs “snips”) are being processed

SNPs

Finally, the phone app says that the test kit was not only received (that was January 19 2017), but is now (mid-March) being processed for the next three to five weeks. At any rate, I always knew I was a mutant ninja. Aren’t we all? This will prove it. I bet the results will come in that I’m 5% this and 5% that, with 90% unknown. Then I can fill in the blank, right? Maybe I’m from the dark side of the moon.

It’s interesting that the family tree is traced through mutant attributes. This is very much like critica textus, whereby one examines the accuracy of whatever ancient manuscript by way of taking note of mutant variants, that is, copyist errors which are repeated by subsequent copyists only of that particular manuscript (or its successors). This, taken with paleographical and other indications pretty accurately tell the analyst the entire geographical and historical, even political and ideological history of the background of the lettered physical text in front of them, regardless of whether that text is now digitized in our times or is still written on papyri, perhaps as a palimpsest.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting rid of DNA by way of my 1500 calorie diet. I’ve dropped about eleven pounds since Ash Wednesday. I must confess I’ve gone over 1500 a few times. But it’s working well all in all. Down to about 254 pounds. Breakfast today was lentil soup and an orange. 245 calories. My old neighbor is trying to convince me to become a soup maker. I would have to get a pot for that. And ways to freeze individual portions from the huge amounts called for in recipes, you know, whole heads of cabbage and all that. He gets his ingredients from his garden or from the soup kitchen (what’s on its way to the dumpster). Mmmm good. I had some yesterday.

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