Friday, April 15, 2016

Julian's Father: Using Ethnicity Percentages

Each of the major DNA testing companies has an analysis of ethnicity based on their autosomal tests. They appear more based on statistics than on science and my feeling is that it's more a marketing tool than anything else, useful in a general sense, but not to be taken too seriously. These reports are meant for inquiries into deep ancestry, but many people use them to see if they had a Cherokee great-great-grandparent and such. I don't think that many people use them to solve twentieth century questions. Certainly not questions that are ancestor-specific.

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) where I test, calls their analysis "My Origins" and here is what they show about me.
They have a breakdown by percentages and a map showing where those different groups are located today. As expected, they say I am 90% Jewish Ashkenazi with a bit of "Eastern Middle East" and a few margin-of-error types thrown in. My sisters are similar to me, but with small differences. As I say, useful in a general sense especially for people who have little idea of their ancestral backgrounds, but not to be taken too seriously.

Last week I spoke at the Israel Genealogical Society's Petah Tiqva branch, giving my usual basic DNA talk. I told the story of Joanna, the Polish woman whose grandfather Julian (1911-1986) was supposedly the illegitimate son of a Pikholz who was the estate manager in Klimkowce, not far from Skalat. The structure we worked out over time in our first foray into genetic genealogy was this:
The people who tested are Jacob and Joanna's uncle who insisted on anonymity. His kit is listed as Filip, who is in fact Joanna's son. Jacob himself was in the audience in Petah Tiqva. The reason this looked like a good bet for genetic testing was not only that the relationship is close enough to be doable, but also because even if DNA showed a slightly more distant relationship, there was no alternate explanation. Any DNA that "Filip" and Jacob have in common could not have come from anyone else as all of Joanna's family is strictly Polish.

You cannot go into all the possibilities in that kind of lecture, but in fact Jacob and I were always aware of one other possibility. We don't know if Josef was still alive when Julian was conceived. A grandson was named for Josef six months after Julian was born, so perhaps Josef could not have fathered Julian. But Josef had several sons who would have been in their twenties and there is a good chance that whenever Josef died, one of the sons became the estate manager in his place. So perhaps one of Josef's sons was Julian's father. (The sons, by the way, were not full-brothers of Jacob's grandfather. After Jacob's grandmother died, Josef married a Pikholz niece and the other sons were from her.)

It was, however, my best estimate that Josef himself was the father, especially since Julian named his first son Josef for reasons that no one in the family ever knew.

The DNA was ambiguous. Here are "Filip's" first six matches:
As is clear from the ancestral surnames on the right, four of the six are Pikholz descendants. The first three of those are Jacob and two of his cousins. (The fourth is my third cousin in Denver. I don't know why he is here.) All of them are called "2nd cousin - 4th cousin." I would have expected Jacob and "Filip" to be 2nd-3rd cousins, but in fact if you look at the shared centiMorgans, Jacob's connection is the weakest - both in longest segment and in the aggregate.

The weakness of the match between Jacob and "Filip" could be the randomness of DNA, but it also could be because Julian's father was one of Josef's sons. I preferred the former. Jacob himself was less certain.

So as the Q&A continued in Petah Tiqva, Jacob also mentioned that "Filip's" My Origins showed him to have only 17% Jewish Diaspora making it quite impossible for him to have had measurable Jewish DNA from any non-Pikholz source.

In any case, "Filip's" grandfather was a Pikholz and about twenty-five percent of his DNA should have reflected that - regardless of whether it came from Josef or one of his sons. Seventeen percent seemed to me beyond the norm. (I'd say "beyond a standard deviation" but that would imply that I know something about statistics.)

After I got home, I had a closer look. Here is "Filip's" My Origins:

Filip's "Ashkenazi Diaspora" component is 20%, not the 17% that Jacob had cited. FTDNA recalibrates these numbers from time to time. That's still less than what we would expect from someone whose grandfather was fully Jewish. I also called up Jacob's My Origins.

Jacob appears to be 86% Ashkenazi with another 14% that is probably Sephardic. Filip has none of the Sephardic or other Southern European  or Turkish..

If I had to decide between Josef and one of his sons as the father of Julian, based on the DNA results and the My Origins (remember, I am not a big fan of My Origins and no one really thinks it is a precise measure of anything), I would say it like this.

Filip got less than the normal 25% of his grandfather's DNA. So no wonder that Jacob's match with Filip is weaker than one might expect. But Jacob's match with Filip is not extraordinarily weak - not enough to account for both the 20%/25% difference and the addition of an extra generation, even an extra generation which comes from Josef's niece/wife..

So I will stick with "Josef himself is Julian's father." But then I don't know much about statistics. And I don't much trust My Origins. It may be that these ethnicity percentages can occasionally be used to address ancestor-specific questions from 106 years ago. Who knew?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Bauers and the Rosenzweigs

Autosomal results came in recently for Susan, my second cousin on my father's maternal side.

This is the structure of the family. The shaded names have tested and results are in. One more is not on GEDmatch yet.

We have two children and six grandchildren of my grandmother, a grandson of my grandmother's sister and now Susan a granddaughter of my grandmother's brother. All these are descendants of my great-grandparents Moritz Rosenzweig and Regina Bauer. Their mothers are Zelinka and Stern, respectively.

We also have tests from my father's second cousin, Shabtai, on the Bauer/Stern side and from Fred, the grandson of my grandmother's half-sister on the Rosenzweig/Zelinka side. Fred's Jewish DNA is all from Aunt Ella.

Susan's first matches, as ranked by Family Tree DNA, include all those known relatives plus a second cousin on her mother's side.

I set up a chromosome browser on GEDmatch for all eleven of Susan's matches on our sides to see if we could discern a significant amount of DNA from each of my great-grandparents' sides.

GEDmatch estimates Susan to be 2.4-2.6 generations from Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob and 2.7-3.1 generations from the seven second cousins. They have her as 3.2 generations from Shabtai and 3.3 from Fred.

On the right is the color code that GEDmatch uses to distinguish segment sizes. Remember, the sizes of the graphic bars are not proportional to the actual centiMorgans.

On the chromosome browser which follows, I marked Fred's matches with Susan in red and Shabtai's matches with Susan in blue. I didn't label any of the rest of us because it doesn't matter who is who for the purpose of this exercise.

I did not include the X chromosome because Susan is related through her father's father, which produces no X component.

Seven of Susan's chromosomes have matches with both Fred and Shabtai, eight with Shabtai but not Fred, four with Fred but not Shabtai and three with matches with neither. After triangulation, we can tell without much doubt that certain segments of our DNA come from one side or the other. Of course, we also have segments which are clearly on my grandmother's side, but since neither Shabtai nor Fred shares them, we cannot tell whether they come from the Rosenzweig/Zelinka side or the Bauer/Stern side.

Normally, I would say that we need to test additional cousins on each side, but Fred is an only grandchild and Shabtai has only one living sibling and no known cousins. We have a fifth cousin on the Zelinka side but she does not match Susan and we have a fifth cousin once removed on the Rosenzweig side, but his small match with Susan on chromosome 6 does not match any of the rest of us.

I really have to refresh myself on the use of Kitty Cooper's mapping tools. Doing this on all sides would help understand which ancestral couple provided what parts of our DNA but also what was the make up of the ancestors themselves.

Housekeeping notes
This Wednesday, 13 April, I am speaking about DNA at the Petah Tiqva branch of the Israel Genealogical Society. Seven o'clock at Yad Lebanim, Arlosorov 30. I'll be speaking in Hebrew. Signed copies of ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People will be available for purchase.

Seven weeks until my next programs, in London and Toronto. You can order books for pick-up there until 30 May.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Diamond Endogamy

A Joint Post with Lara Diamond of Lara's Jewnealogy

Dorit and Evelyne
Last week, Dorit sat in my office learning about DNA match analysis. Dorit has tested her mother Evelyne (nee Berger), her mother's sister and a few other relatives and has the benefit of another of her mother's family (Jason) who manages a few kits on his own. (Dorit's father's family is Moroccan and of less interest, at least for now.)

Dorit's tests were done with Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) as were some of Jason's and some of them have been uploaded to GEDmatch.

We went over the basic tools offered by FTDNA for autosomal analysis and looked at some GEDmatch tools as well. In the course of looking at Evelyne's matches in the GEDmatch Tier1 "Matching Segment Search" tool, I saw some segments that match any number of friends of mine in the world of DNA. And, of course, since all European Jews are related to one another multiple times, it cannot be otherwise.

(GEDmatch is free except for a few items in Tier1 which require a donation.)

Among those matches were several with the family of my friend and colleague Lara Diamond, who shows up on GEDmatch as less than four generations away from Evelyne.

I cannot keep track of all of Lara's family, but I did have a look the list of Evelyne's nine matches with people named Diamond. You can see them here on the right, edited to eliminate the personal names.

Five are Lara's family, marked in red. In addition to Lara herself, we see her father, paternal grandmother and uncle. And also her mother, who is not known to be related to Lara's father..

So Evelyne is related to Lara through both of Lara's parents.

But Lara's uncle is a suggested "2nd cousin - 4th cousin" while his mother, Lara's grandmother, is only a suggested "4th cousin - remote cousin." So in addition to Lara's paternal grandMOTHER, Evelyne is also related to Lara's paternal grandFATHER.

Five matches is just what a FTDNA chromosome browser can handle so I opened one for Evelyne and lined up Lara's five matches: grandmother, uncle, father, Lara herself and her mother.

I left the threshold at the default 5 cM and the results look like this. (I am displaying only those six chromosomes where there are two or more of Lara's family on the same segments.) I added to the display the sizes of the segments in cM.

The two matches on chromosome 5 show segments from both paternal grandparents. On the left, Lara's father and grandmother have similar segments - clearly her father received this segment from his mother. On the centromere Lara and her father have an identical segment which is not from the grandmother, so it must be from the grandfather.

On the right ends of chromosomes 7 and 15, Lara has segments which are clearly from her mother.

Chromosome 8 shows a large segment (18.57 cM) where Evelyne matches Lara's uncle, but less than half of that matches the grandmother. In fact, the grandmother, the uncle and Lara herself all have the same starting point (64,372,741) and the uncle, Lara's father and Lara's second segment all have the same end point (85,095,990). The grandmother's segment ends at the same point where Lara's second segment begins (70,702,700). So clearly, the uncle has two adjacent - or nearly so - segments, one that he received from his mother and one from his father.

But it's not so simple
But this raises another question. How did Lara inherit her segment on the left from her grandmother if her father doesn't have it as well?

The same question comes up on the left side of chromosome 15 where Lara and her grandmother have identical segments of 5.1 cM, but her father does not. I ran that question on the ISOGG Facebook group and Blaine Bettinger made the (obvious!) suggestion to lower the threshold. Here is what came up:

Lara's father has a match on chromosome 15 which is slightly smaller than those of his mother and daughter and the excess bits appear to be Identical By State (IBS) rather than properly hereditary. So far, so good.

The eight of Diamonds
But that does not resolve the anomaly on chromosome 8, where Lara still has a segment in common with her grandmother, but not with her father. (There is a school of thought to simply discard all the small segments of this sort, under the IBS banner, but I am not comfortable with that until it proves unavoidable.)

I did triangulation for the segments on chromosome 8. These are the segments pictured above.
Lara's match with her grandmother on chromosome 8 goes from 119,665.558 to 146,255,887. Lara's match with her mother begins at 154,984 and goes on to 146,255,887.

Lara's match with Evelyne is not from her paternal grandmother but from her mother.

Let's drop the threshold from 3 cM to 1 cM and see what happens.
Here we see that Lara's mother has three very small segments that did not appear before. The third of the three is 2.73 cM and it seems clear that Lara received those two right-most segments from her mother, with a bit of IBS detritus in between.

If we look at the same set of matches for Lara's family with Evelyne's sister,
the segments in question are very similar to the matches with Evelyne, but Lara's mother's match appears more complete.

My purpose here was to illustrate for Dorit the complexities of endogamous DNA, which the matches between these five members of Lara's family and Evelyne (and her sister)  show nicely. It is not my purpose here to figure out the multiple common ancestors shared by these two families. Perhaps we can do that later.

But let me give the floor to Lara, who will introduce her other family members into this analysis.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Five-Generation Charts - Parts 1 and 2 ..... and Devir Joins the IDF

This morning, my #4 son Devir was delivered into the hands of the Israel Defense Forces for the next three years.

I'll say some more about that below, but for now here he is when my #3 son was a new recruit.

Part three of the five-generation charts was a few days ago.

Part One
About a month ago, David Allen Lambert suggested on Twitter - @DLGenealogist - that we compose and post five-generation trees showing the longevity of our ancestors. I posted mine on Facebook at the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) and probably a few other groups.

Others ran with it, some with small changes, some the way David had set it up. Some took it out to an additional generation. I probably should have used different colored fonts for different decades. The fad ran for about a week or ten days.

Part Two
Then about ten days ago, J. Paul Hawthorne - whom I don't know - posted a similar chart for places of birth. Blaine Bettinger brought it over from Twitter to Facebook where it caught on quickly.

The structure there was to use a different fill color for each US state or country. Blaine's was actually pretty boring, as most of his were from a particular area of upstate New York.

I had done something similar for display at Devir's bar mitzvah six and a half years ago, using flags, so I figured that using flags rather than random colors would be meaningful. As I had done then, I considered each ancestor to have been born under the relevant flag of today. My chart looked like this.

The European countries from top to bottom are Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania and Belarus, but as Karesz Vandor so helpfully pointed out, Slovakia was not an independent state until 1993, so including it here would be very misleading.

If I had used the relevant countries when the ancestors were born, it would be too boring, as all my father's people were under Austro-Hungarian rule and all my mother's Russian. (Not as boring as Lara Diamond's all-Ukraine chart, to be sure...)

So I used that structure but added comments.
I could have gone a bit further and made this for Devir instead of for me. That would put an Israeli flag at the root and would add four Union Jacks and eleven Polish flags, in addition to a few more Slovakian and Ukrainian flags.

This is how it looked at Devir's bar mitzvah, only larger.

Devir and the IDF
Giv'at Hatahmoshet. Ammunition Hill. That's where the boys gathered this morning for preliminary processing. It's where a major battle was fought during the Six Day War, nearly fifty years ago.

There was a popular song about that battle, told in the voice of "the commander."
I was afraid the Jordanians would throw more grenades. Someone had to run from above and cover. I didn't have time to ask who would volunteer. I sent Eitan. Eitan didn't hesitate for a moment. He climbed up and began to fire his machine gun. Sometimes he would overtake me and I'd have to yell to him to remain in line with me. That's how we crossed some 30 meters. Eitan would cover from above and we would clear the bunkers from within, until he was hit in the head and fell inside
Eitan didn't hesitate for a moment.

But he ends with
I don't know why I received a commendation, I simply wanted to get home safely.
I simply wanted to get home safely. Our society has changed like that, from one end of the song to the other.

In 1997, the Israeli security cabinet authorized the Mossad to kill Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Jordan, using poison. The poison was administered but the two agents were caught. In order to secure their release, The government of Israel had to provide an antidote to the poison and release Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, who was serving a life sentence. I heard the head of the Mossad on the radio saying (and I speak from memory) "The most important thing is that our people were returned safely."

"No," said some of us,"the most important thing is that the mission failed." If the most important thing were that the agents were safe, they should have kept them home.

Many of us are old school like that. I think that most of the boys in our circles think like that - at least when left to their own devices and supported by their parents and their teachers.

I have told Devir that the most important thing is to complete the mission. The second most important thing is to keep themselves and those around them safe. And all this while remaining a ben Torah.

Go in peace and return in peace. You don't have to serve with distinction, but serve honorably. And be a ben Torah.