Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hola, Mi Familia! Somos...Sephardim??

My family's as Ashkenazi as they come.  I grew up eating potato kugel and chulent.  Spicier Sephardi fare was something exotic I saw at friends' houses and didn't associate with my family.  But I just got a recent hint that perhaps we had a bit of Sephardi in the mix as well.  I received the following email (with permission from the author to share):

I got my Ancestry results uploaded on Gedmatch recently and I just found we share a common ancestor.

I believe we are 4th cousins and we share a 3G-grandparent.
My father & uncle's shared segment with María
About me, my name is María.  I was born in Zaragoza, Spain.

My paternal grandfather's family is from Ventosa de la Cuesta, Matapozuelos and La Seca, in Valladolid.  Their surnames are: Gutiérrez, Sanz, Roman, Buenaposada, De la Cuesta, Del Toro, Cantalapiedra, Panyagua o Paniagua, Nieto Cobos, Rico, De Vega,...

Some of them moved to Zaragoza and Barcelona around 1920. Later, some of them moved to México and America because of the Spanish Civil War.  Some of their surnames include: Tabuenca, Córdoba, Castano, Almanza, Mora, Duran, Moyer,...

My paternal grandmother's family is from different villages of Aragón, Spain.  Their surnames are Guillén, Lorén, Bosque,...  I know some of them travelledd to America in early 20th Century in an attemp to make some money.

My mother's grandfather family is from Ricla and La Almunia, among other villages of Aragón, Spain.  Their surnames are Navarro, Fernando, Lacarta, Come,... But I don't have much information on them.

My mother's grandmother family is from Aragón, Navarra and southern France, but I don't have much information either.  Their surnames are San Felipe or Sanfelipe, Asensio,... 
With my family's long history in what's now Ukraine, plus the (only) one 11.4cM segment shared by both my father and uncle with María, the connection is likely much further than than third great grandparents.

María doesn't match any of the rest of my family's kits--including my paternal grandmother's.  So whatever connection we have is via my paternal grandfather, Paul Diamond.  None of his relatives who have tested match María, so I can't narrow down any further which line has the connection.  But what is clear is that that 11.4cM match likely comes from a shared Sephardic ancestor with María, over 500 years ago!

I guess those two years of Spanish in high school were just exploring my then-unknown heritage!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Lara,

    Is that the only segment you match on? Your father and uncle don't really count as two in a triangulation, so anything up to 15 cM might still be IBS by chance, especially since you have found that no other Relatives match Maria.


    1. It's the only segment--but 15cM is large enough that I'd think it's much more likely to be IBD. There are several branches of my grandfather's family on which no family members have tested (so no one would match, obviously).

    2. Lara, I'd agree with you if it was 15 cM, but you said it was only 11.4 cM.

    3. "Half-identical matching segments of 15 cMs are mostly IBD, and the majority of matches between 10 cM and 15 cM are IBD."

  2. I can share multiple segments with people of whom we share common ancestors from at least 8 centuries ago. My largest segment size seems to average around 15cM yet our totals can be as high as 500cM (GEDmatch) but many are around 100cM.

  3. These are the type of totals I get vs. the largest segment. This would indicate multiple segments. I cut the page down and squeezed it all onto one page. There's more, but figured this is sufficient to make my point.


    1. Hi Kalani, Are the top matches people you already know as relatives? Have you connected with them? And do they come from a close town of origin? Most of my top matches on GedMatch are in the 130's to 150's for total cM, so I am wondering what combination of factors leads to that many much higher total cM matches. Thanks!

    2. I removed the 6 - 8 relatives so that you can only see the endogamous matches. I'm curious if your top matches have largest segment above 20cM? If you have known 2C tested, you should be able to see the difference compared to what is in my diagram.

    3. I forgot to mention some of those come from the same island but different geographic area as my family. While others come from 4,000+ miles away across open ocean.

      So the yellow are the ones that come from 4,000+ miles away and we DO share common ancestors but from 8 centuries ago.


      The non-highlighted ones may or may not have close geographical ties. Our trees definitely do not intersect.

      This came out a few days ago with Paul W. speaking. Fast forward to 11 mins to understand why we get those type of matches.


  4. Fascinating. Here's hoping growing DNA databases shed more light on this connection.