Are you wondering if you have Jewish ancestry, and whether it will show up on 23andMe? In this post, find out exactly how Jewish DNA shows up on 23andMe.
My family has extensive Eastern European heritage, and so one of the questions that I wanted to answer with DNA testing was whether or not some of my ancestors were Jewish. When I was growing up, there was some speculation as to whether my grandmother’s Polish ancestors were Jewish.
I was so excited to get my DNA results back. In addition, I was really lucky that both of my parents were supportive of the idea of DNA testing and wanted to test their DNA, too.
Does 23andMe detect Jewish ancestry?
Yes, 23andMe does detect Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. They compare your DNA with their proprietary dataset in order to define regions of your DNA as matching the Ashkenazi Jewish region.
I’m so glad that my mother and father agreed to test, since it helped me figure out for sure which side of the family my Jewish DNA came from. As we thought, it came from my mom’s side.
My mom’s DNA showed a small amount of Jewish DNA. We had expected her to have more, which means that my grandmother likely had distant Jewish ancestors – not recent ones like we thought she might.
One of the big benefits of DNA testing is that we inherit DNA from many ancestors, both recent and distant. We can often learn things from our DNA results that we wouldn’t be able to easily discover from traditional genealogy research.
In other words, I might not be able to identify my maternal grandmother’s Jewish ancestor from family history alone. Despite that fact, I know that if I go back far enough and do good research, I just might find the source of my Jewish DNA.
You can see exactly how my mom’s Jewish DNA showed up on her 23andMe results below.
How does Jewish ancestry show up on 23andMe?
On 23andMe, those with European Jewish ancestry might find that their DNA matches the Ashkenazi Jewish DNA region. This information can be found in the Ancestry Composition report, which is sometimes referred to as an ethnicity estimate.
My mother’s results also included a timeline which provided an estimate as to how far back in her tree I might have to look in order to find her 100% Ashkenazi Jewish ancestor. As I suspected from her 2.5% DNA from this ancestor, it is quite a few generations back:
If my grandmother had been 100% Jewish, would have expected my mom to have 50% Ashkenazi Jewish DNA. Even if only one of my grandmother’s parents was Jewish, my mom should have inherited about 25%.
In other words, my grandmother likely only had a small percentage of European Jewish ancestry. According to the timeline estimates from my mother’s DNA results, I may need to look as far back as 1750 in order to locate my Jewish ancestors.
Recommended reading: What can you learn with 23andMe results?
Will 23andMe results help trace your Jewish family tree?
Yes, your 23andMe results will help you trace your Jewish family tree. As you saw above, the ancestry composition report provides a glimpse as to who your Jewish ancestors may have been.
In addition, and perhaps more importantly, your DNA match list will be even more helpful in learning about your Jewish ancestors and building your family tree.
If you decide to opt-in to DNA matching (it’s optional), 23andMe will compare your DNA to the rest of their customers. If they find regions in your DNA that match their other customers, those individuals will show up on your DNA match list.
The closest DNA matches on your DNA match list are usually the other 23andMe customers who are most closely related to you. Family tree information from these people will help you fill in the blanks about your more recent ancestors.
More distant “cousins”, as they are often called in DNA for genealogy communities, can offer insight about your distant ancestry.
While I still have a lot of work to do on my mother’s Polish family tree, her 23andMe results definitely helped me get closer to learning all that I can about where my grandmother came from.
How to get a 23andMe test to help learn about Jewish ancestry
If you are interested in getting a 23andMe test to explore your Jewish ancestry, I highly recommend doing so. You are sure to learn something new about your family.
The sooner you get your test, the more quickly you will receive your results. You can use the link below to get your test today.
Make new family connections and discover your DNA story together. Order your DNA test kit today using this sponsored link at 23andme.com. Your order will help me support this site at no extra cost to you.
I hope that this post has helped you understand more about how Jewish roots might show up on 23andMe. If you have any questions about something that you read in this blog post, I would love to hear from you in the discussion below.
Thanks for stopping by today!