I had a DNA test done several years ago, but yesterday I decided to take a closer look at the results.
At first glance, there wasn’t anything too surprising. I was raised Jewish, but only my mom is ethnically Jewish. So having 50% Ashkenazi ancestry was exactly what I expected. In fact, the most common name among my matches is Cohen.
Things got interesting when I looked at my mitochondrial DNA results (i.e. my maternal lineage). I can trace my maternal line back to 1850’s Ukraine and I’m 99% sure there aren’t any illegitimate children from that point to present. However, the names of people I matched with through mtDNA were predominantly Swedish, Finnish or generic “white” if they were located in America.
I compared my mtDNA results with my mom’s dad’s brother’s (i.e. my great uncle who has a different maternal lineage). His matches were mostly concentrated in the Pale of Settlement and all the names I looked at were stereotypically Jewish.
Doing some googling, I came across an academic article talking about how a significant number of Ashkenazim have European mtDNA, suggesting that European women converted to Judaism at some point in the past. It even specifically mentioned my uncle’s Haplogroup.
My own mtDNA seems really weird, though. How is it possible that ALL (or nearly all, because I didn’t systematically evaluate every match) of my mtDNA matches do not seem Jewish at all? Clearly, there was a conversion involved, but when?
At this point, I’m mulling over the prospect of doing a deeper dive on this issue, but first I wanted to know if anyone else has come across this type of situation before?