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It turns out that I am at least 18% Jewish
By Curt_Anderson
May 29, 2022 5:13 pm
Category: Science & Nature

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My cousin, who is the son of my dad's brother, had his DNA profile done by It turns out that on we are 26% Scandinavian (mostly Swedish), which is not a surprise given our last names. We are also 18% European Jew from our paternal sides. I say at least 18% Jewish since I don't know the DNA from my mother's side. Apparently these DNA tests are able to attribute "Ethnicity Inheritance" to "parent 1" and "parent 2". His parent 2 had the French ethnicity that was always known of his mother. In other words, our fathers were 52% Scandinavian and 36% European Jew. We also have some Russian, Baltic and eastern European ancestry.

My paternal grandmother's name was Miller. She knew she had Czech ancestry. Like all of my family they were nominally Christians. Although they had some religious fluidity. My dad was raised Lutheran; my mother Catholic but they became Episcopalians when they married. When my paternal grandparents moved from one town to another, they changed denominations probably based on locational convenience. I have no idea how many generations back members of my family tree identified as Jewish. I do like the idea that I come from a long line of people who apparently intermingled with people of different religions.

I am sure that my late father had no inkling that we have some Jewish heritage. As it happens three of my closest friends are ethnically Jewish as is my wife. She is an atheist like me: we simply disbelieve in different gods. 😉 My parents had at least some Jewish friends that I was aware of. My family, including our late parents, were and are not anti-Semites so the DNA results would have been met with surprise but a shrug.

Somebody else I know had a single digit amount of African DNA that he never suspected. Not that it bothered him.

Besides, saying "Mazel tov!" to my cousin, I remarked that I'd like to see every anti-Semite, racist and bigot undergo DNA testing. I am sure a number of them would have some DNA of the ethnic groups they routinely denigrate.

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Comments on "It turns out that I am at least 18% Jewish":

  1. by Donna on May 29, 2022 7:44 pm
    Interesting. What a surprise!

    I've thought about getting my DNA tested. I doubt if it would find much more than I already know about my ancestry, but you never know. Thanks to my cousin who's done research, I know quite a bit about my mom's dad's side, which is mostly English and German, although I recently did some research on my own about my mom"s maiden surname, Meseke, and found out that although the Meseke family emigrated to the US from Germany, the name is actually Sorbian, which is an ethnic group from what is now the southeastern corner of Germany and the area in what is now the Czech Republic. They weren't Jewish, but their ethic identity, including their language, was virtually erased by the Nazis. My mom's mom's family were also English and German, with one outlier, my mom's maternal great grandmother who was Cherokee.

    My dad's dad's family were Bavarian and Prussian Germans, and no one knows much about my dad's mom's family other than her maiden surname, Seymour, which is an English name.

  2. by Curt_Anderson on May 29, 2022 9:29 pm
    I don't have a big drive to know "where I came from" either.

    You know about our son, who is adopted. Maybe that why I place more importance on nurture than nature. On the TV ads for 23andme and people say things like "now I know where I got my entrepreneurial spirit" or "my love for justice". Some ads have actors saying their heretofore unknown ethnicity is the source of admirable personality characteristic. I don't buy that sort of thinking.

    Other than my physical attributes I don't blame or credit my forebears for my interests, tendencies or quirks. I also wouldn't take credit if some ancestor were famous, a royal or something, although I guess it would be interesting. I found my apparent Jewish ancestry interesting only because it was unsuspected. My Jewish pals now kid me about it and welcome me to "the tribe".

    One of the good things about America is that we are a melting pot and to a greater extent than other countries a meritocracy. Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jeff Bezos and Joe Biden were not born into wealthy or aristocratic families.

  3. by Donna on May 29, 2022 10:17 pm
    I agree with you, but I must admit that I'd do the 23 and me thing if I could justify the expense. It would be totally out of curiosity, though, not because I believe the results would say anything about who I am, though.

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