Welcome

Follow along as I post results and interpretations of various DNA tests conducted on my Palestinian Christian family members. For a condensed version, read the Summary page for key findings. For more in-depth review, the other pages & blog posts will offer detailed and specific information. Use the labels to find posts relating to the Pages above or family surnames. Feel free to contact me at holylanddna@gmail.com. 

ADMIXTURE

Admixture- Ethnicity Estimate - Ancestry Composition - Ethnic Makeup

Ancestry Composition tells you what percent of your DNA comes from  different populations worldwide. The analysis includes DNA you received from all of your ancestors, on both sides of your family. The results reflect where your ancestors lived 500 years ago, before the advent of intercontinental travel.

For more scientific details about how these estimates work please visit the ISOGG site.  

Below is a list of admixture analysis tests performed on family members, click the links to learn more about the tests:

23andme Ancestry Composition- My father, myself, my sister, my grandfather, my grandmother



AncestryDNA- Myself

Dr. McDonald's Biogeographical Analysis- My father, myself, my grandparents

Gedmatch Analyses- My father, myself, my grandparents

I want to post results for each person tested for all of these tests, but it will take up so much space, it's best reserved for individual blog posts.  Please search for the label admixture if you are interested in seeing them.



What would you expect the admixture of a Palestinian Christian to be?  

If you would have asked me that question several years ago, I think I would have said Arab with a little European sprinkled in. The light eyes and hair of some Palestinian family members hint to contact with Europeans in the past.   But, depending on what you read and what your natural assumptions are, you may think that Palestinians are ethnic Arabs for the most part or you may think they are native Levantines that descend from the ancient Jews.   

Well, I was pretty close about the Northern European- it hovers around 5%.  What I did not expect to see was a significant Italian/Greek element (which I believe is mostly from ancient times).  Another surprise was that Arabian is only about 10-15%, actually a little less than the Roman element!  The main core of our ancestry is deeply rooted in the Caucasus and Northern Levant.  Typical population references include Samaritans, Middle Eastern Jews, Cypriots, Druze, and Lebanese (in order of closeness).  Palestinian makes the list, but is usually not in the top 5.  Maybe the reference group tested for Palestinian includes people from different areas and backgrounds.  Dr. McDonald could tell that it was Holy Land DNA, which was a nice confirmation.  Another researcher shared these comments with me and I do agree: Palestinian Christians are mostly descendant of Arabized/Christianized Samaritan Jews(indigenous Levantine); also slightly mixed with Ghassanid(Arabian), Crusader(North and West Euro), and Byzantine/Roman(South Euro).


Here are National Geographic's Geno 2.0 results for Regional Ancestry.  Please note this is still VERY ancient admixture and unlike the results from the other companies, which show about 500 years up to 1000 years in the past.  I found it very interesting that my father's first reference group is Georgian.  This again shows a strong connection to the native people of the northern Levant.  Georgians are some of the least admixed individuals today.




I will share specific test results from other companies in posts to come, so keep checking for the label Admixture if you are interested in seeing more.

This aspect of genetic DNA testing continually becomes more refined and more accurate, and I look forward to the coming advances the next few years will bring.

12 comments:

george Nemnom said...

I was surprised to read : " you regional ancestry (5,000-10,000) years ago. When I asked the Genographic project how far they can go for autosomal testing, they told me: about 6 generations; although I read in another person's results that's a mixture of the last 6 generations and more ancient lineages going back thousands of years ago, but I did'nt see this head title ( 5,000-10,000....) on this man's results . But,if one side of this admixture at Geno 2.0 is the last 6 generations, why one can't find matches (DNA cousins) as in FTDNA and Ancestry ?

holylanddna said...

Hi George- it's just a different kind of test with a different focus than 23andme, Family Finder, and AncestryDNA. The focus of Geno 2.0 is more anthropological in nature and that is why they do not offer matching. I do believe, if you have taken this test, you can find matches with the results through gedmatch. This is a free service that provides admixture tools and dna matches (gedmatch.com). You will need your raw data and then upload it to gedmatch, and once processed you will be able to see matches there. And, yes, when looking at y-dna and mtdna specifically it goes back quite a few thousand years. The autosomal portion is typically only about 500-1000 years back, but this test pulls from further back. Even 100% Europeans are showing ancient connections to other regions.

george Nemnom said...

I got my results and was assigned 65% Mediterranean, 26 southwest Asian and 7 northern European; but nothing observable sub-Saharan or other. Ydna: J-Z447/ J-L210 which was confirmed as J-CTS2152 at FTDNA, even though I read CTS-2152 and when open the link "more" I see many SNPs, including Z-447, and all these SNPs I see also in " tested SNPs "; mtDNA: K1a which didn't change at FTDNA, but I don understand why when click on the logo k1a at FTDNA I read something like there's results to be completed. Like you I was assigned Georgian as my first reference and Lebanese my second, even though as you my percentages are more close to Lebanese, but now I seem to understand that this classification between first and second reference population is just arbitrarily,unless there's another explanation.

george Nemnom said...

I got my results and was assigned 65% Mediterranean, 26 southwest Asian and 7 northern European; but nothing observable sub-Saharan or other. Ydna: J-Z447/ J-L210 which was confirmed as J-CTS2152 at FTDNA, even though I read CTS-2152 and when open the link "more" I see many SNPs, including Z-447, and all these SNPs I see also in " tested SNPs "; mtDNA: K1a which didn't change at FTDNA, but I don understand why when click on the logo k1a at FTDNA I read something like there's results to be completed. Like you I was assigned Georgian as my first reference and Lebanese my second, even though as you my percentages are more close to Lebanese, but now I seem to understand that this classification between first and second reference population is just arbitrarily,unless there's another explanation.

holylanddna said...


​The geno test is anthropological in nature, so the small bits of things like sub-saharan should not be taken as exact. In fact, this is the only test out of all that we have used (23andme, ancestrydna, Family Finder, and gedmatch) that show any sub-saharan ancestry at all. As far as your y-dna test - can you please clarify? I cannot find any of the snps you mentioned on the J1 tree at genogenea. What is your kit #? Are you J2? I'm assuming now you must be since those snps are not on the J1 tree. George are you of full Palestinian ancestry? Which town? If you are and you have taken a high level y-dna test at FTDNA, I would really like to compare. J2 is very common in Lebanon and I'm curious if you have Lebanese ancestry on your paternal side. From quick google searches, it looks like your cluster is very Jewish. Have you found it to be exclusively so? Or are there other non-Jews in the group? K1a is also very common in Middle Easterners and is quite old. Let me know if this results changes at FTDNA. No, it's not arbitrary at all - your dna resembles a Georgian more than a Lebanese. There are strong ties to the Caucasus in our ancestors and I have not really figured that out yet, but it is clearly there. I suggest you get another autosomal test taken - to give you a clearer picture of your more recent ancestry instead of so far back in time. I would go with Family Finder at FTDNA since you already have an account there. My guess is that you will have a lot of Asia Minor like my grandfather has. You can email me at holylanddna@gmail.com to discuss further if you wish.

george Nemnom said...

1- yes my J-Z447/J-CTS2152 is a subclade of J-M67( J2a1b3) and equivalent SNPs of J-L210, CTS9880, Z455,etc./ Khoury; Khoueiry; Nemnon. I'm the only one until now with this terminal positive (derived) SNP Z447/ CTS2152, ancestral ( tested negative) for L210,L218,L227,etc . 2- I'm Lebanese on all my paternal and maternal families since at least 500 years; before that no information. 3- I'm still convinced that you at least are more close to Lebanese than Georgians in your autosomal DNA, whether the very close percentages and the very same repartition. I'd like to read more of your different point of view, like it's based on what, especially that Geno 2.0 doesn't give any explanation for the reasons it assigned such population as the first reference and another as second one. 3- Do regional ancestry results change according to one's geographical ancestral location? Ex: if a person ancestors, let's say from 500 years, still live in the Beqaa valley or Damascus and neighbouring area, or in East Syria, all these regions being differently far from the Mediterranean Sea; could people living in such areas have as much of the Mediterranean component as those living in more close areas?

george Nemnom said...

1- yes my J-Z447/J-CTS2152 is a subclade of J-M67( J2a1b3) and equivalent SNPs of J-L210, CTS9880, Z455,etc./ Khoury; Khoueiry; Nemnon. I'm the only one until now with this terminal positive (derived) SNP Z447/ CTS2152, ancestral ( tested negative) for L210,L218,L227,etc . 2- I'm Lebanese on all my paternal and maternal families since at least 500 years; before that no information. 3- I'm still convinced that you at least are more close to Lebanese than Georgians in your autosomal DNA, whether the very close percentages and the very same repartition. I'd like to read more of your different point of view, like it's based on what, especially that Geno 2.0 doesn't give any explanation for the reasons it assigned such population as the first reference and another as second one. 3- Do regional ancestry results change according to one's geographical ancestral location? Ex: if a person ancestors, let's say from 500 years, still live in the Beqaa valley or Damascus and neighbouring area, or in East Syria, all these regions being differently far from the Mediterranean Sea; could people living in such areas have as much of the Mediterranean component as those living in more close areas?

Holylanddna said...

1- Thanks for that clarification on your haplogroup, J2 makes more sense knowing that you are full Lebanese. I have read there is some correlation between J2 and the ancient Phoenicians. Have you studied this? Curious about your thoughts on this and who you think your ancient paternal ancestor was. 2- What part of Lebanon? My grandfather's family lived in Rishmaya and we have many matches all over Lebanon. I would like to know Geno's method of calculating the two different population groups also, however - I'm basing my opinion on gedmatch admixture results. Lebanese Christian population group usually comes AFTER Samaritan and other groups, which is also surprising. We also have to remember that the Geno test is the only test that is anthropological in nature and looking back at very ancient times, the other tests give us a more recent in time picture of our ancestry. That's why I suggest another test for you. 3- That's a good question! We have to remember that people were (and are) constantly moving. No one's ancestors stayed in the same place for too long. Read this taken from the Geno 2.0 site: Mediterranean: This component is found at highest frequencies in southern Europe and the Levant—people from Sardinia, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia in our reference populations. While not limited to these groups, it is found at lower frequencies throughout the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, due to these populations traveling through this region on their journeys and retaining that in their DNA. This component is likely the signal of the Neolithic population expansion from the Middle East, beginning around 8,000 years ago, likely from the western part of the Fertile Crescent. Southeast Asian: This component is found at highest frequencies in the populations of southeast Asia and India, particularly in the northeast Indian and Vietnamese populations in our reference set. It is also found at lower frequency in populations from Oceania, where it persists as a signal of the Austronesian migrations into the region beginning ~5,000 years ago—a migration that would eventually colonize Polynesia. Interestingly, it is also found in the population of Madagascar, brought there by the seafaring Austronesians around 2,000 years ago. And this on the Georgian reference sample: This reference population is based on samples collected from people living in the Republic of Georgia, in the Caucasus Mountains. Georgia was settled from the Middle East, largely during the Neolithic period as agriculture spread from it’s homeland in the Fertile Crescent into surrounding regions over the past 10,000 years. The 61% Mediterranean and 31% Southwest Asian components reflect this close connection to the Middle East. The 7% Northern European component likely reflects connections to ancient eastern European populations living north of the Caucasus. And, Lebanese: This reference population is based on samples collected from the native population of Lebanon. As some ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed first through Southwest Asia en route to the rest of Eurasia. Some populations stayed in the Middle East and southwestern Asia, over time developing unique genetic patterns. The 66% Mediterranean and 26% Southwest Asian components found in our reference Lebanese population reflect these ancient patterns. The Silk Road also may have served to disperse east Asian genetic patterns further to the west.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my father is Palestinian and mother is European. I recently took the Ancestry DNA test and received 34% West Asian, 25% Italy/Greece and 2% European Jewish (all of this DNA is from my dad as my mum's results were exclusively British and Western Europe). I then downloaded my raw data and uploaded it to Family Tree DNA and the Italian/Greek result changed to part Iberian and part Sephardic Jewish. If it is accurate, my theory is that perhaps some Sephardic Jews sought refuge in Palestine after the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. However, I am wondering if you know which result I should consider more accurate? Thank you

HolyLandDNA said...

Anonymous- Thanks for sharing your results, I always enjoy comparing with other people who have a Palestinian father and a Euro mother like myself. Here is how we can compare at Ancestry : you got 34% West Asian and I got 33%, you got 25% Ital/Greece and I got 32%, you got 2% Euro Jewish and I got 5%. For both of us, some of this has to come from the maternal side because it is well over 50%!. My suggestion to you is to have your parents tested - especially at 23andme, which is the most accurate for genealogical ancestry composition. Meaning it is the most recent in time composition - about 500 years back.

Your FTDNA results are in line with mine. My grandfather has something like 20% Sephardic which is not possible. So, I think many Palestinians get a high score on this for some reason. There is a close connection somewhere. The problem with the theory of the Jews seeking refuge in Palestine is that they would not have married the Christians there. Both sides would have been opposed. I think the Jewish connection goes back much further in time, although I do know there are some crypto-Jewish settlements and families.

I think your more accurate test is Ancestry, but with your mixed background, I highly recommend getting parents tested at 23andme, testing there yourself, and also using the free gedmatch calculators to get a better picture of your ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your expertise and wow, your DNA is so much like mine! Below are all the results for your research purposes -

Ancestry results for me:
Italy/Greece 25%
Middle East 21%
Caucasus 13%
Ireland 17%
Great Britain 11%
Scandinavia 6%
Europe West 5%
European Jewish 2%

Ancestry results for my mother:
Great Britain 83%
Europe west 11%
Ireland 3%
Scandinavia 2%
Finland/Northwest Russia 1%

My FT DNA results:
British Isles 29%
Scandinavia 14%
Iberia 8%
Middle Eastern 40%
Jewish diaspora Sephardic 8%

My mother's FT DNA results:
British Isles 71%
West and Central Europe 29%

HolyLandDNA said...

Thanks so much for sharing. I always enjoy comparing results with people of a similar background!