Iberian Ashkenaz

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Results archive (from 2011 and before), currently outdated:

IberianAshkenaz Stats Jan 29, 2011


Total:                            251

Ashkenazi:                           137

Iberian:                                  63

European/EarlyAmerican:    33

MidEast/N. African:                8

Italian:                                     9

Unknown:                               1



Ashkenazi Jews who had at least 25 markers tested:  117


Of these 117 Ashkenazi Jews:


Confirmed or highly likely to have Sephardic roots: 51   (43.6%)

Possible Sephardic roots:  57   (48.7%)

Not possible to confirm Sephardic roots: 9  (7.7%)


Iberian Ashkenaz Project Update
Feb. 6, 2010

Total number of project members: 178
Ashkenazi................................. 107
Converso or possible converso............. 38
Sephardic (known)......................... 3
Germany................................... 5
Italy..................................... 5
UK........................................ 4
Early American............................ 3
Ireland................................... 2
Canada.................................... 2
Poland.................................... 2
Tunisia................................... 2
Netherlands............................... 1
Bosnia & Herzegovinia..................... 1
Unknown................................... 3

Total number of Ashkenazi project members with 25 or more markers tested: 87

Of these 87 Ashkenazi project members with at least 25 markers tested

28/87 = 32.2% confirmed Sephardic ancestry
10/87 = 11.5% likely Sephardic ancestry
38/87 = 43.7% possible Sephardic ancestry
11/87 = 12.6% unconfirmed


Note: as of Oct 18, 2008, all members previously listed under the category "Confirmed" Sephardic heritage are now listed as "Likely" unless the project administrators have contacted the Sephardic or converso person whose results match the project member and verified his ancestry as Sephardic or converso. In this case, the Ashkenazi project members will be considered to have "Confirmed" Sephardic ancestry. Wherever possible, we have invited the Sephardic/converso match to join the project. Where there are clusters of members who are genetically close to each other, we have grouped them together in sub-categories with clusters identified by the upper case letters A, B, C, etc.


There are 64 project members with recent Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, four members with early American heritage and three members who have Sephardic or converso ancestry. The analysis I am reporting here includes only the 64 Ashkenazi members (though all of you are included on the FTDNA project Y-DNA results page). Of this group, 23 (36%) have confirmed matches with Sephardim or conversos with a Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) who is likely to have lived in Spain or Portugal in the 14th-16th centuries, 3 members are probably Mizrahi, and only passed through the Iberian peninsula, possibly not staying more than a few generations. Sincere thanks are extended to Ted Kandell for the explanation about this probable Mizrahi G2c cluster. Twenty-seven (42%) have confirmed matches with Sephardim or conversos but the MRCA may have lived earlier than the 14th century. In addition to the three G2c members whose ancestry is not Sephardic but probably Mizrahi, we have not been able to find DNA support of an oral Sephardic ancestry for 11 (22% unconfirmed or Mizrahi) of the project members.

Although Ashkenazim and Sephardim diverged around the 10th century C.E., for the purposes of the project, we are looking for MRCA's who are likely to have lived during the 14th, 15th or 16th centuries. If a project member is confirmed *in this project* to have Sephardic roots, it means we are reasonably sure that he had an ancestor living in Spain between roughly 1300 and 1600. It does not necessarily mean that the origin of a member's paternal line was in Spain. For example, there are several R1a project members. The origin of R1a was likely to have been in Central Asia and the R1a project members' ancestors migrated to Spain sometime before the expulsion. Even though the origin of their ancestral line may have been in Central Asia, they meet the project criteria for having Sephardic ancestry.

Please remember that if we have not yet found Y-DNA confirmation of your Sephardic ancestry, new people continue to enter the Family Tree DNA database at a high rate and there is a possibility that a Sephardic or converso match will be found. We cannot say for sure that any of the project members whose oral Sephardic history is unconfirmed is definitely NOT Sephardic, only that we have not found confirmation that they are.

The sources for Sephardic and converso matches we use are the Y-DNA matches listed on the members’ personal FTDNA webpages, the Recent Ancestral Origins (RAO) data that FTDNA reports on members’ personal webpages, and Y-search. The FTDNATiP is used whenever possible (which is in most cases) to estimate time to MRCA. Where the FTDNATiP is not available, confirmation of a Y-DNA match requires at least a 30/37 or 21/25 marker match to a Sephardi or converso in the database. If a member is in a Y-DNA cluster where at least one member of the cluster has the 30/37 or 21/25 sephardic/converso match, then a cluster member is considered to have a confirmed Sephardic ancestry if he matches no fewer than 29/37 markers or 20/25 markers.

The results are divided into categories by haplogroup and confirmation status. If your results are in any of the “Possible Seph” or “Unconfirmed” subgroups AND you have only had 12 markers tested, you may want to consider upgrading to 25 or 37 markers. With only 12 markers, even when there is a 12/12 marker match to a person known to be Sephardic or converso, we cannot say with confidence that the MRCA lived as recently as the medieval period. An Ashkenazi Jew whose ancestors never set foot in Spain can match a Sephardic Jew on 12 markers. Thus, it would be a good idea for anyone who only tested 12 markers to upgrade to 25 or 37 markers.

In the table of Y-results, sub-categories are labeled "unconfirmed," "possible," "likely" and "confirmed" Sephardic ancestry. Please note that use of the term "confirmed" does NOT imply that we have found archival records to support the DNA-based conclusion. For the purposes of this project, "confirmed" means that there is a high probability that the Y-DNA match between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi or converso descendant traces back to a common ancestor who lived in Iberia during the 14th-16th centuries. It does NOT imply that the the ancestral line originated in the Near East, nor does it imply that the common ancestors lived for many generations in Iberia.

Iberian Ashkenaz Y-DNA project Jan 27 2008 data analysis

All members of the project fall into one of the following three categories:

1) member has close Y-DNA match(es) to known descendant(s) of conversos or known Sephardim

2) member has close Y-DNA match to at least one male with an Iberian sounding name, but not confirmed to be Sephardic or converso; OR member has no close matches to males with Iberian surnames but has distant match(es) to known conversos or sephardim (i.e., MRCA was likely to have lived earlier than what we consider to be a genealogic time frame, but still within the last 600-800 years or so);

3) member's matches are all Ashkenazi Jews with no evidence in the database of Sephardic ancestry.

If your results fall into Category 3, it does not mean you do not have Sephardic roots- it only means that we have not been able to identify any Sephardic or converso matches in the FTDNA database. As DNA testing increases among Sephardim and conversos/anusim, we might uncover data to support your oral history. Most of those in category 3 are in haplogroup E3b.

Three project members have no matches at all (close or distant) in the FTDNA database. I am not including the three without any matches in the analysis, since their results provide no information. Hopefully, in time, these members will acquire Y-DNA matches.

There are a total of 44 members in the project; 41 are included in the analysis.

The quick summary, of the 41 members with matches, 19 (46.3%) fall into category 1 (close matches to confirmed conversos); 9 (22.0%) are in category 2 (close matches to possible converso but not confirmed, or distant matches to conversos); 13 (31.7%) fall into category 3.

In summary, the data supports a Sephardic ancestry for roughly 2/3 of the Ashkenazi Jews in the project who have an oral Sephardic history or another mark of having Sephardic roots (i.e., Iberian name, medical history consistent with Mediterranean ancestry).

If we further exclude the 10 project members who are in the study because they are second degree matches- that is, they have no oral Sephardic history but they are close matches to someone who does, then here are the numbers:

total of 31 members. 12 (38.7%) are in Category 1; 8 (25.8%) are in category 2; and 11 (35.5%) are in category 3. Still, there is evidence of Sephardic ancestry on the male line for nearly two-thirds of the sample.


Here is the first report of project results. This preliminary report contains summary statistics as of September 10, 2007. The project was started on March 1, 2007.

1. The project has 34 members. Of those 34, 23 (68%) are Ashkenazi Jews who have a Sephardic marker (i.e., definite oral history, Iberian surname, Sephardic naming customs, or Mediterranean genetic disease). Six out of 34 (18%) are Ashkenazi Jews with no oral Sephardic history but are close matches to at least one male with a Sephardic marker. The remaining five (15%) have a "soft" oral history- i.e., someone in their family history was Sephardic but they aren't sure if it was on their direct paternal line. Please note, the percentages do not add up to 100% because of rounding error.

2. For the data analysis, I will include only the 29 members who have a definite Sephardic marker or are a match to someone with a definite Sephardic marker. The recent ancestors of these 29 members come from Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and Hungary. They include haplogroups E3b, G1, G5, J1, J2, K2, R1a and R1b. After we identify clusters of Sephardic haplotypes from our project and from Drs Doron Behar and Michael Hammer's research, those project members with a "soft" oral Sephardic history can compare their Y-DNA results to those with known paternal Sephardic heritage.

3. Please stay tuned for the first data analysis, which is expected in November, 2007.