Am I Really Ethnically Jewish? 23andme Says That I'm 91.8% Ashkenazi But I'm 99.8% European. I Thought I’d Have Some Middle Eastern Heritage If I Was Genetically Jewish.


I took the DNA test from 23andMe to find out more about my Jewish ancestors. However, I was shocked by my test results, as they found that I have European genes. As I thought Jews have some Middle Eastern genes, which is making me question my ethnicity.


If you go into the history of the Jewish people, you will understand your DNA test result. Before I go deep into this topic, I would like you to know I am Jewish. Getting back on track, the Jews had to leave the Middle East, as they had rebelled against the Romans. During this time, the Jews went to Spain and North Africa, which is the Sephardic Jews. However, there were a large number of Jews who went to Central and Eastern Europe, which is the Ashkenazi Jews.

Talking about the Ashkenazi Levites, half of them had the R1a1 DNA. Taking a closer look, a small portion of the men and women had J1 Y and E1 Y DNA, two middle eastern genes. However, the vast majority of the women had a different DNA, which is the Haplogroup K. As Jews descend from their matriarchs, you can say that this DNA was the one that most of them inherited. Why I am talking about the different genes is that Ashkenazi Jews don’t have only a specific DNA group. In reality, they have a variety of DNA groups, which make up the Ashkenazi Jews.

You have to take into consideration that the Jews have been in Europe for more than a thousand years, which is enough time for them to experience a significant change in their DNA. Due to marriage with people outside their religion, they got a lot of European genes. Also, the company uses a different method to classify the Ashkenazi Jews. For instance, the company only considers where people used to live 500 years ago. They don’t go in depth, such as to find the proportion of Middle Eastern or European genes in Ashkenazi Jews.

There was an earlier study that some of the female founders of the Ashkenazi Jews were from the Middle East. However, a recent study has given a different answer as researchers believe that the female founders were European, not Middle Eastern.

It is possible that some of your relatives married people, who don’t belong to the Ashkenazi Jews. However, if you say that your parents and your grandparents are Jewish, then there is another possibility. Maybe, some of your relatives converted into Jews, before getting married to your ancestors.

Also, you should know that these DNA tests don’t have the ability to trace your lineage to several thousand years. If you want to obtain as much information as possible about your ancestors, you should either test your Y or mitochondrial haplogroup (depending on whether you are male or female). These haplogroups contain a lot of ancient data, allowing you to gain deeper insight into your ancestry.