A screencast (video) is now available for those who were unable to attend the lecture with this title that I delivered at the IAJGS 2016 Conference due to the small capacity of the room, or for those who were unable to go to Seattle.
Since 2013, the field of genealogical genetic testing has advanced from being able to sample the Y-chromosome in a few dozen locations to several million, thanks to “Next Generation Sequencing” (NGS) products like FTDNA’s Big Y and others. Networks of “citizen scientists” have begun mapping out genetic trees that are far more accurate than were ever before possible. This more extensive and accurate data is particularly useful for Jewish genealogists seeking to link groups of men to their common male ancestor farther back in time than the typical 8-10 generations covered by surnames. Because these new tests are costly and not easy to interpret, many genetic genealogists are not making full use of them. Using several ongoing Jewish lineage projects as examples (including one cluster of Ashkenazi men who might actually turn out to be from Portugal), a presentation at the IAJGS 2016 Conference in Seattle discussed real-world examples from two haplogroups not typically associated with Jewish men (I2a and R1b), testing strategies, and available data interpretation tools.
This presentation might also be subtitled, “Before Belarus, my ancestors came from …” because most people don’t have documents to trace their ancestors’ migrations before Eastern Europe. More advanced Y-chromosome sequencing is allowing us to make tentative steps toward understanding migration, particularly for Jewish men in “European” haplogroups. Sometimes we can infer locations by comparing them with their non-Jewish DNA relatives who share an ancestor with them 2,000 or 3,000 years back and who might have stayed relatively stationary over more generations.
The screencast may be viewed on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/asSBREbwyz0
The presentation handout that was not included in the conference materials may be downloaded at this link: