Freitag, 14. Oktober 2011

My personal "Ariernachweis"

The dreams of ethnic or national purity sometimes produce terrible consequences. European arrogance, based both on a vague feeling of racial superiority and a dogmatic interpretation of Christian beliefs led to this disastrous mixture of a theology without a possible argument and a biologistic view without a proof.
After a millennium of rather peaceful coexistence, grounding in roman tolerance towards different populations and religions, the medieval area developed the frameset of a North European anti-Semitism, leading to crusades and first in Spain to a law with the name “limpieza de sangre” at the end of the 15th century, which should exclude all Jews and Maures from high social positions. This pregenetic concept of a purity of blood ( with all its social hierarchy implied ) was still virulent, when the National Socialists in 1933 started to demand a proof for a pure German descent – the Ariernachweis. He caused a hype for genealogy until the end of WW2. It seems perverted, but after all that physical and cultural destruction the Ariernachweis today often is the only source for a genealogical startup. Without those records, collected by my grandfather before his public job as a teacher I would know nearly nothing about my ancestors.
80 years ago no genetic instrument was at hand to determine any Ashkenazi admixture, so mere declaration about the baptisms of the grandparents was mainly demanded. This procedure could lead to absurdities, since any conversion of someone of the Great-Greatparent generation could not be considered. In genetic terms we would call this a mismatch. Today with autosomal comparisons we have better instruments at hand to look for any Ashkenazi connection.
Within the tools of 23andme we can look for several indicators, the total amount of genetic cousins, the occurrence of specific haplogroups, the number of connections with declared Jewish grandparents in Ancestry Finder, the number of relatives in Relative Finder. My results look like this:
Up to a dozen connections in Ancestry Finder is what seems to be usual in German data files, as far as I can see. It is either background noise or the amount of admixture we should expect after such a long time of coexistence. Two Jewish haplogroups in Relative Finder does not look like recent relationship either.
This picture changed, when the results of my mother came in. One generation further back seem to open a new window:
She has less matches in Ancestry Finder, what could mean, that I have possible additional connections on my fathers side, but she encounters a complete different situation in Relative Finder. We have only one Jewish cousin in common ( N1b2 ), but I gathered all available information together about the provenience of her cousins ( some appear in AF too ) and was even able to locate most of her matches in a cluster on chromosome 7. The grandfather of the 26,9 cM match left Volhynia in 1912 and went to Buenos Aires.
The practice of declaring the Ashkenazi background of grandparents looks a bit similar to the above mentioned Ariernachweis, but the goal is a different one, not discrimination, just pure information.

Köln, Oct 2011