"Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. Genetic genealogy involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level and type of the genetic relationship between individuals.
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MarcuccioV
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"Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

Wondering if anyone here who is half-Italian on either their maternal or paternal sides that appear to have minute amounts of Italian from the other parent that are untraceable..?

My Italian genetics are on my maternal side (including a small percentage of Greek). Ancestry attributes all of this (exactly 50%) to my mother (100% correct as far as my research tells). They show my paternal side to be mixed Northern European (again, 50% and reasonably accurate from research). As far as my family tree is concerned (as well as my DNA matches), it averages about 100:1 in favor of my paternal side.

However, at least 2 other matrices with which I have uploaded my DNA tests to (I have done both Ancestry and 23&Me) show my DNA results to be from 55-60% Italian (meaning it is finding Italian from my paternal side).

This is not reflected in the paternal branches, however there is olive-toned skin on my paternal side that seems to go against the ethnic breakdown (at least for Ancestry). Also, many of my paternal DNA matches (even those with direct paternal common ancestors) show +/- 5% of Italian ancestry but of those with accessible trees, NO Italian surnames are found (even with extensive branches). All these factors seem to betray logic.

Going through my paternal tree, I find a 3GGm (anglicized surname) from my father's mother's line that has no information beyond her (almost every other branch goes back hundreds, if not thousands) of years. The only others that stop at the same point is a husband & wife (documented) from Ireland. This 3GGm was apparently born in NY in 1815 of unknown parentage and her first documentation is a PA census in 1850.

Has anyone else had a similar experience in their research..? The other odd thing is that I don't seem to have any DNA matches that I can trace back to her. My thoughts are either she was possibly adopted and of Italian ancestry or she is NOT my 2GGf's mother. Oddly also, her husband was Swedish but half of their children have Italianesque-sounding first names. It has me completely baffled...
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darkerhorse
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by darkerhorse »

I know you're asking to compare notes with others who have had DNA testing, but I thought I's weign in anyway.

As far as the Swedish goes, it reminded me of Gustav Thoeni, the Italian Olympic skier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Th%C3%B6ni

I think you can find Scandinavian influence, especially in Northern Italy, rather easily.

I don't know what matrices are, but the "excess" Italian found in some cases, of course, may just be error, but, given your clues, it more likely reflects actual Italian heritage on your paternal side.
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 14 Jan 2023, 21:56 I know you're asking to compare notes with others who have had DNA testing, but I thought I's weign in anyway.

As far as the Swedish goes, it reminded me of Gustav Thoeni, the Italian Olympic skier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Th%C3%B6ni

I think you can find Scandinavian influence, especially in Northern Italy, rather easily.

I don't know what matrices are, but the "excess" Italian found in some cases, of course, may just be error, but, given your clues, it more likely reflects actual Italian heritage on your paternal side.
I appreciate the feedback. I agree it could be in error, but as you also elude the other odd circumstances betray that. "Matrices" is simply the plural of "Matrix" (meaning the ancestry composition breakdown) of the various DNA processing sites.

It's impossible to go into further detail on those matrices that indicate the higher percentage of Italian DNA since they can't separate parents (even the one Ancestry uses is still in Beta test format) so I don't even know what regions in Italy it's finding. I mentioned the skin tone issue solely to cast doubt on it being very far northern (such as near Switzerland).

Hopefully I can get a break somewhere. As an aside, I DO have DNA ties to this 3GGm's son (the infamous Frank Morris) but not to her. Strange...
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darkerhorse
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by darkerhorse »

I wouldn't put much weight on the olive skin tone as so many ethnicities can have such skin color.

If you ignore skin color does the other evidence point in the same direction?
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 15 Jan 2023, 19:24 I wouldn't put much weight on the olive skin tone as so many ethnicities can have such skin color.

If you ignore skin color does the other evidence point in the same direction?
Yes. Especially the preponderance of trace Italian in so many DNA matches to my paternal side yet without evidence in those matches trees. Too often for mere coincidence.
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darkerhorse
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by darkerhorse »

Do you have geographical locations associated with your own paternal DNA - not from DNA matches - that differ from your own maternal DNA locations?

And, I forget, do you have siblings?
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 15 Jan 2023, 20:48 Do you have geographical locations associated with your own paternal DNA - not from DNA matches - that differ from your own maternal DNA locations?

And, I forget, do you have siblings?
I'm confused about your first question. My paternal DNA originations (pre-USA) are primarily the UK, NW Europe and some Scandinavian and Eastern Europe. Once in USA, most branches went from NY/VA into PA, KY, IN, OH and finally MI.

My maternal DNA came from Italy, Greece and then through PA to MI. Despite both being born in Detroit, my parents met in Southern CA.

Only child, no siblings.
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darkerhorse
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by darkerhorse »

Here's ethnicity estimates which at least report Italy by name, Southern Italy. I've seen others with more specific locations, like Sicily. They aren't for paternal, but it shows the kind of results I was asking about.

I was wondering if you have any paternal DNA results for yourself which report any Italian ethnicity, and if so, any specific Italian locations.

If not, why wouldn't it be detected, other than error or too distant to be detected?

I'm not challenging you, I'm just asking because I don't have any first-hand experience with DNA testing.
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

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I suppose another explanation is that it's recent but too diluted to detect, but your example of 55% to 60% Italian contradicts that - suggesting it's picking up 5% to 10% Italian on your paternal side.

The theory that your paper trail isn't all blood relatives seems worth exploring.

Are you able to confirm no breaks in your Y-DNA line by comparing yours with paternal male cousins?
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 17 Jan 2023, 03:48 I suppose another explanation is that it's recent but too diluted to detect, but your example of 55% to 60% Italian contradicts that - suggesting it's picking up 5% to 10% Italian on your paternal side.

The theory that your paper trail isn't all blood relatives seems worth exploring.

Are you able to confirm no breaks in your Y-DNA line by comparing yours with paternal male cousins?
I have 2 paternal male cousins that have tested on different sites. Strong matches to both. In both cases, I share DNA matches with them that carry small percentages of Italian ancestry, although they do not (however that can be explained through random replication).

I'll need to go through all the paternal branches again to verify who I'm connected to through DNA matches & if there are any lines that do not (which may indicate an Italian influence, even if illegitimate).

As far as breakdown of regions goes, only 23&Me goes this far into detail. This is the Italian ONLY from my DNA (this does NOT include other Mediterranean, which brings the total to about 55% -- they CANNOT separate parents at this time):
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darkerhorse
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

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Seems like you have a lot of work ahead of you, but I like the map. It seems to align with your paper trail and thinking.

Excluding other Med, 52% could be all from your mother allowing for some sampling or measurement error. However, as you say when it rises to 55% you begin to wonder if there's Italian heritage on your paternal side, but I still think it could be just error or imprecision. So you have a good lead but not certainty.

In my case, I strongly suspect all my Italian (50%) would be from my paternal side (thoroughbred Sicilian by paper trail anyway). There's no suggestion otherwise on the maternal side which is Norwegian and French with some Danish and German thrown in. I suppose if I got your results, up to 55% Italian, I'd be torn between error and hidden Italian on my mother's side, so I might investigate as well. In my case, I'd be disappointed at mainland Italian DNA - no intense offended!

Would you count 200 years back from today or from your birth year? Either way, it's still within my paper trail for my paternal side and almost all of my maternal side, so I wouldn't expect (m)any surprises.

How much would a map like that cost for me, never having had any DNA testing?
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 20 Jan 2023, 23:26
Would you count 200 years back from today or from your birth year? Either way, it's still within my paper trail for my paternal side and almost all of my maternal side, so I wouldn't expect (m)any surprises.

How much would a map like that cost for me, never having had any DNA testing?
200 years -- good question. If my birth year, then 1762. If current, 1823. In either case it's relatively recent.

I kinda feel the same about the north as you do about the mainland in general.

The 23&Me test averages about $99, but often goes on sale (or you can possibly find coupons online). It might be the best for you since it has the best regional breakdowns. For DNA matches, Ancestry is by far the best choice, you can get a parental breakdown but their regionality is very generic.

If you test with either one, you can then upload to FTDNA, MyHeritage, GEDMATCH & others. I did both 23 & Ancestry (since you can't upload to either) & then uploaded to several others to make comparisons of Ancestry & DNA matches. I highly recommend an upload to GEDMATCH. It's free (once you've tested elsewhere) & they have lots of neat tools to check out.

Even if you know your lineage well, you may still find surprises. Worth the price of admission, IMHO...
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darkerhorse
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by darkerhorse »

Thanks for the info.

I was joking about the mainland.
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Re: "Hidden" Italian ancestry..?

Post by MarcuccioV »

darkerhorse wrote: 21 Jan 2023, 02:39 Thanks for the info.

I was joking about the mainland.
I was too (sort of), especially since I may have (hopefully) very distant ancestry there... :wink:
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