Why this concern about ethnicity [closed]

+8 votes

Reading some questions and comments I am struck by those who want to know their ethnicity.

What is ethnicity? Per the dictionary: 

he fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition."the interrelationship between gender, ethnicity, and class"


Just because you supposedly have a percentage of Jewish, German irish, African or NA DNA does not mean that such is your ethnicity.

The question is what social group do you identify with?  You could be raised an Christian, but identify with Muslims or Jews.


Take the case of three groups of Slavs. Bosnians, Croats, Serbs.

All three are Slavs, however one identifies as Muslim one as Roman Catholic and the other as Orthodox, but it was not always such, but identities were imposed or taken up by ancestors hundreds or thousands of years ago by invaders who imposed their religion upon the peoples they subjugated.

A child born to Irish parents, but adopted into and raised by German parents will identify as a German.

And there really is no such thing as German, jewish, irish, British DNA, the DNA or Europe is mixed, mixed by migration, conquest, even rape.

There are predominant haplogroups, but they are not homogeneous across all populations.

Richard III's YDNA is haplogroup G2. Haplogroup G2 is found in North Ossetia, descendants of on group of Sarmatians, and Sarmatians were themselves of mixed DNA. Was Richard III an Ossetian or even a Sarmatian? Of course not.

What is Jewish DNA? Virtually all haplogroups are represented in the jewish populations. It is believed that a certain strain (subclade) is found amongst males of Cohanim ancestry, but that is only a small portion of the population and not representative of all. And what of, say a Muslim, who shares that particular subclade, descended say from a convert, is he Muslim or Jewish?


What is the ethnicity of those born in the U.S.A.? It is as varied as the patchwork of a quilt.  


Think of those living within the borders of this country who have a common regional and/or cultural tradition, and one that is exclusive of or opposed to those of other cultural traditions. 


Lots of those last I looked




closed with the note: Discussion is not going in a productive direction.
in Genealogy Help by Anonymous Farrar G2G6 Mach 1 (14.9k points)
closed by Ellen Smith

Addendum: As regards a Jewish convert to Islam


Take the case of Metin Kaplan a Muslim extremist, member of the so called Caliphate, perhaps not him, but an ancestor converted


Kaplan or Caplan is also a surname common among Ashkenazi Jews, usually indicating descent from the priestly lineage (the kohanim), similar to the etymological origin of the common Hebrew surname Cohen. One of the earliest modern records of Kaplan as a family name is that of Abraham Kaplan in 1698. source:


I don't need a dna test my grandma told me in serbian to be proud we come from serbs. Some people are just PROUD of what there family has been through and  did to get to america and being just american is boring we wanna know where you came from

2 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer
I think "concern" is over stating it.  More like an interest.  And in this case, that is an interest in ancient genealogical origins, long before there were surnames and probably before there were country borders.

Curiosity is what brought most of us to family history research.  DNA haplogroups give us ancient history information that has never been available before.  We carry it in our DNA.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (546k points)
selected by Chris Colwell
I think most Americans equate ethnicity with where their immigrants came from.  They could be applying their haplogroups to the wrong question.

Speak for yourself. As a noun, and that is the sense in which I used the word there are two meanings

  1. 1.

    anxiety; worry."such unsatisfactory work gives cause for concern"

    synonyms: anxietyworrydisquiet, apprehensiveness, uneaseconsternation More
    2a matter of interest or importance to someone.

Apparently you chose option 1. I meant option 2. Why did you interpret the word concern as anxiety or worry.?


  As regards ancient history. How far back do you want to go? In other words what are you looking for?

Far enough back and we are all haplogroup A.

Haplogroup R split into R1a about 28,200 ybp,  R!b formed about 22,600 ybp

R1a more or less stayed put for thousands of years then some migrated east,, and R1b migrated south then west, then north.

Or is it only the last couple of hundred years that interest you? If so then why truncate your ancestral history?

Truth be known the species is a hodgepodge, our ancestors wandered the face of earth, mutating breeding with any and all.

Definitely. the case. There is no such thing as a homogeneous peoples, except maybe the San or Khoi of south Africa, and as I understand it they are haplogroup A.

Can DNA really tell us where our ancestors came from? And which set of ancestors are we talking about.


Basically, 23andme has used athicity as a marketing tool, to entice more people to test their DNA, and a country such as ours with long racist roots has an almost prurient interest in "ethnicity".


As regards genetic genealogy. It is fun, an entertaining hobby, if not taken too seriously. Alas mtDNA tells us nothing as it is so stable, that it takes a thousand years or more to trace back to a common ancestor.

Autosomal DNA, well that is a touchy subject, some believe that you can with special tools identify a very distant cousin, others that it has no efficacy beyond say 4th great grandparent (  5th cousin)

YDNA, well that mutatates sufficiently fast enough, to narrow down a rather recent common ancestor, especially if there is a large group who share a common ancestor that will test Big Y (that is millions of SNP's)

But YDNA is what geneticists call junk DNA, it has very little useful genetic information, or so I have read. And it is only a microcosm of all the DNA within us.

If anyone is really interested in the origins of their  YDNA (at least) they can start here at ww.yfull..com/tree/ pick a haplogroup, click on it, find your SNP and check out when it was formed and the time to most recent common ancestor.  Then go on a search for when and where that haplogroup first appeared.

Alas, because it is so stable, such analysis is not possible with mtDNA, except in a broad sweep (i.e. regional origin)

28000 ybp was the height of the Ice Age.  The map was different much more recently than that




Am I the only one here that gets that this is a completely inappropriate question, and that the person asking it is one of those "politically correct" types, and calling us a bunch of racists?

Sorry to get so negative, and I would be happy to explain how I got there if what's been said here is too subtle for some to pick up on, but somebody soiled the pool, metaphorically, and it seems like the pool man ought to be called.

Is there some mechanism on here to get this kind of trash cleaned up? There are so many things to read about how this site works, and this problem comes up so infrequently, thankfully.

How dare you. Explain the basis of you scurrilous charge. You know nothing about my own ancestry or how I think and feel.
Hi everyone, it's fine to have a discussion, but let's not get personal.  That's not what this forum is for.  Thanks!
WHOA no now that is the sales pitch the DNA kits are on - find your ethnicity - that is why - pretty simple so mellow out with whatever huh?
I agree with this. I personally don't give a monkeys where I came from . I would just like to know because I am curious
+5 votes
Just my opinion, but this sounds like your speaking more of religion, then actual ethnicity ! I have Irish, British, Scottish, Polish, Russian in me, and a few other very small traces of other's... But none of them make me any religion...

 I started tracing Ancestors for something to spend my free time on, and I'm  naturally a curious person... It has now turned into a hunt for some of them...
by Anthony Ward G2G2 (2.9k points)

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