MyHeritage DNA Test Results of Both Parents: How Dark Featured Parents Have Light Featured Kids (Like on Full House)

It always bothered me on Full House, how the Tanner girls all had blonde hair and blue eyes, yet their dad, played by Jewish-American actor Bob Saget, had dark hair and eyes. The girls’ mother was of Greek descent; we know this because of their uncle Jesse Katsopolis.

Then, to further this unlikely concept, when Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky had twins, their boys had light skin along with blonde hair and blue eyes. One fan theory on the Internet speculates that it was Uncle Joey who was the true father of all 5 kids.

And while that is funny to think about, I now have come to a full understanding of how dark featured parents (like my wife and myself) have children with noticeably lighter features (like our kids).

We have to keep in mind that we adopt half of our DNA from our father and half from our mother, but in the 50% from each parent, it’s a random amount from each.

So it’s this simple, even if there is less “blonde hair, blue eye” genes in the parents, their own children may feature that “hidden” DNA. This also explains how different siblings can look from each other.

To help bring this story to life, below is a breakdown of my own DNA, according to MyHeritage. My maternal grandmother was Mexican and my maternal grandfather was Italian. My mom’s DNA test results showed only 2% Italian, but 15.2% Sephardic Jewish and 14% Middle Eastern. While I definitely received a large amount of DNA from the Mexican side, I adopted absolutely no DNA from the Italian side; which now we realize was a Jewish-Middle Eastern mix.

My DNA:

37.4% North and Western Europe (Germany, France, The Netherlands)

31.8% Iberian (Spain, Portugal)

21.6% Native Central American (Mayan, Aztec, etc.)

6.1% East Europe

2.3% Balkan

0.8% Middle East

Now let’s take a look at my wife’s DNA. Her mother, like mine, is also half Italian. From my wife’s DNA test, we learned that in addition to being Italian, my wife is a decent amount Greek.

My Wife’s DNA:

31.8% England

23.9% Scandinavia

20.1% Greece

7.8% Balkan

5.8% Italy

3.9% Finland

2.7% Ireland, Scotland, Wales

1.9% North Africa

1.4% Ashkenazi Jewish

0.7% Nigeria

But when you break down the most abundant DNA showing up, you’ll see how our kids ending up getting the lighter features. Below are the results of me adding together the DNA from both my wife and me, then dividing it by two. I have ranked the results beginning with the most prominent. The DNA in italics are from my side, the DNA from my wife is in bold font.

Our Children:

18.7% North and Western Europe (Germany, France, The Netherlands)

15.9% Iberian (Spain, Portugal)

15.9% England

11.95% Scandinavia

10.8% Central American-Mexican

10.05% Greek

5.05% Balkan (3.9% Balkan + 1.15% Balkan)

3.05% East Europe

2.9% Italian

1.95% Finland

1.35% Ireland, Scotland, Wales

0.95% North Africa

0.7% Ashkenazi Jewish

0.4% Middle East

So in theory, our kids largely show the German-Dutch-English-Scandinavian genes, while the Spanish-Central American-Greek-Sephardic Jewish-Middle Eastern are more hidden.

Even still, I won’t be surprised, as our kids get older, that they will begin showing more of the rest of their unseen DNA.

I now have peace with why the kids of Full House look the way they do. If you’re curious about your own DNA, you can do like my wife and I did and purchase a kit from MyHeritage.

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MyHeritage DNA Test: Is This a Middle Eastern Suit and Pocket Decoration? Maybe Egyptian? Or Lebanese? Or Jewish?

By taking a closer look at this man standing behind my great-grandmother, in the wedding photo of my mother’s grandparents’ wedding photo from 1919, it appears we truly are seeing my Middle Eastern, or Jewish, ancestors; which up until this year, we assumed were Italian.

My mom’s MyHeritage DNA test, as well as mine, indicate that my mom’s grandparents on her father’s side consisted of a Middle Eastern man and a Sephardic Jewish woman, from southern Italy.

Overnight, I began receiving several comments from different subscribers across the world, on the YouTube version of yesterday’s blog post. Here are the 3 that stood out the most to me:

“[The groom] does look Middle Eastern. But also Egyptian.”

“[The groom] looks Half Lebanese, Half Egyptian.”

“That man at 3:12 with something in his left shirt pocket, looks 100% middle eastern to me.”

So now I’m really curious… With the help of the Internet, I wonder if anyone would be able to help me pinpoint what native county my Middle Eastern grandfather’s side came from?

I zoomed in on the man who is seen at the 3:12 mark of the video I made. He is the one standing directly behind my Sephardic Jewish great-grandmother.  I had never noticed before how his suit and jacket and noticeably different that the other men. And yes, what exactly is that decoration on his left shirt pocket?

Whose side of the family is he from, anyway? Is he from the Jewish side or the Middle Eastern side? If all the men in the photo are with the groom’s side, then he is Middle Eastern. But if this photo shows the family member’s of each side of the wedding party, then maybe he’s on the Jewish side, which explains why he’s standing behind my great-grandmother?

What exactly can we learn about my ancestors from this man’s suit? Does anyone out there know? Can anyone help me? Please leave a comment below if you have any intuition on the subject.

I am grateful!

Also, if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like my mom and I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

MyHeritage DNA Test: Photos of My Great-Grandparents’ Jewish-Middle Eastern Wedding from 1919- Giuseppe Metallo and Maria “Mary” Vite

Last week at work, my wife was explaining to a coworker how our family is vegetarian and that it all started a few months after we were married in 2008, when I went kosher; meaning I stopped eating pork and shellfish.

The natural follow-up question from her coworker was logical: “Is your husband Jewish or something?”

My wife replied, “Actually, he is. He just took a DNA test and found that out!”

(This is funny because my going kosher had nothing to do with my ethnic background; I simply had to in order to cure my eczema dyshidrosis, severe sinus infections, and allergies. In the end, it worked, by the time I eventually became a vegan in 2013.)

Despite my mom thinking her whole life that she was half Mexican and half Italian, her own DNA test through MyHeritage told a much different story:

True, her mother truly was Mexican; but on her father’s side, her Italian grandfather was mostly Middle Eastern and her Italian grandmother was Sephardic Jewish.

My mom’s mother’s side:

32.9% Central American (Mayan/Aztec)

22% Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese)

My mom’s father’s side:

15.2% Sephardic Jewish

14% Middle East/West Asia (Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Palestine and Georgia)

7.8% Greek

4.5% Italian

2.6% Baltic (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)

2.0% West African (Benin, Burkina Faso, the island nation of Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the island of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo)

These wedding photos are from my mom’s paternal grandparents’ wedding in 1919. This is Giuseppe Metallo (age 28 and a half) with his bride Maria “Mary” Vite (age 19). I speculate this was an arranged marriage, but I have no proof; only speculation, based on their age difference and the fact they were recent immigrants to America from Italy.

They both moved here from Italy, spoke only Italian, and had Italian names… yet ethnically, they were barely Italian at all. My theory is that their own ancestors had settled in Italy a few generations prior but had culturally become Italian by the time they got to America.

I’m guessing their families had both converted to Catholicism by the time they had left Italy.

This stuff is purely fascinating to me!

But what do you think? Are we truly looking at a mainly Middle Eastern groom and a Sephardic Jewish bride, who were known to me up until this year as my Italian great-grandparents?

I would love for you to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

MyHeritage DNA Test: Comparing My Mom’s Results to Mine- We’re More Jewish and Middle Eastern than Italian?!

Despite growing up “half Italian, half Mexican”, my mom learned about a month ago after I took a DNA test through MyHeritage that the Italian side… well, wasn’t so Italian after all.

I showed up as 0% Italian, despite my great-grandfather immigrating to America from Italy over a hundred years ago; having an Italian first and last name, as well as speaking only Italian. Turns out, like America is now, Italy served as a melting pot; as did Spain. So while my Italian great-parents were from Italy and were culturally Italian, they weren’t necessarily Italian by ethnicity.

To make things more complex, these DNA tests don’t measure the exact percentage of your actual ethnicity, but instead, they reveal the more dominant genes that you adopt from both your parents. Therefore, for example; siblings can take a test and one can show 12% Irish but the other doesn’t show any Irish.

After finding out I showed up as 0% Italian, my mom got too curious and decided to take a MyHeritage test as well. Unsurprisingly, knowing what I know now, my mom’s test shows some decent percentages that didn’t show up at all on my test. I’ll place in bold font the ones that largely matched mine:

32.9% Central American (Mayan/Aztec)

22% Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese)

15.2% Sephardic Jewish (via Spain)

14% Middle Eastern/West Asian (Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Palestine and Georgia)

7.8% Greek

4.5% Italian

2.6% Baltic (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)

2.0% West African (Benin, Burkina Faso, the island nation of Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the island of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo)

Thanks to my mom’s test results, I learned, in theory, I am about 7.6% Jewish, 7% Middle Eastern, 3.9% Greek, 2.25% Italian and 1% African.

Those particular ethnic traits didn’t show up at all on my DNA test; other than mine showing up 0.8% Middle Eastern. But clearly, my Middle Eastern DNA is very weak, whereas my mom’s is very strong.

So as for my mom, my sister, and me, we are definitely part Jewish, Middle Eastern, Greek, and even African.

If it weren’t for my mom’s MyHeritage DNA test, we would not know this.

Of course, that’s in addition to knowing we’re more Mayan/Aztec and Spanish/Portuguese more than anything on my mom’s side.

But the story doesn’t end here, because now, my sister has ordered a DNA test. In a another month or so, we’ll learn if there are other parts of our DNA hiding in there somewhere.

And if you interested in taking a DNA test like my mom and I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

Is It Chic to Be a Jew on TV? (By Guest Blogger, Nancy Fingerhood: Who Unlike Me, Actually is Jewish)

Foreword by Nick Shell:

For the past decade of my life, I have been fascinated by the Jewish influence on American pop culture. Part of this is because I was thought I was part Jewish, on the Italian side of my family tree. But then a month ago, I took a DNA test through MyHeritage and was surprised to learn that not only am I not Jewish at all, but instead I am a little bit Middle Eastern.

But even more shocking… I’m not even Italian! Apparently, my “Italian” ancestors who moved here from Italy were a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Latvian, and Iraqi… something like that.

So while I admit it’s a little sad to know that I do not share blood with the Jewish people, who I respect so much, I can still appreciate and acknowledge their influence and contributions to American pop culture.

In fact, one of my most popular blog posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, is The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld, which I published 7 years ago. It points out the fact it’s nearly impossible to name a sitcom in which one or more of the main actors is not Jewish in real life:

Ross, played by David Schwimmer, and Phoebe, played by Lisa Kudrow, on Friends

Jerry, played by Jerry Seinfeld; George, played by Jason Alexander; Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, on Seinfeld

Denise, played by Lisa Bonet, on The Cosby Show

Kevin, played by Fred Savage; Wayne, played by Jason Hervey; and Paul, played by Josh Saviano on The Wonder Years

Cory, played by Ben Savage, on Boy Meets World

Screech, played by Dustin Diamond, and Jessie, played Elizabeth Berkley, on Saved By the Bell

Considering that Jews only make up about 2.2% of the American population, I made it clear there is undeniably a disproportionate number of Jewish actors in American entertainment… and that’s not a bad thing!

Nancy Fingerhood discovered that blog post last week and took the time to submit to me what appeared to be a guest blog post. Even though that wasn’t her intention, I easily talked her into it.

So now, I pass the mic to Jewish writer and performer, Nancy Fingerhood…


Was the Alex Rieger character in “Taxi” a Jew? There are a couple of allusions to his religion. What about Gabe Kotter in “Welcome Back Kotter”? He did say the Yiddish word “yutz” once on screen, so probably.  While there might have been a reference or two to his Jewish identity, it certainly wasn’t at the forefront of many of the shows back in the 70’s and 80’s.

Today, there are a slew of Jewish characters and storylines on television.  Think “The Goldbergs”, “Transparent” and “Difficult People” (a show I found difficult to watch).  As a Jew, I should be excited about this.  But I wonder – in some of these shows is it symbolic of Jews being more mainstream or are they just easier to make fun of?

Let me pick apart one of my favorite shows, “Transparent”.  I do love it but some parts irk me.  “Transparent” depicts a culturally Jewish, yet non-religious family dealing with the patriarch’s revelation he is transgender.  He has three grown children and an ex-wife played by the actually Jewish, Judith Light.  Ms. Light does an extraordinary job of portraying the mother as authentically neurotic as my mother (sometimes I cringed when her acting hit so close to home).  Yet, I started to get annoyed by her overuse of Yiddish words.  She used “oy gevalt”, “fakakta”, and “mashugana” in one sentence (or some variant of those).  It seemed overkill.  Almost like a schtick to get laughs (pardon my Yiddish).

I loved the scene when the rabbi, Raquel, played by Kathryn Hahn (who isn’t Jewish but should be) has a conniption as the eldest daughter, Sarah, tries to prepare a makeshift Seder.  Raquel saw through Sarah’s quest for spirituality through Judaism as a sham and blows up at her, rightfully so.  Her outburst was one of the most genuine reflections on Judaism in the show.

Although there are moments of Jewish cliches in the series, they do show holidays and traditions up close.  I believe the religious facets are part of the story development, unlike some of the other series out there.  I offer my advice to sitcom writers – ask yourself are the main characters purposely Jewish to create a well-developed and nuanced character or a vessel for easy jokes?  I don’t want to feel used by these writers the way Cindy from “Orange is the New Black” uses Judaism to get better food in prison.

Seriously, is there a Jewish Renaissance on TV or a ploy for cheap laughs?  It just seems like it’s a more popular gag and people are getting on the bandwagon.

Oh! The Jew thing works!  Most shows focus on the Jewish kvetching and neurosis.  Maybe I need to watch more television (although my waistline says “I think not”) to find a sitcom that incorporates the culture and traditions. Comedies thrive on neurotic characters.  Perhaps that’s why writers are naturally attracted to that personality type and Jews seem to have a monopoly on that market.

I’m not sure if I’m offended or simply more curious about Hollywood’s interest in Jewish-ness.  When I get curious about intentions, I tend to wander towards a negative train of thought which make me a skeptic. Oh, how Jewish of me!

While I don’t balk at exaggerating stereotypes for the sake of comedy, it would be nice to see more than just exaggerated stereotypes.  It would be nice to see Judaism develop character and plot and not just be used to increase ratings.

Nancy Fingerhood hails from New Jersey and moved out to Colorado 13 years ago.  While she has been a writer and performer for many years, her filmmaking career began 4 years ago with the creation of the video spoof, Middle Aged Women Gone Wild.  After winning the Open Screen Night film makers’ competition in Denver in January 2014, she went to write, produce, direct, edit and star in the spoof commercial, The Fubra.  She again won Open Screen Night in March 2015.  Since then she has created many more comedy videos including her web series Mile High Nancy based on a single mother by choice who is an aspiring comedian and hosts a 420 friendly cooking show.  Several of her videos have been screened at The Emerging Filmmakers Project and Colorado Independent Women in Film festivals.

MyHeritage DNA Test Results are Back… But Do You Agree with the Results?

Either my DNA results from MyHeritage are inaccurate, or what my family has believed this whole time about our ethnicity has been inaccurate.

Currently, I am sort of baffled. I am still sorting out the confusion. My Italian grandfather, Alberto Victorio Metallo, whose own father arrived in America a hundred years ago from Italy and could only barely speak English when he died in 1983, was Italian.

However, my results from MyHeritage do not remotely reflect my Italian heritage. Instead, the test shows I am literally 0% Italian. I went through the trouble of looking up exactly what countries of origin my DNA traces back to, according to the regions that MyHeritage provided, and removed the countries in which the test showed I have no DNA connection.

Here’s my DNA:

Nick Shell

100.0%

37.4% Central Western European (Germany, The Netherlands/Holland, France, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland)

31.8% Iberian (Spain/Portugal)

21.6% Central American (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama)

6.1% Eastern European (Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia)

2.3% Balkan (Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania)

0.8% Middle Eastern (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan)

0% (England, Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Scandinavia, Greece, Italy, Sardinia, EstoniaLatviaLithuania, Ashkenazi Jewish, Yemenite Jewish, Mizrahi Jewish, Native American, South American, Indigenous Amazonian, African, Asian, Oceanic)

My whole life I have had reason to believe I am one quarter Italian, but I was open-minded to the idea my test would reveal instead of being 25% Italian, maybe I would only be 12.5%, as my great-grandfather Joseph Metallo (the one who came here from Italy) married a woman named Maria Vite; who could have possibly been of French descent, based on vite being a French word.

(That’s my Italian grandfather pictured above on the left; opposite me, with my son.)

However, my great-grandmother also emigrated here from Italy and spoke Italian. Maria “Mary” Vite died at age 38 in the year 1938, so there is definitely some mystery as to her family tree. But even if she was 100% French yet born in Italy, my great-grandfather would have had to been mainly of Spanish or Portuguese descent and his family would have had to at some point adopted Italian names, including their last name, Metallo.

Even if the test was a little inaccurate, I would still think I would show up at least a little bit Italian. After all, Middle Eastern DNA showed up in me, along with Eastern European, but not Italian?

If you’re wondering why I show up as nearly a quarter Central American and nearly a third Spanish (or Portuguese), it’s because my grandmother (who my Italian grandfather was married to) was Mexican.

(This is her, pictured below, being able to meet my daughter.)

That actually brings up another surprise. By quadrupling my Central American DNA, which is 21.6%, that indicates my Mexican grandmother was actually 86.4% Central American, only leaving 13.6% (that’s close to one eighth) to be Spanish. Then, once I subtracted that 13.6% from the Spanish part of me (31.8%), it left 18.2%. I then multiplied that percentage times 4 again, to assume how Spanish my Italian grandfather must have been: 72.8%.

According to my theory, my Mexican grandmother was mainly Central American (barely Spanish) and my Italian grandfather was mainly Spanish (not Italian at all); leaving the rest of him to have been 9.2% Balkan (Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania). That brings my Italian grandfathers DNA up to exactly 82%.

Next I added the 3.2% Middle Eastern he must have been; now totaling 85.2%. That implies the rest of him had to have been Central Western European, which includes French.

This also means, by default, my dad has to be of Spanish descent as well, because there’s still Spanish DNA to be accounted for.

Most of my test makes sense. My last name is Shell, which in German, means “loud and noisy.” So that accounts for some of the 37.4% Central Western European.

But is this test accurate? Is it possible that I am truly not Italian at all? What do you think?

In the meantime, my mom is taking the test too. Being half-Mexican, half-Italian her whole life, I’m curious to know what the test says about her. We should know by October…

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.

5 Reasons It Took Me 7 Years to Finally Decide to Take a DNA Test (through MyHeritage)

Back in 2010 when the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” premiered, I learned how it had become possible to take a simple DNA test and find out my ethnicity. What took me so long, though? If finding out my own ethnicity has always been important to me, why I wasn’t I one of the first people in line to take a DNA test.

These were the 5 obstacles I had to overcome, to get me to the point where I finally purchased my DNA test through MyHeritage.

1- The Perception of Difficult Access– Until I started seeing commercials for these tests a couple of years ago, I always assumed I had to drive hours to certain cities where these tests were conducted and pay at least $1,000. So I didn’t bother looking into it. Finally, a few years ago, I starting seeing commercials on YouTube, making me aware how I could just buy one off the Internet for $100; but I still didn’t immediately react.

2- Having to Wait for Results– Perhaps the main reason is that in an age of instant gratification, I didn’t want to have to go through the process: Go to the website, pull out my wallet and type in my credit card info, wait a week for them to mail me the test, take the test, mail the test back, then wait a month for them to mail back the results.

3- Paying the Money for It– I didn’t want to have to part with 100 bucks of my own “blow money”. (This is a Dave Ramsey term, which means that my wife and I have a limited set amount of money we can spend on ourselves for things other than paying the bills.) It’s not that $100 was too high of a price point, but it’s just there were other things I wanted more. Somehow at age 36, I have apparently acquired all the toys I have always wanted. Or more importantly, MyHeritage was having a sale.

4- Needing Assurance of Specific Results– It was my assumption that if I bought my test from the “wrong company”, it wouldn’t be specific enough. But then I watched a commercial for MyHeritage in which an African-American took the test and learned he is 3% Finnish. After hearing MyHeritage’s test was that specific, not just simply telling him he was 3% Scandinavian or Northern European, I realized this test was legit.

5- Wanting Confirmation from an Actual User– My final step in choosing MyHeritage was when I sent a message to them on Twitter, asking them if the test could discover Jewish DNA. Not only was MyHeritage quick to respond from their Twitter account, but so was an apparently unaffiliated girl from Tel Aviv, Israel with the handle, @shaindlinger. She testified to me that the test confirmed she is Jewish; which therefore answered my question. So she was the final element in my decision to choose MyHeritage for my DNA test.

It took overcoming all this to get where I am today. And now, we shall all wait until September 2nd at the latest, for me to reveal the results. Stay tuned…

And if you’re interested in taking a DNA test like I did, here’s the link to MyHeritage.