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Houston Matters

Understanding the Surprises in Your DNA Results

With the rise of ancestry DNA testing services, an expert helps us make sense of what listeners have found in their results.



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If you're one of many people who has submitted your DNA to learn more about your ancestry, maybe there was a surprise in the results.

For example, there's a large group in the Rio Grande Valley and in New Mexico who have Jewish heritage and have no idea. They're the descendants of what are known as conversos – Spanish for converted. These are Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity in Spain and Portugal in the 14th century.

Houston's Archaeology Now is hosting a talk called Conversos: A Secret Past on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. at the MATCH led by Dr. Marie Theresa Hernández. She’s a professor of world cultures and literature at the University of Houston and a possible descendant of a converso family herself that has been in Texas since the late 1700's.

In the audio above, she tells us more about these people.

And what other surprises lurk in our DNA? Bennett Greenspan of the Houston-based company Family Tree DNA joins us to help you make sense of what your DNA results have to say about your heritage.