When I first made contact with a certain organization announcing that I had abandoned and renounced my past as a White Nationalist, I included some details indicating other reasons that I left that I haven’t yet disclosed. There’s just so much to tell and, short of writing a few volumes of books, there’s just no way to put it all together in one chronological story.

There will probably be quite a few of these interjection-type posts just because I might remember something I forgot to include in other posts, or perhaps I may need to further clarify things that I mention.

Back in 2006 I was visiting with my great-grandmother. I brought my children to see her since she wasn’t doing well. We were excited to take some pictures with her since we had five generations all in the same house. It’s not often that a person lives long enough to meet their great-great-grandchildren.

During the visit we were listening to my great-grandmother tell us stories from her past and something she mentioned in passing stuck with me. I do not remember her exact words, but I remember her stating that we had Jewish heritage on her side of the family. When I say it stuck with me, I don’t mean that I was repulsed or disgusted by it, of course. It was just interesting enough to cause me remember it.

Like lots of people in the Southern United States, I grew up being told that I had Cherokee ancestry. I heard a lot about how my ancestors had jet black hair and/or high cheekbones…all the typical stuff people sometimes say about relatives they believe were Native American but they most likely only saw pictures of and never actually met. I believed it, though, because my parents told me it was true.

Fast-forward to about some time in 2009; my dad and I were discussing our family tree. Of course the Native American rumor came up, but he also mentioned that my grandfather’s sister and her husband had been doing a lot of genealogical work on our family. I was interested in knowing more so one day we drove over to her house where I was presented with a large sheet of drafting paper with about five generations of my family’s names and birth dates on it. I was hooked on genealogy from then on. It took years and a lot of hard work to put together a detailed multi-generational family tree, and I’m still working on it to this very day.

I had three reasons for being interested in genealogy.

  1. I was genuinely interested in where I came from.
  2. I wanted to see if the “Indian Princess” and/or Native American ancestor family rumor was true.
  3. I wanted to find out if I did, indeed, have Jewish heritage on my mother’s side.

Well, it didn’t take long until I realized that the Native American ancestry wasn’t true, especially when Ancestry released its genetic testing product. I should say that there technically could still be, of course, but none of the admixture tests I submitted my raw DNA file to detected any. However, there was something in my results that was a bit shocking, given my White Nationalist beliefs.

2% Middle East

Well, that bothered me at the time. Ancestry recently made some changes to their systems and that 2% Middle Eastern was no longer appearing in my results, but it still stuck in my mind…”what if?”

If you haven’t done much genetic genealogy before, or at all, you can actually download your genetic raw data from whatever website you submitted it to and upload it to other sites that do ancestry admixture tests. So I downloaded my raw data from AncestryDNA and uploaded it to every site I could find that would show me admixture results.

The most reliable of the four genetic testing and admixture results companies in testing for the possibility of Jewish ancestry is MyHeritage, without a doubt. I should also pause here to state what MyHeritage has to say about “proof” of Jewish ancestry through DNA testing.

From MyHeritage’s FAQ https://bit.ly/2CAQluI

Judaism is a religion and not an attribute determinable by a DNA mutation. Therefore, there aren’t any definitive ways to tell for certain if you have Jewish ancestry based on your DNA. However, there are a few ways you can determine whether the possibility exists.

First, you may have evidence of Jewish ancestry in your Ethnicity Estimate. The report shows the different Jewish regions of origin that were identified in your DNA, such as Ashkenazi Jewish, Sephardic Jewish (North African), Ethiopian Jewish, Mizrahi Jewish (Iranian/Iraqi), or Yemenite Jewish.

Besides, our DNA Matching feature can give you certain indications about having Jewish ancestry by comparing your raw autosomal DNA against other raw DNA data in our database, uploaded by other MyHeritage users. DNA matches generated may indicate a possible Jewish ancestry and whether you match others who are Jewish.

So it seems that I do have a somewhat distant relative who may have, in fact, been and Ashkenazi Jew. The trouble was, I couldn’t find that person in my family tree anywhere. Dad’s side? Mom’s side? This is autosomal DNA so there’s no way to really tell because autosomal tests don’t separate between X and Y lineages. But the percentages were a clue as to how many generations back I’d have to go to find out which ancestor it may have been.

Each parent passes 50% of their DNA to their children. Grandparents pass down 25%, great-grandparents 12% and so on. So, if MyHeritage reports were accurate, I had to start looking somewhere around my 3rd great-grandparents.

*****Okay so as fate would have it, my second test with MyHeritage literally just got displayed on my secondary MyHeritage account. Here it is:

Second test with MyHeritage as of December 10th, 2018

Anyway, back to what I was saying about researching my Jewish ancestor. For those that may not know, you actually have 32 great-great-great-grandparents. This was going to prove difficult, especially considering that I had next to no information on my mother’s side because we didn’t even know who her real father was.

Then came a breakthrough. A DNA match appeared that showed I was closely related to someone as a 1st cousin. However, this person’s family tree didn’t have any of the same surnames as mine. It took a little sleuthing, and admittedly a LOT of help from my wife’s far more creative brain, but we found out that this new genetic match was not my 1st cousin, but my half-uncle. First cousins and half-uncles share the same amount of DNA. So, I contacted them and, long story short, I found my mother’s real father, as well as a slew of brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews that she never knew she had. It was certainly a happy moment for my mother and I.

This newfound data reinvigorated my desire to find out more about my Jewish heritage. Unfortunately, I still had work to do because none of the ancestors on my mother’s newfound paternal line were Jewish.

As luck would have it, I ran across some new information that Ancestry.com alerted me to in a hint. I had input the wrong person as my 3rd great-grandmother’s mother. Years before I had put her maiden name as Rogers. However, it was actually Reinwasser. The latest research I have been conducting has shown that this is a rare surname, but many Jews possess it. I hit up the Jewish genealogy website and found that my Reinwasser ancestors are listed there.

I still cannot say that this new information 100% definitively proves that the Reinwassers are my Jewish ancestors, but I am confident that they are. For now I am satisfied, but I will, of course, continue my research into that line, as well as the rest of my family tree.

I should also mention that a few years ago we bought my mother-in-law an ancestry kit from 23andMe. Her 23andMe results showed that she has at least 9% Ashkenazi DNA. When I uploaded her results to MyHeritage, her results came back as 14.1% Ashkenazi. This means that my wife, and my children have Jewish ancestry from both parents.

The reason that I have provided the information above is because it was one of the many reasons that led to me questioning my White Nationalist beliefs. I was a raging anti-Semite for years. When I found out that I and my wife both have Jewish ancestry, I didn’t know what to think or do about it, so I just suppressed it. But one thing I kept asking myself is, “What would I say to my Jewish ancestors if I could travel back in time and meet them? Would I express disgust in them because they were Jewish? Or would I embrace them as a relative? What would I say to my wife’s Jewish relatives?” After all, were it not for those Jewish ancestors on both our sides, we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be who were are today, I wouldn’t be married to the same kind, loving, and supportive person I am today, and we wouldn’t have the same wonderful and amazing four children we do. So, I am ever grateful for those Jewish ancestors on both my and my wife’s side.

These questions had been at the forefront of my mind for quite some time. But because of the Alt-Right’s stance against “Purity Spiraling”, I thought that maybe I could get a pass with them if it ever did somehow become public knowledge. I’m glad to say that I don’t care about that anymore. I don’t care about my or my wife’s “genetic purity.” I don’t want to be accepted by the Alt-Right, the fascists, the Nazis or anyone else in the far-right. I want to put nothing but ever-growing distance between myself and them and just live my life while at the same time working toward a more peaceful and loving world that everyone of all races, ethnicities, creeds, and religions can be proud of and enjoy.

Thank you for sitting through all this. I know it was long and probably boring. However, I felt like sharing it.

More to come soon…

Husband | Father | Former far-right extremist Twitter: @realjoshbates1