After discovering her Jewish roots, Steffi Biersdorff makes up for lost time
, 2022-08-29 16:58:31,
Growing up, Steffi Biersdorff didn’t know her father. She remembers attending community functions in Oregon with her family and asking relatives for details about her father’s identity but never got any answers.
Time passed and Biersdorff remained curious, but whenever she’d ask her mother or maternal grandmother for information, none was provided. At the end of elementary school, Biersdorff finally got her answer — thanks to a swab.
“Before my mom could get child support from him, I had to go through that testing,” she recalled.
When Biersdorff became a teenager she was at risk of entering the foster system. Her mother and maternal grandmother were no longer able to care for her, so she ended up moving in with her biological father. Despite living together, though, her father didn’t share details about his family — he’d been estranged from them for years, Biersdorff said.
After high school, Biersdorff — who was raised as an orthodox Mormon — enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. During a genealogy course, she took an ancestry test.
The results were shocking, she said.
“It came back mostly Ashkenazi Jewish, and I’m like, ‘That’s impossible.’”
Ever since childhood, Biersdorff believed she was Norwegian. Her mother took a similar DNA test. The results didn’t indicate any Ashkenazi heritage. Biersdorff called her father and asked him if he was Jewish. He said he didn’t know and that Biersdorff should call his mother.
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