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A Review of AncestryDNA – Ancestry.com’s New Autosomal DNA Test


In the past, I’ve reviewed new autosomal DNA testing options offered by 23andMe and Family Tree DNA:

Today, I’m reviewing the new autosomal DNA test from Ancestry.com called “AncestryDNA.” I’ve already written at length about AncestryDNA, so I won’t cover too many of the basics here.  I have an in-depth introduction to the product located at “Ancestry.com’s AncestryDNA Product,” which you might want to check out before or after reading this review in order to gather more information.

AncestryDNA: An Introduction

The introduction page, which appears after clicking on “View Results” on the front page, consists of my Genetic Ethnicity Summary and the Member DNA Matches (which is further broken into close cousins and distant cousins, as discussed in detail below).  Please note that for purposes of this review I’ve removed the identifying information for my genetic matches.

Genetic Ethnicity Summary:

My genetic ethnicity results, which suggest 90% European and 10% Uncertain, are very interesting.  In a recent webinar with the AncestryDNA team, they reported that the genetic ethnicity analysis is still very early in the beta phase, and will continue to be updated and refined as new reference populations are added.  Indeed, I’m predicting that over time as new information is added and the algorithm is refined, some or all of my10% Uncertain will be categorized (perhaps to reflect my maternal Asian and African contributions, which I’ve written about before), and that some of of my 90% European may very well change.

Under a heading “About Your Ethnicity” is a pop-up file with more information about Ancestry.com’s ethnicity estimation algorithm.  In that file, under “Is It Accurate,” for example, Ancestry.com provides the following:

When determining your genetic ethnicity, we hold our process and results to an extremely high standard of accuracy.  Our lab’s analysis uses some of the most advanced equipment and techniques to measure approximately 700,000 points in your genome (with at least a 98% rate of accuracy).  We compare that to one of the most comprehensive and unique collections of genetic signatures from around the world.  And as this collection improves over time, it can only get better.

I’m not sure whether the AncestryDNA tests these 700,000 SNPs, or whether it tests more SNPs but is currently using a subset of 700,000 for its analysis.  I’ll try to find this information.

I thought it might be interesting to compare my genetic ethnicity results from the three companies (Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and FTDNA):

Ancestry.com’s AncestryDNA:

  • 78% Scandinavian
  • 12% Central European
  • 10% Uncertain

23andMe’s Ancestry Painting:

  • 98% European
  • 2% Asian
  • <1% African

Family Tree DNA’s Population Finder:

  • 68% European (Northeast European) – Finnish
  • 32% Middle East (Jewish) – Jewish

After reviewing the results one thing is certain: all three companies estimate a strong European contribution to my genome, particularly Scandinavian (ranging from 68% to 78%).  It’s ironic, however, that I have yet to identify a single Northern European ancestor!  I certainly won’t be surprised when one pops up someday.

Clicking on “See Full Results” takes me to a more detailed analysis of my ethnicity results, but not before I click through the following pop-up:

Please keep in mind…Our prediction of your genetic ethnicity is not yet finalized. As we gather more DNA samples and continue our research we expect your ethnicity results to become more accurate and perhaps more detailed.

As I stated above, the ethnicity results are likely to change over time, so be forewarned.

The Full Results page – reproduced below – includes historical and anthropological information about each of the identified regions from your ethnicity profile (Scandinavian and Central European, for me).  It also shows a list of genetic matches who share the relevant region (it’s a long list along the right lower side of the page, but it’s not shown below for privacy reasons).  You can also zoom into the map where ancestors from a tree you’ve linked to your account are displayed.  For example, I have 8 listed in Ireland and 2 in Central Europe.

In summary, Ancestry.com’s AncestryDNA test provides a genetic ethnicity/region calculation based on about 700,000 SNPs and a large collection of both public and proprietary reference databases.  The product can currently categorize DNA into at least 22 different ethnicities/regions, with more to come.  So be prepared for changes to your estimation as their algorithm and databases grow.

Member DNA Matches

Also on the introductory page is a listing of genetic matches.  These are individuals that, based on shared segments of DNA, you are predicted to share a common ancestor with.  An interesting aspect of the DNA matches list, however, is a sliding scale for the relationship confidence level, which ranges from 99% to 10%:

  • 99% Confidence – Immediate Family
  • 99% Confidence – 1st Cousins
  • 99% Confidence – 2nd Cousins
  • 98% Confidence – 3rd Cousins
  • 96% Confidence – 4th Cousins
  • 50% Confidence – Distance Cousins
  • 20% Confidence – Distance Cousins
  • 10% Confidence – Distance Cousins

Accordingly, the introductory page can be customized to only display cousins of a certain confidence level.  If I reduce the confidence level to 96%, for example, I only have two matches (my two predicted fourth cousins shown in the picture above).

Clicking on the “What Does This Mean” link next to the  possible relationship range on the “Review Matches” page for each genetic cousin (see the figure below) causes the following information to be displayed, along with some nice inheritance charts:

Predicted Relationship Info: FOURTH COUSIN

It’s interesting to note that (at this degree of separation) we are accurately able to predict only about 85% of the possible relatives that are out there—in other words there is a 15% chance that our DNA analysis does NOT recognize an actual relative of yours. One way to be more certain that the DNA testing captures as many relatives as possible is to have multiple members of your immediate family tested.

It is also interesting to note that at this degree of separation we are sometimes wrong in our prediction of a real relationship. We’ve found that for this relationship about 15% of the time we predict a relationship that cannot be found in any family tree.

This provides some interesting insight into AncestryDNA’s matching algorithm and, accordingly, the algorithm’s results.  For example, it’s important to always keep in mind that there is a roughly 15% chance of incorrectly labeling an individual either as a match or as not being a match.

As the user slides the scale from 99% down to 10%, more results typically appear.  For example, I currently have two 4th cousins listed as matches, 9 matches with 50% confidence, 14 matches with 20% confidence, and 38 matches with 10% confidence.  I expect these numbers to increase considerably once more test results become available.  I don’t know how big the AncestryDNA database currently is, but I’m guessing that only a few 100 to a few 1000 people, at the very most, have undergone testing so far.

Comparing Family Trees

The true power of the AncestryDNA test lies in the ability to automatically compare your uploaded family tree with the uploaded family tree(s) of genetic matches.  For example, one of my predicted fourth cousin matches has a public tree with 408 people.  Clicking on “Review Match” takes me to the next page with more information (see the next screenshot) including each of the following:

  • A predicted relationship and predicted relationship range;
  • Our ethnicity comparison (a very cool and potentially very useful feature);
  • My genetic cousins’ entire tree out to 7 generations (and a link to see more);
  • A possible shared ancestor (a “shaky leaf” hint) if one is identified;
  • Surnames that we share in common; and
  • My genetic cousins’ surnames through 10 generations.

I especially like the Genetic Ethnicity Bar (I just made that up, but I guess it fits) comparison, which shows your ethnicity prediction next to your matches ethnicity prediction.  For example, my fourth cousin displayed in the image below is 93% British Isles and 7% Uncertain.  Since I have no reported British Isles genetic contribution, my Genetic Ethnicity Bar is gray:

On the other hand, if there is some matching ethnicity contribution, the Genetic Ethnicity Bar comparison will look like this:

This genetic match and I, predicted to be distant cousins, both have contributions from Central Europe and Scandinavia.  My match also has British Isles and Middle Eastern, which I am estimated not to have.

Also on the the “Review Match” page is a link to send a message to the match (very important for genealogists).  I also like the “Last signed in” information, which lets people know just how active a genetic match might be (and why they aren’t answering your email!).

Common Ancestor and Shared Surnames

As can be seen from the last two screenshots, the list of shared surnames (if there are any) is prominently displayed near the top of the page.  If there was an individual in common between our trees, he or she would also be displayed there.  Unfortunately, when I review the match with each of my possible genetic cousins, I typically have one or more shared surnames, but none have a single identified common ancestor.  I was hoping for such a match, but I’ll have to be a bit more patient.   While I currently have about 55 matches, only some of those have public trees, and even fewer have substantial family trees (larger trees increase the likelihood of identifying a possible shared ancestor, of course).

Conclusion

This post included just a few initial thoughts about my testing experience and results.  I may add more information, or create a new post, as I continue to review my results.  If you have any questions about the testing process or ancestry results that I didn’t address, please feel free to leave a comment.  I’m sure many other people have the same question, so don’t hesitate to ask.  I’ll also try to get the AncestryDNA team to answer any questions I can’t answer.

While there is currently no information about when AncestryDNA will be available, or pricing, I’m sure that this will be available soon.

I’m looking forward to your comments, ideas, and questions.

(Disclosure:  I received my AncestryDNA test without charge from Ancestry.com for review purposes and beta testing.  Regardless, I have attempted to review this product as honestly and as objectively as possible in order to provide valuable information about AncestryDNA to my readers.)

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

173 Comments

  1. Do you know if the ability to view the trees of your matches is restricted to paying Ancestry subscribers?

  2. That’s a great question. It would seem to be in Ancestry.com’s best interest to allow you to do so (to promote the sharing of DNA, for example), but I’m not sure.

  3. It’s interesting that neither your African or Asian ancestry showed up. I’ve just received the results of this same test and I have magic East/West African DNA. I say magic because my family trees are considered fairly accurate to 14 generations with not a single African ancestor. Also my recent (Grandparents!) French, Swiss and German ancestors’ DNA was apparently devoured by my dad’s British DNA. FamilyTree at least picked up my central European ancestry and also a link to the Middle East, which makes sense according to migrations. No African DNA was found in either of the other test results although they were done a number of years back. I feel all Ancestry did was throw a dart at the map and guess. Meh. Glad I didn’t pay for this.

  4. Do they provide raw results as well as their automated interpretation of the data? For example, I think 23andme gives customers a list of their haplotypes that they can research themselves.

  5. First of all, what a fabulous blog you have here! I just discovered The Genetic Genealogist today and I will be booking marking your site as well as subscribing to the feed. I don’t know much about DNA and genetics, but I have certainly been captured by it for the last few years.

    It all started when I ran into Dr. Spencer Wells and his team of National Geographic Genographic (photographers, testers, etc) in Tajikistan in 2006. I took a Genographic test in 2007 and unsurprisingly I was pegged to haplogroup L3 (subclade L3b). Regretfully, I did not pay attention enough then and did not connect my results to the FTDNA database. I cannot find my kit ID number to save my life. Moving on…

    I have also taken tests by African Ancestry and recently received the results for the atDNA test offered by Ancestry.com. I like your review here. I’d love to know how many people have been tested so far and as an African American, I hope they test more African Americans. Although my genetic breakdown was 66% West African, 26% Central European, 6% Scandinavian and 2% Uncertain and there are loads of 5th-8th cousins listed (nothing closer), I feel relationship connections with those sharing European ancestry are near impossible. Having a connection back to West Africa like Blair Underwood did in WDYTYA seems even more impossible. Even though my fun with this test was short-lived, I’m glad to have taken it (for free) and to have the results connected to my family tree. I’m patient so I hope this will indeed help my tree grow down the road.

    Turning my attention back to African Ancestry, I’m having my uncle tested so that I can see what’s the what on my mother’s paternal side. I’m expecting their results to be European, but it’ll be interesting to see from where. The 6% Scandinavian on the Ancestry.com atDNA test was a bit of a surprise.

  6. I just got my DNA test results back from Ancestry.com and I am concerned. I was born in England and I have gone back many generations and have found that all my ancestors as far back as the 1600′s in most cases are English. According to the results I have no British Isles DNA. It states that I have 60% Central Europe, 30% Scandinavian and 7% Southern Europe. I also have 3% unknown.
    How can this be? I sent feedback but am unsure if I will even get a response.
    Any feedback would be welcomed.

  7. Hello
    I am considering purchasing a test kit for my wife, but not sure which company to go for: AncestryDNA or 23andMe. We are more interested in the genealogy aspects than the medical aspect, so with that in mind which I we go for? I’ve previously done the test with the Genographic Project for myself, but I did not find the result particularly useful or informative. Can anyone help me decide? Obviously the 23andMe is much more expensive than the Ancestry one. Is it worth it?

  8. I would not recommend ancestry.com DNA. Just received my results: 21% Southern European and 79% Central European which doesn’t follow years of work on my family history. Plus 6 of my “matches” at 96% confidence were for members who are only British Isles and Scandinavian.

    Called ancestry.com support for more information and spoke with a very rude person who told me that ancestry.com only receives your percent (the 21% and 79%) from the testing lab. He could not explain what data was used to “match” your results to other members and even though you paid for a report all you will get are those original percents. So how can European match with British Isles if the only data they use are the original percents?

    Don’t waste your money on ancestry.com DNA. You will not receive any real data and nothing that validates the results. For all I know they rolled the dice on my tree and threw the numbers at me. Plus they charged my credit card for S&H that was not included in purchase price nor authorized.

  9. Just received my AncestryDNA results as part of the beta test. In my case, these are reasonable: 33% British Isles and 67% Central European. Based on my family tree, the results would be 25% British Isles (English, Scots-Irish) and 75% Central European (French Belgian, possibly Dutch, much German).

    AncestryDNA also indicates two 4th-6th cousin matches. None of our family trees, to the extent they are known, reveal any common ancestors.

    Would be nice if AncestryDNA reported the actual data. But for a multiitude of autosomal DNA markers, the data may be very complex and difficult to manually compare. Do any competitors (e.g., 23andme) report actual autosomal data?

  10. I agree with the dice comment – I have a pretty complete tree but I am coming back at 84% Scandinavian. Either this is not being explained fully or it is a waste of time and money. I contacted some of my so called Scandinavian matches and they were all as baffled with the results as I am. My advice to everyone is that this is no more reliable than asking a fortune teller at the state fair, probably less so

  11. I concur with others here. The Ancestry.com DNA Test is a scam. No information is provided on which markers or which databases are used. My carefully researched tree of 900+ individuals was not reflected in the results. Saddest of all, my profile came back 78% British Isles and yet there was not one match to any other individual. Not ONE in the British Isles! I don’t believe there is ANY quality control being done. Basically I paid to have my genetic data entered into their database and received not one piece of useful information back. Unless, of course you include the enlightening news that England “is where Shakespeare wrote his plays and poems.” What Ancestry.com is doing is the same ripoff as used by family “Coat of Arms” websites that provide generic background text to gullible dupes.

  12. I ordered the Ancestry.com DNA test in July. I got my results back last week (it took about 3 weeks to get the results back).

    The results showed West African 44%, British Isles 29%, Scandinavia 12%, Finnish-Volga/Ural 11%, and uncertain 4%.

    Being bi-racial, I can understand the West African findings. I expected to find something about Central European ancestry, since one set of great grandparents came to the US from Germany, but that didn’t come up. The Scandinavian finding was accurate, although I expected it to be higher, since another set of great grandparents immigrated from there. In working on my genealogy, I did find relatives from the UK, but not recently, and even though it did not come as a total surprise, it was a larger percentage than I had anticipated.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the test results. I honestly thought they’d be a lot more detailed than they were, and I was disappointed in the way the connections were treated. Most of the people in the category of 4th-6th cousins did not share much of a connection with me, and there was only one common surname on our family trees, but since the names were Smith, they weren’t at all useful.

    I’m going to get genetic testing done elsewhere, and see how those results compare to the Ancestry.com DNA testing.

  13. Hi,
    It looks like you got rather different results from all three DNA tests. I did the Ancestry.com DNA test and since I am adopted I really have no preconceived idea of my ancestry or countries of origin. Would you advise me to do the Family Tree DNA test? It also looks as though they have many more people in their data base. I would like to find family if possible.
    Thanks

  14. I fell like many other people on this site. I just received my test results back from Ancestry. They indicate 92% British Isles and 8% Uncertain. I have an extensive family tree and know half my family is from Britain and half from Germany, France, etc. This is no help at all. I took the test to find out if I had Native American ancestry, to follow up on old family stories, but who knows. If Ancestry is so early in this testing to give very little in return for the fee, the test should be free.

  15. I would have to concure with those who have stated that the results from AncestryDNA appear shaky at best. I have traced several of my family lines back to England with one as far back as 1465. My AncestryDNA results indicated that I am 61% scandinavian, 33% central euopean, and 6% uncertain. I have been charting the DNA matches AncestryDNA has sent to me in an Excel spreadsheet as I review each match. So far, four suggested matches were linked with individuals tested as 100% British Isles. Secondly, 39% of all matches did not have any scandinavian or central european DNA. Of these, the predominate result was British Isle. Finally, I have made four concrete connections with suggested matches, all born in England. So far I’m not impressed.

  16. Hello all,

    I have tested with Genebase and Familytree. I decided to test with Ancestry because my tree is there and am hoping for new leads. Based on some of the comments from this blog, I’m not sure the test will be beneficial.

    M in VA

  17. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT YOU USE THE ANCESTRY COM DNA TEST KIT !!!

    I am NOT happy with my experience with the Ancestry DNA test. My first test kit failed to produce results and the second kit was LOST inside of their processing plant. Attempts to work with their customer service by email failed to resolve the issue after 3 weeks of exchanges.

    Finally I wrote to Ancestry Senior Management but several days now and no definitive response – other than “want to talk about it” !

    I DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT YOU USE THE ANCESTRY COM DNA TEST KIT !!!

  18. Reply to #6 Carole Rice: Hi, I understand your confusion. The way I would interpret your results is….The Central Europe is probably German blood or Saxon. And the Scandanavian is probably Viking. Which is a very British combination :)

  19. It sounds as if some people have preconceived notions of where their roots lie, and don’t like being told what they don’t want to hear. Someone living in the British Isles 100 years ago could have come from the Middle East, or vice versa. I’m sending in my Ancestry.com knowing that I don’t really know yet.

  20. I ordered a DNA test from Ancestry in July and got the results back. I am not happy. I expected a LOT more for my money. All I got were percentages and the ancestors I traced back to Scotland don’t even show up in the percentage report! That’s BS, do not waste your $100…the “matches” they suggested are so afr off base, they might as well be from Mars. VERY disappointed.

  21. Six years ago, I go to look for a company online to test my ancestral DNA. I JUST LOVED THE IDEA since I am a family tree fanatic. I’ve done lots of work on my tree throughout the years.

    The results: 92% Caucasian, 7% East Asian, and 1% Sub-Saharan AFrican. I believe the 1% even though it shocked me. I have a photo of my 2nd great granmother, and she appears to be mixed.

    I just did another test, with 23 and Me. What do I get? My ancestors in recent centuries were 100% European.

    So what is true? Is this bogus and junk science? I’d like to believe in it, but I am doubtful.

    I went through DNA Tribes a few years ago. I do have lots of Eastern European DNA matches, and that is true. I’m of Lithuanian and Polish heritage, with some German, too. Belarus was big on the list, and Belarus used to be part of Lithuania. But Romania was my #1 and #2 connections. Romania? I have no Romanian ancestors (unless there is some origin there that I don’t know about).

    These tests can be FRUSTRATING, and disappointing. Even if you find a distant cousin…how are you connected? You still don’t know.

  22. I just got my ancestryDNA results back and like everyone else, I am very disappointed not only in the information they gave us but in their customer service. I think Ancestry.com is getting to big and they can’t handle all they are trying to do. They are notorious for careless mistakes on their transcriptions. I always find from one to a dozen mistakes when I do a search so why should I expect this test to be any different? All of my family comes from the British Isles but my results are 77% Scandinavian and 23% Southern European. I can understand that to a point because as I understand it there is no natural inhabitants in the UK and the Islands were invaded many times.. but what I don’t understand is why some people have a percentage British Isles and others don’t even when it is documented that their families come from the there. It doesn’t show my American Indian ancestry either. I have had one match. The one cousin that I know has had his DNA tested doesn’t even show up as a match for me. Now that is really strange. His DNA and family tree is there but no match to me?? Almost laughable but not quite since I paid them my hard earned money. They are like the government, all take and no give.

  23. Got my results back and I am trying to decide if…
    A) My folks grabbed the wrong baby at the hospital
    B) They do indeed use dice to read your spit in a tube
    C) all my folks with the exception of those crazy 5% unknown dudes all originated from the British Isles and spread out to Central Europe and adopted Germanic surnames????

    SAVE YOUR 100 bucks folks!!

  24. Add me to the pile of people who have English ancestry (at least 12.5%) and tons of genealogical research to back it up but got zero percent British Isles in my Ancestry.com DNA test. In my case, though, they didn’t even tell me I have any Scandinavian in me! I got told I’m 29% Central European. The rest of me is supposed to be a mix of Southern European 24% (Italian), Eastern European 28% (Greek), Middle Eastern 8% (I have one Jewish Grandparent) and some Turkish (11%) thrown in from who knows where? I am actually half Sicilian on my mother’s side, so I’m thinking the Italian and the Greek add up to that. But the Jewish results don’t seem right because many people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are told they have a percentage of “European Jewish”. I did not. I should be at least 25% Ashkenazi Jewish.

    Needless to say I am very disappointed in these results. I was elated to find proof after much genealogical research of being descended from the Mayflower, plus a few historical figures in the Revolutionary War and founders of several towns in New England, including Hartford, CT! But now Ancestry.com’s stupid customer service has the nerve to tell me that perhaps I didn’t inherit any of my father’s British DNA! I was told I shouldn’t mistake my resemblance to my Grandmother (who I never met because she died before I was born) for evidence of having inherited her ethnicity. I have never met anyone from that side of the family except my father because it was a branch of a tree that systematically pared down to nothing. So I am really down about this, and mad at Ancestry.com, especially after reading all these comments.

    Kenny, I am LOL because Ancestry.com’s ridiculous customer service rep. practically had me thinking my mother might have been too friendly with the milkman while my Dad was in the army….So stupid – I resemble both of my parents to a great degree and I have no doubt of being their daughter. I think Ancestry.com is being irresponsible in making ridiculous justifications to make it look like they’re right and you’re just wishing to be someone you’re not.

    I should have known better, but I suppose I got suckered in by the $100 price. I had a bad experience when having my Dad’s YDNA tested by Ancestry.com in 2009. They lost the sample and I spent MONTHs arguing with customer service and getting nowhere. They kept telling me they had the sample for 3 months but no results ever came back. Then suddenly after I threatened a lawsuit if they didn’t resolve the issue ASAP, they admitted they’d lost them. And all this after I’d practically busted an artery trying dealing with every moron employed there. Like I said, I should have known better….Lesson learned.

  25. I got my results back from Ancestry last week, and I can’t say that I’m real upset, but I’m not exactly pleased either. The only thing keeping me from going nuts about it is that it was pretty cheap at $100.

    Like Mike #17, I feel my Scandinavian percentages are too high. My mom was about 40% Swedish, 50% Irish, 10% Native American. Dad 75% British Isles, 20% French and 5% Native American. Imagine my surprise when I came back with absolutely no British Isles in my dna.

    They have me at 57% Scandinavian, 19% Central European, 15% Southern European (??) and 9% uncertain. I’ll give them the uncertain, which I’m assuming is my native american ancestry, and the central european, which is probably the French, but 57% Scandinavian? No British Isles? Where is the Southern coming from? I’m super fair skinned and made 3 red haired babies! I cannot figure out the Southern part at all, unless they are digging way back to when some Spanish moved to Ireland like a thousand plus years ago. I know I have British Isles blood running through these veins.

    The closest people I match with are 4th-6th cousins. Most of them have no Scandinavian percentages. They are almost all British Isles. Our most recent common ancestors are usually from the 16 & 1700′s New England colonial times. People who were British. Which matches up with my well researched and sourced tree of 3000+ people.

  26. I got my results last week and (unlike most here) am satisfied with the results.
    I’m a African-American/Norwegian/European mixed guy, so was expecting to see those regions represented in the results.

    For the most part, the test results seem to be accurate:
    43% British Isles
    40% West African
    13% Scandanavian
    4% Unknown

    So, I’m a bit surprised by the high British Isles percentage, but I’m not certain that the folks that came from Germany didn’t actually move there from England (or something). So, I’m having both my mother and father take the test. I’m curious to see how their results will compare to mine.

    Additionally, in the member matches, the 3rd person in the list turned out to be an actual known relative of mine on the other side of the U.S. So, I do have *some* faith that the results are somewhat accurate (although I felt that the website should have bumped her up to the #1 match since it knows that we shared portions of the same family tree).

    Overall, there weren’t any big surprises here (other than the large British Isles percentage – but that’s just another lead to research), but it’s kinda cool to compare your tree to others and have something to discuss at your next family gathering.

    R

  27. wow. i think most of you have no idea how genetic testing, and algorithms work. until the bank of genetic info is built up, TO A VERY LARGE EXTENT, it will be extremely inaccurate!! it is completely possible to be 6th cousins and show no notable (.7%) shared ancestral percentage. …and all of these “matches” have to be entered into the system, i.e.: completed tests.

    the idea is, you’re part of an opportunity to have a computer make lots of matches that you never would have dreamed of, …eventually. by eventually, i mean they’d have to have something like a million to even proximate.

    conclusion: this beta testing had better be cheap, cuz there’s no appreciable immediate gratification. also, in addition to some unfounded, and unappreciative complaints about the size of this dna endeavor, it sounds like ancestry.com needs some lessons in customer service, …which should include a much more realistic set of expectations. as far as price/value, consider yourselves like the goofballs who camp outside tech stores, waiting for the new iphone. let’s just hope the “apps” catch up.

  28. I chose to take the Ancestry DNA test to see if my American Indian would show up. I know for a fact one of my Mother’s Father was 1/4 Cherokee indian. My Father was 100% German. Many of my lines are traced back to the 1500′s. The results showed no European ancestors or American Indian. The majority, 80%, being Welsh ancestry. I was very disappointed with the results.

  29. I have a 24 year old daughter who was adopted at 1 day old. We met the mother for less than hour and know nothing about the father. Is there any kind of test that could give us some idea of health problems or indicators that she might enconter later in life. Such as anyone of the three tests. Her etniticity would be very interesting. She part Hawaiian and Polnesian on mother side no idea on father’s side. My daughter just mentioned she might like to find her birth mother strictly for the reasons stated above. Please respond to me by email or call me 206-387-7653. I want to thank you inadvance for your advice.

    Best Regards

    Greg Anderson

  30. I posted before because I was confused about having no British ancestry from my Ancestry.com DNA. I understand that my results are from prob Viking, Roman and German/ Saxon ancestors but I am still confused as to why some people have British DNA at all if we all came from somewhere else originally. I can track my family back to the 1700s for some of my family and can track all of my ancestors to the early 1800s and they are all British, not just British but all English, 100%.
    So, can anyone explain why some people are getting British results, some over 50 % and others like myself are getting 0%?
    I really didn’t have any preconceived notions but was shocked to have absolutely no British DNA. Something seems off.

  31. I received my results back from Ancestry.com. I believe my results are fairly accurate. My mother claimed to have been an Octaroon. My father was/is definitely West African Ancestry. So being 56% West African is fairly accurate. My Maternal Grandfather was biracial, with a mulatto mother and white father. I researched the family line and did discover Scandinavian heritage prior to being tested. I also had a YDNA test done on a direct descendant (male) of my White great grandfather. He was definitely Scandinavian. Add to it, Scandinavian lines tended to be prolific in the area of Virginia my family originates. That is also true of British Isles. So my percentages amounted to 56% West African, 22% Scandinavian, 18% British Isles and 4% Uncertain.

    I also will agitate thought here in the fact that migratory patterns in Europe may account for some of the unexpected percentages of unexpected ethnicities. For instance, I am descended from some very old lines in Europe. Those lines did not just appear in the British Isles; they migrated likely to England/Ireland. Semitic families traveled from the Middle East to England. Charlemagne was himself Semitic. The same goes with other Haplogroups. Yes, our trees tell us something. However, there are errors in our research as well, that DNA will correct.

    I’m not altogether willing to declare Ancestry a scam. However, it does bear considering another company for comparison.

  32. Hello all,
    Well I am still waiting for my test results, it has been awhile, but my interactions with customer service has been really great, only one small issue overlooked, they forgot to add my name to my test causing a delay. Knowing a number backed up the tube I sent (I trust that the tube is me, well my DNA.) that is the same as the sticker I have in my hands rested my mind about no-one else’s spit is in my tube. These comments are a bit well strange to me. Maybe family secrets or stories have clouded our judgment of where we think we come from. Maybe some peoples mothers did dose-e-do with a milkman, maybe papa was not papa, but a friend of papa, maybe your grandma stole you on a ship enroute to America? Possible adoption? My Great Grandma bragged and bragged about her heritage, well guess what on a census in 1910 she is shown as being adopted, and on her death bed stated she was indeed the product of incest, and she had a baby she gave away. My holy than thou GG was a liar for years. My Dad died thinking he was something he was not. I am still surprised at the things I find on the tons of info Ancestory.com gives us for $15 a month. All that info for that little bit? Can’t beat it. I spent hundreds doing a tree from scratch pen and paper style, lots of loose papers, notes, scratching from graves, not using Ancestory.com and going back to the old way, courthouses, traveling to cemeteries, gas money , paying for copies, it cost alot! Suddenly birth dates did not add up, marriage months compared to first born dates changed, etc. My family flat out lied to hide pre marital sex, and even at times father’s names, just to save face. SO now we are here in the age of actually knowing and proving where we came from. I would actually love to see my results. My life has been a lie, so this may be my chance at the truth. We can all think our parents are perfect, our grandparents were heroes, and our super past greats sailed to America to save the world and be free, but guess what, most were criminals in their countries eyes, and well lied to make new generations believe they were better than, or lied about slave ownership as not to be be singled out, or for anyone to know they did it in the back of a sedan in the 20′s after drinking gin, which the Daddy forbid. Just because Grandma Lipes said she was a German does not mean she was. Turns out she was Jewish and lied to not be found out! Out of fear , people remember, fear creates lies and after awhile they are believed even by the one who created the lie to begin with. All she ever wanted was to fast dance, go to New York, and live free. She did not do any of that, because of fear, and the lies she told. I was deprived a whole section of heritage, religion choices and my birthright, because of a lie. Lost photos destroyed for what they were wearing, items burned to dissolve ties and written evidence of actual birthplaces. Sisters’ names scratched out, Grandfather’s names changed, sad yes but true. SO maybe all of your upsetting emotions are from fear as well, or maybe they lied to you and themselves to save what they had at that time. Yes, people lie, and yes it can be upsetting to find out this way, publicly on a ancestory site. Make it private.

    As far as percentages I get it migration happened! People went form country to country. There are no lines in the ground that automatically changes our DNA once crossed. I supposedly came from the British Isles, well let’s see thousands of other countries invaded, conquered, lost, beaten, raped, murdered, hid babies form other tribes, star crossed lovers made babies, etc. How the heck would we ever know exactly how we got to here today? Never? I can trace and have traced all the way back to 800 AD, yes 800 AD. How do I know that is really really true? I cannot. It is fun to imagine it would be 100% correct, but near impossible. I am looking for a general area, not lines, I am excited and hope my test shocks me. So far all I have is a lie, DNA doesn’t lie. My Mother right now is making excuses and the results are not even in. Blaming everything from hackers, to viruses, to prisoners typing in the results wrong. I fear she may think I am going to find out another lie. We shall see. Watch a history channel, read a history book, look at old maps it could show that England once owned alot of land, it was huge! But does that mean that because India belonged to England that if my 4th Great grandfather he was English? Even if he looks like others calling themselves Indian? What would he be? He could call himself English, but he would be Indian. From the region of India today. You can call yourself whatever you want, but your DNA tells another story, a real story. The cousin factor bothers me as well, how do you know that 2 generations back that your aunt or uncle did not adopt a baby and not tell anyone? They are your cousin by being in your family, but not your cousin by DNA standards. Maybe one of her sisters got prego out of wedlock was ashamed and the sister took it, she is your cousin on sister side but the dad is who knows? That would affect how related she was to you now.

    Don’t be upset and blame Ancestory.com, if they make a mistake then they should say so, I do not condone that, if they loose a test, type in an error, whatever they should own up to it, but maybe you are what you are, YOU!

    I cannot wait to see me for the first time! No lies just plain ole ME!

    Thanks for reading my opinion.

  33. I have a little more expanded information regarding those people who tested Central European and Southern European ethnicity though their families lived in the Britain for many many years. I’ve mined my familial migration for some years. Technically, I found it odd to see some people identified as having a portion of Central European ancestry in their ethnicity. I, for one, also have family that goes back to German and parts Southeast of Europe. However, it does not say so.

    I do know that I have researched my family lines back to before medieval England to William the Conqueror. My family heritage is 56% West African, 22% Scandinavian and 18% British Isles. William the Conqueror was a Norseman (ergo, Scandinavian). So I’ve concluded that migrations have a lot to do with how your heritage is identified in the genome. I am likely from a very old English family that settled from Scandinavia around the first millennium, whereas other lifelong families of England settled later from Germany or France — perhaps 1200 -1300. However, we can all agree that anyone that claims to be from Britain HAD to have migrated their in some way. I doubt there is any such thing as an “original” Brit. . . .

  34. I got my results back from ancestry.com and they are “somewhat” in the range of what I thought they would be. 57% British Isles, 35% Central European and 8% Finnish/Volga. I am quite amazed at all these other comments about people showing up with large amounts of Scandinavian. I am about 1/2 Norwegian, documented back some 500 years in some cases, yet my DNA shows no Scandinavian. This Norwegian comes from both sides of the family. I think anyone with European blood could come up with the statistics I showed. Going back 1000′s of years is pretty much a no-brainer with these percents. Ancestry makes you think from the advertising that the results will be much later.

    As you stated, ” Ten different researchers analyzing the same genome can come up with ten different estimates”. This in itself makes these tests really invalid since there are so many variables. If these companies were totally honest they would state this clearly instead of masking it in “1000′s of years” double-talk. Maybe at least 2 researchers should evaluate the results. It wouldn’t seem like such a rip-off.

    I also had my “ethnicity” done by Tribal DNA. LOL, I was almost 100% Spanish and Brazilian. Go Figure!

  35. I would say that the Ancestry DNA test is utterly worthless. No real information to be gathered from it. If you are going back 10K years I guess so. However, none of the information reflect what I know to be my genealogy over the past 400 years. I would say save your money on this test. They send you nothing and once you ditch the account you’ll have no record of it anyway….not that is is worth a plug nickel anyway.

  36. I agree! Some of my family members were left off as well. My Grandmother was 91 years old and her sister was 101 when they passed. They LIVED With and Saw their Native American Grandfather! He is NOT shown on the test! The test showed British Isles and I know for a fact, there is no British Isles in the family! Don’t waste your money! Maybe, one day there will be a DNA test to tell us our total percentages, not 10% Uncertain, or 15% uncertain. This one is NOT it!

  37. Don’t buy Scamcestry.com DNA test unless you are looking for very general global results, like black/white/asian. There is no way they can tell specific regional ethnicity like southern europe versus british isles with any degree of certainty as the populations have been migrating and interbreeding for thousands of years.

  38. 23andMe reported that I, a White woman of European descent, had… 0% European. The health report seems randomly generated. The traits report gives bizarre results. There are many haplogroups. After only taking samples from four population groups, they assign you to one. When I asked on the forums what happened, a bunch of bullies seemed to try to drive me to suicide. I want my money back.

  39. I do not think a lot of people understand how these DNA tests work. You only inherit half of each parents’ DNA. You father could be part Native American and you could not inherit a drop of Native America. Likewise, each of your siblings could have different genetic combinations from your parents’ DNA. Say your dad is Irish, German, Native American, and French ethnically. You could be Irish and German and your brother could be Irish and Native American when it comes to DNA. You don’t all inherit every single gene from both of your parents.

    And I hate to tell it to you, but sometimes adoptions and stuff occurred that are not documented. We have a paper trail for one of my great great great great grandfathers that went back to a very prominent family along with family stories and his DNA should have been British Isles. Well when the Y chromosome test was done, it was Native American. For descendants of all of his male children. Apparently he was adopted and the only other source we have for that information was a great great aunt that whispered to someone one time that we were secretly Cherokee. The only thing we can guess is he was hiding out from the Trail of Tears and they adopted him. Likewise, another prominent family that we have well documented had a son come back Native American on a DNA test. Don’t know if the momma got pregnant by an Indian or if that son was an Indian that was adopted. Just know that all male descendants of that son test as Native American DNA whereas descendants of the other son test as European as we expected.

    So what I am saying, sometimes you can have documents that say one thing and maybe they just aren’t right. There are things we don’t know. And also, just because you great great great great grandaddy came over from Ireland doesn’t mean that you have Irish DNA. Heck it doesn’t even mean he was Irish. I have two family members who migrated from France that were ethnically Swiss and Scottish.

    Not that I am defending the ancestry.com test, I have no idea if it is right. But i see a lot of people complaining that don’t see to fully grasp how DNA works.

  40. I am definitely defending the AncestryDNA test.

    First, did any respondents complaining about Central European ancestry actually READ the section about where their Central European heritage came from? Celtic people (hello, folks who are pissed their Irish background didn’t show up under British Isles?) initially came from Central Europe.

    Second, Europe is not that large. Just like how 150 years ago our American ancestors moved from state to state without cars, our European ancestors moved around from state-sized country to state-sized country (and sometimes the borders moved over THEM) just as easily. Identifying them by the country they emigrated from is not as useful here as you like to believe.

    Finally, the cousin matching confused me at first. How could I have a second cousin who shared NONE of the surnames in my family tree? Then I remembered that family legend about my great-grandfather not being my real great-grandfather because his wife was a chronic cheater. Lo and behold, the alleged other man? This second cousin’s great-uncle. I looked at their family photos, and now I see why I’m so light-skinned even though my dad is brown-skinned – his biological father, also African-American, was blond and blue-eyed, and has the same exact facial features as my grandfather. I have since contacted my cousin, and added their family tree to mine on Ancestry.com – something I couldn’t have done if I used another test.

    So yes, I would recommend this test to everyone. I’m looking forward to its results becoming even more refined.

  41. I received my AncestryDna kit about 4 weeks ago and got me results a week ago. I was very excited because I had never experienced anything like this before. So today I decided to do more research on the transatlantic slave trade and realized that eastern europe didn’t really have anything to do with it. (Seeing that my results came back 80% west African 11% eastern europe and 9% unknown.) Only spain, british, portugal, and french. I am confused I am going to definitely try 23andme and genebase next they seem very promising. The excitement is gone now especially knowning what I know now. Someone said it seems that Ancestry threw darts at a map and that’s what it seemed like.

  42. I discovered this site while seeking information about how reliable the DNA test results would be. At this point I think I will wait until the test has been improved. After reading many of the comments from the people who have tried the testing, I am hesitant about trying it.

    A comment which was made by #34 Mr. Thomas referring to lies told, should be taken into consideration. There were other lies which were told to cover up the fact that some ethnic groups pretended to be Caucasians in order to avoid discrimination. This included American Indians, African Americans and possibly others. I know within my own family there are some untold stories.

    The multiple array of complexions are there verifying our African ancestry and European ancestry when we gather for family reunions. Sometimes the characteristics skip a generation and surfaces later in a family. I have seen this in my own family.

    Good luck to all who are in search of the truth.

  43. I found it interesting to read all the varied responses since this article was first written.

    For those whom are upset at Ancestry ‘not proving’ their family history or ‘stories’ is kind of funny. We – NONE of us! – know where we came from. GGGGrandma may have been involved with one man, and married another to raise said child with. This did happen all the time. Human nature is what it is. And most genealogists acknowledge that there are at least several NPE’s in each family lineage.

    Another interesting item is how people believe ‘paper genealogy’ must follow their ‘genetic genealogy’ – not so. My paternal grandfathers parents came from Denmark. One would assume they are of danish heritage. But the reality of it is, their parents may have come from any of the surrounding areas, settling there. My mothers father came from Norway, and on paper, I have some (those whom I was lucky enough to find birth/marriage/death records for) lines out to the 1600s. My genetic results show 83% British Isles. Oxford just released their completed (yet ongoing!) study within that area show they – the British Isles – are the original melting pot long before America was called that. Also, only those with Welsh (showing Welsh specifically) can ascertain that they are ‘truly’ from the area, as they tended to stay IN their geographic area and marry similar.

    I show Finnish/Volga-Ural (13%) as my other major component. But knowing that my paternal grandmother comes from english and german/polish areas, how can it be I have no european heritage showing as well? well either my father didn’t get enough of that marker from his mother, or I didn’t get it from him. Who knows! and the reality is: we do not know where our most earliest ancestor came from, only where they traveled to, and the point is, its a crapshoot as to what our ancestors passed down to their children, and than what each generation got. When I read up on the history of the Finnish/Volga area using many MANY sources, the people originally IN that area were squeezed out by warring tribes, and moved to other areas, perhaps Norway? perhaps Denmark? some say those in that area are the original vikings, so that could be MY missing scandanavian marker I would have thought I would see. Another study came out where a man is doing his own admixture testing, and finds that many AmeriaIndians share Finnish/Volga-Ural percentages as well (and they show asian too), so is that the origin of where, what we consider our Native Americans, are from? traveled through? had children with?

    This is also another reason why Ancestry says for a more rounded connection, have siblings tested (my fraternal twin got genes I did not for instance) and first cousins. My son shows up as a probable parent/child match (proving that I did bring home the correct child, much to his chagrin *smile*) yet his genetic ethnicity shows Scandanavian (42%), British Isles (15%), Finnish-VolgaUral (17%) and Central European (26%) – his father is sicilian (on paper, I have them traced using church baptism/marriage/death records) and polish (have traced in the same way) – an unknown is his paternal grandpas birth mother: did NOT know until I obtained the birth certificate that the woman named is NOT the woman I have on paper. Because I want ‘records’ in my family files to prove/disprove, that $20 but saved me years in tracing someone whom is not biologically the mother and this other woman was NEVER mentioned in the family. Did I expect it? Nope! after all, I had a copy of the marriage record and just thought: ah.. they married AFTER the baby was born (happened a LOT) still happens! have I told them I know? of course not, but it does not matter since I am doing this family history for MY grandchildren, as well as my own children.

    And as an aside to those who claim to be of some certain tribe? unless your ancestor was ON the Rolls, you truly have no claim. And a blood test will NOT allow you in to the tribe as well. My own maternal grandmother shared stories with my mother of having native indian within (they lived in Oklahoma before/during it becoming a state, than moved to Seattle where they all remained, until my mother first left the area in the 1940s). They ALL did that, those that lived in heavily Native American reservation areas especially did so. It became something exotic to claim as they moved from the area. That said, many whom lived on the east coast, in New York area/territory, probably do have some. I am one of the doubters in regards to family lore about a Princess marrying in as thanks for the family helping the Indians in the area to fight back against the british. The grave is there, but we cannot prove it on paper, so consider it family lore.

    Now to go to my own father in law, I am the one that found his bastardy deed. Try bringing THAT up at the family dinner table! his mother married another man, so there too, a very current NPE break and now I am tracing his bloodline lineage. And he now has 6 new siblings that he has got to meet (all parents whom could have hurt feelings are deceased, but there are still hurt feelings why no one knew of each other growing up but that is life even as of 1932!)

    So do not think for one minute that these are the ONLY occurences in the whole country, for I can assure you they were not! and to bash on Ancestry, whom uses Sorensons database as well as every one that is contributing to the BETA testing (this is BETA and what that means, we are in the process of history folks!) – is just unreasonable. At no time did they make the promise of giving out raw data, but it is hoped they will soon, as they indicate they will be sharing it at some point.

  44. Very unhappy with my recent Ancestry DNA results. The promotional literature clearly shows the raw data markers. This is not available in my results. Great grandfather was born in Germany however shows only British Isles. If only paternal line is what results are based on then understandable. They could easily admit that. Compared to other DNA testing this was a big disappointment. Had hoped with their data base they would blow others out of the water, instead we see only a very small drip. Sad.

  45. I would say, just as ancestry is saying it is in the Beta Testing stages. Which means, it might not be accurate.
    It did connect me with a second cousin on my mother’s side, who I did not know was on ancestry. I am 100% sure we are related as I know her father.
    However, I got a really strong British Isle percentage…could this be because ancestry has more US and British Isle documents available..therefore a lot of test subjects maybe of that descent.
    I am 1/2 Italian, my second cousin is she thought 100% Italian, but was told she was European Jewish 37% (maybe from the Spanish Expulsion in the 1500′s?). Then I know guy named Ira, whose father’s side was 100% Jewish and he had no European or Jewish of any percentage. Doesn’t that seem a little fishy.
    I think that with the exception of people who are a match, like my second cousin who was a 99% positive relation, it is going to be a while before they get this thing going. They even said watch for changes.
    That is why they call it Beta testing.

  46. This is a scam… I am a 42 yr old woman, my step father got me the kit. We do know for a fact that my bio father and family was 100% american indian. I have dark hair, dark eyes. The test confirms that I am 92% scandinavian! HUH!? And, it puts my mother and my mothers family not even related. No I am not adopted!LOL Even with the info my step fahter put in the system, we are not related!

  47. Reading many of the complaints regarding the AncestryDNA test…I’ve gotta wonder why so many who claim almost intimate knowledge of their roots for hundreds of years would even need DNa testing?
    It’s silly to assume that anyone short of maybe a royal family would have really detailed, first person quality info that would be passed down to them.
    The idea that we could be confident of any and all ancestors would be forthcoming and accurate with regard to “genetic aberrations” is preposterous.
    Again. you gotta wonder why they even felt the need for DNA.

  48. People!! Please think a bit.
    These tests are early in the game of DNA research for genealogy and we are fortunate to have them. You really need to ‘not’ compare family home towns, cities and countries. Grandpa’s villiage of origin is not the point.

    We’re really looking at genetic origins, migrations, wars, your original tribe, commerse, genocide, inter-marriages, etc. etc.

    Regards and keep looking!

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