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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

146 Comments

  1. I just received my AncestryDNA test results and I can say that I feel like I just threw $99 out the window of my car. All they told me was that I have 98% match to central Europe. There was nothing about the British Isle. My Great Grandfather on my dads side of the family came from Ireland and my Great Grandfather on my mothers side came over from Scotland. No I am not adopted and yes I think this test is not accurate. I would not advise anyone to spend a dime on this test.

  2. Purchased the paternal test and results came back as HAPLOGROUP Q. Ancestry.com did not give any matches or ethnic map. I guess I should be ticked off and request my money back, but since I am new to this I will do more research. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Thanks,

    Andre

  3. My parents are from the Philippines and I was told by relatives that there is some Spanish in our family history. However, all historical records from both my parents was lost forever when their city hall burned down in WWII. I am curious to see if there really is Spanish in my ancestry. I see a lot of negative reviews on ancestry.com’s DNA testing. Does anyone recommend a GOOD DNA test site? Thanks!

  4. 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.

  5. I think that an angle that people are forgetting when it comes to their ancestry is that regardless of what marriage, birth, death certificates, immigration papers, etc say — affairs happen, secret romances happen, secret adoptions happen (between family members to hide an illegitimate child, a pregnancy, rape, incest, etc). How is one to know if a known relative had a relationship with, for example, a “slave” or a servant of some kind? As well, infidelity certainly wasn’t unheard of in the 1600/1700/1800/1900′s. So all your relatives, on paper, trace to the British Isles? And??? That means nothing given a relative’s propensity to migrate to find work, food, shelter, etc. The truth is – you may never know the truth. I would tend to rely more on genetic testing for proof of your roots than what is written on paper by a human being. I’m looking to find a DNA test for our adopted daughter who, at 18, is often asked what her nationality is (Central American)… and for her family tree… or history of medical disease, etc. We’ll go through a doctor for the latter test, however, for what blood runs through her veins – I find these genetic tests to be fascinating, and they will at least provide SOMETHING for her to identify with. “Who Am I?” is at the core of every adopted child….

  6. My husband tok the Ancestry DNA test. Based on his results, we think the test is unreliable. It came back 86% British Isles, 8% Central European, and 6% other. His Paternal grandparents came to the US from Ireland. Their parents were also Irish. His maternal grandparents came from Germany. His maternal great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were also born in Germany. We have documentation of all of this. We are not scientists so perhaps we are not understanding the results: logically it seems the central European would be higher. Can you recommend a test that has a higher reliability rating than the Ancestry test? I would also like to take one but am hesitant to purchase another Ancestry test.

    • Read the history of each country that is highlighted in your husbands dna chart then it will all be clear to you.

  7. Just got my results back from ancestry DNA and I am stumped. As far back as I can tell from the family tree I am British Isles (Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish – I have them all). So I was a little surprised to be told I am 96% Scandinavian and 4% unknown.

    Ok, maybe I am a Viking invader. But the confusion grew when I looked at the found relatives. A 4th cousin that I was already talking to on ancestry about our common genealogical ancestors also showed up as a close genetic match (4th cousin, I believe). She is apparently 97% British Isles. How do I square my being genetically almost pure Scandinavian, yet have a “close” relative who is almost pure British Isles? Are the two groups interchangeable? Am I a victim of a typo?

    Any thoughts? I was expecting a large percentage British but this is perplexing.

  8. My sister and I both have done the ancestry DNA tests and are puzzled by the results regarding our ethnic origin. For example she shows a high percentage British Isles, I show none and I show high percent Scandinavian she shows none. When we look at the results it is hard to believe that we came from the same two parents much less share ancestory. Are you able to help us understand these results. It does show us in the 99% match immediate family match. Thanks in advance for any help understanding, Rick

  9. I received the results of my DNA test from Ancestry and was satisfied with the results. Through extensive research dating back almost a thousand years on my mother’s side and going back almost that far on my father’s side, I knew that my ethnicity was pretty much Scandinavian; this test showed that I am 86% Scandinavian and 14% Southern European. I agree with Tarah that people just do not understand how DNA works; it really is amusing to see how riled up people get about not hearing what they think their ethnicity should be or what they want it to be; and remember, this type of study is still in it’s early stages. As it evolves so will the results!

  10. Reading these comments was extremely painful. Most of you obviously have no idea how it works! Your family could have lived in England for 500 years but have been of Scandinavian decent from viking raids/settlers.

    This test is not available in my country but I anxiously await.

  11. I know that from reading the comments on here that some people are still confused and some people are a bit rude and think they know it all.
    Well, I have a question that has been bothering me.
    According to my DNA I am 60% Central European, 30% Scandinavian, 7% southern European and 3% unknown.
    I am English so I get that my DNA comes from all the people that inhabited the British Isles over the centuries. My family has been living in England for at least the early 1700′s that is documented. I have no Irish, Welsh or even Scottish ancestors in my direct ancestors. I know that some people talk about infidelity, adoptions etc but I can correctly assume that even if there are anomalies in my tree, they are English anomolies. My ancestors were farmers and miners who didn’t even leave their county never mind the country.
    Based on that assumption, why do I have no British Isles DNA while some people that have been living in America, of mixed descent, have British Isles DNA at all?
    If we are to make the statement that the people from the British Isles were all from somewhere else originally incl Vikings, Romans, Normans and Saxons, then why does anyone have British Isles DNA at all.
    My closest matches on Ancestry are American people and have a percent of British DNA but I have none. I was born in England and theses matches might have had relatives that emigrated in the 1800′s.
    I think that maybe they don’t have enough markers that is specific enough at this point to say where in Northern Europe, I think that as more people get tested it will get sorted out.
    Simon D, above, is kind of in the same boat. We are not arguing about our results but just want more info as to why our british ancestry does not show up but others who have relatives in Britian from multiple generations ago, have sometimes over 50%.
    Can you really say that over 6 or 7 generations I only inherited Viking, Roman, Saxon or Norman DNA not none of the British DNA that surely must be in my family?
    I’m not looking for an argument, just some ideas.

  12. People, you need to remember this type of DNA test is done by autosomal dna. This is what you inherit from ancestors on all sides. Remember, you MAY NOT inherit markers/dna from some ancestors. If your great great grandmother was supposedly a “native American princess” it may still be true, you just may not have inhereted any markers from her. What atdna markers you inherit is a crap shoot and a sibling may take this test and have a different random set of atdna markers than you. Remember your basic Mendelian genetics taught in high school biology. For those with ancestry from the British isles unhappy with their results, read a book about the history of Britain sometime. Britain has been settled since the last ice age by celts, Neolithic peoples, Scandinvians(which have Finns mixed in) mainland German, dutch, French,(which many of which were of Viking origin), Romans(which were Italian, Greek, turk, Slavic, north African, Semites, etc.) gypsies, and so on…..don’t just blame the test if you dont understand what it is doing. The atdna tests take your current genome mixture and compare your markers to population test groups from a few tested areas in the world, this is still evolving science and will improve over time. There was a lot of population movement and mixing long before current national borders were established, read a book, educate yourself before blaming the tests or company.

  13. @ #63, Charles – Bravo! You hit the nail on the head.
    I did receive results from ancestry.com that were slightly unexpected but not surprising. On paper, I’m 75% Italian(half Sicilian), and 25% Belarusian. My results came back 44% Eastern European(Belarus and…probable Greek contributions with Sicilian), 31% Central European(most likely from Norman lineage through the occupation of Southern Italy, and Sicily), and the rest taken up from Middle eastern ,Persian, and Turkish. Anyone who has read Greek history knows about the supposed Trojan Wars and that the supposed survivors fled to Sicily as the Elymians. Add in the trade routes of the Phoenicians, and the occupation of Sicily by the Arabs before the Normans – it starts to make sense. Dominant genes will usually carry through several generations. I noticed how people of African decent that posted on here seemed generally ok with their results. Dominant genes!
    Now, if my sister takes the DNA kit test, chances are that it willbe very different than mine. Firstly, due to the DNA randomization, which will only match around 50%. Secondly, due to the analyst reading the data.
    Just because my grandparents, great grandparents, etc. were born somewhere doesn’t mean that I’m going to have that haplotype carried in my unique makeup. They are looking at your data, and comparing it to the samplings of gene data that they have. This is how they “predict” where your ancestry pooling is from. Will this get more accurate over time? Undoubtedly.
    Be patient, have fun, and actively read and research to try to figure it out.

  14. I recently received my AncestryDNA results, 81% West African, 8% Central European and 11% Uncertain. Somewhat surprised with the Central European, I was expecting Irish, yet Ancestry provided brief literature about the Celtic migration. I was hoping for confirmation of what I already knew. Lol I now I am African-American, some European and I had heard rumors of another race but I was UNCERTAIN about the validity. I think I will embark on another (cheaper) company to compare results

  15. I recently received my Ancestry.comDNA results and was shocked to fin that I was 99% Scandinavian. How is it possible for any single human being to be 99% anything? Is it possible? This is a great blog by the way.

  16. Got my results and they are very, very good. Many posters seem to be ignoring the difference between ethnicity and nationality. You must forget about national borders or recent history. Are you Irish? English? Scottish? French? German? Russian? Any of these could show up as Scandinavian in this test. You may have an ancestor who migrated from Russia. And that could make you German, not Russian since there are many ethnic Germans living in Russia. My results are all explainable when you take historical migrations into account. I am very satisfied with this test.

  17. Like many have posted, I received my Ancestry DNA results and was a little surprised to find that I had 13% Southern European ethnicity and no Central European ethnicity. To date I have found no ancestors from Spain, Portugal or Italy (Southern European grouping) in my family research. My paternal grandmother’s linage is almost entirely French, but my results showed no Central European ancestry, which I assume would include France. Ancestry.com says that the results could go back hundreds or even thousands of years. Could that be why many of us who’ve commented here have found discrepancies between our DNA testing and our trees? My other ethnicities were British Isles 67% and Scandinavian 13%. No big surprise there, but I am wondering where all of my french people came from! So far I have 57 pages of DNA matches ranging from 98% (two 3rd-4th cousins) all the way to 5th-8th cousins with very low percentage of confidence. There are thus far twelve people with whom I share a direct ancestor from 3rd great grandparents to 7th great grandparents, and I’ve only made it through 5 of the 57 pages. By the way, most of my direct ancestor matches came from my french line, so I’m very interested in understanding the impact of migration and conquest as it relates to Ancestry.com’s DNA ethnicity results.

  18. I should have read all of the post before I posted. C. Rice from England, it is weird that you have no British Isles ethnicity, and your question that, ” If we are to make the statement that the people from the British Isles were all from somewhere else originally incl Vikings, Romans, Normans and Saxons, then why does anyone have British Isles DNA at all?” is a good one! As an American I would think that you guys across the pond would have an easier time identifying your ethnicity and researching your tree, since you don’t have to deal with documenting immigration, etc., but I guess I was wrong! Good luck to you with your research! Also, thanks to the folks who posted after C. Rice. Those explanations do help to some degree:-)

  19. I am very happy with my results. 62% Southern European, 13% Central European, 9% Eastern European and 6% East African. I was just in Spain where I uncovered previous unknown relatives in the Galicia area who had a handwritten family tree that matched mine except to my gggrandparent (it was his sister’s family tree). My 6% East African is explained by the fact that on the 1880 census, my GGgrandmother is listed as a mulatoo. She immigrated from Cuba (possible decendent of a slave taken to Cuba). This was a well know fact in my family. I recommend this test. Looking forward to the database growing and learning more about my decendents.

  20. I’m agreeing with some of the reviews here. As I wrote to my dad, we need to get the “1%” checked. Also, “Monka” (Monkova) is exclusively Jewish in Eastern Europe, and there are definitely problems with Ancestry.com and AncestryDNA. Since when was January 9, 2013 to January 19, 2013 “in the next 6-8 weeks”? 10 days is not 6-8 weeks. Also, since when is Eastern Europe “Poland, Greece, Macedonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Moldova, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Belgarus, Kosovo”? What the heck is “Belgarus”, anyway? And Greece is not a part of Eastern Europe. Nor are the Balkans.

    At least the “1%” gives us something to go on.They also did not account for any possible Khazarate/Ashkenazic Levite Y-DNA. They also said, “Your genetic ethnicity reveals where your ancestors lived hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of years ago. This may update over time as new genetic signatures are discovered”. That’s very discomforting.

    There are also issues that I may not have covered.

    As I e-mailed my dad:

    Eastern European 99%Uncertain 1%

    We have to check what the 1% is and get it double checked.

  21. I have sent two samples and am told not enough dan sample. What gives? Now they are sending me the third.

  22. I got my DNA results back and it confirmed that my step father was truly my biological father. Had previously did a siblingship test with step fathers known child and results were 99.79% we were full not half sibs. Mother was same for both sibs and still denies the coverup. Ancestry DNA very first match was to a 2nd cousin (99% confidence) whose grandfather was brother to who I knew as my step grandmother. I had never met this 2nd cousin and he live across the country from me. I have many other matches to my step father’s (biological) family line and to my mothers family line with 96% confidence. I think it was $100.00 well spent!

  23. I am confused. I’m black and have been searching my ancestry for about 2 years now. It’s very sketchy to say the least because a lot of black families either don’t know pertinent information or they don’t share it, but my ancestry.com dna test results just came back and I’m 63 percent west african, 23 percent Scandinavian, and 14 percent unknown. That is soooo confusing. What could it mean? Any advice anybody?

  24. Sorry…. I guess I should elaborate. I’m really surprised about the Scandinavian information. I know on fathers side one g-g grandparent was Irish, but nobody is sure about the great grandparent on my moms side. We know he was Caucasian, but there was no contact whatsoever with him, so nobody really knew what he was or who he was.

    The family says they thought he was supposed to be Italian, but the other half thinks he was Russian Jewish. I’m leaning towards the Russian guy because my moms family looks like they could have Asian ancestry. Very high cheek bones and slanted almond eyes. Very prominent trait. The confusion though is with the 14 percent unknown! What the heck?! That’s pretty high for an unknown isn’t it??

  25. Your “UNCERTAIN” dna is more then likely Neanderthal dna. You have a higher percentage of Neanderthal dna then most Europeans.

  26. I have not done a DNA test as of yet all I would like to do is connect with someone with my surname related to my family line that might have more family information further back to break through a brick wall can a DNA test do that I also have seen prices go up on DNA tests why so expensive to have them tell you that you are of European descent chances are everyone in America has that why is everyone so shocked.

  27. Let me join the rant about how useless the ancestry.com DNA test was. Here’s what I got for my money: My ancestry is 50% Scandivanian and 50% Central European with a high level analysis of what that means. I also get weekly emails telling me that there are people who could be my cousins.

    However, I have a detailed and sourced family history on all branches of my family, including extended families. I have been working on it nearly full time for over 30 years, having traveled extensively to the places where my ancestors lived in order to do the research. I go back into the 1700s for almost all branches, back to the 1600s for most branches, and back into the 1500s and further, for many branches. All of my father’s ancestors came from the central part of Europe (Switzerland, Germany, and France). This could account for my DNA results of 50% Central European. However, my mother is almost all English with a little Welsh. Her father was 100% English, both his parents being from there. I’ve spent over two years in Kent researching and not a single line (of the 100+) has a surname with a Scandinavian origin. Her mother comes from old American families having on her mother’s side, come from Plymouth Colony families, and on her father’s side, from early Philadelphia Quakers, coming over with William Penn. These Quakers were from England with a few Welsh lines.

    So, how I can be 50% Scandinavian? The probability that all of my 100+ English families originated in Scandinavia or that none of my British ancestry was passed down to me, is miniscule. The only other possible way would be if my mother is not really my mother which would mean my siblings and other relatives at my birth were mistaken that I came out; that I was switched at birth with another baby; or that my mother was not born to her parents, even though she too had other family members around when she born and looks just like her English father.

    Finally, I have been notified of many people who are my cousins with a high probability. I have yet to find a common family name among any of them. Not only that, some of the people are 100% British Isles, yet they are supposed to be related to somebody who is 50% Central European and 50% Scandinavian!

    I called their customer service and insisted that they run my test again, which they say they did and got back the same result. They then suggested that I pay to have another test done. It was tempting, but then I realized that even if it did come back 50% British Isles, so what? It still doesn’t tell me much.

    What I really wanted to know was approximately where my paternal line came from in Switzerland. I spent a year in the archives of Strasbourg, France because they had immigrated to America from Alsace. I traced them back to the end of the 30 Years War (1648) and discovered that at that time the area had been decimated by the war and the duke had people from Switzerland brought up to repopulate the area, and my family was among those who went.
    This test was far from telling me that, and if anything, I think their objective is to get me to put my family tree on-line which is not on ancestry.com or anywhere else for that matter. They suggested I put it there so cousins could find me. (Just call me paranoid, but I think they really want my extensive family tree on-line so they can baptize them all into Mormon heaven.)

    Anyway, are there any tests out there which might tell me the part of Switzerland where my paternal line came from? Thanks

  28. Ron, you are one of many who have this concern about British DNA not being shown.
    Another page, thegeneticgenealogist.com also has many people with these concerns.
    I am English, all of my ancestors back to the 1700′s are 100% English and I have no British DNA.
    All I can say is that they are having issues differentiating British DNA with the European and Scandinavian DNA. I am hoping that as more people get tested the results will get more accurate.
    It’s weird as all of my supposed connections are all Americans with British DNA. Is that because most of the people that have been tested are American. I live in the US but was born in England and have no British DNA.
    So, you are not alone.

  29. I agree with Ron Miller about AncestryDNA, except my family tree has my father’s side (maternal & paternal) being 100% Danish (tracing back to poor farmers in the 1600′s) and my mother’s father side (both maternal & paternal) 100% Norwegian (traced back to poor farmers in the 1600′s as well) but her mother was adopted. So there is a ’25%’ unknown there.
    When I got the test back, my pie cart (that’s all you get) had me at 95% from the British Isles and 5% unknown. I do NOT believe those numbers can be correct. Removing the adoption factor, I should have more Scandinavian than that. Being that part of my father’s side is from southern Denmark, I was expecting some German markers to pop up. Not so.
    Now, I keep getting those pesky emails telling me that they have found possible cousin matches based on my false (INHO) 95%. When I know my distant cousins were born/died in either Denmark or Norway. No matching surnames – nothing but a pie chart in common. What a waste.
    When I called to complain, they said they would run the test again. Weeks later, I had to call back to see if they had (no email notifications – bad customer service) and they had and the results were the same. When I asked if they could do another since I still feel the numbers were too far off, they said they would but it would cost the full rate. All I got was their script on how this goes back thousands and thousands of years and that’s why the results are not what I thought. And that they do NOT make any mistakes, i.e. my test could not have been mixed up with another, etc.
    Anyway, I am NOT happy with my pie cart and would like to find a better company to try and compair. I wish I had seen this before I took the test and all the issues with Scandinavian/British Isles results. This time I think I would like to see about one for my mother’s side and one for my father’s, just to see.

  30. I have enjoyed doing my DNA test with Ancestry. So I decided to have one of my sons take the test as well so that I could work on his fathers side of the family (note his father is not in our lives). I was wondering if I have my other son take the DNA test will the results be the same? or would they be different? I would really like to know the answer if I need to order a test for my other son.
    Can’t wait to hear the answer.

  31. Aloha,

    I took the ancestry.com DNA test in December 2012 and like many others here I too was disappointed. I took the test originally to find out if I was part Native American like I had been told by our faily elders over the years. My results came back without that included but showed a 5% uncertainty. I called to have a conversation with them and there customer service lad was very helpful and polite. She advised that just because the results didn’t show Native American it didn’t mean that I wasn’t. She explained how even though you receive 50% of your DNA from each parent it doesn’t mean you receive 50% of there total makeup. If your parent is 25%italian, 25% German, 25% Scottish and 25%native American. You may only receive your 50% from two of those so your DNA will not sho the other two. Who knew that was the case. About most of y’all don’t. So that may be why a lot of y’all are unhappy with ancestry.com.

  32. Hi i did a test with 23&&me and it was way off. It was as if my test got mixed up with someone else.I heard allot of complaints on their forum. Europeans there were told that they are Hispanic and etc.I heard of many people who had their test mixed up with someone else test. I heard that no test on earth can really tell someone’s full race.I want to try DNA tribes because they do more samples and their testing method is better…

  33. Bob-I heard something about that too.i forgot what it is called but it can contribute to looks which is why it can cause a mixed person look like one parent.even parents might not receive a total makeup from both of their parents and so on.because of that it can make these tests be useless.i heard some scientists say just ask parents about our background and do the math and forget about these tests.it was so funny when i read an article about a european lady being told by one dna place that she is asian(like chinese) and no matter what she said they’ll still believe in their work…

  34. Interesting review. I had no idea Ancestry had created a similar test to 23andme.

    Since the price drop on 23andme I’ve been strongly considering giving it a try. Makes it feel like there’s a lot less at stake with the lower price.

  35. Agreed #63 and # 64. I have been doing alot of research on the history of where people went who concord who, dispersions, even the lost tribes of israel were scattered northward and went different places from there even! same with all other nationalities and so on. Everyone is so mixed with each other, so your right somethings show up and some dont! The autosomal is a crap shoot and one sib can get something dif from another (even when you know you are fully related) or you KNOW your of a certain nationality but it may not show up yet another nationality you knew you had as well will show up! its true people need to research on top of all this to understand how much us humans have intermingled with each and how many centuries we go back and all the places our ancestors traveled!

  36. I am glad to hear the comments here regarding ancestry.com. I agree there could be some historical significance playing a part in the results that they result. However there has been a noticeable slide in their product since they were sold. Basically the results (matching) that I have seen from the DNA product plainly makes no sense since the sale of the company took place. Also their customer service for the product is horrible. The site went down in January and I called to check on the status and the customer support person said they had no reports of this but when he went into my account he said oh I see it is down I will report it. They have no idea when their site goes down – that is plain silly! I will say that the product was a great idea from the start however for my purposes I have decided a second opinion is in order as I no longer have confidence in the product.

  37. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

    I have just sent away for my free kit. But think I will just bin it. After reading all these reviews, I must add I phone this morning before I read all this to speak to someone. To make sure I asked for the correct test. Well such an arrogant man who was clearly not a peoples person answered the phone. 01273227544 Told me to read the info on the website its all there.
    I told him he is rude and should not be doing that job. Its after that that I thought I would do a bit of searching .

    Oh well looks like I will have to be happy with what I know
    Trish

  38. #96 Patricia- how did you send away for a free kit? I’ve been a member on ancestry.com since 1999 and I just ordered mine last week and with a discount + shipping I paid $150 US. I got the test quickly and sent it off this morning, but I’d be a little disappointed if I could have gotten the test for free, especially since apparently it is still in “Beta”.

    If there are still free tests, I’d love to have my wife take one, and some friends of ours whose father passed away (he was adopted).

  39. Try to keep this in mind…..humans have been walking the earth for a long time (50,000 years since we started using tools and even longer than that) so knowing your geneology for 400 years or 16 generations (as was stated by previous persons) does not even begin to scratch the surface. Im sure it will take time for the “brainiacs” to get it together. :)

  40. As a professional statistician, I understand roughly how the analysis must work, even without seeing the particulars. I’m prepared to be patient while they build their accuracy.

    However, there was material on their website that indicated we would receive the mtdna (for everyone) and y-dna (for males) haplotypes in addition to the “ethnicity” reports. That hasn’t happened, and Ancestry is not responding to inquiries about it. From what I’ve read above, they may not intend to provide it.

    That’s fraud, even if the sales price was good. If I don’t hear anything from them fairly soon — at least to say they are working on it — I will likely pull my tree down and move my geneological research elsewhere.

  41. I did not know what to expect with ancestryDNA, and so far I am not disappointed. Of course I wish the matches were easier to find, but it’s great when you see something familiar, work on it, and find a possibility. I received many more matches than the reviews I read. I received 5 matches with hints….matches worked out already (although one did not have a leaf,but showed up when I happened to click on the match). In one of those we matched through two different lines. I do think the program is a bit cumbersome. A genealogy cousin and i tried to work on this together, but when asked do you have xyz, I’d have to look through 58 pages of matches. My cohort did find a way to print out his matches alphbetically and emailed them to me. I’m not that computer savvy so can’t do the same. I’ve talked with ancestry about some issues. They are most receptive to changing the program and are in the process of working on some of these things. It’s too early to give up. I’m encouraged. This is a major undertaking. We are at the cusp of an awakening. Give it a chance. I do find it frustrating to not have access to matches who have locked their trees. I also think we need a better understanding of DNA and where our ethnicity comes from before we get started. I matched with a person who is 100% Scandinavian. I suspected that I had some Scandinavian blood in me, and through reading about ethnicity, it can come through other countries. I have French in my ancestry which shows up. Normans came down to France 1000 years ago. That may be where part of mine came from. Also when you read about the history of migrations, that could provide more hints. Again, it’s too soon to give up. Hang on a little longer. I know people who went through other companies. There are frustrations with all of it. I do think the companies need to provide more inservice to us prior to us just diving in. And keep in mind that all companies want you to think that they are the best.

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