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Problems with AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction?

I’ve received a number of emails and comments (see, e.g., here) complaining about Ancestry.com’s new test, AncestryDNA.  Specifically, several test-takers believe that the Genetic Ethnicity Prediction provided by Ancestry.com does not reflect the numbers that they expected based on their own research.

For example:

“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?”

“Just received my results: 21% Southern European and 79% Central European which doesn’t follow years of work on my family history.”

Do these comments reflect errors in AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction, or are there other factors at play?

Caveats

Although I am not privy to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ at Ancestry.com, I don’t believe that there are serious issues with AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction.  Ancestry.com’s DNA arm has a solid scientific team and a large and valuable reference database.

Indeed, Ancestry.com is well aware of the limitations and challenges that their Genetic Ethnicity Prediction brings:

We use cutting-edge science as a base for our predictions, but that comes with its own inherent challenges. It’s an emerging field with exciting new discoveries and developments constantly changing the landscape. Right now, your genetic ethnicity may not look quite right, with some ethnicities under or over-represented. As scientists gain a deeper understanding of the data, our prediction models will evolve to provide you with more accurate and relevant information about your family history.

It’s important to understand that biogeographical estimates, which are still relatively new, are notoriously difficult and complicated.  Ten different researchers analyzing the same genome can come up with ten different estimates based on a number of different factors, including their algorithm, the reference populations used for comparison, and many others.

Here are just a few factors that can influence a biogeographical estimate, and any one or more of these may be the reason that your Genetic Ethnicity Prediction does not match estimates you make based on your paper trail.

  • Different Reference Populations and Algorithms

As I suggested above, different companies use different reference populations and algorithms to create a biogeographical estimate, which can result in varying estimates.

For example, in my previous review of AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction, I compared my genetic ethnicity results from three companies (Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and FTDNA), and found that their results varied considerably.  I’m not surprised by this, but I do expect that over time – as the industry arrives at more standard reference populations and algorithms (which the cheap whole-genome sequencing revolution will enable) – that estimates from different companies will align much more closely.  Be patient and enjoy being a pioneer.

  • You Have TWO Family Trees!

Remember that “Everyone Has Two Family Trees – A Genealogical Tree and a Genetic Tree.” Your Genealogical Tree is the tree containing ALL of your ancestors.  However, only a tiny subset of these individuals actually (randomly) contributed DNA to the genome that you walk around with today.  These ancestors are the only individuals in your Genetic Tree.  It has been estimated, for example, that at 10 generations, only about 10-12% of ancestors in your Genealogical Tree are actually in your Genetic Tree!

Accordingly, even if a decent percentage of your ancestors at 10 generations originated in the British Isles, there is possibility that your DNA – and thus your Genetic Ethnicity Prediction – could include very little or absolutely no British Isles ancestry, simply because of the rules of genetics.

Ancestry.com tries to explain this as well (I’m biased, but I think my “Everyone Has Two Trees” explanation is a little clearer; I’ve had great luck explaining this to newbies):

So if you look at your family tree, it may indicate a pedigree-based ethnicity of 30% English, 20% Scandinavian, and 50% Italian (based on birth locations of your great-great-great grandparents). While this is one valid way to look at ethnicity (and in fact has been the only way until recently), DNA analysis can reveal the actual percentage of your DNA that is reflected by these ethnic groups. So your genetic-based ethnicity might reveal you are 40% British Isles, 15% Scandinavian, and 45% Southern European. Both measures are accurate and informative—but they are measuring different things.

  • Misleading Labels

Another issue with any biogeographical estimate is the labels used to describe a population.  For example, what does “Scandinavian” or “Central European” really mean?  Does “Scandinavian” mean that great-grandpa must have been a Swede, or does it mean something else?

Ancestry.com defines the “Scandinavian” with the modern day locations of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, but explains in their FAQ that it can mean much, much more:

Ethnic groups moved around. Because people move over time, (and when they do they take their DNA with them), a group may contribute DNA to other groups at different times. So ethnic groups can be defined by time and place—not just location. For example, if you have German or British ancestors in your family tree, it’s a possibility that your genetic ethnicity may be partly Scandinavian. The Viking invasions and conquests about a thousand years ago are likely responsible for occurrences of Scandinavian ethnicity throughout other regions. And there are similar examples for other ethnicities. With your results, we provide historical information describing migrations to and from the regions to give you a broader picture of the origins of your DNA.

Similarly, the “Central European” label is defined to include the enormous swath of land in Europe including the modern day locations of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.

I certainly don’t think of France as being “Central Europe,” which shows that a test-taker shouldn’t rely on the labels alone. Dig a little deeper.

  • Non-Paternal Events (NPEs)

I won’t dwell on non-paternal events, because I believe they have become too much of a scapegoat.  Non-paternal events, or NPEs, can be broadly defined as secret or unknown breaks in your Genealogical Tree (adoption, infidelity, etc.).  At some point every single Genealogical Tree has an NPE, although current estimates vary widely.  Consider the possibility of a break in your tree, but focus on the other factors presented here as the more likely explanation for your unexpected results.

Reviewing My Genetic Ethnicity Prediction

I have a fairly well-documented Genealogical Tree.  My documented ancestors were mostly from the British Isles (England and Ireland) and France, with far fewer ancestors from Germany, and Central America.  Years ago, based on my paper trail, I might have predicted 65% British Isles, 20% Irish, 15% French, and 5% German.

In light of the above, let’s review my AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity Prediction:

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

At first glance and without any of the knowledge above, these numbers seem way out of whack.  I don’t have a single document ancestor from Scandinavia or the area I think of as “Central Europe.”

However, when I learn that “Central Europe” includes France and Germany, a contribution of 12% “Central European” doesn’t seem far-fetched.  Further, considering that ancestry in the British Isles can include “Scandinavian” ancestors as a result of relatively recent Viking conquests (on a genetic timescale), perhaps the 78% Scandinavian isn’t so far-fetched either.

While I am still surprised that I don’t report any British Isles DNA, that could simply be because of difficulties in deciphering between Scandinavian and British Isles, or perhaps because of the random inheritance of DNA from those ancestors rather than others.

Lastly, where’s my confirmed Native American and African DNA?  Well, these percentages are rather small (­~ or <5% each) and I’m sure they’re contained within the “Uncertain” category.

In any event, I’m not discouraged by my results, and I fully expect my results to change over time.

Conclusions

Lastly, as Ancestry.com has warned, don’t forget that your results are subject to change with revisions of their algorithms and new discoveries.  And if Ancestry.com is dedicated to the best and latest results, your results almost certainly will and should change.

Your Turn

What are your percentages?  Do they match your expected percentages?  If you were unhappy with your AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity Prediction, does any of the above change your view?

Blaine Bettinger

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

88 Comments

  1. I got my results back and frankly they make no sense. I did my mother and myself. My father is 2nd generation and all his family is german and slovene, no question.
    1. My mothers results 66% scandinavian, 34% eastern european
    2. My results 50% eastern european, 15% german 35% british

    My results linked to someone within 3 miles of the town I had identified as my fathers home town, so no question of paternity. How is it then that my mothers putative ancestry is not British while mine is? This would seem to contradict the speculation about invaders and suggests an alternate possibility, that the identification is inaccurate.

    • Angles, Danes, Jutes, Goths (ancient), Burgundians who are people who migrated and settled much in Central Europe and Britain. What is one thing they have in common? They are all people from Scandinavian origin! Many people who have family from the British Isles also forget the Danes led a conquest to practically seize all of Eastern and Northern England (circa 830-1042 ending with Canute). There is a lot more Scandinavian influence in Britain than what many people really think and/or comfortable of. The Saxons were Germanic/Teutonic people whom shared much in common with their Cimbri cousins in the North in regards to and possible genetics. I read folks who claim central european origins who are coming up with Scandinavian may (theory) have been influenced by the Burgundians and Goths movement into Europe the very early years. This practically goes unnoticed.

    • How well established are the reference population families in the British Isles? I think there could be quite a problem with these families, or I just oddly ended up having a mere trace amount of my nearly exclusive British heritage. Most of my ancestors were of English/Welsh/Scottish variety (though the largest was English). A few ancestors were French, but none were Irish. My pedigrees are well established, and I have cousin matches to who I should, and many such matches. All of these matches are more British Isles than I am. How am I only 3% British Isles? How am I over 20% Irish? Is Irish really Irish, or is it Celtic? If not, when did the Irish move to Britain? Nearly all of my ancestors have been in North America since the early colonial period, so it must have been before then.

  2. A reply to ‘# 45 M.Martin’

    You wrote that you “feel like I’ve been given someone else’s test results!” since you got the results:
    “Ancestry Autosomal DNA test supposedly I am 70% Scandinavian, 23% Eastern European ( which I expected ), 6% Finnish, 1% Unknown.” and you have a documented British, German, Balto-Polish background.

    Well, I do not know about the accuracy of the test, but to me your results could actually make good sense (perhaps):
    The Baltic people have for thousands of years lived along side with the Finns so the Finnish admixture is no surprise. The high percentage Scandinavian genes may not be that strange since you describe your British forefathers originate from Yorkshire which is a area with very concentrated viking settlement. Viking from all areas of Scandinavia (even from the Eastern side o Scandinavia and in Stockholm there are rune-stones describing how explorers earned fortunes in England plus plenty of artifacts). The name York, furthermore, comes from the Scandinavian Jorevik and there is a huge museum in Central York where you can study the city’s Scandinavian heritage. Most Scandinavians outside the city settled down in areas with poorer agricultural conditions which the former Celtic and Germanic (i.e. older immigrant periods from Dutch-German-Scandinavian areas) immigrants had left uncultivated which can be studied in the village names of e.g. Yorkshire.

    Also during the age of tribal movements in Europe (circus 200-500 AD), several tribes moved from Scandinavia into today’s England, Finland, France (the Normans in Normandy), Germany, Ireland, Poland, Russia and Scotland among others. Furthermore the Baltic states have for many hundred years been under German and Scandinavian control which also added to admixtures.

    Considerable Viking settlements occurred also in the Irish cities of Dublin and Belfast (a part of the UK).

    So, perhaps the 70% Scandinavian result can be explained and plausible to some extend?

    Later on during the 13-15th century (German), 16th century (Scottish-Dutch), 17th century (French-Belgian) immigrants came to different parts of Scandinavia making up a part of the present day population.

    So, I guess the gene map is more or less a patchwork all over the world.

    • You might read up on the history of Ireland. If there was ever a country that was invaded, over and over again, it was Ireland. The English, the Vikings, the Scotts, the French and so forth. But, I won’t ruin the story for you. Certainly, check it out.

  3. I’ve read all the comments and explanations, and I’m still disillusioned by AncestryDNA’s analysis of my husband’s ethnicity. His ancestors have been in the USA since the 17th century – from England, Germany and Ireland. For many generations they have all lived in the foothills of the Western NC mts – so his dark features have led family to think there is a drop of Native American in his background. However, his AncestryDNA is 46% Scandinavian, 45% Central European, and 9% uncertain. Scandinavian? No way! If Scandinavian means Scottish or English – then why do many members have British Isles ethnicity? As far as I’m concerned the test is a complete waste of money!!!

  4. Mine isn’t as shocking as some of yours but is in its own way:
    My paper ancestry is 56.25% Irish, 6.25% Swiss and 37.5% African.
    Now, not to take the NPE route but I’ve always suspected something odd on my Father’s side as his Father died before his 1st birthday and was a smidge over 20 years older than my grandmother…
    Ancestry DNA comes back with 83% British Isles, 15% West African, 2% Other.
    So an entire grandparent drops off from African origins and my Swiss ancestry drops off entirely… though I actually found on the site links via the DNA to 4th cousins who I actually know and share said heritage with which are picked up…
    I don’t think the test is totally flawed but their data might have issues due to self selection/etc…

  5. I’m the project admin for the Farrar DNA project at FTDNA.
    At FTDNA I’ve tested practically every available test including Y111.
    Family Finder has me as as 87.37% Western European which includes, per FTDNA, the British Isles, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland
    And 12.63% European (which per FTDNA) starts at Corsica, Sardinia, through Italy, Greece, Serbia and stopping at the Black Sea.
    According to 23andme my ancestry is per their standard estimate; I am 99.7% European and .3% other. Speculative estimate is 99.8% European, .1% subsaharan African , .1% Oceania and, .1% other
    My Y haplogroup per FTDNA is R1a1a, per ISOGG it is R1a1a1b2* (Sarmatian/Scythian)
    My mtDNA per FTDNA is J
    Per 23andme my YDNA is R1a1a
    Per 23andme my mtDNA is J2b1a3
    I am non plussed that FTDNA has not narrowed the classification of my mtDNA.
    My known and documented ancestry is that my paternal lines earliest documented ancestor lived in Midgley, Halifax Parish, West Riding, Yorkshire in 1471. I have close genetic cousins (within the last 1,000 years at least) with a Douglass (an 18th Century ancestor from Perth, Scotland), an Evans and an English (whose ancestors lived in the same general part of England as mine.
    Although my YDNA is R1a1a and is Yorkshire, it is not Norwegian Viking. Norse Viking is CDY 19/21. Mine is CDY 19/23 (old Norse, Slavic, Sarmatian/Scythian)- I am also SNP Z93+ and Z94-
    Almost all of my paternal ancestors migrated from England and have been in America since it was a colony of Britain. One exception is an ancestor of my great great grandmother who was, it seems, of mixed blood origin, a Melungeon? perhaps.
    My maternal ancestors were of Scots Irish and English ancestry, with my great grandmothers (mothers, mother, mother, mother) parents migrating from Prussia in the mid 19th Century (this is the J or J2ba1a3)
    There is absolutely no chance that there is any Oceania in my ancestry, unless Oceania includes some AmerIndian.
    The heaviest concentration of R1a1 is in Serbia, Hungary, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, areas subdued and settled by Sarmatian/Scythians whose modern ancestors are Ossetians and whose origin is between the Black and Caspian Sea.
    Thus I presume that my FTDNA European component if 12,37% is that R1a1a of my YDNA.
    Problem is that the population predictors used by the labs are too broad.

    • Could Scots-Irish DNA be classified as Scandinavian? It seems like lots of black Americans with historical ties to Scots-Irish slave owners are discovering a Scandinavian genetic heritage….Might there be some Scandinavian DNA present in colonial era eastern woodlands Native Americans?

  6. Mine were 58% British, 40% Scandinavian and 2% uncertain. I too was very suprised and then thought about all my blue eyed grandparents (mine are green from my grandfather who died during WW1). Must be the vikings! I have traced my Granmothers side to 1025 in Wales (funny because she was so proud of being born a cockney (yet her mother was from Berkshire). What I am getting at is that we never really know the whole truth because so often our older relatives either did not talk about their families or did not know very far back. I do find the DNA matches frustrating when they have no fanily trees or when you look at their trees and there appears to be no match. So far I have found one distant cousin who also matches to my tree. I hope things get clearer in the future but I am glad I took the test.

  7. Ancestry.com results were as follows: Central European-43%, British Isles-33%
    and Scandinavian-24%. Paper trail looks all British Isles for a number of generations, but there are many lines that have eventually bridged back to northern Europe and Scandinavian areas. Fortunately, or perhaps not, there are many in the ancestral family that left a dent here and there in the mists of recorded history. These results were some confirmation of those findings and spot-on!

  8. My AncestryDNA results were not necessarily all that shocking but my son’s were.
    Me: Scandinavian 79%, Southern European 21%.
    Son: British Isles 70%, Scandinavian 17%, Southern European 9%, Uncertain 4%. Was kind of surprised since son’s paternal ggGP were born in Italy. Don’t know everything I need to know r/t genetic DNA so will just keep researching.

  9. I am very unhappy. I am a black American adopted person, so I wanted details about my ethnicity as a starting point. Instead, within just 1 week, they claimed that I am 84% West African and 16% Uncertain. That told me nothing that I could not see by looking in the mirror.

    I feel it’s inaccurate because I do not look almost 100% African, hence the search. It also is inaccurate based on Family Tree DNA’s maternal results that show that I have Spanish ancestry.

    I found the “uncertain” result to be unacceptable. Other DNA services don’t even have such a category. Everything about Ancestry.com like the “still in development” excuse states ‘beta,’ yet they accept your money now.

    This is best for people I dare to say of non-African ancestry who know family members for several generations back because the value is in the family tree. If you are adopted with no information on your family — how do you build a family tree? If you are a black potentially ancestor of slaves with few or no records, how deep can your family tree be? But if you are a celebrity or person with financial means, I guess you can pay an outrageous price for a personal aid like the stars on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

    The only positive take-away for me is the matching of cousins. I have not yet verified any linkage, but have been in contact with them via Ancestry’s messaging.

    One thing I do not understand is how I am related to those without shared ethnicity. So I kind of trust this site and I kind of don’t.

    I distrust their percentages about me to the point where I am having the ethnicity test re-done by FtDNA. That test takes months, but their ethnicity results are more detailed. It doesn’t read West Africa, rather details the percentages in each country of Africa. I mean, c’mon Ancestry.com. Get it together.

    • I did ancestry and FTDNA….Ancestry told me 56% West African, 28% Scandinavian ( a complete surprise), 9% central European ( Jewish ancestry I was aware of), and 7% uncertain (the Native American I expected?)
      FTDNA was more detailed…linking me to 3 Akan ethnicities… Fante, Nzima and Mina…and the Fang of Gabon. They also found Saudi and “Brazilian” DNA…..total surprises to me. I’ll be re-reading Maryse Conde’s “Segu” and “Children of Segu” as my ancestry seems very much in line with her historical drama.

    • What you should do is upload your autosomal results to GedMatch. I believe they will begin accepting new uploads Dec. 1, 2013. You will need your raw data in a zip file so find out how to do that from your testing company. Interpretome is another good calculator to upload to and you will see many results that. But if your original testing site has configured you at 84% W. African, that might configure the same at the other calculators. I didn’t find 23andMe to be very accurate either. Maybe try another service other than 23. I hear DNA Tribes breaks down the results better.

      • no no no… I think thats what a lot of people ar not understanding. If your father is 100% of A, and your mother is 100% of B, that doesnt mean you will be 50% of each, just that it will be some combination. You can have 99.9% of all ancestors coming from place X, but if that one relative from place Y happens to have more dominant DNA it could show your DNA as being mostly from Y, its not about where people are from as much as it is what DNA is being passed down.

    • Alice, So sorry. Your story is almost my own. I am a black American but I am not adopted. Most of my family has lived in same farming community in Alabama for 5 generations. I was told African, Irish, Choctaw. I could have cried when my test came back 17% unknown the rest West African. I just paid $200 for Ancesty to tell me I’m black and they don’t know what else. I felt stupid and cheated. Also most of my close match cousins were white people with no West African background. In the “update” all of a sudden they “found” the Irish British DNA my family told me about. I did like they at least told me what parts of Africa in the update instead of so generic but I don’t entirely trust it. Fortunately for me I have done a lot of research by going to courthouses, on line and talking to older relatives so I feel I know the truth at least on my mom’s side. Dad’s is more secretive. I will tell you the match system is reliable. I matched with a guy who turned out his grandma is my grandpa’s first cousin. I don’t recommend this test for black people.

  10. Hello. I just received my ancestry DNA results and I am a little confused. It reported that I am of British and Finnish origin. There’s no surprise there. My father is 100% Finn and my mother is 100% British. What’s confusing are the % that were given – 73% British and 27% Finnish. That would mean that my father is of partial British origin. But there are absolutely no British ancestors in my fathers family tree. I have family records that go back 400 years and the ancestors are all Finn. Plus I have never heard of British immigrations to Finland in the distant past. Could my father’s British DNA really be Scandinavian?? His family was from the western coast of Finland that was heavily influenced by neighboring Sweden. Plus many of my ancestors had the Scandinavian look and had Scandinavian names.

  11. Hello. I just received my Ancestry DNA results and I’m sort of confused. It stated that my ancestry is Finnish and British. This was what I expected. My father is 100% Finnish and my mother is 100% British. But the results show that I’m 73% British and 27% Finnish. This would mean that my father is of partial British origin. I have researched my father’s family at least 8 generations back to Finland and my ancestors were all Finn. I’m pretty sure that there has been virtually no British immigration to Finland in the very distant past. Finland was and still is a very ethnically homogenous country. Could the British component really be Swedish?? My father’s family was from the western part of Finland that was heavily influenced (language, culture, and genetics) by neighboring Sweden. Many of my ancestors had Swedish first names and last names that were later fennicized (ex. – Knutsson to Knuuttila). Thanks!

  12. I was wondering about with ancestrydna. The ones colored in and listed. are those ones in the region they believe make up your percentage. or is that simply the ones they include in the region. mine shows 37 percent eastern european , but russia is not listed or colored in. do they as of now not see russian , it not inluded in my genetic tree, or it not included in eastern euope and makes up my uncertain.

  13. I received similar results from Ancestry.com It stated that I have 48% Scandinavian heritage, but I have Scottish & English ancestors in my tree. On top of that, the Brownings & Duncans were so intermarried that it looks positively incestuous. I know for a fact that relatives were marrying relatives, one set of great grandparents were relatives & married to each other. Do their results mean that King Duncan if Scotland descended from Vikings? They nearly drove me crazy with their results. I only have a very few German ancestors, not enough to account for 30% Central European. Not crazy about their results.

    • There is an ancient historical genealogical record on the origins of Western Europe titled A Companion and Key to the History of England, by George Fisher found in University of Wisconsin Library and published 1833 in London, England. According to both the ancient records of the book and the autosomal DNA as well as the YDNA results of all the DNA testing sites; the people of Western Europe which includes Northern Italy, originate in the Mid East. Their migration spread to Eur-Asia to Scandinavia, to Old Saxony [Bernicia or England] at the same time they went into Ireland and spread from there into Scotland. So to answer your question did King Duncan of Scotland descend from Vikings; yeah he kind a did. All of these many different cultures are actually a single people known as Saxons [called by the Romans] and before that they are known as Celts. Over hundreds of years they splintered and formed separate ethnic and cultural identities’ and nations but their origin remain as a people from the middle east. Herodotus, Josephus, Tacitus, and Moses Maimonides all agree the identity of their Mid East origin were the more than 100,000 Israeli people placed in the Russian Steppes about 1,000 years before Christ. So to be Saxon or Celtic is to have an Israeli origin. Nothing stranger than truth.

  14. I really expected to find Central European (German) ancestry – was also told I was French and French Canadian, and Irish-Welsh. My ancestry results were 60% British Isles, 18% Scandinavian, 15% Eastern Europe, and 6% Southern European, I have Crohn’s disease and read how it was common among those of Eastern Europe descent and I scratched my head wondering how that was possible, but alas, to my surprise, I do have it! Another surprise was the Southern Europe (Italian or Spanish – I wonder)! I am not surprised about the British Isles, however, my research there makes me a mutt! Looks like I have Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and English ancestry. Looking at the map my ancestors went in one big circle around Europe pro-creating. Some of the surnames from my family are Creller and Honsinger (thought were German), Taft, Furgeson, Cady, and Fitzgerald (British Isles). I was wishing my results would give some clue to my paternal line, but I find it an emotional roller coaster (both suspected fathers have Miller and Brown surnames in their trees!). When it comes down to it location, location, location is the key – just because you lived there (as in being French Canadian) does not mean you “are” that. I was hoping it was more conclusive as to ancestry – what % of that British Isles is Irish?

    • Your ancestry make up sounds like mine. I am an American Mutt too! I also have Crohn’s Disease and was looking for a Jewish ancester. I have 20% Eastern Europe, but it only shows 2% Jewish.

  15. I am Irish, my parents are both Irish, and although there is a bit of vagueness about my father’s grandfather’s heritage, it came as a shock when I got 15% African, 84% European and 1% Indigenous American from my ancestry test as the most likely ancestry mixture. The tolerance also fluctuates to above 90% European, and in another possibility over 30% African. My siblings are pretty white skin, fair haired, blue and green eyed, and we have often been confused as German/Scandinavian so the African element seems unusual. I don’t know if you should expect to see corresponding genetic traits in oneself based on the results? Seems you can take what you I want from the test, but still I feel a bit unsure about the results with so many possibilities.

  16. I almost forgot! My mother claimed my Grandfather was Blackfoot Indian, but I only have 1 % Unknown…another Grandfather claimed Cherokee Blood. My Husband’s Grandmother claimed To be Native American -he has 5 % Unknown. My question is are they able to identify Native Blood – are we sure this is what the unknown is? I doubt I have any … there seems to be many with similar stories

  17. Dear Sir,

    Can you please tell me which races have both the Spanish and Turkish Gene.

    Best Regards
    Khawaja A Fawad
    Director

    • I also got results saying first I was part Turkish and later, that I was part Spanish. Your name seems Arabic. I think I have some Middle Eastern from the Ottoman days in the Balkans.

  18. As an African American woman I was quite surprised to find out that my results came back 55% West African, 43% British Isles and 2% unknown. People have often asked what am I mixed with and now I know (I think).

  19. I have to say that so far my Ethnicity Results are comparable to my genealogical records of ancestry. I have an advantage in this area since there are numerous historical books on my ancestry that includes two international trials of my families Ethnicity in London, England dated 1878 and Paris France dated 1879. At the end of more than 100 years of legal research on my family’s lines and two international trials it was concluded by two judicial courts my line extended by lineal descent to the creation of man.
    Thank You

  20. Mine make perfect sense as far as the calculator I used that came back with me placed closer to Norwegian/Swede/Polish than British, with the tiny few Scots in the bunch of UK and a host of others on solely the European component. That Viking gene in the Native people I come from! I kept looking and looking and then, it dawned on me.

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  22. My ancestry is documented to the late 16th Century. Most of my ancestors are Iberian with one 18th century line of French Canadians. My new ancestry DNA estimates were surprising at first, then very logical after closer review. The results were
    Iberian 37%, Italy/Greece 23%, Great Britain 15%, Native American 5% West Asia 4% with traces (less than 4%) of Scandinavian, Irish, North African, West Asian (Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Caucasus, etc.) Western European (which includes France) and European Jewish.
    I was born in Cuba with some ancestors born and residing there since the 16th Century. My Native American estimates could very likely involve mixing with the native Taino tribes living on the island during the discovery. Some of my Iberian ancestry stems from the provinces of Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria. These extreme northern provinces are predominantly populated by celtic people with historical interaction with the British Isles. This explains the British component of my DNA, as well as the Irish and Scandinavian traces therein. Iberia was a well established Roman colony during the empire and parts of it was colonized by Phoenicians. That explains the Italy/Greece component. Then of course, Malaga and Seville, where some of my ancestors also come from was ruled by the Moors for 800 years. The Kingdom of Granada was an Islamic state where Jews lived freely during the 800 years of Islamic rule. The 2% Jewish trace of DNA also does not surprise me. In 1492, the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella reconquered the penninsula and expelled the Jews from Spain, some left and some converted to Christianity and still live there today although unaware of their Jewish ancestry. I guess some of them added to my gene pool. Personally, I am very grateful to each and every one of them. They all contributed to the person I am today

  23. Hi – I had my DNA done with Family Tree DNA. I have done my family tree back 7 generations on my father’s side – it shows England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales – possibly Jamaica since my 7th gt. grandfather was a slave trader. I’ve done my mothers back several generations to Scotland. I was born in Ontario – my father is 6th generation Canadian – my mother 4th generation Canadian.

    This is my results:
    Continent (Subcontinent) Population Percentage Margin of Error
    Europe French, Orcadian, Romanian, Spanish 67.99% ±13.02%
    Middle East Iranian, Jewish, Adygei, Druze 32.01% ±13.02%

    I don’t know what to make of this – can someone please explain this to me in layman’s terms – I always thought I had a bit of Native Ancestry.

    Thanks!!!!!

    Heather Hess

  24. I too just received my results from ancestry.com, which I found surprising to tell the least. Prior to getting my results I created my family tree on the same site which I regret now ( I deleted it later)…… I hope that ancestry,com does not check on family trees before giving results to the persons who submitted DNA for testing. I was told that I am 100% European which they broke into three parts. 97% East European, 3 other ( 1% Western European , 1 % Irish?, less then 1% North-Western Russian and Finnish). I was born in Russia and as far as I know my Mother’s grandparents on her Mother’s side were German-Danish-Russian. Her Father was of Polish-Byelorussian origin. My Father was born in Belarus but one of his great grandfathers was of unknown origin. The family story tells that he was most probably of Turkish or Caucasian origin which is obvious when you look at my uncles who do not look Byelorussian at all. None of this ancestry came back with my DNA results, and the Ethnic mystery of my family which I wanted to solve is still a mystery. I wonder if I can trust ancestry.com results.

  25. Example: hope this helps some visually see how after generations you can lose genes.
    fathers-father :123 & fathers- mother: 456
    mothers-father: 789 & 10 11 12
    your father : 136 & your mom 7 10 12
    you : 6 7 12. See now you lost all the DNA from your fathers father. I know that is a super small example but it shows that after q few generations you could lose a huge part of ethnicity.

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