In the past, I’ve reviewed new autosomal DNA testing options offered by 23andMe and Family Tree DNA:
- Genetic Testing With 23andMe
- Genetic Testing With 23andMe – Ancestry Testing
- A Review of Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder – Part I
- A Review of Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder – Part II
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):
- 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).
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.)
Do you know if the ability to view the trees of your matches is restricted to paying Ancestry subscribers?
Not, you cannot view their trees if you’re not a subscriber. You can ask the match to invite you to view it as a guest for a limited time.
Please tell me how do I get a FREE DNA test kit?????
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.
I am from Wales, I can trace my bloodline back 300 years in Wales. The DNA testing done by this company is using too small amounts for comparisons. Wales and England have a total population of 67 million. Yet only 195 samples have been taken from all of this population and grouped together. That works out to something like .0000001 % of samples taken and NOT even from the separate countries. If you want a VERY rough idea of where you hail from I guess it’s okay to use, otherwise forget it, waste of money.
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.
I believe your test was correct. Someone in your family is lying. I’m sure a distant family owned slaves and they were sneeking around lol. I happen all the time back in them days. White Women secretly loved black men and would sneek out at night to the barn and got it own with old sam lol.
You said you have a family tree that goes back 14 generations and you don’t have a single African ancestor?
Consider this: You have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents…
by the time you get back 14 generations, you are looking at a group of 2^(14+1) = 32768 ancestors. And you are sure you had “not a single African ancestor”??? I don’t think anybody in the whole world can have data of all his ancestors 14 generations back…
If your ancestry has a link to the Middle East , that explains the magic African DNA. Doesn’t matter if it is north, south, east or west (people travel)…it is still African. Every humans DNA has an African link. It is after all the birthplace of humankind.
I am no scientist, I only have reasoning and common sense. Seems to me most of you are lacking some of these things. And some dont like the idea of the identifying of African in their blood. Some think they are Germans because they swear their grandparents were Germans. How many people went to live in Germany from another land in ur family before the grandparents were born and u don’t know. Many people found out that maybe their grandparents lied or were lied to by theirs. Btw American Indians came from Africa. And u don’t have to sleep with a slave to have African blood. Before slave trade, there wasn’t any racial prejudice and since Africa is the birth place of humans, then a lot of mingling went on from and in Africa. Lets face if more or likely, ur mixed with black.
I agree with you.
I also think people assume all Africans are black and that is also incorrect.
That are was inhabited by many many different tribes centuries ago.
And even if all were black there should be no shame on having African ancestors.
Btw, many theories suggest the human race started somewhere in Africa.
“Btw American Indians came from Africa”
… yes, about 30’000-60’000 years ago, in the same way white folks came from Africa about 6’000-11’000 years ago. The first remains genetically indicating hair/eye color other than brown/black were in the middle east about 11’000 years ago from where it spread to Europe. Pale/White skin didn’t appear until about 6’000 years ago, before then Europeans weren’t blond hair/blue eyed whites.
There has been slavery every since. They figured out that your captives instead of killing them you could work for you.
*Slams fist on table* I AM NOT AN AFRICAN!
Wow dude really? If it said you were related to the Viking Eric the Red you’d be all for it and would be proud. But then the reality that you’re part African seeps in and suddenly the test itself is bullcrap? You just committed the logical fallacy of “No true Scotsman”. Really dude? Accept reality. It’s in your blood!
I know someone in your family is lying. They likely had relations that they do not want to pass along which is sad and based on your response it sounds as though you can’t bear to know the truth either. Meh… But you didn’t pay for the results anyway so the denial doesn’t cost you anything…
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.
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.
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.
The thing that I have been learning is since the British Isles were conquered by the Romans (Italians), the French and the Vikings, and have had a lot of German influence, I doubt that there really is any indigenous “British”; Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, DNA. One source said that 60% of Britain has Viking blood.
Karen… the vikings, Saxons and Normans were all of German decent but came to Britain at differenttimes. VoVikings never conquered but just raided the shores, Saxons became the Anglo-Saxons and over generations married alot of Indigenous Brits then when the Normans came, they pretty much followed the Anglo-Saxons by marrying those they found appropriate. Modern Brits are descended from all but those from Cornwall have a high rate of Indegenious British DNA compared to the rest of the UK. Indegenious British descendants are very much alive and plenty around Britain. So ancestry should of still picked up on that.
Over the last 200 years people have move throughout the British isles,so it is doubtful if there much if any localised DNA. It is thought that raiding and migrating European groups intermixed with the local people. The Normans were also a Scandinavian people that had invaded northern France a few hundred years before the Norman conquest. The Celts were also of mid European origin. It is also known that the Roman army included soldiers from all over its empire, skeletons of roman soldiers found in England also included the bones of black and north Africans.
That certainly makes a people wonder. However my Ancestry is all English however I expect that when I get my test done someday that it will do the same just due to the proximity to regions where high migration took place. I doubt that I have any original Pict or Celt in my tree. Lots of Danish and other raiding(viking background), Anglo, Saxon and Norman. I expect that mine would appear the same and thus would say something like 50% Scandinavian 30% central European and 20% other. Just a thought
The first Brits were Europeans (Normans and Anglo-Saxons) who moved across the channel and settled in the British isles. You’re a decent part Scandinavian because of the extensive raiding and inter-breeding of Viking cultures with the Anglos/Normans. So it’s no surprise that you are Central European and Scandinavian.
Actually the British and Irish were descended from the Spanish or more specifically the Basque region of Spain. Almost all English, Irish etc from the Islands carry this gene. The Brits even with the Romans, Normans and Anglo/Saxons still carry the Gene’s that make them who they originally were with some of the conqueror’s gene’s as well but still remaining largely English, Scottish and Irish. So, there is still localized British gene’s, Irish, Scottish and Welsh with a smattering of the gene’s from the conquerors but by no means are the invader gene’s dominant.
I’m from Wales and have a tree that goes back 300 years. The problem with the DNA testing is they are taking to small a base sample. 195 people tested there out of 65 million? C’mon. Yet they show Ireland as a separate data base? Another 195 people. BTW my test only showed up as 15% British. As one other reader commented throw a dart in! I feel this is a ripoff.
John: Consider this: My DNA shows 15% Scandinavian, 56% Brithis Isles and thre rest is Central Europe. My brother has 40% Scandinavian., 20% British and the rest is Central and Western Europe. We are, accoring to Ancestry, full siblings. During the splitting and then recombining of genes, some ancestors get thrown out. Its like your camera phone. When the card is full, you have to delete some photos. My brother probably got the Scandinavian DNA from our father who has Scandinavian YDNA M253 or I1. I can not find any recent (last 400 years) Scandinavian ancestors on paper. It must be from way back. We have Norman ancestors, Scottish Ancestors and German Ancestors. All of these places were settled by Scandinavian. I must have inherited my British Isles DNA from our Welsh ancestors, our English (?-what is “English?), our Irish ancestors.
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?
Hi Nick, I read your question concerning which one to go with. Currently, 23andMe has some major lawsuits filed against them. Just go into your search and type in, “23andMe” and you will see all the suits. Just be careful and check, check, check. Wishing you the best of luck!
Don’t use AncestryDNA. It’s a ripoff and to generalized.
I agree with you. In my research I was lead to the Heathsville Va. record office and met a old white (ancient of days) record keeper. In my conversation with him, seem it wasn’t going anywhere until I mentioned my last name. He turned and said I know your grandfather! From that moment on I was told a story that rocked my world. I am black, and he told me that my 3rd great grandfather was a confederate sympathizer (huh). That is when he told me he was also WHITE. I traced the information, and found out that what he said was true. Ancestry placed me in Africa………! I wonder if they looked at my family tree, and just decided to place my DNA in West Africa
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.
I would like to comment on many things here, First, the only information I have on my family tree is what I put in. Why? Because I am NOT a paying customer due to the amount of negative feed back from family and friends who are paying customers. Second, I just received my DNA results back. The results are 44% british, 42% Irish, 7% Iberian and 7% unknown of which is broken down to 1% African and 1% America……Now, I know I am half Irish, I have followed my heritage back to Ireland and the Cork region…..and I am Half Native American. Iroquois Nation……So I ask…how am I british, how am I Iberian and how am I 7% unknown? last I checked this is 2015 and DNA is NOT in it’s infancy…..Hmmmm 700,000 markers of scamming is what I think…Plain and simple, I was scammed by Ancestry.com!!!! Like many others!!!! Do not waste your time or money on this site. It is sincerely a scam.
Surprising amounts of English descendants have Iberian ancestry forgotten over the ages. If only they were tested. This is due to the migration of the ancient Iberians up the Atlantic coast into Brittany and then into Southern England. How could you be British? Well, by being the descendant of British settlers captured by the Iroquois and raised as a member of that great nation. This actually happened to a member of my mid-eighteenth century British Scot-Irish family settling in Western Virginia. The youngest son James was about 7 years old when Native Americans attacked the family settlement in 1764. James’ father Thomas was killed. James and his mother were taken captive. Later she was allowed to escape, while James was held for 18 months before being ransomed. It happened is what I am saying and your DNA says it happened somewhere in your line. British and Iroquois were allies at one time, and have a wonderful history to study. Does that mean you are not Iroquois? Not at all, you are Iroquois because they claimed your ancestor as a member of the tribe and that ancestor of yours survived down into your genes. I don’t believe you were scammed at all. What is more likely ancestry was forgotten in the past, because the trials of survival, precluded the handing down of pertinent verbal information. As for your 7% unknown get your siblings and cousins to do it and see if it can’t be better determined through their testing. Good luck and best wishes.
What is interesting, is how it is difficult for many of us to realize just because our ancestors had ‘such and such’ a surname which reflected a certain ethnic group, or because we think or know they lived on a certain continent for hundreds of years, does NOT necessarily reflect what their DNA reveals. Our biological genes do not change with where our ancestors lived, or what their language, or their customs were.
I fully agree. I think they have a map in their office and they just throw a dart in it.
I just watched a Who Do You Think You Are? where one of the ancestors’ kids were taken by Native Americans and then integrated into the tribe. Its very possible that that has happened in your family. Theres a movie about the same thing happening (Dustin Hoffman). Apparently it was not uncommon. Native Americans were sick of the Europeans, would raid a town, and kill the grown ups, adopting the kids.
I was also confused with my results from AncestryDNA.com. Although the strong Scandinavian, Irish & Great Britain percentages were not surprising, I found it odd that there was no German listed (unless you count the 2% Western Europe).
My paternal grandmother was 3/4 German!
They did have a cousin listed (3rd or 4th) that I know. Disappointing.
Hi Lynn, are you aware that many believe Germans to have originated in Scandinavia? When my DNA test came back with a greater amount of Scandinavian genetic material than German. I just let it roll because of the origins of the German people that make up the majority of ancestry. As for my Western European material I understood that to mean Franconian, a no longer existing part of Europe centered between modern day France and German. It has an interesting history, by the way. When we know both the history of geographical areas and migration of Europeans the better we can understand the evidence of our ancestor’s DNA in our genes.
As different as my DNA is from my mother and brother, I have no doubt. That it is a true representation of my ancestor’s make-up.
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?
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
If you look at the history of the British Isles, you will notice that many invasions were made by Vikings (Scandinavian people and/or Russian ancestry). There are problems w/ the DNA test results, but this may not be one of them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Linda, my sister also got strange results…72% Irish and British and 5% German. We couldn’t understand this since we have records back to 1614 for our German ancestors who originated in Bavaria and moved to the Rhineland shortly after. So what gives? Did the Brits take over Germany and we were totally unaware? I’m guessing maybe “they” are looking at the Celts who swarmed all over Europe then some left Europe and went to Ireland, so that really doesn’t help bu might account for lack of “German” ancestry.
People forget that affairs happen all the time. The chances of there not being an affair in a long line of relatives is very small…
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.
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
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 !!!
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
Since you mentioned that your 2nd grandmother appears to mixed she might have been mixed with Roma, there is a significant population of Roma in Romania and many marriages occur between Romanians and roma maybe that’s where you get the Romanian gene? Just food for thought.
The answer is pretty clear to me as a Romanian why you are heavily genetically Romanian, and it is not as much due to any gypsy connection but rather to the fact that you said your herritage was Polish. Historically Romanians were know as Wallachians (Vlah/Vlas); we often were sheppards (therefore semi-nomadic) and in the middle ages we followed the Carpathian Mountain range westhard all the way into southern Poland and the Czeck Republic, from Romania. This is the reason the most famous brand of Polish pickles is called Vlasic, and why many communities in those areas to this day trace their ancestry to Wallachians (Vlah/Vlas). Ofourse, I could be dead wrong too, or part wrong, you could have some gypsy in you too. However, if there were any true genetic Rroma blood, it would be classified either as such or as something middlle easter / turkish, or as Indian (since that is where they originally came from and it still shows up in their gene pool toda).
Hope this clarifies why you are part Romanian.
I feel the same way you do. The test does not state if it’s on your paternal or maternal side, it leaves you clueless.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for a great explanation as to how things come about. I learned my Grandfather was married to a lady for a couple of years and got my Grandmother pregnant while married to the fist wife. The first wife divorced him upon finding out about the pregnancy. Dear old Granddad took off and hid out in the mountains working until Great Grandfather and the Sherriff found him, took him to jail until he fessed up and 2-weeks before my Mom was born literally had a shot-gun wedding (Great Grandpa seen to that) so Grandpa married Grandma. What would or could have happened to my family tree if my Great Grandfather had not forced this wedding? Hard to say. I think most of the comments are from unknowing people on what can happen in life. Not to mention historical facts. “All” countries have people that have migrated from somewhere else. I cannot think of a country without migration. And last of all, “no” family wants their dirt out!
You are very correct. Also, we are mixture of both parents family lines; going back forever. Siblings can be very different. Good luck with everyone’s research.
Thank you Darrell for your down-to-earth reply to all of the very negative people upset about their results from dna testing. What you have said is so true. People know only the tip of the iceberg of truth. And only know what they are told. When you go back several generations, there are a LOT of folks that are related to you. You don’t know ALL of them. All of the scenarios are so human: lies, cover-ups, unknown things,etc.happened in the past and ar happening right now. Yes, a company should take responsibility for something they’ve done wrong. But they can’t possibly take responsibility for who made babies with whom eons ago. Right on, Darrell! I hope you’ve found some answers
I have not had mine done yet. My nephew has suddenly started asking about if we had indian blood. Me and my sister think we do. BUT in my dad’s time and area if you were indian you couldnt get a job. If you could pass as white you kept your mouth shut and moved on. It’s about surviving. I have no preconcieved idea’s where we come from so this for me is exciting. Our family’s never spoke of who their family’s were so we have little info. I do know from story’s they said we had a lot of Irish from great grandpa. French from 4 brother who were given a choice hang or be shipped off to the americas for being horse thieves a high crime in the day so right there I know I come from people with fighting temper and the other that can romance your socks off with one hand and steal you blind with the other how exciting. can’nt wait to see where the lie’s begin and end.
My late husband’s mother claimed to be part Native American but my son has no native DNA. That does not mean that there were not natives on the tree, just that their DNA got lost in the splitting and recombining. Yes, some of you may have a particular name or location for an ancestor, but you may not have inherited any of their DNA.
You are just you and always have been. We are the person we are. Knowing or not knowing an accurate genealogy really doesn’t change who we are. You sound very angry, and mention feeling deprived, in not knowing fully accurate family history, and feeling lied to.
Remember, every person in any of those kind of situations you refer to were real people, living real lives, in a real world, and if they lied, created a false cover story for a child and it’s biological parents, they did so for what seemed best to them at the time in the situation they were in. Many of those kind of “lies” and “deceptions” involved incredibly difficult and painful situations and circumstances. Many lied or deceived as much or more for what they saw as best for a child, as for personal embarrassment or shame or whatever.
Think about a woman birthing a child of rape or incest, deciding it in best interest of the child that no one, even the child, ever know that. In different times and cultures, there were situations we would not even think of today. Babies adopted by unrelated families, sometimes even illegally, or across cultural/ethnic/racist lines, spared both themselves and the child problems. What of white families that adopted native American babies prior to the granting of Native American citizenship status in 1924? That actually happened in some of my own family ancestry, some even with “official collusion” from legal agencies, that placed full-blood N.A. reservation born babies with white families, and issued birth certificates identifying parents as white.
There’s no reason to be angry about it. How can you be judgemental of one such as your relative that hid being adopted, and a child of incest? What a horror she and her own mother suffered!
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. . . .
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
Ancestry DNA is a scam, pure and simple. Read this (Meredith Small, Cornell University Anthropologist) and don’t waste your money:
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!
this might help you.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
@ #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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:-)
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.
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.
@ #71 Nicole,
I’m pretty sure the Balkans are Eastern Europe. Just Saying…
I have sent two samples and am told not enough dan sample. What gives? Now they are sending me the third.
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!
Eric, the Balkans are Southeastern (not Eastern, Slavic, Magyar, etc.) Europe.
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?
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??
Your “UNCERTAIN” dna is more then likely Neanderthal dna. You have a higher percentage of Neanderthal dna then most Europeans.
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.
Can anybody out there explain why my Ancestry DNA test show such a high percentage of Uncertain (20%)?
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
Your comment about your ancestor coming to America with William Penn caught my eye. I also have some names that were with Penn who were Quakers. Namely, John Mendenhall who sailed with Penn on “The Welcome” in 1682 from Sussex, England. Other names in the family were Beeson, Grubb, and Pennington. If any of these are in your line, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you….Sharon Muzik
I have Beeson and Grubb surnames in my family tree. Contact me if you’d like to collaborate.
Originally colonized by Saxons, the British Isles were raided, raped and pillaged continually by Scandinavians. The results could be correct.
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.
Sorry the other site is yourgeneticgenealogist.com
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.
You do know that Scandinavia is northern European right?>
That was directed at the author.
So would this DNA test tell me where my European ancestry came from
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.
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.
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…
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…
Hi Holly – and chance you are on 23andme.com? if so, please sign on and see our exciting results! Look forward to hearing from you (if it is you 🙂 Thanks!
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.
My test came back 100% British Isles. How can anyone be 100% anything? Any ideas?
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!
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.
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
#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).
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. 🙂
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.
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.
Alas, I wish I had read this blog before ordering the Ancestry.com DNA test, too. After 30 years of genealogical research, and lots of connections I hoped for at least some definitive information to come from the test results. The test is inconclusive, vague, and produced emails from people who had no idea how they might be connected to me, or me to them. All in all, this is a self-serving process that we pay for, so that Ancestry can create a database. I await a really useful test which will provide clear connections and accurate, detailed information. A scam.
I just received my results from the Ancestry.com DNA test., What a disappointment ! The results told me nothing I didn’t already know. All I received was a computer generated pie chart. I called the 800# asking if I was going to get a more detailed written report thru the mail. They said “no”. If I wanted to find out more I should sign up for the 1 month free trial . I wasn’t going to do that because I would have to give them my credit card info & they would automatically start charging per month if I didn’t immediately cancel it. The possible relatives they gave me were in the 5-8 cousin range & said the actual relationship was in the very “low” range, What a waste of $100.00 !!
So….am I correct in thinking that the results from this test are only as good as the current number of others who have done the test within Ancestry DNA? In other words, your DNA is only matched to the others who have submitted tests to AncestryDNA?
Darlene – that’s correct, and true of any of the testing companies. You can, however, expand your matches by testing at multiple companies, or uploading your raw data to a cross-platform comparison site like GEDMatch.
This test is not easy to do for the user. This is the second test set and I have not been able to complete the requirements of getting enough saliva. for a good test result. I recommend finding a test that uses a cheek swab or other easily method, other than saliva. BTW, ancestry DNA does not have a cheek swab method as an option.
Stay away from FAMILY TREE DNA
I ordered an online special offer for a 67ydna test from Family Tree DNA and got ripped off. I paid $205.00 including postage for the test which was actually, what they call, Family Finder test. I did not receive the results for the test I ordered but received a cheaper test instead.
I called their office but they did not want to even follow through with my complaint. I wasn’t after a refund, just the results for what I paid for.
My advice: stay away from this company – they have no integrity!!
My experience with Ancestry DNA was mixed. I was disappointed with the vagueness of the results. The amount of Scandinavian surprised me at first, but I remembered that they spread their DNA over most of Europe.
I found three cousin matches on my dad’s side. I also found one on my mom’s. The one on my mom’s side had no common ancestors listed, but one of the common surnames listed individuals from the same town as one of my ancestors.
Ancestry now lets you import the raw data from your file. This data can be imported to other databases that give medical information, etc. I’d use this with caution, however.
I’m pretty sure Ancestry uses computers to generate their results since they come from thousands of SNP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), which are single base pairs. Certain base pairs are more common in certain ethnic groups, but it is not an exact science. It is, however, improving all the time, especially for base pairs with medical implications. Check out SNPedia.com for more information.
You are so right! I am of Native American heritage and have documents to prove it and they did not even mention it in their results but Ancestry .com did! This is a rip off and please, don’t ask for a refund! They will NOT respond and I know others who had the same problem with this company so SAVE YOUR MONEY AND STAY AWAY FROM ALL OF THEM!!!!
Ancstry.Com reports many people, especially Europeans as having Native American ancestry. The only people who claim these test are rip offs, are the ones who have problems regarding their ancestry. People with Native American anecstry (a good amount anyway), it shows up. test with 23andMe, the most accuate. If you don’t show there…..Good luck with that.
I am a multiracial person mixed with Swedish, Irish, French, African, Native, East Asian and West Asian. I’ve tested with 23andMe and then I transferred my results to FTDNA. I have yet to test with Ancestry.com. I wouldn’t recommend FTDNA, because they were wrong and said I was 100% European and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even 23andMe shows my various ethnic makeup, it’s not 100% correct as to the percentages of my ethnic makeup, but it’s better than FTDNA. I can’t imagine what Ancestry.com would say.
I too am of Native American ancestry. I ordered mine thru 23andme and they contacted me within a week and there is 0 percent Native American. I know for a fact that isn’t right. I don’t understand, it is my great grandmother on both sides of my family. Both of my grandfathers mothers were Native American. Mine was the same European. Would the DNA test pick the Native American bloodline up since it passed through great grandmother to her son my grandfather to my mom to me?? I am so confused!!
I ordered the AncerstryDNA test kit in an attempt to find out my background for medical reasons. I’m assuming this test does not include disease markers, but you mentioned something about being able to download the raw data and using that to upload into another database. Where exactly can I do this? thanks in advance…
A bit of good news.
Ancestry.com has made DNA raw data available. I downloaded it today- here’s how it’s done: from your ancestry.com DNA Home Page; click on Manage Test Settings, then click on Get Started in the box marked Download Your Raw DNA data. Follow the instructions from there.
I’m glad ancestry.com finally did this. It restores a bit of faith in their integrity as a data gathering/sharing business. Glad they decided to share!
If I had my druthers now I’m not sure if I’d get the test with ancestry.com, but I got it for $10, the cost of shipping, back when it was in the early beta testing, so it was no skin off my nose…but I was irked when they didn’t share any of the raw data. So, a year later is better than not at all, but still rather slow. Hopefully this is a sign they are learning from their mistakes. As for customer service…meh. I’m glad I never had anything urgent I needed from them.
Best of luck all!
I’m an adoptee searching not for relatives but for ethnicity. I think I would have still done the test anyway (seems like I paid more than anybody else and feeling kind of stupid for it), but I also wish I had seen all this before diving in. I’m willing to more or less accept the results I got, but knowing that I could have 0% of one parent’s ethnicity, or even only have 100% of one *part* of one parent’s ethnicity is so useless to me when I’m trying to find out who I am/what I’ve come from, and the “distant relations” are just teasers as far as I’m concerned (no closer relations have been found, but again, I’m not looking for relatives). I guess it’s not possible but I’d really like a test that could do just like the last 500 years or so – which seems to be all the people who even have 16 generations of family charted care about, too. I know, ethnicity doesn’t work that way. Still, I do feel like I might as well have rolled the dice and chosen an ethnicity or combination of ethnicities, since immediate family members have so little to do with it… I don’t see why it can’t show all the latent ethnicities, too? Does it work *that* way – if we don’t take on the ethnicity of a parent, aren’t we at lest a carrier?) The way it works now, this test only leads to more questions, no answers. 🙁
Like Angel I am also an adoptee, although I DO want information on relatives, which is why I’m interested in DNA testing. I have located my birth mother and connected with her family, however I don’t know for sure who my birth father is and am hoping that a DNA test could help confirm the family I believe is his. Ethnic and genetic family history is every bit as important as family medical history, none of which adoptees from my generation were given. My hope is that as DNA and genetic testing become more commonplace and widespread the sealed records (for NINETY-NINE YEARS) from pre-1980s adoptions will become obsolete and irrelevant and the records will be unsealed to adoptees. After reading the review I’m sitting on the fence as to whether to have this test done now, and through Ancestry, or whether to wait a few more years until the testing is more complete.
just curious what company you used that assisted you in finding your birth family? My partner is adopted and we have been researching how to get this info for her.
Hello, with the autosomal dna testkng with those test if relatives of your father is in the database then it will show them and who they are, but you have to get with them and get research on them and locate the area that the matches are surfacing from and that should help you. get to the bottom of your mystery….
My father has a similar situation as yourself. We know he was adopted (or rather given away) and has no information on his birthparents. He wants to know his ethnicity and possible health issues. I was wondering if you have found anything that you found helpful in the year since you did the Ancestry DNA testing?
My heart went out to you and your desire to learn your ethnicity. I never knew my grandparents and never saw their death certificates,yet after my parents died I found them. I did get some insight just from their last names. What I’m getting at is although u don’t care to actually meet your parents/relatives knowing their names and their parents names could give you some valuable info for you to begin your quest. you don’t have to contact them, just use the info you .. For instance one of their last names could be obviously Greek or Italian…that’s a place to start. good luck.
To all the people wondering why you don’t match what you thought you should match, perhaps somewhere along the line your mom, grandma, etc. cheated on their spouses, that would throw your research off a lot. Perhaps someone was adopted, perhaps a daughter had a bastard child that was raised by the grandparents as their own (this happened in my family).
Bastards & infidelity will really throw off your testing!
You’re absolutely right about that very real possibility. In my mother’s family, there were 10 siblings. The first 6 had blue or green eyes like their parents. The last four had brown eyes and were had a much darker complexion. When I was in my late 40’s, my blue eyed mother told me that my beloved grandmother had a very long term affair with a neighbor. She had walked in on them. That explains why most bore no resemblance to their parents or to their siblings. I still loved my grandmother as much as before I found this out but I was totally shocked but I had actually mentioned how the last four sibling looked so different from the first 6 who resembled each other and both their parents.
I concur with James. Nobody likes to be the bastard child, consider themselves the bastard child, or even mention the bastard child. My own mother is a bastard child, but nobody in the family likes mention this, my mother included. You really do see what you WANT to see when you think you look like someone else, but it could be misgivings. It’s upsetting that your senses deceive you and more upsetting that your truth has been a deception. For people “totally” certain of their ancestry, why even bother with these tests? Even if your mother is from Germany, her mother could have been from Denmark, and her mother from Sweden. Just look at the similarities in language and it reflects the gene flow.
It apparently hasn’t been stressed enough that these maps are not complete. When more data arrives, it will possibly change. Read, people!
I was certain that Ancestry had mixed up my sample with another. Then 4 months after receiving my “incorrect” DNA results from Ancestry.com, my 86 year old mother revealed that my biological father was in fact a long time family friend and not the father who raised me. My own mother confirmed the DNA test results. This formerly 100% British Isle boy is now 50% Italian! Go figure!
I too was surprised by my AncestryDNA results, but rather than being upset, it just spurred me on to find connections I might have missed. I was expecting central European, given that my maiden name is Dutch and my mothers side is almost all Swiss-German. It was sort of exciting then, to get my results: 71% British Isles and 29% Scandinavian. After some reading I figured the Scandinavian must come to me through the British Isle mix, which to me, only makes that component more real. After reading about how dna can be, how the obvious connection may not be what makes up your unique set – it galvanized me. I knew there were some potential English/Irish connections on my father’s side going back, even if they were 4 or 5 generations back – so probably that’s where the British Isles component of that side comes from. But how could I have gotten anything British from my mother’s side, I wondered? I began filling in my mother’s side of the tree, and realized/remembered that my grandfather’s mother had died when he was a child, and therefore had more or less dropped out of my mind. Turns out her last name is Irish and I began pursuing that line, to find out her grandfather in the 1910 census came from Ireland! So for me, this turned out to be pretty exciting and made me dig in a way I woudn’t have otherwise. I’m also fascinated by how my particular genome was fashioned in an unexpected way, yet physically, makes total sense to me now. So while yes, I would love to have a chromosome browser in Ancestry so I could see what my haplogroups are for me, the neophyte at this, I’m pretty happy.
And no, as far as I can see, the few matches don’t overlap my tree, but that’s OK with me for now. I was more interested in where my particular DNA originates in the great family tree.
Disclaimer: No expert – interesting reading these threads. Currently with Ancestry.com – received my DNA results – nothing alarming or earth shattering on the grand scheme of ancestral migrations. Here is how I view it – where do my root ancestors come from — if by creation or evolution – we believe in the power of the original two …. and migration as a whole, I am not sure why anyone is so disappointed in their results. It is basic regions and well let’s face it – most American roots are very European. It reminds me of saying well I am a New Yorker as in city, then to reference the state, then to reference the region, then to reference the country ….. but really where does the migration start – the roots – not just back to where I can trace it – but where my blood line goes. I am awaiting results on my mom, cousin, aunt and a possible first cousin — if my grandpa is actually his grandpa, too (via an illicit affair and possible children). Another thing to note is that there were A LOT of children not born to the parents listed in the records – back in the days – older siblings or parents may have taken on the care of a young girl’s illegitimate child …. and many a man traveled for work all over the US – while young bride’s were “serviced” by others … but due to stigma or needing an actual “fault” – people didn’t divorce and records of births were not biologically accurate – simply stated as such. So I guess I take it all with a grain … and I enjoy collecting the information and hope that the information I provide of my living family members will be appreciated by future generations. I am including “illegitimate” children as well as “partners” …. I hope my collection is worthwhile and truly factual.
When looking for ancestry.com’s predicted cousin relationships, consider that multiple common connections further back can present themselves as something closer. For instance, if they suggest a connection in the 5th to 8th cousin range, you may be 10th cousins with one connection and 11th cousins in another. This phenomena may be more likely, mathematically, with the theoretical doubling of your ancestors each generation in populations that get smaller the further back you go. It may take a little more effort to find these relationships. Ancestry.com will not find them automatically even if the individuals are already listed in both trees because they only look at 10 generations of data. Also, sometimes it is helpful to scan through the entire list of names in another tree to find your common surnames, or to identify areas of common interest that could provide clues as to where you are related.
To add to Steve #111 comments, there is a trend here that suggests a strong misunderstanding of how variable genetic transmission can be and an even stronger element of the concept of “self selection”, a term experimental scientists use to explain that similar people often get tossed together in a particular study because they already have interest in participating and may very well possess whatever the researcher is testing for. Example: testing a population of women for the risk of breast cancer. If it’s a poorly (and sometimes not so poorly) designed study, and the participants are not screened adequately to see if they are volunteering because they already have breast cancer concerns due to a family history of the illness, the results of the study will be extremely misleading. As far as this blog goes, one reading many of the comments would throw an AncestryDNA test result in the toilet. As far as making statements like “I know I’m at least 25% (insert expected ethnicity) because of my parents and grandparents countries of origin”, are a good example of what I’m saying. People who believe you get 50% of your biological father’s DNA and 50% of your mother’s need to do additional reading on the subject before they poo-poo results of any DNA test’s prediction of ethnicity.
You do get half of your dna from each parent. But you do not get a quarter of your dna from each grandparent, or an eighth from each great grandparent. Theoretically, the half of your mother’s dna that you inherited could have been the half she inherited from HER mother, effectively cutting Grandpa completely out of your genome.
Kathleen – in almost every case, it is very close to 25%. But you are correct that there can be strange events. Razib Khan has calculated – using statistics alone rather than any experimental or observational data – that there is statistically a 1 in 4 million chance that you could “cut Grandpa completely out of your genome” (although, of course, your parent would have done that, not you). See http://goo.gl/aBaSoo
I think many people are upset becuase that they must now identify with something other than what they thought they were! The testing goes back a thousand years or so, so unless you have researched your genetic tree that far then you don’t know what you are as migration has been incredible during the years. My grandfather is from England as as far as we can trace back on paper he is English but we can’t trace far enough. The Vikings invaded England therefore my mum came up as half Scandanavian. Be open to learning that you might be something other than what you thought! 🙂 Happy researching!
I too am severely disappointed! They cost on the shipping is outrageous to return.
The motor is VERY wimpy, and you start to smell the motor burning
and overheating within seconds. Everything I tried to do I had to take the food
out of the bowl and mix by hand. It certainly does not fix enough food for a
whole family. It claims to be able to do a pound
of meat, but I couldn’t even get it to mix that. I made the mistake of ordering 2 so I am basicly out now the shipping cost of about $120.00. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS MACHINE!!! To clean it is a massive undertaking with machine parts taking up every inch of your counter space. It was also very time consuming add food to the Mixing Bowl. The clamps that lock the bowl in place are a pain and very flimsy to say the least. The hole on top is like trying to shovel food into a milk bottle opening, it has a very TINY opening of about 2. The shredder does work quickly but I had difficulties not having it shoot all over the kitchen. The clean up is just massive. Once Again DO NOT BOTHER purchasing this machine….You will regret it!
Jeez, holy cow, wish I would have read these comments before I bought this DNA test kit for big bucks, which I will mail off tomorrow. After reading these comments I thought the results would be more defined like GERMAN 75%, IRISH 25%, but I bet will come back as Central European and British Isles. Very disappointing. Oh well live and I guess I didn’t learn. Oh yea maybe I’ll tell the results if I’m correct.
Don’t waste your money. Total scam. http://www.livescience.com/2084-dna-kits-secrets-scientific-scam.html
that report http://www.livescience.com/2084-dna-kits-secrets-scientific-scam.html was written in 2007. I am curious to see what the same people have to say in 2013
#115 – I address that TERRIBLE and inaccurate article here: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2007/12/08/where-do-i-start-another-questionable-article-about-genetic-genealogy/
It is a scary thing for many to find that they are MORE or LESS than what Mommy or Grandma told them. It is also more scary to read so many of the comments above that illustrate the failure of the American educational system, or any other for that matter, to teach the sciences, specifically biology, to its students. All I can say is that with a solid educational background in human genetics (and/or simply paying attention in high school biology) consumers should at the very least, realize what you are getting when you take an autosomal DNA test. I am the group administrator of a ten person family DNA study and although I think there are some problems with Ancestry’s interpretation of YDNA tests, the AncestryDNA (autosomal) tests are helpful if you test an adequate number of family members and you have enough of an understanding of how variable the results across persons tested and the incredible variability of who gets what when a conception occurs. Read a little people. This isn’t a magic solution and it still requires research and follow up on everyone’s part. Yeah, Grandma said we were part Native American but really…NOT. Grandma wanted to think that. Lookup “genetic recombination”. Learn a little. Don’t be a part of the MacDonald’s mentality when it comes to genetic testing. Jeeze!
I’m an adoptee searching for for relatives and for ethnicity. My mother was also adopted so that leaves a lot of uncertainty. Any information I would receive would be helpful and was surprised with my results. My newly found sister has taken the test and we showed up in each other’s results as 99% and we are waiting for our mothers results to come in. So this dose work IF the other people you are searching for uses the same DNA testing company. I was disappointed that it doesn’t match up with other testing sources; our matches may be out there somewhere looking as well. I am very disappointed with the search engine. I can’t seem to find anyone I look for even myself, my daughter or any of my Adopted family whose complete information I do have. So how will I find anyone else I’m looking for?
Having gotten my results from ancestry.comDNA, I am 57% West African, 41% British Isles and 2% uncertain. Even though I am a Black American, I have gotten 7 confirmed matches. All 7 are white and people with whom I share British Isles ancestry .5 matches were in my mothers family and 2 in my fathers family. I am now able to document a great great great grandfather, via DNA, whom until now I could definitively prove. Ancestry.comDNA was exceptionally accurate in my ethnicity, as I figured it out on paper years ago. The 2% uncertain was most likely Native American, 17th century Dutch and Flemish and perhaps other groups of ancestry I am not aware of. These were probably so small in quantity that they just did not register in my DNA. HATS OFF TO ANCESTRY.COMDNA. It is worth the $100.00.
I came up 56% West African and a shocking 28% Scandinavian. I guess that explains all the blonde hair dye and wigs on my mother’s side of the family?
FTDNA linked me to 3 Akan groups….the Mina, Nzima and the Fante which is in line with the old family story of an ancestor from the Gold Coast. They also found DNA from the Fang of Gabon….and Saudi Arabia and Brazil (!).
I have had good results with my test. My mother and my father’s sister have also done their tests. My mother shows as a parent child relationship and my aunt shows as a first cousin relationship. They both have different percentages of ethnicity than I do, but that is not so critical. I have numerous hints on both my father’s line and my mother’s. I match up with many as 3rd and 4th cousins. I have linked to most back beyond 4th great grandparents. The confidence level decreases this far back and links are dependent on others who have gone back this many generations and who have also done their DNA. I have no doubt that if I had close cousins or siblings submit their DNA it would show the close relationship which it should.
I got the ancestry.com results of my autosomal DNA & my feelings are mixed, however some remarks here startle me. In no way with my 73% African, 10% British Isles,6% Scandinavian results am I disappointed, 11% uncertain is puzzling. I’d like ancestry to give a “hint” at an 80% confidence on the “uncertain” it’s like 10 ancestors are before me.7 are African, 2 are upper European & 1 is a ghost. The help desk was kind & said that they will fill in the gap in time. What makes no sense are comments about how many generations back people claim to be “sure” of their ancestral genetics, especially those who slam Africa or Asia-get real, back more than 1 generation NOBODY is sure! Men & women have always been the same! The paper trail tells the “bedtime story” but the DNA tells the true story. Being “African American” we realize Europeans are in our DNA & it’s been lied and hidden for generations-I plan to encourage ancestry’s workers but know that just because your DNA doesn’t match your tree doesn’t make it not legitimate! If people accepted that we might ALL know our relatives!
You should also test with DNA Tribes. I, my brother and my Mom did it and we
were intrigued with all the results….we are African-American and we had tested with AFRICAN ANCESTRY, which is good for the paternal Y-line and the maternal mitochondrial line. But to get a good spread of all your ethnography, DNA Tribes gives you the first 20 matches to ethnic groups, as found in your
mother’s and father’s 46 chromosomes. Your African ancestry is a mixture of many groups, and you will see which ones are predominant in your autosomal
profile. Your European may be greater or lesser, and you may also have some Asian and Native American ancestry. My family is African-American, and
we were intrigued to find a large core of Middle Eastern and Mesopotamian
DNA, which traces back to ancient populations of Egyptian and Sudanese
Jews on my mother’s line; Portuguese, North African and West African groups on my Dad’s line. Don’t forget that this autosomal test picks up both ancient and modern DNA lines of various ethnicities running in your family lines on both sides.
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I wasn’t sure about whether I should try this, as I don’t know anything about my father and my mother told me I was mixed with so much, that I don’t really have ANY idea what my ethnicity is nor any ancestors. I saw a commercial for the DNA testing, and of course since I am a college student, spending $100 on something like this gives me a feeling of researching this before finally biting the bullet. After reading your analysis of the test and how as more and more information becomes available to Ancestry.com, I feel pretty confident about giving this a try! I’m hoping that I can learn a lot more about my fathers’ side of the family, as I never met him and don’t know enough information to locate him or his family. Thank you so much for the in depth analysis! I look forwards to receiving my results soon!
If you want the ethnography of your family, a better test would be the one offered by DNATribes. You get the top 20 ethnic matches of your autosomal DNA, which combines your mother’s and your father’s chromosomes. This will give you an idea of the streams of DNA of your ancient and modern ancestors.
DNATribes does not bother with “admixture percentages”–it is focused primarily on the multiple lines of ancestry you carry in your genes. You will probably be surprised at all you find, and you must remember that all humans carry multiple lines of EVERYTHING, dating back over 10,000 years or more.
Hey Bonnie! As I read your comment, I almost felt like I wrote it myself. I am in the exact same situation, and am also a college student who is reluctant to spend the money. Have you gotten your results yet? Was it worth the money? I hope you found out some good stuff!
Hey, Blaine. Between this and 23andme which would you recommend if one is on a budget? I did the Ancestry.com one and I got a 7% Polynesian result, even though I think this happened since Asians immigrated to Hawaii. Did you know that Ancestry reformed their system? My results were a solid blue pie chart at first, then they reformed their whole system and I got 91% Asian, 7% Polynesian, and a negligible 2% for Central Asia.
I tested with dnatribes in 2010 and so did my wife.mY family is overwhelming Borderes from the Scots english Border Reivers” most of them were sent toi Ulster and I showed as large segment from there. The Surprise was the heavy Scandinavian mostly in Sweden.Except for my father who has a german last anme but only ine eight of his surnames are German the rest Border Scots,Anglo Irish.WE know hte last name was changed maybe three four types.I know of no Scandinavian ancestors. However, in looking at websites listing Haplogroups I found numerous close genetic matches to my Y haplo in Gotland Sweden.Go figure? So know I am testing with Ancestry dna and then I will ttrnsfer data to 23 and me. mY wiofe came out Arabic about 85 percent and Scots.
I have got tall four grandparents or their brother’s Y haplo,and three RIB one G2 the Mito three standard Euro types T1,K,U etc except one Native American. (Her great grandma was a member of Crow Nation and on the tribal rolls.No sign of that on dnatribes but 10 percent Native American on Gene Tree.
All her ancestors are 19th century immigrants from the UK except great grandma.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all that you have Scandinavian roots given that you have Scots ancestry. My known ancestors are all from the U.K. but those Vikings came to visit a lot! If DNA tests aren’t any more selective than Northern European or British Isles, I probably won’t bother. But interesting nonetheless!
is this dna test worth the bucks?
I bought two dna tests from ancestry…for me and my daughter. Mine said that I was 3 percent Iberian Peninsula…my daughter had zero percent Iberian peninsula…how can this be? Please help me to understand!
Parents together give their children different chromosomes (and different amounts of their genetic ancestry, sometimes none) so though your daughter didn’t get your Iberian DNA, another of your children might have gotten it. I did not receive any of my father’s Western European or East Asian ancestry. I saw a comparison on one site where two parents of mixed heritage–one European/African and the other European/Native American had three kids: the first two had all the groups but the last had no Native American DNA.
Kelli – keep in mind that your daughter only inherits 50% of your DNA. So if the 3% Iberian is a real segment, then it appears that the segment is part of the 50% of your DNA that your daughter did not inherit.
i can not access my dna,how do i get access? this is for ancestry.com.
I received my ancestry.com dna results within the last the days. At first I was surprised when it said my ethnicity was 82% Great Britain, 7% Ireland, and less than 1% West Europe. Based on my family history, I would have guessed a dominate germanic component. After readings the Ancestry.com white paper, I learned that they do not have a german reference panel as of the time of this writing. However, many members of the Great Britain reference panel, and their grandparents, were born in parts of Western Europe including what is now Germany. So I wonder, why would Ancdestry.com have no german reference panel?
In large part because Germany is very anti-DNA testing in general.
My father was adopted and has since passed away. Because he was adopted, we know nothing about his family. I recently received my dna results with ancestry.com and had one first cousin come up. We have my mother’s family tree dating to the 1600’s and and the “cousin” and his relatives are not related to me on my mother’s side. Since it lists first cousin, could he actually be my father’s half brother (my uncle) and not a cousin, per se?
Yes, he could be. I never knew my grandfather, my mother’s father. My grandmother was a teenager when she had my mother and her father was never part of her life. Ancestry.com connected me to a second cousin and we were able to confirm that we are indeed related through my mother’s father and are second cousins as Ancestry.com suggested.
HI good afternoon 23 and me ancestry I took a dna testing from genebase as wall as ancestry.com. my haplogroup from genebase is e1b1a7a and my dna for ancestry dna is 87 percent African 11 percent European 1 percent Asia Central Asian and 1 Percent Native American Indian. Genebase is kind of hard to figure out and ancestry my highest percentage in Africa is Ivory coast and Ghana. I do believe we have the same dna as the Sephardim e1b1a-e1b1a7a even though my surname is Stancil its translated Estanislao estanislau Stanislaus Stansell Stanca Stenzel Stencel. Please can you give me an answer.
I believe that we went from Israel via Rome via Iberian Peninsula via West Africa via Latin America via Virginia
First let me start by saying I had my 82 year old Mother take the test along with me. Additionally, several of my cousins also took the test. There are a couple of generations, and several ancestors between all of us.
I am happy to say we all came back as matches, and at different levels. None of us share the same surname, and we are all from different parts of the Country. Some of us have family trees, some of us do not…but, we all matched.
I find it somewhat frustrating as well as others, but it’s learning how to read the info that is relieving some of that confusion.
One of my main concerns (stupid on my part) was believing I could possibly be related to all those people…even distantly. I am beginning to find the entire process exciting as I explore.
Thumbs up from me.
Does anyone know volume of DNA references ancestry.com is basing their results on? 23andme is trying to reach some magic 1Million number so that the results they give their customers reaches this new reporting potential with DNA results. What’s that all about?
After doing the DNA test through Ancestry.com myself, I also had my father and my 90 year old great aunt do it. We were looking specifically for the Native American to show up since we know that it is there, however, I am personally 6 generations removed from the my full blooded Native American ancestor. Nothing showed up in my results but it confirmed a great deal of other ethnicity amounts which was interesting. My father and my great aunt (my father’s paternal side) showed very small amounts of South and Central Asian which was an area that was heavily occupied at one time by the Mongolian peoples. The Mongols are the ancestors of the majority of the Native American tribes, having crossed the land bridge into the northern part of the North American continent and then migrating southward over time. So perhaps this is what we were looking for, however, we would like greater confirmation of that. The happy ending story of all this testing was that another member of Ancestry did the DNA test and she was able to use that information to locate a second cousin of mine in my family tree – her half-brother that she had not seen since her infancy – over 60 years ago. It has served to connect people that had been separated by years of divorces and remarriages of their father, and as such, is allowing them to talk and bring closure to a lot of unanswered questions and heartaches. I think it is worth the cost of the test.
I just got my results back from DNA Spectrum and from looking at all the comments here, I am glad I went with them. I got so many detailed results. I have my DNA tested with 23&Me and only got basic percentages, that didn’t mean anything to me so I decided to try DNA Spectrum and boy was I surprised. Now I have the exact locations where I have a match not just percentages.
How long does it take to get the results?
Many years ago I acquired this book, and was fascinated by its maps. The first map in the book is from 362 A.D. and the last is 1478, the “Medieval Era.” Between those dates, people migrated, boundaries changed, trade routes developed, and religious allegiances bowed to the influence of missionaries and conquerors.
Imagining that people stayed in one place and didn’t mix much is futile. For example, on the A.D.362 map, the Visigoths are along the Danube River. By 626, that area is labeled the “Avar Khanate”, and what is now Spain and Portugal is the “Visigothic Kingdom.” The Avars were first mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the 1st Century. They were nomadic people from the steppes of central Asia.
Imagining that history sits still enough to say a person’s ancestry is “Scandinavian” or “Irish” or whatever, is a little naive.
I remember seeing a PBS documentary where a mixed group of students compared DNA, and the closest match found was between two people of strikingly different skin color, with historical ancestry at nearly opposite poles of the earth – Scandinavia and one of the independent nations withing the borders of South Africa.
Me – records show ancestors from Ireland, Britain, with a little sprinkle of maybe German. Then, when I found some British relatives, I find out they are probably descended from of group of Viking invaders. And, the Vikings once lived in central Asia, or at least some of the people that morphed into what is now “Scandinavian” did.
I’ll admit to being human. I’m pretty sure that is right.
I forgot to name the book: The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History.
If I could like this comment a hundred times I would! Thank you for bringing up the fact that people shifted, invaded, and settled in areas not previously native to them; they still do. I do not think most people are taking these events into account. For instance all of the people that say they are descendants of persons from England… This country was heavily invaded by Vikings for quite some time, so when you are seeing Scandinavian or central European heritage in your DNA, this is most likely why.
Thank you Blane for this very useful site. I really need advice – am hoping you or your readers can help me and my family! My mother was adopted, her mother is deceased and so is the man we suspect was her father. This man was married and had 3 children, all dead now. One of his daughters from his marriage ( who would be my mothers possible half sister ) has 2 children living. They would be willing to take a DNA test. I am trying to research this as much as possible because we tried avuncular DNA testing some years back and this was negative, but also inconclusive given the limitations of such a test. Can autosomal testing help us? We just want to know if we are related.
Possibly. I’m having some second thoughts about the reliability of the test, but it is possible that this would come up as a close cousin match. Your mother’s sisters’ children would be your cousins.
A question I have is will a DNA test prove that I share the same great great grandfather as another that has been tested. I am a male and I have been in contact with another male with the same surname and we have considered having DNA tests but we both are unsure it will tell us anything useful…other than we both have ancestors from Europe.
I am adopted and have no idea about any of my relatives. I ordered the test. What, if anything, should I expect?
Here’s what to look for:
view your matches. Look for common surnames and places of origin. Contact the owners of the trees. Match their trees to any others you can find with the same surnames/places not only w/ the DNA matching but also with other ancestry.com trees. Do some research on your own or get assistance from someone who seems to know how to do research using ancestry.com, familysearch.org, and other internet sites. As an example, my (adopted) daughter took the DNA test. From the various matches, we think she may be related to a surname family from South Carolina. We are still exploring this line. Good luck to you. Explore all avenues. Reach out to others. At the very worst, they won’t answer.
I took a DNA test with Family Tree DNA but the results are confusing. I just wanted to see if I have Jewish ancestry. Do you know the best test to take?
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Good information on how to rad these tests and what they are based upon:
how to read*
I had my maternal DNA done at Oxford Ancestors. It is clear that British Isles paper ancestry reflects Celtic, 2 kinds of Viking and maybe Saxon.Mine was mostly Celtic with a small possibility of one of the Viking groups. The latter probably explains all the red heads in the family. This makes sense as on paper these ancestors came from the Limerick area which was a Viking invasion point.Even when they trace you back to one of the seven daughters it is clear ‘they’ came from somewhere else. My father’s side is western Sicilian and guessing from family names I would not be surprised to find some Jewish or Arabic DNA. The fact is at best we can back to the early 1600s. I was trained in research and would not be surprised. The key is that databases are limited. I would not ask Oxford to look at my father’s line….their same would be too small. It is early days yet in this field.
My question refers to what I’ve read online that ancestry.com cuts corners by connecting you to cousins if you have previously uploaded your family tree and listed surnames. By doing this, it makes it seems that you are related because you have the same surnames, whereas in fact you’re not related simply because you share the same last surname. Many of these surnames are very common, and there may be no dna relationship at all.
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Of the several dna tests you’ve taken which do you think is the most reliable and gives the most detailed information about your ethnic background? I know that I have african and native american ancestry but I would like to know which tribes my ancestors originate from, etc.
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My boyfriend had a closed adoption and is desperately seeking a birth mother/sister/family member. Was thinking of purchasing Ancestry’ s DNA kit. Is it worth it or will I set him up for more disappointment ? 🙁
Erin, I think that your boyfriend has a fair shot at finding the information he is looking for, but he shouldn’t hope for much. Ancestry.com is not very precise with their results, and even if there is a match on the website the people may or may not want to respond. My boyfriend’s mom was adopted as well and she used ancestry.com. The site had a pretty close match for her, but the guy never responded to her message. So whether or not he is a cousin she’ll never know.
I’d think it’s not really difficult to get a “confused” summary of DNA origins. By my last name I know I am Magyar (10th century – migrant – duh – put a map up and use a couple darts will be just as good a guess) because of migrations of so many people, invasions in the past 1000 years, and so on, almost everyone will have many in their ancestry who came from someplace else; like the British Islands, Eastern, Northern, Southern, or Western Europe. Invasion of Huns, Goths, Romans, Angles, Saxons, and Norse just to name a few of A LOT. Reasons for people to move: Politics, religion, wars, disease, economics, follow trade routes that were ever expanding, and the ugliness of slavery. Pretty much moving became standard in 17th and 18th century for one reason or another. Countries shipped people here and there and far and wide. My maternal side is just as ‘iffy’ as my father’s. Pick a port from north Florida to New York, add in lonely sailors (from all over the Old World) from trade ships in the 100+ years before the Mayflower ever thought about putting a settlement in the New World and there’s her ethnic code. So mine is the biggest mish-mash that you have ever seen. It would be silly for me to take a DNA test as the results would be meaningless. I can say I come from the northern hemisphere.
Results indicate deep Galactic Space
commenting on all the dna testing companies, gedmatch.com and all of the posts.
Apparently, people are looking for widely varying things when they send in a dna sample.
For me, what great tools we have in these companies and what great resources for genealogists and family historians! They are not perfect but they are evolving. Those who expect to find proof of “what they had always thought” can sometimes be disappointed. Experience with ydna proves that NPE’s (non paternal events) can shatter what we may have believed happened.
Autosomal dna testing is a wonderful tool if you know how to use it. Family history is not only about our distant ancestral origins.
To complete it’s great service, Ancestry.com needs a chromosome browser, even if, right now, it’s only for the few that know how to use it. If it isn’t available, the others won’t be able to expand their knowledge, learn how to use it and benefit from the info. it provides. We are all beginners when we get our first results. There is tremendous potential in combining existing Ancestrydna tools with a chromosome browser.
Lets celebrate what we’ve got, learn how to make use of it and work on perfecting and adding to it as time goes on. Family history is all about putting pieces together. These dna testing companies have provided the potential for adding some big pieces, if you know how to make use of them.
Great article on Ancestry.dna and what to expect. I have had great success with my autosomal matching, combining Ancestry, Gedmatch and Ftdna.
On Ancestrydna I have seen no “ethnicity comparison section” when checking any of my matches.
I have found no “sliding scale for the relationship confidence levels”.
Am I doing something wrong? I would very much like to use these tools.
Has anyone had the “All Ancestry”, i.e. Autosomal Test done by the company, Scotlands DNA and if so what are your comments?
A friend recently asked me a question that intrigued me. Was DNA testing performed on deceased ancestors to develop the “DNA signatures” for comparison as Ancestry.com DNA subjects?
This web site truly has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.
I love reading people’s stories. I have been interested in my background since I was a young girl. My dad’s uncle traced the lineage back to Scotland, as far back as late 1600’s. Also my mother’s maiden name back to England, as far back as late 1600’s. I have several reasons why I want to learn more about my ethnic background. Family rumor, that there is Jewish ancestors on my mother’s side. Once an Egyptian lady thought I was Egyptian; an Iraq girl said at first she thought I was her sister. People often mistake me for Native American, Asian, or Spanish. In fact, I couldn’t sign my son up for K5 b/c they thought I looked Mexican. Had to prove I was born in US. Would like to know if any of those ethnics would show up in DNA testing to give me some lead. I have a brother and we look nothing alike. I am a good mix of both my parents. My brother’s son looks more like me and often gets asked “where are you originally from”. Another is that my older son’s biological father was adopted so of course I know nothing about that side. Would like to offer my son as much knowledge about my side as I can. He has also just been tested with an auto-immune disease. IS THE DNA TESTING WORTH IT? WHICH ONE IS MOST RELIABLE? MOST DETAILED? CAN A GENETIC DOCTOR DO TESTING? AND WOULD THAT BE MORE RELIABLE? I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY INPUT. THANKS
I have a huge percentage of Native American heritiage on both my parents lineage. What is the best website to gather this information to see the percentage this would be and possible tribe information? Which is the most reliable
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I was wondering. My husband and my dna test started processing at the same time. My two son in laws had theirs start processing a week later. They were all taken on the same computer and mailed from the same mailbox. My husband and one of my son in laws have gotten their’s back already. Its been almost 3 weeks. I realize they can take 8 weeks. What I wondered was if two people started the processing part on the same day, how one could come back with another that started a week later. Do some take longer processing and why??. Just wondered what anyone else thought. Thanks for any replies.
The time difference could be a lot of different things. Just because you put them in the mail at the same time, doesn’t necessarily the US Mail handled them at the same rate. Then, there are two parts to the test. They process it, then there is the analysis where the results are interpreted. One or both of these could be going through different individuals…and that could cause the delay *smiles* I couldn’t wait to get mine so I can understand why you would be looking for your’s now, especially when others have theirs!
Reading a number of these posts, it occurs to me that labels such as German, British, French, Russian, etc., are political labels based on relatively recent nation states. Genes and DNA have no such political labels and predate national boundaries by hundreds of thousands of years. Before there was a Germany, there was Prussia, and before that a number of small principalities and city states and before that, just tribes living in forests and mountains. People moved around a lot more than we give them credit for. What the testing tries to decipher is how many of your DNA sequences match those of people living in a certain area today in order to assign relatively recent ethnic labels. Also, comparative sampling probably does not go back that far, four or five generations at best, since DNA degrades. So who can tell what the genetic distribution was in a certain area when your ancestors emigrated out, maybe 200 years ago? Or when they first immigrated in, maybe 2,000 years ago? Or 20,000 years ago? Working backwards, science can make an educated guess what the human genome looked like in the Ice Age and compare it to today. But there were no nation states back then and very few viable DNA samples from the past to provide adequate comparisons. More thorough DNA testing could possibly tell when certain portions of your DNA moved out of Africa and relate those migrations to certain racial groups but that might not be what customers are looking for. Just a thought. Disclaimer: Been 40 years since I studied Chemistry and Biology, so memory of how the science works could have failed me.
I have been working on my family tree in general for almost 6 yrs now. I started out on Ancestry.com . I finally decided in December of this year (2014) that I wanted to spend my gift card on a DNA test kit. I had read so many many mixed reviews, I was a little nervous to be honest. I took the plunge and after taking some time to truly get to know not just the results, but the different ways to read what is given to you and how to use it as a research tool I could not be happier!! In several different ways the tests are not only guiding me in new directions (I always need more than one source) but confirming what I already had discovered on my own Your results are adjusted and the tools are added at no further cost. In my opinion that is the best reason to get this test, and I would do it over again without hesitation. I think it is important when your going into this to know what to expect. No, the test will not tell you that your 3rd great grandfather lived at 309 Oak St. Santa Fe NM. But, what it might do, what it has done for me, is show that I am on the right path when I start to run into genetic matches that share a common ancestor. Another note worthy asset is, as it states on their “about” page, the analysis and matching process is constantly evolving. Even in the 4 months I’ve had my results there have been two new addition in the “tools” department and these have helped in more ways than can be counted. I guess what I am trying to say is, while this process isn’t perfect, I found it to be well worth the money spent.
The notion that the number of one’s ancestors are a power of two is false, and always false. It is based on the notion that two people that reproduce have entirely disparate ancestors (ridiculous) else how do we account for tribal similarities. Is it possible and permissible for distant cousins to marry? There are villages in England where the bulk of the population are related for its known history. How about Chasidic Jews?…..A family tree composed entirely from people who did not move around much cannot be composed of 2 to the Nth distinct individuals….
I already have a family tree on Ancestry.com. So what I’m looking for is a connection to the people I have listed on my tree to make sure I’m on the right path. I recently came across a marriage certificate for my grandfather on my Dad’s side and it indicated a first wife we didn’t know he had. It also indicated his middle initial of McC. Which would be correct because my Dad’s Middle name is McClelland. All documents I found only listed his middle initial as M which I fear I have gone down the wrong path.
My comment is research, Marriage Licences, Census, SS Death List, Historical Records. Have elders take the test. Good Luck.
I am sure you have been asked this before. I recently took ancestry.com dna test. I wondered if any of the dna sites are close to telling us whether we have more French than German. Or what part of western Europe the dna seems to be coming from. My other question is there anywhere to look to make the Scandinavian easier to find. I have a Grandfather that I don’t know where he came from in Sweden. I am the oldest living relative in my family. No parents, siblings cousins from either side. I had a niece take the dna test, but I don’t think that will help me much as she is also the second last living relative on both of her sides. Thank you for any help. Donna
Hello I have been reading the posts, very interesting, seems to be a lot of apoligists for these tests. Some have british in the mix and then others who are clearly british get something else?? My brother had this test done, my wife had her test done, both by ancestry.com Like most Americans we think we have NA in our background, my wife even has dental markers for NA ancestry and well as the stories and family members who look like Juan Valdez [from the old coffee commercials] yet again no NA or Hispanic or Iberian peninsula etc. in the tests. Don’t they have enough info yet to figure this out? I am beginning to think these tests are bogus, they can pick up DNA that is from 800 years ago from some long lost Fin [1%] in my brother but they can’t find our great grand parents in the mixes?? Seems dubious at best now. Please advise which if any test is more accurate with NA DNA results. thanks
The reason that ethnicity is so hit or miss is because the DNA we inherited from our ancestors is so hit and miss. We don’t inherit ALL the DNA of our ancestors; if we did, our DNA would double at every generation and we’d be big blobs of DNA. Instead, we inherit only 50% of the DNA from the previous generation, and after just a few generations only some of our ancestors are represented in our DNA. At 10 generations, for example, we have DNA from far fewer than half of our ancestors. See https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2009/11/10/qa-everyone-has-two-family-trees-a-genealogical-tree-and-a-genetic-tree/
Thanks for the explanation. I was a bit surprised considering that the Scandinavian DNA seems to overwhelm everything (as with others, I’ve noticed), although my maternal grandfather was Swedish & my paternal grandfather was Irish. Is Germany considered to be part of Northern European/Scandinavia? Also surprised that there was no native American DNA but yet a bit of Portugal, Spain, Italy & Jewish…
I must say that I have been pleased with Ancestry.com’s DNA testing. I am adopted and started out a week ago with nothing but my birth parents’ names. The testing immediately identified two second cousins who are actually first cousins and I am in touch with my birthmother’s family for the first time. I also matched 345 fourth cousins or better and more than 5000 people today. I am wondering if this is unusually high and don’t know where to find that information.
Love your website and am now following you on Twitter. All of your articles are so educational.
Wonderful page here. Gained lots of information. I am wanting to get tested but wonder if any of the companies have much information on Alaska natives? And if so which one would be the best company for this test. I am 1/4 athapaskin from Point Possession village in Alaska, on my mother side. Also do you get more information by having the male take the test. My brother is who I am thinking about. Wouldn’t that provide me with my father and mothers information? Thanks so much for any help you can give me.
Did you get the test done? What were the results. I am curious as to how they do NA. Do they give just the title NA or break it down by region? I am not NA but am really trying to find out how accurate their tests are.
I am trying to wrap my head around how they define ethnicity and maybe someone can help me. What does it mean to be defined as British for instance. Historically Britain has been occupied by Paleolithic people, celts, Romans, angles, Saxons, Jutes, Norman’s, Scandinavian Vikings etc. so like America it is a melting pot. In Hungary there are Magyars, avars, Huns, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans etc. in fact nearly all countries are like this. So I am very confused when it said your ancestry is British. It isn’t any more helpful than saying your American. Can anyone clarify this for me. Thanks.
My ancestry is indefatigably English with a smattering of Welsh. I haven’t found anything else during my genealogical research, yet.
However, I have come to similar conclusions to yours, i.e. that, at least in the areas which I have studied, which is mainly Europe, there were many invasions. This is particularly true of the British Isles across the millenia.
However, recently I made a discovery which, for me, significantly changes the picture of the origin of British people. Contemporaneously historians have attributed British people to be from various parts of Europe as a result of many invasions. According to a book I read on Scotland’s heritage (“Before Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History”, Alistair Moffat) it has been discovered via SCIENTIFIC DNA testing (not genealogical websites cashing in on people’s genuine curiosity about our origins) that 80% of people of British origin are originally from somewhere in the British Isles (going back at least 5,000 years), whilst only 20% are of more recent continental European origin. Therefore modern historians, probably just through mistaken conclusions, have misled us into believing that the British peoples are a “pollyglot” of mixed races (from the continent) as a consequence of all the invasions which you talk about.
Alistair Moffat’s conclusion about the origin on British people is that we are predominantly descended from the blood of the people who have lived in Britain since the millenia after the last ice age (Picts, Britons, etc). The invaders and conquerors were relatively few in number, some of whom did not settle, but returned from whence they came on their raiding parties, and therefore only added a drop to the gene pool. Sometimes their influence was much more cultural; in the new technologies they brought, for example. The ruling elite families inter-married – the royalty or nobility of the invaders with their British counterparts. Of course, there was plenty of “bastardry” too!
I would like to see the algorithm which Ancestry.com uses to determine their ethnicity percentages. Viz. It depends on what is classed as British? Presumably where our ancestors were born. On that basis, obviously weighting would be placed on our nearest ancestors, gradually dropping (in weighting) the further back we go.
On the this basis, as I stated at the beginning, I am indefatigably English! Whatever that means!
Clear as mud?!!!
Excellent post. Your comments are thought provoking. It seems that ancestry is not approaching this in a constructive manner. Ideally they should not use nationalities( English, French, German)but rather define ethnicities( Paleolithic, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic etc). At least to the degree that the science allows. I think that this would be more accurate and interesting.
I always say…if you are not ready to find out something you will not like, do not do the DNA test.
People have problems accepting certain ethnic groups and have tendencies to prefer others.
Even when you look physically like a certain group your DNA is another story.
You are not the result of your parents, your grandparents or even your great grandparents. You are a combination of humans from the very origins, so even when your physical body is 40, 50 or 60 yrs old your genes are millions of years old.
We all know how humans love interracial breeding and how we never stay in the same place for long… what are the odds your ancestors never mixed for thousand of years…just to stop and think about it is ridiculous!!…
So if you are expecting a certain result on the test…do not do it…you will be disappointed.
Have you developed a pros/cons features comparison of the 3 applications with an overall recommendation?
Wish I had read these comments before forking over money to Ancestry DNA. I have been scammed by them.
Just a reminder about AncestryDNA as well as 23andMe and Family Tree DNA. You should NEVER test at these companies IF you are ONLY interested in ethnicity! No ethnicity estimate – by either company or academic lab – is considered to be significantly accurate. If you are using these test solely for ethnicity information, you are using them incorrectly and should not be testing in the first place
Additionally, since we inherit only a tiny fraction of our ancestor’s DNA, we don’t accurately represent the ethnicity of all of our ancestors. Instead, we represent some random fraction of their overall ethnicity. Because of this, it is impossible to “predict” your ethnicity and evaluate your estimate against that prediction; that’s just not possible.
Bottom Line: DO NOT TEST SOLELY FOR AN ETHNICITY ESTIMATE.
You are so right. I have, according to FamilyTreeDNA 15% Scandinavian. My brother is 40% Scandinavian. I wondered why this could be as we are identified by FamilyTreeDNA as full siblings. Anyway, of my 15% my son got 3% and my grandchildren got 0% Scandinavian. So where did the Scandinavian go? to my brother, but he only has 18 % British Isles and I have 56% so it is like we came from two different families. Go figure.
I took the test to find out what makes my family make up so vastly different. Being African American I wasn’t alarmed when my results came back 90% Sub-Saharan African and 10 % European. I did expect a portion of the results to display some American Indian because of the tale of my great grandmother being Cherokee Indian. She did,marry my great grandfather whom carried an Irish last name. My problem is she passed for a white midwife back in the 1800s and the only way she could get away with it is if she married white as well. Furthermore I’ve finally accepted my cousins seeing my Dad as a white man when we were younger. ..long story. My naturally red hair doesn’t help. At least now I get a glimpse of where the confusion comes in to play with the outside world. Still searching for answers but the test was a start.
Working on it.
Hi, my Norwegian cousins on their father’s side got a nice slice of African American in their results. They are tall, blond, Nordic types. Looking firther into their records, they found a census listing for their paternal great-grandmother that listed her as “M” for mulatto before her marriage to their ancestor. It is a fact that many mulattos who could pased for white and, who wouldn’t if they could knowing the conditions that non-whites had to face in tose days. They are rather pleased to find out that they are not all plain vanilla but have a few sprinkles in the mix.
I hope someone who reads this can help me. I and a cousin took the Family Finder Test and my son took the Ancestry.com test. I found a DNA cousin from my known Peyton family: Mary Edrington, a Peyton descendant married Humphrey Quisenberry. Because it was in the 1600’s it is a distant cousin relationship. The Peytons and the Quisenberry’s were in the same places at the same time and documentation verifies the marriage. Now, I would expect to find Quisenberry cousins from this marriage because I am descended from the same ancestors as Mary Edrington, but the real kicker is that I have found other Quisenbery DNA cousins NOT a result of htis marriage. They are descendants of cousins of Humphrey Quisenberry and all on the same Quisenberry pedigree. How can I have Quisenberry cousins if I am not descended from the Quisenberry tree? Hope someone is in the know because I have this problem with three families on three different trees. I have DNA cousins related to people who married into my family but I am not descended from theirs.
Thanks: Sandy Olover Becker: [email protected]
Tis true. I’m aware of the European portion because I was able to trace back to the Irish fellow that migrated to Va, but not sure of when he moved or fled to NC. Either way the town they ended up in was mostly Native American. Irish was known to mate with any ethnic groupas they were out cast as well. No real mystery, just surprised it didn’t show up in the report.
I stop reading when you mentioned anger. Last emotion in my being when posting on this site. I’m not sure how you became an Internet psychologist but I’m cool.
The poster that responded didn’t tell me something I don’t already know, so I enlighten her on MY story. Try not to read into things that aren’t there Hun.
I need Help! I have a theory about my early (early 1700’s) family. I decided to test this theory by filtering my results to the last name of my theorized early ancestors. I got 17 distant cousin matches all from the published pedigree of my theorized ancestors. . Distant would be the right time frame for the early 1700’s. I also got other distant DNA matches to cousins who descend from other families who married into the family of my theorized ancestors. How accurate can these Distant cousin relationships be? Can there be any DNA left from these distant ancestral lines?
Great info, thanks!
My sister and I are about to take a Ancestry DNA test. I found out a few years ago that my dad is probably not my biological father. We thought if we take this test it may show a big difference in our ethnicity on our fathers side, since our mother and her ancestors are French. I guess this will not work, as it seems that people are just getting a hodgepodge of info.
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