AncestryDNA Revises Ethnicity Estimates

AncestryDNA today (12 September 2018) released updated ethnicity estimates for all customers. Everyone in the AncestryDNA database will see some change in their estimate.

This update represents one of the most significant refinements of AncestryDNA’s ethnicity estimates. Both the reference populations and the ethnicity algorithm underwent significant development.

The size and makeup of the reference populations grew substantially, from ~3,000 reference samples to ~16,000 reference samples (many provided by test takers that consented to participating in AncestryDNA research). The update adds 17 new regions to the ethnicity analysis (from 363 to 380). Many more are needed in areas such as Asia and Africa, of course, but this is a great addition. As well, many regions were redefined or their names were changed to more accurately reflect the region.

In addition to changes in the reference populations, the method by which AncestryDNA calculates ethnicity changed significantly. The algorithm now uses stretches of DNA to perform the calculation instead of individual SNPs.

Here is my own update (click to enlarge), showing the previous estimate (left) and the current estimate (right):

As you can see, my estimate changed significantly at first glance, although upon review the changes are very minor. For example, the region called “England, Wales & Northwestern Europe” with 87% really just combines “Great Britain” (55%) and Europe West (26%). My Native American ancestry remains 3%, and the name changed slightly. My African ancestry solidified at 1%.

And, most importantly, I lost a lot of “noise.” Ethnicity estimates are notoriously noisy, and some algorithms are better than others at smoothing out that noise. This new algorithm appears to be much better at eliminating the noise. Many users are going to be disappointed to lose this noise. However, in all my presentations about ethnicity I emphasize the importance of questioning these small percentages and using multiple calculators/tests to investigate them.

Based on my knowledge of my family history (an incredibly imperfect way to evaluate ethnicity!), the changes I see in my updated ethnicity estimate all make sense.

Here is the evolution of my ethnicity estimate over the past 6 years (click to enlarge), showing the incredible changes that have occurred:

Your ethnicity estimate will continue to change over time, and that’s a good thing. The worst thing that could happen is that there are no more changes. I’ve had many people tell me over the years that these ethnicity estimates will always be terrible and that we’re stuck with what we have. I’m always amazed that genealogists (who in their own lifetimes have seen genealogy go through so many changes!) believe that the current state of DNA and ethnicity estimates is the final word or what we’ll have 5, 10, or 20 years from now. These ethnicity estimates will continue to improve, and it is nearly impossible to predict where the field will go in the future.

Here is another example of an update:

In this example, several regions were lost, several regions were gained, and several regions were combined together and/or their names were changed.

112 Responses

  1. Shirley McDougall 12 September 2018 / 4:41 pm

    Enjoyed reading your account of updates re DNA results. Thank you.

  2. JB 12 September 2018 / 9:04 pm

    In my case, the ethnicity estimate change looked wrong. I was previously identified as 18% Italian (and I have an Italian grandfather whose family dates to 1450 in central Tuscany). In the revision, that disappeared, and was replaced with German and French ancestry. Feels wrong to me.

    • Laura 19 September 2018 / 1:40 pm

      I had a similar result and I’m seeing that happen for many people. My initial estimate of 13% Italian seemed spot-on and it disappeared completely.

    • Andrea 29 September 2018 / 2:24 am

      My father is 100% northern Tuscan and my results (since the new update) went from 0% to 46% French and my Italian went from 36% to 34% Italian. According to, I’m almost half French (even though I don’t know of any French ancestry in my family) and I’m only 34% Italian even though my father is full Italian (with a dozen family trees going back several centuries in northern Tuscany). My mother is half Spanish and English and my Spanish went from 20% to 10% and my 20% English became 10% Ireland and Scotland.

      • Claire 3 February 2019 / 8:56 am

        Yeah, the same happened to me. From Italian/Portuguese to French. Is there any explanation for that? 23andMe looks much more accurate.

      • dave 29 September 2020 / 11:49 am

        Exactly the same with me. My fathers side of the family is from Tuscany and Florence. My grandparents were even married in Tuscany and still have relations living in Bologna. My ancestry results came back showing I had more French DNA than Italian. Tuscany is located near the French border. Perhaps thee was a lot of intermingling going on between the Italians and the French. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of Italians from the northern part of the country have a lot of French DNA

    • Kelly 20 October 2018 / 5:11 pm

      I am even more confused now that my mother has done the dna Test. In my old estimate I had small percentages of middle eastern and Turkish . With the new update Turkish and middle eastern have disappeared. My mother just did the test and she came back with 15% Turkish and 6% middle eastern which is more in line with my old estimate. How is it possible that the Turkish and middle eastern have disappeared from my new results when they clearly had it right the first time since my mother’s results clearly show Turkish and middle eastern?

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:13 pm

      My “noise” was Iberian and Asian DNA from a Filipina great-grandmother who now doesn’t show up on my results at all. It was only ~10% total, but I’m still mad even though 23andMe shows it (and more accurately than Ancestry ever did).

      My German, Dutch and French ancestry was swallowed whole by the “England and Whatever” category, but that’s understandable. I’m just bitter the name isn’t simply “Northwestern Europe.”

    • Keith 11 November 2018 / 1:25 pm

      It is wrong. My Y chromosome test done by a Swedish company showed a strong Iberian peninsula connection to Berbers. update zeroed out my original 13% finding through them.

    • Palgrave 28 December 2018 / 9:01 pm

      My European Jew percentage disappeared completely, which goes against five hundred years of very accurate family records.

    • Laura 11 February 2019 / 8:44 pm

      Like so many I lost my Greek ancestry (despite having met Greek relations) ENTIRELY. Replaced largely by French. Seems to be a consistent problem.

    • Alessio Ventura 3 September 2019 / 12:51 pm

      People with Italian ancestry are being summarily reduced to much smaller percentages of Italian DNA (approx 50% on paternal side).’s original analysis was almost spot on, then when the revisions came out, that went to 5% with most of my DNA on my mother’s eastern European side. When I complained to Ancestry they pushed back and said “perhaps there are things that you don’t know about in your family tree”.

      I was enraged when I heard that response. My father was born and raised in Casalvieri, Italy, and my grand parents, great grandparents, great great grand parents were all born, raised, and died there. We are descendants of the indigenous tribes, the Volsci and Latini. Everyone has dark-olive skin complexion, dark hair.

      There is a HUGE issue with Ancestry’s new algorithm, esp. with respect to Italian DNA. They need to go back to the white board.

      • carla Towner 23 October 2019 / 11:30 am

        I have exactly the same problem- they’ve done another update and now it’s showing me as 0% Italian when I am at least 25%! And no, there’s nothing I don’t know about our family – Italians for generations. I’m furious.

  3. ROBERT J KORBACH 13 September 2018 / 9:47 am

    I’m now listed as 63% British Isles but have records back into the 1700’s of coming from 5 distinct regions (e.g., Eifel, Westerwald) in Germany. There is still a fundamental flaw in this methodology of estimating ethnicity.

    • JT 23 October 2018 / 2:26 am

      I went from 3% British to 67% !!!! 11% Afghanistan replaced by 11% Asian (China, Lao) OMG this is disappointing. How can I be almost no British ancestry to 3/4’s in their update!

      • Tracy Mortenson 16 July 2019 / 4:42 am

        I went from 1% British to 58% England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe. So the NW Europe is really far different than England…why is the percentage all swished in…? So confusing! I had 72% Europe West in my earliest DNA, then 33% Germanic Europe, and deleted the test…and tried again and got new results shows 16% Germanic Europe. I had coffee that 2nd test…so can coffee mess with it?

  4. Robert Kelly Dazet 13 September 2018 / 11:32 am

    Why, oh why is Ancestry DNA messing with the Ethnicity Estimate, instead of giving us useful tools, like a chromosome Browser, Triangulation, shared matches between 5th-8th cousins and 5th-8th cousins! (MyHeritage DNA has much better tools)!
    I really don’t care about an “Estimate”! If genealogy tells me that I’m Ulster Irish, Norwegian, German and French (Pyrenees) how can I have such a large percentage of England/Northwestern Europe? This is a total waste of resources on Ancestry’s part. Instead they should be focusing on making DNA work better as a genealogical tool to help break down brick walls.
    We are talking at-DNA here not Y-DNA or mt-DNA meaning it becomes less accurate after 6 or so generations. In that time frame, I have no ancestors from England. Of course the English had their “Plantation of Ireland Era”, but that is not a likely source of a large percentage of English DNA, nor is the Norman evasion of England or the Germanic Saxons before that.
    Please Ancestry, fix the poor messaging system and give us better DNA tools, like those that MyHeritage DNA has! What a MESS!

    • Robert Kelly Dazet 13 September 2018 / 11:44 am

      A thought: could this large percentage of English, Wales, Northwestern Europe (which is in itself pretty vague) be skewed by the large number of Irish that flooded Scotland and England during the potato famine? Or Germans during the Palatine migration? Just more reasons why ethnicity estimates are a waste of resources as far as genetic genealogy goes.

      Also I should have thanked you, Blaine, for pointing our this big change by Ancestry to us! Thank you!

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:15 pm

      If you look at the map, much of France, Germany and Ireland is included in the Northwestern Europe category.

      Why they decided to confuse anyone by calling England, Wales and Northwestern Europe instead of just Northwestern Europe I can’t even begin to comprehend.

      • Jay 26 December 2018 / 3:30 am

        I agree – I am hugely disappointed with my results ( received today)- my brother’s results, ( from about 4 months ago) showed 62.7% English & 19.5% North Western Europe – whereas mine is simply showing 73% England, Wales & North Western Europe & 24% Ireland & Scotland – nothing for Wales yet we have hundreds of years of ancestry in Pembrokeshire. I wanted to compare percentages with my brother – now I can’t. I have no idea how much was European in my results. Worse- there is nothing in either result showing any Spanish ( GGGG/F P de CASTRO)- my very distant cousin didn’t show any either! ( This is making me laugh and ponder all at once!) I showed 3% Norway, & my brother was 2.4% from places like Latvia, Poland etc…..this is very weird, although my mother did mention we had gypsy in us….never thought to question her at the time ( I was about 8) how that came about.
        I will now await my My Heritage results – in about 4 weeks to see what they come up with

        • Jay 26 December 2018 / 3:33 am

          Correction- my Wales % is included in England & North West Europe. Still wanted it broken down!

        • Cathi 30 September 2019 / 11:08 am

          I agree, I tried to compare to my brother’s results done couple years ago and my mother’s done same time as mine. I understand that I don’t have my father’s or my grandparent’s DNA, but I do have records. I understand that not all children would have exact same percentages, but they should be somewhat similar? I don’t like this lumping of several countries and generalization of ethnicity. Maybe they made it harder to understand for a reason; or simply their new algorithms have a flaw. Don’t like it!

    • Suzanne 27 October 2018 / 6:54 pm

      Robert, I couldn’t agree more! They are not in the business of catering to serious genealogists.

  5. Robert Ceccon 13 September 2018 / 1:44 pm

    Here’s what perplexes me:

    I have 48% Italian DNA. (This makes sense because both of my father’s parents are from Italy.)

    However, neither of my two children have any Italian DNA.

    Can you explain how this is possible?


    • JVerdant 15 September 2018 / 7:55 pm

      It’s entirely possible that, since each of your children inherit a random 50% of your DNA, they both randomly received it from the 52% of your non-Italian DNA. It’s not the most likely possibility, but a coin can land on heads five times in a row too.

    • JVerdant 15 September 2018 / 8:01 pm

      Forgot to add: This also explains why a lot of people are perplexed they don’t see country x from their genealogy research in their results. If each of your kids inherited a negligible amount of your Italian DNA, none of their children could possibly show it either, despite the fact they can prove they descend from Italians on paper. DNA can inform ancestry but autosomal DNA can’t possibly show traces of all your ancestors, even a few generations back, because it’s being chopped up, reshuffled, and half discarded every generation.

    • Janet Freeman 18 September 2018 / 12:57 pm

      I agree that it seems like they would have some Italian DNA. My new DNA results were 100% Eastern European & Russian. My mom is 96% and my dad is 91%. My daughter is 27% and my son is 33%.

    • Peter 25 September 2018 / 5:19 pm

      Me too. My Italian was 43% Italy, now it’s 12% (and all of a sudden France 30%, previously not even listed). Very strange, since I know for sure my paternal grandparents were born in Italy. Maybe because they are from northern Italy, there is some French DNA? This seems like an unusually high shift.

      • Suzanne 19 December 2018 / 3:11 am

        My Italian/Greek was 43-66% on old formula. Both my dad’s parents were born in Italy. Now Italian is only 10% and they say I am 37% French. My dad’s family is from northern Italy and yes the French did invade Italy as did the Spanish and the Normans and on and on……Italians have a mixture from various countries since they were invaded so many times over the centuries….called an admixture.

  6. James C Yates 13 September 2018 / 5:20 pm

    The new ethnicity estimate makes much more sense to me that the old one.

    • John 21 September 2018 / 8:49 am’s updated DNA estimates are not accurate. At all. For one relative of mine that has a completely European heritage from what are now Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Scandinavian countries with an accurate paper trail and other DNA tests from different companies just confirm this while Ancestry claims this relative is mostly British which is not accurate. They separate France and Germanic Europe (includes UK, Scandinavia, various Central European countries, and the Netherlands) when genetically they are pretty much all the same as Germanic people settled in these modern day regions and countries in Europe, and France and Scandinavian countries, and the UK are part of Germanic Europe. European people are not that genetically different, and the various regions and cultures invaded each other for millennia. Also, in physical appearance people who are European do not really have major identifying physical features that are really noticeable to someone who is not European.

      You also have people who are European who get inaccurate results from that they have low amounts of Sub Saharan African DNA which is just background noise.

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:17 pm

      Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. (Or once, in Europe. Whatever. It’s a metaphor.)

  7. chris 15 September 2018 / 4:34 am

    i went from majority scandinavian to majority england, wales & northwestern is this possible?shouldn’t it have just got more specific on the scandinavian?

    • JVerdant 15 September 2018 / 8:05 pm

      Some parts of Scandinavia might have DNA too similar to Northern Europe to allow any reliable distinction. The new update seems to be erring on the side of caution (elimination of low confidence hits etc.) so in your case the Scandinavian DNA might be a portion hard to tell apart from Netherlands etc.

    • PK 21 September 2018 / 4:50 pm

      Same here; Went from 30% Scandinavian to 0% Scandinavian. The “interesting” low confidence areas all disappeared. In addition, my closest relatives all have Native American ancestry which increased with the update, while I am the lone relative with 0% Native American ancestry. Huh?????

  8. Mike 17 September 2018 / 4:43 am

    It’s interesting that I was just talking to two different friends (both non-related to each other) with majority Irish Ancestry and both had 1% Ivory Coast/ Ghana added to their estimate in this latest update when they had no sub-Saharan African in their old estimate. I’m thinking the algorithm still needs some tweaking.

    • Khalid 21 September 2018 / 7:00 pm

      If they are Caucasian American having a smidge of African dna from a country with a major slave port is not that unbelievable. Mine changed from 18% British to 20% Irish.
      Turns out I’m over a quarter European looking at living family members one can have the wrong idea imagine members from 100s of years back. The more test samples that we as Americans allow to be tested can be better studied with those over seas samples that are not as mixed ethnicity wise. Noise has been reduced with this new update. I lost Asian, Native American and several other ethnicities, they may or may not come back as time progresses.

  9. David 17 September 2018 / 5:02 pm

    My original DNA profile listed me as 72% Western European and only 2 % English. In the new Profile, I am in the new grouping; England, Wales & Northwestern Europe at 80 %. Originally my English Heritage was 2%. My Mother, sister, brother, and cousin showed predominately English Heritage. Myself, my Great Aunt and nephew were predominately Western European. I am no expert with genealogy and DNA technology but when I was teaching school, this would be like giving a student an A on Friday and then amending my criteria by Monday and changing their grade to a C. It would have been nice to know this was coming and that my original DNA in 2012 could change so drastically. To me, this was poorly handled and makes me question whether I should seek out another genealogy site to continue my research. Many, many questions ???????????

    • Sharon 26 September 2018 / 3:36 pm

      I went from a large mix to 100% French. I have English ancestors and Native American. I have no idea who is at the controls but I have “0” faith. Sticking with my 23&Me results. At least they found and kept my native line.

    • Jay 26 December 2018 / 3:43 am

      I’m with you- really disappointed. I have also sent a sample to My Heritage- results due in about 4 weeks, so I’ll see it they can pick up my long Spanish history!
      Might do 23 & Me later

  10. Walt 18 September 2018 / 1:03 pm

    My new estimate makes absolutely no sense. They are now listing me as 81% Irish/Scottish/Welch/English and while that ethnicity rings true on my mother’s side, my father’s family came from Cape Verde and lived there for many generations with lines traced only back to Portugal and Italy. And both my children ended up with several ethnicities not present in either my profile or that of my wife.

  11. John 20 September 2018 / 11:59 pm’s updated DNA estimates are not accurate. At all. For one relative of mine that has a completely European heritage from what are now Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Scandinavian countries with an accurate paper trail and other DNA tests from different companies just confirm this while Ancestry claims this relative is mostly British which is not accurate. They separate France and Germanic Europe (includes UK, Scandinavia, various Central European countries, and the Netherlands) when genetically they are pretty much all the same as Germanic people settled in these modern day regions and countries in Europe, and France and Scandinavian countries, and the UK are part of Germanic Europe. European people are not that genetically different, and the various regions and cultures invaded each other for millennia. Also, in physical appearance people who are European do not really have major identifying physical features that are really noticeable to someone who is not European.

    You also have people who are European who get inaccurate results from that they have low amounts of Sub Saharan African DNA which is just background noise.

  12. Mike H. 21 September 2018 / 11:53 am

    The new “revised” results are a crock. Actually, the whole DNA testing process is…let me explain. My parents have spent countless hours doing proper genealogical research, going state to state, courthouse to courthouse, grave site to grave site. They have copies of birth certs, death certs, marriage certs and immigration records.

    Out of curiosity, my wife and I sent in our spit to Ancestry DNA. Her results were perplexing, showing 17% Scandinavian, 1/3 Iberian Peninsula, when she never knew that was in her family history. For me, everything I had seen seemed very accurate…56% German, 35% English/Scottish.

    After the revision, my wife’s results now seem accurate with French/British/Irish and no Scandinavian. But mine have taken a turn. 22% German, 52% Brit/Scot, 12% Norway, 6% French. Um…no! There is ZERO Norwegian and French in my family. Where did this come from?

    • Schröder 8 October 2018 / 1:28 pm

      We are literally talking about thousands of years of people having sex… Records from the close past on immigration are not a substitute for DNA results.

      • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:35 pm

        Ancestry isn’t using people from thousands of years ago for their reference populations, though.

  13. Canadian K 21 September 2018 / 2:46 pm

    I just received my results after the change and I am frustrated “England, Wales & Northwestern Europe” are now all grouped together. They claim to go into detail for 13 more regions below this but I have “no connections”.

    Similarly “Ireland and Scotland” can be broken into 24 regions, and I belong to the big group, but to none of the sub groups.

    How can I be X% “England, Wales & Northwestern Europe” but then there is no way to know if that is w% Welsh, x% English, y% French or z% German?

    My ancestors could basically be 100% from the UK. I was not expecting that as a mixed Canadian. From the videos I have watched even many UK citizens have Iberian or Scandinavian.

    Looking at the New results had hitting the “see other regions tested” button are ANY of you getting data from the subgroups?

    I have a feeling this detail is broken or in progress.

    • Alec van Helsdingen 21 September 2018 / 8:01 pm

      The “subregions” are genetic communities. There has to be quite a high standard of evidence to be assigned to one of those, therefore many customers like you and I don’t have any of them.

  14. John Berger 25 September 2018 / 11:22 am

    Waste of my money. Went from 30% Eastern Europe to 75% Germanic.
    But….. we all sent our DNA to a main data bank

  15. Preston 26 September 2018 / 10:50 am

    I understand the changes can be frustrating but it seems like a lot of people here would be better off considering that there might be misattributed paternity in their family trees rather than blaming Ancestry.

    • Sharon 27 September 2018 / 2:57 pm

      I completely agree. I’ve found quite a few cases of infidelity and adoption within my tree. This changes everything when looking at ethnicity. My ethnicity looks more accurate since Ancestry’s latest update. I now have Scandinavian and Norwegian when before I had none, and my background noise of Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi Jewish have disappeared.

      • Schröder 8 October 2018 / 1:56 pm

        Ditto on that one! Tons of adoption and infidelity in my tree. The “noise” of Middleastern in my results has completely disappeared and now reflects my researched parish records from the 1600s in Bergen, Norway – even they were having children out of wedlock, but they were all Norwegian.

        I think that this DNA testing has created a massive identity crisis for those who may have believed their family stories. People create a narrative for who they think they are, or want to be, and that bubble explodes when the DNA tests come back.

        • Bob 12 December 2018 / 2:50 am

          Excuse me–it is not just an uneducated “belief”. The large number of letters here showing how whole lines have been destroyed despite genealogical evidence cannot be explained away by the supposed infidelity of ancestors of “people who created a narrative. ” I have taken DNA tests from two other companies who support my previous data and I recently took the yDNA test from another company. Yet Ancestry feeds some more raw numbers into a computer and wipes out my paternal line completely. Ancestry is on the way to destroying itself by data error–now garbage in, garbage out.

    • Alan Guttmann 1 October 2018 / 12:11 am

      I attribute it to Autosomal ancestry testing being a pseudoscience.
      The only thing it can accurately do is match close relatives.
      Give 5 identical samples to separate companies and prepare for totally different results, that in many cases wildly differ.
      In particular, highly admixed ethnic groups are getting loopy and inconsistent results.

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:37 pm

      You cannot determine misattributed paternity from an ethnicity estimate. You can only use matches for that.

      And the changes are frustrating for a lot of people because their previous results matched their genealogical research and the new ones are wildly different.

      • Anonymous is a moron 29 December 2018 / 4:02 pm

        He never said you could.
        Try reading comp classes…

        Nothing frustrating about their changes, just shows that they’re a pseudoscience and nobody can trust the new results anymore than the old ones.
        A larger reference population does NOT equal more accurate, apparently, ESPECIALLY FOR ADMIXED GROUPS LIKE ITALIANS/GREEKS AND ASHKENAZI JEWS…

  16. Ken James 29 September 2018 / 3:21 pm

    My DNA changed significantly and now makes no sense. If this upgraded DNA had been provided to me when I was tested I would never have made the discoveries I did. I went from 30% Great Britain to 3% and all of a sudden have 19% German. I have not found one German surname in the past 250-300 years in any of my generations. They are from Great Britain, Sweden and Poland. I have written Ancestry asking for an explanation. I can’t do research based on faulty data. Are both estimates accurate, and are they now showing us the entire forest rather than the tree we’re looking for? I am not happy with this at all.

  17. Ken James 29 September 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Please write Ancestry at to voice your concerns:, Inc
    1300 W. Traverse Parkway
    Lehi, Utah 84043

    If both Previous Results and the Update are accurate but presented in different ways that needs to be stated. If new users get results based on the Upgrade format I think there is a good chance they will receive erroneous results. I was going to have my cousin test but not now.

    • Alan Guttmann 1 October 2018 / 12:04 am

      Why bother, they already scammed us out of our money.
      I’m just going to give bad reviews and warn people not to use them….

  18. Alan Guttmann 1 October 2018 / 12:02 am

    The new update is a total scam.
    I just received 10% more “European Jewish” apparently before the update AncestryDNA couldn’t tell “Western Europe” and “European Jewish” apart…
    This does however give some insight into the strong Western European influence that at least some Ashkenazi Jews apparently possess….

    I allso went from 0% to 14% Ireland and Scotland…
    Great, I will breakout the kilt, until the next “update” wipes that out and tells me I’m French…

    Autosomal DNA testing for ancestry is a total fraud and I’m sure my next “update” will be totally different.
    I have tested with 3 different companies and ALL the results WILDLY differ.
    Save your money folks….

  19. Joshua Hughes 1 October 2018 / 2:47 am

    They gave me 1% Jewish but neither of parents were given any Jewish. I’m not adopted as ancestry made clear.

  20. Roger 1 October 2018 / 8:48 pm

    When my dna was initially analyzed, it indicated 3% Iberian/North Africa heritage. I was contacted approximately a week ago saying that methods were changed. My 3% Iberian/North Africa heritage was removed. About this same time a news article appeared describing a similar heritage dna result was not accepted by federal government. Individual was denied federal assistance for minority business owners. Case has gone to court.
    Was my change in heritage due to new techniques or to avoid potential court case?

    • Schröder 8 October 2018 / 1:48 pm

      I personally have real problems with individuals claiming “minority status” in order to obtain special programs that are specifically designated for minority groups. If a Caucasian has 1% sub-Saharan African in their DNA, this does not entitle them to reap benefits – otherwise, there wouldn’t be these benefit programs in place because we are all a portion of African, if traced back far enough. With DNA testing in place, there may need to be actual percentages in lace in order to obtain these benefits based on “race”. Yes, I know that we are all of the “human race”, but that’s just not how this world works, unfortunately. If someone goes by “family stories”, it makes things even worse – we then have people taking advantage of minority programs who are definitely not in any minority group (i.e. the Native American claims by white southerners). Dicey waters.

      • A 21 October 2018 / 4:11 am

        I get what you’re saying and agree, but European descended people aren’t Caucasian anymore. Europeans are now genetically distant from people living in the modern Caucasus region. Caucasians are significantly more Asian shifted than Europeans. I could go on and on about the science of this, but what I’m getting at is, we can call a spade a spade. And that’s that privileged white people have no business appropriating affirmative action. No need to call ourselves something we haven’t been for thousands of years lol.

        • Andy 28 November 2018 / 10:30 pm

          Interesting comment about Caucasians not being from the Caucasus mountains. The world has seen many dna raids of real estate. Bantu speaking Africans migrated toward Congo and raided East and South from there. Norsemen raided Britain and Europe. Arabs raided Persia. Brits raided North America. Turks raided Anatolia. Japan raided China. The stories go on and on. Not one of the groups invented the raid. Everyone has an exploiter in their dna. And everyone has an overcoming victim in their dna.

  21. Joy 2 October 2018 / 1:20 pm

    My updates appear much better. All the ancestors I find are German. Now I am almost totally Germanic Europe. Older version had me all over Europe and some Turkey.

  22. M. Willoughby 2 October 2018 / 2:35 pm

    Terribly confused. My husband says that his grandmother was full blooded Cherokee Indian although her maiden name was Luttrell which is French. Our son did the Ancestry DNA testing and shows he is 28% Native American… North, Central, South in the Northeastern Mexico & S. Texas areas. That information is accurate as my grandfather is from Mexico. My question is why my husband’s grandmother was not under Native American as he truly believes and was told his grandmother was Cherokee Indian who lived in Tennessee.

    • Schröder 8 October 2018 / 1:35 pm

      Beliefs are much different than facts – old family stories cannot be relied upon. My dad said he was “blueblood German”, which is a crock because his mother was 100% Norwegian and his father was German/Irish. I think that people, in general, want to envision their roots in some exotic way – and then the truth hits when the DNA comes back.

      • Fuck Off 15 October 2018 / 9:18 am

        I notice that you feel your results are more accurate and so you are defending the results lol. I wonder how you would feel if it changed and all of YOUR research turned to shit over night.

    • T 17 October 2018 / 12:17 am

      80% Mexicans have Native DNA. There’s not enough samples from tribes, and some tribes are too intermixed with other groups. Export the data to myheritage, ftdna, gedmatch and for their badmixture results.

  23. MikeS 6 October 2018 / 12:31 am

    My original ancestry estimate made sense (mostly British as most of my roots are from old New England) except for the higher than expected Scandinavian that I figured was part of the influxes of Danish etc. into England about 1000 years ago. However, my Italian/Greek that was originally 21 percent now has dropped to 2 percent and my grandfather came from Greece, looked Greek and my cousin from Greece is obviously Greek. My Y-haplogroup is E-V13 which is definitely Balkin which includes Greek. I can accept my British going down a bit and Western Europe going up as Britain was definitely a melting pot and it might be hard to differentiate that mixing. However, my Greek ancestry of approximately 25 percent should still be there. I think where Ancestry originally overestimated the Scandinavian percentage in British ancestry, now the Italian/Greek is being underestimated. Ancestry should focus more DNA sampling in those areas (Italy/Greece) as I have seen many recent articles online complaining about that same issue.

  24. Carol St Pierre 6 October 2018 / 9:00 am

    While my DNA results as well as my husband’s and mother-in-law’s have drastically changed to what makes much more sense, the scope of those changes worries me. Where my husband was 47% British before, which was a big surprise and hard to believe, he is now 98% French and not British at all, which makes more sense. His mother was 39% British and now is 100% French. Mine showed 27% Great Britain, 14% Ireland/Scotland/Wales but now I am 98% French. We’ve always believed we were French and our trees reinforce that. Although I understand at different points in history people have migrated and regions have changed hands frequently, such as when Eleonor of Aquitaine’s lands in a large area of France became part of the English empire with her marriage to king Henry of England (and which I originally thought was the only explanation for so much Great Britain in our DNA) I find it disturbing that the numbers have changed so drastically. How can we trust any ethnicity estimates, even when they now seem correct? Will they again change drastically in the future to something else we can’t believe?

  25. Molly 6 October 2018 / 11:22 am

    I cam here also because of my Ancestry DNA results change that made little sense-. My mother’s side of our Turkish heritage is from Georgia and my Dad is from Aegean coast north. Original said 60% caucasian which makes sense from mom’s side. Then I was 27% Italian southern european and the rest were minor percentages from many areas. Dad’s side from Western coast of Turkey made sense with south European. NOW my result dropped caucasian to 40% south Europe dropped to 5% and a whopping 25% is now showing Iran/Persian–thats new. Very odd. Does not make sense on how South Europe turned into Persian. When I first saw the note my results for revised I thought they would break it down into more specific areas in the Caucasus region or s. Europe. Instead it switched continents.

  26. Kitty Rodriguez 8 October 2018 / 2:58 pm

    The new northwestern Europe is blurred. What happened to the southern European percentages ? Any casual observer would say that my dad and grandmother , uncles, are southern European. How could Scottish and British, for example, have such dark eyes, olive complexions, with such thick wavy hair ? Don’t believe the ” new” results. The ” old” one should be included too. Otherwise it would have been a lie to start with.

  27. Carol Rodriguez 8 October 2018 / 3:00 pm

    The new northwestern Europe is blurred. What happened to the southern European percentages ? Any casual observer would say that my dad and grandmother , uncles, are southern European. How could Scottish and British, for example, have such dark eyes, olive complexions, with such thick wavy hair ? Don’t believe the ” new” results. The ” old” one, which included southern Europe, should be included too. Otherwise it would have been a lie to start with.

  28. Reece 8 October 2018 / 9:40 pm

    The pool became tainted over the last several years. Millions of new migrants flooding into Europe are changing the pools. As far as the Scandinavia results go, they spread their genetics so much into all the areas surrounding Scandinavia that im sure an accurate result cant be reached. ALSO my Iberian Pen totally disappeared. Which is BS. My grandmas family literally came from Spain after living there for countless generations. I kinda feel like Ancestry dropped the ball big time. Whats with all these people all the sudden becoming 1% sub Saharan African? Literally it says like everyone.

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:43 pm

      Ancestry’s reference populations use people with verifiable ancestry from a specific region for a few hundred years. Modern migration is not affecting the results at all, or “tainting” it, as you so racistly put it.

      The problem is Ancestry is using an untested algorithm. They should have rolled out the larger reference populations first, then rolled out the algorithm in a separate beta and compared the changes.

    • ANONYMOUS 21 October 2018 / 4:28 am

      Literally it doesn’t say everyone is African. ? I hardly ever see anyone with African before or after the update. My results are Britain, Wales, and NW Europe; Ireland & Scotland; and Germanic Europe. It matches my paper trail. Imagine that. Did it ever occur to you that the people showing African actually have African ancestry? What a crazy idea, especially in America where white men raped black women continuously for about 300 years. It sounds like you just have a problem with people of color since you think migrants are tainting Europe.

    • Michael Dean 5 December 2018 / 1:03 pm

      You forget the Moors invaded Spain and the Moors carried with them to a large degree African and Middle-eastern bloodlines. It is completely plausible and most likely that any Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Sicilian, etc DNA will contain some African DNA especially Sub-Saharan (Northen African)

  29. SP 10 October 2018 / 10:56 am

    I have found the latest update of of Ethnicity Estimate less plausible. Recent in depth DNA research of Britain has found strong links between German and French DNA over much of England. However there are areas where people have very homogenous DNA indicating little movement of these people and little influence from those outside of this. Welsh DNA has been found to be homogenous sharing similarities with the Basque. Looking at my family based on births, deaths, and marriage records going back to 1650 it seems they remained in a small area in Wales. There is Welsh on the other side of my family also. The update dropped the Iberian Peninsula (15%) which I considered plausible given the similarities between Welsh and Basque DNA. The Welsh and the English DNA have been found to be quite different in this in depth DNA study. I think the large groupings that Ancestry have used simply subsumed the discrete Welsh DNA: It may have removed noise but also reduced sensitivity. I will continue to review updates but also review latest in depth research as my interest in DNA and ancestry continues.

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:45 pm

      I’m a bit concerned that Ancestry’s geneticists call Yorkshire the “most British” DNA when separate academic studies into Yorkshire DNA have found huge Scandinavian influence there.

      • Michael Dean 5 December 2018 / 12:58 pm

        York used to be a part of the Viking empire in the isles and was known as Jorvik at one time for nearly a 30 year period. Heck Britain once held the name of Danelaw due to the control of the Norse (Swedes, Danes and Norwegian Vikings) for a period of time over much of the country prior to 1066 when William the Conqueror himself led Vikings to conquer Britain (Yes he was from Normandy but that region was a heritage of Vikings as it got its name from the derivative term of “land of north men”) his army was primarily Vikings and Normans (Norse/French Descent and was the descendent (3x great grandson) of “Rollo” the famed French King and Viking York was conquered and controlled by many in the past 1300 years and its peoples interbred with those who did. It cannot be considered the epitome of English blood-lines!

  30. Lex 13 October 2018 / 11:23 pm

    My Ancestry results don’t make sense at all. I went from 30% Western European, 22% Southern European, 18% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 17% Iberian Peninsula, 10% Scandinavia, 1% North Africa, <1% Great Britain, and <1% Middle East to 93% French and 7% England. Everything else is gone. What in the world is going on with your system Ancestry? Both of my parents may have a lot of French, but there is no way I am that much. And both of them also have German, Greek, and Scandinavia in their DNA. Great Britain and Italian are on my mom while Irish is on my dad. I'll see what 23andMe has to say about this.

    • anonymous 20 October 2018 / 10:46 pm

      I found 23andMe WAY more accurate than both the pre- and post-update AncestryDNA estimates.

  31. Kelly 20 October 2018 / 5:14 pm

    am even more confused now that my mother has done the dna Test. In my old estimate I had small percentages of middle eastern and Turkish . With the new update Turkish and middle eastern have disappeared. My mother just did the test and she came back with 15% Turkish and 6% middle eastern which is more in line with my old estimate. How is it possible that the Turkish and middle eastern have disappeared from my new results when they clearly had it right the first time since my mother’s results clearly show Turkish and middle eastern?

  32. K. T. 28 October 2018 / 6:35 pm

    I also find the update very unconvincing. Previous results matched quite closely to my research. After the update western European and English (both proven in my mother’s family tree) were eliminated. I might have bought this, except my Finnish ancestry was up from 50% (from my father’s side) to 66%. If they had upped the Swedish or Norwegian aspects , I might have been fooled, as these groups did make their way around Europe. The Finnish? Hard to explain, except that had trouble with their algorithm and decided to cram some results into existing categories, hoping we wouldn’t question it.

  33. Krautasaurus 13 November 2018 / 1:58 am

    My new results are ridiculous. I went from 9% English, and 46% German (Europe West) … to 58% Engish and 5% German. I now have no idea what I am. All of my records including my last name and many last names in my tree, are German. On one side is English too, but the closer ancestors most recent) were German. Hot headed ones. Now I’m hardly German at all? I’ve wasted a LOT of time and money on ancestry and am thoroughly disgusted.

  34. Heather Ward 2 December 2018 / 4:02 am

    What is considered as northwestern Europe ?

  35. Michael Dean 5 December 2018 / 12:39 pm

    My father was as genealogist and professor before he died in 1993. His family was Cherokee and Creek Indian with relatives that we had on reservation in North Carolina and I do have his records showing membership to the Cherokee Nation as well as his Aunt.

    This goes with records of his family coming over in the 1880’s and 1920’s as immigrants from Italy on his fathers side. As for my mother her family is Dunkard (German Baptist) and as such with the value of records thru the church and families of such religion my father traced her records all the way back to 1500’s Switzerland. My problem is my original estimates showed no American Indian, but only simply England, Scotland and Wales as well as Ireland and nearly 20% Iberian Peninsula and Italian/Greek which at the time I made sense of that the possibility that it diluted to me the native American blood or it wasn’t as prevalent as known (Indian tribes did adopt Scots and Irish in Appalachia and intermarried quite often while still living on the reservations). My wife and daughter took the tests as well and my wife’s results (surprisingly so) mirrored my closely except for some Russian and Scandinavian (Sweden) that totaled 8% and 6% Italian. The problem I have isn’t the lack of Native American or the percentages of the original but with the update I am now 84% Northwestern European, 6% Ireland Scotland and 10% Scandinavian with 0% Italian, Greek or Iberian Peninsula. And before anyone (who obviously works likely for posts on here as I’ve seen in obvious defense of some other peoples concerns states another reduction in “noise” is a good thing or that the algorithm is still being “tweaked”, population drift, adoption, etc. please note I have a minor in evolutionary biology and I would be happy to volunteer to gather new samples as there is no way my DNA changes that much unless the samples for the baseline are corrupted or complete incompetence was made and my own sample was contaminated on the re-testing somehow. I say this as now my daughter who had 1% Italian/Greek prior to the adjustments recently made has now over 8% while mine and my wife’s is completely gone. There is a fundamental error in the algorithm and I would suspect it is in the original baseline samples and I will say it has to do with how the sampling has been taken, of the individuals who have taken it and the age/period of the sampling being skewered by ethnic migrations due to war, poverty, etc. in the past 100 years alone. I feel this will become a problem further for unless they do something about it now. With that said I am taking testing with 4 other companies and 1 independent University here now to finish my fathers work on our family trees as such info and value of DNA testing wasn’t available to him in his lifetime. I will however not be subscribing or recommending to anyone until they can explain otherwise in a satisfactory manner to myself that makes since.

    • Blaine T Bettinger 5 December 2018 / 1:13 pm

      Unfortunately, with no detectable Native American, that can only mean that it was very far back, or was not there. Native American DNA is one of the most detectable origins at all the testing companies. And there is a known issue with the most recent update at AncestryDNA that pushes Italian DNA further north.

      The bigger issue, though, is expecting ethnicity estimates to be final and accurate. That’s unrealistic, like expecting the space shuttle to travel at the speed of light just because it can be launched, or expecting cancer to be obliterated just because there are treatments, or expecting electric cars to travel for weeks on a single charge. The science of ethnicity estimates is VERY early and still developing, and has numerous known limitations (the biggest being the current paucity of reference populations). The estimates we have today will continue to be refined and changed as new populations are tested and algorithms are refined.

      You think you have it bad, try being of African or Asian ancestry! Their estimates are incredibly high level and notoriously noisy. Is that because the science is “bad”? No, it’s because it’s early in the process and there are few reference populations.

      • Tasha Windmann 7 December 2018 / 10:35 am

        Blaine I’m curious if you have specific/further data on Italian DNA research as it relates to being pushed north on Ancestry.
        We’ve commented back & forth on FB, please message me there if you have more to pass on my way.
        Reason asking (figured explain here for others possibly wondering) if Ancestry has assigned me no Italian, it’s intrigued me why.

        My 3rdGrGrandparents immigrated from Sicily to US. 23andMe, FTDNA and MyHeritage initially gave me ~8% until my mother’s results came in and I was bumped up to ~11%.
        My 2nd cousin & direct male descendent of the male Sicilian ancestor tested for me—matches my mother & myself as expected. With only Y12 at FTDNA (so far, more research TBD while focusing on search angel helping) he is J-M172.
        Also, a great-great aunt, niece to my great-grandmother who married the grandson of the Sicilians, matches myself, mom & 2nd cousin as expected and does not triangulate segments on the Sicilian line the rest of us share, as expected. With pause, my 2ndGreatGrandmother that all 4 of us have in common, was of Italian descent but not sure where exactly from -yet. The 2ndGreatGrandfather all 4 of us have in common is of Irish & Scottish descent. Should thaf have any bearing on the disparity in AncestryDNA vs AllOtherCompanies…?

        As I had a feeling, one of my adoptee friends Ive been mentioning on FB, J-M241 & 50% Italian with identified birth father, matches my cousin on small autosomal segments via Gedmatch… albeit small, they triangulate on the same small autosomal segments as a male of a much more recent subclad who IS from Sicily present day—and lucky us he is on Gedmatch and FTDNA to substantiate this!
        Multiple angles to demonstrate my Italian ancestry…. what gives AncestryDNA?!

  36. James Bianco 7 December 2018 / 1:10 am

    I am 1/4 Italian and 1/4 Iranian, the new release took my Middle East and moved it all to Italian. 23andMe, Familytreedna AND National Geographic GENO2 all correctly have mearound 25% West Asian/Middle East. I had one Italian grandparent and now tells me I am 68% Italian! Sounds like they made a HUGE mistake with the Italian algorithm.

  37. gineen cooper 8 December 2018 / 6:03 pm

    i am a bit stunned after reading all the comments to this article…i’m so glad everyone has shared what’s going on with this “update” and the chaos that’s ensued for so many.

    i’m brand new to online research and testing, still waiting for my results to come back and wishing i’d went with 23&me instead. does it make sense to use the other major services as well and then compare them all to my paper tree? plus i haven’t been thinking about how in any generation some dna can be “skipped” over, thereby leaving out whole lines of people’s ethnicity…

    i have been assuming it will be somewhere in the vicinity of 25% Italian, (paper tree is back to 1600’s), 25% Lithuanian/ Russian Jewish, 25% English/Scottish/Irish (paper tree to 1500’s) and 25% unknown as one of my grandfathers was adopted.

    but this new update makes me think i should really be prepared to not have my expectations met, at all!

    has anyone ordered their new “traits” feature…was that a waste of an additional $10?

    • debbie 11 May 2019 / 7:32 pm

      The Additional $10 for the Traits couldn’t have in My Case been More..Incorrect. Pretty much 100%, Hope that helps..You’re Not alone. Also, I’m positive I should’ve been more than 50% Italian, yet they came up with 41% Specific to Sicily & 9% French, rest was as they Lumped Us All together..British, Wales & Nw European. Wow, so Disappointed with the Lumping Part..Also they Obviously do Not have the Sicilian parts correct, my Grandmother was a Malta..from Island of Malta. Such a short hop & skip all around those little Countries..& back then, Our Relatives didn’t have an Ancestry Dna to “Deposit” their IF other Family members have Not or Did Not before They passed on..then the Information, or Scientific Analysis could be much less than a True..Estimate.

  38. John 11 December 2018 / 10:25 am

    Really bad update. New results wiped out all my German ancestry. I went from 75% to 9% German. All noise also eliminated. I went from 4% English to 60%?? 15% Irish to 40%?? All my great grand parents were born mainly in Germany, the rest Ireland.

    Really lousy update.

  39. The Dude 17 December 2018 / 1:28 pm

    My daughter’s % on Native American (New Mexico, Wife’s side) went from 12% to non existent and her GB went from 8% to 78%, really? This new update needs some refinement because its way off.

  40. David Guss 23 January 2019 / 1:37 am

    I have done both Ancestry and 23 and Me DNA tests. Ancestry´s updates are still too broad and the results are not totally in line with what I know about my family history. I was very pleased with the 23 and Me updates. They were very specific. I knew from genealogical records where my Swedish ancestors came from and the update was able to pinpoint exactly their county of origin in Sweden. Likewise, their U.K. data is specific to the county level.

  41. Kate 31 January 2019 / 6:21 am

    I feel like i wasted a bunch of money on this….the update leaves me confused as our son now has a large percentage of Norwegian but neither my husband or myself now show any Norwegian whatsoever since this update……

    I think what confuses me the most is how so VERY different the results are in the update….are these new results more accurate? or is it just messed up and should ignore them and just go with the original results pre-update.

    not going to waste more money trying different kits from different companies, i think throwing more money to get the four of us re-tested is a nonsense right now

    • Tee Tee 14 May 2019 / 9:17 am

      I agree. I know that my results are not very accurate which now I know that it is an estimate can’t really expect them to be. I am definitely not wasting any more money on any more tests right now either.

  42. Martin255 8 May 2019 / 6:01 pm

    The comments that I read here pretty much reflect my current opinion about Ancestry DNA…

    I don’t say that their results are completely wrong, but they are NOT complete and they hide some important traces which you SHOULD know because you paid much money for it!

    What I can really recommend is UPLOADING your raw DNA to and compare the results with Ancestry…
    In my case there is almost 30% mediterrane an influence shown in Eurogenes K36 test which does NOT appear in the Ancestry results…

    How can almost one third of my DNA heritage be just background noise that needs to be filtered out??

    Ancestry DNAs New update does either filter some important facts or they are building too big common regions in their map. Or they simply have problems with south-european DNA…

    I have brown eyes and dark hairs with ability to easily get suntained. How can this not be associated with some percentage of south european traces? Especially if seems to show it.

    So Overall i would say that downloading RAW DNA is one of the best features that Ancestry DNA has to offer in the moment.

    Bavaria, South Germany

  43. Sabrina 27 May 2019 / 3:03 pm

    The growth of Irish percentage surprises a bit. I didn’t expect that from this estimate. I’m making right now a presentation of Ireland, its population and how it’s been spreading around the globe. And this data might help me a bit.

  44. FaceIT DNA 14 November 2019 / 9:04 am

    You got amazing updates. Maybe in the future, you get more details about your Northwestern Europe race?

  45. Nate Scott 21 November 2019 / 11:31 pm

    In my opinion, the ancestral ethnicity updates being rolled out today aren’t worth much at all. Avoid feeding the genealogy industry’s focus on feature monetization and instead, accept the very first original ethnicity results that you’ve ever received as your “Root Results”. Treat any subsequent ethnicity updates that you receive as informational supplements, and no more. Message: don’t let the industry’s monetization goals dig further into your pocket and play with your mind.

  46. Dr George Clark 12 January 2020 / 12:46 am

    Read many of your replies from your following, I’m impressed.

  47. Nga Williams 8 May 2020 / 5:12 am

    I know that this method was used by students to compare gene drift in Australia. This popular method is used by copywriters to write term papers. This is a simple method of pairwise sequence comparison without deletion and gene inversion. I found such a tool on the NSBI. You can compare several groups of sequences of different ethnic groups.

  48. Em 20 August 2020 / 1:20 pm

    I didn’t see any comments about the “Irish” category for Ancestry. Any others with questions there recently? (It also includes Wales and Scotland, Brittany too IIRC.)

    Mine was larger than expected in the first version, and is still rather large (equivalent to a grandparent, roughly) even after going down. This is interesting because another company and an academic site that will run our raw data seem to have this portion for me as southeastern Europe or Mediterranean.

    Anyone else seeing Irish/Celtic swapped for the Med???
    Thanks, all.

    PS I cannot answer to the paper record backing this up or contradicting. I have one adopted parent and I don’t trust the tiny bit of info given on bio background.

  49. jets 3 November 2020 / 12:28 pm

    I had the Dna test done my great grandparents on my mothers mother side where born in Germany they were Ashkenazi jews they are buried in a jewish cemetery .Yet there is nothing saying it her father was Polish and lithuanian my father .

  50. Oleksandr Semivolos 12 April 2021 / 7:25 am

    This update represents one of the most significant refinements of AncestryDNA’s ethnicity estimates. Both the reference populations and the ethnicity algorithm underwent significant development.

  51. P.T. 24 June 2022 / 2:58 pm

    It’s not accurate. My mother is in the database and she is 10% French, but my result shows 0% French — simply not possible. It’s a bunch of B.S. In addition, they initially had me as 92% European and 8% middle eastern which is understandable due to the history of the Iberian peninsula (except that none of the European components were French). However, when I revealed that I had been born in Cuba, they immediately decreased the middle eastern percentage and added 2% Sub-saharan African. Seems like their algorithm is making assumptions based on where you are born, not just your DNA ancestry, which is quite an error in logic.

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