Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Look at my AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update

The blog just posteA Sneak Peek Into The AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update – Coming Soon To Your DNA Results!  The blog post says they have rolled out a free update to the ethnicity estimate to a small random group of AncestryDNA members.  Read their blog post for more information.

I guess I'm one of the "lucky ones" who has had their ethnicity estimate updated.  Here is what I saw today:

1)  On my AncestryDNA page today was a new orange button for "Ethnicity Estimate Preview:"

As you can see, my previous ethnicity was identified on AncestryDNA as 94% British Isles and 6% Uncertain.  I've pointed out before how those differ from my ethnicity estimate on FamilyTreeDNA (89% British Isles, 11% Middle East) and 23andMe (99.3% West European, 0.7% Native American, with 18% identified as British and Irish).  I wrote about this in My Autosomal DNA Quandary in August 2013.

2)  When I clicked on the orange button for my "Ethnicity Estimate Preview," I was taken to some education screens.  First, was "What's new in Ethnicity Estimate 2.0:"

The chart above told me that AncestryDNA was now using 300,000 DNA markers now, compared to 30,000 markers previously.  They also are doing much more analysis - 40 passes through the data rather than one.

I clicked the green "Next: More regions" button and saw:

The screen above told me that they have added new sub-regions in Europe and Africa.

Clicking on the green "Next: Easier to understand" button showed me:

They have a new DNA Learning Center, and there are more details on each region.

3)  Clicking the green "See your results" button showed me my Ethnicity Estimate 2.0:

According to AncestryDNA, my Ethnicity Estimate is:

*  America = < 1%
***  Native American = < 1%

*  Europe = 98%
*** Europe West = 66%
***  Ireland = 18%
*** Great Britain = 9%
*** Scandinavia = 3%
***  Italy Greece = 1%
*** Iberian Peninsula = < 1%

*  Pacific Islander = < 1%
*** Polynesia = < 1%

Well!  That's interesting.  Actually, it matches the 23andMe estimate fairly well (18% British and Irish on 23andMe vs. 27% Britain and Ireland on AncestryDNA) and Native-American (0.7% on 23andMe vs. < 1% on AncestryDNA.  As for the Pacific-Islander portion, I have no clue.

4)  It would be helpful if all of these autosomal DNA services would indicate just how deep the estimates are - that is, are they from 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago, etc.  My sense is that they are probably from 2000 years ago or more.  That would explain the ethnicity estimate above vs. my genealogy work which only goes back about 400 years.  Before then, Scandinavians poured into England and northern France, Saxons from western Europe did also.  The Italy/Greece may be from Roman soldiers in England or northern Europe, etc.

There is a lot more information available on the AncestryDNA pages, and I will show some more of it in the next week or so.

I'm interested to see how the DNA community interprets all of this.  Has AncestryDNA improved their analysis sufficiently that we can trust what they tell us, or will there be more to come?  I would also love to see ethnicity estimates for persons in my ancestral locations in England, France, Germany, etc.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Susi's Quarter said...

25The more they can break it down the more the learning of ancient history will be important.

Debbie Kennett said...


Thanks for sharing your results. I live in England, and all my ancestry as far back as I can trace it is from the British Isles. Yet according to Ancestry's new ethnicity estimates only 21% of my DNA is from "Great Britain", far less than for many of my American friends. Ancestry have also given my far too much "Irish". I've written a blog post where I share my thoughts as to why I think Ancestry have got it so wrong here: