Friday, September 13, 2013

First Look at my AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update - Post 2: More DNA Results

After I wrote First Look at my AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update yesterday, I listened to and watched a presentation by AncestryDNA for several genealogy communicators.  Jusy G. Russell has summarized that presentation and information in AncestryDNA Begins Rollout of Update on The Legal Genealogist blog.  I hope that the DNA specialists in the genealogy world will also comment extensively on the new AncestryDNA analysis and presentation.

I didn't have time or knowledge of more details yesterday on my post, but I learned a lot during the presentation.  There is a LOT more information available for each reference population as AncestryDNA attempts to explain the medieval populations that our genes came from.

For reference purposes, here is my own estimated ethnicity based on my genealogical research, assuming geographic locations in about 1600 AD:

*  68%  British Isles
*  24%  Germany
*  1%  Holland
*  1%  France
*  6%  Unknown (perhaps some are French, some are English)

Here is more detail about my own DNA origins:

1)  On the "New Ethnicity Estimate Preview" page (available at this time to a limited number, perhaps 6,000 testers) are these charts and text (with the Europe West sub-region selected):

For each Reference Population (i.e., Europe West, Ireland, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Italy/Greece, and Iberian Peninsula for the Europe region), AncestryDNA provides a percentage for my deep DNA ancestry, including a range determined by analysis of the 40 different marker selections.  As you can see, I have (according to AncestryDNA) about 66% Europe West, with a range from 37% to 94%.

Further down the page for Europe West are two bar graphs that show my DNA percentage compared to other populations.  The first bar graph (in gold) compare my Europe West DNA with that of a typical current Europe West resident:

The lower graph on the screen above, in blue, provides examples of DNA percentage for people native to Europe West (apparently, native means all great-grandparents resided there).  As you can see, my average DNA from Europe West (66%) exceeds that of the typical native (48%).

Further down the web page is another bar graph that indicates other regions that commonly have people "native" to Europe West:

Finally, the web page provides a short and concise history of migrations of the region (in this case Europe West) beginning in the BCE (Before the Common Era) time period, 2,000 to 3,000 years ago:

All of that is very helpful and interesting.

2)  Here is the map and gold bar chart for my DNA percentage for Ireland:

I have 18% DNA from Ireland, with a range from 3% to 32%.  Since I have no known ancestors from Ireland based on my genealogy research to date (there may be one or two 8th great-grandparents, but that's in the unknown category in my list), I'm guessing that a significant number of Ireland "natives" have British ancestry.

3)  Here is the map and the gold bar chart for Great Britain:

According to AncestryDNA, I have 9% of my DNA from Great Britain, with a range from 0% to 31%.

The migration maps that they show for Great Britain describes the invasions of the Jutes, Angles, Saxons and Normans in medieval times that may explain some of my differences between genealogical and AncestryDNA percentages (including the Scandinavian 3%)..

3)  So why does my "genealogical ancestry" and my "DNA ancestry according to AncestryDNA" differ so much?  AncestryDNA says that it may be due to:

*  the genetic influence of neighboring regions,
*  the estimates are on the edge of their predicted range,
*  the random nature of genetic inheritance,
*  ethnicity estimation is still an unknown problem.

They provide a chart showing the average admixture between European sub-region in each sub-region:

For instance, persons identified as "native" to Great Britain have (approximately):

*  60% from Great Britain
*  13% from Europe West
*  10% from Ireland
*  8% from Scandinavia
*  2% from Iberian Peninsula
*  1% Italy/Greece
*  3%  Unknown.

I'm still surprised by how high my Europe West (66%) percentage is relative to Great Britain and Ireland (27%).  There are three possibilities here:

*  The AncestryDNA estimates are correct, within the ranges shown.
*  My genealogical research is incomplete and perhaps a significant part is wrong (it would take only one grandparent to completely disrupt my percentages!)
*  The AncestryDNA estimates need further refinement.

I hope that other geneabloggers will post their AncestryDNA results when they receive them.

4)  There is a lot more information on the AncestryDNA web pages - be sure to go explore when you have access to this Enhanced Ethnicity Estimate.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Dan Stone said...

While I consider this a big step forward, it will certainly continue to get even better with time and a bigger "reference collection" of people. As it stands now, the reference population they are using is still tiny. In your second graphic in this post, you will see the "reference collection" you are being compared against in only 416 people. The other ethnic categories also have similarly small numbers at this time, judging from what I saw in the updated ethnicity results of the four DNA accounts I administer.

I have every confidence they will continue to improve their ethnicity reporting, but I'm sure many will still be complaining. Unfortunately, it seems many of those who have been complaining do not fully grasp that these ethnicity results will continue to evolve and improve, and that the ethnicity reported covers time periods way before most of our genealogy research covers.

Helen said...

I have similar European ancestry to yours and have tested with all 3 companies, so I will post my various results including my AncestryDNA ethnicity update shortly for you to see. Where do you get "18% British and Irish on 23andMe" from? I have checked your earlier posts and can't find that figure under their standard or speculative estimate for you.

Helen said...

I have posted a few screenshots at:

Eileen said...

It is good to hear about the new ethnicity results. I was so excited when I read this post that I went to my results but they are still the same old figures. Can't wait until the new ones role out. Maybe then I will find out what happened to all my German ancestry.

Missionary Mom said...

Im wondering about my ancient Iberian Pennisula ancestor...just one....was hoping for something exotic....appointed no native american haha Im just mostly english w scandinavian german french swiss irish mut.. but strong genes!

Jacob said...

We have very similar known ancestries and very similar results. The paper trail says that I am about 64% English, 8% Irish, 23% German (with about 6% of it being Pomeranian and possibly Polish), with the rest being a mix of colonial Swiss and Dutch. I was also shocked by the very low amount of Great Britain. My results were 51% Europe West, 24% Ireland, 7% Scandinavia, and 5% Great Britain, with the rest being trace regions. My mom gets even higher Europe West, and she has even more BI ancestry.