DNA Sequences Reportedly Can Trace Your Ancestors to Within 30 Miles

DNA sequencing can already tell us a lot about our ancestors—but now, a new technique developed by an international team of scientists reportedly allows them to pinpoint a person’s geographical origin—going back 1,000 years.

The Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool beats previous best attempts to tie location to DNA. It claims to track populations back to the islands or villages they descend from, with a 98 percent success rate, compared to within about 500 miles for old methods.

The term “GPS”is a terrible acronym for this technique, as it has nothing to do with the very popular Global Positioning System millions of people call GPS. In this case, GPS stands for Geographic Population Structure.

You can learn more in an article by Jamie Condliffe in the Gizmodo web site at http://gizmodo.com/dna-sequences-can-trace-your-ancestors-to-within-30-mil-1571773851 and the accompanying video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aap-s1kle4Q.


Hi Dick, This research makes no sense unless it just happens that all of one’s ancestors originated in one small area. This might be true for a few isolated islands where the inhabitants have not moved for a 1,000 years, but it can’t apply to many people living in large countries with their ancestors coming from many different areas, countries or maybe even continents.


This is surely a piece of nonsense. What does it actually mean to have your ancestry localized to a village or island location with an accuracy of 30km? Which ancestor? Your direct paternal line? Your direct maternal line? (the only one, after all, which comes with any ‘guarantee’).

I would love for someone to explain to me how this has any value. The company providing this service can’t (their website is vague and offers little detail ; nor have they responded to the email I sent them).


There have been a lot of problems reported by people who have ordered this new test. It now seems to have been temporarily withdrawn from sale. I know of a number of people who have successfully managed to get refunds from PayPal for what is essentially a worthless test. See my blog post “Driving in the wrong direction with a dodgy DNA satnav” for further details:


Hi Mike, I’m really surprised that you don’t filter out this rubbish.



My surprise that anyone as responsible as Mr. Eastman would send this folderol to his clients/customers.
In 1,000 years I have so many ancestors that a map would have thousands of locations. Is each identified to a particular person.
Ha,Ha, Ha.


    If you look through past newsletter articles, you will find dozens of articles that describe new services that I may or may not approve of. I have my own opinions, of course, and quite often will include those opinions. However, unlike Good Housekeeping, I don’t claim to have an “Eastman Seal of Approval.” While I do have opinions, I believe the readers of this newsletter should be free to make up their own minds. I try to post articles about what’s new and interesting, even though some of those things strike me as being of questionable value.


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