Ancestry.com Changed how it Determines Ethnicity and People are Upset

There is an article by Marc Daalder in the Detroit Free Press that will interest genealogists. It starts:

“Ancestry.com, the website better known for helping users create family trees, find distant family members and capture suspected serial killers, made a lot of customers angry last week.

“Recently, Ancestry has entered the business of DNA testing, which allows users to send a vial of spit to the company and receive in return a detailed genetic portfolio, including risk for some diseases and estimates of their ethnic ancestry.

“Neither the medical nor the heritage information are guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate, but as the science improves, so does the quality of the results. At least, that’s what Ancestry insists.

“After Ancestry rolled out a new update to its ethnicity estimate system last week, users noticed dramatic changes in their ethnic profiles – some of which is inaccurate, customers say.”

Later in the article, Marc Daalder also states:

“Other users said they were happy with the results or found that the new results better matched what they knew of their family history.”

You can read the story at: https://on.freep.com/2MJXD0D.

Comment by Dick Eastman: I am not convinced that the “new” Ancestry DNA results are inaccurate. I believe there is a strong possibility that the new results are much more accurate than the previous findings. In any case, if you had you DNA tested by Ancestry DNA, you might want to go back to the web site and check your results for any changes.

67 Comments

For me, it raised the amount of Scandinavian/Norwegian dna in my ancestry from 22% to 48%. Which is highly improbable, as I only have 1 grandparent with Norwegian ancestry and he was nearly full blooded Norwegian. I have one other grandparent who was 1/4th Swedish, but that’s it. Both of those combine cannot add up to nearly half my dna. At the very most, it could be about 32%. But they estimate a full 16 percentage points higher.

Not to mention all of my western Europe/German ethnicity was completely eliminated. I have several German ancestors and many of these links have been proven by DNA. But now they can’t find any of their dna. it’s not huge but it should add up to no less than 5%.

I was extremely disappointed by the new results.

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    You must have ended up with mine! I went from 33% Norwegian, to 6%.

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    Perhaps Vikings DNA? They got around a lot. My Scandinavian was 13% and went up to 34%, which better reflects my research, as I have two great grandparents that are fully Swedish, and another half Swedish/half Norwegian, which is about 37.5%.

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    Similar here. I have a 100% Danish grandmother, and one grandmother who was half Norwegian and half Swedish. Now they say I’m 37% Norwegian and 35% Swedish?!
    Apparently Danish is just Norwegian and Swedish now(?). Mine was more “accurate” before this change. They should have just stuck with the blanket Scandinavian ethnicity imho…….

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    I got the impression from the updated changes, that the more DNA matches that came into my DNA match site, that my original matches became watered down, or essentially, pushed back. For instance, I was 5% Jewish. Now, I am not Jewish at all. How come?

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Just checked in on mine, and my opinion is exactly as yours, Dick. The results have not “changed,” they have evolved. This is not an exact science, and the more context we have, the more precise (though I’m a little loathe to use that word) the results trend toward.

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My updated results seem more accurate, further my updated results are much more in-line with my sister’s updated results. My only reservation is the same reservation I had before the update, I’m assigned 21% Norwegian/Swedish (up from 19%) and I don’t have any Scandinavian ancestors. I can only assume my North German ancestors and North English ancestors look Scandinavian to AncestryDNA. Maybe they will refine that in the next update. Everything else seems very accurate.

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I’ve found ancestry.com’s ethnicity estimates not as good as some other services. Here are two comments that I left as part of ancestry.com’s survey on this subject:
“23andme.com, MyHeritage, and especially FTDNA, do a better job of estimating heritage in the British Isles. You incorrectly separate Irish and English, Wales, etc. FTDNA simply says “British Isles” and gives a percent that is relatively correct. You break it down and separate different parts of the British Isles without, obviously, enough information to make the proper distinctions. Since my mother was Icelandic (at least 30 percent Irish) and I have two other paternal Irish lines, I know I’m more than 3 percent Irish. FTDNA’s “32 percent British Isles” is more accurate. You need to know what you don’t know.”
And, then, at the end of the survey, I said the following:
“Your service was very helpful in helping my third cousin, first IDed on 23andme.com, find his birth parents. At the time of our match on 23andme.com, I was the closest blood relative, other than his own daughter, that he had ever had contact with. But, it was on ancestry.com that he matched with a first cousin and was able to find his birth family. That’s the good part. Your ethnicity estimates need some rethinking.”
Carl

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Quick followup: The traditional estimate has been that Icelanders are 70 percent Norwegian and 30 percent Irish. Recent DNA studies there have indicated that the Irish percentage may be somewhat higher than had been thought.

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    Let me further add that some of the ancestry.com apologetics being proclaimed here do not really apply to a homogeneous population like that of Iceland. These people have been isolated on their island for over a thousand years and the genetic makeup of most Icelanders does not vary much from person to person. Whether ancestry.com is making estimates based on a generation or two back or back 500 years, it shouldn’t matter much. The results on my maternal side should be pretty consistent. Now, if you go back to my 3rd cousin, 31 times removed Leifur “Heppni” Eiriksson, when the intermarriage with the Irish was just beginning, you might find a different genetic makeup.

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    I have a technical question for someone who has expertise in this area. I actually have a friend here locally who I can ask, but thought I’d ask it here first. I wonder if it is harder for some reason to pick up Icelandic-Irish DNA because it has been so homogenized within the Icelandic population over about a thousand year period. Would it now be a unique Icelandic variant of Irish DNA that is not easily picked up by algorithms not specifically tailored to this task? If so, I would guess that Icelanders are such a small cohort that no one really cares to do the kind of work necessary to feret this out, except maybe at the University of Iceland. Make sense, or not? — Carl Jón Denbow

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I, my wife, and two of our sons have DNA at Ancestry. Prior to the change the three male results looked not unreasonable, but my wife’s was a head-scratcher (no Scandinavian, but she has two full-up Swedish grand-parents). With the change, her’s looks better, mine looks less reasonable (and nearly useless, given the broad areas covered by the new regions), and our sons suddenly have 6% Baltic States which neither my wife nor I have at all. Personally, I think these ethnic analyses are at such a work-in-progress stage that they are more confusing that they are useful.

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    I agree these estimates are “works in progress.” The problem as I see it is that ancestry.com is trying to make fine distinctions among the various populations in the British Isles without enough data to do so reliably. As I said elsewhere, other services, have done, IMHO, a better job. FTDNA, has my ethnic background as such:
    European 100%
    British Isles 32%
    East Europe 0%
    Finland 0%
    Scandinavia 23%
    Southeast Europe 5%
    Iberia 0%
    West and Central Europe 40%
    This strikes me as being fairly accurate, as I have lots of German lines, known Scandinavian and English lines, and Irish on both sides. It is interesting, but within the bounds of autosomal genetic variation, that my sister is almost 40 percent Scandinavian. Ancestry’s estimates, for instance, that Germanic ethnicity is only 4 percent. This wildly different from FTDNA’s 40 percent West and Central Europe. Again, I think they are trying to make fine distinctions that they don’t yet have the data to support.

    I find it interesting that MyHeritage.com, which has the largest Jewish cohort in its database, finds that I’m 1 percent Ashkenazi Jew. It’s also the only one to estimate that I’m 6.3 Italian, and recent paper research has confirmed an Italian g2grandparent. However, they too do not pick up the Irish correctly. I suspect that as each of these companies further refines their algorithms and increases the number of people in their database with various ethnicities that these estimates will get better across the board.

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    Agree with OhioGuy about MyHeritage’s problems distinguishing among the various components of genetic heritage in the British Isles and the northern part of Europe stretching from France to Germany (including the Scandinavian countries). They seem to be much better at parsing the East European region (Poland, Hungary, the Ukraine, Russia, etc.)

    MyHeritage is reputed to have the largest Ashkenazy database of all the testing companies, while FTDNA is used by many British, Irish and Scottish genealogy and surname societies In connection with Y-dna genetic genealogy projects. Perhaps factors such as these are causing customers to self-select one company over another based upon where they believe their ancestors came from, thus causing the datapools to skew towards one region or the other and reinforcing the special strengths of the companies’ algorithms in their own “sweet” spots.

    Both these companies currently allow people who have tested elsewhere to upload copies of their own data and compare. I would encourage people to take advantage of these offers while they can.

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Please keep in mind that all DNA ethnic reports are ESTIMATES. These are never precise percentages.

Next, please keep in mind that you are looking at DNA patterns from hundreds and even thousands of years ago, long before present-day borders existed. You should never interpret these results as being attached to today’s country boundaries. Norway today is not the same as Norway several centuries ago. People have been migrating for thousands of years. Just because your ancestor was from Ireland or Norway or Czechoslovakia 100 or 200 years ago does not mean all THEIR ancestors came from the same place hundreds of years earlier.

Finally, you inherit some of your DNA ethnic markers from your mother and some from your father. It is almost never a 50/50 split. You might inherit 30% from one parent and perhaps 70% from the other parent. Even siblings usually inherit different amounts of ethnic DNA from each parent, except in the case of identical twins. You might show 40% Irish ancestry and your brother or sister might show 55% Irish ancestry. That is normal.

Again, please keep in mind that all DNA ethnic reports are ESTIMATES, regardless of which DNA testing company you used.

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    Exactly, they are estimates and reflect many more years than known ancestors!

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    Re: “It is almost never a 50/50 split.” Dick, I know you know this. Your DNA is always a 50/50 split (exactly) between your parents. However, WHICH 50% you get from each parent is a shot in the dark. For example, if your father is 1/2 Irish, you could get all, some or none of his Irish DNA. Statistically, it’s most likely that you will get 20-30% of his Irish DNA, but it is possible to get far more or less. A great example of this are the twins featured in National Geographic (I think) several years ago. They were born to two mixed race Britons. One girl got mostly British DNA and the other got mostly African DNA.

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” It is almost never a 50/50 split”
I thought, by definition, you get 50% of your DNA from each parent.

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    “I thought, by definition, you get 50% of your DNA from each parent.”
    DNA yes – but the ethnic markers, so far as I understand, come from way back and the recombination of DNA that takes place in your parents can wipe out the markers in one line but not the others. At least, that’s how I think it goes.

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    You might get 50% from each parent, but it is most unlikely you get 25% from each grandparent

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    Yes, you did get 50% from each parent, but that doesn’t mean you have 25% from each grandparent. The 50% you received from your mother could be 60% from her father and 40% from her mother.

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My new results are right on! With 3 German and one British grandparents I was 51% British. Now am 54% Germanic and 28% British. Rest mostly Scandinavia countries which match known birthplaces in Northern Germany. Much more reasonable results. Better results for my wife and sister also.

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If it behooves aperson to get a DNA test done, you are opening yourself up to the possibility that you may not be who you think you are. Maybe you shouldn’t buy it if you aren’t really ready to have your world rocked.

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My Scandinavian DNA probably came from when the Norse travelled down to form Normandy and then crossed the channel into England a thousand years ago. Then there were the Norse who travelled over the North Sea and populated the North of the UK. I have no documented proof of any Scandinavian ancestry – I have only reached 17th Century – but would have been very surprised if I had no Scandinavian DNA

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My wife and I both think the the revised estimates are more accurate. We also like the new format. Reading the responses here I see that more agree than disagree with the revised estimates. The important thing is to do the research and realize that our DNA “tail” is thousands of years old. This “hullabaloo” over the revisions is something appears to be something the media dreamed up for a slow news day.

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My estimates are wildly different now, to the point that you’d wonder if you’re looking at an update or two different people.
I completely understand that it’s just estimates, that science is evolving, etc. But if my results were apparently so very wrong before, I guess I can assume that this updated version is still pretty wrong, and the next update will be fairly wrong, etc.
In other words: the ethnicity estimates are a bit pointless to put any faith in at this point. Maybe in ten years.
I do wonder about the lederhosen-to-kilt commercial people…you think they got “good” updates? 🙂

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People always seem to look for ABSOLUTES but as you say, these are estimates based on the number in the survey that reflect the same values. Just the algorithm to pinpoint has changed/ the actual markers becoming more numerous for the testing.
Mine refined what I already knew and might have corrected a misdirection into the area to the none-absolutes of old country boundaries. I recommend more than one from more than one company – compare and blend. B. Bettinger is still the best source to understand the problems inherent in this new area of genealogy. Thanks for addressing the issues. Carl

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Both my own and my wife’s “new” DNA profile from Ancestry are far more accurate than the original estimates according to our (extensive) research. To use mine as an example, the most recent estimate excludes the former low percentage guesses that had absolutely no known explanation and increases the likelihood of my background being almost exclusively Ulster Irish. From study, I know my grandmother was born in Co Monaghan near the Armagh border; that one set of g-grandparents were born in Co Armagh right on the Monaghan border; that another set were born and lived in Co Down, in the Kilkeel area; and that my mother’s people came from Tobermore, after the townland of Tobermore, a tiny village in Co Derry, N Ireland. The Scottish element mentioned in my DNA analysis is surely due to my mother’s side of the family being Plantation people back further than I’ve yet discovered, i.e. Protestants transplanted in N Ireland by Elizabeth and succeeding English monarchs; my father’s people were all Catholic Ulstermen. All of this is reflected strongly in the most recent Ancestry DNA profile, so I’m quite satisfied they are becoming increasingly more accurate and I hope they continue to sharpen their focus as more DNA samples are added to their bank.

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Ancestry practically wiped out my Native American ancestry which was through French Quebecois ancestry. All other 4 said I do have just less than 2 percent. And say I now have Swedish ancestry (I have overwhelming northern Jutland Denmark with no Swedish in sight and has tiny Norwegian.) Germanic went from zero to 13 percent (was Europe West 2 percent which lumped the French and worst of all, British went from 60 to 68 covering England, Wales and northwest Europe (really? – LivingDNA with all the strength of their own local testing showed I have ZERO Wales and Ireland and lot of Scot-Irish along with eastern Scotland and the Borders as well as eastern England (Norfolk general area) and Dorset-Devon but not Cornwall).

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I think mine and my mothers are now more accurate. I had a lot of ‘trace’ regions that went away in favor of France as a large percentage which was not a group in the past. All of my father’s ancestors (many which trace back to the 1600), are all from what is today France with no evidence of any coming from areas that previously showed as trace (Italy, Caucasus, Scandinavian, etc.) My mother now shows as 100% Irish which is what she believed before DNA testing. Sure you could explain the % of Scandinavian and Iberian by history but there was no way to go back to find anyone from there, they were in Ireland for centuries.

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While the previous estimate from Ancestry DNA was so on target, the update was the most inaccurate you could imagine! I am Cajun with family from southern Louisiana! It said I was predominantly British. I had to laugh a little as my family fought the Brits in the Battle of New Orleans!
Also, I have some Cuban. I was close to 20% Spanish on the previous estimate. Now, I’m not Spanish at all! Go figure!

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    British Cajun? what a hoot! Generally they’re French-origin Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia by the British, and I have some Acadians who intermarried with the Native Americans and Ancestry says I have none.

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Love the new results which are far more in line with the documented family tree than they were before. This assessment covers results for me, my dad, my mom’s 2 sisters, my brother and my sister and 10 or so cousins of various degree. Also for my wife. We all had the results focus more on what is documented and eliminated things like Iberian, Baltic and Scandinavian. It is an estimate, but for us the results were much more realistic.

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My results are much more accurate now. I’m glad they found a new way to determine their estimates.

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Lumping parts of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc. in with England and Wales makes no sense to me. Sure, the folks in Great Britain came from that region, but that was millennia ago. What we now call Native Americans or First Peoples came from northeast Asia, but they’re still considered a separate ethnic group.

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I found the update much more accurate. Both my husband and I are largely of English ancestry and that was barely reflected in our original results. The update seriously raised our British estimates and put the Irish and Scandinavian numbers more in line with my expectations from traditional research.

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I’m French Canadian and now my Ethnicity is 100% France which for me is more accurate (boring of course, but more accurate) . I was able to trace my ancestors all the way to the 1600’s and 97 % is France. So for me it matches. My mother and father have a little bit of English 3% to 8% which makes sense because I did find some English ancestors in the 1700’s. So it means I never got any of the English genes from my parents. Have not tested my other 6 siblings and they might carry some of the English genes.

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I’m VERY happy with the change. Gone are the scant/maybe’s in my results. And what I see matches 30 years of research. Love the new migration portion & hope to see the 1600s added in a next update. I’d be disappointed with Ancestry if they were making NO updates.

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I hope everyone has noticed that every “improvement” of every vendor’s admixture algorithm results in dramatic changes to many people’s “ethnic origins” results. Some people find the new results line up better with that they believed their ethnic origins to be, others find the opposite. I take this as a strong signal that the art of detecting ethnic origins has still not reached the level required for reliable predictions. In spite of what we see on popular television programs (just last night on the local PBS station), where experts tell us that 0.7 percent “Jewish DNA” means that some celebrity’s ancestor was unquestionably Sephardic, there are still too many exceptions and inconsistencies reported by customers to ascribe much precision to the results.
Ancestry.com published a “white paper” a couple years ago when they rolled out a previous “improvement” of their methodology. They discussed some possible ways to evaluate their algorithm. Perhaps the most interesting was an analysis of cases where a child’s ethnic origins were compared with those of his or her parents (verified as biological parents based on the amount of shared DNA). They reported that the number of cases where the child had an ethnic component that was not present in either parent (this should never happen if the algorithm works perfectly) decreased significantly, but they did not disclose any numbers. A new study of the occurrence of this kind of inconsistency under the new algorithm would help to give us some idea of whether there has been any real improvement.

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I think the new results are more accurate. My ancestry is 50% French Canadian, 25% British and the other 25% a mixture of France, Ireland and Germany. With that said, my original ethnicity results were <1% West Europe! (What happened to my French!!) And I had the alphabet soup of Italy/Greece – Iberian Peninsula – Caucasus – Finland/Northwest Russia ~~ typical results for French Canadian. My new updated results did away with all those bits and pieces and I am now 43% France, 32% England/Wales/Northwest Europe, 25% Ireland/Scotland. Not sure how they were able to identify France, as the French Govt. outlaws DNA/paternity testing. But my new results are definitely a better reflection of my ancestry.

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Autosomal DNA tests are about finding cousins who can help break down ‘brick walls’. My view of ethnicity estimates is either that they are going to confirm what you think you know, in which case you’ll believe them, or else they don’t and you won’t.
Even if they were accurate the timescale is crucially important – just look at all the different peoples who arrived in the British Isles at different times over the past 2000 or so years. Remember too that Roman soldiers didn’t necessarily come from Italy, whilst the Normans weren’t exactly French, even though they st sail from Normandy.

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My 2nd great grandfather and mother were born in Switzerland and their genealogy goes back centuries in Switzerland. I have other ancestors born in Switzerland. Surely at least SOME of that would have shown up in my results but all Switzerland is now excluded in the new results. Maybe Dad isn’t my Dad, but I do match up with a cousin on his side, so ….????

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Carol
lynchcall1@yahoo.com
Mine was updated much less eastern European more Baltic states and German. Since my dad’s family has been here since the 1700 I’m always interested in that side which is pretty much Anglo Saxton/British isles. Always fun for me. I like the update.

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No one has commented on the medical component cited in the article. As far as I know, Ancestry does not offer any medical information.

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I went from 30% English/UK to 0%.

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At first glance my results looked substantially different, but on closer inspection they appear to be basically the same as before, just rearranged.
Wales used to be lumped together with Ireland and Scotland, with separate categories for “Great Britain,” “Europe West” and “Scandinavia.” Wales is now lumped with England, instead of with Ireland and Scotland, “Great Britain” and “Europe West” are now lumped together as “Wales, England and NW Europe,” and ”Scandinavia” has been split into Norway and Sweden.
As a result, the only real change I see in my report is that the 4% previously identified with the Iberian peninsula looks like it has probably gone into the Ireland and Scotland bucket, and the trace elements from the fringes of Europe, which were suspect to begin with, have now been eliminated. None of this is a surprise, since my paper trail includes substantial numbers of immigrants whose roots can be traced back for 200-400 years to England (especially Yorkshire), Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, whose populations had been busy invading, raiding and trading with each other for centuries by the time of the Middle Ages. AncestryDNA’s scientists seem to be rearranging the deck chairs as they struggle to sort out the genetic signatures associated with this particular set of countries. Perhaps the best take away for all of us is that after all is said and done, our dna proves we’re all cousins.

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The latest results seem much more accurate. Previously the ethnicity off our family’s five siblings were all over the map. Now we are reasonably in close agreement.

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Mine shifted from 27% Scandinavian to 2% Norwegian, my 6th and 7th great grandparents are Swedish, so far I have found no Norwegians. My 6% Iberian disappeared and I now have 7% Italian, so far I have found no Italians in my tree but then again I had no Iberians either.

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I recall that, when I was kid, my mother told me that her grandparents (and consequently her mother) had come from Schleswig-Holstein “when it was a part of Germany instead of Denmark”. Maybe that partly explains the big increase in my Scandinavian estimate.
I was rather startled by the corresponding drop in the British Isles numbers since my Dad’s background involves Scotland, Ireland, and Wales as well as England.
Ah, well, I’m still the same guy and my ancestors haven’t changed, so I guess I’ll put aside fussing about it and go on with my family research.

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Mine are moderately amusing. My first estimates, back in 2013, like everyone else, were mostly Scandinavian. Then Ancestry sent a questionnaire asking what I thought the percentages should be. By golly, the next ethnic estimate was very close to my answers.
The ‘new’ results are 22% Swedish (one Swedish grandfather OK) fewer Brits and Irish??? and 22% Norwegian????? Unless the Norwegian were all Vikings who invaded England, this makes no sense. And what happened to all my Swiss and French ancestors?
I think Ancestry needs to provide a Chromosome browser and forget all this ethnic guessing foolishness. I know they won’t because ethnic estimates are where the profits are.

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Without transparency on the algorithms used to generate these population estimates, these results are really “pigs in a poke.”
As long as these companies, including Ancestry, continue withhold their algorithms as proprietary information, why should consumers trust any statements on accuracy or improved methodology?

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I want to know where the Native American links are? I have full blooded Cherokee great great grandparents.
My husband also has Cherokee great great grandmother. But according to his DNA the Native American isn’t listed..

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    Many, many families have stories about Cherokee ancestry that are disproved by DNA. Far more people believe they are Cherokee than actually are Cherokee. You’re both likely in that group. Sorry.

    This is the same problem Elizabeth Warren ran into, for what it’s worth. She truly believed her whole life that she was Cherokee. It wasn’t until she became famous and researchers looked into her family history that she realized there was no evidence for the claim. It’s a very common story and nothing to feel bad about.

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    I agree with Ashley. The “Cherokee Myth” is alive and well in many families. My youngest daughter’s father-in-law was sure his g-grandmother, with her high cheekbones, was part Cherokee; however, DNA analysis did not pick this up. I’ve seen this happen many times in many families. DNA analysis disproves the family story about “Cherokee blood.”

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    The Norwegian German September 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Virtually every southern American, who I have met, has claimed to be from a Native American bloodline (usually Cherokee, Lakota, Choctaw) – these claims are usually disproven by DNA tests because it was biologically impossible for there to be so many mixed-blood descendants based on the Native American numbers – Europeans claimed Native American lineage, at that time, in order to obtain land – this is well documented and it’s unfortunate.
    If one does not have NA showing up, one is not NA – and to claim being NA based on family stories is doing the NA population a further disservice because these claims simply further dilute their counts. As with every culture, their culture is also very important to maintain – without further interference from Europeans claiming to be NA based on family stories – it’s not fair to Native Americans. I find it odd as to why so many European Americans, with lines tracing directly back to England, still insist that they are NA after a DNA test disproves this. I understand that no one wants to be on the “side” of the oppressor, but trying to assume the identity of the oppressed is further attacking their culture in modern day.

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I am on 2 Facebook groups for Northern Italian genealogy. Just about everyone in the groups is complaining that their Italian DNA percentage went down significantly. Mine went from 38% Europe South to 4% Italian. Many of us have traced our family back to at least 1600, and even earlier, via Italian baptismal records.

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I went from 86% British and 5% Scandinavian plus trace regions to 75% England/Wales/Northwestern European, 13% Ireland/Scotland, 10% Germanic Europe and 2% Norway. I’m half Dutch and the rest of my ancestry is spread between Germany, Ireland, Scotland and Germany, so the update is an improvement for me. However it seems that southern Europeans are experiencing genuine problems with the update.

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The article shows a complete ignorance about Ancestry DNA in that it is NEVER used in the cold case criminal files — the author is confusing Ancestry with GEDmatch. So the article loses credibility from the get-go. Also, it is always the squeaky wheels that complain and are heard. The vast majority of users are quite happy with the updated ethnicity results and only the same few repeat complainers who may or may not have a valid case are upset. I’m sure some maybe are less accurate and there will always be more data gathered and adjustments made over time.

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    Thank you for someone else ACTUALLY READING and ANALYZING the article and SEEING all the miss-leading statements and errors in it. The “article” was more twitter screen captures than actual journalism. This article in my opinion does not meet the long-standing quality of The Detroit Free Press and frankly should not have been printed either in the actual newspaper or online or passed along. The author did not have a factual understanding of the company or topic and presented a biased view in an non-editorial column.

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The new Ancestry ethnicity estimates are WAY MORE in line with my personal research on my family lines. I observe the same improved results for both of my wife’s parents whose DNA I manage. I’m very pleased with the new results and now find that the Ancestry estimate is the most accurate of the sites where I have all three of these DNA lines that I am managing; that is to say, better than MyHeritage, FTDNA, and 23&Me.

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I did the DNA tests for the matches. Ethnicity was just trivia. At least with the old estimate it was almost exactly right in saying I was 75% Scandinavian as I am 75% Swedish. Their attempt to breakdown the region means the new estimate gives me, my father (100% Swedish) and my Grandmother (100% born in Sweden) large percentages of Norwegian. I know there are ways to explain that with ancient DNA, but research back 300+ years of records not only has no Norwegian, but no ancestors from anywhere near Norway.

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Recieved my updated DNA results More percentage definition in ethnic regions Methodical to me Previous I had lower percentages now is higher and more established Connecting to rellies I never knew is fantastic I’m in contact with several around my world and we improve our family connections as we delve more into our connected historical background

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The Norwegian German September 24, 2018 at 8:51 am

My updates aligned MUCH more closely with my documented research that I had obtained from the Bergen, Norway archives and the Dresden, Germany archives, pertaining to my ancestors. The “trace regions” were eliminated, which made sense, to me.
Remember, we are dealing with hundreds of people and generations – and unfortunately, for some, untrue stories within families that have been passed down and took on a life of their own (i.e. the “Native American Myth” in a LOT of southern american families). Some people may not get the results that they were brought up “thinking” that they were and their entire world gets rocked when they find out that “family stories” weren’t true after all… Some don’t take this very well.
I can remember my dad telling us that we were “blueblood German”, which is absolutely ridiculous because his mother is 100% Norwegian and his father is German/Irish (reflected in my DNA), yet he still continues to live in his own “identity fantasy” that he’s manufactured over the decades, I suppose to make himself feel good – nuts.
My advice: if you’re living an “identity fantasy”, don’t take ANY DNA test because you’re more than likely going to get your world rocked and possibly be thrown into a state of denial and depression. These tests aren’t for the “Rachael Doezals” of the world. Be proud of the skin you’re in and be happy that you’ve had the opportunity to take a DNA test at all 😉.

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People should not be upset over this. I think all of us should anticipate a refinement of our DNA results every 5-10 years or so as sample sizes increase, become more varied, and as technology continues to advance is forward.

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My new results are more in line with what I know of my ancestry. It’s now primarily English/Irish/Welsh and a smaller amount of French & German. The Scandinavian and Italy/Greece bits disappeared which seems correct as I have no ancestors that I know of from those places. I’m pleased with the new results!

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