Why Your Latest Ancestry.com Results Could Include More Scottish or Irish in Your Ethnicity Estimates

Five days ago I published a press release written by Ancestry.com entitled Ancestry® Now Delivers More Precise Ethnicity Estimates and I added a couple of brief comments of my own.

The article generated a lot of comments from newsletter readers, many of whom questioned if the new and “improved” results were really more accurate than earlier reports or if perhaps the new reports were even less accurate.

Now an article published in the Ancestry Blog explains the new results amongst Scottish and Irish ancestors and it may also help explain some of the new results amongst other countries as well.
If you are wondering about the recent changes to Ancestry.com’s reports, especially amongst Scottish and Irish ancestry, you will want to read the article at https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2020/09/11/why-your-latest-results-could-include-more-scotland-in-your-ethnicity-estimates/.


I am with your previous correspondents who find Ancestry’s recent iteration of their ethnicity estimates worse than ever and the excuses for the explosion of Scottish and Irish elements, unconvincing, to say the least.
I have a carefully researched paper trail for my ancestors, going back to the early 1700s. Having taken advantage of recent special offers from Living DNA and My Heritage DNA, I can report that their ethnicity estimates show no such skewing of Scottish and Irish results.


My new estimate comes up 10% Swedish, but I have gone back many generations on all lines with no Swedes. Paper records all show German and British ancestry, Ancestry’s preceding estimate made much more sense.


I agree with you. I have no ancestors from Scotland. They came from Ireland. However, now it shows I’m more Scottish than Irish. This is nuts. Lumping in two separate regions makes no sense. But then what can I expect from a company that keeps sending me my own obituary but won’t let me see it unless I sign up again!


Their original analyze was fairly good, the last one is a joke. My maternal grandparents immigrated from Ireland and that they still cover fairly good; however, my paternal grandfather immigrated from Switzerland and my grandmothers parents both immigrated from Germany. None of that shows, what I get shows a relationship to the for eastern coast of France. Garbage.


    If you can’t trace your line back at least 10 generations then Ancestry.com knows more about your origins than you do. My scandinavian percentages went way high even though my mother’s line appears to have none, but her English side is heavily saturated with nobility, almost all lines leading to either William the Conqueror (perhaps a hundred times over) or to members of his entourage, who were Normans with roots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. I also get a lot of east France, Ostfrankenreich, probably due to Grandpa Charlemagne and his prolific retinue.


I was surprised to see so much Scottish on my latest estimate from Ancestry. It is now my highest percentage ethnicity with them. Even higher than the previously combined category. It’s not true, but it is interesting. I now have 3 different countries from 3 different tests as my highest percentage. Only one of them matches my family tree. It looks like there is some overlap between Ireland and Scotland on Ancestry. I’m wondering if that is where the confusion lies.


What is the deal with the “England and Northwestern Europe” group? I can sort of see it, but only if you count going back to about 1200 and before, when the Angles, Saxons, etc., invaded. If they’re going back so far, they need to go back a bit farther and include the current Italy to pick up Roman ancestry!


Just confirming that their results did become less accurate (significantly) with this update. I’ve validated many of my lines going back into the 19th century through DNA connections and the admixture is just wrong. Scottish did go up quite a bit. My last full blooded scottish ancestor was in the 17th century. 10%? Not a bloody chance.


Make sense do to the king of England promising land to the Scottish in northern Ireland and when they got there the wasn’t any land so they came to Amrican after some many decades.


Iceland??? Really? What happened to Sardinia and why go back only 5 generations for new reports???? I can’t agree with this because I have traced ancestors back 20 generations 😦


Unless you have worked your family tree back to the beginning of time you can not be sure where your ancestors and their and now your DNA has been.

I was DNA tested about four years ago and have been researching my family tree in every spare moment since then. I was horrified to learn that the native Irish, a small, dark, wild and pagan people with possible Spanish/Portuguese ancestry where slaughtered by the English king who then moved Scots who were loyal to the English crown into the newly unoccupied Irish lands.

This is only one of many HISTORICAL EVENTS that explain why our DNA test results do not match our paper pedigrees.


I had Ancestry DNA done a few years ago. It showed all of Great Britain and Northern Germany which lined up to my paper research. Recently I received another DNA test as a gift. It showed a large segment of Scottish heritage and NO GERMAN heritage. There no doubt that my fathers side came from Germany. My last name is German. And there are records stating where they came from. I now question all of Ancestys records both paper and DNA. What a waste of money and time. I’m ticked off.


Seems like ethnicity estimates are a bit of art mixed with the science. Regardless, there’s never a “final answer” for genetic genealogy. I’ve tested on Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA and can each give different ethnicity results. My brother and sister each tested on Ancestry and their ethnicity estimates are different than mine (yes, the DNA proves we have the same parents).
FTDNA hedges its bets by lumping the British Isles into one place. MyHeritage and Ancestry are comparable now, but were very different before the update.
While I take it all with a fairly large grain of salt, it’s been my experience that Irish or Scottish heritage doesn’t show up in my tree until I’ve reached back into the early 1700s or mid to late 1600s. That’s not easy to do for all lines on any tree.
As I understand Ancestry’s white paper on the topic, they’re basically trying to replicate your ethnic origins from several hundred to a thousand years ago or more. If your ancestry is dominated by early immigrants there’s a pretty good chance you’d never be able to replicate on paper what Ancestry’s done. Consider non-paternal events. Consider records lost in fires and whatnot.
I’m not trying to say Ancestry is correct – I expect additional changes in the future. On the other hand, paper trails are rife with errors as well. Folks will try to add Native American ancestry where none exists. They try to attach ancestors to nobility and royalty when none exists. They fail to account for the historical aspects of immigration.
Religious persecution, war, poverty, famine, etc., drove migration then as it does today. Some poor serf is more likely your ancestor than is William the Conquerer.
If you think your ancestors came from Ireland, but Ancestry shows Scottish heritage, remember that quite a number of Scots migrated to the Ulster area of Ireland during the 1600s to escape poor living conditions, and eventually on to the Americas for the same reason. Scots fled to the Americas during and after the Jacobite revolutions of 1715 and 1745, and many Scots who were on the “wrong” side of the Jacobite revolution were deported to the Americas.
So enjoy having a bit of the Luck ‘o the Irish while you can and embrace the heritage you never knew. Next update you’ll be from someplace boring.


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