Tag Archives: ethnicity

AncestryDNA new SideView

Have you explored the new SideView feature at AncestryDNA? Now, in addition to reporting a DNA test taker’s biogeographic origins (Ancestry calls this ‘Ethnicity Estimate’), the DNA Story page now offers a ‘view breakdown’ option to see ‘Your regions inherited from each parent’. Here is mine.

Do I think mine are accurate? Let’s dive in. My results are fairly easy to analyze because my grandparents’ DNA is so distinct.

Parent 1 is clearly my mom. Her mom was 100% Irish (Grandma’s grandparents emigrated to the US between 1840-1855). Mom’s dad was 100% what is now the UK (his ancestors emigrated to the US before 1800, and may include some Scotch-Irish). 

Note that my parents have not tested. I can’t double my Mom’s results and say that if I’m 41% Irish from Parent 1, then Parent 1 was 82% Irish. The 50% of my DNA that I got from Mom might be, say, 30% from Grandma (who’s Irish) and just 20% from Grandpa (who’s mostly not). That could skew my Irish results higher. Or … it’s also possible that more of Grandpa was Scotch-Irish than I expect. (I guess I need to do more research on those 1700’s ancestral lines!) So far, Ancestry’s predictions are not unreasonable.

Parent 2 is clearly my dad. His dad was 100% Irish (Granddad’s father and maternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland between 1840 and 1885). Dad’s mom was 50% German (half of those are from Bavaria, I think, and half actually from Alsace; they all came to the US between 1825 and 1850). Nana’s other 50% came from what is now the UK, but includes a smidge of Dutch. Here, again, with my 31% Irish from Parent 2 and 19% England and Northwestern Europe, it could be that my 50% from Dad was 31% from Grandad (who’s all Irish) and 19% from Nana (who’s not).

Again, these results are not unreasonable. Of course, AncestryDNA doesn’t accurately distinguish my German roots  from more generic Northwestern Europe, but that’s okay. German biogeographic origins, with their ever changing borders, can be challenging!

Do take a look at the Ancestry’s online article on ‘Ethnicity Inheritance’, which explains in more colorful details about the impact random inheritance has on your results. 

It will be *very* interesting to see what Ancestry does next, to perhaps tie this analysis in with genetic communities and even our matches.

Now … off to explore the updated reports on my other family members who tested!

© April 2022, Ann Raymont, CG®


Take the lederhosen vs. kilt challenge!

If you watch much TV, you’ve probably seen the Ancestry commercial in which a man’s DNA results contradict his family tradition of a German heritage, so he trades in his lederhosen for a kilt! The irony is, no matter how German you may be, if you test at Ancestry, you won’t get German as a result in your ‘ethnicity’ pie chart; it’s not one of the categories they offer!  (See, perhaps, a more generic ‘Western European’ as one possible alternative.)

Many genetic genealogists have written about how imprecise these predictions are within the continent of Europe. For example, see The Legal Genealogist Judy Russell’s blog post Those percentages if you must. Those estimates may be more reliable, however, in suggesting where some of your ancestors might have lived in the past 200 years or so.

Among DNA testing companies, 23andMe offers a unique chromosome tool to explore our biogeographic origins. It’s probably most valuable for people with ancestors from different continents, but I am going to create a lederhosen vs. kilt challenge for myself and more closely examine 23andMe’s identification of German/French roots in my DNA.

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How Irish are we?

Rumor has it that AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA are working on updates to their “ethnicity” reporting. Since this is the month many of us celebrate being Irish (AncestryDNA is even offering a $10 discount on DNA kits in honor of St. Patrick’s Day), I thought I’d take a minute or two to muse over this question:

How can two full siblings (as seen in the pie charts above) have such different ethnicity reports?

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