Ancestry’s Mythical Admixture Percentages

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.  When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his “new clothes,” no one wants to admit that they can’t see the kings clothes but a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”

Ok, Ancestry’s emperor has no clothes, not a stitch.  I’m saying it outright – he is BUCK NAKED!!!

I’ve been exercising restraint, I’ve been trying not to say anything negative, then I was trying not to be overtly negative.  But you know, my patience has run out.  If you think this posting is harsh, well all I can say is that you should have seen the first few versions before I softened it substantially.

I grew up on a farm with a wonderfully eloquent step-Dad of very few and very simple words.  When he said anything, you listened.  According to Dad, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck….or in this case, it’s a naked emperor.

And I’m not done yet, in fact, I’ve only just begun.  Here, let me put it in a way that cannot be misunderstood…

Dearest Ancestry – We are NOT STUPID!  Make no mistake.  Nor are we lemmings.  Yes, I’m shouting, so Ancestry, sit down and listen up.

A day or so ago, someone posted this link showing a video where Ancestry provides some education on how to use their AncestryDNA results.  I applaud Ancestry (yes, I did say that) for providing this educational tool, but some of the content simply infuriated me.  It insults the intelligence of all genealogists.

I spent decades in the technology industry and I understand beta code.  I understand pre-release and release and tweaking.  I understand making a mistake, and fixing it.  And I understand being the “last kid” on the block to play the game. If you want to compete, being last and late with a less than stellar reputation, you have to offer something to attract people, or have a captive audience, or both.  Enter Ancestry’s AncestryDNA $99 autosomal test.

The problem is that their admixture percentages are simply WRONG.  Period.  Not a “tiny error”, not “needs tweeking,” utterly, entirely wrong.  Throw it out and start over wrong.  There are no secret Scandinavians hiding in the bushes, or in everyone’s family tree, and the fact that they are embracing their error and trying to turn a dime by telling people that they DO have a huge amount of mythical Scandinavian blood and they just need to use Ancestry’s tools to search longer and harder is not only infuriating, it’s unethical and self-serving.

Several bloggers and others have pointed out that after taking many of these types of tests, Ancestry’s results are the only ones showing large amounts of Scandinavian heritage.  So every other company and population geneticist is wrong and Ancestry has made a monumental discovery?

Ancestry has been put on notice by many individuals.  The gal, Crista, in this video who has the unfortunate job of telling this whopper publicly and attempting to convince you of this newly found “truth” even said that people have been challenging those results and are “confused.”  No doubt, they should be.

But instead of looking at the reference population data validity (that Ancestry refuses to share), or the math, for possible issues, Ancestry is lauding this inherent error as a discovery, as stated by their executives at recent conferences and elsewhere in the press, and using is it as a marketing ploy.  Well, it is the season for politics and “spin” but this is reprehensible.

Christa Cowan, on this video, uses her own father’s results and genealogy as an example.  He has 47% Scandinavian ethnic percentage according to Ancestry, yet his pedigree chart showed line after line of Scotland, England and Wales as his ancestral origins, with holes, of course, representing brick walls, like we all have.  Crista was trying to convince us, and probably herself too, that in spite of all that British Isles ancestry, and no discernible Scandinavian pedigree heritage, that in fact this was ALL attributed to Scandinavian ancestors – because her father had NO British Isles heritage, according to Ancestry.

Here’s a screen shot of his results, from the video.  The video resolution was poor, so this is too, but you can still see that Scandinavia is colored blue and the British Isles have no coloration.

Crista said “We’re discovering that there is a lot of Scandinavian blood out there.”  No, Crista, you’re discovering that you have been offered up as a sacrificial lamb by a naked emperor.

Let’s look at this another way.  Crista said that she knows 365 of the 1022 people who are her 7th generation ancestors.  If that is true, then she knows 36% of them.  That means, since there seem to be no Scandinavian ancestors in that 36% (isn’t that amazing), that the balance of the 47% of that ancestry, or another 480 ancestors are Scandinavian, and she has managed to somehow in her genealogy miss every single one of those 480 and find 365 others who weren’t Scandinavian.

Do you really believe that half of her ancestry is Scandinavian and she managed to miss all of them in the one third she has discovered?  Unlikely.  Crista, if you’re really that unlucky, don’t even bother to buy a lottery ticket.

Crista said that none of her Scotland, Wales and England ancestors showed up as British Isles because this test is picking up deep ancestry.  Really?  So all of those people married other people of Scandinavian heritage in the British Isles and none, not one, married Angles, Saxon, Jutes, Celts or Picts from the British Isles for the hundreds or thousands of years they lived there?  Now that is absolutely amazing.  How do you propose that happened?  Were there records to keep that all straight in secret guilds someplace?  For a conspiracy of that magnitude to work, there must have been records.  Where are they and where is the history of that conspiracy?  Or are those ethnic groups supposed to show up as Germanic?  That would mean that no one shows up as British Isles because everyone was continental before migrating to the British Isles.  So we’re supposed to believe that Ancestry is picking up ancient ancestry but nothing contemporary, nothing from the British Isles in hundreds or thousands of years?  And how does that happen, exactly?

Now we know that mutations have happened in the British Isles in the thousands of years they have been inhabited and those mutations are measureable.  Anyone with any doubts, just refer of the Niall of the 9 Hostages Y-line mutation (R-M222) in haplogroup R, among others.  So what we’re supposed to believe is that pretty much everyone came from Scandinavia and they had some very effective secret club that kept them from ever marrying anyone from the British Isles?  Does this sound ridiculous to you?  Well, it does to me too.

Ok, so if Ancestry has made such a monumental discovery, why then has this not been documented and academically published?  Other companies do this in conjunction with academia.  Perhaps because this is based on flawed science?  It looks to me like it’s worse than guessing.  Could it be intentional?

I know that some of Ancestry’s AncestryDNA customers have British Isles ethnicity percentages, because I do.  Here is a screen shot of my results at Ancestry.

You’ll notice that I have 80% British Isles, 12% Scandinavian and 8% uncertain.

Some years back, I did a pedigree analysis of my genealogy in an attempt to make sense of autosomal results from other companies.

The paper, Revealing American Indian and Minority Heritage Using Y-line, Mitochondrial, Autosomal and X Chromosomal Testing Data Combined with Pedigree Analysis was published in the Fall 2010 issue of JoGG, Vol. 6 issue 1.

The pedigree analysis portion of this document begins about page 8.  My ancestral breakdown is as follows:

Geography Percent
Germany 23.8041
British    Isles 22.6104
Holland 14.5511
European by   DNA 6.8362
France 6.6113
Switzerland .7813
Native   American .2933
Turkish .0031

This leaves about 25% unknown.  However, this looks nothing like the 80% British Isles and the 12% Scandinavian shown by Ancestry.  Where are my heavily German lines?  I have the German church records for generations on many families.  Where are my Dutch lines?  I have those records too.  And France, I have records there too?  Where are they and how are they represented at Ancestry?

They aren’t just incorrect, they are entirely absent, and in their stead, more British Isles and Scandinavian.  And no, I’m not buying the concept that half of my unknown 25% is really Scandinavian.  Sorry.  Try again.

So, here we are.  Ancestry is wrong, blatantly, unquestionably wrong, and arrogantly so.  Instead of testing and comparing against known and proven genealogies and pedigree charts before release, they have plowed new ground and invented Scandinavian ancestry where it doesn’t exist.  They have ignored hundreds, probably thousands of people who have documentation, and have complained, instead trying to convince the Crista’s of the world, along with the rest of us, that despite their well-documented ancestry in the British Isles, that they have none and instead they are Scandinavian.  Ditto my German, Dutch, etc.

Everyone makes mistakes.  People and companies with integrity step up as soon as a problem is identified, take responsibility, apologize (that goes a long way) and then they fix the problem.  But Ancestry not only didn’t test adequately, they won’t even consider that there might be a problem, they are arrogantly claiming “discovery” when in fact, they are a buck naked emperor extolling their own virtues because certainly no one else will.  They are insulting our intelligence and demeaning our ancestry.  With it they are sacrificing their own integrity.  Indeed, as my old farmer Dad used to say, integrity is like virginity, you only get to lose it once.  Yea, Dad, you’re right.  Ancestry’s is long gone.

It’s a shame that our own genealogy is being exploited, used as a tool by Ancestry to manipulate us by virtue of their flawed science and results to “stay subscribed” and to search for ancestors we can never find because they don’t exist.  That’s a pretty good marketing ploy, right up until someone exposes the truth.  According to Ancestry, it’s not that they have bad science, but that we have bad genealogy.  Really?  All of us?

Shame on you Ancestry.  I don’t believe this is an error or a mistake anymore.  Companies fix mistakes, not exploit them.  I would hate to think this was an intentional marketing or promotional ploy.  I wonder how the people responsible for this can look at themselves in the mirror every morning, knowing what they are doing with and to our genealogy, exploiting their customers, defiling our ancestry, which genealogists consider to be sacrosanct.

I encourage everyone to do a basic pedigree analysis and send your results to Ancestry.  Let them know if your ethnic percentages are substantially wrong.  They need to hear your voice and apparently, many voices, before they are willing to take notice.  Even if they don’t answer, they can apparently count, judging from their recent decision to release the raw autosomal data in 2013 after input from customers.

So let me say this again.  We are NOT STUPID and we are NOT SILENT.  Ancestry, you need to step up, fess up and FIX this problem, now.  It’s time to do the right thing.



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432 thoughts on “Ancestry’s Mythical Admixture Percentages

  1. I just took the Ancestry test and I’m so upset I could cry. Being a black American, doing geneaology is a very taxing process emotionally. Records are few before the Civil War and I have had to read slave manifests looking for ancestors who were listed like cattle. I was hoping a DNA test would resolve some questions. I paid, sent in my sample and got an email it had been received and would take six to eight weeks to process. Less than two weeks later I got an email saying my results are in. 1/3 the normal processing time. I’m 83 percent West African and 17 percent uncertain. That’s nearly a fifth of my DNA they can’t account for. This tells me absolutely nothing I didn’t already know. I know I’m black but I wanted to know a tribal match and why my family has light skin, heavily freckled, and hazel eyes. Some of my aunts, uncles, ect are lighter than a lot of white people. Anywhoo, on my DNA matches, of the eight people who Ancestry says they are 96 percent or more sure I’m at least fouth cousins with, four of them don’t have any West African DNA. How is that? And they have at most 8 percent uncertain when I have 17 percent. I could say maybe we are related in the uncertain area but one woman they say is surely my cousin not only has no West African but no uncertain percentage. So how can they identify her DNA, say she’s my cousin, but can’t identify mine that makes her my cousin? This makes absolutely no sense. The only good thing to come out of this is that I did find someone who is actually my cousin because we have some of the same people in our tree. I’m dismissing my results and going with what my older relatives and research has told me which is we are West African, Irish, Scottish, and Choctaw. BTW, the cousin I found, they said he was part Scandanavian too.

    • I’m so sorry you started with Ancestry. They are so unreliable. DNA tests can’t tell you some of the things you’re asking, about like why some of your relatives have lighter skin and freckles. The other two testing companies do give you tools to use, and allow you to download your raw data so that you can do some comparisons at GedMatch yourself. If you decide to try this agin, you can test at for $99 and then upload your results to Family Tree DNA for $89 and you will have the benefits of the tools of both companies.

      • I have tested with FTDNA and recently added Ancestry after following Roberta’s excellent blogs. So far my plan seems to be working. I am using each resource for it’s best attributes. FTDNA is providing much more data than I can even begin to sort through but unfortunately many of the testees in FTDNA are either private or have very little family tree information. I tested at Ancestry to increase the likelihood of finding matches with more family tree information available. So far it is working but not as well as I had hoped.

        What is working well is comparing notes with cousins who find matches with our common families. The matches may match with one of us but not the other. Together we all benefit.

        Regarding the Scandinavian vs British vs others, this situation has shown me how little I know about the settlement of the European continent and the history of the peoples that are there before they became us. I find it very, very interesting and I am looking forward to retirement so that I can spend a lot of time on my next life interest as a historian.

    • Hello,

      I have been disappointed to with the DNA results. I have been matched with some cousins. So far, only three can be determined how we are cousins. In other words, there are only three people that have matching people on their trees.

      I know that I descend from French, Bristish, Scottish, Irish, and Cherokee. Yet, says I am British Isles with 22% Scandinavian. I don’t know of any Scandinavians in my family.

    • Dee, I too am nearly in tears reading your message, and I’m not even part African American. It is unfortunate that Ancestry’s results are upsetting so many people. You are not alone. I had my first DNA test done by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), and there are many things I like about the way they do matches, etc. But my ancestry composition is bizarre. So I did the test again with 23andme, and the ancestry composition, which they clearly state is linked to your ancestry of 500 years ago, is exactly in line with my paper trail. But best of all, both of these websites allow you to download your raw data and then upload it to Gedmatch. (Gedmatch gives very clear instructions on how to do that. It is free and run by amazing volunteers.) There you can explore some of the “models” of your ancestry. As I recall, on the TV program where they traced Oprah Winfrey’s ancestry, they were able to identify the region of Africa from which her ancestors came. That must have been through FTDNA. I would suggest emailing FTDNA with the specific questions you would like to find answers to, and see what they are able to answer. If they do not respond, you may just have to spend a little more money to see what they can do. This stuff is not an exact science, and all of us are struggling to some extent with it. The “uncertain” part of our ancestry is poorly named. They should call it something like mixed European, as 23andme does. At least it doesn’t make you feel like a Martian. People did move around Europe for more than 50,000 years, and to pinpoint, say, your Celtic ancestry to a particular place in Europe is very difficult, if not impossible. I have had to learn a lot of history to fully appreciate the problem of locating my ancestors. Please don’t give up. If you can spend the money, I would recommend both of the other labs, plus patience. I don’t regret spending hundreds, actually thousands, of hours learning what I have learned. Most of what I’ve learned is not what I was looking for. But this is an exploration, and in exploration, we often find something other than what we were seeking. Our ancestors certainly found that out!

    • I totally sympathize with you. I am in the same boat as you and I agree with Jeri. I have requested a “second opinion”. I have a long standing mystery in my family that paper can’t resolve as an african-american. This is an exciting new avenue for us to breach that wall. Don’t lose faith and take another test if you are able.

    • @ Dee I just got my results back as well, I sent it off on March 4 2013 and got results back March 20. Seemed a little quick to me as well. I came back 87% West African, 7%Scandinavian and 6% Uncertain. None of this accounts for my 1/2 Japanese father nor my white British great grandparent. Obviously I know I’m black, but the African is more substantial than it should be given my parentage and great grand parentage. They say the algorithm could change, but by how much if this is so accurate??? I’m completely puzzled.

      • @Thatgirl66- I just got my results back. Sent march 7, got March 19. I was very surprised at my results too. Although my French, German, Dutch ancestry showed up my tests didn’t reveal any of my Scots/Irish lineage. My grandfather’s mother was born there and all my grandparents have at least some Scots/Irish ancestry. Also 16% of my DNA is unknown. Which is ALOT. And I am showing as having 12% Finnish lineage. WHAT??????? So I am at a loss to explain this. My mom has one ancestor from 1000 years ago who was Finnish. But that certainly isn’t going to be 12% of my DNA. I am not saying the test is totally innaccurate but I can’t even begin to explain my results.

      • I’m telling my relatives not to bother taking this test if their goal is to find out their ethnic ancestry. I believe this “technology” has a long way to go. The matches seem to work. I was matched with a male cousin that is related to me on my mom’s dad’s side. So I believe this test can read both maternal and paternal lines. Also I’d been told by my mother’s family that because of a slave/owner relationship we are part Irish. They told me the name of the white family and sure enough they trace directly back to Ireland in the 1700s. I have had two people with ties to this family name in Ireland pop up as my cousins on Ancestry.
        That said, I think the admixture is total bullsh*t and I don’t believe my results on bit. I have done more digging since my last post on my fathers’ side and found most of my great and great great grandparents were mulattos. I didn’t know this at first because in later census they are listed as black (probably because of states passing the one drop rule) but in 1870 if you were mulatto they put mulatto. So the mystery of our light skin and freckles and why most of my closest Ancestry cousins don’t have a drop of West African blood has been solved. Also I contacted a cousin who told me 3 or he 4 grandparents are from Germany. I looked at her tree and its full of German names. yet her test didn’t show any trace of that heritage. I know it’s a waste of time to ask for partial refund so I’m spreading the word about problems with this system in hopes. I don’t think I’ll be taking a DNA test again.

        • Hi Dee,

          I certainly understand your frustration with Ancestry’s ethnic guesses. But all testing companies aren’t like that, so while I certainly would not recommend Ancestry, I would recommend 23andMe and Family Tree DNA.


    • If you haven’t uploaded your raw dna to gedmatch yet, I highly suggest you do so. Rhey have several admixture calculators available which offer much more in depth analysis of your dna.

      • I did. I got my mom tested on 23and Me and uploaded her on Gedmatch and another cousin. I think Gedmatch is more reliable. For example I have many cousins on my mom’s side who have tested. I know these people and how they are related to me. I know who should be listed as our shared matches. I go into one cousin’s page and look at shared matches others cousins who should show up don’t. Just not consistent.

  2. Is Ancestry sponsoring the VIKINGS tv show on the History channel? Do they think if a lot of people surprisingly discover they have “Viking” blood, they’re more likely to watch the show? I’ve traced my ancestors back to France, Germany, Spain, and Ireland. I was shocked to find from the DNA test, that I had a whopping 65% Scandinavian DNA. 17% Central European, 9% Southern European and 9% Middle Eastern and no British Isles (Irish) DNA. I was was also shocked by the Middle Eastern DNA, but since the Moors were in control of Spain for hundred’s of years, I figured there was a lot of Arab blood that got mixed into the Spanish blood. I gave the benefit of the doubt, but did ALL my French, Irish, and German ancestors descend from Scandinavians? Is Scandinavian blood so strong it overpowers all other DNA?. None of the cousins that were “discovered” from my DNA have anyone that appears in any of my family trees. I’m talking “possible 4th or 5th cousins” according to Ancestry. Their DNA testing/results is beginning to look like a total joke. Anyone thinking of starting a class action suit against there obviously flawed DNA test?

      • Thanks Roberta, yeah I wasn’t really serious about a class action suit. I now know DNA genealogy has a lot to do with interpretation of results and not just pure scientific method.

        • Also, Charles, if you have another test done by 23andme and/or Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), they will give you different interpretations. (I personally like the Ancestry compostion on 23andme. The result I got from FTDNA was especially bizarre.) Both of those labs will allow you to download your data and then upload it to GedMatch where you can explore many models of interpretation. It is easy, and a lot of fun (colorful too). If you do that, go onto Gedmatch and follow their instructions for the download and upload. It’s very clear.

          • Thanks, I’ve ordered the $39 special (something called 12-Y) Already spent $99 for the Ancestry. Maybe in a few months I’ll try the 23andme? What about the Heard anything good/bad about them?

          • Oh, I think it was not a good idea to order the 12 marker Y-DNA. That will only show your father’s father’s father’s ….. father’s haplogroup, and 12 markers will have very little precision. That will tell you, more or less, where your father’s father’s father’s ….. father came from. It won’t tell you about anyone else in your tree. You need the autosomal DNA test for that. I’d recommend 23andMe when you’ve saved up your money. Other people might recommend FTDNA.

          • Your 12 maerker will show you others that you match directly on that line, plus your deep ancestral haplogroup. Neither of those are available with the autosomal test – so you’ll learn something new. And $39 is a great sale price, so your timing is good.

          • That’s so true, and more positive than what I said. There is really a lot that can be learned from the Y chromosome and the mtDNA. I expect to spend the rest of my retirement years on all of it.

          • That’s what I wasn’t sure about. So, If the paternal side of my family was a combination of French and Spanish up until my Great-Great-Grandfather who was “pure” French. Will the YDNA test show any Spanish DNA or just French? I’m really new to all this DNA stuff.

          • Thanks for the clarification Roberta. “By George, I think I’ve got it”.. the blog you suggested and downloaded “DNA Testing For Genealogy – The Basics” That should help a lot.

    • Charles, you are not alone in your frustration with the results. I think Ancestry should be answering this question for everyone. I have many British ancestors. When I trace my family tree to William the Conqueror AND to Harald Godwinson, through the Plantagenets, I see people born all over England and Wales, Normandy, and Denmark. The more recent ones, which the DNA test would be picking up in greater numbers (since the earlier ones were largely washed out by genetic drift) are the Normans, who were Vikings. We should have Celtic, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon genes as well, but we can’t minimize the fact that the Normans came to England 1000 years ago and did not leave. They have probably diluted the genes of their predescesors. But, I would like to hear Ancestry say this, rather than me.

      I also have a touch of Middle Eastern. I’ve tested with FTDNA and 23andme. I’ve had all sorts of fantasies of a French fisherman taking up with a belly dancer. But when I had my brother tested to get the Y chromosome, I found it was G. That is Middle Eastern. My dad’s direct paternal line was English. I guess one or more of his male ancestors was Roman. Not so bad. That explains his and his Dad’s black wavy hair.

      I have not watched the series on the History Channel. My friends tell me the commercials are so irritating that they have stopped watching it. I would recommend buying an excellent course on the Vikings from The Great Courses. In fact, all of their history courses have helped me to make up for the fact that I was never a good history student.

      In general, it’s good to keep in mind that the map of Europe changed so fast, for so long, that everyone was constantly mixing together. The result of that mix is that there is not a homogeneous population anywhere there today, nor was it homogeneous a thousand years ago.

        • I stopped watching the Vikings too, it was like a soap opera, or even seems like it will be an elective for a serial show.

        • You’re not alone either. I stopped watching the first night. I watched for a lttle while and realized it was just a fictional story. I thought it was going to be a series of real history about them!

          • I’m disappointed in the History Channel. In fact, I’m disappointed in TV. I discontinued my cable service, and now I order what I like from Netflix. It’s cheaper (assuming you’re not the sort of person who is glued to your TV) and the quality is whatever you choose. I also have a library of The Great Courses. It’s another education, post-retirement.

      • Thanks Jeri. I appreciate the explanation. As you said, too bad doesn’t take the time to explain it better. Since the French ancestors I’ve found hail from Normandy (Rouen, etc), Northern Germany (Hamburg) and my Irish Ancestor was from County Wexford (a Viking settlement) I can really start to see why my Scandinavian DNA is so strong. I really thought Ancestry was off on the 9% Arab DNA. I knew about the Moors conquest of Spain, but didn’t realize they were there for 700 years. That was more than enough time to spread their DNA to my Spanish ancestors. Actually thought it was pretty cool.

  3. At Jeri Grandy, I guess you and I are distantly related because I also can trace my line back to William the Conqueror. My disappointment with this is that the lab is currently processing my DNA through I DO have Scandinavian but I also have ancestors from about every country in Europe and my mother is a direct descendent of King Francis I of France. She will furious if her French DNA doesn’t show up through Ancestry.

    • Well, it’s not really the DNA that can trace you back that many generations. Probably William the Conqueror’s genes have long since washed out by now. Interestingly, I uploaded my data from FTDNA and 23andme to GedMatch, and I looked at the GEDCOMs (family trees) of the people who matched my DNA. I have about 800, and nearly all of them have William the Conqueror, and/or Edward Fuller, and/or Sylvester Baldwin, and/or Roger Mortimer, and/or King Edward the whatever (Plantagenet), etc. All of my 800 matches have built their family trees, probably through, and gotten the same results before and during the settlement of New England in the 17th century. Their descendants spread around the country, and they were all “cousins” of varying degrees. Now they are doing their family trees the tradition way, or on Ancestry, and they are learning that they are descended from Edward Fuller, or William the Conqueror, etc. They are excited and have had their DNA tested. We are all showing up as related to each other, but it’s our paper work (or computer work) that takes us back to distant ancestors.

      What’s interesting to me is that the DNA confirms that I did my paper work correctly. Either that, or 800 people that I am genetically related to did their paperwork wrong in the same way I did, which is most unlikely.

      • Jeri,

        I have roots back to the Plantagenets on my father’s side. I am finding that many of cousins that match on my father’s side have a percentage of Scandanavian. Those on my mother’s side have not shown a percentage of Scandanavian.

        • Donna, I’m not an historian, but those results are consistent with their being considerable “Norman genes” on your father’s line. Interestingly, I did my tests through 23andme and FTDNA and do not get the interpretation of my ancestry as Scandinavian. FTDNA connects me almost entirely with the Orkney Islands. Gedmatch models and 23andme do not connect me at all with the Orkney Islands. Having worked with mathematical models in other fields, I’m very cautious about taking these ancestral models seriously. Many models can fit data (explain the data), and they are not necessarily consistent with one another.

          • Yes, it is confusing about the differing results. FTDNA test results had me as Orcadian with 8% Middle Eastern. I was told that meant that my location was Orkney Islands, but pulled south somewhat because of the Middle Eastern. That would place me in Scotland?

            I hope results become consistent between those that test. It is all very confusing.


          • That’s almost exactly what I got! 88% Orcadian and 12% Middle Eastern. No other lab or Gedmatch model has found either. And the FTDNA distribution map looks bizarre, with nobody from continental Europe, when actually, my German, French, and northern Italian ancestors are traced back there at least 400 years with public records. My Dad’s YDNA is G, and his paternal line is English. The Romans were in Britain, and my so maybe the Romans brought a slave …. duh duh duh. We can explain away anything that way. But that’s not very scientific.

          • Jeri,

            On my father’s side (the one with the Norman roots) my direct line was in the Elizabeth City, NC, area since the 1600’s. There were also many Grandys in that area. There is a small town nearby in the Outer Banks named Grandy.

            I probably had some ancestors in the New England area, but we were told that Richard Pool came to the VA Beach area in the 1600’s.

          • I’m surprised about Grandy being in NC. It’s my ex-husband’s name, and I haven’t traced it. My maiden name was Taylor, so forget trying to trace that! Actually, I notice that some people are doing better tracing common names than uncommon ones. Not sure why, except that common names are generally English and many colonial families are well documented. Are you Scots-Irish from NC? I’m doing a friend’s genealogy, and his Blair clan came from Guilford, NC. Maybe you are related. 🙂

          • No, I am Scotch Irish, but on my mother’s side. On my father’s side, I am mostly English with some French Hugenot (spellling). Possibly some Cherokee. My husband has some Taylor relatives in North Carolina. I am not familiar with the Blair clan.

            On my mother’s side, I descend from Maxwells and Reaneys.

          • Donna, My data is on 23andme, FTDNA, and Gedmatch. So if you data are in any of those databases, and I haven’t seen you, I guess we aren’t related. But I think that all of us who are addicted to this stuff have some special gene in common, and we just haven’t found it yet.

  4. Yep, I got the Ancestry test during their special $99 autosomal test. I really was more interested in my father’s line because he had the most varied blood line of French, Spanish and Irish., My mother was German on both sides of her family, but for $99 I could include her side as well. When I read the article mentioning the $39 test for the paternal line alone from FTDNA, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Curious to see any differences in the two tests.

    • They are entirely different tests. The Family Tree DNA tests provides you with marker values for the Y chromosome only, and matches for that specific line, plus some amount of ethnicity based on your haplogroup, but just for that line. The Ancestry autosomal test provides inforamtion about all of your ancestral lines, but mixed together.

    • They will be very different because the YDNA test will trace your father’s father’s father’s …. father, on back forever. It is one line. It cannot give you information about, say, your father’s mother. Women do not have a Y chromosome, so obviously, they cannot pass one on to their children.

  5. Well my most recently immigrated ancestor is a grandmother from Sweeden and my results claimed NO Scandinavian ancestry – so there. Clearly there are artifacts and flaws in ancestry’s ethnicity alogrithm and it is foolish of them not to acknowledge it and fix them. I once applied to be in charge of their DNA testing program and they turned me down. Just as well because I live for finding and fixing problems and probably wouldn’t have lasted long. That being said, there are a lot of misconceptions and unrealistic expectations among the complaints here. Like the African-American lady who was actually upset when the results came back with some 80% west African heritage??? That is about as good as the technology is capable of. Short of a whole world genotyping program there may never be enough genotype resolution to have the potential to direct her to specific tribes and there has probably been so much alteration and admixture among the plethora of small tribes that have been historically typical in West Africa that it may never be possible to extimate a sample of what tribes were like three centuries ago. As for very pale color, freckles and hazel eyes, I would suggest a recent infusion of genes from a red-haired (very) white person. Which genes came to America most frequently from the British Isles but probably arrived there from Scandinavia. Maybe you are a false negative for Scandinavian too 🙂

    • @Thomas, Just to be clear I’m not unhappy about the amount of West African blood I have. The other part to this is Ancestry also gave me about a one/fifth Uncertainty about my ancestry. So basically my test said “well, uh you’re black. And uh, you’re some other stuff too but we’re not sure what. Thanks for your money. See ya”. So if this test is not telling me a tribe and not telling me about what I am other than WA then what do I know now that I didn’t know when I had 200 more dollars in my bank account? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! I saw on tv where a Dr. Henry Lous Gates was giving black celebrities their original tribes and that is what I was hoping for. I know this sounds cheesy to some people but it’s been a dream of mine to identify with a tribe ever since I watched Roots as child. I’ve heard other AA say that program also inspired them the same way. I had a professor once in college who had traveled in Africa. He went around the room guessing all the black students’ tribes based on their features. Then he gets to me and shakes his head and says “you’re a whole bunch of stuff.” Alas, you are right. I may never know.
      I did find out my family is part irish. Doing some digging I found out I’m also part English and Italian on my dad’s side. I am researching that Family DNA someone mentioned.

      • have you tested at either 233andMe or Family Tree DNA. To be clear, when Henry Louis Gates was talking tribes, it wasn’t using autosomal tests, it was Yline and mitochondrial DNA. Are either of your Yline (or your male family member as proxy if you are a female) or your mtdna African? If so, then that is how you determine the tribe, not via autosomal.

        • I can relate to Dee’s frustration regarding the desire to locate her particular tribe. I am not black, in fact I am one of the WHITE WHITE people mentioned in on of the posts, reddish brown hair, blue eyes, and only a few freckles. Can’t tan at all, will burn then fade to white again. We have always known we are Irish and English on both sides of the family and sure enough my Family Finder says 94.70 % Orcadian and 5.30 Asian plus or minus 1.03 % . I was hoping that I would get a more specific breakdown such as Scottish 25 percent welsh 10 percent Irish 60 percent and 5 percent leprechaun or whatever. my maiden name was Moore and we lose the ]trail in 1796 Pennsylvania. My brothers DNA doesn’t match up with the line we thought we’d found. I was hoping for a “tribal breakdown” so to speak so it would narrow down if the Moore line I need and tell me if should focus more on known lines that orginated in Scotland or Ireland or even England. So Dee, like you, I don’t know any more than I did before the test,in fact I know less because now I’ve got to figure out where in the blazes the “Southeast Indain, North Indain” from Asia came from and why they call it Asian instead of indain? On the map it’s all India exceptthe lower tip. Bet I never get a solid answer on that. SInce my patrnal grandmother’s family was all over the colonies, TN, NC, KY, VA, MO etc I could understand and celebrate American Indian (so my husband couldn’t say he was more American than me ) I was even prepared to find some scandivian because of the vikings over running the Britsh Isles but Asian Indain?

          I now know thanks to Roberta’s blogs and attempts to educate us all on how DNA fits into the genealogical searches that I totally misunderstood the use of the concept. I will continue to haunt the internet hoping to find a clue or actual documentation to my family lines but I won’t be getting more extensive DNA testing done simply because I don’t have sufficent funds to put into a wild goose chase. I wish that this technologic miracle was much further advanced and I’m sure in a decade or so this field will be wonderfully advanced. But it isn’t yet so back to the net!

  6. For african americans ancestry.dna is not helpful except to the extent it does get the matching right. Does anyone out there who is african american have any experience to report with the other companies? I am not looking for a tribe as I understand that is not what autosomal is for but a straight answer about my other ethnicities would be helpful.

  7. @robertajestes Thanks for the clarification on the limitations of the automsomal test. I’m going to research the other tests. 🙂

    @thatgirl Yes, your percentage for WA is estremely high given your heritage.

    @everyone Who would have guessed Scandanivians were such fertile people? LOL!!

  8. I did my a test on my mother through AncestryDNA, and it also left me more confused and frustrated than before. It came back and said she was 20% Southern European (huh? There weren’t a lot of Portuguese, Spaniards or Italians hanging around East Tennessee) and 8% Uncertain. That’s a huge percentage uncertain. They also did turn it around in very little time, which surprised me.

    • Now that you mention it, I was surprised that my results were turned around so fast. The results were different from Family Finder DNA test. So, I think we can fairly certain that results are not accurate.

  9. Ancestry DNA is flawed in so many ways. i am about half Norwegian but show no scandinavian from ancestry. I got my results back from 23me and that showed scandinavian and the other parts of europe I am made up of. One thing in defense of some of these tests is that the british Isles and scnadinavia were a slab of ice during some of the tests.

  10. These are all the standard complaints.

    Lets take two different cases: all European, or European/Mideast, versus the case of typical Afro-(Euro)Wmericans.


    Anyone expecting a by-country or even by region breakdown based on their great
    grandparent’s ancestry is simply asking too much, in general. DNA varies quite smoothly
    across most of Europe, and well into the Mideast. Thus, and this MUST BE EMPHASIZED,
    what these tests measure is the average ancestry. That means the average on a geographic map. Example of the idea: buy a heavy cardboard map of Europe. Get 96 quarters and stick 12 at the correct spot on the map for each prandparent. The try to balance the map on the tip of your finger. Once you do, mark the spot where your finger is and remove the weights.

    Then get a pile of 100 quarters, and place them by percent on the map where the
    DNA companies says your ancestry is. If it says “unknown” use Switaerland. I.e.
    if it is 30% British, 50% German and 20% Italian, put 30 on Birmingham, 50 on Berlin and
    20 on Rome. Then do the balance thing, making another mark.

    Ideally, the marks of all companies should be the same place. That is, in general,
    all you can expect. If the spots are within 700 miles of each other, they are
    doing quite well. Lots and lots of people are good to 200 miles. There are special cases, e.g. Basque or Ashkenazy ancestry, where a fair size amount can be reliably specifically determined, but the companies are not good at this.

    (sub-Saharan) Afro-American:

    The coin trick does not work since DNA in African is too idiosyncratic by tribe.
    And there are too few reference populations. The best that can be done is
    telling that you are not Pygmy or Bushman, for sure, and there is some
    discrimination available between West Africa and East Africa, and if your
    African is entirely from Ethiopia the its possible to tell if you are Oromo or not.
    With more comparison pops, it could be MUCH better.

    And in America the situation is even worse than Africa, because most of the tribes
    most non-Latin people are interested in both refuse to give comparison samples and,
    worse (and the reason for the refusal) is that in the USA and Canada the vast majority
    of tribes are heavily mixed with Europeans. This latter fact means that a given person
    can’t be used as comparison … the program designer has to take many people and generate a far fewer number of 100% American “synthetic people”.

    Doug McDonald

  11. I am so glad to have found this site. I was beginning to think I was crazy. Most of my ancestry was from England/Scotland/Ireland and NOTHING came back as British Isles. I know I have hundreds of connections to the Conqueror/Plantagenets and to the Stuart/Bruce lines–and that they were French-Normans (read Scandinavians)–but zero percent British Isles made absolutely no sense at all. I know that I am substantially Dutch and French which would account for the 60% Central European Ancestry attributes to me–but 40% Scandinavian is ridiculous. I especially upset because I also KNOW that I am part Melungeon–an American group descended from white women (probably indentured servant girls) and African slaves. I also know that at least three of my relatively recent grandmothers were Native Americans–2 Cherokees and a Hackensack (from New Jersey). Needless to say, no African or Native American ancestry showed up in the DNA test.

    It is especially infuriating that I have repeatedly sent comments to the Ancestry site complaining about the results and have received no reply. I do consistently receive updates on my cousins every Sunday night–people who sometimes have (according to no overlap with my results at all! (they are 90% British Isles, 10% Turkish, for instance). I hate the idea of paying for another test, but I want to know who I am. My mother lied about my parentage for over 50 years and the ability to know who my relatives really are is important to me.

  12. I wonder, with all the complaints over’s ethnicity results, how they have responded. Surely, they must know. I was pretty satisfied with the accuracy of my results. No real surprises, except for my 8% Scandinavian.

    • They don’t seem to care. Generally they say “keep looking.” Of course, you need to maintain your subscription to do that. Recently at a conference they said ther would be some “adjustments” in the future which was interpreted to mean that this issue might be addressed. Time will tell.

  13. It’s Dee again. Since I’ve been so critical of Ancestry, I want to make sure my posts were fair and warranted. My question is about intrafamial marriage and how it affects DNA results. Ancestry has given me a lot of 4th cousins with 95 percent or more certainty but in most of them I’m not finding a common relative in the last five generations. I read that if there is marriage within your family that people may appear more closely related to you than they are but I haven’t found anything on how it impacts admixtures. The thing is I joke with my mom all the time that she married her cousin, but honestly it is a possibility. My parents are from different towns and met in college. But my mom’s dad, my mom’s maternal grandmother and my dad’s maternal grandmother are from the same very small farming community. You know where everyone has 10 kids and every kid has 10 kids and so on. I still go there to visit relatives and I can’t spit without it landing on a cousin. My cousins who grew up there said it was tough to date and yes I’m told there has been some cousin courtships in past generations. Although in another state, my dad’s paternal line and my mom’s maternal grandfather are also fthe same small farming community. The person Ancestry gave me as a second cousin is from that first area and shares the same great great grandparents as me on my mom’s side. But I thought that was a more distant relationship than second cousin. I actually suspect this person is related to me on my dad’s side too because we have the same last name (my dad has his mother’s last name). So someone with expertise please chime in on whether redundancy in a family tree may have caused my large unknown percentage. It may help me decide if it’s worth another test.. If there is an impact then I think that the company should have been made clear at the beginning. Thanks

    • Cousin marriages, especially ones close in time to the current generation, do make matches “look” closer than they are. However, this is a universal problem it seems at Ancestry so I’m not at all sure how much the cousin marriage issue would actually affect the results. The same problem exists with endogamous groups like the Amish or Jewish.

    • I hadn’t considered how consanguinity would effect the results of the genetic tests. I am the product of years of in-breeding–most of it in England long ago–but my first ancestors in America in one line started with first cousins marrying–and that happened on both sides of my family. My grandparents joked for years about the fact that they were cousins of each other–and because of that, all of my relatives are also my cousins. This happened a lot in my own line and wonder if it makes me “super related” to my ancestors.

    • I was pretty skeptical of Ancestry’s DNA matches too. I’ve yet to find any connection from the dozens of matches from 4th cousins on down from Ancestry. But, I did a Y12 -DNA test from FTDNA and got 2 matches and neither of those matches have any connections in their family tree to my surname. I’ve done much better finding cousins from the paper trail of my family tree. I now have an e-mail/message relationship with 4 of them (all 3rd cousins) and met with one on my trip to New Orleans. The DNA testing from any company seems to be more of a finding your genetic roots, more than actually helping you connect with an actual live relative. That being said I still plan to eventually do the mtDNA test, since I’ve done the other two, but not with any expectations of connecting with a living relative.

  14. Dee, I don’t know if I can help but rather sympathsize. In my dad’s side there are two known generations of first cousins marrying. Years ago I once visited with a genealogists in Topeka and she told me that back in the territorial days this was quite common. In another situation I was visiting a museum in northern MO and they have a room that was used for periodic special exhibits. That week was showcasing a local old frontier family. By looking at the papers in that display I figured there was a case of first cousins marrying. So I asked the curator about that & she said that was common at that time in MO history (before and after the Civil War).

    Of course by today’s standards most people would rather die than admit this happened in their families. But as you described about small farming communities there wasnt always a great number of people to choose from as extended families settled the frontier together. So I can understand and respect the history of this type of thing.

    You can research consanguineous marriages (marriage between blood relatives). The closer they are before the marriage the more homozygous will the genetic codes of the offspring be. This was once discussed in my genetics class. If you have a graph with the left side being labeled “increasing levels of homozygousity” as you go up and the bottom line is labeled “generations” you’ll see that the highest level is brother/sister @ 95% (no surprises) then below that is double first cousins @ 85% . Then starting to drop off is first cousins @ 65%. The line below that half first cousins @ about 50-54%. Second cousins is barely off of the 50% line. Though this graph in my old college book doesn’t show it I remember seeing that third cousins are barely off of the bottom of the graph. This information is paraphrased from: Principles of Genetics, 1981.

    Due to advances in technology I’m sure there is far more updated information out there on this type of thing. I know I didn’t shed much light but perhaps this will help in some way. Good luck on your own searches. -Brad

  15. Thanks for the responses. I’m not sure the exact relationships but I think there is more than a strong possibility my maternal grandparents are related to one another, and my parents are related one another. This “community” is so small the only commercial business is a gas station where the pumps are still the rolling numbers. With three of my lines (one grandparent, two great grandparents) coming out of that small population base, I’d be naive to think I’m not somehow my own cousin. It is a little embarrasing but I know it was not intentional. Also My grandma had double cousins because her dad’s brother married her mom’s sister. I’m wondering in the auto test if every ancestor is a place holder and if one ancestor is occupying more than one space can you really get an accurate result? I did see where a new technique was developed to compensate for a group of Jews. I think there should be some kind of advisory to people who know they have a lot of mixing about taking this kind of test. I would have taken the direct mother test.

  16. I’m another disappointed Ancestry user. I didn’t even get the test at $99. I paid $129 for mine. Now most of my tree goes back directly to France Scotland and England. LIke so many of you, I was surprised to find that my results came out 57% British Isles, 25% Scandanavian, and 18% Southern European. I’m so glad to find you people. I was beginning to question all my research and every familly story I’d ever heard…I know the Normans were orginially mostly Scandanavians, but would they stay completely away from any other ethnic group for hundreds of yrs in what is now France and the UK? Now Wikipedia says that Normans were also from the Rome area. Other than that possibility, I have no one on my tree that comes from So. Europe. Thanks for helping me out with this. I’m only sorry to know my daughter just send money in for Ancestry’s new admixture autosomal test. Wonder if that one is flawed too.

    • Bev, considering you have ancestry from England & Scotland a distinctive Scandinavian influence wouldn’t surprise me. You mentioned the Normans but before them the Vikings did settle in portions of Scotland & in England they rulle the region then known as the Danelaw. So a certain percentage should be expected (if it were me)

    • The normans were french. They spoke it too. Only irish are usually celts. English are anglo saxon. Saxony is in europe. Look where thye travelled from in Europe to Britain. If you don’t have scandinavian blood you’re unlikely to be scottish!

    • Thanks Robert. But I’m pretty sure this one is different. I lists Native American and altogether 5 different groups. We’ll see…

  17. As I read this, I think a lot of folks need to read a few books on dna, like Brian Sykes’ The Seven Daughters of Eve. Your ethnic percentages will not be the mathematical breakdown of your family, say, half Japanese, half-English = 50% asian and 50% European. Each individual only inherits a part of his or her parents dna going back to the start of a particular line, with different variataions appearing in every offspring (with the exception of twins). Siblings can (and will) have different percentages because each has only a random part of each parent’s infinite possible combinations of genes. Finally, Europeans didn’t originiate in Europe nor are they the only populations, even dating back 10 thousand years of so (or more) to have even inhabited it. You must account for migrations into and out of areas in addition to genetic combination in order to understand your results. Your dna results are about genetic history, not nationality.

    • DJ, I think that’s an excellent explanation.

      To explain it in different (not necessarily better) words, we get a random half of our genes from each parent, with each sibling getting a different set of genes. So, my brother may have more “French” genes than I have, but that’s just the way the chips fell. Then, going back another generation, although each parent got a random half of the genes from each of our grandparents, we did not get a random 1/4 of our genes from each grandparent. (Those in doubt can fill a jar with many colors of jelly beans and work it out.) As we go back in time, we see that we can lose entirely the genetic contribution of some ancestors and gain more from others. Who we are today is the result of many random selections of genes from many people. The proportions that we inherit from different geographical regions may be very different from the actual geographical distributions of our ancestors.

    • I am very glad to have found this blog. I too bought the AncestryDNA test and very dissatisfied with the results. My own research shows lineage on my father;s side beck to England but on my mother’s side should trace back to Eastern Europe. My Ancestry results show 99% British Isles and 1% undetermined. I have called Ancestry a couple of times but nothing they are telling me or documents they send me links to explains this great discrepancy. This blog reinforces my view of being taken by AncestryDNA.

      • I honestly believe that they did nothing more than look at my family tree and “miraculously” come up with “matches”. Their integrity is in question. No wonder they asked if I had a family tree on Ancestry when I ordered the DNA test. I doubt they even bothered submitting my saliva sample to a test.

  18. Hi,
    I am relieved by your post. I have gone back 5+ generations on all my lines and my tree has these places of origin:

    South Africa15%

    There are no Scandinavians. My Ancestry DNA says:
    Scandinavian 85%
    Southern European 12%
    Uncertain 3%

    I haven’t seen anyone else who has 85% Scandinavian DNA without a Scandinavian. My mother has 65% Scandinavian.

    However, as with some prior posters – I have found some DNA MATCHES from other trees – including 3 trees in which we have identified a shared 4X Great-grandfather and another in which we are interested in the match because we share an unusual family name, came from the same part of England but their line left the same village in England in the late 1600s while mine left for South Africa in the 1800s. Is this valid? Who knows? But it provided entertainment.


  19. Don’t mean to be rude but anglos and saxons aren’t native to Britain. They come grom germanic tibes north of europe and genticallt closer to Scandinavians than cells.

    • Bloody typos. Doing on phone. Nevermind. Just wanted to say Anglo saxons aren’t originally British!

  20. Roberta,
    My brother took the FT-yDNA37 a few years back and i took FT-mtDNA (which you looked at) plus 23&me of which i don’t know anything about looking into.
    I’m not on the computer enough to know how to go about locating Goin family trees of the people who matched my DNA. I’ve always heard my family has a connection to King Edward (Plantagenet), etc.and a 4th. cousin has traced his Goen line back to the 1200’s Plantagenet. But I have no idea how to find out a connection if any to my line.


    • Genetic genealogy is about two things. First, the DNA can tell you if you are related to specific living people. Then, it’s up to the people involved to collaborate and do the research on the history of that family. They may have been able to connect the line back in time to the families you mentioned. That is more a matter of genealogy than genetics. Sometime you connect genetically to someone in a line like that, even though you don’t connect genealogically. In that case, the connection was likely before the time that surnames were adopted. So genetic genealogy and regular old fashioned research genealogy go hand in hand.

    • Pat, if you have built a family tree on, you will get hints that lead you right back to royalty. (Ordinary people are harder to find.) I also have King Edward III and many infamous people, like Roger Mortimer, in my ancestry. I have since gotten some DNA matches with others who tie in with these same ancestral lines. So that gives me confirmatation that the paper trail is correct.

  21. I, for ome, am very happy with Ancestry’s DNA program. Well, maybe a little disappointed that my British Isles isn’t higher than 79%, but the other percentages were interesting. No Scandinavian, though. Ancestry has connected me with lost 1st and 2nd cousins, with very little information that has connected with my lines. One such connection the only revealing information was the person’s grandfather – and his middle name was wrong. Ancestry has provided me with over 100 matches, and so far there are 89 pages of names for me to check out. I have worked on my own family history for 60 years, with a tree of over 55,000 names.
    D. Gail Dunagan Morrison

    • Gail,

      As far as you know, are any of your descendants from France? I am wondering if the Norman DNA is showing up as Scandinavian.

      • My family history is quite interesting. We have been in this country 400 years, we settled in a remote mountainous area in the Carolinas before it was North and South Carolina. Then we intermarried among ourselves. I am so related to myself that if it were true that marrying your kin caused idiots. I wouldn’t be able to go to the store and back by myself. I am 77 yrs old, my mother is still alive and I have a living Grandaunt that is 105. Life is good. has provided me with over 100 pages of names. Many without their help I have connected to my family. With the “leaf” attached to a name giving me our connection – often with names I had no prior knowledge of – there are over a dozen names. I haven’t been as successful with my husband’s line though. His family knows little about themselves, and wasn’t too helpful in finding them either. I mentioned previously that my ethnicity was 79% British Isles – no surprise there. Some wanted to know the others 12% Eastern European, and 9% Finland/Vogal-Ural. The latter was a surprise – who knew that I am a Ruskie. LOL Gail Dunagan

        • Hi Gail,
          Don’t feel bad, I have 1/2 Alsatian (french or german???) and 1/2 Ukrainian, now what is that Russian or somewhere from the middle east, or scandanavian? I can’t find out any older relative names than my Great-great-grandfather on my father’s side. The name seems to be mostly French.
          (ruskie too)

  22. I connected with a cousin on Ancestry. Not through DNA but a tree match. We exchanged emails and talked on phone. He created a family page on FB and we both invited people who invited people and we now have 200 plus members. We are all swapping stories and photos. Getting to interact and thinking reunion. It’s wonderful! I found out my ggggrandparents changed their last name because they didn’t want a slave owner name which is why I couldn’t find them in 1870 census. My cousin’s parents are from that small farming community I was talking about earlier. His parents are both related to me. In discussing we figured out he and I are blood related AT LEAST three ways that we have figured out .Maybe more. And this is all in the last five generations. And I have many other double and triple cousins. Some related to me on my mom and dad’s side. I keep having to use the merge people feature on my tree. That said I don’t want to do DNA test again. I’m skeptical so much intermarriage can yield accurate percentages. Mom told me just be grateful I came out smart. LOL!! Be blessed.

  23. I’m an African American with results showing 12 percent Easteran European. How is that possible given that they didn’t even arrive in the US until the 1920s?

    • Lizzy, Easter Europeans (Czechs, Russians, Polish, Hungarian) did come to the U.S. long before the 1920s. Another possibility to consider is that, as harsh as it sounds, slave owners were known to have intercourse with their slaves. For instance, Thomas Jefferson did take his slave mistress Sally Hemings with him to Europe while he left his wife at home. It wasn’t uncommon. He was English, but intercourse between slave owners and their slaves wasn’t limited to Anglo-Saxon men only.

      • Thanks. Yes, I do know about the horrible rapes that occurred in slave history. Just that I expected to find out my ancestry was British Isle. Still picturing Eastern Europeans in the south is surprising. And 12 percent means it wasn’t that far back.

        • There were plenty of Czechs and Poles in Texas and surrounding states in the 1850s and later. Either way, I still don’t place any confidence in Ancestry’s attempt at DNA tests. From what it has shown me so far, I think Ancestry’s DNA “test” consisted of nothing more than throwing my DNA sample in the trash and speculating on my ethnicity by looking at my Ancestry family tree. No wonder they “recommend” that we update our family tree while they are “testing” our DNA sample. I should have had Ancestry conduct my DNA test before I built a family tree on the Ancestry site.

          • Interesting speculation concerning Ancestry’s treatment of our DNA samples being thrown in the trash. I have a large tree, 54,847 names to be exact, I would say that 99% of my tree came from the British Isles. My family was settled in Jamestown before the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth. Two lines of my family came over on the Mayflower. As the various lines of my family gathered together in Virginia in the 1700s, marrying, having children , they proceeded to migrated to a remote mountain area in the Carolinas prior to their separation into North and South Carolina. These families intermarried over the next 300 years. Most of the DNA matches show 95, 99 and even 100% British Isles. My Mother married outside this group, thus giving me a lower percentage of British Isles = mine shows 79%. Other than wanting to have a higher British Isles percentage, I am satified with My daughter’s are not, so I am going along with another DNA test through 23andme. I will let you know if there are any drastic changes. Gail

          • I’m anxiously waiting to see how your new test turns out. Most of my father’s whole side of the family is from France and yet the test is showing 0% from that area.

          • Normans in France descended from the Vikings. I am of French Huguenot descent. Do you think that is why has labeled our DNA as “Scandinavian?”

          • The Vikings invaded the British Isles for years, and the Danes colonized the area for centuries, so there is a good chance that most of us have Scandinavian ancestry if we have enough ties to the British Isles. Then we mix in the Romans who occupied most of Europe, as well as the French Huguenot migrations to Germany, Holland, the Americas, and many other destinations. For the matches that Ancestry has provided so far, in regards to those who have Scandinavian names, I can’t find any direct ties to anyone in my family tree. Either the DNA is a match for someone in antiquity, or it is bogus. I guess I will have to try 23andMe to see what they come up with, and if it will be anywhere close to what Ancestry “found”.

          • The fact that it is 12 per cent doesn’t mean it is recent. Many people of British heritage show the same perscentage of middleeastern ancestry from the first crusade to the holy land nearly 1000 years ago. It is the luck of the draw! It explains our family’s dark looks and the fact that an wncestor of mine born over 250 years ago who came to Australia was believed to be a Gypsy Jew. I’m with familytreedna and am happy.

      • Joseph, you may have a point about Ancestry looking for clues on the family tree. Hadn’t thought about that. I’m African American, but my husband was 100 percent Czech, which means I have a Czech last name. Hmmm!

        • Lizzy, I honestly believe Ancestry is basing our DNA on nothing more than what is in our family tree, regardless of whether that information is 100%, 70%, 20%, or 0% accurate. I wonder what some people would be identified as, since some collect a lot of names that have nothing to do with themselves specifically, just a sort of name or individual collection? I can almost guarantee that Ancestry would have “located” Asian DNA in my sample if I had given myself an Asian name in my family tree, and if the “scientist/researcher” at the “lab” would have spent more than an hour or two looking at my family tree and coming up with my DNA according to that family tree. Although I do like their family tree set-up, I have no faith in their attempt to study DNA. It is almost useless in every sense. Ancestry even displays “birth locations in your tree.” I guess I could have Martian DNA if I put an ancestor’s birth location as Mars. I wouldn’t recommend Ancestry DNA to anyone.

          • I don’t have a tree out there and they came up with results that got my (African) ethnicity right. I think they are doing something but they can’t seem to explain it and that in my mind makes it either not a credible product or they need to revisit what they are doing. Other testing companies release data on the populations that they compare us against but everything at ancestry seems to be under lock and key. I had the same problem as Dee that I am African American being matched up with European people who have absolutely no correlation to what they are listing my European ancestry as. I know I have it (European ancestry) but what they are saying makes no sense. When I called to request an explanation I was told that the person was probably on the borderline of being the same ethnicity as me that is why they were showing up as my match. That makes no sense at all….

          • My reply is not to Joseph specifically, but to all the people so dissatisfied with AncestryDNA. I’ve totally lost the thread of the conversation, so I’ll just put my message here. To lighten things up a bit, I thought I might put my dog in my tree, send a spit sample to Ancestry, and seeing if my little Adrian is Scandinavian or African or if he indeed comes from the Hopi reservation, where I found him.

          • I am having a very difficult time with some of the criticism of DNA testing program. To start with it is a new, Beta program – that means that there is nothing to measure it against, second it is a study in progress and the more samples that they get the stronger and more accurate the results will become. In other words, there will be changes, some might be very noticeable. Third, our ancestors are not necessarily the ethnicity of the area that they were born in – even if they had lived in an areas for generations. I feel that some of you should lighten up, back off and give a chance. To the lady that claims to be 100% African – congratulation, I would have loved to have been a pure blood, but alas, I’m not and some of my ethnicity was a surprise to me. I, personally, do not have any African markers, however at a lecture that I gave once a Black lady came up to me and told me that many of my relatives were her’s as well. As we compared our trees, my paternal uncle was her Father. I do not know who our DNA would match up, but nevertheless she is still my cousin, and I don’t doubt it for a minute. I feel that is just helping us out by comparing our DNA and matching us up. I am really grateful. Please give them a chance. I will. Gail Dunagan Morrison

          • I agree too that many of us have overly high expectations of a very new and complex science. Those of us who have worked in any of the sciences know how long it takes and how difficult it is to make accurate predictions of anything, starting with zillions of correlates. Think about weather prediction, how many decades, or centuries, it has taken to refine our prediction models to the point where we have a 30% probability of rain somewhere in the city. Furthermore, we can clearly confirm or disconfirm the accuracy of the weather prediction. In our ancestry predictions (actually, “postdictions”) of our ancestral lines, there are no obvious ways to testing whether those postdictions are correct. We are not time travelers. And we can’t look at whether it is raining or not. This is a very tricky science!

          • Gail,

            For what its worth I’ve written on this post before. I’ve found a cousin whose family & mine connect back in the 1800s through I have no doubt that we are related. I’ve found other cousins too. So as far as fining family I’m happy with them too. But their ethnic markers I’m still not sure about. I agree with you that their’s is a work in progress. I just think they need to open up about it. I’ve read where you can get 3 different tests from different companies and the results would suggest 3 different people. I suspect it depends upon which markers each uses. Like you I’m willing to give Ancestry a break but I still think they need to be more open with people. This technology is new and still growing. Thanks for your feed back.

          • I agree with Brad. I think each company has its own strength. I have gotten the most information with cousin matching from ancestry with the exception of those situations where there was no clear match. As with any product we just want to understand what we are buying and ancestry is not doing such a good job of explaining.

    • I understand Beta code as I was in IT for many years. My problem with Ancestry is paying for something with so little information that it should have been free. I think they made a bad decision by charging for this service as no matter how much they improve their database, I will never trust them. In fact, I’m having my DNA tested by FamilyTreeDNA.

      By the way, they’re offering a 50 dollar test. They claim to have the largest database.

      • I hope I’m following the right thread here. I get tangled in the conversations.

        I would suggest that if whoever is dissatisfied with Ancestry, get a test from FTDNA and get one from 23andme. I think you will find that they all give different results. This is not an exact science, and if we pick and choose what feels good from every company’s results, then we are not being scientific either.


        • In all fairness to Ancestry, or whichever DNA testing company someone chooses, part of the DNA matches are obviously based on that percentage of the population which has had a DNA test done with that particular company. Even though I am almost positive that some of my first and second cousins have had DNA tests completed with Ancestry, they never showed up as matches, and the closest Ancestry could get was 4th-6th cousin matches. The major disagreements I have with the Ancestry method is that they should have worked out many more of the kinks before offering the DNA test to the public; they should be more open about how they reach their conclusions; and it shouldn’t appear that way too much of their data is derived from simply viewing whatever we have entered into our Ancestry family tree. 23andMe is extremely informative, transparent and thorough from what I may glean from their website, yet Ancestry is too secretive; makes it hard to get a deeper explanation about Ancestry’s findings; and Ancestry acts like we are trying to steal something from them when we ask for our DNA “findings” to be downloaded to our computer. While I agree that the test is in the BETA phase, there are way too many flaws, which means that Ancestry should have created a much more trustworthy, open and comprehensive test before throwing it on the market.

  24. I received my Ancestry DNA test this week and couldn’t be more dissatisfied. First of all Ancestry claims that I am 50% Central European, 25% British Isles, and yep, you guessed it, 25% Scandinavian. At first I thought that I would give Ancestry the benefit of the doubt, that maybe, just maybe, my Scandinavian DNA matches were the result of the Viking/Danish invasions of the British Isles and Northern Europe. But nope, nada, no such luck.

    I have documentary evidence, as well as family oral history, that clearly prove that I am also part Native American and Italian, yet Ancestry didn’t even pick up on that DNA data. There was no Native American or Southern European ancestry found by Ancestry.

    Then comes the “4th-6th cousin” matches. When viewing these supposed matches, none of them have anyone in the family trees that even remotely match anyone in my known family, which goes back at least 200-500 years in most cases. Just because someone has an ancestor with the same name, especially one as common as Moore (one of the top ten most common names in England), doesn’t mean that we have any common DNA matches. The “cousin” matches are useless.

    I have zero confidence in the Ancestry DNA test and feel like I was just robbed of $108.00. The Ancestry DNA test is useless, misleading, dishonest, unscientific, and I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy. All Ancestry did, or so it would seem, is quickly review my Ancestry family tree and make my DNA synch with it. It didn’t help that the only family tree that Ancestry displayed was MY OWN that I HAD SUBMITTED. Pathetic.

  25. Roberta, I hope you don’t mind me asking on this public forum, but are you related to some of my Estes ancestors?
    Abraham Estes, Sr. (1647 – 1720) married Barbara Brock, my 9th great-grandparents
    Elisha Estes, Sr. (1703 – 1782) married Mary Ann Stone, 8th
    Richard Estes (1732 – 1808) married Mary Stone, 7th
    Mary Stone Estes (1760 – 1806) married Reason R. Brummett, 6th


  26. I’m not educated enough in DNA to make a scientific reply, however I have been around long enough to realize that people want what they want. I talk with people everyday that are “certain” that they are “Native American,” etc. and when the DNA comes back minus the conclusion that they expected they feel that the test is wrong. I personally expected to come out near 100% British Isles, maybe a dab of Native American (Cherokee), I was suppose to have had a Jewish Great-Great-Grandmother, but that is sketchy too. The family always said that Grandpa Stanley married that “Cohen woman,” hmm, or was it “Koen” I’ve yet to find out. Oral history has a way of getting lost in the translation. My British Isles is pretty high, but not near high enough – 79%, I DID NOT get any Scandinavian markers at all, but there was 9% Finland/Vogal-Ural. Ok that was intriguing. I was blown away to find 12% Eastern European. I have learned though that because a person was born in a particular location doesn’t make them that ethnicity. Gail

    • I agree completely. There was a lot of migration due to war, famine and a bunch of other reasons. I have read a lot of good reviews for . They have a DNA test available for $99.00 and it appears that it is much more detailed than Ancestry’s attempt at DNA testing.

      As for Native American heritage, I have the documentary evidence, and the line comes through my maternal great-grandmother. But, as some forums have pointed out, each child inherits a different string of DNA than his/her sibling, so maybe the Native American DNA wasn’t the dominant one for me. I would just like to get a second, a most like a much more definitive and professional opinion than what Ancestry provides.

      • Family Finder DNA test found no Scandinavian for me, but found 22%. I am supposed to have some Cherokee blood, but it may have not been enough to determine in the two tests.

        • Mechdonna2, judging by just about every forum that I have read about Ancestry’s weak attempt at a DNA test, it would appear that a majority of people mysteriously show up with Scandinavian DNA. I would like to give Ancestry the benefit of the doubt, but their whole DNA testing process just seems too secretive and flawed. Hopefully I will get a chance to try out the 23andMe DNA test.

          • I must be the only person who took an Ancestry DNA test that showed up with no Scandinavian ancestry. And I DO have Scandinavian ancestry!!!! I showed up with no Scandinavian, British Isles or Southern European ancestry. (All of which I know that I DO have). But when Ancestry provides me with lists of names each week of people who match my DNA it is always people with British Isles, Scandinavian and So. European ancestry. I feel cheated!!! I paid for a very expensive test and didn’t get the confirmation I was looking for.

          • Roberta, I keep thinking (and posting) that a great many people are finding that their results are different from their expectations. I’ve not done AncestryDNA, but I’ve done 23andme and FTDNA. I’ve also looked at all of the Gedmatch models. All results are so different, and contradictory, that I think there must be an explanation besides error.

            I would hope that the Big Three (FTDNA, 23andme, and Ancestry) plus the creators of the Gedmatch models could challenge themselves to cooperate and explain why they are different. This would not be easy. They would need to sit down together (the hardest part) and talk. I envision their producing a chart showing what populations were sampled for use in comparisons with the test-taker’s DNA as well as the assumptions about those populations. For example, I’d like to know what population was sampled to identify a person as “Scandinavian” and what does that identification mean in terms of time in history and geographic location. Probably we can find that information ourselves if we search for it. But there are too many questions to answer, and we shouldn’t all have to do that much searching. The questions need to be answered in one place, in one big chart.

            These companies are thinking competively; it’s the American way. But if they would cooperate, they would all profit because their customers would be more satisfied. If each company provided different information — not contradictory information — customers could interpret their results along a variety of dimensions. Customers would want to be tested by all of the companies so as to build a personal ancestral model that accommodates all of the results in different (not contradictory) ways. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think cooperation and communication would benefit all of the companies as well as all of the customers. As it is, everyone is losing confidence in their results, and ultimately no one will benefit.

          • Thank you! I took 3 tests and have 3 different results – Ancestry, 23andme and Ftdna.

            What do you recommend to do a basic pedigree, or do you find another test more accurate?!

            On a different note I do have a lot of Scandinavian according to Ancestry, but my son did not inherit any, his test just came back. I know that’s not uncommon but maybe they are reviewing their mix?

            Please let me know about a tool for an accurate basic pedigree – Thanks!

          • I’m not understanding your question about a basic pedigree. Could you elaborate? Normally, a pedigree chart is done on your genealogy software, so I know I’m not understanding your queston.

          • DNA results will never be accurate in my opinion. The science is just not there. Ancestry’s, for example, is a beta test. Meaning that it’s just in the early testing phase and is not quite there yet. Sort of like buying the early version of software. It should have been offered for free until they get the bugs out. Their database is too small, which means the lack of possible matches means they have to guess. My results are so ridiculous it’s laughable. I’m African-American, so my results show 85 percent West African(expected), but 12 percent Eastern European, a group not here during the slave trade. My father is 85 years old, so he was a child when the great emigration from Eastern Europe started. My mom was born in the 1930s but her father was from Cuba. And did I mention that my whole family is from the south. Not exactly a stop along the way from Ellis Island.

            Ancestry should give all of us a refund.

    • Interestingly Ancestry has pushed out a survey to “select” customers asking if you are satisfied with your results and if your ethnicity changed per their results how would you feel about it. I personally don’t want to “pick” my results I just wanted them to be right in the first place. I did take a second test and while it gave me results in some ways surprising they did make sense to me unlike the ancestry results. By the way they contained no scandinavian like the ancestry results.

    • Hi Gail, I think you misunderstood my other post. My results didn’t come back that I’m 100 percent West African. I was talking about how a cousin who Ancestry matched me with is 100 percent NOT West African. That is the case with the majority of the close cousins Ancestry matches me with. No WA ancestry which I find funny because West African is the only ethnicity of mine that the test could determine.

      • I have 0% African DNA, but I have realtives that do have African markers. It just means that we share a relative, not that we come directly through the same line. I share DNA with Martha Wayles and her half-sister Sally Hemming, but it is because my line comes through their father, not Sally Hemming’s. So, if you and I should show up as cousins, just because I don’t have any African markers would make no difference at all. I’ve had at least a dozen cousins show up on with African markers, some quite high. while mine is 0%

      • Gail, I understand completely what you are saying. But if a so called 4th cousin has no African shouldnt I show having one of their ethnicities if they dont have any percentage of uncertainty? That is not the case with my many white close cousins. Truth be told I already know I’m part European but I know that from family not science. My maternal grandpa’s sister told me their grandma was half white child of a slave and master. She said the white family was Irish. I researched their line and took me back to ireland, scotland and even back to Vikings. So auntie told me what DNA couldnt. I dont think people should discount what relatives and research say just because their DNA says something different. There was a person on here who was of part west African who had a Japanese grandfather but showed no Asian descent. What?? I told all my relatives not to take this test. As others have stated and I fully agree imo this is not a good test for black people. Seems like our genes does something wacky to the machines. Hey nice to know Im not the only one related to myself.

  27. Interesting article, Gail, but it only means someone gave them an award. Doesn’t mean the product is good. Thanks for posting.

  28. Ancestry asked me to take the survey and I at first clicked yes, but then thought that I would wait and do some more research before letting them have my full opinion of their worthless and flawed DNA test. Now I don’t even get the chance to take the survey.

    On a side note, I know of one or more first or second cousins who have family trees posted on Ancestry, and who have the same last name as some of the “matches” that Ancestry took from MY family tree on Ancestry, yet Ancestry didn’t even identify them as first or second cousins. The closest Ancestry got was 4th-6th cousin, which conveniently would be nearly impossible to prove. Sorry to sound so negative, but I feel like I just wasted $108.00 for something that did nothing to enhance my understanding of my DNA or anything else. Personally, I don’t think the Ancestry DNA test should make it past the BETA phase.

  29. I thought I had it bad. Ancestry matched me with a cousin who is 100% “other”. Talk about a waste of money. What do you dna experts make if that? I sent an email to this person but havent heard back. Is uncertain and other the same thing?

    • It would be interesting to find out what the genealogical history of this “100% other” person really is. I hope they aren’t adopted – that would be a real blow. You’ll have to ask Ancestry the difference between uncertain and other in their system.

    • Other means that they have a different ethnicity than you do. I have mine set that way as well for the components of my ethnicity that don’t line up with my match. It is for privacy purposes.

      • Ok. I see. It is yet another cousin with absolutely no West African blood which is all Ancestry can tell me I have. Lol! Thanks for the explanation.

  30. I thought it was only me who found the DNA test results to be a bit “bogus”. I received my results last year around December and I was a bit shocked to say the least. I really only took the test because I was curious about my grandfather (my father’s father), my mother’s maternal grandmother and where on earth my mother got her blue eyes from since it is rare among African Americans. I have heard that my mother’s maternal grandmother was part Native American (I am assuming one of her parents was either full-blooded or at least 3/4), African (Ethiopian) and a few other ethnicities as well. I understand that many African American “claim” that their family has Native American ancestry just because, which hardly ever turns out to be true and I’m not saying that within my family it is true. However, I do know that both my mother and sister have seen a photo of my grandmother (my mother’s mother) and although African American (as am I), she was light-skinned with very long black hair and Native American features. My great-grandmother was based on my mother’s memory of her, was very light-skinned with Native American features and could pass as being white but with a slight tan.

    As for my father’s side of the family, I do know of my grandmother and have met her before her passing, but not my “grandfather” (he supposedly died when my father was about 6-8). My grandmother claimed that a certain man was his father (which is the same father of 2 of her other children), BUT oddly enough there was man in the town that they lived in as a child who claimed that he was his father. This occurred when my sister was born (2 years before I was), when they were down there for my great grandmother’s funeral (my grandmother’s mother). My mother said that the man looked identical to my father as did the man’s sons (in school everyone thought they were brothers), except he was lighter in skin tone; possibly biracial or not even African American. I have never met this man, but through the description my mother gave me I’m betting her was/is my real grandfather.

    I’ve always found it funny how ever since I was younger (I am 23 now), that many people have asked my is someone in my family was Asian because I look biracial, but the answer has always been no. My mother gets asked the same thing by Asians and my sister gets asked by people as well. So for to say that I am 83% West African, 9% Central European and 8% Uncertain just seems unreal and more or less farfetched. I am not saying that I’m 50% African and 50% of some other ethnicities, BUT this claim makes very little sense to me. Another reason for my skepticism is through a cousin through my grandfather’s mother’s side (my mother’s father) that I found through my own research on who has taken several of their test including the same one that I have taken, has not even shown up as a match for me. I know for a fact that he is a relative because my great grandmother was the sister of his great grandfather. Even the matches are just strange. I have had several 4th cousin matches whom the majority of them, apparently have absolutely no African ancestry (most are British Isles, Scandinavian, Southern European and there is even one with 100% Other) and we have no idea how we are connected.

    I almost want to say that for most people, they cannot narrow down a specific ethnicity so they play “the guessing game” and just choose which ever one they feel like choosing. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong and maybe I’m not, but for me I was hoping that I would at least find SOMETHING worthwhile through the testing but sadly I am very disappointed.

    • Jasmine, like yourself, and knowing that I had first or second cousins who had Ancestry accounts, I didn’t think it too much to ask for at least a match to them, but no such luck. Maybe they simply haven’t had a DNA test done yet. The only “matching” features of nearly all the “leads” Ancestry gave me are common family names. It doesn’t help that the names they miraculously “match” are some of the most common in the English language, such as Smith, Moore, Stewart, etc. I accept the fact that we only inherit a finite amount of our ancestors’ DNA, but the Ancestry DNA “test” leaves much to be desired as far as validity, integrity and thoroughness.

      Most, if not all, of the West African people are lighter-skinned, with the West African continent being so close to Europe. The Moroccans, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Algerians and many of the other on the West African continent share very European features, and some do have narrower eyes, probably as defense against the desert sun. I would suggest that high cheekbones might be a tale-tell sign, as was the case with my mother, that you are part Native American, but many people from West Africa also have high cheekbones.

      • @Joseph: the funny thing is that, they have taken the Ancestry DNA test and more provided by So for not match to show up, is completely bizarre since I am 100% sure that person is my cousin. As for my results, I found the same as you; matching names. But oddly enough half of the names for the closest match are nowhere near what I know my family to have. I too accept that I have only inherited a certain amount of DNA from my ancestors, but for me that shouldn’t mean that certain amounts of that DNA could be “Uncertain.” It’s like to dub part of your ethnicity as “Uncertain” could mean your not even from this planet. I also find it a bit skeptical that they have determined that I am 83% West African (not saying this is untrue). If anything, I would say that I am 83% AFRICAN, but not just West African. Neither of my parents were dark, in fact they were very light, with my mother being lighter than my father (did not know he was lighter in skin tone, but according to my mother he was. I guess it was due to his job/being in the sun everyday that darkened his skin tone?). And due to my father not knowing his birth father, although I am fairly certain that the “unknown man” was/is his birth father, to say that he didn’t appear fully African American leads much to the imagination.

        As for the Native American claim, I am not placing any bets on this being true or not, but although I have not been to any, there have been family reunions for my great grandmother’s family (the one who is said to be part Native American), and 8/10 claim that she was, so that is where I am getting my information. Also, both my sister and I have high cheekbones with mine being a bit more defined than hers. I can not be certain that this is a generous clue, but it may possibly be. It would however be nice if I could find proof in the assumption that through my maternal grandmother, there is Native American and Ethiopian! But I wont count on’s test to prove that. I may do a further analysis of the raw data they have provided, which if it comes out differently considering I do not know how they could have possibly gotten the results wrong since they are the ones providing it, I think it maybe wise to trust that more!

        I am guessing though that if my analysis is different, then through my mother/sister if they take one, I may be able to get more information and clarity.

        • I’m 85 percent West African. Surprising results, since although I’m dark, I’m more in the middle with long hair. Not what I’ve seen typically in the Africans I’ve known. So, I did a little research, and discovered that I was completely ignorant of a well-known fact: there are 100 percent West Africans with light skin and features that are exactly like mine. So, no, light skin may not indicate a larger European DNA contribution from our captors or loved ones. It could mean that you’re from West Africa’s Igbo people or another lighter skinned ethnic group.

          • @Lizzy: I agree with you! I never really looked much into the different people/cultures of West Africa. I wouldn’t quite say that it is due to me trying to be ignorant of my heritage, but I guess it’s simply because although I am 100% sure that I am West African, I do not know of what countries/tribes/culture my ancestors are from. And the pie chart provided by doesn’t help either.

            Due to my skepticism, I actually found a program that someone on the message board posted, which would run/analyze the Raw DNA from the AncestryDNA testing (and probably others as well). This is what my results showed from the data, excluding the nearly 2300 SNPs that were either missing/absent in my DNA, which I am not sure of the significance if any that this could provide.

            70.17% West_African
            7.31% East_African
            5.41% Pygmy
            3.52% North_Atlantic
            3.31% Italian
            2.55% Iberian
            1.52% Omotic
            1.29% North_African
            1.22% North_Sea
            1.01% Central_African
            0.83% Eastern_Euro
            0.79% Amerindian
            0.36% Oceanian
            0.32% Central_Euro
            0.20% Northeast_African
            0.09% East_Central_Euro
            0.07% French
            0.01% Near_Eastern
            0.01% Volga-Ural

            Even though the results do show about the same 83% African (NOT WEST AFRICAN), for me THIS breakdown actually made me feel a bit better about the testing. I have always wondered from whom, through the generations, that I could have possibly inherited the most DNA from (even though yes, we get half and half from both parent) considering how I resemble my father more so. I’m not sure if this gave a concrete answer to that, but I think through this, I may be onto something.

            I was also surprised to find both the Amerindian and East African as well as the Omotic within my DNA. Although the Amerindian is slightly lower than 1%, I feel like this confirms my family’s story of there being Native American within the family through my great-grandmother. However, even though the percentage is so small, I’m actually not surprised. I would place bets on the idea that my sister received more in terms of DNA than I did, just as I know my mother probably received way more than that. I am also surprised about the East African & Omotic. I actually would have never guessed that would be part. And considering the other “claim” by my maternal grandmother about Ethiopian ancestry, she MAY have been right. I’m thinking that half of that comes from both sides: my maternal grandmother and my father (although from which parent, who knows!)

            Even though I am missing some SNPs…well quite a few, I plan to try another test through another company to see if they can place what was missing into a specific group. Who knows, maybe the unknown/absent SNPs will lead to a larger percentage in my “Amerindian”!

          • @Jasmine can you post a link to this program? It looks like North, Central and East African have been lumped in together with West. Not to mention Ancestry gives a map on the DNA results that only highlights western part of africa. Very misleading and I think a little lazy. Africa is a very diverse. Is Egypt the same as south Africa? No. Frankly I find it insulting to throw it all in together. Those Moroccans looked like they could have been my cousins. probably were. Not cool. Not cool at all.

          • Interesting results, Jasmine, with the Pygmy DNA. I just read that for the most part the pygmy’s were left alone. What site did you use for the results? I’d like to try it.

          • @lizzy. i also lresearched west african tribes too. I found out some fulani and igbo are lighter than most wa’s. lighter as in brown but not many high yellow/freckled people like in my fam. My reading suggests nomads, trade routes, intermarriage w/north africans. @joseph moroccans & ethiopians not wa’s. i went to morocco & people mostly my complexion. They kept asking if i was from India. In US, people say I look part Native American bc of my high cheekbones. long hair imo a not determining factor. i’m super curly & never had troulb growing my hair. i think many west africans keep theirs short because it’s hot. Also in senegal i’ve read many women have long hair.

          • Another thing to consider is that slave trading went in all directions, and was never completely limited to Africans. For instance, the Vikings/Danes would regularly capture Irish women, as well as others from Europe, and trade them in Arabia and most likely Africa. This would lead to new DNA being added to the continent. With North, East and West Africa being relatively close to the European continent, it seems that people there are lighter-skinned than Africans from South Africa (Zulu, etc.). Most likely a result of environmental influences.

            Jasmine, has anyone clarified exactly what North Atlantic, North Sea or Oceanian means? I assume it means DNA from someone who came from the Azores, Maldives, Orkney Islands, etc, but don’t know how they would be differentiated from people from the European continent. As you know, Iberian means Spanish, which could have intermarried with the Moors during their invasion of Spain.

  31. @Dee: I agree about the company being VERY lazy and their results being misleading. Not to mention how certain countries are lumped into different categories. Based on these results and what AncestryDNA said about me being 9% Central European, I would have to say that they are wrong, especially since they categorize Central Europe as including countries such as: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Because from the looks of it, I appear to be more Southern European (Italian, Iberian) than Central European. Which in itself may actually shed some light on my DNA matches. Because oddly enough, many of my matches included individuals who have Southern European ancestry and we both have no idea of our connection. Way to screw with people’s minds

    It looks like I am also not one of the only ones on here who has been asked about their ethnicity! You may possibly be part Native American, Near Eastern or anything really. I generally tend to laugh it off, but it does make me wonder due to my lighter complexion, freckles, extremely curly hair (looks black, but under light it’s actually a dark brown with reddish tint) and was very long growing up until I cut it about shoulder length, etc but I guess that just means the search is still on!

    @Joseph: I’m only guessing here, but I think that North Atlantic would include countries such as Ireland, UK, etc while the North Sea would include countries such as Scandinavia, Germany, Norway, Belgium, etc. Oceanian seems likely to involve countries/islands such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji or in general the islands/countries that lie in the Pacific. Then again, I could be wrong.

    As for the link, here it is!

    • My goodness. I also have light skin, freckles, and the “black” curly hair that you can see is actually reddish brown once I step into the sunlight. We might be kin!

      @ Joesph I have been reading how Arabs took millions of European and East African slaves mostly for sexual exploitation. Some women taken to harems and European men forced to procreate with black women. Very interesting.

  32. @Dee: We may be, you never know! There is always a 50/50 chance! I would find it hilarious if on through the AncestryDNA testing, we were actually matches and did not know it.

  33. Well, I got this “enlightening” message from Ancestry DNA today, “Whether it’s a 1st cousin or 5th cousin, new DNA matches can be exciting leads. Look for common surnames and birth locations in their family trees, and don’t hesitate to reach out, especially if you see something worth exploring.” By Ancestry’s “logic”, matches seem to have a lot to do with birth location and surname. If that’s the case, I guess every person in the world with the name Smith, Moore, Jones (or any other ultra-common name) just have to be a match to me. This leaves much to be desired as far as accuracy. I’m still not confident that our actual DNA plays a part in the whole Ancestry DNA game. The only “matches” Ancestry provided this time are distant cousins, which means no cousins at all.

      • Agreed! And I have noticed, and maybe I am being a little too critical, that many of the leads tend to run out right before my Ancestry subscription runs out, and then “miraculously” my family tree starts getting all those little green leaves/leads right after my subscription runs out. Granted that I can find a lot more with an Ancestry subscription than I can anywhere else, and records are added on a regular basis, yet there are just too many shady things about Ancestry. Just like I thought we could continue to view all the records that we added under a previous subscription, when our subscription is expired, but no such luck. I view those records as being purchased through my previous subscription, so I should be able to view those already added, not those which I haven’t, but Ancestry is all about making money and not much else.

  34. I’m an African American that discovered that I’m 12 percent Eastern European. While most African Americans have European ancestry, I was surprised that mine is Eastern European, and not from some other part of Europe.

    Needless to say, I was hoping to get a more definitive area of West Africa. Never thought I’d be researching my European ancestry as i had no interest in it. Here’s what I discovered: R1B1a2 is a common marker among Eastern Europeans, but it is also common among North Africans and a small group called the Chadic in Sub-Saharan Africa.. I think this is why I have Eastern European ancestry. There has long been a rumor in our family that we came from not just West Africa but North Africa as well. I’ve always considered this just wishful thinking on the part of my early family going back to when claiming Egyptian blood was considered superior to any other part of Africa. Only family members of the 1960s and on claimed West Africa as well. The Egypt claim goes back to the 19th century.

    Now I see there may be some validity to their claims.

  35. Correction to early post: R1B1 is common to Eastern Europeans and a small group of Africans. This further breaks down to R1B1a2 and R1b1c. Not sure if Ancestry differentiates between them.

  36. I always love listening to the claims of ethnicity amongst family members. It’s like even though there if no definitive proof at the moment of those claims you may catch yourself trying to find certain traits in your that could be identifiable with that particular ethnicity/culture (I know I do), it is also still interesting to know/hear of them. I find it even more intriguing when you actually find a possible connection to it, but yet your family does not necessarily know where the claim began.

    Like with my family and the stories of Native American and possible Ethiopian ancestry. For me, I think its safe to say that both are true due to my result, which shocked me. I also find it funny how on 1/4th of my family (my mother’s maternal side), there was said to be a mixture of different ethnicities through one person (that I know of, although it would have of course came from others) and that seems to be true as well.

    I’ve always found it funny how some people say that you shouldn’t take family claims/myths to heart, because the majority of the time it isn’t true. I actually don’t fully believe that. I mean, yes sometimes it is true, but other times it is not. That’s like saying how even though my family claimed to have partial Native American ancestry, I probably don’t have that DNA within me. Sometimes it’s just a matter of how much DNA you inherited. Like with me, so far I have been able to say that I have .79% Amerindian in me, however that could change I have nearly 3% of unidentifiable DNA (ethnicity-wise) that still needs to be placed. So that .79% could change to almost 4%, but even so just that tiny amount means SOMETHING. It means that my maternal grandmother was right about her mother being part or almost fully Native American (although the claim about the tribe being Cherokee may/may not be true), BUT I just didn’t inherit as much as possibly my sister or mother did.

    All in all, I think most people are discouraged about the family myths when they really shouldn’t be. Yes, some are false, but not always. It’s just a matter of taking the time to search/take a test or two and search further. I know that now, I will probably be doing more extensive research or even trying to find a reputable genealogist to further do/help me with my search!

  37. There is one thing though that I don’t know if it’s just me or if others wonder the same thing as well. It has to do with the percentages and their meaning. I understand how those percentages are basically supposed to tell you your genetic ethnicity from so so many years ago, HOWEVER, I find it irritating how even though there is that huge amount of excitement when you see your results, but you have no idea what they mean. Yes I understand that there are different programs which will further break down those percentages, but I wish there was a way to know the cut off mark.

    When I say that, I mean take my results…well the further analyzed ones and how it states that I am 3.32% Italian. I understand that I am 3.32% Italian, but that does not help much in my case. that could mean I inherited this particular percentage from ancestors only 200-300 years ago or even 1,000 years ago. I just wish the test was clearer in terms of possibly when this would have begun/occurred (if that makes sense). Yes, I know the whole point is to help you further trace your lineage/ancestry/etc, but percentages in some cases are not as helpful for some people as others.

    Being African American, would it be safe to say that most of my genetic ethnicity would have came from slavery? Or would you say it’s 50/50: through slavery and just the laws of “natural attraction”?

    Here are my percentages again (even though it could very well change since there were some missing/absent).

    70.17% West_African
    7.31% East_African
    5.41% Pygmy
    3.53% North_Atlantic
    3.32% Italian
    2.54% Iberian
    1.29% North_African
    1.22% North_Sea
    1.52% Omotic
    1.01% Central_African
    0.83% Eastern_Euro
    0.79% American Indian
    0.36% Oceanian
    0.32% Central_Euro
    0.20% Northeast_African
    0.09% East_Central_Euro
    0.07% French
    0.01% Near_Eastern
    0.01% Volga-Ural

    • Jasmine, keep in mind the vast expanse of territory controlled by the Romans/Italians in antiquity. They took slaves from the farthest reaches of their empire, which included Africa. Once a slave became a free person, whether it be a gladiator who was released by his owner, or a slave who had, for whatever reason, been released by his/her owner, they could have most likely married with local people, whether Roman/Italian, Eastern European, or whatever region they happened to be in. As with all slavery, the slave had no choice where they were forced to live, but they did have the choice to live wherever they wanted to after being freed, if they were economically able to. There has been so much intermarriage between different peoples/ethnicities that I believe it would be nearly impossible to find anyone who was 100% Greek, or 100% English, or 100% of any ethnicity after around 1600. Even though global trade existed prior to 1600, I believe the expansion of trade routes in the late-1500s to early-1600s and after made the mixing of geographical location-specific DNA widespread.

  38. Pingback: Autosomal DNA, Ancient Ancestors, Ethnicity and the Dandelion | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  39. Hey, just found out I’m 97% British. But, the really great news is I’m also descended from ‘Other.’ Not sure my g-grandmother, the Cherokee one, would understand that. Nor would the rest of her family that ended up in the hills of Kentucky….or the ones that ‘walked the walk’ to Oklahoma….or the ancestors that were half Cherokee, half African American. Interesting that government census records, land ownership records, tribal records, family Bibles and stories all talk of that branch of the family……the ‘Other’ Tribe, which makes up at least 25% of my tree on both sides. What a rip! $100 down the drain. Thank you, Ancestry. This is the best you can do??

    • I felt the same way. I’d had the test done to find out what part of Africa my ancestors were from. Instead I ended up getting 85 percent West African which any fool with a set of eyes and an encyclopedia could have figured out. In addition, I found out I was 11 percent Eastern European. I’d expected European because all African-Americans are mixed with them. But the East part was a mystery since Eastern Europeans didn’t come here until well after Slavery had ended

      What we had was an autosomal test, so basically I ordered the wrong test. Autosomal only gives the region you’re from, but what I was looking for was ethnicity. I therefore had another test done by family tree. You can have an Mtdna or a Ydna test done. The Y test is only for men, but men and women can have the Mtdna. I had the Mtdna which gave me the region of my mother’s mother’s mother, etc. They have a two part test. For forty-nine dollars you can get part one which will give you a more precise region you’re from. It also gives you a DNA code. Mine said Africa, but with the DNA code I was able to determine that I’m from one of three ethnic groups in AFrica. I decided to go further, but I could have stopped at this point.

    • Gee, I’d like to be at least a little British Isles–I’m 40 Scandinavian and 60 percent Central European. My Cherokee ancestors and my black ancestors are no where to be seen. And my second cousin (with whom I share “double” ancestry because of intermarriage) is nearly 100% British Isles–unlike me, her blood relative. I understand that women don’t have all their DNA “show up,” but to say I’m disappointed with is an understatement. I did just receive an email from them the other day saying that an “expanded” version of my results will arrive soon. I think I’ll just spend yet another $100 to get the results from 23 and Me that I had hoped for from Ancestry.

      • I ended up going to Familytreedna and taking their fifty dollar mtdna test. I was happy with the results, but wanted more detail, so I paid an additional 140 for an upgrade. This gave me better results than Ancestry, but not much translation with the DNA codes. No problem as I looked it up online and am fine with it. I now have an ethnic group in Africa to call kin. Very happy.

        For Non-Africans, the ydna and mtdna fifty dollar test should be enough.

      • I know that there are a lot of people who are happy with 23 and me results so I paid for a DNA test through them. I, at least, was very disappointed and it was more vague than Ancestry. I am lost and I hope that I am happy with the expanded Ancestry info. Just a word of caution for you to maybe wait and see what Ancestry will give us before spending the $$$ for 23 and me. I think at least for me, that test was way more inaccurate.

  40. Well, imagine being raised thinking you are a black/white mix….and after ‘the test’ finding no black at all ! European/Scandinavian. My mother was French/Indian ! So what gives with these test ?

    • Well, it could happen if the black DNA is further enough back. Let’s say your great-grandmother, or even a grandmother. Remember, you don’t get all the DNA from your grandparents. I had several aunts whose grandmother was full-blooded Choctaw Indian. Two sisters came out light. Two in the middle and two very dark(like pure Africans with no racial mixture). Knowing what I know about DNA now, I would say that the very dark aunts may have received less of the grandmother’s DNA than the light aunts.

      Therefore if the black DNA is far enough back, you may receive none of the DNA and are therefore white with black ancestors.

      I had a white friend ask me why I don’t refer to myself as multiracial since I have both Indian and white ancestors. I refer to myself as black and only black, but if you ask for specifics, I’ll mention the other two. So, I told him the white and Indian ancestors were great-great grandparents and the reason I don’t consider myself multiracial is because it’s too far back. Now DNA testing has shown this to be true.

      • @Lizzy That is exciting. What is your African ethnicity? My family is part Choctaw too. That is according to my relatives. Ancestry test says uncertain.

        • I’m 85 percent West African according yo Ancestry. I was skeptically at first as my features lead me to expect a higher Indian /European percentage. I had my mtdna done by familytreedna. This traces the female side only. I discovered I’m Fulani on that side. They are dark -skinned but their features look more Egyptian which is where they originated. Mom always told me that’s where are people are from. I never believed her.

        • I’m Fulani, a group that many have told me I look like all my life. They came out of Egypt and traveled throughout Africa. There parts of their history I don’t like, but I’m happy to claim an ethnic group from Africa. As Alex Hailey said, “I’m home.”

      • That is great. I’m still longing. I have asked a few people who claim with their travels in Africa they can tell a black person’s ancestrial tribe by looking at them. One told me I looked Senegalese and the others said I was too mixed up looking to guess. When I get extra money I might try another type of test. I haven’t received my update nor have I ran my raw data yet. .

        • You can tell sometimes. Funny thing, when people are talking about Europe they’ll say ethnic group. When it’s Africa, they say tribes. In reality, the tribes are ethnic groups who traveled to various countries in Africa in much the same way as Europeans traveled throughout Europe.

          Compare the Fula and Yoruba ethnicities of Nigeria–there are physical differences between the two. The same can be said of someone traveling from, let’s say, Poland and living in France. Yes, you can see a physical difference, not all the time, but it is there. The same for the Irish and other Europeans.

          • I googled Fulani women. Very similar to me but most have narrower hook nose like many Jews. Then I found other Fulanis with nose like mine including a little girl who is a dead ringer for me, my aunt, and cousins at that age. We have “doe” eyes and have very soft baby faces even into adulthood. never seen non relative look so much like me. I’m convinced I’m largely Fulani. I think black Americans mislead as what Africans, especially WAs look like. Not all dark skin, wide noses. Fulani girl is slightly darker skin than me with blondish hair where mine is very reddish. I can’t post girl’s pic here but email me at and I will show you comparison.

          • I’ve looked at lots of pictures of Fulani’s as that’s what my DNA revealed me to be. I had this test outside Ancestry. Turns out only six percent of African-Americans have this ancestry. I’m pretty sure my father’s side has the more traditional appearance we expect when we see Africans. They’re mixed with Indian, but very clearly not Fulani in apperance.

  41. Pingback: Ethnicity Results – True or Not? | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

    • It probably just means that they have had more time to look at our family trees on Ancestry and “miraculously” match our DNA to our tree. There is absolutely nothing accurate or trustworthy about Ancestry’s DNA test. It is a complete hoax.

    • I received my “Updated” results I think on that exact day. And honestly, it still seems pretty obscure. It almost seems even more “made up” than before. It shows that I have about 23% of ‘Trace Regions’. I’m not saying that some of those regions are not right, but what happened to my Ethiopian & Native American ancestry? And of all things, the .36% of Oceanian that I apparently possess has somehow magically turned into 1%. Strange indeed.

  42. Pingback: Ancestry’s Updated V2 Ethnicity Summary | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  43. My results show I’m 46% of British ancestry, 11% Scandinavian, 24% Central and 17% Eastern European. This strikes me as odd, since my maternal grandfather was a Swedish immigrant, my maternal grandmother the daughter of two Norwegian immigrants, my paternal grandfather half-Swiss, half Swiss-German, and my paternal grandmother half-Norwegian and half a mix of Scots-Irish and English. I don’t see how one can get 46% British out of that, unless my Scandinavian ancestors were among the Vikings who kidnapped Britons as slaves or wives during the Viking Age… How can get more detailed (and credible) results?

  44. Yes it’s Dee again. This is my last time for real real. I got my update today. Still trying to wrap my mind around it. First I’m a mutt as far as West Africa. No overwhelming country I’m from. Also some north africa, south africa, and hunter nomad african. I’m very happy with this knowledge. Remember my 17 uncertainty. No more. Well after giving me all those close kin white cousins Ancestry figured out I’m 11 percent European and that is mostly British Isles. But I knew that. The shocker is the test says I’m 0 percent Native American.My great aunt told me her grandma was NA and honestly we look part NA. Even other people tell us so. My match 2nd cousin’s parents are from same small community as my family as he is part NA. The test says I’m part Asian and Polynesian.Huh? How did they end up in Alabama?

      • Thanks for the article. Very informative.

        As for me, I used FamilytreeDNA and am very happy with the results, although I did have to do additional research.

    • I just got my “new” information today from They first told me that I was 40% Scandinavian and 60% Central European. I know that some of that is true, but I also know that I’m part Native American and part African American (Melungeon). I know my more ‘exotic’ lines won’t show up, because they’re on my Dad’s side, but my cousin on my mother’s side–who I share double ancestors with because of intermarriage–was seen as mostly British Isles and I had no British Isles at all! Now, says that I have NO Scandinavian and that I’m now magically 40% Irish! I have just a tiny bit of Irish ancestry–mostly dating back to before the twelfth century–and most of my “Irish” ancestry comes from Norman French “English” people who invaded Ireland! And they were primarily Scandinavian! I’m just giving up on and going with 23 and Me! I guess at least I might have some legitimate excuse to wear a “kiss me, I’m Irish” button now, according to Ancestry!

        • Lo and behold, Ancestry finally got around to sending me my “Ethnicity Estimate” DNA “matches” ;-). Now Ancestry is telling me I am 98% European, with that being broken down to Europe West being 49%, Ireland 21%, and (yep, you guessed it!) Scandinavian 12%. Then there’s the following amazing finds:
          Trace Regions/Europe:
          Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) 6%. Maybe my Estes ancestors originally came from Spain.
          Italy/Greece 4%
          Finnish/North Russia 4%
          Great Britain 2% (that’s odd, since nearly all of my ancestors have English surnames and are known to have come from the British Isles.

          West Asia 2%
          Trace regions:
          Near East <1%
          Caucasus <1%

          Granted that each sibling inherits different DNA, but they still completely missed my Native American DNA despite spending the past several months trying to make my DNA "miraculously" match my Ancestry family tree, or vice versa. What I do know is that the Ancestry DNA test is 100% BS.

          • I have Native American, as well. It didn’t show up, but that’s not surprising as it is my great-great grandmother and we don’t get all of the DNA from our ancestors. Also, consider that many Native Americans of the past were heavily mixed with white blood. This happened as a result of Native people adopting white children and raising them as their own. Also some whites and blacks moved into native populations, married, and had children together. Many of these children called themselves Indians as they had lived and praticed the ways of native people. Notice the pale skin Indians of today.

            I believe Ancestry is correct in my DNA analysis as I had a mtDNA done through FamilytreeDNA and the information matched my maternal side. As an African American I know they were not able to get this obscure information from my family tree. My tree only goes back to the mid 19th century. Also, my DNA markers from Familytreedna shows an ancestry which only six percent of African-Americans have.

          • That is quite possible. I trace my Native American (Catawba Tribe which migrated from South Carolina to Georgia and then to the area around Calhoun County, Florida) through my maternal grandfather’s side. They did mix a lot with whites and adopted the practice of assigning themselves military titles (General, Colonel, Captain) to show their leadership role within the tribe. My great-grandmother was most likely 50% Catawba, give or take a few percentage points.

            Since it seems that a lot of our DNA is passed down from our maternal side, if I understand it correctly, that would explain why the Native American DNA isn’t showing up, along with our only inheriting a percentage of our parents’ DNA. I hope to take the FamilytreeDNA test soon. Of the tests to choose from, which one do you all recommend?

          • Something also to consider if you’re African American. There are many tales in our families about Native people in our bloodline to account for the lighter skinned people in my race. Rape is a horrible thing and many African Americans would rather say that great-grandmother was an Indian than say that she was the offspring of a rapist.

            In my family I actually have a picture of my great-great grandmother who was Choctaw. She lived on the reservation and married a Black Indian. Black Indians are full to half blooded people who lived and adopted Indian ways. My great-aunt, who passed away less than ten years ago had tales of hearing the Choctaw language and many of my family looked like full-blooded Indians. I had one great-aunt who had very dark skin, but long straight hair that reached her butt.

            Still, my DNA did not reveal this and I hadn’t expected it as this is too far back to expect that I got that piece of DNA.

            Another piece of Indian and African history: Many Indians passed for Black when they were being forced off their land.

          • I have researched the common practice of kidnapping by Native Americans up until the mid- to late-1870s, since two of my ggg-grandfathers were killed by Native Americans (most likely Apache or Comanche) in Texas, one in 1861 and one in 1872.  While doing the research, I have read many accounts of African-Americans being taken captive by Native Americans.  Some books that might prove interesting are “The Captured” by Scott Zesch, “The Boy Captives” by Clinton L. Smith, and “Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas” by A.J. Sowell.  Many of the captives became so assimilated into the Native tribes that they had no desire to return to their biological families once they were either rescued by, or sold to, the Army.  It was also common for the Natives to kill a white or black captive if they cried when captured, or if the Natives thought that their pursuers would rescue the captives.  Those who survived the moment of capture were often accepted as part of the tribe, married within the tribe and had mixed-blood offspring.

          • Thank you for the clarification. This answers a lot of my questions. It definitely is a complex science and is only in its infant stages. I will probably try the Family Tree Family Finder test.

          • I did the full Mtdna test. They have a fifty dollar test, but that’s not enough if you’re African American as I needed full ethnicity. If your’er male you can order the Ydna test. This test checks your male line while the Mtdna test test the female line.

            I started with the fifty dollar test and upgraded. In all it cost about 200 dollars, but it was well worth it.

            Family tree, at least for African Americans, require you to do additional research to get the ethnicity as they provided the codes(can’t remember the technical term) and I just did a internet search.

            Fifty dollars is probably good enough for non-blacks.

  45. My test results had me at 97% British Isles. Which following my family tree is fairly correct. Now they have readjusted their percentages to make me everything but British Iles.

  46. Pingback: Determining Ethnicity Percentages | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  47. I am extremely upset with my ancestry results like many of you. My grandfather before he died spent his retirement doing geneaology and tracing our ancestors back to the 1300’s in England. On my mothers side every single one of her ancestors on her fathers side came over from England from 1620’s-1800. I have ancestors that I can trace to the mayflower and the boats preceding and the documentation and lineage to prove it. When I took my test on, I expected large British isles results and received less than 1 percent from there. I know these results cannot be right. I do not have the Scandinavian issue that many of you have. But I have an issue with the Eastern European which seems to be the most significant portion of my supposed DNA. I have great grandparents who are from Poland but that’s about it. I am going to try the DNA test from 23andme and see if I can resolve this. Any other information you might have would be extremely beneficial! Hope all of your concerns have been figured out

    • I have Eastern European as well. I was stunned as I’m African American and had expected British Isles. I did have my DNA tested through FamilyTree, but not the Admixture test. Instead I had the Mtdna test which traces the lineage of the female line of the family. I did get the results I expected there since this eliminates my European ancestry.

      Back to Ancestry’s results: Having had time to research DNA, I’ve come to believe the results. The British are a mix of all ethnicities as are all other groups. People moved around, adopted other countries and ways, changed their names just to fit in. Look at the people of today in the US. Ask some people what they are and they’re going to say they’re Americans. That they don’t beleive in all that hyphenated junk. They don’t want to be refered to as a Polish-American or a German-American. “I’m an American,” they’ll shout if you push them on it.

      That being said, if such a person had children, and we weren’t aware of American history and the emigration that took place here, the real ethnicity of great grandpa would get lost in history. My grandfather changed his last name when he came over from Cuba. Many people select new names that fit in with the majority culture. So, people move in, around, and out of Europe throughout time.

      As I said earlier, I’m of Eastern European decent, yet there are no black people with Polish, Russian, etc, names. It’s a well known fact that Eastern Europeans weren’t even in this country at the time of slavery. They arrived in the 20s and moved north, not south. So, my theory is this. My ancestor came into this country with an English last name, but decended from Eastern Europeans.

      I believe Ancestry is right because they got it right about my African ancestry. It positively matches Family Tree’s results. And my African ancestry is unique enough to say they didn’t make it up.

      • The Angles and Saxons, both Germanic tribes from eastern Germany, invaded England during the Roman occupation. Since they came primarily from the present-day German states of Saxony, Thuringia and surrounding areas, it was highly probably that these populations intermarried with peoples who came from further east, not to mention the Mongolian invasions into Hungary and possibly parts of Germany. As Lizzy mentioned, people changed their names in order to fit in. Likewise, genealogy, other than in English society, seems to be a recent phenomenon in American culture at the level it is today, since people had more important things to worry about in the early twentieth century and before, such as working and simply surviving. Then there was the stigma associated with being identified as Native American, which has only recently begun to be looked upon with respect, yet not by everyone. My maternal grandfather’s family was part Native American, as I mentioned in an earlier post, yet he and my mother kept it as a guarded secret, primarily since they grew up during a time when being identified as Native American often resulted in undesired, prejudicial treatment.

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