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.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

432 thoughts on “Ancestry’s Mythical Admixture Percentages

  1. Pingback: 2013 – DNA-eXplained in Review | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  2. I sent my DNA to my Family Tree DNA, and got back 39% Scandinavian, focused over Norway. Does this mean I was duped by Family Tree DNA too? Why is Scandinavian DNA mythical?

      • How convenient that Ancestry made the corrections at this late date in order to entice people to pay $99.00 or more to give it a second try. Just another gimmick by Ancestry.

        • I’m not a fan of Ancestry’s DNA testing, but they provided the update free to everyone who had tested. No one had to pay anything additional for the updated results. Having said that, they have still refused to provide any type of tool that would allow people to actually confirm they have an actual DNA match with the people they are “paired” with on their mutual trees.

      • Thank you for that info and for the links. I had DNA testing done by ancestry about 5 months ago. The results seemed to match my genealogy (and they notified me that my brother, who used the same service, was probably a sibling).

    • I am skeptical about their family trees as well. It seems unlikely that Henry II and IV, Charlemagne of The Holy Roman Empire and Constantine of the original Roman empire are all ancestors of mine.

      • Henry II, IV, Charlemagne and Constantine almost certainly ARE all ancestors of yours. And mine. And just about everyone reading this blog with any European ancestry. And it means absolutely nothing. Mathematics dictates that pretty much everyone living more than 750 years ago is the ancestor of pretty much everyone living now (with exceptions for lines that completely died off and isolated populations).

        750 years is about 30 generations (assuming 25 years per generation). At 30 generations, you have more than a billion ancestors (2 to the 30th power), which is more than the number of people living in the entire world 750 years ago, and that number doubles every generation you add. Yes, you have plenty overlap in your ancestors which makes this possible, but this still makes you the descendant of pretty much everyone living at that time. Charlemagne was born more than 1250 years ago (50 generations). You have over a quadrillion ancestors that far back. Do you really think that Charlemagne is not one of those quadrillion?

    • I did my test and came up with 40% Finish.and17% Scandinavian. I can document most of my ancestors back to the British Isles. Who can give me a proper reading on my DNA? Thank You

  3. Warning to all who buy a DNA kit from, it is a rip off! Please go to a more legit DNA testing site. The person of this article speaks the truth.

    • I 100% agree with your statement. I’m mixed with African, Arab and European but non of my Arab or Italian blood showed up. I’m very disappointed and upset. Instead I got some other European and African that I don’t even identify with. For instance, where was my Sierra Leone blood form my African side? Nowhere to be found. Instead I get unfamiliar African and European regions. are a bloody joke!

      • I think you might be partly right and partly wrong. Sierre Leone is probably one of those countries for which there are no or very little data in existing databases. The most precise would probably be “West African” or something of the sort.

        As for that “other blood” showing up, I may be wrong but nothing proves this is not correct. What you think of as Italian ancestry may well have genetic markers commonly connected with other regions.

  4. I’m confused…is the Ancestry testing incorrect or just the analysis/programming? I took the test a few months ago and, procrastinating during finals, stumbled upon your site and realized I could download the raw data.

    I ran it through Promethease while GEDmatch was down and then the latter today. Promethease predicted I had blue eyes, haplotype 3, that was one of the most confusing results, since mine are brown and only one of my grandfathers had blue eyes, while my mom and her surviving siblings all have brown, some that turned hazel as adults. There were three siblings who died, I’d have to ask my mom if she remembers the eye color of the two who were born alive. The medical info confirmed what we already knew/observed/experienced (heart disease, diabetes, IBD, obesity). On GEDmatch, the various tests showed Balkan and Mediterranean ancestry that had not come up before.

    Ancestry showed 9% Scandinavian and I was dubious about that, since we’d never heard of that ancestry. Ditto the 6% Iberian peninsula and 1% Finnish. I’m biracial (European/African), as was my father’s paternal grandmother. I only met her once, so any mystery European DNA could be from her father. More frustrating is that 14% is “Europe West,” which could include the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, northern Italy, and on and on.

    I’m still trying to grok all of your articles and what the varying percentages and DNA percentages mean and which parent they come from. I have been able to confirm a 3rd cousin DNA match on each side (mother’s father’s paternal line and father’s mother’s paternal line). I share common surnames in the trees of some other matches, but we haven’t figured out the links. I’m trying to get my mother to take the test, to perhaps narrow some of it down, especially since we can take our raw data from Ancestry elsewhere.

    • Ancestry uses the same chip as some of the other test companies, so the difference would be the analysis of the data. I take all of the ethnicity data with a very large grain of salt right now. Keep working on cousin matches and reading and you’ll learn as you go.

  5. Pingback: Chromosome Browser War | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  6. My results say I’m 19% NA which is feasible on my fathers side but isn’t that pretty high considering I have a European mother? Are their SNAFUs only on Scandinavian lineage tests or ALL testings? If it’s all tests, how do I get them to update mine?

    • When they update, everyone gets the update, so you don’t have to ask for it. They are currently using version 2. It fits some people better and some worse. I view these as kind of an estimate. Someday it may be better.

  7. I have been very impressed with your research, conclusions and responses to other contributors. I would like to add my own experience: I discovered that I have half-sisters thru my mother. These sisters were adopted out at birth and have no indication who their father was. Each took the Autosomal dna test – two took the additional 23andme test. Two of these sisters are apparently still hoping to use their test results to uncover some male connection that will lead them to “find their father”. My understanding of DNA testing is limited, but I was told by a DNA research lab these girls would have to have a full male sibling or their father take the YDNA test in order to trace their paternal line – that it would be impossible to determine male lineage thru the autosomal lineage alone.

    Now for a comment: My biggest problem with has, for years, been that people can post a “tree” there, withot having to provide documentation, thereby making it too simple for ‘short cut’ searchers to cut and paste, then slice, dice, and bend information to fit their own concepts. So, I advised these sisters that Ancestry is probably just ‘threading like surnames from” contributor trees” as cousin matches and unless those ‘matches’ have also done the DNA test the result is like looking for a needle in a haystack. So far it seems I’m right. Only one ‘match’ has come up that actually “might” be valid – and that one can’t be verified because in my specific tree – I hit the proverbial brick wall with the 2nd great grandfather. Until the 3nrd great grandfather can be located/documented and proved to be a sibling of this “match”, it’s only a good educated guess!!!

    Keep up the good work. Genealogy is a great hobby – not for the faint hearted nor those looking for quick results!

    • HI, my Mum had the DNA test done on Ancestry a couple of months back.. When she got her result back it found out she was 24% Irish 55% uk etc etc.. I place our family tree on her Ancestry account because I thought it might give her a better result.. Well after 3 days we had a tree hint from a lady called Regina who lives in West New York.. It turns out that a tree match had been made! I have an ancestor called Richard Slade who Married Ann Wilkins in Berkshire in the mid 1700’s.. Regina has the same in her familytree.. Spooky! My Grandfather always told me that he his father wasn’t his as he always told him so.. Well through the test and looking at a 5th cousins tree i came across, a marriage of a Sarah Steadman in Westbury Wiltshire in the 1800’s.. So I looked on Google maps as my Grandad’s family came from Warminster Wiltshire to the 1500’s where the Steadmans came from!I found out that Westbury is only a couple of miles away from Warminster.. If My Grandad was illegitemate then it would not have had this hint.. So I think this has proof that Grandad Father was his..
      I was very lucky with the test.. but people have to look through the information carefully and not get hissy fits because their not dissended from the Royal Family..LOL

  8. All my research shows french ancestry. Really french. Ancestry dna did not show any ancestors coming from france. Father is from the Navarre line, traced back to France. Grandfather on mom’s side is the Forcier line for French canadian. His mother is Sequin. Which is french canadian. Traced back for generations. In the dna report I’m 31% Irish. And a lot of everything else. But not french. What a rip off. Shame on ancestry.

  9. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – Historical or Obsolete Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  10. I had purchased the Ancestry DNA test after the V2 update. It shows I have 3% British, 2% Finnish, and 2% Scandinavian. I always assumed that the other 2%s were British because I know for sure, at least genealogically I don’t have any ancestors from Finland or of Scandinavian Origin. I was thinking it must be a throwback from the Viking invasions. Obviously it still needs to be fixed. The rest of my DNA %s seem fairly accurate in terms of my genealogy. But I wish Europe West was more specific, because that indeed could mean anything. I think some of that is British also. I was very surprised to see I have only 3% British.

    • Personally, I believe the only thing Ancestry does is match our “DNA” to the names in our Ancestry family tree. If our tree is comprised of 20% of people with names that are of French origin, 10% Dutch, and 20% German, then we are 50% Western European. I don’t even think Ancestry tests our DNA, but rather runs the names in our family tree through a filter to get their bogus results. I should have never answered “yes” when Ancestry asked if a I had a family tree.

      • When I took the test a few years ago, I was more or less shocked by the results. As an African American woman, I knew that much of my DNA would consist of African origin, however I was and still am skeptical about it. The test states that I am 87% African, 12% European and 1% Pacific Islander. Yes, this may sound normal for any other, but what leaves me very skeptical is the knowledge that I learned about my grandfather (whom I have never met). My last name starts with an “M” and that is what I’ve always known, but my mother told me that where my father is from, there is a man who claimed to be his father and that he looked so much like him that it was an obvious connection.

        This man was either Caucasian or Bi-Racial.

        I apparently resemble my father more than anyone else in my father (mother as well), but my skin color is lighter as well (most people believe that I am bi-racial). Even my maternal great grandmother was not completely of African (she did not look African American at all according to my mother and her family), if African at all. My maternal grandfather most likely was not either. Yet through all of the DNA testing that Ancestry did, they did not pick up on this.

        The real kicker is that, I found a match through the DNA process of someone (male) whom is as they point out, “Possible range: 1st – 2nd cousins”. I have contacted this person via email and we can confirm that there are no known surnames that match our families. However, his age is that of my late father. Not to mention that his Ethnicity is comprised of about 40% African origin.

        I did put this test through GEDMatch (various tests on there) just to see if anything was different, and lo and behold…the percentages were completely different as were the origins. I instead am said to be about 70% of African origin.

        from 87% African to 70% African is a huge jump. Ancestry DNA worker either need to reevaluate their findings or find someone more competent.

        • I hope they test at least some of us.  I matched with a cousin who says she knows they did test her.   Donna 

  11. Roberta Hello.
    I’ve tested at Ancestry myself and thought it looked better than what my parents results were from FTDNA. I show around 3-4% at Ancestry for Scandinavian DNA, which would make sense since I know of one line from the Netherlands region. However, my parents both got a large % from FTDNA. My mother shows 30% and my father shows 38%. I’ve found no Northern European lines on my father’s side. He does have a Johnson line that I think may be of Northern European descent. but unproven as of yet. He does have a few German lines, and many more from England.

    Now both of my parents also show 6% Ashkenazi-Jew. I show no Jewish lines on either family. However, both parents have lines that could or could not be of Jewish origin, Rosenberger, Gross etc. Now, I show no Jewish DNA according to FTDNA. Ancestry DNA gives me around 1% or less. FTDNA gives me around 13% Western/Central European, but none for my parents. So, either the DNA markers in my parents are showing up as true Ashkenazi-Jew markers, or FTDNA hasn’t a clue and is showing their Western/Central DNA as being AJ when it’s not. Are both my parents 6% Jewish and I received both amounts from them making me 12%-13% Ashkenazi-Jew, or They are both 6% Western/Central DNA.

    Does AJ indeed not have particular markers? Or is FTDNA unable to differentiate between those and those of Central Europe markers?

    Or is it possible that the Algorithms at FTDNA are out of sync with the actual populations being used?

    AncestryDNA gives me 49% Western European DNA with 4% British Isles and 28% Ireland. FTDNA gives me the 13% Western/Central Europe and 47% British Isles. Now I do have French lines on both parents lines. As well as a lot of Irish and Scottish on my mother’s sides with a few lines on my father’s.

    You can see where, when it comes to my direct family lines, I’m at an odds with FTDNA and their estimates, vs AncestryDNA estimate of myself.

  12. I find the validity of my ancestry family tree results as dubious. If its right, I am supposedly related to English Kings Henry II and IV, Charlemagne of The Holy Roman Empire and Constantine of the original Roman Empire.To me, this seems unlikely.Maybe i am being paranoid, but it makes me wonder that maybe they plant interesting people in your tree so you will keep paying for their services. Granted, it took me many hours to find these people in my tree but it just seems too good to be true.

    • Just like how Ancestry starts pushing a lot of hints to me every time my Ancestry subscription is about to expire, even though there was little to no activity for the previous 5+ months that my account was active..

      • Yeah, they do that to me to! Michael, did you know…? These guys got mine so wrong that it made me start to think that my mother was “disloyal” to my father…then I got a hold of myself and started finding out just how messed up those people at Ancestry are…they even SUGGEST that sometimes it IS a NPE (Non Parental Event) This is science talk for “Your mother is a tramp!’ Terrible company. Unethical company. Immoral company.

  13. Hi ,
    I stumbled across your site as I am interested in doing the Y DNA test, but don’t know which one to take. I have taken the Ancestry DNA test but it has’nt produced any results I am looking for.
    To make a long story short I want to find out where my father’s lineage is from and that is why I figured I would take the test. Should I spend the bucks and take the 111 marker test thats on sale for $268?

    Thanks in advance,

  14. I took the Ancestry test and it seems to have been very accurate. It did give me a DNA match that was on point. My surnames and the ancestry test make complete sense. I’m seeing a lot of complaints and would like to see more happy customers report their results as I know there are many.

    • Many people who I speak to find that the ancestry test leaves them cold on the Ethnicity and they dont know those described as cousins so they just drop it there!

    • I still have doubts about their DNA test and their Family Tree.I found Native Americans and European Jews on my tree but my DNA says 0% on both of those. Also a little dubious about being a descendant of not only The Plantagenet line of English Kings on my maternal grandfathers side,it was on his maternal side as well.Now i realize someone has to be related to the those people, but when a Danish king showed up on his paternal side,i became very doubtful.about their trees. also i read an article about the Accuracy of DNA Ethnicity test. Most of it was over my head. but he did say that if its farther back than great grandparents, it is possible that a certain element may be there even though it didnt show up on your test.For the most part, The rest of my DNA TEST. Is inline with my Tree. The only other complaint is this, I am superposed to be 13% Scandinavian.That element itself ,was no surprise but i think the percentage is too high. I did find Norwegian, Swede and Dane ancestors but they are really far back.And yes i know between The Vikings and Normans, They did contribute their genes to Britain and Ireland. particularly from Eastern England to Southwest Scotland their were Danes and in Northwest Scotland and Wales, there were mostly Norwegians and a lesser number of Swedes.In Ireland, The Danes founded the city of Dublin While The others settled in places like Wextford,Waterford,Dal g Cais and Cork. and i did find quite a few people from these parts of Britain and Ireland.And as for Norman contribution,They left a huge cultural footprint on The British Isles. but their DNA input is rather small. I did find some French Relatives from Normandy, but i still think My Scandinavian percentage is closer to something like 7% rather than 13% Bottom line. I think you probably do have some of the linage it claims, though it could be in lesser or even greater levels. Also a good chance they missed some.

  15. As a bio-scientist with experience working in genetics I applaud your assessment of’s “analysis” and “discovery” (cough). I also find it less than credible that they claim to identify so many differing African results but cannot distinguish between Swedish, Norwegian, Dane or even German! To say I am deeply disappointed is an understatement.

    • It’s the same with the Continent of Africa. My results indicate Mali, but this can also mean I have DNA from countries close to Mali. I also have Scandinavian ancestry which I attribute to the Viking expansion.

      Africa is less defined with most of the Continent’s 54+ countries unmapped.

      Getting definitive results will be difficult as people traveled. I am just happy to get in the neighborhood.

  16. The Vikings invaded England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland, Russia and other parts of Western Europe. They were there for hundreds of years. Many of the knights of the Crusades were of Viking ancestry.

    English is a Germanic language and descended from the same language as German. The English have an ethnic relation to the Germans.

    Proving where your ancestors lived in the 1500s does not prove where their ancient ancestors live.

  17. I come from the other side of this issue, at least on my father’s side. His verifiable Norwegian genealogy came up as British Isles- as did that of many other “cousins” that came up in the DNA search. I know it troubled him (although he obviously doubted the accuracy) & he has now passed, so any mea culpa Ancestry will have to do on the future is useless. If they are truly as lazy with their genetic testing as I think they may be, they should be ashamed.

    • I have a similar story. Both of my maternal grandfather’s parents immigrated to the US from Denmark. We have a genealogy report for his father that goes back to the 1600s showing his ancestors as being from Denmark. I have been unsuccessful in tracing his mother’s ancestors but I do know that her oldest brother was also born in Denmark. I am sure that both families were Danes for many generations. Yet my Ancestry DNA report showed 6% Scandinavian. I found that ironic since of all my family lines, these were among the most recent immigrants to the US with an easily marked paper trail , and thus most likely to return a higher Scandinavian percentage. Obviously the science of ethnic origins proven through DNA testing is not as exact as Ancestry would have us believe. If it were not for my DNA matching others with these Danish ancestors in common, I may have been forced to conclude that the man who I thought was my maternal grandfather was perhaps not my mother’s father after all, and that would have been next to devastating for me.

      • I see these messages about grandparents ethnecity and ancestry. There test is computing where they were several thousand years ago!

  18. Sorry to say this, but how do you know that your ancestors are who you think they are? People had affairs. Their father might not have been who they thought, and the mother never told. Or perhaps the mother didn’t even know who the father was. People adopted and stole children, this was very common in earlier times. So your genealogical family tree could be meaningless. People changed their names when they came to Ellis Island and Anglicized their names.

    • Whew…according to your take on these tests there must be a whole lot of loose women out there. Of course, it happens, but one researcher has said that the NPE (Non-Parental Event) has been overused.

  19. So My wife is 1/2 Slovak and 1/2 Ukrainian. While we did expect possibly some Asian (one of her Aunts looked slightly Chinese), Jewish, Hungarian etc. We were surprised that Ancestry told her she is 53% Irish. Now I know the Celts came from somewhere around Czechoslovakia, to say that’s Irish is a little odd even if she does share DNA with them. Better to say Celt? Or is the analysis just wrong?
    I’m half British and Polish and showed West & East Europe, Irish and Scandinavian but <1% Great Britain. Again , no known Irish ancestors back to 1700. I can understand Celt (My Grandmothers family came from South West England, also the West Europe and Scandinavia traces as my Grandfathers side was from East Anglia that saw the Angles and Vikings raid and settle. I don't think Id recommend anyone else bothering with the DNA testing just yet until things are better sorted out.

  20. Hi. I did an test for myself, and my mother. Now, I have known Swedish ancestry from my mother’s side of the family. Her mother’s family were descended from Swedish immigrants. My mother got a result of 26% Scandinavian, and I got 40%. My father has no known Scandinavian ancestry. I do not have his results to compare to since he passed away and never did an ancestry autosomal test. I do not believe I am 40% Scandinavian. At most, I am maybe 25%, or less. I do believe that Ancestry’s results are misleading.

    • PS: If it matters, these were the results I got from Some of the Scandinavian I KNOW is there, since my maternal grandmother descended from Swedish Immigrants on both of her parent’s side. So, here were the results I got for my Ethnicity Estimate:

      40% Scandinavia
      29% Ireland
      11% Italy/Greece (Don’t know anything about that)
      Europe West 10%
      Great Britain 7% (Can’t account for that either)
      Iberian Peninsula 2%
      European Jewish <1%

  21. I wonder if they cleaned up their act since you wrote this (over 4 years ago). I DO have Scandinavian ancestry (most of it through my paternal grandmother whose mother came to the U.S. from Sweden when she was 10). My DNA testing from them matches what my known genealogy says, with a couple of tiny-percentage surprises (a dab of “European Jew”, which group, they said, kept their distinctness).

      • I recently took the Ancestry DNA test and I feel the percentage they gave me for Scandinavian cannot be right.

        Im 57% British.
        18% Scandinavian
        9% Italy/Greece
        9% Irish
        6% Iberian penesila
        1% Central Europe

        I cannot trace either of my family’s lines to Scandinavia but I can trace some back to Germany but that only shows as 1%.

        It seems as though Ancestry is calculation alot of of Central Europe DNA as Scandinavian.

  22. I did ancestry dna test in January. I am questioning the results. It does match my mother’s side of the family very well. However, my father was in fact minimum 50% native…as his mother (my grandmother) was 100% native from a reservation on the East coast of Canada. I say he may only have been 50% as I am not sure if his father was native or not. You could tell by looking at them they were native too! Now if I get 50% DNA from him…25% from her….HOW did my DNA results come back with 0% Native American? Not even a trace amount from ANYWHERE in North America? Is this test bogus or did my mom have an affair? LOL My older sister is 100% his daughter and looks exactly like him…so we are waiting on her test results…if it says 0% for her, then Ancestry is a scam…if it shows up…then clearly he isn’t my father and they took that secret to their grave and my family tree will be needing some editing! It’ll be interesting to see the outcome as right now I am so confused!!

  23. The pie chart results from Ancestry does not resemble my families historical profile at all. I’m upset and confused to say the least. My father’s genealogy was done 60 years ago. His ancestry was traced historically at that time through 325 years of Quebecois. My mothers father was also French Canadian yet my genetic profile was 5% French. Somehow the genes of a Great Grandfather who was from Germany also disappeared.

  24. Thank goodness, i still remember, my parents’ sides of their families. i’m able to compare which 3rd or 4th cousins are my relatives. My brother recently did his Ancestry dna. i found other relatives through my match with his dna results. i did my 23andme and the site says i don’t have any Italian ancestors. i have my Italian grandfather’s ship manifest, his baptism certification, etc on Ancestry. The proof is in the paperwork.

  25. I took my DNA est with My Heritage and my results came out as:

    36% British & Irish
    32.3% Scandinavian
    17.9%. Italian
    12.9%. North and West European
    0.9%. Oceania

    I have traced many of my family lines back to 1600s and 1700s and have not found anyone who was not born in Britain. As far as I know I have no Scandinavian or Italian ancestors at all and so it is interesting to know where my DNA comes from? And as for the Oceania I have absolutely no idea!

    I’m sure as more results are collected and collated a clearer picture will emerge.

  26. I did 23 and Me testing several years ago and Ancestry’s this year. The results are pretty similar and consistent with what I know about my ancestry which is quite a bit. 23 and Me says 67% British and Irish, about 7% French and German, some unclassified, a little bit Scandinavian (I have no Scandinavian ancestors that I am aware of). Ancestry says about 80% British, about the same as 23 ad Me for the French and German, some unclassified. Scandinavian not mentioned. On my mother’s side all the ancestors that I know of going back a few hundred years are English and Scottish and maybe some Irish, and my father’s side there is also a great deal of English ancestry, a bit of Dutch, a bit of French, an Irish great-grandmother and a German grand-grandmother. I am pretty pleased with the results from both companies.

  27. I recently got my AncestryDNA results back, and I’m confused as most are. First off, I’m curious given that Britian is a mixed population to begin with, what the distinction in the test is between “Scandinavia”, “Great Britain”, and “Ireland/Scotland/Wales?” I get that the British have a mix of stuff, but it’s very unlikely that I get 16% Scandinavian (the largest portion of my European ancestry) and only 4% “Great Britain” and 2% “Ireland/Scotland/Wales.” As far as I can tell, a bit portion of my European heritage going back to the 1500’s comes from around Chester way out in the west of England, so it’s not even from the part of the country where you’d expect a high sampling of Northern European blood.

    It seems a lot of folks are getting an overly high percentage of “Scandinavian” in these tests, when DNA tests of actual, moder-day Englishmen seem to show that while their is a significant component of Northern European blood, it’s nowhere near the imprint left by the French and and Germans. Yet, my “Europe West” percentage, which specifically covers France and Germany, is only 3%. I do feel a bit cheated and not sure what to do with the information. I’ve downloaded the raw data they allow you to in the zip file. What can be done with that data if one is interested in doing another test with another company?

    • You can upload the file to Family Tree DNA (be aware that some files are problematic and lacking about 20,000 rows). Try to upload it and if it doesn’t work, use Mapmy23 to repair the file. You can upload to GedMatch and also MyHeritage.

    • From the figures you are quoting, I get that there is a large non-European part in your DNA which you are not mentioning. As I see it, your low “Europe West” percentage may have been drastically lowered by a recent addition of a large proportion of that non-European DNA. This could be explained if one of your parents, or even better yet yourself, were in fact fathered by one of these non-Europeans (say a Pakistani, or an African) rather than by the legal father.

      This purely speculative, of course.

  28. Can I ask a question?

    What would be the probability of Hispanic ancestry in a genetic mix of say, 7% Mayan, 5% Portuguese, 5% Mexican, 22% Irish/Scottish/Welsh, 51% British, about 15% German, and some Asian?

    And with what degree of certainty could it be determined I am Hispanic myself?

  29. What a great article sadly I read it too late. My son gave me the DNA test for Xmas last year. Now I’m skeptical of my results. I was interested in any Irish and NA boodlines. Which it didn’t specify. Which DNA company is best suited for my means? And how much $ am I looking at to find the best results?

  30. Pingback: Ancestry 2018 Ethnicity Update | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  31. Pingback: Making Sense of Ethnicity Updates | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  32. This is fascinating. I would love to hear your perspective on how these DNA tests are exposing affairs.. people thought they were one thing, based on their genealogy, but DNA tests showing they are indeed half milkman.

Leave a Reply to JosephCancel reply