I originally wrote about MyHeritage in February 2017, reflecting matching issues and a broken promise regarding providing ethnicity estimates to people who uploaded their raw DNA file from another vendor. I’m glad to say MyHeritage changed their minds about providing ethnicity results and, today, has honored their original commitment and provided free ethnicity results to uploaders. I feel much better about the DNA aspect of MyHeritage given this decision although their challenges with matching remain.
MyHeritage has also provided updated ethnicity results to people who tested directly at MyHeritage.
In an e-mail received today from Aaron Godfrey, their Director of Marketing, he says:
I wanted to let you know that we’ve just launched MyHeritage’s new and improved Ethnicity Estimate. The new analysis, developed by the company’s science team, provides MyHeritage DNA customers with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 ethnic regions, many unique to MyHeritage.
In addition, the new Ethnicity Estimate will be provided for free to users who have already uploaded their DNA data to MyHeritage from other services, or who will upload it in the coming months. Users who upload their DNA data to MyHeritage, already enjoy free DNA Matching, and now they will benefit from the new ethnicity analysis too.
Our Ethnicity Estimate is delivered to users through a captivating “reveal” experience featuring animation and, as of this week, original music composed by MyHeritage. Each of the 42 ethnicities has a distinctive tune, based on the region’s cultural elements; all tunes seamlessly connect to each other. You can view an example here: https://vimeo.com/218348730/51174e0b49
An excerpt from their press release is provided below:
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, May 30, 2017 – MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, and the makers of the successful MyHeritage DNA product, today announced the launch of its new and improved Ethnicity Estimate. The new analysis, developed by the company’s science team, provides MyHeritage DNA customers with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 ethnic regions, many available only on MyHeritage, representing the most comprehensive report of its type available on the market. This fascinating report gives users a much better understanding of who they are and where their ancestors came from. The Ethnicity Estimate is presented in an original and engaging format, making it not only interesting but also fun to watch and share.
MyHeritage is unique among the main industry players in allowing users who have tested their DNA already with another service to upload – for free – their data to MyHeritage. Those users receive DNA Matches for free, for finding relatives based on shared DNA. Beginning this week, users who have already uploaded their DNA data to MyHeritage, or who will upload it in the coming months, will receive – for free – the new Ethnicity Estimate. This benefit is not offered by any other major DNA company.
Development of the new Ethnicity Estimate raises the number of ethnic regions covered by MyHeritage DNA from 36 to 42. It was made possible thanks to MyHeritage’s Founder Populations project — one of the largest of its kind ever conducted. For this unique project, more than 5,000 participants were handpicked by MyHeritage from its 90 million strong user base, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations All project participants received complimentary DNA tests and allowed MyHeritage’s science team to develop breakthrough ethnicity models based on the generated data. Thanks to this analysis, MyHeritage DNA has become the only mass-market percentage-based DNA test that reveals ethnicities such as Balkan; Baltic; Eskimo & Inuit; Japanese; Kenyan; Sierra Leonean; Somali; four major Jewish groups – Ethiopian, Yemenite, Sephardic from North Africa and Mizrahi from Iran and Iraq; Indigenous Amazonian; Papuan and many others. In some cases, competing products can identify and report an aggregated region (e.g., Italian & Greek), whereas MyHeritage has better resolution and identifies Greek, Italian and Sardinian ethnicities separately.
MyHeritage’s new Ethnicity Estimate is delivered to users via a captivating “reveal” experience (view example). It features animation and, as of this week, also original music composed by MyHeritage. Each of the 42 ethnicities has a distinctive tune, based on the region’s cultural elements; all tunes seamlessly connect to each other. This makes the report fun to watch and share over social media.
Dr. Yaniv Erlich, Chief Science Officer at MyHeritage, said, “For MyHeritage’s science team, this major update of our Ethnicity Estimate is only an appetizer. There are excellent installments on the way, and users can prepare for a feast! We have detailed plans to increase accuracy, extend our Founder Populations project further, and improve the resolution for ethnicities of great interest to our users from highly diverse origins. Our goal is to use science to further the public good, and to bring the best innovations of our science team to the public.”
If you tested earlier, your results have been updated and your “reveal intro” with music added. Check it out.
If you uploaded previously, you had no ethnicity results, but now you do.
From my results, the regions that MyHeritage supports, meaning the regions they report, are as follows:
The regions above correlate with the regions shown on the map at the beginning of this article.
My Ethnicity Results
I filmed my own reveal to share with you, but viewing their Vimeo clip linked above is much better quality. I particularly enjoyed the music compositions from the locations where my ethnicity is reported.
As with other vendors who offer ethnicity services, I have compared the MyHeritage ethnicity results with my known genealogy, and then as compared to other vendors.
Let’s look at my results.
The first thing I noticed is that the British Isles is broken into two components, English and then Irish/Scottish/Welsh. Of course, looking at the map, they do overlap almost entirely.
The second thing I noticed is that, according to MyHeritage, I’m indigenous Amazonian.
My reaction to that? You’ve got to be kidding.
Now, the good news is that they did detect my Native American, which, by the way, is either from my mother’s side out of Nova Scotia (Acadian), which is proven in several ancestral lines via mtDNA and Y DNA testing, or from my father’s line from near the Virginia/North Carolina border, or both.
The bad news is that they have badly mislabeled my Native finding. What this really means is that their reference population is from the Amazon. Of course, all Native people spring from a few hearty settlers that crossed Beringia from Russia into what is now Canada someplace between (roughly) 12,000 and 15,000 years ago, so it’s not surprising that I do match the people from the Amazon at some level. However, that does not mean my DNA is indigenous Amazonian, or that my ancestors were ever anyplace NEAR the Amazon or even South America.
Ethnicity vs Genealogy Comparison
In the article, Concepts – Calculating Ethnicity Percentages, I explained how to calculate your expected ethnicity percentages from your genealogy. As each vendor has introduced ethnicity results, or updated previous results, I’ve added to the cumulative chart.
Let’s see how MyHeritage stacks up against my known genealogy.
MyHeritage uses groupings slightly differently than I grouped my genealogy, so in the British Isles region, I’ve used yellow and green to show like groupings of my genealogy as compared to the MyHeritage results. As you can see, the 44.4% England attributed by MyHeritage is very close to the 43.68% found in my genealogy. The Irish/Scottish/Welsh, not quite so close.
MyHeritage Compared to Other Vendors
Adding MyHeritage to the table with the other vendors’ current results, we find the following:
Please note that you can click to enlarge.
The easiest way to compare apples to apples is to look at the pink region totals. The various vendors separate out the geographic regions differently, so it’s difficult to compare one directly to another.
Uploading or Testing at MyHeritage
You can still upload your data file if you tested with another company, for free, and obtain your matches and your ethnicity. You can add a tree up to 250 people for free, but beyond that, you must subscribe. I have had reports of people receiving phone calls from MyHeritage encouraging them to subscribe after utilizing the free tree, although I cannot confirm this personally as I subscribed when I decided to utilize their trees.
Although you can include a tree, MyHeritage does not provide tree matching for people whose DNA matches, showing common surnames or a common ancestor if one is listed.
You can upload your autosomal DNA results for free here.
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Hi Roberta, do you know if they intend to introduce a chromosome browser?
I don’t know. Perhaps they will answer your question.
They recently introduced a chromosome browser.
Yes, there’s an updated article here: https://dna-explained.com/2018/01/31/myheritage-rolls-out-chromosome-browser-and-other-features/
Both me & my mother got 1% Indigenous Amazonian. It seems that they swallowed up our European. I show only 0.8% while my mother is 2%. I normally get 11% and my mother 17%.
I suspect since they have a POLYNESIAN category, that the Polynesians that they used were admixed with European. I had one man who is about 5% Maori said his does not show at all, while a Samoan told me that he was asked (not sure by whom) to be used as a reference and the only criteria was that all 4 grandparents be born in that area. Had they used samples for other places in Polynesia, namely New Zealand, Hawaii or even Tahiti, the results would definitely be skewed.
Wow, that’s a big difference, especially knowing your heritage.
When I read the “Standard Disclosure” at first I was angry. How dare the FTC require such a thing of you. Upon reconsidering, maybe it’s not a bad idea that others knew the facts. If someone wanted to pay me approximately $100 and $200 a year I’ve paid for my websites, I’d be glad to have the money. I know of no affiliate program that offers such a deal. Like you, I hate advertising. It’s why I don’t have any on my blogs or other websites. I’ve said it before but, again, Hat’s Off to you Roberta for your amazing generosity. I suspect most people have no idea how very valuable, ethical, and honorable the advice you give us is. Thank you.
Thank you Ron. I just wish the FTC would require a similar disclosure for the companies (and I’m not referring to MyHeritage, even though this comment is appended to this article) that bury important disclosure information deeply, such as selling their customer’s DNA. Regarding the website fees. As you know, it’s not just the fees for the site, and the associated expenses, it’s also the hundreds of hours donated to the cause. Any of us could be doing something else that either generated income of maybe just laying in the hammock:)
Interesting history. I was wondering if we might be distantly related. I have numerous FTDNA autosomal matches under Estes and Vannoy/Vanoy. I believe in previous article you mentioned you were related to Vanoy family. I have a third cousin who is related to Estes and Vanoy/Vannoy families that lived in TN; i.e., Hardeman Co. (A branch of my Colvard family also lived in Hardeman Co beginning in 1820). Another distant cousin has traced his family to John Francis Vannoy of New Jersey who later moved to Wilkes Co, NC. My family also lived in Wilkes and Surry/Ashe cos, NC. Before the Colvard/Colbert family lived in Hardeman Co, TN lived in Wilkes and Surry cos., NC beginning in 1770. I have also taken Ancestry autosomal DNA, but results won’t be in until June 1 to June 15. Just curious.
I’m related to both of those families, so we may well be cousins.
I love your writing style Roberta, you really keep the reader interested. I’m hoping that if I read enough of these articles some knowledge might start to sink in. I find ancestry DNA absolutely fascinating but oh my goodness I feel I understand nothing!
I wonder if anyone else has had issues with MyHeritage in regards to the privacy of the living?
I received notification that I may match some people added to another’s tree.
When I checked it was my parents and myself, my husband and daughter, including a photo of my husband from our wedding. My parents have passed but not the rest of us! Horrified to see a photo I contacted MyHeritage who were good and asked the person (an ex sister in law) to remove references to us especially the photo.
My problem with this is number one that they allow photos of the living to be uploaded and that the living are visible and not private as they are on other sites. MH told me it was up to users to be a are of the terms and conditions around being a user. My belief is that the organisation should have default processes in place to protect privacy.
What do others think?
If your active on a DNA site you are looking for relatives, heritage matches etc. So you are actually depending on others to share their personal info to enable and assist your search. My pet peeve is people who come on looking for contacts and matches with other peoples personal data but then wish to exempt themselves from providing any info or assistance to others. Incredibly selfish.
You are a dna match with my sister Cecilia Goodfellow; however, she no longer has an account with MyHeritage, so can’t answer your message. I’ve been researching our family lines for 17 years, so if you would like to contact me at my email addy, perhaps we can figure out the family connection. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am having difficulty uploading my FTDNA autosomal results to MyHeritage. Can you tell me exactly which files need to be uploaded? I have tried csv.gz files and these appear to be accepted – a kit reference is issued, but after many hours the status remains “in progress” and I’m told that “Ethnicity Estimate will be displayed once your DNA results are available”. Is it just a case of being patient?
I don’t know the answer. You might try MyHeritage support or just wait and see.
I have ten kits on FTDNA and have never had a problem downloading the raw DNA and uploading it but MyHeritages gives me the same message over and over that the files are not acceptable files. Finally, I uploaded my Ancestry DNA and had no problem. Now I guess it’s a waiting game as the message is that the kit is ‘in progress’. Thank you Roberta. Your blog is very informative and helpful.
I uploaded my FTDNA results back when MyHeritage first asked. I have DNA matches there, but I see no ethnicity calculations. Maybe I’m not looking in the right place? Not that I put much stock in them, but I was interested to hear the music…
When you sign on, click on the DNA tab and the first option is ethnicity.
Thanks – I finally found it. Somehow the first time I clicked on DNA it wasn’t there, but after I clicked on my profile – it then appeared under DNA. Maybe a website issue? I was having browser issues yesterday.
MyHeritage seems to have done quite well with your ethnicity estimates, especially the English component. Not so with my results. My genealogy back many generations is that I am close to 100% English. MyHeritage says that I am 68.8% Scandinavian, 23% Irish-Scottish-Welsh, 3.6% Iberian, and 3.6% Italian, with 0% English. Ancestry says that I am 78% Great Britain, 11% Ireland, and 7% Scandinavia. FTDNA says that I am 82% British Isles, 10% Scandinavia, and 6% East Europe. 23andMe says that I am 72.4% British and Irish, 8.7% Scandinavian, 2.4% French and German, and 15.7% Broadly NW European. This makes me think that MyHeritage did very poorly compared with the other companies.
I dropped Ancestry last year due to the + $530 annual fee. I joined MyHeritage to try it, and since I’m with FTDNA, I got some discounts.
I’ve found it awkward to use, and disappointed at the records they show. At Ancestry, I get an actual copy of a birth certificate. At MyHeritage, I got a name and birthdate and that’s about it.
When I read this latest article, that Roberta just sent out, I decided to ‘log in’ to my own MyHeritage account and see if my results had been run. Wow, I admit I was happily suprised! My were there, although I have no idea how long, since I only log in to check my new matches.
Ancestry has me at 49% Ashkenazi, FTDNA has me at 51% and MyHeritage has me at 50% I’m likely 51%, due to my maternal side shows a few % and I can justify my paternal side at 50+%.
I have Irish, Scottish, Welsh at 31.8% FTDNA doesn’t break down the UK. Ancestry has me at 16% Irish. My maternal genealogy shows Irish, Scottish and Welsh, so I’m going with MyHeritage for the win. MyHeritage is supposed to be aiming at more European information, I read that someplace on their advertising last year. I am Iberian, even though Ancestry doesn’t say so, FTDNA did twice, but dropped it at the latest MyOrigins they did, and MyHeritage has Italian…. and every Italian I know is positive I have Italian! When I say I know some Italian’s, let me say they were born in Italy and frequently go home for visits. I’m sure of the Spanish, even though I don’t have any ‘names’ yet from Spain and Italy, but I sure have both in my ‘new’ mtDNA.
Is ‘British/English’ an actual ethnicity?
Thanks for all the response on various posts, everyone, it’s very helpful!
Hi, the most I’ve ever paid for a full Ancestry subscription is $405. That includes all fees and taxes. Back in 2006 it was $372 and then it went down to $314 for several years. Last year it went up to $405. As a genealogist it’s worth every penny.
Can you really compare the companies if you do not know how far back in time each company admixture is measured?
one can go 200 years, another 500 years another 1000 years.
They don’t compare based on a timeline. They look to see what is present in your DNA. What is handed down and how much is there today is a function of probability and chance.
I think you both have a point. Many MyHeritage users have high Scandinavian and Italian & Greek DNA, even though their genealogy doesn’t show any of ancestors from those regions…. I read up on it, and what I took away, was that Ancestry has simply classified certain Scandinavian (Viking) and certain Italian and Greek (Roman) DNA as British Isles DNA…. but in reality, both companies are likely somewhat right. The Viking and Roman DNA could be classified as British Isles (it’s been there for 500+ years) or classified as Scandinavian and Italian/Greek (& other regions that Romans came from). Depending on how you want to look at it, the timeline can matter.
Roberta, do you know how long it takes to get results after uploading dna to their site. I’ve looked at all the questions and answers there but am unable to find that answer. If a test is ordered it says six to eight weeks but nothing about the time frame if the dna is uploaded from another site.
I don’t know.
Thanks. I’ll try calling them again. First time they were ‘out to lunch’.
Ok, I tried again and now they say ‘unavailable’ and hang up. That’s two hours after the call where they were ‘out to lunch’. They should have ‘faqs’ that gives information on this type of thing.
I’m really glad I had read about your “Amazonian” result before I found my “Central Anerican,” but I don’t even know about any Native Americans yet in my ancestry.
Out of curiosity what software do you use to make your tables?
Ah ok. I actually went ahead and did something similar in Google Sheets last night. Never used Google Sheets before, but I gotta say it is a pretty nice little tool. I did mine comparing Ancestry 1.0, Ancestry 2.0, MyOrigins 1.0, MyOrigins 2.0, Genographic 2.0, Living DNA, My current Family Tree, and 3 Eurogenes Admixture tools(K12, K13, and K15) from Gedmatch. It is pretty interesting seeing the results side by side and can put things in much greater perspective. So far from what I can see, if people want accuracy it seems the Gedmatch Admixture tools are better than any testing company. Gedmatch is the only thing that picks up my Native American Ancestry.
My father shows 2.1% North African with MyHeritage. Interestingly, before FTDNA updated MyOrigins he showed 1% North African; with the update he now shows <2% West Middle East. With 23andMe, he shows a small amount of Subsaharan African which is further broken down to <.1% West African, <.1% East African, and <.1% Subsaharan African. He consistently shows a small amount of Subsaharan African using the different tools on GEDmatch.
We have an ancestor who was from Senegambia, and arrived in Virginia in the late 1600s. This has been verified with old-fashioned genealogy and y-DNA of male cousins in this linage (all who carry the y-haplogroup E-P277). The E1b1a DNA Project has identified by ancestor with The Gambia.
I'm wondering if it is possible that the North African on MyHeritage should really be Subsaharan African? I have read that North African and Subsaharan African DNA is easy to differentiate, but I've also read with that with groups like the Fulani– who are found in the Senegambia region– there is more of a mixture of West, East, and North African.
Curious that MyHeritage & FTDNA show North African for my father, whereas 23andMe & GEDmatch show Subsaharan African.
I take all of the ethnicity results with a grain of salt, some with a very large grain. My Heritage was a fairly large grain, but then again, so are some at GedMatch. Regarding the T&Cs, Judy Russell has written about that. http://www.legalgenealogist.com/2016/05/27/myheritage-dna-terms-changed/
Just received my ethnicity report from My Heritage and I will have to definitely take it with a large grain of salt. I’ve tested with FTDNA, Ancestry and 23&Me and all three have my Native American at 2.67 to 2.79 which matches our families documentation as to the generation which it dates back to. My Heritage gives me 0 % . Also, uploading and running all three of the companies on Gedmatch give me those same percentages. So when uploading my Ancestry to My Heritage I get a different percentage than Ancestry gives me. Several first and second cousins who descend from the same NA have percentages similar. I would say My Heritage needs some work.
I am currently working on a spreadsheet comparing my Ancestry Chip 1, Ancestry Chip 2, MyOrigins 1.0, MyOrigins 2.0, DNA.Land(From Ancestry 1), DNA.Land(From Ancestry 2), DNA.Land(From FTDNA File), Geneplaza, MyHeritage 1(From Ancestry 1), MyHeritage 2(From Ancestry2), MyHeritage 3(From FTDNA File), Living DNA, and My Current Family Tree. I am currently waiting on MyHeritage 3 and DNA.Land 3 to come back. You might be pretty surprised at what I am seeing and if you wish I will show you it.
What do you find surprising?
How much of a difference you get in ethnic breakdown. There isn’t much difference between the 2 Ancestry tests, but when you upload else where you get way different results, and the results between the 2 tests on the same site can be very different. It’s odd to say the least especially if the website you upload to is using the same algorithm for each test.
That’s pretty much the same thing I’ve found. But they don’t use the same algorithm. Every vendor develops that they think is the best one.
I decided to upload my Ancestry Chip 1 Test and Ancestry Chip 2 test to GEDmatch and diagnosed both files. Apparently Ancestry Chip 2 test has thousands of SNPs less than the Ancestry Chip 1 test. What do you think about that? I’ve also noticed significant differences in the Admixtures of both when I upload the raw data to other companies. As well as how many matches I have. I am curious as to which raw data would you trust more for uploading and using other tools with?
Yes, that’s been known for some time. I wrote about it here: https://dna-explained.com/2016/10/05/ancestry-v1-vs-v2-test-comparison/
I expect that the V2 chip will match better to those who took the V2 test and the V1 to those who took the V1 test and FTDNA kits and 23andMe V3 kits. The 23andMe V4 kit is also custom.
Excuse me, Miss Roberta.
I’m happy with My Heritage results after i read your article about an Autosomal DNA Predict Ethnic Percentages. With my Heritage Registered No: FT-B11419C, i can learn more about me (Adrian), my Both Cousins and My Father’s Sister. I have about 88,8% Chinese and Vietnamese + 11,2% Phillipines, Indonesians and Malaysians. My Cousins have aroud 95,5 – Chinese and Vietnamese + 4,5% Philliphines, Indonesians and Malaysians. My Uniparental Y DNA Haplogroup O-CTS5492 and mtDNA Haplogroup B4c2 based from my Genographic Project 2,0 Old Versions. It seems when I’m just a regular Far East Asians who have an mtDNA Hgs B4’5, B5, R11, R9, f, F1a1, M7a, M7b, M7c3c and my Y DNA Haplogroups O-CTS11856, more specific Y Hg O-CTS5492 – perhaps Y DNA Haplogroup M133.
Thanks Miss R Estes.
Are you Chinese? It seems that Chinese people are getting mostly Chinese and Vietnamese + Filipino/Indoenesian and Malaysian of about 10% or so if I remember correctly.
Yes, Kalani. I’m a Chinese Indonesian Peranakan maybe because i have about 10 – 12 % Filipino, Indonesian and Malays. My Cousins Grantrussel and my Paternal Aunt’s have slighty have more Chinese and Vietnamese, about 95% and Austronesians, about 5%. We don’t have another Asians DNA like Siberian, Inuit, Mongolian, Japanese, Myanmar and Thai’s.
My Y DNA Haplogroup O-CTS11856 to O-CTS5492 and My Motochondrial DNA Haplogroup B4c, perhaps B4c2 because i have a missing mutation in A16235A, which mtDNA B4c2 have specific Mutation in A16235G.
Ok, I was curious because I can see so far Chinese are getting not just Chinese but a little of the other category while Filipinos are getting 100% of what they are, which makes me wonder if it’s because of some Filipinos may have some Chinese? Not sure. I’m a different O branch from yours, F706. And from what I saw, we diverge after P164 which is right above my F706, not sure how much higher it is for yours.
I recently loaded my FTDNA autosomal DNA file to My Heritage. I got the results within two days. Understandably, i have only 41 matches, very few compared to the three other vendors where i have tested. But the real reason for uploading my DNA file to My Heritage was curiosity, to see how they reported my Etnicity. I must say, that i am not convinced at all. My Heritage, like the other three vendors, report that i am 100 % European. So far so good. But then they claim that i am 37,3% Irish, Scottish, Welsh; 35,3% English; 3,7% Finnish; 3,7% Scandinavian; 14,6% Balkan (!) ; 5,4 Greek% (!). Now the other 3 vendors basically divide my ethnic heritage into three equal parts: British, Scandinavian, Central & Western Europe (France and the German Lands). FTDNA is the closest to my actual genealogical ethnicity, for I am in fact somewhat more than 25 percent German (Rheinland-Pfalz) and somewhat less than 75 percent English (Yorkshire & Lancashire). The Scandinavian can be explained by the fact that the people of Yorkshire are in great part descended from Danes. To which My Heritage adds ”Irish, Scottish, Welsh”, of which i have no known genealogical ancestry, so i can only imagine that this might represent ancient Celtic ancestry, being that all of central Europe (Britain, Belgium, France, Southern Germany, Switzerland, etc.) was Celtic 2000 years ago. But where do they find Balkan and Greek, and so much of it? and NO West-Central Europe (German) whatsoever ? It seems to me that something is wrong with the ethnic analysis capabilities of My Heritage, at least in my case.
Wow, here’s a new lesson for me, I didn’t know that English’ was it’s own ethnicity! I guess I have none, only the Irish, Scottish and Welsh, according to MyHeritage. What surprises me most about yours, is that you have so few matches! Out of curiousity, can you tell me how far back you go on your Family Tree? I don’t have much on my mother’s Mother’s line, but on many of my other Ancetors go back to 1100 and one line 420. That was an eye opener.
You and I have a lot of the same matches. Mine same ethnic groups as you “Balkan 23%, Greek 17.4%, Irish Scottish Welsh 19.5”, + Ashkenazi Jewish, but 0% Native American which I was told I had by family. They are however on target with Irish
myheritage gave my great great uncle 50% central american while ancestrydna gives him 32% native american
Hello I am hoping that you or another reader could help me make sense of the ethnicity results for myself, brother, and mother.
My mother is 84% West and Central European and 15% British Isles.
My brother is 71% British Isles, 12% West and Central Europe, 8% East Europe, 6% Asia Minor and 3 % Scandinavia.
I am 75% British Isles, 25% East Europe.
My Dad is the unknown but the paper trail for him is in Britain for several hundred years, although his Y chromosome result is from Asia Minor.
What I can’t understand is how my brother and I can have more British Isles than my mother. My Dad couldn’t have been 100% British based on my brothers and mine. I find the notion of ethnicity impossible to understand when the results within close relatives who share so much DNA are dissimilar.
Any comments or helpful links greatly appreciated!
Ethnicity should be taken with a very large grain of salt. MyHeritage is one of the newest companies and still refining their predictions. Your results are very “interesting” since even if your father was 100% British Isles, children would be 50% from the father and roughly half from the mother which would be 7 or 8%
Miss Roberta, recently i transferred my FTDNA MyOrigins 2.0 to the MyHeritage.com so do with my Paternal Aunt’s and My Cousins frpm my Mother’s side. Each persons have 2 MyHeritage Kits for our Autosomal DNA Results (I’m 88,8% Chinese – Vietnamese and 11,8% Malaysians, Indonesians and Filipino). My questions: Which the Y Chromosome or Mitochondrial DNA have more accurate to determine The Human Ethnic Bacgrounds?
Those two, Y and mtDNA are entirely unrelated and both provide the same thing in terms of ethnic background for the person, a direct periscope view down that direct line. This article should help. https://dna-explained.com/2012/10/01/4-kinds-of-dna-for-genetic-genealogy/
I was fairly content with my results from My Heritage. In my case at least, they match up pretty well with what I know about my ancestry up to the last five generations ( all my known ethnicities were shown). Not so sure of their subscription policies or how accurate their relative matching feature is just yet.
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I upload my 23 and me DNA to my heritage and got really different results. Do you know why this would be or which one I should trust as more accurate? I really don’t know much about my ancestry and I was hoping this would clear it up. Now I am more confused.
Ethnicity testing is not the answer to heritage or ancestry. This article will help you. https://dna-explained.com/2017/06/20/which-ethnicity-test-is-best/
I compared the ethnicity reports of MyHeritage between me and my brother, and the differences are just way off. For instance:
Balkans: Me 55.1%, brother 30.3%
West Asia: Me 20.5%, brother 1.9%
Central Asia: Me 7.5%, brother 3.4%
Greek: Me 6.6%, brother 18.2%
East Europe: Me 0.0%, brother 12.4%
Ashkenazi: Me 0.0%, brother 5.5%
Sephardic Jew North Africa: Me 0.0%, brother 15.2%
These are just two totally different ethnic mixes, not to mention my brother showing a combined total of 20% Jewish ancestry while me having 0.0%. It looks as if there’s a certain possible bias here toward creating a Jewish ethnic identity. It makes very little historical sense for my family to have results of 20% Jewish ancestry, let alone any at all.
While the general rough patterns are pointing in the right direction, I think the science of these ethnicity estimates in their current state is nothing but a marketing trick to finance and attract a larger database of samples. It’s financially impossible for the science to get the millions of samples needed on its own, to even begin to have an adequate accuracy in the resolution of ethnic estimates. Hence you rather have people not only financing the companies’ research, but also giving them a profit in exchange for an unfinished and highly unreliable product.
A racial anthropologist could probably make a more accurate estimate of my ethnic mix just by looking at my facial features.
If the companies were honest, they’d probably just say, “we are really just feeding you with utter nonsense that has a very low probability of being within acceptable accuracy, but we nevertheless appreciate the money you give us”.
I thought that according to science, your genes are passed down disproportionately, since you have 2 parents, and only space for half of each parents’ dna to shuffle about.
So this is why your sibs will test a bit different.
Correct me if I’m wrong.
you do realize that genetic information is passed down differently from child to child?
Also the likelihood of your dad being different is like 1 in 10. But that doesn’t limit it for happening in your background. So there’s unpredictability
There is only so much room for the genetic information your parents give you, so its distributed differently in siblings.
Well, MyHeritage estimates were expected and surprising. Expected in that I have 24.8% English and 24.7% Irish, Scottish and Welsh. Ancestry has this number at 76%. My Scandinavian percentage through MyHeritage is 40.3%. This is a huge leap from Ancestry which had this number at 4%. So, that was surprise #1. Surprise #2 was 10.2% Italian. Ancestry had that number at less than 1%. So . . . a bit confusing. Now, I know that the Vikings sailed the ocean blue – raped, pillaged, looted, burned villages to the ground, and pretty much left genetic material behind to show up in Ethnicity Estimates 1,000s of years later, so some Scandinavian is not surprising. 40% is definitely surprising based on what I’ve discovered of my family history so far. So, I took these estimates with a bigger grain of salt than the ones from FTDNA and Ancestry. 🙂
That’s interesting. You are north american and got 1% amazonian. Well, I’m south brazilian and got 1% north native american on MyHeritage… hmmm. Although, I have to admit, the rest was very logical according to my family tree (mostly iberian, italian some part german and a little native american… Just the north native american was off…).
Hi, I am VERY new to all of this and I’m not even sure if I’m posting this correctly or in the right spot but I have a quick question that I am hoping someone might have thoughts on. I did the MyHeritage dna test and got the results which showed 48% Greek 19% Italian to name the majority. My grandparents came from Southern Italy and assumed they were Italian but I know that a lot of Greeks went to Southern Italy early on. Anyway my brother did 23andMe and his came back as 58% Italian with no Greek at all. I know they all have different methods of calculating it all but I am wondering if anyone might have any thoughts on it. Do you think I’m Italian and not Greek or partially Greek and Italian?? Thanks for any help! Mary
All ethnicity results are estimates and all companies use different methodologies. Also, you and your brother don’t inherit all of the same DNA from your parents. So your results will vary from each other and will be different with every company you test with.
Hi Mary S. I am also very new to this. I have pretty much the same question as you! I was surprised when My dad and I both received our results and we were Greek and not Italian. My mom was Italian decent so I did show as 10 percent. By my dad was not Italian at all although I went back five generations on his side if the family tree and everyone was from Italy. I am wondering how the ethic groups are classified with My heritage which is Theon,h DNA company I tried so far. After completing my family tree of nearly 125 people, no one is from GREECE. I AM TAKING THE RESULTS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.
Take all ethnicity with the entire salt lick.
I think I will stick with the results I got from Ancestry, as two things strike me as very odd with these results. I know I have British ancestry from my family tree. Ancestry confirms it with 10%, and MyHeritage says I have zippo. Also, MyHeritage says I have 15.6% Greek ancestry, and Ancestry says zippo. That is an awful lot of Greek ancestry for me to know nothing absolutely nothing about.
Same here MyHeritage said 0% Native American which I was told by family I have, I got 17.4% Greek
MyHeritage does put out the info that their breakdown is evolving and more and more updates to it’s breakdown of ethnicity is forthcoming, implying that we will see new results as they go through detailed changes. We are the ‘first ones’ in a way, of their implementing their new research. At least that is how I am understanding this. It will be ‘fun’ to go back and see progress as it compares to those of us who have tested in other labs. Yolanda, both maternal and paternal in my family constantly talked about Native relatives. They turned out to be true, too, but NOT in my direct line, hence, none of that original Native DNA in mine. I think it is great to pick one of our tests as what we feel is more accurate, continue to do our trees back as far as possible, and continue to compare results from the various labs as they evolve. I’m taking MyHeritage as ‘a fun diversion’. LOL.
Same here. I know from family oral history and documents that I trace back to Ireland and Scotland on my mom’s side. It showed up in my Ancestry test and my mom had 18 percent of this on My Heritage and I had zero. In fact outside of Africa my mom and I have no ethnicities in common on MH. Also Ancestry has me at 2 percent Nigerian and MH has me at 50%. Ancestry gave me no East African and MH has me at like 6 percent. It’s very contradictory.
I can’t not understand why Mexico is part of Central American on the results I am confused
My My Heritage ethnicity estimate is VERY different than my 23andme result. Do you know which is more reliable/accurate please?
In my experience, of those two, 23andMe.
Roberta, this link might interest you and some of your followers https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150721134827.htm. It explains why people with Native American and Polynesian heritage could have genetic markers similar to Amazonian tribes. Keep in mind that your DNA analysis is based on populations with similar genetics markers. It does not necessarily mean you were descended from those populations but you could have descended from a similar founding population such as the one recently identified in the study. Also, when percentages are very low (below 5 or 10 percent) result accuracy is not great. Still, I think the article is truly fascinating in showing that some Native Americans and Polynesians as well as a higher proportion of Amazonian natives might be partially descended from a mysterious, extinct group closely related to Australian aborigines
I Didn”t Get Outcome of Test
Please contact MyHeritage customer support.
I have just done my dna it says I british56.3 and scandinavian43.7 what does the British part mean celtic saxon or what I don’t know can anyone help I live in Lancashire and am half lancs half yorkshire
I somehow got 1.4% Native American, like 1-64th.
My European ancestors came to North America about a century ago,
and we have them all on paper.
I think the only explanation is that one of my grandparents or great grandparents came from a different dad, a man who would had had a miniscule % of native american background.
Its a wierd thought. I’ve been racking my brains.
The other idea I had was that Scandinavians have been mixing with North Americans for centuries.
I have lots of Scandi blood.
We also see small percentages of “Native” in Germanic people from time to time. This comes from the common ancestry from long ago in Asia.
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Hi Roberta, I am somewhat confused by the My Origins at FTDNA versus My Heritage Ethnicity Estimate. I’ve tested myself, my late mother and my youngest sister at FTDNA. My mom showed 4% Sephardic with MO and 1% Ashkenazi on MyHeritage EE. My youngest sister and I showed no Jewish Diaspora at all with FTDNA MO but I show up as 3.3% Ashkenazi on MyHeritage EE. To the best of my knowledge we have no Jewish Ancestry. I’ve even tested myself at ancestry.com, LivingDNA, Nat Geno, 23andMe and TribeCode with none of them showing any Jewish DNA. My maternal grandmothers family all came from Hungary and I’ve gone back as far as my 4th great grandparents and no one shows up as being Jewish. I am not sure what to believe anymore. If it is true I will certainly embrace it but if the percentages are just noise I would like to find out for sure.
MyHeritage is the least reliable.
Roberta, Are you aware of the newer ethnicity estimate settings? The settings let’s you toggle between beta and the new version. I found out about this watching a youtube video. I’ve uploaded my results from 23andme last year.If anyone should have received the new version settings is someone like myself that have uploaded months ago. Instead they keep asking me to purchase a new DNA kit through my email.I’ve read on one their blogs that everyone is supposed to have it. But I have found that not all of us do.
I’ll take a look.
For me, My Heritage showed 82,6% Finnish as could be expected, and 10,4% Greek. This would roughly point to a parent of a grandparent. I suspected an error, but then I learned that in official records the father of my grandfather is recorded as “unknown”. Interesting, at least.
I am really confused. I took a MyHeritage DNA test. It showed I was 35% Scandinavian, 32.5% British, 29.1% Iberian, 1.8% Ashkenazi Jewish & 1.6% Central American. When I downloaded my DNA results to myFTDNA it broke me down to 88% West – Central European, 7% British Isles, 4% Southeast Europe and 1% North and Central American.
What can account for the disparity? I have no idea which is more reliable.
All ethnicity tests are estimates. This article will help: https://dna-explained.com/2016/02/10/ethnicity-testing-a-conundrum/
I’m surprisingly shocked! I’m after checking my Myheritage page and, over night, I went from 15 matches to 230!!! I remember that when I uploaded my rawdata many months ago, I had lots of matches whom I saw dwindle to the 15 afore mentioned. Now, the number has gotten me dumbfounded. Many of them new matches were prior matches on FTDNA and Gedmatch. So, are people uploading their material there and is Myheritage doing a really good matching job now, or is this matching pretty much the same as before, they are gonna disappear again?
They just did an update of their matching which took effect today.
Hi Roberta, I see your reply above that MyHeritage recently updated their matches. I just got results this week and three days later my ethnicity had changed and an additional ethnicity was added. I have images of both reports. Are you aware of them updating ethnicities this week? I checked previous forum questions with them and saw a reply that that cannot happen. I have written to them. I have YDNA from a cousin in Bolton and Melungeon projects that you administer. This My Heritage is the first I have done on myself. Of course I am on the lookout for possible DNA contributions to the Melungeon look. I came up with a smidge of Middle Eastern and Nigerian along with the predominant British.
My question is regarding changes in the ethnicity report from day to day. Thanks. Nice site.
No, I was not aware of ethnicity results being updated this week. Perhaps it’s related to your new test. Also, a lot if Scandinavian people are showing up with that trace of Nigerian, so I would be suspicious of that one in particular.
So do they retroactively change ethnicities from time to time? I didn’t have a new test. One test with two different results three days apart. Weird that Scandinavian people show up Nigerian. I’m have no Scandinavian by genealogy or DNA.
All vendors update ethnicities from time to time, but generally it’s everyone, not selectively. You might call their support.
I contacted MyHeritage about the ethnicity changing from one day to a couple days later and this is part of the reply I got: Please allow me to explain in detail the changes in your Ethnicity Estimate report.
Due to a human error, on Thursday evening (February 1, 2018), African ethnicities were omitted from newly calculated ethnicity estimates. The bug was fixed on Sunday, Feb 4 2018.
This bug affected only the calculation of new ethnicity estimates for new kits, for 3 days. All affected kits had their ethnicity re-calculated and updated on Sunday, fixing the problem. DNA matches were not affected by this bug.
It’s good that they caught it and fixed it so quickly. Thanks for following up.
did a test for my dad and he’s mostly Finnish (79%), Scandinavian (18,5%) and then strangely Nigerian (1,5%) and Eskimo (1%). Somehow I can I understand that Eskimo must have mixed in Norway, but the Nigerian 1,5% is really strange. I would understand this result if my family would be from more mixed regions like America or even England, Netherlands etc, but I really find it strange how is it possible to have an Nigerian ancestor up here in the North. All my relatives are blue-eyed (literally I have not even one relative with brown eyes). It does not seem like correct information in Myheritage at the moment.
They seems to be having a “Nigerian problem.” Right now, many people with Scandinavian are showing up with that at MyHeritage, but not elsewhere.
I’m wondering if a child is born in Australia from 2 parents born here, but the paternal grandfather was born in Italy is the child classed as Italian??
I would expect to see some DNA categorized as from that part of the world.
Ancestry gave me 15% British and 10% Iberian while MyHeritage gave me 25% Iberian and 0% British (but both websites ironically gave me Irish/Scottish/Welsh with 4% on Ancestry and 7.6% on MyHeritage…and I know that Irish/Scottish/Welsh is within the Great Britain region even though they separate it from British/English ancestry). Am I British or Iberian? My mom is Hispanic so I know that I have some Iberian however small but I don’t know whether to believe the 10% or 25%. And the categories on GEDmatch are a bit confusing (and sometimes a bit too vague) so that really doesn’t help either. But I will say that FTDNA gave me 17% British and 7% Iberian for a total of 24%. But even so, I’m still not sure if both ethnicities are separate enough to be distinct.
Anyone know much about how accurage My Heritage is for Native DNA? Family legend says we have Choctaw ancestry in my father’s family. Ancestry.com thought I had NO Native American heritage. Various programs at GED.Match found traces of “Amerindian” (anywhere from 0.8 – 1.9%). But when I uploaded the data to Myheritage, they predicted I was 3.8% Central American! According to some of the GEDmatch programs, I have traces of Mayan and South American DNA. Does that mean I have ancestors from Central and South America, or is possible for someone with North American Native Ancestry to show the same markers?
North and South is Native. However, I would not necessarily trust the MyHeritage Native results over Ancestry or GedMatch.
I like the results I got from MyHeritage. I took one from Ancestry just for fun and was not happy with their results. MyHeritage fell in line with my research to date, with a couple of surprises that explained the family migration history. However, Ancestry results was trying to tell me that I have Native American and Incan DNA. I totally disagree with that. There is no way, 0% chance, that I have Native American or Inca DNA. MyHeritage showed an Ancestral line and migration that made a lot of sense and helped explain all the DNA results and links in my DNA Map. Thank you MyHeritage.