Native American & Minority Ancestors Identified Using DNAPainter Plus Ethnicity Segments

Ethnicity is always a ticklish subject. On one hand we say to be leery of ethnicity estimates, but on the other hand, we all want to know who our ancestors were and where they came from. Many people hope to prove or disprove specific theories or stories about distant ancestors.

Reasons to be cautious about ethnicity estimates include:

  • Within continents, like Europe, it’s very difficult to discern ethnicity at the “country” level because of thousands of years of migration across regions where borders exist today. Ethnicity estimates within Europe can be significantly different than known and proven genealogy.
  • “Countries,” in Europe, political constructs, are the same size as many states in the US – and differentiation between those populations is almost impossible to accurately discern. Think of trying to figure out the difference between the populations of Indiana and Illinois, for example. Yet we want to be able to tell the difference between ancestors that came from France and Germany, for example.

Ethnicity states over Europe

  • All small amounts of ethnicity, even at the continental level, under 2-5%, can be noise and might be incorrect. That’s particularly true of trace amounts, 1% or less. However, that’s not always the case – which is why companies provide those small percentages. When hunting ancestors in the distant past, that small amount of ethnicity may be the only clue we have as to where they reside at detectable levels in our genome.

Noise in this case is defined as:

  • A statistical anomaly
  • A chance combination of your DNA from both parents that matches a reference population
  • Issues with the reference population itself, specifically admixture
  • Perhaps combinations of the above

You can read about the challenges with ethnicity here and here.

On the Other Hand

Having restated the appropriate caveats, on the other hand, we can utilize legitimate segments of our DNA to identify where our ancestors came from – at the continental level.

I’m actually specifically referring to Native American admixture which is the example I’ll be using, but this process applies equally as well to other minority or continental level admixture as well. Minority, in this sense means minority ethnicity to you.

Native American ethnicity shows distinctly differently from African and European. Sometimes some segments of DNA that we inherit from Native American ancestors are reported as Asian, specifically Siberian, Northern or Eastern Asian.

Remember that the Native American people arrived as a small group via Beringia, a now flooded land bridge that once connected Siberia with Alaska.

beringia map

By Erika Tamm et al – Tamm E, Kivisild T, Reidla M, Metspalu M, Smith DG, et al. (2007) Beringian Standstill and Spread of Native American Founders. PLoS ONE 2(9): e829. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000829. Also available from PubMed Central., CC BY 2.5,

After that time, the Native American/First Nations peoples were isolated from Asia, for the most part, and entirely from Europe until European exploration resulted in the beginning of sustained European settlement, and admixture beginning in the late 1400s and 1500s in the Americas.

Family Inheritance

Testing multiple family members is extremely useful when working with your own personal minority heritage. This approach assumes that you’d like to identify your matches that share that genetic heritage because they share the same minority DNA that you do. Of course, that means you two share the same ancestor at some time in the past. Their genealogy, or your combined information, may hold the clue to identifying your ancestor.

In my family, my daughter has Native American segments that she inherited from me that I inherited from my mother.

Finding the same segment identified as Native American in several successive generations eliminates the possibility that the chance combination of DNA from your father and mother is “appearing” as Native, when it isn’t.

We can use segment information to our benefit, especially if we don’t know exactly who contributed that DNA – meaning which ancestor.

We need to find a way to utilize those Native or other minority segments genealogically.


Today, the only DNA testing vendor that provides consumers with a segment identification of our ethnicity predictions is 23andMe.

If you have tested at 23andMe, sign in and click on Ancestry on the top tab, then select Ancestry Composition.

Minority ethnicity ancestry composition.png

Scroll down until you see your painted chromosomes.

Minority ethnicity chromosome painting.png

By clicking on the region at left that you want to see, the rest of the regions are greyed out and only that region is displayed on your chromosomes, at right.

Minority ethnicity Native.png

According to 23andMe, I have two Native segments, one each on chromosomes 1 and 2. They show these segments on opposite chromosomes, meaning one (the top for example) would be maternal or paternal, and the bottom one would be the opposite. But 23andMe apparently could not tell for sure because neither my mother nor father have tested there. This placement also turned out to be incorrect. The above image was my initial V3 test at 23andMe. My later V4 results were different.

Versions May Differ

Please note that your ethnicity predictions may be different based on which test you took which is dictated by when you took the test. The image above is my V3 test that was in use at 23andMe between 2010 and November 2013, and the image below is my V4 test in use between November 2013 and August 2017.

23andMe apparently does not correct original errors involving what is known as “strand swap” where the maternal and paternal segments are inverted during analysis. My V4 test results are shown below, where the strands are correctly portrayed.

Minority ethnicity Native V4.png

Note that both Native segments are now on the lower chromosome “side” of the pair and the position on the chromosome 1 segment has shifted visually.

Minority ethnicity sides.png

I have not tested at 23andMe on the current V5 GSA chip, in use since August 9, 2017, but perhaps I should. The results might be different yet, with the concept being that each version offers an improvement over earlier versions as science advances.

If your parents have tested, 23andMe makes adjustments to your ethnicity estimates accordingly.

Although my mother can’t test at 23andMe, I happen to already know that these Native segments descend from my mother based on genealogical and genetic analysis, combined. I’m going to walk you through the process.

I can utilize my genealogy to confirm or refute information shown by 23andMe. For example, if one of those segments comes from known ancestors who were living in Germany, it’s clearly not Native, and it’s noise of some type.

We’re going to utilize DNAPainter to determine which ancestors contributed your minority segments, but first you’ll need to download your ethnicity segments from 23andMe.

Downloading Ethnicity Segment Data

Downloading your ethnicity segments is NOT THE SAME as downloading your raw DNA results to transfer to another vendor. Those are two entirely different files and different procedures.

To download the locations of your ethnicity segments at 23andMe, scroll down below your painted ethnicity segments in your Ancestry Composition section to “View Scientific Details.”

MInority ethnicity scientific details.png

Click on View Scientific Details and scroll down to near the bottom and then click on “Download Raw Data.” I leave mine at the 50% confidence level.

Minority ethnicity download raw data.png

Save this spreadsheet to your computer in a known location.

In the spreadsheet, you’ll see columns that provide the name of the segment, the chromosome copy number (1 or 2) and the chromosome number with start and end locations.

Minority ethnicity download.png

You really don’t care about this information directly, but DNAPainter does and you’ll care a lot about what DNAPainter does for you.


I wrote introductory articles about DNAPainter:

If you’re not familiar with DNAPainter, you might want to read these articles first and then come back to this point in this article.

Go ahead – I’ll wait!

Getting Started

If you don’t have a DNAPainter account, you’ll need to create one for free. Some features, such as having multiple profiles are subscription based, but the functionality you’ll need for one profile is free.

I’ve named this example profile “Ethnicity Demo.” You’ll see your name where mine says “Ethnicity Demo.”

Minority ethnicity DNAPainter.png

Click on “Import 23andme ancestry composition.”

You will copy and paste all the spreadsheet rows in the entire downloaded 23andMe ethnicity spreadsheet into the DNAPainter text box and make your selection, below. The great news is that if you discover that your assumption about copy 1 being maternal or paternal is incorrect, it’s easy to delete the ethnicity segments entirely and simply repaint later. Ditto if 23andMe changes your estimate over time, like they have mine.

Minority ethnicity DNAPainter sides.png

I happen to know that “copy 2” is maternal, so I’ve made that selection.

You can then see your ethnicity chromosome segments painted, and you can expand each one to see the detail. Click on “Save Segments.”

MInority ethnicity DNAPainter Native painting

Click to enlarge

In this example, you can see my Native segments, called by various names at different confidence levels at 23andMe, on chromosome 1.

Depending on the confidence level, these segments are called some mixture of:

  • East Asian & Native American
  • North Asian & Native American
  • Native American
  • Broadly East Asian & Native American

It’s exactly the same segment, so you don’t really care what it’s called. DNAPainter paints all of the different descriptions provided by 23andMe, at all confidence levels as you can see above.

The DNAPainter colors are different from 23andMe colors and are system-selected. You can’t assign the colors for ethnicity segments.

Now, I’m moving to my own profile that I paint with my ancestral segments. To date, I have 78% of my segments painted by identifying cousins with known common ancestors.

On chromosomes 1 and 2, copy 2, which I’ve determined to be my mother’s “side,” these segments track back to specific ancestors.

Minority ethnicity maternal side

Click to enlarge

Chromosome 1 segments, above, track back to the Lore family, descended from Antoine (Anthony) Lore (Lord) who married Rachel Hill. Antoine Lore was Acadian.

Minority ethnicity chromosome 1.png

Clicking on the green segment bar shows me the ancestors I assigned when I painted the match with my Lore family member whose name is blurred, but whose birth surname was Lore.

The Chromosome 2 segment, below, tracks back to the same family through a match to Fred.

Minority ethnicity chromosome 2.png

My common ancestors with Fred are Honore Lore and Marie Lafaille who are the parents of Antoine Lore.

Minority ethnicity common ancestor.png

There are additional matches on both chromosomes who also match on portions of the Native segments.

Now that I have a pointer in the ancestral direction that these Native American segments arrived from, what can traditional genealogy and other DNA information tell me?

Traditional Genealogy Research

The Acadian people were a mixture of English, French and Native American. The Acadians settled on the island of Nova Scotia in 1609 and lived there until being driven out by the English in 1755, roughly 6 or 7 generations later.

Minority ethnicity Acadian map.png

The Acadians intermarried with the Mi’kmaq people.

It had been reported by two very qualified genealogists that Philippe Mius, born in 1660, married two Native American women from the Mi’kmaq tribe given the name Marie.

The French were fond of giving the first name of Marie to Native women when they were baptized in the Catholic faith which was required before the French men were allowed to marry the Native women. There were many Native women named Marie who married European men.

Minority ethnicity Native mitochondrial tree

Click to enlarge

This Mius lineage is ancestral to Antoine Lore (Lord) as shown on my pedigree, above.

Mitochondrial DNA has revealed that descendants from one of Philippe Mius’s wives, Marie, carry haplogroup A2f1a.

However, mitochondrial tests of other descendants of “Marie,” his first wife, carry haplogroup X2a2, also Native American.

Confusion has historically existed over which Marie is the mother of my ancestor, Francoise.

Karen Theroit Reader, another professional genealogist, shows Francoise Mius as the last child born to the first Native wife before her death sometime after 1684 and before about 1687 when Philippe remarried.

However, relative to the source of Native American segments, whether Francoise descends from the first or second wife doesn’t matter in this instance because both are Native and are proven so by their mitochondrial DNA haplogroups.

Additionally, on Antoine’s mother’s side, we find a Doucet male, although there are two genetic male Doucet lines, one of European origin, haplogroup R-L21, and one, surprisingly, of Native origin, haplogroup C-P39. Both are proven by their respective haplogroups but confusion exists genealogically over who descends from which lineage.

On Antoine’s mother’s side, there are several unidentified lineages, any one or multiples of which could also be Native. As you can see, there are large gaps in my tree.

We do know that these Native segments arrived through Antoine Lore and his parents, Honore Lore and Marie LaFaille. We don’t know exactly who upstream contributed these segments – at least not yet. Painting additional matches attributable to specific ancestral couples will eventually narrow the candidates and allow me to walk these segments back in time to their rightful contributor.

Segments, Traditional Research and DNAPainter

These three tools together, when using continent-level segments in combination with painting the DNA segments of known cousins that match specific lineages create a triangulated ethnicity segment.

When that segment just happens to be genealogically important, this combination can point the researchers in the right direction knowing which lines to search for that minority ancestor.

If your cousins who match you on this segment have also tested with 23andMe, they should also be identified as Native on this same segment. This process does not apply to intracontinental segments, meaning within Europe, because the admixture is too great and the ethnicity predictions are much less reliable.

When identifying minority admixture at the continental level, adding Y and mitochondrial DNA testing to the mix in order to positively identify each individual ancestor’s Y and mitochondrial DNA is very important in both eliminating and confirming what autosomal DNA and genealogy records alone can’t do. The base haplogroup as assigned at 23andMe is a good start, but it’s not enough alone. Plus, we only carry one line of mitochondrial DNA and only males carry Y DNA, and only their direct paternal line.

We need Y and mitochondrial DNA matching at FamilyTreeDNA to verify the specific lineage. Additionally, we very well may need the Y and mitochondrial DNA information that we don’t directly carry – but other cousins do. You can read about Y and mitochondrial DNA testing, here.

I wrote about creating a personal DNA pedigree chart including your ancestors’ Y and mitochondrial DNA here. In order to find people descended from a specific ancestor who have DNA tested, I utilize:

  • WikiTree resources and trees
  • Geni trees
  • FamilySearch trees
  • FamilyTreeDNA autosomal matches with trees
  • AncestryDNA autosomal matches and their associated trees
  • Ancestry trees in general, meaning without knowing if they are related to a DNA match
  • MyHeritage autosomal matches and their trees
  • MyHeritage trees in general

At both MyHeritage and Ancestry, you can view the trees of your matches, but you can also search for ancestors in other people’s trees to see who might descend appropriately to provide a Y or mitochondrial DNA sample. You will probably need a subscription to maximize these efforts. My Heritage offers a free trial subscription here.

If you find people appropriately descended through WikiTree, Geni or FamilySearch, you’ll need to discuss DNA testing with them. They may have already tested someplace.

If you find people who have DNA tested through your DNA matches with trees at Ancestry and MyHeritage, you’ll need to offer a Y or mitochondrial DNA test to them if they haven’t already tested at FamilyTreeDNA.

FamilyTreeDNA is the only vendor who provides the Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests at the higher resolution level, beyond base haplogroups, required for matching and for a complete haplogroup designation.

If the person has taken the Family Finder autosomal test at FamilyTreeDNA, they may have already tested their Y DNA and mtDNA, or you can offer to upgrade their test.


Checking projects at FamilyTreeDNA can be particularly useful when trying to discover if anyone from a specific lineage has already tested. There are many, special interest projects such as the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry project, the American Indian project, haplogroup projects, surname projects and more.

You can view projects alphabetically here or you can click here to scroll down to enter the surname or topic you are seeking.

Minority ethnicity project search.png

If the topic isn’t listed, check the alphabetic index under Geographical Projects.

23andMe Maternal and Paternal Sides

If possible, you’ll want to determine which “side” of your family your minority segments originate come from, unless they come from both. you’ll want to determine whether chromosome side one 1 or 2 is maternal, because the other one will be paternal.

23andMe doesn’t offer tree functionality in the same way as other vendors, so you won’t be able to identify people there descended from your ancestors without contacting each person or doing other sleuthing.

Recently, 23andMe added a link to FamilySearch that creates a list of your ancestors from their mega-shared tree for 7 generations, but there is no tree matching or search functionality. You can read about the FamilySearch connection functionality here.

So, how do you figure out which “side” is which?

Minority ethnicity minority segment.png

The chart above represents the portion of your chromosomes that contains your minority ancestry. Initially, you don’t know if the minority segment is your mother’s pink chromosome or your father’s blue chromosome. You have one chromosome from each parent with the exact same addresses or locations, so it’s impossible to tell which side is which without additional information. Either the pink or the blue segment is minority, but how can you tell?

In my case, the family oral history regarding Native American ancestry was from my father’s line, but the actual Native segments wound up being from my mother, not my father. Had I made an assumption, it would have been incorrect.

Fortunately, in our example, you have both a maternal and paternal aunt who have tested at 23andMe. You match both aunts on that exact same segment location – one from your father’s side, blue, and one from your mother’s side, pink.

You compare your match with your maternal aunt and verify that indeed, you do match her on that segment.

You’ll want to determine if 23andMe has flagged that segment as Native American for your maternal aunt too.

You can view your aunt’s Ancestry Composition by selecting your aunt from the “Your Connections” dropdown list above your own ethnicity chromosome painting.

Minority ethnicity relative connections.png

You can see on your aunt’s chromosomes that indeed, those locations on her chromosomes are Native as well.

Minority ethnicity relative minority segments.png

Now you’ve identified your minority segment as originating on your maternal side.

Minority ethnicity Native side.png

Let’s say you have another match, Match 1, on that same segment. You can easily tell which “side” Match 1 is from. Since you know that you match your maternal aunt on that minority segment, if Match 1 matches both you and your maternal aunt, then you know that’s the side the match is from – AND that person also shares that minority segment.

You can also view that person’s Ancestry Composition as well, but shared matching is more reliable,especially when dealing with small amounts of minority admixture.

Another person, Match 2, matches you on that same segment, but this time, the person matches you and your paternal aunt, so they don’t share your minority segment.

Minority ethnicity match side.png

Even if your paternal aunt had not tested, because Match 2 does not match you AND your maternal aunt, you know Match 2 doesn’t share your minority segment which you can confirm by checking their Ancestry Composition.

Download All of Your Matches

Rather than go through your matches one by one, it’s easiest to download your entire match list so you can see which people match you on those chromosome locations.

Minority ethnicity download aggregate data.png

You can click on “Download Aggregate Data” at 23andMe, at the bottom of your DNA Relatives match list to obtain all of your matches who are sharing with you. 23andMe limits your matches to 2000 or less, the actual number being your highest 2000 matches minus the people who aren’t sharing. I have 1465 matches showing and that number decreases regularly as new testers at 23andMe are focused on health and not genealogy, meaning lower matches get pushed off the list of 2000 match candidates.

You can quickly sort the spreadsheet to see who matches you on specific segments. Then, you can check each match in the system to see if that person matches you and another known relative on the minority segments or you can check their Ancestry Composition, or both.

If they share your minority segment, then you can check their tree link if they have one, included in the download, their Family Search information if included on their account, or reach out to them to see if you might share a known ancestor.

The key to making your ethnicity segment work for you is to identify ancestors and paint known matches.

Paint Those Matches

When searching for matches whose DNA you can attribute to specific ancestors, be sure to check at all 4 places that provide segment information that you can paint:

At GedMatch, you’ll find some people who have tested at the other various vendors, including Ancestry, but unfortunately not everyone uploads. Ancestry doesn’t provide segment information, so you won’t be able to paint those matches directly from Ancestry.

If your Ancestry matches transfer to GedMatch, FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage you can view your match and paint your common segments. At GedMatch, Ancestry kit numbers begin with an A. I use my Ancestry kit matches at GedMatch to attempt to figure out who that match is at Ancestry in order to attempt to figure out the common ancestor.

To Paint, You Must Test

Of course, in order to paint your matches that you find in various databases, you need to be in those data bases, meaning you either need to test there or transfer your DNA file.


If you’d like to test your DNA at one vendor and download the file to transfer to another vendor, or GedMatch, that’s possible with both FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage who both accept uploads.

You can transfer kits from Ancestry and 23andMe to both FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage for free, although the chromosome browsers, advanced tools and ethnicity require an unlock fee (or alternatively a subscription at MyHeritage). Still, the free transfer and unlock for $19 at FamilyTreeDNA or $29 at MyHeritage is less than the cost of testing.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet.

DNA vendor transfer cheat sheet 2019

From time to time, as vendor file formats change, the ability to transfer is temporarily interrupted, but it costs nothing to try a transfer to either MyHeritage or FamilyTreeDNA, or better yet, both.

In each of these articles, I wrote about how to download your data from a specific vendor and how to upload from other vendors if they accept uploads.

Summary Steps

In order to use your minority ethnicity segments in your genealogy, you need to:

  1. Test at 23andMe
  2. Identify which parental side your minority ethnicity segments are from, if possible
  3. Download your ethnicity segments
  4. Establish a DNAPainter account
  5. Upload your ethnicity segments to DNAPainter
  6. Paint matches of people with whom you share known common ancestors utilizing segment information from 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and AncestryDNA matches who have uploaded to GedMatch
  7. If you have not tested at either MyHeritage or FamilyTreeDNA, upload your 23andMe file to either vendor for matching, along with GedMatch
  8. Focus on those minority segments to determine which ancestral line they descend through in order to identify the ancestor(s) who provided your minority admixture.

Have fun!



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26 thoughts on “Native American & Minority Ancestors Identified Using DNAPainter Plus Ethnicity Segments

  1. What an amazing service, Roberta! Even though I can’t at present keep pace with these tools, it is helpful to get a quick roadmap to see where the field is going, and to come back to when time permits. Thanks.

  2. Your information is amazing and well over my head. My issue is that I know who my late maternal grandfather was…He was of the Tuscarora Tribe (Iroquois Nation) outside of Niagara, NY. This tribe is famous for being “closed”. They believe that you must be 100% Native blood or you are nothing. They do not get involved with DNA tests…None of them do.

    My question is will taking any DNA tests for ethnicity help me establish the 25% Native American DNA that I know I have?

    If there is nothing to match it with or against then is there any advantage to having my DNA examined?

    • Lots of people test, so yes, you may well match people from the Tuscarora or other tribes. You’ll never know if you don’t test.

      • Thank you. You do not know this tribe but thank you . I will certainly consider it but the fact remains if there is no other dna to match against then nothing can be reported or factored in…correct?.

        • Native DNA is more alike than different. You will match various people. There are Tuscarora descendants who do test. I manage the Tuscarora DNA project at Family Tree DNA. If you don’t test you forego any opportunity that might arise now or in the future.

          • Thank you again. I so deeply appreciate this and will follow through.

  3. Interesting article.

    Family Tree DNA reported me as having 1% East Central African ancestry. My main ancestry is European Ashkenazi Jewish. This African ancestry shows up in slightly higher percentages for my two cousins on my mother’s side. One tested at Ancestry and the other at National Geographic. Interestingly, my mom’s maiden name could be Arabic, NE African or Mizrahi Jewish, but then it could be Russian.

    However, when I tested at 23andme, it didn’t report any African ancestry at all. At the 50% confidence level, I was 99.9 Jewish but at the 90% confidence level, I was 1.3% broadly European and 1.7% unknown non-European. I wonder what that 1.7% figure means?

    Both my sisters tested at FTDNA. Neither one has any trace of African ancestry but both have a trace of Oceanic ancestry.

    • I checked the 23andme website and found a good explanation of what they mean by Broadly European and Unknown ethnicity.

  4. Hi Roberta, while at the reconstructed “habitation” at Port Royal, Acadia, (now Nova Scotia) last week I was pleased to speak at length with a descendant of Membertou, the Great Chief of the Mi’kmaq who made friends with the French in 1609, was later baptized and fought alongside them against the English. The gentleman resides on one the 13 First Nations reserves on Nova Scotia; all are Mi’kmaq. He has played the role of Membertou, as did his father before him, in past reenactments staged by Parks Canada. They retain a vibrant society that is encouraged by Canadian political leadership. Although the spelling of Mi’kmaq has varied, I repeatedly heard it pronounced, including by the Membertou gentleman, as “migmah”. But then again, I learned some French pronunciation I never realized was correct – too many silent consonants. 🙂

    • It will be cool to visit Nova Scotia some day. My husband has a Scottish ancestor who lived there!

      One of my brother-in-laws is 1/32nd Native American. Cherokee, I think. He tested at both FTDNA and 23and me but didn’t get any Native American ethnicity results. However, some of his relatives did, so that made him happy. My niece also didn’t inherit any NA ancestry from her dad.

    • I’m distantly related to the French Acadians through my mtDNA line, on the French side, not the Native American side.

  5. “At GedMatch, Ancestry kit numbers begin with an A.”

    Many do, but not all Ancestry kits at GEDmatch begin with an A.

  6. I have had so much fun learning from your article! 23andMe has given me an estimate that I have a small “native” segment– and it doesn’t disappear even if I adjust the confidence level. I share that segment not only with my sister, but also with several paternal cousins. I’ve got a lot more to do, but so far it’s been fun!

  7. Roberta,
    Awesome article as usual…definitely love reading your articles over and over again. Seem like I always learn something new every time. I definitely have a question now when it comes to DNA painter. Can an adopted person do this test especially now if the biological Father has been found…such as in case of my Father? I do believe that there is some admixture in my Father’s biological family lines course I have only just begun to scratch that surface now…lol.
    I have found one 3rd cousin that has tested in FTDNA who is female and also found her in GEDMATCH too…yes I finally took the plunge and upload my Brother’s DNA data to GEDMATCH…lol. So is it possible to do the DNA painter with her even though she is a 3rd cousin. The 2nd cousins I have found only did Ancestry DNA test so probably cannot do anything with them as of yet. Course I still need to contact the family yet…been little scared to do so afraid that they will not reply and if the do reply possibly reject what I will have to say. Oh also this 3rd cousin has done the Ancestry DNA test too. Actually I have found 4 2nd cousins and 2 3rd cousins on Ancestry site that are on my Father’s biological Father’s line.
    I was just curious if possible that I could do this and see where it may lead.
    Awesome article again…thanks from a fan.


    Cindy Carrasco

  8. Roberta,

    You mentioned Strand Swap with the V3 test which was corrected in your V4. My test would be V5. I don’t have maternal or paternal line tests (parents long ago passed and only one first cousin has tested, but not on 23andMe), but if I ca determine which strand on a chromosome is maternal and which paternal, would that hold true throughout all chromosomes. In other words, if maternal is Strand 1 (top) on Chromosome 1, would it be strand 1 on the rest of the chromosomes, or is it random as to which is on top or bottom?

    Your post has gotten me to think in a new way and not just shut down because I suffer from Endogamous Maximus. I have an African DNA brick wall that I’m trying to break through. 5 segments, all on different chromosomes, and all on the top strand. My Native American is more identifiable, with documented NA ancestors on both paternal and maternal lines.

    Thanks, and enjoy the conference!


    • It should be the same side on all chromosomes. You are the perfect candidate for this technique with your admixture.

      • Perfect candidate. I’ve never had those two words together concerning my DNA. “Total Mess” has been a better descriptor. You give me hope! Thank you, Ma’am.

    • When I saw your last name I immediately knew what kind of endogamy you suffer from. I’m sure we are cousins. 😁

  9. When trying to use ancestry composition as a tool for mostly Colonial American matches I have run into a few that seem to be anomalies , and matches where the lack of NA ancestry , and too much NA ancestry where it should , or should not be . I have three matches that are clearly African American with with AA trees that have only trace amounts of SSA , A clearly Mexican match with lines from Mexico that is 99% British and Irish and 1% SSA , and no NA . Two matches from NW Florida with 33% , 39% NA , while other matches from the same families have little or no NA . I have used Ancestry Composition with some success , but I have a feeling with very admixed populations we are missing something . So how do we know when the Ancestry Composition is trustworthy or not , when we have no known Haplogroup to apply to a segment for conformation ? I can trace my 2% SSA segments back to 1695 by applying Ancestry Composition , family trees , Family Tree dna project where Y dna was established , and family matches on SSA segment , so the process can work . So I guess my question is ” how do we know when to trust AC when it points in one direction , and records point in another ? Rick

    • I would look to see if this segment phases with other family members where it is identified as the same ethnicity. This is not a perfect science and neither are records, unfortunately.

  10. While I poor mouth about some of the short comings of dna genealogy , for me it has been an amazing tool as a whole . Your Native American dna projects and blogs have also been a help for me on a number of lines . My frustration is with the lack of NA segments , while the dna matches , records , and events point to NA . I have pinpointed one NA segment to Yancey Oneal on one of the FTdna projects , another ties into Frances Wilkes also on a FTdna project , Yancey was married to a Dixon , one of the segment matches has a Dixon b. 1680 SC , but some of the shared matches are Oneal related farther back than Yancey . One day I may be able to connect to the Hatteras Oneals and get a better time frame . Thank you . Rick

  11. OH
    GOSH !!!!!!!
    I’m getting caught up here, and I just found this !!!!
    I will enjoy this … EveryOne in my family both immediate and extended wants to know, too …
    I hope to be a hero ,
    hahaha .
    Anyway Tonight I’m going to follow up at 23andMe .
    Also, I never knew what “chromosome painting” was yet !!

    As always,
    over and over,
    Thanks again Ms Estes 🙂 .

  12. Hi Roberta!

    I would really appreciate more information on how to evaluate really tiny segments with continental Ancestry Informative markers, for clues whether it is an incorrect interpretation, or something real, and if it is something real, how old it might be!

    23andme shows these AIMS in amounts as small a 0.1%, sometimes spread over 2 segments! Usually, individuals carrying continental AIMs in such small areas, match each other on a much larger segment with a mixture of continental AIMS.

    What I am noticing is even when shown with only 70% confidence, these continental AIMs are surprisingly consistent between matches, though occasionally a tiny spot with continental AIMs in most matches, will appear in one of the matches as a tiny unassigned spot.

    I have also been using Gedmatch’s Dodecad World 9 admixture tool as another way to see the exact location of continental AIMs on each chromosome, and this tool also shows these AIMS identified by 23andme, with surprising consistency.

    23andme advises people to take results showing a percentage under 0.5% with a grain of salt…but also shows some of these AIMs which can be found in triangulated match groups, all at 90% confidence, which seems to maybe contradict the “take it with a grain of salt advice”? I’m thinking maybe they mean they may not be entirely sure of the country on a continent such a small segment came from? (But they are often inconsistent for the country of origin for segments in matches sharing a much larger segment, so I’m not entirely sure what they are saying?)

    I’ve seen where a less than 0.1% segment is identified as West African in one match and East African in another, but the same continental AIMs are still shown in *almost* all matches on the same segment. (In this example a grandchild of one of the people who inherited this segment, only inherited one segment of the two that made up the 0.1%, and as the grandchild inherited less than 0.1%, 23andme just showed their African segment as an unassigned spot) And in another situation, I’ve seen a very consistent Northern Chinese/ Tibetan interpretation of another 0.1% segments AIMs, shown at 90% confidence in almost all matches. In both cases, with the help of Gedmatch Tier One segment search tool, I am adding to what I can find on 23andme, to total over 20 matches with the same AIMs in the exact same location.

    I’ve been told that in spite of this consistency, there is no way to know if these tiny segments are anything real. But seeing how consistent they are, I’m not sure this is true?

    I would really like to know more about what sort of glitches or misinterpretations might cause a tiny 5 cm to 8 cm segment to be consistently identified by 23andme, and also Gedmatch, as originating on a specific continent, if it didn’t come from that continent at all…?

    I’d also really like to know more about whether we can maybe gauge the time frame these tiny segments began circulating in an entirely different population, by whether it is possible to identify a consistent Common Ancestor or Common Location point of origin? It seems if a segment with Asian Markers was introduced into a European population 800 years ago by the Mongols, it would probably pop up all over the place or track back to a pocket of people in a specific area of Eastern Europe?

    Perhaps these questions are covered in a lot more detail in your book?

    I’d love it if there was a Facebook group, where people could share this type of experimental research, and learn from each other’s experience!

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