Introducing Genetic Groups at MyHeritage

Click on all images to enlarge…

Happy Holidays from MyHeritage. The long-awaited Genetic Groups are here!!!


MyHeritage has been working on this product for at least two years. Gilad mentioned it in Oslo two years ago this fall.

This project was massive in scope.

Genetic Groups are built upon the MyHeritage ethnicity estimates, adding another layer of specificity which is greatly improved. Yes, I know, their ethnicity estimates needed improvement and they are working on a 2021 update. However, Genetic Groups adds a great deal of dimension not able to be achieved with ethnicity alone.

I don’t want to give anything away…but MyHeritage absolutely NAILED IT with my Dutch ancestry, identifying a small Province in the Netherlands, Friesland, only about 20 miles by 20 miles.

How is that even possible???

I can’t wait to show you!

Are you ready to take a tour? I suggest reading through this article once first, then utilizing these handy step-by-step instructions after you get the lay of the land.

If you need to quickly upload a DNA kit to MyHeritage from another vendor, you can do that now, too, while you’re reading and digesting this article. File transfer Instructions here.

How Did They Do It?

The MyHeritage ethnicity estimates are built on the MyHeritage Founder Populations project, which you can read about here.

MyHeritage has the benefit of having more than 92 million members. Of course, not everyone has tested their DNA although I certainly wish they would!

For ethnicity estimates, MyHeritage focused on about 5000 people who have DNA tested and whose ancestors are from specific regions of the world. From those groups, they derived 42 founder populations from which they distilled their ethnicities.

Since then, they have continued to target-test specific populations, such as the Yemenites and people from Greece, among others.

For the record, the ethnicity estimates themselves have not changed today, although they received a facelift, but the new Genetic Groups enhance ethnicity regions substantially.

This is my original ethnicity – the new one is more robust and includes diaspora regions in the US.

Light gray regions are defined regions, but where I have no reported ethnicity.

Ethnicity tells you where your base population DNA is found in the highest frequency.

Genetic Groups Are Different Than Ethnicity

Genetic Groups tell you about how you relate to the people in certain regions, as determined by a combination of DNA PLUS common genealogy that together form Genetic Groups.

99% of people who have DNA tested do have at least one Genetic Group. I have 10.

Genetic Groups were created in two steps:

  • MyHeritage ran a massive supercluster of sorts of all of their customers who have taken or transferred DNA tests to create genetic clusters. As you might imagine, all those tests created thousands of clusters.
  • Then, MyHeritage used artificial intelligence to search for location commonalities of the direct ancestors in the trees of people in each genetic cluster.

If you are a MyHeritage member, then you’re part of this research!

If you have DNA tested, but not uploaded or created a tree, please do so. Trees help you and others too.

More than 2100 Genetic Groups

One of the reasons Genetic Groups took so long in development is because MyHeritage discovered thousands upon thousands of discrete and overlapping clusters. They whittled that list down to just over 2100 Genetic Groups, both large and small, evaluating the trees of the people in the cluster. If a substantial number showed a direct ancestor with that specific region, then the Genetic Group was “valid” and could be included in the final product.

Every Genetic Group has its own individual story, written after analyzing the group members, their distribution and their trees.

You’ll find your Genetic Groups underneath your Ethnicity Estimate tab.

Confidence Levels

All Genetic Groups are not created equal, nor are all Genetic Groups large. Confidence bands were assigned to help customers evaluate their Genetic Groups.

You can see that in my case, at the highest confidence level, which is the default, only 4 genetic groups are displayed, but I have a total of 10 genetic groups.

If I move the confidence bar to medium, then low, smaller groups, subgroups or groups with a lower confidence factor are displayed.

Clicking on the information “i” displays this information about confidence levels.

I’m excited to see two Dutch Genetic Groups.

I have several lines from the Netherlands – some from the 1600s into New Netherlands and some from the mid-1800s into Indiana.

Selecting Your Clusters

To find your Genetic Groups, click either on the Genetic Group from the list to the left, beneath your ethnicities, or click on the outlined region on the map.

Before going further, you’ll want to enable Family Tree Events to make the experience much more meaningful to your own genealogy.

Family Tree Events

Enabling family tree events drops pins on the map where a significant event occurred in your ancestors’ lives, based on your tree.

Checking the “events” box on the right side of your map drops pins on the map from your ancestors in your tree both on your ethnicity-only map, and on the Genetic Groups map, separately.

I checked the box, and now you can see my family events overlayed over the ethnicity circles.

Here, the same pins, but with both ethnicity and Genetic Groups included.

It’s a good idea to do this periodically and take a look. I discovered an issue – but the issue is mine, not theirs.

If you see something that looks odd, click on the pin. I knew immediately what had happened when I saw the ancestors involved.

These are my Acadian ancestors. Apparently, (my bad,) I had used the term broadly – Acadia – as a location.

While Acadia is a historical location, geo-coding today recognized the current location of Acadia Valley in Saskatchewan, Canada.

I need to clean this up and at least reflect Nova Scotia.

Ok, now I’m ready to drill down in a Genetic Group.

Select A Genetic Group

Keep in mind that Friesland is only about 20 by 20 miles, so a relatively small spot on the globe. Truthfully, I was skeptical that any genetic genealogy company could be this specific – accurately. There’s absolutely no question in my mind that there’s no way to be this specific using ethnicity alone.

I want to view the Genetic Group from the Friesland region of the Netherlands, so I clicked on that group name.

This group is low confidence for some reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant for me. Let’s take a look. (Remember to click to enlarge images.)

The heat map shows me where people from Friesland have immigrated.

The group information tells me the number of kits used to form the group – 2349, and the DNA kits linked to family trees – 1267. Based on the MyHeritage criteria, I know that many of these do in fact have a family connection to Friesland.

The default timeline displayed is 1900-1950. Each group includes different time periods, and information for each time period on the slider bar to the left.

I want to view the map from 1850-1900 when my Ferverda family immigrated to Indiana.

I didn’t realize that people from Friesland immigrated so widely.

My family event pins don’t mean that all of these people are associated with the Netherlands – they just provide clues to me about what might be a correlation between Friesland immigration and where my ancestors lived.

Genetic Group Information

Within each group, you can take a look at the:

  • Top places for each time period
  • Common surnames
  • Common given names
  • Common ethnicities
  • Related groups

Let’s take a look at the Friesland information.

Indeed, I do have ancestors from both Leeuwarden and Sneek, about 15 miles apart, plus other places in Friesland.

And yes, I have two of those surnames too.

I think I have all of these given names, but then again, they are quite common, and I have all 3 of those ethnicities.

Scandinavian has always baffled me, but this may actually help solve the riddle of why I continue to have Scandinavian ethnicity results. The Dutch people from this region tend to group with Scandinavians, which does make at least some sense given the location of my ancestors in the maritime Province of Friesland.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Several of my families are from the barrier islands off the coast too, which would be perfect stopovers for sailors and ships from throughout the region.

There’s more than one way to view your results.

Viewing in “All Available Regions”

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of your ethnicity results, below your last Genetic Group, you’ll see “Show all available regions.”

Click on this arrow to display differently, with the Genetic Groups clustered by ethnicity. If you’re wondering how to display your family tree events on your ethnicity-only map, you’ll find that functionality here, again, at the far right of your screen.

You can see my Genetic Groups clustered beneath their corresponding ethnicity.

This allows you to view which Genetic Groups have common ethnicities.

In other words, I can click on Scandinavian ethnicity and see which Genetic Groups fall into that category.

Remember, the first step of forming a Genetic Group is a genetic cluster, followed by confirming family trees. This provides us with the information that many of the people from Friesland have a significant amount of DNA that clusters with Scandinavian.

How does this stack up against my actual genealogy?

Looking at my genealogy, 14% of my ancestry comes from the Netherlands. Of course, we know that our ancestor’s DNA is not passed to us in 50% divisions every generation (except we do inherit 50% of each parents’ autosomal DNA from chromosomes 1-22.) However, I would expect more than 3.5% of my total DNA to be from these ancestors. This could be because the people in Friesland are themselves a mixture of Scandinavian and other regional ethnicities, such as North and West European which might translate to a more specific Genetic Group.

It’s worth a look to see what other groups might be found in this region, even if I’m not identified as a member. (Yes, I know I do have a second Dutch Genetic Group – I’m showing this as a research example.) Worst case, you’ve learned something about how ethnicities and Genetic Groups interact, even if they aren’t yours.

Exploring Genetic Groups Within Ethnicity Regions

By mousing over each Genetic Group, you can see the outline of the genetic group overlayed onto the map, along with the ethnicity.

You can see that the “Germany (Lower Saxony), Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands” Genetic Group overlaps with both the Scandinavian ethnicity blue region, and where my ancestors are found in the Netherlands. I think I’d like to explore that a little more.

Select the genetic group of your choice by clicking on the group name.

Let’s check on those ancestors who immigrated from Friesland to Indiana in the 1860s.

The first thing you’ll see is information about the group itself. Remember, this is not a group assigned to me by MyHeritage, but additional spelunking I’m doing on my own.

257 DNA kits were used to form this group, and of those, 103 have trees linked to this Genetic Group’s region, meaning “Germany (Lower Saxony), Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands.”

For each location, you will see a dropdown box of time periods. In this case, we’re looking at 1900-1950, but there are other time ranges available.

Timelines and Additional Information

All Genetic Groups have a timeline. By dropping down and looking at the timeline, you can view the heat map migration patterns observed in the timeframe for the ancestors of people in that particular group.

While these places “fit,” they aren’t nearly as close as the Friesland Genetic Group. Anderson is the English version of one of my surnames from the 1600s into the New Netherlands.

I do have some of these surnames, but these have been Anglicized and mine aren’t.

Scrolling on down shows related Genetic Groups.

This group seems to be very closely affiliated genetically with Scandinavia.

Music and Description

While you’re visiting your ethnicity, be sure to take time to read the description about your ethnicity regions and listen to a music sample.

In my case, the Dutch are conveniently located adjacent Scandinavia, the North Sea and share borders with Germany, so it makes sense that I would have both Scandinavian, Germanic and Northwest Europe ethnic heritage.

Furthermore, these regions overlap. Of course, people have migrated and milled around Europe for millennia.

Matches and More

While you can’t match to other people by Genetic Group, at least not yet (hint, hint MyHeritage,) you can sort your matches by a combination of both the tester’s location and ethnicity, combined.

I have a total of 12,838 matches.

If I filter my results by my Scandinavian ethnicity, I have 5,138 matches.

However, if I add a location filter of the Netherlands, I now have a total of 210 matches which is a lot more manageable and relevant.

Remember that the location is the current location of the tester themselves, not the location of their ancestors in their tree. I would love to be able to filter by ancestral location too (another hint, MyHeritage😊.)

Comparing those 210 matches against my mother and known maternal line cousins tells me immediately if this match is valid, and on which side.

I can tell you without looking further that this is a Ferverda line match, and yes, from Bauke Hendrik Ferverda (Ferwerda) who immigrated with his second wife and children in the 1860s, settling in northern Indiana. His first wife, my ancestor, Geertje Harmens de Jong had died in the Netherlands.

Of course, now I want to know how these matches match me and from which ancestor upsteam of Bauke and Geertje.

I do have one Theory of Family Relativity triangulated match with a 5th cousin and our common ancestors are indeed from Friesland.

I think I’ll run an AutoCluster now and see if known cousins and any of these matches are included in clusters which would provide additional hints for me to work with.

Genetic Groups and You

If you have not yet DNA tested at or transferred to MyHeritage, now’s the time.

You can order a kit, at this link, or better yet, if you have already tested elsewhere, you can upload your DNA file from that other vendor to MyHeritage right now, at this link.

The transfer is free, but you will need to pay the $29 unlock fee for the advanced tools. Transferring is cheaper than retesting, provides immediate gratification (hours as compared to weeks) and you can start right now.

If you need download instructions from other vendors, and upload instructions at MyHeritage, that’s right here.

Have fun and let me know what you find!



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67 thoughts on “Introducing Genetic Groups at MyHeritage

  1. Wow, I will need to check out my genetic groups on My Heritage. How many genetic groups are there for Ashkenazi Jews? (Ancestry groups European Jewish ancestry into six different groups, which was very helpful for me.)

  2. I’m happy to hear My Heritage “nailed” yours, but the ethnicity estimate they still show for me is by far the least accurate of all four major companies, even Ancestry’s. As for micro-locations of relatedness, one of the 256 genetic groups for English is Breathitt, Kentucky, a small county with about 12,000 people. There’s also Harlan, Kentucky and Johnson, Kentucky, so I suspect My Heritage is simply showing the locations that cousin matches have on their trees or their personal profiles. But I know I have cousins in Kentucky. To me they are not “genetic groups”, they’re cousin match locations. Which really doesn’t help locate where their ancestors originated. They also still lump together in the “English” genetic groups one for all “French settlers in Northeastern United States and in Canada”. Boy, that’s a LOT bigger than Breathitt, Kentucky. Sorry to be negative, but I’ve been waiting many years for these companies to get their act together on ethnicity results. The result for me is I’m not interested in paying to upgrade, Last Chance Christmas Day Sale or no.

    • I wonder if the key to my Ditch regions is that it’s not really distant ancestry and there are quite a few testers there.

  3. Yes, this is indeed an interesting project. As I’ve mentioned before, I have two kits at MyHeritage, one from an FTDNA transfer and one from a MyHeritage test. It’s always been very interesting to me that the ethnicity estimates show for the two show some interesting differences; here are the latest estimates:

    FTDNA transfer sample “Native” MyHeritage sample
    Scandinavian 44.2% English 58.3%
    English 41.1% Scandinavian 34.2%
    Iberian 14.7% Iberian 6.5%

    Genetic Communities (default confidence level) for my FTDNA transfer sample:

    Mormons in Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, Wyoming and in Colorado
    Northeastern and Midwestern USA
    Northwestern England
    England, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark
    Southern USA
    England (Yorkshire) #3
    Midwestern USA

    Genetic Communities (default confidence level) for my “native” MyHeritage sample:

    Mormons in Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, Wyoming and in Colorado
    England, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark
    Southern USA
    Mormons in Utah and in Idaho

    Neither of the “population” level estimates matches very well with what I know about my ancestry, but the “Genetic Groups” for both samples are actually much closer to what I know, which fascinates me. I assume this is because the “Genetic Groups” combines DNA data with tree data.

    One other thing. This seems at least superficially similar to the “Additional Communities” feature at Ancestry. which I believe is also a combination of DNA data and tree data. My additional communities at Ancestry are:

    1. Mountain West Mormon Pioneers
    2. Denmark, more specifically North Jutland
    3. Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois & Iowa Settlers, more specifically Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Southeast Iowa

    Would you care to comment on what you see as the differences between the “Genetic Groups” feature at MyHeritage and the “Additional Communities” feature at Ancestry?

    • I too presume the underlying methodology is similar and I don’t have any way to scientifically compare the differences. One thing I did notice is that MyHeritage has twice as many. So I suspect Ancestry’s criteria is different. Also MyHeritage has a larger European focus.

  4. Another great post.
    My MH region results are a bit mixed: nothing exciting but less of it is seriously strange.
    For a number of reasons (some of which I know) my ethnicity estimates from whichever company contain some wild suggestions. These are better.
    Nobody seems to have a reference panel for Cornwall, but Ancestry’s Communities locates my Cornish ancestors in the hundred of Kerrier, which is highly accurate.
    Kerrier is a region very roughly similar in size to Friesland.
    MyHeritage’s regions still does not have one for Cornwall, but Australians of Cornish ancestry are gradually lodging their DNA there, so it may happen in a year or two.
    It’s good to see their much-vaunted IT capabilities are showing something for their effort.

  5. Oops. I screwed up the formatting of the ethnicity estimates. They should be:

    FTDNA transfer sample
    Scandinavian 44.2%
    English 41.1%
    Iberian 14.7%

    “native” MyHeritage Sample
    English 59.3%
    Scandinavian 34.2%
    Iberian 6.5%

  6. What a great article (again).
    Only your measurements of Friesland are off: is roughly 37 by 37 miles (yes, I checked with Google maps), so still a relatively small spot on the globe, but quite a bit larger than 20 x 20.

  7. Thanks for the update. As a small detail: Friesland is 50×50 miles, not 20×20.
    The elfstedentocht is about 200 km. A sufficient length to get tired.

  8. I’m very intrigued by this new update. I only have one group under the high confidence but two quite accurate ones under the medium setting.

    Considering that the majority of matches I have at MyHeritage are with my Fruilian group ancestry, I was surprised to find it was not the group that appears with the high confidence, but only with the medium setting. The high confidence group is the most generic – Northeastern and Midwest and Canada – but it is accurate!

    I will be very curious to see their 2021 ethnicity update as well, as MyHeritage and FTDNA were previously my most accurate ancestries.

  9. Selecting a Time Period for the display of Family Events does not filter the display for me. Is there a way to filter the events based on time period?

    An event for London, England was displayed as London, Canada. After adding United Kingdom, it displayed correctly.

      • If I select the Time Period of 1600-1650, all Family Events are displayed on the map regardless of the time of the event all the way up to 2014.. If I select the Time Period of 1950-2000, all the events from the 1500s upward are displayed. It would be more helpful to me if only the events for the selected time frame were displayed.

  10. Thanks for providing such detailed info about these new features! I was wondering about the Acadian issue you mentioned, if your DNA test and family tree was included in the genetic grouping process, would not these ancestor’s location be assigned incorrectly to Acadia, Canada?

  11. Wile they got my Irish ancestry sort of right 17% vs 25%, the other 3 high confidence groups are mashed together somehow. I have Acadian Ancestry, from Nova Scotia, not Louisiana. I think these should be one group, but they’ve split them up. I’ve got 9814 DNA matches with Irish ethnicity, except these are my Acadian matches. Poitier, Millette, and Marchant with a couple of Irish matches thrown in. Still needs work in my book.

    • “I think these should be one group, but they’ve split them up.” This is an interesting thought in that the base genetics of the Acadian people may be similar, but there is what I would imagine a “cultural” difference by the time Acadians became “Cajuns” in Louisiana that is indicative of time, geographical space, and the possibility of mixing with other populations. This could have varying influences on family tree development, which would (in my opinion anyway) warrant the possibility of “splitting” the genetic community. I’m not that versed in either culture or migration, but it is just a thought.

  12. You mentioned being baffled by Scandinavian matches, perhaps this might be related to locations entered in unsupported format. I’m using a local software version for recording family trees, the default format is widely used ISO standard formt, however seemingly not compliant with MH format for geographical locations. Uploading Gedcom to MH does not include location format validation. So my tree contains a lot of issues, similar to the Acadian issue you described. My ancestors end up in e.g. India, Egypt, Italy, just to mention a few. This may explain whatever weird things you noticed?

    • When I enable the “Family Tree Event” feature” in my Ethnicity Estimate map, 89 out of 333 events turn out incorrectly located, i.e. 26%.

        • Yes, I will adapt the tree event format in my tree. Thanks for highlighting this issue. Hopefully MH will manage to validate higher percentages of locations in other trees.

  13. I’m glad that MyHeritage found your Dutch heritage correctly. However, for me, the new MyHeritage ethnicity estimate is hands-down the least accurate I’ve seen to date from any DNA testing company. The new estimate says that I am 39% Scandinavian, 35% Irish, Scottish, Welsh, 17% Balkan, and 8% Greek. Unfortunately, I have none of these ethnicities in my ancestry! I’m mostly English and German, with a little bit of Czech, based on my research back to most of my 6th-to-10th grandparents. I’ve never put much stock in the accuracy of these estimates (I’ve almost always shown more Scandinavian than friends who are first-generation Americans from Norway). But I thought these estimates would eventually become more accurate over time as their testing base grew. Sigh.

  14. HI Roberta; Great article. Good update from MH too – absolutely nailed my father, mother and my wife too.

    You write alot about your Native American heritage – did MH capture any of your NA ethnicity, or are the Genetic Groups a euro-centric update (since MH is very euro-focused)?

    Or is your NA% just too small probably?

    Curious to know.

  15. Thanks for letting us know about these groups. As usual, my dad’s genetic groups (as with Ancestry) are spot-on: Co. Clare, Limerick, Kerry in Ireland. That’s accurate as far as my dad’s mother’s line is concerned. Somehow, his father’s side (Co. Offaly, Co. Kilkenny) never shows up — presumably, not enough matches/trees? My mom has no genetic groups at all. (Also the case at Ancestry.) Her dad was a 1st generation American whose parents came from central Italy. I think it’s lack of testers in that area. However, on her mother’s side, her line goes back in the U.S. to at least 1750 so I would’ve thought she might show up in a U.S.-related genetic group.

  16. Thanks for you quick and thorough review of this exciting new feature and to the MH team for all their efforts on this. I have followed your very helpful steps for a portion of the kits I work with and find the results a combination of insightful, confirming, puzzlling, and seemingly just wrong. It is going to take some effort to sort out the best ways to utilize these new tools. For example, the differences that are reported in the genetic groups of 4 full siblings I work with is curious and a bit troubling. There are a total of 22 genetic groups listed with none shared by all 4 siblings and only 4 of these genetic groups shared by 3 of the 4. One of the siblings has 11 groups that are shared with none, or the just 1, of the other 3 individuals. I have evaluated these at all 3 confidence levels (H,M,L) with similar inconsistencies. There is no question at all as to the common heritage of these individuals.
    I believe a key to explaining and utilizing these genetic groups will come from emphasizing that they differ from actual dna heritage. For instance, I have one fully Irish person who shows no fully Irish groups but does match to a genetic group of combined Irish/Italian immigrants. When I check the actual family tree heritage I see that an Irish great aunt married into an Italian family and then had a great many descendants. Probably represented in the MH data base. So, no Italian ancestry at all for this individual, but family members are properly represented there and her fully Irish chromosome inherited from the common parents to this great Aunt are now presumably “associated” as Italian. Fascinating, but this will take some learning to properly utilize.

  17. Hi. I have a question about the heat map. You mentioned it showed where people immigrated to. But what about the genetic groups in the Americas? When the heat map for those shows areas in Europe, does that mean that those areas are where people immigrated from? I’m pretty confused.

  18. Greetings. I am part of the African Diaspora and the Genetic Groups for me listed were either incorrect in confidence level or just outright inaccurate. Under Nigerian, two Genetic Groups were listed. The first identified at the highest confidence level is simply WRONG. I have ZERO ancestors from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. Even the cousin matches from these countries are few and shared DNA is low (i.e., 8 cM). The Genetic Group identified at the medium confidence level is correct: Jamaica. But how it is possible it is not identified as the highest when most of my recent ancestors are from there? Under Iberian, Dominican Republic was identified as a Genetic Group at the low confidence level. I do match many Dominicans; however, I have found many more Puerto Ricans and Azorean Portuguese and the shared DNA is much higher. Lastly, I want to point out that most of these DNA companies or third party websites overestimate my West African and underestimate all other ethnicities Using chromosome painting at and comparing it to 23andMe results, I see that the latter company “paints” quite a few of my non-African” DNA segments as West African. Lastly, Genetic Groups can be a useful tool if the results are accurate. I have contacted MyHeritage and I am waiting for their response regarding the inaccuracies of my Genetic Groups.

  19. Thanks for your article, Roberta.

    As to uploading results to MyHeritage, there is a twist that actually might well prevent managing kits other than one’s own.

    Rallying to your advice, I uploaded my sister’s and brother’s results from FTDNA a few days ago and got the message the results were posted today.

    I assumed that since I had uploaded the results to MyHeritage that I would actually be able to manage their accounts, and, opening my page, their results appeared ‘managed by me’.

    This is not so. First I tried to find out how to access their accounts from the inside and could find no such way. Then, when I sought to invite them to our family site so I could connect them to our family tree, the invitation blank would not accept my email. It turns out that MyHeritage requires a separate email to set up an account for each separate set of results. My sister and brother are not interested in this all and have tested as a favor to me. They are certainly not interested in receiving a barrage of emails from MyHeritage. In fact, even though MyHeritage describes me as managing their kits or accounts on its site, I cannot in fact do so as I can at FTDNA unless I use or set up a separate email. (As MyHeritage has wisely detected, no two family members ever ever use the same email account. Ever.) I can see my sister’s and brother’s matches and ethnicity results, which is something, but that’s about as far as it goes. Anything else I might hope to do for them the site makes impossible by requiring a separate email for either of them.

    Something your readers should know if they do not already.

    Best wishes for new year!

    Scott Swanson

      • IThe FAQs and customer service both said one email per account. If you know of some way of managing the accounts of others one has uploaded, happy to know about it! Possibly you do this yourself?

          • So far as I remember, I signed into my account at MyHeritage, then entered the Swanson family site (as opposed to three others to which I belong), then following your directions uploaded my sister’s and brother’s DNA from FTDNA (where I manage their kits). If there’s another way of doing this that would treat those uploads as part of my account, I’d love to know about it, can delete the two uploads, and start again.

          • I’m not sure what you’re doing, but I used the upload link and testes this, through the portion where I would have selected the file to upload. I was never prompted for an email for the person – only asked questions about permission, etc. I think you’re doing something different. If they sense the kit has already been uploaded, you may have to delete the other one first – so if you have another one to upload – choose that one. Try this link – it’s what I used.

    • Greetings. The question is does your mother have English ancestry? I have partial Sicilian ancestry and these companies either identify it or they don’t. Do the genetic groups in England make sense to you? I would be more concerned about the genetic groups than the ethnicity estimates as they can be inaccurate. MyHeritage is considered the least accurate in ethnicity estimates.

      • Do large numbers of your matches have English ethnicity? On the DNA tab, click Overview and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the ethnicity distribution of your matches ranked in order. Is English one of the top choices?

        My ethnicity is Ashkenazi Jewish, so that’s the top ethnicity for my matches. My #2 and #3 ethnicities are NW European and Irish, Scottish, Welsh. I have a lot of matches in NW Europe, which is reflected in one of my five genetic groups.

        • Thanks for the replies. My Mother was born in England to English parents. I think we can safely say that the Ethnicity Estimate is very wrong.

  20. I’m a member of 5 of 25 Ashkenazi Jewish genetic groups. Each group displays different combinations of European countries. I was absolutely fascinated by the heat maps as they showed where the members of each group migrated over the centuries. I didn’t realize that so many Ashkenazi lived in the UK in the 1600s and 1700s. Even as late as 1900 to 1950, the largest clusters for some of my groups were in the Netherlands. (I’ve visited Amsterdam and loved it!) The people in my groups started migrating from Western and Central Europe to Eastern Europe later than I had expected (around 1750s to 1800s).

    At a high level, my genetic groups seem accurate. My grandparents were born in Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, Romania) and emigrated to the US in the 1900s to 1910s.

    Because I have some Sephardic ancestry as well, I researched the heat maps for the North African Sephardic groups to see where they might have intersected with the Ashkenazi in NW Europe. The two most promising clusters are the Turkey, Greece, Algeria, Morocco, France cluster; and the Aleppo, Syria, and Egypt cluster.

    What surprised me was that the heat maps don’t show any migration from the Middle East to Russia. Once you’ve crossed the Black Sea, you’re in Russia or Ukraine. (My maternal grandfather had an Arabic last name and lived in Odessa before emigrating to the USA.)

    Wonder if the experts at My Heritage could weigh in on that observation?

  21. Hi Roberta,

    Thanks for this great review of the new Ethnicity Groups on MyHeritage!

    My recent ancestry (at least back to about 1700) is 100% Dutch, mostly from the Provinces of Friesland, Overijssel and Drenthe, and, yes, they nailed my Dutch regions as well. All of my North and West European ethnicity has now been broken down to 7 regions of the Netherlands, 2 of those are with high confidence: Netherlands (Friesland) and Netherlands (Drenthe, Overijssel and Friesland)!

    Just one note on a statement you made and may want to correct.

    “I don’t want to give anything away…but MyHeritage absolutely NAILED IT with my Dutch ancestry, identifying a small Province in the Netherlands, Friesland, only about 20 miles by 20 miles.”

    While all Dutch provinces are small compared to say US States or Canadian and Australian provinces, they’re not actually THAT small 😉

    20 by 20 miles would equate to Friesland only having an area of 400 square miles. It actually has an area of 2,220 square miles (ten times larger), which breaks down to about 53 miles horizontally (from West-Terschelling on the island of Terschelling to the village of Ureterp) by 42 miles vertically (from the village of Hollum on the island of Ameland down to the town of Lemmer).

    Kind regards from the Netherlands,

    Jan de Veen

  22. Dear Roberta,

    My Results are

    Nigerian 59,6%

    genetic groups

    Suriname (Paramaribo and Netherlands)
    Surinam, Haiti,Trinidad and Tobago and Africa, Nigeria,liberia, Cote D’ivoire and Ghana
    Eastern USA

    Sierra leonine 25,8 %
    West African 6,3%
    Kenyan 5,3%
    Central African 3%

    Additional genetic groups

    Netherlands (North Holland)
    Sweden ( Skane)
    Dominican Republic

    I have a question about the additional groups does this mean this is in my DNA ? Because before that I did not add a family three.

    My youngest daughter is also black but has Chinese eyes and surpisingly with the update of additional genetic groups her additional groups are

    Chinese living in Indonesia
    German and Netherlands.

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind Regards,

    Samantha Bow

  23. I am quite confused, myheritage now lists one of my genetic groups as Puerto Rico. Very fascinating to me but my heritage comes up with nothing Hispanic. It has a medium confidence level. Does this mean I have a direct ancestor who is Hispanic, or does it indicate a cousin marriage?

    • No, it wouldn’t be cousin marriage. Maybe there is an immigrant group that settled there that you cluster with for some reason?

  24. Good info, but I’m still a little stuck. I have one genetic group out of all the ethnicity on the highest one and it says the confidence level is low. this was helpful but im a little disappointed i didn’t get where im specifically from, maybe in the future. i still fill like there is something wrong, i don’t know why my confidence level is low and why its not like others. of course its not supposed to be the same as others, but im mixed so there should be more than one genetic group showing. my opinion on this update is i don’t like how its setup. i’m not a pro at this because i don’t even know how they do this but i just feel like instead they should replace putting regions to putting exactly where you are. thought it would show me it that way when i first bought the DNA kit because of peoples reviews on youtube and what it looks like. i basically tried to transfer it to ancestry since my dad was doing it and he got exact results but they don’t take transfers. this DNA estimate is really confusing for me. because the estimate said was eastern European, and many more, but genetic groups were saying i was more on the western side. I don’t know if its because of my family tree, but im confused to what race or group i belong to. i don’t know how im supposed to go off eastern European are they saying im all of the countries or what? maybe i could use a different site to do my DNA on, but that’s just a waste of money so im just sitting here trying to go deeper on why it cant figure out who i am and so far m getting nowhere. i just wanted to get this over with and know who i really am.

    • No DNA test can tell you who you really are. The best they can do is to tell you which groups of people you match similarly. Traditional genealogy will tell you who your ancestors were.

    • My ancestors were Eastern European Jews, yet three of my genetic groups show a strong emphasis in NW Europe. It’s possible that some of my earlier ancestors were originally from NW Europe. People do move around!

  25. Do our matches influence how our ethnicity is determined or do they use only the data from the groups of people we match similarly?
    Would our ethnicity be the same if we had no DNA matches?

      • Can your ethnicity results change if your children or parents or a sibling test at the same company as you?

        • 23andMe tries to adjust based on parents, but I don’t think the other vendors do. I’m not sure how successful it is. My daughter’s don’t phase accurately.

  26. I wonder if anyone can help me with this question. My ethnicity results were a mix of predominantly western European and a healthy dose of Baltic, West Asian and Eastern European – absolutely no Ashkenazi Jewish whatsoever. But with Genetic groups (on high confidence setting) – Ashkenazi Jewish is listed first, followed by two other groups which were extremely accurate in terms of my family history. Incidentally, my great uncle tested as 17% Ashkenazi Jewish in his ethnicity estimate. Any ideas? Anyone?

    • Which Ashkenazi Jewish genetic group do you belong to? There are three Ashkenazi Jewish genetic groups that are also shared with Northern European non-Jews.

      • Hello Karen – they have identified the group as “Eastern and Central Europe, mostly Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia
        Group ID: 5052” -would that be one of those groups then? Thanks for your help.

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