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View Full Version : Does 23andMe's Timeline feature corroborate between family members using 23andMe 🤔



Claudio
05-30-2017, 04:40 PM
Has anyone noticed if the timeline feature corroborates between family members 🤔
For instance will an uncle's and nephews results be a generation different amongst an ancestor they share amongst that ethnicity etc respectively 🤔

geebee
05-30-2017, 06:54 PM
It doesn't necessarily correlate. It depends on whether a given ancestry was inherited from just one parent, or both.

For example, the highest percentage 23andMe shows for me is 43.5% British & Irish, so they say


You most likely had a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was 100% British & Irish. This person was likely born between 1870 and 1930.

However, my dad's percentage isn't all that much different from mine: 45.0%. So they tell him


You most likely had a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was 100% British & Irish. This person was likely born between 1840 and 1900.

The only thing different is the years, since they're based on when my dad and I were born. As you can see, it's still "parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent for both of us." Conceivably, I inherited most of my father's British & Irish, rather than just half of it; but more likely, I simply inherited British & Irish from both parents.

Certainly this is true for my daughter, since she actually has more British & Irish than I do: 59.0%. So in her timeline you'd see this


You most likely had a parent, or grandparent who was 100% British & Irish. This person was likely born between 1930 and 1960.

Not only are the years different, since Kathryn is a generation younger than I am, but for her the prediction doesn't go past grandparent. This wouldn't have to mean one of my parents -- and obviously it can't be my father, since we can see he's only 45.0% British & Irish. It could be my mother, though it isn't.

Or my daughter's "100%" British & Irish parent or grandparent could mean either her mother or one of her mother's parents. Only, it doesn't. Here is my wife's British & Irish: 66.8%.

So 23andMe tells Diane


You most likely had a parent, or grandparent who was 100% British & Irish. This person was likely born between 1900 and 1930.

Notice that, except for the years, that's exactly the same prediction as for Kathryn. The reason is that Kathryn inherited more British & Irish from her mother than she did from me, so she has more of this component than I do; but at the same time she did inherit the component from both parents.

This points up a flaw in 23andMe's reasoning in its timeline. They assume that each given ancestry can be traced to just one "most recent ancestor" who's 100% of that ancestry. For many of their customers -- perhaps even for most of the American ones -- this will not always be true.

On the other hand, I can also show you an ancestry that my daughter inherited only from me. It's a very small amount of Native American. For me, the percentage is 2.0%, and 23andMe says


You most likely had a fourth great-grandparent, fifth great-grandparent, sixth great-grandparent, or seventh great (or greater) grandparent who was 100% Native American. This person was likely born between 1690 and 1780.

And for my daughter, who has 1.5%, 23andMe says


You most likely had a fourth great-grandparent, fifth great-grandparent, sixth great-grandparent, or seventh great (or greater) grandparent who was 100% Native American. This person was likely born between 1720 and 1810.

Huh. That's the same prediction as for me, except for the years. So in this case, the problem isn't that Kathryn inherited this ancestry from both parents, but that she inherited much more than half the amount of Native American DNA that was passed on to me.

That shows a 2nd flaw in 23andMe's reasoning, that you can assume that you inherited half of any given ancestry each parent has. That certainly is not always true, especially for a component that is pretty small to begin with. You might not inherit any of it; you might inherit all of it. Or anything in-between.

However, for a larger ancestry -- as long as you inherited from just one parent -- it likely will correlate as to both the years and the number of generations back that the "100%" ancestor is predicted to have lived. Not always, but more often than not.

Claudio
05-30-2017, 09:05 PM
Interesting... when they say back to an ancestor of 100% of that ethnicity Are you sure they mean to literally 100% as I don't think anyone is 100% of an ethinicty🤔
Example an typical Italian is 70% Italian DNA the rest made up of admix a typical Irish person is 95% Irish DNA the rest admix.. and typical British person is 60% British DNA the rest admix so if they are only taking it back to the most recent ancestor that had the percentages of a typical native to that country does that change things at all for the math you mention for your family above and how things could be perceived for Kathryn 🤔

geebee
05-30-2017, 11:56 PM
Interesting... when they say back to an ancestor of 100% of that ethnicity Are you sure they mean to literally 100% as I don't think anyone is 100% of an ethinicty��
Example an typical Italian is 70% Italian DNA the rest made up of admix a typical Irish person is 95% Irish DNA the rest admix.. and typical British person is 60% British DNA the rest admix so if they are only taking it back to the most recent ancestor that had the percentages of a typical native to that country does that change things at all for the math you mention for your family above and how things could be perceived for Kathryn ��

You're probably right that no one is really 100% of anything, except that at 23andMe if someone is part of the reference population for a particular group, they'll be 100% by definition. Those that aren't, will be excluded from the group.

At Ancestry, for any ancestral component you can see how a "typical native" compares. For example, I have 44% Europe West. But, the average "Europe West" for a typical native of the region isn't much higher -- just 44%.

In the case of 23andMe, they really do seem to mean to show your ancestry timeline going back to individuals with 100% of whatever component is being considered. It may very well be that you're right about the reality, and in many cases you'll never find the ancestor who was 100%.

Claudio
06-01-2017, 10:22 AM
What was your oldest ancestor on your 23andMe timeline.. and how accurate do you think the 23andMe timeline Was for them? What do you think the margin of error is? 100 years? More? Less?

serena297
08-06-2017, 03:45 AM
Nope, it's all over the place for those of us in the family that took it. I don't really pay much attention to it because of that, but it'd be nice if they could get it straight for the amount we paid!

Claudio
08-07-2017, 04:13 PM
Nope, it's all over the place for those of us in the family that took it. I don't really pay much attention to it because of that, but it'd be nice if they could get it straight for the amount we paid!

Got my results..
23andme gave me Italian,British,and Jewish ancestry and to a much smaller extent French and German,Iberian and Scandinavian.
I only have a paper trail for the Italian,British and Jewish but the timeline surprisingly matches the paperwork.. I expect the further back it goes the less accurate it gets lol

serena297
08-07-2017, 04:16 PM
That's exciting! It probably does get less accurate the farther back you go. Plus, I always assume at least some of it is noise depending on how little of a percentage it is. Those of us without a paper trail have less to work with I guess, so it's amazing it lines up for you!

Claudio
08-07-2017, 08:10 PM
That's exciting! It probably does get less accurate the farther back you go. Plus, I always assume at least some of it is noise depending on how little of a percentage it is. Those of us without a paper trail have less to work with I guess, so it's amazing it lines up for you!

As far as you know/been told,what is your known ancestry?
What did 23andMe give you?
How does it compare?

serena297
08-07-2017, 09:14 PM
As far as I know I'm Punjabi. Everyone has their family stories of coming from here or there, but I just expected Indian tbh. 23andme gave me mainly South Asian, random bits of Finnish and European. Yet at conservative it was only sure 80 something percent was SA which was odd for me. Wasn't aware that 23 lumped together South Asian with Central Asian either so it wasn't til I transferred to other sites that I saw I was roughly half Indian half CA. It's all cool, but I don't have much to validate it with and I'm skeptical about everything lol. I think in terms of Euro genetics most people find it matches up with what they know or found through research. The rest of us it's kind of hit or miss and we have to spend extra time figuring it all out. Guess I sorta signed up for it though lol.

Claudio
08-07-2017, 09:50 PM
As far as I know I'm Punjabi. Everyone has their family stories of coming from here or there, but I just expected Indian tbh. 23andme gave me mainly South Asian, random bits of Finnish and European. Yet at conservative it was only sure 80 something percent was SA which was odd for me. Wasn't aware that 23 lumped together South Asian with Central Asian either so it wasn't til I transferred to other sites that I saw I was roughly half Indian half CA. It's all cool, but I don't have much to validate it with and I'm skeptical about everything lol. I think in terms of Euro genetics most people find it matches up with what they know or found through research. The rest of us it's kind of hit or miss and we have to spend extra time figuring it all out. Guess I sorta signed up for it though lol.

Interesting 🤔
Are both your parents Punjabi?
Have you tested with any other companies besides 23andMe?

serena297
08-07-2017, 10:57 PM
Yep, as far as I know. Nope, just 23andme. Apparently, the fact that I tested with the V4 chip means my results are noisier and not as accurate when I transfer to other sites or have analyses done, so I feel like I wasted money lol.My dad did National Genographic back in 09 and that was interesting. When I'm not a broke college student, I'll probably try out a different test. Have you done other companies?

Claudio
08-08-2017, 12:56 AM
Yep, as far as I know. Nope, just 23andme. Apparently, the fact that I tested with the V4 chip means my results are noisier and not as accurate when I transfer to other sites or have analyses done, so I feel like I wasted money lol.My dad did National Genographic back in 09 and that was interesting. When I'm not a broke college student, I'll probably try out a different test. Have you done other companies?

Originally did AncestryDNA
Have just recently got my results for 23andMe,My Heritage,FTDNA and are still awaiting results from new uk company LivingDNA..
My AncestryDNA,23andMe results were very very similar.. myHeritage not so much.. FTDNA were so different in comparison it was laughable lol 🙈
In hindsight if I had to recommend 2 tests it would be AncestryDNA and 23andMe.
You said you got mostly South Asia?
That sounds about right for Indian yeah?
Did you say 23andMe lump south Asian and Central Asia? I would have thought central Asian would come partly under there East Asian section they seem to have Central Asia stuff covered in that section 🤔
What European ancestry did you get assigned?

serena297
08-08-2017, 01:25 AM
Ahh, I see. I have been looking into LivingDNA, but not sure if it'll be any better for me. Really? Oh wow. I did FTDNA and it wasn't too bad, but still very off. Might try Ancestry next and see if it's any better! Thought so too, but looking at the list of ethnicities grouped under South Asian, it definitely seems so:

"This dataset includes people of Afghan, Balochi, Bangladeshi, Brahui, Burusho, Hazara, Indian, Kalash, Makrani, Nepalese, Pakistani, Pathan, Sindhi, Sri Lankan, or Uygur ancestry. " That's a lot of people that aren't necessarily South Asian leaning, but more Central Asian or more of a hybrid between the two. I just wish they had it's own category? Dna.Land isnt exactly the best, but at least it had the sense to make a Central Asian category along with FTDNA (I think the first version?). 23andme's East Asian is more Mongol/East Asian leaning groups at least in my mind.
For European, 23andme said it was Finnish, British and "Broadly European." & apparently it's fairly certain I had a full Finnish ancestor in like 1800 (it's been too long since I logged in so just guessing this number right now lol) which is odd to say the least :P. FTDNA said British Isles and in the description seemed to be Irish/Scottish more than English. Dna land says NW European & again with the Finnish. Did you have any bits and bobs that were out of place for you?

Claudio
08-08-2017, 12:00 PM
Ahh, I see. I have been looking into LivingDNA, but not sure if it'll be any better for me. Really? Oh wow. I did FTDNA and it wasn't too bad, but still very off. Might try Ancestry next and see if it's any better! Thought so too, but looking at the list of ethnicities grouped under South Asian, it definitely seems so:

"This dataset includes people of Afghan, Balochi, Bangladeshi, Brahui, Burusho, Hazara, Indian, Kalash, Makrani, Nepalese, Pakistani, Pathan, Sindhi, Sri Lankan, or Uygur ancestry. " That's a lot of people that aren't necessarily South Asian leaning, but more Central Asian or more of a hybrid between the two. I just wish they had it's own category? Dna.Land isnt exactly the best, but at least it had the sense to make a Central Asian category along with FTDNA (I think the first version?). 23andme's East Asian is more Mongol/East Asian leaning groups at least in my mind.
For European, 23andme said it was Finnish, British and "Broadly European." & apparently it's fairly certain I had a full Finnish ancestor in like 1800 (it's been too long since I logged in so just guessing this number right now lol) which is odd to say the least :P. FTDNA said British Isles and in the description seemed to be Irish/Scottish more than English. Dna land says NW European & again with the Finnish. Did you have any bits and bobs that were out of place for you?

That's interesting.. 🤔
I see what you mean about the Central Asian..
23andme have done some questionable things in regard to the categories lol
For instance lumping North African together with Arabian?
Which must be frustrating for say Spanish or Portuguese people trying to investigate any North African ancestry and separating it from Arabian or a Middle Easterner investigating there Arabian ancestry and seperating from North African.
As far as out of place things all other tests assigned my Southern European as Italian and roughly the same amount of Ashkenazi.. FTDNA on the other hand assigned my Ashkenazi as Almost exclusively West Middle East which though West Middle East being the Levant and having some credence with Ashkenazi Jew Levantine roots was still a bit strange that it didn't just assign as Ashkenazi lol the biggest blunder in my opinion was that FTDNA assigned my Italian as largely Iberian.
Though AncestryDNA assigned me some trace regions of Middle East,Both Myheritage and FTDNA assigned me larger chunks of West Asian 🤔
LivingDNA (who I'm waiting on) are only company to breakdown Middle East West Asia ancestry into Six catergories so I will be interested if anything comes up and where LivingDNA will assign it?
Concerning European British being assign you to 1800 hundred 🤔
Could be from the colonial British empires involvement in India??

A Norfolk L-M20
08-08-2017, 03:09 PM
In my lowly opinion, 23andme's "Ancestry Timeline" feature is perhaps the single worse presentation feature of any DNA ancestry test that I have taken. It doesn't compare for example, to AncestryDNA's Genetic Communities.

It appears to work very simply as Ancestry Composition percentages, projected onto a recent generation time scale. If the AC results are off, then the Timeline appears even more off target.

Not to be taken at all seriously as a tool to decipher ancestry. But that's just my opinion.

ArmandoR1b
08-08-2017, 09:24 PM
Have just recently got my results for 23andMe

Someone recently inquired as to why they have v5 in their raw data download file name and they were told by 23andme that a v5 chip was released. When you go to https://you.23andme.com/tools/data/download/ and download your raw data does is say v5 in the file name?

There is speculation that it is the same chip used by LivingDNA.

serena297
08-09-2017, 06:09 AM
All of these sites either make things super confusing or help clear things up for people lol. I wish everything was super precise and reliable, it'd save us all from going down a rabbit hole trying to piece all this together. The 1800 ancestor was apparently Finnish so I don't think they employed Finns in the British Army, but I guess anything is possible lol.

Claudio
08-09-2017, 05:36 PM
[QUOTE=serena297;271946]All of these sites either make things super confusing or help clear things up for people lol. I wish everything was super precise and reliable, it'd save us all from going down a rabbit hole trying to piece all this together. The 1800 ancestor was apparently Finnish so I don't think they employed Finns in the British Army, but I guess anything is possible lol.[/QUOT

Finnish men were renowned as sailors in the 17/18th century.. they worked for the Merchant Navies of both Sweden and Britain.. Also in this time period both Britain and Sweden had "East India trade companies" in India 🤔
So You never know?

wombatofthenorth
08-10-2017, 01:17 AM
it works for us and makes sense person to person

Claudio
08-10-2017, 07:26 PM
All of these sites either make things super confusing or help clear things up for people lol. I wish everything was super precise and reliable, it'd save us all from going down a rabbit hole trying to piece all this together. The 1800 ancestor was apparently Finnish so I don't think they employed Finns in the British Army, but I guess anything is possible lol.


On second thoughts I wouldn't think to deeply into it.. I would just look at it that at some point in the 19th century you had a white European ancestor and just compartmentalize it like that 🤔