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View Full Version : Ancestry DNA Arrived; Seeking Assistance! (American)



MischievousRaven
02-21-2017, 02:06 AM
Hey all; I'm new here (this is my first post!) but although I'm a greenhorn, I'm very interested in ancestry and thought I'd post here with my background and Ancestry DNA results! Many things don't "add up," so to speak, so if you have words of wisdom/explanations of why my results are what they are, please feel free to share. :) I apologize in advance for my candidness and ignorance; still very much learning and getting a grasp on the historical migration patterns and whatnot. Thanks in advance for all replies/assistance!

So, just a little bit of background: I'm an American of primarily European descent.
My entire life, I was told that my father's father's side was primarily from south/central Germany, and supposedly included Native American ancestry; we aren't sure when the Germans from this side arrived in the USA, but it was at least back to the 1800s.
My father's mother's side was primarily Dutch; I can trace this line back to the Noord-Brabant and surrounding areas in the Netherlands, as well as direct ancestors from England, Wales, and Ireland (including royalty!) several generations back-- some of which came over in the late 1600s/1700s when the United States were just colonies!
My mother's father's side is suspected primarily German as well, suspected Saxony area; interestingly enough, his family immigrated to the USA before most Saxons came to the USA (pre-1840s). I've also been able to trace back to a direct ancestor (3x great grandmother, I believe) through this line who was from Bern, Switzerland and immigrated to the USA.
My mother's mother's side, back to my 5x great grandparents on that side, came almost exclusively from the Saxony area of Germany, and were part of the Saxon Lutheran Immigration to Missouri in 1838-1839.

So, going into this, I was suspecting that I was primarily German and Dutch with trace amounts of English/Welsh/Irish/Swiss/Native American/etc. So, I expected for my Ancestry DNA results to show a large percentage of Europe West, multiple European trace regions, and a trace amount of Native American.

However.. my results were quite different from my expectations!

My ancestry estimate, according to Ancestry DNA:

Europe 98%:
Scandinavia 30%
Great Britain 29%
Europe West 16%
Italy/Greece 9%
Europe East 7%
Iberian Peninsula 4%
Finland/Northwest Russia 1%
European Jewish 1%
Ireland <1%

Africa <1%:
Africa North <1%

West Asia <1%:
Middle East <1%

From what I've been reading, there is a lot of admixing/lack of distinction between the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Europe West in regards to dna, which could account for the German/Dutch %, if I'm understanding correctly. Having Saxon-German lineage from eastern Germany, Europe East seems feasible as well. I expected Europe West to be much higher, and for Irish to be a bit higher as well. Like many people, I found out that I'm not Native American at all. However, I was not at all expecting Italy/Greece, Iberian Peninsula, Finland/Northwest Russia, European Jewish, Africa North, or Middle East! I'm curious if these trace regions and combination of trace regions are common/prominent for people with primarily northwestern European ancestry?

Looking forward to your replies!

deadly77
02-21-2017, 05:58 AM
Hi and welcome to the forum.

I haven't tested with AncestryDNA, so not an expert but I'll try and see if I can answer some of your questions.

It's important to remember that these ethnicity estimates are just that - estimates - they're not exact. They are interesting but only as good as the reference population which differs from company to company. It's a developing science and I think these estimates will get better as refinements are made. For a good blog post which covers the topic of ethnicity estimate from the main three testing companies head to head https://dna-explained.com/2017/01/11/concepts-calculating-ethnicity-percentages/

Of particular relevance to one some of your questions, have a look in that blog post regarding the regional breakdown that Ancestry uses. You can see that the some of regions used by Ancestry have significant overlap with other regions. Especially their UK region, which overlaps with a large part of Northwestern Europe, including the areas such as the Netherlands which you mention from your father's mother's side. Also note the Scandinavian region has a bit of overlap with the Europe West.

Regarding the admixing with British Isles, Germanic Invaders (Angles, Saxons, Jutes) and the Scandinavian populations - absolutely, we have been discussing that a fair bit on these forums. One of the new tests from a company called Living DNA breaks the regions of the UK using the Peoples of the British Isles (POBI) project as a reference database and they noted that East Anglia/Norfolk is very similar genetically to German and one is often assigned to the other designation. I and a lot of my ancestors are from the Northeast of England and there is a lot of Anglo-Saxon and Viking history in that region.

For the small numbers (eg. 1%), it may be that these small amounts are just noise and not a real representation of your ancestry. But worth looking into further.

A couple of things you can do. Have a look through your DNA matches on Ancestry and see where their ancestral breakdown comes from. If for example, you start seeing a lot of people that trace their lines back to Germany and the Netherlands, that may show you that those parts of your DNA are falling under the other regional clusters acording to Ancestry's admix calculator. Also, there is a website called Gedmatch where you can upload your raw data and then process that through a number of different ethnicity calculators. Gedmatch is free (but accept donations) but you need to register.

Hope your initial foray has sparked your interest. Have a browse through the forums - there's a lot of good information on here.

L1983
02-21-2017, 06:46 AM
These are my father's, mother's and my results with Ancestry. As you know it's difficult for these companies to distinguish between different N European countries so they're not an exact science. That's not particularly helpful when you have lots of holes in your tree like myself, and you don't necessarily know what to disregard. As for the lack of NA. Does it show any % when you click on the region?

Mother: English
Father: English + Irish grandmother

Edit: Attached results show how different ethnicity estimates can be for family members.

sktibo
02-21-2017, 08:13 AM
Your results look very similar to some native German results I've seen elsewhere. Germans are odd, it's like they're several ethnic groups in one country. for some reason I don't see many who scored much Europe west. There seem to be a lot of mostly German people who post on the Ancestry forums quite confused as to why they didn't get a ton of Europe west. Their categories have confusing titles, being based off of modern boundaries. As for the native American, I suspect if you did have one in your tree, it missed your bloodline. You may have a distant aunt or uncle who has some Native American blood. A lot of people have family stories including a native ancestor, but it doesn't show up on the tests. In my case, our family story was "we definitely aren't native, so don't ask" my grandmother would yell at my grandfather to get out of the sun because it made him look too dark. When my aunt traced our family history, she discovered we were métis, and sure enough, every DNA test I've done comes out with a native American percentage close to what I've calculated on my paper trail.

And welcome to the forums, I also started here because I was confused about my Ancestry DNA results, and found the people here to be mature, knowledgeable, and fun to talk to. There's someone here who knows something about every aspect of human DNA, and I find myself spending way too much time on here.

Judith
02-21-2017, 08:45 AM
Hi Raven, again welcome. As you can gather you are not the first to be confused by the reference data bases that the testing companies use.
Deadly recommended uploading to GEDmatch and I very much concur with that. There are many ethnity calculators there which you can play with, and it fascinates many of us. Plus you will get matches with people who tested at the other companies which is useful too.

MischievousRaven
02-26-2017, 07:07 AM
Thank you all for your replies! They are very much appreciated. :)

Deadly77-- thank you so much for your insight! I have actually uploaded my raw dna file to gedmatch and have fiddled around with the different calculators, but I find the results to be very confusing and I often wonder what applies best to me/what calculators to best use, based on my above results. Would love your input!

L1983-- thanks for sharing your own family's results; it is so fascinating to see how we compare! As far as the NA goes, there is absolutely 0% and no range given when I expand the option in Ancestry DNA.

Sktibo-- Wow, what a fascinating story! Thank you for sharing :) It is pretty interesting how these stories can both differentiate us and bring us together! And thank you for the warm welcome!

Judith-- thanks for your reply! I am glad I am not the only one confused; fortunately, the curiosity outweighs the confusion :) I have been fiddling around with Gedmatch, but am having trouble understanding my results and what calculators to use.

02-26-2017, 07:37 AM
Thank you all for your replies! They are very much appreciated. :)

Deadly77-- thank you so much for your insight! I have actually uploaded my raw dna file to gedmatch and have fiddled around with the different calculators, but I find the results to be very confusing and I often wonder what applies best to me/what calculators to best use, based on my above results. Would love your input!

L1983-- thanks for sharing your own family's results; it is so fascinating to see how we compare! As far as the NA goes, there is absolutely 0% and no range given when I expand the option in Ancestry DNA.

Sktibo-- Wow, what a fascinating story! Thank you for sharing :) It is pretty interesting how these stories can both differentiate us and bring us together! And thank you for the warm welcome!

Judith-- thanks for your reply! I am glad I am not the only one confused; fortunately, the curiosity outweighs the confusion :) I have been fiddling around with Gedmatch, but am having trouble understanding my results and what calculators to use.

Hi and Welcome try the eurogenes k13, at least for me it seems most accurate.

MischievousRaven
02-26-2017, 02:43 PM
sgdavies, thanks for the suggestion! Here are my results for eurogenes k13:

http://img14.deviantart.net/f78f/i/2017/057/3/e/mischievousraven_eurogenesk13_results_by_mischievo usraven-db0fyx9.png

I copied and pasted all results together, with the exception of the spreadsheet :) So, if I'm understanding right, the less distance between you and the population, the more your genes align with that population? I also found the East Asian result, among a few others, interesting and unexpected!

deadly77
02-26-2017, 06:18 PM
Cool - glad you're having fun. Here's a slide deck from Kitty Cooper with an intro to the admixture tools on Gedmatch - http://slides.com/kittycooper/gedmatch#/ - looks like Eurogenes is considered to be the best for Europeans. If you go to the Autosomal DNA folder on this forum, you'll see people posting their data from the different calculators and comparing and contrasting.