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Thread: Best company for ancestor identification?

  1. #1
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    Best company for ancestor identification?

    Hi Guys,

    Question: I recently did a autosomal test over at FTDNA, and the results were a surprise. I am Scottish on both sides (1 grandmother was English). My Y-DNA is very much Scottish (L513/193), but my autosomal results showed only around 50% Britain/Ireland. The rest was West Europe, right over France.

    Since then, we discovered that my G-G-Grandmother (on the side of my English Grandmother) had a very French surname: Boucher. On further research, it seems that Boucher families came over to England from France with the Huguenot persecution in the 18th century. But...would a single Huguenot ancestor that far back account for so much French in my results?

    Basically, I'd like a more accurate autosomal test to identify whether this statistic is accurate; if so, perhaps identify regions in France; and maybe even take a guess as to my most recent 100% French ancestor (I'm told 23andMe can do this?). I'm also considering LivingDNA? It's probably further back, but there is of course an outside chance that there is a family secret waiting to be discovered!

    Thanks for your advice on the best company to go with.

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  3. #2
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    Hi Jon. Looks like you've posted this same thread twice so it would be good practice to get the other one deleted.
    A lot of British people get high continental ancestry on FTDNA so I'd guess that's what you're seeing here. All the companies have problems differentiating between testers of various British origins and those in the French & German category for example. Testing elsewhere might help if your French signal really is strong, but Ancestry, 23andme and LivingDNA are also liable to this kind of error. I personally get no continental regions attributed by Ancestry or LivingDNA so that might help you decide where to go. Global 25 from the Eurogenes site would be another option, and you'll see posts about that on this forum.
    Finally, if you do have a lone Huguenot ancestor at that distance in time, she'd be likely to show as only a trace - if that - in your genome and likewise in your results.
    Living DNA's former Cautious mode:
    Wales-related ancestry: 86.8%
    Cornwall: 8%
    North England-related ancestry: 5.2%
    Y line: Peak District, England. Big Y match: Scania, Sweden; TMRCA 1,250 ybp (YFull);
    mtDNA: traces to Glamorgan, Wales
    Mother's Y: traces to Llanvair Discoed, Wales

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  5. #3
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    Hello Jon,

    Concerning how much ancestry you might expect from a 2nd Great Grandparent, you might find the following to be interesting:

    Ancestral DNA Percentages – How Much of Them is in You?

    https://dna-explained.com/2017/06/27...hem-is-in-you/
    Last edited by JMcB; 02-01-2020 at 02:44 PM.
    Paper Trail: 42.25% English, 31.25% Scottish, 12.5% Irish, 6.25% German, 6.25% Sicilian & 1.5% French. Or: 86% British Isles, 6.25% German, 6.25% Sicilian & 1.5% French.
    LDNA(c): 86.3% British Isles (48.6% English, 37.7% Scottish & Irish), 7.8% NW Germanic, 5.9% Europe South (Aegean 3.4%, Tuscany 1.3%, Sardinia 1.1%)
    BigY 700: I1-Z140 >I-F2642 >Y1966 >Y3649 >A13241 >Y3647 >A13248 (circa 620 AD) >A13242/YSEQ (circa 765 AD) >FT80854 (circa 1650 AD).

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    Thanks guys - very helpful. I must say, I did find the almost 50% of West Euro in my results higher than expected - and a contact at FTDNA told me that they expect these results to reflect ancestry over the past hundreds of years, rather than thousands. I was also told that this is quite high for someone with no known *recent* French/German ancestry. That side of my family is a bit vague in terms of paper trail etc. My grandmother was also quite a Francophile...so I do wonder whether there is a link to France more recently, or even one that was unacknowledged. Thanks for the advice....

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Thanks guys - very helpful. I must say, I did find the almost 50% of West Euro in my results higher than expected - and a contact at FTDNA told me that they expect these results to reflect ancestry over the past hundreds of years, rather than thousands. I was also told that this is quite high for someone with no known *recent* French/German ancestry. That side of my family is a bit vague in terms of paper trail etc. My grandmother was also quite a Francophile...so I do wonder whether there is a link to France more recently, or even one that was unacknowledged. Thanks for the advice....
    I'll just add Jon that I wouldn't pick LivingDNA. They're updating their results and have just piled a load of German on top of my British. I know my tree and this is plain wrong for recent descent. Ancestry, on the other hand, doesn't give me any French. My last known French ancestor was 17th century so I'd go with them for a conservative and realistic view of any French ancestry you may have.
    Last edited by JonikW; 02-01-2020 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Removed ambiguous use of ancestry/Ancestry
    Living DNA's former Cautious mode:
    Wales-related ancestry: 86.8%
    Cornwall: 8%
    North England-related ancestry: 5.2%
    Y line: Peak District, England. Big Y match: Scania, Sweden; TMRCA 1,250 ybp (YFull);
    mtDNA: traces to Glamorgan, Wales
    Mother's Y: traces to Llanvair Discoed, Wales

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    It's going to be hard to identify ancestry clearly from an ancestor in the 18th c, and Ancestry (and everyone else) has trouble telling NW Europe apart.

    I might try 23andMe if you want to try and see if the French is real (but England can come up as West Europe easily, so I wouldn't assume too much from the FTDNA results). It could at least indicate if it picks up French in the ancestry, although I don't think the subregions work that well yet for lots of countries (don't know about France, and it will depend on how French you really are).

    The benefit of Ancestry, especially if you are American, is the number of matches, which can allow you to confirm ancestors. Based on this I've managed to confirm descent from my only known French ancestors (a couple who went from Paris to Ohio around 1800), although I suppose the descent could be from only the wife. As they are my gggg-grandparents (born around 1779), the percentage they contribute to my (and my sister's) DNA would be expected to be small, if any, and it likely is (I don't get French on Ancestry, she had 3% but now also has none), but we are matches with several people descended from multiple different siblings of our ggg-grandmother on that side.

    So if you want to confirm your paper ancestry (and that it is Scottish), Ancestry would likely be a more reliable way than ethnicity estimates.

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    The big problem with your request is that you are attempting to push biology beyond where it statistically usually goes.
    Firstly, as alluded to above (https://dna-explained.com/2017/06/27...hem-is-in-you/)
    you may have inherited little or no DNA from that ancestor.
    Secondly, NW French are similar to British.
    Thirdly, some companies have relatively few French customers. Ancestry, for example, does not sell kits there (unless they have changed very recently). Sure they have some sort of DNA reference panel, but many of their resources for ethnicity estimation rely on customers in that area, and you won't have those available directly - although they may kick in from diaspora French.

    While an ethnicity indication at this distance is likely to be unreliable, I have many aDNA matches back then, that I am able to find a connection with.
    But it has required a great deal of tree building.
    Your best chance may lie in another branch of that family that went to another country with many DNA testers - USA, Canada, NZ, Australia.
    Even then I had to do a lot of paperwork to build my tree back that far.

    So there may be more clues in the paper sources.
    Not just for your direct ancestor, but for her siblings and niblings.
    One may be included in a family history that provides more information.
    The Huguenot Society has many resources, and are well worth pursuing.
    Some Huguenots had their own churches - in London, for example -and those records might be useful.

    There are ways of getting your ancestor's mouth to speak, but DNA is an unlikely one all these years later.
    (Unless she is on the all-female mtDNA line.)
    Last edited by Saetro; 02-03-2020 at 08:35 PM.

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    Thanks very much guys. Saetro, some great points - I actually made an initial contact with the Huguenot Society, and they have a file on at least one Boucher family. There are some well-documented Huguenot Bouchers in the records; it's just a question, as you say, of the paper trail. I have it on good authority that the name is likely to be post-Norman French. Norman Bouchers would, statistically, all have changed to Butcher (or something else entirely) in the intervening thousand years. Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by queens718 View Post
    ancestry, for sure
    From size of the database. ThruLines automates a lot of the matching work, but be cautious. Just because you have a big matching segment, it does not prove the connection that ancestry.com derives from its collection of family trees. You need to get the owner of the matching kit to take it to GEDmatch so that you can see how the matching segments triangulate between you and others to see if the proposed connection is likely.

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