Sunday, May 15, 2016

How Accurate are Ethnic Results From Current Autosomal DNA Testing?

A few weeks ago,  I decided to make a fan chart for each of my great grandparents, just to see how much progress I've made on my research, and how much more there is to be done.

While I was at it, I decided to make an estimate of my ethnic background according to the charts, and compare with my ethnic results from 23andMe, Family Tree DNA and Ancestry.com DNA.

From the ancestors that I know of so far (two pedigrees are incomplete), my estimated ethnic percentages look like this:

68% English

8.5% Scottish

6.5% Dutch/Belgian/Walloon

6.5% German/Swiss

5% French

2% Irish

2% Welsh

0.5% Norwegian

0.5% Polish

0.5% Other (possibly East Indian)


This really surprised me!  I knew I had significant English ancestry, but thought the percentages would be higher for other parts of my ethnic admixture!

And in fact the German/Swiss percentage will likely be higher, when and if I ever am able to fully trace the lineage of great grandfather PHILLIP LUTHER HUBER.

To look at it another way:

78.5% British Isles

19.5 European

0.5% Other

In comparison, here are my Ancestry Composition ethnic percentages from 23andMe, speculative setting, which seems to be the most accurate.




Here are my percentages from Family Tree DNA




And here are my percentages from Ancestry.com DNA






The Scandinavian element is likely from my Scottish & Manx ancestry.

I have yet to run into any Southern European/Iberian ancestors in my tree.

Both Ancestry.com DNA & Family Tree DNA have me pegged as much more Western European than British Isles (and since I don't have a full pedigree for the Huber family, this may be closer to the truth).

I have very few Irish ancestors, so the 29% Ireland and  the 8% Great Britain from Ancestry.com DNA make no sense whatsoever, when you actually look at my family tree.

So there you have it.  I am certain these companies will be updating their ethnic composition results, and will become more accurate, as more people are tested. Stay tuned!

Have a great day!

Betty

© Betty Tartas  2016


3 comments:

Barbara Johnson said...

Betty, Most of my results are similar to my paper records. However, there are a few "huhs!" I see both ancestry and 23andme have updated my estimates. They are "drilling down" now that more folks are taking the tests.

Stay tuned folks.

Marian B. Wood said...

When my nice did an Ancestry DNA test, she and I were surprised to find Irish ancestors somewhere in her background. So far, my research has turned up lots of Brits but not one Irish. Guess I better keep digging! Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

Amanda (the librarian) said...

Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, had a great post on this issue not too long ago:
http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog/2016/05/01/those-percentages-revisited/.

In a nutshell: "It’s simply not possible to identify our exact ethnic origins based on our DNA in any way that’s really reliable below the continental level (Europe versus Africa versus Asia, for example)."

And: "Simple fact is, these are estimates. NOT take-it-to-the-bank evidence for changing your lederhosen for a kilt."