Did Your Ethnicity Change at AncestryDNA? Mine Did!

A couple of weeks ago you may have noticed that there was a change in your AncestryDNA ethnicity. Or maybe you haven’t checked lately and it’s sitting there waiting for you to discover.  My ethnicity changed quite a bit. I was always a bit disappointed when I noticed that my husband was more English than I was. After all, I thought that because most of my great-grandparents had been born in England that it was a given. Below is a view of my DNA prior to the change. Of course, I know that this is more of your deep ancestral roots but still.


It even gives you a breakdown of what changed.  So you see I’ve now increased to 77% for my English and Northwestern European and my Irish and Scotish has also increased by 9%. I’m no longer just Scandinavian but I have roots in Sweden and I also have some French. I’ve lost the Iberian Peninsula and Europe South.

To me, it seemed to make more sense in what I perceived my ethnic background to be.

If you compare it to what my Family Tree DNA ethnicity reports,  the breakdown looks like the chart below. Which is very similar to what my Ancestry originally said.

Then I decided to look at my husband Kevin’s new ethnicity. That was a bigger surprise.





When I think about it shouldn’t be a huge surprise as some of his ancestors have French surnames. I just didn’t think of him as having that much French and I’d have thought he’d have more Italian.

Why Did the estimate change? (from Ancestry)

We have better tools for telling regions apart, especially closely related regions like Ireland and Great Britain. We also have 16,000 reference samples now instead of 3,000, which helps screen out less-likely regions.

What happened to my other regions? (from Ancestry)

We’re all intrigued by unexpected regions that show up in our ethnicity estimate—even if they don’t fit what we know about our family’s past. Here are some reasons why some of those regions may not appear in your new estimate.

First, we have more data. We estimate your ethnicity by comparing your DNA to the DNA of people who are native to a region. We call these people a reference panel. We now have 13,000 more samples in our reference panel, which means our ability to estimate your ethnicity is even better.

Second, with more data, we have been able to narrow down and better define our regions.

Third, DNA analysis is complex, cutting-edge science. We have developed even more powerful mathematical algorithms that help improve the accuracy of your DNA results. It’s like having a more powerful antenna that lets us pick up a clearer signal from a radio station.

Will my estimate change again in the future? (from Ancestry)

It could. As we get more data and the science behind DNA analysis improves, we may be able to provide even more precise ethnicity estimates.


Although ethnicity is the number 1 reason that most people have a DNA test done; to be honest it’s not the reason I’ve had my DNA done or tested so many of my family members (but you know that).  But I do use that interest to convince other to have their DNA tested. It’s a great dinner party conversation and you never know where you’ll find new cousins. After all, I’m always looking for cousins.



  • Diana Evans says:

    How can I trust any DNA companies, or Ancestry, or any of the companies that are selling products, supposedly will help us find our family members. I am confused, I spent money and gave my DNA, what next? More money for inaccurate reports?

    • I understand your frustration. The DNA matches are accurate of that you can be sure. As they refine the ethnicity the percentages will change. They don’t ask for more money for the reports (so far as I know). But if you don’t have an Ancestry membership they do ask for more money for some aspects. Sorry I can’t speak to that as confidently because I have a membership.

  • Lori Smith says:

    Yes, mine changed and some of it I do not agree with at all! I have huge genealogical trees and know that some of what changed is probably more accurate, but some is way off base. Not as happy with it at all!

    The same happened on 23andme. Not happy with their changes, either. I have done older generations closely related to me and know theirs and mine are pretty consistent, based on my trees and where our ancestors came from, but the newer stats do not line up as well in many areas.

  • Lareina Dibben says:

    Nice!! I was kinda confused when I got my original results and these seem much more accurate now to what I know of my ancestry. Thanks for posting! I wouldn’t have known to check!

  • Meredith says:

    I love the new estimates & especially the ability to compare before & after! I initially had an unexpected **Scandinavian** result in my mom’s ethnicity that didn’t show on HER mom’s so I knew it came from her deceased dad…who has a GERMAN surname! LOL I now know even more specifically to look in Sweden & Norway. I can also see more on my British/Irish/French/German breakdowns. Excited to see how that lines up more once I “cross the pond” with more of my lines. It seems my ancestors have been here in the US forever!

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