My AncestryDNA Ethnicity Just Got More Colorful

(AncestryDNA will update its ethnicity estimates on September 10th, and I was allowed to take a sneak peek at the changes to my own ethnicity.) I’m so glad to be partnering with Ancestry because it meant I could get an early look at the updates!

I recently told a friend that my DNA ethnicity was a bit boring, as you can see in the screen capture below. (He told me politely that everyone’s DNA was interesting.) Maybe he’s right, but here’s what I am….77% English, 17% in Ireland and Scotland, and just a dash of 3% Sweden and 3% Germanic.

But now, with the updates to the reference panel and algorithm at AncestryDNA, my DNA has just gotten more colorful.

But before I show off my new styling DNA, let’s talk about why my ethnicity looks different.

No, my DNA didn’t change, but how the science behind AncestryDNA looks at it to determine my ethnicity has changed. With more than 18 million people who have tested at AncestryDNA, there are more people tested at Ancestry than at any other consumer DNA company..

I’m no scientist, but let me explain how it works. To determine your ethnicity, Ancestry takes your DNA and compares it to each of the reference groups in their reference panel. The reference groups are made up of people whose families have been in that region for generations. But now the reference groups are even larger than before and there are more. (There used to be 61 reference groups and now there are 70.) Then the algorithm goes to work. This updated algorithm does a better job of comparing your DNA to the reference panel DNA samples.

This update breaks down the larger regions such as the United Kingdom & Ireland, Italy, China, Japan, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, and Southern Africa into smaller more precise regions and AncestryDNA has also added an additional region in Europe–Cyprus.

So let me present my new more colorful DNA

As you can see, I got a bit more than I expected. So now, my new genetic breakdown is shown below. Yes, I did lose a bit of my England & Northwestern Europe, but notice that what used to be 17% for both Ireland and Scotland together now is Scotland 17% and Ireland 10%. The added 10% Ireland totally makes sense because my Shannon side of the family did come from Ireland, and even the 17% Scottish might make sense given the recent info I have about William Beaton and the Beaton/Batten Mystery (future post).

But what else did I gain? Well, my Germanic increased by 3% and 2% for Sweden, and I also gained three additional areas; Wales, Norway, and Portugal.

The Portugal 1% might be “white noise” and may disappear with the next update as I don’t have any paper trail to hint at this. But what do I really know, as ethnicity estimates are presenting information about my DNA from about 1000 years ago?

So what can you expect? As I mentioned, there has been some splitting up of some of the regions. So there are now eight new regions from the splits and one brand new region. Have a closer look at the chart below.

I’m excited to see what happens with my brother’s DNA when this change takes place on September 10th. That’s because my one brother, Ted, and I had similar ethnicity breakdowns as I’ve shown above, but my brother, Craig (of course he had to be different) had slightly different percentages than Ted and I did in the last update in 2019. Craig also already had Norway and he also had the addition of France.

I’m kidding about the competitive side of our DNA, and I do appreciate the fact that both of my brothers have tested, and by doing so, they’ve helped me learn more about our family. I should also thank all my cousins, aunts, and uncles for doing the same.

But getting back to siblings, I’m sure you are aware that you and your sibling each receive 50% of your DNA from your parents, but it’s not the exact same combination of DNA (otherwise I’d look like my brothers….yikes). These differences help to show me matches that I might not have gotten through the DNA I received from my parents, but that my brothers did, and in this case, ethnicity that I also might not have received.

Ted(left) Craig, cousin Wendy, The Hound (right)

DNA has become an essential part of my genealogy. Genealogy records can’t help me discover who my adopted maternal grandfather’s parents were or who my illegitimate paternal grandfather’s father was. DNA can only help with that. But once I’ve determined who those people might be then Ancestry records can help discover whether they were in the right place at the right time. So you see DNA and records go hand in hand.

Put all this DNA information together with the genealogy records I’ve gathered, and I’m learning more and more about my family and what makes me uniquely me.

So what will you find in your AncestryDNA DNA Story when this new change takes place? I hope you’ll find your DNA more colorful, and even if it’s not, you’ll know it’s more precise.

P.S. If you haven’t taken an AncestryDNA test… what’s stopping you? I’m always looking for new cousins.

If you have taken an AncestryDNA test be sure to check out how StoryScout can help you find records to discover your own story. I wrote about it HERE.

#HoundontheHunt #DNA #Ancestry #AncestryPartner

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