Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ancestry Updates their DNA Results

Ancestry last week updated the ethnicity breakdowns on their DNA tests. Some received their update a month ago in a small 'beta preview,' but I was one of the many who had to wait for them to roll it out to everyone.

Here are my original results, which I discussed back in August of 2012, followed by the new results.

  • There is no longer an 'uncertain' category, dashing all my hopes of being part alien.
  • While each percentage is actually within a range one sees after clicking for more information, using the approximate numbers given, my "European Jewish" percentage has increased from 53% to 67%, and my Eastern European percentage has dropped from 17% to 2%. This isn't really much of a change - just putting a different label meaning the same thing to me on the DNA. I am pretty certain all of the Eastern European DNA comes from my three Jewish grandparents. Ancestry now provides a detailed list of countries where the regional DNA has been found. For Eastern Europe they say: Primarily located in: Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also located in: Germany, Russia, Montenegro, Macedonia. I do have some German ancestry on my maternal grandmother's side, but I am still willing to bet that the 2% remaining "Europe East" is from one of my other three grandparents. I have known ancestors for these three from Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and Lithuania.
  • There are a few new regions that provided a little bit of a surprise: 

Primarily located in: Iran, Georgia, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Azerbijan
Also found in: Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Palestine

The 5% could be entirely from my maternal grandfather's Transylvanian ancestry. Combined with the East Europe and European Jewish, that would bring the representation of those three grandparents up to 74%. As I noted in my original post last year, I know that the only thing I can be certain about is that my mother provided 50% of my DNA, and my father provided the other 50%.  To assume I have exactly 25% of my DNA from each grandparent would be foolish. There are no countries, however, on that list that I currently have discovered in my maternal grandmother's ancestry, and Romania is the country that makes the most sense otherwise. (Of course, If I trace my Jewish ancestry back far enough, I'm sure all three branches reach Palestine.)

Iberian Peninsula

Primarily found in: Spain, Portugal
May also be found in: France, Morocco, Algeria, Italy

While the approximation is less than 1%, if I really have Iberian DNA, I wonder if it represents Spanish Jews who fled the inquisition in the late 15th century? I know my maternal grandmother had some ancestors from Alsace-Lorraine, so there is a chance this DNA comes from them.


Primarily located in: Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Fiji, Aboriginal Australia
Also located in: Solomon Islands, New Caledonia

While less than 1%, if I really have some Melanesian DNA, I have no clue which line it comes from. British or Dutch ancestors who were among the original explorers of the Pacific Islands, met up with natives, and returned? Australia was discovered by the Dutch in 1606, and my 8th great grandfather, Myndert Fredericksen, was allegedly born in Holland in 1636. Nothing is known about Myndert's mother. The British didn't arrive in Australia until 1780 which I feel is a bit late to intersect with my known British ancestors, and European explorers don't appear to have made it to the islands in the Pacific until the late 18th century either.

  • Cousin Matches: The old results provided a caveat with the cousin matches that there were a high number of false-positives for European Jewish DNA. I am unable to find this caveat anymore with the new results. Does this mean that the update removed all the false-positives? I'm unsure, as for the most part I ignored any match for which I didn't see a shared surname, which was most of them. I still have a large number of matches. Over 5500 matches in total, including those that Ancestry indicates they have 'low confidence' in. I'm unsure if this is large compared to others.

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