Tuesday, October 22, 2019

AncestryDNA Ethnicity Results

DNA Ethnicity results aren't an exact science, and in some respects, are mostly for entertainment purposes. A large number of genealogists will tell you they do the DNA tests in order to find living relatives to communicate with, not for ancestral ethnicity. For that knowledge, we research the records.

In 2012 AncestryDNA described my Ethnicity like this. I knew I should be about 75% European Jewish, if I inherited exactly 25% of my DNA from each grandparent, but 53+17 came pretty close.

In October of 2013 they updated their results, and the Uncertain amount disappeared.

The trace amounts of Pacific Islander surprised me. Caucasus can include Russia, so that wasn't too surprising. Though I later learned that the Caucasus was on my maternal line, which meant either some of my Transylvanian Jewish ancestors came from Russia originally, or there were some Caucasus roots elsewhere.

The breakdown has remained pretty consistent at Ancestry. At some point in the past 7 years, they  added their information on Communities, but the overall ethnicity breakdown has remained the same for me. Until a recent update:

No more Caucasus. No more Pacific Islander. And I am 79% European Jewish. (That's actually the high end of a 66%-79% range. So I think it's a pretty good estimate. And illustrates how useless DNA ethnicity charts are for most European Jews. Yes, the community information is nice, but Ancestry is unable to currently tell us how much from each.) The composition of the remaining 21% of my ancestry doesn't divert much from my research. 5% is almost one second great grandparent, so that feels a little high for my Irish/Scottish ancestry, but I know I have some. I don't know who my Finnish ancestors are.