Posted by Ancestry Team on November 24, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne
inheritance 50_50
DNA Inheritance


Question: I recently had my DNA analyzed and was surprised when the results did not show any evidence of my Cherokee connection.

My great-great-grandmother was one-fourth Cherokee (Tiptendille Tribe-TN). Would the traces of the Native American heritage be so minute that they would not be evident anymore?

— Shauna


Answer: The short answer is yes, the traces of Native American DNA in your test may be too small to detect.  Let’s look at why.

If your great-great-grandmother was ¼ Cherokee, then it was her grandparent that was 100% Native American. And that would be your 4th-great-grandparent. Now your great-great-grandmother would get 50% of her DNA from her mother and 50% from her father. To make this easy, let’s divide by 2 for every generation.

dna percentage1

So how much of your great-great-grandmother’s DNA are you likely to have?  Probably around 1.5625%! And that may not be enough to detect Native American ethnicity.

dna percentage2

If you can find older generations on that line to test, I recommend that.  Also, get brothers, sisters and cousins tested.  You never know who might have enough DNA to be detected.

Even if you find the DNA connection, you will still want to follow the paper trail.  I recommend our Native American Research Guide to get you started.

Happy searching!


  1. Tina Williams

    Thank you so much for this explanation. I am adopted and was told that I was “Irish and Native American” and when I received my DNA results Native American was no where to be found! I found my biological mother’s side (she passed away 2 years ago but everyone else has been wonderful and amazing!) and it turns out that my great-grandmother (they think) was part Native American but that “no one talked about it”!

    Thank you so much for all that you do

  2. Sue Mullane

    Well, thats a good explanation! Even though my great, great, great grandmother/grandfather are on the Dawes Rolls as being Choctaw, the DNA for my cousins and I showed nothing. Thanks for the explanation.

  3. I have the opposite problem. My dad has trace (about 1%) Native American in the AncestryDNA results and in every ethnicity admixture test on GEDmatch. I get about 1/2 to 3/4 of Native American on all the GEDmatch, and when I click the dropdown on AncestryDNA’s ethnicity results for me it shows a range of 0-<1%. If I didn't have my dad's results I would have thought that was probably noise, but my dad has the consistent NA. And we have zip zero nada family stories or paper trail evidence of the Native American. I have a suspicion that the NA is either possible Saami ancestry(?) because my dad is about 1/2 Scandinavian, or maybe we have an ancestor from Greenland (GEDmatch tests skew heavily toward Greenland/Aleutian/Arctic). Help!

  4. Brooke Eastburn

    I also have an opposite problem. My DNA showed <3% Native American and since my NA ancestors didn't always indicate the correct amount to the census taker, how far back is my 100% NA ancestor? My tribal enrollment card shows me as 1/32 but that is based on records that may not be correct.

  5. scwbcm

    I can’t log in and I noticed on facebook that I am not the only one who can’t log in. Any hints why we can’t log in?

  6. Shauna

    Thank you for your explaining why my DNA did not show any Native American markers, specifically Cherokee. Based on the remarks posted, others have had that same question. I appreciate the clarification!

  7. Steve Moray

    As a follow up, keep in mind that the 1.5% that Anne states is only an *average*. After the initial 50% division, the inheritance of DNA is *not* an even split. Large sections of DNA may be inherited whole throughout a number of generations, while the opposite may occur as well. By only a few generations after the initial admixture, there may not be *any* Native DNA left to find. Anne’s advice is still very good. Find the oldest relative on that line you can to test, or even a sibling.

  8. Candace

    The reason why you cannot be traced is because the original Native Americans are being called African Americans today this site is a scam/fraud just like American history

  9. Bruce McGovern

    Sandra Estes, though you have information perhaps not available to us, it is certainly possible that a young woman can match her “step-father”. It would not be a pleasant thing but it happens. And, it need not implicate her stepdad. It could lead to another person who is closely matched to him.

  10. Cathy

    My DNA results states I have Native and American Indian. I had no idea. How can I find out if its my moms side or my dads side and who it may be?

  11. Sabrina

    I’ve been curious for years what nation that I am descended through. I know that my great grandmother was 100% (or was considered, it may have been diluted), my mother told me that my grandmother could have made sure that my brother, sister and I were classified as NA – but I never asked about it. I don’t even know which nation she belonged to – and everyone on that side of the family has passed.
    If I were to do the DNA test, would I have to give a hint as to which nation I thought I was part of?

  12. Hubert

    I found that my Stepdad is closley related to me when I checked his family tree and learned his grand mother and my grand father were brother and sister.

  13. Jennifer Gamble

    My Great-grandmother’s mother was mixed with Jewish (possibly Iberian Peninsula Jews/Moroccan Jews) and Native American (Florida Creek Indians). Her father was African American descent. She and her 7 siblings were obviously of mixed origin. When I was a child (60+ years ago), she and her sisters told all of us our family history, and how her Jewish uncles came to visit them after their mother died. Plus the strong connections they had with the local Indians and the their customs. My DNA shows only a trace of Iberian/Moroccan ancestry, and 0% Native American. Yet, my DNA connected me to 23% from all over various European regions and 77% various African regional types. I feel like a piece of screwed stew, as a figure of speech. For generations, our family has had such pride in our distinct heritage. Why does the DNA show such distant Caucasus connection, but does not connect to the more recent Native Americans and Iberian Jews

  14. Edgefield Miles

    Also, we have to know that there are certain tribes that these companies are pointing towards. One reason is that (from what I hear) many of the Native communities in North America do not submit DNA tests because of ancestral privacy. So the amount of native DNA in your blood comes from other tribes, like those found in South America (as per how 23andMe) uses theirs. So, if we are looking for Cherokee blood and science says native DNA is surely unique, then we might not find it through the tests because they have not submitted.

  15. Bernie

    I have seen many, many ads for this DNA thing, but have never been able to find any price for this service given… can you tell me? Thank you. I was just renewed for the US and International membership.

  16. gary d jorgensen

    I had the dna test done. I got my results.. is there anyway that i can determine my halpo group from that test?? or do i need to have a better test done.. thanks, gary

  17. Rosalind

    Since having the DNA testing done, I have found a 2nd & 3rd cousin I never knew I had. Too much family secrecy!

  18. Darcy

    I also had my DNA done through and it showed 0 native american. I’m on the Cherokee Roles, and can trace my Cherokee ancestors back to at least the Trail of Tears. I’m also confused as to why my DNA results show 0 NA

  19. Joyce robbins-brown

    My grand mother is 100 percent and her husband is 50 percent. So my father only had 50 please and I read 25 would that be corrected?

  20. Dave

    My great-great grandmother (on my mother’s side of the family) was Mohawk Indian (from Quebec). I even have a picture of her. Her daughter (my great grandmother) had some Native American facial features (clearly visible in the photo I have of her), but not as much as her mother. However, when I received the results of my AncestryDNA, there was nothing denoting Native American ancestry. My brother also had an AncestryDNA test performed – again, no Native American ancestry is shown in the results.
    Could it be that (maybe) there hasn’t been sufficient genetics testing on what remains of the indigenous population of Kahnawake, PQ?

  21. Susan Wilson

    Very helpful… My great grandmother was full blooded American Indian. I had gave a niece your test hers for such reasons for american Indian reasons for college help, too. a I have given a test to my oldest sonwho is on medication from surgery and hope his depicts the linage but may have to do one myself as I also have two other Indian on my extended fathers side.Can those people get theirs redone with the new set…. My son has not taken his, yet? can we exchange it or will you be able to test with the current test that he has….I would love to know …. somewhere i have a large photo of my great grandmother from Iowa/minn/Ill.area. I have longed to find out. I am a blue eyed curly blonde
    ThankYou, Susan

  22. Gloria

    David Zeisberger’s History of the Northern American Indians in 18th Century Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania (which included the Cherokee) will explain quite a bit of who those various tribes were composed of. They were a mix with varying skin colors ranging from mulatto looking to white. Each tribe took captives from each other. David Zeisberger was a Moravian missionary who lived among the natives. Others who have been studying the Cherokee say now that their original language, before they learned Iroquois, was Greek. It is all very interesting to say the least. DNA is like a huge bag of marbles. The bag is shaken and a few gene marbles roll out for each person at random.

  23. HelenA

    GLORIA: “Others who have been studying the Cherokee say now that their original language, before they learned Iroquois, was Greek.”

    Perhaps it was “CREEK.” No way it could have been “GREEK.” There were Creek Indians in Georgia and perhaps other places in the southeast.

  24. James

    I just read that geneticists have discovered mystery Eurasians contributed genetic material with then future American Indians and Europeans. This would explain a few things.I am mostly UK and Nordic, but I wonder why some far northerners like the Sami carry a few Asian genes. I for example have some Asian genes, though I am blue eyed and light. We have a lot to learn about early mixing of people.

  25. My Dna result showed 17.5% East Asian altyough as far back as I can research aprox 200 years I have Scots- Irish ancestry. I have mainy “Asian traits” such as dark, eyes ,keloid scar type, hair on ear lobes etc. Could you help with this? cheers Rod

  26. Alice Lane

    If your adopted an only know of the city in which you were born an nothing more. Is it
    Possible to find relatives?

  27. Monte

    Please keep in mind that many family stories of Native American ancestors are just that, stories. Plus a number of South Eastern US tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole) adopted people into the tribe (white, black, mixed race), this will skew the results.

  28. Carole Miller

    Besides dilution of genes, affairs, rape, and adoption have always been a deep-dark secret. DNA results are going to be a surprise to many. Pictures of ancestors are not solid proof, but DNA testing is more reliable.

  29. jimboy48

    AncestryDNA shows my Native American percentage to be less than 1%, which is about correct, based upon the number of generations it has been since the 1600’s. I uploaded my raw DNA to, where they show your DNA resulted per individual chromosome. One of the chromosomes shown there, shows 10.5% Native American, but the avg. of the 22 chromosomes tested is still around 1%. I think that Ancestry is working to correct the confusion between Asian and Native American DNA results.

  30. April

    Keep in mind that these are only averages, and the way I understand it, genes can drop out much faster. If your father’s father was French and his mother was Native American, then your father would be 50% French and 50% Native American. And if your mother’s mother was Irish and her father was Spanish, she would be 50% Irish and 50% Spanish. When your parents contribute 50% of their ethnicity to you, it’s technically possible for your father to contribute only his French genes and your mother to contribute only her Irish genes, for example, meaning that you would have no Native American or Spanish genes. The chance that you would get no Native American genes is slight, but that chance grows with each passing generation.

  31. jaime

    On the ancestry DNA chart. One of my matches says 1% , but then I click on the question mark and it says not necessarly part of your DNA. Now is it or isn’t it?

  32. Amanda

    Ok. I am seeing some patterns here with the Native American DNA. I am Choctaw on my mother’s side (clearly proven line) and Cherokee (not so clearly proven) on my father’s side. I have some Native American features and “look” more Native than my mother. I have 3% Native American ethnicity identified in my ancestry DNA. I also have 3% Asian, 5% Iberian Peninsula, 2% Greek, and 1% Caucasus. What I noticed is that many of you who had Choctaw or Cherokee also had some of those same markers. Very interesting….. I don’t believe that there has been much research on the genetic markers for Native American ethnicity.

  33. Shawrone7

    I can relate – my great-grandmother was Oneida Indian; No Native American showed up on Ancestry’s DNA test I had done. I’ve had my DNA done by another agency and it came out loud and clear, in fact, it showed a couple of Native American markers from opposite sides of the country.

  34. Patricia

    My mother told me that we were part Native American but she never knew what kind. When I had my DNA done I was 98percent European and 2percent East Asian and that was it. I have no older relatives or siblings left for further check.

  35. Lee Bibb

    To all of you who have sent queries about your NA background, or confusion because you’re test shows that you are East Asian, etc., the simple answer is that if you already know your genealogy you know “what you are” and if the DNA results disagree then you should accept the fact that your research is correct and the DNA test is wrong. There’s no evidence that these tests are 100% correct.

  36. Janet Cowling

    I’m supposed to have some native american but it is Saponi and there are no full blooded Saponi still in existence. However, my DNA does show some Africian and Iberian Pennensula. I suspect I am Melungeon but it goes way back. The only reason I think the African is showing is because I am my own fourth cousin so there is a double whammy of that DNA in there. My husband and I are ninth cousins once removed and he has the Iberian but shows no African. He wanted so much to show african. I stiill think he may be Melungion also but it goes too far back. Both our families have been here since the eearly 1600’s.

  37. Deb

    In addition to the randomness of DNA inheritance, keep in mind that some Native American tribes also intermarried early with European settlers. This is particularly true of the the Cherokee, many of whom adapted to European culture and who intermarried, particularly with the Scots and Irish.

  38. My great grandfather was Cherokee, he received money each month or so for the government when he died my great grandmother had to sign paper and she received one sum of money. She sold our right. Can I find out how much Indian I have or does it work on females?

  39. Jane

    I am NOT an expert, but it is believed that ALL people came out of the Africa region. Through thousands of years these people traveled through Asia, up through Siberia, over the Barren Straight and then south through the Americas. They were called the “Paleo Indians.” perhaps the DNA test is picking up on this with the Native American DNA?



  41. Barbara_Jean_Ocon

    It’s interesting to read the comments on this thread. Many people are surprised that the Native American DNA doesn’t show up. I have the opposite surprise. My test shows 20% NA and my brother’s shows 23%. I am fast coming to the conclusion that my Mexican ancestors were likely to be Native Americans who were given Spanish surnames when they were baptized by the Catholic priests. This may be the reason I’m having a challenge finding out ancestors prior to 1812. It’s fascinating.

    I interviewed elderly family members about 15 years ago and one thing that I’ve found out in this project is that family stories are just that — stories. There is likely to be some element of truth in the legends. But memory is not perfect and tales get garbled in the process. One story a cousin told of her grandmother is actually part of the story of a different grandmother. (She got the two mixed up.)

  42. ericr

    given the reality of DNA testing, it is time that we stop using the ignorant term of “native american’ since from a genetical perspective there is no such thing. All inhabitants born in the American continent are descendants of immigrants from other parts of the planet. And, it is only US Americans that are obsessed with this classification. When you have tribes that overlap the US-Mexico border we have different classifications for the same group since Mexicans do not suscribe to the Native American nonsense.
    All people who lived in the Americans before the European mass arrivals post 1492 are simply earlier immigrants. And, these come in different waves over thousands of years and are not a single DNA group regardless of later tribal groupings.
    it is very likely that the centuries old remains of earlier immigrants that some American tribes claim as their ancestors are probably not related, but they are the ancestors of peoples of South America.
    Then, my DNA indicates that I am 20% native american which I find disingenuous and insulting since my pre-european blood is Aztec and Otomi (from Mexico) and am not accepting of being so simply lumped in such a pile particularly since my european ancestors are so well segregated by Ancestry DNA.
    within the bounds of current science, let’s get with the program of proper identification of pre-eurpean/african/asian ancestors
    then as a descendant

  43. Pam

    My grandpa was a direct descendant of the first king of Norway; his family tree goes back to the year 800. Grandma spoke Norwegian, and said she was 100%, so I assumed that Mom was 100% Norwegian. I thought my dna test would show me to be 50% Norwegian. However, my dna test said that I am 30% Scandinavian, not 50% I called the people who did the test and the man said you do not automatically inherit 50% dna from each parent. He said my dad evidently had more to do with “making” me than mom did. Physically, that’s what I see when I look in the mirror, too. So perhaps that is the explanation for many, or perhaps he just spun me an excuse, or perhaps Mom’s Mom was not 100% Norwegian like we thought, even though that is what she spoke.

  44. ann Sipes

    I have asked before on this site about why my DNA does not show my northern Germanic ties. My mother’s parents were fully German (from North West Germany near Paderborn and Muenster)

  45. William Eviston

    My test showed no “native American” though my maternal gr-gr-grandmother was said to be “100%”. My mother certainly had features of that ancestry. Though I am still puzzling over the missing ancestry, one explanation may be that the early French and European trappers and explorers may have impacted the early American DNA, especially in the upper Midwest.

  46. Chris Monroe

    You might mention that if they do a YDNA test, if they have male descendants, they might have better results.

  47. Harding Kennedy

    I’m supposed to have some Cherokee ancestry on my mothers side of the family but it doesn’t appear in my DNA results. However, the other posts I’ve seen here confirm what I thought, that after even just a few generations, the DNA I inherited may be minimal or no longer present. In a more positive light, the new DNA circles have confirmed or at least lends credence to my genealogical work on one branch of the family. Apparently, is still carry some DNA from my 4th Great Grandfather as do many or most of those in my DNA circle. So now I’m more certain I’ve identified the correct family relationships. I really like thenDNA Circles. Interestingly enough, I don’t currently have any from my mother’s side of the family.

  48. Camille Simmons

    The first Americans were the Malian Moors, they were miss-named American Indians. Some of you who are looking for your Cherokee ancestry have to get old maps of North Carolina, there are lots of smaller Bands in North Carolina of so-called Indians. Look-up “Indians that lived on the Haw River.” This area may put you near your grandparents home town or County. Some of you that are researching have to realize that we were divided as a people. Some were labeled Mulatto or Indian to steal their land. Some of The People(Indians) did not believe in putting their names on List,(such as Dawes,Baker, etc.) they were totally against it. You have to research around 1492, some of the American Indians were taken as slaves to Europe first and reclassified as Negro and sold as slaves and then returned to the America. Most of these Indians lived on/in the Caribbean Island as Cristobol Colon did not come to the mainland. These are some of the things I found out, Good Luck.

  49. I’m wondering if others who are having problems linking to early American peoples are finding Hebrew as well as the Greek DNA traces? Hebrews and possibly Greeks landed in South America (Peru possibly) around 600 BC and migrated through Central America and across the North American continent. My own family came from just north of Israel and migrated through northern Europe to the United Kingdom and from there to North America, which gives more credence to the “Cradle of Civilization” and that people scattered in every direction, my point being that early Americans didn’t all come by way of the Bering Strait.

  50. John Lester

    I think a lot of the confusion that happens with these results comes from a lack of understanding for how genes are actually passed, what is true or not about each persons believed history, and a lack of knowledge of real History. Like the concept that colonists met, and was even discussed in Congress that there were Welsh speaking natives. If Welsh people came to the United States, we’re adopted in as part of the tribe, but only created offspring with other Welsh tribe members. You could be a member of one of those tribes by birth, but genetically you would show quite a different picture. Genetics and the production of gametes to produce offspring is complicated to understand, but if you learn it, and more real history, not the propaganda taught in schools, your DNA results would make much more sense. Children that are products of rape, infidelity. Incest, etc. Often were not told and would show genetic markers for the two genetic donors and not both perceived parents. The same would be true of children adopted at young ages that have grown up believing their parents are there biological parents and may not be.

  51. Faye Graff

    Going back to my great-grandparents I’m Scottish, English, and German. But my DNA says I’m 40% Scandinavian (Viking). From what I understand, that’s because the DNA we’re carrying around inside us is thousands of years old, NOT from several generations ago.

  52. Phillip

    Thank you for both the question and answer. I had a DNA test through Nat. Geo. that surprised me with a result of having a trace of American Indian DNA. Your test result was negative for it. Now I know why.

  53. Over the years I have seen a lot of confusion concerning who is and who is not American Indian. The federal government at one time decided who was and who wasn’t by the classifying at least 1/4 blood; however, that classification was thrown out by federal judges a few years back and the tribes were given the right to decide. Some tribes decided to keep the 1/4 blood rule while others decided that their people just needed to show proof of descendancy. Some tribes for various reasons adopted non American Indians into their tribes. My mother grew up on the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation in Arizona. I have lived with or worked with various American Indian tribal people all my life.

    I have one uncle that is full blood Apache and another uncle that is full blood Cherokee. Both were adopted by my grandparents. My father’s family is from Mexico and southern California, which can be more confusing because the U.S. government along with other entities classified them as Mission Indians not understanding that there were various tribes each different from one another.

    When trying to show American Indian descendancy, first a person would go to the tribe and find out if any of their ancestors are on the tribal rolls. Some tribes have very good records some do not. I went to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to request information from them; however, the only response I received was that my family was “That Mexican family that lived on the reservation in southern California.” I asked them what they meant by Mexican family and never received a response. Since then I have found a cousin enrolled as a Pala Tribal member, another cousin enrolled as a Pechanga Tribal member (both are federaly recognized American Indian tribes, and another that is a member of the San Juan Tribe (state recognized but not federally recognized).

    Sorry about rambling, just wanted people to understand that tribes have adopted some non American Indians into their tribes. In these cases, DNA would not show up because it is not there.

  54. wayne

    Married to a yupik women.Fedral government says that they determine race by the children’s birth mother.This was done in 1967.

  55. Sue Dooley

    Thank you all ! Your comments and searching have enlightened me in my quest as I have three relatives on the Dawes Five Civilized of the Indian Nation, maybe more. I understand after reading more about the Cherokee that the blood was truly mixed by so many being adopted, half siblings, etc. I have not gotten the results back for my son who I had given a DNA test to do for Irish/Scottish, a no brainer as his Dad was 2nd generation Irish American…but hoping it would show some other surprises! Best wishes to you all in finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of knowledge!

  56. Tizme

    The worldwide DNA testing programmes currently in vogue are only as good as the database they reference.
    As some have already pointed out, if the grouped genetic markers that indicate a specific “tribe” of people are not included in the database then it is impossible to get an honest result. The computer would then have to model its answer as the next best guess surely – resulting in the confusing mix that some have been presented with.
    I would have thought that there would be great pride in tribal affiliation so much so that it would overcome any resistance on ‘religious’ grounds to having permanent genetic markers established for a particular group of people. Until the day arrives when all such groups have a unique signature registered in the genetic databases, then it will always just be a ‘best guess’ result and not the magic bullet that some were hoping for.

  57. Tina Beck

    I’ve never met anyone both black as well as white who didn’t think they have NA ancestry. It seems like most families enjoy story’s like that. I’ve never been able to figure out why.

  58. irsgal

    My dna test also showed no Native American blood. My father was 1/4 Cherokee. I also have Cherokee blood from my mother’s side, although much less. My family was from Alexander County, Illinois. The Trail of Tears came through there, and a lot of Cherokee people dropped out and stayed there. My Cherokee blood from my mother’s side came from North Carolina. My father had and I have a number of Indian features. Tracing my Indian heritage is what got me started at Ancestry. I also was disappointed in my dna results.

  59. Samantha

    Has it not occurred to anyone that the Cherokee are ancestors of the Irish?
    This is based on evidence found and documented, even on television.
    Watch America Unearthed.
    The first program I saw was about 20 years ago on PBS called, ‘Brendan the Navigator’.
    It showed how the Irish were in this country before it was a country. And they left their marks in the southeast where the Cherokees inhabited land when the Pilgrims arrived.
    Living in log cabins and farming the land.
    The proof is there and the DNA proves it.

  60. It’s important to remember that genealogy and genetics are two different things. This is a lesson I have learned from my son-in-law, who is a forensic DNA specialist. It is possible to lose a specific genetic marker in just five generations, even though your genealogy is well-documented. That doesn’t mean the test was bogus or that your ancestors lied. Most genetic traits are the expression of just a few of the many possible variants of the same gene–alleles. The number of variants for skin color, for example, may be as many 100, though there are probably less. So consider 1/2 of your dad’s skin color alleles–picked at random–and 1/2 of your mom’s skin color alleles–picked at random–and you can see that in just one generation a powerful number of skin color alleles might drop out, never to return.

  61. James Patrick

    I just got my DNA test Kit , it looks like it will not really help me in what I was looking for guess this science is not really a science. For we have no real starting piont. But maybe I will find something out that will be a surppise , like so many have the story told to us by a grandmother(or other family member) that we are part Indian, guess only time will tell(as test get better).

  62. Angel

    Thanks for the explanation about the DNA and the Native American evidence being too small to detect. My grandfather always said there was Native American blood in our ancestry and was surprised when none showed in my DNA results.

  63. Clain Lust

    If I read your article correctly you are saying that certain DNA disappears. I have not heard that before. If that was true then my results of Ancestry DNA makes even less sense. I had a DNA test through Nat’l Geography and they found a very small percentage of Neanderthal. Following your explanation it should not shown up at all.

  64. Jenny Sue Hayward

    I am thinking about doing the DNA testing to find out about Indian ancestry, but I heard somewhere that testing only identifies the mother’s genes and not the father’s. My grandfather on my mother’s side had a mother who was full-blooded Indian. Would that even show up in DNA testing?

  65. Peggy Tree

    Candace, I don’t think that and their DNA testing is a fraud. To make the statement you made that NA are really African Americans leads me to believe that you are disappointed with the results of your DNA test. I’m sorry you feel badly about your experience, but I, for one, understand that NA DNA testing is a pretty complex issue. I have been a member of since 2011 and have been very happy with my experience in finding out about my family trees. I’m not an expert by any means, but don’t let your one time experience be the last. You can find out so much more about your family and as more people are having their DNA tested, you will be finding DNA matches and can have a great experience contacting your cousins and seeing how you are related. Please don’t let this experience keep you from a great deal of fun you can have with the program. I’m 1\8th Cherokee. My grandmother was half Cherokee. My brother and I have both gotten DNA testing and no percentage of Cherokee or NA showed up in either of our results.

  66. Woeisme

    Sounds like National Geographic might have some more accurate DNA testing, and it would stand to reason.

    Even so, read up on the gamut of private biotech applications, privacy breaches, relentless corporate legalsmithing and the ethical-legal void in genetic protection (UNESCO Bioethics Committee, to name one lead) before so readily giving up your and your loved ones’ strands to the corporate vault. (These are, after all, corporations: anonymous societies, perpetually bought out, merged, partnered, whatever raises the bottom line…)

    I agree that isolating European genomes down to nations and neglecting such specificity under a broad “Native American” category seems a bit prejudiced or neglectful, to put it mildly. But then, with the sea of movement of “pre-nation state” tribes, nomads, armies and empires, how can anyone claim DNA is “Greek” or “Spanish” or any other nation?

    Overall, the discussions on these genealogy pages are both tragic and amusing. Tragic to see such widespread ignorance and confusion of core concepts, logic, history, culture, identity and science underlying earnest spirits desiring to know these very things more deeply. Amusing in that the cacophony of misnomers ends up sounding like a game of charades.

    Americans should be outraged at just how thoroughly public and higher education have been gutted nationwide. By whom and for what? Ask yourselves and move on it, before the memory of what sound education even is gets bred out of you (like a native american gene!) :l Education is a universal human right by law: know it and defend it. (ICESCR … )

    Democracy schmemocracy without Education. Free thinking is just a pretty concept if people are not even taught the tools of clear, critical and reliable thinking in understanding themselves and their world.

    Food for thought…

    Best of luck to everyone!

  67. CharlieSeattle

    Their are other physical markers. Have an Optometrist examine your eyes and look for the traces of Asian, Cherokee, influences.

    Traces of the “Asian fold” may show up.

    A daughter of a past girlfriend, 1/8 Cherokee, once mentioned that her Optometrist told her during an exam she had traces of the Asian fold. She said he raved on and on about her perfect eyes.

  68. Charline

    Since DNA testing presently is able to show from what part of Africa a black person’s ancestors originated, I wonder if it will someday improve to the point that one’s Indian tribe can be determined? I’m going to take the DNA test in hopes that I inherited sufficient from my Great-Grandmother but, judging from these posts, it sounds “iffy.” The only thing we know is that my mother’s grandmother received a letter telling her that if she wanted land to come to Indian country, and “bring her children.” There’s only one remaining member of the generation prior to mine, and I don’t know that we will learn more. Unfortunate that we so often don’t become interested in these things until too late. As far as the person who is denigrating our interest in this aspect, I’m inordinately proud of my Irish ancestors also. I always said, “them Irish really got around.” The interest is because this is history–something I hated in school, but now enjoy thoroughly.

  69. Max M

    I had a similar result that confused me. My father, who was orphaned in WW2, had a number of clues indicating he was Jewish: for instance, he had a bris and was found in a predominantly Jewish community in eastern Poland, and, at age 2 spoke a smattering of Yiddish, Polish and Russian words. Yet my DNA profile came up with 0% European Jewish markers and a very broad profile of Eastern European. The other half is easily connected, and in the proportions I expected, to what we know of my mother’s ancestry (which is very well documented, going back to the 1600s). Is this typical for people of Eastern European heritage with a Jewish background?

  70. Dorothea Clymer

    My mother is half Swedish which makes me 25 % Swedish, yet my DNA results show 12% probably Scandinavian. I’ve traced both great grandparents many generations in Sweden, one to 1700s, one to Gorm the Old (9th Century). Whats with that?

  71. Bill

    Like many of you I was quite surprised at my results. It confirmed what I knew but tossed a HUGE curve ball too. The 55% Scandinavian was no surprise but the 34% British Isles caused MAJOR confusion because nobody in my family tree came from “England” or “Ireland”. Major head spin I tell you because I’m Norwegian/Danish & Dutch.

    However as I learned more and more in-depth history the confusion started clearing up. The biggest obstacle to understanding these DNA results are: lack of historical knowledge; lack of understanding how DNA/genetics work; understand that the database is based off genetic markers in current populations and probably the biggest one….confusing modern day borders(countries) with DNA markers. DNA does not care about culture or language or artificial man-made boundaries.

    Throughout the history of Europe there were mass migrations and wars constantly going on. Slave trading was common throughout the continent. In other words, DNA was constantly moving around.

    My quandary about British DNA cleared up with understanding the history of Britain. Seems like everyone wanted to invade that island, mostly my distant ancestors namely Vikings and before them the Picts, Angeles and Saxons. To top it off the Roman Empire used Batavian Legions in their occupation of Britain. Batavia was the region in what’s modern day Netherlands (southern half–where my father’s side is from). Then came the Normans who were Viking descendants. They had a tremendous impact on Britain. So the British Isles got multiple injections of my ancestor’s DNA from a number of places and time periods.

    My father’s side is from The Netherlands documented into the 1600’s. However, my European West DNA is only 7%!! That caused a migraine!!

    Bottom line….DNA does not follow man-made boundaries or stories/myths/family legends, plus the results are effected by the database size.

  72. Sent off mine & hubby’s DNA no results yet but in reference to N A roots my husband had a dentist identify his native roots in reference to the shape of his teeth.Anyone else have this experience?

  73. Shannon Wagoner

    For the disgruntled member whose Native American tested African. The slaves who came to Tampa with Desota in1537 decided the natives had a much better life than they did. Many of them escaped and joined the natives. That expedition went all the way to the Mississippi.

  74. Lester

    I’m not surprised by all the people whoo are surprised that there is no NA DNA in there blood. It has always been a common wives tail in family’s. Life my wife’s maidan name is Lewis. The whole family is convinced that they are related to Lewis and Clark. It’s wishful thinking and family tails.

  75. Ryan

    It should be pointed out that the various DNA tests available on the market today are not all equal in terms of how accurate and comprehensive the results will be.

    For example, an individual that truly has substantial Native American ancestry within the most recent 1-3 generations, should yield DNA test results that clearly indicate the presence of that NA ancestry (at least from any in-depth and high-quality DNA test worth taking).

    But if that particular individual’s DNA test shows a result of 0% NA ancestry, then the accuracy and total depth of that test should first be questioned. However, if that individual merely has heard family stories that some distant ancestor may have had a fraction of NA ancestry, then perhaps the test simply failed to pick up on the few, if any, remaining genetic traces that were inherited by the individual — or the family stories were simply stories rather than fact.

    From many of the comments posted here, it appears that Ancestry’s autosomal (ethnic) DNA testing results may not be nearly as comprehensive as some other available DNA tests. FamilyTree DNA and others should be looked into by those whose initial DNA testing results have been found to be more inaccurate or shallow that desired.

  76. Larry Liles

    I tested on another site and came up 22% NA. I asked if one of my grandparents were NA and was told that is incorrect. Your genes are not halved each generation but the dominate genes prevail. I still have not found my NA ancestor(s)

  77. Phillip

    There is a way to see DNA information showing Native American heritage – if your DNA has it to find. I don’t know if AncestryDNA will utilize a tool like this in the future, but already does. You will need to join to obtain the needed kit number (aka account number). uses raw data from testing already done from other sources, such as AncestryDNA and FTDNA. You must download your Raw Data from AncestryDNA (they have instructions for how you may do this – plus information about what you may be revealing if used). Leave the downloaded file compressed – do not expand the file. Once uploaded to and synchronized it will be ready to use – this does have delay in completing (a lot of data). You can then login to and perform an Admixture (heritage) search of the full database using your kit number. Admixture is found in the box at lower right where all possible searches of your data can be performed. On the next screen, select a project from the drop-down (they have detailed information on each project) – try Eurogene just as example). Then select Admixture Proportions by Chromosome. The next screen will ask for a kit number – use your kit number to see results related to your data. Use the default listed, Eurogenes K13 for this example and click Continue. Results will begin to display – this takes time to complete all 22 chromosomes (note no Chr23 Y-DNA is included). You will then see results from each chromosome result on the line stating AmerIndian that will show your Native American heritage directly from your Autosomal DNA. There are help and information links for how to interpret data and the limitations for each project found within the tool.

  78. Jeanne

    I have a similar make-up to many of the respondants,with my great-great-grandmother being Abernaki tribe from Maine, and her husband, my great-great grandfather being Irish. When everything boils down to its essence, we are all tangentally related given there are only 16 unique strands of DNA.

  79. William Staub

    Dear Anne, A family member was hospitalized Margret Rose Logan born 6 16 1935 in New Jersey . An child she placed for adoption is searching for her. I know the state hospitals were in Pa. is there anything you could recommend . Thank You Bill Staub (From the Logan and Staub family Trees)

  80. Barbara_Jean_Ocon

    My my, In reading these comments, it’s interesting how upset some people are because of their DNA results or how they are categorized. Keep in mind that (1) Stories are stories, they are not facts and may include fantasies, obfuscations and outright lies. True stories also get corrupted in the telling and repeating. (2) Family trees only show familial links to other persons. Many family trees on this site have significant errors and can lead you down a wrong path. (Example: “My name is Adams, therefore, I must be related to President John Adams.” And then the person looks for stories to prove the theory. (3) DNA shows us how humans migrated and produced offspring around the planet. Family trees, stories and DNA results are tools to give us clues. Events such as wars, rapes, adoptions, marriages, religious conversions/persecutions, migration and conquest have contributed to your DNA. (4) Citizenship or place of birth is only a clue to your ethnicity. (5)

    Native Americans are defined as “people who populated the two American continents before colonial conquest.” This is neither a good, nor bad thing. The NA group needs a category, just like “Scandinavian.”

    My advice is to think about how these concepts are interrelated rather than causal.

  81. Wanda Irwin

    I have not taken a DNA test, because I thought it had to be a male. I have no Male DNA to test since my father died 6 yrs. ago. I was trying to find my NA ancestry, but have found it through the paper route, but still need to investigate more. I also need to find my Mothers Grandfather’s parents…that has been my brick wall. Thanks.. Wanda

  82. Mary

    MY sister and I did DNA I am built like my fathers side from north east Scotland. My sister is built like my mother from Glasgow area. I am 75% great brittan 16% Irish My sister is 42% Irish, 52% GB

  83. fran abar

    I took a DNA test from another company in the 90’s and it showed 30% North American Indian. Since then I have taken ANcestry DNA and it shows no traces of Native AMerican. What is the answer? Should I take another?

  84. It has always been my impression the if you were born in America, You were a Native American. Even those who lived in America two thousand or five thousand years , even ten thousand years ago, their ancestors came from some other part of the earth to America. So, who are the Native Americans?

  85. J.

    I want to get the DNA test done, but with the comments about, I am wondering if they get some to the DNA mixed up???

  86. Ron Jobin

    there is a great deal of evidence in Metis history that my family roots are well established in Canadian history. Can I depend on the Metis historical records wihich differ greatly from standard histories.

  87. Miss H

    As a black woman in America, it is a mystery of who I am. My family is mainly from Louisiana and Texas, but when I received my results I have 86 % African, 13 % European, and 1% West Asia. My entire life I was told Native American, French, German, and African (Duh!), but only a small number of people have been tested around the world. I plan to test in the near future after more people are in the database. Also, my sister will be tested in the future. At the end of the day, we’re all very mixed raced people, and should be proud of who we are. Good Night to all!

  88. My sisters and I thought we would get more information from and about my dna test than we did, like how do we get people with the same/similar dna to contact us, or we with them. I’m completely lost now as to where to go from here. Please advise in an email. Thank you.
    Thank you.

  89. tenya

    I had the DNA test performed last earlier this year, and no Native American ancestry was indicated, although I have seen photos of my paternal and maternal great-grandmothers who were obviously of mixed-races – with strong Native American features. The test indicated that I had approximately 75% West African origins, <25% Caucasian and < 1% Asian heritage. I was rather disappointed because I had heard so many stories about my families' diverse ethnicity with Native American blood being a key part of it. After reading some of the other comments, I see that my confusion is not isolated. I would really like an answer to this question.

  90. Donzetta Seals

    I am an african american female and I am interested in finding the region of Africa from which my ancestors came. Do you have sufficient data for such request in your dna base?

  91. John Jones

    My wife has a saying about such things: “momma’s baby, poppa’s maybe”. Which may solve a lot of these “missing/extra” DNA queries.

  92. Brianna Jackson

    I am half Mexican so we were always pretty certain of our Native ancestry. Sure enough, I got 18% Native, mum got 40% or higher, so I consider myself 20%. Only shame is we don’t know what tribe or anything.

  93. GailG

    My Ancestry DNA result came back 11% Native American. My mother’s family is all from New Mexico, and what we always believed was Spanish (Iberian Peninsula) so this is a surprise.

  94. Chris

    I’m African American, and I have a paper trail. My dna still came back as less than 1% NA.. At 23andme and FTDNA I came back at 2.6%, and 3%. Gedmatch also gives me 3%, so I think that it must be something about this database. The only Asian I got here was 2% West Asian and 2% North African. Less than 1% Native American, and 14% European

  95. Angela Hickerson

    The common theme here is that the family story does not match the genetic story. My son got his 23andMe test back: 1% Yakut (East Asian) and .6 West African. We thought we were all European! We want to investigate and are intrigued. Where is your curiosity people?! I have a NA story too, and no NA DNA! I know that my people were supposedly kidnapped by Indians (sorry, Native Americans) and married them. Bottom line: DNA helps us sort it out. Sorting out genealogy is way harder. You have to sort through the stories, and we should all be skeptical about them so that the trees here an Ancestry would be better quality. There needs to be an italics button or a flashing “not proven” button that we could use on our own trees! I have cousins that are solidly invested in the whole NA story-thing. They are never going to give it up either.

  96. Max

    My grandpa is 100 percent choctaw/crow indian and I showed up 0 percent NA DNA…this dna test thing is a big load of bull crap it also said I’m 8 percent Italian and have traced all my roots back to the 1500s and have zero Italian ancestry

  97. Lucy

    My Grandpa if full blood Northern Native American. We have papers dating back to 1756. According to DNA he is 100% Northern European??? I don’t think the NA DNA test is accurate when it comes to the Northern tribes.

  98. BC

    Genetic testing is not as simple as it sounds. It is actually a number of different tests that trace different lines in the family tree (and even that is an oversimplification).

    mtDna tests only trace a single direct line of mother-daughter relationships. Y-line tests only trace a single direct line of father-son (the same way surnames are passed down from father to son). If the part of your family tree you are interested in takes a turn that crosses sex (like for instance your father’s mother’s line) it is undetectable by those methods.

    There is a third test that is done too, called ‘autosomal’ which uses a kind of statistical fingerprint of the genetic code to try and find patterns that could indicate a certain heritage. The good part of this kind of test is that it is not sex-linked so it will detect things off of the direct male and female lines. The down side is that it depends on data that is far from complete as yet and so it often returns odd or unknown results.

    Autosomal tests can prove that you DO have a particular genetic ancestry included but not really how much or when it was. It CANNOT disprove one however since it can only look for known genetic fingerprints and not all are known.

  99. angela

    I have a big question to ask.
    My grandmother was 100% Comanche native american from comanche texas.
    Not sure what my day was but looking at the statistics above wouldn’t that make me 25% native? And also being my dad and grandparents are past how do i even prove this and where do i go to do it? Any info would help bc im not even sure. I would like to be recognized in a tribe so im not sure the steps to take.

  100. Betty

    I was told for years that my grandmother on my mother’s side was full blooded Cherokee Indian so that would make my mother half Cherokee and then I would be 1/4 Cherokee; however, my DNA Report does not show this at all. I understand if my Cherokee blood was further removed back in the ancestry line, but shouldn’t show up if my grandmother was 100% Cherokee? If it was a mistake and it was my great grandmother that was full blooded Cherokee instead; would that be the reason no trace of Native American Indian blood in my DNA report?

  101. Jean

    Growing up, I was told I had Mohawk in me, but I have no additional information. This mystery is what sparked my interest in genealogy. Like so many others here, my DNA did not show any Native American, however I did have 31% Asia East and 14% Polynesian. So I have 2 questions…First, why am I not finding any DNA matches with Asia East and Polynesian? Second, how likely is the Asia East and Polynesian actually Native American?

  102. Bill SR.

    The very first people to come to this continent after the flood & dividing of the continets, were the Jaredites, after the Tower of Babel, about 2200 BC. Then the family of Lehi also came from Israel, as did the Jaradites, about 600 BC, during the reign of Zedekiah & Jeremiah. The Mulekites also came about this same time from Israel.

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