Posted by Kristen Hyde on September 19, 2016 in Website

Think you’re more British than queuing for cricket in the rain? Or drinking Pimms with sun burn? By looking at our DNA data, we’ve been able to not only find the most British region in the UK, but prove how ethnically diverse Britain is.

And the winner is?

Yorkshire! New analysis of the genetic history of two million people worldwide by AncestryDNA has proved Yorkshire to be the most ‘British’ region in the UK with their genetic makeup containing an average 41 per cent Anglo-Saxon ancestry.

And what about the rest of us?

The results found that the average UK resident is 36.94% British (Anglo Saxon), 21.59% Irish (Celtic) and 19.91% Western European (the region covered today by France and Germany).

London is the most ethnically diverse, having the highest amount of heritage from 17 of the 26 regions analysed. The East Midlands has the most Scandinavian ancestry (10.37%) as well as the most Eastern European (2.47%).

Live in the East of England and always wondered why you have a strong penchant for pizza, pastries and gyros? It might have something to do with the East of England having the most Italian/Greek (Southern European) ancestry (2.53%) and Western European (French/German) (22.52%) ancestry, as well as the highest amount from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) (3.43%).

English people have significantly less Irish ancestry (just 20% of their genetic make-up) on average compared to people living in Scotland (43.84%), Wales (31.99%) and Northern Ireland (48.49%).

English residents do however have the highest amount of Scandinavian (9.39%) and Western European (French/German) (20.45%) ancestry.

Scottish residents have the highest amount of Finnish/Northwest Russian (1.31%) heritage, which is explained by their geographic proximity. While Welsh residents have the highest proportion of ancestry from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal) in the UK (3%).

Want to find out more about your ethnicity? Take the AncestryDNA test and learn more about understanding your ethnicity estimate.

Kristen Hyde

Kristen is Ancestry's Social Media Manager for the United Kingdom.

23 Comments

  1. anita

    Perhaps that would explain why my mostly British heritage shows up at exactly 0% on my ethnicity–they were of Viking heritage in the midlands, I suppose…

  2. I would be interested in the size of the sample. Is it really representative of the British population? No surprises as to ethnic diversity though would have expected the old East Riding to be as Scandinavian as the East Midlands.

  3. James Perkins

    I was raised being told that we were Cherokee and the 5 civilized tribes from my mothers side. My DNA test indicated that I was British, UK and Western Europe but no Native American at all. What went wrong? My mother definitely has Native American features such as black hair and dark skin.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @James: The DNA test can show if you inherited the markers for Native American. But you do not inherit every trait or marker from your Ancestors so even if you are a direct descendant it might not show up in your DNA test. The results do not provide a specific tribal affiliation, however. Please see the following articles that explains more about this: http://ancstry.me/23Yktn5 and http://ancstry.me/1Yrotvv.

  4. James Perkins

    All my DNA is Great Britain and Western Europe and nothing else. Yet my mother was born in Oklahoma and always told us we were Cherokees. I take pride in being British but I had always thought I was Native American. I grew up making my own archery gear and blowguns just as Cherokee and Creek Indians did.

  5. Phyllis A Ericson

    That would explain why as a 3rd generation Brit in USA I’m more British than the avg Brit coming in at 96% British. My father’s Danish but I got Mom’s genes. My brother too. Our DNA mix is basically the same.
    Thanks for the explanation.

  6. Paula

    This is very helpful! I was flabbergasted when I got my DNA results, which showed a far higher amount of Irish and Scandinavian DNA (more than 30 percent) than British (only 10 percent). Most of my family came directly from England, almost all in the Puritan and Quaker immigration waves of the 17th and early 18th centuries. These explanations help me account for the Scandinavian tilt, although I still don’t understand how it could be so much higher than British. As for the Irish DNA: My most recent immigrant ancestors (1830s) came from Wales, so that DNA has been diluted the least by other infusions from all over England and from the Pennsylvania Dutch lines.

    What a fascinating hobby genealogy is!

  7. Lynn David

    Ms. Hyde… why do you think that the Ancestry ethnicity grouping for “British” is only representative of Anglo-Saxon bloodlines? I have long argued that it includes also some earlier Celtic tribes more associated with those in France and Belgium (the Belgae). For instance, Ancestry groups my heritage as being 45% British, 25% Western European, 14% Eastern European, 14% Trace Regions and 2% (West) Asian. But the thing is, I don’t have a one ancestor from the British Isles (most all my lines go back at least 3 generations in Europe – the exception being in Poland). I am, however by known ancestral regions, about 25% NW German (Saxon), 25% Wallon Belgian, 37% West-central European (from Lorraine, Baden, Franche-Comte, & Jura in Suisse) and 13% Eastern European (western Poland). I came to the conclusion that to get that rating from Ancestry of 45% British (and 4% Scandinavian & 1% Irish from the Trace Regions) that it had to come from my ancestors from northwestern Germany and my Belgian Walloons. Therefore to be called British by Ancestry should not be indicative solely of Anglo-Saxon ancestry but also of earlier Celtic roots more associated with those tribes which still had cognates in France and Belgium. Indeed their map of the Great Britain ethnicity would seem to indicate that.

  8. Lisa A

    I have kind of an opposite situation from what several described above. My “100%” Swedish-American mom ended up having quite a bit of British DNA show up in her test.

  9. Howard Wells

    Don’t have to much faith in your DNA testing, mine came back 100% Europe. My mother was one fourth native American.

  10. Vicki

    dna results, the subject a close family member got the ancestry results which we did in hopes of connecting to other relatives but its quite perplexing as we have done 2 other dna tests which reflected Native American, also which confirms what we were told our entire life as well as the relatives we found on the Cherokee rolls? the ancestry dna came back 0% Native American, hmmmm?

  11. Joyce

    We were told gropwing that we had Native American ancestry, and I ave taken all 3 of the “Big 3” DNA tests.

    Not one of then showed Native American ancestry–but all of them showed a small percentage of “inidentifiable”–I suspect when a percentage gets small they don’t bother to go any further.

    I uploaded my Raw DNA to GEDmatch which has a MUCH more specific admixture report than Ancestry DNA—in fact Ancestry DNA has gotten VERY generalized over the years compared to what my ethnicity report from them showed when I first took their test many years ago—now my report is so vague nothing can really be learned from it.

    I uploaded my raw DNA to GEDmatch—and checked my admixture report and sure enough there WAS Native American DNA in the report…1.03%.

    Ancestry reports have just gotten far too generic lately. I recommend uploading your Raw DNA to GEDmatch to get more detailed reports–and a lot of other features you won’t find on the “Big 3” sites.

    GEDmatch is a free site designed by people who know far more about DNA than I do-and they did it because they were not happy with any of the tools and other things on the “Big 3” sites.

    A DNA report is only as good as the levels they are testing…do some googling and see comparisons out there about how “good” the various test sites have been judged by folks who have studied DNA testing in detail.

    You will be surprised.

  12. Roger Vanderveen

    So “British” means Anglo-Saxon, and “Celtic” means Irish? That must be a surprise to the Welsh, Cornish and Scots, Celtic peoples who lived in Britain 1,000 years before the Anglo-Saxons showed up.

  13. ABM van Helsdingen

    Is it possible to see the full results of this research, i.e. a map or table showing the different regions of the UK and the proportions of each ethnicity.

  14. Thom Riley

    Just got my Ancestry DNA results are I’m not very happy. Guess I should have read more concerning what I was getting (must have missed the key word “ancient”. My mother’s family history goes back 500 years and virtually every ancestor came from Canada first and prior to that – France. Imagine how shocked I was to see 1 % Europe West. Oh well…

  15. Sheba Hill

    Your results are garbage! I’ve never been to UK yet I’m supposed to be 62%. No you neanderthal so I am Native American

  16. Jacqueline

    My husband’s results came back 68% British. He was surprised it was that high with so much of his family tree on his father’s side coming from Quebec City prior to arriving in the US.

  17. gretta gribble

    roger vanderveen, you are so right. my heritage includes large proportions of scottish and cornish – who knows how that would display. celts too, but not irish.

  18. Alwyn ap Huw

    How can a site that claims to be experts on DNA & ancestry claim that “Anglo Saxon” is British and Celtic is “Irish”? The Anglo Saxons were Germanic invaders of Celtic Britain, the native British Celts include Scots, Welsh and Cornish not just the Irish. Why should anybody want to pay for a test that gave the false result that their Welsh ancestry is Irish or their Saxon ancestry is British?

  19. Eralia

    I know a lot of my mom’s ancestors came from Yorkshire. I gotten about 15% Great Britain with the range up to 37%. I gotten a lot of Irish (25%); but I think some of that came more from my dad’s side. I also gotten a some Scandinavian at 6% and Finnish/Russian at 3%. Everything else came from other ancestors. Interesting to learn more about them. All from my Native American to my European ancestors and everyone else in between even if just trace regions.

    I think people are confused. I think Great Britain DNA is more of the Britons which is one tribe of Celts and Anglo-Saxons would be more Germanic. There were also some Vikings which would be Scandinavian. This is why I think people get Europe West or Scandinavia and why Great Britain and Irish DNA are so similar and hard to separate. People traveled, migrated, etc…so it shouldn’t be a surprise if you studied history.

  20. Lynn Clemons

    Ancestry DNA testing doesn’t show everything as it is rather generalized. In order to get a full breakdown, or to see where your various ethnicity are in your chromosomes you can download your raw data then upload it to GEDMatch.

    For example. I’ve done my tree, research, and we had family records, dawes rolls records,photos, etc which shows that we are descended from Germany, England (related to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, etc), Irish, Native American (Seminole, Muscogee Creek, and Cherokee), and black…..However when I took the Ancestry DNA it doesn’t show the Native American or the black. It shows up 3% West Asian(Caucus) and 6% Iberian Peninsula – Which I still hadn’t found in our research and we have no idea where that came in…..My Ancestry DNA shows: 49% Great Britian, 20% Europe West, 13% Ireland, 6% Iberian Peninsula, 4% Scandinavia, 3% Italy/Greece, <1% Europe East, <1% Finland/Northwest Russia, and 3% West Asia…..

    Anyways, when I uploaded my raw dna file into GED Match it broke it down further and my Native American showed up as well as the black and middle eastern – Melano Polynesian, Melanesian, Arctic American Indian (Inuit? Aleut?), American Indian, Indian (India), Indo-Iranian, and sub-Saharan African.
    Even though these are small amounts showing up in each chromosome they are still there. Some of them are higher than 1% which I don't understand why Ancestry doesn't show them.

    It would be nice to see Ancestry pinpoint more or include everything instead of being so generalized.

    So, those of you whom are wondering why it isn't showing stuff up – thank genetics for that. We get bits and pieces in our chromosomes and one sibling may show higher native than another. Just go to GEDMatch, you'll get a fuller overview.

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