Posted by Dr. Catherine Ball on September 12, 2018 in AncestryDNA

With more than 30 years of dedicated experience in family history and the world’s largest consumer DNA network, Ancestry gives people the best tools to discover their story. Since our inception, we have been transforming names into family and distant places into home. We unlock stories from the past and inspire people to find their connection to the world.

Today, we announce that Ancestry will deliver ethnicity estimates with increased precision to its customers, through a new algorithm that analyzes longer segments of genetic information, marking an important evolution in the way we interpret DNA data. Having built and expanded our DNA reference panel, we have a better understanding of genetic signatures globally, can break down geographic ethnicity estimates with greater specificity and give you a more detailed picture of your origins.

The rollout of our enhanced ethnicity estimates will take place on September 12, 2018 and with this update, new and existing customers can expect more precise results across Asia and Europe. For example, Scandinavia will be more clearly defined as Norway and Sweden and Asia East will be broken down into six regions (Japan, Korea and Northern China, China, Southeast Asia—Dai (Tai), Southeast Asia—Vietnam, Philippines). All updates to existing customers will be free of charge.

But we never stand still. Genomics is an emerging field and as a leader in this field, we remain committed to investing in ‘what’s next’. This next generation ethnicity estimate is one more way Ancestry is helping people discover, with greater detail, the stories of those who came before them.

Go ahead. Find your story.

Dr. Catherine Ball

Chief Scientific Officer, Ancestry

185 Comments

  1. Rebecca Morris

    I have a wedding photo of someones family I found in an envelope. The envelope had the names Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Vizi, 26 Sound View Ave, South Norwalk. CT. 06854. If anyone is related to this family I would like to post this wedding photo. It had a graduation book with it called “The Stylus”. Its from Windber High School in PA, 1943.

    • Laura

      I have been locating descendants of people who’s photos I have found by searching for others who have trees on Ancestry. There are also Facebook groups of people doing the same that you can share your info with and they can also help you in trying to figure out who the people are.

    • Zora Rothbauer

      Hello, Rebecca,
      I was born in the Czech republic and some 10 years ago met with a man with family name Vizi. Such a name is totally strange for this country. Should you wish so, I could call him and ask about his ancestors/origin etc.

      • Ashley Victoria Desmond

        Hello Rebecca! My name is Ashley Victoria Desmond. I already know we are related but I just wanna say…what aho or. And I really mean that. I plan to be the best human being I possibly can be. I wish for the sake of humanity and all dead living, breathing and no.

    • David Abad

      Rebecca, this comment of yours has absolutely nothing to do with the blog post. Please post on an appropriate message board rather than simply posting in any random place on the Ancestry website.

  2. Janice

    I do think my ethnicity percentages are more accurate. But now that you’ve managed to separate Norway and Sweden, I wonder if you could separate Ireland, England and Scotland. I am feeling a bit miffed that my list of DNA matches for “New England Ancestors” (who were primarily English) includes my Scottish DNA matches ….. The problem for me is that it doesn’t help me sort my matches. The Scots are paternal ancestors. The English and Irish are maternal. Hope this makes sense.

  3. Lora Nesbitt

    I want to know can you tell me what country’s do each parent represents in my DNA test results. Trying to locate what country is paternal and maternal.

    • Joyce

      Lora that cannot be done via autosomal DNA tests. You need to analyze your DNA results based on family trees, separating them that way.

      Unfortunately Ancestry has not given us different colored stars which would make separating easier.

      ANCESTRY–we need more colors!

        • Floyd Brewer

          My name is Jeffrey Hardin and my mother was married to Clyde Ogle.. He is Anna Brewers’ wife.. How, in any way are we related? Warm regards..Jeffrey, Jeffrey Hardin

    • Jeff Baranchok

      Lora, To sort your DNA according to your parents and to identify which country goes with which parent you need to test with a different company that does “phasing” AND does ethnicity estimates AND shows you chromosome details or chromosome painting. Then you also have to submit DNA from you AND at least one of your parents so they can do the phasing to separate which are mom’s and which are dad’s. It can look like a jigsaw puzzle. If neither of your parents are alive it gets complicated and more expensive and incomplete and it may be easier just to search for your direct ancestors on Ancestry.com. The hints make it relatively easy.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Lora Sorry for the late response. Unfortunately it is not possible, at this moment in time, to provide these details on your ethnicity estimate. The percentages of each region are defined by how much your DNA matches with the typical DNA traits of native people from different area, which are included in our reference panel. To get to that information, you might want to get your parents tested: in this way you will be able to find out what regions you got most likely from one or the other. https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Testing-Family-Members
      We hope this helps.

  4. Joyce

    I am glad to see that after you changed my results years ago, you finally have me back to having French ancestry, as shown on ALL other DNA tests (4) I have taken.

    I am not so impressed that you took out Caucasus and Middle East though as I also know where that comes from in my tree .

  5. Imogene McClendon

    My West African DNA waned from Ghana to Ivory Coast. Reading Transatlantic Atlas entirely possible. Nigeria comes and goes. I have exciting discoveries with Ancestry Family Trees. However, there are trickster who don’t have a DNA match or DNA that keep slipping into the match list. Being vigilant, I’m adding characteristics to my members, such as race and any other data I can mine. Another problem is that people want to take over your tree! Please add swabs for older family members who don’t spit so well.

  6. Can you provide any more specifically ethnic details on the African samples which have been added to the Reference Panel? This would be of tremendous help in order to arrive at a better interpretation of the newly updated African ethnicity estimates.

  7. Eventhough I appreciate the efforts put into achieving this new update I feel the African breakdown has decreased in informational value. Please take these suggestions for improvement into consideration:
    https ://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/suggestions-for-improving-the-african-breakdown-on-ancestrydna/

  8. Alec van Helsdingen

    What I would like to see now from Ancestry is an update to the genetic communities/sub-regions. I still have zero genetic communities despite having ancestry from 5 different cultures/countries.

    • Maria

      That’s the reason that you don’t get a genetic community. It’s because you’re so mixed. People who are less mixed and have recent ancestry from an area are more likely to get DNA matches. For example, a person who has all their ancestors from Munster in Ireland is more likely to get a genetic community from there rather than someone who has one great grandparent from Munster.

      • Alec van Helsdingen

        I believe the real reason is that my ancestors come mainly from areas with low emigration to the United States, limiting the number of matches I get. Nevertheless it has been 18 months since they last updated the genetic communities: the number of testers has increased rapidly in that period and they should be able to improve it by now.

  9. Alan Pfahl

    My results are finally starting to make more sense! Turns out all those ancestors with the German sounding names may have been German and not British after all. Nice to see Ancestry.com adding additional precision to these estimates.

  10. Alan Pfahl

    With the release of the new ethnicity estimates, what happened to the annoying guy in the commercial who traded in his lederhosen for a kilt? Is he still practicing highland dancing? 🙂 Always felt that commercial was inappropriate given where the science of DNA ethnicity is at!

    • Anita

      I feel exactly like the”kilt” guy with the update! I’ve gone from Scandinavian majority to only 4%!!! I will have to check through my supposed dna matches to see if all of those with Scandinavian surnames magically disappeared too?

      • Karen J Smith

        Anita, I don’t have a Scandinavian surname (my father’s father was a Smith). However, I am mostly Scandinavian-ancestry on both sides, have visited cousins, etc. and y Scandinavian ancestry has all but disappeared. Very disappointed and skeptical of Ancestry now. 🙁

  11. Your new calculator may be more precise, but it is not necessarily more accurate.

    The first issue I’ve come across is that there are now gross discrepancies in a parent-child pair.

    For example, the new calculator makes me almost all to totally Norwegian (range goes to 100%, the most likely 81%)

    Yet, my mother (and AncestryDNA identifies her as such) is estimated at 2% Norway (range 0-7%). Now, she has no Norwegian ancestry of record, but she has plenty of Scottish ancestors and I’ve accepted that as such she’ll always get small amounts of Scandinavian ancestry with these calculators.

    However, there is no way (in real ancestry) I can have the high percentages of “Norway” given one parent has such a low range for “Norway”.

    It seems to me that AncestryDNA should have done consistency tests for every parent-child pair.

    • Rori

      I totally agree with Dan. Those of us who have tested our parents and siblings have found the same discrepancies. The previous version may not have had as many samples behind the data, but at least the parent-child pair matched up much better. That also means that although there is the chance that you may have placed us in more accurate regions, our new percentages are not accurate. I think Ancestry rushed to publish this new version without properly vetting it because there were so many people trying to get a peek at it before it was released.

      • David Stancil

        Rori – I think you are spot on. They got excited about the expanded database and pushed out new regions and percentages before fully vetting them.

      • Sharon

        Most Scots are actually Scandinavian….the Vikings came and raped the Scots and also, the Scots were taken as slaves back to Scandinavia and traded with the Dutch.

    • Sheree

      Dan, the same thing happened to me. My mother is on Ancestry and the update took her large Scandinavian heritage and divided it into percentages of Norway and Sweden which was interesting for her. But it took every bit of mine away and gave me just two areas of ancestry. I uploaded my raw data to GEDmatch and it shows all the Scandinavian areas in every calculator so I don’t understand why Ancestry took away that part of my genetics when it clearly shows in my mother’s update. Very disappointing.

      • Vicki

        Hi guys. I’m new at this and not sure how to start. I’m adopted and don’t know much of my lineage. Only non identifying info. I’ve done genealogy research for years but of course only through adopted family. I know I have a half blood sibling older than I am. I have 2nd cousins, etc listed on here. How do I progress with my birth family? Thanks for any help.

        • Jeff Baranchok

          Hi Vicki, So I guess you’re familiar with Ancestry.com and searching for “late” ancestors, sharing people’s trees for private info, etc..
          If you get your DNA tested at AncestryDNA.com or similar companies you may wind up with a list of THOUSANDS of blood relatives, including maybe even close ones like aunts, 1st cousins, etc. (I’m not sure which company has more tested members (thus more DNA matches). It could be Ancestry. There are companies and websites which specialize in helping find adopted children’s families but I don’t recall which ones they are. And all these companies seem to have different non-overlapping sets of customers.

          An acquaintance of mine’s parents kept their families a secret from him but many of his “secret” relatives (large families!) popped up as DNA matches when his daughter got tested. (They were all getting tested, lucky break.)

          If your new-found relatives won’t talk to you about your found family there are other resources:
          Ancestry.com of course for the dead and DNA-matches’ private tree info
          Post-2000 obituaries (Legacy.com & Google).
          For the living – background-check websites like TruthFinder.com, but that takes a bit more detective work than the dead. They don’t mind you doing hundreds of searches for a small monthly fee if it’s just family research. (I’m looking for all our living relatives.) Truthfinder has social media links which can lead to more family members and confirming information on FaceBook, and family photos. Some relatives on FB let the public see all, some you must ask to share.

        • Kathleen James

          Vicki, I was adopted too. It is very strange, isn’t it? And I find that Ancestry keeps asking me to add my tree. I did start one before my DNA results got in, but of course it is for my adoptive, as I call them! The whole thing gets,convoluted for us! Kathy

      • Christine

        The exact same problem happened to my mother and I and it makes no sense. Based on the updated ethnicity results, I would not thought my mom and I were related at all and no one is providing a clear explanation.

  12. Paul

    I think you’re gaining accuracy on the modern (last 200 years) country of origin and vastly losing the much more interesting DNA story of the last 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 years. Since most of your customers can easily get their family tree going back 200 or 300 years, that DNA info is less functionally critical to research than the getting the only source of evidence for the story of the groups that migrated around Europe to create the countries like Ireland and Italy, both very diverse mosaics of tribes. I think you should have different ethnicity algorithms optimised for short term (200), medium term (1000) and long term (5000), because the ethnicitity estimates will look entirely different.

    • Paul Stancil

      Agree, and i really appreciated the interesting questions posed in the prior estimate groupings that seemed to speak to some very old migrations (Iberian Peninsula to Ireland for example). The new groupings badly need a white paper to explain your thinking behind the reassignments of areas. I think the above statement is accurate, I think you have provided a more-accurate closer to present day estimate, but something in the more distant past has been perhaps clouded. We need to know some things. Why is Wales included with England and NW Europe now and broken from Ireland and Scotland? Where are the Danes? I have some ideas, but we need Ancestry to provide more detailed explanations.

      • Paul

        Yes, the Spain to Ireland link is confirmed both genetically and linguistically – and supported mythologically. What’s really interesting is if you look at the Irish mythology, it was said that the Milesians (Sons of Mil) migrated due North from Galacia, Spain to Ireland and tricked the magical Tuatha de Dannan after defeat into splitting Ireland. The Milesians said we’ll take everything above ground and you can have everything below ground. The magical folk moved underground (neolithic tombs)…when you look at the language structure, Irish is more closely related to Galacian than it is to Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.

      • Anne Reeves

        Actually I think that Great Britain – as in the whole island – designation was probably more accurate because the peoples of the British Isles are all, in fact, over the millennia a complete mixture of “ethnicities.” Being genetically assigned to any one of the four main national identities is rather simplistic, actually, given the continuous migrations of the peoples of these islands – and that doesn’t even begin to consider the equally wide scale migrations of peoples from outside the islands into what we now think of as four nations. Migrations going back at least 10 or more millennia. The comparison groups are essentially based, from what I recall reading, on our grandparents’ generation: i.e. the “ethnic” representative people tested are supposed to live where their grandparents dwelt. This is presumed to give their “ethnicity” authenticity (what else can it be assumed to endow to the DNA?). To be assigned to the Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish ethnicities (for example) on such a basis tells one little more, in reality, than our more recent documents can demonstrate.

      • Andrea McKinnon

        I totally agree Paul, as for me I feel somewhat cheated from my DNA perspective with the new report. I was keen to learn where my ancestors may have come from pre the Norman invasion of Britain. Of course I too am open to all the possibilities of heritage and look forward to a time when your suggestions re short to long term optimal ethnicity is established.

  13. Janet Green/Ariciu

    My grandmother on my mother side. Always said her mother side of the family was American Indian . Chickasaw was she said. Now How do prove this

      • dvsdvs

        xcxcxfcx Good work all around! Now that the Trump administration is on the verge of accepting that fossil fuel consumption really does play a large role in global warming, you have to wonder if accepting evolutionary theory could be next.

        If so, he’s courting disaster with his cult followers – and could be the last straw with evangelicals, who have forgiven everything else. Science rocks!!

  14. John Mitchell

    I’m scratching my head over these changes, I don’t trust them. I was asked to answer a survey concerning what I thought about my DNA accuracy, were there any surprises. After completeing the survey all my surprises were erased from my DNA results!!! What??? And the strangest thing is my DNA results have always shown Scandinavia descent, initially a surprise, but then I discovered mu Great Grandmother was adopted and actually started out with a Scandinavian last name so it all made complete sense. Now my DNA results show no Scandinavia descent so I’m even more confused than ever. It makes me not trust these changes because I had answered the survey explaining the Scandinavia surprise, and immediately after the survey the Scandinavia portion was erased!! What is going on?

    • MaryBeth McCormick

      I have to agree with you, John. It does seems suspicious when I answered the questionnaire/survey & said I was surprised about 7% Scandinavia & 10% Western Europe, then it was updated from 80% Irish to 98% Irish, no Scandinavia & 2% Western Europe. So i wonder, did answers to that survey have any influence?

    • Barbara Laboissonniere

      Hmmm, that’s rather disturbing news—that estimates were immediately changed based on the survey. I, too, filled out the survey, but nothing changed on my updated estimates—though, after the survey I chose not to select switching over to the new estimates. I agree with others in this forum, that former regions have now been “clustered” into large swaths of Europe. This results in perhaps three or four ethnic groups for an individual instead of the more nuanced groupings and trace regions in the previous estimates. Based on the majority of posts in this forum, these new results no longer support their documented trees and family histories. (In many cases, the new results are not only”way off”—but improbable or even impossible.) Perhaps Ancestry.com needs to pay less attention to “relatively” small sample populations of individuals now living in Europe, the U.K., Ireland, etc., and more attention to documented trees that perhaps more accurately reflect ethnicity as it existed—sometimes hundreds of years ago. They have a treasure trove of dna/ethnicity research in the Family Trees and dna tests of their own members.

    • Mary

      I agree with your posting. I wonder too what’s going on. My DNA was a surprize, then all of a sudden the information changed drastically. I was left the first time feeling adopted, and even more so now with this updated information. Any thoughts ?

      • Barbara Laboissonniere

        Filling out the survey for your new estimate and posting your opinion in this forum are all positive steps, Mary. Some Ancestry members seem to be happier with their new estimates. However, many others are voicing their utter surprise, shock, or distress over receiving new estimates that are entirely improbable or impossible (based on their family trees). I can only assume that there are some glaring glitches in the update. This is illustrated when estimates for an ethnic region show up as one thing for a parent and another for the children, e.g., “French” ethnicity being shown as primarily Germanic for the mother and French/English for the children who are showing almost no Germanic ethnicity. Same French Canadian ancestors—different interpretive results. In other words, French ethnicity is now being interpreted as French, English, or Germanic. A human or technological decision is being made in “interpreting” which group to assign this particular ethnicity. (Before the update, a good deal of French Canadian ethnicity was often being assigned to the Iberian peninsula or England instead of France.)
        Another problem in the update is the disappearance of an accurate ethnicity (based on a family tree). For instance, an ancestor’s ethnicity, which appeared in the old estimates, has now entirely disappeared in the new update, e.g., Italy/Southern Europe and Native American designations.

        I’m not certain why the update results seem to be an improvement for some Ancestry members and a disappointing disaster for others—but, hopefully, Ancestry’s dna/genealogical specialists will pay close attention to the survey results and try to determine what is working well and what is not. Ancestry.com was considered by many as the “Gold Standard” for dna ethnicity results. However, currently—based on this update—I can no longer say that this is true. What would be helpful is a statement by Ancestry.com, acknowledging and explaining the problems with this update—and assuring members that they are working on a more accurate update to be rolled out in the near future.

        • Angela D.

          I believe my French estimate is more accurate in the updated version. I am a multigenerational American, with mostly European ancestry as well as African and Native-American. My mother has French ancestry from New Orleans several generations back. My dad has French-Swiss ancestry with arrival in the Louisiana Territory prior to the Louisiana Purchase. The first estimate had me at about 3% Western Europe, 17% Iberian, 16% Europe South, 14% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 4% Great Britain, 2% Europe East, 2% Scandinavia, 1% European Jewish, Caucusus, North West Russia. Trace amounts from Polynesia, Asia Central. Updated version is 46% France, 10% Ireland/Scotland, 5% Italy, 1% England/Wales/NorthWestern Europe. The African and Native Estimates stated the same, but the African changed from mostly Mali to mostly Cameroon/Congo/Southwestern Bantu. Italy (Southern European) was a surprise in both versions, and I was Surprised the Iberian was dropped. Nonetheless, overall, from what I know about my family through oral and documented history, the updated estimates appear to be more accurate in my case.

        • John Bartram

          I don’t wish to be cynical but it seems an advantage to Ancestry to just work quietly and keep selling to new customers. Any acknowledgement of flaws might scare off those new customers. Besides, you still get all those cousin matches. Ethnicity is more of a sideline.

    • Karen Rodden

      Most of my Scandinavian ancestry disappeared on my new profile too! My grandfather was born in Denmark. He married my grandmother a daughter of two immigrants from Denmark. My new estimate says I am 44% English although I know of no English ancestors. My new Estimate says I am only 5% (3% Norwegian and 2% Swedish) Scandinavian. Where did my Scandinavian ancestry go? Other parts of my new profile do not match with stories of my ancestors on my mother’s side either. Their first estimate I received from AncestryDNA was much more compatible with my ancestor’s stories.

      • Karen J Smith

        Almost all my Scandinavian ancestry disappeared as well. I have almost completely lost faith in Ancestry’s interpretation of our DNA. I have extensive Scandinavian. ancestry on both my maternal and paternal sides. I have traced my roots back to the year 1215; I have visited my cousins in Sweden many times. My father (who is 1/2 Swedish) lost a boatload of results with this version. I know that the interpretation of our results is more of an art than science, but this is ridiculous. By the way, I don’t need a Spotify playlist…

      • Aaron J Adams

        I am a quarter Dane, with an extensive paper trail and family there and all of my Scandinavian disappeared into the British category as well. This update is just plain ridiculous.

  15. Sandy

    I don’t know what you did with this update because it is way off. I took the test in 2012 and received results that closely match what I know about my ancestry. With previous updates it became more specific. My mother’s side is from Sicily and, based on history as well as my previous estimates, it always showed Italy-Greece which makes sense. My family is from the very eastern part of Sicily about 20 miles from the coast. Previous estimates also showed small amounts of Iberian Peninsula, Middle East, Caucasus and North Africa, which also makes sense historically. Those have all suddenly disappeared. My paternal side is Irish & German (Swiss farther back). Yet somehow I went from being right around 50% Italian, 36% Irish & 5% Western Europe and a smattering of other things to suddenly being 46% Irish, 41% Italy/Greece and 12% French (refined from Europe West). Absolutely no French anywhere in my family. Instead of breaking things down and giving me a wider range, which I would expect, you’ve basically compacted and thrown out what history, my personal knowledge and paper trails have proven. Previous estimates have been very similar to the other three family history sites I have tested, but not any more. I’m also curious as to how I received almost 60% of my DNA from my paternal side. I think somebody needs to go back to the drawing board on this new update.

  16. Paula

    Denmark – was a problem before and seems to be more of a problem now since you have Sweden and Norway as their own categories but no clue about Denmark. My father was 3/4 Danish. I now show 21% Sweden and my brother 8% Sweden and 8% Norway. No known Sweden or norway on tree (although small portion possible due to a few unknowns but 21%?). In the past, I have seen members born in Denmark who say they show large british isles. and seen denmark included in northern europe but your map of northwestern europe does not include denmark. Where are we?????
    Paula

    • Rori

      I was wondering that myself. If you look at Ancestry’s new regions. Denmark is only included in European Jewish. So if you are Danish and not Jewish, I guess you will find that you are not represented by AncestryDNA. There are a few other areas like this. I think Ancestry rushed to publish this new version without properly vetting it because there were so many people trying to get a peek at it before it was released.

    • Aaron J Adams

      Am heavily Dane and all of mine got dumped into the British/NW while my dad’s got dumped into Sweden and Norway. Ancestry couldn’t even tell me on the phone where they categorized Denmark either.. was a disaster of an update

  17. tommargrave

    My estimates are much closer to my tree research, but my wife’s creates a whole new set of problems.
    Background: My wife’s parents’ families both came from Azores Islands. Father’s last name Jacinto, mother’s last name Olivera. Wife: Blue eyes, blond hair, she does not match dark eyes and dark hair of her three half-sisters.
    Wife’s first estimates:
    • Scandinavia-28%
    • Europe South-25%
    • Ireland & Scotland, Wales-17%
    • Iberian Peninsula-14%
    • Great Britain 8%
    • Africa North-5%.
    Testing of Jacinto family found NO matches but testing of Olivera found GOOD matches to known cousins. We found several very close matches to an Edling family. Further research found that my wife’s father was an Edling (grandfather came from Sweden). Apparently, wife’s mother had an affair. Wife’s Jacinto father sent wife’s Olivera mother packing and got a divorce. None of this information was shared with my wife. Wife was raised by her Portuguese father and step-mother.
    New estimate:
    1. England, Wales & Northwestern Europe-54%
    2. Portugal-35%
    3. Ireland & Scotland-7%
    4. France-4%
    Where is the Swedish match, since the wife’s Edling grandfather came from Sweden? My son-20%, daughter-30% and granddaughter-29% show Scandinavia and are close DNA cousins to living Edling family members.

  18. Debra A Barnes

    The new DNA results are completely puzzling to me. There is quite a big difference from the old DNA results. Originally it showed
    England 48%;
    Siciliy $34% and
    France 2%.
    The new results show France 46%; England 31% and Sicily 9% with 2% each of Portugal, Spain and Sardinia.
    I am completely astonished at the increase of French from 2% to 46%, and that my Sicilian DNA has decreased from 34% to 9%, especially with the fact that if a stranger had to guess my background, they would definitely say Italian with my dark brown hair, dark brown eyes an olive complexion.

  19. Laurie Wolfe

    It was my desire to have my mom tested with all of the 3 major DNA companies, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and 23 and Me. She has Alzheimer’s, and I knew in advance that Ancestry and 23 and Me, both require a spit sample, but I wanted to at least try to collect a sample from her. After several attempts, I have given up after today, and will use the kit for myself. I’m sooo thankful that I was able to get her tested with at least Family Tree DNA. I do appreciate Ancestry’s prompt, and helpful, response with an order issue that I had. I just can’t help but to say how saddened/aggravated I am, that I can’t do any further testing. Please, please consider having a swab test available for people who have similar situations!

    • Markea

      See if you can get a swab from a DR or another testing site. Others have reportedly used the swabs from one to get a test from ancestry, as they were unable to get results from the spit on an elderly parent. Or, maybe get a blood, hair, skin sample for further research. Don’t give up.

  20. Mariann Taksas

    The update to my DNA is really messed up. To say I have no Calabrian DNA is impossible. You guys need to go back to the drawing board. One more thing Vatican City? Really

  21. Katrina

    In desperate need for you guys to get some Danish samples, let alone I don’t even match with any of the samples you have already. My England, Wales, & Northwestern Europe was increased 66% to 68% total. The 12% Iberian Peninsula was completely taken out, and my Scandinavian result went from 47% to 4% Norwegian and 3% Swedish. Where’d the other 40% go? I’m definitely at LEAST 25% Danish. My father’s family is all from Denmark and married into only Danish families as well.

  22. Paula

    Disappointed in the updated DNA results! My old DNA results had some surprises like 4% Jewish and 6% Eastern European along with 20% English/Irish/Scottish, 44% Western European, 18% Southern Italian, and miscellaneous 1-2% Iberian, Scandinavian, etc. Now, my results state that I am 58% French and 42% English/Welch! NO mention of Italian and my grandmother was born in Southern Italy and so were her mother and father! How can I be 58% French when my father is half French and half Italian and my mother is mostly English from her colonial American roots?! I am reluctant to recommend DNA testing for anyone that I know now. My husband had his done over a year ago as he is African American and we wanted to know from where his African roots originated from for our son. I have done our family history for years and now feel that DNA is not as accurate as it is made out to be! Do your research if you want to know about your family history….

    • Amy

      I’m having the same issue with the Italian. My dad’s paternal grandparents were from Southern Italy. He was nearly 1/2 Southern Italian under the old results. He’s showing up now as about 1/3 Italy. Meanwhile, he shows up as more than 1/2 France now (he’s great-grandmother was about 3/4 French). It’s like the French and Italian are reversed in the new results. These numbers are even more distorted w/my nephew and I. The one positive thing I have to say is at least the ethnicities appearing now seem to be more accurate.

      • Paula

        Yes, my biggest complaint with the new update is losing my Italian results! The French and English backs up my genealogy records (though I still think the French percentage is a bit high ?maybe they are lumping the Italian in with that?!). I had considered testing my mother a year or so ago, but held off. Now, I am VERY hesitant to do so because of these updates!

      • Our family has completely lost our Italian heritage! We have records going back many, many generations from the churches. It’s ridiculous that people’s heritage can be wiped out. I think the parameters are way off. Ancestry has a lot of fixing to do. So now we are German. Yes but that was from the Bronze age perhaps!! 1500 years ago? Ancestry needs to do right for all the people who are confused and stunned by this.

    • Cheryl

      My Southern European DNA also disappeared despite having a 2nd great-grandfather from Sicily and I have found a couple of genetic cousin matches who are Sicilian. I’ve read from other blogs that AncestryDNA’s new estimates are “erasing” Southern European DNA for people who have strong ancestral ties to Italy.

  23. DK Callihan

    PLEASE fix this!!!! I had one of my regio s change 63%. To me that either the original regions were vompletely wrong or this new update is way out of bounds. To update things shouldnt change sonething 63%. I have also tested at 23 and me…..ans until now the sites were e similiar……but not at all now. I also have all of the kits i managed uploaded to gedmatch.com. and my result findings there do not match this update here…i show southern regions like the iberian pen…which now have disappeared from my ancestry update. Please fix whatever you have done.

  24. Cassandra

    All of my DNA results from other companies have me more Native American and Asia. I was 35% Nigerian now I am 2%. Something seems off!

    • Kimwanna D Holman-Stancil

      Exactly all my test with high Nigeria (my grand uncle had 45%) and mine 24% have all moved to Cameroon..ALL of them?! He is now 49 and I am at 44 for Cameroon he has 2 Nigeria and I have 0….big leaps!

  25. Lannie Hartman

    My new DNA estimate is !?
    It’s so different than my original, and more vague ! Am stunned.
    Proven ethnicity of my Italian-born grandfather is non-existent !
    Huh ?
    What have you done with ME ?

    • Paula

      Yes, something is wrong with the Italian estimates. Mine disappeared also and my grandmother was born in Southern Italy! I have documentation that her whole family was from there as well. My last results showed what I had expected to be (18% Italy/Greece) but now my French estimate is a lot higher and I expect that’s where the Italian portion ended up!

  26. Greg

    I do think it’s an improvement, as I had 9 trace regions which didn’t make sense. I think there will be more refinements, though, as my mother comes out 92% Baltic and 5% Eastern Europe/Russia but I come out 45% Baltic and 25% Eastern Europe/Russia. My father is Italian and Greece/Balkans so the fact that I have such a high percentage 25% Eastern Europe/Russia makes no sense. And my mother is Lithuanian but the Lithuanian migration is under Eastern Europe/Russia not the Baltic States. That doesn’t make much sense either. Definitely some major tweaking needs to be made.

  27. David Pietrowski

    The update improved some things. It is interesting how I lost all my Irish and English ancestry and my father lost his west Europe as well. Alas, I was planning to use the Irish ancestry to get an extra drunk on St Patrick’s day! I do believe, however, that all my ancestry is Polish, specifically South East Poland. ancestry correctly eliminated the 1 or 2 percent Finish and Northwest Russia component for both of my Parents and my mother in law. They now all have Baltic state matches and I believe this is incorrect. My parents are ONLY of Polish descent from South East Poland (once known as Galicia) and my mother in law only has Slavic ancestry I know of from Slovakia. The new Baltic States category is mislabeled. Perhaps it encompasses the historic Lithuanian Polish commonwealth but it is definitely larger than the Baltics!

  28. DK Callihan

    I would like to add to my yesterdays comments. 1. My dad and his sister both show either Itialian or Greek Percentages in there kits on other compananies. So how does my Iberian Pen. And southern Europe suddenly dissapear? 2. My maternal grandfathers line is traced backed thru paper documenatation all the way back to Germany and i have some lines also on my paternal side that are GERMAN but kow i only have 2 percent German lineage…how? 3. I want to change my results back to the old petcentages as i positively feel like they are more accurate but i hit the update button..does anyone know how to change it back? 4. I have family memmbers and several friends take test here and was considering buying again another test for another family member…but I Absolutly WILL NOT purchase again or promote any one to buy until this update is revaluated. As stated yesterday…..i do NOT believe an update would change a region by 63% and totally drop out other regions. Either the original estimates were never correct or this update is way out of bounds…please fix it!

  29. Darlene Baker

    I’m not sure I trust the new updates on DNA ethnicity. It shows I have not one drop of English blood even though my father’s entire family going back to 1600s came from England/Ireland/Scotland.

  30. Barbara Laboissonniere

    I’d like to thank you for your attempt at “fine-tuning” your ethnicity estimates. However, further “major tweaking” definitely needs to be done. Your older estimates, though, problematic—e.g., large percentages of Iberian Peninsula for French Canadians with no Iberian Peninsula ancestors in their documented trees, going back hundreds of years–could, in part, explain some of my southern French ancestors. Now, the Iberian Peninsula has been removed from my estimate—along with my Native American (which confirmed a Native American ancestor in my French Canadian lines). The most shocking change, however, was that I’m now predominately “Germanic” (40%), whereas it was 5% in the previous estimate. My 12% British disappeared (having correctly represented my French Canadian Ancestors from Normandy and Brittainy—and an ancestor from Gloucester, England.) Despite several Irish ancestors (who lived in France), that has been reduced to 2%. Lastly, I do not have “any” ancestors from Turkey or the Middle East, though that is showing up at 3%.
    Unfortunately, I have no confidence in this new estimate—and it differs significantly from results in my 23 and Me and FTDNA estimates. I definitely do not want to use or have my new results displayed (as they’re inaccurate)—and will wait for the next “improved” update. NOTE: Your scientist/genealogists really need to reconsider the “Germanic States” designation (and the specific countries/areas involved). Based on my tree I could not possibly be almost half “Germanic.”

  31. Joe

    The new update might be more precise but it is without a doubt VERY inaccurate. I know for a fact I’m somwehere between 1/8th – 1/4th Italian with an Italian last name and the old data hit that correctly and now I am Zero % Italian. I know what i am saying is accurate just from how many generations removed I am.

  32. James

    I took the survey while brushing my teeth this morning getting ready for work. I checked surpised at the scandinavian the results originally had but meant to check not surprised. Not sure if this impacts anything but the Scandinavian portion turned into English and French instead.

  33. While I have seen some positive refinements (e.g. Lithuanian now called out in Baltic “correctly”), I have seen other groups dropped or further whitewashed. Specifically, there is just one general “Slav” grouping with no calling out of South Slavs as before. And people who are hundreds of years South Slav only are showing with 5-10% Baltic now. Some of the introduced migration groups are spot on. Especially for the Portuguese into Polynesia, etc. So, overall, I am not seeing an improvement or setback in the new update. Simply changes and continued “fiction”. (I quickly scanned about 10 kits; some of which are on other test services also.)

    • Greg

      The problem I have is the “Lithuanian” category is listed under Eastern Europe/Russia in my results then I have a seperate “Baltic States” category with no further delineation. Definitely needs tweaking.

  34. Zandra Jones

    How can I have 33% of Nigerian to having 0% that cant be right. I know that I Irish/ Welch and that percentage has changed also. I have my DNA on four other DNA cites as well they matched my old estimate, how do I know your results are correct seeing that it has changed with me having the highest to no percentage.

  35. Michael Dampier

    So glad for the DNA update! I was initially surprised by my original DNA estimates when I was tested nearly 2 years ago. It had my greatest percentage as Scandinavia and almost no French. I just assumed I was predominantly Fench and English as my mother was nearly 100% French and my father predominantly English and Irish. The new estimates now match what I thought was going to be my mix when it first was tested … 43% English, 40% French and 11% Irish and Scottish thrown in! I consider that to be quite accurate as I have a fairly well-documented history going back 200-300 years.

  36. MaryAnne

    Yes, I question my update..removed Scandinavia 5%, Finland, Russia 3%, and Europe South 10%, the 1% 3 regions all disappeared! Now, just top 3 increased, but put my Ireland as higher that German. Should be other way like original, especially as Irish on one side, Germany on both sides! Think original more to liking,and accurate.. wouldn’t have mind if the update, was just telling which Scandinavia country..but it took it away. Now, makes me wonder about my true ethnic groups, regions !

  37. Elizabeth Newbury

    My ethnicity results are inaccurate. I am positive of that. My father’s whole family comes from County Down, Northern Ireland and originates from Dorset, England. My DNA now shows 100% Munster Southern Irish. I have visited my grandfather’s home where he was born and met cousins who are the spitting image of my father. I now know this DNA test is unfortunately a partial gimmick. Very disappointed.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      While you might be 100% Irish according to Ancestry, and they have identified Munster as a part of Ireland where you have ancestry, that does not mean that ALL your Irish is from Munster. They simply can’t say for certain whether you have ancestry from the other parts of Ireland. Unfortunately they use the phrase “no connection”when this happens which causes some confusion.

  38. Taj Magruder

    Like many others, I’m questioning the updated results. I went from 12% Ireland/Scotland/Wales and 1% Great Britain…to 31% Ireland/Scotland and 27% England/Wales/NW Europe. Senegal dropped from 11% to 1%. I’ve read others’ comments on this blog post and on Twitter saying their Italian heritage completely disappeared. VERY concerning, moreover, are people saying they expressed their surprise at the update (specifically their Scandinavian heritage) in the survey and then that Scandinavian heritage disappeared – as if Ancestry removed those results to quell their surprise.

    I understand this is an evolving science, but when you run TV commercials of men trading their lederhosen for kilts, you imply a deeper accuracy. Genealogy is very personal and helps us better understand our identity – thus, when you run a serious emotional risk with your customers when you tell them they’re 40% German on Tuesday but 4% on Wednesday. We all appreciate the service you provide, but please consider re-evaluating the update or taking down the ethnicity estimate altogether.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      I certainly agree that some of their advertising is misleading, and when your ethnicity results are wrong their favourite explanation is how you don’t get exactly equal amounts of DNA from your grandparents- whereas problems with their estimates are more likely to be the issue.
      On the other hand, they clearly call them “estimates”, they are the only company to include ranges showing the min and max percentages you may have of each ethnicity, and they publish very detailed and high-quality white papers for all their DNA features.

    • Jeff Creecy

      Good post… I said something similar on other genetic sites. The issue of Trust is the key. I trusted Ancestry, and they are basically saying the prior approach was flawed. It is a cop-out to to hide behind the evolving science argument. What a PR mess.

  39. Jacqui

    I am so glad for this update. When I first tested with Ancestry they showed ethnicities that I have yet to be able to find in my research. My ancestry on both sides of my family is English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and German. Finally, my ethnicity results reflect that. Thank you Ancestry for the update! BTW, I have tested with Ancestry, FTDNA, 23 & Me, My Heritage, and Living DNA. Ancestry’s results are now in line with the other companies.

  40. Anthony P Grimm

    I want to thank the dedicated individuals at Ancestry.com. Because of them giving me a DNA kit I was able to learn who my birth mother was and found my biological siblings who I have now reached out to so my children can learn somethings about my background when it comes to what my ethnic background, what my family medical history is. It has peaked my interest because now I look and see where my ancestors came from a try to find more about them. For me this is better then winning the lottery.
    Anthony Grimm

  41. Annie

    I’m thrilled with the new update. The old one gave me a bunch of bizarre small percent regions which made zero sense in my family tree history and now they’re gone. I have much more confidence in my new results which now fit my paper trail. Thank you.

  42. Mark

    I come up with 63% England, Wales And NW Europe and 3% Scotland Ireland but I have no new subgroups or Migrations for this large population? Will that eventually come? The only migration I have is Pennsylvania settlers/Susquehannah which is totally spot on although that should almost entirely be from my Germanic 33%.

  43. Trisco

    I think this system is severely flawed. A month ago I was nearly 50% Ghanaian. Now I’m 38% Cameroonian. No longer from Nigeria at all! How? Unless this is some bull sh**.

    • Don Teel

      I was 48% Ghana, now 38% Cameroon/Congo. Ive noticed alof of my friends(African Americans) have been lumped into Cameroon/Congo now and TOGO/Benin, almost all of our Ghanaian is gone, which is probably impossible.

  44. Thomas M Courtien

    I do not under stand how Iberian for Southern France (where my French ancestors are actually from) became England, Wales & Northwestern Europe?? The percent (30%) looks good since I have one French grandparent. But after having spent a few years, after my first estimate, researching the history of Southern France since the time of the Roman Empire I do not see how England and Wales apply to me. And, I question the disappearance of my 14% Scandinavian component since history tells us that the Vikings spent a lot of time in Ireland.
    When one considers the complex history of Europe and Ireland it makes no sense to me that my estimate is now boiled down to two numbers.

    • Thomas M Courtien

      In fact I already knew I was 75% Irish and 25% French. I did not need a DNA test to tell me what I already knew. It was interesting to see the other percent s of groups that historically could fit in with my ancestry. I do not understand the supposed benefit to the new estimate – the new estimate, as I stated above, seems to over simplify a person’s complex ancestry.

  45. Ellen

    Hi. I’m half Danish, so before my result showed 49% scandinavian, 36% british, 7%french and german. Now it’s 55% english 18% norway, 15% sweden and 12% germany. But I’m Danish? My mother’s parents and their parent’s were all danish. I’m sure this update is more precise, but you’ve also kind of erased denmark? I’m sure there are 90%-something danish people that know see their result as norway and sweden. Is it because the danish DNA is a mix of those two? Is the Denmark update not ready yet? You could at least write some sort of clarification on the website for all the now very confused danes.

  46. Sue

    I’m waiting to see if some expert can explain to Ellen and the rest of us about the difference between nationality and ethnicity. I am very confused about it – my primary question is, How does DNA know where one’s ancestors have lived? Let’s keep in mind that until recently there was no technology to register anything of that kind. So are we depending on other people’s DNA to show potential familial connections? In that case, the whole business of matching people from around the globe must be a new science.
    Will someone please show me a website that explains all this in detail that even a palooka like me can understand? So far I’ve failed to find anything of the kind.

    But what Hubby and I have both discovered is a new second cousin each, born out of wedlock to our respective relatives. It comes as no surprise that adopted people will be searching for their birth families. I know I would if I’d been adopted.

  47. Jerri

    I do not like how you change the dna results.you took away my german,por, and Africa. This help proved the informa tion that I found doing my research. I waiting for family tree dna to come back

  48. Karen Rodden

    I was so disappointed about the disappearance of most of my known Scandinavian ancestry that I did not comment about my disappointment about my mother’s side. All of her grandparents came to the US from the German speaking areas of Switzerland but because Switzerland is a “melting pot” I was not surprised that several smaller percentages other than German showed up in my first estimate. My grandmother looks Italian. She also likely is part Basque and possibly Mid Eastern and Jewish. My first estimate included 10-1% estimates for Iberian, Irish/Scottish (Celtic which could also possibly be Basque), Caucasus , Italian/Greece, and European Jewish. All these genetic groups seemed quite plausible but they were missing in my new estimate. Also the Finish, English, and Irish/ Scottish percentages in my first estimate but disappeared in my second could have entered my Danish hereditary before my grandfather and greatgrand parents came to the US. My original estimate for Scandinavian was 22% so these other genetic groups could have accounted for the difference. As I stated earlier, on the new estimate I was only 5%Scandinavian (Norway/Sweden). My new estimate seems much less accurate. Other people seem to be having similar experiences. There seems to be a problem with Danish genetic analysis. Also others have been seeing lower percentage groups present on the first report disappearing on the latest report.

  49. Al Cofiño

    Not remotely enthused with the Next-Generation Ethnicity Estimate results rolled out, and not completely buying into it all. While it was great to see the Iberian Peninsula broken out between Spain and Portugal. I went from 52% Iberian Peninsula to 51% Portuguese???? and 26% Spaniard yet my documented family ancestry paper trail for the last 200 years is from SPAIN. If the percentages were the other way around of 51% Spain and 26% Portugal then perhaps I could see this… Extremely disappointing and doesn’t add to the credibility to recommend Ancestry.com to family and friends.

  50. Carol J Gould

    I am very disappointed in the format changes that have been made. I don’t understand why Europe should be combined with England. I hope the future will show DNA results much more fine-tuned. Thank you.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      DNA from southern England is so similar to DNA from northern France, Germany and the Netherlands that it’s impossible to tell apart accurately. So many Germans were complaining about being told they were British and vice-versa, therefore they have stopped trying to tell the two apart.

    • Paul

      I think this is also a nod to the mixing of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, the Normans, and even the Breton migration. These all impacted the English DNA pool in the last 1600 years. But some 3xplanations are badly needed on the new categorization.

  51. Joyce

    Not real happy about them taking out all the little bits of DNA and lumping everything into just a very few areas. I know that over all these many, many years, there has to be more regions inherited by almost all of us. The first test results had 10 regions, now only 4. and the percentages are sooo changed.

  52. John

    I can’t say that the new ethnicity estimates are wrong but they are very different to the previous estimates. A 79% increase to the England, Wales & NW Europe category. Previously had 23% Scandinavia and now only 2% Sweden. Such massive changes leave me feeling quite uncertain about both, previous and current , sets of estimates. The new estimates are much less detailed too.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      There have been massive changes to the estimates for northwestern Europeans because there is so much similarity and overlap between Scandinavians, British and continental Europeans. And the new estimates are far more detailed, with about 40 ethnic categories now compared to about 25 before: for example Scandinavia has been divided into Norway and Sweden, and Iberia into Spanish, Portuguese and Basque. The only category to become less precise is “England, Wales and Northwestern Europe”.

      • Paul

        True, and that new category is ine the really needs some explanation. I’ve devoured histories and settlement patterns of the British Isles for years, so I get some of what I think is going in. But Ancestry needs to explain their thinking here. And Wales in that mix now is odd to me – unless they are linking Brittany, Cornwall and Wales (the Romano-British enclaves). Talk to us Ancestry – and not superficially – we need to see your thinking.

        • Barbara Laboissonniere

          I wonder if Ancestry.com is actually monitoring this Forum—and taking the member/customer feedback into consideration. I hope this Forum wasn’t made available for “venting” purposes only.

  53. Dennis O'Donnell

    Your new breakdown renamed the previous “Europe South” region to “Italy.” I understand the need to relabel areas based on more specific data sets for comparison. However, previously my estimate for “Europe South” was 23%, with a range of 15%-30%. That would make sense for a man whose maternal grandfather, and (at least) four generations further back from him, were all full-blooded Italian. The new estimate for “Italy” dropped that figure to just 2%, a disturbing figure for someone who should have received approximately one quarter of his DNA from a full-blooded Italian grandfather. I understand the random factors involved in genetic inheritance, but this new test essentially wipes out almost all of my Italian DNA without offering a plausible explanation for why the original estimate was so wrong. And it’s not as though you’re suggesting a shift to an adjacent region. You simply increased the percentages of my Irish and German ancestry, stating that you now believe 75% of my DNA falls into the “Ireland and Scotland” regional group. My father, and (again, at least) six preceding generations, were all Irish, and my mother was half Italian, half German and Dutch, with not a drop of Irish in her. It seems unlikely that I inherited three quarters of my genetic material from one parent. The wild swing in these two reports makes me wonder how the reference samples are divided. A friend, for whom I administer test results, also had a huge shift in reported away from continental European regions to Ireland and Scotland. Although we’ve traced four generations of her family back to present-day eastern Germany and (possibly) western Poland, her new estimate seems to wipe out her father’s side of the family tree. I would be interested in knowing the breakdown of samples representing the various regions listed on your website. Thank you for considering my feedback.

  54. Jeanne Cavender

    Mine didnt just change a little it changed alot i went from 43% Britain to 65% from 11% irish to 35% from 18% Iberian to 0. Not to mention my native American dna doesn’t show up. I either want a refund or a new test this is not right and with a big change like this i dont feel i can trust your results any more. I had to save up for a long time to get this test now i feel like i have been ripped off

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      A new test won’t help, the results of a new test would be exactly the same.
      They are called “estimates” for a good reason and Ancestry is very open about the errors in ethnicity estimates and that they can change over time.
      Remember that the ethnicity estimate is just one small part of the AncestryDNA test. Most of the value of the test is in the cousin matches, DNA Circles and Genetic Communities.
      You inherit exactly 50% of your DNA from your father and 50% from your mother, regardless of your gender.

    • Jeff Baranchok

      A new test with Ancestry won’t help, but a test with another company that does ethnicity might (unfortunately for another $100). These companies all have different methods and different “reference population” data sets. My results elsewhere are different, but on the downside they don’t have family trees, and hardly any of them are with both companies.

      If you are from Earth you MUST get half your DNA from each parent. 😉 The logical answer is that few people in your mother’s family have gotten tested. My dad’s parents came off the boat. Nobody who stayed “over there” got tested but some of their siblings and cousins did come over (World War I) and their descendants got tested. My mother’s side on the other hand has been here for centuries! MANY more people living here to hear about and afford testing.

  55. Jeanne Cavender

    And something else from your results i hardly share any dna with my mothers family but i have a ton from my father and his family which is weird since im a woman

    • Jeff Baranchok

      Forgot to mention, daughters actually get a little more DNA from the father than sons, because they get the big X-chromosome while sons get the much smaller Y-chromosome (pair 23). BOTH get one chromosome from each of the other 22 chromosome pairs.
      Girls get exactly the same amount from mom and dad, including one X from each.

  56. Alan Shepard

    Generally it’s people that have an issue with something that complain and post. So all the negative comments may be an overstatement of a potential problem. However my new match matches known ancestral birth areas to near perfection. Originally my teat was 100% Eastern European, that made some sense although it was a boring result. The update came in at 28% Baltic and 72% Eastern European/Russian.

  57. Sue

    I need to know why I keep getting an error message 403 “You are not authorised to access this page”. This is unacceptable – why should Ancestry lock me out of my own DNA results that I paid for?
    And where can I find an email address to send this question direct to Ancestry?

  58. Donna McLaughlin

    After reading this thread the one thing that jumps out at me is that Ancestry.com is able to ‘tweek’ the DNA results to suit the whims of the people who took the tests. I guess I was mistaken to think that our DNA results were evaluated by computer, based on the actual DNA tests, NOT a random person who works for Ancestry.com.
    Unfortunately I just asked my ONLY 1st paternal cousin to do the Ancestry DNA test. Now I’m kicking myself, as with these new changes/adjustments he may not even come out to be related to ME, let alone some relative I haven’t found yet.
    I think Ancestry.com has gotten a bit too big for it’s pants.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      The ethnicity estimate update has nothing to do with the DNA cousin matches, which are based on a far more accurate methodology. There has never been a recorded instance where genuine 2nd cousins or closer have not matched each other.

    • Jeff Baranchok

      Donna, relative matches are based on direct comparisons of DNA between individuals by computer at hundreds of thousands of DNA locations. You definitely should expect to share about 1/8th of your DNA with a full first cousin. (If you don’t, you may need to have a “family meeting”, know what I mean? It happens.) We have twenty 2nd cousin or closer matches who share about what you’d expect, and verified by family tree. However the more distant the relative the more variable the shared DNA becomes. They could share much more than you expect (e.g. an 8th cousin with 4th cousin-level DNA) or much less, even zero. That is just how sperm and egg DNA division works. It gets very “chunky” when the pieces are small. However even at the most distant cousin in our match lists I think Ancestry only gives us matches that have a high confidence of being an actual blood relation. DNA relative matching is a science already.

      However I agree with Alec van H that ethnicity estimation is completely different. It is less a science and more of an “abstract art”. Matching is still done by computer but it is not well defined and still very “fuzzy” and in flux and relies on some judgement and even guesswork by geneticists and statisticians, and different testing companies may give rather different results, all with no guarantee of high accuracy. It should get better over the years but that is not much consolation and right now, bluntly, it seems far from perfect. For ethnicity you could try another testing company, but do a little research on them first.

  59. DK Callihan

    I manage 9 kits. ALL have major changes to them when viewing this new rollout, but thankdully i didnt accept those changes on the 8 other than mine. I cant begin to explain to all of the people whom i manave their kits how such drastict changes could make sense . One kit belongs to an 88 yr old cousin.

    Entire portions or countries have been dropoed out and others just rollled up into one. So honestly i dont think these are understatments.. an update tweeks regiions…not make then disappear or roll them together with other regiions.

    I think we are seeing things here cause there is a real problem with this. And my past experiense with cs is that they are not allot of help execpt in the purchase of more kits. I may be missing it…but i have not seen an email to send complaints or other questions to. I honestly wouldl like a review of this situatiion. If there is one…will someone please post it. Thank you.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      Ancestry has always been quite open about the fact that the ethnicity percentages are only estimates.
      If you are northwestern European, then drastic changes are to be expected, because Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and Germany are genetically so similar and extremely difficult to tell apart. That is not Ancestry’s fault.

      The only regions merged together have been Britain and Germany. All other regions have been separated out into smaller areas, e.g. Scandinavia is now replaced by Norway and Sweden.
      Most of the regions that are disspeared were smaller regions. These were often inaccurate, so Ancestry did the right thing by removing them.
      Look at the ranges for each ethnic group. The “trace” regions in the old estimate all had 0% as a minimum- this means that it was possible (and Ancestry was honest about it), that you may not genuinely have had ancestry from that area. That is why many of those regions have been removed in the new estimates.

      And also, remember that the ethnicity estimate is just one small part of the AncestryDNA test. The bulk of the value and usefulness of the test lies in the DNA matches, Genetic Communities and DNA Circles.

      • DK Callihan

        Thank you. Yes i understand all are estimates. I have been doing this for a couple yrs now and have been thru a couple of other updates at this point. However, none have been as drastict as this. NONE. The fact that its all so drastic that makes me questiion it. One of mine changed 63 percent..thats not an update ..thats a pure out change. Furthermore every site that i have participated in showed the trace regions with very similar resultsas to my previous results here were….which included the iberian pensiula….and as sone one has stated…your dna does not change….if i show these regions at other major companies..( and they have done updates as wel)…..,how do they disappear here..unless major changes has been made.

        I am not looking to place blame on anyone, however, if you have such drastic changes to sonethimg that should only be tweaked, then it will raise questions. And considering the fact that multiple post reflect concerns i believe it merrits a review by ancestry. I have been a customer here for many yrs before the testing and and am the manager of nine kits here now and was considering buying again…but not until this has been reviewed.

        • Jeff Baranchok

          I’m not happy either. However as a manager of 9 people you probably don’t want to repeat all their tests with some other company. You can download the raw DNA for all your people and upload it at a site that does ethnicity estimates but I don’t know what site that is. GEDmatch.com lets you upload DNA but as far as I can see it does not do this kind of ethnicity estimate but more ancient stuff (I’m still trying to figure that out).

    • Jeff Baranchok

      DK, According to Ancestry you should be able to go back and look at old estimates even after you accept the new one. Click on “Updates” at the top of the Ethnicity Estimate box. A line should appear at the bottom that says “View previous estimate”. There will even be a switch at the bottom of the map that lets you toggle back and forth between old and new. Unfortunately these don’t always seem to work or be there, and you don’t seem to be able to undo the change permanently.

      • DK Callihan

        Thank you for your replies. I actually have already downloaded all of my kits i manage and uploadeded them all to Gedmatch.com. I have only had myself, my dad ,my mom and one aunr tested at other companies…but even all those are uploaded to the gedmatch site. I have also uploaded to ine other site…just for comparisons sake

        What i origianlly saw was that ancestry was similar to the other sites…but maybe not as specific as far as the breakdown of the enthentisy. However all have been similar enough to recognize an overall gentic makeup. So this new rollout sorta falls outdie of this makeup..in that it looks like some areas were rolled togther….like i said previously…our dna doesnt change..so i have looked for that consistancy…which i now do not feel like i can trust from ancestry. Updates dont make such drastic changes that i have seen and read about.

        However, the gedmatch site allows extensive comparisons….its even allows comparison of x dna…..found matches for my 2 dghtrs this way……and its free!

        I did find the link for reviewing the old percentages…but very unhappy that i cant change it back permantly. Thank you again. I am hoping ancestry will eventually listen to us!

    • Jeff Baranchok

      P.S.: My 14 year old niece CRIED when she saw the new ethnicity estimate. Shame on you AncestryDNA, making young girls cry!

  60. RD

    In my previous ethnicity estimate the “Scandinavian” influence was highly inflated, as was my “Iberian Peninsula”. I was pleasantly surprised when I reviewed the most recent update that brought my DNA origin results more inline with my paper genealogy research. Thank you.

    • Angela D.

      Same here with my Western European (France) ancestry. My French ancestry is well documented in my family, so you can imagine my surprise of a measly 3% Western Europe in my first estimate. My new estimate, 46% France seems much more accurate.

  61. M Sainsbury

    I see others commenting on having people added to their family trees who are not connected to their family. I’ve also had phone calls and letters from people on this subject. They seem to be finding families online and adding their relations without proving the connections with genealogical records. Sadly, when you tell someone they are not part of your family, they refuse to believe you! Instructions to users on proving connections with records, asking them not to add their relations to family trees without record proof or asking the owner of the family tree for permission needs to be part of the DNA site instructions.

  62. Candy

    My parent’s DNA shows no “Baltic States” ethnicity but mine shows 2%. They are definitely my biological parents. I don’t have much of a tree set up on their Ancestry accounts but mine is quite extensive….including my Russian born German ancestors. They lived in the Saratov and Samara regions of Russia….is this possibly why I show Baltic ancestors and my parents do not?

    • Jeff Baranchok

      Candy, My 23andMe results (which are significantly different from Ancestry) show three 2% surprise ethnicities (one Baltic), all of which are supposedly whole or nearly whole chromosomes (possible but ??). They say these three could be anywhere from 3rd great to 6th OR MORE great grandparents, dating back to between 1810 to 1690 or earlier. You may have to go back farther than you thought to find that person. Small chunks of DNA, even whole little chromosomes, sometimes get passed for many generations with little change.

    • Jeffrey Baranchok

      While centering on Estonia/ Latvia/ Lithuania, if you zoom in on the “Baltic” region it balloons to stretch all the way to the far side of Mongolia. Call it Latvigolia! Yes, this enlarged bubble encompasses Saratov and Samara, and A BIG CHUNK OF ASIA!!! Expand your family tree to all the 6th greats before you draw conclusions. A lot of populations milled around in this large region for many thousands of years and that may muddy the waters OR Ancestry may not yet have much data for specific locations.

      Your Baltic DNA must come from one or both parents, but maybe a little came from each one and it only adds up big enough to register in you. Or it could get lumped by the computer model with other DNA and get associated with some other ethnicity in one or both parents. It is still more art than science.

  63. Phil Grant

    My DNA was 94% and now comes back as 100% irish. How can this be. I always knew I had irish in my history being born in an Irish town in Scotland Coatbridge AKA little Ireland

  64. Sherrie Jineen Family Vaughn

    I have pictures of Vaughn bibles that have material of the colors of their past family from Ireland or Scotland.
    The material is green with a black stripe.

  65. Sherrie Jineen Family Vaughn

    I have civil war information on the Cox family. I understand that the family traces back to a Cox castle in England. Any one with information please contact.

  66. Pamela

    I have DNA results for myself, my husband and two daughters that have all been updated and changed. We all lost some regions but my query is this. How can one daughter have 3% Sweden and the other 4% France when neither my husband or myself have any Sweden or France percentages. I do have 5% Norway and one daughter got 10% Norway (from my 5%?) the other got 6%. I totally understand how DNA is handed down randomly to children but how can you have an area that neither parents have? Our previous results all matched up with the inherited DNA received from parents but this is confusing.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      3% and 4% of an ethnicity are so small and has a high chance of being inaccuracy. Look at the ranges for these ethnicities of your daughter’s: there’s a good chance the minimum is 0%, meaning it is possible that they don’t genuinely have those ethnicities.

  67. MichaelL

    I’ve been researching my ancestry for over 20 years. I’ve been fortunate to have had a grandfather (mothers side)who did some but also provided a 1901 book on his family name. I also had a great aunt on my father’s side who had a written family story of her mother and obtained dates and names on her father’s side. So I had good information going back to the 16and 1700s which has been corraberated with info I’ve found through Ancestry.com. So for me the DNA country matching has been interesting but not all that informative. The original info provided last Spring left me scratching my head but the latest update is almost in line with my research and expectations. However my fathers mother was adopted in 1891 so I always wondered if I’d ever be able to determine her ancestry. With Ancestry providing possible cousins and searching the first 30 or so out eliminating ones that easily fall into being related on the grandparents lines I do know has left me with some 3rd and 4th cousins who dont match up with any known family lines but are consistent within themselves suggesting that certain of their 2nd great grandparents might also be mine, too, or siblings of mine. I am now contacting them to see if perhaps I can find a match. That’s the major benefit I’m perceiving from the DNA results. I am disappointed in some of the current ads for the test, implying that not only may you discover a country of origin of an ancestor (but not any particular one), but the city too. I really dont think that’s really possible now .

  68. Lynne

    How disappointing to receive a message with comments closed. I am delighted with my test results and have established contact with cousins in multiple countries. This process has totally change my life for the better.

  69. Les

    I’m generally satisfied with the newest generation of Ancestry ethnicity estimates, and it agrees quite well with my genealogy results. Being of about 72% England, Wales and Europe West seems a bit high. Has anyone reading this encountered any American with as high a percentage for that grouping? The rest is all Scot/ Irish, too. I fear I come from a very boring background, but it explains why I keep going back to the UK for vacations!

  70. John Herlihy

    Your “enhanced ethnicity” update is full of bugs. When I went to the timelines, I noticed many anomalies as to locations. The birth / death locations were correct on the tree, and on the references but the “life story” & map were very wrong. Albany, New York was displayed as Albany, Wyoming! in 1707! Bergen, New Jersey was displayed as Bergen, Norway! Massachusetts Bay Colony became Colony, Alabama! Rochester, New York became Rochester, Minnesota. Now I know why my ethnicity changed – the bugs in your software not scientific fact!. I have corrected these errors on the “life Story” section but the maps persist. How can I trust anything from Ancestry.com?

  71. mlsdavis

    I am now totally and completely baffled. Ancestry’s new ethnicity estimates reduced my family’s percentage of Nigerian ancestry as follows: me – from 12% to 2%; my mother – from 28% to 3%; my brother – from 27% to 0%. (Similarly, my husband went from 26% to 0%.) Since we have no paper trail or family lore regarding our countries of African origin, all we can rely on for such infomation, at present, are our autosomal DNA results. And of the 3 companies from which I have results, only Ancestry provided a detailed breakdown by African countries/ regions– until last week, when I received an email telling me that 23andme had updated my results, for reasons similar to those for Ancestry’s changes. But the results are very different. 23and me reports that my highest ethnicity percentage is Nigerian — at 23.3 percent. Yes, I understand that the vatious testing companies have different reference populations and use different algorithms. But that doesn’t help me– how am I supposed to know what to believe when faced with such a significant discrepancy??? I’m back to square one–the same place I was before any DNA testing — my African ancestors came from somewhere in Africa, but I have no reliable info as to where.

  72. Donna Baranchok

    I think the new ethnicity estimates are terrible. It says I’m 66-100% E European, which is impossible because is says my mother is Zero % E Europe, so at most I can only be 50%. It says I’m 0 – 51% Germanic Europe, which is totally imprecise, so how can you claim the new test has higher precision?? My brother’s estimate is just as numerically messed up 60-99% East Europe while at the same time 32-37% Germanic (the one precise estimate), so anything above 68% E Europe is mathematically impossible, and we both have the same 0% E Europe mother so he also should not be higher than 50%. Your mathematics, statistics, and population analyses appear to be wrong and very imprecise! I have very little trust in your analysis.

    • A van Helsdingen

      When they say the update has greater precision they mean there are more ethnicity clusters that you can be assigned. For example, the old Western Europe category has been split into France and Germanic Europe, and Scandinavia has been split into Norway and Sweden.
      Obviously you and your brother getting more than 50% Eastern Europe is wrong if your mother has 0% of it, but she must have another similar ethnicity (e.g. Baltic States) that Ancestry is getting mixed up with Eastern Europe.

  73. Charles Pritchett

    I was very upset with the new ethnicity estimates, mine changed so much from the original, it made me think that it is all made up, or guessed off of my tree. I was a huge fan of Ancestry.com and was glad to have access to the data for my tree. But i have no trust in your ethnicity DNA test.

  74. Jojo

    I don’t much care how much Ancestry “refines” my origin countries. Doing so is of little use.

    What Ancestry needs to do is work enhancing the awful search function in DNA matches! The only thing search currently does is search in SURNAMES and if a person doesn’t have a public tree, then the search will not find anything. Ancestry needs to be able to search by first name, last name, member name and needs to display percentage of match, CM length and number of matching DNA segments, like 23andme and MyHeritage do.

    • Cheryl

      I agree with you. It will be helpful to “see” how we match genetic cousin matches. The chromosome browser is helpful in learning more about our genetic cousin matches and in turn, our ancestral makeup.

  75. Nola Kinchen

    I was loving my first report, I was 25% Scandinavian , now you’ve taken it away, I have always looked Scandinavian and wondered why I looked like this when all my siblings were darker, except my brother and me, there was 8 of us!!

  76. John Herlihy

    The “maps” have gotten less accurate, if possible. Can somebody @ Ancestry buy a Rand-McNally map? Or hire a 3rd Grader to explain the difference? Hard to trust Ancestry when they have done such a shabby job. Where else have they cut corners?

  77. Cheryl

    The new estimates are far from being “precise” and despite Ancestry’s claim at looking at longer DNA segments, my “estimtes” did not match some of my genetic cousin matches. As one poster indicated, Ancestry has a difficult time providing estimates for people of mixed ancestry. I’m part of the African diaspora with mixed West African and European ancestry. I have 3rd and 4th cousin matches whose ancestors are from Portugal and Spain and all of my Portuguese matches are from the Azores Island, yet ancestry claims I have zero DNA from Spain and Portugal. I’ve also just recently discovered a few cousin matches living in Spain. Ancestry identified 1% France. Furthermore, as people of Italian and Sicilian ancestry reported, no DNA from Italy was identified. I have a 2nd great-grandfather who is Sicilian and I have no DNA from Italy with this new algorithm. I have found a couple of Sicilian matches one somewhat close (i.e., 4th cousin match) and distant. Other third party companies identify Mediterranean Islander DNA which makes sense. Chromosome painting confirms I have multiple DNA segments consistent with Iberian and Sicilian DNA, yet Ancestry’s new algorithm only identifies 1% France?! Makes no sense. Also, the West African side of things makes no sense. Before I could predict whether my Afro Diasporan matches are African American or from English speaking Caribbean islands. Now everyone appears the “same.”

  78. Michelle Bertone

    The new DNA results do not seem to be credible, unless I’m no longer an offspring of my parents. Both of my parents have been tested and their results are straight forward. My mother is Italy and Turkey/Caucasus. On the other hand, my father is Eastern Europe/Russia and Greece/Balkans. Me? While I have all four ethnicities in my DNA, but I am somehow Germanic Europe and Ireland/Scotland as well. There are absolutely signs of these in either one of my parents, especially for the high percentage of these ethnicities that occur in my DNA test.

    When I called Ancestry for further information, the “explanation” made no sense. Can someone please explain to me how it is possible for me to supposedly have DNA that neither one of my parents have in their DNA? As an aside, this same test, both the original and updated version, indicate that I am a child of my parents.

    Puts AncestryDNA credibility in question.

    • Alec van Helsdingen

      Firstly, the DNA cousin matches were not updated as part of the ethnicity updates.
      A lot of people with parents of different backgrounds have complained that their results have issues. This probably has to do with the fact that the technology used for reading the DNA cannot tell which parts of your DNA come from each of your parents. They have to use algorithims to “phase” your DNA into paternal and maternal halves, and this will always have errors.

      Whether Ancestry has lost credibility depends on how much German and Irish you have been assigned. If it’s just 5-10%, just accept that small mistakes like that happen, but if it is much bigger, then there is a genuine problem.
      Here’s an analogy. Think of Italian DNA as red, Eastern European DNA as yellow and German DNA as orange. If your DNA is found to be orange, it’s hard to know whether that is because you have red and yellow mixed together, or because it is actually orange.

      It is my opinion that if you parents have tested, Ancestry should use your parents data to directly phase your DNA. This would remove some issues for the ethnicity estimates and would have massive positive effects on the accuracy of very distant cousin matches.

  79. Patricia Cooke

    Add my confusion as well. Over 11K people in my tree and not one from Sweden, Norway but with new release all of a sudden I am now 4%. With all of your comments, for which I thank you, it appears this could be margin of error. What is annoying is one of the reasons I did the DNA was to try and identify my biological 4th grandmother. What I find interesting is that on Ged.com I do have a match to family with Swedish roots. I have no idea how to sort this out as these comments lead me to assume the Ancestry reporting could just be an algorithm error. Soooo frustraing.

  80. DK

    Still wondering abt this rollout…….After posting several comments here, i received an email from ancestry, promotinh me with amother survey. Did anyone else get this? Survey or not, i am still not happy with this update….it simoly makes it look like they didnt know what they were doing the first go around or this one is way out of bounds, so how or why should we believe this one? Surely not jusr because they say its more accuratw, cause they said the first one was (understanding all of it is estimates). I have spent lits of money and yrs of research on this site, but now, sadly enough, I do mot trust their estimates to purchance any further tests to expand my research. I just simply an extremely disappointed in the lack of response from ancestry to the multiple cobents listed here. Please answer our questions directly and fix the issues here.
    Regards
    DK

  81. Anne Reeves

    You have, since updating the ethnicity estimate (and to no help conflating England Wales and NW Europe), added a “Compare” tool. Quite interesting overall except for one detail. On the comparison page, assuming that the listed potential distant relative has updated their genetic reading, there may be the most interesting section: Shared Matches. The detail which seems to detract from this “tool” is that it appears to ONLY reveal any shared 1st – 4th Cousins, none beyond potential 4th cousins.

    As it happens one of my documented 3rd cousins languishes well down the “5th-8th” list because we appear to share only 12.2 centimorgans; a 4th cousin (again well documented) with our only sharing 8.2 centimorgans resides even further into the list hinterlands. So neither appears in the appropriate direct line “Shared” list.

  82. William Heitzman

    I have a watch fob of my great grandmother’s woven hair, and want to have a few hairs analyzed and a DNA file created for her at Ancestry, but when I contacted them, they weren’t the least bit interested in helping. With all this interest in sorting your mother and father’s sides and getting more definitive data you would think they would at least be intrigued enough to offer an avenue to get this done.

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