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

104 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.

  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!

  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!

  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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  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

  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.

    • 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.

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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 ?

  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.

  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

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