Posted by Ancestry Team on October 21, 2019 in Website

Consumer genomics is a new and evolving field and Ancestry® is at the forefront, constantly developing new ways for you to learn about yourself through DNA. Today, we’re proud to announce that our team of scientists have increased the AncestryDNA® reference panel to more than double its previous size with samples from more places around the world, resulting in the latest update to AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates.

The expanded AncestryDNA reference panel helps deliver even more precise regions in West Africa, northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.

Over the next several months, AncestryDNA customers may receive updated ethnicity estimates, thanks to our expanded reference panel, which allows us to determine ethnic breakdowns with a higher degree of precision. This means there may be some changes to your results. 

For example, previously we had North and South America as two large regions: Native American–Andean and Native American–North, Central, South. With this new update, we are able to refine the areas into 11 smaller ones. If you received one of the older regions before, your new report will most likely have one of the newer, more precise regions instead like Indigenous Eastern South America, Indigenous Cuba, and Indigenous Americas–Mexico, among others.

While not common, some customers may also lose a small percentage region as a result of this update. One way this can happen is if that ethnicity has been re-assigned to a nearby region. This is because people from neighboring areas tend to look similar genetically. For example, some people with ancestors from southern Italy will lose their small amount of Turkey/Armenia and possibly gain a bit of Near East instead.

Because we have introduced new improvements, many of our customers whose ancestors lived in Africa can also expect changes with this update. For example, someone who has Nigeria and Benin/Togo may see an increase in their Nigeria percentage and a decrease in their Benin/Togo region. This advancement enables us to deliver improved results in West Africa and globally to enhance the experience across diverse populations including improvements and region realignment in northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.

Here’s how we do it: At Ancestry, we use cutting edge science to study the DNA in your saliva to reveal your ethnic origins.  After your DNA is extracted, we analyze your genome and survey over 700,000 locations in your DNA. Then our science team uses an advanced algorithm to compare long segments of your DNA to the DNA of people in our reference panel who have deep family histories from specific parts of the world. This unique reference panel largely comes from our database, and their heritage is verified through Ancestry family trees to provide the most accurate picture of your ethnic origins when your results arrive. 

With 15 million people tested and more joining our network each day, we expect that the number and granularity of regions we can offer will continue to increase over time. This latest update is just one way of fulfilling our promise to continuously improve our product and your experience.

This update is completely free to our existing members and provided to new customers at no additional cost. We encourage you to look at your ethnicity results regularly to explore your latest estimate. 

To view a full list of all our regions, please visit: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/List-of-AncestryDNA-Regions

86 Comments

  1. Phillipe

    Another humours attempt yet my estimate still makes no sense. I was 41% Portuguese yesterday now I’m 4% how can it drop so much?? I just look fir cousin matches now the ethnicity part is just boring!

  2. Kim H

    The constant up and downs and very large changes from one too the other does not draw me in the cousin matches do and getting my shared segment information would be the most valuable part of this test that they will not make available. I would never buy another test from them unless I get my data.

  3. Greer

    I’m excited for this update. I’m hoping it makes some sense of all the Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Baltic, Finnish, Italian, French and Spanish cousins I have but currently don’t share any ancestral groups with. Also hoping it finally identifies my mother Bavarian half as German and not English.

  4. Lannie

    All the ‘updates’ are disappointing. My ethnicity changed from the first fairly accurate estimate, to a second andnl third estimate that are SO inaccurate , my jaw dropped.
    My estimate has stayed inaccurate through subsequent updates.
    Very disappointed in DNA estimate changing from accurate to inaccurate.

  5. David Ladely

    I would expect the cousing matches would be available. I am not much interested in ethnicity as I discovered mine to be very limited, to NW Europe, so I am interested most in genetic relationships that I can use to supplement my research.

  6. Devon

    My question is where is the segment data that we genealogists need so much to figure out our unknown matches which is about 99% of our matches!! Cmon ancestry do the right thing and tell us the segments of our DNA that we match in common with our matches!! Ethnicity is a fun thing to talk about BUT the real practical use of DNA for family researchers are the DNA segments that ALL other DNA companies provide!!

  7. Jay Liedman

    I have always thought ethnicity estimates got way too much attention, and were of little value compared to the cousin matches, that have normally proven to be VERY accurate and useful. I still believe all that, but must go on to say that in my case the new estimates have improved quite a bit. The specific areas in Sweden and Norway were really NAILED by the update.

  8. Christine

    I have a tree that is not copied from all the other incorrect trees on Ancestry as everything I have added to my tree is correct. So if all the reference panel is made up of all the incorrect trees on Ancestry, then no wonder my new update is totally wrong. All the “hints” Ancestry suggests to me are always from some vague source, people having children when they are five years old, or being born and baptised after they are dead, skipping from one country to another every year in the 1800s when travel was nowhere near as quick as these days, ships were a lot slower than aeroplanes. Fair enough my first results were a little out, the next update did make sense but now it is just weird.

  9. Dianne Fox

    I would really like to know which bits of my DNA ethnicity are from which areas so that it added to my research. I would also be great to be able to see where we match other people i.e. on each Chromosome. Because shared matches cut out at 20cM it is pretty difficult to work out where you match others. As for ethnicity I am wondering where my Cornwall/Devon, Sussex, Essex ancestors fit in. I have two known European ancestors one from Portuguese heritage and one Dutch but no sign of them on my chart or my great aunt who is 2 generations closer.

  10. Andreas West

    Still nothing versus the 1500+ ethnicities you get at 23andMe. Also most of these ethnicities here at Ancestry no one really understands. I don’t care that there were Germans who went to Dakota or the MidWest, I’m 87% German and I’d like to get a much detailed picture of the German states/regions (which I get at 23andMe).

  11. Kirsten

    Last week I was thinking of contacting Ancestry to say well done, beacuse in my old estimate I was 1% scottish/irish. I live in south Sweden and could not understand what that came from. Now I found 8 generations back a Scottish soldier who came to Sweden around 1720. So there was my match ! No its gone . I used to be 90% south Sweden (very correct) now I am 80% and my norwegian has gone up from 1% to 14 % ?? I have no relatives who came from the swedish districts near the border to Norway. And then I see that you have all the western swedish coast under Norway ? Hmm… Sorry Ancestry I will not belive in this update.

  12. Cathy Cline

    Mine, my sister’s and my cousin’s have been quite accurate for our known lines. We are on all the DNA sites in an effort to solve our grandmother’s 1893 adoption. As every company further refines the ethnicity reference groups, I am seeing more and more agreement between the various sites with our ethinicty estimates. It is becoming more helpful as just one of the many tools used to sort things out. I look forward to seeing if we get further refinements in our estimates.

  13. Marsha BINKLEY

    I’m still waiting for Ancestry tests to catch up with my medical records . I have had cancer 3 times that is high among African Americans from Moroco according to my doctors and yet according to tests I paid for Nope. I also have a high percentage of Askenazi Jew and have family documents to prove this and yet you say 1 % .. Please do better . I know you can
    Marsha Fenstermacher / Binkley

  14. Sharon

    I believe Christine is correct…..I think Ancestry compares Family Trees, many of which are totally inaccurate, more so than the DNA comparison…..I have even experienced inaccurate information added to my Tree that I did not add to my Tree.

  15. Joyce

    PLEASE start showing us shared matches less than 20cM. When you are down in the weeds on DNA you really need to find those matches.

    In a perfect world they’d all have trees, but the fact is most DNA tests do not have trees, and many “trees” out there have 1-3 ppl on them, most if not all of whom are private.

    We really need to see more shared matches. While 20cM’smight be OK for folks beginning their journey, those of us who are deep into our journey really need to see those smaller shared matches.

  16. Floyd Staats Jr.

    Dear Ancestry.com,

    I respectably ask that you quit playing eny miny mo catch a tiger by the tail with us,the customers who pay the bills.Yes change and updates are good.But ! a few of us might be wrong ,the majority of us are right or think we are LOL.Remember the old saying the customers are always right.Yes give the customers what they want !And that includes a chromesome browser and anything that will help the customers.

  17. Joyce

    Sharon I share your concern about depending on trees on ancestry.com to do their work, but I suspect they are not-or at least not totally relying on them. 23andme gets very specific as to where they estimate your ancestors are from.

    Most companies try to tap into DNA from the actual places (Ireland, Finland, Germany etc etc ).

    I have an extensive very well researched tree, and I have some lines in Sicily that go back to the late 1500’s. By paper trail. I have a ton of records from Sicily and yet ancestry just tells me I have ancestors in Sicily. I have many cousins who also have copied my tree in those lines. If they were JUST looking at trees, I suspect they’d be telling me specific locations, cuz I sure do have them.

    I’ve watch my DNA results change few times in a few tests. It is typical that as more regions are tested data becomes more precise.

    A chromosome browser would be nice. I really don’t want to get into DNA that seriously right now, but I might some day. There are many other services with chromosome browsers. BUT the trees and the records are on ancestry, so for those who want to use them ANC should provide that. It’s not like they don’t have the info. I have read that ANC doesn’t want to do that as “people might make mistakes”. That just doesn’t wash with me as in 20 years I’ve seen a LOT of trees. A lot of them have errors. Even worse, many of them are just copied from somebody who copied from somebody who copied. In many cases you can’t even find the original tree it came from, and not one tree has sources. The “we don’t want people to make mistakes” with chromosome browser just doesn’t wash with me.

    I am at a point in my tree where there are no paper trails to follow. I have made significant breakthroughs with the new DNA program and broke down 2 significant brick walls…and I’m headed toward breaking down a 3rd.

    That’s why I asked them to let us see common matches that are less than 20 cM as in my lines I am so far back that I need to see them. I often figure out who DNA matches are and build their trees myself! It can often be done…it’s just not easy.

    So in re your comment about ANC doing this based on ANC trees, I really doubt that is how. There’s lots of DNA out there in source countries outside the US. Trees may play a part, but I don’t think that is the primary source of their data.

    Years ago, before I started using DNA to work my trees, I read a book
    Deep Ancestry: Inside The Genographic Project Paperback – November 20, 2007
    by Spencer Wells. I also read
    Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland
    by Bryan Sykes | Dec 17, 2007 and
    The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry
    by Bryan Sykes | May 17, 2002

    I especially recommend the Genographic project. These studies have been going on for quite a long time by scientists.

    I see Bryan has another book out and this one looks interesting too.

    DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America
    by Bryan Sykes

    Anyway, not to fear there’s lots of empirical data out there and I’m sure ANC knows the right folks to get access to it 🙂

  18. muataa

    Good ancestry…keep improving the mousetrap and sharing the results with us for free! 23andme.com wants me to pay for a new chip for $125 for the latest findings. – I have 30 family members on 23, so that will not happen. Ancestry is loyal to its customers on this issue….big up!

  19. Joyce

    1st I have heard of that…have you seen the new 23andme “tree”? Not worth my time. It is a joke.

    Unless they give me a way to load a GEDCOM, it’s not happening. The “tree” suggested a handful of matches that go to certain recent ancestors. I am WAY beyond that w/ ancestry.com.

    If 23andme doesn’t get its act together it will remain what it is now..a source for health reports. I took it years ago when the reports were decent. They changed them since their problems with the FDA (?) so I’m glad I did mine long ago.

    23andme is going to have to up their game if they want to be relevant. I’ve found some cousins there, esp adopted ones…but I had to work out who they were on ancestry.com after I got them to take an ancestry DNA test.

    IMO for finding any kind of usable info on 23andme it it pretty much worthless. I’ve always had to have those adopted cousins retest w/ANC to make any sense of it…and I’ve located every one of their biological parents that way. 23andme did not help at all.

  20. LizM

    So you based my DNA results off of the research I did for my family tree. We all paid a decent amount of money for you to give us results we already had.

  21. Lori Nixon

    Ancestry, thank you for the update. I know the science is still developing. A few weeks ago I did one-to-one comparisons with matches on GEDmatch.com. To my amazment, I found cousins in Uganda and Sudan, throwing into question the results on Ancestry. Clearly I do have East African lineage, something your site failed to catch. In addition, I have cousins in Nigeria, despite the fact that your previous results showed hardly any Nigerian ancestry for me. My mother, who has also taken the test, saw her Nigerian percentage drop to just 1 percent. That’s nonsense considering the fact she has DNA matches in that country. Also, Senegal showed up again. Again, based on DNA matches on GEDmatch, I do have Senegalese ancestry. This type of science doesn’t fit my wheel well, but I respectfully submit to you that something is off with regard to how you test African Americans. Our ancestry is far more diverse than your site appears to show. Perhaps in time, as more samples are collected, a clearer, more accurate picture will emerge.

  22. CR

    This is nice, however to help understand the changes, the before and after panel comparison should be provided.

    Overall though, this does not engage me more with the Ancestry panel. What is more compelling is to have a “chromosome browser” provided to better research my personal cousin matches by chromosome segment.

  23. Anna

    The past update was fine but this one is TERRIBLE! I have over half for one side now. My parternal is Polish but how am I now 51%? I went up in the England/Wales/NWE but yet that doesn’t make any sense either since it went down to 2% last time and seem more where it should be with how far back that was. My Germanic went down which seemed odd as well.

    I know some now believe results are because of trees but that is impossible when there are plenty that don’t even have a tree at all. As well as results don’t include all areas of ones tree or align with it all the time so doubt that is much help. Especially when some don’t even pay attention to what they are doing and randomly adding to their trees. No matter what was done this update was the worse.

  24. Anne

    Hmmm, on the face of it I thought most of my % Ethnicity splits look about right. However, one of them is definitely not: My nordic ancestry is Danish – specifically from particular place, the very low-populated, small Island of Laeso in the Kattegut sea between northern Denmark and Sweden. My family line is documented there, irrefutably, back to the 1650’s and I have DNA matches to distant cousins from there. One hiccup in that gene pool, is an illegitimate 4xgt grandfather where his father is reliably ‘believed to be a Swedish sailor…” as noted in his 1774 baptism record.. So when my PREVIOUS Ethnicity estimate said I was 4% Swedish, and when I looked at the Map and see the colored ‘circle’ encompassing my nordic-ness included that small Danish Island in the colored parts, I was okay with that – it made sense; one day, I said to myself, perhaps Ancestry will advance their technology and fine tune that result to split me further into Danish% and Swedish %.

    So, today when I open up my revised ethnicity Map and see I have now been labelled 4% NORWAY with ALL of Norway colored in and NO Danish or Swedish bits colored in, I have to wonder what’s going on!! It seems like nonsense to me. ANd I now question not only that estimate, but all the other ones as well. 🙁

  25. L Courchane

    I have paid for several Ancestry tests for myself and family members. I am an ancestry subscriber for as many years as they’ve been available. When I had one question about one gr Gr grandma’s parentage and called to get an expert to help, I was told for that info it would cost close to $3,000. Info is in TN. I’d call that greed. I’m so disappointed. Ancestry used to try to help in researching.

  26. blessyourhearts

    Ancestry has convinced themselves that their method will just get better and more accurate. Instead it has become laughable. The reliance on creating your reference panel based on ancestry family trees is demented and make me facepalm.
    Ancestry’s user trees are notorious for being poorly referenced and support. And sadly many are very anglo history oriented and leave out P0C connections.
    I have just one tiny line of my family who belong to ancestry, probably because they want to claim a very famous mutual relation. My ggrandfather. His ancestry is different than mine. But my results now mirror HIS. So 65% of who I know I am has been wh1tewashed.
    I had an actual expert look at my raw data closely and his results are dead on.
    Gedmatch calcs also agree. Ancestry is only appealing to a certain segment of colonial americans who have only 1 or 2 nationalities.
    Just so offbase and crazed.

  27. Richard

    Why are the new Regions so very specific for some groups/nationalities and just incredibly superficial for others. The Greek and Italian breakdown is so coarse as to be meaningless. Yet the Irish and Scotch nationality lists every town imaginable? The same with the Americas and Mexico? I think there are about 80 million people with Italian ancestry and Italy is one of the most genetically diverse regions of Europe – yet no real detail? The single Greece/Balkans Region is ridiculous. It this a function of samples, the belief that there is only a Greek/Balkan people? Or is this who is buying Ancestry products?

  28. Grant

    Does anybody know how often they roll it out to customers? is it “daily?” or do they do it in large batches? any information regarding this update would be helpful. Thanks!

  29. Lori

    I want to know that, too. I manage only five tests and three tests have the update, but two do not. One that has the update is my mom and one that doesn’t is my sister. Why does Mom have the update, but Sis does not? Another test I manage got her results and her test was done at the same time as my sister’s test.

  30. Sossity C.

    I commented on another blog questioning the accuracy of ancestry results. I went from 14% Irish to now 14% Swedish, well it is a good thing I did not go and get that Celtic tattoo, or any other for any of my heritage, it seems to be shifting all the time.

  31. Dan

    This update is disappointing. It would be better if they told you which DNA markers you present and where they came from. I’m now registering an ethnicity which neither side of my family, close or extended relatives show in their DNA. I’m also listed as possibly 50% Germanic but present as 19% with no regional connections to anywhere in SW Germany/S Holland or N. Switzerland where I have legitimate family ties. My nearly 40% Irish ancestry is now down to 26% and is “possibly” from Connacht/NW Mayo but “Highly Likely” from North Connacht despite having no ancestry documented outside of Ulster. I hope this is not an estimate based upon the often poorly-constructed family trees of Ancestry users! I have 4 Ancestors on paper possibly from the Wales and England in the late 1600’s yet am listed as possibly 53-64% British and lack any regional connections to anywhere in the UK. How in is this calculated? Why don’t they simply list your prominent DNA markers and explain where they come from? Example: Do I present R-M222 explaining my Irish ancestry in Connacht or 12a2B? I am indeed descendant from Colonial Pennsylvanians but but do they take into account the fact that Pennsylvania Germans appear British due to the mass migration of SW Protestant Germans and Swiss to the UK during the reign of Queen Ann (prior to mass-migration to Philadelphia)? Many modern British present our shared genetic markers, though we have little to do with British origins. Do Germans in Mecklenburg present as Eastern European due to the ancient Obodrite/Slavic kingdom present there? Please don’t take these tests to heart yet as they present more questions than they answer. Give it another 20 years.

  32. sara danison

    Greatly enjoyed the discussion of this blog. How little I know about what you are all discussion. I am a paper person,meaning “a document is great , but two works in court”. Therefore my DNA Backs up my documents, and I thank you for this. Recent improvement changes are much appreciated,since the work now really does flow.

  33. Joyce

    @ Richard I think one of the problems is that some countries don’t do DNA testing. In Germany and France it is illegal, at least for our purposes.

    I too have about 50% wrapped up in Italy, Balkans etc etc and I have a serious paper trail deep into Italy, but I don’t think Italians generally go in for DNA testing. I can’t find anything that says it is illegal there, but I know “my folks” generally keep track of their ancestry over in Italy. It is passed down through the family -at least for a few generations.

    I am really sunk w/several Irish ancestors as there is no paper trail in the time period I need…and I have touched base via GEDmatch and Irish FB groups, and most those folks don’t have specific answers either.

    We can only hope that in time things will get more specific for other groups. I have DNA tests of many cousins and I am jealous when I see so many specific places on their reports and mine are so general. But it is what it is. I sure don’t want to see them basing this on trees, it needs to be scientifically based. In many areas that is going to take time.

    Time that I’m not sure I have 🙁

  34. Katherine McNeill

    Why is Northern France on your map of European ethnic groups not assigned to any group? I find this concerning. Most of us who have many ties to Quebec and Ontario have French ancestors mainly from Normandy and Brittany. Doesn’t this mean that a possible majority of French Canadians are not even considered to be French by Ancestry.com? The last update assigned Northern France to “England, Wales and Northwestern Europe”, that big conglomeration, but now there is no assignment at all. My maternal family always identified as being French, and have been in French Canada since the 17th Century. Many of these ancestors were from Normandy, and there are the records which prove this. Now I am learning that they are not really ethnically French? This latest update reduced my French ancestry by 16% points. The update prior to that told me I am 23% Iberian. I figured that meant French. It seems that my French ancestry is being whittled away. I want to know which group Northern France belongs to according to Ancestry.com???

  35. Virginia

    I’m still waiting for my update. But I was disappointed to look at the map and see the blacked-out areas where I assume Ancestry has no results at all. One of those areas is Northwest Spain–Galicia and Asturias. Many Americans–and others–came from those areas, including me and my many cousins who have taken Ancestry’s DNA test. Even our paper records are not on Ancestry. They don’t even list Spain as a country on the drop-down list. Come on, Ancestry. Spain–especially Asturias and Galicia, please!

  36. Bernadette Freedman

    My just-updated 2019 ethnicity estimate is, I am sorry to say, garbage, pure and simple. The previous one (2018) was excellent. I know my paternal grandparents back 3 generations (all Ashkenazi Jews) and my maternal grandparents back 6 generations (all Sicilian, which includes a lot of Greek and Balkan invaders/visitors in terms of genetics). In 2018, Ancestry said I was 51% European Jewish, 23% Italian/Sicilian, and 14% Greek/Balkan–really spot-on. Now for 2019, I am told that I am 62% European Jewish; this could only happen if one of my maternal 2nd-great-grandparents was 100% European Jewish, in order to add that new 12% to my European Jewish estimate. Balderdash! I have the Sicilian church records back 6 generations; my Italian forebears were born and baptized in two Sicilian towns back to 1743. I don’t know what these new “reference populations” are that Ancestry is using, but they are totally untrustworthy. I will advise anyone who asks me about the Ancestry DNA test that they should go elsewhere. At least my Match List continues to be trustworthy and useful in terms of finding unknown cousins. But the ethnicity estimate is now laughable. Extremely disappointing. I would contact Customer Service, but when I click on the Support link here, it just hangs.

  37. Tamara Pozzi

    I have to agree with the several comments which state they are not impressed with the update. It appears that European countries boundaries have shifted. I am happy with my initial DNA results from two months ago, and I am staying with that 🙂 My new results, a few countries are listed as 0 – whatever percentage, France shrank. I am just not going to worry about it. Perhaps a computer program was just trying too hard. I actually looked up European map history, and the boundaries shifted around a great deal – perhaps some algorithm is trying to track that.

  38. Liz Davenport

    My comment/query is at least twofold. I always find the ethnicity updates truly interesting, but find my most significant ethnicity region somewhat unclear in some regards. My most significant region is the England, Wales and northwestern Europe region. The England and Wales components of that are clear enough, however, The northwestern Europe – – while included in the regions title – – is pretty much left out of the regions history information that accompanies the region, and, when looking at the long list of regions covered by ancestry.com, under England, Wales, and northwestern Europe, the Northwestern Europe part is not listed beneath the heading, only parts of England and Wales. And yet it states very clearly under England, Wales, and northwestern Europe that this is the city is found primarily in Belgium, channel islands, England, and Wales. Almost nothing is said about either Belgium or the channel islands – – why is this? I also noticed on the map of the England, Wales, and northwestern Europe region, that Denmark is highlighted as well as a few other places not specifically mentioned in the information accompanying this region on my ethnicity estimate. I hope that my explanation of this issue is clear comment rather than confusing to you, and would appreciate any extra information that can shed light on this matter. Thank you very much.

  39. Liz Davenport

    I would appreciate any information to explain why, within the England, Wales and northwestern Europe region, even though Belgium, and channel islands are conspicuously included along with England and Wales in the “primarily found in “ information, that no information about Belgium and the Channel Islands is included, for example, in the history of the region section, and those two countries are almost like an afterthought for this region. I also noticed that in the map section displayed for this region, Denmark and a couple of other areas are also circled. Can you offer more information about this? Thank you.

  40. I welcome the continued expansion of Ancestry’s genetic communities. And I am especially looking forward to new ones being created for the African continent. As I believe this could be particularly helpful for the great number of Ancestry’s customers with (partial) African lineage (not only African Americans, but also Caribbeans, Latin Americans and Afro-descendants elsewhere!)

    However I am extremely disappointed by Ancestry’s decision to not create a separate community for Cape Verdeans. Instead the “Portuguese Islander” migration is being maintained (slightly renamed now into ” Portuguese Islander in the Eastern US”). A highly akward and potentially offensive labeling! Because I am sharing profiles with many Cape Verdeans I know for a fact that this genetic community is OVERWHELMINGLY consisting of people of Cape Verdean descent. Incl. many who were born in Cape Verde or who have parents who were born there. Cape Verde obviously being an independent country since 1975 and therefore NOT to be classified as some “Portuguese Islanders”…

    I really don’t understand why Ancestry finds it so difficult apparently to acknowledge that in appropriate labeling? For an international company with world wide ambitions I really would have expected a less USA-oriented approach in such matters…

    Even more so since Ancestry has set up no less than 12 (!!!) separate genetic communities for the Azores and 4 separate ones for Madeira. On 23andme on the other hand Cape Verde is correctly identified as a “Recent Ancestral Location” and also fittingly placed under “Senegambian & Guinean” right now. Plus impressively it attempts to zoom in to even island level within Cape Verde. Surely Ancestry can attempt to at least match that kind of properly labeled specificity?

  41. Sharyn

    Any idea when the rest of us will get the new update? I manage 10 tests and so far only one of them has been updated and that was last week. Anyone else in this boat?

  42. Larry Wiggins

    Segment data and a Chromosome Browser would be one thousand times more helpful and more important to me in my research. I WOULD EVEN PAY MORE FOR IT.

  43. Sara Vinsome

    The methodology for the updates has completely wiped traces of South Asian DNA, which came from a great great Romany grandmother who settled In a permanent dwelling in 1873. I’ve even traced Romany entry into England from my tree to the 1600s.
    I know it exists so I’m not that upset but if anybody took the ancestry DNA test now that heritage just wouldn’t show up. I think it’s a shame to lose part of Britain’s history this way. Especially that of a minority group who still face such discrimination today.

  44. Tamara Pozzi

    It certainly looks like the next ” update ” isn’t an event that most of us are anxiously awaiting …. a Science Professor told me that at this price level, one can only expect a very general estimate of family origins. I am combining the first report I received with some known family information to create my own best history. It’s reassuring to read via this blog that many of the newly revised estimates ring false.

  45. Stephanie Gibson

    I love the update. I always knew I was Nigerian and I felt it deep within my spirit but the previous results always were Benin/Togo. I understand Benin/Togo to be beside Nigeria and so, I figured maybe it was hard to tell. I did not feel connected to Benin/Togo much but did feel connected to Nigeria and Congo/Cameroon. This update took my 1% Nigeria to 39% as were other tests I’ve taken to cross reference my results to. All of them had Nigeria as the top except Ancestry. Congo/Cameroon is my second highest now and Mali.
    I appreciate this and the research that goes into this.

  46. Aria

    Personally, I think the new update is super inaccurate, at least for me. My family records aligned quite closely with my results before the update, and now I feel like my results are pretty off. It’s interesting to see that some members benefited from the update and others are unhappy with it.

  47. Greg

    New results are strange, to say the least! My father comes out 92% Italian on Ancestry but my brother and I are now downgraded to 12% and 10% Italian each, respectively (from 23%). Oh and 6% Greece/Balkans.

    My mother is Lithuanian and is 80% Baltic and 19% Eastern European but I am 60% Eastern European and 22% Baltic.

    I know the whole “you can inherit different amounts of Ancestry from each parent” line, but I don’t buy the new results. Each update my Italian goes down while my father’s goes up. And I inherit more Eastern European than my mother has. Results losing a lot of credibility with each update.

  48. RYAN WASHBURN

    You need to do an in-house back-test of your machine learning algorithms. Ironically, your ethnicity estimate given 2 years ago was far more accurate for me than this new update and more accurate than the previous one. I only have “German”, “England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe”, and “Sweden” in my ethnicity now, where before I had France, Ireland, and Eastern Europe: All places that I have recent enough ancestry, fully documented that it should show up in at least small percentages like it did before (yes, including Southern France, where your boundaries are focused). 23andMe’s test catches all of this, as does MyHeritage. I have also performed DNA triangulation on relatives that are 100% Eastern European (Poland, Ukraine, Russia), and 100% Irish in addition to having documentation about relatives from these regions. Thanks for the novelty, but I your ethnicity update is pretty much useless for me.

  49. Yussef Ducasse

    ok i get it now why i have so much lebanese in a sudden. all other tests give me like 60% lebanese 30% else, if they use the trees, no wonder why…. the new 23andme gives me iran etc

  50. Steve

    I find these new results to be weird as well. I went from having a trace region of Germanic (2%), to suddenly having 15%. I don’t have any Germanic in my tree save for one branch and it doesn’t come in until hundreds of years ago. I think they screwed something up this time around.

  51. Jeffrey Franks

    Folks, remember that people moved around a lot. If your German or British results changed to Scandinavian, this simply means that the original DNA likely came from the Norsemen who raided and settled those areas. If your British changed to Ireland or Scotland, it just means that your British ancestors were originally from Ireland or Scotland. Surnames and places, especially when within the last few hundred years are not necessarily reliable in predicting DNA accuracy.

  52. Alisa

    I didn’t think I could hate an update more than the previous one, but I stand corrected. This newest update is even worse. I have documented German ancestry, a lot of it. I went from 30 something percent, to 6 percent and now with this latest update 0 percent. I find 23 and me to be more in line with my documentation and more accurate. I barely look at the DNA section of ancestry anymore, it was a waste of money.

  53. Annette Lynch

    In previous analyses, I was 57% Irish, and 43% in that horrible Northern Europe category, but at least that matched my family tree fairly well. My dad was totally Irish, my mom basically French and German. I have these lines well documented back to the mid 17th century. Suddenly I am now 80% Irish! I never realized that all of those French and German ancestors were actually Irish. Really??? Come on, Ancestry, you have to do better than this! This update only muddies the water.

  54. lauren marems

    You have wiped out my 12.5 % French great Grandmother’s contribution to my DNA and tuned it into Ashkenazi. You did the same for an adopted friend whose father was Jewish but mother was all English Northern European. His Northern European half siblings tested here , they have no European Jewish yet you gave him 57% European Jewish. Its not possible. All other websites get it right for him at 47%

  55. J.

    Hi Ancestry,

    I guess everybody’results has been updated by now. In the new update, I noticed the Mali region was extended down south to the 2/3 of Ivory Coast, and is fully covering Liberia, when people located in the south of these 2 countries don’t really have ties with the mandingue population of Mali and Guinea. I originally come from Ivory Coast and I am of Akan background. My original results matched well with what I know about my family, but my Ivory C./Ghana (which is now Ghana) decreased considerably in the 2 latest updates. I have seen results from other Akan from Ivory Coast and Ghana as well, and none actually scores more than 60% Ghana with the current update. So I was wondering , what are the population you have been using lately for the Ghana and Mali regions? Are Kru and Southern Mande populations from Ivory Coast and Liberia now included in your Mali samples? If so, is it possible to further breakdown the current Mali region into 3 parts: the south (below the V Baoule) with Kru and Southern Mande sample populations from Ivory Coast and Liberia, the east with Gur population from Burkina Faso, and the northwest with Malinke/Bambara population from Mali/Eastern Guinea. This latest update was an improvement for the Nigeria and Benin/Togo region, and I can see it with my matches; however a lot more work needs to be done with the Ghana/Ivory Coast/Liberia/Sierra Leone region. Please take this suggestion into account for your next update, it will highly improve your reliability and credibility to your customers of Afro descent.

  56. Joyce Jarrard

    I was flabbergasted to suddenly be 8% Swedish. Previously I was 0%. That is wildly unexpected. Four of my other regions reduced, which is odd. No communities are listed, other than my Irish. I don’t know what to do with this!

  57. lauren marems

    “This unique reference panel largely comes from our database, and their heritage is verified through Ancestry family trees to provide the most accurate picture of your ethnic origins when your results arrive. ”

    Trees? No wonder.

  58. Bill

    My results keep getting less and less accurate. For instance, I know that I have German in my background, yet the results from Ancestry don’t show this at all. I didn’t think the last update was that accurate but this one is even more generic and worse. Furthermore, the results at other DNA testing sites and Ancestry are getting further apart and theirs seems more accurate. Disappointing.

  59. Marty

    This new estimate is very inaccurate, based on my very detailed knowledge of my family which was thoroughly researched and documented. The estimate right before this one has been most accurate. So I’ve totally lost all my Irish/Scottish and now I’m Swedish and German? I don’t buy it. I no longer have any confidence whatsoever in the ethnicity estimates. You need to take a new look at all of this.

  60. Shanika Rodanhisler

    I called customer service to speak with what I thought would be intelligent people and just like the service your customer service representatives were unable to give me a factual logical answer basically you should be selling your services as a guesstimate. How are you accurately tracking the regions from which African Americans come from or are you tracking from which the slaves tracked from. If slaves were stolen from there original land then find the original origin dont clump up African Americans in a large group from slave records. I need facts not fiction. Unhappy and unsatisfied customer.

  61. Don

    My results were recently and although I am satisfied with them I think they are inaccurate. My Nigerian went from 1% to 51%, my Benin Togo went from 40% to 1%. If you are using my family tree which is very incomplete, that would explain the numbers are skewed.

  62. Brett Murri

    I’ve been tracking each of the Ancestry ethniticity updates in a spreadsheet for all the members of my family since we all joined a couple years ago. While Ancestry says they are getting MORE accurate with each update, it appears that is only because they are getting LESS specific. I expect one or two updates down the road they will just lump us all into one giant homogenous group, that says “100% Human”, which would absolutely be 100% accurate for everyone, but not helpful to anyone.

  63. S M

    My results with the recent update are much more accurate. Prior version had my dna about 25% English and now it has been changed to German. People forget just because you had a great grandparent that was say Swedish doesn’t mean any of their Swedish dna was passed down to you. Still waiting for more people from Eastern Europe and Russia to be included in the reference panel so those regions can be broken down more.

  64. Marina Symcox

    My 1% benin-togo DNA hit from a few months ago has completely disappeared with the new analysis. Now I am reading 100% NW european? How does this happen?

  65. TLH

    The previous update was more accurate than the one before. I never could find all those Iberians and Scandinavians lurking in my tree. The latest version has taken a step backward. The bit of Eastern European DNA from a distant Polish ancestor has disappeared. The French part I figured came from Swiss and Alsatians is gone as well. It seems my Irish grandmother contributed half of my DNA.
    Also, you have redrawn the map to have the regions conforming closely to political boundaries. DNA is a lot older than modern countries.

  66. Mary

    November 2019 — Ancestry, this update is totally off base. I went from an accurate 45/55 breakdown to one where my mother’s ethnicity has almost completely disappeared. (She is first generation in North America and 100% Germanic Europe.) Suddenly I have dropped from 45% to 2%? There is something seriously wrong with your calculations this time.

  67. Joanne

    Would someone confirm if family trees are being calculated into the Ethnicity mix? Many of the one’s I have looked at are crazy inaccurate. Also, where has Germanic Europe disappeared to? Suddenly my 1/2 German Swiss ancestry has virtually disappeared and been morphed into English. Still matching to more than 6000 people with German surnames so Ancestry has some ‘splaining to do.

  68. Celeste' A

    My Spain and Native American and French vanished. My direct grandparents are biracial. How? These ppl have me perdominately African. These test are far off this time around and I’m currently telling ppl don’t waste your money. It’s looking more like a scam these days. Idk how ancestry will compete with other dna companies. Many customers are dissatisfied. I’m deleting my dna and focusing on building my tree and records.

  69. MICHAEL AGUIAR

    I used to be 2% English 2% Greek , 2% Irish Scottishand 1% Sardinia. I know these to be true with distant family members. You recently dropped these it added these percentages to my Portuguese please put these smaller 2% and under matches back on my account I want them back please.so I want you to list that I’m 1% Greek, I want you to list that I’m 2% English, I want you to list that I’m 2% Scottish Irish, and1% Sardinia.PLEASE PUT THESE BACK TO MY ANCESTRY NATIONALITY BREAKDOWN LISTING. Please anything 2% 1% I want these put back on my account , they are true and it shows my distant ancestry. Thank you.

  70. MICHAEL AGUIAR

    I use the microphone on that last comment/request I just sent to you (ancestry.com). The microphone makes a lot of mistakes and I should have proof read it better. But long story short, please put back the recent 2% and 1% country ancestry listings back to my account that you just recently dropped. You should not have dropped them ,my 2% English, 2% Scottish Irish, 1% Sardinia, 2% Greek listing under my DNA breakdown, I want put back and we listed under my account. You should not have made me more Portuguese and reduce my Italian heritage because that is wrong. So please put back all my 2% and 1% former ancestry listings you had on my account,please put them back thank you.

Join the Discussion

We really do appreciate your feedback, and ask that you please be respectful to other commenters and authors. Any abusive comments may be moderated. For help with a specific problem, please contact customer service.