Looking at Ancestry’s New Ethnicity Estimates

Ancestry has a new feature which I would love, if it got it right for me or my husband. I applaud the attempt, but it just isn’t ready for prime time with the results for us. I share this detailed discussion to caution others in accepting it as a fact. It may get some people right, but I would proceed with caution. My husband has 4 grandparents as follows. One 100% Swedish, married to mixed English/Welsh/Dutch; 1 100% Irish (could have Scots back further) married to 1 100% German. So on paper it should be 25% Swedish, 25% English-Dutch-Welsh; 25% Irish and 25% German. Because we can inherit from our grandparents unevenly each range might be 15-35% This is what his chart looks like:

The line should be closer to where the purple line is. All the Swedish is definitely from his father’s side and the German, Scottish, Irish Welsh from his mother’s side. I won’t quibble over the percentages other than to say that in their ranges they seem to overly favor Swedish results . On paper he should have about 25% Swedish—this could range up to the 38% but most likely is in the 20-30% range.

Hubby’s Swedish / Danish

In my particular estimate The range for Swedish is 3-32% but it opts for the high end—an obvious error.

Kelly’s Swedish / Danish range 3-32%

My Swedish on paper should be about 18.75% and my Norwegian about 6.25%. Ancestry reports I have 32% Swedish and 14% (Range 0-23%) Norwegian and 2% Finnish (0-2% range) (total of 57%). So even being super generous my Swedish should be in the 30% range tops and my Norwegian 15% tops. There is no Finnish as far back as the early 1600’s. If I did get the top amounts as suggested by Ancestry it would be more than 50% from my maternal grandfather and nothing from my maternal grandmother. That is NOT POSSIBLE. Based on what I have been able to paint with DNA Painter I can account for 6.2% DEFINITELY coming from my maternal grandmother. This would leave 43.8% from my maternal grandfather. My guess is it’s not more than 40% and maybe far less. 23andme reports 34.8% Scandinavian which I think much more likely. I have fewer matches on my maternal grandmother’s side due to very small family sizes 2-4 surviving children in the last 4-5 generations. My maternal grandfather has much larger families and many matches.

Since my Swedish and Norwegian as well as my husband is more recent I think the Ancestry algorithm has a bias towards larger (more recent segments) that tends to skew the more recent immigrants percentages upwards and dimisses the older (smaller) colonial segments.

Here is my overall breakdown

Kelly’s Ancestry breakdown

Here the Germanic should be on my paternal side and the range is shown as 0-24%. On paper it should be about 18%, and based on my DNA Painter findings it is at least 18% of my genome (not 2% as Ancestry reports). Although it suggests it could be up to 24%!

Germanic Europe 0-24%

Finally let’s take a look at my English which on paper is about 55% of my Ancestry. Ancestry reports a range of 28-50% and places me at the low end. I think some of the Scandinavian over reporting should be English. To be fair Yorkshire and Norwegian share a lot of DNA.

The point of all this is to again treat it with a great deal of skepticism. I also think it most likely that the more recently you have admixture from Europe the more likely it will appear in higher percentages in your breakdown. use EXTREME Caution in taking these too seriously.

Kelly Wheaton © 2022 All Rights Reserved

3 Comments on “Looking at Ancestry’s New Ethnicity Estimates”

  1. You’re just a mess Kelly🥴

    Blessed Easter to you! Let us Pray for the Ukrainian Catholics and Orthodox next week on their Easter/Pascha for Peace🇺🇦☦️

    Bonnie

  2. Pingback: Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of 10-16 April 2022 - Search My Tribe News

  3. Pingback: Can Ancestry’s Ethnicity Breakdown get any Worse? | Wheaton Wood

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