ANCESTRY DNA’s Beta Chromosome Painting

This one sneaked up on me—I didn’t know it was there! It’s a new feature at ANCESTRY DNA currently in BETA. If you have tested there you should check it out. My favorite part was probably the questionnaire where it asked whether I would want to see the segments of my matches? HELL, YES! We dedicated genetic genealogists have been begging for this for many years. So PLEASE do me a favor and tell them you want this feature.

ANCESTRY DNA Beta Chromosome Painting


If you followed my earlier posts on Ethnicity/Ancestral breakdowns at Ancestry you have heard my complaints about the assignments. The assignments have not changed but the painting of the assignments onto your chromosomes is new. So first off the Finnish on Ch 19 is actually Norwegian at least back to the earlier 1600’s. I know this from Chromosome painting at DNA Painter which shows that all of the segments on my mother’s side of chromosome 19 are Norwegian matches. And since I have this family well documented back to the 1500-early 1600’s I am confident this isn’t Finnish, at least not in the last 500 years. The next thing I looked at was the Germanic Europe segment on Chromosome 8. This one is a bit more intriguing. So at Ancestry it shows one half of chromosome 8 as Germanic Europe. The other half as Scotland with a bit of English Unassigned on the right most tip.

There’s many things I want to draw your attention to and scrutinize. First the 2 gray segments on Chromosome 8 & 10 are actually assigned at 23andMe. These are my African segments and neither of these chromosome paintings show them correctly! They are actually on my PATERNAL side.

The PATERNAL side of Chromosome 8 includes mostly matches on my German lines of HENAGER and REMSBURG (RAMSBURG, RIEMSBERGER) and on my English SPARKS/BARNES lines. The segment shown as Ghanaian at 23andMe and Unassigned at Ancestry is from matches on the SPARKS/BARNES line which is from my father’s side so the painting is showing part from my Mom and part from my Dad on the same side of the Chromosome. Known of my MATERNAL matches on the Scandinavian (23andMe) or Scottish (Ancestry) has any African DNA. Furthermore the part of my tree in question had ancestors who were enslavers so my guess is somewhere a child was born between the Master or male relative of a plantation who later passed as white. (Another mystery yet to be resolved). One of the people in the tree below is likely responsible for my African segments.

Part of my ANCESTRY tree where my African Ancestry lies

The second African segment on Chromosome 10, I have no segment matches for. However the segments on either side of the African segment are both related to matches on the SPARKS/BARNES lines.


Let’s take a look a closer look at Chromosome 1 from Ancestry. Basically it shows MATERNAL side on top with mostly Swedish/Danish and a bit of Norwegian on Right Tail. On my father’s side it shows England and Northwestern Europe.

Let’s compare with the 23andme version:

In this matchup Ancestry wins. My maternal side shows matches just as shown with the bulk Swedish and some Norwegian on the right end. On Paternal side it is similar to the bottom half of what 23andME shows. SHould read Scottish/English/German/English which the broad Ancestry tag encompasses.

So what does this all mean? It means that all of these tools must be taken with a teaspoon of salt and yet there is important data to be mined here. To date none of these tools gets things precisely right—but as you can see they are useful. Particularly in trying to sort out where segments come from. Here is the major CAVEAT: Anything Northwest European can be mistaken ie Scottish might be Swedish, Swedish might be British and Finnish may be Swedish. If you are lucky enough to have some more DNA outside the NW European Bucket the accuracy of these predictions can go up.

If you are not already doing so keeping track of matches on DNAPainter is what allows me to know where individual segments come from. I highly recommend this tool.

Check it out and feel free to share your Opinions here or on The All Genetic Genealogy Facebook page.

Kelly Wheaton © 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: