A while back during a sale, I got a DNA test done, in part to verify if my immediate relatives were actually my relatives and also for my dad to verify the same thing down his line and oh boy, there's a story there. Anyway, turns out everyone is actually related to who they're supposed to be. (Which doesn't disprove any cheating, but at least kids were with the right parents, aye?) I picked Ancestry.com's tests out of curiosity about the ethnic stuff, since both my parents lie about crap. Out of the options, their ethnic estimates are the most accurate and they let you download your data, which I wanted to look at myself for other reason. You can take that data and put it in other sites that allow that, some free, some for a fee, that give you other kinds of data. The average person probably doesn't need that though, because most people don't really get how these work or what to do with them, what's BS, etc--hence despite these tests being continually improved, the average person online still goes "this is highly inaccurate!!!" Of course, some of that is also because the average person never learned anything about genetics past HS Biology, so some of what people assume is "wrong" or "inaccurate" is actually just plain not knowing what they're talking about. Anyway, since Biology is what I got a degree in, no worries, you don't need to educate me on this topic, thanks. I thought I'd make a page sharing some of the info I got on ethnic stuff for fun and to track it over time. Ancestry updates these every so often as their pool of data gets larger, so they should be getting more accurate as the years pass. I'll update this page as time goes on, to see how my info changes/doesn't change. Here's my current estimates from September 2022.
For comparison, here's my estimate from earlier in 2022. Not much has changed since then, but it'll be interesting to see how much things continue to diverge or stay the same from early estimates.
One of the things people get confused about with these is they seem to think they'll inherit a bit of every part of their parents' different ethnic groups in their DNA, completely evenly somehow like your DNA just KNOWS what's what like that. Of course, this is not true. You get a random 50% of what each parent has, which means you may not get certain ones at all! Moreover, and this is something people really seem to struggle with--these percents don't have as much to do with racial/ethnic "appearance" as people think. Remember, while DNA may be coming from different ethnic groups, that doesn't mean every single group will contribute to your skin tone, facial features, etc. Much of your DNA actually is not for that. Typically though, you will look like what's the biggest percent the most if you have a really big percent of something, or a mix of the biggest percents you have. Siblings also shouldn't have identical DNA. I can see people getting this mixed up with twins, but I've seen people think siblings should too for some reason. Identical twins don't even necessarily have identical DNA either, and well, we won't be getting into epigenetics here. Anyway, speaking of siblings, here's a comparison of my brother and me. Notice how our percents on Irish and Scottish are basically flipped!
Now, on to my parents. Here's my mother's estimates compared to mine. As you can see, there are clearly groups I didn't inherit from her at all.
And now my father. His stuff is a lot more, uh, concentrated to a few groups, but even here, there are groups I didn't inherit.
I thought I'd include a few more close relatives who had tests done. Here is my paternal granduncle, the brother of my paternal grandfather.
As you might guess, the Irish part in my dad's line is not coming through his father, but his mother. I ended up being contacted by his mother's side of the family while working on a family tree and learned a lot about the Irish portion of my family. The person managing all that information had tracked over a thousand members of that family line, but still has not uncovered a specific person. Turns out my great-great-great-grandfather was some important person's bastard child by the records available, but who was the father? We still don't know! Maybe one day someone will take a test and things will start connecting...Haha. Now, on to my mother's side. My maternal grandaunt (mother's father's sister) and one of my first cousins got tests done too. Here is my grandaunt.
And here is one of my maternal first cousins.
For those curious about your ethnic estimates and family history, it's always a good idea to get as many close family members as you can to get tests done, because again, you don't inherit everything. If you can, also start searching your family history via records. Obviously, cheating does occur (and adoption, which may not always be clear in records). The more data you have, the better idea you get of the truth. And depending on the service you use, keep an eye out for updates with more accurate data. If you're looking for health stuff, I wouldn't recommend Ancestry for that. These days, there are places you can get your whole genome sequenced and everything, which is cool, but probably not worth your time or money if you uh, don't really know what you're looking at. As for privacy issues and rights, again, you'll need to do your research. I won't recommend a company for that, as I've found time and time again, most companies are lying bastards anyway. You should presume no matter what they claim they're all selling info. Oh, and back to the lying family bit. So, were my parents lying about their ancestry? Yes, both in fact! My father claimed he was "mostly Cherokee, probably also (ever changing tribe)". He's 100% white, haha. While making the family tree, I did eventually find a rather famous indigenous woman, like centuries ago, who is most definitely not Cherokee. But that's so far back that doesn't matter at all. My mother claimed she was 100% white, 100% Spaniard, and her entire father's side is nothing but blond, blue eyed 100% Spaniards. Whelp, obviously that's not true. From the records I could find and old photos, I can't even find an immediate relative of hers on either side who had blond hair OR blue eyes, much less both. There was quite a range in skin tones and facial features though. If you're wondering, yes, my mother buys colored blue contacts constantly and sometimes dyes her hair blond. Given the photos I've seen of her younger, I suspect she's also using products to try and lighten her skin. Never believe family stories about this kind of stuff is the lesson here. Since making this page, my dad has started on his own family tree, as he didn't find my exciting enough and tells me every other day about some new king or lord or knight that he's totally related to that never came up in my research. Some people really won't accept the truth even when you present it to them. Ironically, due to him inventing a whole new tree full of bad research to find kings, he keeps pestering me on how I found the one indigenous part of his branch from centuries ago. Whelp, sorry, Dad, you can't find her now that you've rewritten the tree to your liking in the centuries between you and her. Given that he's just making up shit now, I'm not sure why he thought by adding completely different people he'd somehow still end up finding her down any line. My mother also still continues to tell people all her relatives are blond and blue-eyed people who are 100% Spaniard, as well. The truth doesn't matter, only their comforting, strange web of lies. September 2023: With the new AncestryDNA update coming soon, I thought it'd be fun to look around again at what other sites that allow uploads of from AncestryDNA list as my ethnic ancestry for a comparison. I'll update this as well with the actual AncestryDNA update. I doubt much would change, but that should be interesting to see. Anyway, here's some data from a few other sites. Now, when I mentioned that AncestryDNA's ethnic ancestry is currently the most "accurate" for certain kinds of results (Note: If you have mostly African ancestry, there are better options out there. Ancestry does best with European ethnic info, though they do add new regions every year--remember, these tests are gradually getting more fine tuned over time.) that doesn't mean other tests should be all that far off and complete nonsense either. No matter which test you take, your results should roughly be about the same general estimates. If you have indigenous ancestry, the results may be a little lower than expect and in some tests, may come up as Asian or "other" instead depending on what site you're looking at results from. A while back, these kinds of tests got more heat (and more misinformation was spread, some of it quite intentional) over articles claiming you can't tell you have indigenous heritage from these tests. This is absolute nonsense. This came from two issues really. One, conflating federal tribal enrollment (aka "legally" an "Indian" in US & Canada) and having indigenous ancestry. Two, a lot of people with official tribal affiliation not liking their results (lol) because they came out too white, both because these tests still underrepresent that type of ancestry and well, there's plenty of "Indians" with tribal IDs who are 100% European at this point, genetically. This is shocking to some people, despite plenty of blond, red headed, blue eyed, green eyed, and lily white "Indians" out there. Tribal enrollment requirements vary across the US and Canada, many people have had children with white people over several generations, you don't inherit 100% of your parents genetics, and many official documents didn't have fully accurate information to start with (someone being listed as "full" when they were maybe a quarter or vice-versa, etc). So, yes, there's absolutely people who are white who are legally "Indians" in the eyes of the US & Canadian governments. Just as there are many latinos out there who have a very large amount of indigenous blood in them, but may in the US be officially labeled "white" or "caucasian" while never in their lives passing for "white" to anyone. It's important to remember "Indian" is a specific status legally in the US and Canada that comes with specific entitlements (along with legal nightmares to jump through as well). People who may have this legal status can look very different from one another. And it should be noted when you hear about violence against people on reservations, it's by and large not happening to the white-looking ones, but to the ones you would typically picture when you think "Indian". These "white" Indians may still be deeply involved in their communities and keeping up culturally important traditions. It's up to each tribal nation to decide who belongs and who doesn't. But, genetically speaking, yes, there are certainly many Indians who have zero indigenous genetics at this point, or only trace amounts. Look in the mirror. If someone would think you're white, yeah, you shouldn't be surprised by the results showing that. But it's important to remember culture=/=physical appearance or genetics. And within multi-ethnic families, you can have children come out looking very different from one another too. You can even have fraternal twins that look like different races (Marcia and Millie Biggs, Lucy and Maria Aylmer) One of the many reasons to get multiple family members tested is things like this. It's not often this extreme, but like I've mentioned before, you may not inherit entire ethnic groups from each parents. There's the randomness of it, dominant traits being more likely, and you can't get the full 100% anyway. And of course, your genes are not just what's on the outside! You can inherit something and it have nothing to do with what shows up on your face. The very concept of race itself is an ever changing thing, but it isn't a scientific one. These test look for ethnic/regional groups, but they're not really showing you your "race" as race is a socially constructed, changeable concept. On a biological level, race doesn't exist. (I want to emphasize this. When I worked in education, I've had to explain to way too many children that race does not exist genetically and more importantly different "races" are NOT different species! WTF. Who is telling children this?!!) We can be divided up into connections to region/ethnic sub-groups, but even with that, people travel. That won't necessarily tell you everything about the cultures your recent ancesters were connected to. You will need to do more research for that. As indigenous genetics are often underrepresented in these tests, it's actually far more likely that if that shows up (especially anything beyond 10%), it's in your ethnic ancestry. On the flip side, Ireland and Scotland tend to get overrepresented. (My family results are pretty accurate in that records though. TRUST ME. There are so many records that back up that data.) In addition to getting multiple people tested, it's important to check as many records as you can get a hold of. Does the collective data make sense together? There is a range of error, yes, but it's not going to be massively off. Your data will be most inaccurate when it comes to small sub-five percent trace regions. Also, as a note, a lot of latinos typically don't have problems with their results and some "mestizos" get indigenous results in the +60% region. The idea that, to this day, by some magic, that indigenous genetics are some mystery that can't be found with ever increasing amount of new data is just silly. The science behind these tests continue to advance and there's actually a ton of research done across all of LatAm about ethnic diversity via genetic testing in published, peer reviewed papers. This hang up about genetic tests and indigenous blood is mostly only happening above the border. I can understand it, of course. Pretendians selling mockeries of people's culture is still very common. But that's no reason to push the idea that these tests can't show that you have indigenous ancestry. Now, what is difficult is narrowing down to any particular tribe. You definitely cannot take a DNA test and go "See, I'm really Cherokee after all!" or whatever. Most tests are pretty vague on regions. As you can see with my AncestryDNA results, Panama & Costa Rica are one big region together. I know I have no connection to Costa Rica whatsoever. Obviously, that Panama & Costa Rica is exclusively just Panama for me and still doesn't say anything about any particular tribal groups. (Records and customs however make that much more obvious.) Indigenous - Central America is just some straight up vague bullshit, LOL. Between this, my maternal side's results in general, and previous trace estimates, I can guess this region is actually still part of the Yucatan Peninsula or more Panamanian genes. Both are just as likely and would match known information. I've considered listing more detailed information on this part of my ancestry, but with me already listing I live in the Atlanta Metro and my mother being from Panama plus my age, getting any more specifics like that and I'm revealing a little too much. I don't need to tell you my parents met by a military base. That's a given, isn't it? My conception was quite generic. Anyway, on to the results from other sites. How do they compare? As I've stated above, they should be roughly similar, though how they're labeling different regions/groups won't be the same. Here's my results from myFTDNA.
This one puts me at a little more European than Ancestry.com's test. Indigenous and African is lower, but the middle eastern part is higher. But over all, this data isn't really all that different. For the America region, the sub-groups it is pulling are the correct ones it should be, from the information I know. On this one, I question some of the smaller European percents, especially that Italian number. Now, onto the next one. This one is from Genomelink.
And there you have it, the infamous Asian and other! I definitely do not have any Asian ancestry. I would presume this should be indigenous ancestry here. That would put that up to 18%, similar to Ancestry's 17% estimate. Comparing the results, the "other" is probably whatever trace results that gets labeled as African or middle eastern, depending on the test. Overall, the results are not much different, just less detailed. The last comparison comes from MyTrueAncestry, which specializes in comparing DNA samples to primarily European archaeological sites. They do have a section for modern ancestry as well, which they break down into two different ratios--one more Europe-centric and a "World" one. Here's the results from each of these. The first is the Europe-centric one.
Once again, pulling Asian results that shouldn't be there. Adding the Asian to indigenous results, we're back at around 18% again. Everything else looks about right. Now, here's the "World" version.
This broke down much differently than their Europe-centric one. Indigenous is around 17%. A lot of the rest of the smaller results seem really off compared to the other results and don't match up with documents I've found. I think it's interesting within their own two models, the results are really different. I'm not sure how to interpret "West Asian" and "Near East" here, since those two areas overlap, depending on who's definition you're working from. But overall, the more generalized information is about the same. Mostly European, though significantly less than other results. This one seems the most off out of all of them. Overall though, there really wasn't that much difference amongst the tests. Primarily European, then indigenous, then some small amounts of African and middle eastern. I don't really expect my update for this year to be all that different. The trace regions may change, and the bigger regions may shift in percent slightly, but I doubt there will be any big surprises. I'll be posting the results of mine and my family members who had tests done after the update just for record keeping. October 2023: AncestryDNA's yearly update has finally come. So, did much change? Not really. Here's my current breakdown with a comparison from 2022's update.
Continent-wise, there was only a 1% shift, with America gaining 1 and Europe losing 1. That's well within potentially just being a slight error. These are averages anyway, so on that front effectively nothing has changed when it comes to how the continents breakdown. Still mostly European, slightly indigenous American, and a small amount of African. I've said it plenty of times by now, but you shouldn't really see any major changes on this scale of things anyway unless something's really off on someone's data. Indigenous Mexico vanishes while Yucatan peninsula goes up by the same percent. I'd presume this is just the same info getting read differently. From what I've gathered in my own research, Yucatan peninsula seems more accurate to me. Scotland went up by a whole 5%, which is more than the percent my father, the sole source of that genetics, has. This is still normal data. Again, averages. A 5% difference isn't that big of a deal. It's likely mine is either a slight overestimate or his is slightly underestimated, or even a little of both. But you get the picture. The same information remains as before, my highest percentage goes to Scotland and is probably somewhere between 20-25%. The current number for that actually matches closer to my earlier 2022 data. Puerto Rico went up a percent, possibly from better data from that region, but you know. What's a difference of a percent? I will note though that my European percent has gradually, slightly decreased over time. From April 2022's 77 to later 2022's 75 to current 74. Such a small change isn't that big of a deal, but I am now curious if it'll fluctuate up at some point, stay around that, or drop a little more. The first drop was from a slight increase in the African regions. This time it was from that bump with Puerto Rico. And to make the point again about shittier DNA testing, look! Once again, no Asian in this report! As my geneology data already expects. So yes, in 2023, some of these other places are still pinging off indigenous as Asian, but Ancestry's DNA test has never done that with my results. I am quite certain I have absolute no Asian anything anywhere in my family tree for centuries of time. All the indigenous regions popping up are also the correct ones that should be showing up.
Now on to my other family members. Here's a comparison of my brother's results from the last update and the current one. Almost no change at all. We see the Central America-Mexico-Yucatan thing going on again. These keep flipping around for both of us, likely due to lacking better data to distinguish them from one another. From my own investigation, I'd still say Yucatan is the most accurate for what this seems to be picking up on and that these three keep flipping around. His results seem to have changed less than mine.
My mom's update. Nigeria switched to Nigeria-East Central. The Jewish one dropped off. Colombia/Venezuela has been added. And that would definitely be Colombia here, not Venezuela like the Panama/Costa Rica is exclusively Panama. North Italy vanished. Benin/Togo appeared, but I believe she has this group as a tiny percent on an earlier set of results that I don't have recorded here.
And here's my dad's update, where he somehow became even more Irish.
Here's my granduncle again. A portion of England/NW EU went to Scotland.
And on the other side of the tree, the same grandaunt again. Some shifting around of percents with indigenous groups. Spain and Portugal went down slightly.
Last set of data point comparison, the same first cousin from earlier. Central America dropped. Colombia & Eastern South America appeared. And out of nowhere, a teeny, tiny 1% Irish appeared. I'm not sure where that would be coming from. I think that one's probably bullshit, LOL. Doesn't match with any data I've found in records. I saw online for some reason morons on Reddit were really obnoxious about this update coming out "late" and needing their "new" results. As you can see, there were little changes. A little shifting here and there as more data is available, but nothing really major. Let's see, the data says my dad's 100% white, my mom's roughly half white with the other half being mostly indigenous then African, and I'm around 3/4 white with the other quarter being mostly indigenous and a small amount of African. My brother's data is basically roughly same continent ratios as mine. Yep, that math checks out. LOL. Given the geneological information I've gathered and others I've connected to have found, these rough estimates seem pretty accurate for what should be round about there. My brother's percents are a bit different here and there, but comparing ours with our parent's info makes it obvious everything matches up. I suspect the indigenous info is still slightly underrepresented but still within their margin of error. The small background African percents seem about right for the Spanish records I've found. There's no shocking revelantions when this stuff is compared up against other records. Doesn't match with the bullshit my parents were making up before I got these tests done though!