Friday, October 18, 2013

Where Did My British Ancestry Go?

I was alerted by a post on Facebook from Megan Smolenyak that the Ancestry DNA results had been updated and refined.  I had done the DNA test in the last year or so and I was anxious to see what new details came to light.

Imagine my shock when I see the new details virtually erased my British ancestry!  (see before and after image)  In the first round of DNA testing Ancestry said I had 71% British ancestry. That fits pretty well with what I know about my ancestors.  In round 2 Ancestry relegates my ancestry from "Great Britain" to less than 1%. 

I can see that they are now separating out Ireland from Great Britain. I have one great grandparent with ties to Ireland. All the rest of my British ties come from England, Wales or Scotland.  The increase to 19% Irish seems very high. 

Also, my Scandinavian ancestry, of which I have no verification whatsoever from my own research, increased from 12% to 25%.  The only thing I can imagine is that I had long time ago Scandinavian ancestors who settled in Scotland.

Or maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.  After all I really don't understand the ins and outs of autosomal DNA.  Perhaps the testing represents what I've been given from my ancestors passed down through autosomal DNA instead of an even spread of DNA from all my ancestors.  Someone more knowledgeable will have to advise me on this.

At this point I am left with more questions about what Ancestry's DNA testing represents than I am with answers about my ancestry.


  1. Ah, yes, the new AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates! I have the same problem. With 66% English ancestry in about 1600, it says I have 68% West European, 18% English and 9% Irish.

    Their explanation is that they are measuring deep ancestry, dating back thousands of years, (but they don't say how many thousand!), and the results are approximate at this time.

    At least they found my <1% Native american this time! And found <1% Pacific Islander too - that's a real mystery!

  2. Marian,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Just got the Ancestry test results last month. I was surprised by a major surplus of West European ancestry and shortage of British ancestry.

  4. I too have the same problem . I am half Irish and half French Canadian . My results came back as

    Europe 100%

    Ireland 60%
    Italy/Greece 12%
    Iberian Peninsula 12%
    Europe West 9%
    Trace Regions 7%

    Yet I have my French ancestry virtually complete in all branches back to the late 1500s .