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Ancestry's new ethnicity estimates

Discussion in 'DNA Questions and Answers' started by PhilGee, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    In the latest newsletter, Peter mentions the new estimates picking up his Germanic ancestry. My estimates have changed the other way and cover areas where I have no known ancestors (Greater London, Ireland/Scotland, Norway) and omit the area of my gt-grandmother's ancestors (Leics/Notts), though Wales, Central Southern England and Devon/Cornwall (my "Somerset" ancestors are along the Devon border) match well.

    I am prepared to accept I have Ireland/Scotland ancestry as my "primary" surnames are Scott and Fox - both with Irish associations - though the closest I get is "a soldier in Wolfs Regiment" on a Fox baptism in 1754 :eek: - and Norway matches with my "Dupuytren's contracture" problem (also known as Viking finger or Celtic Finger because of it prevalence in those populations).

    I would have liked to see the percentages of the sub-divisions as well as the primary areas, though that is just my way!


    Attached Files:

  2. Sue700

    Sue700 LostCousins Star

    I was content with my previous estimates where Wales, Ireland and Scotland were grouped together and England/Wales was an overlapping area. My ancestors were firmly placed in South West Wales and Glamorganshire, which I believe is correct. Now Ireland and Scotland are shown as separate from England and Wales. The new estimate gives me 54% from Scotland and Ireland. I know of no ancestors from Scotland or Ireland. The remaining 46% is England, Wales and Northern Europe. At least the main subdivisions are still South and West Wales.
    I think this is a good example of confirmation bias. I believe Ancestry's estimates as long as I agree with them, and I think they are rubbish when I don't agree.
    I shall not be rushing off to look for ancestors in Scotland or Ireland. If they existed, they were a very very long time ago.
  3. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    My wife is three-quarters Welsh and one-quarter English (as far as we've gone back). But Ancestry show her as 47% Scotland & Ireland. However when I look at the map Ancestry include Wales and Brittany in Scotland & Ireland.
  4. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    My "England, Wales and Northwestern Europe" went up a little bit, but I cannot remember now what they were previously. Ireland and Scotland are at 6%; I have no known ancestors from each unless they are in my unknown paternal grandfather's line. I also have no known ancestors in Norway (including Iceland), where I apparently have 3%. In Devon and Cornwall I am shown three faces; one is a Barratt (maternal) match, one a Joyce (paternal) and one is unknown. In Central Southern England I am shown three faces again, the first one is the same Barratt match, the other two are possibly Joyce. In Ireland/Scotland and Norway I am shown no faces. I also have Southern Ontario settlers, but no percentages. Three faces again, two Joyce and one unknown.
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    What are you referring to?
  6. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I’m guessing these are ‘featured matches’.
  7. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Probably. I wonder if they will change or stay the same. When I clicked on the little arrow beside Central Southern England, and Devon I was shown faces of possible matches.
  8. Sue700

    Sue700 LostCousins Star

    True, but it doesn't show immediately. The initial map is misleading. You have to click on Scotland and Ireland in order to see that Wales is included. I find this annoying. They might have had the decency to call the area "Scotland, Ireland and Wales" or even "Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Brittany"
  9. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    When I click on England, Wales and Northwestern Europe, Denmark also comes up. I have no matches there either. But I also see straight south to France an eastern chunk highlighted, with a smaller section right on the coast; would that be where Calais is? I do have a match from there.

    Ireland and Scotland are highlighted in green, yet Scotland is also highlighted in an olivey-green shade, along with Denmark, Iceland and eastern France in the 91% of England (the part where I think might be Calais is lighter)

    Until and if I actually find someone from Ireland, I am taking it all with the proverbial grain of salt.
  10. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The problem with interpreting ethnicity results is that our ancestors weren't confined by boundaries on modern maps - and might not have been confined by political boundaries even when they were alive. No passports, no border walls.

    Sailing across water would have been quicker than travelling overland - so the natural boundaries that we perceive might not have been boundaries to our ancestors.
  11. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    I've only really found the ethnicity results to get more and more accurate - except for a single anomaly, which I have yet to explain!

    For example:
    My paternal grandmother is (going on her grandparents), half Scottish (including Ulster Scots), and a quarter English and a quarter Ashkenazi Jewish. Her results come in at: 60% England, Wales & Northern Europe, with emphasis on the Scottish Lowlands and the Borders; 26% European Jewish (Western & Central Europe) and 14% Ireland & Scotland with emphasis (again) on the Lowlands and Western/Central Scotland. All bares out considering the information I have found for her tree so far.

    My father's ancestry, on top of his mother's Scottish/English/Jewish, is another dose, probably half/half of English and Scottish, and his results are: 73% England, Wales etc (Lowlands); 13% European Jewish, 12% Ireland & Scotland (Lowlands again) and 2% Sweden (the current anomaly!)
    My paternal line is one of emigration, beginning in 1840 and ending with my paternal great-grandfather in 1906. There is a lot of internal emigration also, around both Europe and the British Isles.

    My mother on the other hand is essentially English/Welsh (though with a bit of internal emigration) and the family didn't emigrate to Australia until the 1940s. Her ethnicity comes in like this: 87% England & Wales (the Midlands/West Midlands & Wales) and 13% Ireland and Scotland (presumably through Celtic links?).

    The ones I find much more interesting is the results of my two brothers, who get additional anomalies (Norway and France as well as Sweden). My older brother even gets links to an "Additional Community" of "Australia, New South Wales British Settlers", which I find interesting, since we have no convict ancestors, and most of our relatives actually landed in either South Australia or Victoria (or Queensland).
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It may depend what they mean by New South Wales. Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia are all part of what was originally New South Wales. (For non-Australians this graphic might be useful)

    Remember too that they're not looking at your family, they're looking at populations. Most of the people in my family tree who went to Canada went to Ontario, but if one of them had ended up in Vancouver their descendants DNA might well suggest that their ancestor settled in Ontario.

    I suspect that there is also a tendency for people who have migrated to marry partners whose background is similar - this certainly seems to have been the case in the American Colonies, and later in the USA..
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  13. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    The map is definitely showing NSW, and I know where it’s coming from, but then the community only shows up on my brother’s results and no one else’s when it could easily appear on my father’s, mine and my other brothers. (No so much my grandmothers’s whose relatives emigrated later.)

    the colonies were definitely under NSW for a while, since it was first settled. South Australia’s claim to fame is that it never accepted convicts, only free settlers. My first settlers in SA count as pioneers, because they emigrated in the very early years (in 1840 as previously mentioned). SA became a colony in 1836 and Victoria in 1851 (in time for the gold rushes).
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You all have different DNA, so you won't match with the same list of cousins or get the same ethnicity results.

    The process of calculating ethnicity estimates is a bit like looking at coins in a fountain and trying to guess from their position where the person who threw them in was standing at the time.
  15. Luke

    Luke LostCousins Member

    I was very surprised about the updated ethnicity estimates. Mine includes "Southern Australia British settlers" and further narrows down to Adelaide, South Australia British settlers.

    I imagine from this that the New South Wales estimate is for the current boundaries of NSW
  16. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    I find it interesting that there is one that focuses on South Australia.

    That's the one that should appear on my results rather than NSW - the majority of my ancestors came into South Australia earlier than they came into NSW.
  17. Luke

    Luke LostCousins Member

    Maybe most of your DNA matches are related through those who came into NSW?
  18. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Have you read the White Paper mentioned in my recent article?

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