How To Interpret Your Ancestry DNA Test Results

By | March 16, 2017

DNA testing has become the latest tool for genealogists to research their family history. But have you asked yourself how to interpret your Ancestry DNA test results? This technology claims to give the family historian a link to the past.

Another benefit is that it can connect you with distant cousins. The results you get back though can be quite confusing. So how do you actually interpret these test results?

Ancestry DNA Test Results

You’ve taken the next step with your research and now your results are finally ready to be viewed online. You’ve waited for what has seemed to have been an eternity for the results of your DNA testing.

But what does all the data really mean and how can it help you to progress with your family history?

==> Click Here To Find Out Which Is The Best DNA Test To Buy? <==

This post will look at the top questions you may have asked yourself about your AncestryDNA test results. But even if you have not taken the next step with your family history research and purchased the Ancestry DNA kit I suggest you to still keep reading.

I want to answer these questions in order to help you with your results, but also to inform you of what you can expect from DNA research.

Questions answered in this post:





How Do I Interpret My Ethnicity Results?

One of the key results that you get back from AncestryDNA is an estimate of your ethnicity. The keyword here is obviously “estimate“, where your DNA is compared to genetic profiles that have been gathered from a reference panel.

Ancestry DNA Ethnicity ResultsCredit:   AncestryDNA

The people that make up the reference panel have been chosen as they have deep-rooted ancestry within a particular region. In all, Ancestry DNA covers 150 regions all around the world, (updated from 26 regions).

Your DNA is compared to each of these different regions and so the results, given as percentages, that you get back from the testing can tell you where your ancestors likely came from.

How do you interpret your ethnicity results?

Now that you understand about how your ethnicity is calculated I will explain how you can interpret the results of this testing.

The results of your ethnicity testing is displayed to you in the form of a color coded pie chart. Here the chart is divided into wedges which are given percentages as to the likelihood of where your ancestors originated.

So it may show you that you have a score of 99% ethnicity originating from Europe. This can be broken down even further to include areas such as Great Britain, Ireland, or even Scandinavia.

Credit:   AncestryDNA

To help you interpret these results there is also a map showing you these locations which are color coordinated based on the results of the pie chart. This map is also interactive!

So you can click around the map, zoom in and gather even more details. Zooming in will then show you areas of varying degrees of shading. The darker the shading then the higher the chance that your ancestor originated from that area.

This is a great tool to help you show you where next that you can look for further information.

See all 150+ regions

If you click on the See all 150+ regions link you will then see all of the ethnicity regions. And you will also see them marked on the map.

The numbers that appear to the right of each of these regions refer to Genetic Communities. These numbers will be the same for everybody and are NOT specific to you. They are merely a link to groups that can help you further with your research.

From this section you will see the same color-coded dots for the regions that you have been identified with. Any region that you are not identified with will be colored with a grey dot.

For further information please check out Genealogical Musings – AncestryDNA’s New Arrangement of Ethnicity and Genetic Communities.


How Do I Interpret the Map and Locations?

The second advantage of AncestryDNA is the possibility of matching you with other Ancestry members that have taken the test. If both you and your match have created an online family tree then you have access to a ‘Map and Locations‘ map.

This is another great tool that will help you join the dots within your family history research. This map may display to you different colored pins of where your ancestors were born, the same for your DNA match and also any overlapping birth locations in both family trees.

These pins may contain more than one person for each location. There is also a legend at the bottom of the map to help you decipher what all the different color coding means.


Ancestry DNA will compare your DNA test results with other Ancestry members. To further improve your matches Ancestry will compare the people contained within your family tree and the people in your match’s tree. With that in mind then it is a good idea for you to link your DNA test results to your family tree.

What Is DNA Markers?

You can do this by accessing your personal status page and going to Settings. Then scroll down and select the ‘Family Tree Linking‘ option. Here you will be able to link to your DNA results to your tree.

Please note: At present you can only link your DNA results to one family tree that you have created on Ancestry.com.

==> Check out my Ancestry review to discover why it is #1 <==


What Are Trace Regions?

The regions that your ancestors are likely to have come from are given as percentages as I have explained in the first question. If any of the regions return a value between 0 and 15% then these are known as ‘trace regions‘.

As these percentages are quite low and these are estimates it may be that you actually do not have ancestors from these regions at all. However, in time as more genetic signatures are concerned these percentages for your trace regions may improve to give you more accurate results.

So it is well worth checking these values occasionally for updates.


Why Don’t My DNA Results Match To What I Expected?

This is a very common question asked by many people who have taken the AncestryDNA test. It can also be the most frustrating aspect of the test, when your results are totally different to what you thought your tests should have shown.

Why

DNA testing technology has come along way since it began about twenty years ago. But it still has a long way to go before it can be claimed as perfect. As Ancestry’s ethnicity algorithm and prediction models take time to improve there are three reasons why there will be unexpected results.

The 3 reasons why you will get unexpected results with your DNA results:

  1. Your genetic ethnicity results goes back further how far you have traced your family tree.
  2. If your ancestors came from a certain area they may still have genetic influences from other places.
  3. Your DNA doesn’t match closely with your ancestors.

Are My Results Specific To My Maternal and Paternal Lines?

Ancestry offers you Autosomal DNA testing that looks at over 700,000 markers that you have inherited from both your parents. However, this type of testing does not isolate the heritage of your maternal or paternal line. So you cannot find out as such where your maternal ancestors originated came from, only where ‘your‘ ancestors came from.


How Accurate Are The Results That I Get Back From This Test?

Ancestry DNA tests your DNA using advanced scientific techniques and looks at over 700,000 markers in your sample. These markers look at differences between your DNA and that within Ancestry’s sample.

How Accurate Are The Results?

However, if your DNA is not of high quality then you will need to supply a new sample. With that said it is a good idea to be careful when providing your saliva sample.

The database of DNA samples that Ancestry contains continues to grow. And over time you will get more accurate results. You will get updates from Ancestry as new information is collected.


What Is A Low Confidence Region?

Below your major ethnicity results you may see some regions that are highlighted as low confidence. Typically these are regions with less than 4.5%, but they can go as high as 6%.

It is difficult to say whether these particular regions, (or the other regions that you have been matched with), are truly accurate. They are after all an indication of confidence that you have some connection to a particular region.

These results show that you do have a little bit of DNA from these regions and so these low confidence regions should not be disregarded.

If you do have low confidence regions in your results then you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do these low confidence regions match what information that you already know?
  • Are these low confidence regions a surprise to you?
  • Are these low confidence regions in an area nearby where you know that your ancestors originated from?

Finding out more about these regions may actually help you build out further branches of your family tree. And also it may help you discover ancestors that you never knew existed.

What you can do next:

  • Get your relatives tested – To help get more information about your ancestors you could actually ask your relatives to purchase an AncestryDNA test. This will provide you with more results that you can use for your research.
  • Upload your DNA results to GEDmatch – The GEDmatch website is a free service that you can use. Just upload your raw DNA data to the site and you will get more results for you to work with.
  • Contact your DNA matches – Why not contact the people that you have been matched up with on Ancestry. Ask them if they have similar results with respect to low confidence regions.

What Does Confidence Percentage Mean?

The confidence that you are matched with someone is given as a percentage. This value will help you to concentrate on the matches that matter.  So with a higher value the more chance that another Ancestry member who has taken the test is related to you.

There are over 700,00 markers in your DNA that are tested and compared to other Ancestry members. The number of matching strands will determine how closely you are related to another Ancestry member.

As Ancestry tests different populations the higher their confidence level will become.


What About The Indigenous Ethnicity That’s Returned In My Results?

If you live within the United States then AncestryDNA may provide you with feedback as to whether you have Native American heritage. The testing may also show that you have indigenous ancestry within maybe Canada or Mexico. However, there is no way to determine which tribe that your ancestors belonged to.

Native American Day


My Final Thoughts On How To Interpret Your Ancestry DNA Results!

DNA testing is a great tool for any genealogist who wants to further their family history research. But the results that you get back can be somewhat confusing. I therefore hope that I have answered any questions that have bothered you with this type of testing.

If not then please feel free to contact me or comment below!

A DNA test can help you to further your research. So if you have hit a brick wall and want to move on then a test can help you to move on.

Your results can show you where your ancestors originated from and so where you can look next for documents, records and any other type of material. So if you discover that your ancestors came from a certain country then you can explore Ancestry’s database of records for that respected country.

Also, with this type of testing you may connect with other Ancestry members as I have discussed in this post. A great advantage of this is the sharing of information that your match possesses.

You can share with your match information regarding your side of the family and vice versa. Information that can be shared could be photos, documents, letters and whatever else and whatever else you can think of to share.

So you can further your family tree in this regard. If you have not tried AncestryDNA testing yet then I do recommend that you take the next step to help further your genealogy research.

Other Ancestry DNA posts that can help you:

 


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post discussing how to interpret your Ancestry DNA test results. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

93 thoughts on “How To Interpret Your Ancestry DNA Test Results

  1. Furkan

    I am excited to know where my origins are and I may actually travel to these places. Even though it is an estimate it will be fun to travel there and see people who are living there and the places as well. I think I just can gain so much from this.

    And it seems really thorough I think only small percentage gets unexpected results.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      As this science improves and Ancestry continues to grow its database then the results will become more accurate. You are right though when you say about estimates. It’s still pretty much spot on but it is interesting to visit these places to see where your ancestors came from.

      Reply
  2. MarieAnne Linda Cooke

    My daughter sent out for her DNA test through Maternal Ancestry DNA She paid an incredible amount of money. It ended up that she has Jewish roots from some tribe called Haplogroup K. Kinda interesting.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi MarieAnne,

      That’s great that your daughter has taken the DNA test. It’s very interesting what can be found out like you said. I wonder if you had any idea about this ancestry?

      Reply
    2. Maureen Dennis

      I am thinking that it might be helpful for your daughter to upload her results to Gedmatch.com (Gedmatch.com is a FREE service), as they do break down even further where your daughter’s Jewish roots come from and Gedmatch utilizes her Ancestry raw data file to show different pie charts that will give better explanation as to where these ancient tribes originated from.

      Do you know Ancestry.com has a new feature called Genetic Communities that actually will break down to what town or tribe your daughter’s ancestors came from. The pie chart they currently use only show a guesstimate of where she came from (thousands of years ago), while the Genetic Communities are moving forward in time, (from decades ago, back to hundreds of years ago. For everyone who takes this DNA test this information is already added to your report.

      DNA Circles in Ancestry.com DNA report is also another way in which your daughter can find out more about her Jewish heritage. Ancestry automatically places you in a DNA circle with those who closely match with your own DNA and whom you both share a common ancestor ( a grandfather perhaps). There can be a few in this circle, on up to as many as 12 in your circle.

      Ancestry added me to 8 circles of DNA related relatives, both on my mom’s side of the family and on my dad’s side of the family. Both reports only include those people who test closest to your daughter’s DNA. I like that idea, instead of the 100s of 5th -8th cousins who could be related, or NOT.

      Reply
      1. Owain Post author

        Thank you for sharing. I have seen this latest feature that Ancestry has. Genetic Communities is a great addition. Also, the DNA circles sounds a great way to get even closer relations. It’s excited me when I find a relation but when Ancestry says it may not be then it is a bit of a let down.

        Reply
  3. Jen

    This is the coolest. I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time but haven’t really known where to start. Your website and this review has really given me what I need to get started. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You’re very welcome Jen, and I am glad that I have inspired you. Many people have heard of Ancestry, but maybe not too sure as to whether to go them a go. That is why I have put up several posts about Ancestry and Ancestry in order to inform my readers.

      All the best for your genealogy research.

      Reply
  4. Kamil

    Hi Owain

    In our family they have set up a family tree going back as far as 7 generations, some of the photos are really old, some of them are photos of portraits I think because they look like paintings. Its very interesting to see where you come from.

    How much would you expect for a DNA test to cost?

    Regards,
    Kamil

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      That’s great that you’re family can be traced back to about 7 generations. I have roughly gone back that far as well. Although some lines do need more research.

      I would expect to pay between $100 and $150 for a DNA test. When they are on sale you can get them as low as $79. That’s pretty good value for what you get back in return. Not only can you get ethnicity results but there is a chance that you can connect with distant cousins as well.

      Reply
  5. Kevin Bulmer

    Hi Owain,
    I’m really intrigued with this, and found myself particularly interested in the idea of people being frustrated over their results, and what that might mean. I can imagine someone doing research on their own over the last many years and only having gone back so far in their lineage, and perhaps that’s not even been 100% accurate (you never know). So if the DNA results reveal something different, or even take you much further back into a connection of something you’d never previously imagined, I can see how that might be somewhat jarring.
    Either way, I think it would be very illuminating to discover. I really appreciate the effort you’re putting into your site and encourage you to keep it up. It’s very, very well done!
    Best wishes
    Kevin

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you Kevin for your comment and your compliments. It’s nice to know that I my work is being appreciated. There is still plenty more topics to cover. I still want to cover other genealogy search websites and also DNA testing companies, (besides offering guides and tips).

      As for DNA testing it can offer you so much in return. The results can seem confusing to some at first so I hope I have helped in this way.

      I will be covering more about Ancestry DNA results in a future post. So please stay tuned for that.

      Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      That’s great Pam. I hope your results prove useful, and that you do make some connections as we’ll, wouldn’t that be great? Please let me know how you get on with this in a couple of months.

      All the best with your family history research.
      Owain

      Reply
  6. Jana Lucas

    I took the Ancestry DNA test and showed a higher connection to a stranger than my paternal sister. I contacted this person to see who he was. He said he was adopted. My mother lost a child to adoption before I was born, have I found my biological maternal brother? As soon as my results came in my mother’s sister, aunt, and my maternal cousins link with this person as relatives too. Could it be!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Well that is very interesting. It is a very strong coincidence that your relatives are showing a connection to this person. Does your aunt know any details about this adoption that could help verify that this person your brother.

      I have found this page which will help you. I am assuming you are from the United States.

      Reply
  7. Craig | UK TV Services Abroad

    Thanks Owain, for explaining how we can interpret our DNA results. It’s pretty exciting to get this level of information and it sounds like you’ve listed everything we need to know. I think to be able to pinpoint our ancestors on maps with AncestryDNA is a wonderful tool. I always like a promotion but it looks like I may have missed out on the 10% discount. Do they run regular promotions like this and if so do you know when the next one might be?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Craig, researching your family history using DNA testing is an exciting tool to use. I have said countless times in the post and in the comments as well that not only can you find out where your relatives came from but also Mayberry connect with distant cousins. DNA testing has so much potential, and with advancements in this area I think that it can only get better.

      There are regular promotions like this, usually around the holidays or special occasions such as this, (St Patrick’s Day). Keep checking back when there is a date such as this.

      Reply
  8. Carol Shippee

    I sent my DNA several weeks ago and never got a reply. Just wondering why I have not heard anything back?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      It usually take a while, between 6-8 weeks. If it has been that long then I suggest you to contact Ancestry DNA and find out what the delay is.

      Reply
  9. Jessica Hilliard

    Your write-up is helpful but I’m still left wondering – how can my DNA results work directly with the genealogy work I’ve already completed? I received my results from Ancestry.com today and promptly loaded them to GEDMatch.com and three or four other genealogy sites (am waiting for them all to process).

    I guess what I was hoping for from my DNA test was for my DNA results to be accompanied with some solid confirmation of ancestors – or at least something that confirms “a + b = This dude is definitely your gramps,” which I (maybe?) didn’t get – I cannot figure out how the ancestry DNA match system works and I have ZERO DNA circles. I feel overwhelmed but lost all at the same time.

    I don’t find the ancestry DNA page to be very straightforward, save for the cool ethnicity profiles – perhaps you can explain?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Jessica,

      Thank you for contacting me. DNA test results can be quite confusing. It’s a shame that there is no one in your DNA circle. But to reassure you there are thousands of people joining Ancestry every month so hopefully in time you will get a match. Also, the science behind DNA testing is getting better, so you may get updates in the future.

      It is exciting I know to get results and hoping you can progress with your research. Sometimes though you have to site and wait while the matches come to you. It’s good to hear that you have joined GEDMatch and a few others. Hopefully you will find connections there.

      The ethnicity results are cool like you say. They can show you where you can look. But with this and the matches they are probabilities. They can though show you where to look next.

      Here’s the AncestryDNA 101 to help you.

      Genealogist Lisa Louise Cooke has written a blog post entitled Confused by your AncestryDNA Matches? which may help clarify things for you.

      I hope that I have helped you with your query. Just remember it takes time with DNA results to get what you are after.

      All the best.

      Reply
  10. David

    Thank you for emailing my dna results. Having 56% GB on the pie chart, I’m a bit surprised that it hasn’t been broken down into Anglo-saxon, celtic and other indigenous races and also wondered how typical this percentage is. Also, I have been told I have 23% dna from Asia, including 18% from the Indian subcontinent and wondered if this is typical of most British. Otherwise, does it tie up with having an Anglo-Indian Mother and/or possibly Romany connections on my Father’s side?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi David,

      Thank you for contacting me regarding your Ancestry DNA test results. Unfortunately I am not associated with Ancestry.

      As this area of science will be improved on in the future I feel that you will get more detail as to the different regions of the UK where more than half of your ancestry comes from.

      Looks like having an Anglo-Indian mother does seem to be the link to having 18% Indian ancestry. Your heritage seems quite differs.

      I wish you all the best with your genealogy research particularly your DNA test results.

      Reply
  11. danny

    Hi,

    I commenting because I am looking for answers for my fiancé. She got her Ancestry.com test back and it had a little European, about 20percent Cameroon but about 57 other origin….what does that mean??? She always thought her dad was 100 percent Blackfoot Indian, her mom supposedly 50percent Native American. She is totally confused? Ironically it did match her with one of her dad’s son, who has a different mother.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Danny, thank you for contacting me. Quite often with these tests the results will sometimes not be what is expected. With regards to these test results I have often seen people with Native American blood to have other ancestry. It maybe that there were other influences in her family tree.

      One thing that I recommend is to wait until the science improves. With more regions added to the database it will mean that she will get updates and better results.

      I hope this answers your query.

      Reply
  12. danny

    she now says it actually said 1 percent Native American about 39 percent European. either a bad test or someone has not been telling the total truth. thanks.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      It’s good to see that there is some Native American in the results. I think it’s best to wait until the science does catch up and cangive you far better results. All the best and thank you again for contacting me.

      Reply
  13. Helen Howes

    Hi Owain
    My husband has always doubted his father was his biological parent and as he is estranged and unable to have his fathers DNA tested he had an ancestory test done. Both his mother and ‘father’ are white British with five generations of white British grandparents. However his results have come back as 40.3 % South Asian with 21.7 North and West European 20.9 English and 12.5 Scandinavian 4.6 two more ethnicities.

    I have always thought his paternal DNA would be Asian of some sort as he is completely different to the rest of his siblings or either parent or sets of grandparents.

    This has been very hard for my husband and I did not know he had done the test. I want to be sure in my own mind that I have understood the results correctly so I can support him through this.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and I hope you have the time to help.

    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Helen,

      Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I will do my best to help you and assure you about your husband’s results. I will try not to get too technical.

      Ancestry DNA use a sample of 3000 people that are spread over 26 different regions of the world. Basically Ancestry looks at their DNA to see how native they are to a region. Then Ancestry will take 40 samples of your husband’s DNA and then compare it with 40 of those people.

      The science behind this testing is improving all the time but what this means is that essentially every time that you do the test you will be compared against a different set of 40 people. So results may vary somewhat each time that you take the test.

      A much better option would be to check out Family Tree DNA as their testing is more thorough. They can look at your husband’s yDNA which essentially looks at his paternal line.

      I hope that I have helped you in this matter. A second opinion is a good idea and so maybe your husband should check out Family Tree DNA as I suggested.

      Kind regards,
      Owain

      Reply
  14. John Voyer

    So I took the test and had a mix of ancestry: 49% Great Britain, 24% Italy/Greece, 13% Iberian Peninsula and 8% Irish. My wife took it and she’s 99% Eastern European.

    Our daughter took it and it came out 69% Eastern European, 15% Great Britain and 11% Ireland.

    I don’t understand my daughter’s results. Can you help me interpret them?

    Thanks,
    John Voyer
    Portland, ME

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment and I will try to interpret the results as best as possible.

      Well it does look like that your daughter has inherited ancestry from both you and your wife. These results are based on markers in your genes as you may know, 700,000 of them to be exact. So your daughter’s markers are showing mostly Eastern European traits as you say.

      These markers are based on a sample of about 200 people where their DNA is tested. Each time you take the test the sample will be different so really each time you take the test this does mean that results can vary.

      The science though behind this is improving all the time and as improvements are being made then you will be improved by Ancestry about this.

      I am planning to review the two other DNA companies, 23andMe and FamilyTreeNA, the former which is regarded as the best. If you do want more accurate results you could purchase the 23andMe DNA testing kit but I understand that you may not want to shell out even more money.

      Let me how you get on and I hope that I have helped you.

      All the best,
      Owain

      Reply
  15. Tammy Everidge

    Good evening Owain, I’ve recieved my results back from the DNA test, the whole reason I even sent out for it was I wanted to know my percentage of Native American.

    I was told all my life, my great grand mother was full blooded Cherokee and my great grand dad was full Irish.

    When I got my results, I was shocked, I had none at all. Whaaat?!!!

    My results read Great Britain 69% and 24% Europe West…What does this mean? Am I British? I’m confused now, not to mention raised questions.

    I’m kind of excited, but I want to know how I’m to answer the question, what is your ethnic make up? I’ve been saying some Native American, but obviously that has to changed..thank you so much for your time and response
    Yours truly,
    Tammy

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Tammy,

      Thank you for your comment and questions.

      It can be exciting when your results come in but when they don’t give you what you were expecting it can be quite confusing which you are right now.

      I have heard of this before where someone’s Native American heritage is 0% or near to it.

      Your DNA markers are compared to a sample of 200 people. So these people’s DNA markers are obviously showing the results that you got.

      The problem with Ancestry is that every time that you take the test you will be compared to a new set of 200 people. So the results will be different again.

      The science behind this technology is improving and hopefully you will get some better results in time from Ancestry.

      I hope that there have been matchups with potential cousins on Ancestry. Hopefully if there are then you can contact them and see if they are relatives and you can get some answers.

      I’m sorry if I haven’t answered your questions fully but hopefully you know a little bit more about how the testing works now.

      Let me know if I can help you further and I will point you in the right direction.

      Reply
  16. Tammy Everidge

    Good day,
    Am I understanding I paid for a test that’s not definate? If I had known there would be a question, I would have never done this, it defeated the whole purpose and I can still be native?
    I sent in my Saliva to be tested and it’s determine by who runs it or who it’s compared to?
    I don’t understand this. I feel I’ve wasted money I needed for an answer that was imposible to get.
    I don’t mind my results as long as they are true.
    If I am misunderstanding, please help me to understand, I don’t want to believe a lie.
    I’m 53 and already over half my life, I’ve according to these results believed a lie.
    So, how can I know for sure who my ancestors are or where they come from or is that really not a question that can ever be answered?
    sorry not trying to be ugly, but I don’t know how it can be ok to pay money for something that is not true, there has to be something I’m missing here
    even more confused…

    tammy

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hello again Tammy,

      I can understand your frustrations when you didn’t get the results that you were expecting.

      AncestryDNA offer just Autosomal DNA testing so the results can vary each time as I have mentioned, and they can also vary between the companies.

      The main drawback to autosomal DNA is that it gets so jumbled together after a few generations that it becomes unreliable the further you try to go back.

      A better DNA company that you could get results from is FamilyTreeDNA. They offer Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosome testing so you will get much better results.

      Advancements in this science will mean in time that you will get better results. But I can’t give you a timeframe for that.

      If you do want better results now then you could try FmilyTreeDNA. I feel that this is the best company to go with.

      I know that you may not want to pay even more money but they could give you the results that you are after.

      All the best.

      Reply
  17. Tammy Everidge

    Why don’t this company tell us this from the beginning? $80 wasted
    A refund is what I should be getting for this not being legit, I feel I was robbed for false advertisement and so are others…but I’m sure somewhere in my agreeing, this wouldn’t stand in a legal matter…be sure I will not recommend this company and will share my possible inaccuracy of my reaults…this is wrong
    God bless
    Tammy

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Tammy,

      It is frustrating I know. I just hope that you do get DNA matches with other Ancestry members as a result of this testing. And hopefully then you some answers.

      Up to you but FamilyTreeDNA do give full testing so you may want to check them out.

      Reply
      1. Jon

        Thanks Owain,

        My brother called this evening and said that I just appeared as a “close relative” so I guess it takes a little time for the statistics to catch up with the results. Thanks for your help and the fine web page.

        Reply
        1. Owain Post author

          Hi Jon,

          Thanks for getting back to me about that. You can expect more and more results to come through from Ancestry DNA. And I am glad that on this occasion that there is a match.

          It’s my pleasure to help and thank you for the complement on the site.

          All the best Jon on your genealogy research.

          Reply
  18. Jon

    HI Owain,

    I’ve read all the commentary following your fine explanation of DNA testing. I understand that the results may not follow what we believe to be our ancestry. Most of our family tree has been accurately traced to the early1600’s on one side and mid-1800’s on the other.
    The question I have is that my younger brother just got his results back which indicate a high percentage of western European and some “British.” Mine has shown 61% British and 18% Eastern European with some Greek and Italian thrown in.
    It seems like a large disparity for two brothers with the same parents. In addition, my brother’s test linked him as a close relative to my oldest son, but not me. Ye gads! What’s going on?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for the comment and query. There is a disparity as you say and this can be put down to the sample of 200 people that you two have been compared to.

      Each time you do the tests you are compared to a different sample. So results can vary, and they can vary between the DNA testing companies.

      I am glad that there was a connection, even if it was to your oldest son.

      As I say to other people we need to be patient with the results. As this technology improves we will get more results in time.

      I do hope that you have made connections with cousins through the DNA Match up feature at Ancestry DNA. If not I hope that they come through soon.

      All the best,
      Owain

      Reply
  19. tammy

    so basically what you are telling me is, you guys know you are taking peoples money knowing we are not getting what we are paying for?
    Ya’ll know what we are looking for is what we are and you can’t even guarantee we are getting what our ancestors are?
    how can you think this is ok?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Tammy,

      I am sorry that you feel that way. But I am in no way associated with these DNA testing companies. I am a family historian just like you.

      I created this website to help people trace their family trees. I wanted to give back to the genealogy world so I wanted to show people what I have learned and give tips, guides and reviews.

      There have been a number of these complaints when it comes to Native American ancestry as I have pointed out. The science is developing all the time and with more people being tested we will get better results and more connections.

      But there are also plenty of people who are satisfied with the results. I am sorry to hear on this occasion that you were not satisfied.

      I do wish you all the best with your research.

      Reply
  20. Tammy

    Good evening Sir
    Thank you for your assistance in this matter however, I reached out via phone call to customer service and she was able to answer my questions.
    I was not getting my answers from you, just a bunch of apologies because you thought I wasn’t satisfied with my results in which you were misunderstanding and telling me if I wasn’t happy with my results to go somewhere else.
    I was pleased with my results as long as they were true and part of who I am, but you didn’t address that or try to explain to me how the testing worked. Sir, the last thing someone wants to hear after spending money for a product with no chance of a refund is go somewhere else. I didn’t feel your compassion at all for my concerns, you need help in your customer service skills because all I had to do is pick up a phone and talk to someone voice to voice to get what I was looking for.
    I hope the next time you have a concern about something and have to reach out to a company that you find someone who is more concerned about you as a person than trying to push you off to spend more money on something you have already paid to get
    have a blessed evening Sir.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Believe me I was passionate about about your circumstances Tammy. I know quite well that sometimes that doesn’t come across by reading text. We often do not know what the other person is thinking or feeling from words on a screen.

      Tracing my own family history I have grown more and more passionate about knowing all that I can about my ancestors. And that is why I created this website so that I could help others trace their own ancestry.

      I only suggested that you may want to try other DNA companies as it can give you a more detailed picture of your ancestry. I didn’t say that you had to, it was merely a suggestion.

      You have tried Ancestry DNA which only offers Autosomal testing. Family Tree DNA tests this as well as Mitochrondrial and your Y-Chromosome, so with these tests you could go further than 5 generations back.

      I thought that I did clearly explain about markers in your DNA. The 700,000 markers in your DNA from your test are closely similar to the sample that does not have Native American ancestry. So with that said if there were people of Native American ancestry within the sample then results could have been different.

      I personally feel that the sample should be much higher and taken people from all 26 regions that Ancestry has access from. Only then could we get more accurate results.

      As I am not associated with Ancestry DNA and do not have access to your results I cannot give you a more detailed answer. I can only guide you.

      I do wish you all the best with your DNA tests and hope that more accurate results come through soon. And also that you get DNA matchups.

      Reply
  21. Lynne Turner

    Hi My father has had all 3 ancestry tests as he is looking to see if his mother was jewish (she has a jewish sounding name as did her parents etc. The percentage results came back 1% ashkenazi jew and the rest mainly west european and irish. His mito dna said he comes from a haplogroup which originates in mesopotamia. Am I right in understanding that the european %age could include other jewish tribes as only ashkenazi show up?

    Is there any other company that can tell him if his mother is jewish? Sadly she is no longer around so we can’t test her.

    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Lynne,

      Thank you for your comment. I had to research a little to answer your questions, so I hope the information that I give you will help you.

      From my research it does look like there could be other Jewish tribes within your family history. Not only do Ashkenazi Jews originate from Central and Eastern Europe but they also migrated to France and Europe. You can check out this short Ancestry article that discusses European Jewish Ancestry.

      There is the possibility that there is other Jewish ancestry in your family as Jews moved extensively through Europe.

      I have come across a DNA genealogy company that can help you with your query. They do offer three tests, two of them are quite pricey though. The company is called iGENEA.

      They have a contact form on their site that you can ask them for further assistance.

      I hope that I have been helpful. Please let me know how you get on.

      Kind regards and all the best,
      Owain

      Reply
  22. Kirk Bonin

    My DNA analysis results were fairly consistent with what I knew or thought to be so.
    I am French Creole which people have sometimes thought I might have Haitian ancestry. I don’t. And the results showed that to be so. There was zero (0) connection to Haiti. However, 35% of my analysis indicated roots in France and the Iberian Peninsula. What was interesting unknown to me was 26% from a small French speaking country, Benin. Ironically, my maternal last name is actually spelled one (1) letter different than Benin.
    What was surprising is 12% from Scandinavian (Norway). I thought that was pretty cool.
    I did reconnect with a second cousin who had attended a family reunion last year when I was in Vietnam.
    So overall, I am satisfied with my results.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thanks Kirk for commenting. That’s great that you were able to affirm what you thought to be correct. I like how Bonin and Benin are very similar. Quite a coincidence indeed.

      Did you reconnect with your second cousin through the DNA match feature? If so that great.

      All the best,
      Owaim

      Reply
  23. Tony in the UK

    My sister in law has been left devastated, to find out she does not share the same birth father, as her sister.

    The results showed she is related to a family living on the other side of the USA.

    She is left shocked and stunned.

    Beware – DNA is a Pandora’s Box that can ruin your life.

    Open only if you are prepared for the consequences!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      DNA testing is a Pandora’s Box as you say and I am sorry to hear about your sister in law’s DNA test results. Genealogy is a hobby though where we don’t know what we will discover until we find it. Sometimes it can really fascinating what we find out and sometimes it can leave us shocked.

      Thank you for commenting and making people aware that they should be careful if they wish to continue with DNA testing.

      Reply
  24. Felicia

    Hello Owain,

    Thank you for the informative, insightful post above. I am truly trying to understand the science behind these genetic tests. I would love to know your thoughts regarding my AncestryDNA results. One-third of my pie chart is gray indicating the “low confidence regions”. I truly had an open mind regarding what my results would be, but having such a huge chunk that is “unknown” has left me a little bit disappointed. Even the percentages in my known ethnicity estimates are low.

    My ethnicity estimate is 29% Great Britain, 17% Cameroon/Congo, 10% Ivory Coast/Ghana, 8% Benin/Togo, 8% Finland/NW Russia. Then I have 13 low confidence regions: 6% Europe South, 4% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 3% each for Mali, Nigeria, and Europe East, 2% Iberian Peninsula, 1% each for Senegal and Europe West, and then less than 1% for Native American, Middle East, Scandinavia, Caucasus, and African South Central Hunter Gatherer….

    On the ancestry website, it says I may not have any ancestry from the low confidence regions. Should I disregard all the regions that are low confidence? The fact that Europe South is considered a low confidence region at 6% makes me question whether I should also disregard my estimates of 8% for Benin/Togo, Finland/NW Russia. I guess I just don’t want to believe something that is not true.

    My mother is of European ancestry and my father is of African ancestry. Perhaps my genetics are “too mixed” to show a strong correlation with any region? My father also took a DNA test, but we are still awaiting his results. I’m hoping this will offer more answers.

    Any insights you have would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you Felicia for visiting my site and commenting. It’s very much appreciated to hear your experiences with DNA testing and your results.

      Typically low confidence regions will be regarded as regions that are 4.5% or less. But there are cases where it can be as high as 6%.

      When it comes to your results you know that what you get back are estimates. So these low percentages may be accurate or they may not. The important thing to note is that they should not be disregarded.

      The “great” thing about your results is that they are showing a diverse range of regions, which ultimately means you have many areas for research. Looking at your results it shows that low percentages are a mixture from your father and mother’s side. So it is posssible that your ancestors came from there.

      I wouldn’t disregard them as I said. What you could do is download your DNA results and then upload them to Gedmatch. This is a free tool that you can use. It has additional ethnicity estimate calculators which can help you check these results.

      Hope that I have helped you. I wish you all the best with your genealogy research.

      Owain

      Reply
  25. Heather

    I just got my Ancestry DNA results and I’m confused. I’ve traced my family history back on both sides (mum and dad) to the early 1700s and everyone was based in the UK but my results show my ethnicity estimate as 80% Europe West, 8% GB, 4% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 3% Scandinavia, 3% Finland/North West Russia and 2% Iberian Peninsula.

    What’s confusing me is the results were incredibly specific (and accurate) in pinpointing the GB ancestry to “relatives who lived in East Anglia/Essex for the past few hundred years” which matches my paper family tree exactly.

    But 80% Europe West covers the huge area of Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein.

    Is this just because very few people have taken the test in those countries so they can’t be more specific?

    Also I’m not sure how such a high percentage can be accounted for, I’m wondering about the Dutch in Norfolk or maybe the French from the Norman conquest. My other thought was obviously that there is something that isn’t shown in the paper family tree….

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Heather,

      Thank you for dropping by and commenting. I’ll try to answer your questions as best as I can.

      As Ancestry will cover more regions and areas within regions then yes over time they will become more specific. Just like the case East Angelia/Essex ancestors.

      It’s difficult to say where that 80% comes in. It could be those suggestions that you’ve said. It looks like 80% of your DNA does come from this region.

      Or I’m afraid to say that it could be inaccurate. It is known to happen. I would suggest that you download your raw data and upload it to Gedmatch. They have more ethnicity estimate calculators so you will get more accurate and useful results.

      I hope that helps you. All the best with your DNA research.

      Reply
  26. Heather

    Hi Owain

    Thanks for your reply. I’m trying out your Gedmatch suggestion and I’m also going to get my brother to get his DNA tested to see if that clarifies anything.

    Thanks again
    Heather

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You’re very welcome Heather. That’s a great idea to get your brother tested as well. Hopefully it’ll give you more useful results to go over.

      All the best,
      Owain

      Reply
  27. Nancy Cordray

    When I got my results from my DNA test back from ancestry .com it showed no Native American . When I looked today there was a 30 with a breakdown of the origins. I was surprised when the original results showed no Native American which my maternal family claimed and had strong physical features. Can you explain this. Do they retest?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Yes they do keep testing your sample, which is great for you. Sometimes though you may receive results that you were not expecting. One of the reasons for this is because we inherit some genes from our ancestors and sometimes we don’t. So that is why results may be different from our siblings. For example one of my daughters has brown eyes, (inherited from me), and my other daughter has blue eyes, (inherited from my wife).

      Hope this helps. Please let me know how you get on. All the best.
      Owain

      Reply
  28. Bridget

    I just got my ancestry DNA results back this evening and I’m totally stunned by my results. My whole life I’ve been told my dad’s side of the family were all full Dutch.

    My results came back saying I am 68% Great Britain, 20% Scandinavia (Eastern Norway and Western Norway mainly); Ireland/Scotland/Wales 4% East Europe 3% West Europe 2% South Europe; Finland/Northwest Russia, 1% Iberian peninsula 1%. My results also say something about migrations and lists Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg after it.

    I’m not entirely sure what that means though. Can you help explain that to me understand what the means?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Bridget,

      Thank you for your comment and query. There are a number of reasons why these results are not what you were expecting.

      1) Maybe most of your DNA comes from your mother’s side. I doubt that this would be the case as I would expect there to be a noticeable percentage for your Dutch ancestry.
      2) Your DNA results show your ancestry before your father’s side migrated to the Dutch region, (possible).
      3) It maybe the case that the test sample used by Ancestry did not include people from this region. Therefore, there would be no markers in your DNA to show your Dutch ancestry.

      I am hoping, (like many others), that the science behind DNA testing will improve in time so that you can get better/accurate results.

      You could try uploading your raw data to Gedmatch which is a free service and can give you more accurate results.

      I hope that I have helped you make sense of your results.

      Thank you,
      Owain

      Reply
  29. DonW

    When you click on the expanded results of the DNA analysis showing all 150 regions on Ancestry it shows numbers. But they can’t be percentages because they total to over 100%. So, what are these numbers supposed to signify? Are they just the total number of “markers” that show up in the DNA?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Don, thanks for the question. You are right these are not percentages. They are actually the number of Genetic Communities that are available for that region. And so these numbers will be the same for everyone’s test results.

      Reply
      1. Carolyn

        Thank you for this answer… although why Ancestry has not got a link attached to the map explaining what the figures are is beyond me – and clearly quite a few other people feel the same! In sheer desperation, after scouring Ancestry’s help pages to no avail, I yelled ‘help’ at Google and found your excellent site. I really could not understand why I had a less than 1% chance of native-Indian heritage (actually 0%) on one page and 30 something on the next… You have also made clear why my slight, but well documented, Jewish heritage didn’t get a mention. It all seems a bit hit and miss and very disappointing for my daughter who bought the test as a present. Thanks again!

        Reply
        1. Owain Post author

          Yes it is a bit hit and miss sometimes. Most people do find what they are looking for and some don’t. That’s why I always suggest to check GEDMatch for free. There are a few other free resources, but I’ll have to review them.

          Anyway I wish you all the best with your research. I hope it goes well.
          Owain

          Reply
          1. Carolyn

            Please do review them. I definitely want a more detailed account. I’ll take up the advice re GEDMatch.

          2. Owain Post author

            Yep, I’ll look into them soon and get a review written as soon as I can.

  30. Odette

    Hello I would like to understand the low confidence regions where it has a number and there is not a colored circle next to the region but a white one. Does this mean I have a percentage of that particular region even if there is no colored circle next to it but only a white one?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      This sounds like you’re looking at all 150 regions if there are numbers instead of percentages. If that is the case then these numbers represent the available number of Genetic Communities for that region.

      But if you’re not looking at all 150 regions, then I’m not quite sure why there would be a white color.

      Let me know further and I’ll try to help.

      Reply
  31. Odette

    I am looking at the percentages. Each percentage is coded by a color and the least is coded as white.

    Thanks

    Reply
  32. Denise

    My mother was from Germany…but I’ve aleays felt I had Irish in me…I can’t tell you why. My DNA test proved it! Thank you for explaining about the interactive map…I had no idea.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Thank you for your comment Denise. That is great news. I am glad that the interactive map has helped you.

      All the best and a Happy New Year to you.

      Reply
  33. Lin

    Thank you for your willingness to help. My dna results show Southern Italian heritage…and several regions of southern Italy
    …..but not Sicily….does ancestry.com NOT score Sicily as an ethnic region? Or do I interpret my results as having NO Sicilian dna?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Lin,

      Thanks for your comment and query. I’ve checked and do not see Sicily as one of the regions. You can check the current list of Ancestry DNA Regions here.

      As the number of regions has recently increased from 26 to 150 think it will only be a matter of time before more regions will be added, and hopefully one of them will be Sicily.

      Even if Sicily will be one of those regions added in the future there is a chance that your DNA may not show it. That is because we take bits and pieces of our DNA from our ancestors. So there is a possibility that youmay have none.

      Hope this helps.

      Happy New Year,
      Owain

      Reply
  34. Paul Smyth

    Great article, my results came back almost entirely as I expected and made great sense to me. I’ve been researching my family tree for over 20 years and have been able to trace back some family lines well into the medieval period.

    What I’m finding frustrating is understanding what the numbers mean on the “All 150 regions” page. For instance where it says “Native American 30”, what is the 30? Like many people I’ve asked the question on a blog page by Ancestry UK’s “Social media manager”, who by all accounts mostly ignores social media.

    At least 10 people have asked this question and been ignored so I was wondering if you knew?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for the compliment. That’s really appreciated, thank you.

      This is the number of Genetic Communities associated with that region.

      Hope this helps,
      Owain

      Reply
  35. Lena Woltering

    My father was adopted approximately 1920 and we have no information other than a possible name on a birth record that was provided by the fondling home from where he was adopted. Thomas Downing was the only child born on my father’s birthdate at the Home. I had my dna tested by Ancestry and have been linked to distant cousins that have the same sir name in their family trees. What do I do next to track down my father’s origins? I don’t know where to begin.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Lena,

      Thank you for your query. Having already matched with distant cousins is a great start. Have you already asked them questions? Perhaps they have information that could help you. This would be a good option for you as you may get what you are after for free.

      My 10 Tips For Contacting Your Ancestry DNA Matches post will help you.

      Also, please check out the Finding Adoption and Orphanage Records article at Ancestry. It’s got some tips that will help you, as well as links at the bottom that you can check out.

      You can also check out the Adoption Network for advice as well.

      I hope you find what you are looking for Lena.

      Reply
  36. Rachel

    So the 150 regions don’t mean anything personally? They are just the regions that are tested.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Ancestry DNA has divided the world into 150 regions, (previously it was just 26). What this means is that your DNA can show what regions that your roots come from.

      Here is a list of DNA regions.

      Hope this information helps Rachel.

      All the best with your genealogy research.

      Reply
  37. Charles

    Hi Owain. Thanks for your helpful post. I’m hoping that you could help clear something up for me. I did a DNA test on ancestry. My results are as follows:

    Middle East 43%
    – Syrian-Lebanese

    Europe South 39%

    Caucasus 16%

    European Jewish 2%

    The Middle Eastern makes sense because my family is Lebanese. When I click on Europe South or Caucasus it says:

    “Your DNA shows that you have ancestry from Europe South/Caucases and links you to these specific regions:

    Syrian-Lebanese”

    My question is why wouldn’t it then just be 98% Middle Eastern? Why does Europe South and Caucasus even appear when it just says it’s linked to Syrian-Lebanese?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Charles,

      Thank you for your query. I see what you are asking.

      I would say that Europe South and Caucasus is linked to these regions. So maybe your Syrian-Lebanese ancestors came through Europe South/Caucasus.

      With the science improving all the time, (and regions covered increasing from 26 to 150), in time you will get much better results.

      Hope this answers your questions.

      All the best.

      Reply
  38. Jenny

    Hi! I recently received my DNA results and it doesn’t appear to have any matches to my father’s side. I have even searched the surname and only come up with 4th and 6th cousins. I closely resemble my father so I have no doubt that he’s my biological father but I don’t understand why no one from his side is showing up. If he were to send in a sample, would it register as a match? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Sounds like not many from your father’s side is joined to Ancestry. It certainly though worth getting your father tested as it could open up more possibilities.

      Also, remember in time as more people join Ancestry then there is more of a chance that connections will be made in the future.

      All the best Jenny.

      Reply
  39. Eddy Jawed

    Hi, I had a look at the DNA map. It counts to 100% a few main places. However shows 150 I think trace regions on the map too with white outer lines on them. The list on the left has a number against the trace regions, what does that number mean?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Eddy,

      This will be the number of Genetic Communities that are associated with that region. You can check them out to get help.

      Reply
  40. Lynn Heronen

    Owain, I just received my DNA results. When checking the “low confidence” screen, I clicked the “all 150+ regions.” There is a column of numbers on the right side of the window. They do not appear to be percentages. What do the numbers in that column represent?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your query. These numbers refer to Genetic Communities that are associated with those regions. From these communities you can communicate with other members for further help to trace your ancestry.

      All the best.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *