Ancestry DNA: Genetic ethnicity

I know genetic testing has been around for a bit now. It was a bit expensive to have either the mitochondrial test done or the Y-chromosome test, so I had been waiting. Then, emailed me about their new genetic test that was still in beta. It was offered at a discount but it wasn’t just that part that sold me, it was what the dna test does.

This test tells you where you are from. Now, of course this can be a bit sketchy at times. Because your DNA given to you by your parents is random, you could have more DNA from one area than another (this is why siblings look different). And of course, migration happens. So what Ancestry does is compare your DNA to natives of an area, whose families have been there for say 4-5 generations back (which is really as far back as this test goes for your own results). That’s the simplistic answer and more of the science can be found here.

I was immediately excited and bought the package. Once it came, I had to spit into a tube (I did this when I woke up and before drinking any water – per instructions), then sent it back and anxiously awaited my results. Would I have Native American DNA that I think every American wonders if they have? Would there be Russian DNA from my grandfather’s side? Would I be mostly German as my history of my family seems to say? Would there be a surprise in the works?

I waited for what seemed like forever, but was about 9 weeks. I got the email that my results were ready and excitedly clicked to see my results!

Here is what they were:

Niki DNA


… that was it? I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Where was the German? The Russian? The reason why my grandfather and his siblings are a bit darker than me? And no Native American?

Well, after the let down, I realized that this could just show the migration patterns. Maybe they migrated from southern Europe to Germany and then Russia – that makes sense. The 11% uncertain had me think that maybe there was still some change of the other places I had assumed would be there.

Now, because this was a beta, and because they needed lots of samples to compare, I knew that my results would change. Eventually. Yesterday, nearly a year (maybe 2) later, I got the email that it was updated.

Was it ever!

new dna


Now THIS was more of what I was expecting! It is quite a bit more detailed as well. This explains my sister’s slightly exotic look, and my grandpa and his siblings more swarthy complexions. Overall, I’m thrilled with the new results! And I love that Ireland has it’s own percentage as well. That makes me quite happy 🙂

I still plan on doing the other two DNA tests as well but even more so now that I’ve seen what it can show. I have always loved DNA (for a brief time it was even my undergrad study). I still find this incredibly fascinating and I love how genealogy allows me to have my science love along with my history love. Best of both worlds!

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Amanuensis Monday: Grandma’s Journal – Jan 2nd 1945


Amanuensis Monday: Jan 3rd-5th 1945


  1. Niki, I’m so glad you posted on this. I did the test well over a year ago. Was shocked when I was 55% Scandinavian (immediately looked at potential migration patterns), 25% Eastern Europe (expected more), and and 15% Finnish/Volga-Ural (my Russian Link?).

    Well, the new results are out, and they DO make more sense. Scandinavian went down to 10%, Great Britain Finally showed up at 21%, and Eastern Europe (my Ukrainian side) went up to 55% (which totally makes sense), Finnish/Volga-Ural fell off the chart. Still no German, but they were Northern Germans, so maybe the Scandinavian is being picked up there (don’t know).

    I also added 4% Irish, which I have records of my great-grandmother, Thompson, who is truly Irish (vs. my Ulster Scot ancestors).

    One mystery I had from the first results, was that almost ALL the 4th cousin matches that Ancestry linked me with were European Jewish. This one really threw me for a loop, and I even contacted a few of these “4th” cousins to see if there were any connections. Well, you guessed it, the new results show 4% European Jewish. I suspect this is from my Ukraine Eastern Europe side. Like my one great- grandmother, Thompson, of Irish roots, I must have a distant grandparent with European Jewish roots. I hope I can one day find out who this ancestor was as I have never heard any family stories to this connection.

    Ancestry definitely improved, but I still plan to take another test from another vendor to compare the results. Good post. I hope it generates other comments as I too would like to hear how other’s results may have changed.

    • NikiMarie

      Oh wow! What a very cool find! That is something else I love about AncestryDNA – being able to find relatives! It can be quite amazing what we find out. 🙂

  2. I would also recommend 23 and Me. I have been very happy with what the company offers and provides.

    • NikiMarie

      Thank you! I will look into them as well 🙂

      • I also just downloaded my raw data and submitted it to FamilyTree DNA. In the best of all possible worlds, you should have samples with each of the “big three” companies 23 and me, Ancestry, Family Tree DNA). Judy Russell, the legal genealogist, has recommended this in one of her Sunday DNA posts. If you don’t follow her, you should. 🙂

        • NikiMarie

          Thank you for the tip (both)! I looked up the legal genealogist and started following her on my feedly. Now for having samples with all the big companies, would you need to buy the test from each? I’ve only done the one DNA test so far so I’m not sure on how that works. Thanks!

  3. I believe you can download your raw data from Ancestry and submit it to FamilyTree DNA. Their transfer kit has a reduced price of $69. I just did that with my raw data from 23 and me. I am going to have to purchase an additional mtDNA kit for $49. So basically you are paying $100 to each company. If you upload a GEDCOM to Family Tree DNA, they will currently give you a $10 off coupon for any future kit purchase. 23and me kits are $99 but you will get a discounted price for multiple kits purchased at the same time. You do have to be careful with the rules for 23 and me. Because they offer health reports and analysis with their kits, you can’t do them in New York State and one or two others. I got around this with my dad (New York resident) by mailing the kit from another state after doing the test. I was on my way to Massachusetts so I mailed it when I got there.

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