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British Isles dna

British Isles dna

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 8:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
My dna testing from ancestry.com says I am 76 percent British Isles, which is quite reasonable. What I'm wondering is, how far back does that go? Would that include Anglo-Saxon ancestry or Norman ancestry, or would that fall under "Central European"? Likewise, would that include Viking ancestry, or would that fall under "Scandinavian." Just curious if I'm pretty much "aboriginal" stock, or how later admixtures show up. Or is it not really possible to be so specific?

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 1:52AM GMT
Classification: Query
I have been wondering the same thing. How do they differentiate between British Isles DNA and Central European DNA, if the British Isles DNA is made up of Central European DNA? (Norman, Anglo-Saxon, etc). Same with Scandinavian. Since British Isles DNA commonly contains Scandinavian DNA, how can they be two different categories on Ancestry? Is Celtic DNA the differentiator? Is that what distinguishes British DNA from Central European?

My family is almost all originally from the British Isles, yet my results say 11 percent British Isles and 55 percent Central European. Is this possibly the Norman and the Anglo-Saxon coming through? And if that's Central European, what qualifies as British?

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 2:22AM GMT
Classification: Query
I hope someone will give us an answer! I have about 17 percent "Central European," and I know I have a chunk of French Huguenot blood - so what about Norman and Anglo Saxon?? From what I can determine (mainly by surnames) about what part of the British Isles they came from, it is possible they didn't have that much Anglo Saxon.

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 1:15PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 29 Mar 2013 1:17PM GMT
I suspect that we are all assuming that our results are going to reflect where our ancestors were living in a relatively recent time period, when that may not actually be the case from the testing company's perspective. On the one hand, if out earliest ancestors originates in Africa, we should all display results from Africa, but we don't. On the other hand I see a lot of people complaining that their results show areas other than the British Isles when they claim that they are certain that all of their ancestors came from England without considering where the people in England came from.

My own percentages are shown as 77% British Isles and 23% Central European. FTDNA shows me as being something like 95% British Isles and 5% Middle Eastern. I recently recieved my results from National Geographic's Geno 2.0 project and the results were 43% Northern European (reference populations were British and German), 37% Mediterranean, and 19% SW Asian.

Looking at these Geno 2.0 results I would have assumed that the British Isles portion represented my more recent ancestors since presumably those folks might have come first from SW Asia and then moved into the Mediterranean region before England, yet after reading the Geno 2.0 explanation I discovered that I was reading the results in exactly the reverse order.

They said that the Northern European component likely reflected the earliest settlers in Europe, the hunter gatherers, who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago. The Mediterranean and SW Asian percentages arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, over the past 10,000 years. Today's Northern European populations retain their links to both the earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East.

I suspect that we are expecting too much specificity from Ancestry.com in their iinterpretations and conclusions drawn from our autosomal data. We are expecting there to be some sort of cut-off date in the past as when they say that the data can only show a cousin relationship back so many generations with any degree of confidence. Many people are complaining of results showing Scandinavian results when they claim to have no such ancestry. I know of no such ancestry in my own tree, although my own knowledge of my ancestors only goes back to the 1600s in most cases; yet after undergoing MtDNA/FGS testing which shows one's direct maternal lline going back for many, many, many years I have matches with people whose families have never left Scandinavia to this day. Should I complain that my autosomal ethnic pie chart only shows British Isles/Central European but no Scandinavian?

It appears that people are simply expecting too much specificity in their results. I would have to blame the company in large part for this due to manner in which they have led their customers to expect a high degree of specificity in the first place.

Michael

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 1:57PM GMT
Classification: Query
What you're saying makes sense...but I'm still confused! It sounds like the National Geographic project looks at the raw data in a completely different way, because over the past 10,000 years almost all of us ARE going to have Southwest Asian input as the farmers moved into Europe. I'm sure we can't expect too much specificity, but I think I would like for Ancestry.com to spell out some of the parameters! I'm just that way - I usually want more information than other people. As a side note, I'm thinking Ancestry's "Central European," since it includes Mediterranean France, could cover a lot that shows up as something else in the other tests.

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 2:09PM GMT
Classification: Query
Nat Geo says upfront that their testing isn't being done for genealogical purposes but my point is that all of the companies are getting the same autosomal data and that it is probably much easier to make the sort of broad interpretations that Nat Geo makes vs. the ones that Ancestry.com is presumably attempting to make with regard to a guess as to our more recent ancestry. I suspect that their ability to draw conclusions as to our more recent ancestry isn't as good as we are hoping. We probably shouldn't expect them to be able to say that we have French vs. German vs. Swiss ancestry rather than just Central European.

What could I realistically expect them to come up with since I have ancestors from England, Wales, Ireland, Ulster Ireland and Scotland? If they gave me anything other than just a catch-all of British Isles, I would consider their result as being suspect.

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 2:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
True! I'm just wishing. Have you run across any discussion of the mysterious Finnish/Volga-Urals dna some people, including me, are coming up with? The reason I say mysterious is that 7 percent would be somewhere between a great grandfather and a great-great grandfather if it were one person, and mine is the sort of family where nearly everyone has been in this country for close to 300 years or more. I'd know if I had a Finnish great grandfather or great-great grandfather; if it is further back it could come from several lines, but that seems strangely unlikely! I guess I'll never know - fascinating stuff.

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 2:30PM GMT
Classification: Query
Actually I have seen that in a few of my matches but assume that it came from the portions of their ancestry not connected to my own. Obviously even folks who have been here for 300 years had to have come from somewhere before that!

You are right, this is strange and fascinating stuff. In my own Y-DNA testing I found that I have no matches with my surname but due to the genetic distance with my matches, a non-parental event probably happened in Europe in the pre-immigration time period. Talk about frustrating!

Michael

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 2:34PM GMT
Classification: Query
Love that "non-parental event"! There is some thinking that the Finnish/Volga-Urals might actually be Native American. Go figure.

Re: British Isles dna

Posted: 30 Mar 2013 12:23PM GMT
Classification: Query
You should take Ancestry's ethnicity percentages with a very large pinch of salt. They've not revealed any details about the reference populations they are using, the methodology they are using and how they have derived these labels. I am one of only a handful of Brits who are in the Ancestry database as the test is now restricted to US residents. All my documented ancestry is from the British Isles as far back as I can trace it. These are my percentages according to Ancestry: 58% Central European, 25% British Isles, 13% Eastern European and 4% unknown. Interestingly many of the Americans I match, some of whom have ancestry from many different European countries, have much higher percentages of "British" than me. You can read more in my blog post on my Ancestry test:

http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/my-ancestry-autosomal-d...
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