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My DNA Results – How do they compare to my tree? (Updated)

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Yesterday I shared my ethnicity percentages based on my tree.  They look a little something like this:

  • 62.5% – British Isles (English, Mixed British Isles, Scottish, Welsh)
  • 15.6% – Europe West (French Canadian, French)
  • 9.4% – Scandinavian
  • 6.3% – Some mixture of European Jewish & Italy, Greece
  • 6.3% – Iberian Peninsula (Spanish)

As you can see from my screenshot up there, I have some interesting differences between my tree and the DNA I inherited.  Here is a comparison of my tree ethnicities and my DNA ethnicities.

Ethnicity comparison - Sheet1

The first important note is that those trace ethnicities, 2% or lower, are often considered noise.  In my case, those bottom three surprise ethnicities are not backed up by documentation.  The first six however, are documented, even the 1% Iberian Peninsula.

The biggest surprises for me are these:

  • How little of the French and French Canadian DNA I inherited.
  • How much European Jewish DNA I inherited.
  • How much Italy, Greece DNA I inherited.

John Costello and his ancestors make up 12.5% of my tree.  And yet, I inherited 19% of the three regions he could have contributed – Iberian Peninsula, European Jewish, and Italy, Greece.

And here is where I need to beef up my learning, you see something I read recently caused me to misunderstand a very important point – you inherit 50% of your DNA from each parent, beyond that, it is a random mixture of all that came before them.  I had a handful of paragraphs with some interesting questions and insights into some of the nuances of my tree.  But those questions and insights were based on my misunderstanding, so I chopped them out.  😉  Thank you Deborah for some helpful pointers!  (See her comment below).

I have so much to learn about genetic genealogy.  I need to test my siblings and cousins so I can isolate the various pieces of my DNA and do some fancy-science-y-ultra-nerdy-but-oh-so-cool-DNA-genealogy like this.

While I am still learning, and not completely sure of what my next steps are, the thing I keep coming back to is… How can I be 10% European Jewish when I had no idea I had ANY European Jewish ancestry?  10%.  That’s a lot of percent.  Especially when I didn’t see it coming.

This DNA stuff is oh-so-fascinating.  Have you tested?  Did you find any surprises?

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today – DNA or otherwise!

21 thoughts on “My DNA Results – How do they compare to my tree? (Updated)”

  1. Hi Amberly,

    I wanted to point out that your assumptions about how much an ancestor can contribute may be incorrect. For example, take grandparents…in theory we inherit 25% from each grandparent, in practice that is not always true. We can inherit more or less than the predicted amount. My children inherited about 22%/28% from each of their maternal grandparents. What is always true is that a child inherits 50%/50% from each parent. However when the 50% is passed down to a child, there is no guarantee that it passes down equally. I inherited 50% from my dad, but due to recombination it does not have to be an even split from his parents. I may have inherited only 20% from one grandparent and 30% from the other.

    This is especially true when you get to further out generations. If I inherited only 20% from one grandparent, then on those lines I am more and more likely to inherit less than the averages from each preceding generation.

    As for the ethnicities it works the same way. You may have inherited more (due to recombination) from John Costello, and that’s why your percentages for those ethnicities are higher. Also remember, ethnicities are only good to the continent level, not countries, especially when it comes to Europe.

    I hope this helps,

    1. Thank you for this Deborah! I still have so much to learn. I am trying to remember the exact article that I read so I can go back and read it again with fresh eyes, hopefully I will remember… It makes perfect sense of course that you get a varied mixture, but something I read in the last week seemed so concrete in stating things differently. I really need to start reading the Bettinger book. (I’ve been working in the yard instead ;).) I will update my post. I have to say that one of the trickiest things for me has been that all of my DNA education so far has been completely out of order based on what classes were available when. I would really like to take one of those week long courses that goes in order. Except, I still have a preschooler at home so I won’t fit that in anytime soon. Hopefully Blaine’s book can be my “week long course”. I think I’ll start it today. 🙂

  2. Very interesting results. I am just starting to delve into DNA to prove the identity of the father of my husband’s illegitimate grandma. So far, the DNA is matching my theory about which family… now hopefully I can gather enough paper evidence to prove which brother of this family was her father!

  3. Wow, that is so interesting about the 10% European Jewish. That is the approximate amount of a great-grandparent, right? Well, I get that about inheriting different percentages and not being an even split, but still. I had the “opposite” results. I thought I was going to get quite a bit European Jewish DNA in my results. Practically nothing or nothing, depending on the test. Yet my dad has some. and yes, he does show up as my father in the tests haha. Actually my DNA results are almost boring . . . .

      1. They might be boring because I belong to no DNA circles and no genetic communities. And my Dutch heritage is lumped under stuff like “northern European” or “Western European.” And my German and Alsatian is under “French/German.” I mean, how boring! Plus they gave me British genes, which I have none so that connection is so far back. I suspect eventually they will discover those British genes aren’t even British, but that the Brits who show up in there are from the continent hahaha.

        1. 🙂 I don’t belong to any circles either! I am part of two genetic communities but they are the communities I am WELL aware of – so no big revelation with that.

              1. That is what I wonder. My mom is in one I should clearly be in. My dad is in two, and I can’t see why I am not in those either! I feel slighted ;).

                1. I had the same experience as you, Luanne. My parents are both in genetic communities that I am not. My husband, oddly, is in a genetic community that neither of his parents are (even though the location is where his paternal grandmother and both of her parental lines are from).

  4. This is really fascinating. I haven’t done any DNA testing — mainly because my head spins when I start reading about the different tests — but I’m starting to think maybe I should. 🙂

  5. Amberly, I can’t wait to see you get to the point that you wonder where you are going to find the time to do everything! I do tiny spurts of DNA research – checking out the matches on Ancestry, Gedmatch, and FTDNA (where I uploaded the A-DNA) – in between researching and writing my 52 Ancestors posts. I want to do more but….. 😉 I can’t wait to hear more about your DNA discoveries.

    1. Oh Cathy, don’t be fooled. I’m always behind on everything. 😉 The more projects I start, the fewer I complete in a timely manner. I think I have genealogy ADD. 😉

  6. Like I said in my earlier post, let me know if I can help you with the Jewish genealogy stuff. How fascinating! How do you feel about it? I am no DNA expert, but I can tell you that using DNA in Jewish genealogy is very different from using it in, say British genealogy because of endogamy. This is very cool! Mazel tov!! 🙂

    1. Thank you Amy! I wish I had any leads so that I had questions. So far, no leads. However, I have isolated a handful of John’s living relatives by comparing the DNA matches of myself, my mom, her brother, and her mother. I actually had one of them email me back. We will see how that goes. Fingers crossed.

      How do I feel about it? Well, I feel kind of cheated that we were so cut off from this part of our family. I recognize that it might have been done intentionally because of persecution, but still… all those traditions, stories, connections, just lost. The day I got my uncle’s Y-DNA results I just sat for the longest time in shock staring at the results. I am such a good researcher that I was completely taken aback that there were no clues, no hints that this might be the case. Then I got mine and was shocked all over again. Then I got my mom’s and well, I should be over the shock by now, but I’m not. I have so much to learn and understand.

      Unfortunately for me, I have endogamy issues in so many parts of my tree – those Québec and Danish folks have that issue too. Lots of both in my tree. I’ve just added to my problem. 😉

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