AncestryDNA has updated its ethnicity estimates, and the results are rolling out for all 10 million plus people who’ve tested with the company. So if you haven't visited your DNA ethnicity data recently, now might be a good time to take another look. I have included my new ethnicity results below.
There were two changes in the update: firstly, more people have been added to the reference populations (the groups of people with well-documented pedigrees to whom our DNA is compared to make conclusions about ethnic origins) and secondly, the method of making the comparisons has changed.
In the last update, there were roughly 3000 reference samples assigned to 353 regions of the world. In this update, there are 16,000 reference samples assigned to 380 possible regions. This helps screen out less-likely regions and make more nuanced estimates between, say, Scandinavian and Norwegian or Swedish.
On the methodology side, in the last version, the bits and pieces of DNA were compared bit by bit, while the new update looks at longer stretches of DNA at a time. That also helps minimize the chances of misreading a person’s ethnic origins.
All of which is exciting for those of us who have found our DNA ethnicity results to be a little vague, and possibly not quite what we were expecting. Mine are pretty much in line with my research - mostly English, with a bit of Irish, Scottish and German. Although I'd love to know just where in my family history that Ivory Coast/Ghana 2% came from. Any relatives out there with a clue, please contact me - I'd love to know!