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Mixed Mode Population Sharing on GEDmatch

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  • Mixed Mode Population Sharing on GEDmatch

    I recently uploaded my DNA results to GEDmatch and was playing around with the admix calculators. I know that ethnicity is difficult to tell but the odd thing about my DNA results on FTDNA is that my results came back 49% Scandinavian when we have absolutely no Scandinavians in our family tree - and we have a lot of genealogists in the family so our tree is pretty big! My maternal family are all from England and my paternal family are all from Scotland. I know that Viking heritage could account for the Scandinavian part, but 49%??? Crikey! How recently was I a Viking? Anyway, I was playing around with the admix calculators using Oracle today and one of the tests - the puntDNAL K15 Oracle - came back with a whole lot of Orcadian. I actually had to look that up but it's apparently the Orkney Islands. How seriously should I take this result? The Orkney Islands would make a lot of sense based on my DNA results. We've been trying to figure out how our ancestors got to lowland Scotland with a very odd (non-traditionally Scottish) surname. Am I following a lost leader with this result (Orcadian showed up in a number of other tests but not as strongly as in the K15) or should I follow this further? Thanks! (results below if it helps)

    # Population (source) Distance
    1 Orcadian 1.63
    2 Irish 1.66
    3 English 2.26
    4 North_German 2.53
    5 Austrian 2.72
    6 Scottish 2.85
    7 Slovenian 3.07
    8 Hungarian 3.72
    9 Norwegian 4.03
    10 Utahn_White 4.67
    11 Croatian 5.14
    12 South_German 5.32
    13 Swedish 6.04
    14 French 8.74
    15 Polish 9.16
    16 Serbian 9.3
    17 Bosnian 13.96
    18 Macedonian 15.25
    19 Belarusian 15.64
    20 Russian 15.75

    # Primary Population (source) Secondary Population (source) Distance
    1 59.3% English + 40.7% Slovenian @ 1.12
    2 65.7% Scottish + 34.3% Croatian @ 1.13
    3 75.2% Orcadian + 24.8% Hungarian @ 1.14
    4 81.2% Orcadian + 18.8% Croatian @ 1.15
    5 71.3% Orcadian + 28.7% Slovenian @ 1.17
    6 56% English + 44% Austrian @ 1.18
    7 57.6% Scottish + 42.4% Hungarian @ 1.2
    8 69% Orcadian + 31% Austrian @ 1.21
    9 82.7% Swedish + 17.3% Tuscan @ 1.23
    10 98% Orcadian + 2% Lezgin @ 1.25
    11 65.1% English + 34.9% Hungarian @ 1.26
    12 81.9% Swedish + 18.1% Albanian @ 1.27
    13 97.9% Orcadian + 2.1% Chechen @ 1.28
    14 51.5% Austrian + 48.5% Scottish @ 1.28
    15 98.1% Orcadian + 1.9% Balkar @ 1.28
    16 98.1% Orcadian + 1.9% Kumyk @ 1.29
    17 98.2% Orcadian + 1.8% North_Ossetian @ 1.3
    18 73.6% Swedish + 26.4% Romanian @ 1.32
    19 89.7% North_German + 10.3% Montenegrin @ 1.32
    20 76.2% Swedish + 23.8% Montenegrin @ 1.33

  • #2
    Don't take the calculators too literally. Look at what they are doing - matching you against reference populations and trying to get a best fit to your genetic data. It does not mean that you are actually that combination, but that using the modeling assumptions of the calculator, you are more or less approximately equal to that ethnic combination. If the calculator has an Orcadian sample, and no sample that is a better match, then that's what it will use, but it does not necessarily mean you descend from the Orkneys.

    Relevant questions would be - do you actually have any matches to people who are Scandinavian? You might have a few just because some people from Scotland have emigrated to Scandinavia in the past few hundred years (like Edvard Grieg's great-grandfather did, going from Scotland to Norway), or some people from Scandinavia have emigrated to the UK.

    puntDNAL K15 is designed to be more suitable for Africans -- the calculators are all done based on different assumptions.

    I have seen PuntDNAL for a while, but it seemed to be tailored for those of mostly African ancestry so it didn't seem relevant to my rese...

    If you have one ancestral surname line that is odd, how about the remainder of the lines (your surname line is one tiny part of your autosomal DNA)? By now, whatever ethnic oddity there may have been in that ancestral line may have faded after multiple generations.

    You might find Y-DNA testing to be interesting to get deeper history, although I think there's a good chance of getting back rather expensive not that informative results (but I don't know that much about it, so seek someone else out on that).


    • #3
      Hi thanks! I have absolutely no Scandinavians in my paper tree - that's the confusion and why the Orkney result peaked my interest. My whole mother's side of the family back to the early 1800s is from England and my entire father's side back to the 1600s in some cases is from Scotland. Our surname is extremely rare - so rare that if you have the same surname we are almost certainly related - but it is not a traditional Scottish name so we were wondering where it came from before Scotland. I guess that's why I latched onto these results because it would actually explain my 49 percent Scandinavian DNA AND my 50 percent Scottish paper trail at the same time. But yes of course, the Orkney line (if it is indeed there) could be from any one of the many other surnames on my father's side (or my mother's I suppose!)
      I thought the explanation on this calculator said that it was accurate for Europeans too? It was listed under the Scottish tests.


      • #4
        I think you're right - rereading that link again it says "If you are mostly African, West Asian, or European, ...", so it should be OK to use that calculator (within the limitations of all calculators).

        Have you checked to see in what countries and how often your surname appears? As mentioned, though, from the standpoint of autosomal DNA, your surname is of almost zero consequence, although it might be worth a Y-chromosome test to find deep ancestry if you want to spend that much money.


        • #5
          Thanks - yes my dad did the Y-DNA test and came back I-M223 which does show up in both Scottish and Scandinavian groups. Our surname does not show up in any Scandinavian country that I could find. I guess I will just store this info in the back of my mind while I continue to do paper research and if I see any possible Orkney connections I will take them seriously! Thanks again for your help :-)


          • #6
            Keep in mind that heritable surnames weren't common in Scotland before the 12th c., nor in England before the Norman Conquest. By that time, Norse settlers in Scotland and England had had several generations to intermarry with the locals (who, in the case of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, hadn't been settled that much longer in England themselves). Vikings also took some prisoners back home with them - so there are more than a few red-headed Norwegians to this day.

            Either way, all these folks had to have gotten their DNA from someone before them who hadn't always lived there, so the autosomal DNA you have in common with many Scandinavians may have originally come from ancestors you all have in common far back in the past. Some went north and hopped on a boat, and some went northwest and hopped on a boat, both carrying a common heritage ... and a tendency to hop on a boat to go raiding some villages across the sea.

            For example, one of my estimated 2nd-4th cousins in Family Finder shares 1,060.3 cM in common with me, while "BR2", a Bronze Age man buried in Hungary 3,200 years ago shares 1,248.1 cM with me (just in much smaller pieces.) Neither modern family is particularly Hungarian, but that guy's extended family eventually made it to central and western Europe, the British Isles, North America, and now here we are.


            • #7
              Ha, ha - yeah, I guess I've come to terms we're never going to have that "aha" moment with our surname (but I'm still holding onto that shred of hope!)
              Thanks for your help! :-)