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Confusing results

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  • Confusing results

    Dear all,

    I'm having a hard time interpreting my ethnicity results (“myOrigins”).

    They really seem quite off (please see below). Has it happened before that kits have been mixed up or could this be, because they've originally been sequenced by myheritage and uploaded to FTDNA? Would using a FTDNA kit yield other results? I must say I'm a bit worried as I've ordered the full package of mtDNA- and super-deluxe YDNA-kits for quite some money and don't want this to yield similarly strange results.

    This is why I can't make anything of the myOrigins-results:

    Scandinavia 35%

    England, Wales, Scotland 26%

    West Slavic 20%

    Sardinia 8%

    Basque 6%

    Malta 5%

    I'm doing a lot of “classical” genealogy and with just one exception I have traced my ancestors back to at least the late 18th century. They have all been born in southern Bavaria (one exception in or Alsace/eastern France).

    According to FTDNA there is a region depicted as “central Europe”, which I assume would correspond to countries such as Germany and France. Is that true? In that case it wouldn't make sense, that there is really 0% genetic consensus with that region. I understand that this approach probably covers more than just some hundred years and possibly there might have been some vikings coming to Bavaria on rivers (cough) to leave their genetic footprint, but 0%??

    Also the outcome doesn't really fit to what Ancestry and myheritage have identified. There central Europe makes the most significant matches, while eastern Europe and GB is missing (almost) entirely.


    Germanic Europe 87%

    Northern Italy 5%

    Wales 4%

    Sweden & Denmark 2%

    The Balkans 2%


    North- and West Europe (incl. France, Germany, Benelux) 45%

    Scandinavia 33%

    Greek & Southern Italy 7%

    Italy 5%

    Hispanic 4%

    Ashkenazi Jew 2%

    The Balkans 2%

    I really don't know what to make of it. Do you have any idea what could have gone wrong?

    Best wishes and thanks for any input!

  • #2
    Admixture or "ethnic origins" results are the weakest part of the genetic genealogy industry. The methodology used to produce these results involves multivariate statistical analysis -- and an enormous number of assumptions! -- to create the "reference groups". However, analysis of mt-DNA and Y-DNA use very different methodologies that are far more reliable and consistent.

    There is another important difference between "ethnic origins" and the tests involving mt-DNA and Y-DNA: the latter two types of DNA are haploid, while autosomal DNA is diploid. For mt-DNA and Y-DNA, there is usually no question what the actual DNA sequence is. For "ethnic origins", the SNP data come from a mixture of small fragments from both paternal and maternal copies of each chromosome, so that additional algorithms are needed in order to attempt to determine the separate sequences from both copies. Exactly how much error is introduced by this situation is not clear, at least to me, but I don't think this source of error can be ignored. When autosomal DNA data obtained by "long-read sequencing" become generally available (and affordable), we will have reliable sequences from both copies of each chromosome, and then we will be able to evaluate the reliability of the present technology.


    • #3
      Hi John,

      thank you a lot for your input!

      I understund there is a lot pof uncertainty that comes with ethnicity estimations (and for comprehensible reasons). I guess I'm just a little frustrated about the degree of inaccuracy.
      Still it's comforting to learn, that mtDNA and YDNA estimations have a higher chance of producing exact results.

      Thanks again!