Ignore Ethnic Results Below the Continental Level

Over 2,200 words!

Updated September 22, 2020 – added FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) version 2 #23 and version 3 #24 results.

Updated September 12, 2020 – Added latest AncestryDNA Update (#22). You can compare to November 2019 update #18.

Updated November 18, 2019: Added latest 23andMe (October 2019) and AncestryDNA (November 2019) updated results.

Updated May 1, 2019: Added latest 23andMe and AncestryDNA results.

Updated April 12, 2019: Added Tags; updated January 18, 2019: Added latest 23andMe ethnicity update. Updated December 21, 2018: Added 1st of possible 3 LivingDNA transfers – at least one more should included ethnicity and the other may or may not – seems LivingDNA can’t make it up mind, most likely AncestryDNA transfer, waiting on the other two to complete: updated September 15, 2018: Added latest AncestryDNA (#17, but below #4 which was the last AncestryDNA ethnicity update) ethnicity update results; updated July 18, 2018 – added 23andMe (latest ethnicity results after the last update) and Geno 2.0 Next (Helix) results. Updated  June 7, 2018 – AncestryDNA recently updated their ethnicity results, but as of early June, my results haven’t changed appreciably.Also, if you plan on trying this yourself, it’s nowhere near as much fun as you might think and it did take a while to do this and the GEDmatch admixture post. Update January 25, 2018: Adding Insitome Regional Ancestry DNA ethnicity results to this list as #14. Also posting the results as a separate blog post with links to this blog post and my original post about Insitome. Also, added Ancestry results from DNAPassport by HumanCode and will add a blog post about DNAPassport. Update: I added GenCove (NOTE: as of mid-June 2018, GenCove will no longer be taking uploads and they will remove uploads next year) to the list as #12 because they recently updated my 23andMe v3 chip transfer ethnicity results. I also added GenePlaza #13.

I don’t recommend any company or admixture test for determining your ethnic results below the continental level. See my link to various Judy G. Russell blog posts and And still not soup… — The Legal Genealogist (links to her posts can be found as you scroll through that blog post) about why you shouldn’t put a lot of effort on admixture results below the continental level. However, too many people want to know so this is the first of what will most likely be yearly posts about why not to trust ethnic results. Which is better below the continental level tends to be a matter of personal preference and/or bias. In my case, I found FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) to be closest below the continental level for the most part, but it missed a few things.

As the New Year winds deeper into Week 2, I thought I would start a yearly rant on ethnic results below the continental level. I am taking a page out of several other genealogy bloggers’ handbooks by doing this. I have included several (originally eleven, now up to 17, ethnicity results from different companies I have tested with or have transferred results to).

I will start with one of my pet peeves. You are NOT 50% of your parents’ ethnic results. No doubt some will come close to being around 50% of one or more ethnic results, but it is irresponsible for any genetic genealogist or other expert to indicate or support estimating your parents’ ethnic results based on doubling your ethnic results. In my case, my parents are both deceased which makes testing them out of the question. Next, if you go to this blog post https://lostrussianfamily.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/three-siblings-go-on-a-dna-test-journey/ – compare the blogger’s mother, uncle, and aunt’s ethnic results. If we are supposed to go with the theory some experts support that our ethnic results are half of our parents, it would depend on which relative you used in this example to estimate the blogger’s grandparents ethnicity.

The general consensus among genetic genealogy bloggers and experts is sizeable continental level ethnic results – African, Native American, European, Australian Aboriginal, Antarctic (for those with penguin or similar DNA, and I’m joking in case it wasn’t evident)  is usually considered accurate. Exactly how large a percentage falls in the category of sizeable is subjective and depends on each expert’s personal preference. For me, sizeable is more than 10%, but that’s what I consider probably safe to be reliable. I am not saying below 10% is always questionable especially if there is other DNA evidence supporting a low percentage, but it can reach a point where it becomes questionable. For other supporting DNA evidence would include other family members with a fair amount of the same ethnicity, deep enough mtDNA or Y-DNA testing showing haplogroup of a specific ethnicity, specific markers that have only been found in one ethnicity or location, etc.  Some experts might put the limit in the less than 1% range, the 1 – 3% range, 3 – 5% range, or elsewhere. Others may say any continental range, including 0.1%, is valid. In my case, several small percentages (less than 1%) are backed up by other DNA evidence.

Some problems with any range is the lack of full DNA testing to determine ethnic results. I watched a video where mtDNA was able to pinpoint a male’s matrilineal line to a specific island country because some of the mtDNA markers have only been found on this island. This is in contrast to autosomal DNA which is the normal metric for determining ethnic results. To a similar degree, a deep enough Y-DNA test may narrow down a general location for a patrilineal line. The advent of deep Y-DNA tests, like full DNA testing, or Big-Y at FTDNA and Comprehensive Elite at Full Genomes Corporation (FGC) will help as more males take these tests.

Here are my ethnic results from numerous companies (WeGene has two samples – one from AncestryDNA and the other from 23andMe, v3 chip). These results don’t include the various admixture ethnic results from GEDmatch which would easily exceed as many results as I included below since there are so many admixture tests on GEDmatch.  I made a similar post about GEDmatch admixture results using my 23andMe (v3 chip) test as a baseline for all of the GEDmatch admixture test since it had the most SNPs of any DNA test that I have access to the raw data results; Helix has more raw data results, but I’m not spending $499 to get those results.

#1 (FamilyTree DNA aka FTDNA – in my case, I found its ethnicity results to be more in line than the other companies for me, but most people tend to go with 23andMe or AncestryDNA):

African 0%
New World 0%
Central/South Asian 0%
East Asian 0%
Middle Eastern 0%
European 97%
Jewish Diaspora 0%

#23 version 2 FTDNA

  • Continent,Population,Percentage
  • European,British Isles,59
  • European,West and Central Europe,25
  • European,East Europe,9
  • European,Southeast Europe,4
  • Trace Results,Finland,<1
  • Trace Results,Oceania,<1
  • Trace Results,South America,<1
  • Trace Results,Asia Minor,<2

#24 FTDNA version 3 results:

Europe 100%
Western Europe
Great Britain


Southern Europe
Greece & Balkans






Finland info


#2 (National Geographic Geno 2.0, ran by FTDNA):
Northern European 42%
Mediterranean 38%
Southwest Asian 16%
Neanderthal 2.5%
Denisovan 3.7%

#3 (23andMe, v3 chip – before the April 2018 update; latest update is January 2019, see below):
European 99.1%
Northwestern European 94.1%
British & Irish 39.4%
French & German 22.9%
Scandinavian 4.3%
Finnish 0.0%
Broadly Northwestern European 27.5%
Southern European 3.2%
Balkan 0.4%
Sardinian 0.0%
Italian 0.0%
Iberian 0.0%
Broadly Southern European 2.9%
Ashkenazi Jewish 0.1%*
Eastern European 0.0%
Broadly European 1.7%
South Asian 0.0%
Broadly South Asian 0.0%
East Asian & Native American 0.9%
Native American 0.8%
East Asian < 0.1%
Yakut < 0.1%
*Y-DNA indicates Jewish line of priests (Cohen Match)
(23andMe, v3 – after the January 2019 update):
European 99.0%
British and Irish 45.6%
French and German 26.8%
Scandinavian 1.5%
Italian 1.1%
Ashkenazi Jewish 0.2%
Broadly Northwestern European 18.0%
Broadly European 4.0%
Broadly Southern European 1.8%
East Asian and Native American 0.8%
Native American 0.8%
Sub-Saharan African 0.2%
Ghanaian, Liberian, and Sierra Leonean 0.2%
23andMe (April 2019 update) – minor difference removal of Sub-Saharan African to Trace Ancestry.
Population Match Confidence Percent European 99.0%
Northwestern European 91.9%
British & Irish 45.6%
United Kingdom Highly Likely Match
Ireland Possible Match
Guernsey Not Detected
French & German 26.8%Although we’ve detected French & German DNA in your ancestral breakdown, we have not identified more specific locations that your recent ancestors may have called home.
Austria Not Detected
Belgium Not Detected
France Not Detected
Germany Not Detected
Luxembourg Not Detected
Netherlands Not Detected
Switzerland Not Detected
Scandinavian 1.5%Although we’ve detected Scandinavian DNA in your ancestral breakdown, we have not identified more specific locations that your recent ancestors may have called home.
Denmark Not Detected
Faroe Islands Not Detected
Iceland Not Detected
Norway Not Detected
Sweden Not Detected
Finnish 0.0%
Broadly Northwestern European 18.0%
Southern European 2.9%
Italian 1.1%Although we’ve detected Italian DNA in your ancestral breakdown, we have not identified more specific locations that your recent ancestors may have called home.
Italy Not Detected
Malta Not Detected
Greek & Balkan 0.0%
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sardinian 0.0%
Spanish & Portuguese 0.0%
Broadly Southern European 1.8%
Ashkenazi Jewish 0.2%
Eastern European 0.0%
Czech Republic
Broadly European 4.0%
East Asian & Native American 0.8%
Melanesian 0.0%
South Asian 0.0%
Sub-Saharan African 0.0%
Western Asian & North African 0.0%
Trace Ancestry 0.2%
Unassigned 0.0%


#19 23andMe update November 2019:

European 98.8%
British and Irish 46.2%
Greater London, United Kingdom
+ 9 regions
French and German 35.5%
Scandinavian 1.9%
Broadly Northwestern European 13.5%
Ashkenazi Jewish 0.1%
Broadly European 1.6%
East Asian and Native American 0.8%
Native American 0.8%

#4 (Ancestry DNA, pre-2018 ethnicity update)
Ethnicity Estimate
Europe West 31%
Scandinavia 26%
Great Britain 15%
Iberian Peninsula 13%
Ireland/Scotland/Wales 10%
Europe South 3%
Europe East < 1%
Caucasus < 1%

#17 (AncestryDNA; September 2018 ethnicity update):
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 48%
Increased by 33%
Germanic Europe 30%
Refined from:
Europe West 31%
Ireland and Scotland 16%
Increased by 6%
Sweden 4%
Refined from:
Scandinavia 26%
France 2%
Refined from:
Europe West 31%


Eastern North Carolina Settlers
North Carolina, Virginia Coast & Maryland Coast Settlers
Mississippi & Louisiana Settlers
South Mississippi & Alabama Gulf Coast Settlers

No Longer in Estimate

Iberian Peninsula 13%

Europe South 3%

Europe East <1%

Caucasus <1%

AncestryDNA update April 2019:
Ethnicity Estimate
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 48%
Germanic Europe 30%
Ireland & Scotland 16%
Sweden 4%
France 2%
#18 AncestryDNA update November 18, 2019

Ethnicity Estimate
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 70%
up from 48% back in April 2019
Germanic Europe 9%
down from 30% back in April 2019
Ireland & Scotland 15%
down 1% from back in April 2019
Sweden 4%
No change
Norway 2%
Switched from 2% France to 2% Norway back in April 2019

Eastern North Carolina Settlers
North Carolina, Virginia Coast & Maryland Coast Settlers
Mississippi & Louisiana Settlers
South Mississippi & Alabama Gulf Coast Settlers

Africa (108 Regions)
America (86 Regions)
Asia (14 Regions)
Europe (810 Regions)
Pacific Islander (6 Regions)
West Asia (5 Regions)

#22 Ancestry Update September 12, 2020

England & Northwestern Europe 56%

Scotland 31%

France 5%

Wales 4%

Germanic Europe 2%

Norway 2%


#5 AncestrybyDNA (different company than Ancestry):
European: 100%

#6 (DNATribes – broken down several ways)
Continental Core:
Basque: 72.2%
Dravidian South India 18.8%
Mesoamerican 6.3%
Aka-Mbuti-Hadza 2.8%
SouthChina 0.0%
Regional Cluster:
NW Europe 30.9%
Spanish-Portuguese 15.1%
Balto-Slavic 12.6%
Finnish 11.2%
Central European 10.5%
Basque 6.6%
Aegean-Balkan-Italian 4.8%
Mari-Chuvash 4.2%
Azeri-Kurdish-Persian-Turkey 2.5%
Tatar=Chuvash 0.8%
Kannaid-Kurumba South India 0.7%
Aka-Mbuti-Hadza 0.1%
Mesoamerican 0.0%
Population (Native Population Only):
Cornwall West Britain 28.0%
Finland 20.0%
Sweden 16.3%
Spain Sample 2 12.9%
Orkney Islands Scotland 10.7%
Basque Spain 8.2%
Maris 4.0%
Population (Native and Diasporic Populations):
Cornwall West Britain 28.0%
Finland 20.0%
Sweden 16.3%
Spain Sample 2 12.9%
Orkney Islands Scotland 10.7%
Basque Spain 8.2%
Maris 4.0%

#7 (Genes For Good)
European 99%

#8 DNA.Land
Northcentral European 77%
Southwestern European 11%
– Southwestern European 9.6%
– Ambiguous 1.9%
Northeast European 8.3%
– North Slavic 4.9%
– Finnihs 3.4%
Balkan 3.5%

#9 WeGene (1 of 2):
European 99.96%
French 60.63%
Finnish/Russian 19.95%
Balkan 13.37%
English 5.99%
Others 0.01%
Others 0.04%

#10 WeGene (2 of 2 – don’t remember which is which, but one was Ancestry transfer and the other was 23andMe)

European 99.96%
French 56.98%
Finnish/Russian 25.39%
Balkan 11.41%
English 6.16%
Others 0.01%
Others 0.04%

#11 MyHeritage (transfer of 23andMe v3 results – after latest update to Ethnicity January 2018 – thought I had an earlier version of MyHeritage results and probably do somewhere):

Europe 100.0%
North and West  88.6%
North and West European 49.3%
English 27.5%
Irish, Scottish, and Welsh 11.8%
South Europe 6.1%
Iberian 6.1%
East Europe 5.3%
Balkan 5.3%
Total: 100.0%
#20 MyHeritageDNA part 2 (2019 update)
  • Europe
    North and West Europe
    North and West European
    Irish, Scottish, and Welsh
    East Europe
Paul Smith
#21 MyHeritageDNA test (direct; March 2020 update)
  • Europe 100.0%
    North and West Europe 92.5%
    English 53.7%
    North and West European 29.8%
    Irish, Scottish, and Welsh 9.0%
    East Europe 4.8%
    Balkan 4.8%
    South Europe 2.7%
    Iberian 2.7%
(Any below this point were added after the post was originally posted).

#12 Gencove
Northern and Central European 61%
Scandinavia 12%
Southwestern Europe 10%
Northern Italy 7%
Northeast Europe 6%

#13 GenePlaza
West Eurasian 98.5%
Northwest European 76.5%
Southwestern European 11.4%
North Slavic 8.6%
Ambiguous 2.0%

#14 Insitome Regional Ancestry

Europe 100%
Western European 60%
East European 23%
Basque 16%
Finnish 1%
Ashkenazi 0%
North Mediterranean 0%
Sardinian 0%

Other Regions:

Africa 0%

Bantu 0%
Central African 0%
Khoisan 0%
Nilotic 0%
West African 0%

America 0%

Amazonian 0%
Central South American 0%
North American 0%

Asia 0%

Austronesian 0%
Central Asian 0%
Northeast Asian 0%
Siberia 0%
South Asian 0%
Southeast Asian 0%

Middle East, North Africa 0%

Arabian 0%
Caucasus 0%
Levantine 0%
Northwest African 0%

Oceania 0%
No breakdown below Oceania

#15 DNAPassport (by HumanCode using Helix to process the DNA – from a screenshot, will update once I get to see the results in person):

North/West Europe 46% (Northern and Western European)
North Europe 33% (British, Irish, Finnish)
Undetermined 12%
South/West Europe 9% (Iberian and Spanish)


#16 Geno 2.0 Next (Helix version, July 2018 and including comparison between Geno 2.0 – FTDNA with Geno 2.0 Next – Helix):

Geno 2.0 Next (Helix) vs. Geno 2.0 (FTDNA)
Haplogroup Results (the same with both companies and kits):
mtDNA C1b
Y-DNA J-YSC0000234 (specifically J1)

Ethnicity Results Comparison*:
Geno 2.0 Next (Helix):
Northwestern European 56%
Northeastern European 15%
Southwestern European 8%
West Mediterranean 7%
Eastern European 7%
Italy and Southern Europe 6%

Geno 2.0 (FTDNA)
Northern European 42%
Mediterranean 38%
Southwest Asian 16%
*Worth noting 2.0 Next added some ethnicity areas that weren’t listed in 2.0 results although Nat Geo was of the opinion changes should have been made to 2.0 results as improvements and changes were made.

Neanderthal/Denisovan Results Comparison:
Geno 2.0 Next (Helix)
Neanderthal 1.5%

Geno 2.0 (FTDNA)
Neanderthal 2.5%
Denisovan 3.7%

#17 LivingDNA (1st of 3 kits transferred, probably AncestryDNA transfer; don’t know if both other kits will provide ethnicity although at least one should – valid as of December 21, 2018):

Complete Sub-Regions:

Europe 98.4%
Great Britain and Ireland 63.9%
Aberdeenshire 29.4%
Northwest Scotland 14.6%
South Central England 4.8%
Southeast England 3.2%
East Anglia 2.4%
South England 1.7%
Northumbria 1.6%
Cumbria 1.4%
North Yorkshire 1.3%
Central England 1.3%
Cornwall 1%
Northwest England 1%
Europe (North and West) 34.6%
Germanic 34.6%
Asia (Central) 1.5%

Standard Sub-Regions:

Europe 98.4%
Great Britain and Ireland 63.9%
Europe (North and West) 34.6%
World (unassigned) 1.5%

Cautious Sub-Regions:

Europe 98.4%
Great Britain and Ireland 63.9%
Orkney-related ancestry 44%
Southeast England-related ancestry 11%
Cumbria-related ancestry 3%
East Anglia 2.4%
Cornwall-related ancestry 1%
North Wales-related ancestry 1%
Great Britain and Ireland (unassigned) 1.3%
Northwestern Europe 34.6%
World (unassigned) 1.5%


About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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