Jump to content

Ancestry DNA


Recommended Posts

As somebody who has done their family tree, I've always been interested in the DNA kits ever since they came out. However, I've never taken the plunge because there is something about them I just don't trust.

Recently, my brother in law and my mum have got it done. My brother-in-laws results were as expected, heavily Scottish but with 6% African. My mum's have caused a bit of debate because despite being born in Widnes, they've come out as 85% Irish and 15% Scandinavian with 0% English. 

My mum and most of the family seem to have taken this as gospel. My mum even now thinks that all the ancestors from her tree must have Irish or Scandinavian roots. This is obviously not true. I've traced her tree back a few generations and whilst there is a lot of Irish, the majority are still English born in the furthest generation. The chances of all of these individuals having trees that end up in Ireland or Scandinavia are very remote.

The difficulty I have is that it is hard to find out exactly what the information is saying; much of what I've read seems contradictory. I've heard it mentioned that we are related to fewer than 120 individuals but that it is taking a snapshot from 1000 years ago. My simple brain can't process it. 

Has anybody done this and knows how it works? It seems useful and interesting but what is the data actually showing? 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


No , rather just leave well alone . I’ve known a few people who’ve started digging away at all this and more than one who wished they hadn’t . Can see the interest though generally . It’s funny I’m interested in history but know not much of my own 

Edited by DavidM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, DavidM said:

No , rather just leave well alone . I’ve known a few people who’ve started digging away at all this and more than one who wished they hadn’t . Can see the interest though generally . It’s funny I’m interested in history but know not much of my own 

The advice seems to swing from its being a scam to there actually being something useful in it. I'm more interested in how they define 'Irish' DNA or 'English' DNA etc

When does DNA become English for instance. I can pinpoint at least 5 generations in parts of people who were born and spent their whole lives in England yet my mum has 0% English DNA? 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Maximus Decimus said:

The advice seems to swing from its being a scam to there actually being something useful in it. I'm more interested in how they define 'Irish' DNA or 'English' DNA etc

When does DNA become English for instance. I can pinpoint at least 5 generations in parts of people who were born and spent their whole lives in England yet my mum has 0% English DNA? 

I don’t know . I’ve an Irish name and know my ancestors left county Sligo in the potato famine so god knows what that’d  show

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Waste of time and money.

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/02/14/inherently-imperfect-ancestry-tests-often-misunderstood/

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/mace-lab/debunking

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2522-inside-shady-world-dna-testing-companies.html

"But when Inside Edition had a set of triplets send their spit in to Ancestry.com and 23andMe, they got wildly different results from both services. Neither gave each triplet the same ancestry results -- which, considering they all came from the same womb, is pretty weird.

  • Like 1

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My Mum is from Co. Cork and from nowhere further than the province of Munster as far as she knew. 

She had the test foisted on her. 

Turns out she is completely from the province of Munster. Not as trace of anything exotic like Dublin or Mayo. 

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got given one as a present a while back its brought a few 2nd and 3rd cousins that are correct, but no idea how accurate it is when it says I'm 27% Irish and not to fussed to be honest always viewed that bit as a bit of fun.

Have enjoyed putting the family tree together though the old fashioned way, managed to get back to Rollo born in 860 on one branch, via William the Conqueror who thanks to my wifes side would seem to be the 26th Great Grandfather of my kids.  Not sure if that'll qualify them for a French passport mind in post-brexit Britain!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

The advice seems to swing from its being a scam to there actually being something useful in it. I'm more interested in how they define 'Irish' DNA or 'English' DNA etc

When does DNA become English for instance. I can pinpoint at least 5 generations in parts of people who were born and spent their whole lives in England yet my mum has 0% English DNA? 

My DNA is 100% British. Because I am British and it’s my DNA. 

Because science. 

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just had a look at my Ethnicity Estimate, not done it for a while, seems they keep updating the analysis, before today there had never been any mention of Norway - not sure if it makes me any more confident in its accuracy mind, but this is how mine currently looks;

 

Snip20190125_10.png

Edited by shrek
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, shrek said:

Just had a look at my Ethnicity Estimate, not done it for a while, seems they keep updating the analysis, before today there had never been any mention of Norway - not sure if it makes me any more confident in its accuracy mind, but this is how mine currently looks;

 

Snip20190125_10.png

So, you are from North Jutland. Available for games?

  • Haha 1

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not gone down the DNA route, but family members on both sides have done a bit of research.

Mum's side: Cardigan, as far back as the 16th Century at least. And as far as the late 19th Century onward goes, lots of backup evidence, as an ancestor was one of the earliest pioneers of that there new-fangled photography, as well as a hoarder of old legal documents. A US Supreme Court Judge in the lineage too, but whether that's a point of pride I'm not 100% sure...

Dad's side: The earliest semi-reliable links seem to point at Oxfordshire, but recent generations have been somewhat rootless, as they were Salvation Army and got posted every 4 years. My dad thinks he was born in Ramsgate, but nobody's quite sure. Plus, while moving to a new posting, my grandparents lost a lot of documents and other things in a goods train fire, including a US flag sent by the West Point Military Academy for the funeral of an ancestor who fought with some distinction in the American Civil War.

Edited by Futtocks
  • Like 2

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never fancied the DNA test but would love to try and do a family tree at some point.

The DNA test companies always seem a bit shady, it that they are building up banks of DNA codes that researchers get paid access too.  It's that data that makes them the money I think rather than the ancestry stuff.

With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know how much I trust these companies and I certainly wouldn't trust any company to hold my DNA. Certainly not one with an online presence.

I do also think they can stir a hornets nest and I think anyone using them should seriously consider the implications. Stories like this are fairly common:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/18/your-fathers-not-your-father-when-dna-tests-reveal-more-than-you-bargained-for

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Maximus Decimus said:

 My mum's have caused a bit of debate because despite being born in Widnes, they've come out as 85% Irish and 15% Scandinavian with 0% English.

I've traced nearly all of my ancestors 8 generations back. Obviously the numbers double for each generation and it starts to get harder past 1800.

If I go back to say the 1830s/1840s - something like 14 out of 32 of my ancestors are in Widnes, St. Helens or Runcorn. If you go back a generation from that, they've nearly all moved there from somewhere else. Widnes & St. Helens didn't really exist until the industrial revolution and then sucked in people from across the north of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland etc. So quite a few of my "St. Helens" ancestors came from Flintshire & were glassworkers. I have Scottish ancestors who moved to Birkenhead to work at Cammell Laird in the 1850s and their children married the children of other Scots who'd moved there. Add in the fact that Irish and Scandinavian people would have been landing in North West England throughout the post-Roman period and you start to get something that looks like what Shrek posted.

Widnes had several more later waves of immigration e.g. from Poland and Lithuania in the early 1900s. Liverpool, Widnes & Runcorn still had Welsh speaking churches after WW II.

That said, I'm fairly sceptical about the DNA thing, other than for matching distant cousins. My wife gets her results back in a couple of weeks - hers will be rather more interesting.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, JonM said:

I've traced nearly all of my ancestors 8 generations back. Obviously the numbers double for each generation and it starts to get harder past 1800.

If I go back to say the 1830s/1840s - something like 14 out of 32 of my ancestors are in Widnes, St. Helens or Runcorn. If you go back a generation from that, they've nearly all moved there from somewhere else. Widnes & St. Helens didn't really exist until the industrial revolution and then sucked in people from across the north of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland etc. So quite a few of my "St. Helens" ancestors came from Flintshire & were glassworkers. I have Scottish ancestors who moved to Birkenhead to work at Cammell Laird in the 1850s and their children married the children of other Scots who'd moved there. Add in the fact that Irish and Scandinavian people would have been landing in North West England throughout the post-Roman period and you start to get something that looks like what Shrek posted.

Widnes had several more later waves of immigration e.g. from Poland and Lithuania in the early 1900s. Liverpool, Widnes & Runcorn still had Welsh speaking churches after WW II.

That said, I'm fairly sceptical about the DNA thing, other than for matching distant cousins. My wife gets her results back in a couple of weeks - hers will be rather more interesting.

Blah blah blah you’re Danish blah blah 

do you have boots?

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Bob8 said:

Blah blah blah you’re Danish blah blah 

do you have boots?

Well, yes, but I should point out that (based on the fitness thread figures) I'm less than half the weight of some people my age and height.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with the DNA tests isn't directly related to DNA. It's related to sample size and statistics. DNA techniques haven't been available at a retail level for very long so how big is the database they use to match your results against? Take a simplified example: Imagine you're family is from Lithuania but very few Lithuanian samples have been collected. Over the years, as borders changed and people moved, people in your family moved to Poland and then 50 years later took DNA tests. Those DNA profiles will be classed as Polish. Because of the simplified use of statistics, the most samples showing a match with yours will be Polish so your results will come back as Polish.

Their databases don't tell them people's ancestry. They tell them where people live now.

The second problem with statistics is that you have 3.2 billion genes of which about 3-4% are specifically Homo Sapiens, of which the DNA retail tests test 120 sites or locii. They've chosen these 120 because they are the most statistically significant. 36% of Scots have red hair so if the only DNA information they had about you was that you had red hair, they would say you were a Scot. But the red hair is usually associated with Celts and they travelled from the Black Sea area right across Europe before they sailed to Ireland. I've met a red-haired Jewish woman from Spain. How many other Celts settled into local populations along the way?

If the DNA companies did rigorous family tree research before they collected samples for their database, they would have a much higher-quality database. I've seen so many DNA test videos where people got results that made no sense, particularly a Canadian video where identical twins tried 5 different retail tests and got all kinds of variations. The variations aren't in their DNA, they are in the quality of each company's database.

There was an England census in 1811 so most of you should be able to trace back to there at least without a DNA test. My 1811 ancestor was a "hound-feeder" on a big estate in Devon so I think it's a reasonable assumption that the family had been there for a long time. The hound-feeding business wasn't known for its mobility, social or geographical.

You should also try local historical societies. On my mother's side, her ancestors are from northern Tasmania and local historical societies have gone through some of the old cemeteries there and photographed and transcribed every tombstone. Long before the internet, one of my aunties contacted a family researcher in England who found all sorts of records of my Devon branch. If you trace your family back to 1800 and your ancestor was a peasant in Wiltshire then your family were probably peasants in WIltshire when William the Conqueror arrived.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Damien said:

I really don't know how much I trust these companies and I certainly wouldn't trust any company to hold my DNA. Certainly not one with an online presence.

I do also think they can stir a hornets nest and I think anyone using them should seriously consider the implications. Stories like this are fairly common:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/18/your-fathers-not-your-father-when-dna-tests-reveal-more-than-you-bargained-for

For me, stirring a hornets’ nest has been great fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Farmduck said:

There was an England census in 1811 so most of you should be able to trace back to there at least without a DNA test.

[...]

If you trace your family back to 1800 and your ancestor was a peasant in Wiltshire then your family were probably peasants in WIltshire when William the Conqueror arrived.

1841 is the oldest available census for almost everywhere in England. Before then you are on to parish records which can be a bit patchier. Good luck with working out exactly which one of the Thomas Jones christened in a Welsh village church in a particular year is the one you want... (One of my ancestors was born in St. Helens in 1831. There were 5 people with his name born that year. I was able to find the correct one only because the other 4 had died before the age of 5. We're all the descendants of the people who didn't die of cholera, typhoid etc.)

And the stuff about  pre-1800 is unlikely to be correct for many people on here, because of the Industrial revolution. The towns and cities of Lancashire & Yorkshire saw mass movements of population from rural Britain & Ireland. Unless your ancestors stayed in one place or have uncommon names, it gets pretty difficult.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Farmduck said:

The problem with the DNA tests isn't directly related to DNA. It's related to sample size and statistics. DNA techniques haven't been available at a retail level for very long so how big is the database they use to match your results against? Take a simplified example: Imagine you're family is from Lithuania but very few Lithuanian samples have been collected. Over the years, as borders changed and people moved, people in your family moved to Poland and then 50 years later took DNA tests. Those DNA profiles will be classed as Polish. Because of the simplified use of statistics, the most samples showing a match with yours will be Polish so your results will come back as Polish.

Their databases don't tell them people's ancestry. They tell them where people live now.

The second problem with statistics is that you have 3.2 billion genes of which about 3-4% are specifically Homo Sapiens, of which the DNA retail tests test 120 sites or locii. They've chosen these 120 because they are the most statistically significant. 36% of Scots have red hair so if the only DNA information they had about you was that you had red hair, they would say you were a Scot. But the red hair is usually associated with Celts and they travelled from the Black Sea area right across Europe before they sailed to Ireland. I've met a red-haired Jewish woman from Spain. How many other Celts settled into local populations along the way?

If the DNA companies did rigorous family tree research before they collected samples for their database, they would have a much higher-quality database. I've seen so many DNA test videos where people got results that made no sense, particularly a Canadian video where identical twins tried 5 different retail tests and got all kinds of variations. The variations aren't in their DNA, they are in the quality of each company's database.

There was an England census in 1811 so most of you should be able to trace back to there at least without a DNA test. My 1811 ancestor was a "hound-feeder" on a big estate in Devon so I think it's a reasonable assumption that the family had been there for a long time. The hound-feeding business wasn't known for its mobility, social or geographical.

You should also try local historical societies. On my mother's side, her ancestors are from northern Tasmania and local historical societies have gone through some of the old cemeteries there and photographed and transcribed every tombstone. Long before the internet, one of my aunties contacted a family researcher in England who found all sorts of records of my Devon branch. If you trace your family back to 1800 and your ancestor was a peasant in Wiltshire then your family were probably peasants in WIltshire when William the Conqueror arrived.

Slight correction, the earliest census was 1841.

I've done my mum's tree as far back as I can realistically get and it's true that there is a significant amount of Irish there but we always knew that. She has 4 Irish Great-Grandparents and 4 English. The English are names like Hudson and Carter and trace back to Yorkshire and Shropshire, they are also C of E which suggests they were established English. Every generation back doubles in size and doubles the number of English people with usually English parents. 

This is what I still am no nearer to understanding. What exactly does the 85% Irish and 15% Scandinavian mean? My mum (and others who've done it) think that all of her ancestors were Irish or Scandinavian in origin. This clearly isn't true and I'm sure the companies wouldn't even claim it. 

What exactly are they claiming though? If we're talking in the distant past, say 1000 years ago, we literally have millions of ancestors going back that far. Is it saying her DNA is mostly in common with people who currently live in Ireland? 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

 Is it saying her DNA is mostly in common with people who currently live in Ireland?

Yes, I think that's a very good summary - and as Farmduck says, it's still a bit of a stretch with the statistics.

Some genes correlate well with a geographical area.  In the UK, if you take only people who were born somewhere and their grandparents were also born there, you can find gene variants that say 70% of people in Cornwall have and 40% of people in Norfolk. If you do that over lots of genes and lots of places, you can get some kind of statistical picture, but it's a pretty inexact science.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...