As millions of people around the world get their DNA tested for a range of reasons, the Ancestry.com database is increasing expeditiously. With a rapidly growing database, Ancestry.com is able to add more regions around the world based on the origins of those who have been tested. Further, with a growing database new DNA ethnicity updates roll out and more recently, yesterday (14 April 2022), they rolled out their new function of ethnicity inheritance. Ethnicity inheritance basically takes your results and halves them between your parents, two halves making a whole (you!), even if your parents have not had their DNA tested.
First, a bit about my journey through my DNA since I received my DNA test results on 20 July 2020. At the time to say I may have panicked upon reading my ethnicity estimates is an understatement (you can read my initial post here). At the time, and still today, I do not profess to understand DNA in great detail. So when I saw my first estimates my brain immediately went to “I am not Italian”! Despite my Dad being 100% Italian, Northern Italian to be exact, in September 2020 I had ZERO Northern Italian in my DNA results!!
Instead of Northern Italian my results showed I was 26% French and 24% Germanic European! The second thought to enter my brain was “my dad is not my dad!” After freaking out and envisaging a French German European post man being my Dad I soon learnt that the trend of getting your DNA tested had not yet reached Northern Italy or those of that origin, as opposed to other parts of the world.
What this means is, that your estimates are collaborated using the closest regions of those who have been tested and in my case, these DNA matches could go back to over 500 – 5,000 years old, numerous generations, before I could determine which ancestors linked between me and my DNA matches. This is why my ethnicity showed a breakdown of French and Germanic European despite knowing that all my Dad’s ancestors were born in the Northern Italian town of San Donato di Lemon. Of course movement of ancestors many hundreds of years ago meant that relatives were not just from this small town but were likely from other regions surrounding and within Northern Italy.
Since receiving my first ethnicity estimates I have received further updates. The second update was on 12 September 2020 when obviously more people around the world had completed DNA tests. As such, more data allowed Ancestry.com to update ethnicity estimates for regions where my ancestors came from. This was the first time I saw the emergence of my Northern Italian ethnicity emerge. While estimates only showed 5% Northern Italian in my results, it was a start and I was definitely Italian! Additionally with this update my percentage of French and Germanic European had decreased.
By July 2021, I had received my third ethnicity update from Ancestry.com and I found that I now had 20% Northern Italy. The original 26% then 21% France estimate had now disappeared all together and Germanic Europe had reduced from 24% to now 15%. Go the Northern Italians testing around the world!!!
So that is the background to my journey through my DNA to date, well as of yesterday when I got my fourth ethnicity update from Ancestry.com and like many around the world, could now see a further breakdown of my data, showing two halves (from each of my parents) to make a whole, ME!
This new evolution in how DNA data can be broken down by Ancestry.com is because so many millions of people around the world have had their DNA tested, allowing them to be more precise in breaking down your ethnicity and through your DNA matches group your DNA by the parent they came from. Without the need to convince your parents to spit in a vial!!
This new feature is called Ethnicity Inheritance, you can read more about this new feature here where Ancestry.com explain…..or you might want to visit one of my favorite genealogy bloggers, Michelle Patient (also known as the Patient Genie), who explains further here.
And the Good News!
So what did these blobs of color on a map tell me about how my ethnicity estimates have changed! Well on their own they are just that blobs of color on a map but when you go to the DNA ethnicity estimates you can see greater detail in the percentages of origins which you come from. First thing for me is, my Northern Italian ethnicity is zooming to the front in the race to show where in the world I had the strongest origins…..from originally having no Northern Italian and then to July 2021 when I had 20% Northern Italy, I now had a whopping 38% Northern Italian in my DNA! With this massive change, my Germanic European estimate had dropped to just 5% and while disappearing in the earlier estimate update, France was back at just 8%. I most definitely am Northern Italian and not the daughter of some French German European post man!
And now to Ethnicity Inheritance……
For those of us nerdy genealogists from around the world, our avid research into our family history would tell us where our ancestors were born and the origins of the ancestors that came before them. However, for those who do not know their biological parentage, the ethnicity inheritance feature now on Ancestry.com can start to tell more of the story of their origins and with greater precision tell you where your parents and their ancestors were born and the regions around the world that makes up their DNA and therefore your own! What an amazing evolution for so many people trying to find out who and where their biological parents originated!!
Having spent many hours researching my family history I knew where my family were from, mostly Italy, England, Scotland. So there weren’t any major surprises in my ethnicity inheritance breakdown of the origins for each of my parents.
From my own knowledge and past ethnicity estimates I knew from this graph of my parents ethnicity that Parent 1 was my Mum and Parent 2 was my Dad. All that yellow is the emergence of my Northern Italian origins, now at 38%!
However, what I could now see, which was a little bit surprising was that somewhere along the way someone from Wales had given my Dad 3% ethnicity, which initially I assumed was from my Mum’s side of the family. The other surprise was that I had always assumed that the percentage of Germanic European, originally 24%, had come from my Dad’s origins, however, what this new feature shows is that in fact there was Germanic Europe ethnicity now linked at 5% to my Mum.
So that’s where I am up to in my journey through my DNA! What I would now love is for another family member, a generation older than me, to spit in a vial and give me more information on our family’s DNA! With extra DNA from a generation older than me I may be able to find links to finding out who my Nana Jean’s grandfather was, as her Dad’s birth registration shows he was illegitimate, his father unnamed, but that is all another story!
For now, that’s all from me…..hope you all enjoy learning about your ethnicity inheritance!