Saturday, October 19, 2013

Updates to Ancestry.com's DNA results

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a banner on Ancestry.com's home page, notifying those who have taken the DNA test that the original results were going to be improved upon, with more specific ethnic breakdowns. The other night I viewed my updated DNA results, and was really surprised at what I found.

 My original breakdown was:

 59% Central Europe
16% Eastern Europe
14% Scandinavia
8% Turkey/Persia/Caucasus
3% Undefined

 I had been surprised by the high percentage of "Central Europe" that appeared, considering that most of my mother's ancestors were either English or Scottish, my paternal grandmother was of Irish descent, and my paternal grandfather was an Eastern European Jew.

Celts were originally from Central Europe, and many English people were French before the 11th century, so I figured that might explain it (for some reason, Ancestry.com considered France part of "central Europe" for the purposes of the test results-- not sure why). I know that many British people have Scandinavian ancestry due to the Vikings raiding and later settling on the island.

 And I figured that the Eastern Europe and the Turkey/Persia/Caucasus comprised the quarter Jewish portion of my ancestry. My new results were baffling though-- they weren't merely more specific, but some seemed altogether different:







So it would seem that most of my ancestry is actually Irish. I would expect about 25%, because of my grandmother... but then I recalled that both of my 3rd great-grandparents on my Howes line were from Ireland.

It also needs to be remembered that these percentages are estimates with ranges... when I clicked on "Ireland", the actual range it gave was 27% - 53%. So this actually makes sense.

The European Jewish percentage fits as well, and the Scandinavia portion is about the same as the previous results. 

What is strange is the 11% Iberian peninsula; I have no Spanish or Portuguese ancestry at all that I know of, at least not more recently than the 13th century. 

However... I have a mysterious 3rd great-grandfather, John MACE, who seems to have had some kind of link to Spain. The death record of my 2nd great-grandmother (his daughter)  gives his birthplace as Spain, and a second cousin of mine told me that she had been told by her mother and grandmother that his wife (our 3rd great-grandmother) was of Spanish descent. I have traced her family however, and debunked this. The death record suggests that the Spanish ancestry may be on her husband John's side instead. 

MACE is a prominent New England name, though;  the original Mace ancestor was Robert MACE who immigrated in the mid 1600's and settled in Gosport, New Hampshire. Barring adoption or name change ("Macia"?), not sure how he could be Spanish either.

But family lore, the aforementioned death record, and now DNA indicate that there is something to this claim of Spanish ancestry. 

More on the mystery of John MACE here.