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I recently undertook an Ancestry DNA test and was fascinated by the ethnicity results, although not surprising knowing the history of the country of my birth, Mostly Dutch/Germanic (32%) and Scottish (32%) with English (16%), and a close 4th, Swedish (14%) and a bit of Welsh (2%) making up the European DNA. A smattering of "First Nation" Khoisan (1%)  and a smattering of slaves from Northern India (2%) and Nigeria.(1%)

I then decided to upload my DNA on another site - Myheritage - as my original tree was created with them and may have provided a better source for relatives.

This is where things get confusing.

According to Myheritage, my ethnicity is mostly English (38%), a close second Scandinavian/Swedish (34%) and not far off, Iberian/ Spanish (22.7%) (not even mentioned and not remotely close to Ancestry results - nor indicative of any ancestors in the tree). Scottish (2%) hardly gets a mention. They have similar results for Indian (2%)  and there is an indication of the mixed lineage "typical of settlers to Southern Africa although they do not provide a %.

Can anyone explain how these results are so different using the exact same DNA results?

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Hi Keith,

I had the same thing happen to me, with the same companies! I tested separately with both Ancestry and MyHeritage and had different results, some of which I'm still confused about.

I did a bit of research and found that the results depend on where/what the company focuses their testing on. It's very tempting to test with a couple of other companies to see what their results would be. 

Thank for the reply Kimberly. If the different companies have different results, without explanation, I would say it is pointless spending more money on the same test with others. They will all be playing the same guessing game.

It would be smart for an industry standard to be developed by scientist regarding region boundaries. Probably wishful thinking. It appears that ethnicity is based on each of the company's databases as reference point, the region you come from and in depth family trees they have on record of others similar to you. Here are some articles I found since posting the question.

So at best, its a guide based on records they have of other DNA samples.

I agree, an industry standard would probably be the answer to so many questions. I don't think the testing companies can pinpoint anything exactly.

Here's my experience: I am 2nd generation Canadian on my mother's side (both her parents immigrated from Scotland), and on my father's side I am probably 5th or 6th generation Canadian - once again through immigration from Scotland. However, family lore states I also have Irish, Welsh, French and Eastern European - some of that lore comes from a story that my maternal great-grandmother was a gypsy, either that or Metis - depending on who is telling the story. Then, there's the lore of my father's ancestors being banished from Scotland, sent to Ireland then shipped to Australia. Most of my Ancestry tests correspond with what I know for sure and also correlate with some of the lore, MyHeritage, on the other hand, barely acknowledged the British side of my family and focussed on the Eastern European side and then added in Ashkenazi Jewish! There has never been a hint of Jewish in our family - Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Scotland and United Church, are the only ones I've heard of.

I won't be testing with other companies, not only for the expense of it but because there are so many contradictions. I'm going to work with what I know for sure through documentation. I may never untangle the true stories and prove or disprove the lore. I know I can go only so far back in time. It's still a lot of fun looking into it and I have found some answers to questions my parents had - and, isn't that what it's all about? 



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