Friday, November 10, 2017

AncestryDNA's New Arrangement of Ethnicity and Genetic Communities

An ethnicity report showing new arrangement of
Genetic Communities
You may have recently noticed your AncestryDNA Ethnicity Report and Genetic Communities look a little different and I've been seeing a lot of people who are confused about them so let me clear some things up. Ancestry posted on their blog about the changes, but didn't really address some of the confusion about it.

First, your ethnicity report hasn't changed. A couple of the category titles have change - for example, "Ireland" is now called "Ireland/Scotland/Wales" but in case you never noticed, that category always primarily included those countries. It has not changed to include more countries that it didn't before, only the title has changed to better reflect the areas it has always covered. Below you'll see a screenshot I took before the changes were made. You'll see the details for the category "Ireland" were always "Primarily located in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland" and "Also found in: France, England". If you look at the details for the newly named "Ireland/Scotland/Wales" you'll see it says the very same thing.

This is why it's so important to read all the details of each category, which they keep making harder and harder to find. Currently, you have to click on the category and at the bottom of "Overview" (you may have to scroll down and click "continue reading") there's a button that says "Read More". Make an effort to check this information for every category you have results in. If you haven't looked over it before, you may be surprised to see just how many countries or areas are included in that category, both primarily and "also found in", and just how much overlap that means it has with neighboring categories too.

"Ireland" always primarily included Scotland and Wales, too. The category
name has merely changed to better reflect these areas.

Additionally, your percentages haven't changed. You may now notice that some Genetic Communities are found as sub-groups of your ethnicity categories (see screenshot at top). Nothing about your results in either features has changed, they have just rearranged things so the layout and display is different. Some Genetic Communities are still found listed separately and these are now being called "Migrations" (see screenshot at top).

These numbers are merely how many sub-groups
(Genetic Communities) are found under that category.
Most importantly, I've seen people confusing the numbers found when clicking on "see all 150+ regions" with their results or percentages. I can't make this clear enough: these are not percentages and they have nothing to do with your personal results. They are merely the number of all sub-groups (Genetic Communities) which are available so they're the same for everyone. You will note that if you expand each category/sub-group, the numbers correlate to how many sub-groups there are, and once you can no longer expand to show more, the numbers disappear. Also note the screenshot I've provided (right) - compare it with your own and you'll see the numbers are the same. They are not a further break down of your results. When you click on "see all 150+ regions", the only indication of your personal results is that the categories and sub-groups (Genetic Communities) you have results in will have a colored dot to the left of them (and these are the very same categories and groups you've already seen on your personal results before you clicked on "all see 150+ regions" - there's nothing different here). Categories or sub-groups you have no results in will have a grey dot next to them instead. The only thing you get out of clicking on "see all 150+ regions" is seeing what other categories and Genetic Communities are available which you didn't get results in.

UPDATE Mar 20, 2018: AncestryDNA have recently updated the "See all 150+regions" section to better reflect what I explained above (shown left). Now, instead of just numbers on the right, they actually say "+13 regions" underneath the category title. Additionally, they added the words "No connection" for every group you don't have any results in, although the little grey dots versus colored dot are still there and remain another indication of whether you have results in that category (colored) or not (grey). So there definitely shouldn't be any more confusion. It's a wonder it took them this long to realize how confusing it was and make it clearer, but at least they have now.

(Also note, since I don't think I mentioned this previously, that Genetic Communities have a dotted line circling the little dot, whether colored or not, to distinguish them from the ethnicity percentages categories, which have no dotted line).

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for explaining the Genetic Communities numbers that pop up. Now I know.

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  2. Thank you very much for posting this! I'd spent quite awhile trying to figure out why the percentages under the "See All 150+ Regions" didn't match my initial listing of Regions. They should put a Subheading or Column above those listed under the 150+ stating what you said, that numbers indicate only the numbers and listings of Subregions and do not give further breakdowns, with a grey dot meaning no personal results. Again, thank you for the clarification and maybe this can get passed on to Ancestry DNA! :-)

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  3. Or.. like your statement says, "These numbers are merely how many sub-groups(Genetic Communities) are found under that category." And perhaps add, "and grey circles indicate no personal results". Again, thanks!

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    1. Thanks Karen, I'm glad it was helpful. I did mention at the bottom "Categories or sub-groups you have no results in will have a grey dot next to them instead."

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  4. I find it kind of frustrating/idiotic that they show all of these smaller sub categories, but can't break down how they apply to me personally! It jusy makes me irritated more than being useful in any way. There, I feel better now that I've gotten that complaint out of my system! Lol

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    1. They use to. If you clicked on any region that was 0 it would show the percentage range 0 to <1% now it shows grey nothing. These trace regions told a story too. They substantiated my family stories that were told for generations. Now it has been erased. I did take screen shots on some. So it did use too exist. Now they have an elaborate way of giving us less info.

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    2. Same!!! And they don't add up too. For instance when I click the "150+ regions" link, right next to the Native American it says 30 but then I click on it and all the other numbers don't add up to 30 so what does that even mean? What do the grey numbers mean? So confused.

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    3. I think "Unknown" is talking about the Genetic Communities, which have no percentages.

      I believe they removed the ability to see those "hidden" trace results because 1) most people didn't know about it and therefore got no use out of it and 2) when the results are that small/inconsistent, they aren't reliable at all, so they could have been very misleading to a lot of people.

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    4. SunShine, the grey numbers are the number of sub-groups in that category. The number of sub groups in Native American DO add up to 30, you just need to include the "sub-sub" groups. These are the groups under Native American:

      New Mexico 2
      Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato & Michoacán
      Western & Central Mexico 5
      Chihuahua & Durango 5
      Zacatecas & Aguascalientes
      Northwest Mexico & the Southern California Coast 3
      Northeastern Mexico & South Texas 3
      Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon & South Texas
      Nuevo Leon, Northern Tamaulipas & South Texas
      Ecuador, Peru & Chile
      Nicaragua & Costa Rica
      Central America

      That's not 30, it's only 12, but note that some of these have their OWN sub groups too. Add them in: 12+2+5+5+3+3= 30.

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  5. My trace regions have disappeared. And also my ability to see regions that have less than 1 percent. It is still my DNA and now it has been erased and now cannot substantiate the stories that our family has been told for generations.

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    1. Ethnic DNA is still very much an evolving science. Your trace regions should still be available, they are just now called "Low Confidence" regions.

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  6. I don't see numbers to the right of the regions like you show in the illustration. Instead I see "No connection" under every one, and in some cases, something like "+3 regions." The 3s for Great Britain match the illustrated ones, so they may have just moved them, but what does "No connection" mean?

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    1. They have recently updated it - "no connection" means you have no connection to or no results in that category or group.

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    2. Im also confused with the *no connection* label, maybe for a different reason...If I'm trying to establish a specific country my ancestors came from and for example I'm 50% Europe West and the sub region result is Germany and below Germany it says "+7 regions & no connection* why would Germany be the only Europe West result if I have no connection to Germany when Europe West could include France, Austria, Switzerland etc...???

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    3. If "no connection" means you have no connection to a specific group, why be specific about not being connected to that category or group. For example Germany if it were an ethnic sub region result of being 50% Europe West...Is Ancestry saying that of all the countries that make up Europe West your ancestors are not from Germany?

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    4. 2much - Not having results in a Genetic Community doesn't mean you don't have ancestors from that location, if that's what you mean. I have no GCs from Europe (only one "migration" for PA Settlers), yet I have recent ancestors from Italy and Norway (and other places further back), and there's no assurance of getting any GCs at all - some people may get none at all. It just means you don't have enough DNA shared with the people in the GC for it to show up. Equally, getting a GC in a particular location like Germany doesn't mean your entire Europe West results are from Germany - you could have ancestors from other locations in Europe West too, you just didn't have enough DNA shared with those GCs to identify it.

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