Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Parent and child comparisons at AncestryDNA

I've now had both my parents tested at AncestryDNA and their results have recently come in. By testing my parents I will be able to assign matches to paternal and maternal sides. My parents will potentially match people who are not on my own match list and they will have more robust matches than I do with more distant matches. I thought it would be a useful exercise to take stock of our matches, admixture reports and genetic communities to serve as a baseline for future comparisons.

DNA results and matches pages
Here is my dad's results page. He currently has 54 fourth cousins or closer, and 157 pages of matches making a total of 7850 matches. He has three shared ancestor hints, no DNA Circles and no New Ancestor Discoveries.

Here is my mum's results page. She currently has 116 fourth cousins or closer, and 212 pages of matches making a total of 10600 matches. She has no shared ancestor hints, no DNA Circles and no New Ancestor Discoveries.

Here is my results page. I currently have 66 fourth cousins or closer and 193 pages of matches (9650 matches). I have two shared ancestor hints, no DNA Circles and no New Ancestor Discoveries.

Note that the shared hints shown above do not include shaky leaf hints for the parent/child relationships. When I first checked the results hints were provided but the relationships were shown as aunt/uncle and nephew/niece rather than parent/child. I presume this was a bug as these hints have now disappeared.

As a result of testing my parents I've now gained one new shaky leaf hint. This is a predicted 5th to 8th cousin who shares a single segment of 11 centimorgans with my dad. According to the family trees they are third cousins twice removed and their common ancestors are William Cruwys (1793-1846) and Margaret Eastmond (1792-1874) who married in 1814 in Rose Ash, Devon. One of their sons emigrated to Prince Edward Island in Canada and this match is a descendant of this PEI family. Fortunately she has provided a detailed family tree, but I shall also look forward to corresponding with her and comparing notes. Interestingly this lady does not appear in my own match list so it looks as though I have not inherited this single segment from my dad.

I now also have a new filter on my match page

This filter allows me to see at a glance which matches I share with my mum and which matches I share with my dad. However, the list is restricted to those matches which are fourth cousins or closer. I can understand the restriction on shared matches for cousin relationships but it would be useful if AncestryDNA would let us sort our entire match list by paternal and maternal matches.

Comparing admixture percentages
Now let's have a look at the admixture results in more detail. AncestryDNA call this report an "Ethnicity Estimate" though strictly speaking ethnicity is self-determined and has no bearing on our genetic ancestry. AncestryDNA say that the admixture reports reflect our ancestry from "thousands of years ago". I cannot trace our family tree back thousands of years but here are the details of my dad's recent genealogical ancestry:
  • Four grandparents born in England: Bristol, Gloucestershire, London (x2).
  • Eight great-grandparents born in England: Bristol (x2), Devon, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, London (x2).
  • Fifteen great-great grandparents born in England: Devon (x2), Bristol, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire (x 2), London. One great-great grandparent born in Scotland (location not known). The birthplace of seven of his English great-great-grandparents is unknown. Four were probably born in Bristol or in a nearby county. Three were Londoners who could have moved to London from anywhere in England. 
Here is my dad's Ethnicity Estimate.

Here are the details of my mum's genealogical ancestry:
  • Four grandparents born in England: London (x2), Hampshire (x2).
  • Eight great-grandparents born in England: Berkshire, Hampshire, London (x3), Somerset, Wiltshire. The birthplace of one great-grandparent is not known but he was probably born in London.
  • Fifteen great-great-grandparents born in England: Bedfordshire, Berkshire (x2), Gloucestershire, Hampshire (x2), Hertfordshire, London (x2), Somerset (x2), Wiltshire.
  • One great-great-grandparent born in Ireland: County Kerry. The birthplace of three of her English great-great-grandparents is unknown. One was probably born in Hampshire. The other two were probably Londoners who could have come from anywhere in the country.
Here is my mum's Ethnicity Estimate.
Here is my own Ethnicity Estimate.

As can be seen, there is a wide variation in the results and there is little correlation between the admixture percentages and our known genealogical ancestry. Admixture results can sometimes provide useful insights but the results should not be taken too literally. It's also worth remembering that, although the percentages have been given labels based on modern nation states, the regions which these labels cover extend well beyond the present-day national boundaries, as can be seen from my ancestry map below. The Irish component actually extends over much of the United Kingdom. The Great Britain component overlaps with Ireland and extends into northern Europe. The Europe West component extends into southern and eastern England.

Genetic communities
Genetic communities provide information about our genetic ancestry within the last few hundred years. They are also a useful way of filtering your matches so that you can focus on the matches who have family trees from the same country and the same locations as you where you stand the greatest chance of identifying a genealogical connection. I'm currently in one genetic community for the Southern English. The confidence level is 95%. I have 63 matches amongst the 204,681 AncestryDNA members in this community.

My mum and dad both have two communities: Southern English and The Welsh & English West Midlanders. In both cases the confidence level for the Southern English community is 95% and the confidence level for the Welsh community is 20%.

My dad has 45 matches in the Southern English community and nine matches amongst the 58,768 Ancestry DNA members who are in the Welsh & English West Midlanders community.

My mum has 77 matches in the Southern English community and 14 matches in the Welsh & English West Midlanders community

Neither my mum nor my dad have any known ancestry from Wales or the West Midlands. However, on looking at the map of this community, you can see that it covers a wider area and actually extends into Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and North Somerset where we do have known ancestry.

I now have a lot of new matches to work with, and it's going to be a great help having my parents' results available for comparison. With autosomal DNA it always helps to test as many close relatives as possible. If you can't test your parents you should try and test aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins to get the best possible representation of the DNA of all your ancestors.


JenniferB said...

Quick question from a beginner... If I test my mother similarly now, can I add her results by attaching them to her profile on my tree or must she have her own tree/account with Ancestry? Thanks.

Debbie Kennett said...

When I ordered the tests for my parents I was able to add them to my own account.

However, AncestryDNA did trial a system earlier this year whereby each kit had to have a separate account. See this blog post by Leah Karkin on Upcoming Changes to Kit Registration at AncestryDNA: Keep Calm and Carry On:


That system didn't get implemented at the time but I did see something in one of the Facebook groups that someone wasn't able to add new testers to their own account so it may be that it has changed since I ordered my kits. You might want to confirm with AncestryDNA direct.