Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Don't Rush To Purchase A Scottish Kilt Wardrobe DNA "Ethnicity Estimates" Are Misleading; but, might be good for business. 

This post is meant to help new family genealogists with DNA result queries. No question TV ads, etc. go far to compound “newbie” genealogist confusion with their ethnicity estimate percentage calculations. That guy who switched to wearing Scottish kilts based on his Scottish Ancestry single figure DNA estimates, or that overweight black woman who evidently starts wearing African head-ware based on her African DNA estimate really slay me – a great disservice here by Ancestry DNA management. Nothing is certain in an Ancestry ethnicity estimate! The single figure percentage presented in Ancestry's "Ethnicity Estimate" is developed from a probable calculated range... it is an uncertain and somewhat likely ESTIMATE!  

For example, my personal Ancestry DNA geographical area "Scandinavia" is estimated at 9%, developed from an algorithm where my personal DNA actual range from Scandinavia is 0%-21%; whereas, my "Ireland" estimate at 26% is developed from a 15%-36% possible DNA range. All single figure estimates are developed from a range that can be viewed in your Ancestry DNA Ethnicity Estimate by clicking "View Your Genetic Estimate" button -- "Show 3 more Regions" -- then click the specific region to view the full range of possibility. Additionally, in this expanded view, one can easily see that "Great Britain" for example – actually expands possible DNA sources beyond Great Britain to include most of France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, and The Netherlands. All Ancestry DNA specific geographical areas can be expanded in this way to include far greater surrounding lands than suggested by their single area estimate.

Also, when working back in your ancestry a half-dozen generations or more, the "DNA match" presented by these DNA ethnicity tests confirm little about your actual ancestry. These numbers as related to individuals in your distant past are not "DNA Verification" of true family connection -- such matches simply state there is a limited probability of DNA connection. At best, the Ancestry DNA geographic region can create a warm feeling that your genealogical paper research is on the right track. But perhaps this possible DNA region match actually originates from distant sources presently unknown to the tested person. Here again, an TV ad where a fifty-something woman claims discovery of her previously unknown 26% Native-American ancestry is highly suspect. How can this be?  First, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, this single figure geographic estimate percentage is likely developed from a far wider 10%-to-40% range of statistical probability. The most Christian answer is this new-found Native American lady was adopted and never knew her actual blood-related ancestors identity.  Or, a less Christian possibility... it might be one or more of her distant ancestors is actually Native American, where her paper ancestor(s) were not responsible for planting her pre-birth seeds. 

Oh, right... forgot... my bad... forgive me... all our distant ancestors were each pure as the fresh driven northern snows... nothing to see here... no funny business of a sexual nature ever happened in past times. Don't tell this to a parish priest with a locate Catholic Church in Herkimer, NY who refuses involvement in family genealogy research, this due to his experience where in a few past cases some hurtful nasty information about a researcher's actual documented ancestry was found written in his historical church records.         

Note: The kilted Scottish guy image displayed at the top of this post is based on an edited Internet-based image captured by simple Google search and displayed here in accordance with "free use" copyright provisions for non-profit educational purposes only. 

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