Ethnicity Makeovers-Still Not Soup

Unfortunately, ethnicity percentages, as provided by the major testing companies still disappoint more than thrill, at least for those who have either tested at more than one lab or who pretty well know their ethnicity via an extensive pedigree chart.

Ancestry.com is by far the worse example, swinging like a pendulum from one extreme to the other. But I have to hand it to them, their marketing is amazing. When I signed in, about to discover that my results had literally almost reversed, I was greeted with the banner "a new you." Yea, a new me, based on Ancestry's erroneous interpretation. And by reversed, I'm serious. I went from 80% British Isles to 6% and then from 0% Western Europe to 79%. So now, I have an old wrong one and a new wrong one - and indeed they are very different. Of course, neither one is correct…but those are just pesky details…

23andMe updated their ethnicity product this year as well, and fine tuned it yet another time. My results at 23andMe are relatively accurate. I saw very little change, but others saw more. Some were pleased, some not.

The bottom line is that ethnicity tools are not well understood by consumers in terms of the timeframe that is being revealed, and it's not consistent between vendors, nor are the results. In some cases, they are flat out wrong, as with Ancestry, and can be proven. This does not engender a great deal of confidence.

I only view these results as "interesting" or utilize them in very specific situations and then only using the individual admixture tools at www.Gedmatch.com on individual chromosome segments.

As Judy Russell says, "it's not soup yet." That doesn't mean it's not interesting though, so long as you understand the difference between interesting and gospel.

Genetic Genealogy Education Goes Mainstream

With the explosion of genetic genealogy testing, as one might expect, the demand for education, and in particular, basic education has exploded as well.

I've written a 101 series, Kelly Wheaton wrote a series of lessons and CeCe Moore did as well. Recently Family Tree DNA has also sponsored a series of free Webinars. I know that at least one book is in process and very near publication, hopefully right after the first of the year. We saw several conferences this year that provided a focus on Genetic Genealogy and I know several are planned for 2014. Genetic genealogy is going mainstream!!!

Let's hope that 2014 is equally as successful and that all these folks asking for training and education become avid genetic genealogists.

Roberta Estes

The Crowley Clan Newsletter is
compiled by Marian Crowley Chamberlain