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Ancestry changes DNA ethnicity estimates

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By gpf13 - Posted on 20 September 2018

Ancestry recently changed the number of reference samples for ethnicity estimates from 3,000 to 16,0000, and as a result their estimates of a person’s ethnicity have become more refined.

In the case of my wife (who’s recent ancestors are all Mexican) and my (my recent ancestors are either from the British isles, or Austro-Hungarian Empire and Northern Germany) estimates, the changes make sense.

When you look at your results on Ancestry you can compare the two estimates, and you are given the option of accepting the revised results, if you wish.

Yes, my estimates have changed and now reflect that my great grandfather came from Italy. And the British region has dropped out. There were other changes but these are the most significant. Still about a third Native American (32% up from 31 %). Plus North Africa switched out with parts of West and Central Africa as trace regions . All in all fits better with what I am finding in the church records.


The original estimates did not reflect what I expected based on my research. I was concerned because they showed little French ancestry when my research showed that many of my ancestral lines were originally from France. These new estimates are more in line with my research of over forty years on my family. This is great news that they are continuing to use more sample sizes to moré accurately represent the estimates. As more samples are provided in the future, we should see even more changes to the estimates, though the changes will likely be smaller.

Thanks for reporting this,
Rick A. Ricci

Any idea which one is more accurate? Ancestry or 23and me?

It should be the one with more samples sizes and how they set the confidence interval. I can adjust the confidence interval, but haven't seen how many samples each site has.

My DNA in 23andme has changed a little (~1%) in 2 years for each region, but nothing like the 10% in the recent comments. Every % in my Dna matches pretty close to what's expected (Iberian, native am., afican) based on family tree, except for that British/Irish. I guess it is within their margin of error.

I got the new estimate. I know each company uses different references, but it's funny because last year FTDNA did their update and insisted I was I was more Sephardic Jewish than I was Native American, which I can neither prove nor disprove at this point, while Ancestry initially said I was part "European Jewish" and now decided that was Spanish DNA.

my first dna test that i had done was 23 and me and at this time there is no changes to my dna however i will still look for it . i have uploaded mine to gedmatch, genesis, family tree dna and some other websites. i haven't done ancestry dna yet but plan to sooner or later.

FTDNA recently reclassified me as 28% Sephardic Jewish. I’ve also tested with Ancestry, 23andMe and they show less than 3% Jewish. All three are similar with approximately 17% Native American component. Ancestry has accurately updated my results to reflect my maternal line as being from Campania, Italy.

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