Ancestry DNA recently released new ethnicity estimates based on a more than 5 times increase in reference samples, redefinition of several reference populations and a restructured algorithm for comparing individual samples with reference samples. Below are screenshots of the new estimates for myself (LLL) and my two sisters (MLH and LKA).

A significant change affecting the estimates for these siblings is the division and redefinition of the reference populations in the British Isles and Western Europe. The three reference populations represented in the ethnicity estimates of these 3 siblings include:

  • England, Wales and Northwestern Europe (primarily England, Scotland and Wales)
  • Germanic Europe (primarily Germany)
  • Ireland and Scotland (primarily Ireland, Wales, and Scotland)

Significant in the changes from earlier estimates are the absence of Scandinavia, Southern Europe, East Europe, Iberian Peninsula and Europe Jewish; and the concentration of the estimates in the British Isles and Northwest Europe. The current estimates are much closer to the expected ethnicities of primarily German on our paternal side and primarily English and some Irish and Scottish on our maternal side.

The three siblings ethnicity estimates are compared in the following table:

Reference Populations LLL MLH LKA
England, Wales and Northwest Europe 50% 95% 69%
Germanic Europe 46% 2% 31%
Ireland and Scotland 4% 3%

These estimates are remarkably similar, considering the overlap in the geographical areas of the reference populations and the variation in the amounts of DNA inherited by each sibling from their grandparents and earlier generations. For example, MLH appears to have inherited less DNA from the paternal line (primarily German) than did LLL and LKA.