Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Very Strange Results from LivingDNA

I just got my results from Living DNA. Not only are they different to the results from Ancestry and FamilyTreeDNA, which are sort of similar, but the Living DNA ones don't match the paper trail AT ALL.  In fact, I'd be thinking that the results belonged to someone else, except they got my mtDNA haplogroup - H41a - correct, and that is a very rare subclade of a very common haplogroup.

Living DNA Ethnicity Estimate
Ancestry estimates

FamilyTreeDNA estimates

LivingDNA says I am 98.8% European, Ancestry says 99%, and FTDNA says 95%. OK, they are similar.  They break down differently though. LivingDNA says that European component is 95.5% Great Britian and Ireland and 3.3% Scandinavian.  Ancestry threw Iberian Peninsula, Jewish, Italy/Greece and Finland/Northwest Russia into the mix, While FTDNA had the Jewish component, a Southern Europe (which I guess is about the same as Italy/Greece) and an East Europe (Finland?) portion.  The percentages were quite different, but the mix is similar

But where it gets interesting is with the British results.  Now I'll start by saying that according to the paper trail I'm about half Irish, half English with a tiny bit of Scottish thrown in (and that is from Wigtownshire - the most southwesterly part of Scotland). According to LivingDNA my results are broken down as follows:

    Northwest England               31.1%
    Southeast England               17.8%
    Cornwall                               14.6%
    Cumbria                               13.7%
    South Central England       5.30%
    Northwest Scotland               5.2%
    Orkney                               2%
    South Yorkshire                       1.8%
    Aberdeenshire                       1.7%
    GB & Ireland unassigned          2.2%
    Scandinavia                       3.3%

The map indicates that Northwest England is Lancashire & Cheshire, Southeast England is Kent & Sussex. South Central England is Gloucestershire, Somerset & Wiltshire and that Northwest Scotland covers most of the Highlands, plus Antrim and Derry in Northern Ireland (two counties where I do NOT have ancestors).

My analysis of my ancestry is as follows:

    Protestant Irish            25%
    Irish                            21.09%
    Cumbria                    12.5%
    Cornwall                    6.25%
    Scotland                    6.25%
    GLS                            6.25%
    Notts/Derby                    6.25%
    Kent/Sussex            3.125%
    Warwickshire            3.125%
    Middlesex                    3.125%
    Wilts/Som                    3.125%
    Unknown (prob Irish)    3.125%
    Cheshire                    0.781%

Now, I fully understand that some of the smaller amounts might not have come to me by the miracle of recombination, as 3.125% represents a 3g-grandparent and all their ancestors, and 0.7181% a 5g-grandparent, but the differences are quite startling. I'm even happy to say that the 3.125% Middlesex probably came there from somwhere else. And even given that at least 2 lines of my Protestant Irish are known to have come from England (or Britain at least) in the 17th century, it's possible that all that 25% is really English or Scottish.  But what about that other 21-25% of Irish Catholics?

Putting my results into their categories we get

    Northwest England               31.1%          0.781%
    Southeast England               17.8%          3.125%
    Cornwall                               14.6%          6.25%
    Cumbria                               13.7%          12.5% (OK, this result is close)
    South Central England       5.30%          9.375%
    Northwest Scotland               5.2%            0%
    Orkney                               2%               0%
    South Yorkshire                       1.8%            0% (though I do have 0.049% West Yorkshire)
    Aberdeenshire                       1.7%            0%
    GB & Ireland unassigned          2.2%           0%
    Scandinavia                       3.3%            0%
    Unaccounted for                                            67.9%
       (Irish, Lowland Scotland, Notts/Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex, Probably Irish)

I really had higher hopes for these results, given that a lot of the data came from the People of the British Isles Study.  I'll just have to see how my husband's results compare to his paper trail.


  1. Hi,

    I'd contact LivingDNA if I were you.

    Out of interest is your Irish really native Irish? I came out 0% Irish, with one grandparent being from Ireland. All his ancestors came over from England in the 1600s though, so 0% is actually correct. This also leads to unexpected percentages, as I am not sure where in England they were from. I assume that the unexpected percentages I received just have been from my where my Irish ancestors came from in the 1600s.

    Another explanation of course, would be that for some reason they are mixing up Northwest England with Ireland.

    Also, I hate to drop this here, but could there be an illegitimacy somewhere? You can disprove this if you match with your Irish cousins on say, AncestryDNA.

  2. Also think your assigning your ancestry to wrong categories, I would speculate as follows:

    Northwest England 31.1% 0.781% (don't know why, possible Irish mix up)
    Southeast England 17.8% *13%* (kent/sussex+ middlesex + GLS (is this Greater London South?)
    Cornwall 14.6% 6.25% (no idea)
    Cumbria 13.7% 12.5% (OK, this result is close/agree)
    South Central England 5.30% 9.375% (agree with your estimate but 4% off isn't huge)
    Northwest Scotland 5.2% 0% (possible Ulster plantation migration or just Irish similarities)
    Orkney 2% 0% (trace ignore)
    South Yorkshire 1.8% 0% (though I do have 0.049% West Yorkshire) (trace ignore)
    Aberdeenshire 1.7% 0% (trace ignore)
    GB & Ireland unassigned 2.2% 0%
    Scandinavia 3.3% 0%
    Unaccounted for 67.9%
    (Irish, Lowland Scotland, Notts/Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex, Probably Irish) (Warwickshire appears in South Central England, Middlesex in South East, Notts/Derbyshoire could be Northwest E. or South Cent.

    Worth noting that Living DNA are still refining there Scottish and Irish samples and there will be big updates in the future. Also, lots of Southern England/Anglo Saxon areas are very similar to each other.

  3. Hi Jenny. I'm an H41a too. My maternal ancestors for at least 4 generations are from what was Yugoslavia.