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Parents’ admixture without parents tested

NOTE as of noon EDT: The Ancestry press release says “Ethnicity inheritance, powered by SideView™ technology, is available now for all AncestryDNA customers.” Um… from what’s being said everywhere online, apparently not yet. But keep checking back if yours isn’t on yet…

Ancestry has launched a new feature today that gives DNA testers information about their parents — without having tested their parents.

Called SideView, the feature gives testers a view of what Ancestry calls “ethnicity inheritance” — the estimated portions of each geopolitical region included in its admixture percentages that were inherited from each side of the family, whether paternal or maternal, without having tested either parent.

The first step in a system that will eventually help identify matches by parental side automatically, it’s a kind of cool tool. It uses only the power of the tester’s matches to split the estimates into two sides, though of course it can’t determine which is the paternal side and which is the maternal side. The ability for us to designate which is which is coming and, as we provide that information, separating matches will be even easier.1

And — at least in The Legal Genealogist‘s case — well… let’s take a look.

My parents have fairly distinct geopolitical ancestry: my mother’s people were pretty much from the British Isles, with — we think — a little French tossed in way back; my father was born in Germany and his ancestry is solidly from the areas that today are Germany and north Germany as far back as we can find records. Only one geopolitical area in my DNA makeup has much of a potential overlap: some of my mother’s England and Northwest Europe may be that French, and some of my father’s German heritage may show up as Northwest Europe and get lumped into that same area.

So how does it look? Here’s the initial presentation, and you’ll find it under the DNA menu, then DNA Story, then Ethnicity inheritance.

Graphic of Ancestry sideview

Let’s break this down a little better in a custom graphic I put together:

Custom graphic of Ancestry sideview

Yep, it’s pretty much spot on. A bit of an overlap on the England and Northwestern Europe and then a clear division. The Parent 1 side is clearly my father’s side; the Parent 2 side clearly mother’s side.2

The presentation of the information is both visual (as in the first version above) and in a table that tells me numerically that every last bit of the Germanic Europe and Sweden and Denmark came from Parent 1 (which has to be my father), and every bit of the Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Norway came from Parent 2 (which has to be my mother). The only overlap is the England and Northwestern Europe, where — of the estimated 32% I have from that geopolitical region in my DNA — 6% came from Parent 1 and 26% from Parent 2.

So… what’s it good for?

Assuming this holds up in the long run, if I get a match I can’t otherwise identify whose admixture is Germanic Europe, Greece & Albania and Northern Italy, it’s a pretty safe bet that match won’t be on my mother’s side. If I get a match I can’t otherwise identify whose admixture is Scotland, Ireland and Wales, it’s a pretty safe bet that match won’t be on my father’s side. Of course, not everyone will share only one region with me or only regions from one parental side: if I get a match with Germanic Europe and England and Northwestern Europe, for example, it’ll be a toss-up.

And Ancestry candidly admits it won’t be this good for everyone: SideView will group matches “with a precision rate of 95% for 90% of Ancestry customers”3 — which4 means that about 15% of the estimates may not be all that good. The reasons are issues like endogamy (too many people intermarrying for too many generations in too small a community creating pedigree collapse on steroids) or too few testers in an area to produce reliable results.

But it’s a start. And remember: we will get the ability, down the road, to designate which is Parent 1 and which is Parent 2, and — again down the road — that will help trigger some automatic division of our matches between paternal and maternal (a feature 23andMe offers if we’ve also tested a parent5 and that Family Tree DNA provides even without a parent tested if we’ve uploaded a tree and identify enough of our matches to allow its system to function6).

Now this new feature also drove yet another update in our individual admixture estimates. So, for example, I have lost some of my Germanic Europe — again — and some of my Scottish — again — and gained more Sweden and Denmark — again:

Ancestry 2022 admixture

I’m not even going to bother with my usual warnings here. Just look at the changes in this one chart for one person in just two years, and remember that these estimates are called estimates for a reason.7

So… go check out your SideView… and have some fun.


Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Ancestry launches SideView,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 13 Apr 2022).

SOURCES

  1. See generally “Ancestry Introduces SideView, a First-Of-Its-Kind Technology That Gives Individuals Greater DNA Insights,” Ancestry press release, 13 April 2022, Ancestry Corporate Newsroom (https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/newsroom/ : accessed 13 Apr 2022).
  2. And, yes, I am absolutely confident everyone on my mother’s side will look at that 1% Norway as Viking. Skål!
  3. Ancestry Introduces SideView, a First-Of-Its-Kind Technology That Gives Individuals Greater DNA Insights,” Ancestry press release, 13 April 2022.
  4. If my math is correct, and that’s never a safe bet…
  5. See “DNA Relatives: Mother’s And Father’s Side Labels,” 23andMe Customer Care (https://customercare.23andme.com/ : accessed 13 Apr 2022).
  6. See “Family Matching Overview,” FamilyTreeDNA Help Center (https://help.familytreedna.com/ : accessed 13 Apr 2022).
  7. See generally Judy G. Russell, “Not soup in 2021 either,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 19 Sep 2021 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 13 Apr 2022), and all the earlier posts referenced there.
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