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Do You Know Your European Origins?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Do You Know Your European Origins by Country?

Review of European DNA Testing

By Donald N. Yates

Most people who buy a DNA test want to know what countries in Europe their ancestors came from. But the favored approaches of major companies like 23andMe have so far not yielded entirely satisfactory results, at least to judge from consumer feedback. This review article explores the reasons for this failing and proposes that DNA Consultants’ EURO DNA database based on forensic population data may be a more accurate measure of nationalities in our background than complicated and expensive microarray genotyping.

Since the beginnings until 1960, over 50 million immigrants settled in what is now the U.S., most of them from Europe. Before 1881, about 86% of the total arrived from northwest Europe, principally England, Wales, ScotlandIreland, Germany, the Low Countries and Scandinavia. Under the New Immigration that followed between 1894 and 1914 immigrants from southern, central and eastern Europe accounted for 69% of the total. Many of those were Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Romanian and Galician Jews.

Despite their strong European roots, most Americans know little about what nationalities contributed to their family tree. Many families single out one country of origin and ignore others. In the 2013 American Community SurveyGerman Americans (14.6%), Irish Americans (10.5%), English Americans(7.7%) and Italian Americans (5.4%) were the four largest self-reported European ancestry groups in the United States, forming 38.2% of the total population.

And then there are those who report just being “American." Often of English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish and/or Welsh ancestry that they cannot trace, given its predominance in the upper South (such as Kentucky and Tennessee), they amounted to nearly 10% in the 2010 Census, with this trend growing rapidly. Also, according to a Wikipedia article, two-thirds of white Americans have two or more different European nationalities, often four or more, and many "American" respondents may be cases where the person does not think any one ancestry is dominant enough to identify with.


Present-day European countries and major cities (Wikivoyage). Russia east to the Urals and five-percent of Turkey’s landmass fall in Europe. The broadly linguistic regions were similar as early as the sixteenth century and have been reaffirmed by DNA studies: British Isles (lilac), Scandinavia (blue-green), Russia (blue), Baltic (light green), Central Europe (green), Balkans (light blue), Greece and Turkey (purple), Caucasus (violet), Italy (orange), Low Countries (yellow), France (brown) and Iberia (rose).

An important article published last year by geneticists at Harvard and 23andMe drew back the veil on Americans’ European ancestry. It was titled “The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States” and appeared in the prestigious American Journal of Human Genetics. The authors found a higher degree of genetic mixing among all groups than previously suspected. “This study sheds light on the fine-scale differences in ancestry within and across the United States and informs our understanding of the relationship between racial and ethnic identities and genetic ancestry,” according to the authors Katarzyna Bryc et al.

According to the 23andMe study, African Americans had about one-quarter European genes (Y chromosome studies had put the figure as high as 30%), and some had significant amounts of American Indian ancestry (Oklahoma blacks led the country). Latinos carry an average of 18% Native American ancestry, 65% European ancestry (mostly from the Iberian Peninsula) and 6% African ancestry (compared to 3.5% for European Americans).  

Such fine-scale genetic analysis was made possible by affordable microchip technology involving more than 800,000 SNPs tracked longitudinally through cohort groups. But the analysis did not distinguish between different European ancestries, certainly not on a country-specific scale, and 23andMe’s European results—just as much as Ancestry.com’s or those of other companies using the “genetic strand” approach—have not exactly received a conqueror’s welcome in the ancestry market.

Chronology of European DNA Tests
Foundational to emerging European DNA studies was a 2008 article by Oscar Lao of the Department of Forensic Medicine in Rotterdam and co-authors: “Correlation between Genetic and Geographic Structure in Europe.” Current Biology 18/16:  1241-48. This study found that valid and meaningful genetic populations in Europe were defined by linguistic boundaries, which were largely in turn coincidental with modern national borders. This thesis makes sense:  people throughout history have usually married someone nearby who spoke the same language. The work of the late Martin Lucas of DNA Tribes underscored this bedrock population structure, at least on a regional basis, if not a country-specific one.  A burst of studies over the past five years have begun to paint in the genetic histories of various countries, such as England, Ireland and Belgium. Most of these ask for participants with four grandparents of the same local ancestry.

Previous European analyses had been content to match your Y chromosome or mitochondrial type to countries of origin reported by customers. The advantages of autosomal DNA are apparent if one considers that sex-linked tests target only two of your lines (your father’s male line and mother’s female line), whereas if you go back even five generations you have 16 male ancestors and 16 female ancestors (your 3rd great-grandparents). According to uniparental schemes of ancestry I should be 100% English. The diversity and surprising variety come in only if you dig beneath the surface and sift back through the generations.

It is suspected that the results even of “autosomal” (non-sex-linked) testing have not been entirely rid of skewed results and sample biases. The fact that samples often come from medical studies and the purpose of genetic research is largely aimed at medical studies, not ancestry, introduces an unavoidable bias, not to mention the suspicious preponderance of countries like England, German and the U.S. to the detriment of the nations of Eastern and Southern Europe. What about a truly autosomal method that completely ignores the gender of the tested person?  What about a database of European countries that is equal, comprehensive and unequivocal? What about a method that compares you only to Europeans, not European Americans? In short, what about a good European DNA test plain and simple that gives genealogy enthusiasts what they want?

Just such a product is available for under a hundred dollars with the EURO DNA Ancestry Test from DNA Consultants. It forms part of the company’s atDNA autosomal ancestry database, now in version 7.0, released in late June (N = 9,983). Since 2009, we have worked with Professor Wendell Paulson at Arizona State University, Mathematics Department, to develop a 10-loci STR frequency database for European countries/populations, forming part of our DNA Fingerprint Test. The 10-loci are: D81179, D21S11, D3S1358, THO1, D16S539, D21338, D19S433, VWA, D18S51 and FGA. On this basis, we have incorporated data for the following 39 populations from publications or online sources:


Albania/Kosovo (n = 136)

Austria (n = 222)

Belarus (n = 176)

Belgian - Flemish (n = 231)

Belgium  (n = 206)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (n = 171)

Croatia (n = 200)

Czech Republic (n = 200)

Denmark (n = 200)

England/Wales (n = 437)

Estonia (n = 150)

Finland (n = 230)

France (n = 208)

France – North (Lille) (n = 200)

France – South (Toulouse) (n = 335)

Germany (n = 662)

Greece (n = 208)

Hungary (n = 224)

Ireland (n = 304)

Italy (n = 209) (Replaced Italy n = 103)

Lithuania (n = 300)

Macedonia (n = 100)

Montenegro (n = 200)

Netherlands (n = 231)

Northern Ireland (n = 207)

Norway (n = 202)

Poland (n = 206)

Portugal (n = 150)

Romania (n = 243)

Russia (n = 184)

Scotland - Highlands (Dundee) (n = 228)

Scotland – Lowlands (Glasgow) (n = 494)

Serbia (n = 100)

Slovakia (n = 247)

Slovenia (n = 207)

Spain (n = 449)

Sweden (n = 424)

Switzerland (n = 402)

Turkey (n = 500)

This covers all European countries of significance in genealogy with the exception of the Ukraine and Latvia. The former appears in the World Matches part of reports, and while we are unaware of strictly Latvian data commensurate with the European standard, the neighboring countries of Estonia and Lithuania are represented in our current list. Minor countries like Iceland and Malta are not included, though data were available for them. The 39-country basis replaces the earlier 22-country basis limited to ENFSI (mostly European Union members) and goes beyond the partially updated Strbase 2.0.

How good is the EURO DNA Test? One customer, Jonah Womack, wrote to us in 2012: 

I just wanted to compliment everyone at DNA consultants. My father had always said our ancestors were from Czechloslovakia, and I was curious enough to put it to the test. Within one week of mailing my sample, I had the answers I was looking for. I was so happy to share the news with my father; the top 3 matches were all from eastern Slovakia. That objective evidence led to him sharing family stories I would have likely never known. All I can say is thank you, and this was money well spent.

With the new version of atDNA 7.0, I naturally raced to input my own DNA profile and check my EURO results. An early analysis with ENFSI (available online since 2004) gave me the following Top Ten results:





















The mystery of Finland and Estonia may be explained by the large Native American admixture in my genes:  recent research has suggested that Finno-Ugric peoples and Native Americans share a wide degree of deep ancestry in the so-called “ghost populations” of Stone Age northeast Europe or Ancient North Eurasians (ANE).[1]

But I was unaware of any Swiss, Swedish or Danish ancestors and felt dissatisfied with the list.

After improvements and additions, my new EURO results look like this:


Scotland - Highlands (n = 228)


England/Wales (n = 437)


Netherlands  (n = 231)


Finland (n = 230)


Estonia (n = 150)


Belgium - Flemish (n = 231)


Scotland - Lowlands (n = 494)


Romania (n=243)


Northern Ireland (n = 207)


Portugal (n = 150)

The listing continues with Italy, Czech Republic and Germany. The median falls between #30 France and # 31 Denmark. This “most on a par with each other with a few extreme outliers” picture seems to suggest that my European origins are a lot more diverse than the Top Ten would indicate. The countries below average frequency were Denmark (n = 200), Croatia (n = 200), Russia (n = 184), Belgium (n = 206), Belarus (n = 176), Austria (n = 222), Bosnia and Herzegovina (n = 171), Macedonia (n = 100), Lithuania (n = 300). On the face of it, I was less likely to have ancestry in any of these countries, and sure enough, I was not aware of any from my genealogical research. Statistically, I am ten times more likely to have Scottish, English or Dutch ancestry than Macedonian, Bosnian/Herzegovinian or Lithuanian.

DNA Analysis Checked by Surname
I next wanted to see how the top countries tallied with a surname count. Both parents had English surnames (Cooper and Yates), and this seemed to be reflected in the prominent position of England/Wales, while a Scottish grandmother (McDonald) and Dutch grandmother (Goble) seemed to justify Highlands Scotland and the Netherlands. We have already explained Finland. But what about the other countries?

Looking at the surname origins of my thirty-two 3rd-great-grandparents, I obtained the following statistics:

34% Scottish (Mitchell, McDonald, Johnson, Kitchens, Mason, Forester, Pickard, Proctor, Lackey)

25% English/Welsh (Barnes, Yates, Thomas, Goodson, Kimbrell, Cooper, Blevins, Wooten)

13% Dutch (Hooten, Goble, Shankles)

9% Irish (Ellard, Denney)

6% German (Graben, Redwine)

6% Portuguese/Jewish (Storer, Bondurant)

3% Hungarian (Sizemore)

An effective 3% percent, my 3rd-great grandmother Yates, who was a Creek Indian, had no surname. So that accounts for all strains and fits well with the new EURO results. The top three ancestries both in terms of autosomal DNA frequency and my Ahnentafel were Highlands Scottish, English/Welsh and Dutch. These were the most familiar ethnic origins mentioned in family stories and traditions.

Autosomal Population Analysis versus Genetic Strands
Let us compare these EURO results to 23andMe’s tabulation, expressed as percentages instead of a country breakdown ranked by likelihood. First of all, 23andMe has me as 99.2% European, with only 0.4% East Asian and Native American, in contradiction to the 8-25% Native American found in other tests from companies employing a percentage score. Of the 99.2% European, 46.7% is British and Irish—in agreement with my highest-ranked countries according to atDNA (nos. 1 and 7 Scotland, 2 England/Wales, and 9 and 16 Northern Ireland and Ireland).  40.1% is “broadly Northern European. Minor amounts are “broadly Southern European” (0.3%) and “broadly European” (2.8%), while <0.1% is “unassigned.” Of the Northern European, there is 5.3% French and German and 4.0% Scandinavian.

There is an air of scientific certitude about 23andMe’s EURO analysis. The listing of ancestry composition appears comprehensive and exhaustive. It adds up. But it is important to point out that the categories are regional, not country-specific. The only countries mentioned are France and Germany, which are not distinguished but lumped together—a choice that would create consternation in most Frenchmen and Germans. There are obvious flaws and limitations in their data and its interpretation.

One limitation is the special inclusion of “Ashkenazi” (of which I am said to have 0.0%) without a mention of “Sephardic,” historically the more numerous branch of Judaism. The DNA Fingerprint has discrete data for four Jewish populations in the World Populations (Israeli Sephardim, Hungarian Ashkenazi Jews, Chuetas, Majorca), as well as four ethnic markers, one of which is strong in Ashkenazi Jews and the other in Sephardic Jews.

The 23andMe approach could be called the omnium-and-gatherum method, with numerous blind spots. It is not, strictly speaking, evenly valid or consistent. It leaves a good deal lacking in reliability, too. Throughout history, Jews have converted or hidden their ancestry. We cannot expect them to come pouring out in the 21st century to self-identify for DNA surveys even if they retain knowledge of their Jewish past. Yes, perhaps some Ashkenazi Jews will sign up for the program and so identify, but one wonders about a medical motive and bias.

Unsurprisingly, Ancestry.com produced similar results for me—99% European, 0% Native American, with 61% coming from “Great Britain,” 15% Ireland and 0% “European Jewish” (equivalent to 23andMe’s Ashkenazi apparently). Presumably, Ireland comprehends only the country by that name, Northern Ireland being a part of Great Britain, although I have no knowledge of that much Irish in my family tree and Ireland ranks only 16th in my DNA Consultants results. Both Ancestry and 23andMe use high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) from Illumina, involving as many as 800,000 SNPs.

The Illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChip platform is also used in Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder autosomal DNA testing service (which I have not taken). A good description of the microarray process for genotyping technology can be found on a page at 23andMe, with a link to further information on the Illumina website.

In sum, next-generation genotyping technology seems to be accurate enough in assessing the broad picture of your European ancestry, but it is incapable of giving you a country breakdown. Only DNA Consultants’ EURO test, part of its DNA Fingerprint Plus ($279) and available separately for as little as $99, can list and rank the countries of Europe where your ancestors likely originated. It does this not on the basis of genome-wide assessment of hundreds of thousands of SNPs but by comparing your DNA profile to the scores of 10,000 Europeans identified according to 37 actual country names, from Albania to Turkey.

My EURO results matched amazingly well with what I knew from extensive genealogy research about my European forebears, beginning with all the English and Scottish lines right down to minor lines from Portugal and Hungary. With its “false Finnish” match it also indirectly confirmed the Native American ancestry that was evident in abundance in my world matches. Now if I could only find the elusive Romanians (no. 8) in my tree . . . .

[1] Lazaridis, I. et al., “Ancient Human Genomes Suggest Three Ancestral Populations for the Present-day Europeans." Nature 513/7518{2014):409-13 (known as the Reich article after David Reich of the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School); A. Seguin-Orlando et al., “Genomic Structure in Europeans Dating Back at Least 36,200 years,” Science 346/6213 (2014):1113-1118 (known as the Willerslev study after Eske Willerslev of Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen).


Curious commented on 25-Jul-2015 09:28 PM

I finally took the yDNA and mtDNA tests and a lot of the questions raised by my autosomal tests were answered. I'm R-M269 and H11a, both common European haplogroups. I'm a little more confident about where my ancestors originated; the autosomal test told me where they wandered around, but the haplogroups narrow down their origins some.

I'd punch my numbers into the ENFSI calculator and get some results that're pretty far removed from European origins. But from surfing around the Web I find that R1b really's spread about the globe. That's interesting in itself. I guess people with the I haplogroup would get closest (or closer) full-European results from that calculator. I've gotten a lot of information from Eupedia's site. I imagine that's fairly reliable.

I've sunk some money into all this now; I even took my Neanderthal Index. I'm not indigenous Native American, which I was beginning to believe from my autosomal test. I'm also not haplogroup I, which is said to be closest to true European (right? Wrong?). So this is fun and I'm happy I've gotten to take both the mt and yDNA tests along with the autosomal. One without the other could cause more confusion than the person started out with.

And can't leave out the Neanderthal Index, can we?

Robert Bury commented on 24-Sep-2015 11:03 PM

In my Family Finder DNA about 10% of my 800 matches are from people who have identified themselves as Jewish, Levite, or have Jewish names. All of theses people have at least 5 cM. segments on the 16th chromosome at the far right side. Is this a common segment for Jewish DNA?

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Jesse Montes: Where Do I Come From

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I grew up in the Southwest in Richmond, California. My father was from Guayama, Puerto Rico, and my mother was from Maui, Hawaii. My paternal great grandparents kept a diary and worked in the sugarcane, tobacco, and coffee fields and told stories of the Taino Indians from the island of Boriken near Puerto Rico.  My mother’s side migrated to Hawaii from Spain and Puerto Rico to work in the pineapple and sugar cane fields. My mom and relatives were in Pearl Harbor and some served in WWII.

My mom's maternal grandmother was born near Ponce, Puerto Rico. 

I knew that I had Spanish and heard there might be some Native American from my grandparents, but I did not know for sure. I always had a gut feeling I was Native American, but I did not know how to confirm this until I took the DNA Fingerprint Plus and your Native American DNA test. My Dad talked about having some Taino Indian, and I thought maybe I had a trace. I did not know. I was always very curious about my ancestry.

It was a big surprise to me what the tests showed! I have a Spanish name, but the Native American DNA test showed that I have Native American on both sides and have a match to Taino and possibly Cherokee. My Native American haplogroup, C1, is relatively rare and corresponds to Taino lineage.  I am assuming the Taino is on my Dad’s side and the Cherokee is on my mom’s side. The latter was especially surprising since I am from the Southwest. I have not done any other DNA testing, but my sister did. She did a DNA test from another company and was told said she had Cherokee which we thought odd, but this is just more confirmation. My DNA Fingerprint Plus report said the Spanish and French enslaved and resettled many Native Americans to the highlands of Puerto Rico, so I imagine that is where I got Cherokee ancestry. Also, the DNA Fingerprint Plus showed I have top matches to Native American populations in my world and megapopulations. It was a big surprise to discover I have so much Native American. Oh, and I discovered I also have some Jewish in my ancestry which was quite a surprise.

I am hoping to now be able to connect with some of my ancestors online on my mom’s side to discover even more from the Native American DNA test and to join the Dr. Yates’ Cherokee Project with DNA Consultants. Dr. Yates believes my mother’s line is Cherokee. I am very excited about that. You guys have my full support. I finally know who I am! This has helped me very much. It isn’t that it was just useful to me. This is a useful tool that would help everyone find out who they are. God bless you and what you are doing. You are a dynamic duo and have given me a golden key. I always had a gut feeling that I was Native American, and it was such a relief to find out I have a strong line of it from my mother. I am usually a very quiet person, but I am so excited about this that I want to be recognized. This is me! 

52-year-old Cherokee DNA Project Phase II Participant No. 20, Jesse Montes of Richmond, Calif., was interviewed by Teresa Panther-Yates, Vice President of Communications, August 6, 2014.


Luis Alberto commented on 27-Sep-2014 11:06 AM

Mr. Montes. I am glad of your findings. one of my family lines is Montes also. And, from Mayaguez, PR

The quest for blood lines is been here forever, Even before DNA was a fact of life.

The main thing in all these findings is that you are a perfect example of what you and all of us are.

Not only a part but as a whole we are member of the Human Race. Rejoice!
A single grain of sand that we contribute to rebuild our decadent society will be of great help, Nothing else, Nothing more. my fellowman.


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Destination Europe

Monday, August 18, 2014

European Populations in the DNA Fingerprint Ancestry Test

In the days before standardization of railway gauges, passengers were sometimes obliged to get out of the railcar when the tracks reached a border and climb aboard a waiting train on the next set of rails, which were broader or narrower in design.

An analogy is being able to fly to certain destinations only with a connecting flight. Unfortunately, because the U.S. and Europe follow different standards for reporting DNA profiles, the same situation applies in ancestry testing.

All DNA Consultants' results are based on published studies. The two main forensic conventions are those of the FBI (CoDIS) and Europe (ENFSI). The two standards are as different as electricity at 120 volts (U.S.) and 220 (Europe).  No one converter will plug in at your hotel room in Boston and Brussels.

When we have data that conforms exclusively to one standard or another, we cannot make up the missing values or "fudge" comparisons. There are no direct flights from Phoenix to Rome.

Introduced in May of 2013, DNA Consultants' new method for giving customers matches to countries of Europe where they may have ancestry underwent some enhancements to overcome these problems as of August 15 of 2014.

All full DNA Fingerprint reports now specify European results in several different ways, while the $99 EURO report will only give one result (no. 3, ENFSI).



Possible Matches


Top 50 world populations out of 450 all together

9 Core CoDIS Markers

181 European populations, e.g. Russia - Pskov (n=62)


Top 20 extended EURO populations without other world populations

10 ENFSI standard markers derived from all published sources

71 populations, e.g., Romania - Dobruja (n = 569)


Top 10 core European countries belonging to European Union*

10 ENFSI standard markers actually reported by ENFSI

24 populations, e.g. England/Wales (n = 437)


Top 10 Megapopulations out of 22

9 Core CoDIS Markers

10 European megapopulations, e.g. Mediterranean European


Map of World Ancestry

9 Core CoDIS Markers

Intensity of green shows strength of match, as before


Certificate of Testing

Combined methods

Your ENFSI matches appear in right column, your megapops in left


Ancestry Certificate

Your Personalized Report

Any population, megapopulation or ethnic marker can be displayed

As for special certificates ordered after you get your report, the match you specify must appear in the top world, European or ethnic panel results in your personal ancestry analysis. If it does, it will be reproduced exactly according to the nomenclature adopted from the original study, e.g. Italian, Filipino, Sub-Saharan African, East Asian. Customers may choose between American Indian or Native American, whichever they prefer. Only one population match per certificate! Available in hard copy exclusively.

(*) Note:  Nineteen of the European Union's 27 countries are included in official ENFSI data:




Czech Republic+










North Ireland











Those countries marked with a + are also included in our world data on a different basis (CoDIS).

Omitted from official ENFSI calculations either because they have not been sampled by ENFSI itself or are not in the European Union are:


















Almost all of these countries are covered in our world data (using the CoDIS standard). For instance, Greek - Northern (n = 318) or Lithuania - Vilnius (n=140).

Included with ENFSI populations are two countries that are not members of the European Union:



Between one dataset or another, a customer can find at least one match for any country on the modern map of Europe they might have exotic ancestry in, even Cyprus, Malta, Iceland and Turkey, which are often grouped with Europe. Bulgaria and Ukraine, for which no data at all are available, are estimated by neighboring populations across their borders.

Remember, multiple matches do not mean multiple ancestry! For instance, if you get 10 matches to Spanish/Portuguese, that does not necessarily mean you have 10 times the amount of that ancestry than if you received only one match.

The converse is also true. Many Americans are looking for confirmation of Irish ancestry, but there are only two sets of data for Ireland:  Ireland (n=300) and Northern Ireland (n=207). Setting aside neighboring populations like Scotland/Glasgow (n=494) and England/Wales (n=437), your Irishman or Irishwoman thus only gets two "lottery tickets" to enter in the Irish Sweepstakes. If Ireland or Northern Ireland comes up, its significance is not diminished by its sole appearance since there are only two possibilities available.

We wish you didn't have to carry an electrical adapter kit for European travel, but as stated above, we can't change the conventions any more than we can change the time zones. 


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DNA Consultants Method in a Nutshell

Monday, July 21, 2014
We often are asked, "How does your ancestry analysis work," and "What makes it different from other methods?" Principal Investigator Donald Yates was recently interviewed along these lines and here are his answers.

How do DNA ancestry tests work—or not work? It is fairly simple to explain the difference between first-generation tests that looked at your sex-linked lines and the new wave of admixture and population match tests that examine your whole ancestry.  The pitfalls of Y chromosome and mitochondrial haplotying tests are well known: information limited to only two lines in your tree, irrelevant broad matches instead of valid exact matches, false results from non-paternity events, outdated genetic theories about human prehistory and historical migrations and so forth. So-called "percentage tests" did little to alleviate the situation. Now many companies are claiming to test thousands of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). However, the inferences linked to these are mostly still based on sex-linked data, medical studies and haplotype surveys. That is not truly an autosomal method, since the meaning of autosomal is non-sex-linked.  The DNA profile method (CoDIS markers) offers the next best thing to "percentage tests." Using true autosomal data and capturing published STR values for world populations, it calculates your random match frequencies and can probabilistically predict ancestry according to several parameters, including metapopulations, megapopulations, ethnic marker affinity and rare alleles.

Above:  Each test in the DNA Fingerprint family of products starts with a 16-loci DNA fingerprint or profile from the lab. Green indicates the so-called "core CoDEX" loci, which yield the greatest coverage in population data. Yellow shows four additional ones for which there is a lesser number of populations, and blue shows two extra loci used in the European system (our EURO section). 

For more information

Autosomal DNA Set to Rewrite History of "Peopling of the Americas" (announcement)
Emerging Prehistory of Ethnic Groups (blog post)
Autosomal Testing Revalidated (blog post)


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Rare Genes from History Revisited

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Check Out DNA Fingerprint Plus $300 

It's been a year and a half since DNA Consultants introduced Rare Genes from History. We republish here the original press release from October 2012 as a means of familiarizing new and old customers with this unique autosomal marker test, exclusive to our company. Purchase now for only $149 ($134.10 with your customer discount).

For descriptions of all 26 Rare Genes from History, visit the product page

If you have received your Rare Genes from History results, we encourage you to discuss them with others in the free forums at DNA Communities. How many did you get? Were they European, Native American, African or Asian? Do you think you got a given rare gene from your mother or father? From both?


Rare Genes from History:  DNA Consultants’ Next-Generation Ancestry Markers

PHOENIX -- (Oct. 1, 2012) -- DNA typing has gone from successes in the criminal justice system and paternity testing to new heights in mapping genetic diseases and tracing human history. John Butler in the conclusion to his textbook Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing raised an important question about these trends. How might genetic genealogy information intersect with forensic DNA testing in the future?

"At DNA Consultants, that new chapter in DNA testing arrived several years ago," said Donald Yates, chief research officer and founder. "As we approach our tenth anniversary, examining human population diversity continues to be the whole thrust of our research, and it just gets more and more exciting."

The company's DNA database atDNA 4.0 captures and puts to use every single published academic study on forensic STR markers, the standard CoDIS markers used in DNA profiles for paternity and personal identification. In 2009, the company introduced the first broad-scale ethnicity markers and created the DNA Fingerprint Plus.

But its innovations didn’t stop there. In October 2012, the company announced the launch of its Rare Genes from History Panel.

Why CoDIS Markers?

“Theoretically,” noted Butler in 2009, “all of the alleles (variations) that exist today for a particular STR locus have resulted from only a few ‘founder’ individuals by slowly changing over tens of thousands of years.”

How true! Hospital studies have determined that the most stable loci (marker addresses on your chromosomes) have values that mutate at a rate of only 0.01%. That means the chance of the value at that location changing from parent to progeny is once every 10,000 generations.

So the autosomal clock of human history ticks at an even slower quantum rate than mitochondrial DNA. Like “mitochondrial Eve,” its patterns were set down in Africa over 100,000 years ago when anatomically modern humans first appeared on the stage of time.

Though the face value of the cards in the deck of human diversity never changed—and all alleles can be traced back to an African origin—as humans left Africa and eventually spread throughout the world, alleles were shuffled and reshuffled. Humanity went through bottlenecks and expansions that emphasized certain alleles over others. Genetic pooling, drift and selection of mates produced regional and country-specific contours much like a geographic map. 

"These rare but robust signals of deep history can act as powerful ancestral probes into the tangled past of the human race as well as unique touchstones for the surprising stories of individuals."

By the twentieth century, when scientists began to assemble the first genetic snapshots of people, it was found that nearly all populations were mixed, some more than others. The geneticist Luigi-Luca Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University proved that there is almost always more diversity within a population than between populations.

So if there is no such thing as a “pure” population—a control or standard—how are we to make sense of any single individual’s ancestral lines? Statistical analysis provides the answer. And rare genes are easier to trace in the genetic record than common ones. Their distinctive signature stands out.

Back Story:  It All Began with the Melungeons

About the same time as DNA Consultants' scientists were cracking the mystery of the Melungeons, a tri-racial isolate in the Appalachians, they became aware of certain very rare alleles carried by this unusual population in relatively large doses. The Starnes family, for instance, in Harriman, Tennessee, was observed to have a certain rare score repeated on one location in the profiles of members through three generations. The staff dubbed it “the Starnes gene.”

Soon, company research had characterized 26 rare autosomal ancestry markers—tiny, distinctive threads of inheritance that reflected an origin in Africa and expansion and travels through world history. Genes in this new generation of discoveries were named after some distinctive feature associated with the pattern they created in human genetic history--for instance, the Kilimanjaro Gene after its source in Central East Africa. The Thuya, Akhenaten and King Tut genes were named for the royal family of Egypt whose mummies were investigated by Zahi Hawass’ team in 2010.

The Starnes Gene” became the Helen Gene. Because of its apparent center in Troy in ancient Asia Minor and predilection for settling in island populations, it was named for "the face that launched a thousand ships," in the famous phrase by Christopher Marlowe.  

All 26 of DNA Consultants' new markers are rare. Not everyone is going to have one. But that’s what makes them interesting, according to Dr. Yates.

Coming from all sections of human diversity—African, Indian, Asian and Native American—they are like tiny gold filaments in a huge, outspread multi-colored tapestry, explains Phyllis Starnes, assistant principal investigator and wife of the namesake of the first discovery. But does that mean that her husband has a connection to Helen of Troy? The markers don’t work on such a literal level, but it does imply that Billy Starnes shares a part of his ancestral heritage with an ancient Greek/Turkish population prominent on the page of history.

Over the past two decades, geneticists have worked out the macro-history and chronology of human migrations in amazing detail and agreement. The Rare Genes from History Panel is another reminder--in the words of an American Indian ceremonial greeting--that “We Are All Related.”

These rare but robust signals of deep history can act as powerful ancestral probes into the tangled past of the human race as well as unique touchstones for the surprising stories of individuals.

For more information about the science of autosomal DNA ancestry testing, visit DNA Consultants or check out its Twitter or Facebook page. 

#  #  #  

Distribution map of the Egyptian Gene shows its African origin, partial presence in Coptic populations today (green dots in Egypt) and scattered incidence around the world. 


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Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Where Do I Come From: James Shoemaker

Real People's DNA Stories

Bible Studies, DNA Tests, Mother's Nursing-Home Confessions Lead to New Life

NOVEMBER 16, 2013 — Until he took an autosomal ancestry test, James T. Shoemaker had little concept of his heritage. He assumed he was just an average white European American like his Appalachian neighbors.

Although raised in a Pentecostal Church, Shoemaker always felt a strong pull toward Jewish culture. So last year he went to his doctor and asked for a DNA test. "I wanted to see if there were any Jewish lines in my ancestry," he said.

He ended up taking a DNA Fingerprint Plus, a complete analysis of one's genetic ancestry that includes ethnic markers and megapopulation admixture matches.

Fast forward from that first eye-opener and today the 53-year-old Waynesboro, Pa. resident is halfway through a conversion process to Judaism at B'nai Abraham, a Reform congregation in Hagerstown, Md., where he is being mentored by youngish Rabbi Ari Plost.

"I got all three ancestral markers for Jewish I, II and III," Shoemaker recalls, “so I went to see my mother, Jacqueline Rose, at the nursing home in Hagerstown, and she admitted, ‘Well, yeah, my parents, uh, they were both Jewish."

It was the first he had heard of it. “Mom never said a word about having Jewish ancestors. It turned my life around.”

The fact that he got a "double dose" of Jewish alleles in his marker results confirmed the truth of his mother's admission that both she and his father came from Jewish families.

Shoemaker next took a Premium Male DNA Ancestry Test to determine whether his father's Y chromosome line was perhaps Jewish. The results were delivered to him in mid-November.

His particular haplotype did indeed match several other Jewish men, including those with the surnames Brown, Hendrix, Shepard, Getz, Phillips, Lewetag and Sequeira. "The subject’s specific male haplotype (surname line) probably came from Southwest Germany or the Low Lands, to judge from the modal matches and patterns of distribution," according to the report.

As for the surname itself, the Surname History section (included in every Premium Male report, cost $325.00), had some valuable clues for Shoemaker's genealogy.

"Shoemaker is probably a translation of the Dutch or German equivalent Schuhmacher or Shumacher meaning "shoemaker." It is noted as a Jewish family name in Southwest Germany and the Saarland in France, including Lörrach in Baden (Lars Menk, A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames, Bergenfield: Avotaynu, 2005, pp. 673-74). It could also come from Schuster, a more common Jewish German surname (p. 675)."

A Mason since 1990, and flirting at one time with Messianic Judaism, Shoemaker feels as though his earlier attempts to connect with his Jewish heritage were blind and unguided without the hard testimony of DNA. "All these things I've been interested in with my studies and religious life now fall into place," he said. "I'm finding out why."

What lies in the future? This Pesach, Shoemaker will have an official bar mitzvah, complete with ritual bath and reading from the Torah. He then plans to attend Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. "What I am really looking forward to," he says, "is making aliyah to the Land of Israel."


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Native Americans Have Deep Ancestry in Europe: Yes, It's Official

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shocking, Long Overdue Revision to American Indian Genetics

By Donald N. Yates

The ecstatic waters . . .

Through their ancestral patterns dance.

—William Butler Yeats, "News for the Delphic Oracle"

We've been saying it all along but it looks as though geneticists may be forced by new findings in ancient DNA to admit that early Siberian people and present-day Native Americans both have strong roots in Europe, only secondarily in Asia. The nuclear genetic bomb was dropped by Danish geneticist Eske Willerslev at a conference on "First Americans Archeology," held October 16-19, 2013, at Santa Fe, N.M. The city that gave birth to the original atom bomb hosted a glittering roster of speakers in a venue better known for its turquoise jewelry, fry bread and avante garde art, including big draws Achilli, Adovasio, Dillehay, Gonzalez and Schurr.

The paradigm-shifting conference program will be commemorated with a book Paleoamerican Odyssey ($56) to be published by Texas A&M Press later this year.

Leaked reports in the news media focused on Willerslev's paper, "Genetics as a Means for Understanding Early Peopling of the Americas," which concerned the genetic sequencing of two ancient Siberians' bones discovered in the 1920s and now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Analysis of a bone in one of the arms of a boy found near the village of Mal'ta close to Lake Baikal yielded the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date.

Of the 24,000 year-old skeleton that was Exhibit A, Willerslev was quoted in The Siberian Times, as saying, "His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia." He added, "The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to 'western Eurasia.'"

The 4-year-old boy, who died 24,000 years ago in a homeland previously assumed to account for all the Indians who crossed a theoretical Bering land-bridge and founded the First Americans, had a male Y-chromosomal haplogroup of R1b, the most common lineage in modern Europe, and a female mitochondrial lineage of U, the dominant prototype in pre-historic Europe. As it happens, I am the same combination, R1b for male and U for female, as are innumerable others in our in-house study on Cherokee DNA, published, lo, some five years ago.

Whereas previous "peopling of the Americas" stuff has clung to and recycled haplogroup studies (sex-lines), the new shock research relies on autosomal DNA, total genomic contributions from all ancestral lines, not just male-only, not just female-only descent. The title of a blog from Eurogenes rightly emphasizes this:  "Surprising aDNA [autosomal] results from Paleolithic Siberia (including Y DNA R)."  

When we introduced the 18-Marker Ethnic Panel as an enhancement for our main autosomal product, DNA Fingerprint Plus, lo, again, these five years now and counting, we presented a map of prehistoric human migrations showing without any equivocation that "Native Americans," even as Cavalli-Sforza demonstrated two decades ago, were closer in genetic distance to Europeans than Asians. In fact, we claimed, on the basis of autosomal DNA, that having Native American I or Native American II was a result discrete and separate from East Asian, since Native Americans obtained frequencies of its occurrence as high as 80% and Asians were on the polar opposite of the scale, at the bottom for carrying it. Other methods frequently confused Native American and East Asian to the point of invalidity, particularly those products claiming to arrive at racial or ethnic percentages.

The moral is that autosomal DNA trumps Y chromosome and mitochondrial evidence, and only ancient autosomal DNA can truly explain modern DNA. Even one of the most antipathetic students of American Indian DNA, Theodore G. Schurr, seems to rethinking the rigid definitions that have built careers and won tenure for geneticists and anthropologists for decades. For the fanatics who have been toeing the party line on haplogroup Q, as set down by Schurr's company, Family Tree DNA, and its followers, we note the following statement of recantation or at least qualification, taken from the Santa Fe program:

"Tracing Human Movements across Siberia and into the Americas: New

Insights from Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Data."

In this paper, I present genetic data from native Siberian and indigenous

populations of North America that help to address questions

about the process and timing of the peopling of the Americas. These

new genetic data indicate that Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking

populations are genetically distinct from one another, as well as each

to Amerindian groups, and that the formation of these circumarctic

populations was the result of two population expansions that occurred

after the initial expansion of settlement of the Americas. Our high-resolution

analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has also reshaped the

organization of this lineage, making connections between New World

and Old World populations more apparent and demonstrating that

southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor.

The data also make clear that Y-chromosomal diversity among the

first Native Americans was greater than previously recognized. Overall,

these results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of

Siberia and the Americas from both mtDNA and Y-chromosome


"Genetic genealogy" has become a fashionable buzzword, but to my knowledge few research studies or blogs and hardly any commercial tests authentically combine the two concepts. According to genealogy, I myself am about one-quarter Choctaw-Cherokee and three-quarters European. But genetics says my mitochondrial line (U2e) is Eurasian, even though I have traced it to a Cherokee woman who married the Indian trader Enoch Jordan about 1790 in north Georgia.  Estimates from other "genetic genealogy" companies for my Native American ancestry, and I've taken them all, range from 0% (23&me) to 8% (Family Tree DNA, AncestryByDNA). 

DNA Consultants, the company I founded in 2003, does not give percentages of ancestry by policy, but half my top matches in our autosomal analysis are Native American, and North Asian/Siberian is No. 1 in my megapopulation result, followed by Central Asian and Native American (and only distantly by Northern European). On an autosomal approach, if not haplogroup basis, my genes are Native American, which is how I self-identify. If I were to be pulled over for being a brown person in the state of Arizona, where I currently reside, and Sheriff Joe ran my DNA profile numbers through the system he would find that I am 15 times more likely to be North Asian than Northern European, and twice as likely to be American Indian than East Asian, European American or Iberian American (Hispanic).

Read the whole analysis of my personal genetics, with actual reports from various companies, in the Cherokee Results pages on the DNA Consultants website. You may also find an extended study showing what autosomal DNA can do at:

Reconstructing Your Ancestry and Parentage (blog post, March 14, 2012)

If and when geneticists get serious about identifying the European sources of the American Indian gene pool, and hopefully they will round up not just one suspect (Denmark?), I would like for those who get paid and promoted to study us to please consider the following points:

—First New Cherokee Data Published in More Than Ten Years (announcement, August 1, 2012) - in-house study described numerous instances of U, findings published in Donald Yates' Old World Roots of the Cherokee.

—Stephen C. Jett, who taught geography at The Ohio State University 1963-1964 and then at the University of California, Davis, serving thrice as Geography chair and becoming emeritus in 2000, current editor of Pre-Columbiana, has frequently pointed out that just because Native American haplogroups match Siberian haplogroups doesn't mean the population of either Native America or Siberia was the same in remote history as today. He considered this a big fallacy of Big Science.

—Constantine Rafinesque, whose History of the American Indians was the first and most comprehensive treatment of the subject, believed all the early settlers of the Americas came "through the Atlantic," and only beginning about 1000 BCE did the Iztacans and Oguzians (Central Asian Turkic peoples) arrive. See our blog:  American Indian and Turkic People Share Deep Ancestry (June 6, 2012).

—Canadian environmentalist Farley Mowat, the author of thirty-seven books, has constantly challenged the conventional knowledge that Vikings were the first Europeans to reach North America. In The Farfarers he describes the Alban people of Old Europe as visitors and colonists from the time when walrus hunters discovered the sea routes to the West before the Bronze Age. America's original name of the White (or Beautiful) Land is mentioned by Rafinesque and in Hindu, Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Arabic, Algonquian Indian, Irish, Norse and Chinese accounts.  See "An Interview with Farley Mowat" on YouTube.

—Cyclone Covey of Wake Forest University, among other historians, has noted that Clovis Culture appears fully formed without any antecedents in America, with the most perfect examples of Clovis points traced in a cline of occurence in archeological sites to the Atlantic Coast.

—The earliest Americans clearly practiced the same Mother Goddess religion elaborately documented in the east Mediterranean and Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas. Their ideas of matriarchy or gylany (in Riana Eisler's coinage) did not come from Asia. See Archeologist of the Goddess (webpage) and "Syncretism, Not Animism" (PPT), a presentation given at the Sandy, Utah conference, March 29, 2011.

—When customers of DNA Consultants with various degrees of Native American admixture have their European population matches analyzed, a frequent top result is Finland or Finno-Ugric or Uralic. This "false match" could be explained by shared ancestry between the present-day Finns (where U is the modal haplogroup) and ancestors of Native Americans coming from Europe. Consider taking the EURO DNA test ($99).

—John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johannessen in World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492 (2009) document several plants that originated in the Eastern Hemisphere (not Asia) and traveled early by human hand to the Americas. For instance, Cannabis sativa (marijuana) moved from Western Asia or Europe to Peru by 100 CE, and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) was brought to Mexico from across the Atlantic Ocean by 1500 BCE. Both grow in profusion in Europe and temperate parts of Central Asia. Goosefoot (an important Ohio Valley Moundbuilder staple), cotton, coconuts, bananas, turmeric and North American myrtle likely took the same route. In the opposite direction, Mexican agave spread to the Mediterranean world by 300 BCE.

Archeologists described the recent news from Santa Fe as jaw-dropping. We expect that when the definitive report on the Siberian boy's 24,000 year-old genome appears in the journal Nature, where it is at press, their hair may fall out. At any rate, the European origins of Indians is going to be a game changer not only in genetics, but anthropology, archeology, government and, perhaps most significantly, in the self-awareness of millions of Americans who count Native Americans among their ancestors.


Our standard world migration map had the story right years ago.


Don Danielson commented on 30-Oct-2013 05:36 PM

I can add no data, only my applause. There are, truly, more similarities among people than differences.

James Stritzel commented on 11-Nov-2013 03:03 PM

CONGRATULATIONS!! For vindication of what you and DNA Consultants have been in the forefront of for years. Still will be fierce resistance but the light of your leadership is starting to shine and grow in the ‘Official Establishment’.

I remember and still have a book from the early 1990’s “Giving Voice to Bear” by David Rockwell. In it he wrote of the similarity of how Bear is depicted/revered/hunted around the sub-Arctic. Briefly wrote about a circumpolar subarctic culture. That has stuck with me 20+ years.

Here with Eske Willerley’s “….genetic bombshell….” is validation of what must have been pre-Columbian peopling of Americas other than the orthodox version.

Thanks so much for your dedication, determination and achievements in the DNA Field.

Jim Stritzel

Anonymous commented on 14-Nov-2013 09:18 PM

I have a lot of Siberian DNA as well as a lot of Greek and Iranian DNA, but come from Black Sea area/Georgia. But look European. MtDNA is H1b. Mom's dad's Y chromo is R1b. We were supposed to have come from the Caucasus in ancestral times. Lots of redheads in the family. Curious.

Bill Hucks commented on 20-Nov-2013 05:15 PM

This is one of many articles I've read on the Siberian boy. You mention that his Ydna is R1b, however it is not mentioned in any other articles. I'm very curious to know if R1b has indeed, been confirmed. --That was reported in the full version of the scientific paper.

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Autosomal Testing Revalidated

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Autosomal Ancestry Tests: More Confirmation of Their Stability

By Teresa Panther-Yates

How fast does the molecular clock tick? Americans, especially, like most everything fast. We don’t think too much about the word slow. But two scientists have changed our minds about that. As often happens in science, two research teams independently reached the same groundbreaking results. The breakthrough in the present case concerns the mutation rate of DNA and has profound implications for human evolution as well as for autosomal DNA ancestry analysis.

What is the DNA mutation rate? This is the rate at which a genetic marker mutates or changes over time. James X Sun et al in the recent article in Nature Genetics, “A Direct Characterization of Human Mutation Based on Microsatellites,” and A. Kong et al in the recent article, “Rate of de novo Mutations and the Importance of Father’s Age to Disease Risk,” in Nature both made an important, recent discovery. The speed of mutation in DNA is slower and more stable than previously thought. They discovered this how? By the magic of math.

How can math help us discover our ancestry? DNA is stable. Because it is so stable, we can calculate our way all the way back to when we swung in the trees and threw guavas at gorillas. (Even early man was in the trees longer than previously thought according to Charles Choi in his recent article in Science, “Early Human ‘Lucy’ Swung from the Trees.”) And these calculations lead us to the stories of our ancestors.

What does this mean concerning autosomal DNA ancestry tests? They have even more scientific validity. Second-generation DNA ancestry testing is based on these very genetic markers, and that is confirmation that the alleles on your DNA that are examined using a statistical basis have been relatively unchanged for the past 20,000 years. That’s about twice the length of what we call world history, hence a meaningful enough time frame for valid inferences about population patterns and ancestry of individuals.

These common and not-so-common markers that everyone has are behind the method making it possible for anyone to take an autosomal ancestry test. Autosomal or non-sex-linked markers change at a much slower rate than the Y chromosome, for instance, which seems to be highly changeable, depending on the father’s age (Kong 201). The Y chromosome is a marker only males have. It is used for other types of tests: male, haplotype, sex-linked DNA tests. Only males can take these tests, and it only provides information about that one male line.

Who knows what our DNA has yet to tell us? Or what DNA tests there will be in the future. This is an exciting new field. But what you can know now with a true and thorough autosomal DNA test is more than most realize is possible. The DNA Fingerprint Test is a simple test anyone can take that gives you a comprehensive snapshot of your cumulative ancestry.

Above:  Sample laboratory readout of a DNA profile or fingerprint.


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Where Do I Come From: Shawn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where Do I Come from:  Shawn

Real People's DNA Stories

Ethnicity Beyond European Migration

By Shawn

My journey into DNA testing began with my desire to expand on my known heritage, while clarifying debated Jewish ancestry.  What I have found in return is that my ancestral paper trail only uncovers a small portion of the blood that runs through my veins.  My DNA Consultants results, for the most part were quite surprising.  My European matches were fairly consistent with my country origins on paper and surrounding areas.  The major surprise, however, was that my number one European match was Romani/Gypsy and my number 10 match was Czech Republic.... 

Things became much more interesting with my World Population Matches.  My scores (in order) were Romani/Gypsy, Middle Eastern, African, Iberian, Central European, African-American, Jewish, Mediterranean European, European American and Eastern European.  I also came up with Native American admixture to top it off.  These results are causing me to believe that there may be a line or more of family lineages that I have yet to tap into. 

Looking back on things now, I have received comments from others concerning my phenotype such as "I'm not sure what you are,” "You don't look Irish" and "You must have some Black ancestry."  Some have even just assumed I was Hispanic or Caucasian.  Interestingly enough, almost all acknowledge that they see my Italian/Spanish phenotype, while a few also see slight Native American.   

While my results provided insight into how diverse my blood really is, they also put an end to an age-old family debate as to our Jewish ethnicity.  One of my relatives from a few generations past would passionately defend her position that our family line was indeed Jewish, while another family member would vigorously put forth his position that we were not Jewish.  He would try to prove our non-Jewishness any time he could.  I also had another family member along that same family line say that he almost did not get hired for a job because the hirer thought he was Jewish.  I always believed these accounts, especially since as young as I can remember I have found this side of my family (Italian and German) to phenotypically look Italian and/or Jewish.  

So where does all this leave me now?  My results show my blood is much more than simply Italian, French, Irish and German.  They confirm family testimony of Spanish/Portuguese/Iberian and Jewish ancestry.  Perhaps more interestingly, my results leave me re-assessing my ethnicity or multi-ethnic heritage, end years of family verbal passages or debates and leave me with intriguing new ancestries that are waiting to be discovered. 


Maria OConnor commented on 23-Jul-2013 12:42 AM

Shawn: Countries frontiers are artificial. For example, there are people of celtic heritage in northern Spain, northern Portugal, all over Ireland, all over England, all over Scotland, all over Wales, Southern Germany, northern France, Northern Italy, etc. All of them, even considering the come from different places have the same celtic DNA. So, if you have an ancestor from Spain or Portugal, could be of celtic origen, or mediterranean origen.
If a person has jewish sefardi dna, it could be originated from Southern Spain, Southern Portugal, North Africa, Middle East, etc.
Also, in South America there are great numbers of people of European ancestry, including non hispanic non portugue ancestry, like Irish, German, Italians, etc.
Is quite complicated, due to ancient and new migrations.

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Where Do I Come From: Monica Sanowar

Friday, July 12, 2013

Where Do I Come From

Real People's DNA Stories

A Red-Hot Tale from the Nation's Capital

By Monica R. Sanowar


I took my first test with Family Tree in 2006. This test showed my mtDNA as L3e2b2 and it went like this:

52% West African

39% European


0% Native American

I could not believe the East Asian part, and I shrugged it off and thought—that has to be Native American.

So, fast forward—I took another test with Ancestry.com. This was autosomal and showed:

48% - West African

44% - European


How can you be UNKNOWN?

Neither of these tests really breaks down what country your people may have originated from. So then I tried 23&me, their autosomal offering.

49% - West African

48.3% European - Central - Northern - Non-specific

and the leftovers were .7 EAST ASIAN & NATIVE (although the NA box did not turn red)


I knew from family history that NA was on both sides of my fence. I also was aware that I had four of the traits Melungeon people have. I have the ridge in the back of my head that you can lay your finger in; I have ridges on the teeth and I can make the clicking sound on the shovel teeth; I have the Asian eyefold, and the very high arches. Can't get my foot inside of a boot and if I do, I can't get it off.  I was amazed that I got my results in less than two weeks!

Finally, I tried DNA Consultants. Its test was the very first that didn't show "UNKNOWN" or non-specific. Everything was accounted for, although I did find a few shocks. No one told me about Sephardic Jews or the Portuguese. At last, a test verified my Native roots with valid matches to tribes or nations and confirmed Native American autosomal markers—from both parents, as I had been told.

I got into Native culture back in 1983 when I started to go to powwows. I finally felt at home. I enjoyed seeing people that looked like me, mixed. My great-great-great grandmother was listed on the FREE NEGRO LIST where it asked How Freed? And it was written BORN FREE. Then came a description— a light-skinned black, with long straight black hair and a small scar on her hand. Below is a picture of her daughter, Alethea Preston Pinn. Alethea's father was a white man named Allen Preston. Alethea had seven children with James E. Colvin, who was white, and all

of their children were put on Walter Plecker's list of "mongrels" not allowed to vote or go to school. That was 1943. Not that long ago.

So, I got a second cousin to take the test with 23&me who comes directly from

Sarah Pinn (the alleged light-skinned black woman). My cousin's haplogroup came in A2N - Native American.

I know that some things may show and some not, but DNA Consultants' test knocked the EAST ASIAN right off the page. I've learned a lot of different things with DNA testing, but DNA Consultants' is the best one I have seen and is well worth the money. 

I love it when these geneticists and genealogists out there decide what you do or do not have in your family tree, especially the Indian part of the tree.  As if this just could not have happened . . . .  I am proud of all of it.  I can just about hang up a flag from everywhere.   

I can't praise the DNA Fingerprint Plus enough and wish I'd known about it years ago. I really appreciate all of the knowledge and insight Dr. Yates has about genealogy and history that I was totally unaware of. I actually spoke to him on the phone at length and he truly made my day. I highly recommend DNA Consultants' service to people who are looking for the truth about their genealogy.

And speaking of spicy mixtures, check out my hot sauces at Sun Pony. They've got secret, all-natural ingredients just like the family!

Alethea Preston Pinn, my great-great-grandmother on my paternal side.

My mother, Mary Wood.

My great-aunt Lenora Wood.


Elizabeth Colvin, a granddaughter of Alethea Preston Pinn. "Contrary to the belief and convictions of many people, long hair really does exist in my family," says Monica Sanowar. "It isn't a made-up fantasy and this was long before hairweaves.  My cousin's hair was down to her calves." 

Guest blog author Monica Sanowar is the founder of Sun Pony Distributors Inc., makers of a line of all-natural, wholesome condiments and energy supplements found in stores up and down the East Coast. Her first hot sauce was Yellow Thunder and her Native name is Sundancer. SunPony's D.C. Redbone Hot Sauce is the official hot sauce of the Anacostia Indians, D.C.'s little known indigenous people, who were first recorded by Capt. John Smith in 1608.  Sanowar lives in Washington, D.C., not far from the Anacostia's village site, now a national historical landmark. Watch grassdancer Rusty Gillette in a video about D.C. Redbone. 

Phyllis Starnes commented on 12-Jul-2013 04:42 PM

Monica Sanowar,

I had the pleasure of analyzing your personal DNA profile and preparing your report.

I am pleased that our detailed report validated your known ancestry.

Thank you for sharing your experience with DNA Consultants.

Phyllis Starnes
Assistant Investigator
DNA Consultants

BCarr commented on 18-Jun-2015 02:57 AM

It appears that your DNA results of a preponderance of African and Caucasian genes is in line with the latest DNA studies that have pretty much confirmed that "Melungeon" is not a tri-racial (i.e. native American, Caucasian, and Portuguese) construct but rather a biracial heritage of mainly Caucasian and African DNA markers.

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