Saturday, July 21, 2018

23andme Updated Their Populations!!!

Honestly, I don't know how I missed this. My daughter recently tested two of my grandsons at 23andme and I noticed right away that they were assigned to populations not previously included in 23andme's reference populations. Many years ago my daughter, son-in-law, and oldest grandson had their DNA tested with 23andme. My son-in-law's parents were both born in Hungary, and his mother claimed to also have Romanian roots, partially due to border changes.

I was looking at my grandsons results and realized that they now included results from Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. I checked their father's results, and his results, too, had been updated to include Hungary (39.9%) and Romania (24.6%). It made me call a couple of friends, including Gail Burkholz. Her results, too, had been updated to specifically identify some German and Irish roots. How did this happen?

First of all, the reference populations remain unchanged. 23andme updated their populations to include 120 additional populations based on user-submitted data. For instance, I may have told 23andme that I have documented evidence that four of my grandparents emigrated from Oldenburg, Germany. They could then compare my DNA results to others making the same claim, and if the statistical analysis corroborated this fact, they may have become a "reference population" for others who claim ancestors from that area.  You can read an article describing their methods at:

If you have taken a 23andme test, please do the following:

1) Go to your home page.

2) Click on this icon.

3) Click on your "Ancestry Composition."

4) See if there are any subcategories that were not included in your previous reports. For example, this summary subdivided my British and Irish ancestry into "Ireland." French and German was subdivided into "Germany."  These results represent a significant improvement over previous results. I have received from 23andme.

5) Click on the "Scientific Details" at the top of the menu. Scroll down and view the 120 additional populations that have been added. This page has a LOT of information. You can adjust the confidence levels, review a list of the additional populations, and click on links describing in detail how these statistics were calculated. At the very bottom of the page, there is a "change log" that will list any changes to you ancestry results that have been revised by date.

Now I'd like to hear from you. I am curious about your experience with this update. Did the new results reflect your paper trail? How accurate did they seem to be? I'd love to hear. Email me at or comment on this blog post.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

1 comment:

  1. My new results are better - showing the Irish vs. the UK as I had always expected. Germany however remains problematic - lots of NW European rather than German when I know the German villages both of my maternal GGfathers and maternal Grandfather came from. I do understand that that area had lots of folks moving around and through it


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