In 2016 I had my DNA analysed by AncestryDNA. In the three years since, all the genetic matches I have been able associate with known people are on my father’s side.

Recently I persuaded my mother to have her DNA analysed in the hope of learning more about my German forebears and to help connect with the relatives who sent my great grand parents the CARE package my mother remembers. (See Sweetened condensed care.)

My mother has few cousins and, it seems, German people in general are reluctant to offer up their DNA for testing. Apart from me, my mother has only 25 cousins who are estimated to be 4th to 6th cousin or closer, and her closest match on AncestryDNA shares 50 centimorgans of DNA (quite possibly a 6th cousin sharing 5th great grandparents). Her closest match on MyHeritage shares only 38 centimorgans. I have contacted several of these genetic cousins but I have not been able to establish our most common recent ancestor for any of them.

For the moment the only DNA match of my mother’s that I can associate with a known person is me.

AncestryDNA cannot recognise from the amount of DNA we share which of us is mother and which is daughter. It shows we share 3,405 centimorgans and that it is 100% confident that the relationship is that of parent and child.

Apart from telling you that you share DNA with cousins, AncestryDNA provides ethnicity estimates. I have always taken these with a grain of salt. They’re not meaningful. I last wrote about this in 2017 (Looking at my ethnicity as determined by DNA testing) where I noted an apparent underestimate of my German ethnicity. Then I had 100% European:

  • 59% from Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland, Wales and
    the Isle of Man
  • 20% Europe East
  • 12% from Ireland
  • 4% from Finland / North-west Russia
  • 2% from Europe-West
  • 2% from Italy/Greece
  • <1% from the Iberian peninsula

Ancestry’s more recent estimate is this:

  • England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 65%
  • Germanic Europe 25%
  • Ireland & Scotland 10%
  • Additional Communities: Southern Australia British Settlers – From your regions: England, Wales & Northwestern Europe; Ireland & Scotland -> Adelaide, South Australia British Settlers

So I have dropped Italy and Spain, and I have a new grouping linking me to my Australian forebears.

On my father’s side, five of my great great grandparents were born in Australia. I have connected with cousins who are also descended from these great great grandparents. The grouping makes sense.

On my mother’s side of the family all eight of my great great grandparents were born in what is now Germany, five in Brandenburg, two in Baden-Württemberg and one in Schleswig-Holstein. Based on their occupations, surnames, and religion, I have no reason to believe their immediate ancestors were from other parts of Europe.

My mother’s ethnicity reported by AncestryDNA is

  • Germanic Europe 69%
  • England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 17%
  • Sweden 6%
  • Ireland & Scotland 2%
  • Norway 2%
  • France 2%
  • Eastern Europe & Russia 2%

The estimates looks credible as they are all European. However, AncestryDNA reports that my mother has “Additional Communities: Southern Australia British Settlers”!

CB AncestryDNA ethnicity Oct 2019

My mother’s DNA results summary report from AncestryDNA in October 2019

AncestryDNA states about this community:

You, and all the members of this community, are linked through shared ancestors. You probably have family who lived in this area for years—and maybe still do.

The more specific places within this region where your family was likely from: Adelaide, South Australia British Settlers

It would seem that the Additional Communities derive from my DNA relationship with my mother. Since I belong to these communities from my father’s forebears, it appears that the DNA ethnicity estimates have been transferred by marriage! Not one of my mother’s DNA matches other than myself belongs to this community.

[When I attempted to explain this to him, my husband joked that it used to be said that after a while your wife seems to turn into her mother. AncestryDNA, however, has found a way of reversing the process. By counting half her husband’s DNA as her own, AncestryDNA is able to turn a woman’s mother into her daughter. The unfortunate husband, however, now finds that he’s copped his daughter for a mother-in-law, an arrangement no improvement over the earlier one]