Big Changes in My Ancestry DNA Results! Did Your Results Change Too?

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I were chatting on the phone about her Ancestry DNA results. Her test results had just arrived and though some results were as she expected, others were quite surprising.

During the conversation, she mentioned that the results showed her relatives had all settled in the Georgia-Florida area. Umm, that’s interesting! When I had my DNA tested back in April 2016, it didn’t give me any results regarding which state or states my relatives had settled in. I just figured Ancestry was now providing more information than they had been back when I submitted my DNA.

Lo and behold, I got an email today from Ancestry DNA stating the info you see below. I clicked the button stating, “See your results” expecting there would be a few tweaks here and there, but no big changes. Boy, was I in for a big surprise!


First Ancestry toyed around with me a bit. Instead of giving me the newly updated results right away, they asked me to “rate” how I felt about the past test results I had been given. They listed all the results/regions/ethnicities they had assigned to my DNA in the past and using a slider bar, I was asked to rate how “Surprised” or “Not Suprised” I had been by the previous results. (See previous results in the screenshot below.)

I played along and moved the little slider in the direction that showed I had not been surprised with the previous results indicated I was mostly Irish/Scottish–my maiden name is a popular Scottish/Irish name.

For the Scandinavia and Iberian Peninsula results, I slid the little button the other direction indicating I had been very surprised by those results. Who knew my second highest ethnicity would be Scandinavia! That had definitely been quite the surprise.

I left the slider in the middle for the Great Britain results since that had not really surprised me either way.


The New Results

Finally, after completing the relatively short survey rating how I had felt about the accuracy of my past results, Ancestry DNA was now ready to reveal the new, improved updated results!

Ancestry DNA Keeps Updating Results

Below you’ll see the previous results of my DNA test on the left with the new, updated results on the right. To say I was surprised is an understatement, this was such a big change!

Turns out, my ancestors are mostly from Great Britain…almost 80%. Ireland/Scotland/Wales went from 27% to 17% and Scandinavia has now been precisely narrowed down to the country of Sweden and reduced to just 4%. It had been my second highest before.

All the other ethnicities that were listed in small percentages in the previous test results (Iberian Peninsula, Europe South, Europe East, Finland, Caucasus) have been completely removed and deemed no longer valid. Interesting, huh?New Results from Ancestry DNA


I did some research trying to figure out why the numbers had all changed so much and this is what I found at the Ancestry DNA website.


I’m curious, if you have previously submitted your DNA to Ancestry DNA, did you receive an email with an update recently? If so, did your results change this much?

Apparently, the science behind DNA testing is getting better and better and will continue in that direction as genetic scientist learn more and more people are tested. I find it all truly fascinating!

If you’re interested in having your DNA tested to learn more about your heritage, you’ll find a previous post where I detailed the process and how you submit your DNA here: Testing with Ancestry DNA.

You can purchase a kit to have your own DNA tested with Ancestry DNA here: Test Kit.  It’s completely painless, just involves spitting into a small tube and mailing it away for testing.

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  1. Yes! My results were the same for quite a while, but I have been on Ancestry for about 11 years overall. I knew I was descended from Scots Irish settlers, but my initial test reflected only 3% in Ireland.
    Fairly recently I got an update and that 3 had grown to 31% Ireland AND Scotland which was far more in line with my ancestors. The thing that threw me initially was an 11% rating for Scandinavia! That has changed to 3% Norway, 3% Finland–I knew that the Norse men raided Ireland and Scotland, thus the Viking blood. Think they actually established the city of Limerick. Later I think they moved to just intermarrying, finding that easier than plundering. I believe there has been a huge response to DNA tests, and I have seen that most recently in my changed scores, just as you did. It’s all just fascinating.

    • Wow, those are some big changes! As more and more folks get tested, the results get more accurate…bigger pool of results with which to work. I’m so glad Ancestry DNA keeps updating it as they learn more.

  2. Deborah L. McDonough says

    This is just fascinating and I love that they are refining the results to be more definitive. I’ve always thought I was mostly Scandanavian and Native American and am eagerly waiting for my results to arrive. I hope mine are as detailed as yours are!

  3. I received my DNA updates today too and surprised at the new information. This is one of the most interesting experiences finding people that I’m related to that I never knew. I’m 59% Ireland which I knew it would be high as my father’s great grandparents were from Ireland. The other percentage was Europe and various other samller areas. Isn’t this fun??

  4. We have mostly identical %s of DNA.

  5. I had my DNA done through Ancestry a couple years ago. I did not receive the email about updated results. I would like to. I did not allow my DNA results to be public and I wonder if that could be a reason?

    • I don’t think that would prevent an update to you, it just prevents your distant family members from being able to contact you via the Ancestry DNA website. I’ve had several contact me which has been wonderful since so much of my family is gone now.

  6. Hello cousin Susan. Since we found we were a DNA match, a whole new world has opened to me and using our match certainly helped me solve some problem areas in my tree. I thank you again for your help.
    My DNA ethnicity spread did change a bit but the surprise for me was seeing Sweden listed at 2%. I’m still mostly English with about 20% Scot-Irish.
    It’s all very interesting.
    Cousin Phyllis

    • Hi Cousin Phyllis, (I love saying that!) 🙂
      I’m so glad we found each other through our DNA testing! I would love to take you up on your generous offer to help me fill in my tree…I’m hopeless when it comes to that type thing.
      I did recently discover the name, Susan, may come from a great-great grandmother. I never knew I had a previous ancestor named Susan until I saw her connected as a relative at Ancestry DNA. Appreciate any help you can offer filling in some of the holes on my family tree. I would also love to hear more about the ancestor who you mentioned in a previous email!

  7. Mine changed from:

    Ireland & Scotland 44%
    Scandinavia 34%
    England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 14%
    Iberian Peninsula 3%
    Europe East 1%
    Europe West <1%
    Europe South <1%
    Finland/Northwest Russia <1%
    European Jewish <1%

    To now this:

    Ireland & Scotland
    England, Wales & Northwestern Europe
    Eastern Europe & Russia

    The biggest surprise is how my Scandinavian percentage went down from 34% to 9%.

    • Dawn, your Scandinavia changed a good bit like mine did. How do you feel about the update and the changes?

      • Kind of weird how the Scandi percentages changed so much for the both of us. Maybe Scandi, Irish, and English DNA is very similar and now we are getting more finely tuned results.

        The changes don’t bother me. I was just surprised at the change. But it makes sense I suppose as the only Swedish is my great-grandfather on my father’s paternal side who came from Sweden. I don’t know anything about his wife. And I don’t know the descent of my paternal grandmother’s side of the family. My maternal side is totally Irish and English.

        I live in MA which isn’t a hotbed of Scandi descent people and I had a man meet me for the first who asked if I was Swedish which blew me away as I don’t think I look stereotypically Swedish. I am short and dumpy with light brown hair. lol Well, I was light brown and I’m totally gray now.

        • So funny you should mention that because I had something similar happen to me a few years ago. I was at a pool party with two friends and another friend of theirs who is Scandinavian (and very much looked it) asked me if I was Scandinavian. I was so surprised and told her I didn’t think so but I wasn’t sure if that was in my heritage or not. She said, “Well, you definitely look Scandinavian.” When I got my DNA results, I thought, Wow, she’s right, I do have that in my genetics. So I was a little disappointed when it dropped so drastically. I wonder if green eyes are common in that area. My dad had blue eyes and looked very Irish. I think my mom’s eyes were brown/hazel. Somehow I ended up with green eyes.

          • I have gray-blue eyes. My maternal side are all brown-eyed except for my maternal grandfather who had blue eyes . I don’t know about the eye color on my paternal side as I haven’t seen any of them since I was a baby, and my parents divorced when I was very little and my father went back to Iowa. They are both deceased so I can’t ask them but I bet my aunt would remember what color my father’s eyes were. It doesn’t help that the old family photos are black and white.

  8. I do 23&Me. Nothing has changed dramatically.

  9. Faye Meyers says

    Yes, I also received the same email from Ancestry. My percentage of Scots/Irish/Welsh increased by 20% and Great Britain increased by 6%. My Iberian Peninsula ancestry is now gone – never even knew where that was!! lol

  10. I had my DNA analyzed by Ancestry last year…hmmm…wonder if I will get any updates… There were some surprises but I do hope updates will be forthcoming!! franki

  11. Judith Colburn says

    Mine changed to 100 % French! I have never seen anybody else that was
    100 % anything. I thought I should be mostly German – maybe 75 %.

    • Wow! I have never seen anyone with 100% anything either. That’s amazing! I guess that would mean either no one in your family ever married anyone who wasn’t French, or if they did, only the French genes were the ones that got passed down through all the generations.

  12. I received my results the night before St. Patrick’s Day last year. It said that I was 97% Irish. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I didn’t get any discounts on drinks the next day. I have not heard from yet.

  13. Having a DNA test is something I have on my ‘To Do List” and am wondering if any of your readers have had it done as a grouping and if the results were conflicting? For example; a brother and sister as read ‘the results may differ between sexes’. Last but not least; thank you for sharing Susan as it certainly is interesting. Wishing you a beautiful day! -Brenda-

  14. Debbie Hanna says

    I received mine today. My ancestry had been done on my Mothers Dad’s side since before existed. We know ours are right because of all the paperwork. My grandma and grandpa were 3rd cousins so hers is done too. Now my Dad passed when I was 3 but found a distance cousin who had been working on it for years. This is my Dad’s Mom side. My first results said I was 17% Scandinavian. We know the first grandparents that came over were from Scandinavia and what town. Their names are in a very old church to this day. The church was built in the 1300s. But my new results say now I have no Scandinavian. But my Great Britain raised from 38% to 50%?? I can’t figure that out. We have not found anyone from Great Britain. Everyone is from Western Europe. They spoke German when they came over and went to a church that a book was found all in German with my family in it. Now I can’t find anything on my Dad’s Dad’s side. But can that much Great Britain come from one side? I need to be on Who Do You Think You Are to figure it out. lol

  15. I got mine about 2 years ago and nothing has changed, that I know of. Somehow, the site will not accept my log-in now – so I cannot access my old or new results. It is infuriating and I don’t know how to contact them.

  16. I just ordered my kit. I am so excited! As a side note, I went through Ebates and received 7.5% back on my purchase!

  17. I submitted to a few years ago and have received no updates so far. I wish they would contact me as well.

  18. Yes, I have already had one update and am expecting additional ones as their database grows. My results were very similar to yours initially. My Swedish ancestry was 23% with the rest in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The update reduced my Swedish heritage to 3%. This was surprising to me because my paternal gg grandparents both came from Sweden and their parents were born there as well. What really surprised me is that Ancestry gave me the option of updating my results or leaving them alone. For a while, I left them, then decided to go ahead and accept them. I have my tree on Ancestry and have connected with quite a few cousins of varying degrees as a result of my testing. I am hoping for another update soon.

  19. Yes, mine changed too, Susan.

    England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 56%
    Sweden 20%
    Germanic Europe 20%
    Ireland and Scotland 2%
    Norway 2%


  20. My family (myself, husband and two sons) received the Ancestry DNA kit as a gift. Our results did change. Ethnicities were knocked off, different ones added. BUT what is most interesting is that I am only 12 % Germanic and my husband only 6%. Somehow, my sons are 55% and 48% Germanic respectively. I don’t know how they could be more German than my husband and I combined.

    Then to add more suspicion, my one son has 2% Swede and my husband and I don’t have any Swede at all. Meanwhile, the CM and Segments rightfully identify my husband and I as the parents, it also identified their proper Aunts and Uncles who also took the test. I emailed the support and they just boilerplate responded with a link to FAQs which did not answer my question.

  21. Has anyone else heard that the DNA testing companies are, or could, sell your data and results to third parties. We all need to be very cautious in this day and age when so much of our personal data is sold (as social media sites do so often — but tell us they don’t sell this data). Just think for a moment that a third party purchases this data (not that they are so interested in where your family is from, but maybe to determine your predisposition to diseases, for example). Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but just a word of caution before we rush to give up so much of our personal information.

  22. This is so very interesting – thank you for sharing. I have not yet done the testing but want to do Ancestry soon.

  23. My husband’s grandmother’s maiden name was Mary Dougherty she was from the Emerald Isle yet not an iota of his DNA shows that region. We are stumped. Even on the update!

    • You pull 50% of your DNA from each parent, but you don’t pull a little of all of their DNA. A lot of times folks only pull certain parts so he apparently didn’t pull that part. Dianne, Google that and you’ll quite a bit of info on it, including some videos on YouTube that talk about why we don’t pull all the ethnicities that a parent may have.

  24. This is fascinating, Susan!
    I have always wondered if you Americans know who was your first ancestor that emigrated to the US. I know there are a lot of Italian Americans who can tell it was e.g. the grand-grandfather and usually they also know the region/city he came from, so I wonder why don’t you know? The DNA results might tell you your genealogical roots are e.g. in Ireland, but you will never learn what area/city? Do you know the names of your ancestors? If so, have you ever thought about contacting Ellis Island? Here’s an article you might be interested in:

    • I know a little about my immediate grandparents although they had all passed by the time I was born. Most of the info I’ve learned beyond that has come from Ancestry since both my parents passed while I was quite young and in college. My sister and brother have passed away now, also…I was the youngest. Ancestry has filled in some of the blanks and each year I’m filling in a few more. The DNA testing has helped a lot because I’ve been contacted by several cousins who were matched to me and were able to give me additional information. I may be able to see Ellis Island records at Ancestry but I haven’t been able to go that far back yet, but again, I’m learning a bit more each year.

      • Oh, so sorry to hear that, Susan.
        I didn’t mean to be … mean… or too curious, I was just wondering if “Ellis Island” could also help you to get more information. But, I’m glad you found several cousins: your family tree is growing! 🙂

  25. Barbara Januscheitis says

    I did a webinar this evening on Beginning DNA and learned something interesting. My heritage has families immigrating directly from Germany on both my mother and father’s side, but my DNA results on Ancestry don’t reflect this as much as I would have thought. The leader of the webinar said that German and French may not show up much in ethnicity reports because the Germans and French do not test for DNA. Thus the DNA ‘pools’ are lacking in these regions. The Germans don’t test because they are skeptical and the French because until recently it was illegal to market DNA testing in France.

  26. I’ve had my DNA tested by Ancestry, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA. Despite all three using different testing methods, the results were fairly similar. I also had my mtDNA tested through 23andMe. Comparing my maternal line’s movement through Europe with my DNA test results, painted a basic, plausible picture of my ancestors. However, when I received the updated Ancestry results, percentages changed drastically or were completely deleted. Instead of nuanced, it felt more generic. If I had originally received the results presented in the update, and had not tested with other companies, I’m sure I’d have felt like it wasn’t worth it. So, for the feedback I gave to Ancestry, I expressed disappointment and disbelief. I told them their new results were wildly at odds with other testing, and I simply found Ancestry unreliable.

  27. This is so interesting. How did you find Cousin Phyllis? I have heard someone else say something like they can see names & birthdays. I have wondered how that can be. Does it take a lot of exploring on Ancestry results to actually find relatives. I always thought only regions were given.

    • When you join, if you like, you can choose to let those who are a DNA match to you (like cousins) contact you via the website. Often those who have been found to be related contact each other to help each other fill in their famiy trees or figure out how they are related to each other. I chose to let folks contact me via the website. Or, you can choose to keep everything totally private, which means your DNA matches can’t find you on the website and contact you.

      I also uploaded my DNA data I got from my Ancestry DNA test to the website GEDmatch, so I’ve been contacted by several cousins via that site. It’s free to upload your data there. I can’t remember now if Phyllis found me via GEDmatch or Ancestry, probably Ancestry.
      Linda, you can read more about GEDmatch, etc… in this previous post that I wrote:

      • @Susan & Linda: Also does has a message center for sure as even though I haven’t had my DNA tested while browsing their site, noticed that some one (x) was searching for relatives that were related to their GRANDFATHER whose surname was somewhat unusual … as so was the ‘maiden surname of his mother’ which was the same as mine. Long story short; out of curiosity I therefore followed the link where he (x) had posted a photo of his GRANDFATHER which I recognized immediately as being the eldest son of one of my Aunts who was the sister of my Father making her as his (x’s ) Great Grandmother. Secondly, as the spouse of what would have been another one of his GRANDFATHER’S Uncles (again on his mother’s side and last of that generation era) had left a message that included a bit of information; I offered what data I had (full names/birth dates/last known geographic location) that included two (younger) siblings of his GRANDFATHER whom he (x) never even knew existed and who in return was able to provide him with additional information relevant to ‘his father’s lineage’. To conclude; if anyone is doing a search I highly recommend that you do include ‘maiden names’ if, where and when possible and perhaps even a photograph. (Also ladies if having a grave site marker, make sure your ‘ maiden surname’ is included in big bold letters ….☺.)

  28. We did ours through National Geographic and the results told me a lot of what I knew about myself-partly through so much travel but partly through some kind of intuition about myself which is strange and hard to understand. At any rate it is all so interesting to consider the connectedness of mankind.

  29. Kristy Norris says

    Mine did the same! A complete overhaul of what I was previously. I’m not sure about the results to honest either.

    • I know, it does make you wonder about the validity. They say that they are getting more accurate, but it definitely gave me pause when I saw such a drastic change.

  30. My Scandinavian DNA changed from 56% Swedish to 40% Swedish and NOW 15% Norwegian. My question is where do I find out where these new Norwegian results came from? I’ve searched my ‘Tree’ and everything else but can find no mention of the 15% except on the DNA picture.

  31. Carl Vickoren says

    I recently got my DNA results back and I disregarded them because it said that I had only 30% of my background was Scandinavian. I didn’t believe it since my father was from Norway. Could you send me results again since not believing it I, threw them away. I apologise!

  32. I had the same thing happen. I received my original results in May 2020, but then in October 2020, they changed them.

    Originally: Scotland – 48%, England and Northwestern Europe – 31%, Ireland – 16%, Sweden – 3%, and Norway – 2%

    Updated: England and Northwestern Europe – 52%, Scotland – 22%, Ireland – 18%, and Norway – 8%.

    I am beyond confused by these changes…

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