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Differing DNA results, My Heritage & Ancestry.

(44 Posts)
BluebellGran Thu 30-Jan-20 21:42:59

I took a My Heritage DNA test last year which claimed I was over 96% Irish, Scots, Welsh. No English at all. I expected to be around 50% Irish from my mother but my father, whose ancestors are well documented, was from virtually all English stock. I called My Heritage to check that my result reflected both my parents and they said it did! Understandably I was somewhat shocked and asked 2 of my brothers to take the test as well. Their results were similar which was very puzzling! So... I recently took and Ancestry DNA test and the result was very different. It claimed I was just over 50% Irish, and gave the areas of Ireland that I know my mothers ancestors came from. And I was about 48% English - much more what I expected. It even put me in touch with other cousins whose DNA I share on my fathers side. What should I do? How could My Heritage be so wrong? I’m quite angry!

Dottynan Thu 30-Jan-20 21:51:13

My family and I had our DNA done by ancestry and seems to be pretty accurate. It has shown me a number of 2nd 3rd and 4th cousins who are related to my ancestors and have found the links myself. I personally trust Ancestry but do not know anyone who has used My Heritage

Eloethan Thu 30-Jan-20 23:08:51

It makes you wonder how reliable any of these tests are.

Chestnut Thu 30-Jan-20 23:20:23

I did exactly the same thing. The Ancestry test was fine, but this recently got 'updated' and was different. I found that confusing so I took the My Heritage test as it's supposed to be good. But the results came back completely different again.?
So now I can choose out of three different options, presumably whichever ancestral line I prefer. I'm now confused and disillusioned. ?

Chestnut Thu 30-Jan-20 23:22:07

However, they do link you up with cousins and there are definitely some relatives on the Ancestry site so that part of the DNA analysis does work. I haven't contacted anyone on the My Heritage site yet.

SueDonim Fri 31-Jan-20 00:39:47

As I understand it, your results are compared with those of everyone else who has tested with that same company. A big company such as Ancestry has many other results to compare yours with with, while a smaller company will have relatively few. If My Heritage is a smaller company they will have fewer results for comparison.

Have you looked at They have very good info about dna testing.

Davidhs Fri 31-Jan-20 09:02:17

The Ancestry is very comprehensive and will pick up relatives that you don’t know about, remember that works both ways. Relatives find out about you, more than a few family secrets have been revealed.

Chestnut Fri 31-Jan-20 09:32:13

Well according to this page Ancestry has 14 million DNA tests sold worldwide and My Heritage is the top choice with 100 million users.
Best DNA Test Kits
Having had different results from both of them I can't say what the answer is, although My Heritage gave me some very strange results which I wasn't expecting and which didn't show on Ancestry!

Esspee Fri 31-Jan-20 09:50:13

I have used “23 and me” which was recommended as reliable by Dr Michael Mosley.
I was interested in finding out my medical inheritance which was hugely reassuring (e.g. I don’t carry the breast/prostate cancer gene or the Alzheimer gene)
By contacting some of my closest cousins I was presented with a full family tree from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family which makes me keen to research the rest of my family once I retire.
I just wish that all these companies would merge their databases in the interests of their customers.

Chestnut Fri 31-Jan-20 10:06:34

BluebellGran looking at your original post your experience is similar to mine in that your Ancestry test seemed more in line with what you know of your family origins. And both our MH tests have produced strange results. I know it's impossible to be certain of our origins and some of the DNA can trickle down the centuries from someone way back, so I can accept that maybe someone got washed ashore from the Spanish Armada, or there's a bit of Viking there somewhere, but when MH says 1% Middle Eastern then I'm sorry, that is ridiculous. Especially when there was 0% in the Ancestry test!

Edithb Fri 31-Jan-20 10:10:42

I saw an American version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” and in both cases shown they didn’t need to bother with any research, it was straight to Ancestry and relatives were immediately discovered. Must be pretty comprehensive now.

Speldnan Fri 31-Jan-20 10:12:38

I wouldn’t trust that Ancestry place. I’ve heard their results are not accurate- read it and heard radio phone in on the subject. I’m sure you had to pay for the result?

Nanny41 Fri 31-Jan-20 10:26:22

My Heritage they are just after your money,my Son did his DNA through them and the results were very sparse no follow up at all.I did my DNA with Ancestry and had a very good result, giving lots of details about the areas in Ireland my family came from, I was very satisfied, My Heritage gave my Son the percentage of where he comes from nothing else, very disappointing. Do not trust My Heritage is my advice.

Chestnut Fri 31-Jan-20 10:26:50

Edithb when you say 'straight to Ancestry' what do you mean? Ancestry is one of the best websites for research so I would go there to research my family. That is nothing to do with DNA which is another matter altogether. You can either research through Ancestry, or have a DNA test through Ancestry, or do both! The DNA test helps you find relatives but it is no substitute for researching your own family.

pen50 Fri 31-Jan-20 10:29:36

There was some doubt as to whether one of my great-grandfathers was the man named on my grandfather's birth certificate (the marriage was seven months after the birth, in 1890.) However Ancestry has linked me to distant cousins who could only be related via that lineage. So one little query is sorted. It also shows me as 7% Scots-Irish which is in line with the birth-place of another great-grandfather.

Unfortunately the great-grandmother who "got into trouble" continues to elude me. I can't find any record of her from prior to my grandfather's birth, and the DNA matches haven't thrown up any obvious lines of enquiry either.

anniezzz09 Fri 31-Jan-20 10:36:37

I wouldn't trust My Heritage. I did it for myself and got the expected results so I bought a test for DH. His grandmother was French, father English but Portuguese way back. His results were rubbish. Being him, he phoned them up and got stuck in. Eventually someone he spoke to admitted that the French apparently won't let their DNA records be used so anyone with French blood will get a false result. Shame they don't tell people!! He got a refund!

Jaycee5 Fri 31-Jan-20 10:37:56

If you type 'How accurate are DNA geography tests' into the YouTube search bar, there are several scientists on different videos talking about how small the fragment of DNA can be that they take assumptions about and how much guesswork is involved.
There is also an article online about identical triplets who are on a US TV programme (one of those home improvements in a stupidly short time kind of programmes) who had this test done. Two of them were similar but the other was totally different although they must have had an identical heritage.
They are fun and seem accurate on kinship but the geographical ones not so much.

Chestnut Fri 31-Jan-20 11:00:32

I think this is still an inaccurate science because it's based on data which is not yet fully available. It depends on how many people have signed up, and it seems that different companies will produce different results based on their available data. I do know that Ancestry updates its findings when more data becomes available which is a good thing.

Septimia Fri 31-Jan-20 11:08:01

I've never been tempted by DNA tests - they're far too general and not specific enough.

A few hours on a genealogy website and you've found hundreds of ancestors and current family members - and lots of information about where they lived, what they did etc. Much more satisfying in my opinion.

CarlyD7 Fri 31-Jan-20 12:07:29

I had mine done through Ancestry and they accurately reflected what I know about my family - apart from the 3% Norway (no idea about that one!)

Chestnut Fri 31-Jan-20 12:17:42

CarlyD7 - I had a drop of unexpected Scandinavian DNA but one of my families came from a village in Essex which got its name from a Viking invader called Wuthha so that might explain it. ?

Grannyjacq1 Fri 31-Jan-20 12:19:26

There was a documentary on the TV a few months ago which showed that all the DNA testing companies they tried out (I think they compared 3 or 4) showed vastly different results, and that none of them were reliable. A waste of money, in my opinion.

BluebellGran Fri 31-Jan-20 13:09:38

Thank you all. I think I’ll contact My Heritage. Will post the outcome.

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 31-Jan-20 13:26:56

I did my DNA test on Ancestry and found a fair number of matches, however, I wondered if it was just because these people were already on my tree and Ancestry merely matched us up?
Then I had a message from a lady who said that I matched her half sisters DNA, which was surprising as she is from America and to be that closely related would be odd to say the least as my parents never went to America and her half sisters family never travelled to the U.K. , however she doesn’t have a tree on Ancestry! So I can’t check any names. Totally bewildered by it and now she has stopped replying to my queries. Probably a waste of time and money.

Sooze58 Fri 31-Jan-20 13:42:59

I have only done Ancestry DNA and it revealed that my father was not my father and I had a half brother. Unfortunately I can’t ask my mother anything because she died the same week I had the results but it seems my aunt and others knew. I understood my father to be from Czechoslovakia/Germany but it threw up more N German and Swedish ancestry and I now know this to be true. I would say that Ancestry DNA is probably more accurate!