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Thread: MyHeritage

  1. #1
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    MyHeritage

    From the website, my two closest relatives are my sister and mother's cousin. I've 11 extended family members and they're all either British or American. 15,998 distant relatives don't concern me to check them all. On the other hand, here I will tabulate how many per country and break down the results. I'm not surprised to get Western, Northern, Southern and Eastern European relatives in that order. Interesting to see some far flung habitats taken up.

    BRITISH
    America: 8,707
    Britain: 1,228
    Canada: 532
    Australia: 423
    Ireland: 237
    New Zealand: 144

    EUROPEAN
    Germany: 113
    Netherlands: 85
    France: 79
    Sweden: 76
    Norway: 57
    Denmark: 33
    Finland: 20
    Belgium: 18
    Switzerland: 14
    Spain: 10

    BRITISH
    South Africa: 8

    EUROPEAN
    Italy: 6

    BRITISH
    Singapore: 5

    EUROPEAN
    Austria: 4
    Portugal: 4
    Romania: 4
    Hungary: 4

    BRITISH
    Japan: 4
    Cyprus: 3
    Guam: 3
    UAE: 3

    EUROPEAN
    Czechia: 3
    Brazil: 2

    BRITISH
    Puerto Rico: 2
    Trinidad & Tobago: 2
    Malta: 1
    Bermuda: 1
    Barbados: 1
    Caymans: 1
    Hong Kong: 1
    Taiwan: 1
    Thailand: 1
    Israel: 1
    Uganda: 1

    EUROPEAN
    Iceland: 1
    Luxembourg: 1
    Lithuania: 1
    Poland: 1
    Slovakia: 1
    Ukraine: 1
    Mexico: 1
    Ecuador: 1
    Greece: 1
    Estonia: 1
    Morocco: 1

  2. #2
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    Wouldn't take it too literally. The interpretation of this list requires a few caveats. As does most info from these sorts of tests.

    1. It's simply relying on the country each of your matches lists as their location. You could share an Anglo-American great x5 grandfather with some half-Japanese guy from Japan, or your first cousin could put Papau New Guinea for the hell of it - both results would of course be meaningless.
    2. The frequencies with which countries show up is going to depend on how many people from that country happen to have been tested, which varies quite a bit.
    3. It's including some fairly weak matches. Somewhere ~8-10 cM for a longest shared segment is when I start to trust matches as signifying something real. Yet a large portion of matches are below this mark.

    Can illustrate those points with my results (initially tested on 23andMe, transferred the raw data to MyHeritage using their free transfer).



    By percentage I have more Irish ancestry than any other ethnicity, yet it shows up below Britain and Sweden for me. Almost certainly in large part because more people from those two nations have tested with the site.

    In reality I shouldn't share much if any meaningful DNA stretches with Brits, given that the British ancestry I have is relatively remote, having left, mostly, in the 1600s to Colonial America. I suspect that most of my UK matches are actually through shared Irish heritage. On the other hand, my Swedish ancestry is on average a generation or two more recent than my Irish ancestry, which undoubtedly plays a role in my having higher numbers of Swedish than Irish matches.

    1/8 of my ancestry is Luxemburgish, yet Luxemburg only accounts for 7 matches on this list. There's no reason it should be so low and that e.g. Spain should show up before Luxemburg for me, but it does.

    In general these ancestry DNA tests aren't all that great for elucidating one's ethnic background. I think they're good if you have absolutely no idea - say, you were adopted. Whenever I see people talk about their results though, they're always taking them way too literally.

    What they do seem to be good for is genealogy. I've personally made a couple of discoveries, or confirmed some stuff that was tenuous based only on paper records, through my DNA matches.

    Probably the best example is how it led me to the figuring out the identity of my great-great grandfather. Before DNA testing he was the only one of my 16 great-great grandparents I couldn't trace further. I only knew that he was from Sweden, the name he went by in America, and a couple of dates from two US census records -- he died rather young, so this was all my family and I could go by. Reviewing my DNA matches, I noticed that many of my Swedish matches had ancestors from one particular parish, one that I had no connection to through the remainder of my traceable Swedish ancestry. Sure enough in the records from this parish there was a man whose demographics fit my ancestor's, whom I could link to the trees of some of my stronger Swedish DNA matches. Turns out that he had changed his last name. He was born with the surname Högberg in Sweden. At some point between his arrival in America and when he shows up in directory records from my hometown in 1895 he had changed it to Hedberg (to avoid an association with pigs, I would guess). His birth year and emigration year in the US census were also each off by one year, as it turns out. Because of all this, he absolutely would not have been discoverable through any means other than DNA.

    That, I think, is where the power of being DNA tested really lies. The individual companies' attempts at estimating your ethnic makeup and the reports they provide, in contrast, should be interpreted with a heavy dose of skepticism.

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  4. #3
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    There's nothing confusing about it. The US, UK and Australia are magnets for Irish migration; the US likewise for Swedish. If it's true that you're Irish, then you know very well that half the population is outside the island; this includes Anglo-Irish expelled much like the Germans from Prussia. I can't speak to the Swedish condition, but I've heard the same about Norway; I know at least that I'm closer to Sweden than the rest of Scandinavia because of colonial New Sweden and the rest were from the Viking era. That's why Germans, Dutch and Huguenots are closer from the colonial period, with those from the other parts of Europe generationally too far away to really matter.

    Anyway, in the colonisation of America, sometimes whole English villages were depopulated, or whole families left, if not merely becoming more common surnames across the water by increased opportunities for reproduction, due to affluence that lebensraum afforded. I'm not surprised that my top six countries are the Anglosphere minus South Africa and that Continental Europe is the next big bloc, with Italy less than the Cape. Regarding a few individuals here and there in Latin America and Asia, they're rather easy to pinpoint as people from North Atlantic homelands who are homesick and reaching out to relatives by genetic proofs that they don't relate with those around them.

  5. #4
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    How did you get all those matches?? I have none, but I was also born in a different country than were I reside ... maybe that's why.

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