Alan Howard-JonesI’m Alan Howard-Jones, and I decided to participate in sending a sample of my DNA to AncestryDNA.

AncestryDNA uses the latest DNA science to help you discover your ethnic mix and even more about what made you who you are today by using microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations.

Here’s what the results had to say,

Ethnicity estimate for Alan Howard-Jones

ethnicity-summaryThe results of my testing showed my ethnicity estimate by comparing my DNA to the DNA of other people who are native to a region.

The AncestryDNA reference panel (below) contains 3,000 DNA samples from people in 26 global regions.  The reference panel is then built from a larger reference collection of 4,245 DNA samples collected from people whose genealogy suggests they are native to one region. Many of these samples were originally collected by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.  Each panel member’s genealogy is documented so they can be confident that their family is representative of people with a long history (hundreds of years) in that region.

AncestryDNA then compared my DNA to the DNA in the reference panel to see which regions my DNA is most like. The ethnicity estimate you see above (and in more detail below) is the result of this comparison.

When they calculated my estimate for each ethnicity region, they ran forty separate analyses. Each of the forty analyses gives an independent estimate of my ethnicity, and each one was done with randomly selected portions of my DNA.  My genetic ethnicity estimates and likely ranges for these estimates come from these forty analyses.

Let’s look a little deeper

As indicated above, my ethnicity estimate shows percentages in Europe West, Ireland, and 6 other regions.

70% Europe West


Primarily located in: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein

Also found in: England, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic

The Europe West region is a broad expanse stretching from Amsterdam’s sea-level metropolis to the majestic peaks of the Alps. Geographically dominated by France in the west and Germany in the east, it includes several nations with distinct cultural identities. From the boisterous beer gardens of Munich to the sun-soaked vineyards of Bordeaux and the alpine dairy farms of Switzerland, it is a region of charming cultural diversity.

Europe-West-mapThe people living in the Europe West region are among the most admixed of all our regions, which means that when creating genetic ethnicity estimates for people native to this area, we often see similarities to DNA profiles from other nearby regions. We’ve found that approximately 48% of the typical native’s DNA comes from this region.

The chart below shows my ethnicity estimate & range is 70% compared to the typical native who is on average 48% for the region.

This indicates that my ancestry is strong in Western Europe.


19% Ireland


Primarily located in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland

Also found in: France, England

Ireland is located in the eastern part of the North Atlantic Ocean, directly west of Great Britain. A variety of internal and external influences have shaped Ireland as we know it today. Ireland’s modern cultural remains deeply rooted in the Celtic culture that spread across much of Central Europe and into the British Isles. Along with Wales, Scotland, and a handful of other isolated communities within the British Isles, Ireland remains one of the last holdouts of the ancient Celtic languages that were once spoken throughout much of Western Europe. And though closely tied to Great Britain, both geographically and historically, the Irish have fiercely maintained their unique character through the centuries.


People living in the Ireland region today have a slightly admixed genetic structure, which means that when creating genetic ethnicity estimates for people native to this area, we see some similarities to DNA profiles from other nearby regions. We’ve found that approximately 95% of a typical Irish native’s DNA comes from the region of Ireland.

While my ethnicity estimate is lower than a typical native of Ireland, my 19% surely explains the ginger in my facial hair!


Trace Regions

These are regions where you seem to have just a trace amount of genetic ethnicity — there is only a small amount of evidence supporting the regions as part of your genetic ethnicity. Because both the estimated amount and the range of the estimate are small, it is possible that these regions appear by chance and are not actually part of your genetic ethnicity.

trace-mapSurprisingly, this is where I was certain the majority of my ancestry would be located, but the results speak for themselves!

Great Britain 4% 
Italy/Greece 3% 
Scandinavia 2%
Iberian Peninsula (Spain) 1%
European Jewish <1%
Europe East <1%

As you can imagine, I was surprised to only have a 4% estimate in Great Britain (compared to the typical native’s 60%).  All of my knowledge of our family lineage stems from England and surrounding regions.

Well, there you have it

In addition to this geographical data, AncestryDNA has also provided me with links to other people around the world with actual genetic ties.  In my case, nineteen 4th cousins or closer.   I will be able to reach out to these people, explore their family trees on Ancestry and find where our branches join together.