Monday, March 9, 2015


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
- Langston Hughes

Screenshot of AncestryDNA test-taker "MW," whose Ethnicity Estimate shows 0.00% Native American and Asian admixture percentages, including the Range score where trace amounts can sometimes register. 
Let me guess! You have an "Indian Princess" story in your direct family line? Or your great-great-grandfather was rumored to be half-Cherokee? Or you've got photos, census         records, tribal enrollment papers and other anecdotal evidence proving your direct ancestor was Choctaw? In fact people tell you all the time that you and especially your grandmother have features like the Rosebud Sioux Tribe? So when you decided to take a DNA test, you were either mildly expecting or hastily anticipating Native American to show up in your DNA ( = ethnicity admixture percentages)? And now your results are in and got ZERO percent? OR a disappointingly low amount? OR another surprising ethnic component altogether? Yikes!
Is that about right?

In this "Recombinant DNA" blog and deep dive I'm going to discuss three general (and simplified) reasons why Native American genes would not show up in your DNA, and what to do if you suspect it is hiding (ie not being reported) in your results. I also provide examples of why you may need to test at more than one DNA company and/or the same company twice to find your elusive Native American ancestry. To choose the best DTC personal genome service(s), please see The Best DNA Tests for Native American 
Ancestry, where I discuss each offering. Also be sure to join our Native American Ancestry Explorer FaceBook group [recommended by Roberta Estes 2016 blog hereto share your story

But before I talk about why your results may be void of Native American DNA, I want to go over  a few quick points:
  • One of the most important things you must remember is that having Native American DNA is different from having Native American ancestry. This is because your potential inheritable Native American DNA could be lost every generation but you could still have real Native American ancestry in your family history. 
  • Genealogical DNA tests (including can’t tell you a specific Native American tribe you might belong to. Nor can you use these DNA tests as a basis for tribal enrollment, or to narcissistically declare yourself an "Indian."
  •  If you did have family members that were considered to be Native American, your DNA test results may not reveal any evidence of it. Especially if you come from a complex ethnic heritage. 
  • Only Native American tribes or indigenous families can determine whether to accept you as one of them, even if you have no Native American DNA or a lot of it. [see story of Haitian-born Native American adoptee].
  • What’s more, the Native American diaspora is poorly sampled as many indigenous populations refuse to test, making it challenging for these analyses to adequately identify your Native American DNA. 
  • Another downside to lack of NA samples is you're less likely to find a Native American match from a specific tribe. Moreover, these ethnicity admixture tests only provide ESTIMATES of your affinity (similarity) to reference populations chosen and labelled by each company. 23andMe, for example, built its ethnicity reference panel by choosing "candidate [reference] populations that appear to cluster together, and then evaluate if they can distinguish the groups in practice." 
  • This also means the ethnic percentages in your DNA results doesn’t literally mean you’re related to or have any genealogical connection whatsoever to that specific ethnic population. 
  • And even if you shared Native American DNA with another test taker it may not reveal the tribal origins of your shared common ancestor. As such, you should always test at more than one DNA company to form a range score of your estimated Native American DNA (ie 0% to 3%) and to maximize your overall genealogical DNA experience. 
  • New studies suggest there is NO credible basis or evidence suggesting indigenous peoples of the Americas descend from ancient Europeans (ie Soultrean theory) or ancient Iraelites. (see George Diepenbrock).
  •  Or it could simply be that Native American DNA is just not that into you.
Three Reasons Why Native American DNA Does NOT Show Up On Your Test Results ...

(1) Your "full-blood" Native American ancestor may have lived so far back in time that your NA ancestor's DNA has "washed out" by the time it reached your generation.
According to 23andMe, Native American DNA has been known to "wash out" in a few short  generations (about 5), especially if none of your other progenitors introduced it along the way. Wash-outs usually occur during Random Genetic Recombination, when DNA gets randomly remixed as it passes from parent to child --- some of it (ethnic components/DNA sequences from our direct fore-parents) eventually gets lost over time. This is because each child inherits random DNA contributions from his/her 2 parents (50% each); 4 grandparents (25% each); 8 g-grandparents (12.5% each); 16 gg-grandparents (6.25% each); 32 ggg-grandparents (3.125%); 64 gggg-grandparents (1.56% each), etc. as the table here illustrates:
As you can see the farther your NA ancestor is removed from your generation, the more likely your average DNA contributions from this NA is to show up in low admixture percentages or none at all. For example, if one of your 32 ggg-grandparents was full-blood Native American, you stand to inherit up to 3.125% of that ggg-grandparent's DNA. Since the DNA you will inherit from your parentage is RANDOM and your ancestors will rarely be 100% of any one ethnicity, it is theoretically possible for you to inherit non-Native American DNA from this ancestor if other ethnic components are present and according to when this NA ancestor was introduced to the bloodline. For example Native Americans are known to have varying amounts of East Asian and Eurasian admixture due sharing ancestral populations with them. And after 15th century, Native Americans became admixed with Europeans and Africans.  

NOW HERE'S THE TRICKY PART! You don't inherit your reshuffled DNA in fixed percentages as the chart above suggests. Rather you inherit your DNA sequences in chunks or segments of varying "lengths" (aka CentiMorgans) as shown in this illustration:

So starting with your grandparents, you will actually NOT get 25% DNA equally from each one. Instead the contributions per grandparent could be more like:

  • 15%  from grandparent #1 
  • 35% from grandparent #2 
  • 40% from grandparent #3
  • 10% from  grandparent #4

Now imagine if we apply my "genetic formula" to your grandparent #4, who in turn was descended from your hypothetical Native American ggg-grandparent mentioned earlier. Your grandparent #4  could have only inherited about 12.5%(+/-) NA DNA from his g-grandparent (full blood Native American) and it might be less than average amount. 

Question: How much of the 10% DNA you inherited from your  grandparent #4 will consist of the 12.5%(+/-) Native American DNA contribution that he received from his g-grandparent (= ggg-grandparent)?

 At the 5th generation for YOU, chances are equally likely to be anywhere 0.00% to 3.125%(+/-) NA DNA depending on how much NA DNA grandparent #4 gave your parent, and if your parent passed any of it to you (see How Much Of Your Genome Do You Inherit From a Particular Grandparent). While you will definitely inherit DNA from your grandparent #4 (@ 10%), it may not include any DNA that can identified as Native American. In my own family I have a relative who did not receive any NA DNA from his parents, even though his father has a NA mtDNA haplogroup (B2) and whose DNA-tested close paternal relatives (aunt, uncle, cousins) scoring 2%(+/-) NA (inclusive of shared NA DNA segments). Instead my relative got 4% Southeast Asian (SEA). He just didn't get any of the NA DNA from his father, noting the SEA component in this branch of my family is related to Malagasy peoples (see Sergio Tofanelli, et al and Teresa Vega's blog) ancestry, and much stronger than the Native American. Go figure. 

Indian Removals. Trail of Tears. Source: Wikipedia
Wash-outs also happen when no additional Native American DNA  is introduced to your blood line.  This is very common in the  United States where events like Indian Removals prevented indigenous peoples from integrating with the general population. To this point, Latinos in US descend from ancestors whose circumstances allowed for extensive Amerindian intermixing with European and African populations in Latin America, which is why Latinos usually show higher amounts of Native American DNA on atDNA tests. In the US, Native American removal and extermination events coupled with "regional impacts of slavery, immigration, migration and colonization within the United States" [see 23andMe study: Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United Statesbest explains why Native American DNA often shows up in low or ghostly (0.00%) amounts for Americans (and Canadians). The good news is that even in small amounts (below 2%) Native American ancestry can be very REAL so you might not want to be so quick to dismiss it as statistical noise. Of course this also means your ancestors had limited interaction with Native Americans and chances are none of their DNA got into you.

The following example below illustrates how fast Native American DNA can wash out. Here is a father who is a descendant from the Cree/Salteaux tribe; he inherited 10% NA. His daughter with 7% NA, and his grandson with only 3%. His grandson may not pass any or all of his NA DNA to his own children at the rate of decrease:
DNA Test results for the family of Amy Fournier Ruffi. Used by permission.

(2) It is possible your ancestors were not Native American by blood. 

Irish rock band The Indians. Used here as satire. No disrespect intended.

This one can be hard for many of you because your DNA results may contradict what you believe or have been told about your fabled Native American ancestry. Let's say you have evidentiary proof that one of your 2nd-great-grandparents were enrolled into a tribe and belonged to a NA family, but your DNA results show 0.00% NA DNA. In this instance it's possible for your  2nd=great-grandparent to have been Native American by adoption, marriage or some other circumstantial situation where a legal (not genetic) relationship can be established. For example Freedmen (former African slaves of Cherokee, Choctaw, etc) and free persons of color (ie Black Seminoles) are enrolled tribal members, but not all of them "cohabitated" with Native American-descended members of their tribe. In Northeast US and Canada the French allied with indigenous tribes [see French & Indian War] and lived among them, but this could have excluded genetic material being exchanged between the two groups in many instances. Also consider other Asian populations like Filipinos, Chinese, Polynesian and Malagasy populations that came to the Americas by freewill or force. In the 18th and 19th centuries many of these Asian populations were often been lumped together with Native Americans especially for racial classification purposes. Of course these Asian groups also intermixed and lived with Native American populations like the Filipinos of the Nooksack Tribe and Filipino Mexicans, which have been arriving to Mexico since the 1500's. Some DNA tested Mexicans today show haplogroup assignments more commonly found in Filipinos. As such your results may show Asian DNA percentages from a REAL Asian source instead of a Native American on. It's also possible for your ancestors to be from such Native American tribes as Lumbee, Ramapough Mountain Indians, and Cherokee -- these populations have members with multiple ancestries. So the NA DNA you thought you were inheriting from these ancestors might turn out to be a REAL Asian, African, European or Middle Eastern component. Likewise you may UNKNOWINGLY descend from other such multi-ethnic isolate populations as Melungeons, endogamous populations as Jewish, or nomadic populations as Romani (South Asian), all of which are often misconstrued as Native American. Inevitably you will have to examine your genealogical history honestly and thoroughly to decide whether or not your ancestors had a cultural and/or genetic connection to Native Americans especially if your DNA test(s) are suggesting otherwise.

(3) The DNA Test has a problem assigning Native American DNA to your genome.
23andMe screenshot showing proprietary analysis
Can you blame the DNA test for not detecting Native American DNA in your genome? The answer might be YES, and here's why: First, the percentage of your genome utilized for these genealogical DNA tests is very small. Most personal genome services  (23andMeFamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNAanalyze anywhere from 400,000 to 700,000 ancestry informative markers (more commonly SNPs) out of a potential 15 million (the human genome has about 3 billion base pairs [see ISOGG's Autosomal DNA Comparison Chart]. A new test on the market TribeCode sequences 12 million markers using Next Generation Sequencing methods. Imagine if we could test all potential 15 million AIMs/SNPs, or better yet the entire genome to make sure not one marker for ethnicity genotyping is missed. Well according to Dienekes Utah Whites vs.Tuscan study with 1.5 million SNPs, it might not make much of a difference. Dienekes study says, "We should note that increasing the number of markers has diminishing returns: most new markers are in linkage disequilibrium with existing markers, and hence provide little additional information: going from 10 to 110 markers has a huge effect, but going from 1000 to 1100 a trivial one. ... The conclusion is obvious that the 5-fold increase in markers from 300K to 1.5M had no noticeable effect in the apparent mixed-ness of populations and individuals." However I suspect going from 400-700K to 1.5 million, or even 12 million (Tribecode), is NOT  trivial as long as the algorithm and proprietary analysis is able to adequately process and report the data.  

Your DNA test has other problems during the genotyping process. For example, there are no-calls (the analysis can't adequately detect your genotype at the SNP location), miscalls (the resolution is low at certain SNP location leading to the algorithm to make a mistake or guess your genotype at that SNP location), deletions (SNPs get deleted during genotyping process), insertions (SNPs get inserted during genotyping process), smoothing (your data is modified to capture the most important data by removing presumable noise) and imputed DNA values (basically computer guesses based on statistical probability). All of this could further negatively affect your ethnic admixture scores or lead to it not being reported at all. 

Another problem is the way most DNA companies aggregate and assign your ethnic components, which seems to particularly impact people with multi-ethnic backgrounds where racial lines tend to blur and overlap. In other words the algorithm will make a gamble call (which may be wrong) if your markers at that location cluster closely with two different populations. Notably during this process your Native American might get labelled as something else or ignored. For instance 23andMe’s proprietary algorithm (BEAGLE) analyzes your SNPs in windows of 100 for its Ancestry Composition; in each window your data is aggregated and assigned ethnic components  based on confidence system and imputed SNP values (using IMPUTE) so your some of your NA components may be averaged in with another ethnic component if the latter is more significant in the window of your DNA being analyzed. ... **BTW 23andMe, currently the most sensitive test for detecting NA DNA alleges a 99% Precision rate, meaning if the DNA segment is labelled as "Native American" then it has a 99% chance of being Native American; and a 99% Recall rate, meaning that if there is Native American admixture in your genome it is almost guaranteed to be found and labelled as such.** 

In another example, Genetic expert Dr. Doug McDonald told one of my relatives with  1% Native American and 0.78% East Asian that "0.003 of the E. Asia is borderline and MAY  be actually Native American." Since Dr. McDonald's BGA analysis is thought to be excellent  at detecting Native American ancestry,  the seemingly trivial 0.003% amount still lends credence to your Native American DNA  getting possibly assigned as something else  especially if the SNPs tested at a location clusters with both Native American and East Asian  populations (and more true if you tested at more than one reputable DNA company, and one shows NA but the other didn't or labelled it something else). Dr. McDonald says in an interview, "Native American is listed as just that. It is quite uncommon for it to be listed in error … except for genuine people from Siberia and Saami. FTDNA does not mistakenly show American as Asian. “Mayan” is the usual listing for any Native American north of Panama, through all of Mexico, and east of the Rockies in the USA and Canada." For more information on how the most popular personal genome companies assign DNA, please see 23andMe Aggregating and AssigningFTDNA White Paper & Methodology  and AncestryDNA White Paper

Poor sampling of indigenous populations in the Americas can often lead to DNA tests missing your Native American DNA. For example, 23andMe's Ancestry Composition uses Maya (25), Pima (25), Karitiana (24), Colombian (13) and Surui (21); FamilyTreeDNA's myOrigins utilizes Karitiana (23) and Surui (21); and AncestryDNA's Ethnicity Estimate boasts 131 individual, but uncategorized, reference samples (HGDP, AncestryDNA). Note the low quantity of samples and limited biogeography represented. Skeptics might argue that these reference populations are sufficient enough to detect some Native American DNA in your genome, especially since indigenous populations appear to have some degree of endogamy [see Clovis Boy discovery]. However other scientific studies suggest Native American groups do have differences [see Paul Verdu et al.], including the obvious uniparental markers/haplogroups [see Bolnik DA, Smith DG], and that poor Native American sampling hampers granularity and resolution. Another report says: "The weakness of the genetic tests poses an even bigger problem when you're looking for Native American ancestors. Native Americans have been reluctant to participate in genetic testing, which means scientists don’t have many reliable markers for that population. In addition, the genetic profiles that have been conducted show that many card-carrying members of certain tribes, such as the Cherokee, have more European ancestors than Native American ancestors. That means even the small number of Native American genetic markers we know of aren’t present in large segments of the population, making it difficult to find evidence of Native American DNA...." As such little is known of the full extent of Native America populations markers/mutations or how much they mixed with each other prior to colonization from Europeans.  

When my relative (with known Native American ancestry from northeast USA) transferred her 23andMe raw data results to DNA Tribes for a (third-party) SNP analysis, her report showed lots of Southeast Asian categories (which we now know is Malagasy ancestry). So we asked DNA Tribes if those Asian components were likely related to her Native American  ancestry or is it some sort of real Southeast Asian? DNA Tribes' late founder Lucas Martin replied, “Native American ancestry from tribes not sampled in our SNP database (such as  northeastern U.S. and eastern Canadian tribes) can be expressed in region and population components from other parts of the Americas and in some cases Asia,” including Karitiana Brazil, Miao China, Hazara Pakistan, Thailand, Daur China, Mongol Mongolia and Cambodian." Thus, until more Native American (and Asian) references samples are added -- especially from Eastern USA and Canada -- your Native American DNA has a good chance of being assigned as something else or not at all. 


Here are six (6) options to consider:
  • Use Third-Party Tools. I recommend downloading your raw data from, FTDNA, AncestryDNA raw data and uploading to, a FREE third-party site with great genealogy tools (especially admixture calculators) which may pick up ethnic components missed by major DNA companies. (The best admixture calculators at Gedmatch are: Dodecad World9, Eurogenes K13, MDLP World-22, Eurogenes K36 or in some cases HarappaWorld). For a great guide on using Gedmatch tools and other third-party sites to find Native American DNA, please read The Autosomal Me – Rooting Around in the Weeds Using Third Party Tools Posted by Roberta Estes section on 
  • Check your DNA company's ethnic admixture reporting thresholds. Every company sets their own reporting threshold for their atDNA test. Some don't report percentages lower than 2%, while others go as low 0.1%. If the amount of ethnicity detected in your DNA analysis is below this threshold it simply will not get reported. For example, a relative with a documented Cherokee ancestor (born about 1775) tested at 23andMe and received 0.5% NA DNA. However when she tested at FTDNA, no NA was found because it was below their 1% reporting threshold. So if you suspect your Native American ancestor was very distant it is possible your NA  admixture contributions may not meet the reporting requirements.
Check Your Maternal & Paternal Haplogroup Assignments and those of Your Relatives. You may be able to use your Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) or Paternal haplogroup and/or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or maternal haplogroup  assignment to prove your Native American ancestry exists -- even if your Autosomal DNA (atDNA) Test results shows 0.00% Native American admixture! Haplogroups can be used to define genetic populations and some of them exclusively originate in Native American populations due to tens of thousands of years of isolation in the Americas [see Indigenous peoples of the Americas]. The mtDNA haplogroups only originating in Native American populations are A2, B2, C1, D1, X2a and subgroups AS WELL AS subgroups C4c, D2, D3, and D4h3. The  Y-DNA haplogroups originating in Native American populations is Q1a3a aka Q-M3 and subgroups. [See also ISOGG Phylo tree.] Thus, if you have a confirmed mtDNA or Y-DNA haplogroup exclusive originating in Native Americans, it means you affirmatively have a Native American ancestor existing somewhere in your past. Here is an example of someone with a Native American mtDNA haplogroup and a paper trail to a Native American ancestor but have NO Native American ethnicity percentages. Her mtDNA haplogroup is B2c (only found in Native Americans) and her earliest known ancestor is from Kichesipirini Tribe of Algonquin nation, who was born in the 1620’s Canada East, Allumette Islands, Quebec, Ottawa River:   

As you can see, this person above definitely has Native American ancestry as determined by her mtDNA haplogroup and corroborating paper trail, but it apparently "washed out" by the time it reached her; the Sub Saharan African is separate. However small traces were found on Gedmatch's MDLP Worl-22 admixture calculator as seen here: 

To this point, I also recommend testing other direct-line relatives to find out if they, too, have a Native American haplogroup assignment. This is how I learned my maternal great-grandmother (with whom I would not share the same haplogroup) is mtDNA haplogroup B2 (see chart below). Several of my great-grandmother's direct descendants across generations tested and results were affirmative for mtDNA B2. So there really is Native American in my bloodline no matter what some of my DNA tests report! The best tests (USA) for high resolution halplogroup testing is: FamilyTreeDNA, National Genographic 2.0, newcomer TribeCode, and 23andMe (lower resolution); the latter three includes mtDNA and Y-DNA testing along with its atDNA product.
In the chart below, I show an example of how Native American Y-DNA and mtDNA was inherited in my family. When "my cousin" tested at he discovered that he inherited a Native American Y-DNA halplogroup (Q1a3a) from his father, who is  African-American from South Carolina low country. With mtDNA I show how my grandfather and his close relatives (siblings, nieces, nephews) inherited Native American mtDNA haplogroup B2 from my great-grandmother whose maternal line comes from colonial New Jersey and New York:
  • Test for unique Native American marker D9S919, known as the 9-repeat-allele (9RA) of chromosome 9. This unique marker has been found in all tested Native American populations. Of course if you're positive for 9RA on chromosome #9 then you too might have a real Native American ancestor somewhere in your past. The 9RA test and a full spectrum of single SNPs tests (mostly for uniparental markers) are offered by[also see]
  • Test a parent and other relatives rumored to be the source of your Native American ancestor. Testing a parent may help your learn if you have Native American ancestry. When you test a parent it is possible to have your results phased -- the process of trying to determine what DNA each parent contributed to your genome. If you and a parent test at 23andMe the phasing is performed automatically; but offers a phasing program that accepts uploads from AncestryDNA and FTDNA. It is possible your parent might have Native American DNA that was not passed to you. Testing your full siblings and grandparents may also help with clues about Native American DNA in your bloodline. Additionally, your own admixture results may become more specific and you could even pick up some Native American DNA missed before phasing. You should also test your elderly and other direct relatives descended from your rumored Native American source to see if they inherited any NA DNA. 
  • Consider testing  at more than one company and/or taking the same test twice. I recommend testing at all popular DNA companies (23andMe,  FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNAand newcomer TribeCodeto get best perspective of your overall ethnicity estimate, inclusive of Native American admixture. Testing at more than one company may also increase your chances of sharing a genetic connection with a person of Amerindian descent -- preferably one where you and your genetic match share a Native American DNA segment. To help you decide if you need to test at more that one DNA company or test twice at the same one, I will present three (3) cases where genealogical tests failed to express Native American DNA, but was detected when the customer took another test and/or tested twice at some company:
Case #1: "MW" first took the AncestryDNA test. He is from the southern US and had rumors of a Native American ancestor from one of his grandmother. Apparently his family inherited NA features according to MW.  So when MW's results came back he was saddened to discover his test showed no Native American or Asian DNA. Not even in the Range Score, where trace percentages can show: 

I convinced MW to test at 23andme and when the results came in (below), he was relieved to see his Ancestry Composition showed 1.1% Native American, East Asian and Southeast Asian DNA. Notice his clear and quite long Native American segment on chromosome #4 (bottom bar). His results also indicated Broadly [assigned] Native American & East Asian in Ancestry Composition's Conservative mode, which indicates a 90% chance of being real:

Case #2: "RO" is a relative of mines our great-grandmother was said to be Native American. He tested at AncestryDNA, 23andme, and FTDNA. For starters, RO learned that he had a Native American mtDNA haplogroup assignment B2 so there is definitely an Amerindian ancestor(s), but will it show in his atDNA results? 
The first DNA test RO took was actually at AncestryDNA. His Ethnicity Estimate showed up to 1% Native American, and 3% Asian total (@ 2% Asian Central + <1% Asia East) and <1% Polynesian.

The second DNA test RO took was 23andMe and his DNA test shows 4.1% East Asian & Native American, with 2.1% Southeast Asian (this is Malagasy) and 1.7% Native American (from his mtDNA B2 mother AND his father) and 0.3% Nonspecific East Asian & Native American. 23andme gave him the highest amount of the other tests:

Finally, RO transferred his AncestryDNA raw data to FamilyTreeDNA's myOrigins test and
shockingly it showed no Native American or Asian DNA. (FTDNA has been contacted about it but so far the admixture results are the same):

Case #3: I've tested twice at all three DNA companies. I've several stories of Native American ancestry from my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather. I thought I would show at least 5% or more DNA trying to be conservative. I would later discover my maternal grandfather had a Native American mtDNA haplogroup assignment and Malagasy (Southeast Asian) ancestry. So what would my tests show?:

I tested first and twice at AncestryDNA test. The first test showed no Native American at all. But I did show <1% South Asian and <1% Pacific Islander-Polynesian. I contacted AncestryDNA and they said the results might should change in future, which never came:

I decided to roll the dice and see what another test at AncestryDNA would show. This time I got <1% America (Native American), <1% Asia East and <1% Pacific Islander. Note there was no South Asian detected on this test or any subsequent test I took.

When I transferred my AncestryDNA results to FTDNA myOrigins, no Native American or Asian  was detected; my NA DNA may have been below FTDNA 1% reporting requirement: 

I also tested twice at, and both tests show 1.9% East Asian & Native American DNA (evenly split). However in the past, Ancestry Composition has changed/updated several times and my Native American DNA score ranged from a high of 3% to a low of 1.2% and now 1.9%. 23andMe also missed some Native American on chromosome #20 (see next painting from McDonald). I'm sure it will change again for the better:
Dr. Doug McDonald BGA Project. To be sure I sent my AncestryDNA and raw data to Dr. Doug McDonald for his Biogeographical Analysis (BGA) project  since his test is considered great at detecting real Native American admixture. Dr. McDonald confirmed my Native American and a separate East Asian DNA. He also was able to report that AncestryDNA totally missed reporting some of it. Below are my Doug McDonald BGA results from both AncestryDNA and 23andMe. My Doug McDonald chromosome painting (see below) is very similar to my 23andMe Ancestry Composition's chromosome painting (see above) and picked up NA on chromosome #20. Otherwise. the Native American and Asian segments appear to be displayed in  the same locations:
Most likely fit is 21.5% (+- 0.1%) Europe (various subcontinents)
and 78.5% (+- 0.1%) Africa (all West African)
The following are possible population sets and their fractions,
most likely at the top
Romania= 0.216 Yoruba= 0.784 or
Hungary= 0.214 Yoruba= 0.786 or
French= 0.214 Yoruba= 0.786 or
Spain= 0.216 Yoruba= 0.784
but in fact England or Ireland are also as likely as the Eastern Europe.
But what Ancestry missed is Native American and Asian, about 1% to 1.3% eachThe Mideast is POSSIBLY Sephardic.

Most likely fit is 23.4% (+- 11.7%) Africa (various subcontinents)
and 58.6% (+- 12.2%) Africa (all West African)
which is 82.0% total Africa
and 18.0% (+- 0.7%) Europe (various subcontinents)

The following are possible population sets and their fractions,
most likely at the top
Bantu Ke= 0.370 Mandenka= 0.444 Irish= 0.186 or
Maasai= 0.130 Yoruba= 0.685 Irish= 0.185 or
Maasai= 0.159 Yoruba= 0.662 Russian= 0.179 or
O-Ethiop= 0.110 Yoruba= 0.718 Irish= 0.172 or
Maasai= 0.155 Yoruba= 0.666 Finland= 0.179 or
O-Ethiop= 0.130 Yoruba= 0.706 Finland= 0.163 or
Bantu Ke= 0.353 Mandenka= 0.460 English= 0.186 or
Maasai= 0.153 Yoruba= 0.668 Belorus= 0.179 or
Bantu Ke= 0.408 Mandenka= 0.409 Finland= 0.183 or
Bantu Ke= 0.371 Mandenka= 0.442 Hungary= 0.187
but the eastern European is wrong ... it is plain British. The African is indeed
a bit “east of Nigerian typical”. And yes, there really is American at 1.0%, which is, as you see on one plot, rather hard to tell the exact nature of,  but is typical of US Afro-(Euro)Americans. There is also a separate, and clearly real, East Asian of some sort, also at 1%. These two subtract from the European percent. 

Native American populations are bound by their cultures, beliefs, traditions and genealogical histories so a DNA test can't be used to validate them. However DNA can be used in a broader context to confirm if we share genetic kinship with them and have ancestry markers similar to theirs. It may also help answer questions when your Native American rumors are unsubstantiated by a paper trail or probable tribal connection. Yet DNA testing is not foolproof and you must be careful about drawing conclusions without careful examination or evidentiary proof. In my personal situation I do have Native American DNA, which in part supports my family's stories of Native American ancestry. However this ancestry is farther back in my history than I expected based on my current ethnicity admixture estimates. I also have a separate Southeast Asian contribution, which I've recently learned is Malagasy (we have genetic matches from Madagascar). If I'd only tested at one company or didn't transfer my raw data to third-party sites I wouldn't be able to get a clear estimate of my Native American DNA contributions  (remember my first AncestryDNA test showed less than 0.1%) and may have been dismissive of my family's oral history. I also understand that because my NA percentages are in the 1%(+/-) to 2%(+/-) range the DNA analysis can easily miss or not report NA in my ethnically diverse genome. This also probably means that neither of my grandparents had significant amounts Native American DNA based on my results. Nevertheless my Native American ancestors were definitely REAL, and I speculate a full blood ancestor existing in the range of 5th to 7th-great-grandparent if  from my maternal grandfather with mtDNA haplogroup B2. Yet it is equally possible I didn't any inherit any NA DNA from this particular grandfather; instead it could've derived from another grandparent, or both of them. The good news is our DNA results will change as the science improves and more Native American test! Meanwhile I encourage you to continue building your genealogical paper trail; IMPORTANT:
exploring  your genetic relatives from DNA tests (these matches could belong to a tribe); testing at more than one DNA company to get a range score of your potential Native American DNA, and to maximize your overall genealogical DNA experience. You must also test other close relatives and elders that are suspected to be the source of your Native American ancestry. Finally don't be afraid to accept the fact that Native American DNA is just not that into you. Good Luck.


  1. Thank you for this post. Now I'm really curious as to see my daughter's origin results. I can't look at her maternal haplogroup because that would be mine (no NA here) I started to think I could test her brother from her Dad's prior marriage---no go for that as that would reflect his father's paternal line which is not where the Creek comes from. His father was half Creek and half black. It would come from His mother who was considered full Creek. It's going to be interesting to see my daughter's results. Great post. :-)

    1. You're very welcomed NyOkieSue. I am happy you found the post useful. Since haplogroups represent such a narrow line in your family tree, testing your daughter's father or paternal grandfather USING AUTOSOMAL DNA testing will be helpful in seeing if your daughter's paternal relatives received any Native American DNA within the last 500 years. Good luck.

    2. i did my dna , i was adopted , so only had info given me by that , i was shocked to find native dna , i was born in the uk , but where as 23andme say less than 1 percent gedmatch says the native is 1.39 , plus paleo siberian ans south asian , i am confused by all of this , i really need help but so far just gotten pooh hooed , no help just bs , i am desperate , i really need help but no where to turn

    3. Jita'ame; Your name looks Uralic (Finnish?), and your genetic heritage, if it is Uralic, could easily include deep ancestry from Paleo-Siberian or Ancient North Eurasian, which was ancestral to both later Uralic and Native American peoples. As far as the South Asian potion, that could be something either much, much older-- or--very recent: how strong is it?

  2. Clear, complete, and scientifically accurate. Thanks for this great reference for the many times that this comes up! - Jon (Equinox)

    1. Thank you very much Jon. I really appreciate it.

  3. Thanks for the info! I tested from DNA my results were 26% American Native Indian, 22 % Irish, 21 %Africa, 27 % American I was wondering if I should test with 23&me to compare the results???

  4. Ya444ya,
    Yes you should also test at 23andme.

  5. I have found your site to be immensely helpful to me. I just received DNA results today and frankly I was surprised. I have been studying my family genealogy for the past 15+ years. I got into it because I was told that we had Native ancestry and I wanted to actually prove it instead of believing it. In most cases, I have been able to determine that it is not true. In some cases, the photographic evidence seems likely. I have a gg grandmother who not only looks Native but also is dressed like a Native woman. So today when I got my results and it said that I have 9% East Asian ancestry, I was dismissive. There is no evidence to suggest that there is any direct Asian ancestry. I am aware that there are parts of the South that have mixture of Asian and African descendants but my family is not from that area. Per the recommendations in this posting, I will try again with 23andme. I used AncestrybyDNA. My results indicated 61% sub-Saharan African, 30% European and 9% East Asian.

    1. Thanks immensely Shelley Martinez! Yes phenotypes can be an unreliable indicator of genetic ancestry. Can be very deceiving.

    2. Indeed. My gently wavy-haired, blond, blue-eyed husband with a rectangular face and tiny cheekbones has some 7-10 times more American Indian and African American ancestry than I do, a very curly dark-haired brunette with dark eyes, and high, wide, & prominent cheekbones on a more square face.

  6. I just recently took an DNA from Ancestry and later like to try 23andMe as I heard that these are just estimates and that 23andMe can give you more detailed info like Haplotypes, etc... My dad is a Latino who has family roots in Mexico and my mom is of different European decent. When I gotten my results, I was a bit surprised. It showed 16% NA with the range going as high up as 18% (which seems about right as my dad would be considered a Mestizo); but what shocked me was getting 25% Ireland, 16% Italy/Greece and some Polynesian and Finland and other stuff started showing up. I looked at one of my cousins on my dad's side (my second cousin and one of my dad's first cousins from my grandfather's side, the side from Mexico and his main ethnicity said Native American, Italy/Greece, Iberian Peninsula and Ireland).

    Since my family does have known roots and records (which not all Mexicans or people of Mexican descent have NA, the majority do at various degrees), I wanted to see just what my genetic said. People are always claiming stuff that isn't true or know nothing about really and I think knowing the truth is what is important.

    What my full results said-
    Africa 2%
    Trace Regions 2%
    Mali 1%
    Africa North < 1%
    America 16%
    Native American 16%
    Asia < 1%
    Trace Regions < 1%
    Asia Central < 1%
    Europe 80%
    Ireland 25%
    Italy/Greece 16%
    Great Britain 15%
    Europe West 7%
    Iberian Peninsula 7%
    Scandinavia 6%
    Trace Regions 4%
    Finland/Northwest Russia 3%
    European Jewish < 1%
    Europe East < 1%
    Pacific Islander 1%
    Trace Regions 1%
    Polynesia 1%

    1. Not possible to have more percentage than 100. So you are mostly European at 80%, but you can't be also 25% Irish or so on... So that DNA results are not valid.

  7. Excellent article Sir, I've looked at the populations and studied the history of the southern tribes. In Matriarchal Societies such as the Cherokee, you were a full blood member of that Nation no mater what your father was. On the other side of the coin, if you were born to a tribal father the tribe considered you as nothing. This changed with the adaption of a constitution during the 1820's. The Dawes Commission at best took a wild guess when it came to blood quantum as many Cherokee had no concept of the word. This could also explain the term "full blood" in many of our family stories.

    1. Thanks TheMarks51627 ... Blood Quantum is an interesting concept. However it is determine without ethnicity admixture tests so we really don't know how much Native American DNA these full bloods had.

  8. Thanks for the really interesting articles.

    I never considered this possibility of Native American ancestry, but when I started using the calculators at GEDMatch, they started showing Amerindian in the magnitude of 1% (+ or -). DNA does not show that.

    Then I have since discovered that it seems I have colonial American ancestors going back to 1612 in New Hampshire, and ancestors who lived in Newfoundland for several hundred years. So that makes an actual Native American ancestor more possible.

    I had thought that northern Europeans could show up with Amerindian because of the shared DNA with the ancient Asian population that went both to the Americas and across Europe. How can one tell in that case between that population and actual Native American?

  9. You're welcome Sometimes Traveler,
    Question: Did AncestryDNA show Native American in the RANGE score (you can see this by clicking on the Native American category and a drop-down box will appear). If you have early colonial ancestors there is a possibility of them intermixing with Native Americans at some point. Of course if you had 1% from one ancestor or event in your family then you would be looking at an ancestor who might have existed around the year 1800.
    With your Autosomal DNA results, it likely only looks back within 500 years at most so remove this from the equation. Also ancient Native Americans did not appear to have ancient European admixture; see

  10. Thanks TL Dixon for your response.

    AncestryDNA did not show any Native American. I am a European mix 99%, and 1% Middle East. (Happy to give the exact breakdown if it helps.) My ex-husband whom I reference below is European mix 99%, 1% West Asian on

    But on using the different calculators above, I get different amounts, but they are suggestive of Native American at a small percentage. (And if the suspected ancestor is indeed Native American, your timeline is right for early 1800s. There's also the possibility of an ancestor in the early 1600s, but we can ignore that DNA-wise, I think.)

    But for reference, my ex-husband, born in Denmark with no American ancestors, also shows up with Amerindian components. In fact, often more than me. So that's why I am suspicious.

    I tried to copy in all relevant components from each test.

    Dodecad World9 Amerindian 1.09, Australasian 0.64, Siberia 0.29
    HarappaWorld, Papuan 0.47 American 0.76, and 0 Siberian and 0 Beringian.
    MDLP World-22 North-Amerind 0.62 Melanesian 0.61 Austronesian 0.46
    MDLP K23b Amerindian 1.14
    Eurogenes K36 0 for everything relevant

    AncestryDNA does say I have 1% Finland/Northwest Russia (which I find believable with my Scandinavian ancestry). Coincidentally, so does my ex (1% Finland/Northwest Russia). So I hypothesize Siberian and/or Beringean results might be related to that.

    Dodecad World9 Amerindian 1.17, Australasian 0.12, Siberian 0.69
    HarappaWorld Papuan 0.29, American 0.48, Beringian 1.10
    MDLP World 22 Arctic-Amerind 0.62 North-Amerind 0.15 Paleo-Siberian 0.64 Austronesian 0.05
    MDLP K23b Amerindian 0
    Eurogenes K36 Amerindian 0.15

    So you see my dilemma - if I see these results as evidence of me having a Native American ancestor, the evidence possibly seems stronger for my ex, but that can't be. So that makes me think that I'm just seeing the evidence of Siberians and Huns in Scandinavia, Britain, and continental Europe.

    (I'm using my ex as a reference because I can be pretty sure he has no actual Native American ancestry, but we're not related.)

  11. Hi Mr Dixon, I am a one of the card carrying Ramapough Indians that you mentioned above. I did take the Ancestry DNA test in their first Beta stage and it did not show any NA ancestry at that time, but did show 6% East Asia and, 76% AA and I think at the time there was 26% unknown. When they did their first update it came back with 3% Native Native American and a trace 1% Polynesian. Also include 3% of the following Scandinavia, Italy/Greece, Russia/Finland, I think it was 1% Ireland and Caucasus. I may be missing something,since I don't have it in front of me. Just as other's believe from oral history I thought it would be more because on my father;s side, my grandmother from Virginia always said her grandmother was full-blood Indian. My mother's side is the Ramapough side, and I grew up the NA way of life always knowing I was AA and NA and some Dutch, but no Dutch was detected in my DNA, but as you said it does not necessarily have to show up. The Ramapough people come from long generations of ancestors that knew they were Native American, it was never a question about were they or were they no, and they passed it down through the generations, but we were always told never to let anyone know we were part Native American. We really came out of the closet not many years ago, because we got tired of people that knew nothing about us defining us. Most people think that the Ramapough people woke up a few years ago and decided to call themselves Native American, but that is as far from the as it can be. Yes we have many in our Tribe that would rather be considered Caucasian because they look Caucasian, and therefore they want no part of their NA Ancestry and some want no part of their AA ancestry. I specifically took the DNA test, because I wanted to see if what people were saying was true, that we had no NA ancestry at all. If this was true, I did not want to continue identifying as NA also. I am a person that wants to embrace all of my ethnicity no matter what it is. Also many of my Ramapough relatives and members are on Ancestry and have taken the DNA test, and we have all matched together with definite Native American ancestry. The only problem now is I don't know if it is from my father's side and his great grandmother if she was full-blood Native American or my mother's side. Her De Groat great grandfather and his brothers were listed as 7/8 Indian in the 1870 Monroe, Orange County, NY Census. The Genealogists Roger Joslyn that did our Tribal Genealogy listed his father as 3/4 Indian. I have only taken the Ancestry test and do plan on doing another one from one of the sites you mentioned. Unfortunately my mother passed away in 2015 before I could afford to have a test done on her. My father's brother's son is living and I plan on having him tested with the Y test only, which is more expensive than the Ancestry Test. I must use that test for him, because his mother is also a Ramapough. I would like to thank you for all your research information and sharing it with all of us. It has been very informative for me, because it has verified a lot of what I believed about the DNA test, especially the East Asian connection to NA.

    1. @CDeGroat thanks for your inspiring comment. In Ramapough Indian admixture profiles that I've reviewed there is definitely shared Native American DNA and some evidence of introgression from other tribes and endogamy. There are even some Native American haplogroups that seem to be frequent in Ramapough. But there is also a Malagasy (Southeast Asian+Bantu Southeast African) element. There is also Dutch but this is expressed as generic Western European or German/France on DNA tests. From a DNA perspective it is best to test as many elder family members and other close relatives as possible. More than likely you have Native American DNA from both parents, and possibly even more than 2 grandparents ... I'll also briefly share that my grandfather's maternal side is from Colonial New Jersey and New York, and his mother carries Native American maternal haplogroup B2 (this means there was a Native ancestress on his direct matrilineal line). Two of my elder cousins are related to Ramapough but still trying to figure it out. Please reach out to me @ for further discussion.

    2. Not sure if you can answer this but my wife is from the old GDR(East Germany). Hence her family has never been to the US and confined to Bessarabia. Yet her GED match show traces of Amerindian. Keeping in mind that people of the old GDR are really Native Russ. How is this possible without stepping foot on US soil?

  12. Hello, I've just received my second DNA results from Genes for Good at University of Michigan which take me up to 6% from the ancestry 5%. I am quite a mix actually and have my chromosome and PCA plots. I will try to sort how to upload the raw data into another program. I knew that we had Choctaw ancestors, what threw me off was the many countries I have DNA from. I'm sorry I can't publish pictures here. This blog is helping me understand so thank you! The two tests were very close with slight variances. African at 52 and 53% percent, European at 41 and 40% and Native at 6 and 5%. Angela Carney aka urbanangiec

    1. You're welcomed. Well 5% to 6% indicates there is clear Native American ancestry. Your AncestryDNA RANGE SCORE may show more and be consistent with GFG. If you have not tested a parent then we may not if the NA is from one or both of them.

  13. my pat haplo is a1b1; mat group U5a, with Saami connection;overall, mostly Northern European; 3% Iberian; "no Native American," except everyone knows my father's father was a status by blood quantum Native American; and he, we his children, and also his sister and her children have distinguishable 'Indian,' features, facial, body. Our interests, our attitudes, reactions, all fall within those traditional to near ancestors. By these measures I have been an Indian all of my remembered life.We only want to establish that we belong, not to cash in on any benefits. Oddly I don't care a darn about the European ancestry, not remotely curious. Any comments appreciated.

  14. If native americans are genetically related to Asians, why do Asians have mostly b blood type and the b blood type almost never occurs in American Indians--they are almost all type o.

  15. Very interesting post and discussion, but I have the opposite problem! 3-5 generations back, we were all in Europe, yet I sho up 0.1% native. I have maternal haplotype D4e1 and according to one of the GEDmatch analyses DNA from north, meso, and south America. It's astounding - I'm not who I thought I was. (Actually, I thought it was a mistake until my mom and brother tested the same.)

    The Amerindian autosomal genes are such a small percentage that it's easily 300-500 years deep. Another analysis that reduced you to two recent populations showed 97% Norwegian and 3% Spanish. Spanish!?!?! Maybe that's the meso-american link?

    Any ideas about where I could find records of who the Spanish took back to Europe? Closing this from both ends in Europe: my great great grandmother who immigrated to San Francisco, and follow the female offspring of the natives taken to Spain seems nearly impossible, but a very interesting puzzle!

  16. My Ancestory DNA test showed no Native American DNA. A male cousin did same test and came back 25% through the male lineage (my dad's family). We have documented Cherokee in my dad's paternal grandmother and my mother's paternal great grandmother. Why did nothing show up in my DNA? I thought the test did both male and female lines of both parents. But this test result was the same as the Nat. Geographic test I need several years ago, just on my mother's female line?

    1. Maybe one of your ancestors cheated the partner and you got different ancestor. This happening today lots, so maybe in the past too.

    2. No cheating went on and no my ancestors were not Cherokee princesses. My ggggrandmother was Nancy Bridges a Cherokee from NC.
      The other was Nancy Foster, a member of the Deer Clan. I am also a descendant of the Oxendine family, Lumbee nation. My DNA has been matched with all of these people on Ancestory's family circles. I think the fact that this lineage was through my dad and my mother'said dad was.the reason. Although it did match me with members of both families in the groups.

    3. Could of been a captive European. If your cousin got 25 % you should have received some also. Or maybe he received his NA DNA from his mother. If you tested twice with two different tests there is obviously no NA DNA in your Genome.

    4. If both you and your cousin's parents would test it would clear up some of the mystery. My sister and I used the same test, yet she showed 28% more of a country we genetically share in common. I tested heavy West European,and 8 diff African countries, she tested no West Europe, but 12% British and 3 African countries. On three sepatate test I showed 1.5%+ Native American, my sister showed 0%, yet on the same test,she showed 2% Ashkenazi jewish, I showed 0%-we are the only biological children of both my mother and father*. Genes are just random. Your cousin may also get Native genes from his maternal side. It is good to test as many generations back, and the older living family members will yield the greatest number of answers to your DNA challenges. But most importantly, your oral and documented past living history, heritage and legacy are the greatest tools in your genealogy-DNA just adds that extra link to more people, and your earliest/ancient ancestors.

      *( my father had 12 other children after he and my mother separated-some of the children appear on DNA site forums seeking knowledge of their Ychromosome-interesting?!��)

  17. You are right. Very interesting.

    1. My native American dna did not show up on ancestry test. However my son did the 23 test and it showed up on his through his maternal line. That's me. Strange, but a scientist friend explained how this can happen. It is a puzzlement.🙄

    2. This may help. There is a community in Granville, NC that is tri-racial. The Saponi's were there too. I believe the Oxendines were multi-racial too. Also check the website lots of info there. There is a women that has close ties to that community and the native american blog through the link in the beginning of my message here; her name is Kianga Lucas she ma be able to help you.

  18. Great Blog!! I'm starting to understand gedmatch a bit better (which has had my head spinning). Thanks

  19. Why were your results different when you re-tested at Ancestry?

  20. I have a pretty good New England family tree representing 1/4 of my ancestors. Although most were English who lived in villages based on common beliefs and religious tests, a few seemed to be pioneer types who pressed into the then-wilderness. In two areas, they are documented as having worked side-by-side with Native Americans (Long Island whaling and fishing and Connecticut River fur trapping (as in Deerfield) where they encountered French Canadians and Native Americans. A number fought in the Pequot War in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Some of family members were actually captured and held by Indians (the Stebbins family and others).

    When 23andme sent me my genome, I learned that unlike many of my cousins on it, I am not 100% white, but .3% East Asian and Native American. I do not have mtDNA indicating this. My mother is Irish and most likely 100% white. It is my father with the New England (and continental European) heritages. He is the one whose family settled in the present USA in the 1600's. It is true that his mother is from immigrant stock, said to be Prussian, but actually Hanseatic with a lot of Scandinavian and some small Eastern European (1/3% is what I have probably from her) and Finnish (less than 1%). Since she is long dead I don't have the certainty of deriving those admixtures from her, but she is the most probable source. Of course my 4.3% Scandinavian may derive in part from an Irish mother. My largest percentage is British/Irish (indistinguishable) at 75.4%.

    If the East Asian is Native American (and it is otherwise unlikely to have come from the British 3/4 directly), then it comes from about seven generations back, in fact to the era when my New England family was in close contact with both Native Americans and French Canadian probably Meti fur trappers. There are records of actual direct ancestors spending time in Native American villages (one, captured as a boy, is the well-documented Benoni Stebbins, who later died in the so-called Deerfield Massacre). Several participated in the Pequot Wars.

    It is possible too that my East Asian heritage may derive from Eastern Europe (though that is such a small percentage, and it would mean that such an ancestor would have had a lot of Asian features).

    Other than the knowledge of proximity to Indian villages and working with Native Americans historically, I have no family stories. I am a Mayflower descendant, and they did not even tell me that (my father was a New Yorker and more proud of the Dutch strain). So, am I some kind of Algonquin or just a generic Siberian? I know they are related, but something more specific would be fun to know. Back in the family tree are several women without surnames who fall right in the generations with Indian contact.

    1. Most women back then who were not listed with surname were not neccesarily hiding Native American ancestry. I have heard a lot of speculations about Native Ancestry with these nameless woman. For the most part women were not as important as men, and were not recorded properly. Same with my white ancestresses. Also Northern Europeans do share Ancient North Eurasian (Siberian) so that ancestry comes out as NA, and is most likely ancient.

  21. I really wish these DNA companies could tell what Native American Tribes. My dad never knew his father, but was told he was a quarter Cherokee. I always wanted documents on that. But me and my dad don't look Caucasian. I was always asked what my "mix" was. Everyone thought I was euro-Asian or Native American. So finally I did the AncestryDNA. It says 6% Native American. Just wish I had documents and wonder if I could get documents on my paternal grandfather, if it's enough percentage to sign up with a trube.

    1. My sister and I were always told my father was 100 percent native - we both just did the DNA test and she came back 24% and I came back 25%. I wish more NA would test so we could have more information available. But you’re right, they have no incentive to. Most the ‘card carrying’ NA’s I know are as white as it gets and if there was a way to prove they weren’t Indian by taking a DNA test they’re going to stay clear of that!

  22. Good morning,

    I did some of the tools at Gedmatch and this came back but I do not understand the results and the distance. I am a haplogroup B2

    Population (source) Distance
    1 colombian (1000genomes) 8.4
    2 colombian (bryc) 11.7
    3 puerto-rican (1000genomes) 17
    4 puerto-rican (bryc) 20.71
    5 mexican (1000genomes) 24.51
    6 ecuadorian (bryc) 28.6
    7 italian (hgdp) 31.97
    8 tuscan (hgdp) 32.72
    9 tuscan (hapmap) 32.76
    10 tuscan (1000genomes) 32.97
    11 spaniard (behar) 33.74
    12 spaniard (1000genomes) 33.88
    13 romanian-a (behar) 33.99
    14 bulgarian (yunusbayev) 34.85
    15 french (hgdp) 35.4
    16 ashkenazi (harappa) 35.95
    17 ashkenazy-jew (behar) 36.86
    18 hungarian (behar) 37.94
    19 morocco-jew (behar) 39.12
    20 slovenian (xing) 39.22

    Primary Population (source) Secondary Population (source) Distance
    1 52.8% ecuadorian (bryc) + 47.2% italian (hgdp) @ 2.88
    2 56.7% mexican (1000genomes) + 43.3% italian (hgdp) @ 3.18
    3 75.5% colombian (bryc) + 24.5% bulgarian (yunusbayev) @ 3.24
    4 75.1% colombian (bryc) + 24.9% romanian-a (behar) @ 3.33
    5 74.7% colombian (bryc) + 25.3% italian (hgdp) @ 4.72
    6 75.3% colombian (bryc) + 24.7% tuscan (1000genomes) @ 4.77
    7 54.2% ecuadorian (bryc) + 45.8% spaniard (behar) @ 4.88
    8 78% colombian (bryc) + 22% hungarian (behar) @ 4.91
    9 78.7% colombian (bryc) + 21.3% slovenian (xing) @ 5.06
    10 58.2% mexican (1000genomes) + 41.8% spaniard (behar) @ 5.06
    11 65.9% italian (hgdp) + 34.1% peruvian (1000genomes) @ 5.27
    12 54.4% ecuadorian (bryc) + 45.6% spaniard (1000genomes) @ 5.38
    13 58.3% mexican (1000genomes) + 41.7% spaniard (1000genomes) @ 5.48
    14 70.2% italian (hgdp) + 29.8% maya (hgdp) @ 5.52
    15 90.1% colombian (1000genomes) + 9.9% adygei (hgdp) @ 5.74
    16 89.9% colombian (1000genomes) + 10.1% balkar (yunusbayev) @ 5.75
    17 89.8% colombian (1000genomes) + 10.2% chechen (yunusbayev) @ 5.77
    18 57.5% mexican (1000genomes) + 42.5% tuscan (hapmap) @ 5.79
    19 71.9% italian (hgdp) + 28.1% totonac (xing) @ 5.82
    20 70.3% italian (hgdp) + 29.7% bolivian (xing)


  23. I auditioned for FTDNA and when played in gedmatch appeared new resuldados. Is there a website where I can download the results generated in gedmatch and a map? Excuse me for the English evil, it is that only speak Portuguese and Spanish.

  24. I noticed a couple of people in here said that in their DNA they had American. What is American in DNA lingo? I am not speaking of Native American

  25. Hello. My name is Heather and my grandfather on my mother's side was full-blooded Blackfoot Indian! So I did a DNA test on and it came back that I had no Native American blood in me once whatsoever so I was really upset and heartbroken. So how do I go about testing it with the place you're recommending? Do I have to go back to and try to find my results? I had this done over a year ago so I'm not sure what to do? Can you please guide me in the right direction. Thank you.

  26. Interesting article, thank you for sharing. I am just starting this process for my son. We did is DNA test and his Native American percentage was 8%. His father was adopted and believes his birth mother carried the descent. Is there a test you can recommend that will show specific tribes? Thank you in advance.

  27. Your article is a perfect example of how the Internet can be a good thing and why we shouldn't destroy it. ;) Impeccable research and clarity. Just received my sister's 23andme results and we're all astounded to find less than 1% NA. Should be interesting to see how this pans out, since dad has passed and it was supposedly his grandmother who was Cherokee. We'll have to swab our uncles and hope something comes through. That <1% could be the watering down you describe, though. Thanks for your expertise.

  28. Your article is a perfect example of how the Internet can be a good thing and why we shouldn't destroy it. ;) Impeccable research and clarity. Just received my sister's 23andme results and we're all astounded to find less than 1% NA. Should be interesting to see how this pans out, since dad has passed and it was supposedly his grandmother who was Cherokee. We'll have to swab our uncles and hope something comes through. That <1% could be the watering down you describe. Great, great article. Thanks.

  29. No it was through the paternal side. Ironically, one of my son's did the 23andme test and it came back 4% Native American through his maternal side, that's me! I think these tests have a long way to go, but they are interesting.

  30. Please upload your DNA to GedMatch! My ancestors have been here since 1600s. I used 23andme & no Native American results, Mixed European. My GedMatch shows small amounts of Native American & Others. I had the Indian Princess story in my family as my father explained that we are part Indian and wanted me to be proud of it because many still look down upon Nationalities prejudice. I am proud of my bloodlines. I came from Mountain People, hard working & strong people. I am a mixed bag of things & proud of it. I love this site! It's history is wonderful! I will share it with my Grandchildren!

  31. Please upload DNA to GedMatch. My Native American DNA showed up there. My ancestors have been here since 1600s. I come from Strong, Hard Working Mountain People. We are a Mixed Race. My father told me the Indian Princess story also, he wanted me to be proud of my Indian bloodline. Some still have prejudice views regarding Nationalities. I am Proud of my DNA. I Love your site and will share it with my Grandchildren!

  32. I use GedMatch Admixture Eurogenes K13 to give a quick piechart snapshot of origin components. Maybe the tool is not very accurate as it does show Amerindian at between 0.42 and 1.33% for all six members of my wholly English/Irish resident family who have uploaded there. I show Sub-Saharan 0.31 and my daughter 0.17%. Any thoughts?

  33. Very helpful! Thank you!! I wasn't sure how to use GedMatch to get more info on my Native American ancestry, but now I have a clearer picture and better understanding of migration based on DNA that matches history! I am Mexican by blood, which as history goes we are a general mixture of Native American, European, and African (+/- a few others) so I had already expected to see that on my AncestryDNA, but not sure what percentages. I was able to see overall from both tests: 43% Native American, 51% European, and 6% African! The awesome part of the tests you cited, was that I was able to "break-down" the Native American DNA that AncestryDNA does not...I have matches from East Asia, Alaska, California, Mexico (obviously) and Colombia!!! The region that my family is from, Michoacán, México, is made up mostly of the P'urhepecha, but it's interesting to see the DNA make-up. Gracias!

  34. Very helpful! Thank you!! I wasn't sure how to use GedMatch to get more info on my Native American ancestry, but now I have a clearer picture and better understanding of migration based on DNA that matches history! I am Mexican by blood, which as history goes we are a general mixture of Native American, European, and African (+/- a few others) so I had already expected to see that on my AncestryDNA, but not sure what percentages. I was able to see overall from both tests: 43% Native American, 51% European, and 6% African! The awesome part of the tests you cited, was that I was able to "break-down" the Native American DNA that AncestryDNA does not...I have matches from East Asia, Alaska, California, Mexico (obviously) and Colombia!!! The region that my family is from, Michoacán, México, is made up mostly of the P'urhepecha, but it's interesting to see the DNA make-up. Gracias!

  35. Downloaded ancestry DNA to gedmatch, what do you look at to say that is na dna?

  36. As of July 2017, the recall rate for Native American is 86%. While the precision is 99%, the recall is quite low. I quote from 23;

    "The system will only assign DNA as Scandinavian [Native American] when it's very, very sure. That will yield high precision — since the assignment of Scandinavian [Native American] is always correct — but low recall, because a lot of true Scandinavian [Native American] ancestry is left unassigned." [emphasis added by me]

    There is still a chance NA is not assigned entirely. However, unassigned as in their "unassigned" population category? Or is it labeled something else (East Asian category, possible Euro)? Back in the days of Ancestry Painting, Native American was detected by the East Asian signal. NA markers were missed being assigned European. When the new model for Ancestry Composition was introduced more Native American was assigned.

    The only panel groups for NA are South American and Mexican Pima’s. They need to add in Alaskan Natives/NA Natives as further extremes as they carry more of the East Asian signal. I believe for the most part, Native American is found in the genome (if present) most of the time. If you do have Native Ancestry, should be detected however, you may have markers not assigned or being defaulted (possible) to the next closest population. As mentioned the Recall Rate 86%.

    The next issue which was raised is the SVM system or their “training.”

    “An SVM can "learn" different ancestry classifications based on a set of training examples and then assign new DNA segments to a learned category.”

    As such, your DNA segments may be erroneously modified if it doesn’t “fit” the training model. To what degree, we won’t know. No report is provided how many times your genome was corrected or re-assigned. 23andMe is good and it is very unlikely it will completely “miss” primary ancestry in your gnome on a geographical level.

  37. Great Blog.

  38. Great article. Multiple members of my family tested about 7 years ago. I bet it has come a long way. Results were vague to say the least. Most had check marks on regional areas mostly. We know positively that we are high percentage Native, but the results were odd. Most of the areas came back as Mayan, Mestizo, areas in South America as well as Ojibwe. We cannot find any Spanish, Mexican or Central/South American ancestors on paper thus could any of those groups be misinterpreted due to limited full blood native samples? Could the mestizo be used rather than nailing down a tribe? Its astonishing how a brother and sister can have such huge differences as well. I'm just so shocked about the mestizo and South Am. ancestry. My brothers came back with so little European ancestry, almost non existent.

  39. TL,
    This was an excellent post. Thank you for breaking down this very complex topic and making it much easier to understand. You also demonstrated the wisdom and necessity of getting more than one DNA test.

  40. This is a very interesting read-give me stuff to think about. I know of my ancestry and figure there is no real way to prove my native American (since it goes back to a least a GG) plus we don't have role numbers. So this has been very helpful. thanks

  41. Extremely interesting reading but what would you make of results that go the other way?
    I am over 50% South Asian , 35% European and 4% Native American as my main ethnicity with traces of East African at Ancestry, FTDNA and Gedmatch . As far as I Knew my Asian and European ancestors lived and loved together in British India for a couple of hundred years.
    A lot of Anglo Indians as we were eventually called played down their Asian and emphasised their European It wasn't surprising therefore to hear older family members claim an English or Portuguese name (Portuguese early inhabitants mix with Indians gave rise to Luso Indians) as being that of a purely English or Spanish ancestor. It was only days before my first DNA results arrived that I learned that my late father always claimed to be of Mexican descent. My eyes rolled "yeah right" So can you see how the results have left me confused. Would 4% NA be attributed to noise ? or just another way of classifying Asian Dna or could it be an ancestor from Mexico. I have no other paternal relatives to test . At Gedmatch a phasing tool gives my Father 7% NA. My mother has no NA and hass a much higher percentage of European Dna. Would very like to hear any thoughts you have on this . Thank you

    1. I’m about to test my 23andme results at FamilytreeDNA as I too discovered a small percent of NA DNA which I found interesting. Colonialism may explain the surprise, as I initially thought my family genealogy would show as completely East Asian and a tiny bit of Spanish ancestry. Instead it was East Asian/Native American, the NA DNA back to a 4th great-grandparent, on maternal line.

  42. How can one explain the dark-skinned Native Americans? Most early pictures I have encountered showed dark-skinned and straight hired Native Americans.

    1. Recent DNA analysis of the Mal'ta-Bur'et skeletal remains found in Siberia, show that they were ancestral to both Paleosiberians and Europeans, and Native Americans. These people were also a 'medium brownish-red' in skin color. Lighter skin apparently didn't evolve in Eurasia until about 12,000 BC, after most of the Paleo Indians were already in N. and S. America, but about 1000 years before agriculture.

  43. How do I download my results from Ancestry to GEDmatch?

  44. Hello i need your help. I am a black american(born in NY-USA) with two black parents that was born in Grenada. Grenada is mostly of Black/African and Indian people from what I recall(I live there for about 3 years as a child). I did my dna test from ancestrydna and my results came back 97% African, 2% Europe South & <1% Caucasus(West Asia). No Native American ancestry. Plus i can't trace my family history(family tree) because records was either lost, not recorded or not advance in the Caribbean. Plus both my grandparents are dead and I am having a difficult time creating a family tree.

    I uploaded my raw dna to different sites. For myfamilytreedna i got 94% African(with <2% S Central), 4% European and <1% Native American. My Dna.Land came back 93% African and 5.5 West Eurasian(3.2% North Slavic, 1.3% French/Spanish-France/Spain, 1% Ambiguous). Sequencing came back 98.75% African, 0.54% European, 0.45% Asian, 0.13% Native American, and 0.18% Oceanian. Myheritagedna came back 98.4% Africa(85.2% West Africa, 11.9% East Africa & 1.3% Central Africa) and 1.6% Europe(Ilberian-Spain/Portugal)..No NA. Lastly I use Gene.Plaza and using the K29 Admixture Calculator, it says 95.7% African(87.9% WA, 7.7% EA), 3.2% Asian(Iraqi & Georgian Jew), 0.8% European(East Slavic), 0.4% Oceanian(Australian, Papuan) and 0.0% Siberian/Amerindian.

    Questions: Why does my Native American percentage shows up on some sites and not others? Should I use other tests and test my other family members? Also i dont know how to trace my family tree/history due to the fact that both my grandparents was born in the Islands and they are dead. How can i trace my family history? Can anyone help me? Thank you!!!

  45. This seems to be the most insightful,scientific article explaining non existent Native American DNA results i have readread. I have to admit I have to scrutinize my supposed Cherokee ancestry since my genealogical research shows no person acknowledging them as a indian. And I haven't seen any evidence of them living in Oklahoma or Arkansas. Alright great grandpa looked likeh he had an olive or light brown complexion. My dna results showed no native american, Scottish or Scandinavian results. I'm mostly English and about 95 Northwest European. With trace amounts of Iberian and North African dna. so much for finding a Siberian in the proverbial woodpile . C'est la vie.

  46. Ancestor showed no Native American on my DNA test. My son did the 23and me DNA test, his showed 4% NA through his maternal ( that's me) side. Even said Algonquin and Siouan tribes, which goes with the rolls and family information.

    1. Something isn't right here. If you both used the same markers to determine NA ancestry, and his NA ancestry comes from his mtDNA (mitochondrial), yours should also show the same percentage. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited 100% from your mother. Although in very rare cases you can have mosaics where the father's mtDNA in the sperm shaft made it into the egg.

  47. I recently did a Ancestry dna and it showed iam 10% Native American and 2% Native American andean, how is that possible and how can i find out which tribe..very new to this..please help!!

  48. Very interesting article. I was always told that my great grandmother on my maternal line was a Romany gypsy. I've found little to prove this so far, although there are a number of ancestors with surnames which could indicate a connection. I was surprised to discover last year that I had 1.5% native American DNA. I'm not aware of any native Americans within my ancestry and wondered if the Romany line would show up as native American? I also have a percentage of South Asian.

  49. Greetings, I stumbled across your site looking for native american markers. Your explanation of genetic washout is correct for recombining DNA, but the markers used on 23andme (and I think ancestry) are not subject to this genetic divergence. 100% (save mutations) of your mother's mitochondrial DNA is passed on to her offspring. 100% of your father's (save mutations) Y chromosome is passed on to his sons. During meiosis, the X and Y chromosomes in a male do not recombine, offering very little variation between generations. The genetic washout that can happen has to do with that marker being either entirely inherited as a package or dropped. Ex: a female inherits her irish mother's mtDNA, but doesn't get her native american father's native american YDNA. She is 50% native american, but since the markers used to determine native american ancestry are all or none, NONE of it shows. This is how N.A. ancestry can be dropped off the radar in a single generation. Hence why I was looking for recombining native american markers. (chromosomes 1 - 22)

  50. I have the surnames Fournier and Ruffi in my family tree!

  51. My family and I all just submitted test kits to ancestry. My husband has to redo his as there was not enough dna in the sample. My youngest son has recieved his chart this morning and while there were no shocking revelations I was suprised to see a 14% NA. Husband is Hispanic and my line has the typical stories of NA in the line but no real trace as far as I can tell. Obviously the NA comes from husband's line but we were just suprised to see such a high percentage considering what "mutts" we had both considered ourselves to be. I am eager to see how the older child stands up to the younger and to see the % that comes back on my husband's results. I will be shocked to see even a small trace in my own line as all roads seem to lead to Norway and Germany when tracing documents and such. Very interesting stuff, both the blog and the comments. Thanks for the read.