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Archive for November, 2014

More Ethnicity for the Stevens

Today I will cover our ethnicity as calculated by the Eurogenes K9b admix utility found at This calculator is designed to mimic the ethnicity results of the National Genographic Project’s Geno 2.0 test. These results are based on an entirely different set of data and criteria from the results I showed previously, but they are still nothing more then scientific guesses.

Here is a table of our results by generation.



The first thing I notice is the results do not vary a great deal between the siblings, whereas the FamilyTreeDNA results I posted previously showed wide differences between the siblings. The second thing I notice is the 2nd generation is much more inline with the results of the first generation. The Geno 2.0 test was designed to provide information about our more ancient ancestors and the FamilyTreeDNA test is more about our current ancestry. This difference in focus may explain the difference in results.

For me, the most interesting item in this table is the “Native American” category. We all have segments of DNA that match with Native Americans more closely than Europeans. In addition to the Native American category, the “Northeast Asian” category is of interest and I will explain why in a minute. Oh yes, and the sub-Saharan African and Oceania (Australia etc.) is seriously unexpected and pretty far out there. Does this mean we have African, Native American and Australian ancestry. Not really, but you never know for sure.

The African is easy to explain. Since all modern humans originated in Africa the results are merely showing that we still retain some DNA signatures that are more than 70,000 years old. Pretty cool! The other unusual results are not so easy to explain in a  group of people that should be all British Isles or at least all European. To understand why, I need to provide a little history lesson.

Modern humans originated in Africa. About 70,000 years ago the climate and geography allowed humans to begin migrating out of Africa. Once they left the continent they began moving in all directions. The groups that would eventually become “European” moved in different directions than the groups that eventually found there way to Australia, the far east, and the Americas. It is common for Europeans to show Mediterranean and south or west Asian because these groups were never completely isolated from each other and would have some gene flow between the populations. The Oceania results are low enough percentages to be random coincidence. However, theoretically, as Europeans we should not have any significant DNA in common with Northeast Asians and Native Americans except for our most ancient common ancestry in Africa.

Native Americans came from Northeast Asia before crossing over into America. So if I combine the Native American and NE Asian results, they become a rather significant amount (over 2% average and at least 1.5% for each of the siblings). So the question becomes, how come we show these results? And the answer is, no one knows for certain, but it might be because we actually do have a Native American ancestor somewhere in the last 500 years. My job as group administrator for the family DNA project is to figure out if this is modern Native DNA or really ancient African DNA disguised as Native American.

One thing I found surprising in these results is that the 2nd generation has significantly more Native then the 1st generation. The results suggest the 2nd generation received additional Native segments from these non-Stevens parents. The non-Stevens parent for each member of the 2nd generation appear to be European on paper. I really doubt we have a bunch of Indians on both sides of our trees. So, this may be a indication that all this Native stuff is really not Native at all just Native impostors.

So who gets the booby prize today? No one in the first generation really stands out in any specific category. For the 2nd generation, the prize goes to NL with over 4% combined Native and NE Asian results.

Stay tuned for more Winking smile

DNA & Ethnicity


DNA can tell us a little bit about our ethnicity, but it’s more theory & speculation than hard fact. Never the less, it is fun to see what the scientists have to say about who we are. Today I am going to share the ethnicity (also referred to as admix) of the Stevens family as calculated by FamilyTreeDNA’s MyOrigins app. In another post I will show the results from other apps.

According to MyOrigins the 4 Stevens siblings are 100% European, which is certainly not surprising since my genealogy suggests our ancestors on both sides of the tree came from the British Isles. In the table below I am showing the results for each sibling as well as their average for comparison with the 2nd generation.



These are just predictions and they do not mean that we have recent ancestors that came from Northern Siberia. What this is saying is that 2% of Rose’s and 4% of Geo’s DNA signature has more in common with the current population of Finland & Northern Siberia than it does with the current population of the British Isles. It also shows that Roy and Gene do not share enough DNA markers with the current population of Finland & Northern Siberia to matter.

Each company has its own scientists and its own DNA database used for making these predictions. Therefore each company produces somewhat different ethnicity results. In addition to testing companies there are groups of scientists who have created their own prediction apps using differing methods. Many of these prediction apps are available to use for free at the website. Scientists are still working to refine their predictions. As more and more people test we will learn more about our place in the modern world and as more ancient DNA sequences become available we will learn more about our place in the ancient world.

So, why is the 2nd generation results so much different then the 1st generation.There are two basic reasons. One has to do with cross-over which I will discuss in a bit. The biggest reason for the difference between the 1st and 2nd generation is caused by the 50% contribution of the non-Stevens parent. The 2nd generation received an equal amount of DNA from each parent and will reflect the ethnicity that goes along with that non-Stevens DNA contribution. The 2nd generation is also European but there is much more diversity within that classification.

Two things stand out in the 2nd generation. First, NL and PC have significantly less British Isles then the prior generation. This is surprising because the non-Stevens parent in both cases appear to have British origins. The second surprise is the 2% non-European results for SG despite the fact the non-Stevens parent appears to be British.

So who gets the booby prize today? In the 1st generation I vote for Roy with the least amount of diversity and in the 2nd generation I vote for SG with the most surprising diversity. Where is that Central Asian coming from?

Why the Difference?

So why is there a difference in the ethnicity of these four siblings? They all have the same parents so they should have the same ethnicity shouldn’t they? Well, yes, kinda sorta.

Even though each sibling gets 50% of their DNA from the mother and 50% from the father, chromosome pairs get mixed up when egg or sperm are produced by a parent. Because of this mixing no two siblings will get exactly the same 50%. This is why siblings don’t all look the same. This mixing is random and occurs with each generation back through time. Therefore, each sibling has a unique combination of DNA from the parent and there is no guarantee any two siblings will share a specific sequence. So Rose & Geo received pieces of DNA from an ancestor with Northern Siberian like  DNA and the other two did not get that piece.

For those of us that are visual learner I have created this illustration to show how DNA segments from a particular ancestor get smaller and smaller with each generation. At about the 5th generations most segments become too small to accurately detect which ancestor they originated with. However, the ethnicity of small pieces may remain detectable for a much longer period.

DNA Recombination Illustration

Native America Genealogy

Today I am posting links to two excellent articles I found discussing Native American genealogy research in the US.

Please note that these articles do not cover the Wabanaki People of the Northeast. Why is that? Because the Maine tribes were not under the umbrella of the Federal Government (BIA) until the land claims case of the 1970s. Prior to that, the Penobscot & Passamaquoddy were wards of the State of Maine under a specific agreement created in 1820 when Maine separated from the state of Massachusetts. Of course the politicians never asked the Native People if this was agreeable to them. The other two Maine tribes (Maliseet & Mi’kmaq) had been classified as Canadian Indians prior to the land claims case, despite the fact they have resided on the Maine side of the border for generations. Other Wabanaki groups are from Native communities in Canada and therefore have an entirely different political history and record set for research purposes.

You can find some tips for researching Wabanaki ancestry on the Ne-Do-Ba website.

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