Thursday, March 23, 2017

Living DNA Results

The results of my Living DNA test have arrived.

The screenshots are shared with you below, along with comparisons to other DNA companies.

Living DNA places my ancestry as more British than I was expecting.  My mother is about three quarters Irish, yet this test puts me at about ten percent.

Part of the attraction of Living DNA's test is breaking down where in Great Britain one's ancestry may have originated.  To be fair, I have not traced most of my ancestral lines to precise locations in Europe.

B F Lyon visualizations

Above is my father's tree with flags representing discovered places of origin.  Except for the short Lutter/Uhl branches, in the 1600s most of his ancestors left Europe for land that would become the United States.  The port of sailing is not necessarily where they were born and raised, so assigning a country of origin is tricky.

The three main DNA testing companies in the United States also provide ancestry estimates.

Family Tree DNA estimates my ancestry to be about 87% British Isles, which is most similar to Living DNA. estimates me to be more than half Irish and only thirteen percent British.

23andMe paints me at almost half British and Irish.

Living DNA estimates the locations of your ancestors throughout time.  The map above shows where my ancestors may have been about 500 years ago, when most people were stuck within a few miles of where they were born because travel was difficult and ocean-worthy ships were not yet developed.

The map above shows where my ancestors may have lived 1200 years ago, before written records to trace this genealogy.

Jumping back 5500 years ago, my ancestors could have been in all over Europe.  It's anyone's guess, but this is Living DNA's try.

In a similar vein, a new feature at 23andMe estimates when your most recent ancestor from a specific population entered your DNA.  Maybe 1950 is my mother's Irish, 1920 is her Ashkenazi grandparent, 1890 is my father's German paternal grandfather, and the rest is the mixture that I am.

I hope that Living DNA offers the matching with cousins feature of the other three DNA companies.  Because it is based in the United Kingdom, Living DNA may attract consumers who will not test with one of the companies marketed primarily in the United States and expose me to new DNA cousins.


  1. Very interesting Jody. Does it seem you need to test with all the mentioned companies to get an overall picture? Why do you think the results are varied?

    1. For an overall picture, you need to research your family tree.
      These DNA ethnicity estimates will vary from company to company. You can plug your results into to play with ethnicity calculators developed by others.
      Another important consideration is that you do not carry the DNA of all of your ancestors, so any DNA-based ethnic composition will not accurately represent your heritage.

  2. Also I have a Facebook group called British Isles, I'd love it if you joined. I'll send you the link later.