Ancestry's Ethnicity Update Could Include More Scotland

Ancestry’s 2020 ethnicity update is the first time they are dividing results in the UK and Ireland into four populations instead of two. As such, your latest results could include more Scotland in your ethnicity estimates.

Over the years, the names of Ancestry’s ethnicity regions for the UK and Ireland have changed, but they’ve always had only two regions to compare customers’ DNA against, roughly an Ireland/Celtic/Gaelic group and an Anglo-Saxon/Britain/England group. Now, there are four groups: England & Northwestern Europe, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

However, the DNA. of people from closely related regions can be very similar, making it harder to tell regions apart. That’s why it’s taken so long to get separate profiles for Scotland and Wales—and why you may see further refinements to your percentages for these populations in the future as those profiles get clearer.

England, Scotland, and Wales have very admixed populations. Which means, while they have. very distinct cultural, linguistic, historical, and genetic differences on the one hand, on the other, they also share an island that’s about the size of the state of Louisiana.

Two thousand years ago, primarily Celtic people lived on the island. Since then, the history of the people in the region has become more complicated with the arrival of Romans, Germanic Angles and Saxons, and also Nordic Vikings and Normans. There have been invasions and Acts of Union, migrations for work going back to the Industrial Revolution, and the draw of cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, and London.

In our 2020 update, we now have separate profiles for Scotland and England & Northwestern Europe, but again, people’s DNA isn’t so neatly organized. There are plenty of people in England and Scotland who will see a mix of both in their results. In fact, we know that most will. And the typical mix of those percentages will change based on where their ancestry is from.

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