Exploring the new “Genetic Communities™” on Ancestry.com

Forewarning. This is Veronica, the other Genealogy Sister, writing today. You’ll be glad to know that Maryann who writes 99.9% of the posts will be back online with a new post very soon. I decided to make a rare appearance on the Genealogy Sisters blog to talk about my recent experience with Ancestry.com new DNA feature “Genetic Communities,” which is now available for those who purchase and submit an autosomal DNA test.

According to Ancestry.com

“Genetic Communities™ are groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived.

For example, some Genetic Communities trace their roots back to groups of people who were isolated geographically. Mountains, rivers, lack of roads, or other barriers made it likely that each new generation would marry someone who lived close to home. Others have their roots in groups who typically married others of the same religion or ethnic group. In each case, these groups came to share a significant amount of DNA. Modern-day descendants who inherited some of that DNA make up Genetic Communities.”

I was so excited when I read the announcement and was looking forward to knowing more from my DNA test than the more ancient origins, which until now is what was available to researchers on Ancestry.com. From those results I had learned what I pretty much already knew: I am 99% European (35% Irish, 50% Eastern Europe, 5% Western Europe, & 9% other) and what I didn’t know: 1% Southern Asia.

The new Genetic Communities results show that my Irish roots from past few hundred years are primarily within 2 subgroups: Connacht Irish (60% confidence level), Irish in Cork (20% confidence level) To a lesser degree, my DNA test indicates I also belong to the Irish subgroups from  MayoGalway, and Munster.  So basically despite the Dorans living for a long time in Belfast, Ireland our clan most likely migrated there for work. All making the story Sal Rafferty told her cousins that the Dorans came from the West of Ireland, perhaps from County Clare more likely true than not.

Map of Ireland download courtesy of http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ruairc/ireland.htm

For my 50% Eastern Europe roots I did expect to see the Polish Community from Lesser Poland Malopolska  but the inclusion of Swietokrzyskie  was a surprise (20% confidence level for both).  I do not appear to have Polish roots from the rest of Poland.

Our primary research into church records has shown our Polish family lived in the same villages, and usually in the same homes, for at least 200 years (1700s through early 1900s). The villages were located in the Carpathian foothills between the modern cities of Tarnow, Golice, and Bobowa. Roughly 50 – 60 miles east of Krakow, Poland.

Map download courtesy of FamilySearch.org URL https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/File:Poland_map_with_English.png

Have you submitted a DNA sample yet to Ancestry.com or FamilyTree DNA or some other genetic testing service? Which one(s)?  Did you find out anything you didn’t already know? Have any of your DNA connections pointed you in a new direction of family research? Let us know how it turned out for you.

12 thoughts on “Exploring the new “Genetic Communities™” on Ancestry.com

  1. I sent mine in recently and now I’m just awaiting the results! I also tested my Mom with Ancestry and my Grandma and Uncle with FTDNA. Exciting times. (Insert mental image of me rubbing my hands together with a huge smile.) My Uncle already tested with Ancestry and shows 23% Jewish. I’m more than a little baffled by that because I have no idea who in our tree is ethnically Jewish. He is my Mom’s brother so I’m looking forward to seeing how her results and mine compare to his.


    1. Amberly, I think DNA results are always fascinating! We are so lucky that we now have this extra tool in family research. I’ve tested with AncestryDNA and FTDNA, and I like them both. My sister and I did get some different matches. Since you tested your mom, maybe you will be able to pinpoint where the ethnically Jewish line comes from. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have found the results interesting and very helpful. I tested with 23andme before many of the others were available. We have also had our brother and a first cousin test with FTDNA. My sister tested with 23andme. I am getting another first cousin to test, since our parents and grandparents are unavailable. This hopefully will give us more connections. We have broken down one brick wall through genmatch and have connected with 4+ 3rd cousins around the world. I’m loving on the new contacts.


  3. I found this new feature fascinating! It matches a huge chuck of my people who were “Settlers of Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois & Southern Iowa” I think they did a great job with the social history.


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