For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wondered what my ethnic make up was. Being born of parents from different ethnic backgrounds, I never knew what my family history was or could be. My father is white, and my mother is Filipino. Other than that, that’s all I knew; American and Filipino. What was my Dad’s European ancestry? Did my Mom have Spanish ancestry?
My father, myself, and my mother in Manila, Philippines
My mother’s side is easier to guess. She’s from the Philippines, so she’s Filipino. Right? Well, it may not be as easy as it seems. The Philippines has been a way station of sorts for much of it’s history. It has been populated by Aeta’s (an aboriginal people of darker skin tone and shorter stature; called Negrito’s by the Spanish Colonial administration), people of Malay decent, people of Indonesian decent, different peoples from mainland South East Asia including China, Japan, Taiwan, the Korea’s, and visited by Muslim Indian and Arab traders. Theoretically, I could have more than Filipino ancestry; I could have ancestry from any one of those populations.
My father’s side is also not so clear and cut. We can trace my paternal side all the way up through my great grandparents. Maybe a few generation more. My paternal grandmother is from Kentucky, & so are her family lines, and my paternal grandfather is from Pennsylvania. As is his parents and their lines. When pressed, my grandparents or great aunts could only tell me that our ancestor’s came from the old country. A few have mentioned Germany, but nothing else. Looking at my surname Parker, I can guess that my grandfather’s line is from England. So, I grew up thinking that my father’s side is English with a touch of German.
That’s why I was so interested in learning my ethnic background. I chose Living DNA because the company is supposed to specialize in European DNA, especially England. being of supposed English decent, I wanted to know how much of my background is English, and where in England my DNA comes from. I’ve used Ancestry and 23andMe in the past, so I wanted to see what this company could offer me. Would their results match the other two companies, or would they present me with something else the other companies didn’t.
As you see from the picture below, I have European ancestry as well as Asian ancestry. Now this is where it gets interesting. My Asian ancestry is divided between South and East Asian. There is also Oceanic ancestry.
Living DNA attempts to do something the other DNA websites can’t. They try not to leave any unassigned DNA in your results. They present Complete, Standard, and Cautious estimates.
Here is where I’ll dive into my mother’s and father’s ancestry. I’ll start with my mother’s first. I chose to look at the complete option, and narrowed in on the Regions area of my ancestry results. Apparently, Living DNA might not have many samples and or customers from the Philippines. It looks like the Philippines is clumped together with South China.
So, my mother’s ancestry broken up into three groups. Asia East which includes South China, Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea. Asia South which includes Indian Subcontinent and Pashtun. Finally, Oceania which includes Austronesia. When you click on each one, it will give you information about each people.
This surprised me. I’m not sure how much to believe about these results. The complete option does try to assign unassigned DNA to a similar group, but these results are very different to the other two DNA websites I’ve used. First of all, my mother and her family is from the Philippines. They don’t show Philippines separately though, the Philippines is lumped in genetically with South China. Most sites can tell if someone has direct ancestry from China or the Philippines, they can separate the two. Also, this is the first I see of India, Pashtun, Japan, and Korea. Yes, the Philippines has been populated by a wide variety of peoples, and there’s been lots of contact through merchants. Merchants from China, Japan, India, and the Arabian peninsula. But I have Indian or even Pashtun Ancestry? When I look at the cautious results, the Pashtun ancestry drops off, and I now have the same amount of DNA assigned as Unassigned Ancestry. I wonder if unassigned DNA on 23andMe and Ancestry will one day come up as Indian ancestry for me. They’re constantly refining their results.
My father’s ancestry is next. Living DNA only shows results from England, Ireland, & Scotland but then generically North and West Europe. These results vary drastically from my other DNA website’s findings. It confirmed the English and German ancestry, but left out other findings I confirmed through census records and other DNA websites. Other websites and census records revealed that I have European Jewish, Scandinavian, and Spanish ancestry. Living DNA looks like they lumped all that together in their North and West Europe findings, but they did something that the other sites didn’t do. They were able to give me an in depth look into my English ancestry by giving sub region results. This option is not available for ethnicity results outside of the British Isles.
Overall, I’m satisfied with these results. I was able to look at where my father’s side came from in Great Britain and Ireland. I did see my mother’s side, which is what I kind of already guessed. There were a few surprises, and I hope that as all of these DNA sites refine their data, I’ll get more closer results across the websites.
One last thing to note is that you can also learn about your fatherline and motherline’s mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups & sublcades.
Motherline Haplogroup and Subclade
Not only can you view your ethnic background, you can view your motherline’s and fatherline’s Haplogroup and Subclade groups. My mother’s mtDNA can be traced from Africa and into South East Asia. Interestingly enough, it’s shared with Native Americans. Most likely because the Native Americans came from Asia. Some went across the ice bridge into the Americas while others went south into South East Asia.
Living DNA lets you see your mtDNA migration map, Phylogenetic Tree, the coverage map of where that mtDNA can be found, as well as some information about the Haplogroup and Subclade.
Fatherline Haplogroup and Sublcade
You can see your Y-DNA results from your fatherline’s Haplogroup and Subclade (if you’re a male). You can trace your fatherline’s movement and other information as you were able to do for your motherline.