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A drop of blood

Some of the nationalities/ethnic groups in my ancestry
Click on a flag to view an example of that ancestry in my genealogy:

my father's side, my ancestry is heavily dominated by French Canadian bloodlines.
(1/64th is Portuguese, 1/512th is Swiss, 1//512 is Spanish, 1/4096 is Scottish,
and 1/4096th Native American (per one woman's haplotype A mtDNA).

The rest is so heavily French, that his overall percentage would still exceed just over 93% French). On my
father's side, my first non-French ancestors are not found without going back to the early 1700s.
My mother's side is very mixed: 1/half English. 1/4th Scottish, 1/8 Welsh, a bit less than 1/8 Irish,
1/32nd German, and somewhere between 1/64th and 1/256th Native American (unproven, but likely).

For almost every other nationality represented by one the above flags, such an ancestor only appears
as as an ancestor of Anne Couvent, my ancestor at 13 generations in the past. Anne Couvent accounts
for only 1/16384th of my father's total ancestry. Since most of her ancestors are also French, you can
imagine how minute a total percentage of ALL of those other nationalities collectively represent,
much less any single one of them.

For any of you who have done one of the DNA tests that tell you your ethnic ancestry percentages,
I need to explain a few things:

First: Nationality is not the same as ethnicity. For example, United Kingdom ancestors
might (or might not) have a significant % of Scandinavian DNA, as the Vikings intermarried heavily in the
parts of the British Isles where they raided (and many settled) in the eighth through eleventh centuries.
So, the DNA of your "English" ancestors may come back as 15-25% or higher Scandinavian. That does not
make them any less "historically" English, as the descendants of Scandinavians may very well have lived
in England and raised families there for the next 1000-1500 years!
Although it is certainly "possible" that the ancestry DNA could indicate your ancestral origins to a
a few hundred years ago, my results were no closer, at best, than 600-1000 years ago to the reality.
Knowing that most of your ancestors lived in the Bristish Isle at some time from
between the years 1000 and 1400, tell you nothing about where they lived during the
the following six to ten centuries! Those more recent origins are far more accurately-discovered via
genealogical research than by what ancestry DNA results can tell you.
The ancestry companys are, however, accurate in telling you that your Y-DNA and mtDNA indicates
where your earlier ancestors of 10,000-15,000 years ago most probably lived.
You may have seen the television commercial where the guy says: We always believed
we were German. Then I got my AncestryDNA results back and found out 52% of my DNA is Scottish!
Yeah, well that is pure garbage! Just because your DNA comes back with a haplogroup
and markers that say your genetic makeup is 52% Scottish, does not mean that
most of your ancestors did not live in Germany for the past three or four centuries!
All it means is that a large percentage of your ancestors originated in Scotland,
or that the ancestors of most people with that DNA originated there.
The DNA results are more accurately telling you where your ancestors probably originated
1000 to 10,000 years ago! That most certainly does not negate your more recent 25 or more
generations of your ancestors having lived in Germany, France, etc.

My 23andMe results show my earliest French ancestors at the years 1920-1860. Funny; how is that
I can provide birth records and/or censuses all the way back back to prove a direct ancestor
born in Normandy in 1599, when according to my 23andMe report those generations were in Scandinavia?
(23andMe update one's results over time, and by late 2020, they had dropped my Scandanavian % to zero). Almost all of my father's ancestors came from France via Quebec. DNA results are primarily
gene pool results, certainly not tied to any individual's documented genealogy, but
instead to statistics indicating where the majority of people with the same DNA haplogroup and
markers were clustered in populations at a particular time periods. As one of the leading scientists
in the public sector human genome project once told me: Ancestry DNA tests are far more about
companies making money than they are about science.

My mothers DNA is a fairly uncommmon one (U4b1a3), which is believed to have originated in the
Germanic areas of northwestern Europe, millenia ago. The known\traced and documented nationalities
of those ancestors, however, include only 1/16 German nationality (16.666%). The British Isles portion,
on the other hand, makes up 7/8ths of her ancestry, or 87.5%. When I received my ancestry report, it
was for my percentages, of which my mother's origins comprise only 50%, so I would have expected
approximately 8% German, and about 44/% English from her side. Since there are a couple of English
and a Scottish ancestor intermarried with my father's French Canadian ancestors, it did not therefore
surprise me to see my overall DNA ethnicity listed as 55% British* (includes Scottish) and Irish.
(A subsequent update from 23andMe, changed my results to 46.8% British, which is very nearly
accurate, according to my fairly extensive genealogy research. The French part was still too low, but
but perhaps not, if you add in the Scandinavian, Dutch, and Germanic parts of the results,
which could well be reflecting the DNA of the Viking orgins of many of my Norman French ancestors.
A few months after that update, however, the Dutch % had been removed, and only shown as French and German, and the British ancestry was decreased to 45.3%.

Second: the Western Atlantic Modal haplogroup, which is my Y-DNA type, is the most common male
haplogroup in Europe. It exists in high or very high frequencies in all of Western Europe from
Spain in the south to the British Isles and western Scandinavia in the north. While, if I had
not know that, I might have expected the remaining 45%-50% of my DNA composition to be listed
as "French," that would belie what we know about the origin of the Marcotte family. For one
thing, they came to Canada from Normandy, and Normandy was largely populated by "Normans,"
i.e. - Norsemen\Vikings. Also, the earliest knowledge of anyone with the surname Marcotte, was
in Flanders during the 1300s. Flanders consisted of lands that now reside in far northern France,
Belgium and the Netherlands. The first Marcotte to come to Fecamp, Normandy is recorded as
arriving from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais reagion of France, parts of which at one time were in
Flanders. Also, because the Normans invaded England in 1066, and ruled the England for over half
a century, it should hardly be suprising that many Normans would have intermarried with the
English. The remaining portions of my DNA ancestry composition (presumably that make up my
father's side were initially reported as 15.7% French & German, 1% Scandinavian, 26.5% Broadly
NorthwesternEuropean, 0.6% broadly European, and 0.5% Broadly Southern European. The updated
results, sent just six months later, show 31.2% French and German, 2.7% Iberian,
.5% Scandinavian, 14.8% broadly Northwestern European,
3.5% Broadly Southern European, and 1.9% Broadly European. The term "broadly" is used to
indicate that those portions of the DNA could not be pinned down to a more specific region
due to being found in populations that were distributedover wider parts of the continent.
Contrary to what one might think, these results did not actually contradict
the known French origins of the Marcotte men and their French spouses. DNA cannot tell you where
your ancestors lived, only where certain markers within your DNA originated and where they were
most prominently found at certain periods in time. Mine shows that my ancestors from the
1700s back to the 1600s, were of Scandinavian origins, and that my French ancestors were from
1800-1860. That is only accurate if I point out that I already knew that my earliest known
French ancestors were Normans, who historically descended from Vikings, and that in the 1800s
almost all my father's acestor were in French Canada, and by the 1840s in the United States,
marrying with other French families whose origins included Nova Scotia and other parts of Europe,
incluidng at least one Spaniard and one Portuguese, one Scotsman, and one Briton.
When I checked my updated 23andMe %s in November 2020, 23andMe had me at 41% French, 48% UK
(from my mother's DNA), 8.4% Broadly Norwestern Europe, 1.1% Southern European, .7% Spanish and
Portyguese, and .4% Sardian. The Scandavian % had disappeared entirely, and given that my most
recent Scandanavian ancestors would have been those who settled Normandy in the 8th to 10th
centuries, it does not surprise me that the % had dropped away, except for the Cypriot %, the
new results seem pretty close to what I have traced by genealogical means. The Cypriot %
replaced a Sardinian %, but I have not found evidence of that on either my father's or mother's side.

From what I can discern, most people who don't understand what these test results really show,
are going to be completely misled/deceived by what the ancestry DNA test results tell them.
See also: DNA Distribution chart for my R-P311/M269 Y-DNA (paternal) .

My Native American roots did not appear in the ancestry composition, but again, that is
misleading. On my father's side, the only proven Native American appears eleven generations back,
which would make her percentage of my DNA only 0.048%. My presumed Native American Ancetsry on my
mother's side is storied to have been at 5 generations before me, which would equate to a 3.125%,
but from documentary evidence, it would appear that this ancestors was more likely the daughter
of a white man and a mixed blood woman of unknown name. My belief is that the native blood, if it
exists, was introduced at least three generations earlier, which would indicate at most 0.39 of 1%.
The smallest % of any identified type listed in the 23&me results was 0.2% (Italian), which is a new %
on my most recent 23 and Me report, and which I believe is erroneous, and should have been grouped
together with the Spanish and Portuguese % total, due to my most recent Italian ancestors found here.
Another testing company, AncestryDNA, addresses this issue at this link.
(if the afore-referenced link becomes dormant, the company just explained how a person's
1/4 Native American great-grandparent's DNA might be too slight to show up in the results.
My own Native American ancestor are even more distant generations than great grandparents.
In this other link, which references both the 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA tests,
the author explains that the Native American category shown in results do not even mean the
the reference population is that of known Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Utes, Ojibwe, etc., tribes,
but rather mostly tribal groups from Alaska, down through the West Coast,
through Central America, and into South America as far as Nicaragua!
As of 2023, I have not found ANY ancesty DNA testing company who has access to a statically-signicant
number of North American indigenous Native American DNA tests, with which to compare their customers DNA.
This occurs primarily because full blood Native Americans have no reason at all to submit a DNA sample,
except possibly for medical reasons, and such test results are by law (HIPAA) private and confidential.

In any case, my own DNA composition tested as 99% European, matching with what I have been able to
document with my known ancestry. Per my most recent (2023) DNA report from 23andMe,
the French % plus the Broadly Northwestern European % plus the Broadly European % amounts add up
to a total of 49.2%. The "Broadly" amounts mean that genetics can't pin those portions down any
further due to their broad distribution - and so that ties together perfectly well with what is
known about my Y-DNA (parental) results and the Western Atlantic Modal haplogroup,
as well as with my known, and documented "Norman" French ancestry.
The remaining 1 % of my paternal side was reported as Southern European, which does
reflect the admixture of a Portuguese and a Spaniard, who married two of my French Canadian
ancestors in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Click here to view my slides from a presentation I did, circa 2016 illustrating the problems with ancestry DNA test results.

However, almost everyone has a much broader mix of nationalities and ethnic origin than
what they probably believe is the case. While some of the above mixes in my own
ancestry has to reach back centuries to find such traces, so do all of our ancestries
extend even more centuries farther back than those shown. Almost anyone could likewise claim
a smattering of almost any nationality, if they can trace back far enough.

The lineages shown do not show all of the French, German, English, Belgian, etc. bloodlines
that I could illustrate, but rather serve as one or two examples ot those national
origins in my own genealogy.

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