I was excited when I heard 23andme is breaking down ethnicity by country regions in eastern Europe. Years of research shows my ancestry is mostly Russian and some German ancestry from Poland.
The results from 23andme were surprising but not in a good way. With so many Russian lines researched back to the 1600s, I only saw one birth region of a great-grandparent- Tartarstan- and the other 4 regions were so far removed from my ancestors’ birthplaces.
One great-grandmother was born in the Russian Empire, but she had extensive German ancestry. Her birthplace now sits in eastern Poland.
23andme did find ancestry from her paternal grandmother’s region and another region was near the birth region of her paternal grandfather.
Due to missing records for the areas of Poland where my German ancestors lived, I cannot do more thorough research on those ancestors. The two other regions 23andme claims as my ancestors’ regions in Poland are so far away from where documents place them.
23andme gives the most specific ethnicity breakdown but it doesn’t match documented research of my ancestors. Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage provide the broadest ethnicity breakdowns. Ancestry has more specific information on ethnicity but it’s not going to break down any walls.
So far, it seems these DNA tests are better at finding relatives than serving as a crystal ball for where Eastern European ancestors once lived.
A Russian-American’s insider view of the 23andme Autosomal Test
A Russian-American’s inside view of the new AncestryDNA test
A Russian-American’s insider view of the MyHeritage DNA test
A Russian-American’s insider view of the Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder Test