My son wanted his Ancestry.com analysis done too; he got his results back this past week:
19% Asia East.
2% Asia Central.
1% Asia South.
34% British Isles.
3% Europe West.
1% Europe East.
1% European Jewish.
1% Near East.
The biggest surprise was the 24% Irish. I turned out to be 4% Irish, so at most he could have gotten 4% of the Irish from me. Yet both sides of my wife's family supposedly go back to the Mayflower (though they also include some Dutch settlers). So was this a mistake?
Probably not, for a percentage that high. My wife is simply far more Irish than she thought. Obviously, there's a lot of admixture between neighboring countries. But still, if my son got 20% Irish from his mother, unless she gave him all her Irish genes, which is theoretically possible, though unlikely, that makes her roughly three-eighths Irish. (Which, by the way, came as a shock to her; in fact, her initial reaction was denial.)
What seems more likely is that Ancestry.com takes Celtic DNA as evidence of Irish heritage, when in fact it's more complicated than that. The Celts were at one point all over northwestern Europe, though they later retreated back to the British Isles, mostly Ireland. So it's quite possible that the section of the Netherlands from which my wife's ancestors came were largely Celt.
There does seem to be a margin of error on the trace amount ethnicities.
I am 1% Central Asian; yet my son is 2%. Is it possible he inherited the extra 1% from his mother? Well, the Mongols made their way all the way to the Danube, and before them, the Huns ravaged Europe as well. So, yes, it's possible, if unlikely.
My son is evidently 1% European Jewish. European genes found their way into the Ashkenazi bloodline; undoubtedly this seepage worked the other way as well. So that's possible too.
But I have a hard time believing that my son is actually 1% Melanesian. The only way that could have happened is if the Mayflower took the scenic route to Jamestown via New Guinea, so that the Puritan lasses could sport with headhunters.
The 1% South Asian genes also seem unlikely, unless my wife has a Gypsy fortuneteller in her family tree. (The Gypsies, or Roma, originated in India.)
Keep in mind, to be 1% anything is the equivalent of having a purebred ancestor of that ethnicity a mere seven generations back. (You shares 50% of your genes with each parent, 25% with each grandparent, then, going back, 12.5%, 6.25%, 3.12%, 1.56%, and .78%.)
Some of my purported ancestry may also be a mistake. I was parsed out as 1% Native American. Amerindians emigrated roughly 12,000 years ago from Asia, so confusing the DNA of those two groups would be an easy mistake.
It's actually more fun to believe that one has all these different groups as ancestors. It allows one a larger family, so to speak, a more extended sense of kinship. It's just that some of the 1 and 2% figures seem to fall into the margin of error.
And, even if the 1% figures are true, it's doubtful that any relatively pure specimens of those ethnicities would feel the same kinship with us.
For instance, even if my son is 1% Melanesian -- he did get a kick out of knowing he's distantly related to the last known surviving cannibal tribe (the Korowai of southeastern Papua) -- it seems unlikely that they would greet him as a long lost relative.
On the other hand, on an entirely different level, it is quite likely that should he ever visit the island, he would become part of the tribe.