I was an early participant in the 23 & Me genetic testing database. A big reason for me doing it was because I was adopted and I wanted to know my ethnic ancestry. Recently, the company improved their ancestry section, giving users more precise regions of where their DNA originated from. Previously, I knew I was 100% European from the early ancestry reports from 23 & Me. There were percentages of broad areas, like Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, but no countries. As genetic testing has grown more popular, they now have over 5 million people in their database. Using algorithms with customers in the database that know their origins, they match users to specific places. I think they will get even more accurate as the science improves. I would also guess that their European DNA database is larger than other parts of the world because white Americans are probably a big percentage of their users.
The ancestry report most “highly likely” match was Poland. They even get down to the state level. The two voivodeships (states) in Poland surround Krakow (Lesser Poland Voivodeship) and the border with Ukraine (Podkarpakie Voivodeship) were the strongest matches for me in Poland. We spent New Year holiday in Krakow in 2014, but at the time I didn’t know I had ancestors from there.
I was surprised to learn that my DNA “likely” matched in three oblasts (states) in Russia. One outside of Moscow, another in the southwest of Russia near the city formerly called Stalingrad, now Volgograd, and Samara Oblast, on the border with Kazhakstan. I am guessing it may be from my father’s side of the family.
The other two “likely matches” were the western Ukraine oblast of Lviv and the Kosice region of Slovakia. My biological mother’s family still makes pierogi and celebrates their Slovakian heritage. There were many Slavic immigrants to the Appalachian mountains in Eastern Pennsylvania where my biological parents are from.
Besides the big 80% Eastern European part, 11% was Spanish/Portuguese and 9% Austrian. My wife Nadia also did 23 & Me and it zeroed in on Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We both sent samples into the rival company, Ancestry.com and so I will be curious to see if it matches with the 23 & Me findings.