Discovering DNA Communities – Ethnic Origins

A new study uses genetic data and genealogical research from more than 700,000 <> customers to reveal migration trends in North America over the past 300 years. Findings, which were published in the journal Nature Communications <>, are the basis of AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities user experience.
According to an Ancestry,com announcement, the study shows “how specific groups of people are connected through their DNA, what places they called home, and which migration paths they followed to get there.” The results correspond strongly with documented history and the results of genetic data done by 23andMe, GPS DNA and Family Tree DNA.
Researchers first identified genetically related groups and smaller clusters within them. Then they used family trees associated with those similar DNA profiles to describe the geographic origins and migration patterns within each cluster. Of specific interest were communities that have develop distinguishable genetic patterns due to “gene flow barriers” such as isolated geographic locations or cultural identity that encourages mating within the community.
Unfortunately, there has not been a methodology research model to reasonably determine African-American and Native-American clusters based on the above mention. The DNA Communities does afford African-American and Native-Americans the opportunity to identify additional relationships based on the DNA Community findings.
If you are a member of FamilyDNA, GPS DNA or 23andMe you will find similar clusters and ethnic communities base on similar methods. The National Geographic Project (Geno 2) was the first and is still actively working to define their results. The only draw back for most is the cost which is over $200 to participate.


How 23andMe identifies your DNA Relatives

Scientific Details

Learn about your DNA Relatives, the diverse group of 23andMe customers who have DNA in common with you. Only individuals who have chosen to participate in DNA Relatives are the subject of this report.

How 23andMe identifies your DNA Relatives

To identify your DNA Relatives, we use an algorithm that finds segments of your DNA that are identical to DNA segments of other 23andMe customers. When these segments are sufficiently long, we infer that they were inherited from a recent common ancestor. These segments are known as “identical by descent,” or IBD. Our algorithm searches for these matches across virtually your entire genome, so we can identify DNA Relatives on any branch of your family tree.

Note: IBD/Half IBD:

The comparison results in this feature displays shared segments of DNA on separate lines representing each chromosome pair, and labels the shared segments as Half IBD, or identical by descent. Because you inherit one half of your DNA from your mother and the other half from your father, IBD segments typically occur on only a single chromosome. Half IBD refers to the amount of the genome in centiMorgans (cM) that contains an IBD segment on either chromosome. The percent DNA shared in DNA Relatives is based on this number.

Your half IBD and shared segments vary based on the closeness of your relationship with the matches with whom you are comparing. Closer relatives will share thousands of cM and many segments in common; more distant relatives may share only one. For some of your shares, if you connected outside of DNA Relatives, you may not share any segments at all.

Every time DNA is passed from one generation to the next, the two chromosomes in each pair are randomly shuffled with each other in a process called recombination. Then, only half of this new DNA — one set of chromosomes — is passed down to each child. The total amount of DNA passed down from an ancestor is cut approximately in half each generation. Through this process, long inherited segments are broken up generation by generation into multiple shorter ones and sometimes lost altogether.

Despite all of this generational shuffling, DNA Relatives is highly sensitive and can pick up matches ranging from siblings and uncles to distant eighth cousins — individuals that share great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents with you. It may not always be obvious how you share a connection with someone, but that’s where our DNA Relatives tool comes in. Visit the tool to find out more about your matches and get in touch to learn about your family history.

See our Customer Care pages for more information:

Shared segments between cousins

Inheritance family tree graphic.

A closer look at the matching segment

An example graphic showing a matching segment between you and your cousin.

Sources of information used in this report

The Your DNA Family report provides aggregated summaries of several attributes of your DNA Relatives. The following information sources are used in the report:

Report Section
Close to distant DNA Relatives

Computed IBD results from the DNA Relatives tool.

Locations of your DNA Relatives

Answers to survey questions by your DNA Relatives.

Ancestries of your DNA Relatives

Computed results from the Ancestry Composition report.

Traits and behaviors in your 23andMe DNA Family

Answers to survey questions by your DNA Relatives.

Traits in Your DNA Family

Invitation To Tell Your Story Sample Article


 Call for papers, tell your story, if approved we will contact you.

Slavery and my Virginia Johns’

Submitted for Publication, Authors Identity not Provided. Send papers to

Arthur Morris Johns was born on the 4th of July 1871, in Blair, Washington County, Nebraska, the son of Anson Tinsley Johns and Mary Ann NewKirk. Arthur was a farmer, of English descent. He and his wife Hattie Garfield Bradley, also of English descent, had 9 children. Their daughter Isabel, my grandmother, had an interesting set of papers discovered in her belongings after she passed away. It was entitled, “Songs Mamma Used to Sing.” Several of the songs surprised me because they were Civil War Era slave songs. What were they doing in her stuff, and why on earth would her Mamma be singing them? Perhaps it was not her mother’s, but passed down by her paternal great- grandmother.

Arthur’s father, Anson was born in Amherst County, Virginia. He was born on 18 Apr 1828 into a family that owned slaves. He was the third of 15 children, but the last to have been born into a slaveholding household. In 1830, his parents John S. Johns and his wife Caroline Matilda Tinsley, lived in Amherst County and owned 21 slaves. John’s mother, widow Oney Garner lived close by and she owned 2 slaves, both of them children. Ugh, all pride in this family was lost! I wanted to stop searching and move on to another family- but this is reality. I decided to look this issue straight in the eye and keep searching.

John and Caroline’s 4th child, Naomi was born in 1833; not in Virginia but in Franklin County, Tennessee. This Johns family had left Virginia, and their slaves, and moved to Tennessee. By just before the Civil War, John Johns had moved again to Indiana. He died there in 1858. His wife and some of her children then settled in Nebraska, where my great grandfather was born, raised his family, and worked his farm. At least one of John’s sons, Wade Morris Johns, fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. After 1830, no record could be found listing this John Johns as a slave owner.

In 1840, the Amherst County census recorded only 3 Johns households: Richard Johns, John Johns, and James Johns. All of them listed only free colored persons in the household. Oney Garner had died, and most of the Johns family had left for Tennessee or North Carolina. Could these Johns’ be the former slaves of John S Johns? Did he free them? Did they buy their freedom? Were they given their freedom by Oney Garner at her death? Did they now own the land? I’m still looking for answers to those questions. I know one thing for sure, I can be proud of this Johns family for not just leaving slave ownership behind, but leaving it 20 years before the Civil War. I hope that he treated them well. I hope he left them in good spirits. I hope to uncover more of the story, and find all of their names. Those slaves may or may not be related to me by blood, but their lives were shaped-good or bad-by my family, and their descendants deserve at the very least, an equal portion of my tribute. I would cherish the opportunity to meet their descendants and call them family.

I was sad to find that my ancestors had been slave owners. Like many Americans seeking to build their family trees, I had hoped to be descended only from non-slave owning stock. We tend to want to pretend that slavery didn’t happen, or it did not affect us. The truth is, it did. However ugly it is to think about, America was not built just by white pilgrims and revolutionaries, and not just by the poor and huddled masses who came by choice, but it was built on the backs of American slaves.

“Oh, darkies say, hab you seen de massa

Wid de moustach on his face?

Go long de road sometime dis mawnin’

Like he gwine t’ leab de place!

He see the smoke way up the riber

Where de Lincolm gunboats lay-

He took his hat an’ he lef’ mighty sudden,

And I tink he’s runned away!

The massa run, ha ha!

De darkies stay, ho ho!

It must be now dat de kindom’s comin’

In de year ob Jublio!

…” author unknown

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