Ancestry’s updated ethnic communities

When AncestryDNA recently updated their ethnicity algorithms, one of my communities changed. I used to be connected to the English settlers of Newfoundland community, which was mapped onto Cornwall and Devon and followed a migration arrow to Newfoundland. Here is their new assessment:

latestdnastoryThey have changed the “settler” place identification to be the place settled, not the place of origin. I’m descended from the Newfoundland & Southeastern Labrador settlers, rather than being descended from English people who settled Newfoundland. Notice also that they have divided Newfoundland into multiple regions.

My issue is that this new community doesn’t show any connections back to England. If, on the interactive Ancestry website, I click on my 23% English-Wales-NW Europe DNA percentage, it tells me I have “no connections.” That’s because literally all of my English heritage is via Newfoundland ancestors. But where in England did those Newfoundland ancestors descend from? According to my paper trail and historical guesses, probably Dorset and the Channel Islands. But that’s not reflected in the new DNA community organization. Meanwhile, in Munster, I have connections in four distinctly defined overlapping areas around Cork. Again, it’s not that it’s wrong. I just don’t understand why it’s four communities for one region of a smallish country and then no connections at all for a larger country from which a quarter of my DNA derives. (All reference to “clicking” refers to the live interactive graphic on Ancestry’s website. What you see here is just a static graphic for sharing.)

I looked at some of the other communities, just to see how things were divided up, and it looks like these divisions are meant to direct research fruitfully. My roots go back hundreds of years in Newfoundland; with the scarcity of records, it’s hard to get far enough back to research in England. So maybe these divisions were an attempt to nudge DNA discourse towards genealogical research and away from pseudo-scientific debates about ethnicity? That makes good sense, but I wonder if any of the changes were more controversial?

Did anyone else have a dramatic change in their community membership after the new DNA update?

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