Do most people go by their genetic ethnicity or the origin of their ancestors?

I put "American" on the 2020 census for my ethnicity, but some people who feel a connection to their ancestors' origins say that they're 1/2 Italian, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Polish etc.  I never gave it much thought.  I assumed, if your grandmother was from Poland,  you're 1/4 Polish.  But with DNA testing I learned.....

1.  You don't inherit 25% of your DNA from each grandparent.  It's possible your dad  can only pass along DNA from his mother.  So if his father was Italian and he didn't pass along any DNA from his father or just a few percent, then can you really consider yourself to be 25% Italian?  Full siblings can get different DNA results, one sister can show 25% Irish ancestry and the other can show 2% Irish ancestry.  Can the sister with one Irish grandparent but who's DNA is only 2% Irish, consider herself to be 25% Irish?

2.  People in all countries are mixed.  So unless you are from an isolated island or a remote jungle, you don't have pure ancestry.  The average native person from Spain is only 55% Spanish.  If one of your parents is from Spain are you technically 27.5% Spanish.  The average Polish person is only 65% Polish.  In Ireland people have on average 10-15% Spanish ancestry.  My 100% Polish friend who took a DNA test showed as 5% Polish.  He's from Eastern Poland, which was originally Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.  

What would most people go by?  The actual DNA they inherited?  Where their ancestors are from?  What ethnicity their ancestors claimed to be?

3 Answers

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  • 5 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    You're over thinking it.  First of all, leave the DNA out of the picture.  Country of origin was invented long before DNA testing was even a dream.  Country of origin means exactly what it say.  What country did your branch of the family tree originate in?  The answer to that question depends on how far back in the family tree you want to go.

    Typically we go back to the countries where our tree originated outside the United States when the question is asked of Americans.  For predominantly white folks, the countries of origin are usually some European country.  England is my country of origin because my grandfather 8X removed came from Leicester England in 1702; so I'm Anglo-American.  Afro-Americans can trace their family tree back to a sub-Saharan African nation and so on.

    Kamala Harris, for example, claims Afro-American because her forefathers came from Africa as slaves in Jamaica.  She could also claim Indo-American because of her mother's origin in India.  So she would be correct in calling herself Afro-Indo-American under "Other" in documents asking for country of origin.

    Of course, with DNA tracing we know that we're all Afro-Americans when you go far far back in the family tree.  But that's another story.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Horse shiit eater 🐎💩 

  • 5 months ago

    Kamala Harris said she's black American but is a Hindu Indian

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