Earlier this year I tested with Ancestry.com (or AncestryDNA.com) since I’ve been noticing non-Polynesians coming up with this new category. This is way after the fact the research does not specify a Polynesia component, but rather a Melanesian and Asian or East Asian or Southeast Asian component. I have seen other Asians, specifically Filipinos coming up with decent amount of this Polynesia category, as well as those of European descent coming up with small traces of Polynesia.
Under their Polynesia category, it mentions the sampling size was 18, and that one of the samples showed 11% Scandinavian. A larger sampling size would yield better results especially in this case where one of the 18 samples had some European admixture. This was enough to cause those with Scandinavian ancestry to come up with small traces of Polynesia, and in return cause people to wonder how they could have ever had such ancestry in their lineage to a point where some people create possible scenarios how they could have inherited this less than 0.1% Polynesia.
Their Polynesia category was one of those categories where they had the least amount of samples.
After receiving my results, as I suspected due to the fact that I am half Filipino, my percentage of the Polynesia category was pretty inflated. It showed that I had 57% Polynesia versus 34% Asia East. Knowing that my mother is 80% Hawaiian, and that my father was pure Filipino, I figured the amount of Asia that I showed 34% was missing 16% that was thrown into the Polynesia category. That would in turn leave me with 41% Polynesia. My mother is 20% European, and according to Ancestry I am 8% Europe, which seems to be about right. The other DNA companies I tested at showed more than 10% Europe. But adding the 41% plus the 8% comes out about right, 49%.
Recently I had a cousin on my father’s side of the family test, and she got her results. She too is half Filipino, while her other half is completely Europe. I expected her to show some Polynesia but I did not even guess how much that would be. I was surprised to see 16% Polynesia for her, which is the same amount I had deducted from my own. In fact, she shows 33% Asia while I show 34% Asia, and more specifically we both share 31% Asia East. So they both are consistent.
Although my mother was given an AncestryDNA kit, she has yet to take it. But I can easily guess that she will easily show 20% Europe and 80% Polynesia. Any other person who is Polynesian but admixed with some other Asian it may include part of their Asian component into Polynesia. Maybe the fact that we are Filipinos and they have ancestral ties is why some of it is classified as such. I did have another paternal cousin tested, she is half Filipino and half Japanese so not sure what type of results that will yield with the Polynesia category. Will it be the same and show her as 16% Polynesia? Or will it give her more due to her Japanese ancestry, or is that different enough to not be classified under the Polynesia category?
To find out more about AncestryDNA’s ethnicity/ancestry categories, you can read through their Ethnicity Estimate White Paper.