The Dangers of DNA Testing

All my life I’ve been told I have Cherokee ancestry through my Knighten forebears. There are even a few interesting legends about how John L. Knighten escaped the Removal (a decade before he was born) and of family members visiting from the Cherokee “reservation”. I’ve even comments on them some (here). I’ve even commented on a possible connection to President Obama, who is purported to have descended from the first African slave in America though his mother’s line (here). I’m a natural skeptic, and though I wanted to believe my family stories, I wanted to substantiate the claims. Enter’s AncestryDNA test. I spit in the cup, mailed it in, and impatiently awaited the results. And today, I received them.

Sadly, based on this DNA test, I can’t substantiate a claim to be anything other than a plain old white guy. I always thought I was a distantly-multiracial mutt, but I’m just a vanilla cracker. Here is what I learned from my results, based on’s categorizations:

  • Europe West – 53%
  • Scandinavia – 13%
  • Ireland – 12%
  • Great Brittain – 11%
  • Iberian Peninsula – 7%
  • European Jewish –  <1%
  • Finland/ Northwest Russia – <1%
  • Caucasus – 2%

So based on my rank amateur genealogical research, I would have expected the Irish and British results, and I’ve even seen some information that is consistent with the Scandinavian blood. Having a couple of Scottish lines in my family could explain that, and possibly the Iberian markers, given the ancient migration of the Scots (and Irish) from the Iberian Peninsula. But over half of the genetic markers coming from continental Europe? That surprised me more than having trace European Jewish and Rus markers!

So my whole family legendarium is crushed. Not even trace amounts of Native American nor African genetics. I don’t even know how to broach the topic with my family now. I’ll stand as a heretic in their eyes. That Cherokee legend is so ingrained. I’ve had my suspicions over the past couple years, but like Santa Claus, I wanted the stories to be true. Maybe I’ll buy DNA tests for some of my aunts and uncles to see if they get different results. Is this the trap that hoped to ensnare me in?

12 thoughts on “The Dangers of DNA Testing

  1. You ARE Native American – the Caucasus, Irish and British are all indicators of eastern Native American – it is consist ant with the lost tribes/Celtic mix commonly seen.

    1. That is a really interesting article. I’d heard about Adair’s belief that the eastern tribes were Jewish when I started Cherokee research some time back.

      I’ve been sceptic of the current “understanding” that all proto-Native Americans crossed a land bridge in the Bering Strait for some time, and given how many artifacts of Semitic and Mediterranean have been discovered in American over the years, I would imagine that storyline will unravel at some point in the future.

      I am of the persuasion that ancient peoples were just as intelligent and resourceful as we are today. And if ancient Egyptians could build pyramids with precision we still can’t match today, and people traversed the Mediterranean Sea to ferry tin from Britain, then crossing the Atlantic shouldn’t have been too difficult a task.

  2. Do you know how much Cherokee blood your suppose to have? 1/8 – 1/16 etc. – I’m trying to figure out how far back my native american goes. I’m suppose to be 3/4 German and 1/4 Norwegion. My dad was always told he was 100% German and my mom is half German and half Norwegion. I had my dna tested because of rumored native american on my dads side.

    My DNA results are:

    46% Europe West
    28% Europe East
    16% Scandinavia
    5% Great Britain
    2% Finland/Northwest Russia
    2% Ireland
    <1% Caucasus

  3. Actually based on your numbers I would guess you at 1/32nd native and I would be 1/128th. I am basing that on a girl who claims to be 1/8th native with 9% Caucasus as a result.

  4. My grandfather is Native and I tested with Native in my DNA as expected. My grandmother was unknown origin and darker then my grandfather. I came up with Iberian and trace amounts of Senegal from Africa. Study from this area you can see that Africa, Europe and the Middle East all come together and the DNA is a mixture not the same as the rest of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. My grandmother was from Kentucky and there was some rumor maybe Cherokee. Now I see a lot of stuff on the internet about a lot of people that thought they were Cherokee testing as Iberian. So there is talk that Cherokee may have been earlier settlers from that area mixed with Natives and black. Interesting.

  5. Upload your raw DNA to

    I get these results with the MDLP World-22 Admixture Proportions.

    Pygmy –
    West-Asian 7.89%
    North-European-Mesolithic 4.11%
    Indo-Tibetan –
    Mesoamerican 0.71%
    Arctic-Amerind –
    South-America_Amerind –
    Indian 1.14%
    North-Siberean –
    Atlantic_Mediterranean_Neolithic 27.22%
    Samoedic –
    Indo-Iranian 1.56%
    East-Siberean –
    North-East-European 55.16%
    South-African –
    North-Amerind 0.92%
    Sub-Saharian –
    East-South-Asian –
    Near_East 0.99%
    Melanesian 0.09%
    Paleo-Siberian –
    Austronesian 0.23%

  6. I get these results with the Eurogenes K9b Admixture Proportions.

    Southwest_Asian 9.69%
    Native_American 2.03%
    Northeast_Asian 0.62%
    Mediterranean 13.51%
    North_European 71.36%
    Southeast_Asian 1.35%
    Oceanian 0.91%
    South_African –
    Sub-Saharan_African 0.54%

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