What does "Orcadian" actually mean... in Genetic Genealogy??

Discussions concerning Autosomal DNA.

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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:28 am

YDNA:
N-L551
MtDNA:
H11a
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:49 pm
Hello everyone.

My father just received his "Family Finder" test results back... from Family Tree DNA.


It identifies him as about 55% "Orcadian"



While I have heard this term before (in the context of Genetic Genealogy)... I never imagined it would ever apply to my dad. Both sides of his family come from Northeastern Europe as far back as any of them can remember.

While his Family Finder / Population finder results did say he was 45% "Northeastern European (which makes sense)... this seems like an amazingly high percentage of Orcadian, which FT DNA identifies as "Western European".


This has forced me to learn more about what the term "Orcadian" actually means. I know the people who live in the Orkney Islands (Scotland) are sometimes called Orcadian. However, in an ancestry test... this term cannot just mean the people from this tiny group of islands. Right?

The FT DNA map that shows my dad's results... colors the islands of Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) and Ireland in blue... to represent Orcadian origins. What exactly does this mean though? Are there any ethic groups today in Europe that would be a good example?


Can anyone help give me a clear explaination... of what European populations(s) are being referred to... when Family Tree DNA says Orcadian?

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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:16 pm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:34 pm
Population Finder's "Orcadian" is simply generic Northern European. Population Finder uses an extremely limited and misleading set of reference populations. Poles typically get a result of almost 100% "Orcadian." Even Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are typically shown as 80% or more "Orcadian." I can only presume that the so-called "Russian" reference population speaks Uralic languages rather than Slavic.

To get a better picture of your ancestry composition, I suggest you submit your raw Family Finder data to Gedmatch, and use that site's Admixture analyzer.
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Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:28 am

YDNA:
N-L551
MtDNA:
H11a
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:53 pm
Thanks lgmayka!

I know you have lots of good knowledge about genetic genealogy... because I have read your postings in the forums for a few years now. I also realize that you (and many other people in this forum) are very well qualified, and well educated in this subject.

So... I really respect you and the information you share. Thanks for answering!!


You say Family Tree DNA uses a very limited number of reference populations? Yes, I have heard people say that before. So, "Orcadian" is just a term for "Northern European"? When you tell me that... it makes more sense. Because all of my father's family is Lithuanian (with perhaps some small amount of Polish also).

Now I realize... that what my father's results really mean is: 55% Northern Europe... and 45% North Eastern Europe (Finnish/Northern Russia)


Okay, now I understand the reason FT DNA reports it that way. However, I wonder... why do they only color Great Britain and Ireland on the map? If Orcadian really means Northern European... then I think they should color more area of Northern Europe on the map, so that customers will not be so confused. Does anyone think FT DNA customer service is friendly enough, to listen to this suggestion maybe?


(and change their Population Finder map?)





P.S. - Thanks lgmayka, for the suggestion about Gedmatch admixture finder.

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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:16 pm
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:21 pm
supertigerCH wrote:Does anyone think FT DNA customer service is friendly enough, to listen to this suggestion maybe?
(and change their Population Finder map?)

1) The best solution is to add more reference populations--either from academic studies, or from FTDNA customers themselves (those who have 4 grandparents from the same country, and are not genetic outliers).

2) An inexpensive alternative would be to present customer statistics on the map. For example, if Poland and Ukraine and Belarus and Lithuania typically show a majority of "Orcadian," then color those countries to indicate that "Orcadian" includes those possibilities.
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Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:28 am

YDNA:
N-L551
MtDNA:
H11a
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:47 am
Yes... I think you are correct.


Maybe it will take a long time before they get more reference populations...

however, until then... it would be nice if they do your suggestion #2 (better maps).

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