A Breakdown of the England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe DNA Ethnicity On Ancestry

If you have taken a DNA test with Ancestry, you may be wondering exactly what your results mean. DNA tests are easy to get nowadays, and they can tell you where you are from, and connect you to any possible family members.

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If you received English, Welsh or Northwestern European DNA, we will help you uncover what this could mean, and where this is located.

In this article, we will help you find out which countries are included in these regions, and how this information was determined. 

What Is the England, Wales, And Northwestern Europe DNA Ethnicity Section?

In September 2020, Ancestry changed their ethnicity estimate for this area, so if you took your DNA test before this date, your ethnicity estimates may look a little different from before.

What Is The England, Wales, And Northwestern Europe DNA Ethnicity On Ancestry? 

Your Ancestry ethnicity results may change simply because they are an estimated result. The DNA service is always going through changes, and improving their ethnicity estimate technology. This may be why your ethnicity estimate may have changed.

Anyway, let’s get back to the good stuff. The England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe ethnicity section covers a few countries, but it was previously known as the Great British section.

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The geographic scope of the DNA region has changed with Ancestry’s improvements, hence why it now includes Northwestern Europe. If you have an ethnicity estimate from this area, it is likely that it is Great Britain, Wales, and Scotland.

As it includes Northwestern Europe, it will also be counting any results from Northwestern Europe if you have any of this information within your DNA estimate.

However, even if you have no Northwestern European DNA results, it will still come under the term Northwestern European. Make sure to check your results, as it may confuse you as to why it states European.

In basic terms, England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe means the United Kingdom, but it may also include parts of Europe. 

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What Countries Belong To This Section? 

England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe is mainly attributed to Great Britain, Wales, and Scotland, as well as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.

This section also may cover the Republic of Ireland, but Ireland may also have a separate region within your DNA story estimate.

People with significant German, Irish, or Dutch ancestry may also see Northwestern Europe as part of their ethnicity estimate, as the area overlaps with these sections.

The DNA estimate of England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe has a lot of overlapping with nearby DNA regions, including Germanic Europe, Scotland, and Irish.

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So, you may have separate DNA estimates for Scotland or Ireland, but it could also be included in the Northwestern Europe section due to the overlap.

Additionally, migration of settlers in these areas has been prominent for thousands of years, so either way, you will probably have some DNA estimates from most of these areas, and they may overlap.

After all, your ethnicity estimate is purely an estimate. Just because your DNA estimate may say England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe, you are highly likely to have Scotland and parts of Ireland included within this. 

United Kingdom

The whole of the United Kingdom is included within this section on Ancestry, so the whole of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The history of Britain includes the cultural and political marks of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, and Vikings.

Stone Age hunters began to cross from England to Wales and Scotland 12,000 years ago, with farming becoming prominent in 4000 B.C. The Celtics (from Central Europe) began settling in the United Kingdom in 2500 B.C., and they spread all over Western Europe.

The Celtics could not be defeated by the Roman Empire, as the Romans invaded the British islands in 43 A.D. after invading Northwestern Europe. Britain was conquered by the Roman Empire, and it was known as Britannia.

The tribes in the United Kingdom who were not conquered, migrated to other areas that remained Celtic, such as Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. 

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Neanderthals lived in Wales around 230,000 years ago, and the first Homo sapiens arrived in 31,000 B.C. Wales is rich in historic influences from the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

When the Romans departed from Britain, the Anglo-Saxons invaded. A lot of British people migrated to Wales, and the Welsh formed one of the few surviving British-speaking people after the 11th century, as the Romans had implemented Latin in a lot of Britain and Europe.

Wales became part of the United Kingdom in 1707, and part of the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1801. 

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Scotland, alike most of the United Kingdom, was invaded by the Romans. The Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata was founded in Western Scotland in the 6th Century,  and the Gaelic influence was restricted in Scotland in favor of Roman practices.

The Kingdom of Scotland was formed in the 9th Century, after the Vikings invaded. This meant that the Gaels and the Picts (Pagan Scots) came together to unite. 


Human existence was first recorded in Ireland around 35,000 years ago. Viking settlement in the 8th Century A.D. meant that the Celtic Christian influence threatened the Gaelic culture of Ireland. Ireland was targeted by the Normans in 1169, and the English Crown conquered in the late 1400s.

There were attempts to force Protestant religion that were rejected by the Gaelic and Norman-Irish, until Henry VIII named himself King of Ireland in 1541. After this, Ireland became a possible war ground for Catholic reformation and Protestant reformation in Europe.

The United Kingdom included Ireland in 1801, but Ireland was named a Free State in 1932 after a dispute with Britain. Ireland was officially founded as a country in 1937, and still remains part of the United Kingdom since 1801. 


France was also invaded by the Romans, and was subjected to a lot of migration by the Germanic groups such as the Germanic Franks and the Vikings. The heritage of French people is usually rich in Celtic, Latin, and Gallic origins.

As you know, these are heritages that come from the United Kingdom, and the invasion of Britain by the Romans, where the Romans implemented Latin.

Germanic Tribes settled in Northwest Europe, in Northern France, and Belgium. This is why France and Belgium come into the Northwestern Europe ethnicity estimate. 

Who Were The First To Live In England? 

What is the England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe DNA Ethnicity on Ancestry?

It is widely known that some of the first settlers in Britain were the Neanderthals, around 400,000 years ago. Scientists and Archaeological experts found a Neanderthal woman’s skull in Kent, and determined that Neanderthals were the first settlers in Britain.

It is actually speculated that the first sign of human life in England was over 900,000 years ago, when stone tools were found on the coast in Norfolk. Britain was uninhabited between 180,000 and 60,000 years ago, but the Neanderthals later returned.

Neanderthals were extinct over 40,000 years ago, and modern humans inhabited the country. Some of the first people who originally lived in England were Celtic, and it is rumored that they came from the Middle East.

The Celtics were not a specific group of people, but they were a group of tribes that had common origins and cultures. The Celtics later moved from the United Kingdom from the pressure of the Germanic tribes.

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The Influence of Germanic Angles And Saxons In The UK

As we now know, the Celtics were pushed out of Britain, and Anglo Saxons inhabited, instead. Anglo Saxons were from Germanic tribes that had come from other parts of Europe, specifically Denmark and Germany.

This is why DNA estimates come from several areas. The Anglo-Saxons were the ones who adopted Christianity, and thrived in England. Their DNA is scattered all over Europe, hence why people all over the world may have European Ancestry.

The Germanic Angles originated in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and also migrated to England around the same time as the Anglo-Saxons.

This is another reason why your DNA ethnicity estimate may include Northwestern Europe. Europe, Britain, and America are made up of Germanic DNA and Saxon DNA. 

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Is Northwestern European DNA Viking? 

There will be some Viking DNA in your ethnicity estimate if you have England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe as an ethnicity estimate. The Vikings changed the political, genetic, and cultural course of Europe, and they settled in Northern and Eastern England.

Those who have British and Irish DNA are likely to have some Scandinavian DNA, and this most likely comes from the Vikings. Vikings invaded England in 793, and they invaded East and Northern England in the years to come.

The end of the Viking age was 1066, but they remained in the United Kingdom for many decades, hence why there may be Scandinavian DNA present in your ethnicity estimate.

The highest Scandinavian DNA estimate is found in Northeast England, and if you have English heritage, it is likely you have some Viking in you!

The Vikings came from Scandinavia, to the areas where there is the most prevalent amounts of Scandinavian DNA; Ireland and Great Britain.

The Vikings truly left their mark on Great Britain and Ireland, and in the 11th Century, the Danish King actually became the King of England, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark! 

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How Do I Find Out The Specific Countries I Am From? 

When you do an Ancestry DNA test, you are finding out an ethnicity estimate.

The ethnicity estimate does not necessarily mean that your family lived in these areas, but they may have procreated with Ancestors from other countries. To find out the specific countries included in your DNA, pull up your Ancestry DNA results.

When you have retrieved your results, there will be a basic overview of percentages, including sections such as England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe, Ireland, Scotland, and other countries.

If you cannot see any specific countries, e.g. ‘Denmark’ this is because it may be included in the Northwestern Europe section.

You will not be able to see exactly which countries your Northwestern European DNA comes from, as it covers a whole area where migration was prominent.

It will help if you have a completed or researched family tree, because you can then trace the movements of your ancestors as accurately as you can.

Ancestry tests are only available in 35 countries, so Ancestry will not be able to retrieve your DNA ethnicity estimates from all the other countries that are not on their list, as they do not have the data for all countries.

This may be a reason why you may have been expecting DNA from other areas, and it did not show up.

Traits Of Northwestern European DNA

There is no attributed traits of Northwestern DNA, as there is a diverse range of people who migrated and lived in these areas. As we know, a lot of Northwestern DNA originates from the invaders, such as the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons.

Their traits were typically known for being excellent hunters, having knowledge of land and sea, and being strong-willed and courageous.

This goes for the Celtics, as they were known for standing their ground when invaders tried to come into Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. 

How Does Ancestry Calculate Your DNA Ethnicity Estimate? 

Ancestry receives your results to a panel of DNA from around the world. They compare your DNA with all of their global DNA samples, and as they receive more samples and information from other countries, more DNA can be identified for you.

So, if your DNA estimate changes in a few years, it may be because they have received more samples from around the world. 

Why Do I Have These Results In My DNA? 

You will have English, Welsh, and Northwestern European in your Ancestry DNA results if you have family roots from any of these countries. If you do not already know any of your roots, it will depend on the geographic location of any ancestors, and unique family history.

It is proven that a lot of humans have migrated through and from the United Kingdom and Northwest Europe, mostly due to the influx of Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and Celtics.

Although these groups did not originate from there, they would have created communities and families in these areas, meaning they would have created a merged DNA with those who lived in the United Kingdom and Europe.

This will also explain why you may have Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian results in your DNA ethnicity estimate.

Why Do I Have So Much British DNA?

British DNA tends to be one of the most dominant heritages, even if you live in Northern America or Canada. This is because many Americans have Northern European descent, and British presence in the USA is extremely prominent.

The United States is a relatively new country compared to the United Kingdom, and it was discovered by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, and this marked the start of transatlantic colonization.

The British were part of the Colonization, hence why there is so much English, Welsh, and Northern European DNA scattered around the world. 

How To Use Ancestry

To use Ancestry, simply set up an account. You can get a free trial to use some features before you decide to subscribe. On Ancestry, you can choose to build a family tree to trace back some of your ancestors.

What is the England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe DNA Ethnicity on Ancestry?

You can also purchase a DNA test to find out your DNA ethnicity estimate. This is done by extracting your saliva that you send to Ancestry, and comparing it to hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from around the world.

You can use Ancestry to connect with potential family members, as well as find out records and pictures of family members you never knew you had. 

How To Build A Family Tree To Trace Back My DNA Results

To build a family tree on Ancestry, set up your account and start a free trial, or pay for the monthly subscription. This will give you worldwide records of censuses, birth and death records, marriage certificates, immigration records, travel records, and baptisms.

Start your family tree with you at the center. Add on as many relatives as you can, and add their birth records, and any other records that will solidify their status.

The more records and certificates you have for people, the easier it will b to trace back your family as far as you can. You can add relatives who are not related by blood, and dig deep into their roots too.  

How Does Ancestry Retrieve My DNA Results? 

Ancestry retrieves your DNA results by receiving the specimen of your saliva. This contains all of your genetic make up, and this is how they determine your ethnicity estimate. Pretty clever, right?

Their tests use mircoarray-based autosomal DNA testing, by finding the microbes in your genetic make up, and tracing it back to over 700,000 locations. This will allow you to find your family across all lines and segments of your genetic make up. 

Final Thoughts

Ancestry is one of the leading heritage sites, where you can trace back your family with a family tree, and get a thorough DNA test.

A lot of people have England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe listed in their DNA ethnicity estimate, and they may not know whatt it actually means.

The history of the United Kingdom is broad, with invaders and settlers coming from Northern Europe, and migrating to North America and Africa.

Lots of people have this English, Welsh, and Northwestern European heritage present in their DNA, and it is helpful to know where it came from.

We hope you gained some insightful knowledge of how DNA tests work and the history of Northwestern European DNA as well as the history of the United Kingdom. 

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