Ancestry DNA testing confirmed that I am 23% Chinese. My mother has no Chinese DNA. My fathers mother has no Chinese DNA.

Does that mean my father is 50% Chinese and his father is 100% Chinese?

My father was born in Port Moody, British Columbia. We do not know anything about his father.


2 Answers 2


It means that the Chinese ancestry comes from your paternal grandfather's side, and 50% and 100% are good estimates, but the exact percentages could vary.

Exactly half of your DNA is from your Dad, and exactly half of his DNA is from his Dad, but the DNA you got from your Dad is a mixture of your paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother's DNA. While on average you will get about a quarter of DNA from your paternal grandmother and a quarter from your paternal grandfather this is only an average. So it is possible that 30% of your DNA is from one paternal grandparent and 20% is from the other paternal grandparent. This combined with the fact that ancestry percentages are estimated (and are often updated when bigger reference panels are obtained) means that you can't say for certain exactly what percentage of Chinese DNA your Dad and Grandfather have without genetic testing of them. (Although testing other descendants of your Dad and Grandfather could possibly be informative. I'm not sure whether this will give you enough information to be worth it compared to the cost though).

  • 1
    Sarah Do you mean genetic testing of my fathers DNA? He has passed on and this is not possible. I'm currently trying to upload my DNA results from ancestry.com to wegene DNA testing in China. It's not working. Do you have any suggestions?
    – Gail Hicks
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 14:52
  • Hi Gail. I updated the answer to make it clearer but yes to get the exact percentage of how much Chinese ancestry your father has without genetic testing of him would be difficult, although testing any siblings might possibly be informative. But since you have the genetic testing done on you, your mother, and your father's mother you can still be pretty certain that your Chinese ancestry comes from your paternal grandfather, its just hard to say the exact percentage. He might be full Chinese or he might be mostly full Chinese with a bit of something else. Does that make sense?
    – Sarah
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 17:45
  • Hi again Sarah ... My Nephew and his son were both tested. My Nephew is 6 percent Chinese and his son is 2 percent Chinese. This is in answer to your first response. Wegene DNA testing focuses on Chinese ancestry. I can't seem to transfer my downloaded FILE from ancestry.com to Wegene. I would like to contact our Asian ancestors. We were unaware that we had Chinese DNA. We thought it was First Nations although that DNA is also in our makeup.
    – Gail Hicks
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 22:56
  • My question is who would be the best source to track our DNA ancestry in China?
    – Gail Hicks
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 23:01
  • 1
    @GailHicks I think your original question is now answered and so I think you should start a new question along the lines of "From genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/16131 it seems like my paternal grandfather was Chinese and now I want to try and identify who he was" Your starting point in that question could be telling us your father's name, date and place of birth and at the same time provide a link to his death/funeral notice or obituary so that our Privacy Policy at the help center is not breached.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 23:28

Assuming that the percentages you express in your question reflect AncestryDNA tests by you, your mother and your paternal grandmother, then I think it is possible that your paternal grandfather was close to 100% Chinese, and that close to 50% of his Chinese DNA passed to your father, and that this manifested as close to 25% in you.

However, I strongly recommend seeking paper records of his birth before accepting this hypothesis.

Since you know nothing about your paternal grandfather it remains possible that he was 100% (or close to 100%) Chinese.

If you were to find a birth record for him that suggested otherwise then you would need to try and reconcile that against the DNA evidence.

  • Polygeo Why do I need paper records of his birth?
    – Gail Hicks
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 14:47
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what Polygeo is trying to get across is that although your father and paternal grandfather have Chinese DNA, that does not necessarily mean they were born in China, you would need a record to indicate that as there are people of Chinese ancestry that live other places as well.
    – Sarah
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 17:49
  • My father was born in Port Moody, British Columbia. We do not know anything about his father.
    – Gail Hicks
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 23:11

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