If you just got your Ancestry DNA results and you saw Germanic Europe on your ethnicity estimate, you’ve come to the right place. You are also in excellent company! Millions of Americans have ancestry in the part of Europe covered by the Germanic Europe DNA ethnicity.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- Where the Germanic Europe DNA ethnicity is located
- Which countries are generally considered part of the Germanic Europe DNA region
- How Germanic Europe DNA came to exist
- Whether you can find Germanic Europe DNA in other parts of Europe
- Suggestions for how you inherited your Germanic Europe DNA
- How to research your Germanic Europe ancestors
For those of you who tested with Ancestry DNA before the summer of 2018, you have probably noticed that your ethnicity results have gone through a significant update.
You can read more about the update in my post about the Ancestry 2018 ethnicity estimate update, but what you’ll need to know for this post is that the Europe West DNA region was renamed to Germanic Europe to better match a more refined geographic region.
To compare the previous region, you can read my older post about the similar, but not identical, Europe West DNA Ethnicity.
Check out my DNA tools page where you can find links to dozens of articles that can help you learn more from your DNA results, build your family tree, and more!
Where is the Germanic Europe DNA Ethnicity located?
The Germanic Europe DNA region is located in the most northwestern part of Western Europe and is adjacent to Eastern Europe and Russia, a distinct DNA region. Germanic Europe is bordered by France to the west, Sweden to the north, Poland and Slovakia to the east, and Croatia and Italy to the south.
For those who prefer to visualize the location of the region on the map, you can see the approximate region covered by the Germanic Europe DNA ethnicity within the red oval in the map below:
In which countries can you find Germanic Europe DNA?
Upon reading the term “Germanic Europe”, you might be tempted to associate it with the country Germany. Germany is within the Germanic Europe DNA region, but is also encompasses a few other entire countries and regions of several others.
As I mentioned, you’ll definitely find Germanic Europe DNA in Germany, but you can also find it in the following countries:
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic (primarily in Western Czech Republic)
So What is Germanic Europe DNA?
When wondering about Germanic Europe DNA, you might be curious to learn where Germanic Europe DNA actually came from. How did Germanic Europe DNA become what is it today?
The genetic makeup of Germanic Europe has been impacted by many wars, migrations, invasions, and domination by foreign powers.
Several books could be written on this topic, but I have selected a few key points in history to discuss that should help you understand the genetic origins of the Germanic European people.
First residents of Germanic Europe: Celtics and Germanic Tribes contribute to DNA of Germanic region
The first “modern” humans who moved into the Germanic Europe area were the Celts. They were living in this area at least 2500 years ago, and this usually comes as a shock to most people.
I know that when I think of the Celtic tribes, I think of Ireland and Scotland, but evidence shows us that those groups actually lived in Western Europe for a long time period, including the area comprising the Germanic Europe DNA ethnicity region, before moving further west to Scotland and Ireland.
It is believed that pressure from northern Germanic tribes and the southern Roman Empire led the Celtic tribes to leave this part of Western Europe.
Is there Roman DNA in Germanic Europe?
Up until about 1600 years ago, the Roman Empire was a powerhouse in Western Europe. Germanic tribes prevented the empire from expanding further north and east, but this resulted in Western Europe basically being split down the middle.
Peace along the territorial borders were rare, and we can imagine the suffering that the average citizen endured during this time period. The Roman Empire disbanded in the year 400 A.D., possibly leaving a power vacuum leading to an intense period of conflict and migration.
The European Migration Period “Völkerwanderung”
For about 400 years (experts can’t agree on the dates or time-frame), there was extensive migration all around the entire continent of Europe. This period was a key event in the formation of the Germanic Europe DNA region.
As the Roman Empire lost control of what we know to be the Germanic Europe DNA region, other tribes seized the opportunity for violent conflict to get new territories
The migrations can be attributed to conflict attributed to tribes from Asia and other parts of Europe, including the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Slavs, Bulgars, and Alans.
For reasons too extensive to discuss with limited time and space, the Germanic Tribes, originally from Scandinavia, were the most successful in establishing themselves as permanent residents of what is now German-speaking Europe and the rest of the Germanic Europe DNA region.
The Franks – the rise of Germanic Europe
As I mentioned before, the Germanic Tribes did an excellent job of reducing the influence of the Roman Empire and establishing themselves as the new rulers. Groups of Germanic tribes united to become the Frankish Empire (also known as the Kingdom of the Franks).
The territory of this empire might sound very familiar to those interested in the DNA of the region. All of Germany, much of France, Northern Italy, as well as the Netherlands and Austria, were all parts of the Frankish Empire.
In the image below, you can see how the Frankish Empire grew in size and influence over the centuries. It’s very interesting to see how the initial sphere of influence very closely matches the genetic footprint of Germanic Europe:
Is there Germanic Europe DNA in other parts of Europe?
It is very common for people who are native to one region to have at least some DNA in common with neighboring regions. This is especially common in Europe and other parts of the world where you don’t need to travel by boat or move long distances to reach other groups of people.
The exact makeup of one’s DNA will depend on unique family history, so you’ll have to do thorough research on your particular Germanic Europe ancestor to determine exactly where they lived and who people in their region likely had contact with.
How did I get Germanic Europe in my DNA Results?
Were you surprised to see Germanic Europe show up in your DNA results? Are you trying to figure out how the world you got your Germanic DNA? If you got assigned one of the 14 Germanic Europe sub-regions, you can feel confident that you have ancestry from the area indicated on the map of the sub-region.
Germanic Sub-regions can give information about how you got your Germanic Europe DNA
Some of you might have noticed on your Ancestry DNA ethnicity estimate that along with the Germanic Europe DNA ethnicity, you were also assigned a Germanic Europe sub-region.
Because of extensive German immigration to the US, Ancestry DNA was able to identify links between many user’s DNA and specific migrations that took place from Germany to specific states within the US.
It makes sense that first-generation immigrants used to (and generally still do) live together in communities where shared language and culture can assist them collectively in establishing themselves in their new country.
This historic trend made it possible for Ancestry DNA to develop a feature (like the 14 currently available sub-regions within Germanic Europe) to help us learn more about where our ancestors may have lived.
If Ancestry DNA able to detect a link to one of the sub-regions with a clear connection to a region within the US, it will be reported on your results underneath the main “Germanic Europe” regional heading.
The currently available sub-regions with connections to specific United States regions on Ancestry DNA are as follows:
- Alsace-Lorraine and North Dakota
- Baden-Wurttemberg and the Dakotas
- Hessen, Kansas and Nebraska
- Northwest Germany and the Midwest
- Saxony, Iowa and Illinois
- Southern Germany and the Midwest
Most us won’t get a Germanic Europe sub-region connected with a US state, and that’s okay.
For example, even though I know that my dad’s German lines have a strong connection to Illinois, I didn’t get this sub-region in my results, and neither did he. I believe this could be because his German ancestors were from Northeast Germany, not Saxony or Northwest Germany like the Germans from the sub-regions mentioned above.
Current Germanic Europe sub-regions that aren’t connected with a specific region of the United States
There are currently five sub-regions of Germanic Europe that are not associated with a migration to the United States:
- Brandenburg & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
- The Netherlands
- Northern Germany
- Schleswig-Holstein & Lower Saxony
- Western Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg
Why didn’t you get a Germanic Europe sub-bregion?
Most of us won’t get assigned a specific Germanic Europe sub-region. Our German ancestry might be too far back for Ancestry’s algorithm to tell for sure, or we might have mixed Germanic Europe ancestry from a few regions of Germanic Europe.
You can learn about your ancestor’s migration patterns by building our family tree, using our DNA matches and ethnicity estimate as a general guide.
How to Research My Germanic Europe Ancestry?
Most of us acquired our Germanic Europe DNA from our ancestors who emigrated to the United States and other parts of the world from the region. You can read my post about German-American Immigration to the United States to learn more about what our German ancestors experienced and how to research them.
If your ancestors were Dutch (from Holland or the Netherlands), you might be interested in my post about Dutch DNA and Genealogy and researching those lines of your family tree.
By far – without any doubt – the best way to learn about your Germanic Europe ancestors is to start building a family tree. If you’ve never built a family tree before, don’t worry. It’s easier than it sounds, and it’s actually pretty fun.
I recommend building family trees on Ancestry, especially since you did your DNA test there. You can attach it to your DNA results and get additional functionality. Plus, it’s free (forever) to build and keep your tree on the site.
If you use the following link, you will be able to have a two-week free trial on Ancestry, which is great for adding records to your family tree (you don’t need a subscription to build your tree) and really getting access to all of the benefits of Ancestry DNA. I will get a small commission if you use this link, at no extra cost to you whatsoever – it helps me support this website, and thanks 🙂 Ancestry Free Trial
I hope that this post helped you understand a little bit more about your Germanic Europe ancestry, how you might have inherited your Germanic DNA, and how to go about researching your Germanic Europe ancestors.
If you have any questions about something that you read in this post, or would like to add your experience or thoughts about your Germanic Europe DNA region, I’d love to hear from you in the discussion below.
Thanks for stopping by!