23andMe Historical Matches: A New Feature for 23andMe+ Premium

Melanie Mohler

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23andMe Historical Matches is their newest 23andMe+ Premium feature. Learn more about the Historical Matches you may share DNA with.

23andMe Historical Matches

In March 2024, 23andMe rolled out Historical Matches, a new feature for 23andMe+ Premium members. It compares your autosomal DNA test results to whole genome profiles that have been extracted from the remains of people who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago. (These DNA samples from long-deceased people are referred to as historical DNA or ancient DNA.)

Historical Figures and Groups

So who are the historical figures that your DNA will be compared to? Nearly all of the 355 historical figures are anonymous, except for musician Ludwig van Beethoven, who died in 1827, and King Béla III, ruler of Hungary from 1172 to 1196 CE. Although most of these historical figures are anonymous, you can still learn about the time period they lived in, their burial location, and artifacts that were buried with them.

23andMe Historical Match profile of a Viking Warrior

23andMe Historical Match profile of a Viking Warrior

23andMe has organized the historical figures into historical groups, which you can read more about here:

The Viking Age

The Viking Age is in reference to the time between the 8th and 11th centuries, when the seafaring Vikings originated from Scandinavia, present-day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Catoctin Furnace Ironworkers*

The Catoctin Furnace was an iron works in Maryland that was built in the late 18th century and one of the earliest industrial sites in the United States. Many free and enslaved African Americans initially worked at the iron works, and graves from 1774-1850 were excavated in 1979-1980. The DNA from 27 bodies was analyzed and the findings were published in 2023.

Iron Age Taiwan

This time period refers to the Iron Age in Taiwan, when metals such as bronze, iron, and silver were beginning to be used by the indigenous Atayal people.

The Ancient Eurasian Steppe

The Eurasian Steppe encompasses modern-day Hungary and Romania all the way to Mongolia and China. As 23andMe notes, “It also was a crossroad for human migration and a hub for the spread of the Indo-European language.”

The First Peoples of the Caribbean

This historical group utilizes DNA samples from early indigenous populations, between approximately 1000 BC and 1500 CE, that predate colonization in the Caribbean.

The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia

The formation of these two population groups descend from two populations, “Ancestral South Indians” and “Ancestral North Indians,” from about 4,000 years ago. As explained by 23andMe, “Ancestral South Indians were also the product of two genetically distinct groups related to ancient Iranian farmers and southern Asian hunter-gatherers. That intermixing likely occurred around 2,000 BCE. Ancestral North Indians descended from pastoralists (herders) who lived in the eastern part of the Eurasian Steppe during the Bronze Age.”

Late Stone Age and Iron Age South Africa

This group looks at sites where the earliest humans lived in Southern Africa during the Late Stone Age, but also the Iron Age, which began around 200 CE when Bantu-speaking ironworkers migrated into the region.

Ancient Northern Chinese Millet Farmers

This group looks at people from the fertile basin between the Yellow and West Liao rivers, where millet was grown. Soon the staple crop grown there eventually spread throughout the region around 8,000 years ago.

The Ancient City of Beirut

Despite the fact that Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, has been ruled by the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman empires over its 5,000 years of existence, the genetic marks from ancient DNA found in this area do not always significantly differ.

23andMe plans to add more historical genomes in the future. If you want to keep up with DNA news and updates such as 23andMe’s new Historical Matches feature, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter!

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*If you are an existing 23andMe customer but not a 23andMe+ Premium or Total Health member, you may be eligible to learn more about significant genetic connections you have to individuals buried at the Catoctin Furnace at no additional cost.

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1 Comment

  1. Christopher Schuetz

    What we really want is our Shared Matches back.
    This bright sparkly distraction does not help with that.
    Any news?
    Or has it crept into one of those enhanced packages not offered to people outside USA?

    Reply

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