What is SideView on AncestryDNA?

You may have heard mention of a new DNA tool coming to AncestryDNA called SideView. It’s been causing quite a stir and is just another indication of the rapidly expanding wealth of knowledge you can glean from your DNA results.

Well, as of April 2022 this new feature has officially arrived. The technology used for this feature is known as Sideview. Thankfully, however, they are using a more descriptive common name for this tool.

AncestryDNA is Our Top Recommendation

After reviewing all of the top DNA products on the market, nothing comes close to AncestryDNA to help you discover your whole family story!

They give you so much more than any other family tree DNA kit, and let you connect to the places you're from in the world where your family story started, and even help you to discover living relatives you never knew you had!

For the most accurate family history research based on your DNA, sign up for AncestryDNA now!

Get AncestryDNA →

If you go to your AncestryDNA account you will find this feature referred to as "ethnicity inheritance" which is by far a better term for explaining this new tool. In this post, we will discuss what ethnicity inheritance is, how we can use it and what it means to us.

What Is Sideview Ethnicity Inheritance?

When we look at our personal ethnicity estimate results we get a decent idea of where our ancestors have come from globally speaking. What it doesn’t tell us at a glance is which side of the family particular ethnicities may come from.

Until now the only way to get a grasp on which side of our families a specific ethnicity arose from would be to have both of our parents take the AncestryDNA test. This can be problematic because sometimes they do not want to or more sadly may not be with us anymore.

This then brings us to the ethnicity inheritance tool which essentially can give us a visual representation of which parent we inherited certain ethnicity markers from. With good old fashioned genealogy, we can obviously determine that a parent's ancestors may have come from a specific region. However, this tool changes the need for that.

The ethnicity inheritance tool separates out our ethnic estimates between two parents although it cannot say which is mom and which is dad. This will require us to use a little research so we can determine which information relates to which parent.

If, for example, you know your father has Jewish ancestry and you have that ethnicity in your estimate, then the parent that exhibits Jewish ancestry must be your father.

In my own results, I know already that my paternal grandfather was Welsh. So out of the two parents, only one exhibited DNA from Wales meaning that this parent must be my father. I have to admit that I assumed that there would be some Welsh on my mother's side as well but DNA inheritance can be funny that way.

How Exactly Does Sideview Work?

You may be wondering how AncestryDNA is able to attribute these ethnicities as coming from one or the other of your parents. It is all thanks to our cousin matches and their vastly growing database of users.

Ancestry compares our cousin matches looking for the DNA that we share with them and that they share with one another. This, with the help of an algorithm which I couldn’t even hope to understand, attributes segments of DNA to a specific individual.

As mentioned they cannot determine if it's mom or dad using this method. That will require a little work on our own part. They can only split the DNA between two individuals but cannot determine gender from this.

Do Our Parents Need to Test to Help SideView?

The answer to this is a resounding no because if our parents did test then SideView would essentially be obsolete and not of as much use. This is not to say it would not be helpful at all because it could still show us which parent we inherited certain ethnicities from.

It is possible as an example that both parents have a small amount of a certain ethnicity in their results. You may have an even smaller amount in yours but which parent did that come from? The answer could be both or just one. The ethnicity inheritance tool would show if it came from one or both parents.

Obviously, in terms of our genealogical journey with DNA, it is fantastic when close relatives like parents test so if they are willing it's always a good idea. It is just not needed in order to find value in the SideView technology.

How Can You Tell Which Parent Is Which?

As previously referenced, AncestryDNA tests thousands of potential DNA matches in order to separate our entire genome into two groups. It is these two groups that become parent one and parent two. It doesn’t determine gender so we will have to use a little extra knowledge to determine which parent is which.

It can sometimes be very easy to know which parent should be attributed to which set of results. This is especially so when we know something about our family background. It can, however, sometimes be a little more tricky.

Those who never knew their birth parents for example likely do not know much about their family at all so it can be almost impossible to know which is which. Knowing that a certain parent may have been largely of a specific ethnicity though, might be beneficial in trying to determine who they were.

As long as we can attach one of our parents to a specific set of results the other one by process of elimination is obvious. I thought I would struggle with my DNA being so very British and I assumed that the two parents might be very similar. As I mentioned earlier, however, I knew my grandfather was Welsh and only one parent exhibited Welsh ethnicity.

Where Do I Find the Ethnicity Inheritance Tool?

This is a very easy tool to use and find on AncestryDNA. You simply sign in to your Ancesty.com Account and go to your DNA results summary. This brings up the three main tools of which you need to choose your DNA Story. Right at the top of the right.hand toolbar, you should see Introducing Ethnicity Inheritance.

Simply go to the overview of this app and you will see that your DNA ethnicity has been split into parents one and two. A little further down you will find a more detailed comparison of the two parents. This included your ethnicity percentages and the percentage of DNA that likely came from each parent to you.

Is This Tool Accurate?

As with many things DNA related the accuracy of this is dependent on a number of factors. The main one we need to consider here is the number of cousin matches we have. If we do not have a lot of cousin matches in the database this can decrease the accuracy.

But if we have a large sampling group to work from then this tool is estimated to be about 95% accurate which is not bad at all.


This interesting new tool from AncestryDNA can essentially use our DNA cousin matches to estimate which parent our ethnic makeup was inherited from. It can help us learn more about our ancestors and maybe even help our continuing research.

That unexpected ethnicity in our estimate had to have come from somewhere so a tool like Sideview can tell you which side of the family you need to focus your research.

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

Link To or Reference This Page

We spent a lot of time downloading, cleaning, merging, and formatting the data that is shown on the site.

If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

  • " What is SideView on AncestryDNA?". NameCensus.com. Accessed on April 19, 2024. https://namecensus.com/blog/what-is-sideview-on-ancestrydna/.

  • " What is SideView on AncestryDNA?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/blog/what-is-sideview-on-ancestrydna/. Accessed 19 April, 2024

  • What is SideView on AncestryDNA?. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from https://namecensus.com/blog/what-is-sideview-on-ancestrydna/.