About a week ago, the lovely Alex over at Root To Tip blogged about the results of her DNA test performed via Ancestry, and it got me thinking as
earlier in the year at the end of last year I also spat in a tube and sent it back to Utah (all via a family member in the States as Ancestry had not yet started testing via the UK), but had never publicised the results. (In case you’re worried I’m going to get all science-y and talk about haplogroups, haplotypes, single nucleotide polymorphism or allele frequencies – I’m not.)
I wasn’t sure what to expect, to be honest. Obviously I assumed that there would be a very high percentage for England and/or Europe – but how would the genetic mix from my American sides be reflected? My mum had long-believed that on her father’s side of the family (perhaps on his mother’s side) lay a Native American connection – something that currently I haven’t been able to support through records. Would the test show once and for all if this was true? Did my saliva hold the answer?
After what seemed an interminable amount of time, my cousin (ish) John notified me that my results were back and I should take a look …
The first thing that leapt out at me was the vast majority being from Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), with another quarter being from ‘Europe West’ (Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein) and ‘Iberian Peninsula’ (Spain, Portugal) combined.
It’s not a huge surprise about the large percentage for Great Britain and Europe West – especially as the Europe West group does overlap with the Great Britain group.
But what of the Iberian Peninsula group – and the ‘4 Other regions’?
Looking at the more detailed picture of the full breakdown, a few more surprises popped up. Scandinavia and Ireland make up just under a fifth of my genetic make-up, with Europe East and Italy/Greece making up the 6% Trace Regions.
So what does this tell me, and does it match with what I have proven in my own tree? To answer the second question first – broadly, yes. I have some gaps in my mothers’s tree (her grandfather was orphaned at a young age and so far I have nothing on his parentage, and I have limited information on her grandmother’s family) which may make the Scandinavia, Iberia and Ireland groups a little stronger. However, one thing is clear: I am 100% European, 0% Native American.
It looks as though that family myth can be laid to rest once and for all!
So what’s next? Ancestry gives you an ever-updating list of potential DNA and tree matches ranging from close cousins to more distant relationships. It also has a ‘DNA Circles’ feature that shows you other Ancestry members who have proven links to a particular ancestor. I’m still working my way through these. I would also like to have my parents take the tests in order to obtain a bit more detail over the admixture split.
John had also uploaded my results (with permission, obviously) to a couple of other DNA sites – Family Tree DNA and GEDmatch – that use the raw data to produce additional reports (admittedly, with FTDNA you have to pay an additional fee to unlock the results). FTDNA also sell Y-DNA and mtDNA tests (paternal and maternal lines respectively) as well as the basic autosomal (i.e. not a sex chromosome) analysis. Currently, paying out £230 for a Y-DNA test isn’t exactly top of my priority list, although the £128 mtDNA test could be (especially as there is a variant for only £45).
I’ve definitely found what I’ve learned interesting so far. I’m about 50/50 on usefulness, but I am happy to go further on this molecular journey!