Family History and DNA
I'm posting this here, because while some of the community might know all about genealogy and dna tests, I for one didn't know anything about how it might work. This is a 101 level post for people like myself who are vaguely interested but not sure it's for them.
Recently, Ancestry has been able to offer DNA testing in Canada. I debated over doing it because it isn't inexpensive, but finally I decided it would be worthwhile. So I signed up and received my kit in the mail. It's not a simple swab, but a saliva test. (I never realized just how much spit they would need. *g*) I sent the kit off and prepared to wait the possible six to eight weeks the company said it might take. Within two weeks they sent an email to say the test had been received and the day after that to say it was being processed. I received the results less than a week after that.
Ancestry promotes the dna test as insight into discovering your ethnicity. Which is cool and all, and probably attracts people who aren't into geneaolgy. Sound business to tap into a bigger pool of users than they might if they just targeted family history explorers. For me, the big attraction was how they connect your test to your tree and then continually search for other trees with tests attached and seek matches for your results.
So, how did that work out, you might wonder. I learned that my results wouldn't be mirrored by the results of cousins, nieces and nephews, not even siblings. DNA recombines in each new individual so every child has 50% DNA from each parent, but it's unique each throw of the dice. Um, it's more technical that that, but you can find plenty of information explaining, if you feel like googling it.
Okay, here are the results, and I'll start with the ethnicity estimate first.
My test indicates that I'm 97% European. The breakdown is 41% Great Britain, 26% Europe West, 12% Ireland and 6% Scandinavia. (As I said to my friend yesterday, VIKING, YAY!)
There are Trace Regions of 2% for the Caucasus which includes places like Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, etc. And finally the remaining 1% is for North Africa, which includes places like Morocco, Algeria, Niger and Libya, Egypt and so on.
The Trace regions results are so small, they may or may not be accurate. It's best to just disregard them for now and focus on the larger number. Okay and at 97% I'm not at all surprised. Two of my four grandparent's families came from Switzerland/Germany, and the other two originated in Great Britiain. I assume the 6% Scandinavia is remnant dna markers of the Viking expansion throughout Europe and Great Britain. Maybe.
The cool thing is since I received my results I've been contacted by two distant cousins and have new people to add to my tree. Because of a third contact, I've found an error on my tree which is great, because it's best to get rid of those as soon as possible. Otherwise you run the risk of passing it along or simply wasting years on a dead end. I've also gotten links to 64 new to me fourth cousins or closer. There are also some potential new ancestors and relatives I may have uncovered by taking the DNA test. I havent had time yet to explore those links.
Needless to say this is all pretty exciting. I'm happy with the initial results. Some day maybe those dead ends on my tree will be come to life. I am hoping as more people take the test it will become cheaper and more members of my family will also take it. I've already had a cousin and a nephew approach me taking the test themselves. I don't regret taking the test at all.