Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My AncestryDNA Results

So not so long ago I ordered's new DNA test.  Known as AncestryDNA, this is a genetic ethnicity.  I wanted to see if a genetic test would prove/disprove some family stories I've learned after years of tracing my tree.  I wanted to see if there was a different story to tell behind my Western European looking appearance.  Basically, I wanted the test because it sounded like fun.

So let me first explain what I knew of my ancestry before getting the results.  The paternal ancestry of my mom's father is unknown.  His mother was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and so were her ancestors for as far back as at least 400 years.  My mom's mom is from England.  Most of her family has been in Derbyshire for hundreds of years.  

On my dad's maternal side, one line came to America from Germany in the early 1700's, and married into a family who came from France at about the same time.  These families traveled together from the east coast to a tiny little area in Missouri in the mid 1850's.   It was in this area where my dad's mom was born.  There has always been strong sense of Germanic roots on my grandma's side.  My dad's paternal side is predominantly Dutch, with bits of brick walls with surnames like "Johnson" and "Stone" thrown into the mix.  I can trace almost all of my dad's lines back to colonial America, which has been by far the most surprising thing I have learned about my ancestry.  

I'm a mutt.

And so with my mom's British roots and my dad's colonial roots, it came as no surprise that the ethnicity test revealed that nearly half of my ancestors came from the British Isles. C'mon, my grandma (my mom's mom) has an English accent!

My next largest percentage was from Southern Europe, which the test defined as Italy, Spain, and Portugal.  Understanding the migration patterns that humans have taken, a large result in this category was not a surprise. 

The next largest percentage came from Scandinavia.  When I began researching my family tree years ago, I learned that I have a very strong Swedish ancestry (Swedish royalty, in fact).  So again, no surprise.

And I can trace nearly the same percentage of my ancestry back to Eastern Europe.  This was a surprise since I cannot trace any one ancestor to this region of the world.  There are no surnames in my tree that hint to this region, yet the test shows I have ancestors who were originally from anywhere from as north as modern day Estonia or as far south as the ancient civilization of Greece.

Here is the biggest surprise:  although I have MANY ancestors with French and German names, who were born in either France or Germany, I have no genetic connection to the indigenous people of this area.  That really was something I wasn't expecting. 

One of the most puzzling results of my ethnicity test was that I am 4% Uncertain.  Uncertain??  So far I have been unable to find out what that means exactly.  Perhaps the stories of a Cherokee woman on my WORSHAM line are true.  Maybe Anthony VAN SALEE was the son of a Moroccan woman.  Are the percentages of these people so small in my blood that it comes up as uncertain?  Or am I really part bunny?

Here are my specific results:

British Isles 48%
Southern European 23%
Scandinavian 13%
Eastern European 12%
Uncertain 4%

You may be wondering how I feel about the results.  If I were to pick a favorite, it would have to be the 4% uncertain result.  I am glad that it is not known at this time.  For me, the 4% represents a belief of mine that we are all genetically related, that we're all cousins.  And while having a 100% ethnicity determination would not disprove that we are all genetically related, an uncertain number to me kind of backs up my belief.  No matter which groups make up that final 4%, I am just happy to be me!

I am also a bit more inspired to start digging again at some of those brick walls.  I know I will NEVER be able to trace every last ancestor, but anyone who tinkers with their genealogy will agree that it is fun to try.


MorningAJ said...

That's brilliant. I like the idea of 4% uncertain too. Maybe it's fish (aren't we all descended from fish?)

Jeannie said...

If my mom is correct, then we are all descended from aliens (she likes science fiction movies.) :-)