In November 2016, I saw a friend had posted her ethnicity results from a DNA test she had completed via Ancestry. It intrigued me, as for years I had wondered about who Mum’s biological father could be. It was something Mum had always had in the back of her mind too, naturally. However it had seemed somewhat impossible, the thought of tracking a man down when we had next to no identifying information available. Until I saw that status on the good old newsfeed. I mentioned it offhand to Mum, who seemed mildly interested…I took that as my cue and ordered myself a kit within the fortnight.
As soon as the kit arrived, I immediately completed the sample and dropped it back at the Post Office (I’m nothing if not rather prompt, wherever possible)…and then came the waiting. I must admit, my sample was pretty straightforward in being processed, I had my results arrive in my inbox in early December. I got in at a good time! I was chatting to Mum when my phone sounded the email alert, to which my reaction was simply: “the results are here already!”-which Mum mistook to mean my uni results and offered to hold my hand (Pfffff!). My results look like this (at the time, sans the Genetic Communities section):
I actually expected a hell of a lot more Great Britain in my results, to be honest. I was aware of Irish ancestry on my Dad’s side and later discovered that there is a paper trail tracing other ancestors of his back to Germany. Whilst I know that the Low Confidence regions are to be taken with a grain of salt, I found the novelty of African/Caucasus/Asia Central ethnicity rather interesting. It will be interesting to see how/if my ethnicity estimate changes with the advances in the research Ancestry is conducting! My match list was a whole other story to begin with, overwhelming to say the least! Especially seeing as I didn’t have much information to go on with Mum’s side.
Soon after my test came back, Mum agreed to also do one, so we bought her kit, sent hers away, and received her results in yet another prompt turnaround time. I’m impatient though, I’ll admit it felt like an eternity! Her results looked like this:
These results, with Mum being an adoptee, were naturally a surprise. It was always going to be. Luckily, Mum has some fantastic matches, a number of second cousins, some of which I’ve been able to eliminate as being from the maternal side…paternal second cousins are an extremely good match, considering we are searching for her biological Dad! More on those later.
By this point, I was well and truly hooked on the whole genealogy thing, and decided that I may as well test Dad and my younger sister. They grudgingly went along with the whole thing for my sake, they are not particularly interested in any of it! Their faces when I handed them their sample tube was amusing. “That much spit!?” were their first comments. My sister banished me from the room, insisted she was struggling to produce that much saliva and went on to rap along to whatever was playing on her stereo at the time in order to provide the sample. Turns out that was too effective. FYI guys, don’t overfill the tube. Tipping spit out is gross. Dad filled his tube in one go, handed it back to me with a look on his face as if to say “You are a strange human being”. Their results were painfully slow due to the Christmas overload Ancestry received. Theirs took about 9 weeks to come back!
My sister’s arrived back first. I was just waking up when I heard that email alert sound on my phone. I excitedly ran into her room with my laptop to show her, much to her disgust as she had been sleeping. She took one look at the results, nodded, and went straight back to sleep. I, however was revelling in the differences and similarities to my own results, in both the ethnicity estimate AND the differences in our matches. Also good to note that we are in fact sisters…I look at her and often wonder. (Joking everyone, she and I get mistaken for one another these days).
Dad’s results came in a few days later, as I was finishing up at work. I raced home, laptop in hand and opened his up. He nodded and went back to watching TV. Typical. Again, a fascinating result, especially when comparing his to mine and my sister’s. Dad and my Nana on that side of the family have a lovely complexion that is a bit darker than most in the family, something I’ve always enquired about (and been a bit jealous of, I’m as neon as they come) and nobody has ever been able to answer me as to where Dad’s family came from. Finally, some answers were starting to formulate on that front:
I have uploaded all these samples to GedMatch and Family Tree DNA with their reintroduction of accepting raw DNA samples from Ancestry, and am in the process of contacting matches. I’m dealing with all the common frustrations as best I can. But can I just say, PEOPLE!! You don’t have to be interested in family history as such to take a test, but even if you’re not, perhaps just add some semblance of a tree so you can attach your DNA to it…and help your genealogy fanatic matches out by simply responding to messages. Hell, even if it’s a “Sorry, I am unable to help you at this time, etc. etc.” a response is a response…it’s just polite! 🙂
I’ve taken things one step further and have sent away kits for both sets of grandparents, because why not? Playing the waiting game currently on those results.
DNA is something I’m still getting used to, however I am finding it so helpful in all aspects of my research. If you haven’t taken one yet, go ahead and give it a try! Updates on this aspect of my research soon to come.
**Edit** I realised that I didn’t add my GedMatch kit numbers!