What Am I?

Or… Where do I come from?

One of the reasons people take DNA tests is to figure out their genetic history. They want to prove their connection to a certain place, race, or ethnicity.

Lately, I’ve seen commercials where people were surprised they had Native American ancestry… or they thought they were from one region and their DNA says they’re from another… In my family, we’ve always been told that we had some Cherokee blood… but none is indicated in my DNA (maybe it’s too diluted by generations to be seen).

Now I’m just wondering how accurate all of this “science” is…

I just got an email from MyHeritage that provided me their interpretation of my ethnicity:

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Ethnicity Data from MyHeritage

 

What’s interesting, however, is that my earlier report from Ancestry is a quite different:

ancestry-dna-ethnicity
Ethnicity Data from Ancestry

 

So now I’m confused!  Am I European? Or English? Looking at this table, there is a huge difference in my percentages…

  Ancestry MyHeritage
West Europe 44 20
Ireland 32 16
Great Britain 9 49
Iberian 7 15
Other 2

When you get right down to it, however, there are no real surprises to me except the “Iberian” connection.  Through my genealogical research, I knew most of my ancestry came from the United Kingdom (Ireland & England) and much came from Germany/France.  The only odd thing that I can’t really find is the “Iberian” connection.

But, as both companies will tell you, these numbers are only estimates based on statistics.  So there is enough slop in the forumlae so that you can’t determine accurately what your genetics tell you – at least not yet.

Maybe in the future, there will be a breakthrough.  For now, these systems are more like guesstimates!  From all of this information, I’m putting down my “Iberian” connection down to the built in slop (fudge factors) in the science.

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Ancestry DNA

It’s been a long time coming (I’ve been planning on submitting my DNA to Ancestry for quite a while now but kept spending my money on other useless stuff); but I’ve finally ordered and received my DNA kit from Ancestry.com. Why? Because I’m a genealogy and technogeek.

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One real reason is that I wanted to see where the family comes from (as far as the DNA reports). My research, so far, goes back to the mid-1700s and the only countries outside of the United States that I’ve found direct ancestors to have come from is Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and France (specifically the Alsace-Lorraine region).  Check out a previous post in my blog to learn more about this Alsace-Lorraine discussion.

Another reason is that Ancestry.com is able to match up my DNA with other peoples’ DNA that indicate we are related somehow.  This can help us find new information concerning our family tree.

There are concerns that people have and/or are warned about.  Ancestry, and the other private companies, have been approached by law enforcement to get DNA results for specific individuals. So, if you plan on committing a crime AND leaving DNA behind – you best not give away your DNA samples.  For me, however, the government already has my DNA from my time in the military (easier for them to identify my remains even if I left no fingerprints or dental behind). So… I’m busted anyway if I leave a random hair behind at a crime scene.  Guess I’ll have to go out of my way to not commit any crimes.

Another concern is that the private DNA companies might sell or give away our DNA data to other companie (like the insurance folks). The concern is that if the insurance company finds out your genetically susceptible to some disease, they won’t insure you or they’ll charge you a higher premium.Currently, Ancestry’s privacy policy says that they won’t. And, if you do allow them to, when they provide your DNA results to 3rd parties they will de-identify you. The 3rd party will get your results but won’t be able to know where they came from. Even if all this changes, it still won’t bother me. My insurance is already paid for for my life.  Unless the government fails, I’m covered.

So, I opened it up and found all the pieces…

AncestryDNA Kit Exposed

And, I was a little shocked to see how much saliva I was going to have to supply.  It looked like a LOT.  But then I noticed that the tube was already mostly filled.  Turns out I needed to provide about 1/4 teaspoon worth. Everything underneath the activation code label is filled; so it wasn’t too hard to fill it up.

AncestryDNA Sample Tube

Now all I have to do is wait 6-8 weeks for them to analyze the sample!  Once they do that, I’ll write another blog to let you know how it went.

If you would like to order a kit to check out what your DNA says about your genealogy or ethnic background… use this link (you’ll get the kit cheaper at $89 and I get a $10 gift card). Typically, the non-sale price of the kit is $99, I got it on sale (which ends today) for $79.  And there is a $10 shipping fee; but I found a free shipping coupon code on Groupon.com.