I received a bit of grief over last week’s cliff hanger, but hey, the Kings were playing—for the CUP. And although, they did not win June 11, they ultimately prevailed over the Rangers to bring home their second Stanley Cup in three years. It was . . . I’m afraid I’ve digressed. You’re here for the genealogy. Pardon me. Ahem.
Last week I gave you a brief run-down of the basic differences in three DNA testing methods.
This week, as promised, I will share my personal results with you.
I chose AncestryDNA to conduct my testing and I want to make sure everyone understands that the results are an ESTIMATE of ethnicity, not a “you’re related to Mary Queen of Scots!” report. To illustrate:
If you have a great-great-grandparent with Native American ancestry, you would theoretically expect to have 1/16th (6%) Native American ancestry. However, the pieces of DNA that you inherited from this great-great-grandparent are random. When the DNA was passed from your great-great-grandparent, to your great-grandparent, to your grandparent, to your parent, and then to you, some pieces of DNA from this great-great-grandparent may have been "lost." Since you might not have much DNA from that great-great-grandparent, you might not show up as having any Native American genetic ethnicity. So, keep in mind the random nature of DNA inheritance, especially if you don't have exactly the genetic ethnicities that you expected.[i]
To determine my ethnicity estimate, AncestryDNA compared my DNA to their DNA reference panel. The reference panel is a collection of thousands of individuals’ DNA, each with DOCUMENTED ancestry of significant depth in a given global ethnicity region. There are 26 of these global ethnicity regions.
After comparing the information gathered at 700,000 markers in my DNA to the reference panel, they were able to estimate where I fall in the global ethnicity regions.
AncestryDNA then ran forty separate analyses on each region to calculate a probable range and average estimate on each of them for me.
So without further ado, my results are as follows:
Some of you may be thinking, “Her ancestors came from Africa. Well, DUH.” Hold on, we’re not done. The regions are further broken down!
For example, yeah, duh, I’m of African descent, but now instead of being from “ALL of Africa,” my results indicate that I likely am:
Ivory Coast/Ghana 24%
Africa Southeastern Bantu 8%
Which means: it is highly likely that that 71 percent of my ancestors hailed from the west coast of Africa, not “ALL of Africa.”
Similarly, my European ancestors likely were from Great Britain: 21% and Ireland: 3%.
My ethnicity estimate includes maps and histories of the regions from which my ancestors hailed. In addition, there is a HUGE Learning Center which details and explains the testing, the results, and has AncestryDNA’s white paper about DNA testing. It is WAAAAY over my head, I’m not embarrassed to tell you.
My new DNA home page also contains high potential matches of other Ancestry members who, because of DNA estimates, could be relatives. For example, there are two individuals who listed in the 98% range of confidence to be my possible 3rd or 4th cousins.
I began researching my family history over 15 years ago, and if you would have told me that in the future I could submit a saliva sample to a company and possibly be connected with living relatives, I would have said you were a few bricks shy of a load. But here we are!
If you are considering DNA testing, there are several services out there. So shop around and weigh the pros and cons of the services that meet your needs. Consider price, turnaround time and privacy when you make your choice.
[i] “AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate Help and Tips, Why you might have more (or less) of a certain region…” article, Ancestry.com (accessible through your personal account but only after you receive your DNA Ethnicity Estimate): accessed 17 June 2014.