For Christmas, I gifted both my parents an AncestryDNA kit. At the time, I had wondered if it made more sense to buy a kit for myself, but I decided that seeing what genetic coding I received from which parent would be more fun. It took some time, but they finally sent their test results to the Ancestry lab and a few weeks later, we had their results.
Truthfully, my dad’s results were as I had expected. But there was a bit of surprise with the Scandinavian ancestry. (Which I went extremely wild over as my tastes lean more and more towards Scandinavian influences.)
My mom’s results were the most surprising. While much of my dad’s side has been heavily researched by relatives (thank goodness for that! “Wright” is equivalent to “Smith” in my world!) my mom’s side has been an adventure all my own. There are lines of recent immigration, lines that come full-stop before brick walls, and there are lines that go back into early 1700’s America. To see a bit of her ethnic heritage, and how it fits into her ancestral heritage is fascinating.
While I knew that each individual person has their own individual DNA makeup, I had no idea that that also applied to a person’s ethnic makeup. But, when you look at in context, it makes complete sense.
You receive 50% of your DNA from your mother, and 50% from your father. Each of your parents received 50% from their mother, and 50% from their father. And each of those halves contains entirely random sequences of data. So your unique ethnic map is going to be different from your siblings (with the exception of identical twins). It’s best explained in the video, linked above, so I highly suggest you view it to best understand. Basically, the more siblings and family members you test, the more you learn about your family’s ethnic history as a whole because each of your siblings can received different sequences of ethnic history.
Other feature of AncestryDNA I enjoy are the DNA Matches, possible relatives based upon your DNA makeup. If you’re lucky, and the possible hits have public trees (and you’re a paying member of Ancestry) you can see how you’re related. Better yet, you can send messages to each other regarding your family trees and meet new relatives and discover new stories.
AncestryDNA also shows DNA Circles, or, ancestors already listed in your family tree, which can be nice if you’re lacking the sources to verify your ancestors. It also suggests new ancestry discoveries based upon potential cousins and their ancestral trees and DNA makeup.
The best part is that with every new DNA test, new information is stored within the database and becomes available. When we first received my mom’s test results, she had only a handful of DNA Matches. She now has over 200 matches.
I believe we’ve just begun to scratch the surface on what we can learn from DNA. And, with AncestryDNA you’re able to take your research to the next level. Your ethnic results can go back hundreds of years, possibly a thousand years, going far beyond any paper trail.
True, we can all find similar characteristics, traits, histories even, amongst ourselves, our families, our communities, but it’s remarkable to see our inherited uniqueness. And it’s easy to see how those who came before still live on inside each of us. I’m eager to see what my own unique AncestryDNA will show, and catch a glimpse of all of those who came before.