Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's here, it's here! AncestryDNA updates finally available!

In case you couldn't tell, I've been like a little kid anxiously awaiting the arrival of Christmas morning. I've been checking every day, even though I really thought I'd have to wait another couple of months to get my updated results. Then today I checked and, bam, there they were...Christmas morning had finally arrived! Ha ha. My poor daughter was in my lap as I looked it over. She may be traumatized for life from me squeezing her and repeating over and over again, "This is so cool. This is SO COOL!"

So what, exactly, is so cool? Okay, if you took an AncestryDNA test in the past, you had gotten results - mine, if you recall, were extremely surprising to me, a girl of English, Irish, German, and Danish descent - 88 percent Scandinavian, 11 percent Eastern European. Now, everyone has much more detailed results, particularly in regard to region and ethnicity - DNA results, as you probably know, link you more to a people and sometimes a region than too a particular country, since people tend to be migratory, and oftentimes these results reflect deep ancestry, as opposed to just a few generations back. Since the results just came online today and the site actually crashed for awhile, I haven't had a whole lot of time to digest and explore the new data, so I'm not entirely sure how these more detailed results came to be - whether or not the testing itself has become more accurate over the last year or so, whether or not the control population gene pool has become more numerous and more varied, or a combination of those two or other reasons. There are a video and written explanation on the website, but to be honest, I was so excited, I barely paid attention.

So, my new results actually reflect much more accurately what my own genealogical research has turned up - my top 4 results are Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. Now take for example my Great Britain results, which come in at 32 percent. That's the average of the 40 tests Ancestry did on random bits of my DNA sample, with a range of 1-59 percent for the 40 tests. The results tell me that Great Britain DNA is found in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Ireland, France, and Germany, due to migration. It then compares my results to those of a native of Great Britain, and gives you a run down of the history of the region. Okay, so of those 4 results I got, none was a surprise, though I was surprised that my largest percentage was Great Britain, since I'm half Irish and a third German, but I assume that at some point, some of my Great Britain DNA traveled over to Ireland (now I'm picturing a double helix strand sitting in a boat in the water...)

Now, for the exciting part - I actually have 10 percent trace regions - I think that means any DNA results that are less than 10 percent in and of themselves. There's only a trace amount there, but even though it's miniscule, it still counts. So, Eastern Europe again pops up. I can only assume that at some point, some of my ancestors from Eastern Germany were themselves descended from people who emigrated from Eastern Europe. And then two shockers - I am 3 percent Iberian Peninsula, which is primarily Spain and Portugal, and also found in France, Morocco, Algeria, and Italy. Since I am none of these, not even close, I never expected to see that result. I can only assume from THIS result that someone from that area somehow found his or her way to either Germany or the British Isles. Lastly, my results show 2 percent European Jewish, which is found primarily in Eastern Europe but could be basically from anywhere on the continent. I would assume that my results are Ashkenazi Jewish as opposed to Sephardic Jewish, due to my German ancestry, but as far as I have traced, I don't have any Jewish families in my tree, but apparently, somewhere down the line, one of my Christian ancestors had a child with a Jew. I assume somewhere in my German lines, but who knows.

Now, the European Jewish result was surprising, but at the same time, not, because when my dad took the mtDNA test a few years ago, tracing his maternal line (which is 100 percent German as far back as I can go), his haplogroup was K, and a line in the description always caught my eye, that this haplogroup is found at a notable rate among Ashkenazi Jews. So, there you go. That matches up.

So there you have it. Very cool, right? And since just because it doesn't show up genetically doesn't mean it's not there genealogically, and because every person inherits a different set of DNA meaning your sister's DNA could show only partially matching or even completely different results, it makes me want to get all my siblings and my dad a DNA test for Christmas, even though that's more a gift for myself than for them! :)

Have you taken the AncestryDNA test yet? Did you get any surprises in your new detailed results? Do your results support what you already know or suspect about your family tree?

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