If you follow my Twitter or Instagram account you may know that for the holidays I received both AncestryDNA and 23andMe ethnicity kits. Well after waiting, very impatiently, for five weeks I finally got the results back from one of my tests!
I have never known much about my father’s side of my family tree. My parents divorced when I was only three years old and I have never been very close with him or known many of his family members. In fact, I have only met FIVE relatives from my paternal family, and that is including my father. So naturally I have always been very curious about who the rest of the family was and where they came from.
In the 4th grade I remember having a project where I had to find out where my family came from. My mother told me our family was French, Irish, German and Native American. She was always told her great grandmother was part of the Potawatomi tribe and her family came from Pennsylvania, so naturally this is what I have always believed to be true as well for the last 15+ years.
Fast-forward to Christmas 2017, I had been pestering my fiancé to buy me AncestryDNA for my gift that year, it was really the only thing I wanted. Come Christmas with my family it was no surprise when I opened up my Ancestry kit, but it was a bit of a shock when I also opened up a 23andMe kit as well! I was so excited that I activated both kits that night but was disappointed when I read that it was best to wait to take your samples after waking in the morning. I filled my sample tubes for both tests the next morning and they were in the mail as soon as the post office opened again after the holiday. While I waited for my results I got on Ancestry and started building my family tree. I was able to trace back to early 1800’s-late 1700’s on every branch of my tree. I even was able to track some ancestors back to Germany, Ireland and France. One thing I wasn’t able to prove was that my mother’s great grandma Iva was Native American. Everything I found suggested she was ‘White’, every census for 4 generations past Iva all said the family was ‘White’.
Here I’ve highlighted Iva on the 1910 census where her husband Frank, herself and two of her children are all documented as ‘white’.
5 weeks after sending in my sample I received my 23andMe results. Most of which just confirmed my research results. I was surprised to see Scandinavian and Italian come up! I was also surprised to see my largest section was a little over 40%, with my family being in America for so long I would have thought I had more of a mix with smaller percentages. My mother is convinced this is why I have such a deep love for exploring Europe, and why when I was on my two trips to Germany I felt like I was “home”.
Along with your ethnicity percentages 23andMe provides you with some interesting information like: possible relatives, maternal/paternal haplogroup and possible neanderthal ancestry.
- I found 1098 possible relatives in the 3rd/4th cousin section and many more in the 5th+ group. Now this doesn’t mean everyone in the 3rd-4th cousin group is really a 3rd or 4th cousin, this is where you can get into the confusing 1st cousin twice removed and so on. They also tell you where those relatives are from, for me those 1098 are in 2 countries and 33 states.
- Since I am female I can only track my Maternal haplogroup. Which traces back where my mothers, mothers, mothers so and so on, possibly originated. Males can trace both Maternal and Paternal – so for females you need a full brother or father tested to get your paternal group. My maternal group was group H, which originated in Africa and over time traveled through the middle east into Europe. Haplogroup H is a relatively common group with 1 in 16 23andMe users with the same group. From European royalty Marie Antoinette was also descended from group H – so cool!
- I found that I have 296 neanderthal variants which is more than 78% of other 23andMe users! Which I was shocked to see! One variant my results said may influence my traits is – straight hair. Now if you know me I have the straightest hair in the world, this girl can’t hold a curl to save her life!
Personally I would recommend 23andMe. They were very quick with results, mine came in 5 weeks during one of their busiest times, when I was told 6-8 weeks. Also, their results seem pretty accurate comparing my largest percentages to the information I found during research. Another feature I really liked was on their app I was able to track my results from activation of my kit to my results being processed. This was a great feature to have for someone very impatient like myself!
If you would like to explore your ethnicity and genetic make up as well you can order your own kit here! Maybe we will be related! Or if you have already taken an ethnicity test I would love to hear about your results!