If you know me, you will probably know that I'm big on family history and geneaology - I've been recording & researching my ancestry for several years now, uncovering many interesting people and stories. In doing my research, I took an AncestryDNA test last year to see what else I could discover, especially when it came to my ethnicity estimate. My research has continued to grow since taking the test, as have the results as the database grew, so I thought I'd share what my results have told me, and how it has helped and influenced my continued research.
At a glance, AncestryDNA tells you three things - your ethnicity estimate, DNA matches to other Ancestry users, and DNA circles of people related to you through a specific ancestor. As more samples are added to the database, these three aspects also continue to change, grow and improve.
A good example of this change and improvement comes from when I logged into Ancestry to start working on this post - I was shown a changed in my DNA story and ethnicity estimate. With over 16,000 samples in the database now, it's amazing to see how much can evolve with these estimates. Although, I do have to say, I am a little sad that some of my minor region estimates no longer exist, but I know it will continue to change, so who knows what else I can expect to learn.
So now that I've shared what's not in my DNA, let me share with you what is in my DNA, at least at this point in time. Not surprisingly, my ethnicity estimate is very accurately connected with the information I've discovered on my family tree. Even then, I wouldn't be disappointed if there was only a loose connection - the estimate focuses on thousands of years of ancestry as opposed to hundred of years, which is the period of time that my family trees trace. And of course, it is only an estimate, given that it's impossible to accurately plot DNA to particular regions, and you do not inherit every single piece of ancestral DNA, so it's not to say your origins don't lie in an area your DNA hasn't revealed.
My estimate is split almost exactly in two - 47% Ireland and Scotland (green), and 53% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe (yellow). Most of what I have discovered in my family tree is routed in England, Scotland and Ireland, so these results are to be expected. The only other ethnic origin I do have in my ancestry is a branch in Italy, although I possibly have a small Spanish branch, although I can't confirm that.
Ireland & Scotland
The primary locations for this region DNA are Ireland, Wales and Scotland, with my DNA showing specific connections to Scotland (the broken circle). Of the twelve branches I'm tracing, three are rooted in Ireland, with a branch I'm yet to tackle from Scotland.
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe
The primary locations for this region are England, Scotland and Wales, with my DNA showing specific connections to Southern England, more specifically Devon and Cornwall (the broken circle). Of the twelve branches I'm tracing, eight are rooted in England.
The furthest back that I've, so far, been able to trace, is 1689 to Durham, England. From there and working towards now, there's 1738 (London), 1760 (Surrey, England), 1764 (Cornwall, England), 1765 (Tipperary, Ireland), 1768 (Limerick, Ireland), 1770 (Melton Mowbray, England), 1773 (Gloucestershire, England), 1816 (Cambridgeshire, England), 1823 (Ireland), 1846 (Italy), and 1851 (Islington). So, as you can see, my ethnicity estimate is very on-par with the origins of all branches on my ancestry.
Within my DNA story, Ancestry has also included historical information for the regions in your estimate, which is very insightful. While it is a broad and condensed history, it's enough to get a basic understanding of the time in which your ancestors lived, the events they made have witnessed or even been a part of.
So that's a look at one aspect of my DNA story, but what about the other two?
DNA Matches are, of course, more personal to the DNA and ancestry experience. To determine this, your DNA is compared to every other person's in the database, giving you an overview of who you might be related to and how. This is probably the DNA section that will change the most as more people complete the DNA test. On my list are several distant relatives who I had been in contact with prior to doing the test, two are relatives that I know and have met who also have Ancestry accounts, and there's many whom I've never had contact with but who are distantly related.
What's really interesting is being able to see how you are possibly connected to each match, comparing similarities in family trees and who your common ancestor is. This is such a great resource as then you can then contact matches and learn more about your connection and ancestry.
DNA Circles are connected to the DNA matches, helping you discover and connect with other Ancestry members who are related to you through a specific ancestor. I have four circles at present, and this will, hopefully, grow as I continue to update the tree connected to my DNA results (I have six separate trees for my different sides and branches, so I'm slowly building a complete tree for my DNA connection).
sounds of dna.
Ancestry recently partnered up with Spotify to curate playlists inspired on your ethnic origins. It sounds like an interesting partnership, and since I have a Spotify account, I decided to give it a go and see 'what my DNA sounded like'.
It's been very interesting to delve into my DNA ancestry, and I know that it will continue to evolve and show me more about my origins. I'm so glad that I did the test and what I've gotten out of it. Not only is the ethnicity estimate intriguing, but it has been great to make connections with distant relatives and learn more about my family tree. Of course, your AncestryDNA experience depends solely on what story your DNA has to tell - you could uncover something amazing and unknown, or have it confirm things you've already discovered.
If you've not yet done so, I really do recommend taking the test. Not only will you discover where your roots lie, but the more people that take the test, the larger the database and more accurate origin estimates can be. I'm still surprised at what the test has told me, especially after the recent update.
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