Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Results are IN!

Early yesterday morning I received an email from AncestryDNA that the results from my DNA test were available.

The results give insight into one's genetic ethnicity and connects one with other who have taken the test and have DNA in common with you.

First it gave me a breakdown of my genetic ethnicity. I am:
44% - Ireland
18% - Scandinavia
18% - Great Britain
7% - Eastern Europe
3% - Italian/Greek
3% - Caucasus
2% - Europe West
2% - European Jewish
1% - Iberian Peninsula
<1% - Finland/Northwest Russia
<1% - Near East

These results did not surprise me. Looking at the the tree I have created through my research it makes sense. If I examine the ethnic origin of my 32 great-great-great grandparents, each of which theoretically provided me with 3.125% of my DNA, I'm about 34% Scotch/Irish, 25% English, 16% French, 13% German, 6% Czech, 3% Swiss, 3% Dutch. I'm a mutt. 

And even though my researched ethnicity doesn't exactly match my genetic ethnicity, it is not startling. I didn't come back 20% Italian/Greek or 18% European Jewish. The Scandinavian was mildly surprising but after reading about the migration patterns of this genetic group and checking out my winter white, pasty skin-tone, I'm not surprised.

Now really, I did not get 3.125% of my DNA from each of my great-great-great grandparents. It's only in theory that I got an even amount from each of them. 

I absolutely got 50% of my DNA from my mother and 50% from my father but because of the recombinant nature of meiotic cell division I absolutely did not get an even 25% from each of my grandparents. When my parents sex cells divided I might have gotten 30% from my paternal grandmother and 20% from my paternal grandfather. And in theory I could have gotten 49.9% from my maternal grandmother and .1% from my maternal grandfather. 

Cell division and recombination is why none of us are genetically the same except for identical twins. My sister and I will have more DNA in common that we would with any first cousin but we will not be exactly the same. A cousin got 50% of their DNA from an entirely different family. If my sister took the test her results would be different but not alarmingly so unless of course there was some hanky panky going on and she is a half-sister. My half sister would be as genetically close as a first cousin.

That being said we as a species are all genetically very similar as well. Ready to have your mind blown?

All blue-eyed people have 1 single genetic ancestor. 

Did that statement just blow your mind?

Of course that first genetic occurrence happened millions of years ago and has been passed down to billions of people. You are not going to find a relative in common with every blue-eyed person you meet. 

So your DNA can tell you about very recent connections - those you share a lot of similar DNA patterns with. And DNA will tell you about very distant connections - regions where there are high concentrations of people with DNA patterns similar to yours.

That ethnic breakdown is the distant connections. also tells you about the recent connections. It uses your DNA findings and matches you to others who have taken the DNA test. 

To my knowledge none of my first or second cousins have taken this test yet and thus I was not surprised to find that the system could only match me to a few individuals who could be as close as 4th cousins or further back. 

Looking at those potential 4th cousins' trees, I could not see a common relative. In one of them there was an unusual common surname though; Carre. The Carre family was from the Montreal area of Quebec; I am connected to them through my maternal grandfather. The man who may genetically be a 4th - 6th cousin is probably a 7th cousin to me. If he and I could document back a generation or two more we could probably find out common ancestor. I emailed him through Ancestry to see if we could learn more from each others' research.

Being 4th cousins mean that the individual and I share a 5th great grandparent; could be further back and it may involve some of that "removed" business but let's say we share 5th great-grandparents. The 5th great-grandparents that I can trace back through records were born in the later half of the 1700s. In most lines I can not get back that far through records. So to say I could be 4th - 6th cousins with someone might not reveal an obvious common relative in our trees. There may be no records to connect to the name of our common ancestor. It does not mean we are not cousins, it just means we don't know who made us cousins.

I was shocked that Cousin Mary did not show up as a genetic match. She and I know through our documentation that we are 6th cousins once removed; her daughter and I are 7th cousins. I'm older but she is a generation above me. She has taken this test. I though for sure we would be matched. The relatives that Cousin Mary and I share are Jacob and Rebecca Raynor who were born around 1760. But again, that recombinant nature of DNA. We both have DNA from our Raynors but not the same piece of DNA. We're not a match but our research proves we are indeed cousins.

Ancestry provides an interesting feature though. Amongst your list of those you share genetic information with, you can limit it to those who have "hints." You have probably seen the commercial about the "shaking leaves." Those are "hints." They indicate there is a record in their database that may match an ancestor you put in your tree or, in this case, that another researcher has the same individual in their family tree.

When I limited my DNA matches to those who had "hints" there was only 1 result. A woman who listed in her tree the parents of my Rebecca Raynor. She is descended from Rebecca's brother Thomas. She and I share this same set of 6th great-grandparents; Joseph Raynor and Elizabeth Lester-Raynor - - without a doubt.

The reason I find that so excited is because Cousin Mary is undoubtedly a Raynor too. Her mother had the maiden name Raynor. My connection to the Raynor name is from my father's father's mother's father's father's mother's mother. (Hee hee hee, writing that just makes me giggle.) If it was Cousin Mary or I who were going to have an error in their Raynor research it would have been most likely been me error. 

This genetic match though, proves my research is good. The DNA test matched me to a set of direct ancestors who Cousin Mary and I have in common. She and I just do not have the same DNA from this couple which does not mean we are not related. We most definitely are! And I am most definitely related to this newly found cousin. I have dropped an email to her too through I anxiously await her reply.

I am also anxious to get closer, known relatives to take the test. First cousins, second cousins, third cousins, if you are interested in taking the test, let me know. Right now it's $100 which is not pocket change, I know, but it is not as expensive as it once was. I'm also really itchin' to get my dad to do the test. And I am pretty sure I know what Nanny is getting for Christmas. 


  1. Such a great post, Cousin April - you explained everything so well! You've inspired me to address our lack of DNA connection in my own blog! The way I always explain DNA results to people is that just because it's not there genetically doesn't mean it's not there genealogically. DNA is proof of what is, not what isn't. Which is why it's good to have other family members get tested - they might have inherited a bit of completely different DNA (I am taking a cue from you - some of my family members should probably expect DNA tests for Christmas, which to be honest, is more a present for me than them hee hee!) But it's the same thing with the cousin connection, I guess, which I never really thought about - our DNA results doesn't prove we're not cousins, just that we didn't inherit that same DNA - disappointing, yes - but even though I'm closer to the Raynor surname, apparently you inherited more Raynor DNA, at least from that particular line! (I have about 3 other Raynor lines - inbreeding, yes!) I am also jealous that you actually got a common ancestor leaf hint - I don't have ANY of those! :( Although, the more people who take the test and enter the database, the better chance we ALL have of connecting to someone!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Cousin Mary. I can't wait to read your follow up DNA post about your results. I am so excited to have had that "hint" on a Raynor connection. If any line it was going to happen on for me I would have first guessed the Raynors because they are a well-documented with early America roots. I can't go back far enough on most lines for DNA testing to match any other 6th cousins common ancestor. I NEED closer relatives to drool for me. :) That way I can tell from their results other connections and confirm some connections. For example, if some cousins on dad's side spit for me and they don't have connect to others in my DNA cousin collection, well then maybe those DNA cousins in my gene pool are from Mom's side...maybe. God is sneaky like this.