If you’d like to learn more about where you came from, I mean further back than any paper trail will lead you, then opt in for ancestry DNA testing. This is exactly what I did through a company called 23andme.
According to their website, you can “Trace your lineage back 10,000 years and discover your history from over 750 maternal lineages and over 500 paternal lineages”. Just what I need to supplement my already extensive family tree.
I’ve been working on my family tree for years using Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. It currently goes back as far as the 1500’s on some branches, but to watch that extend back thousands of years will be extremely satisfying.
How to Take an Ancestry DNA Test
I purchased two tests, which cost $99 each plus shipping. One was for me and the other for my future son-in-law who was adopted from the Philippines when he was an infant. The process was very simple:
- Order tests from 23andme.
- Tests arrived in their own colorful boxes.
- Read the simple instructions.
- Registered each kit at 23andme’s website. Each kit has its own unique number on the vial.
- Spit into the vial included in the box (took about 2-3 minutes to get enough).
- Snapped the top lid off and shut the vial, which releases a stabilizing liquid into your saliva.
- Placed the vial into the sealing bag, placed it into the box, and sealed the box.
- Dropped the boxes off at the post office.
- Wait 4-6 weeks for results. We had our initial results in about 4 weeks, and full results in 5 weeks.
Female Ancestry DNA Testing
Since I am a female, and females only carry the X chromosomes, I’m not able to get my paternal (fathers side through the Ydna) haplogroup results from my DNA test alone. I will have to see if my father is willing to also do the same test, and then link his results with mine over at 23andme.
However, females are able to get some paternal information. This includes finding out where your ancestors came from around 500 years ago on both sides of your family. My full results reflected some of the information I already knew, but others were a complete surprise.
As females, we are able to get haplogroup results for our maternal ancestry (through mitochondrial DNA); 23andme puts me in haplogroup H2b.
Refining Your DNA Results
I recommend downloading a copy of your raw DNA data and heading over to GEDmatch.com because they have many other free tools that will allow you to see your ancestry makeup in more detail. In particular, the admixture calculations.
For example, 23andme gives a general breakdown of the areas in Europe my ancestors were from approximately 500 years ago. On the other hand, the Eurogenes K13 Oracle X tool at GEDmatch gives me a more specific breakdown of German, North Swedish, Lithuanian, Mari, Portuguese, Sardinian, Spanish Valencia, Spanish Galicia. I believe these are more ancient results that align to some of the historical research I have done on my ancestors.
There are several other admixture tools available at GEDmatch as well. If you have Ashkenazi Jewish results in your DNA test, you may want to use the Eurogenes Jtest version. The Jtest option was developed for those with Ashkenazi genes. When looking at your results after clicking on the Oracle button, keep in mind that the codes you see are official country codes.
In the end, I am happy that I did the ancestry autosomal DNA testing and may even do a more in-depth test in the future. I have learned a lot about who I am in the process, which has piqued a curiosity for even more research!