Monday, October 21, 2013

My DNA Ethnicity Estimates

I finally received my new and improved DNA ethnicity estimates from
This particular test looks at autosomal DNA from a saliva sample. Autosomal DNA is the 22 pairs of chromosomes we inherit from our parents, one set from our mother and one set from our father. They do not include those that determine sex, the X or Y chromosomes. If I test other members of the family in addition to my own testing, I can determine which segments have been inherited from whom. So if my brother were to take the test, through comparing our results, I might be able to determine which parts of DNA I didn’t inherit from my parents and which he did.  That would also hold true if I tested my parents, aunts and uncles; I could determine which parts of DNA I didn’t inherit from my grandparents.  It’s important to realize that this DNA test only reflects what I’ve inherited from my parents; it doesn’t reflect the entire potential DNA that exists in my ancestral line.

In general, my results seem to fall in line with what I already know about my family. They show that by far the greatest percentage of my genes is from Eastern Europe. A typical Eastern European native born in this region today has 82% of their genes from here. My DNA reflects 65% of genes from this area, which is actually within the range of the DNA of a typical native. This makes sense to me since both of my maternal grandparents are from Poland; the surnames Chrzanowski and Dabrowski have long roots in this region. Instead of being half-Polish, I guess I’m more like 2/3 Polish.
The other influences reflected in my DNA show a mixture of ethnicities: 17% from Great Britain, 13% from Scandinavia and 1% each from Western Europe region and Italy/Greece region. I think this must come from my paternal grandparents. My family history research is revealing my Conklin, Lent, and Outhouse surnames to be of Dutch origin. The Passtoor and Kolb surnames have Germanic origins, and the Baisley and Lamb surnames, whose origins are yet unknown, are likely from England via Scandinavia. History tells us early Scandinavians, or those who we call the Vikings, invaded England (among other places) and some settled there, so maybe I have some of that Viking DNA in me.  
The remaining bits reflect traces of Finnish/Northern Russia, North African and Irish DNA. The migration of people into North Africa is perhaps from Arabic and Moorish conquests, and it’s likely they brought slaves from other regions with them as they migrated. This could be the source of that less than one percent of DNA. Whether it is from the paternal or maternal side, I don’t know; however it’s likely that the Finnish or Northern Russian traces are from the distant ancestors of my Polish relatives. The biggest surprise was to find I have minute traces of Irish ancestry. None of my research reflects any Irish relatives, but I would guess it’s from the paternal line because of the cornucopia of ethnicities—but I’m glad I can celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day legitimately next year!
Besides learning about my ethnicities, the whole other point of taking the DNA testing was to connect with cousins. Although others have reported receiving a large number of matches where they can determine a common ancestor, I haven’t been so lucky. So far, I’ve only had one meaningful match where we share a common 2nd great-grandfather. This has been disappointing. So now I’m weighing the option of asking more relatives to test or upload my data to another company in hopes of connecting with more cousins.
What do you think? Is DNA testing worth it?

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