New Year, New Discoveries
As you may recall in my last article, I wrote about sending off my DNA sample to Ancestry.com. With much anticipation, my results arrived about 6 weeks later. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. For years, I guessed, fantasized, dreamed of the possibilities, but never could I have guessed the results. Being adopted, I was used to creating my own background or at least assuming my adoptive family’s ancestry. Perhaps it was this constant guessing that caused me to become so interested in genetics. I wanted to unlock why I looked the way I do and reveal secrets to my own past.
When I received the text from Ancestry.com, my heart skipped a beat. My breathing quickened rapidly. This was it! I was excited, but also terrified by what the results may reveal. What if it showed my birth parents? How would I react to that? What if it showed no relatives? Would I feel more alone than I do now? I quickly sat down to my computer to view the results on a larger screen. I suppose I thought it would help me absorb this newfound info easier if I could view it all in big screen splendor.
I nervously logged into the site and was welcomed by so much information. First, I was presented with my DNA story. Since I was young, maybe 5 or 6 years old, I have had an obsession with anything British. It was about the United Kingdom, I had to know everything. Well, apparently my obsession was rooted in my DNA. According to my DNA ethnicity estimate, 57% of my heritage is from England, Wales, and northwestern Europe. Another 28% from Ireland and Scotland. I had to smile seeing these results positing that perhaps my obsession was in my genes after all.
While these results seemed obvious, some of the other results or lack of really surprised me. Being a native of Oklahoma and it being home of the red man (that’s a loose interpretation of the word Oklahoma), in other words, Native Americans are deeply rooted into the fabric of my home state, I assumed there would be at least a few drops of Native American DNA in my veins. Shockingly, not a single percentage. So, while I had many answers, I had a few disappointments.
My other ethnicity percentages are 8% Germanic Europe, 4% France, and 3% Sweden. Looks like I’m about as white bread as you can get. (LOL) I spent years assuming because of my dark brown hair that I either had some Native blood in my background or at least some Italian as my hometown has a large Italian settlement. At least I know where to start researching.
Another fun part of the results is some of the DNA traits. While this part of the report is in its infancy, Ancestry gives you a few tidbits to look at. Traits like hair color, eye color, etc. There were a few odd ones like earwax type and earlobe type. A bit weird, but interesting all the same for this genetics nerd. Even more fascinating is that you can compare your traits to those in your family tree.
So, you may wonder, did the report show family? It did indeed, but not what you’d expect. The closest relative in my DNA matches is first cousins. While helpful to a degree, these results have given me so many more questions. Ancestry gives everyone the choice of being private or sharing your info. So, the real detective work begins now. I can explore, within reason, my newfound relatives’ family trees. As I still don’t know for certain my birth parents’ names, I’ll have to do considerable digging. Ancestry also allows you to contact those relatives (if they allow) within their website. My next big decision will be whether to face those fears and contact them. So, stay tuned. In the next part, I’ll discuss the adventures of researching my tree.