Woo-hoo! My DNA has finally been processed! This afternoon I got the email I have been looking forward to for so long, “Your AncestryDNA results are in!” I jumped up and raced to the laptop. They were there!
I had such a new and different experience seeing my own results, compared to all of the other results I have seen. I am no stranger to DNA testing. I have been looking at DNA match lists for about five years. Sometimes I have looked at DNA results so much in the search for common ancestors that it has made my head hurt, literally. Just at Ancestry, there are six other profiles in my AncestryDNA test list, and I just started testing family at Ancestry within the last year. But the people in the match list I saw today are matches to the DNA in my body. My family.
I first went to my match list. Yep, my mother was there. Next my father’s sister, then my mother’s cousin. And more names that were all so familiar. This proves that I can claim them as my family. It’s funny, I felt the need to check my connection to my mother and father. As if they could have not been my family. When I was growing up, people frequently said, “You look so much like your Dad.” This is not what I wanted to hear about my looks. Really I wanted to hear that I was pretty in some way, not that I looked like a man. But clearly, there was a family connection. And even with my mother, in the last few years I have looked at my hands and thought, those look so much like my mother’s hands. But I did check; yes, we share 3470 cM.
Next I went to the ethnicity results, mainly to check if I had the same Genetic Communities as my mother and aunt. The first thing I saw was an African result; I expanded to see a trace <1% Africa North. Nothing like that has shown up in my mother’s results or my father’s results at other testing companies. Man, why do they even bother reporting results that are such “Low Confidence”? I moved on. The other results seemed reasonable. Though of course these are just estimates based on sample populations that need to increase and be better vetted. And Ancestry wasn’t the best testing company at predicting ethnicities when I examined them in Comparing Ethnicity Estimates at Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage: Case Study. But I was curious to at least look at them. Who wouldn’t be? The estimates showed mainly western Europe, British, Irish, then six different “Low Confidence” European regions. Hmm. Then the Genetic Communities. One of my mother’s, and then one that neither my mother or aunt share, but matches pretty well with the paper trail.
At the NGS conference in May, Angie Bush talked about how her daughter at first didn’t understand why Angie liked genealogy so much. But then the daughter took a DNA test and concretely saw her connection to her grandparents’ DNA. It helped her get more connected to her heritage. After now seeing my results, I see how this happens.
After looking at my DNA results, I brought out the special chocolate from New Zealand that our friends Kevin and Hannah had brought with them the month before, and shared it with the family. (Thanks, guys!) I proposed going out for Taco Tuesday at Rubio’s even though we infrequently eat out, and fortunately my husband was thinking the exact same thing. Awesome. Sometimes genealogy can be so fulfilling, but draining. But there are those moments, those get out the chocolate moments, that make it so worthwhile.