Who am I? The age old question that many of us are trying to answer. In an emotional and mental capacity, that is a lifelong journey, but physically we can now find out more about who we are using our DNA with Ancestry.
If you haven’t checked out Ancestry already, it enables you to trace your roots around the world. Free to join, you simply start off your family tree with the details you already know and wait for the little green leaf popup. That popup is a hint, giving you suggestions on other family trees, census records, birth and death records etc. I must warn you, once you go down this rabbit hole it is really addictive. My own tree currently has over 250 entries and covers from Limerick to Illinois, and I’m still getting new hints every day.
What is AncestryDNA?
Ancestry in the USA have been providing DNA tests for 3 years and they have recently brought this service to the UK and Ireland. AncestryDNA uses some of the latest autosomal testing technology to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you discover your family history. Looking back over multiple generations, it compares your DNA to results across 26 geographical regions worldwide. It can also help you find unknown relatives with a dynamic list of possible DNA matches from their own database. So the more people doing this test, the more matches you’re likely to find.
Unlike Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, AncestryDNA testing analyses your entire genome, including the other 22 pairs of chromosomes that aren’t the X or Y chromosome that determine your gender. It covers both the maternal and paternal sides of the family tree, so it covers all lineages.
A Y-DNA test only reflects the direct father-to-son path in your family tree, and an mtDNA test only reflects the direct mother-to-child path in your family tree. That means both men and women can take the test, and the results are not limited to just the direct maternal or paternal lines.
Your autosomal chromosomes carry genetic information from both your parents that’s passed down through the generations. Using autosomal testing, AncestryDNA surveys over 700,000 locations in your DNA from a saliva sample.
Once your sample is processed, it details your ethnicity across 26 geographical regions worldwide. Thousands of DNA samples from people with deep roots in each of the 26 different regions have been taken to create comprehensive DNA datasets. This dataset makes up what is called the “reference panel.” It’s this reference panel that is used to estimate your genetic ethnicity.
Here’s the exciting part, the results. Out of over 800,000 tests conducted worldwide, I was surprised to find that I am the first person to receive a 100% ethnicity result. Not surprising is that I’m 100% Irish, with a negligible amount of Great British DNA.
Since 50% of my DNA comes from my Mother and 50% from my Father, this doesn’t mean that my family are all 100% Irish, just that they both have at least 50% Irish DNA and that I happened to inherit that. Given that I’m the only redhead in my family, it’s possible that my siblings are also not 100% Irish.
So until another 100% Irish result appears, I guess that makes me Queen of Ireland. If you’d like to challenge my title, you can order a test on http://dna.ancestry.co.uk/ for £99 excl P&P.