Monday, October 1, 2012

AncestryDNA results are in...and I'm shocked!

I am, in a word, flabbergasted. First, I'd just like to commend AncestryDNA for how quickly they got my results. I was told it would take 6-8 weeks upon arrival of the specimen. I think they started processing my DNA on Sept. 19. My results were posted today, Oct. 1. So, not too shabby.

But to say I was surprised by my results would be an understatement, and I honestly thought I wouldn't be surprised at all. I thought, considering I know that everyone in my family hails from either England, Ireland, Germany or Denmark that my results would be pretty straightforward - British Isles, Western European, and possibly a hint of Scandinavian from the 1/32 Danish blood in me.

But how quickly I always forget that just because I know the countries doesn't mean I know the ethnicities...the United States is not the only nation of immigrants.

How much British Isles was in my ethnicity graph? Zero percent.

How much Western European was in my ethnicity graph? Zero percent.

How much Scandinavian was in my ethnicity graph? A whopping 88 percent.

And what made up the other 12 percent? Of all things - Eastern European! What??????

Now, if you're taking an autosomal DNA test, you have to remember that just because an ethnicity DOESN'T show up in your DNA, it doesn't mean it's not there. It just means it wasn't in that sample. But I was shocked by the amount of Scandinavian and I never expected Eastern European, which according to AncestryDNA covers the modern day countries of Poland, Greece, Macedonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Moldova, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Belgarus, and Kosovo.

Reading the description for each ethnicity, though, a whole lotta Scandinavian DNA does make sense. The Vikings invaded and settled in the British Isles - that's where Irish red hair comes from. And I just learned, by reading the description, that the Goths, who eventually populated Germany, were originally from Sweden. And I have both German and British Isles ancestry...

The Eastern European has me a little mor flummoxed, although if I look at the pins for family tree members on the AncestryDNA map, several of my German relatives hail from the Eastern parts of Germany, bordering Poland and the Czech Republic (which isn't counted as Eastern Europe, but which used to be part of the same country as Slovakia, which is). So that's interesting.

In any case, I have a lot more to look at - AncestryDNA gives you potential relative matches within 4-8th cousins, which so far doesn't really look that promising, but I definitely have a lot more to digest. But my (surprising-wow!) results leave me with two thoughts - the first being that perhaps I'm really adopted, just as I always thought when I was little, and the second being...

...I always KNEW I was a Viking!! :)


  1. Ahem, you weren't adopted. You're kin, that's why your foot sticks out from under your blanket.

  2. Hmm...interesting. I've been thinking of trying the DNA test, but like you I figured it wouldn't provide any knowledge I didn't already know. Now I'm even more curious...

    1. Heather, I never in a million years thought I would get results that would surprise me...but it's really making me think about my ancestry a little differently - not just about the origins of my American roots (Germany, Ireland) but the origins of my ancestors from those "countries of origins" - who were *their* immigrant ancestors. I love history, so I just find it fascinating.

  3. A very interesting post, Mary Ellen. It makes me a little more tempted to try a test. I like your thoughts about previous migrations ... and our assumptions ... very interesting.

    1. Thanks Diane. The tests are, unfortunately, very expensive...hoping one day it will become more affordable so more people can do it!