Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Follow-up to my AncestryDNA results: Connecting with cousins (or not!)

As you all know, I had taken the AncestryDNA test last year and the results for those tests were recently updated to reflect more specific ethnic populations. Cousin April took the test about a month ago and just got her results (yes, they do tend to come that quickly, though if you're thinking of ordering one for the holidays, I would expect there to probably be a bit of a backlog) - you can read her wonderfully written blog post here - unfortunately, our tests failed to link us genetically. Boo :( - very disappointing. But as April points out, that doesn't mean we botched our research and that we're not related - it just means we didn't inherit the same DNA. As I try to explain to my siblings and anyone else who (doesn't) ask, we have so many ancestors, we couldn't possibly inherit DNA from every single one of them. Just look at how different you might look from one of your siblings - even though you are super close genetically, you each inherited different bits of DNA from your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents, and so on. Which is why, if you can afford it, it's totally worth it to get even close relatives tested, because they might show results for something totally different than what you got. And even though that piece might not be a part of your genetic ancestry, it's definitely a part of your genealogical ancestry. Just because it doesn't show up in your results genetically doesn't mean it's not there genealogically. That's what I tried to tell my fiance when he was disappointed that he didn't get any Middle Eastern ethnicity in his AncestryDNA results. DNA is proof of what IS there. It's not proof of what ISN'T there, if that makes any sense.

So anyway, Cousin April and I did not show up as being genetically matched at all. Interestingly enough, though, she did get matched to someone on our common Raynor branch. So it seems that even though I'm closer to the Raynor name than she is (my mother was a Raynor), she's closer to Raynor DNA (at least on that branch - I have, like, 3 other Raynor branches)!! 

I did find my first criticism of AncestryDNA, though, thanks to Cousin April's results. One of the things you get, in addition to your results and your matches, is a common ancestor hint, the infamous green leaf. It shows up, I assume, when your tree and the tree of one of your genetic matches has a common ancestor. Duh. Because, for the most part, your matches are at least fourth cousins (meaning you have 3rd great grandparents in common), unless you have a well documented tree, like the Raynors do, you might not get one of these hints. Cousin April got one. I got none, even though when I narrowed my matches search down to people who had Raynors in their tree, somebody showed up. We both have Joseph and Elizabeth (Lester) Raynor in our trees, and we were connected as 5th-8th cousins, yet I didn't get a hint. So, that leaves me wondering how many other people I can actually genealogically connect to who showed up as genetic cousins, because it's kind of annoying that I had to do a manual search for this person. Has anyone else come across this problem?

So, if you want to read a little bit of a more in-depth analysis of inheriting DNA, please check out April's post. And any one of my immediate family members should expect the possibility of getting AncestryDNA kits as Christmas presents, even though it's more a present for myself than for anyone else! :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Cousin Mary. You know we have to be related because I too am totally Christmas shopping at this year too. :) A little pricier than I usually go for my big old family but makes this year's shopping a lot easier. :-D

    And I hope you get some shaky leaves amongst your DNA cousins soon!