Some Personal Thoughts - When Examining DNA Results
Everyone seems to have an opinion on what DNA results mean. I won’t express an opinion, on that, but I can add some comments, food for thought, perhaps, to the process you may face. Testing your DNA, whether at Ancestry.com, 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA or others, seems to have become a national pastime - and that is probably a good thing.
I recently read an essay by a writer friend as he and his wife went through the testing process and looked at the results. I suppose a few of his comments encouraged me to share these thoughts.
Although DNA tests can shed light on many aspects of our heritage, the most popular, spurred by the incessant commercials these day, no doubt is the percentage of origin from different parts of the world. And these will vary, of course, depending on which tests you take because their test results each display different regions. Regardless of that, however, we are virtually all immigrants; it is just a matter of general relativity as to the distribution.
Remember this fact, though: we each have - 2 parents, 4 grandparents, etc.
How many of them have you identified in your research?
Parents - 2
Grandparents - 4
Great-Grandparents - 8
2nd G-Grandparents - 16
3rd G-Grandparents - 32
4th G-Grandparents - 64
5th G-Grandparents - 128
6th G-Grandparents - 256
7th G-Grandparents - 512
8th G-Grandparents - 1024
9th G-Grandparents - 2048
ONE of my 9th G-Grandparents (out of 2048, or so) came from England and was a co-founder of Salem, Massachusetts, in the mid-1600s, to put this on a timeline perspective. Think about that for a second in terms of that one tidbit - He is important to me, because I’ve identified him - but even this is teeny-tiny part of my DNA.
The 2048 may be high, of course, if any of your ancestors married first cousins, or other relatives (that cuts down the total numbers, but not by a lot-still a lot ancestors, not that far back!).
Some folks like to talk about surnames as they may relate to heritage. My Schmidt ancestors were either from Germany or from France, depending on the geography lines after the most recent war. How is that expressed in my DNA? Of course, my maternal grandmother was born in Denmark. I think that means I am 25% Danish, or Scandinavian, or Northern European, or… Well, you get the message.
BTW, I really hate the commercial where the guy turns in his Kilts for Lederhosen!! Or is it the other way around?!?!?!?!?
Well, enjoy your DNA Test Results! Get your DNA Test Results! Please, just don’t get all worked up over the results. Do the research. Learn about more than just 500, or 5000, of your ancestors and their descendants. Keep searching, Enjoy the search!! It is worth the effort!
Your comments are welcomed, and invited! ;-)
Dr. Bill ;-)