Monday, January 11, 2016
No Sooner Said...
It's done. And just in time, too. It couldn't have been because I was grousing about my husband receiving his test results from AncestryDNA nearly a week before me, could it? After all, I mailed both packages to the same address on the same day. From the same post office, even. What more could they ask?
It appears I am a typical American—well, at least in the sense of being part of that vast, "Heinz 57" melting pot heritage. Taking a look at Ancestry's ethnic estimates, based on my DNA test, even I was surprised—although not, of course, on account of the nearly fifty percent coming from an eastern European origin (that would be thanks to my father). Still, the mere ten percent from "Europe West" was less than I had expected—though, including Germany in this region, I suppose I owe that to my Broyles predecessors.
Our family's on-again, off-again flirtation with the question of Irish heritage (we were raised, being told we were Irish when in fact, it was a ruse for masked identity of a Polish background) may get resurrected with Ancestry's declaration that I have at least nine percent Irish in my roots. How's that? Surely the McClellans—my Scots great grandfather could become quite irate at the suggestion that his "Mc" indicated Irish heritage—couldn't be the source of that stray number. Could it?
And yet, something I can't quite yet fathom, Ancestry delineates Great Britain as a separate ethnic entity than Ireland. Of course, the Irish will concur heartily with that sentiment. But I'm not talking socio-political issues here. I'm just wondering what to make of all this. Great Britain is home to a number of different ancient ethnic groups. What happened to my Welsh ancestry? Is that counted here, even though so many generations removed?
A bigger surprise was finding twenty five percent attributed to the region of Scandinavia. Do I suppose I descend from the Vikings, just as my husband discovered in his own genetic genealogy exploration? Perhaps the two of us need to invest in some twin Viking helmets. The Houston guy has already put in his order for one featuring Texas longhorns.
While I understand that trace values introduce a murky—and possibly questionable—realm, Ancestry's Trace Regions section is both intriguing and confusing. Indicating a result weighing in at less than one percent of the overall picture, it still somehow fingers a strand originating in Finland or northwest Russia. Where would that come from? Perhaps a Pole whose ancestors strayed from farther north? It would be helpful to know more detail in the behind-the-scenes process of determining such minute numbers. Ancestry does provide a number of videos, tutorials and even white papers for the more intrepid among us; I'll need to take a look at all these.
On the other hand, the reason the arrival of these results is so timely is that, by the time you are reading this, I may already be walking into my first day of the genetic genealogy class at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. I think I already have my first question for the beginning session.
Above: Ethnicity estimates for my recently-received test results from AncestryDNA.